Sel Edner was born on January 26, 1919, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 and after completing pilot training he was posted to No. 121 Eagle Squadron in England. While flying with the RAF, Edner was credited with the destruction of 5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, 1 shared probable, and 2 damaged before transferring to the U.S. Army Air Forces as a Captain on September 16, 1942. He then returned to the U.S. where he served as an instructor pilot until joining the 336th Fighter Squadron of the 4th Fighter Group in England in October 1943. Col Edner took command of the 336th in November 1943, became Operations Officer for the 4th Fighter Group in January 1944, and then Executive Officer for the 4th FG in February 1944. On March 8, 1944, he was forced to bail out over Germany and was taken as a Prisoner of War. Col Edner was held at Stalag Luft 3 in Sagan-Silesia Bavaria and later at Nuremberg-Langwasser before being released in June 1945. After the war, he returned to flying status and later served as an Air Attache to Greece during the Civil War there. The reconnaissance plane Col Edner was flying in was brought down on January 21, 1949, and he was murdered by Communist guerrillas the same day.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.