Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I am now in the Reserves

(Continuation of Captain Estes's War Memoirs)

"And I can recall while I was in the Reserves
James Coleman, a boy I had grown up with that
lived out there in Carter, he had flown P-51's and
he was in the Pacific area, and when he came home
he was in the Reserves, and so he and I would go
over to Jackson together and check out an
airplane and sometimes we would check out
two airplanes and we'd fly around together
or else we would fly in the same plane and
do some instrument flying or whatever
and we enjoyed each other's company.

And I remember once there was a P-51
on the airfield in Jackson and he checked
it out and I checked out an AT-6 and we
went up and flew together and he did
barrel rolls all the way around me.
He was -- the ol' 51's were so much
faster than the AT-6 and he gave
me some instructions as to how to
fly a P-51 because he did everything
in the world with it and he was a
fine pilot. But anyway, those days
are gone forever now, and James is
dead. We enjoyed being a part of
the Air Force and flying and took
every advantage they'd give us."

(To be continued.)

Picture of an AT-6

P51 Mustang

Friday, January 14, 2011

Luck Perhaps..But I'd Rather Believe It Was Fate

(Click on letter to enlarge)

I found this letter tucked away among
the many letters that my dad wrote home.
It was a letter from Papa's good friend
and his navigator, Bob Swain.
He had visited my dad in Yazoo and
this was the letter he wrote thanking
them for his visit.
For many, many years my parents
and the Swains' stayed close friends,
attending the 98th Reunions
and visiting each other in their homes.
Now after all these years I have been
able to reconnect with Robin Swain,
Bob's wife, and have enjoyed so much
our telephone calls with one another.
Her girls, Sue and Cathy are now my
Face Book friends.

Perhaps it was just luck that brought
us all together after all these many years...
but I'd rather believe fate had a hand in it too.
Elizabeth Estes Bacher

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Cousin Delivers a Message of Hope to Grateful Parents

(Continuation of Captain Estes's War Memoirs)

"Well, anyway, my mother and father were overjoyed
to see me. By this time they knew that I was okay and
on my way home, but they didn't know where I was or
when I would get there. And the last they heard from
me was a telegram from the Air Force saying I was
missing in action.

I guess right here I should stop and explain something
about my missing in action because there was a boy
in my squadron, the 415th in Italy, who had a sister
that was going to MSCW (Mississippi State College
for Women). Well, it just happened that I had a
cousin, Winky Samples that was going to MSCW
at the same time. So this boy, Fount Hutchinson,
had heard the transmissions we had made and
knew that somehow we were still okay, but he
didn't know where we were, but he knew that my
mother and father would get a telegram saying
that we were missing action. So he told his sister
to tell Winky to get in touch with my family and
let them know that we were last heard from
somewhere over there, but that he felt that we
were safe.

Well, this was all it took to encourage my mother
and father that I was okay, but they still had
no official hearing from the Air Force that I was
okay. I'm in touch with Winky Samples and she
is Winky Allen now and lives in Belzoni. And I
found Winky and I've talked with her several times
on the phone and I have seen her once or twice here
at my house. She stopped by when she was going to
Jackson and she would visit with me, and I can't tell
you how much I appreciate what she did for me and
my family at a time when they were just destitute.

That was just one of the little side things that happened,
and it just seemed so strange that at a time to have
somebody that far away from home to be able to
be that close to certain information and be able
to help so much in a situation where help was so
sorely needed."

(To be continued.)

Missing Air Crew Report

(Click on report to enlarge)