" Think About it..."
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True Soldier Stories
"Courage is the ability to move;
when all around you are frozen in fear
My Name is "Buck Rogers"
Taken from the book Think About it... for your reading convenience
Most men are too proud to listen to the promptings
I was sitting in my police cruiser doing paper one night, when a gate guard who was working near by came up to me and stuck up a conversation. Through the conversation I learned he was 75 years old. He told me that he had lived a long life because he had received a blessing when he was young. I knew then he was LDS. I didn't want to influence his responses to me so I asked if he was LDS without telling him that I was. He very quickly and humbly said, "Yes". I kept asking him questions to hear what he had to say. He told me that his life was full of times where he had been spared because he had listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. That was when he told me, "Most men are too proud to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, but not me. I know they're real. "Interested, I turned off the engine so I could listen more closely to what he had to say. The conversation drifted toward WWII. As the conversation continued, like Horst, he shared his most personal war time experience with me, a total stranger. I later met with him and asked if he would share his story here with us. This is the real story of:
I was a glider pilot for the US Army Air Force, during WWII.
I was born in Joseph City, Arizona, on December 12, 1921. I remember all the original pioneers then living a tight loving community with strong stalwart youth. I learned very early how to know the Holy Spirit. A special gift I have enjoyed all my life.
Early in 1942, it was apparent that I would soon belong to Uncle Sam. I rushed to join the Naval Sea Bees. By this time I was familiar with many of the machines of the construction industry. I found myself with thousands like me in a new Army-Air Force element. It did not take long before I realized no authorized clergy of the Church was recognized. I was sent off to west Texas to learn about a brand new innovation to place men with their equipment intact on the front lines; or as Schock Troops. This program was; Towed Aircraft, with a heavy load capacity called gliders. We learned in small craft. Our advanced training came in the real glider.
The gliders used in combat were called "CG4A." The British called them "Kites." Which in reality is what they were. They had a wing span of about 75 feet and were about 42 feet long. They were attached to the towing plane which was usually a DC3 or the old, "Goony Birds" of the Air Force. A 3/4 inch nylon rope approximately 300 feet long was the "kite string." When released you were on your own. They had a gliding angle of about ten to one. They were red-lined with a maximum load of 3700 pounds. You could carry a jeep and two people plus a pilot and co-pilot. Or you could carry eleven full battle load troops or a 105mm gun. Many times I found myself with a load of 4200 pounds. Which when cut loose, fell like a rock. It had to be landed so hot it was unpredictable what would happen.
After our advanced training, we were sent to the European Theater of Operations. We worked closely with the English, learning their crafts etc. I was one of the ones sent to the North African Campaign. Where eventually the enemy was out of North Africa and Sicily.
About this time I could feel temptations on every side. I realized that I had almost forgotten to pray and to keep myself in check. We had no chaplains, no organized groups and I could find no others who professed to be LDS. After a while, I was sent back to England where my original assigned outfit were stationed. The 71st Troop Carrier Squadron, 434th group, 53rd Wing, 9th Air Force of Army Air Corp., at Aldermaston, near Reading, England.
Immediately, I started to try to
locate other members of the Church. It seemed a dead end. I was fed up
with what I was hearing being taught so I went with Sol Barr to the Jewish
Services. My training
had been so fast and with such high priority, that very little time had
been allotted for things spiritual. One Sunday morning, (don't remember
which one, but I do remember that I thought about home) I realized at home it
was Fast Sunday. I had not had the sacrament for more than two years. I found a
secluded spot in an air raid shelter.
A power came over me so wonderful, I can scarcely describe it.
I walked out into a most clear and beautiful morning. I
turned right, walked about one half block. I turned right again into one
of the most gorgeous little lanes I had ever seen. There were flowers in
abundance and white painted picket fences. I looked up. I was standing
directly in front of British Mission Headquarters, Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints, 149 Nightingale Lane.
I know that I truly had the gift of the Holy Ghost. I spent three very special days with Elder Brown. He was at the time, Mission President and Church Coordinator to service men.
Elder Brown pronounced a special blessing upon me.
I took part in every campaign in Europe. I had many special assignments. I had many close encounters. After the war was over, I did enjoy those promises.
When we had a reunion about six years after the war.
"Buck Rogers", WWII, USAAF, glider pilot
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