Monday, November 11, 2013
Veterans Day 2013
My dad was a B17 Bomber pilot in World War II.
He flew in the Mighty Flying Fortress.
He flew 35 missions over Germany and 1 over Norway, looking for the German submarines hidden in the deep waters of the Norwegian Fjords. The limit for the number of missions flown for pilots was supposed to be25, but the US had lost so many planes over Europe that many pilots had to fly extra missions.
My dad, John, was an excellent pilot. He was focused on the task at hand, gave responsibility to his copilot so he could concentrate on his job and getting his squadron back to base. He hardly ever spoke about his war experience but every once in a while he would share. Often times he said when they got back to the base in England and they looked at the planes they would wonder how they made it back.
He was a tremendous leader, with devotion to his country and the men who were under him. He maintained contact with his unit and his only one desire that I ever heard was that he could go up in a B17 again. I know it's silly but I do hope he gets to do that someday in heaven.
His leadership translated well back into his civilian life. He got married, went to college while working as a teller in a bank and doing gigs with his band on the weekends. He worked himself up to bank president and board member during his last 15 working years.
I honor him and my uncles and Christian today for the service they gave to our country. My dad was 22 when he assumed command of his unit. It seems almost unbelievable that maturity and responsibility was conferred at such an early age. But the men then rose to the challenge and the best was brought out of them. He lived the rest of his life with honor and integrity as his compass.
His grandchildren have a lot to be proud of!!