Read the Society of Old Farts of America Creed
With the 75th anniversary of D-Day coming up in 2019, I thought you might be interested in hearing the story of my father's involvement with the military during WWII.
My father and the family lived in a community in the western US. In 1939 World War II was breaking out in Europe and concern about the war caused the local Chamber of Commerce to contact the state's two senators and request they consider the development of a military installation near the community.
In 1941, the Civil Aeronautics Authority provided the money for the development of an Army Air Corps base near the community.
The base mission was to establish an air route between the south 48 and Alaska, as part of the United States Lend-Lease Program that supplied the Soviet Union with aircraft and supplies needed to fight the German armed forces.
Money was appropriated, the base was constructed and operations began in November 1942 when the first B-17 Flying Fortress landed. Group Headquarters and one of the Groups' four squadrons were stationed on the base with the other squadrons were stationed on sub-bases throughout the west. Aircraft would take off at a predetermined time, form up in squadron formation over their respective locations, and later join up in group formation. These bombardment groups went on to participate in decisive raids over Germany as part of Eighth Air Force opening the door for Allied daylight precision bombing.
At the base, P-39 Airacobras, C-47 Skytrains, B-25 Mitchells, and A-20 Havocs aircraft. B-25 Mitchell Bombers arrived by rail and were assembled, along with others that were flown in by both Arm Air Corp and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). These aircraft were then flown by U.S. pilots, by way of the Alaskan-Siberian Route (ALSIB), through Canada, to Fairbanks, Alaska, and transferred to Russian pilots who in turn flew them into Siberia.
My father worked as a civilian mechanic on the planes passing through on their way to Fairbanks and Russia.
While he was working as a civilian, an Army recruiting major visited the base and called all the civilian workers cowards for not joining the Army Air Corps and going to the war front in England. My father's patriotic spirit took over and he enlisted. He left home in July, 1943 after joining the Army and was shipped to Texas for basic training. After basic training in San Antonio he was shipped to England where he was supposed to be an aircraft mechanic for the U.S. Army Air Corps. After his arrival he learned that preparations were in order for the invasion of Europe. (D-DAY) The Army was taking every able-bodied man to be trained as an infantryman and sent to the invading force. He was able to talk to his base commander and let him know that he probably would be more valuable as a mechanic on the aircraft that were waiting idle. He finished out his tour of duty working on A-20s and B-17s on bases in England. He returned home to his family in 1945.


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