As a lot of you guys and gals know, my father was in the Aleutians during WW2 for the whole campaign and then was switched to intelligence. I have posted some of the experiences that he had there earlier on the site. I found out today that a friend of mine and my stepson's passed away. James was an amazing man. He was kind, considerate, helpful, loyal, and all around a caring good individual. He told me this story one time and I feel it's something he wouldn't mind me sharing. James was an African American. When he was still a baby his birth mother gave him up for adoption, and he apparently was raised by a very loving woman, and a very unloving father. So as soon as he could, to avoid the abuse, he left the house and enlisted in the army. He had always wanted to fly and so he joined the Air Corp. Jim had a very light complexion and so when they did his physical they listed him as being white. He said that all he wanted to do was fly. So they put him in a fighter plane and gave him the job of running escort for the bombers. So he left the carrier he was on and landed at one of the islands in the South Pacific. He had 4 buddies that each flew to the base with him, and they were given their bunking assignments. Fortunately for them the tents were set up to hold 4 fliers in each of them. So they all stowed their gear and then Jim and one of the other guys said they were going to go get some chow. The other two guys said that they hadn't slept the night before due to rough seas and they were going to get some sleep. So Jim and his partner went to eat. About an hour later they came back to the tent and both of their other 2 friends had their throats slit. The Japanese had come in during chow because they knew that there would be less people and they went from tent to tent. He told me it was at that time he officially felt like he was in the war. James was a great pilot. In addition to his medals he received promotions. He did tell me that he was shot down twice. The first time on the way back from a bombing run and the second on the way in. He told me of the feeling he had the first time, something like, "So this is what being shot down is like,....hmmm interesting". He was picked up and went back to work. It was later that he was flying a bombing run and the fog was so bad they got lost. So he and the co-pilot decided to just follow their hunch and about 30 minutes before running out of fuel they were able to find a strip on an island that held about a platoon of guys who fueled and repaired planes. So James finally got in touch with his superior and they were told to stay put. He said that the island was filled with coconut crabs during mating. The crabs would live on one side of the island and mate on the other. He said that when they landed they heard all of this crunching and they thought something was wrong with the plane. He also said that when they would drive down the roads all they heard was crunching as they drove over these crabs, and when the mating season was over, of course they had to go out and clean up the dead ones because of the smell. Jim left the army in 45 and went to work in the airline industry, and then he was approached by the FAA to run one of the new Air traffic controllers schools being set up and he finished his career there. I think for me, the greatest thing about Jim was that he was one of, if not the first, black pilots in the army and certainly the first to ever fly in combat. Though he always played it down. He was also the first black pilot to run the schools after he got that job. Jim was an amazing man. Incredibly intelligent, very personable, and giving. He will be missed, but not by the crabs.