Words cannot begin to adequately convey the gratitude I wish to express to the many family members, friends, and associates who have contributed and still continue to contribute to this project. Without their generosity, time, and support, none of this would be possible. Many new friends have been gained along the way and those friendships alone would have made this endeavor worthwhile.

A very special thanks and tribute goes to the 216 Squadron Pilots. It's no exaggeration to say that these are some of the finest men you will ever meet. In a nutshell, when our Country had a job to do, our nation's best were sent forth. These men are clearly evidence of that.

"How is it possible to honor such men, both the dead and living?

Perhaps we cannot do any better than to call you the Greatest Generation of the greatest country in the world.

Perhaps we should make certain that your stories are told to the young.

Perhaps we should try to imitate both your purposes and lives, in both peace and war.

Perhaps we should just sincerely thank you for making sure that this island of liberty would continue.

Perhaps we should just say this, along with Abraham Lincoln: 'Gold is good in its place; but living, brave, patriotic men, are better than gold.'

We are in your debt and we thank you. May God always bestow His blessings upon you."

- Excerpt from a Memorial Day speech by Peter W. Schramm, Executive Director of the Ashbrook Center.

The VMF-216 Pilots
 Howard O. Kemper Brig. Gen. Rivers Morrell, Jr., USMC (Ret)
Victor W. Gillett, Jr. Lt. Col. Benjamin S. Hargrave, Jr., USMC (Ret)
Dorothy Jean Bentzin Robert F. Anderson
  Judia and Ralph Terry John W. Barton
  Michael O. Kemper Robert E. Foote
  Anita Jane Calk Lt. Col. Rolland E. "Doc" Marker, USMC (Ret)
  Alan R. Kemper Jackson McGowan
  Martin F. Kemper Robert E. "Lefty" McDonough
  William D. "Kemp" Kemper William J. O'Brien
  Ben Bentzin Jean S. Patton
    Lt. Col. Ennis E. Walden, USMC (Ret)
  Col. Owen J. Baggett  
  C.E. "Sonny" Bentley  
  Brian Bethel, Abilene Reporter News  
  Stan Burnham, Daniel Baker College
  Lucille Rucker Chessmore  
  Danny Crawford, Marine Corps Historical Center  
  Barton Cromeens, Abilene Reporter News  
  Kaye Dowell, McMurry University  
  Bruce Gamble  
  Eric Hammel, Pacifica Press  
  Christine Helms  
  Margaret Faulkner Helms  
  Morton Lichtman  
  Robert Marshall, Jr.  
  Gerald Nagle  
  William B. Nowadnick  
  Marie Faulkner Rhodes  
  Alice Rhodes Thie  
  Terry S. Young, McMurry University  
  Barry L. Zerby, National Archives  
  Joe Bielinski