This Veterans Day we are honoring those who served by sharing the stories of war in the air, as told by the pilots who were there. Over the next few weeks, we’ll publish stories by pilots from World War II, Vietnam and other wars. Some are short, some are long, but all offer a glimpse into the life of a pilot at war.
I was 5 when Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic.
I was seven when I got a ride in a Ford Trimotor off a hayfield in LaMoure, ND.
I was an “airport rat” for years, hoping for a ride I never got.
I took CPT (Civilian Pilot Training) and soloed three weeks before Pearl Harbor.
I got my private license January 20, 1942.
I enlisted and was called September 2, 1942 to the Classification Center in Nashville.
I graduated from Craig Field May 28, 1943.
I flew 94 missions strafing and dive bombing in Italy, Corsica and southern France. November 1943 through August 1944, in three aircraft: 39 missions in the A-36A (wonderful plane), 40 missions in a used up P-40F and 15 in the rotten strafer, P-47D. (Ask people who loved the P-47 if they ever flew anything else.)
Joined a flying club with a wonderful Cessna 170B and flew it to Fargo, ND four times, mostly different routes.
I’m 91 now.
THERE’S NO ROMANCE IN FLYING TODAY!
It’s kind of pedestrian.
It seems like everything has already been done!
Dr. Charles E. Dills
Capt. USAAF, 1942 – 1945
Visit Dr. Dills’ website here
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