WWII Fighter Pilot, Art Leach ’42 spoke at the Bloomington Public Library, Thursday, May 16. He fought in the Pacific Theater flying off the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and is ninety-nine years old.
Leach shared how he was one of the two of his group of five hundred to be accepted into pilot training. He was the only one of his pilot training group to be sent to the U. S. Navy, fulfilling his dream of flying off of an aircraft carrier. He started out training in bi-planes and moved on to flying Brewster Buffalos, Grumman Wildcats, Grumman Hellcats, Grumman Bearcats, Vought Corsairs and early jets.
Leach attends to WWII memorial celebrations across the country, participates in Skype interviews with classrooms of students around the world and has recorded an oral history for future generations to hear a first hand account of his experiences. Last year he flew fellow pilot’s self-built plane over the local area.