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Sgt T

World War II Pilot

Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
Andrew's eyes are the color of a grey sky. His mind is still fairly sharp. Only his face and hands show his age. His wife died a few years ago.

I had the priviledge of visiting with Andrew this morning at the Whataburger near my house. We had both come in for breakfast. While we have seen each other there before, he and I are both "regulars," this morning was the first time I really got to talk to him.

Andrew was "about 17 or 18" when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He said that while many of his friends went off to the service or got drafted, he continued working at the electric company, cleaning meters. His boss asked him, "Andrew, do you want to be the storefront man?" Andrew said, "Yes, anything to get out of the yard." So, Andrew became the "storefront man" but he still had to clean the meters. Then his boss asked him, "Andrew, do you want to work with accounts?" Again, Andrew said, "Yes, anything to get out of the yard." Now Andrew was working with accounts, but he was still the storeront man and the meter cleaner. It seems he was filling the jobs for all his buddies who had joined the service.

Andrew told me he went to the draft board to see what his status was. The draft board told him he was is the Sea Bees. Turns out that was his uncle who had a similar name. Once this mixup was corrected, Andrew received his draft notice. Fortunately he was able to pick the Army Air Corp for his branch of service.

I am a big WWII history buff, particuarly WWII aircraft. Sitting and listening to Andrew talk about all the types of aircraft he piloted was a great time for me. We talked about his training from basic flight to his becoming rated in the B-29 Superfortress. Prior to transitioning to the B-29 Andrew had been a pilot for the B-24 Liberator. He also flew the B-25 and about a dozen other aircraft. Andrew related that when Germany surrendered it wasn't that big of a deal here in the states. We were still fighting the Japanes in the Pacific. That was when he changed from the B-24 to the B-29. Andrew told me he was in a B-29 over the Gulf of Mexico doing a training mission when they received word of the Japanese surrender. "That B-29 just turned around and headed back to base, almost as if on it's own." he said. I believe Andrew is both glad and frustrated that he spent the war in a constant cycle of training. He was always training in "the next bomber" he would fly into battle.

Andrew was out of the service by October of 45'. He went back to his job with the electric company, it seems his wife wasn't too keen on his staying in the Air Corp. He and his wife raised a family together and he has several grandkids who are now serving in the military.

Andrew is like many members of the "greatest generation" who never saw combat. But, that does not make him any less of a hero. When his country called, he answered. He was ready and willing to do his duty, which he did. His love of country and service is reflected in his grandkids.

WWII veterans are slowly disappearing. If you haven't taken the time to visit it with one, please do so. It is not time spent, but time invested.

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  1. dnola's Avatar
    Since all of the "greatest generation" are in their mid-eighties or older, it will not be long before you no longer have the chance to visit with them. They are, each and every one, the reason you have enjoyed the life we have had for the last 64+ years. They knew when it was time to fight against Imperial and totalitarian leaders and many gave their all.

    Thanks for the blog Sgt T.
  2. UGA's Avatar
    Excellent story Sgt T, thanks for sharing.

    I fear that with the passing of his generation, we are loosing too many that truly grasp what it means to be a patriot and an American. With today's political climate and global instability, we need our American patriots more than ever.

  3. Rossi's Avatar
    We are comrades in interest. I enjoy, and never fail to marvel at WW II history and the greatest generation.

    I was in the hospital overnight in January of this year, and my roommate was a Biker friend's step father. He is 84, very sharp, and is a farmer in a small town south of the hospital.

    We got to talking that evening, and under my direct question, he admitted to being in the second wave at Iwo Jima. He was in the Cee Bees (Navy Construction Battalion). His post on the LST (Landing Ship, Tank) was a .50 caliber machine gun, and after landing, he jumped down on his road grader to drive it on off.

    He was active in the rebuilding of both air strips, both still being contested at the time. He offered nothing except one small story where one of his shipmates became a wealthy landowner, having bought land all over California. Was only outbid one time......by Bob Hope.

    We talked all night, but I had to drag out every bit of it. He would fully answer....but he never offered anything except that one little story. It wasn't all about the war, although allot of it was. The rest was the Depression years and the Dust Bowl in parts of Kansas. All very interesting but also sad.

    Andrew could have flown one of my mom's bombers. She was a welder, later promoted to an Inspector. They built the B-24 Liberator Heavy Bomber under contracts with Consolidated, at the Douglas plant at Tulsa. Sometimes she would speak about those days....there was so much stress in the Inspector's job. Everyone was so afraid that they would miss something, and a part would fail at a critical time, and the Inspectors were the final ones to see it prior to assembly. Work ethic was an unknown phrase during those desperate times.

    Andrew sounds like an interesting character, thanks for the narrative.

    Rossi

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