Loss of a True American Hero

Discussion in 'The Club House' started by NitroxAZ, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. NitroxAZ

    NitroxAZ New Member

    I would like to ask that you all take a moment to say a prayer for my wife and her family. We found out Thursday night that her Dad had passed away. They are having a rough time dealing with his loss. He was 92 years old an had lived a wonderful life. He was a wonderful and generous man that still had an incredibly firm handshake.

    He was a WWII vet and the following is a short story about him.

    John “Davy” Crockett was trained as a navigator by Pan Am in mid-1941 because the USAAF did not have its navigator school in operation. Davy was assigned to the 36th Bomb Squadron of the 19th Bomb Group flying the new B-17C Flying Fortress. Davy found that most Air Corps pilots were used to doing their own navigating, so his job would be easy. Davy experienced a crash in a B-17 while training, but the crew walked away from the wreck. In late 1941 his crew was informed that they would be flying to Clark Field in the Philippines. On December they left Albuquerque and flew to Hamilton Field in California. They received a briefing on expected weather and left on the evening of December 6 for their first stop at Hickham Field, Oahu Hawaii. Flying into the darkness over the vast Pacific, the pilot for the first time in Crockett’s career turned the navigation over to Davy. Realizing that the Hawaiian Islands were only small dots on the charts of the vast Pacific, and that his aircraft would have little fuel reserves left when it arrived, sent chills up Crockett’s spine. As dawn broke Davy saw lots of islands where there were not suppose to be any. His panic subsided when he realized that they were only clouds. The pilot, Earl Cooper, came on the intercom at that moment to ask for an ETA. As Davy responded, the gunners in the back came on the intercom to report a large formation of aircraft about ten miles north of their position. They must be Navy aircraft. Minutes later they had descended to about 1200 feet when eight fighter aircraft came straight at them with their guns blazing. As the aircraft flew bye the flight engineer, Jesse Broyls, yelled out, “Rising Sun !” The zeros reformed behind the unarmed B-17, and as Cooper dove the lumbering giant towards the wave tops, Crockett could hear the thump of bullets hitting his plane. The No. 2 engine was hit and Cooper shut it down. Rounding Diamond Head at about 300-feet the crew saw smoke and fire everywhere, and Japanese planes all over the sky. They passed over Hickham Field at about 1000-feet, realizing that this was no time and place for a landing. They turned towards Ford Island and passed directly over the USS Arizona minutes after the ship had exploded. Crockett’s B-17 now became a target for nervous anti-aircraft gunners on the ground, and the B-17 had its No. 4 engine shot out. Cooper prepared the crew to bail out, but he then saw an opportunity to bring the big bird into Wheeler Field. He came straight in and belly-landed the B-17 with almost no fuel left. The plane slid to a stop on the turf just short of a group of P-40s. The entire crew got out of the B-17 and ran for cover in a patch of nearby woods. The B-17s on the flight from the mainland were scattered all over the island, with most of them seriously damaged. Fortunately, there were only two casualties, a flight surgeon who was killed and a bombardier who was injured when they were strafed while running from their plane. Crockett would survive a third crash in another B-17 on December 25th that same month when he would spend six days in a life raft after having to land in the ocean around the Hawaiian Islands. The airfield would not turn on the lights due to a blackout condition in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack and were forced to ditch the aircraft.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  2. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    Peace and prayers to you and your family.

  3. NitroxAZ

    NitroxAZ New Member

    Here is a painting that Stan Stokes did in commemoration of his flight into Pearl Harbor.

  4. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    God Damn! *HUGE RESPECT!!*

    Sincerest Condolences to your extended family Nitrox. While the pain will not ease anytime soon, I hope they can take some solice in that their "old" warrior-gentleman is pain free and with his friends looking down on them.

  5. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

    Prayers and kind thoughts on the way. My condolences to the family.
  6. Shihan

    Shihan Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    Prayers going out to your family from ours.
  7. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

    Condolences to you, your wife and your family.
  8. shadecorp

    shadecorp Active Member Supporter

    With my tears and sorrows,
    You have my Prayers.
    Rest In Peace.
  9. BEYU

    BEYU New Member

    Passing of another hero...

    Every day we lose more and more of these members of "The Greatest generation".

    They showed us how to live and how to fight.

    Our generation, the Baby Boomers and those who have come after us have much to learn from the example set by our "betters".

    But I am greatly encouraged by the new example now being set by those who are defending us in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think the spirit of the World War II generation lives on in them, and I hope, in us all.
  10. Davyboy

    Davyboy New Member

    Hope this is of comfort to you told to me by my dad when he new he did not have long left. " Celibrate my life not my death "
  11. dunerunner

    dunerunner New Member

    Nitrox, my Sincerest Condolences to you and your family.

    We loose many each year who Saved the World from Nazi domination in the 40's. God help us should we ever forget their great sacrifice for our freedom!

    God Bless and keep you John Crockett!!
  12. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

    condolences to you and your wifes entire family. I have had the honor of knowing several WWII veterans and have thanked each one. May God heal the pain of your loss and welcome him into the kingdom of heaven with open arm.
  13. NitroxAZ

    NitroxAZ New Member

    Thank all of you so much for your support. My wife is amazed at the support and kind words from a group of people on the interwebz that we have never met and she is thankful also. This is the best forum out there. I am proud and humbled to be a part of it.

    I forgot to mention that he after a raid on Rabaul, while heading back to their Australian base, they developed trouble and landed their B-17 on a beach on New Guinea. They ended up over the next weeks having the Navy help install a steel mat on the beach and were able to get the Flying Fortress in the air and back to the fight. The folks at LIFE magazine heard about it and ran an article on it in the January 4, 1943 issue.

    A couple of years ago he showed the article to us. Over the next 2 months following that, I was able to get on e-bay and get copies for my wife, her 3 kids, her brother and his 2 kids so they would have a special reminder of a great man.
  14. orangello

    orangello New Member

    I hope this hero's family will be comforted by the realization that though his time on this Earth may be at an end, his legacy will be continued in not only their memories, but in the memories of the others he has helped, protected, and probably inspired by his brave service during his time here.

    Congratulations to you for having known such a man; you are lucky!
  15. RugerShootinGal

    RugerShootinGal New Member

    I am sorry for you and your wife's loss. I know that has to be extremely hard. I will keep you guys in my prayers again I am sorry for your loss.:(
  16. DrumJunkie

    DrumJunkie New Member

    My prayers to you and your family. It's kind of selfish the way we feel when we lose someone close to us. but it's a testament to a good person, being able to generate those type feelings in those of us left behind to remember.

    Those of the WWII generation are some of the best people this country has made. Living through the Great Depression just to go off to one or more wars. All that and still many come home to help build a country to greatness the likes many would love to see today.
  17. hardrock

    hardrock New Member

    Sorry for your loss, we burried my father-in-law two weeks ago and his story was like many of the 'greatest' generation.
    He was in the navy aboard a 'baby flattop' (USS SAVO ISLAND) as a radar technician. He was there from the liberation of the Philapines through the Marinias turkey shoot, and most of the island invasions. For history buffs,he was assigned to "Taffy Two"
    My wife and I are history buffs and discovered that he and my dad were both at the invasion of Okinawa at the same time. My dad,also in the navy,was a naval 'medic' assigned to a marine unit. His job was to drive a truck to haul ammo,food and water to the line and bring back the dead and wounded. They were both training for the invasion of Japan when the war ended.
    If you know any of these vets, try to record their storys as we lose over 1100 of them each day.

    IGETEVEN New Member

    Nitrox, my sincere condolences to you and yours. My thoughts and blessings are extended to you for the sad loss of a truly humble and selfless American hero, to us all.

    ** Respect **

    R.I.P. John “Davy” Crocket.
  19. amoroque

    amoroque New Member


    I just wanted to bump this thread in honor of John Crockett and all of the others that serve or have served in our armed forces.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010
  20. NitroxAZ

    NitroxAZ New Member

    Thanks for remembering amoroque. Damn allergies...