|Mahlon A. Hillebrand, Maj., USAF, Ret.|
Mah Ion earned his wings in 1942. As a Lt. , Mah Ion received the
Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest honor. He was
decorated by Gen. Carl A. Spaatz for heroism July 1944. He had brought
to England the B-17 he was flying on a mission over Germany. Both left
engines were shot out. Leading his formation into combat, the aircraft was
blasted at 2,500 feet and was so badly damaged he could not fly it above
200 feet. The nose of the plane was shot away; the bomb bay opened as
he felt his way over the treetops and covered 500 miles of Germany’s most
heavily d~fended land. Mahlon successfully landed the aircraft in England
after a trip that lasted nearly 5 hours.
Other decorations he received were the Distinguished Flying Cross and the
Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters.
Mahlon was also a veteran of the Korean War, flying missions over Korea.
In 1956, Mahlon was one of two Air Force representatives chosen to attend
the ceremonies dedicating cemeteries of US Servicemen all over Europe.
In 1958, he was associated with the Narrow Gauge Project, a lighting
system designed for safe landings under very low instrument conditions.
In May of 1959, he hosted the USAF “Thunderbirds” performance team
when they were performing at Dow Air Force Base.
Mahlon was married to Betsy (Kelwick) and had two sons, Mahlon 11 and
Christian, and a daughter, Donna. He retired in 1963 after 22 years in the
Mahlon died April, 1987.
Written by Betsy (Kelwick) Hillebrand Hachfeld