South Portland, ME
1st Lt. Richard Lane Hazel, Army, Service # 132 19 20. He was assigned to the Z Force under the command of Gen. Stilwell and was stationed at the air bases Hengyang and Ling-ling, from September 1943 to 25 June 1944 China as an advisor to the Chinese Nationalist Soldiers whose primary duty was to protect the airbases from Japanese attacks. Lt. Hazelís job was to train the Chinese in the art of combat training. In June of 44, the Japanese launched an all out invasion of the airbases in the eastern part of China because they were a threat to Japanís mainland. They started their invasion from the north and the first airbase was in Hengyang. Around June 20, the Japanese had taken the city and was headed for the airbase. Evacuation to bases to the south was underway. On June 25, Lt. Hazel and five others were among the last to leave. They managed to get into a sedan and headed for the base in Ling-ling. Unfortunately, the car broke down after traveling about five miles. While attempting to get it going, they came under attack by seven Jap planes. As soon as the attack began they took cover in the ditches and rice paddies. For the next 30 to 40 minutes the planes bombed and strafed the car and the area. After the attack ended a headcount was taken. All but Lt. Hazel was accounted for. The others spent the next 15-20 minutes looking for Lt. Hazel but were unable to find any trace of him. Realizing they were now in occupied territory and the car was demolished, they quickly headed for Ling-ling on foot. All made it safely there. Lt. Hazel was listed as Missing in Action. On 26 June 1945, his status was changed to Killed in Action. His remains have never been found.
Richard was born on 24 Oct 1908 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On 14 Jan 1930, he enlisted in the Army and was assigned to Co. D, 5th Infantry Regiment and was stationed at Forts Preble and Mc Kinley in the South Portland, Maine area for the next six years. This is where he decided to live. In Feb. 1936, he re-enlisted in the 3rd Cavalry and was stationed at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont. While still being in the 3rd Cav., he was transferred to Fort Myer, Va. and was assigned to the funeral processions held at Arlington Cemetery. In Aug. 42, Richard was transferred to the 331st Infantry. He went to OCS at Fort Benning, Ga. in April 43 and was promoted to 2nd Lt.. From there he went to China.
Richard was still living in South Portland, Maine when he went overseas. I was born there in 1937. My name is George E. Hazel. I really never knew my dad because he was always being transferred. If it were not for few pictures I have of him I wouldnít know much about him. All his military records were destroyed in the 1973 fire. I was fortunate to get a copy of his IDPF and bit and pieces from the internet