June 2, 1922—April 10, 2018
Look to the skies between 3:00-3:30 p.m. Monday, July 2, 2018, over the Buhl West End Cemetery to observe a historic event for Southern Idaho with the United States Mt Home Air Force 366th Tactical Fighter Wing and their F-15 “Strike Eagle” “zooming into our air space to honor Lt Colonel Marlin L Arford with a “Missing Man Formation” over the gravesite, as one of the few WWII combat pilots left of what is called the “Greatest Generation.” Mountain Home Air Force Base Color Guard and bugle with Taps will also be present, retiring the American flag, which will be presented to his wife of almost 74 years, Wanda Lee Arford.
A Memorial and Celebration of Lt. Col. Marlin Arford’s life will be held at Rosenau Funeral Chapel, Twin Falls, at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, July 1, 2018.
Lt. Col. (retired) Marlin Leroy Arford, 95, of Deep Creek, West of Buhl and Filer, Idaho died on April 10, 2018. He had a very long healthy life. He didn’t smoke, he didn’t swear, and he didn’t “drink,” not even tea or coffee. Marlin was born to Lewis Ory Arford and Edith Velma Enyeart Arford in Ft Morgan, Colorado at the family home on June 2, 1922, where the family were dry-land farmers.
After WWII and spending several more years in the army Air Corps, Marlin returned with his family to Fort Collins, Colorado where he finished his college degree. In those days, not a lot of people graduated from college, but the tradition was passed on and each of his four children, also graduated from college, 3 from the University of Idaho. Marlin and Wanda later moved to Burley, Idaho where he was the President of the Overland Elementary School PTA. The family then occupied the family farm near Deep Creek, 4 miles west of Buhl, with their 4 children. They farmed and did custom farming there for several decades. Marlin loved farm life, with his horses and cows. He instilled a hard work ethic in his children, high moral values, and loved his wife’s cooking. Marlin continued his involvement with the Air Force Reserve. And retired a Lt Colonel. He climbed down from the combine or the tractor, every Monday night and traveled to Twin Falls, Idaho for training for 22 ½ more years to keep our country safe. Marlin accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, late in life and was ready to meet his maker.
Marlin and wife, Wanda, were recently honored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter for Longest Married couple in the State of Idaho, of those nominated, for 73 years of Marriage,as of Jan 10, 2017, and the declaration was placed in the Congressional Record, page H8522 of the United State Congress, House of Representatives.
Marlin loved his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The grandchildren loved spending time on the farm with him and his animals. He spent hours teaching them to ride horses, etc. They didn’t care how cold it was in the winter, and they would beg him to stay outside, long after he was ready to go in.
Marlin is pre-deceased by his parents and siblings. He is survived by his wife, of 74 years, Wanda Lee Covey Arford; daughters, Gail (Don) Loughmiller of Nampa; Joan (Tom) Parnell of Buhl; Marla (Erick) Scofield of Las Vegas; and son, Gary Arford of Mill Creek, Washington; and 9 grandchildren, Tamara (Dean) Loughmiller Thompson of Boise; Sandra (Jose) Loughmiller Urbina of Nampa; Mistilyn (Brion) Parnell Gebow of Seattle and Bend, Oregon; Robbi (April) Parnell of Morgan Hill, California; Troy (Sharon) Scofield of Moorpark, CA; Mark (Melissa) Scofield of Denver, Ca; Paul Scofield of Denver; Shilo (Brian) Arford Lockett of Bothell, WA; Morgan (Debbie) Arford of Edmonds, WA, and 17 great-grandchildren.
The Buhl West End Cemetery American flag has been lowered to half-mast in his Honor.
Dad took Pride in himself, his family, his daily walk-of-life, God, and Country. There were no food stamps or hand-outs expected in our family, even though we surely would have qualified. That would have been considered a failure.
Oh how he loved his Country and our Constitution and had a bitter disappointment of what the USA has become today. Dad worked and worked for his family, and he was always willing to give a helping hand to neighbors. Dad did not believe in his kids being idle, and if and when the farm and custom work was ever done, he would come up with something else for us to do, much to our chagrin.
Dad did not cuss and swear. I remember when I asked him once, how come? He said, that is for people who can’t think of a better way to handle their problems. He wasn’t going to be like other people. He instead would use his brain and find a solution.
Dad didn’t smoke or drink… or drink coffee or tea for that matter. (: But he loved his big, tall, cold glass of farm milk. And drank mightily from the burlap-sack-covered 1 gallon Clorox jug filled with water that was frozen daily. We wouldn’t use plastic now, but back then, it was a god-send, as everything before that was made of glass, and glass would break.
Drink coffee or tea? He didn’t have time for it, daylight was a-wasting. I can still remember him waking us up each morning with the LOUD “Up ‘n Attum”…. And that meant now!
He did love reading his Louie La’Mour Western dime novels in the wintertime, hunched over his potbelly stove in his farm shop.
He had 3 girls before brother Gary came along much later, and he always treated us with equality and respect, and taught us that we could do anything we wanted to do. When walking down a city street, he always walked on the out –side, protecting us. When we changed intersections, he would change sides to always be on the outside of the street.
Dad played the clarinet in the Ft Morgan High School Band. But in singing, he couldn’t seem to carry a tune. Oh the laughter when the family gathered for singing every year for Christ-mas and Dad always got the 12th Verse of the Twelve Days of Christmas, because it was very short. He would good-naturedly join in the laughter. Troy and Mark will still remember.
Dad was an avid horseman and he loved his horses. The boys, Uncle Wendell and Dad, had to share a horse when they would go to the country school each day. One would ride the horse, probably Beauty, while the brother would run along-side. At the end of the school day, the boys would switch positions. One would get the horse loping, and the other, grasping a piece of leather on the saddle horn, would take leaping, flying strides mid-air to keep up. That Endurance Training probably helped him whiz through the physical tests when qualifying for the military a few years later. Dad was an athlete in different sports, also. He was good at boxing, and he told the story of when he became the Sparring Partner for a famous boxer while he was in the military. He also played America’s favorite pastime, Baseball. He excelled and was the Colorado A & M College Catcher (now Colorado State University at Ft Collins, Colo.) until the War broke out. We all had our own softball mitt, mine being left-handed, which meant I put the mitt on my right hand, to throw the ball with my left. Go figure! Back then, people of all ages played with neighbors, church groups, and family gatherings.
Dad loved the competition of playing many family table games, especially Rook, Monopoly, and Chinese Marbles. And with Dad and Gary, and even Marla, it was a matter of life-or-death. The games changed, and included table games of 8, 10, 13, whatever, people around Don and Gail’s dining room table. The games changed, but the Competition didn’t.
We weren’t allowed to play with a regular face-card deck, so Rook was it. We didn’t have a TV for many years. Instead we sang around the piano and played family games. And even after we got a black ‘n white TV, we made a big bowl of popcorn every Sunday night and would watch the Ed Sullivan Show and play board games.
Dad believed in education and he did a stint as the President of the Burley, Idaho Overland Elementary School PTA. In the 1940’s not too many people went to college, and in our family that’s what we did.
What did Dad truly hate? He hated doing taxes, and he would reluctantly join me at those times in the early hours of the morning, while I practiced the piano and he was a few feet away at the desk doing taxes. The piano was the center-point of going to every room in the house, and he would goose me in the side every . . . time, without fail when he walked past, telling me to SIT UP STRAIGHT.!
Dad was an exceptional rifleman with his 20-15 vision, which he used as a Gunnery Instructor for a while after the War. Joan and Marla spent numerous times with Dad shooting the rifles as well as his M1 Military issue, at targets at the Buhl National Guard rifle range a couple of miles from our Deep Creek home, and going pheasant hunting, taking turns with the 12-gauge shotgun. Then the next day we would be driving the grain or corn truck, back to work.
Marlin was an outstanding World War II pilot and leader, and his crew and squadron did much for the war effort in the South Pacific on their Top Secret Snooper night Missions, piloting the B-24 Liberator that was the first aircraft to acquire radar. The crews of the entire operation were called the Jungle Air Force. Low altitude heavy bomber meant flying night missions at about 1,000 feet above the ground… 1,000 feet, just imagine it.
Can you imagine being on a 2-plane mission 10 miles apart, in the pitch black, night after night, not able to have contact with anyone else and not seeing the face of the enemy, or the ground, or the water below you. Sounds beyond scary. You had to have nerves of steel.
The Allies were rapidly re-taking many islands, including McArthur’s troops re-taking the Philippines in Oct. 1944. 2nd Lt Arford and crew arrived 3 months later in the Pacific on Dec 7, 1944, exactly 3 years to the day of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Many successful missions, nightly bombing the Japanese Naval Fleet supply Route were completed in the pit-black, only guided by their newly-acquired new crewman, the Radar operator. When the Japanese ceased the convoys because of U.S. damage, nightly land targets intent was to keep the Japanese from sleeping. Three historic Missions finished the 868th Tour of Duty.
The first time ever by Allied Forces, the 2 metropolitan cities of Java were the target, because of the big bastion Japanese stronghold.
On May 7, 1945, on a Mission to So-er-a-baga, Java, . .(Soerabaja) of the Netherlands East Indies, the 868th, 10 B-24s, flying in combat formation, pelted the naval and commercial harbor bases, resulting in the damaging of five 200 to 300 foot unidentified enemy vessels and starting five large and three small fires.
The Lady Luck II crew also flew “radar-counter measures” on this Strike, and as one of the aircraft to drop the first bombs, remained over the target, throwing out tinsel radar-deflecting material until all aircraft had dropped their bombs and cleared the area.
Seven of the 10 Snoopers – the 868th Squadron H, including the Lady Luck II crew, set the 868th record … and the Jungle Air Force record, for the longest flight ever made in Combat by B-24 aircraft over water without fighter-cover, without re-fueling at 17 hrs 40 min, so overweight with bombs and cans of gasoline, that the crew had to sit in the tail to keep the front of the Liberator from nosing over on the risky take-off.
A huge historic operation transpired on May 28, 29, and 30, 1945 at oil-rich Borneo, its northeastern island of Tarakan, with 3 full days of 100 bombers and fighters daily aerially-pounding ships, shipyards, and water fronts. Flights were just under 19 hrs.
On June 3rd, 1945, with barely taking a break to rest, the Snoopers, including the Lady Luck II, and now 1st Lt. Arford, shattered their own So-er-a-baga May 7 record, by flying a Strike against Batavia, Java, an enemy-held bastion of 500,000 population, where 7 crews broke their own record in longest flight without fighter-cover, without re-fueling, an 18 hr and 40 min flight with a distance of over 3,000 miles non-stop flying.
And His squadron lead all units in the Jungle Air Force in numbers of enemy vessels destroyed.
Flying without fighter cover are the stuff movies are made of. To this day, much of the top-secret information has never been brought to light.
LT Col was an exceptional rifleman with his 20-15 vision, which he used as a Gunnery Instructor in the military for a while after the War at Kearn, Utah, before being transferred as a Pilot Instructor to McChord Airbase at Ft Lewis, near Tacoma, WA, where Joan and Marla were born.
USAF Lt Colonel Marlin L Arford loved our Country and valued Freedom and the necessity to fight to protect our Freedom and Liberties, for the greatest country in the world. He deserves to have this American flag draped over his coffin, a one in a million member of the Greatest Generation on earth.