SeeIntoSpace.com Members Salute Our Veterans
Email your comments to Chris@SeeIntoSpace.com
I served from 1966-69 in the Air Force as an aircraft radio repairman, a year of that in Thailand with Operations Igloo White and College Eye. My father (Army) and his two brothers (both Navy pilots) were in WWII, all 3 serving in the South Pacific, and my grandfather was a mule tender in WWI. Grandpa was so good at his job the Army had him stay in New Jersey to train new recruits while his whole company shipped out to France. He broke down in tears when relating the story because not a single man from that company, except him, survived the war.
- Peter Birren
author: Objects in the Heavens
God bless those in uniform. Thank you for what you do.
thank you for looking out for the freedom we have.
Praise to our vets!! my father fought for our freedom in WW2. I am very proud of that fact. He is still spry as can be. Lets hope and pray that all our vets live as long and happy as God has allowed him too.
Thank you for your welcome email. Excellent information.
You have touched a nerve and some very powerful memories.
Thank You for recognizing our veterans. This is a very important time of year, to acknowledge those in our society who risk their lives to protect ours to ensure our freedom. There are just too damned many people in our nation who have no clue what we have gone through during previous wars to maintain our freedom and what it must take to keep our freedom in the future. These are very scary times we live in, and I fear they are not getting any safer. I am glad that the vast majority of the WWII veterans are no longer with us to see what is happening in America, how we take everything for granted and don’t believe we should spend the money necessary to protect our country.
I do wish to recognize Veteran’s Day for a very personal reason. Feel free to identify my name and email if desired.
My father passed away 5 years ago at age 86. He led an extremely interesting life, one that I am very proud to relate to anyone. He was a 30-year career officer in the U.S. Air Force, beginning in the early 1940’s, starting with piloting B-17’s ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-17 ) and B-24’s ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-24 ) over Germany during World War II, being shot down twice behind enemy lines and crash landing three B-24’s, including one in Boise, Idaho, right on the main airport flight line at night. He had some incredibly scary and horrible experiences while flying bombers and escaping from Nazi-held territory, at one time spending 6 weeks behind enemy lines, working with the French Resistance trying to escape. When he was shot down he weighed about 180 pounds, but after he finally escaped 6 weeks later, he weighed 90 pounds. Following his duty in Europe, he returned to the U.S. for flight training in B-29’s ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-29 ) , but that ended abruptly with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan. He did not go to the Pacific Theater of operations.
After that he got married, built a beautiful Cape Cod style home in Bethany, Connecticut, by himself (he was an excellent carpenter and electrician; they washed their clothes in a stream), then traveled all over the world to various USAF bases. He was in communications with the USAF. As a result, I was born in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada, later living on the island of Okinawa, south of Japan, and in Turkey. For about four years he was base commander at the Mt. Hebo Radar Station on the central coast of Oregon ( http://www.fix.net/wreil/mt.hebo.htm ) , where I spent several years in late elementary and junior high school. Sadly, today there is nothing left of the base, having been totally dismantled and removed many years ago. We were in Turkey in 1969, my junior year of high school, when American’s landed on the Moon, which we listened to on the BBC radio station, which was the only radio station we could get in English. There was no TV.
During his four years in Okinawa at Naha Air Force Base, totally secretly and unknown to me, he was involved in advance preparations for America’s military move into Vietnam. I always wondered why he carried an shoulder holster sidearm. I remember making several trips with our family to the White Beach Naval Base, seeing the huge Seventh Fleet at anchor off shore. Little did we know, but Dad was within hours of leaving by Navy ship for Vietnam to set up initial communications. But, each time the departure was halted due to political situations. Dad was then transferred back to the U.S. and we left Okinawa in 1962. As I learned many years later, the advance Vietnam communications team did finally leave for Vietnam just a week after we returned to the U.S.
Shortly after the loss of my mother in the early 1990’s, as my wife and I were staying with my father to help him in the turmoil, unbelievably we got him talking about his military years, from day one. He spent the next four nights unloading to us, which he had never done before. I immediately recognized the once-in-our-lifetime opportunity and managed to get about six hours of his stories on tape (now on CD). Every time I listen to his account of his bomber duty and missions, I am in awe of what America servicemen endure in combat, whether on the ground, at sea, or in the air. He came very close to death many times, certainly during bombing missions, but especially when he came within a few minutes of being executed by a Russian firing squad deep inside enemy territory when a member of the French Resistance came running up to explain that my father was an American, not a German. What did not help matters was his last name, Reil, which is German. During his time escaping from enemy territory, he also experienced the execution of an entire family having a young teenage daughter, because they were accused of helping the Germans. As my father explained, you did not know who was your enemy or your friend behind enemy lines, with many bands of people being their own law, with nobody higher to report to.
He spent many enjoyable years in retirement on the coast of Oregon, in the tiny logging and fishing community of Waldport, population 1,400. He enjoyed years of fishing and hunting and rebuilding a house on the banks of the Alsea River. This is where I spent some of my high school years.
When he passed away in Salem, Oregon, the U.S. Air Force sent a full military honor guard for his funeral, giving him a 21-gun salute. It was an overpowering experience, that still brings tears to me now. Ever since my college days, every year I would call him on Veteran’s Day to wish him well and thank him for helping give me and our family a free country to grow up in.
That’s all for my story. Too many tears to continue.
I am thankful for the Veterans who served this country.