December of 2008, members of the 391st Fighter Squadron, stationed in
Afghanistan, did an extraordinary thing to honor a former member of
their squadron, a veteran of WWII, who was dying of cancer. Organized
by Capt. Joe Falzone, they took turns flying an American flag on F-15E
Strike Eagle combat sorties continuously for days. Along with this
flag, which flew with almost every aviator in the squadron for more
than 100 combat hours, the squadron created a lithograph of their
2008-2009 deployed Bold Tiger unit, signed by every one of them. They
sent the flag and the signed lithograph, as well as a squadron coin
that every current Bold Tiger carries, to Quentin Aanenson. He received
them during the last week of his life and was able to experience the
thrill of this great honor with his family.
Falzone had been notified of Aanenson's terminal illness by retired
Army Lt. Col. Steve Porter, Aanenson's nephew. Besides being moved by
Porter's account of his dying uncle's WWII service and arranging this
unbelievable tribute to a former squadron pilot, Capt. Falzone also
wrote a wonderful article for his base newspaper that can be read at
Force Print News Today"
This article, as well as two photos of Quentin Aanenson, are on display in the pilot's lounge of the 391st FS at Mt. Home AFB. One of the photos is of Aanenson walking away from his August 3,1944 crash landing, and the other was taken after an honorary flight in an F15-E at Mt. Home AFB in October of 1994, fifty years later.
Thank you, Capt. Falzone, and your entire 391st Fighter Squadron for making this great effort to honor a former member of your esteemed group for his service. You are all heroes and we thank you for your own service.