A World War II B-29 Superfortress Army pilot visited the base chapel Oct. 1.
Thomas Fabian and his wife, Isabel Fabian, returned to D-M for the first time since 1945 to visit the chapel they were married in 68 year ago.
Chaplain Raymond Boyer greeted the Fabians and gave them a tour of the chapel and showed them the renovations that have been made since 1945. Even though Mr. Fabian had difficulty remembering exactly how the chapel looked 68 years ago, it was still an emotional moment for him and his wife.
“This is just really great, very touching,” said Mr. Fabian after he and his wife kneeled down for a prayer.
The real treat for the Fabians was their trip to the Pima Air and Space Museum. Mr. Fabian was able to show his family the plane that he proudly flew in Japan during the war.
“I loved it,” Mr. Fabian said. “It’s my favorite plane. At the time, it was the best in the world.”
Mr. Fabian’s story began when he came to D-M from his home in Superior, Wyoming. Even though he had never even been near a plane before, he spent several months training to be a pilot and learning to fly the B-29.
“When I was first stationed at D-M they told me this plane is worth $800,000 so you better not crash it,” Mr. Fabian said.
Mrs. Fabian took the bus from Wyoming all the way to Tucson, Arizona, so she could marry her best friend.
“Back then, we prayed that we would make it this long and today we prayed to give thanks for the past 68 years,” said Mrs. Fabian.
Shortly after the wedding Mr. Fabian and his crew made the journey to Kearney, Nebraska, where they were sent to pick up a new B-29 from the factory. During his flight from Nebraska to Hawaii, he made a detour over his hometown.
“I gave them one real good pass,” Mr. Fabian said. “To this day I have people come up to me and tell me that they remember that day, it was a great day for Superior.”
During his time in the service, Mr. Fabian flew combat missions over Japan and the Pacific Ocean during World War II. After the war he continued to fly the B-29, but with a different mission. He flew over POW camps, dropping barrels of relief supplies to the men in need.
“God, that was a good feeling,” Fabian said. “That was the most wonderful thing. Those were good missions.”