|Alvin Earl Crane Jr., who was shot down during Korean War while flying on a reconnaissance mission over
Korea over fifty years ago, was laid to rest on May 13 in Santa Rosa, California.
1st Lt Crane was the
pilot of a AT-6D Mosquito observation aircraft with the 6148th Tactical Air Control Squadron, 6147 Tactical
Air Control Group. On September 13, 1951, while flying an air-ground control mission, his aircraft was hit
by ground fire and crashed. He was presumed dead on January 31, 1954. First Lieutenant Crane was awarded the
Air Medal, the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National
Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Other airmen reported seeing a parachute, but the U.S. military was unable to recover his remains. In 1990,
North Korea had turned over his human remains, but it wasn’t until last year that military investigators
were able to use DNA testing to confirm that they belonged to Lt. Crane.
More than 100 friends, family,
veterans and community residents attended the graveside funeral at Santa Rosa Memorial Park under sunny
skies, including members of the VFW, American Legion, Mosquito Squadron and KWVA, plus an honor guard from
Lt. Crane was buried with full military honors, which included a rifle squad, six honor
guards, a flag-covered coffin and a bugler playing Taps.
During the service, four Air Force jets flew
overhead before the lead pulled away into a steep climb, a formal salute known as the "missing man
formation" to honor the fallen pilot. The F-16s flew over as scheduled and the T-6 group flew over in time.
Crane was born in Oklahoma on November 24, 1928, the oldest of four children, he was known as "Sonny."
During the Great Depression, the family moved to California - first to Tule Lake (Siskiyou County), then to
Woodland (Yolo County) and Santa Rosa.
After graduating from high school, he joined the Air Force and
trained at Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato. He went to Korea in May 1951, leaving behind his wife, Ruth,
and their infant son Stephen.
His mother Lois died several years ago. Crane was buried on what would have
been his mother’s 94th birthday, not far from her or his father – once again reunited!
President of The Mosquito Association, thanked the KWVA for helping to bring Alvin Crane home.