Virgil Meroney was born on May 22, 1943, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He was commissioned a 2d Lt through the Air Force ROTC Program on March 21, 1967, and was awarded his pilot wings at Webb AFB, Texas, in March 1968. After completing F-4 Phantom II Combat Crew Training and F-4 Pilot Systems Operator training, Lt Meroney was assigned to the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai AFB, Thailand. He was killed in action over Laos on March 1, 1969, but was listed as Missing in Action until 1970, during which time he was promoted to Captain. Capt Meroney's remains have never been recovered. His father, Col Virgil K. Meroney (1921-1980), was a World War II fighter ace and flew with his son on two combat missions in Southeast Asia before his son was killed in action.
His 2nd Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Citation reads:
First Lieutenant Virgil K. Meroney III distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as a pilot of an F-4D "Phantom" over Southeast Asia on 1 March 1969. On that date, Lieutenant Meroney conducted a night mission against a heavily defended supply route and storage area complex vital to the infiltration of hostile forces and supplies into South Vietnam. During this mission Lieutenant Meroney's wingman came under such heavy fire that his survival was in doubt. Without regard to his own safety Lieutenant Meroney attacked and destroyed the threatening gun positions. Simultaneously, he directed his wingman through a series of evasive maneuvers which enabled him to escape. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Meroney reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.