My father never met me. He died in WWII in the cockpit of his P-51. I wouldn't be here, except for a brief leave between flight school and his assignment to Iwo Jima. He provided escort service to the B-29s that bombed Japan daily. The flight was so long and tiresome, two pilots were assigned to each P-51 and they flew on alternate days. On the fateful day, he was actually two missions beyond the thirty required for an extended leave at home.
I don't have many pictures of him, but this one was posted to a website honoring the 506th Fighter Group. My father is the furthest out on the wing.
I'd like to wish him and all of his compatriots that helped keep us safe and free, Happy Memorial Day ... and thank you.