I have decided to try my hand at writing, not a great novel, but a series of events that actually happened during my participation in a period of history that will soon be forgotten except as a paragraph in a history textbook. Novels are written about war, but although some of the subject matter may have been taken from actual experiences, some of the stories are contrived for entertainment, and facts are distorted or invented to make a story. This is a form of art. My stories are true, with no attempt at art.
As I am entering the beginning of that inevitable period in life known as "Old Age", which only some of us successfully reach, I would like my grandchildren to be able to possibly spend some rainy afternoon or evening reading about their grandpa. They might want to show these stories to their children. I have very little knowledge about my predecessors; zero about the generations before my grandparents, and almost nothing about the latter.
Another factor was to finally put down on paper the memories of some of the experiences that on occasion I recall; and I worry that although some of the memories were extremely unpleasant and even painful, I might forget them. Some people call it exorcism, but I think that it really is the relief that I can now relax and read about these experiences as though they were happening to someone else.
I also could have been killed and not be here at all.
We have all had accidents that could have maimed or killed us, but the horrible act of actually trying to kill or get killed is a different sort of happening that not many of us have experienced. It is the ultimate gamble!
Of course luck plays an enormous role, and that my friends are what it is all about.
I do not have the Congressional Medal of Honor, or the honor of being knighted, but more important I have the luck to still be alive, and that is the most important award.
I take no credit for having survived, for some of these episodes were caused by my clumsiness or stupidity. How I made it through I can only attribute to luck and perhaps to the good food that my mother fed me as I was growing up.
In truth the time that I spent in the service, except for the prison camp period, was a very romantic era. I was young, in superb physical condition, and flying the best aircraft; fighters. I was a member of an elite corps and fighting on the side of the righteous; and of course we had to win.
There was always the thought of not surviving or coming home maimed and living the rest of my life as an invalid. It was very much on all of our minds as we went about our tasks and flew the missions and survived on a day to day basis. Those who made it home fully intact and without incident were either extremely skillful or extremely lucky or a combination of both.
As children we played war games, or Cowboys and Indians, and this then was the grown up version of these games. We thought that we were grown up now, and we were still playing cowboys and Indians. We knew that people were being killed, but in a way that made it more romantic, for besides playing games we were becoming heroes. We were the modern knights and we were fighting for what was right.
These vignettes are incidents that actually happened with as much detail as I can remember.