this is my dad.
in 1943, while at school at utah state, he received a letter from the draft board, informing him he was officially part of the war effort. they did however, give him the choice of what area of service he wanted to join. he chose the air corp. unfortunately, WWII was now in full swing. i have come to find out he stood out in the crowd, was one of the leaders, was a man whom others could count on, in a big way. he became an excellent pilot of B-25s, and eventually stood out in the crowd enough to be one of the few appointed as an instructor. on december 23, 1944 he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant and given his silver wings, a coveted and respected appointment. he trained many pilots who eventually were sent overseas. he became an integral part of the war effort. his service was exemplary.
he writes, "at the end of each training class period there was a period of time, usually 4-5 days where we were free to do anything we wanted. since the airplanes were sitting idle at this time, we were encouraged to take them cross country. several times we came back to utah with 3 TB-25s and as we passed over our hometowns we would give them a real buzz job. i remember one time we decided to buzz fish lake. we dropped down onto the lake in a 3-ship formation, flying about 15 feet from the water. we had many boaters waving to us as it must have been a great sight to them. while around gunnison, one of the things that i did was drop the landing gear, lower the flaps and proceed up main street at about 50 feet of altitude at a very slow speed. everyone in town thought i was going to land. i soon pulled up out of that maneuver then made several passes at high speed. it was fun. usually i called home before and the folks would be waiting for me. mom said larry would go outside and sit on the roof of the chicken coop from early morning until i arrived (about noon).
i remember another cross country trip. we were flying across the expansive wheat fields of kansas where 6 or 7 large combines were harvesting wheat. they were in formation, one behind the other. i decided to see if i could get their attention and proceeded to make a low pass over them. they kept running and finally after the 5th pass they all came to a stop and got out of their combines and started waving at us."
and if you have ever been around one of these planes...they are LOUD and BIG. i can feel the passion my dad had for these planes through him, because i have it too. although i am not a pilot, never was in a war, planes give me goosebumps. in a major way. must run in the family.
my dad talks about the immense patriotism which was so alive in america during WWII. through his stories i have come to understand the importance of ALL veterans and the purpose in fighting for what is right. i am especially fond of the older gentlemen who are WWII veterans, especially one i know quite well. sorry dad, i just called you an "older gentleman".
i also have been known to get teary eyed when i encounter a young man wearing fatiques...maybe all of that old fashioned patriotism has worn off on me.
to all veterans old and young.
happy memorial day.
thanks for keeping us safe.