BETA

Mission of peace meant most to flying ace

Entries in his flight log book verify how well Lt. Louis Hamblin fulfilled his duties as a fighter pilot during World War II. Hand-drawn sketches of flags, airplanes and trucks indicate successful missions in his F6F Hellcat aircraft.

As further evidence of his faithful execution of duty, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross medal (with a star indicating fulfilling the requirements to earn the medal a second time), five Air Medals, a fleet citation, presidential unit citation and service ribbons with stars.But while he served his country with honor stationed on aircraft carriers in the Philippines, his service to God brought him his greatest joy, according to his son, Jack.

The veteran died Aug. 6, leaving behind a legacy that makes his 10 children and the rest of his family proud.

He is typical of thousands of faithful Church members who were valiant in the service of their country during the war while quietly exemplifying principles of peace during the rest of their lives.

In 1986, Louis and his wife, Margaret, went on a mission to the Singapore Mission. Jack Hamblin remembered his father saying, "I'm now going on a mission of mercy to the same general area where in 1944 it was a mission of destruction."

The son also remembered his father saying, "The war took from me the opportunity to serve a mission as a young man, but now I'm able to go on a mission as an older man with my partner."

Louis Hamblin was born and raised in Millburne, Wyo. He attended the University of Wyoming for a short time during World War II - beginning his pilot training there - before he and two brothers joined the service. As a member of the U.S. Navy Air Corps, he was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga in September 1944.

One of his first acts was one of love for family; he was given permission to search for his brother, Spencer, who was shot down while flying a mission over the Palau Islands east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean. Spencer was never found.

Over the next seven months, Louis flew into battle several times. He was once forced to make an emergency landing on the carrier deck after his plane was hit by enemy fire. While he was out on one mission, the Ticonderoga was heavily damaged by kamikazes, and he was forced to land on the USS Hornet.

After his tour in the Pacific, he returned to the United States and was a trainer pilot until he left the service.

Jack Hamblin said that, for whatever reason, his father didn't talk about his war service during the years following as he distinguished himself as a faithful husband, father, Latter-day Saint, teacher and coach.

A wrestler for the University of Wyoming, he started a wrestling program at Mountain View (Wyo.) High School and developed it to state-champion caliber. In 1993, the Wyoming high school coaches' association inducted him into the Wyoming Coaches Hall of Fame.

He served in many callings in the Church including high councilor, bishop and temple ordinance worker.

He realized one of his fondest goals - each of his sons served a full-time mission and all his children have been married in the temple.

Jack Hamblin said his father started telling stories about his war experience in the past few years, presumably to integrate it into a family history for the benefit of his descendants that include 43 grandchildren (one attending the U.S. Naval Academy) and eight great-grandchildren.

Although Louis Hamblin distinguished himself in war, he cherished the peace that was created by his total life's service.

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