Some of you may recognize those three words as the beginning of the U.S. Air Force song. As a kid I knew them as the words to the Army Air Corps song. My dad was a member of the Army Air Corps during WW II and taught me the words to all of the songs representing the various branches of the military. I’m glad he did as I love each one and what each represents.
As I prepare to launch my new career as a personal historian, I continue to work on a sample project involving my dad. The focus is a few of the things he really loved and his Army service was one of those. Like many of my generation, I don’t know much about what he did. Those guys just didn’t talk much about it. He said little, except to mention the troop ship from Japan to San Francisco and then the ensuing troop train from San Francisco to Fort Dix, NJ. According to his DD-214 (separation papers), he was a member of an MP company. That was news to me.
When my father died six years ago, the ability to question him further went out the window. There are so many things I’d still like to ask. I will have to answer the questions myself. Last night I dug through a large envelope of stuff I’d stashed when I cleaned out his apartment. I had labeled it war memorabilia. It turned out to be a tiny gold mine. In the envelope was a folded map of the United States on one side and the World on the other. Bordering the U.S. side is a series of handwritten notes detailing various air bases and their locations. These were the places my father had trained and traveled through. Plus someone drew lines in pen to connect all of the locations. This is precious to me. Why? I can’t put it into words at this moment but I feel as though I’ve won the Lottery.
Also in the envelope is an oversized postcard type photo of the SS Marine Jumper. The simple inscription on the back, in my dad’s handwriting, says “Home, 10/1946.” It’s the troop ship. I feel as though I closed the circle with him. “Nothing’ll stop the Army Air Corps!” **
**please note-the term ‘Army Air Corps’ was long ago replaced with ‘US Air Force.’ I used the words I learned as a child.