Major Jess Edward Montgomery

From:  Sue Cook <>
To:  "'319th webmaster'"
Subject:  Jess Edward Montgomery
Date:  Wed, 21 Mar 2001 11:27:58 -0500
I've written to you before, but have a new story to tell you about my brother, Major Jess Edward Montgomery who was an officer 
of the 438th and is on your site in a picture of the officers together with Deke Slayton on Okinawa.

I'm attaching a photo of Ed (many knew him as Jess or Monty, too) which you might want to put on your Taps page or wherever you think it is

Here's the new story about Ed by his baby sister.  (Only sister!  21 years apart in age.)

I am the youngest of eight children and the only girl. We were spread out over 21 years and my oldest brother, Jess Edward MONTGOMERY, was already in the Air Force training for World War II when I was born. He went on to become a highly decorated pilot in both World War II and Korea and later was a member of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). As you might guess, he was a hero to his little sister -- always flying in to see us in a shiny jet plane wearing his handsome uniform. But more than that, he was a loving and warm big brother to me and I adored him. During his last tour in Italy in March of 1960, Ed was killed in a peace-time plane crash at age 38. I had just turned 18 and was just about to graduate from high school.

All of my brothers and I attended the same high school, Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Tech was originally built as a Civil War arsenal and has a beautiful campus of 76 acres with many of the original 1860s buildings still in use today. The enrollment is huge and was even larger back in the 1930s and 1940s with 5,000-6,000 students attending at the same time. My brother Ed graduated from Tech in the class of 1939 and I came along in the class of 1960.

Last summer I created an alumni Web site for the school and it is becoming very popular. A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a man who graduated in the class of 1939. I asked if he might possibly remember my brother, but with such a huge enrollment back then, he did not. However, he did have an old friend who had also gone to Tech and went on to become a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force, BG Clyde "Mac" McClain. My new friend wrote to his old friend and mentioned my brother Ed Montgomery.

A few days later I received a long message from BG McClain, who is now 80 years old. He told me the story of being stationed with the USAF in Italy in March of 1960 and getting a call that an old classmate of his had just landed on base and would like to see him. The old classmate was my brother Ed and the two friends spent the afternoon touring the base and reminiscing. Ed was invited to stay with his friend and his family for the next two days and they had a wonderful time -- touring a little in the nearby small Italian towns, playing bridge, dining in the Officers' Club and just relaxing. Then they went to see Ed off as he left to return to his base in southern Italy. The next thing they heard was that Ed's plane was missing and then shortly afterward that, yes, all on board were killed instantly when the plane rammed a mountain top in a blinding snowstorm.

How absolutely incredible it is to me that with all the millions of people on Earth today, and after more than 40 years, I would finally hear such a detailed and loving personal story of the last two days of my brother's life being spent with old friends. It gives me and my surviving family a wonderful feeling of peace and thanksgiving to know after all these years that Ed's final few days were lived in such a happy way.

I've created a webpage about BG McClain on the Tech Alumni site. (url is below).  Quite a man and I'm blessed to know him.
Sue Montgomery-Cook or
Denton Genealogy:
Arsenal Technical High School Alumni: