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Lt. Colonel Everett W. Steiner, USAF Retired

Lt. Colonel Everett W. Steiner, USAF Retired

Everett Woodrow Steiner was born on Oct. 26, 1918 in Ellsworth County, Kan., on the family farm near Black Wolf, to Joseph and Doris (Bisterfeldt) Steiner. He was the first of their six children, four sons and two daughters. He passed away on Feb. 6, 2014, in Hendersonville, NC, at the age of 95.

Everett graduated from Ellsworth High in 1936 and received a scholarship to play football for Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kan. He was part of the 1940 Coyotes conference championship season and once caught three touchdown passes in a game as a tight end.

He learned to fly while at college in Salina. Before graduating, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was assigned to the airbase in Waco, TX where his superb machine skills and hand-to-eye coordination made him a military pilot and flight instructor on the PT-17, BT-19 and AT-6 Texan. This experience led him to become a captain on a B-24 Liberator and he flew 33 missions over Nazi Germany. Based at the Pantanella AFB, Italy, on his the third mission flying the famous B-24 "V-Grand", he took a direct hit on the no. 2 engine over Budapest. He piloted the crippled bomber for 4-1/2 hours at the near stall speed of 120mph before successfully landing the plane on the island of Vis, Yugoslavia, in the Adriatic Sea. He had the crew tie their parachutes to the gunners side doors and deployed them when the plane touched the ground to slow it down as the hydraulics were shot out. For this effort, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by General Curtis LeMay.

Everett stayed on after the war, flying B-29's doing photo recon for nuclear bomb testing in the South Pacific. He got into jet fighters in 1948 learning to fly the new F-80 Shooting Star at Tyndall AFB, FL. While stationed at Carswell AFB in Ft. Worth, TX, he completed his undergrad degree from Texas Christian University. He then served in Korea in 1953 flying the F-86 Sabre and later become a Squadron Commander for the 331st Interceptor Squadron based out of Stewart AFB, NY in 1958. He then flew the F-102 Delta Dart and F-104 Starfighter for joint American/European NATO defense forces based at Ramstein AFB, Germany.

He became a member of the "Machbusters Club" breaking the sound barrier 17 times, including once over Paris. He was also a Tactical Commander for a new air base in Torrejon, Spain. In 1962, he was assigned to the Pentagon as an intelligence officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He retired from the Air Force in 1972 as a Lt. Colonel, serving 32 years. While in Washington, DC, he completed his Master's degree from American University and was accepted into their PHD program. At the end of his career, he had logged over 5000 hours of total flying time in nearly every aircraft in the Air Force. He counted among his numerous acquaintances, military friends Chuck Yeager and Jim Jabarra and while living in Maine, L.L. Bean, a local retail clothier, who became a world recognized urban outfitter.

He and his wife Natalie resided near Bucksport, ME on Lake Alamasook until 1995 when they moved to Hendersonville to enjoy warmer weather. He was the Post Commander of the American Legion in Maine. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, bird watching, gardening and television sports. He always had a pair of binoculars near his side to watch the birds. Natalie passed away in 2008.

Everett is survived by sister Joyce Brady Brown of Citrus Heights, Calif., and numerous nieces and nephews, great and great-great nieces and nephews. His wife Natalie, his son Delorn, his parents Joe and Doris, brothers Delorn, Clayton and Franklin and sister Ethel Zahradnik, preceded him in death.

Special thanks to Emeritus at Pine Park and Elizabeth House both in Hendersonville and Mission Hospital in Asheville for their professional care and dedication. And grateful appreciation to Charlie and Elaine Ortiz of Hendersonville, who were guardian angels and friends to Everett and Natalie.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, at the Parsons Funeral Home in Ellsworth, Kan., with interment in the Ellsworth Cemetery. Memorials can be made to the Kansas Wesleyan University Football Scholarship program in the name of Everett Steiner and the 1940 Championship Team.

"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, reached out my hand, and touched the face of God."

Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!