Though my family has a long history of serving in the armed forces–ranging from the War of 1812, to the Civil War to the Spanish-American War, to both World Wars–we have been fortunate that only two have died in uniform. My great-great-great uncle, a German immigrant named Hood, was killed in the Civil War, but his full identity has been lost to time.
The other was my mom’s cousin, Terrill Bilyeu. Here he is, taken about 1955 during a visit to my grandparents Kansas farmhouse:
On October 24, 1960, Terrill was flying a T-28 Trojan Navy training airplane about a mile from Pensacola Naval Air Station when he collided with Kenneth Shelley, Jr’s T-28 upon final approach. One of the planes crashed into a field and burst into flames. The other crashed, but did not burn. Both pilots were 21. Terrill had been in the Navy just 11 months.
Who do you remember today?