I left school after WWII started. I was older than most of the students in my class and decided to go into the Army Air Corp.
After basic training, I went to aircraft school in Los Angeles and lived in a hotel. I enjoyed going to the Hollywood Canteen on weekends. After finishing school, it was back to the old training at four other air bases, Nevada, Utah, North Carolina and Virginia.
In the summer of 1943, I was off to Tunis, North Africa. I was assigned to the 17th Bomber Group, which was flying B-26 Marauders Bombers. In November 1943, we moved to the Italian Island of Sardinia. There in December 1943, I was shot in the right hip and was in the hospital six weeks.
In 1944, we moved to the French Island of Corsica for the invasion of Southern France.
In October 1944, we moved to Dijon, France. I was an Engineer Gunner. While on a bombing mission December 17, 1944, our plane was shot up. Although one engine was on fire, the pilot was able to keep it flying close enough to friendly lines that we could all parachute out and escape. After returning to our base in Dijon, we went to Paris for ten days of R & R.
March 1945, our plane crashed after taking off from the runway with a load of bombs. The plane broke in half and some of the bombs rolled from the plane. All crew members survived.
On April 26, 1945, while on a bombing mission over Bavaria, Germany, our flight was attacked by jet fighter planes. Three planes in our flight of six were shot down. The right wing of one of the planes hit the tail section of our plane as it went down. Our pilot was able to keep our plane under control, and we made it back to our base. Only two crew- members from the three planes shot down survived. Our group doctor sent me to R & R in Southern France. WWII ended while I was there.
I was stationed in Belgium for a short while before returning back to the United States and was stationed at Santa Ana Airbase. My first furlough I went back to Dos Palos. It was so good to be home. I didn’t go anywhere for a few days.
I went with some of the kids in our old neighborhood, east of Dos Palos to the San Joaquin River for a swim party. While on our way home, I heard over the radio that the war with Japan was over, and the celebration began.
Three weeks after the war ended, I was discharged from the Air Corps. My first job was an airplane mechanic and flight engineer at the Stockton Air Base in Stockton, California. After two months, my doctor suggested I stay away from airplanes for awhile. In 1946 I went to work for the Golden State Milk Co. in Los Banos. My job was testing milk in the lab, and that’s when I started to remember what I had learned in Mr. Easter’s Ag Class.
In 1946, I met my wife to be, Alta, and we married in December of that year. Our first daughter, Linda was born in Los Banos in 1948. We moved to Fresno in 1949, and I went to work at the Veterans Hospital before it was opened for patients. Our son, Dennis was born in 1951. After high school he enlisted in the Air Force for four years, then off to college. In 1961, our daughter, Roberta was born.
I retired from the Veterans Hospital in 1980. Alta and I have a small hobby farm east of Clovis where we have raised cows and sheep and a horse for about ten years. We now rent out our pasture so that we have more time for our volunteer work. We are both very active with the Clovis Veterans of Foreign Wars organization.