Whitesburg KY

Many jobs as an enlisted pilot

As you know, I went into the military at a young age. After basic training, I went to radio school at Scott Field, Ill., and was one of the youngest in my class.

I did some duty as a radio operator on a small bomber. I made a couple of trips to Canada to the DEW line where we were trying to keep the Russians from flying there.

I was soon sent to Langley Field, Va., for pilot training. We were called “enlisted pilots”. Few knew about us.

Our first job was to fly down the James River in Virginia to the south of Florida, and return to Langley Field. We looked for planes, boats, and anyone needing help, and would call in the Coast Guard to help them.

We also watched for German U-Boats that were hanging around trying to get information from the many Air Force and Navy bases in that area. This was an everyday for my squadron.

After my training, I was sent to the Pentagon, the largest office building in the world. I was in charge of the third and fourth floors for two years. I was friends with one president, who would ask me to train his Air Force One crew how to march in formation. I was friends with most of these 25 men for years after I trained them.

Our older pilots of “enlisted pilots” were in and around Germany looking for troops, planes on the ground, boats in the water, and trains, and when found, would call in our Air Force to do their job and get rid of the targets.

Not a lot was said about our squadron until later in the war. I was very proud to serve in my unit.

(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in California.)

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