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First Name: Yancey

Last Name: Tarrant

Birthplace: Galveston, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: U.S. Army Air Forces (1941 - 1947)

Home of Record: Brownwood, TX
Middle Name: Smith

Date of Birth: 24 January 1917

Date of Death: 07 June 1996

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
Yancey Smith Tarrant

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Yancey Smith Tarrant
Colonel, U.S. Army Air Forces

In April 1944, during World War II, then-Lieutenant Colonel Yancey Smith Tarrant was serving as a Pilot of a P-51 Mustang Fighter Plane of the 31st Fighter Group, 64th Fighter Wing, Fifteenth Air Force, U.S. Army Air Forces, based in Italy. During that time, LTC Tarrant’s unit was in action against German forces while operating as a bomber escort group. LTC Tarrant’s courageous actions and extraordinary heroism during that time earned him the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

On 4 July 1944, then-Colonel Tarrant assumed command of the 31st Fighter Group. On 25 July, while in Russia the group escorted P-38 fighters on a raid into Poland where they attacked a convoy of German trucks. The 31st was awarded a presidential unit citation for this raid. The force then flew back to Italy on 26 July.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross
Purple Heart
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Command Pilot Badge

Distinguished Service Cross Citation (Synopsis)

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel Yancey S. Tarrant, United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving while serving as a Pilot of a fighter airplane of the 31st Fighter Group, 64th Fighter Wing, FIFTEENTH Air Force, in action during World War II. His gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army Air Forces.

Headquarters, 15th Air Force, General Orders No. 3798 (1944)

Death and Burial

Colonel Yancey Smith Tarrant died on 7 June 1996 at Bell County, TX. He is buried at North Belton Cemetery in Belton, Bell County, TX, in 559 Old Section.


Honoree ID: 317084   Created by: MHOH




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