Today is Memorial Day. For 152 years, America has set aside a day to pay tribute to our Patriots who gave their last full measure of devotion for this country. This Memorial Day, we remember three Memphis District employees who were among the 405,399 who made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting in World War II.
1st Lt. Reeves S. Carper, 2nd Lt. John F. McIntyre, and 1st Lt. Arch R. Ponder left their jobs, co-workers, families, and friends here in Memphis to train and travel overseas to join the fight.
1ST LT. REEVES S. CARPER
1st Lt. Carper was born in 1918 in Wyoming. He was a draftsman with the Memphis District when he entered the U.S. Army Air Forces in December 1941. He served as a bombardier in the 91st Bomber Group (Heavy), 401st Bomber Squadron.
1st Lt. Carper was a crew member of B-17F, No. 41-24432. On Dec. 20, 1942, he and his crew were on a mission with 79 other B-17s to bomb the German Air Depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France.
While on that mission, his B-17 was hit by anti-aircraft rounds, attacked by enemy aircraft and crashed near Romilly-sur-Seine, France. He was declared “Missing in Action.”
For his service, he was awarded the Air Medal, Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
1st Lt. Carper is memorialized in the Tablets of the Missing at the Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville, France. His profile is included in the American Air Museum in Britain. His name is also inscribed on the Colorado Freedom Memorial in Aurora, Colo.
The American Battle Monuments Commission wrote to the Memphis District about 1st Lt. Carper’s sacrifice, “1ST LT. REEVES S. CARPER will be forever honored on our Walls of the Missing at Normandy American Cemetery.”
2ND LT. JOHN F. MCINTYRE
2nd Lt. McIntyre was born Jul. 29, 1918, in Pine Bluff, Ark. He was a draftsman with the Memphis District when he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces in November 1941. Based on information provided by his nephew, Stephen E. McIntyre, 2nd Lt. McIntyre was commissioned on July 4, 1942.
2nd Lt. McIntyre piloted a P-38 fighter. He served in Australia, New Guinea, and other South Pacific locations. He had been in the South Pacific for nine months when his P-38 crashed and he died on Apr. 29, 1943.
In a letter to his parents, which arrived on the date of his death, 2nd Lt. McIntyre said he was to be promoted to 1st Lt. in June 1943. In that same letter, he told his parents he had been awarded the Air Medal.
2nd Lt. McIntyre is buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tenn.
1ST LT. ARCH R. PONDER, JR.
1st Lt. Ponder was born Mar. 9, 1913, in Doniphan, Mo. He was a clerk with the Memphis District when he joined the U.S. Army in October 1942 as an infantry officer.
Anthony Pausant who lives in Mortain, Normandy, France and researches the history of the Battle of Mortain wrote to the Memphis District about Ponder’s service, “1st LT Ponder was part of the 30th Infantry Division, 120th Inf. Reg., G Company. He was part of the famous ‘Lost Battalion’ which was completely surrounded on the top of the Hill 314 at Mortain by 4 SS Panzer Divisions for 6 days (from Aug 6th to Aug 12th 1944). Their mission was to hold the hill at all cost and fight against one of the most massive enemy counterattacks in France named ‘Operation Lüttich’ that Hitler had personally planned in order to split the Allies forces from Mortain to Avranches.”
In his email message, Pausant provided a valuable update on the location 1st Lt. Ponder was killed, “…it appears that there is a mistake concerning the death location of 1st LT Arch R. Ponder. According to historical records, he did not die at St Lo as the battle of St Lo was finished on July 18th, 1944.”
1st Lt. Ponder was killed in action on Aug. 7, 1944, where Pausant lives in Mortain, France. 1st Lt. Ponder is buried in his hometown, Doniphan, Mo.
In remembering the sacrifice of our Memphis District employees, we also honor all who died in all our nation's wars.