LZ Peace Memorial @ Midway Village Museum 6799 Guilford Rd. Rockford, Illinois
Robert Elof Carlson, age 98, was a B-17 pilot in World War II. He died on August 11, 2021. See all the clickable links at the end of the story.
Being the editor of this website, I'm posting this story about Bob. His close friends call him "S.O.B." meaning "Sweet Old Bob". I've known him since about 1966. He was quite a guy. Never bragged about anything except maybe his family. He was a good friend of my dad, Carl, through working together but to me their biggest connection was the War and both of them being members of The Greatest Generation: Those who served, fought, died, and lived through World War II.
His memorial service was held on Friday, August 20, 2021 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Rockford, Illinois. I want to thank all the members of the Loves Park VFW Honor Guard for their final 21-gun salute to Bob. Thank you to three Vietnam veterans I knew: Dan Jensen, John Tuttle, and Bugler Don Allen for blowing "Taps."
Here's an interesting part of his life. He was in the first graduating class of East High School in 1940. Bob enlisted in the Army Air Force shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, learned to fly B-17’s and became one of the youngest flight instructors to date. While stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, Bob met our mom, Marguerite Heim, who worked in the communications office. He introduced himself as an Admiral in the Swedish Navy on special assignment. It was the beginning of a long and loving 73-year marriage and missed her every day since her passing in April of 2018.
Robert "Bob" Elof Carlson, a member of the Greatest Generation, soared above us when he passed away August 11, 2021. Bob was born in 1923 and joined the Army shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He was a B-17 pilot and was one of the youngest B-17 bomber instructors at the time in World War 2.
They say once a pilot, always a pilot. In 2016 Bob hooked up with a traveling air show in Janesville, Wisconsin and was once again able to fly like an eagle.
Here's what Rockford's WIFR-TV channel 23 had to say about it.
DATELINE: July 21, 2016 JANESVILLE, Wis. (WIFR) – A one of a kind plane lands in Janesville and veterans are getting to look back on their battles from World War II. The 2016 Heavy Bomber Air Show is showing off the planes that flew and giving us a chance to see some pretty unique aircraft. Before the gates open on Friday, July 22, for the air show, veterans and their families had a chance to fly in planes they fought in back in WWII. The B-29, B-17, and C-45 aircraft were all on the runway at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport and for veterans like 93-year-old Bob Carlson, being able to fly once again in the planes he flew during WWII was a special experience.
Bob says, "I had the privilege of putting the wing tip down over my church and rode around three towns, pulled the props up and down and made a lot of noise. Nobody saw me,” said Carlson. The planes will be open to the public to view from Friday to Sunday.
Thanks to WIFR for this great human interest story. As the editor of this website this is my salute to Bob Carlson, S.O.B. "Sweet Old Bob"
If you have any comments or would like to add some pictures or whatever please contact me, Ken Nelson, aka "John Kennedy" at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for being our friend and may you Rest In Peace.
Dateline: Thursday, July 29, 2021
Above: Mayor Tom McNamara, Blackjack 6 (Nick Parnello), and LT Manny.
The LZ Smoke Brothers had the honor of giving Mayor Tom McNamara a tour of the LZ Peace Memorial, the grounds and many monuments. The memorial is located at the northwest corner of the Midway Village Campus, 6799 Guilford Road, between N. Mulford and Perryville. Blackjack 6 (Nick Parnello) and LT Manny showed the mayor around, two great tour guides.
Mayor Tom McNamara hadn’t been here before and he was heartened at what so many volunteers had done. His father, the former Mayor John McNamara had been an Army officer who served in the Vietnam War. Mayor Tom also had the pleasure of meeting a World War 2 Navy veteran who lives in Rockford.
We hope his visit will help in the quest of making more people aware of this great memorial. LZ Peace is a tribute to all our veterans and it's one of many places to visit in Rockford, Illinois. There are over a million Vietnam veterans in Illinois and eight surrounding states.
Come on over and visit the LZ Peace Memorial. You might see the name of an old friend on the wall. Or you might hear the flags overhead blowing in the wind, or it could be the fluttering of angels' wings, watching over us.
PS. The LZ Smoke Brothers are a bunch of mostly veterans who do what needs to be done at the LZ Peace Memorial. God bless all of our veterans.
Thank you Mr. Mayor for coming out and thanks for the donuts.
The Mayor's comments from his Facebook page.
"I was humbled and honored to join veterans at the Vietnam Veterans Honor Society’s LZ Peace Memorial this morning. The memorial is an incredible asset to the city of Rockford, honoring those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice for us in the Vietnam War. It was inspiring to see the strong relationships the veterans have and the support they show to one another."
Below. On or about July 29, 2021 Mayor Tom McNamara, Nick and LT Manny after the mayor's tour.
On or about August 6, 2021 Skipper and LZ Smoke Brothers welcomed his World War Two friend and his family. They gave them the Grand Tour. Thanks, Skipper, for doing this. Click here to see more on SmugMug.
Thursday, Aug. 6, 2021 Smoke Brothers welcomed Skipper's World War Two friend to the LZ Peace Memorial and gave him and his family and friends the Grand Tour. Thank you for doing this.
Brothers on the bench, Sgt. Friendship, LT Manny (standing) and our favorite barber, soon-to-be-96 years old, Uncle Joe, World War 2 veteran.
2021 FLAG DAY CEREMONY Click this link to see 100's of pictures from our 2021 Memorial Day Observance at the LZ Peace Memorial and millions of other pictures from ceremonies at the LZ Peace Memorial. Look around, there's a lot to see. Thank you for caring.
-President Ronald Reagan-- Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream, it must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.
12-15-20 Welcome to Janine from Etna, Pennsylvania and Benjamin Hall from Chicago. About 100 people honored our nation's dead this Memorial Day 2020 at the LZ Peace Memorial in Midway Village. Once again we were blessed with Tears From Heaven near the end of ceremony, and those who served in Vietnam said, "You ain't seen nothin' 'til you've been rained on for days and days.
Thanks to the Rockford Register Star for sending their reporters and camerawoman. A TV station was there also. We love you for your support of us and all veterans and service members. Thank you, Wally. Down below is a link to the 90+ pictures and videos we took.
We really appreciate all those who came out in the Corona pandemic. And a BIG salute to the LZ Smoke Brothers for coming through again just like they always do. And, last but not least, the Glory Truck. God Bless America.
Click to see pictures and videos.
Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor all Americans who have been killed it all our wars, and that's over one million men and women since our country was founded. We honor these fallen heroes on Memorial Day, the last Monday of May. This year is falls on May 25th. This ceremony will be quite different from previous years' due to the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing. Please honor and respect those who attend by wearing a face mask or a protective covering your nose and mouth and keeping a safe distance apart. We want you around for a long time. Thank you for honoring these heroes and hope to see you again. Capt. Ken
-President John F. Kennedy The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have paid it, and one path we shall never choose, and that is of surrender or submission.
What is the LZ Peace Memorial?
Vietnam veterans names on the Wall
Gold Star Mothers
Vietnam Veterans Honor Society president Nick Parnello shows generous donation from our friends, Harley Owners Group, Rock River Chapter, Northern Ilinois.
Marines William A. "Skip" Coad and Ed Palumbo, 1965
To donate please send a check to
Vietnam Veterans Honor Society
P. O. Box 4304
Rockford, IL 61110
Or call Nick Parnello at 815-968-1040
We are a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and contributions are deductible to the extent of the law.
Vietnam Veterans Honor Society
The LZ Peace Memorial is a place of honor for those veterans who served our country, in war and in peace. This memorial stands as a testimony to those soldiers from Winnebago County who made the ultimate sacrifice at a time of great conflict. We’re located at Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, in Rockford, Illinois.
How It All
It started on a hill in Pleiku
Joe Falzone and Nick Parnello, two young soldiers from Rockford, met while in Plekiu, South Vietnam in 1969, and they vowed to meet for supper if and when they ever made it back home. They did and here's the rest of the story.
Winnebago county veterans
who gave their lives.
DID YOU KNOW?
There are over 20,000 veterans living in Winnebago county and thousands of them are Vietnam veterans.
Illinois has over 246,000 Vietnam Era veterans.
There are over 744,000 veterans of all wars in Illinois as of Sept. 23, 2013.