Thank you for your service ,Sir !
I was spending several months , a few years back, with friends in Central Florida, near Patrick AFB.
I was receiving treatments for my AMD condition at University of Miami and there was no practical way to travel the 200+ miles by public transport and I had not enough vision to drive.The Grayhound left Melbourne airport at 10 AM an d arrived at 19:00 in Miami, which required overnight stay etc. My retired military hosts could not reasonably expected to drive 500 miles roundtrip every 6 weeks. So, I came upon a volunteer group called Angel Flite,a group of private pilots who offered their services to disabled vets, such as I am.
So I happened ro be standing in Miami’s Executive airport waiting for the arrival of my pilot. I was wearing casual sport clothes and a baseball cap embroiderded with ” Patrick AFB ” The cap was a gift from my host a retired Lt.Col . with whom I regularly went shopping at Patrick. He also pinned on the cap a ” Ruprured Duck ” , the golden spread eagle lapel pin we received with our WW2 honotable discharge paper along with the Presidential lettter of greetings from Harry Truman.
I was standing in the waiting room wearing the cap when suddenly a strapping, tall fellow wearing a handsome uniform of a private executive jet pilot, approached me. He smiled and without a word, grabbed my hand and said ” Thank you for your service, Sir ! ”
I just stood there dumn struck, probably even my mouth open. Well…I have never…. ! Not even back in 1947; has ever such a thing happened. I was left speechless and the young pilot had walked out to his plane by the time I could have said anything.
On the flight back to Melbourne my mind flashed back to an other event. I was attending a memorial service at Syracusa,Sicily with survivors and relatives of the airborne drop and disaster in the 1943 landing of Patton’s tropps. Afterwards at a local museum we were entertrained and handed packages of brochures about the battles fought nearby. One of the handouts was a reprint of an article from the 1943 New Yorker. One of their staff witers seved as war correspondent and his article about a remarkable eyewitness report of what I would call; the making of a Congrassional Medal of Honor. The story was the account of about half a batallion of Americans having just been repelled in an uphill attack by the Germans. They retreated to the foot of the hill while the Germans were bringing in Panzers and pushed an attack downhill. American artillery was tryng to halt the advance. Suddenly they noticed a single GI who was cut off and left behind half way up the hillside. He turned out to be a veritable reincarnation of Sgt. York. He dashed from cover to cover and mounted a single handed counter attack. He laiud down a barrage of handgranade attack and took out a mchine gun nest. He killed a dozen Germans with devastatingly accurate rifle fire. All the time dashing from cover to cover. The batallion at the bottom of the hill had a ringside seat to the spectacle. They watched breathlessly the drama. Finally the Germans sent a massive force bhind the lone GI and managed to kill him. Truly it was a Congressional Medal of Honor in progress and in full view.
Thank you for your service,Buddy ! It was a magnificently live account of war reporting at it’s best.
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