Dutch Fields of Honor Foundation Honors Central Graduate and WWII Hero James Crockett


donated to the Digest

DUTCH FIELDS OF HONOR FOUNDATION HONORS CENTRAL GRADUATE AND WWII VETERAN — Portraits and newspaper clippings of Lieutenant Crockett include his senior pictures and military portrait.

Sarah Katheron Latham, Copy Editor

A Central High School alum who graduated in 1941 and volunteered to fight in World War II has been honored by a Dutch non-profit organization. With help from Buffy Hoge, president of the Central High Alumni Association, James R. Crockett was recognized in a database.

on May 24, Arie-Jan van Hees contacted the Alumni Association inquiring about a Central graduate, James R. Crockett.  Van Hees is a volunteer with the Dutch Fields of Honor Foundation that seeks to honor soldiers who served in World War II.

“It is the foundation’s mission to give a face to the names of the U.S. WWII soldiers buried in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands,” stated the fields of honor database website.

Before contacting the Alumni Association, the foundation discovered much about Lieutenant Crockett, including that he was born in Montgomery, Ala., before moving to Chattanooga with his parents.  He volunteered for pilot training in 1942.  After training, he joined the 339th fighter group of the United States of America Air Force.  Two years later, on May, 19, 1944,  Lieutenant Crockett was killed in action, and he was buried in Loraine cemetery in France.

“My uncle Jimmy died while bombing a German ammunition train outside Berlin.  The same day, he shot down two more German planes to gain his Ace status. He was buried in France with Honors,” explained the Lieutenant’s nephew, Mike Crockett.

After explaining this information, Van Hees asked if Hoge and the alumni association might be able to find any more information or photographs that include Lt. Crockett.  The Fields of Honor Foundation seeks to fill their database with accurate information about those whom they honor.   In response,  Buffy Hoge, president of the Alumni Association, sent an explanation of the activities of the Central High School Alumni and Supporters Association and the seven attachments included in her email: two excerpts from the 1941 Champion with his Senior photos and high school accomplishments, the other newspaper clippings and pictures being from Mike Crockett, Lt. Crockett’s nephew who still lives in the Chattanooga area.

“First Lt. James R. Crockett has been posthumously awarded two oak leaf clusters which indicate two additional awards of the Air Medal,”  the newspaper article entitled “Crockett Wins Two Clusters” stated.

The Lieutenant was active and involved at Central during his high school career.  After attending Brainerd Junior High, he was involved in band, Bachelor’s Club, Sergeant’s Club, JROTC (sergeant), and The Central Digest (reporter, sports editor, associate editor).  After graduating and before joining the  Air Force, he was employed at the Western Electric Company.

This information that was sent to the Dutch Field of Honor Foundation allowed the non-profit to recognize all men of Lt. Crockett’s unit, the 339th fighter group.

“From the Netherlands we thank you once again for everyone’s efforts.  You enable us to put a name to a face of a man who gave his life for our freedom.” Van Hees concluded, “‘We will remember them!'”