Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #144 – Taking Flight

This post is dedicated to the memory of my father and all of the other men of the U. S. Army Air Corps who flew American bombers in Europe and the Pacific during World War II.

When I first saw Tina’s challenge “Taking Flight” my first instinct was to feature the hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies that are flying around my yard right now. But then I thought about my Dad and how he dedicated his life to flying airplanes for the U.S. Air Force. I decided to focus on his story instead.

My Dad grew up on a small farm high up in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia. After high school, he left the farm to find work. He had a job installing sprinkler systems which involved traveling to different locations in the U.S.

He was working in Alabama when he enlisted in the Army after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He was told to go back to work and he would be notified of when and where he was to report. He was working on a job in Florida when he received his orders to report for Basic Training.

After completing the training the men were rated according to their ability. Dad was rated a Bomber Pilot. After flight training in various places around the country he received his wings in the Army Air Corps.

During World War II he was assigned to a base in Italy where he flew 50 missions flying the B-24 Liberator shown at the top of the page. Dad returned to the states without injury after he completed his 50 missions.

After the war, Dad made the United States Air Force his career. He flew various other airplanes throughout his career including B-52s in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He retired in the early 1970’s after about 30 years of service.

B52 – photo from one of Dad’s old slides

Flash forward to 2002. Dad and I had an opportunity to go to an exhibition which featured a restored B-24. My Dad was a big man and I was amazed at how small the inside of the plane actually was. I could only imagine how difficult it must have been for him to be in that plane for those long missions.

B24 Liberator Cockpit

I’m so grateful Dad and I had that day together. He loved seeing the plane and talking to people about his experiences.

One of few remaining B24 Liberators in 2002
One of few remaining B24 Liberators in 2002

Whenever people would thank Dad for his service he would always say “I was just doing my job.”

WILD BLUE YONDER

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder,

Climbing high, into the sun;

Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,

At ’em now, give ’em the gun!

Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,

Off with one helluva roar!

We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!

Nothing’ll stop the U. S. Air Force!

The U. S. Air Force Song, Updated Official Lyrics 1 May 2020

Many thanks to Tina for this Photo Challenge: Taking Flight. Please be sure to visit her original post at Lens-Artists Challenge #144: Taking Flight

Photo credits: Black and white WWII B-24 Liberator and B-52 images taken by my Dad. All others by me.

25 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #144 – Taking Flight

  1. Reading your post, I experienced pins and needles. Those are touching memories of your Dad, and the experience of visiting an actual plane together must have been a memorable experience for both of you. Thank you to your Dad for his service and to your family for the support you gave him. Great post! 🇺🇸

    Liked by 2 people

  2. WOW. Mega-salutes to you and your father. There is a B-24 at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AZ. There is an entire hangar/sub-museum devoted to the B-17. There are displays there outlining the WWII ETO bombing missions and how deadly they were for bombers as well as bombed. He was lucky to survive, and then fly B-52s!! WOW.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John, thank you. I have been to the Mighty Eighth museum in Savannah several times and seen films of some of the bombing missions they flew from their bases in England. Yes, my dad was very lucky to survive and continue flying. We lived on a Strategic Air Command Base in the early 60’s and I can still remember the sound of the B-52’s taking off.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such an interesting post. I always wondered how some larger men could stand to be in those small cockpits. I guess your father’s reply sums it up: “I was just doing my job.” And thank goodness he and many like him did do their jobs. I’ve been to the Mighty Eighth museum in Savannah too and loved it. Small, but meaningful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful post Beth – I loved every word and image. Your dad must have been quite something. What an amazing memory for him, and how lucky you were to have shared it. We have a wonderful “museum” here in Charleston which is a retired aircraft carrier that has one of every kind of plan ever flown by the USAF (or maybe it’s navy planes???) Anyway it’s a marvelous tribute to the planes’ designers and to the men who flew them. You’d love it I’m sure. Thanks so much for sharing your dad’s story with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tina, I’m happy to share Dad’s story. Is the aircraft carrier you mentioned the Yorktown? I’ve always wanted to see it. We’ve been to the Navy Air museum in Pensacola and the Mighty Eighth inSavannah.

      Like

  5. This is a marvelous post, Beth. I love how you featured your dad. I’ve also seen B-24 bombers and I was shocked at how small the cockpit was! My current novel (a work in progress!) takes place in the USA in the 1930’s and 1940’s, so I interviewed a few women who worked as “Rosie the Riveters” in Detroit during the war. Their story is fascinating, too. Your dad’s courage under fire as well as all the other pilots is amazing. I have such respect for their skill and bravery.

    Like

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