My father graduated from high school in the middle of the Depression. When war seemed likely, he enlisted and was finally assigned to Diss England as a member of the 351 bomb squadron, 100th Bomb Group, Eighth Air Force. He said later that this was the first steady job he ever had.
My father’s sentiments on his wartime experiences are best exemplified by the following episode: In 1992, the movie Memphis Belle came out. Memphis Belle was about the Eighth Air Force and I thought that my father might want to see it. I asked him if he was going and he sneered and muttered something under his breath. This was my father’s way of saying no.
I asked him why. “God dammit!” he exploded, “How the hell could they make a movie about that? If it was realistic, all they could show would be a crew of young guys crapping in their pants for two hours!”
In later years, I related this story to a retired air force corporal who flew fighter planes in China and Burma during the Second World War, and in Korea and Vietnam, “Your father was right,” he told me.
My father (left) with his brother and sister before he left for boot camp.
His lucky flying charm
A B17 and autographs of the crew
His reward for surviving
His last reunion