DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — A section of a highway in Walton County would be named after a World War II Airman whose remains were identified in Poland earlier this year, under a legislative proposal filed Monday.
Rep. Brad Drake, R-Eucheeanna, filed the measure (HB 109), which would designate U.S. 90/State Road 10, between State Road 285 and State Road 83 North, the "Lieutenant Ewart T. Sconiers Highway."
Drake's bill is filed for consideration during the legislative session that starts in January.
A bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Sconiers — a native of DeFuniak Springs and Walton High School graduate — earned a Distinguished Service Cross in August 1942. Following a raid on Rouen in Normandy, Sconiers piloted a B-17 plane back to a base in England after the co-pilot was killed and the pilot seriously wounded.
Wes Gallagher of the Associated Press reported on Sconiers' heroics:
"A slight young Florida bombardier who washed out of flying school and a half-conscious pilot with his arm nearly torn off emerged as the heroes today of the great North Sea sky battle which saw American Flying Fortresses shoot down or damage twelve German fighters, although outnumbered five to one. Stubble-bearded airmen who had not been to bed for 36 hours told how the gravely wounded pilot and the bombardier who had never flown a Fortress before brought the big ship (Johnny Reb) back safely after Nazi bullets had riddled two of the four motors and killed the co-pilot."
In October of that year, Sconiers was in a plane that was shot down. He was captured by German troops and made a POW at Stalag Luft III, a Luftwaffe-managed camp for captured Allied air personnel that was made famous in the 1963 movie "The Great Escape."
On Jan. 24, 1944, Sconiers died at the camp. He was buried in the camp in Lubin, Poland.