Merle M. Coons Fighter Ace Collection
Series I, textual materials, includes Coons' military orders and records, including general orders, awards and citations, training certificates, effectiveness reports, and enemy aircraft destroyed records. It also includes his flight record and log book, as well as a scrapbook. The bulk of the scrapbook is newspaper clippings about Coons and his military service, circa 1942-1968. There is also a 1997 obituary clipping and a three-page typed biographical document, written by Lois Coons Clark, Merle's second wife. Additionally there is a typed single-page memorial document, written by Jan, one of Coons' daughters. It is possible the scrapbook was started by Coons and later materials were added by family.
Series II, photographic materials, includes two loose group portraits and a photograph album with 157 prints. The two loose 8x10" black-and-white portraits depict Coons and other military personnel, likely fellow pilots, in front of an obscured aircraft. One of the images includes last names on the reverse. Coons is identified as "yours truly."
Photographs range in size from 3x5" to 8x10" and are primarily black-and-white vintage prints, except for one hand-colored portrait of Coons, one postcard, and a few modern digital prints. Images primarily depict fellow military personnel, such as fellow pilots with or without aircraft and engaged in recreational actitivies. It also includes images of aircraft, including the Lockheed P-38 Lightning and North American P-51 Mustang. The photograph album was disassembled for preservation reasons but materials were kept in original order. Photographs are affixed to the pages via photo corners and/or glue and often include a brief caption that provides contextual information, such as name, date, squadron, and/or location. See the Index note for a list of names found in the album.
- Coons, Merle M., 1921-1997 (Person)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
0.75 Cubic Feet (1 full-width legal size document box and 1 half-width legal size document box)
Biographical Note: Merle M. Coons
After his retirement from the military, Coons joined Northrop Corporation's Marketing department. He remained there for 18 years, until his second retirement in 1986. He was active in many associations, including the American Fighter Ace Association, and spent time with friends and family. Coons died December 18, 1997 in Salt Lake City, Utah, survived by his second wife, Lois Clark Coons; three daughters, Jan, Sue, and Joyce; and eight grandchildren.
Biography derived from donor information and collection materials.
The AFAA lists its objectives and purposes as "to preserve and promote the distinguished heritage of the American combat fighter Ace; to preserve the spirit of loyalty, fellowship and responsibility that motivates Fighter Aces; to support the understanding of and demand for sound, progressive aerospace weapons systems which will guarantee the security and peace of the United States; to encourage and stimulate young men and women to enter the aerospace field; and to sponsor educational programs designed to increase and broaden public knowledge of aerospace technology."
The AFAA sponsors an academic scholarship fund for youths who are primarily descendants of American Fighter Aces and fosters youth programs encouraging patriotism. Additional programs include award programs, such as the annual presentation of the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award at the United States Air Force Academy and for outstanding fighter pilot "lead-in" trainee graduates from the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. The AFAA is affliated with The Museum of Flight (TMOF), the proud home of the AFAA.
Source and Further Reading:
Note on Arrangement
- Crosswind, Class 43-A, August 1942
- Crosswind, Class 43-B, September 1942
- Horizons, 1962
- Passing Light, Lemoore Army Flying School Class 43-B, November 1942
- Silver Wings, Williams Field, Class 43-B, 1943
- Silver Wings, Williams Field, Class 43-D, undated (circa 1943)
- Silver Wings, Williams Field, Class 43-E, undated (circa 1943)
- Silver Wings, Williams Field, Class 43-J, undated (circa 1943)
The following materials have been separated from the archival component and are kept in Objects storage:
- Assorted medals and wings
- Assorted ribbons and patches
For more information contact us.
This is an index of the people who are identified in the photographs contained in the Merle M. Coons Fighter Ace Collection. Their pictures can be found in Box Two, Folders 3-4 of the Photographic material series. The names are taken from the captions next to the photographs. Please note many people are identified by last name only and some include a squadron number but many do not. The index is presented in alphabetical order.
Anderson Carr, 38th Fighter Squadron Chamberlin Childers Cornan Coward Eils, "Buck" Gould, Clifford G. Jackson Jenkins Jones, C. O., Lt. Col. - Group Ops Kavanaugh, 38th Fighter Squadron Kelly Landis, Major Ledyard Lewis, William H. Matney, Francis M. Markle Miller Potter Reider, Jack L., 38th Fighter Squadron Savage Shearman Snell Specker Staggs, 38th Fighter Squadron Still, Richard L., 38th Fighter Squadron Sturgess, 38th Fighter Squadron Tibert Totten, 38th Fighter Squadron West Yowell
- Aces (Fighter pilots)
- American Fighter Aces Association
- Coons, Lois Clark
- Coons, Merle M., 1921-1997
- Elmendorf Air Force Base (Alaska)
- Fighter pilots
- Lockheed P-38L Lightning
- Maxwell Air Force Base (Ala.)
- North American P-51 Mustang Family
- United States. Air Force
- United States. Army. Air Corps
- Williams Field (Ariz.)
- World War, 1939-1945
- clippings (information artifacts)
- digital prints
- logs (records)
- military records
- orders (military records)
- photograph albums
- photographic postcards
- photographic prints
- Guide to the Merle M. Coons Fighter Ace Collection
- Completed - Level 3
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Edition statement
- 1st edition
- April 2020: Updated Related Materials note.