HASKINS, Elvin “Al”
January 17, 1922 -” January 28, 2012
Salem -” Elvin “Al” Haskins was born to Gene and Nancy (Stevens) Haskins on January 17, 1922, in Leavenworth, Washington. After graduation from Leavenworth High School in 1940, he went to work at Peshastin Lumber Mill for a year and a half. He then moved to Grand Coulee, WA, and worked for the Bureau of Reclamation. He received notice to report for a physical examination for draft classification and was classified 1A. Al enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet, went to Seattle and took the tests and was accepted. He then returned to Leavenworth and went to work for the State Highway Dept.; plowing snow on Stevens Pass. In February 1943, he received notice to report to the King Street Station in Seattle and with a group of other enlistees was sent to Fresno, CA, for basic training and from there to Ellensburg, WA, for college training. He received one-quarter college credit. He then was sent to Santa Ana, CA, for preflight training and on to Rankin Aeronautical Academy at Visalia, CA to fly the Stearman open cockpit airplane. Al was transferred to Gardner Air Base in Bakersfield, CA, to learn to fly the BT13 aircraft, then to Marfa Air Base in Marfa, TX, to learn to fly the AT17 Twin Engine Cessna. He graduated at Marfa as a pilot with his wings and a Second Lt. Bars. Al reported to Hobbs Air Base in Hobbs, NM for B17 training and then transferred to Mac Dill Air Base in Tampa, FL. His crew members were assigned and they practiced flying formation, day and night bombing, gunnery practice, and navigation. He was then sent to Camp Killmer, NJ, to wait for a troop ship which took them to England. They arrived in Liverpool, England, and left the ship for Polebrook Air Base where he and his crew would fly 35 missions over Germany. Al was awarded the Air Medal with six Oakleaf Clusters. After his tour of duty, he returned to Leavenworth. The war in Europe was over and the Japanese had surrendered. He was separated from the service and went to work for the U.S. Forest Service. On December 25, 1948, he married Betty Rae Harris from Amber, WA. They moved to Seattle and he worked at Boeing Airplane Company for ten years. A son, Gene, and a daughter, Claudia, were born in Seattle. The family moved to Cheney, WA, where he was a Wholesale Distributor for Standard Oil Company. He resigned from the distributorship and returned to college at Eastern Washington University. He worked at Brown and Holter Motor Company as Parts Manager for four years and then worked for the Cheney School District for nine years, retiring in February 1984. After retirement, he and his wife traveled around the U.S. for five years and made their home in Spokane. His wife of 51 and Ă‚Ë? years passed away on July 27, 2000 and his daughter Claudia passed away on October 20, 2002 at the age of 46. His son Gene lives in Cheney, WA. He then moved to Salem to make his home with his sister June Lane. He was a Life Member and Past Master of Temple Lodge #42 F. & A.M., and a member of South Hill Bible Church in Spokane, WA. He is survived by son Gene of Cheney, two sisters: June Lane of Salem and Evelyn Mattson of Spokane and two nieces and eight nephews. To his knowledge, he was the only person from Leavenworth to become a B17 pilot in WWII. Services will be held at Mt. View Cemetery in Leavenworth at a later date.
Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service, Salem, Oregon