Proclamation in Honor of 1st Lt. Eugene P. Ford
In Honor Of
1st Lt. Eugene P. Ford
Derry Township Airman 1st Lt. Eugene P. Ford is finally coming home – 74 years after piloting his 44th combat mission in a World War II B-24 Liberator known as the Tulsamerican – the second day of the Battle of the Bulge. The aircraft fell from the sky while returning from a mission over Europe and disappeared into the Adriatic Sea. Seven crew members were rescued. Three were never found and thought to be lost forever – including 1st Lt. Ford.
PBS program NOVA joined the U.S. Department of Defense, the Croatian Navy and an elite team of underwater archaeologists and technical divers to excavate the wreckage of the iconic B-24. Seven decades later, the Tulsamerican was discovered by amateur divers, nearly 135 feet beneath the surface. Serial numbers revealed the plane’s identity and a DNA match identified the remains of 1st Lt. Eugene P. Ford.
1st Lt. Ford’s remains will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery on December 4 with the ashes of Vietnam veteran Richard Stanton Ford, a young son the late 1st Lt. Eugene P. Ford never met. Marian McMillen Ford was widowed at 21 with two children, Norma Ford Beard of the Indianapolis area and the late Richard Stanton Ford, who died 10 years ago. Beard knew her parents had lived in Derry Township. The only time Beard saw her father was when he was on leave. She was 3 months old. Beard plans to attend the interment in Arlington, along with her late brother’s two sons and relatives from the Derry, Blairsville and Pittsburgh area.
The commissioners of Westmoreland County Gina Cerilli, Ted Kopas and Charles W. Anderson, hereby remember decorated pilot 1st Lt. Eugene P. Ford for proudly serving his country.
Photo: Director of Veterans Affairs Matt Zamosky, USAF (Ret), accepts the proclamation from the Commissioners on behalf of the Ford family.