Vernon Gayle Alexander
Thursday 6th of October 1921 - Sunday 30th of December 2018
Dr. V. Gayle, 97, passed away Sunday, December 30th. He was predeceased by his wife of 59 years, Betsy Radford Alexander, a son Thomas Gayle Alexander and an older brother Harry S. Alexander. He was a native of Lexington, graduating from Henry Clay High School and attended the University of Kentucky making many life long friends as an SAE. He enlisted in the Air Corps on Dec 12, 1941. After passing through pilot training, being assigned as a fighter pilot instructor and finally being called to fly heavy bombers for the Mighty Eighth, he lead the 493rd Bomb Group, and the 34th Bomb Squadron on 19 missions deep into France and Germany. As lead pilot he was also assigned the mickey ship or Pathfinder flying with the first radar used in wartime. He was shot down on his 19th mission over Merseberg, Germany, captured and held in a prison camp for three months before beginning the 550 mile march in one of Germany’s coldest winters. Stalag Luft III was liberated in late April ’45 by Patton’s tank brigade. As Captain he earned the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Unit Badge, The Purple Heart, The European Service Medal, Irving Air Chute Caterpillar Club (bailing out of a burning bomber), the Prisoner of War Medal, French Knight of The Legion Of Honor and the Jubilee of Liberty Medal. Upon returning to the U.S. he attended Ohio State University graduating as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He returned to Lexington and opened Blue Cross Small Animal Hospital on South Broadway where he practiced for 25 years before retiring to manage his own farm and cattle operation. He enjoyed fishing and boating on Herrington Lake, a good fall dove hunt and traveling with his wife throughout the world finally settling in Naples, Fl. for their winter retreat. He is survived by daughter Carolyn A. Gago (Lexington), son Cyrus (Dana) R. Alexander, four grandchildren, Thomas (Diana) Oakes (Chicago), Cyrus (Ashleigh) G. Alexander (Paris, Tn.), Wesley T. Alexander, Benjamin R. M. Alexander, two great grandchildren, Parker and Henry Oakes, and two nephews, Wayne and Steve Alexander (Foley, Al). Private graveside service will be held at The Lexington Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Walnut Hill Church, 575 Walnut Hill Rd, Lexington, Ky., 40515 or the Hope Center, P.O. Box 6, Lexington, Ky., 40588.
My sincere condolences to the family. I have been writing to DR. Alexander for the past five years by and he provided me with a wealth of information about his time in the Eighth Army Air Corps. My father, S/SGT LaVerne Nimphie was the tail gunner in his crew from D-Day until November 2, 1944. I will miss communicating with him.
493rd BG Museum, Debach, Englandsays
Sincerest condolences from all of the volunteers at the 493rd BG Museum, Debach. England Gayle flew from here during WWII Rest In Peace
Randy de Marssays
Thank you to Vernon for his service to our country. My dad was also a B-17 pilot in WWII with the 96th BG, 339th BS. We have freedom because of them.
Jerry j. Millersays
May you Rest In Peace. Thank you for your service.