Captain Forrest R. “Tex” Biard

Captain Forrest R. Biard was born December 21, 1912 to Robert Jackson “Jack” Biard and Forest Lynn Elkins Biard in Bonham, Texas. Jack was a long time employee in the flour mill business, including Burrus Mills, a familiar name in Texas, where he worked as an auditor. The family moved around with Jack’s job, including some time in Midland, Texas. They eventually settled in Dallas where Forrest was a 1930 graduate of North Dallas High School. He then secured an appointment to the United States Naval Academy where he graduated 11th in his class of 1934.

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2nd Lt. Merlin Shepherd Neff

2nd Lt. Merlin Shepherd Neff was killed on April 2, 1945 when his B-25 Mitchell bomber was brought down by anti-aircraft fire near the current town of Taichung City, Taiwan (then known as Taichu, Formosa) during an attack on Japanese railroad rolling stock. Two aircraft from the mission went town close to the same time. One crashed on land while the one piloted by 2nd Lt. Neff crashed into the water just off the coast. There were no survivors of either aircraft. They were both assigned to the 5th Air Force, V Bomber Command, 308th Bombardment Wing, 38th Bombardment Command, 822nd Bombardment Squadron, nicknamed the Black Panthers.

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Marion Stegeman Hodgson, Winning Her Wings

Marian Stegeman Hodgson was born December 16, 1921 in Athens, Georgia. She earned her degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in the spring of 1941, not quite six months prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Around that time the federal government had instituted a flight training program called the Civilian Pilot Training Program, or CPT, and during her senior year, she was selected to participate. Part of the planning was to admit one female for every ten male trainees.

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Oveta Culp Hobby

The name Oveta Culp Hobby is probably somewhat familiar to Texans, whether or not they may know who she actually was. She was born Oveta Hoover Culp on January 19, 1905 in Killeen, Bell County, Texas to Isaac William Culp (1870-1934) and the former Emma Elizabeth Hoover (1881-1959). Isaac was born in Coryell County to John Robinson Culp and the former Mary A. Dole. John Robinson Culp’s parents were Josiah C. Culp, Jr. (1819-1879) and Rachel Eaton. Less is probably known about Josiah than his son John Robinson Culp or grandson Isaac William Culp, but Josiah is believed to have come to Texas from the southeast prior to the Civil War and served for some period in the Confederate Army, possibly the entire time in the Frontier Brigade, in Texas having enlisted in Gatesville.

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