Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Shares Father's POW Story, The Importance of Remembrance

August 22, 2017

Source: Columbus Air Force Base

Children of three World War II prisoners of war gathered during a Base Community Council luncheon Aug. 11 at the Club on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; and Justice Sharon Lee, from the Tennessee Supreme Court, shared her father’s story and how it intertwined with the other two POWs.

One of the other children of the POWs was Rufus Ward Jr., retired attorney and Columbus native, and he introduced Lee.

“I’m really honored to introduce the speaker today, and that is Justice Sharon Lee of the Tennessee Supreme Court,” Ward said. “Our paths crossed a few years ago, and that’s sort of what brought us here.”

Ward explained that Lee’s father, Staff Sgt. Charles Lee, was a waist gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber aircraft, “Smokey Stover Jr.,” during WWII, and his father, Staff Sgt. Rufus Ward Sr., was the tail gunner on the same aircraft, which would eventually be shot down over Frankfurt, Germany, on May 12, 1944.

After Lee came to the podium, she began talking about her father’s journey from the time he entered the U.S. Army Air Corp and began connecting the dots to May 12, 1944. It was a day her father and his crew were on a mission to bomb German fuel production facilities.

Read the entire story here.