Jacob E. Manch Elementary Thunderbirds

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School History

Jacob Earl Manch was born in Staunton, Virginia on December 26, 1918 and died on March 24, 1958.

Jacob Manch was appointed Second Lieutenant, Infantry Reserve, on May 10, 1940.  He enlisted as Flying Cadet on February 10, 1941 and graduated from Advanced Flying School, Stockton, California, with rating as Pilot, September 1941. He was assigned to 1th Bomb Group at Pendleton Field Oregon. Colonel Manch was one of the Doolittle Raiders, famous for making the first United States bombing raid against Tokyo, Japan, on April 18, 1942. He was co-pilot of Crew Three. Colonel Manch is portrayed in the movie, "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo", based on the book by Raider Ted W. Lawson.


He remained in China-India-Burma Theater after the Tokyo Raid until June, 1943, and was then assigned to Stateside bases in California, Utah and New Jersey during the rest of the war. In World War II he is remembered by two former Nellis pilots for the bravery he displayed by carrying them from their crashed aircraft without regard for his own personal safety.

He served in Japan and Korea as Air Liaison Officer with the th Infantry Division during the Korean War, and returned to the United States in September, 1953 stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. Colonel Jacob E. Manch was killed March 24, 1958 in an aircraft accident. His last flight was characteristic of his outstanding Air Force record.  When the engines flamed out, he ordered his other crewman to eject and guided his powerless aircraft clear of a residential neighborhood that included an elementary school. When he finally ejected his parachute did not have sufficient time to properly operate, and he died when he hit the ground.


Colonel and Mrs. Manch had no children of their own, but they always took a keen interest in the children they knew. It was a tradition with them to dress in costume every Christmas and visit the homes of twenty to thirty friends who had children and leave gifts for them. Colonel Manch, who was six feet seven inches tall, thus the nickname "Shorty", made a very large Santa Claus with a bag of gifts on his back, and Mrs. Manch was dressed as the Christmas Fairy. They are well remembered for this warm expression of affection.


The Nellis Capehart housing area was dedicated as Manch Manor on January 15, 1960; and on November 13, 1962, the official dedication of Jacob E. Manch Elementary School was held, thus leaving a fitting tribute to his memory.