Hometown Hero - Maj. Gen. Erbon Wise dies at 99
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Up until his final days, Maj. Gen. Erbon Wise could still recall his days in World War II, just like they were yesterday.
Wise was based in England with the same B-17 bomber unit as the Memphis Belle. In a 2015 interview, Wise’s unit was part of the invasion on Normandy, France.
“They wanted a fighter group on the beachhead,” Wise said. “So we went ashore right along with the other troops there. It was about the third day. The war was going pretty strong. We knocked the hedgerows down, and we built a strip for the first fighter group on there.”
That airstrip was where Wise later got to meet Winston Churchill, when the British Prime Minister took a secret trip to France.
“They taxied up to me and I could see that the feller in the other plane was having trouble getting the door open. So I went and jerked the door open for him and out jumped Mr. Churchill with his big cigar. He looked at me and said, ‘Take me to the front lines'.‘'
Wise was honored as Sulphur’s Veteran’s Parade Marshal in 2013.
Wise and his wife Marie published community newspapers across Louisiana until he retired in 1998.
Maj. Gen. Erbon Wise died at the age of 99 on August 12.
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