Einar Axel Malmstrom
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|Einar Axel Malmstrom|
Colonel Einar A. Malmstrom
July 14, 1907|
|Died||August 21, 1954
Near Great Falls, Montana
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
|Years of service||1929-1954|
Colonel Einar Axel Malmstrom (July 14, 1907 in Chicago, Illinois – August 21, 1954 near Great Falls, Montana) enlisted as a private in the Washington State National Guard on May 12, 1929, and was commissioned a second lieutenant on May 25, 1931.
Born to Swedish immigrant parents in Chicago in 1907, he was called to active federal service at Parkwater in Washington State, on September 16, 1940, as a first lieutenant. In May 1943, he moved to the European Theater of Operations, and assumed command of the 356th Fighter Group at Martlesham Heath, England in November flying P-47 Thunderbolts.
On April 24, 1944, while flying his 58th combat mission, he was shot down over France and taken prisoner of war. During the year he spent as a prisoner, he was American commander of the south compound, POW Camp Stalag Luft 1, in Barth, Germany. For this duty, he was awarded the Bronze Star.
Returning to the U.S. in May 1945, he was assigned as air inspector for the 312th Base Unit, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, the Ninth Air Force XIX Tactical Air Command first at Biggs Field, Texas, later being moved to Greenville AAF, South Carolina.
Reassigned to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, Colonel Malmstrom served as deputy for reserve forces, Ninth Air Force, until August 1949 when he was enrolled as a student at the Air War College. After completing the course, he was assigned as senior Air Force instructor at the Army War College for three years. From this post he was sent to Lockbourne AFB, Ohio, as division director of personnel, serving in that capacity until he was transferred to the 407th Strategic Fighter Wing at Great Falls AFB, Montana, on February 1, 1954. Here he served as deputy wing commander.
Colonel Malmstrom was killed in a military aircraft accident on August 21, 1954, near the city of Great Falls. He was survived by his wife Kathryn, and their two children, a son (Jim), and a daughter (Barbara).
In the short period of his tenure as vice wing commander, Colonel Malmstrom greatly endeared himself to the community of Great Falls. Saddened by the loss, the people of the city began a drive to rename the base after him.