Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day! - Fred & Bob

Fred Pape, 21 June 1951 - flight school, Columbus, Mississippi
My dad, Frederick Henry Pape, was in the Air Force from March 1951 through April 1955, and served in the Korean War from September 1952 to April 1953 as a navigator and bombardier on B-26s, mostly flying out of K-1, the Pusan West Air Base. He flew at least 50 missions and was awarded the Air Medal.

Fred attended flight school in Columbus, Mississippi and graduated from Navigator Training School at Ellington Air Force Base, Houston, Texas, in April 1952.
Bob Pape, Korean War - photo from Terrie Pape Zitzelsberger

Dad's brother, my uncle, Paul Robert Pape Jr., served in the Navy in World War II and in Korea.  He did his basic training at John Carroll University (in University Heights, Ohio), and his midshipman's training in Chicago, some of that on the USS Wilmette.  He was still at sea on a destroyer in the Pacific Ocean when World War II ended and never saw combat, but was part of the occupation forces. He was recalled to serve in Korea (as a lieutenant commander), where, on a frigate, he did get into some running gun battles with shore batteries off Korea.  He was then sent to the Pentagon.  He ended his Naval career as a commander in the reserves.

Bob and Fred met up in September 1952 in San Francisco, as Fred was heading to Mather Air Force Base outside Sacramento to ferry a B-26 to Korea, and Bob was heading back from Korea to the Pentagon.
Fred and Bob Pape, San Francisco, September 1952.
Photo provided by Terrie Pape Zitzelsberger.
The photo at right was taken outside the home of their mother's cousin, Henrietta Gauer (Mrs. Jack) Strible, who lived at 2435 Union.

When Fred found out he was going to be reassigned (around his 40th mission), he told Bob in a letter that he hoped he could return to Ellington as an instructor (most of the navigators he knew were being sent to a navigator training base in Brownsville, Texas).  Bob went over to the Air Force section in the Pentagon and talked to a colonel there.  The colonel just happened to have Fred's reassignment papers right in front of him, and when he asked Bob where Fred would like to go, Bob told him Ellington.

So Fred went back to Ellington after his Korean War service and was training other navigators there when he met my mom, Geraldine Guokas, a native Houstonian.

Thank goodness Bob (who is my godfather) was in the Pentagon at the right time - otherwise I might not be here today!

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures and wonderful stories! Tell your Dad and family - "Thank You" for their service.