Lieutenant Colonel Horace LeRoy Borden, US Air Force (1892-1951), was a World War I Aerial Observer, WWII Training Squadron Commander, & Cold War Support Squadron Commander.
He was born April 25, 1892 in Portsmouth, attended Moses Brown School and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1914. He enlisted in the Army, and earned his commission in August, 1917. Shortly thereafter he applied for Air Service duty. He went overseas on February 27, 1918, and trained to be an aerial observer. He was assigned to the 90th Aero Squadron, performing short-range, tactical reconnaissance. He flew combat missions during the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives.
On October 29, 1918, Borden, flying as an observer/gunner, succeeded in fighting off three Fokkers, but while completing his observation mission a six-star rocket exploded in the plane, setting the canvas fuselage afire. Borden grabbed the flaming rocket and threw it over the side. He then crawled back along the fuselage and put out the fire. Borden earned a Distinguished Service Cross and a Purple Heart for his actions.
He worked as an investment banker in Springfield for many years. He was recalled to active duty early in World War 2. He served throughout the war with a Bombardier Training Group at Big Springs, TX . On April 22, 1943, Borden pinned pilot’s wings on his own son Roy, who had just graduated from flight school. The elder Borden stayed in the service after the war. He served with Army of Occupation forces in Italy and Germany. Major Borden became part of the Air Force when it was formed in 1948, and was assigned to Westover AFB near his home in Springfield. He died suddenly in 1951 of a cerebral hemorrhage.
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