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Meeting an old and dear veteran friend


As I was shopping at the base commissary, I ran into one of our transport pilots that I served with in the β€˜50s and β€˜60s. We sat at a table and had a free cup of coffee the commissary gives its customers, and we talked for a long time.

He was 91 years old, lived in Texas, and came to Travis to visit his son who was a pilot here.

He was in the Army Air Corps as a young teenager when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the military asked for men to go to pilot training at Randolph Field, Texas.

When he finished flying school, he then learned to fly a B-24 bomber and was assigned a crew. His crew was sent to England and assigned to the 8th Air Force where they flew missions over Germany.

I asked him if he knew my uncle, George Short, who was in charge of the mechanics that worked on the planes. He did not remember the names of the mechanics.

He recalled D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the Normandy Beach landing. His crew flew to France to bomb German airfields, bridges and munitions depots. He said the weather was very bad that day, and they had a hard time finding their targets.

His son came by to pick him up and he introduced me. He told his son that we served together many years ago in the Military Air Transport Service. We shook hands and said our goodbyes.

After all these years, I meet many old vets I served with 50 or 60 years ago. Boy, we all have changed a lot.

The late Everett Vanover, a contributing writer for many years for The Mountain Eagle, was born in Jenkins and lived in California.

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