First off: Don Dahle (my paternal grandfather). Here is a quote from Grandpa Dahle (Don Dahle's History about Dec. 7, 1941.) He came home from church and was listening to the radio when he heard a report that went on and on, "voices were shrill and excited, describing some kind of pandemonium, vivid descriptions of fire and destruction, chaos at Hickam Field, ships on fire, a number sunk...I broke away, left the radio playing and went looking for somebody to talk to about it. I found Dad at the church. He was teacher for the Gospel Doctrine class and was still picking up the pieces after his class. Dad usually listens before he speaks so he had little to say at first.....(on December 8, 1941) That day Dad gave (me) and Mel some good counsel. He told us this was going to be a Big War, that there would be plenty of war for everybody and it would be a long war. He said it would be unwise to run to the nearest recruiting station and sign up. Men would volunteer by the thousands and the Services would not be able to absorb them...Dad said the smart thing to do would be to get into a school somewhere and learn something that would make us more useful when we did go in...He knew what he was talking about and Mel and I heard what he said."
Don went to civil pilot training in Boise, and when he was drafted in 1943, they put him in the Army Air Corps because he had already passed the cadet flying exam before he was drafted. He was sent to Maxwell Field, Alabama, Bennettsville, SC, Sumter, SC (Shaw Field), and Albany, GA for advanced training in B-25's. He was assigned to B-24 training at Maxwell Field,AL and while waiting for transfer, "I was shocked when my B-24 instructor and his entire new class of five men were killed " when their B-24 blew up on takeoff. The next day, he volunteered to give up his B-24 left seat (pilot) and take a right seat (co-pilot) in the new bomber, the B-29.
They trained in Clovis, NM and were assigned to Guam, in the Mariana Islands, where he flew bombing missions over Japan. He actually took pictures of the destruction of the city of Toyama on the night B-29's dropped incidiary bombs on the city and destroyed 97% of the city. He got out of the service in 1945 and enrolled in college, but was called up again during the Korean War in 1951, which is why my dad (Brent) was born in Bonner's Ferry, ID because Grandma Dahle was living with her parents while Grandpa Dahle was flying the B-29 again. He never got sent overseas again, and got out of the service again in 1952 or 53.
Here are some pictures:
Next up: Keith McElwain (my maternal grandfather and my son, Keith's namesake). Grandpa McElwain was 18 years old when he joined the fight in WWII. He was a pilot. He also served in the Air Force during the Korean War. It was then that he met my grandmother, Marty, in Galvaston, TX. He proposed to Marty in a letter while deployed in the Korean war. Isn't that romantic?? He was an engineer during the non-war years. Grandpa also served in the Vietnam War as a pilot. Total, he served in the military for 31 years. Here are some pictures:
I know what you're thinking - what a good looking pilot! :D
In 2009, Keith visited us in Dayton, OH, and took pictures with 3 planes that he flew:
Last, but not least, is my husband, Tyler. He commissioned as an officer in the Air Force in 2006. He is now a captain. Here are some pictures:
Tyler with Keith & Marty McElwain.
Tyler with his parents, Richard & Melanie.
One very special part of the commissioning is that my grandpa, Keith, attended and swore my Tyler into the AF. We will never forget that. Thank you, Grandpa!
Tyler in his BDU's (battle dress uniform)
Tyler & I attending the Dining Out. Tyler wore his mess dress - doesn't he look so handsome?
I hope that you will have a wonderful Memorial Day, today. I know that I have been so blessed by my family members who have served in the military. Be sure and thank your family and friends for their sacrifices for us to be free. I know that I will. :D