Whitesburg KY

My flying days in the Air Force

Before World War II started, when we heard a plane flying over the mountains of Burdine and Jenkins, it was a rarity. We would run outside to get a glimpse of it.

In Burdine Grade School, we would all run to the windows to look for the plane, even our teachers. If we were home on our farm, the animals heard the plane before it came into sight. The noise scared them.

After war started, many warplanes flew over Pine Mountain on their way to Europe. After I went into the Army Air Corps, I found out those pilots were WASPs, Women Air Service Pilots, who would pick up the aircraft at the factories and fly them to our pilots in England. I met many of these ladies.

As I was a young teenager in Burdine School, all my male classmates would talk about flying. Just a few years later this old hillbilly would be flying in a warplane, a B-17 bomber.

During my Air Sea Rescue days, we flew in all types of weather in our rescue planes or our helicopters. I never got over the shaking of the early helicopters in flight.

My 15 years with Military Air Transport Service (MATS) headquarters, I flew on all the models of aircraft we had at that time, flying to our printing departments in most parts of the world. The jets we have now get you there in a much shorter time.

I have not flown in 20 years, and I don’t miss it. I’ve had my share of flying.

Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.

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