First and foremost, thank you to all who have read my past blog posts and my book, “Homey’s Adventures.”
As promised, I am writing this book as a sequel to the happy ending of my first book. I decided to share this with you. So, without delay here is Chapter 21 of my third book:
Chapter 21 – Sad Ending and Happy Ending
Homey’s Adventures always have a sad ending and a happy ending. Since this is a true story, you, my reader, should be able to easily guess both.
My father’s journal only included 21 missions, but we know he had more. He told my brother that he was flying over Japan when my brother was born. I can just see my father after he received the letter from back home which included a picture of my brother and mother in the hospital. He has a bottle of Jim Beam in one hand and a box of cigars in another:
“Hey Lieutenant! I caught someone in bed with my wife.”
The captain of the Island Queen puts his arm around the man who saved his life and the lives of his crew: “Let’s see what you got there Andy.”
He looks at the picture of my mother and brother in bed in the hospital: “Congratulations Andy! You have a beautiful family there.”
“Yes sir. He is a boy, and his name is Andrew Junior.”
“I see we have some celebrating to do. I’ll have a cigar and a drink of that Jim Beam. Thank you.”
My dad beamed and they proceeded to the meeting room to have whiskey and cigars to celebrate the birth of my big brother.
My dad was flying over Osaka when my brother was born. Osaka was the second largest city in Japan, with a population of 3,252,340 (about the current population of Arkansas) in 1940. Traditionally, it was the most important industrial concentration in the Far East. Osaka was one of the principal centers of heavy industry, noted for its shipbuilding, iron, steel, rolling stock works, as well as non-ferrous metals enterprises (notably copper and aluminum). In addition, it was noted for its production of aircraft propellers and propeller governors, munitions and ordnance, textiles, special steels, wires, electrical equipment, chemicals, instruments, and machines and machine tools, particularly anti-friction bearings. It was also a transportation hub and home to Japan’s third largest port. Much work had been done to develop its naturally shallow harbor, and it was also the center of Japan’s rail network.
On the first day of June, 521 Superfortresses escorted by 148 P-51s were dispatched in a daylight raid against Osaka. While in route to the city the P51 Mustang fighters flew through thick clouds, and 27 of the fighters were destroyed in collisions. Nevertheless, 458 heavy bombers and 27 P-51s reached the city and the bombardment killed 3,960 Japanese and destroyed 3.15 square miles (8.2 km2) of buildings.
My dad flew 27 missions in total. I estimate that including the flight from Harvard, Nebraska to Tinian Island and then back to Oklahoma City where my mom was and including his initial training, he flew over 100,000 miles. This is equivalent to flying more than 4 times around the world at the equator. On my dad’s last mission, the air pressure of the airplane dropped suddenly, and it damaged my father’s hearing. He wore a hearing aid for the rest of his life. So, in addition to the Air Medal, my dad earned a purple heart medal.
My dad never liked flying after he came home. In fact, when my mother got her private pilot’s license in the 1960’s, my dad made her give it up by threatening to take us and leaving her.
When my dad died in 1984, he died of asbestos lung cancer (mesothelioma). His exposure to asbestos came from working on airplane brakes during the war. I can tell you that mesothelioma is an awful disease to watch. I had to watch my father wither away and die from it. So, he not only received the air medal, and purple heart, he died of an awful disease because he was a hero for his country and his family.
The happiest love story of my life is my father came home two weeks after the atomic bombs (Little Boy and Fat Man) were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My sister was born on August 6, 1945 which is exactly one year after the bombing of Hiroshima. I was born July 17th, 1950 which is five years and one day after the first atomic bomb explosion in New Mexico on July 16th,1945.
I believe in divine destiny. I believe maybe I was destined to write this story to honor my father and God, the father of us all. God bless you all!
End Of Chapter 21
I encourage anyone who had a parent or grandparent who flew in the B29’s from Tinian Island in 1945 to contact me. Without these heroes protecting our freedoms, we would not be able to celebrate our country’s founding on Independence Day.
This is the last chapter of “Honor Thy Father.” But wait! There’s more! I will include an “Afterword” to “Honor Thy Father.” I will explain how it was created and many other things. If you like “Honor Thy Father,” you don’t want to miss the “Afterword.” So, follow this blog to ensure you receive it.
If you do not want to wait that long and you have not read my first book. I encourage you to go to my website, www.homeysadventures.com. You can read the first two chapters for free, and you can also buy it. Or you can buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other fine retailers. Just search for it using the words: Homey’s Adventures by Jim Wish.
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I liken myself to the Vienna Violinist described in chapter 5 of Homey’s Adventures Too. I play (write) for your enjoyment and mine. God bless you all.