LT Col. Edward “Ed” Hodges, USAF

LT Col. Edward (‘Ed’) Forbes Hodges, USAF, Retired, 89, died May 31, 2013 at home in Greenville, SC.

Following graduation from The Crossnore School, Ed joined the US Army at age 17 and was offered the opportunity to join the Army Air Corps officer’s Pilot training program. At age 19 he was designated a B-17 pilot, assigned an eight man crew and shipped out to the RAF Air Base at Eye near Norwich, UK on the Cunard Line RMS Aquitania along with 21,000 other war-bound soldiers.

During 1944 and 1945, Ed distinguished himself and his Crew with coolness, skill and enterprise by flying 35 B-17 bombing raids over Germany and 20 Mosquito reconnaissance missions. He was shot down four times, three times managing to guide his damaged plane back across the English Channel to a UK Air Base. The fourth downing required a forced landing behind enemy lines at which point he and his men were listed as Missing in Action for more than two weeks. Splitting up to avoid detection, Ed and his men were aided by the French and Belgian resistance fighters, and each eventually made it safely back across lines to rejoin the war effort. Ed was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, which he received from Brig Gen Elliott Roosevelt the son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Following the War, Ed returned to the US and to resume his career as a US Air Force pilot, serving 26 years with distinction in the US, Europe and the Middle East earning two Air Medals and three Air Force Commendation medals.

Upon his retirement from the Air Force, Ed returned to the mountains of North Carolina where he started Boondocks Manufacturing, an early builder of aluminum sheathed pick-up truck caps. Ed’s products were coveted by contractors due to an innovative internal structure of welded framed steel which enabled top loading of heavy items, such as ladders and lumber.

Throughout his life, Ed enjoyed travel, dancing and music. As a self taught guitar and harmonica player he brought many hours of joy to his family with his musical talents.

Ed Hodges was born February 13, 1924 in Freemont, Virginia the son of the late Argie Hodges and Lilli White Hodges. He was predeceased by his brother, Frank Hodges and his first wife of 48 years, Osaleen Hughes. He is survived by two children, his son Mike Hodges of Hendersonville, NC and daughter, Lisa Corn of Green River, NC, four grandchildren Ryan Hodges, Greg Hodges, Jessica Brown and Adam Corn, and four great-grandchildren. Ed is also survived by his second wife of 18 years, Marie C Hodges, her four children, Daniel Christie, David Christie, Peter Christie and Amy Christie and her 12 great grandchildren.

A Memorial Service for Ed will be held at Unity Church on Old Fanning Bridge Road, Hendersonville, NC, on Saturday June 8, 2013 at 11:00 AM.

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