Ed Saylor was born on March 15, 1920, in Brusett, Montana. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on December 7, 1939, and was trained in aircraft maintenance and as a flight engineer. Sgt Saylor was serving as a B-25 Mitchell flight engineer with the 34th Bomb Squadron of the 17th Bomb Group when he was selected for the Doolittle Mission in February 1942. He was the flight engineer aboard the 15th B-25 to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) on April 18, 1942, and after bombing its assigned targets in Kobe, Japan, the crew ditched their aircraft in the water off the coast of China. After returning to the United States, Sgt Saylor served as a Line Chief in the U.S. and then deployed to England before accepting a commission as a 2d Lt in the Army Air Forces on March 4, 1945. Lt Saylor served as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer until leaving active duty on March 29, 1946, serving in the Air Force Reserve until returning to active duty beginning October 25, 1947. His next assignment was as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer with the 140th Air Force Base Unit and the 2470th Air Force Reserve Training Center at Sioux City, Iowa, from October 1947 to June 1949, followed by service as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer with the 325th Fighter Wing and the 318th Fighter Squadron at Moses Lake AFB and then at McChord AFB, Washington, from July 1949 to June 1952. Capt Saylor next served as Assistant Base Maintenance Officer with the 86th Air Base Squadron and the 529th Material Squadron at Paine AFB, Washington, from July 1952 to October 1953, and then as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer with the 59th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Goose AFB in Newfoundland, Canada, from October 1953 to July 1955. His next assignment was as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer with the 530th Air Defense Group, the 84th Fighter Group, and then the 84th Material Squadron at Geiger Field, Washington, from July 1955 to October 1958. Maj Saylor served as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer with the 25th Air Division at McChord AFB from October 1958 to December 1961, followed by service as an Exchange Officer with the British Royal Air Force at RAF Coltishall, England, where he served as a Senior Technical Officer with the Air Fighting Development Squadron from December 1961 to January 1964. LtCol Saylor next served as Chief of Maintenance of the 337th Fighter Group and 337th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron with Air Defense Command at Portland International Airport, Oregon, from January 1964 to March 1966, and then as Chief of Maintenance of the 328th Fighter Wing at Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri, from March 1966 until his retirement from the Air Force on October 1, 1967. Ed Saylor died on January 29, 2015.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary achievement while participating in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland on April 18, 1942. Sergeant Saylor volunteered for this mission knowing full well that the chances of survival were extremely remote, and executed his part in it with great skill and daring. This achievement reflects high credit on Sergeant Saylor and the military service.