Branch: U. S. Army

   Rank:  2nd Lieutenant 

   Status: Finding of death

   Date of Service: WWII

   Home Town: Leonard

1. 2nd Lt. Edward Isackson 2. Judith and John Isackson

Edward Johannis Isackson was born October 21, 1920 in Clearwater County, Minnesota to John Frithiof and Judith Augusta Lundmark Isackson of Leonard. John and Judith were Swedish immigrants who came over in 1905 and 1908 respectively and married in 1912. John had served in the Swedish army and worked in the Kiruma iron mines before he came to America. After his arrival and before his marriage he worked in the timber industry in various places, and after his marriage he returned to work in Oregon for many months each year while his family resided in Leonard. John and Judith had six children: Edla, Esther, Roy and Lester (twins), Edward and Gustaf. Judith died about six months after the birth of their son Gustaf. In order for John to remain working, the children had to be distributed between various relatives.

Edward was four years old at the time of his mother’s death and he and his sister Esther were sent to live with his grandparents Gustaf and Maria Lundmark on their dairy farm near Leonard. He attended elementary school in the town of Leonard and then went to high school in the neighboring town of Clearbrook, where he graduated in 1938. Following high school he worked as a buttermaker’s helper in the Leonard Cooperative Creamery. He was well-liked and Edward’s Uncle Ferdinand always said Edward was a remarkable marksman.

Edward enlisted in the Army Air Force at Fort Snelling, Minnesota on February 4, 1943.  He received an officer commission in the Air Corps and got his 2nd Lieutenant stripes at Fort Worth, Texas. He trained to become a P-51 fighter pilot. The P-51 Mustang was a long-range, single-seater fighter plane armed with six .50 caliber machine guns. The P-51’s long range enabled it to escort bombers over Germany.

In December of 1943 Edward was able to spend a leave at home in Leonard visiting his father and brothers. Edward’s brother Lester was serving as a combat infantryman and spent 10 months in the Rhineland. He received the Purple Heart for injuries suffered during the takeover of the Remagen Bridge in the Battle of the Bulge. Later, Edward’s brother Gustaf joined the Navy during the Korean War. He was swimming off the coast of Guam when the tide pulled him out to sea. His body was never recovered.

Following leave Edward received further training in Tallahassee, Florida and was then sent overseas in July of 1944.  Edward was assigned to the 317th Fighter Squadron, part of the 325th Fighter Group known as the “Checkertail Clan.” During WWII the 325th flew over 550 missions, achieved over 500 aerial victories and received Distinguished Unit Citations for two of them.

On August 11, Edward was piloting a flight on an escort mission over Yugoslavia. His plane developed engine trouble and plummeted to earth. When Edward failed to return he was declared presumed dead.

His grieving family held a memorial service with military honors for Edward on May 12, 1946. At the end of the funeral the bugler played “Taps.” The audience remained standing with bowed head until the last note was played, then quietly left the church. Edward was 23 years old.