Decatur residents, led by long-time resident Chris Billingsley, placed flowers on the Decatur cemetery graves of those lost in military service over the weekend.
Above, CSD student Ford Parler places a flower on the grave of Lt. Robert Springfield, who’s story of service only recently resurfaced thanks in part to the marvels of 21st century technology. Chris explained in a comment last week…
Last year, I mentioned in a post that the grave of Robert Springfield, a pilot who was killed on a training flight in New Mexico and later buried in the City of Decatur cemetery, could not be found. Six months ago, I heard from Springfield’s great nephew who read my post on Decatur Metro and described where Springfield was buried. He sent me pictures of Springfield and other crew members including this account from Bobby Lee Silliman who edits the Carlsbad Airfield Facebook page, “I know a lady in her nineties who served at C.A.A.F as a WAC during WW2 ( she lives in Youngstown Ohio ), and she tells me that she recalls that horrible accident and how a hush fell over the air base out of respect for all who perished in it”. Springfield’s gravesite is located near many of his DHS classmates who were killed while serving during World War II.
Springfield’s great nephew Jones Fowler followed up with a note to us and sent a report of Springfield’s service in he had pieced together over the last year. He writes…
Thank you very much for remembering my relative on this Memorial Day. Robert Springfield was my father’s aunt’s first husband. Early on in World World II he joined the Army Air Corps and was sent to Carlsbad, New Mexico for training to become an aircrew member on a B-24 Bomber. Unfortunately on a stormy night he and his training crew of 4 others were killed in a plane crash. Dad’s aunt Dot got remarried and never spoke a word about him ever again. Honestly I think his memory would have been lost forever had I not found a medal that was inconsistent with my grandfather’s service as a pilot. Given that medal, largely with the help of Chris last year I was able to dig up and string together the report attached. I am very happy that we have found out his story and amazed at the honor you all have shown him. I will certainly visit the grave the next time I’m in Atlanta.
Thank you to Lt. Springfield and all those lost in service to our country.
Cemetery photo courtesy of Chris – used with Parler’s father’s permission.
Photo of Lt. Springfield courtesy of Jones Fowler