In Memory of One Special Veteran and a Tribute to Others

On November 11th, we celebrate Veterans Day. This is a time to honor all those men and women who have served in the military and those who continue to do so. We also remember those who fought and sacrificed their lives to keep our country safe.

My dad was a World War II veteran. He served in the Army Air Corps as First Lieutenant, navigating B-29 bombers and was a member of the 505th Bombardment Group based on Tinian Island. My dad was there during the time Tinian Island served as the base for the Enola Gay, the B-29 aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

When we were growing up, he rarely talked about his service. I had the feeling he wanted to distance himself from those years. After my mother died, he began telling the family about the time he served in the Army Air Corps. He especially wanted the grandkids to know the history of that period. Here are some of his experiences and memories.

My dad flew bombing missions and searched for survivors after B-29 bombers were shot down. He mined Tokyo Bay and Shimonoseki Strait. As for the atomic bomb, this is what my dad remembers hearing from a crew member of the Enola Gay:  “We dropped something. There was a big cloud. We got out of there!”

My dad’s last mission of the war was to blow up railroad yards. The first people to go home from the Islands were the mechanics. Those who were left behind had to maintain their own planes. On his way home, my dad’s plane landed in Hawaii to refuel. Good thing because it ran out of fuel on the runway!

After my dad passed away, we cleared out his house. We found a treasure trove of items from his military days inside his army trunk. Like my mother, he kept EVERYTHING! Those remaining members of the 484th Squadron might recognize some of the pictures I’ve included below.

Navigation School Graduation Booklet

Bracelet and Physical Record Card

Love Letters Written to my Mother

484th Squadron

Radar Plotting Chart

Realities of War

War is nasty. We are fortunate to have men and women who are willing to protect our country from those who would destroy the freedom we enjoy. Remember to honor and thank all of our veterans today and every day!

Here’s a great picture book to help young readers learn about America’s Armed Forces:  H is for Honor:  A Military Family Alphabet written by Devin Scillian and illustrated by Victor Juhasz (Sleeping Bear Press, 2011)

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One Comment on “In Memory of One Special Veteran and a Tribute to Others”

  1. TIm Says:

    Do you know the name/number of your father’s aircraft? My father was also in the 484th on the B-29 The Purple Shaft.


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