ED WEIGEL IS MY HERO
Edwin Mark Weigel (US Army Air Forces – WWII)We all know ordinary people who have lead extraordinary lives… people that overcome incredible obstacles and accomplish the impossible. Ed Weigel is my hero, a handsome, intelligent man committed to serving his country and protecting his loved ones. Ed claims his passion in life was flying, and the crème de la crème was belonging to the 9th Fighter Squadron, 49th fighter group, 5th Air Force. The 9th squadron was known as the “Flying Knights”. He flew with two aces, Major Dick Bong and Colonel Gerald R. Johnson. Ed is featured on the October page of the National P-38 2006 calendar.
Ed joined the Air Corps in 1942: after his brother Dan had been captured by the Japanese and was being held as a prisoner of war, Ed lived, and flew in hopes of finding Dan. He became a P-38 Fighter Pilot in the Pacific theater with a total of 79 combat missions. He also went into Japan with MacArthur in August 1945 for the peace treaty signing in September. Came home and flew air shows all over the U.S. with the Air Corps aerobatic team while they were drumming up interest in a separate Air Force. (We now call this group the Thunderbirds) Got out of the service in 1947 and bought Allied Air Service in Santa Barbara. He crop-dusted until 1951 when he was called up from the reserves to go to Korea. He also served in early Vietnam and was discharged in 1957. He owned and operated Parker-Weigel Inc. a fishing tackle manufacturing company from 1961 to 1973. He sold the business to Gary Loomis who snow operates under the name Loomis Rods, and is one of the highest priced rod builders in the nation. Ed went back to work for the aerospace industry in the capacity of Quality Control from 1974 to 1993.
Ed left the service with the rank of Major; he had earned an Air Medal with five Oak leaf clusters, and numerous other medals, ribbons and commendations. All pilots covet the Air Medal and the five Oak leaf clusters mean that he won the honor six times. He never brags or mentions his accomplishments. It’s only recently that I learned of the awards.
Ed, true to his cause, found evidence that his brother Dan had perished on a Japanese Hell Ship loaded with 1800 of our POW’s heading to Japan for slave labor during WWII. These men had been held in the Philippines for over two and half years before boarding the Arisan Maru. The ship was unmarked and sunk by one of our own submarines. Only nine men survived, making it the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history (More than on the Titanic). Ed and Donna located over 250 family members of these men and hosted a memorial service and plaque dedication on October 14, 1999 at the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Ed is in the midst of another war, this time with cancer, he is in the last stages of bone cancer, under hospice care, at home with his wife and family. It’s been a tough fight but his courage and tenacity have never wavered, I am so proud of him, and his wife Donna. They are in the midst of writing his biography; it will be a best seller… I’ll let you know when it’s published. In the meantime please keep my Hero and his family in your prayers… he will be flying among the stars one day soon… I know he has touched the heart of God and others. We love you Ed – your courage and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.
©Copyright September 23, 2006 by Harriet Weigel
This is to inform you in Pilots jargon, that Ed Weigel folded his wings at 11:30 a.m. this morning, his wife and son were with him during his final hours… please keep them and the rest of Ed’s family in prayer.
Ed was a survivor, a man of great strength and determination. He was a war hero, a fighter pilot and a man of true grit. His last battle was with cancer – it destroyed his body but not his will to survive. He fought onward every moment of every day until his last breath. His wife, Donna, devoted herself to him. She and their children worked together, with a Hospice nurse, making sure that all of Ed’s needs were filled. I am so proud of them, and I’m sure Ed was too.
Thank you so much for your prayers: they are appreciated. Please pray for comfort and peace of mind for Donna, her children and grandchildren; they are precious, all of them.
Harriet: December 2, 2006
P-38 Lightning – similar to those which Ed piloted
“One last flight departing
a passenger I’m not!
Touchdown be immediate,
quicker than a thought!
I AM ALREADY THERE!!
No luggage, no returning flight,
and not another care!!
Naught to hinder flight at all
I’m free; at last I’m free!
Why cannot I find the words
describing what I see?!
Far more beautiful than what
I’ve read or seen or heard!
Something more than supersonic
surely has occurred!!
If only you could see me now,
your tears would all be joy!
No Pain! No medication!
No procedures to annoy!!
I shall enjoy it as I wait
with Jesus for your flight
in the twinkling of an eye,
come morning, noon or night!!”
I love you, Ed
©Copyright 2006 by Jim Busby
Ed Weigel: 1924 – 2006Ed Weigel, 82, of Oxnard passed away Dec. 2, 2006.
Ed was born in Hays, Kan., on Feb. 26, 1924, to William and Catherine (Rohleder) Weigel. The Weigel family came to Oxnard in 1936.
Ed enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and became a P-38 fighter pilot. He flew 79 combat missions in the Pacific Theater with the famous “Flying Knights” of the 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron, 5th Air Force. In 1945 he flew into Japan with MacArthur for the peace treaty signing aboard the USS Missouri.
After the war, he flew air shows all over the United States with the Army Air Corps aerobatic team, a forerunner of what we now call the Thunderbirds. He left the service in 1947. He owned and operated Allied Air Services in Santa Barbara, a flight training school and crop dusting service until 1951, when he was called up from the Reserves to go to Korea and early Vietnam. He retired with the rank of major in 1957, having earned an air medal with five oak leaf clusters, two presidential commendations and numerous other medals and ribbons.
He owned and operated Parker-Weigel, Ind., a fishing tackle manufacturing company from 1961 to 1973, when he sold the business to Gary Loomis of Loomis Rods in Washington State. From 1974 to 1993 he worked in the aerospace industry in the capacity of quality control management.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Lydia Milani; and brothers, Andrew, Daniel, Robert and Patrick.
He leaves his wife, Donna; daughter, Suzanne; son, Daniel (wife Bonnie) of Ventura; granddaughters, Hannah and Allie; sister, Sylvia Watkins of Buda, Texas; nephews, David Weigel of Camarillo, Greg Weigel of Woodlands, Texas, Dennis and Nick Watkins of Texas; nieces, Gail Keezer, Dawn and Heather Watkins of Texas, Julie Knowles of Ojai, Yvonne Borjon and Randi Peterson of Ventura, Mary Hoover of Port Huenene, Linda Wright of Kasilof, Alaska; and sisters-in-law, Chris and Harriet Weigel of Port Hueneme.
At Ed’s request there will be no funeral service here and burial will be in the family plot in Emmeram, Kan.
Heartfelt thanks to Julie and Michelle of Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association hospice, who gave Ed such good care.
Donations may be made to Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association, 1996 Eastman Ave., Ventura, CA 93003; or the Admiral Nimitz Museum of the Pacific, 238 E. Main St., Fredericksburg, TX 78624.