Kosciusko County Commissioners Honor Locke

Don Locke, a 95-year-old military veteran who flew missions out of Iwo Jima, was honored by Kosciusko County Commissioners Tuesday.

Locke was born in a house at 729 N. Lake St., Warsaw, in 1921 and graduated from North Webster High School.

He was drafted into military service at 22 and assigned to the Army Air Corps.

He was first trained on the old PT-19, which included an open air cockpit.

He was soon commissioned as a second lieutenant and became a flight trainer in Texas.

Soon, he was shipped off to Pearl Harbor where he was assigned to Squadron 47 and was flying P-47s in 1944.

In January 1945, he was sent to Iwo Jima after being quickly trained to fly P-51 Mustangs.

He arrived in Iwo Jima on his 24th birthday and is credited with flying 22 missions in which pilots were instructed to “shoot up everything on the ground as well as the air,” Locke said.

Locke was discharged in September 1945 as a first lieutenant and was awarded the distinguished Flying Cross.

Locke was presented with a plaque on Tuesday and was thanked for his service by commissioners Bob Conley, Ron Truex and Brad Jackson as well as Richard Maron, the county veterans affairs