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Thomas Leland Pittman
Birth: Jun. 17, 1920
Death: Jun. 22, 2006

Thomas Leland Pittman, born June 17, 1920, in Grand Falls, Texas, passed away on Thursday, June 22, 2006.

He grew up in Fabens, Texas, where he played football for the Fabens High School.

He served proudly and honorably in the Army Air Corps (later known as the Air Force). As a pilot and navigator, he was assigned to the 315th Bomb Wing in Guam. He flew the first airlift into Japan after their surrender during World War II. He was recalled during the Cold War and was assigned to the Strategic Air Command to fly converted B-29s to refuel U.S. Strategic bombers that were continuously protecting our country. He was one of the first pilots to perform air-to-air refueling. Later, he became a command pilot, flying B-47s for the Strategic Air Command. In 1955, while testing a new type of flight suit, his B-47 exploded in midair over the eastern Canadian wilderness. When he was miraculously discovered alive four days later, he had bravely used his parachute to fashion a tourniquet for his badly mangled leg and built a shelter. He was being guarded by a pack of wolves. He later said that the wolves had saved his life by protecting him from an aggressive moose. He lost his leg, but he kept flying. He was a Missile Man (Silo Launch) and Four-Headed Monster pilot, navigator, bombardier and radar man for B-47 Stratojet Bombers.

During his distinguished career, he received many awards including the Meritorious Service Award, Air Medal, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, American Theater Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal. He was most proud to be nominated by his fellow pilots for the coveted Aviator's Valor Award in 1955. He commanded the AF Recruiting and Language Schools at Lackland AFB before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.

He was a Christian man, lifetime member of the Masonic Lodge, and Alzafar Shrine organization. His benevolence was well known. He took great interest in the work of the Shriner Crippled Children's Hospital. He met life head on, embracing whatever challenges came.

Golf, travel, plants and his family and friends were his passions in later years. He will be missed.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jean; daughter, Cathe; sons, Tom and wife Susan, Bobby, and Larry and wife Laura; sister, Clara, Lois and Mary Carolyn and his special companion Samson. He was "Badaddy" to many loving and devoted grandchildren who held a special place in his heart.

He was preceded in death by his daughter Judy.

A service to celebrate and honor his life was held on Friday, August 11 at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen. [Based on an obituary published 28 June 2006 in The Williamson County Sun, Georgetown, TX.]


Howell Cobb and Mary Ella were my Great Uncle and Aunt and Tom my 1st cousin 1x removed. He and my Dad were Double Cousins as their Pittman Fathers married Carroll Sisters.

Sue Pittman McPeak, Contributor #47574044

Family links: 
  Howell Cobb Pittman (1889 - 1965)
  Mary Ella Carroll Pittman (1902 - 1954)
  Ora Jean Campbell Pittman (1925 - 2015)*
*Calculated relationship
Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery
Bell County
Texas, USA
Created by: John Christeson
Record added: Jun 28, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14761772
Thomas Leland Pittman
Added by: Paula J
Thomas Leland Pittman
Added by: SFC Frank Irons Sr. Retired US Army 1977
Thomas Leland Pittman
Cemetery Photo
Added by: John Christeson
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

When I was 17, I had dreams of attending the Air Force Academy and become a pilot. However, A freak accident left me hospitalized for a year, and fighting to keep my left foot. My doctor told me there would no military career for me. The then, Captain Pit...(Read more)
- Ken Pinkham
 Added: Jun. 21, 2015
Remembering you on your Birthday, June 17th.
- Sue Pittman McPeak
 Added: Jun. 15, 2013
Tom was my Dad's first cousin, and not just an ordinary cousin, but a 'Double Cousin as their fathers had married sisters. The first time I met Tom was in 1988 several months after the death of my Dad, W.C. Pittman. I burst into tears when I saw him as ...(Read more)
- Sue Pittman McPeak
 Added: Aug. 4, 2011
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This page is sponsored by: Sue Pittman McPeak

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