Arlington Medal of Honor Recipient Col. Neel Kearby's Granddaughter Shares Family Letters and Memories
By Office of Communication
Posted on November 11, 2019, November 11, 2019

The odds were stacked against Colonel Neel Kearby when he flew into battle during World War II. But Kearby never gave up, shooting down six Japanese planes in one fight. His odds of survival were just 36-to-1. At one point, Kearby even held the record for most Japanese planes shot down. 

That bravery earned Kearby the Medal of Honor and a place in Arlington's hearts and history. Kearby graduated from UT Arlington when it was still North Texas Agricultural College. He is now immortalized in a statue in the City Center plaza, between City Hall and the George W. Hawkes Downtown Library. His Medal of Honor is on display in City Hall. 

Kearby's granddaughter still lives in North Texas and agreed to open the family archives and share more about Kearby's life. 

"All these memories are a way to connect to that past and that Kearby family," Julie Knight said. "The fact his mom and wife kept all these articles not knowing the legacy he was going to have is very special."

Knight still holds on to original newspaper clippings detailing Kearby's heroic missions and Medal of Honor ceremony. Kearby was given the honor on the battlefield, not long after that now-famous mission. He continued to serve and was later killed in action. 

Knight sees the statue to her grandfather as a tribute to his bravery — and a show of respect for everyone who served. 

"It's keeping the memory of him alive, the memory of what he did for our country," Knight said. "The memory of what all those men from World War II did for our country, so we don't forget."

Julie Knight looks at statue of her grandfather, Neel Kearby, in Downtown Arlington

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