Lt. Col. Graham Jackson Fling Jr.
Lt. Col. Graham Jackson Fling Jr., 90, rSAF oetired, Distinguished Flying Cross recipient, died Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, from natural causes at Dock Terrace in Lansdale. He was the husband of Mildred (Birsner) Fling to whom he had been married for more than 68 years.
Born Nov. 13, 1922, in Philadelphia, he was the son of the late Graham J. Fling Sr. and Mable (Thackara) Fling. He grew up in Glenside, graduated from Abington High School, Class of 1940, and then attended Drexel Institute of Technology in the chemical engineering program before enlisting in the r.S. Army Air Corps for aviation cadet training in 1942. He became pilot instructor of advanced single HQJLQH fiJKWHUV DQG WwLQ HQgine bombers for the duration of World War II. In October 1945, he separated from the Army Air Corps and went into Army oeserve status.
He worked for his father’s Glenside Laundry business, then with an uncle as a manufacturer’s agent for several r.S. companies, and eventually took a job at Standard Pressed Steel in Glenside. During this time, he joined with an active reserve unit started in North Philadelphia as chief instructor pilot on AT-6 and C-45 planes and earned the rank of captain; in 1947, the reserve unit moved to New Castle, Del., where he was assigned as chief instrucWRU SLORW flyLQJ &-46 DQG &-47 aircraft.
In 1951, he was recalled to active duty for the Korean War, where he was a forward air controller in Korea, then had assignments in the Philippines, Japan, Formosa and Okinawa. From 1953 to 1962, there were duty assignments throughout the r.S. and Canada. In 1963, he graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery, Ala., followed by a four-year tour of duty with Special Air Missions in Wiesbaden, Germany, flyLQJ VHQVLWLYH flLJKWV EHKLQG the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. From 1967 to 1968, Lt. Col. Fling spent 14 months stationed in Korat, Thailand, where he was chief pilot of Crew 10 of the 553rd oeconQDLVVDQFH 6TuDGURQ DQG flHw 112 combat missions over Vietnam in a Lockheed EC121o Constellation, a four-engine, “spy-in-the-sky” plane. As a result of occurrences on one of those missions, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Also during WKLV WLPH, KH EHFDPH WKH fiUVW man in the 553rd to reach the 10,000 flyLQJ-KRuUV SRLQW. HLV fiQDO DVVLJQPHQW wDV DV WKH commander of an oC-121 A:A& GHWDFKPHQW LQ .HflDvik, Iceland. He retired in November 1970, his service to his country having spanned three decades and with his having flRwQ VRPH 24 different types of aircraft while amassing more WKDQ 13,000 flying hours. In 1972, Lt. Col. Fling and his wife settled in their new home in Harleysville, Pa., where they spent 35 happy years. In 2007, they moved to the Dock Woods Community, where they continued to enjoy their long and cherished marriage. All his life he loved music, early on learning to play the piano and also playing the trombone in his high school band, plus performing in school plays and minstrel shows. His vocal talents were evident in the churches he and his family belonged to as they traveled, not only as a member of the choir but also as a soloist. He and his wife were active members of Wentz’s rCC of Lansdale, Pa., adding their voices in joyful song to the choir for more than 23 years.
He could be seen helping set up for the annual Christmas Bazaar and directing parking for the same. For many years, he lovingly created new, beautifully handcrafted ornaments that became a bazaar tradition. And for several years he took on the role of Santa Claus for the church’s day care center.
In addition to his beloved wife, he is survived by his loving daughter, Elizabeth F. Casmas, of Lansdale; his brother, oichard T. Fling and his wife, Norma, of Audubon, Pa.; his three nephews, William J. Fling, David H. Fling and oobert M. Fling; several grand nephews and niece; and just this year two great-grand nephews. He was preceded in death by his son, Graham J. Fling III; his brother, William J. Fling; and his sister, Edith T. Fling.
oelatives and friends are invited to celebrate his life at his memorial service at 11a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at Wentz’s rnited Church of Christ, 3246 Skippack Pike, Lansdale, Pa. Interment will follow in the adjoining church cemetery.
,Q OLHu RI flRwHUV, FRQWULbutions may be made in his memory to Wentz’s rCC at the address above or to the Living Branches Foundation, Dock WoodsLDock Meadows Sharing Fund, 275 Dock Drive, Lansdale, PA 19446.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www. rlwilliamsfuneralhome.com.