United States Air Force Captain James Emory Cross of Warren will finally be laid to rest 38 years after he was reported missing in action in Laos. On April 24, 1970, Cross, a member of an elite group of pilots known as the Ravens, was piloting a U-17 during a mission when the plane was hit by enemy fire. Another USAF plane witnessed the crash and deemed it not survivable. Various reasons prevented the crash site from being investigated initially and Cross was classified as MIA. Over the course of 38 years, much effort went into locating Captain Cross and his co-pilot Gomer David Reese. Last month the United States Government positively identified remains found at a crash site in Laos as those of Captain James E. Cross and Captain Gomer Reese.
James Emory Cross was born June 23, 1944 in Warren, OH the son of Edward J. and Mary Louise (Parry) Cross. A 1962 graduate of Warren G. Harding High School and a 1965 graduate of Ohio University, Cross was active in local politics, such as the Trumbull Americans for Freedom Club and he was a past president of the Ohio University Young Republicans. At Ohio University, Cross was named Commander of his ROTC unit and was tapped into the Scabbard and Blade, a national military honorary society. Upon graduation from Ohio University, Cross entered law school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. where he attended for a year prior to entering the Air Force in February 1967. After completing his first tour of duty in August of 1969, he immediately enrolled in a second tour firmly believing in the government's role in Vietnam. While there he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with a silver star.
Despite Jim's burly "rough and tough" look, he was an extremely sensitive, compassionate and humble man. His outgoing, dynamic personality brought him a multitude of friends. Jim had high morals and strong beliefs. Among those were his hatred of corruption and dishonesty, and his love of country and family. He always remembered special occasions, seemingly knowing that life was too short to not appreciate what really mattered. Jim also had a strong passion for reading and politics, and his life goal was to serve his country-not only in Vietnam but also later in Washington, D.C. Those who knew him during his short twenty-five years had little doubt he would succeed. Jim was an inspiration to all who knew him and his legacy will live on forever.
He is survived by his father, Edward J. Cross of Warren, two brothers, John E. (Shirley) Cross of Howland, Bill A. (Cindy) Cross of Canfield, 3 nieces and 4 nephews. His mother, Mary Louise, died in 1994.
Captain Cross will be welcomed home and buried with full military honors 11:00 AM Friday October 10, 2008 at Crown Hill Burial Park 3966 Warren Sharon Rd. Vienna, OH.
Material contributions may be made to the Disabled American Veterans Trumbull County Chapter #11 2044 Youngstown Rd. SE Warren, OH 44484.
Read Capt. James Cross's Obituary and Guestbook on lanefuneralhomes.com.