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Staff Sergeant David J. Lemal is a war hero. Serving as a tail-gunner in a B-29 during World War II, he fought for his country in the skies of Japan. Every mission was a battle for survival. Those battles remained private memories, until he shared them with his daughter, nearly seventy years after they were fought. In his stories are echoes of footsteps of those who put a cause, country and principle above their own lives.

David came home from the war with decorations for his brave service and returned to his job at Standard Press Steel as a tool and die maker and plant layout engineer, where he worked until he retired.

David’s avocations have included skiing, gardening, fishing, hunting, boating, woodworking, photography, motorcycles, gun-smithing, train-crafting and building/flying model airplanes. Skiing ranked first and David skied until he was eighty-one.

With his camera he photographed flowers and studied plant anatomy. With his microscope he studied microbes in local creeks and he has a vast knowledge of local flora and fauna. David reads constantly and there are few subjects in which he is not conversant.

David met Eileen Fornwalt in 1946 and sold his beloved Indian motorcycle to buy her engagement ring. She has been his beloved wife since June 19, 1948.

David and Eileen’s daughter, Charlene, authored this war journey to honor her father. He taught her to listen to the wind, to develop relationship with the plants, to ski on the wild side, to care for the planet and love something more than oneself. He taught her the meaning of service by living it. David’s lessons were learned from his mother Lida.

Staff Sergeant David J. Lemal represents a generation of impenetrable resilience and fortitude. He is one of a golden era of principles and hope that defines adversity as the opportunity to seek and find the brightest star in the sky.

 

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