History of the F-100 Memorial ~ Part I
By Army Spc. Lisa Pauli
/ Published August 01, 2009
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts -- Every year the wing rededicates the F-100 Memorial in honor of the its lost heroes. Many of those members passed well before any of the current members began working at the base. To better understand these members sacrifices, the Airscoop will feature a vignette or biography of a member whose name is affixed on the monument..
1st Lt Edward W. Meacham, 28, of Westfield was killed when his P-47 Thunderbolt failed to recover from a dive-bombing run in the range area off Monomoy Point, south of Chatham on Cape Cod on August 17th, 1948. He was a member of the 131st Fighter Squadron, 102nd Fighter Group, Air Defense Command First Air Force, at Barnes Airport in Westfield, Mass. It was the first field training encampment for the air guard units from Barnes. In Jan 1951, the 102d fighter group announced a new trophy named after Lt Edward W. Meacham Jr of the 131st and Lt Gilbert Pelland of the 101st of Boston, both killed in aircraft accidents. Meacham graduated from Westfield High school where he received his varsity letter in track. He, his wife, and almost 3yr old son had just completed building a new house and where set to move in when he returned from training. Prior to WWII he was a member of the 104th Regiment, Westfield, and while he was a member of the junior class at Westfield State Teachers College, his unit, in Jan 1941, was activated into federal service and left for training at Camp Edwards. He was stationed there for approximately 1 ½ years serving as a supply sergeant before applying for a transfer to the Army Air Corps. He reported for pre-flight training at Maxwell Field, Alabama as a flying cadet in June, 1942. He received his commission as a 2Lt at Spence Field, GA in March 1943. Meacham served as a basic instructor at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, then he was assigned to the Central Instructors School at Randolph Field, Texas and graduated, with an "A" mark, in May 1943. He also attended the instructor instrument school at Bryant Field, Texas. He spent three years as an instructor at Stewart Field, West Point, NY, and while there, he was promoted to 1LT in November 1943. After Stewart Field was closed as a training base, he was transferred to Alaska and while stationed there, he was promoted to Capt.. He returned home with his discharge papers Christmas of 1947. He was a member of the Army Air Force Reserve and joined the 131st Fighter Group about two months before his death. He had been currently employed as a bus driver for the Springfield Street Railway Co.