Clarence Leonard was born in Pawhuska, Oklahoma back in 1887 to George and Sarah. He received his elementary education at Hominy and later at Elgin, Kansas. While growing up he worked at his father’s print shop. In 1906, he enrolled at Wentworth Military Academy graduating in 1908.
In 1912, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He rose through the ranks to major before the outbreak of WWII. He began flight training in 1919, before being transferred to the Army Air Service in 1922.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor he was named Commander of the Seventh Air Force in Hawaii. In 1942 during the Battle of Midway Island he lead a force of B-24’s against the retreating Japanese naval forces. During the battle, his plane was shot down, neither the plane or his body has never been found.
What you may not know about Clarence Leonard Tinker is that he was the highest ranking Native-American officer to reach the rank of Major General and sadly the first general to be killed in WWII. Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is named in his honor.
Until tomorrow share the gift of a smile