Just got back to my crash pad after a 4 day trip up and down the west coast. My First Officer and I didn’t talk much until today. We found something in common. Warbirds and honoring the Veterans of WWII.
Bill, my FO grew up in an aviation family and next to an airport in the bay area. In the 60’s and 70’s, when he and I were growing up, the bay area was home to alot of WWII vintage aviation. Bill developed an intense interest in flying from those days and I could tell he was an expert on all the great aircraft of WWII. We talked of the TBM, AT6, B-17, B-24, B-25, Bearcat, Tigercat, PBY, B-29, B36, Stearmans, Champs and on and on.
He told stories of flying with some buddies in a B-24 and helping show the public these magnificent airplanes. He told a touching story of a elderly lady wanting to see the navigator station on a B-17. The reason, her brother was shot down over Germany in 1943 in a B-17. Bill was the one to show her the navigator station of the B-17 he was volunteering on. He was able to sit quiety with this woman as she had closure after 50 years of her brother who never made it home.
He told me about when he went to the Royal Air Force Duxford airfield to visit and see one of the many airfields that the brave RAF fought off the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. He mentioned how to him it was “hallowed ground”. I could not agree more and hope some day I am able to travel to see these airfields.
I hope we never forget these Warbirds and the men and women who flew them. They definitely rose to the great menace of the day and fought and won over valiantly. I just hope we can meet the challenges of our day as well as our grandparents did.