Laverle Westerman

Laverle Westerman (SSgt. USAF Ret.): Member of the 4th Emergency Rescue Squadron

Mini Biography

Laverle was born on a farm near Pittsburgh, PA and attended a one-room school for four years and spent another four years in a two-room school. After high-school graduation and during a summer break from State Normal School, Laverle secured work as a crane operator at a local steel mill.

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war, Laverle received three draft deferments. When the fourth deferment came, he declined it and enlisted in the Army Air Force. (Of particular note, while training in Santa Ana, CA, Joe DiMaggio was the physical training instructor.) Laverle went to radio school in Sioux Falls, ND, where he was taught Morse code and radio maintenance and repair. Following six months of schooling, Laverle was moved to Yuma, Arizona for aerial gunnery training. At graduation, volunteers were sought for an Army Air Force Rescue Unit for which he volunteered and was sent to Keesler Field, Mississippi, where he would join the 4th Emergency Rescue Squadron.

Upon completion of training at Keesler Field, the squadron was sent to Saipan and Laverle’s “flight” continued on to Iwo Jima where he was stationed from May 1st to August 27th, 1945. After the surrender of Japan, Laverle lived out the remainder of his service on Saipan until his discharge on November 25, 1945.

Happy to return home to Pennsylvania and resume work as a crane operator, Laverle remained employed with the mill until his retirement thirty-seven years later. In the years since, Mr. and Mrs. Westerman have enjoyed traveling and going to the 4th Emergency Rescue Squadron Reunions.


Last Updated (Thursday, 11 September 2014 08:11)