Memories

The Cowboy’s father Nat died three years ago today. I’ve been thinking about him and was scrolling back through past blogs to see what/how we were doing during that time. On the day before he died, I posted this photo:

And Yankeeflyer a person who often comments on our blog posted the following in his comment on that day:

Thank you Nat and the crew of Flak Alley Sally.
DFC Citation – Mission 62. Rashin, Fusan in Korea (July 11)
For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight 11 July 1945. These individuals were combat crew members of a B-29 aircraft on a mine laying mission to Rashin, on the north eastern coast of Korea. This mission was flown from bases in the Marianas and return for an over all distance of approximately 4400 miles. Many difficulties and dangers overcome on this operation included complex navigational problems involved in such a long over water mission; making landfall at the planned time and place on the Korean coast; achieving a precise mine-laying run in the face of unfavorable weather conditions and difficult terrain; the great strain resulting from the long flying time involved; the possibility of encountering determined enemy opposition while twice traversing the main islands of Japan; and the danger of being forced far out to sea. Throughout this difficult and gruelling mission each member of this crew performed his assigned duties with such outstanding skill and devotion to duty that the entire operation was accomplished as planned and the mines released in the exact area where they would most effectively block shipping. The coolness, courage and determination shown in accomplishment of this long and hazardous mission by these veterans of repeated assaults against the Japanese homeland reflect great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.

First Lieutenant EDGAR L. VINCENT as Airplane Commander
First Lieutenant WILLIAM G. SPELLMAN as Navigator
First Lieutenant HERBERT C. HORST as Bombardier
Staff Sergeant WALTER H. STULL as Radar Gunner
Staff Sergeant JOSEPH N. ROTONDI as Radio Operator
Technical Sergeant LEON L. STEWARD as Central Fire Control Gunner
Staff Sergeant NATHANIEL B. CLARK as Left Blister Gunner
Staff Sergeant GORDON P. BRANTMAN as Right Blister Gunner
Sergeant LOUIS L. CHICQUETTE as Tail Gunner

[Transcribed by David Wilson, son of Sgt Bernard E. Wilson (Gunner, “Anonymous IV”)]

And this is Nat’s Distinguished Flying Cross he was awarded for that mission. Nat talked about that mission saying it was brutal, cold and frightening. Fuel was an issue. Nat said, “it was almost a suicide mission!” I just can’t imagine–Nat was only about 22 years old at the time. He truly was one of the greatest generation.

We made a Billings run this week, I had an appointment with my internist and we enjoyed a nice lunch. No need to buy very many groceries as we will soon head south. It was cool enough that Emmi went along.

Our weather has been beautiful–perfect fall weather. I have taken some photos over the course of this week and it was cool to see the comparisons in the fall color just days apart. 

Saturday we moved an apple tree. Years ago we planted three apple trees and none of them ever bore very many apples. About two years ago the dang voles destroyed two of the trees eating all the bark from around the trees from ground level up about a foot–the trees died. The third tree never bore fruit and we decided it couldn’t hurt to move it to a more open space with more light and less water–the trees were planted right along the creek and we had been told apple trees don’t like “their feet to get wet.” We will hope it survives. I am never more thankful for equipment than when we are planting trees!

Sunday morning was a red letter morning–we saw a bald eagle and what we think was probably an immature bald eagle. Amazing! 

I finished longarming the three quilt tops granddaughter Katie brought me and I have the binding for all three cut. I’m very pleased to have finished these quilts. I didn’t get the bathroom vanities or the stairs painted but there is always another time, isn’t there!

19 thoughts on “Memories

  1. That does look like a juvenile eagle. Keep Emmi close … eagles will certainly carry off small dogs. One flew right into our neighbour’s back yard (in the city) and tried to get their dog. Luckily, our neighbour appeared at the door while the eagle was still sitting there. The dog had a gash in his neck, but was safe!

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    1. If I remember correctly Yankeeflyer’s father was also in World War II. I really wanted the granddaughters to have these quilts that their mother started–so I buckled down and got it done!

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  2. Just wanted to let you know that I’m reading and appreciating you blog . Looking forward to your trip south . Vern in Boise

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  3. Such poignant memories. I like what your friend said above, that Nat paid a visit to you through the eagle.
    So glad you’re having beautiful weather as you wrap up your season in Montana. The fall colors are lovely!

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    1. I too liked the eagle analogy–Nat loved to visit us “up the Boulder” and always said one of his life’s greatest regrets was selling his “up the Boulder” place. We have been blessed with a perfect fall–well except for that foot of snow!

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  4. The fall colors are so pretty as are the snowy mountains. I too love the idea that Nat paid you a visit through the Eagle. The comment and explanation from Yankeeflyer is a wonderful reminder of days gone by about bravery, patriotism, and the men and women who put others and our country ahead of their own selves. Thank you Nat.

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    1. Nat told us one time he didn’t want accolades for his time spent in World War II and was even going to toss his medals unless his son wanted them–we did. I told Nat he and his fellow soldiers deserved all the accolades, medals and the various services they received following the war–without them I hate to think what this country would have become.

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  5. I have read many books about the greatest generation and those brave young lads in the military during that era. And especially those daring young men in their flying machines. I do believe that the people of that generation can rightly be called the ‘Greatest Generation’..

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    1. And we totally agree Al! Kelly told me her Dad was also in the Pacific. Nat told me he and his crews were grateful for the job Kelly’s Dad and his fellow soldiers accomplished on those islands–it made the fellows in the planes rest a little easier knowing there was a place to refuel.

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  6. Great memories. Hard to believe Nat’s passing was that long ago already! I wish Fall would last longer, that it would arrive sooner in the Southwest and hang out. Beautiful colors on your mountain.

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