My Dad passed away 29 years ago this past summer and my memories of him are starting to get frayed around the edges. I do remember that he was a very heroic guy who loved other heroes!
Like many from his generation he went to sign up for WW II. When rejected by the Army for flat feet he was devastated. I never realized how much this devastated him until I saw the movie Hacksaw Ridge where Desmond T. Doss testified that several people in his home town committed suicide when they were found to be 4F, unqualified for service. My Dad went to the Army Air Corp recruiter the next day and the first question he was asked was whether or not he had been rejected by any other service. My Dad hung his head and admitted that the Army had rejected him for flat feet. The Army Air Corp recruiter smiled and said, “Come on in boy, we don’t do any marching in the Air Corp!” My Dad then enlisted in the Army Air Corps and ended up as a waist gunner in a photographic B-29 Superfortress in the South Pacific.
On the morning of August 6th, 1945 he and his crew took off from the island of Guam to make a photographic damage assessment over Japan. The crew picked this mission to bring along a real-to-real recorder in order to record their in-plane conversations to send home to the folks.
Little did they know that on this same morning the Enola Gay took off from the same island for their rendezvous with the city of Hiroshima. In a typical military SNAFU, my Dad's airplane was never meant to take off that eventful day. Once they found out, the decision was made to let them go; they couldn't very well get on the radios and recall them telling them they were dropping the big one today!
My Dad's crew members were speaking very professional knowing that they were being recorded; they had brought a real to real onboard to tape their mission to send home to the folks. "Pilot to Bombardier. Roger Pilot, this is the Bombardier." Then the bomb "Little Boy" reached its target and it looked like a star had exploded. "Roger Bombardier, this is the pilot. How far ... What the fudge is that?" Only they didn't use the word fudge.
The crew members of the Enola gay commanded by Paul Tibbets were dressed in radiation suits with leaded goggles to protect them from the blast. My Dad's crew members were wearing their usual T-shirts and sun glasses.
After they returned to base they were severely debriefed and their real-to-real recording was confiscated. No one knows to this day where that recording is; probably in some warehouse in Washington next to the Arc of the Covenant!
What a hero, but if you could ask him today, he would say he was born 60 years too late; he really wanted to be a cowboy. He would have been a regular at the Lucky Spur in Dodge City, he would have fallen in love with Gentry and he would have backed Emmett Love up whenever he needed it.
How do I know this, well as a child I watched every John Wayne western ever made with my Dad, not to mention every episode of Bonanza and Gun Smoke at least 2-3 times. My Dad loved the allure of the Wild West and I know he would have loved to have been a bronco-buster back then. I can picture my Dad escorting a wagon train or going into a saloon for a drink, a game of stud poker or some other pleasures.
If my Dad was still alive he would have devoured every word of "Follow the Stone" and "Don't Poke the Bear" and then would have moved on to all the Donavan Creed novels.
How do I know he would have loved Donovan Creed? Well, there was that time he decided to live in the attic for 6 months!
I can't write intriguing stories like John Locke can. But, I am a Christian and I like to share my faith.
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