Lieutenant Michael G. Rebo (1926 – 1951)
US Navy, US Air Force, WWII, Korea, MIA/KIA, Purple Heart, Air Medal
Remembering – Lieutenant Michael G. Rebo – MZHS “Hero of Air Power”
The Bennett’s Valley can pride itself in her young men and women who have served their country and especially those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. One of those special young men is Weedville’s Michael Gordon “Mickey” Rebo, son of Joseph and Pearl Rebo of Weedville. Because of his ultimate sacrifice and his passion for flying, 1st Lt. Michael Rebo was easily deemed a Valley “Hero of Air Power” by the Mt Zion Historical Society.
Prior to joining the US Air Force, Michael served in the US Navy during World War 2 at the same period as four of his brothers. – Lt Joseph D Rebo- B17 pilot in the 8th Army Air Force in England, Staff/Sgt John H Rebo (later retired as Chief Warrant Officer), Tech/Sgt. Andrew Rebo in Army Intelligence, and Army Private Alex Rebo in the European Theater. The Rebo family and Bennett’s Valley must have been proud of these five Rebo brothers’ service as veterans of World War 2.
“Mickey” looked up to all his veteran brothers, but especially his brother Joe for being a pilot- enticing Mike to join the Air Force to become a pilot himself. Before joining the U S Air Force, Mickey attended Penn State University, then went on to complete his pre-flight training at Perrin AFB in Texas and his jet training at Williams AFB, Arizona. Soon First Lieutenant Rebo, an F-84 Thunderjet fighter pilot, was assigned to the 9th fighter bomber squadron -The Flying Knights-(49th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 12th Air Force) in South Korea during the Korean Conflict.
On November 10, 1951, while on a combat mission, his flight of 12 F-84Es was attacked by an enemy flight of 24 to 30 MIG-15s 30 miles southwest of Pyongyang, North Korea. The last radio traffic from Mike was that he was wounded and was going down. He and his airplane were never found. He was initially listed as Missing in Action. The whole Valley community rallied around his Russian immigrant parents while awaiting word from the Air Force, but was later (December 31, 1953) officially presumed dead on November 10, 1951.
His wife, Mona J. Woodring Rebo of Medix Run, posthumously received the Air Medal and Purple Heart for his meritorious action in battle from General Rogers at Luke AFB Arizona. Lt. Rebo was also awarded the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean War Service Medal, plus his flight unit was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation.
Lt. Rebo’s name is inscribed and honored in the courts (the “Tablets of The Missing”) representing American servicemen missing from the Korean War at the Honolulu Memorial, Hawaii. A memorial marker also has been placed in the Morningside Cemetery in DuBois. And now Michael Rebo, along with his brother Joe, is being honored as a hero by the Mt. Zion Historical Society and as one of its initial “Heroes of Air Power”.
Lest We Forget…