Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day

So this one is a little late. I needed to dig for pictures. This would be the Dad unit receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions behind enemy lines in Korea, this would be the first. He retired with an Oak Leaf Cluster on his DFC as well as the Air Medal with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters and a list of other citations including the Air Force Commendation Medal .

Someplace back on the computer at the house I have a scan of the front page of Stars and Stripes with his picture and the accompanying article describing the first "Kill" by an unarmed aircraft. He and his observer spotted an NKA convoy and when they tried to call it in their radio was not working. So, they decided to find out what phosphorus marking rockets did to a fuel truck and proceeded to make low passes and fire off smoke marker rockets at the truck until it exploded.

He joined the Air Force and earned his Military pilots rating flying Stearman Byplanes and retired hauling nukes in B-52's. Despite surviving daily flights at extremely low altitude behind enemy lines in Korea, he was no match for cancer. His last words to me were, "I've had enough." when we left the ICU room at the insistence of the nursing staff, they called a code to his room. He had had enough and was through fighting.

It is a shame that it wasn't until very late in his life that we finally started to connect. I have to say we were closer in the last couple years of his life than we had ever been before. It pains me to realize I wasted all the years we could have had together had I been a bit more open to the relationship.

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