Sitting in the backyard w/ my 99 year old pop and he's talking about WWII, ooh and we're having a beer

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txramfan

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Actually , not a beer its a Budweiser.
And just to keep it Ruger related , we are sitting 50 ' from where 40 or so years ago we let off a few 41 mag rounds through 4x4 blocks on the grass. I'm not disclosing location, suffice it to say we watched the Dana Point harbor break water be built way back when.

Pop did 35 missions as a B 17g pilot.
I've heard a few stories before, might share others later.

Today I learned his last mission was bombing Schweinfurt, in 45. What made this one memorable was a group of B 17s above him dropped their bombs through his formation....formation broke up dodging bombs and then some reformed.

He's had a remarkable life.
 

Bob Wright

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I don't know if this were that mission or not, but there is a series of photos of a B-17 being struck by bombs from a plane above. The photos show one bomb severing the left stabilizer of the B-17. And the caption indicates none of the crew escaped.

Bob Wright
 

txramfan

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Mr Wright,
I have seen that photo series and that flashed thru my brain as my pop told my wife and I about his last mission.
Interesting sidenote ( to me at least )on the Schweinfurt mission is I remember 40+ years ago pop talking about that mission and he was upset about the preflight briefing being at odds with what the actual purpose of the mission. He spoke how the strategic importance of the mission as explained preflight, their target that day was a train station , was emphasized by the Colonel leading the briefing would further hinder the German military. My pop would have preferred to been told the real reason was to destroy a city and demoralize any hope the Germans had, the train station really wasn't that important as a miltary target .
 

txramfan

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A number of years ago I got the opportunity to shake one of those bomber fly boys hands .... I was honored and humbled.

You should be proud.
We, siblings etc, are amazed and proud of pop. He's not the only family member who flew tis the one still here .

Moms brother navigated on a B17 not sure designation, I've got his log book and I might have the sextent ( I think that's what its called ) he appropriated after turning his in after his 50 missions over N Africa , Italy etc. My middle name is his first name.

Pops cousin flew P38 photo recon in the south Pacific, by coincidence we share first names. His flights were solo, radio silent and his life was changed from his service.

One more oddity of life

Last year pop had a TAVR installed, heart valve w/o cracking chest. I spent a while getting him through PT. Out of the blue he mentions he has a piece of flak he wants me to have, he opens a box and says take your pick of 3 pieces.
I have 2 siblings .
 
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I miss my father more and more... when he was starting to get dementia the VA was going to do a MRI on his brain but x-rayed his head first.... hunk of steel about the size of a quarter in his brain from a little stint he did while a Marine back in Korea the Winter of 1950, actually it was still Fall... 10 days November into December, when the temperature dropped to 30 below and something like a 80- 100,000 Chinese came at him and his buddies.
 

lolbell

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My dad has been gone for 12 years now. I miss him more now than when he first passed. He was my best friend, mentor, and advisor. He served in Korea and went through some ruff times. He never talked about it much. When asked he would just reply “we aren’t going to talk about that.
 

Garth69

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Aug 21, 2017
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Actually , not a beer its a Budweiser.
And just to keep it Ruger related , we are sitting 50 ' from where 40 or so years ago we let off a few 41 mag rounds through 4x4 blocks on the grass. I'm not disclosing location, suffice it to say we watched the Dana Point harbor break water be built way back when.

Pop did 35 missions as a B 17g pilot.
I've heard a few stories before, might share others later.

Today I learned his last mission was bombing Schweinfurt, in 45. What made this one memorable was a group of B 17s above him dropped their bombs through his formation....formation broke up dodging bombs and then some reformed.

He's had a remarkable life.
This might bring back memories for him. Written by Waycross Georgia Judge Ben Smith, the radio operator of "Chick's Crew," the book provides a first hand account of the lives of aerial gunners in the Eighth Air Force who flew bombing missions over Germany in World War II. It is especially a must have for anyone with ancestors who were connected in any way with the 303rd (Hell's Angels) Bomb Group at Molesworth, England. Judge Ben was a personal friend and fishing buddy of mine. RIP Ben Smith.
 

txramfan

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Pop was in the 305 th ( Can Do)

So another of pops memories from 1944
The group bombed in support of the troops during the Ardennes Campaign ( Battle of the Bulge as history calls it) on Christmas eve.
The briefing gave iffy weather forecast for the return to England, the mission went as planned and weather was bad on return and they landed at a different base. Pop said only 3 or 4 bases had weather that allowed landing so more planes then space happened B17s were parked all over the place and groups were mixed up between those fields.
So it being Christmas Eve the Officers Club was decorated and the over capacity mixed group of men drank the club dry. Seriously pop recalled they were down to schnapps and nothing else.
The next morning pop awoke on the floor of the Officers Club and realizes a Full Bird Colonel was asleep next to him a lowly Lt.
 

Gopher

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Have you shown him the documentary The Cold Blue? It's made up of color combat footage filmed during the making of the original Memphis Belle. He might enjoy it or it might bring back more memories than he would want to deal with.




 
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