On Saturday the fabulous Mr. J… aka… The Love of My Life, took me out on a date to Wings Over Houston.
I felt like a child who had been let loose in a candy store! I am fascinated by history and here it was all around me.
We began the morning snapping pictures of the old war birds.
We stopped and spoke with several Veterans.
On the right is COL (RET.) Robert Walker USMC… On the left is another Marine COL who just returned from Iraq. (I am embarrassed to say that I did not catch his name)
We moved on and visited with part of the WWII Living History Crew
Pictured left to right – COL Miles Root, Maj Kim Lampkin, Capt Renee Powel, and Maj David Lampkin
We talked some wonderful Air Cav Soldiers into standing for a picture. Love those Stetsons!
We moved into the concession area and ran into George Watts, a member of the Commemorative Air Force. He told us about his missions flying B-25 & B-26 medium bombers, and the P-39 Fighters.
Mr. J was grateful when we moved to our seats to watch the air show. I will be honest, most of the time I was very lucky to catch anything moving in my lens. Those boogers are fast! All I can say about the F-18 Super Hornet is WOW!
The AH64 Apache demo was impressive as well!
Alas, it was hot and extremely humid and like a child, I became restless. I began wandering thru the display tents and got an autograph for my L’il Trooper!
Thanks Ladies, I am sure he will love it.
Two pilots with the Canadian Air Force let me cross the ropes for a close up picture.
They send their well wishes to all of the Troops!
I wandered back to take a couple pictures of the Tora! Tora! Tora! reenactment, but became too enthralled with the show to take many pictures.
LtCol (RET.) Fred B. Machol – WWII Veteran
Part of the reenactment crew
And I saved the best for last… I wandered into the Autograph tent and met the most wonderful group of Veterans!
SSgt Stan Bruin and his wife
He flew 24 missions as a tail gunner on B-17 Bombers. On Feb. 25th, 1945 his plane was shot down over Munich and on the way to his first POW camp was forced to march through the heart of Nuremburg. (Sir, I cannot wait to watch your interview on DVD tonight!)
Three charming Pearl Harbor Survivors!
I am pulling their names from their signatures (so, I hope I spell them correctly)
Left to right; L.E. LaGerre, E.E. Vaughn, and G.M. Hemingway
Yes, Mr. Vaugh, I caught your wink! You are such a charmer. Mr Hemingway was only 17 on the day that Pearl harbor was attacked. He said that the percussion of a ship being bombed 1/2 a mile off shore was so strong that it knocked him off his feet. They each showed me on the map where they were and what they were doing when the attacks occurred. I could have spent all day listening to them tell of their experiences!
On the left: LtCol Vince Lipovsky – a Veteran of both WWII and the Korean conflict. Besides the 66 combat missions that he flew during WWII, LtCol Lipovsky also flew missions with Charles Lindberg and 33 photo recon missions during Korea.
He asked me to send a personal message to our L’il Trooper; “Tell your son, that LtCol Lipovsky wishes him a safe mission.”
He said that he was very upset when he shipped off to Korea that he did not take the opportunity to give his Mom a hug. He said her tear stained face was stuck in his mind the entire time he was away.
On the right in the photo is Capt John B. Lee _ he was a P-51 Fighter pilot in WWII. He flew 52 combat missions escorting the B-17 and B-24 Bombers. I have a fantastic autographed photo of Capt Lee in his flight suit taken back in the 30’s!
Sgt David Stedman – I could just hug this man! He showed me his scrap book, including letters and cards that he sent home. He also showed me the telegram that his mother received when he was Missing in Action. He explained the horror that his mother went thru until he was able to send her word that he was ok.
He then showed me a special little book (see picture) that his girlfriend gave him before he deployed. He married her when he returned home and they have been together for 60 years. She said the book would protect him while he was at war. (I know… it is so romantic)
Capt. James A “Pete” Mullinax – a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. His 9th mission was to attack the heavily defended ball bearing plants at Schwienfort, Germany on October 14, 1943. After releasing the bombs on his target his B-17 was attacked forcing him and his crew to bail out over enemy territory. He was captured and spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp.
I am only on chapter three of his book and can hardly wait to pick it back up tonight!
There were so many more, but I had so many stories dancing in my head and could not retain any more.
Oh the rich history of our great nation! I hope we can all grab bits of it when presented with the opportunities.
To all the Veterans that I met on Saturday… and those who I missed: Thank you for all that you have done to make our Nation strong and safe. My heart is filled with eternal gratitude for the many sacrifices.
And to the Fantastic Mr. J: Thank you for helping me experience so much in such a short time. Luv ya always!