SPACE A IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS
From my dad tonight, who’s out celebrating his wedding anniversary.
In July 1956, roomate Joe and I had delivered a new Ford, bought at West Point, to Joe’s sister in Calgary, Alberta, and I found myself on the highway just south of the city with a thunb in the air as darkness and thunderstorms approached. A nice Canadian couple stopped and picked me up, entered the U.S and dropped me off in Great Falls, Montana. I hitched a second ride with an airman to Great Falls (later Malmstrom) AFB and the BOQ. Checked with base ops who said be there at 0600 and they might be able to get me out. Waiting was a B-25. Drew a parachute and the pilot told me to get up in the nose and away we went, destination Minneapolis. One of the most wonderful flights ever -beautiful day and fairly low altitude.
A Navy C-45 was departing for Norfolk Naval Air Station; raced over and climbed in for the rest of the flight. Once there, hitched a ride to Willoughby Spit to catch the last ferry across to Phoebus or Ft. Monroe – can’t remember which. On deck, a gentleman asked why I was carrying a chute. Explained that it was Air Force property and had not had time to turn it in. Asked where I was going and I replied to my parents’ house at Ft. Monroe. Said he would take me. By the time he did a U-turn in front of their quarters and deposited me, all was dark – he said I was to tell my father that this was just the Air Force supporting the Army as it always did. As I went around his car to get the chute I noticed the 4 stars on his Langley AFB decal. It was General Weyland, Commanding General of the Tactical Air Command.
It is daunting to realize that this all took place only 14 years after the Doolittle raid on Tokyo and the video shows men celebrating the 68th anniversary. No doubt the raid means more to me than anyone addressed because I remember it. But it certainly sent a message that someone had made a BIG mistake. Midway less than two months later confirmed it in spades.
The aircraft in the video aren’t the ones on the raid – it was a one way trip, but it sends shivers up one’s spine to see them in formation.
Sent: 6/16/2010 7:22:21 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: 68th Doolittle Reunion – breath-taking!