Flight Officer Leland H. Pennington missing over Yugoslavia

2009-09-26T00:00:00Z 2010-07-27T14:57:57Z Flight Officer Leland H. Pennington missing over YugoslaviaBY ERICA SMITH • esmith@post-dispatch.com stltoday.com

Little has been documented about Flight Officer Leland H. Pennington's military career.

Pennington of Rochester, N.Y., graduated from flight training on Aug. 4, 1944, at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. He soon deployed to Italy with the 301st Fighter Squadron.

During an escort mission on April 21, 1945, Pennington broke formation and radioed that he was "sack timing solo," or returning to base and did not need an escort.

"I saw him turn back and assumed he would land at Zara," a friendly air field in Yugoslavia, 1st Lt. Jimmy Lanham wrote in a military report. "I did not contact him or sight him after this."

Pennington's name is included on the Tablets of the Missing at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Italy. According to a government database, he was awarded an Air Medal with an oak leaf cluster and a Purple Heart for his military service.

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