Two of my cousins, Mother’s nephews, were in the military during World War II.
Cousin Bill Olson was a Naval Aviator. He trained on Hellcats but never saw combat. When his unit was deployed, Bill was selected to undergo night fighter training with a top secret device: airborne radar.
Bill had one escapade with a Hellcat. As he told it, they were practicing ‘touch and go’ landings. As he flared out to land his plane, he noticed that it settled toward the runway more than usual. Next it was sliding on the runway. As he slid to a stop, flames appeared in the rear of the aircraft and quickly enveloped the whole plane. He opened the canopy while the plane was still moving, climbed out, ran to the end of the wing, jumped off, and kept on running. Fire crews quickly extinguished the flames. Bill walked back to the plane and saw that the landing gear control ws in the UP position. His comment was, “I guess I won’t be able to argue my way out of this!”
After the war, Bill got a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He worked for Boeing and the FAA. At this writing he’s 86 years old and living independently.
Cousin Jim Olson trained as a bomber navigator for the Army Air Corps. He was to be deployed to the Pacific to fly on B-29s. Presumably that would mean that he would be involved in the firebombing of Japan. Jim’s unit was ordered to Seattle to fly to the war zone. All equipment was ready to go, but they got word that Japan had surrendered, so their orders were canceled. Jim was mustered out of the Army Air Corps soon after.
After the war, Jim got a Ph.D. in economics and became a professor. At this writing he’s 84 years old and living independently.