LETTER: Remembering the Missions of Yesteryear 

Gene Cox’s recent commentary on Gene Autry brought back memories of 70 years back at which time I was a B-29 navigator housed in a Quonset hut on the island of Tinian and flying missions over Japan.

In June or July, Gene Autry put on a USO performance for the airmen, though I didn’t attend for some reason — maybe downtime after flying a mission. About 10 or so that night, three or four friends from our hut brought Autry to our abode — such as it was — for handshakes and talk.

As I recall, Gene Autry had a pilot’s license, was accepted into the Army Air Forces and flew planes, but only in the states. He may have been over the age for combat, don’t know for sure. He was discharged in early 1945 and went on the USO tour group circuit. This from a memory bank, now 90 years and counting. …

Gene was friendly and in the course of talking mentioned neither milk nor alcohol as a beverage of choice. I do recall that he stated his recipe for a nightcap had nothing to do with neither booze nor milk, but rather with an individual, presumably a female. Decades later I told the story, slightly modified, to my wife, who when growing up was a Gene Autry fan. We were married for 63 years and moved to the Crossridge community in Glen Allen in 2009 to be near our daughter’s home and family.

Last Thursday would have been our 66th wedding anniversary.

Phil True




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