CENTENNIAL, Colo. (4/19/10)
– The Colorado Air National Guard bid farewell to a legacy during a memorial event at the Colorado National Guard headquarters.
Retired Tech. Sgt. Harry S. Emily Sr., 93, was the oldest, and possibly the last, charter member of the Colorado Air National Guard.
He passed away April 12 with his wife Frances, and their children Dennis, Stanley and Karen by his bedside, said Chief Master Sgt. Golden Sherman, the family’s liaison officer.
After graduating from high school, he moved from Laird, Colo., to Denver, said his son, Stanley.
According to his official military records, he joined the Colorado National Guard on Dec. 29, 1940. He served for a total of eight days, when, on Jan. 5, 1941, he was federalized for service in the Army of the United States.
What was supposed to be only a year turned into nearly five, said Stanley. Emily served a total of four years, 10 months and 25 days.
Emily was sent to Biggs Field in El Paso, Texas, for two-and-a-half years. Following that, he spent another two-and-a-half years at Will Rogers Field in Oklahoma City, where, as an aerial engineer, he trained combat crews on B-25 Mitchell bombers, Stanley said.
He was discharged Nov. 17, 1945, following World War II. On June 28, 1946, he re-joined the Colorado National Guard. He was sent to school to serve in a P-38 Lightning fighter squadron, said Stanley.
Emily was one of fewer than 20 members who helped reorganize the 120th Aero Observation Squadron into the 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which flew P-51 Mustangs. In 1946, the Airmen of the 120th TFS were the first Air National Guard members in the nation to be federally recognized
Congress established the Air National Guard on Sept. 18, 1947.
Emily left the COANG in March 1951.
Many of Emily’s photos and artifacts are on display in the COANG’s Air Heritage Room at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver, said Stanley.
Emily’s oral history is also archived on video in the COANG Public Affairs office.
In addition to being an Airman and a family man, he was also a newspaper man. He worked for the former Rocky Mountain News for 30 years. He also loved fishing, camping and gardening, his children and grandchildren said.
His memorial service was presided over by COANG Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Ronald Prosise. The Mile High Honor Guard, made up in part by COANG members, performed a flag folding ceremony and Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, The Adjutant General of Colorado, presented the flag to his widow. Edwards also presented a Colorado flag to each of Emily’s three children. Other military honors were rendered by members of the COANG’s 140th Security Forces Squadron and the Mile High Honor Guard.
In addition to his wife and children, Emily is survived by five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
His cremated remains will be interred at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, http://www.wingsmuseum.org. (303) 360-5360.
For more information about Emily, please read “Echoes in flight: Charter members reflect on Air Guard's first 60 years” at http://www.ng.mil/news/archives/2007/04/040907-Echos_in_Flight.aspx. For living history of the Colorado National Guard, visit the COANG’s Air Heritage Room at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.