|Lt. Everett Fager flew the A-36th Apache in Italy.|
Everett E. Fager never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on July 26, 1917 in Kansas. His parents were also both born in Kansas. All of his grandparents were from Sweden. His father worked as a farmer. Everett was an only child. His mother died in 1920 and his father never remarried. By 1940 Everett had completed high school and moved off the farm. He was a college student in Manhattan, Kansas, probably at Kansas State University.
After two years of college Everett enlisted in the US Army Air Corp. He was an aviation cadet and learned to fly fighter planes - possibly P-40s and certainly A-36 Apaches.
He became a first lieutenant in the 526th Fighter Squadron, 86th Fighter Group, 12th Air Force. The 86th Fighter Group first engaged the enemy in supporting the invasion of Sicily in July 1943. It went on to cover the landing at Salerno in September. The A-36 Apache was a version of the more common P-51. It was modified to specialize as a dive bomber to support ground operations. Lt. Fager was credited with one kill during his brief service.
According to one source while on a trip in a command car to Cacerta, Italy on October 23 (perhaps to liaison with units his squadron was supporting) Lt. Fager was strafed by British Spitfires flown by Germans. It is also possible that it was a tragic case of friendly fire. Fager was wounded in the face, side and leg. These wounds resulted in complications that caused a blood clot that led to his death on October 30, 1943.
His grave is at Rapp Cemetery in Osage County, Kansas.
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