Final Flight

| June 22, 2022

C-47 Skytrain in D-Day livery

Poetrooper sends us the story of a fitting tribute to a WW-II paratrooper, laid to rest. Weather may have caused a change in overall plans, but the fly-over from the Douglas C-47A aircraft was the very plane Army paratrooper PFC Leslie Palmer Cruise Jr. jumped from, some 78 years ago.

Thanks, Poe.

D-Day paratrooper laid to rest with a flyover tribute from the WWII warplane he had jumped from


White clouds dotted the blue skies as a 1943-built World War II airplane soared above the gravesite where former Army paratrooper PFC Leslie Palmer Cruise Jr. was laid to rest in Ambler Saturday.

But the whipping winds caused plans for a veteran paratrooper to jump from the aircraft at the cemetery to be canceled.

Some 78 years ago, on June 6, 1944, Cruise, who grew up in a Philadelphia orphanage, had jumped from the very same plane, a twin-propeller Douglas C-47A aircraft, on D-Day into Normandy, France.

The flyover evoked a very emotional response, especially from the Rev. Rick Tyson, the retired pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church who conducted the graveside ceremony at Whitemarsh Memorial Park and Cemetery.

Fair winds and following seas, PFC Cruise. Thanks, Poe.

Category: Army, Guest Link, Valor

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Airborne! Rest in peace, PFC Cruise.


Got a mite dusty in here. Soft Landing, Good Sir. Your Warrior Brothers await you.


A send-off from some of your fellow troopers, Les:


From one Paratrooper to Another (That includes you as well, Poe):

SALUTE. Rest In Peace.

Leslie Palmer CRUISE, Jr.

Cruise. The Real Deal Versus A Movie Actor.

Thank You so much for sharing.


“WWII D-Day Paratrooper Reflects on Freedom, Family, and America”

“May 28, 2018 At 92, Les Cruise is one of the last surviving paratroopers from D-Day. “He is like a celebrity to a lot of people in the military community,” said Michael Ayjian, who, along with Stephen Skeel, co-directed a short documentary about Cruise. The film follows Cruise as the National Warplane Museum grants him the opportunity to fly once again on Whiskey 7, the very same plane from which he jumped on D-Day. This time, however, the veteran’s children and great-grandchildren are there by his side.”


Thanks for that, Ninja. It seems to Poe that, as a young soldier, Leslie bore a considerable resemblance to another famous soldier of that war, Audie Murphy.


Poe, if that video does not make makes one’s eyes tear up..

God certainly has a place for him.

Such magnificent young men who jumped into combat up to 5 times in 8 months…if they survived long enough.

A ninja family member was blessed to have made 150 jumps in 30 years without ever being shot at.

Thank YOU for sharing…


“All the way” indeed.


RIP, Trooper Cruise.

In the 509th in Germany in on the 25th anniversary of Market Garden, my unit did a commemorative jump from C-47’s in Holland. I did the recon and helped pick the DZ’s but missed the actual jump because I was waiting to be interviewed for an aide job for a general at V Corps HQ. Fortunately, I later declined the job. I never should have let Col. John Sadler, our Div. Chief of Staff, talk me into sending my name up, in the first place. But I got two C-47 jumps in preparation for the operation, and I did get three days driving around Holland in a Jeep with Medal of Honor recipient Major Charles Q. Williams, aka “Captain Smoke,” as the troops called him before he was promoted.



Wow..Thank You for sharing your personal experience…!!!

Captain Smoke..👏👏👏

And folks wonder sometimes wonder why we get a bit teed off when others EMBELLISH or tell lies about their service or wear unauthorized Qualification Badges…

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You…


After Williams was promoted from CPT, we joked that the troops had to change his nickname to “Major Fire.” He retired as an LTC. He was a former 1SG in the 82nd. Before the belated awards of the MOH in recent years, 1LT C.Q. Williams had the longest MOH citation of the Vietnam War. Look it up. He almost single handedly prevented his SF camp from being over-run by an NVA regiment. In over a year of service with him, I never heard him say a word about his service in Vietnam.


Rest in peace PFC Cruise. You’ll not be forgotten. God be with your family now.