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  • Greatest Heroes of the 4th FW: POWs

    Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series celebrating the 75th anniversary of the 4th Fighter Wing Many of the heroes of the 4th Fighter Wing gave their lives in the defense of our nation. In fact, over the years many members of the "Fourth But First" have given their lives or suffered injury in the cause of freedom. But there is another type of casualty that far too many of our warriors have endured. Being a prisoner of war is a particularly bitter fate for Americans who enjoy the blessings of freedom. This is the story of two of our POWs – one from World War II, the other from the Vietnam War. Andrew C. Lacy was born to immigrant parents in Elyria, Ohio, on April 30, 1921. Like so many of "the greatest generation" Andy answered the call to service and began pilot training prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the Spring of 1942 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Then in September 1944, 2nd Lt. Lacy was assigned to the 334th Fighter Squadron of the 4th Fighter Group. Lacy flew his first combat mission on Sept. 27, 1944. At that time a tour of duty for pilots in the European Theater of Operation was 250 combat hours. Lacy was looking forward to completing his duty and returning home to his new bride. In January 1945 Lacy became a Flight Leader of four fighters and was promoted to first lieutenant. He volunteered for every mission in order to finish his tour of duty.
  • Heroes of the 4th FW: Lt. Ralph "Kidd" Hofer

    Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series celebrating the 75th anniversary of the 4th Fighter Wing Throughout history, for the most part, fighting wars has been the job of young men. The record of Lt. Ralph "Kidd" Hofer is the story of how one young man fought in World War II for the 4th Fighter Group. Ralph Hofer grew up in Missouri and was an outstanding athlete, being especially adept at football and boxing. In the spring of 1941 Hofer visited Canada on a lark. The Canadian immigration officer at the border sent Hofer (as he had sent scores of other Americans before him) to the Royal Canadian Air Force recruiting office. Hofer had no interest in airplanes or flying, but the enthusiasm of the other Americans there convinced him to enlist. The Canadians required Ralph Hofer to have a middle name so "Kidd" Hofer was born.