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Enola Gay Crewman Passes

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  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: AandF in the Badger State
Enola Gay Crewman Passes
Posted by checkmateking02 on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 9:39 AM

I don't know if anyone has posted this somewhere yet, but I ran across this article today:

http://news.msn.com/us/last-crew-member-of-enola-gay-dies-in-Georgia

Another of the greatest generation; may he rest in peace.

  

Alifero tollitur axe ceres

 

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2015
Posted by Gordon D. King on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:43 AM

I heard this on the news on Tuesday. I had the pleasure of meeting Dutch Van Kirk several years ago. I had the opportunity to meet the other crew members too.  May Dutch and his fellow crew members rest in peace.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:52 PM

I hope I may be forgiven if I use this sad occasion as an excuse to jump on a favorite soapbox.

World War II veterans are passing away fast.  (The number of those dying each day has actually gone down in the past few years, because so few are left.  But I believe it's still more than 1,000 per day in the United States alone.)

In the college-level military history course that I teach, a course project requires each student to go interview two veterans and transcribe the recordings of the interviews. The first time I taught the course was in 1984; that year, and the next few years, I got interviews with a few World War I veterans.  They're all gone now.  I'm getting interviews of Vietnam veterans by their grandchildren, and most of my students were born after Operation Desert Storm.

I remember one student in particular.  Her father, an Air Force veteran, was in the hospital suffering from cancer.  She interviewed him for my class. She said she'd never forget the smile on his face when she walked out of the hospital room with that tape in her hands.  He died the next day.

One of the big regrets of my life is that I never taped my father's recollections of his Navy service in World War II.  We talked about it a couple of times, but never got around to it.  Now it's too late.

If you know a World War II (or Korea, or Vietnam) vet, now is the time to go visit him or her with a tape recorder (or MP3, or camcorder, or whatever) and record his or her recollections for posterity. You, your children, and your grandchildren will come to think of those recordings as priceless heirlooms.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: AandF in the Badger State
Posted by checkmateking02 on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 3:18 PM

Good suggestions, jt.  Just last week, was chatting with a fellow I've known for 25 years.  A Viet Nam vet, he finally told me he'd earned the Silver Star, and how.  Said he hadn't told the story in 30 years.  I had no idea.

It is important to get their stories preserved, if possible.

  

Alifero tollitur axe ceres

 

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2015
Posted by Gordon D. King on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:30 PM

J Tilley This is a great suggestion. During my career as a journalist I made it my mission to interview veterans. I interviewed veterans from World War 1 to Afghanistan. On the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor my newspaper published a special supplement. I interviewed 13 Pearl Harbor survivors including one from the Arizona. Growing up during World War II, this part of my career was very special to me. I interviewed crew members of the Enola Gay and Bock's Car, the Flying Tigers  and others. Most of those I interviewed have died. What prompted my interest was the death of my cousin who died just a few hours before the war ended in Germany. I have the flag from his casket in my hobby room and see it daily.

  • Member since
    June 2013
  • From: Jax, FL
Posted by Viejo on Saturday, August 16, 2014 4:44 PM

I had the honor to know the bombardier from that mission.

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