Raymond F. Latall

Age 79 Veteran of Korean, Vietnam wars

July 29, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Lt. Col. Raymond F. Latall, a decorated fighter pilot who flew both the Korean and Vietnam wars, died of cancer July 22 at his Highland home. He was 79.

Raymond Frank Latall was born and raised in Chicago. He was a 1947 graduate of Amundsen High School and attended Wright Junior College in Chicago for two years.

He was a 1967 graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Va.

Colonel Latall joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 1950. After completing flight training, he received his wings in 1953 and was sent to Korea.

He flew numerous missions in Vietnam.

For his participation in the Battle of Hue while flying with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, he was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross for "heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight against the enemy," said his wife of 23 years, the former Beverly Hoffman.

He was received a Purple Heart for injuries he received after being shot down in Vietnam.

Colonel Latall completed four tours of duty in the Far East during his 28-year career and flew "over 100 missions," Mrs. Latall said.

After retiring in 1978, he worked for several years as a mechanic. He also enjoyed restoring vintage automobiles.

"He was a very humble man who loved every minute of his service," Mrs. Latall said.

Services with full military honors will be held at 3 p.m. Aug. 21 at Arlington National Cemetery.

Also surviving are a son, Craig R. Latall of Albuquerque, N.M.; a daughter, Lisa Latall of Springfield, Va.; a stepson, Steven Knister of Pasadena; a stepdaughter, Kriss McLaughlin of Chesapeake, Va.; a brother, Leroy Latall of Fenwick, Mich.; and many grandchildren. An earlier marriage ended in divorce.

Frederick N. Rasmussen

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