Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Winston County Native, Korean War Ace Pilot and Author, Warren Trest to Visit Winston County Library

The Winston County Library will be hosting a book signing for Warren Trest on Monday, October 28th, 2013 from 3:00pm-5:30pm. Mr. Trest is a Winston County native. He joined the Air Force and became the official Air Force Historian and has written some wonderful books, which can be found at the library. He is bringing Lt. General “Chick” Cleveland with him to the book signing – Lt. Gen. Cleveland is the subject of his newest book Once A Fighter Pilot.

ONCE A FIGHTER PILOT: The Story of Korean War Ace Lt. Gen. Charles G. “Chick” Cleveland

Noted author and historian, Warren Trest

In January of 2000, fifty-plus years after the Korean War ended, Lt. Gen. Charles G. “Chick” Cleveland received a phone call. The Secretary of the Air Force’s representative had signed the paper making him an Ace, the fortieth Fighter Jet Ace of the Korean War. The wait came because until the Soviet Union released their files on the Korean War, Lt. Gen. Cleveland’s ‘probable’ kill in 1952 could not be verified.

Cleveland had said of the 1952 incident in question: “I was close to that guy. I know he never got home. I hit him hard from close range, and he went into a vertical dive into the roll cloud of a towering thunderstorm, and MiGs just didn’t do that. I couldn’t follow him and I didn’t see him bail out, explode, or crash, which is necessary for a confirmed ‘kill,’ but I know he never got out of that thing alive.”

His friend and Double Ace, Major General Frederick C. (Boots) Blesse had called him for years, “The Ivory Ace—99 and 44/100 percent pure” after the Ivory soap ads. But when Cleveland’s fifth kill was confirmed, Blesse said it was “a wonderful finish to an outstanding career for as fine an officer as ever put on the blue uniform.”

“A total commitment to Duty, Honor and Country has marked his storied career,” noted author and former USAF senior historian, Warren A. Trest, says of Cleveland.

Lt. Gen. Cleveland first fell in love with aviation when he was just a child and saw two Martin B-10 bombers land in a field up the road from his home. He “went up to the field and climbed all over the airplanes. The pilots and crews had gone into town; nobody was there guarding the planes.” Then one Sunday morning in September, 1948, at the Cadet Chapel at West Point, he saw Fran. “My God, that’s a lovely girl,” he thought, and she became his wife, the love of his life and the woman who stood by him for over half a century. Trest continues the biography through Cleveland’s West Point days, which he says “was in every way a larger than life experience,” and his decades as an Air Force fighter pilot and commander on the frontlines of defense in the Cold War, Korea and Vietnam wars; through his continued leading role today in community and military affairs. Lt. Gen. Cleveland has definitely led a life to be admired and studied.

“And unless there is another major war, he might just be the last named Fighter Ace,” says Trest.