Wednesday, March 24, 2010

THE FIRST SIXTY YEARS REGARDING GARLAND (LEE) REASOR

Captain Garland Lee REASOR (1917-2004) United States Air Force

Captain Reasor's awards and metals
Page 11
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My graduation date was scheduled for May 13, 1943. Wanda was scheduled to have our baby the first of June. We finally decided she would wait until after graduation and fly home to have the baby.

Page 12
We spent some scary moments in San Antonio trying to get her a high priority flight. Here I had been an officer and gentleman for 2 or 3 days and was “pulling rank” to get special privileges. One general had to wait for the next flight because she out-ranked him.
….
When [baby] was born I was given a few days leave. See, I am an officer now and do not go on furlough but I take leave.

I road the train to Louisville [from Miami]. It was so crowded that I stood most of the round trip. I was flying out of Homestead AFB. Wanda and [baby] joined me in Coral Gables in a but a month. Lloyd [twin brother] had completed pilot training and received his commission about the same time as I did. We got together in Florida the latter part of June. 1943.

Page 13
After a few weeks training there I was sent to Romulus AFB near Wayne, Michigan.

Later in November 1943 I went to the base as usual but I didn’t come home as usual. We didn’t have a phone so I couldn’t notify Wanda. I was assigned to a crew to fly a brand new B-17 to England. Our first stop was Goose Bay Air Base in Labrador, Canada. The weather was miserable with snow piled 9 feet high along the runways. The base was jammed with B-17s. After a few days they thought we could make it across. We were one of the last ones to take off. We couldn’t find a level where there was no icing. After several hours I suggested the pilot try to climb our so I could get a celestial bearing. I found a break in the clouds for sighting and on one star, remember you have to know which star it is. He descended to a lower altitude immediately. I plotted the sighing and advised the pilot that he had 10 minutes to decide to keep going or turn back. But if he kept going we would not make the airbase. We mighty reach land. Well, we went back to Goose. We learned the nest day that several of the later take-offs didn’t make it. That was my trial by fire. I decided to trust in my work no matter what.

Page 14
We tried again in a few days and made it to Prestwich, Scotland. Normally we would catch a plane as a passenger and return. However, they needed a crew to fly a B-25 from Cornwall, England to Casablanca. The co-pilot volunteered me to help him.

I returned home 6 weeks after I left and Christmas was still waiting for me.


Page 17
I returned home to Louisville, Kentucky in late October 1945. A little more than 5 years of service to my country. The War in both Europe and Japan was over. Wanda and I had hoped for 9 months together. The longest time we were separated was 6 weeks. There were many absences and other minor hardships which we handled. I did not fire a shot at an enemy. Looking back, it seems that I was where I was because of the decision that I made. I volunteered to enter. I decided to apply for Aviation Cadet Training. (Washing out of pilot training was not my decision.) I decided to continue training instead of taking the furlough, which got me into transport. And I decided to go inactive.

I had navigated to London, Paris and Calcutta; to South America, Europe, Africa and Asia; to the island of the Atlantic from Green land to Ascension Island. I had navigated to Hawaii, Philippines, Okinawa, Japan and the islands in between.

It might interest some readers to learn that I had served more than 5 years in the U.S. Army Air Corps. I returned home to family and friends with total abstinence from use of tobacco and alcohol and absolutely faithful to my dear wife. I had also fired no gun at a human target.

I can’t number the times I looked out the window after flying many hours over the ocean with nothing but celestial bodies to fix my position to see a tiny speck of land that I expected to see, when I expected to see it. That tiny speck was usually covered with clouds and invisible until a few miles away.

I started out making $21.00 a month and ended up making more than $400.

Page 18
So there I was an Officer and a Gentleman separated from active duty with only tow skills. One skill was air navigation, the other farm hand. A big, big decision was staring me right between the eyes. What do I do so Wanda can live in the manner to which she has become accustomed.

I was separated as a 1st Lt. I should have been a captain. While at Romulus, Michigan we rented an unfurnished house and bought the minimum furniture in Detroit. When the furniture arrived the chair had been used and one arm was loose I thought I was negotiating with the store but they reported me to the commanding officer. He called me in and ordered me to pay. He also advised that officers never had problems with civilians and delayed my promotion 6 months. That was the Army way.

I worked for a while helping Wand’s father build houses. Then with the help of the Veteran’s Administration I trained as I worked to become an electrician wiring houses and repairing appliances. I had my own business for a couple of years.

I will skip now to January 1, 1951. The Korean Conflict was in progress. Letters would come monthly stating the need of the U.S. Air Force for navigators with trans-oceanic experience.

Wanda and I sat down that New Year’s Day to discuss if I should request recall to active duty. We decided we could be ready for the change by the 1st of March. I requested recall and on the 3rd of March I was on my way to Norfork, Virginia for active duty procession.


We now had three children,… We were living at Fern Creek Kentucky near Louisville. Lloyd also was living near Louisville. I owned an electrical shop doing repair and installation. I told Lloyd [twin brother] he could have the business, customers, material and all.

Page 19
I returned from Virginia and we prepared as a family to leave in a short for Houston, Texas. Eilington AFB was a refresher training and shortly we moved to Randolph AFB near San Antonio, Texas for crew formation. I met a pilot and a navigator who were members of the LDS Church. We decided to try for a complete Mormon crew. We were all assigned to B-29’s. The B-29 dropped the atom bombs on Japan. There are eleven members to a crew. We promptly went to the chaplain’s office and were able to find 8 crew positions who were Mormons. The CO approved the formation of this crew so we started training. Later in the year we were transferred to Forbes AFB, Topeka, Kansas to finalizes our training.

A few days prior to our shipping out I was called to the CO’s office. He informed me that along the line a mistake had been made in informing me of my rights. That at my request I could be sent home in a few days. At this time we knew we were going to be flying B-29 bombers over South Korea. I replied that I was a member of an outstanding crew and that I would prefer to go with them.

Within a few days Burt Crandail the bombadier came down with appendicitis. As they drug him down the hall for an operation he was creaming “but they will go without Me.” We waited a week so he could go along.

When we arrived at Forbers a headline from the Topeka Paper read “Mormon B-29 Crew to Arrive.”

Wanda decided she wanted to be as close to Korea as possible so instead of going home to Kentucky she went to Bellflower, California with our three girls. She had never been to California. However, her doctor, Joe McCracken of Louisville, Kentucky had moved to that area. Don Funk, the pilot, was from Los Angeles. Violet Robb the radar operator’s wife from Colorado decided to go also.

When we arrived at Atsuki AF, just out of Tokio, again the banner headlines were posted “Mormon B-29 Crew to Arrive Soon.” When we landed we were met by the LDS Study Group Leader.

In the summer of 1945 I had made some landings at Yokota Air Base. Now in 1952 I was back just a few miles from Yokota. Most al of the civilian help on the base was Japanese.

Our assignment was to fly bombing missions over North Korea.

2 comments:

My Name Isn't Jerry said...

I read this. Is there a special reason why you want us to read it so much? Is it Grandpa Lee's birthday? Or is this fresh off the printer?

Lark said...

His birthday was in January.

While I was looking for your high school photos I came across this picture I had taken of Grandpa Lee's metals. So I picked up his book and became very interested in all the places he had traveled. Just wanted you to know a little more about him.