W6EZV - October 1, 1990 |
Curtis E. LeMay |
Curtis Emerson LeMay died October 1, 1990. He was a General in the United States Air Force and the vice presidential running mate of American Independent Party candidate George Wallace in 1968.
LeMay was an active amateur radio operator and held a succession of call signs; KØGRL, K4FRA, and W6EZV. He held these calls respectively while stationed at Offutt AFB, Washington, D.C. and when he retired in California. KØGRL is still the call sign of the Strategic Air Command Memorial Amateur Radio Club. He was famous for being on the air on amateur bands while flying on board SAC bombers. LeMay became aware that the new single sideband (SSB) technology offered a big advantage over Amplitude Modulation (AM) for SAC aircraft operating long distances from their bases. In conjunction with Art Collins, WØCXX, of Collins Radio, he established SSB as the radio standard for SAC bombers in 1957.
He was honored by several countries, receiving the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the French Legion of Honor and the Silver Star. On 7 December 1964, the Japanese government in an ironic gesture conferred on him the First Order of Merit with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun. He was elected to the Alfalfa Club in 1957 and served as a general officer for twenty-one years.
General Le May is buried in the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery at Colorado Springs, Colorado.