Over the past few days I've brought home a number of boxes from my warehouse, hoping to cull things worth keeping from garage sale stuff and just plain trash. Tonight I uncovered a number of signed volumes with special meaning for me:
On Silver Wings is the story of the WASPs, the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II. I knew many and admired them all. In fact, I wrote their letter of recommendation to The Texas Aviation Hall of Fame. (They were based in Sweetwater, TX.) They were amazing women.
Before his passing I became well acquainted with "Tex" Hill, one of the squadron leaders of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) of World War II, better known as the Flying Tigers. He personalized my copy of his autobiography. He was a wonderful gentleman.
The same with Col. Paul Tibbets, remembered by history as the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Tragic as that was, it undeniably led to the final surrender of the Japanese, ending WWII. He was an interesting man I'm glad I had the opportunity to know before he passed.
Many of the Cactus Air Force (as the air assets on Guadalcanal were known) pilots I met were kind enough to share with me many of their experiences in the south Pacific during WWII. Interestingly, Saburo Sakai, the highest scoring (surviving) Japanese ace of the war was there at a special symposium I attended and signed my personal copy of their book.
I wonder what I'll find in tomorrow's warehouse search? I'm kinda looking forward to finding out.