Culos Marion Settle


I have a file folder bursting with genealogical information that takes the Settle family all the way back to 1797. But I discovered little to tell me anything of the personality of Lieutenant Culos Marion Settle, co-pilot on Exterminator’s final flight. Settle was born July 3, 1917 and after surviving a combat tour with the 15th Air Force in North Africa and Italy, he died young, of a heart attack, on April 26, 1957. Following the war Settle was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his participation in the July 15, 1944 raid in Rumania where over six hundred B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators bombed four oil refineries in the Ploesti area and the Teleajenul pumping station.

Settle’s draft registration card from 1940 reinforces the description of a slightly built young man given by Exterminator radio operator, George Barulic. At the age of twenty-three Culos Settle was 5'11" tall and weighed 140 pounds. His eyes were grey, his hair black, and his complexion light brown.

Between 1936-1940 Settle moved forty miles away from his home in Wilkesboro, North Carolina to attend Appalachian State University where he graduated with a major in Mathematics and a minor in History. During his time in university, Settle belonged to Alpha Lambda Sigma, was active in Math Club, YMCA, and Student Council. Upon graduation he began teaching at Hildebran High School, an hour south of Wilkesboro and he also got married. Then, on May 26, 1942, Culos enlisted in the United States Army as a private in the Air Corps.

Through checking I found William Root, a first cousin, once removed, of Culos Settle. Root’s mother had known Culos Settle and I learned the proper pronunciation of Settle’s given name was not "Coo-lowse" but "Q-liss." Root told me that Settle and his wife, Annie Mae Beard, had three children, David (b.1944), Tommy (b.1946) and Mary Ann (b.1949).

The parents of Culos Settle were no strangers to tragedy, having outlived five of their ten children. His parents were Tyrus Hilton "T.H." Settle (August 17, 1885-April 3, 1965) and Mary Lyon (September 4, 1885-February 17, 1959). Siblings were Charles Clayton (June 13, 1907-March 1, 1909), Ralph Harold (March 3, 1909-February 13, 1991), Ruby Hallena (November 14, 1910-March 2, 1913), Ruth Hester (March 2, 1913-July 31, 1975), Roy Ernest Herman (May 27, 1915-July 31, 1997), Lee Warren (October 26, 1919-September 2, 2004), Robert Davis (September 26, 1921-January 26, 1960), Albert Conrad (October 11, 1924-July 16, 1954), and Mary Lou (November 8, 1927-December 3, 1932).


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