Earl Ashworth was born on September 17, 1921, in Wilcoe, West Virginia. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on April 29, 1942, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Napier Field, Alabama, on July 28, 1943. After completing fighter training, Lt Ashworth flew P-51 Mustangs with the 528th Fighter Squadron of the 311th Fighter Group in China from September 1944 to September 1946. He left active duty in December 1947 and flew as an Air Force Test and Acceptance Pilot for North American Aviation for several years until returning to active duty on July 10, 1951. After serving in Korea as an F-86 Sabre pilot with the 335th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing from December 1952 to December 1953, Col Ashworth served as the Fighter Aircraft Systems Program Office Director with Headquarters Air Force Logistics Command at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, until his retirement from the Air Force on February 1, 1967. Earl and his wife Jane were married from January 20, 1951, until his death on February 4, 2009.
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.