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Tigers: Tracking a Legend
Howard R. Ebersole
Lt. Col. Howard R. Ebersole, USAF-Ret., was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1922. After high school graduation in 1938, he served two years as a radio operator on Ford Motor Co.'s ships before enlisting in the Army Signal Corp.
In 1942, Ebersole was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and attended flight training. He became a qualified B-24 pilot in 1944. He was then assigned to the 392nd Bomb Group, 8th AF, and flew 16 combat missions over Europe.
In December 1945, Ebersole transferred to the Reserve Forces and enrolled in the University of Michigan's College of Engineering. He received a BSEE in January, 1951 and was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. He was assigned to Luke AFB in Arizona as a captain and commanded the F-51, F-80 and F-84 academic training section. Ebersole was sent to Korea in 1952, and flew 100 combat missions (30 in the F-51 and 70 in the F-80), during one of which he shot down a MiG-15.
At Selfridge AFB in Michigan between 1956 and 1957 he earned an MSEE degree from the University of Michigan in addition to his pilot and instructor pilot duties. At Holloman AFB in New Mexico, he was a test pilot and project officer for the F-101B operational qualification. In addition, he was the F-102/GAR-11 (first nuclear warhead air-to-air missile) Category II test director. In 1966, he directed the Missiles and Munitions Branch, HQ, Tactical Air Command in developing the operational and technical specifications for today's "smart bombs" and improved air-to-air missiles.
Ebersole retired from active duty in 1969 and became an associate professor in the Aerospace and Engineering Department at Mississippi State University and deputy director/test pilot in the Raspert Flight Research Laboratory. In 1976-1977, Ebersole joined the Rockwell International as senior project engineer for the B-1 crew escape systems tests at El Segundo, California and Holloman AFB high-speed track.
Ebersole had more than 11,500 flying hours and 2,760 glider flights. His military decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, five Air Medals and Korean Chungmoo with a Gold Star.
Ebersole was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on October 18, 1997 for his long and illustrious aviation career in military and civil endeavors.