A Salute To Our Service, Fire & Police Personnel - July 2018
LUTHER REID HAWKINS, Jr.
Captain - U.S. Air Force - Korea
Luther Reid Hawkins Jr. was born in Charlotte County, Virginia on 29 October, 1923, the son of Luther Reid and Marion Passmore Hawkins. He was raised and educated in the school system of the county.
Six months after the U.S. entered World War II, Luther Jr. entered into the service of his country on 11 May, 1942. Interestingly enough his father enlisted in the military on 11 December, 1942. It is not known whether he remained in service after the war or whether he re-enlisted, but we next find him as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force in the Korean War. He was a member of the 13th Bomber Squadron, 3rd Bomber Group operating out of Japan.
Early in the conflict the B26B's carried out daytime missions, but on 25 June, 1951 the squadron was re-designated as a "Light-Night Intruder" squadron. As the pilot of one of these B26B's, Captain Hawkins was dispatched on a mission at "Purple Four" on 24 May 1952. During this mission there was an explosion of unknown origin aboard the aircraft and a subsequent aircraft loss (not at sea). From this date Captain Hawkins was listed as Missing in Action and presumed dead on 28 February, 1954. His remains have thus far not been recovered.
Captain Hawkins was awarded the following: the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the National Defense Service Medal and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
In October of 2016, the President signed into law legislation authorizing the establishment of a "Wall of Remembrance" to be incorporated into the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. , which commemorates the sacrifice of the 5.8 million Americans who served in the armed forces during the three-year period of the Korean War.
Onto a wall of laminated glass will be etched the names of 36, 574 Americans who were killed during this conflict.
A bronze memorial plaque honoring Luther was placed near his parents in the Ash Camp Memorial Cemetery in Keysville, Virginia. With the renewed diplomacy with North Korea it is hoped that Luther's remains will be located and returned for proper interment in his hometown of Keysville.