Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Lt. Col. (Retired) USAF Forrest Eugene Ott was born in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota on May 10, 1921 to Eugene H. Ott and Katie Hansen Ott. He graduated from Canby (MN) High School in 1938, and attended South Dakota State from 1938 to 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserve in 1942 and continued his Pilot Training under the War Training Program. He was called to active duty in 1943 and sent to Army Air Corps pilot training, graduating in December 1944 as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was then transferred to Bombardier Training School in Texas flying student bombardiers until the war ended. He then attended Air Traffic Control School for the US Air Force and was sent to Frankfurt Germany as an Air Traffic Controller in 1946. Forrest then went to Templehof AFB in Berlin as a radar controller. He flew 110 missions in the Berlin Airlift and received an Air Medal commendation and a unit citation.
He joined a Troop Carrier Reserve wing in January 1951 flying C-46s and was recalled to active duty in May 1951; he flew aircraft dropping paratroopers for two years. He was then transferred to Kadena Air Base to fly B-17s and C-54s. In June 1956 he was transferred to McGuire AFB (NJ) Military Air Transport Squadron where he remained until 1966; he was then transferred to Charleston AFB in 1966. During that period, he flew C-118s, C-135s, and C-141s. When he retired from the military in 1971, he had flown almost 19,000 accident free hours. At his retirement, he was awarded two Air Medals for over the 70 flights made into the Vietnam War zone.
After retirement, Lt. Col. Ott flew another 6200 hours in single engine or twin-engine aircraft. He was an active charter pilot as well as flying for Civil Air Patrol. In total, Lt. Col. Ott flew over 25,000 hours in 59 different types of aircraft, crossing the Atlantic Ocean over 350 times, the Pacific Ocean over 175 times, and making more than 30 round-the-world flights.
Ott was a member of the Lion’s Club of Summerville for forty years. He was a past commander of Sumerville’s American Legion; a member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars; a member of the Daedalions, which is an honored military pilot’s association; past member of the Dorchester County Aeronautics Commission. He was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor in 1994.
Forrest was preceded in death by his wife Hedda Jaeck “Jackie” Ott, and his sisters Marcelia Ray and Charlotte Ott. He is survived by his four children Dr. Beatrice Baldwin of Baton Rouge, LA; Patricia Wessinger of Goose Creek, SC; Duane Ott of Columbus, OH; and Dr. Marilyn Mora, Houston, TX. He is also survived by 5 grandchildren Stephen Baldwin, Jenna Wessinger, Kyle Wessinger, Michelle Fontenot, and Allen Soldani, and two great grandchildren.
Visitation will be held Wednesday evening from 6 until 8 o’clock at the funeral home. Funeral service will be held Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 2 o’clock at Summerville Presbyterian Church, Summerville. Entombment will follow at Dorchester Memory Gardens, Summerville. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Chaplains Fund at The Village of Summerville, 201 West 9th North Street, Summerville, SC 29483, Summerville Presbyterian Church, 407 South Laurel Street, Summerville, SC 29483 or the S.C. Alzheimers Association, 2090 Executive Hall Road, Charleston, SC 29401. Arrangements by James A. Dyal Funeral Home, 303 South Main Street, Summerville, South Carolina.