Henry Fonda Tea Rose

Henry Fonda Tea Rose
My Special Rose

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Armed Forces Day, Norm's Story

Today, I especially proud of my husband, and grateful for the years he gave from those given to him by his creator in the service of his country. It was only a small reward, but I made him his favorite breakfast, waffles with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream. I suppose I should have added a few blueberries for a patriotic touch, but he knew what I was thinking.

I asked him how he felt about those years (29) he spent at the beck and call of The Commander -in-Chief, the Secretary of Defense and the Chiefs of Staff of the Air Force. In his own words:

"I was a volunteer for the US Air Force in July, 1950. I had passed the pilot entrance exams, but had to spend 18 months at Lackland AFB in San Antonio training recruits before I went to Aviation Cadets at Hondo AFB, TX. Carole and I met before Cadets thru a mutual friend in Shreveport, where she was born. We were married during my second half of Cadet training, which, I suppose was breaking the rules, but the distance between us was too great, and we were in love. It was tough til graduation in January 1953, and we looked forward to living together like normal couples, but after only six months, I was sent to Korea for a year, a lowly 2nd Lt, but I did have my pilot's wings. In Korea, I flew B-26's, completed my missions and bided my time til I could get home to Carole and our baby, Paul.
The years that followed meant many moves, a 3 year tour in Japan, and lots of time s when I was away learning to fly more advanced aircraft,, Our squadron went to McDill AFB, Fl and sat alert for three months in our B-66's during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Eventually I got to fly the plane I loved the most, the RF4C-Phantom Jet. I flew 153 missions in VietNam, got some holes in my plane a few times and spent another year away from Carole and the two sons and two daughters we had by then. I spent most of the remaining years of my AF career training new pilots in the RF4C-jets, and logged over 4,000 hrs in that plane, in addition to the the many hours teaching guys to fly the B-26, B-57, and B-66. When the kids were about all out of highschool and some in college, and I felt I had enough years for a decent pension, I retired. I love my country, my family, and my God, who took care of me, and my family, during the scary times. I would serve my country again, but fortunately I am too old now. The best years of my life have been the past 18, here in the mountains of North Georgia, and not having to leave my sweetheart, Carole."