The Earl E. Myers Story
Page 1 of 3 Pages
|In closing out my life experiences that have taken me from Timbuktu to Tibet, Burma to Boston, Tokyo to Toledo (Spain) and the North Pole all the way to the very South of Argentina, I close out my 8 pilot log books, which record more than 41,000 hours of flying time, and call it a day. I can now say that I was a pilot that I had dreamed to become as a youth. Hanging up my flight suit was a great disappointment; however, it was time.
“Thanks again Dear Lord for your guiding care and the protection that you have shown. AMEN”
Earl E. Myers
Below: Watching for Hurricane Hugo
Earl has spoken of his love and affection regarding each of his children. His son, Steve, was introduced in Chapter 25, as Earl shared their family's experiences during his military tour at Torrejon AB, Spain. Steve eventually became a policeman, a career from which he recently retired. I asked Steve to speak of his experiences growing up in a mobile USAF military family. Here are his comments:
Hi Mr. Stone,
I am Earls' oldest son, Steve. He asked me to write something that you may want to add to the biography that you are helping him write. If there is anything that I can furnish that you believe will be of interest feel free to use any entry. My Dad asked me to write about my accomplishments. I think that instead of any accomplishments that I have made, which pale in light of the sacrifices made by my fathers generation in the wars, a more fitting description of my life would be the influence that growing up in an Air Force family had on me. With that in mind I will attempt to accomplish something that I hope will not be too boring.
My earliest recollection of my childhood is when my father, mother and I were in Colorado. He was attending officers training at Colorado Springs. I cannot relate any experiences about the military at that time. Not until we were stationed at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington, do I remember anything about Air Force life. My family moved into a small house on base. My mother was pregnant and gave birth to my sister Ann, in the base hospital in 1952. I recall military aircraft flying overhead and the sounds of jet engines roaring through the skies. This was to be a sound that I grew to take great enjoyment in hearing and feeling a strange sort of comfort because this meant that I was at "home".
At some point my father was no longer at home and was gone for an extraordinary long time to a strange sounding place called "Korea". Of course I had no understanding of what he was doing there and my mother would comfort me when I missed him and she would assure me that he would be back home soon. One day the phone rang and my mother answered it and talked excitedly and then handed me the phone and said "it's daddy". I was so excited to hear his voice. the transmission was very scratchy and hard to hear but I could tell that it was his voice and he said he would be coming home soon. Eventually he did arrive back from the Korean War and brought back many exotic gifts and souvenirs. This was to be something that we grew to expect each time that he returned from trips to other countries and far away places.
It wasn't long and again we were packed into the family car and were on the road enroute to another Air Force base and a new adventure began. When we finally stopped and my dad said "we're here." I found myself in a place called Sacramento, California. It was hot and the house that we moved into seemed large to me. In not too long of a time, our home became a gathering place for my father's friends and their families. I began to feel a sort of special bonding going on that I don't believe other occupations, with the exception of military and emergency service workers, share. These were special people. At that time my hero was Roy Rogers. I wanted to be just like him so my parents bought me a gun, a holster set, cowboy boots and a hat to match. I would dress up in my outfit and even squint my eyes just like Roy and go off in search for "bad guys". Little did I know that this indeed would be my lifetime occupation, searching for criminals.
Soon we were in the car again and heading down the highway to a far off place called Topeka, Kansas and Forbes AFB. We arrived and soon moved into a tiny house several miles north of the base. I began the 1st grade at Most Pure Heart of Mary School. I was the new kid and knew no one. Soon, as children do, I had many new acquaintance. Summer days were spent exploring the fields near our house. In a short time my father was again on an extended trip to a place called Alaska. He returned in a few months with much fanfare. My mother assembled my sister and I and we drove to the Air Base. We were allowed to enter the flight line. There, assembled in formation was an air force band. Many high ranking officers were present as were the families of many officers and enlisted men who were returning in a new jet aircraft, the B-47.
From far off a distant rumble grew into a loud thundering roar as numerous jet bombers flew in formation over the air base. One by one they approached the end of the airfield, touched down and a beautiful white parachute deployed from the rear of the planes. The jets then rolled to a stop at assigned spots. The jet engines spooled down and then were quiet. With much affair the crews left their planes and assembled in formation. I was so impressed that it wasn't long that I had a bed sheet fashioned into a parachute tied behind my bicycle. To make my "flight" more realistic I waited patiently for the mosquito spraying truck to arrive in the evening and then rode my bike "jet plane" into the thick cloud of smoke being dispersed from the sprayer dragging one of my mom's bed sheets on the asphalt road.
Forbes became the place that I really felt was home. We were there for 7 years. During that time, in 1956, my brother Chris was born in the base hospital. The air base became a place for me to explore and I took advantage of it. The summers were wonderful and carefree. Most days were spent at the Officers Club and it's swimming pool. We would be joined by my father and his friends and co -workers. I spent hours listening to them talk about planes, flying, and who knew their stuff, who didn't. The flying stories were always accompanied by hands that became planes and they banked and rolled, climbed and descended as the story teller related the experience being described. I looked up to these men and no longer wanted to be Roy Rogers.I wanted to be like my dad. I wanted to fly!
Another transfer and we were soon sitting in a propeller driven aircraft heading east over the Atlantic Ocean. Our new home was to be Madrid, Spain. After 17 hrs. of flight we touched down at Torrejon AFB. Again I was the new kid beginning high school and knowing no one. As before it wasn't long and I had new friends. A new world lay before me with a new language to learn and new traditions to experience.
I remember one morning as I was sitting on the floor of our living room on base, and my Father sitting in a chair reading the newspaper with great interest. He said in a very concerned voice "Now we have a big problem." He placed the front page of the paper on the floor and I looked at the pictures on the front page and the headlines "RUSSIA DOWNS AMERICAN WEATHER PLANE". I thought, "why would the Russians shoot down a weather plane?" The plane was described as a U-2. A picture of the pilot was shown and he was identified as Francis Gary Powers.
Little did I know the implications of this incident and how closely my father was connected to similar activities as an Air Force officer. As later news stories were released and the true story was exposed I began to be somewhat frightened of the possible consequences, after all we had seen the pictures on TV of atomic and hydrogen bomb explosions and had practiced the "drop and cover" drills in school in the event of a nuclear attack. We had seen the pictures of Russia's Prime Minister Kruschev pounding his shoe on the table and he appeared to be really mad. Gradually the fear subsided. Francis Gary Powers was released and
Another incident occurred when an RB-47 was shot down by a Russian MiG over the Barents Sea. Two of the crewman, who were killed in that attack, lived just up the street from our house in the Capehart Housing at Forbes AFB. I recall the news media vehicles and much activity around those homes for several days. That also subsided and then eventually moving trucks arrived and the surviving family members left the base to try and resume their lives without the brave airmen who only a short time earlier had been our neighbors.
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