I was given credit for 32 missions. The first was with the William H. Hart Crew, 11-5-1943. We bombed Mynster Flying Ale Sabina.|
The 22nd mission was with the M.D. Mendenhall crew, 6-6-1944, D-Day A/C unknown.
My last mission I flew with Thomas L. Smith crew. I flew with 15 different crews. I flew all gunner positions but top turret. I drank my first beer after my 3rd mission.
On one mission my electric went out, so I froze until we got over the Channel. On another mission later, my electric suit shorted, so I burned around both ankles and both arms at the elbow section. When we landed they put me in a jeep to the hospital. The doctor that took care of me asked if I wanted the purple heart. I told him no. He explained to me that I had been injured in combat. I had in my mind that I should be hurt by enemy fire. The crew that I was flying with was going on a 3-day pass and I had to explain that I was a spare gunner and the only way for me to get the pass was to go with the crew.
Having bandages on both arms and ankles, the doctor at first didn't want me to go, but I promised not to let anyone prick the blisters if the bandages came off. The next morning the bandages were all off. So I found an English Red Cross Hospital. I told the nurse what the doctor told me and she said they had been treating burns more than my doctor. They pricked the blisters, put some salve on them and more bandages. When I reported back to the Sq. doctor, I just knew that he was going to raise cane. After he examined me, he said he was amazed to see that everything turned out as well as it did, no scars. I was awarded the DFC-A/M W/3-Clusters, ETO w/silver star.
Departed Scotland 9-14-1944, arrived in New York 9-21-1944, given leave. Reported for R and R, Miami Beach, FL. Discharged 9-15-1945, Ft. McPherson, Atlanta, GA. Went to Denver, CO, worked as a paper cutter, then worked for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Got too cold, moved to Miley, SC and worked at a sawmill. While living in Miley I started dreaming about bombing schools and churches. Went to see a doctor, he gave me some pills, but that didn't do any good. I started driving down a lonely dirt road, praying and crying my heart out. I did that about 5 or 6 times and I not only stopped having my dreams, but I also forgot about the missions I made and the crews also.
Enlisted in the army 6-11-1948. AF had no place for ex-gunners at Ft. Jackson Columbia, SC.
Departed NY City 7-27-1948. Arrived Bremerhaven, Germany 8-5-1948. Was stationed in Karlsruhe, Schwetzingen and Ettlingen.
I marred a wonderful German girl in Ettlingen, 6-3-1952. We flew from Frankfort 9-2-1952 to Ireland, then to NY City. Discharged 2-17-53, Camp Atterbury, IN. Joined Air National Guard 2-25-1953 and was called to active duty 3-20-1953.
Was stationed at Scott AFB Berville, IL. Our son Michael James was born 3-7-1954 in the base hospital.
After recruiting school I was stationed with the 3503rd Detachment in Orlando, FL. I went to recruiting to get out of supply, upon arriving I was informed that I would be their Supply Sgt. It was my job to keep all recruiting stations with all their needs. I was assigned a pick-up to travel the whole state of FL. Later they made two detachments in FL, one in Jacksonville and one in Miami. That cut my job in half. I was discharged in 1958. My wife and I divorced. I worked for the state of FL for 6 years. Moved back to Savannah, GA. Worked as a warehouse/shipping and receiving for a furniture store. Retired 7-1-1988
I live with a sister, her daughter and son-in-law. My son Michael married a lady, Bonnie Padgett. She had two daughters, by a previous marriage, Chanda and Misti. Michael loves them as if they were his own. Chanda married Rick Rivers. They have a daughter, Kierstin. My only great-grand Child, she is a doll. Rick and Chanda work for the FL Board of Education. Misti is single and is a nurse for a hospital in Jacksonville.