EAST TAWAS – Despite the winteriest day of the season so far, an estimated 75 persons showed respect at Harbor Park in East Tawas Monday for the unveiling of a lighted plaque honoring East Tawas native and retired 4-Star General Earl T. O’Loughlin.
A dedication ceremony was to be held on Veterans Day, but was postponed until spring or summer due to Monday’s inclement weather. Weather conditions during the plaque’s unveiling were blowing snow with wind gusts of 11 mph out of the north with a temperature of 24 degrees.
Gen. O’Loughlin, who also was present at the plaque unveiling, served in the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1987.
The plaque reads: “General Earl T. O’Loughlin was born in 1930. He resided in East Tawas attending Elementary School and graduating High School in 1948 as an exemplary student. Taking the Air Force Oath of Enlistment in 1951, Earl became a B-29 Eagle Crew Pilot flying 29 missions over North Korea. He was nominated to West Point twice. He flew more than 7,000 flying hours as command pilot in 22 plus different aircraft and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
“General O’Loughlin retired as the only Air Force 4 Star General in the state of Michigan after 37 years in uniform.
“Our history and culture must be preserved for Posterity. East Tawas is PROUD of Our hometown PATRIOT.”
O’Loughlin said he is honored with the plaque’s unveiling as family members wiped their eyes.
Local resident Jane Ruster, who has been championing to have O’Loughlin acknowledged, said the plaque was created by John Bolen, who also was at Monday’s unveiling. Bolen and his father, Jerry, donated the stand for the plaque, as well.