Lt. Virgil Kirkham
Lt. Virgil P. Kirkham, the last recorded American USAAF pilot killed in Europe during WWII. It was Lt. Kirkham's 82nd mission and one that he volunteered to go on.
At the time this 20 year old pilot's P-47 Thunderbolt plane was shot down, a young 14 year old Czech girl, Zdenka Sladkova, was so moved by his sacrifice she made a vow to care for him and his memory.
For 65 straight years , Zdenka, now 80 years old, took on the responsibility to care for Virgil's crash site and memorial near her home. On May 4th she was recognized by the Mayor of Zdenka's home town of Trhanova, Czech Republic, for her sacrifice and extraordinary effort to honor this American hero.