Air Force

August 23, 2013

Duck pilots share stories with WWII vet

Tags:
Senior Airman GRACE LEE
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

1st Lts. Brian Herring and Joshua Rosecrans, 309th Fighter Squadron student pilots, pose for a photo with Albert Winston, World War II pilot, Aug. 3 at his home in Peoria. The pilots visited and shared stories with Winston in celebration of his 90th birthday.

It was a day to remember for Albert Winston, World War II pilot, who was surprised to see three guests in flight suits arrive at his 90th birthday celebration.

The three Luke F-16 pilots listened and shared stories with Winston Aug. 3 in Peoria.

For 1st Lt. Brian Herring, 309th Fighter Squadron student pilot, Winston’s accomplishments as a pilot were quite impressive.

“He told us how he was a weather recon pilot flying the B-17 out of England and that he would fly from 100 to 1,000 feet above the water with only the basic instrumentation available back in WWII,” Herring said. “This amazed us.”

Winston also shared a humorous story that is one of Herring’s favorites.

“While in the Reserve, Winston was asked by his superiors to be an instructor pilot for the T-6,” Herring said. “He was handed a technical manual and told to come back in a week. When he returned, they threw him the keys and told him to have fun.”

Herring said he was surprised because these days there are numerous steps and training to accomplish prior to taking the first flight.

When Herring asked Winston if he was nervous to fly after only reading the technical manual, Winston replied with a grin, “Why would I be scared? What’s the worst that could happen, besides the fact that I could have killed myself?”

Winston began his career in the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet and was called to active duty in the fall of 1942.

After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Winston was selected for pilot training Dec. 15, 1942, and trained in South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and Virginia.

“In Virginia my crew was selected and trained for Pathfinder (radar) bombing in B-24s,” Winston said.

“In June 1944, I picked up a brand new B-24J at Bangor, Maine, and flew to Gander, Newfoundland, and then across the Atlantic to Prestwick. I was transported to Belfast, North Ireland, for training in escaping if shot down over Europe.”

Winston’s Army Air Corps career also included flying from England to south of the tip of Ireland with extremely heavy loads of fuel and machine gun ammunition.

Winston said the task was dangerous since they flew at 1,000 feet and every 100 miles they had to drop to 100 feet over the ocean so the weatherman on board in the bombardier seat could get his readings.

This meant holding the plane at 100 feet above sometimes 30 to 40 foot waves for seven or eight minutes. At one time, the crew actually flew up to 25,000 feet. The flights took up to 17 hours to complete.

“We had a 35-percent loss of aircraft,” Winston said. “If we didn’t hear from the flights that didn’t return, we had to assume they flew into the water. Many of our planes were lost on take-offs and landings in the crummy English weather. We had none of the wonderful electronic gear the planes have now.”

With so much flying experience in the Army Air Corps, it is no surprise that Winston continues to inspire pilots such as Herring and 1st Lts. Joshua Rosecrans and Stowe Symon, also student pilots with the 309th FS.

“I learned what it meant to be a true American hero,” Herring said. “He has done it all including flying general aviation until he was 84 years old. He is an amazing role model and someone I aspire to be like.”

The rare opportunity to speak with a WWII pilot and listen to his experiences reminded Rosecrans of his reason for joining the service in the first place.

“The biggest thing I learned is that being a pilot is the best job in the world,” Rosecrans said. “I can still recall the excitement on Winston’s face when he told his stories. I look forward to having those same memories as I continue my career in the Air Force.”

Although the pilots feel honored to have met Winston, the WWII veteran said he is appreciative of the pilots celebrating his birthday with him.

“It was nice that they were so accommodating,” Winston said. “I would like to thank everyone at Luke Air Force Base for having the pilots come out and see me.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Program smooths change from military to civilian life

It can be difficult to find work in today’s economy, even more so for families that are moving to a new area or families that are transitioning from military to civilian life. One program available to veterans is the Workforce Investment Act, which can help veterans have a smooth transition to civilian work. The 56th...
 
 
Senior Airman 
MARCY COPELAND

Airman gives civilian second chance at life

Senior AirmanMARCY COPELAND Staff Sgt. David Patton, 56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron support section floor chief, repairs a tool box Aug. 6 on Luke Air Force Base. Patton administered life-saving CPR to Robert Clark and rece...
 
 

Career technical training track: What’s in it for you?

Beginning a new career as a civilian employee when leaving the military can be filled with opportunities to grow both professionally and personally. In order to succeed, one must be ready to manage all aspects of a new career. As part of the enhanced Transition Goals, Plans, Success program, service members and spouses have the...
 

 

Air Force News – August 22, 2014

Poland With a shrill squeal, rubber met road as two C-130J Super Hercules touched down Aug. 14 at Powidz Air Base. Their crews were ready to begin a flying training deployment in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which allows Airmen deployed to Poland to augment allied capability with the aim of designing and hosting a...
 
 

Airmen encouraged to vote, obey AFI on political activities

As the political season approaches, we should all be encouraged to do our civic duty and go out and vote. However, as an Air Force member, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here is a short noninclusive list to help you determine what is or is not permitted when it comes to...
 
 

People First – August 22, 2014

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story. CMSAF, congressional...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin