Speer, Leslie Thomas (P2, C4, L18)
Second Lieutenant Leslie Thomas Speer, 22, of Jeffersontown, Jefferson County, Kentucky, was killed in action on 6 February 1945 in Rovereto, Italy serving as a pilot in the U. S. Army Air Force’s 447th Bombardment Squadron, 321st Bombardment Group, Medium, 57th Bombardment Wing aboard a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber. When he perished Speer was copilot on a mission against the Crema Rail Bridge in northern Italy. His aircraft, 43-36240, named the “May Be” was severely damaged by heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire (flak). The pilot, Captain Earl H. Remmel and Copilot Speer were able to control the aircraft long enough for 5 crew members to bail out, before the plane inverted and crashed into a hill at the North End of Lake Garda near Rovereto. The five crew members were captured as German Prisoners Of War, and eventually freed. He is buried in Florence American Cemetery Florence, Italy and has an in memory of stone in the Jeffersontown Cemetery. His awards and decorations included the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters and the Purple Heart. Speer joined the Kentucky National Guard’s Headquarters Company of the 149th Infantry in July 1940. At that time he listed his civilian occupation as laborer.