Lt. James Albert Gleaves Jr., 28, of Donelson, declared dead officially yesterday, was safe when he parachuted into enemy territory after being shot down over Korea in 1951.
Lieutenant Gleaves’ father, James A. Gleaves Sr. of Overhill Drive, Donelson, received a wire notifying him of the Marine Corps’ declaration of his son’s death from Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr., Marine Corps commandant. Lieutenant Gleaves had been listed previously as missing in action.
Gleaves also has a letter quoting Capt. Byron H. Beswick, a companion in service of the Donelson pilot, as reporting that young Gleaves bailed out and landed safely in enemy territory.
“I was a flight leader of a flight of four aircraft on the day Gleaves was shot down behind enemy lines,” Beswick said. “My flight had just placed napalm drops 200 yards ahead of Army troops. On our second bombing run, Lieutenant Gleaves was hit and he bailed out and landed 1,000 yards ahead of our front line positions.
“On the run Gleaves was hit, he started from 8,000 feet, dived at about 35 or 40 degrees on the target and pulled out at about 5,000 feet. He said only one word before bailing out: ‘Hit!’
“I saw his chute open at an altitude of 7,000 feet. He waved he was all right and he was safe when he landed. Helicopters hovered over him for a while, but were forced away by gunfire.”
Lieutenant Gleaves was shot down April , 1951.
A native of Nashville, he served with the 4th and 1st Marine Divisions in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Discharged Dec. 31, 1945, he attended Tennessee Polytechnic Institute at Cookeville for two years before enlisting in the Navy. After completing flight training, he volunteered for transfer to the air arm of the Marine Corps.
He left the United States for Korea Feb. 15, 1951, and participated in approximately 20 flights before being shot down. He was cited for the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal.
He was a member of the Methodist Church at Donelson and of Nashville Post 5, American Legion.
Besides his father, manager of the Donelson Theatre, he leaves his mother, Mrs. J. A. Patton of Nashville, and a brother, William Gleaves, a student at TPI.