A Story About My Dad: A WWII Glider Pilot

In 1960 my father was an Air Force master sergeant stationed at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan. His job was editor of the base newspaper and sometimes he would take me with him when he went out for a story or to take photos. I was 9 years old and on this day a big general was arriving on base and I went with him to the base terminal to watch his plane land and see my dad get his story. When we arrived he took me outside by the fence to stand and wait for him. The plane landed and the general came out and talked on a speaker to the people greeting him. After a while they walked away and got into cars and left.

My father was standing near the plane writing into his notepad when one of the plane’s pilots got out and walked by him. After a few steps the captain stopped and backed up talking to my father. They talked for about 10-15 minutes, then they shook hands and the pilot took a step back and gave a hard salute to my father who returned his salute and then the captain walked away.

My father walked over and got me and we got into our car. I ask my father, “Daddy, that man was an officer and you’re not an officer, why did he salute you?” My dad smiled and said, “See the wings I have on my uniform?” I said “yes,” and then he said, “well, my wings have a ‘G’ in the middle and that means I was a ‘Glider Pilot’ during World War II and he knew that was ‘special’ and he wanted to thank me for my service.” That was the first time my dad ever told me he had been a glider pilot during the war.

David Delaunay

Hanau, Germany 1974. We transferred there from Ft. Hood, Texas.  What a change!  We lived in Worms and Pirmasens, Germany on our first tour in 1967, but as a teenager it was another story. First we lived in the “temps” or temporary quarters. This was the attic floor of the building and we had 6 bedrooms and a back door I could sneak out of.  This meant going to the AYA dances at Sportsfied or the club at Pioneer Kaserne, which of course we should never have been at.

Those were the 2 pre-disco era years and the music was Soul….Stylistics, Isley Brothers and Earth Wind & Fire to name a few. The base was its own world.  Socially we all got along. Black, White, Hispanic… whatever. We weren’t segregated and we came to play sports and hear great music. Everybody it seems loved to dress up for school.  I don’t know how because we never had much spending money, but somehow we made it to the Kaufhoff in the German towns to get the latest jeans and cool stuff.

In 1975 Hanau High School opened and was a great success. It really formed a closer knit community that still gets together like in the “good old days.” I can honestly say that although we never had a true home, as brats our home was everywhere. We learned to make new friends as the old ones went “back to the world.” Little did we know that was where we were. It was a temporary world that taught us how to get along, all of us. We learned things fast. We made friends that would stand the test of time because we shared a special experience. We were pretty lucky brats after all and I for one wouldn’t change a thing except that it lasted a little longer. 😉