By Judie Ohm, EAA 1141198
To celebrate 50 consecutive years of fly-in
conventions in Oshkosh, we’re featuring stories of Oshkosh told by attendees
remembering their special moments at EAA’s long-standing home. If you or
someone you know would like to share your own story of Oshkosh, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
My book, Turret Tales, would never have been written if it hadn’t been for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2010.
several years we have camped at Oshkosh. One of the times we came upon a ball
turret in the AirVenture Welcome Center, and my friend Doug Ward showed it to
me. He said, “That’s what I rode in, on a B-17 in World War II.” About 10
people behind us heard him say that and started asking questions: “Were you
ever scared?” “How often did you ride in it?” “How many missions?”
next thing we knew more questions were asked and about 45 more people gathered
around. They were also selling tickets to ride in the B-17 right next to this
area. Our friend Robert Kupon, who volunteered for EAA, came over with his
loudspeaker and said, “Doug, if you could, I would like to have you tell us
some of your experiences in World War II.”
this was done a gentleman came up to me and asked, “Have you written this down,
Judie? Well, you should start writing because this is history.” From that
moment on we were both inspired, and that was the beginning of the book Turret Tales, and it was published in
2013 when Doug turned 90 years old.
summer since, our vacation was spent at AirVenture. We gave presentations in
the museum and in standing-only rooms.
I met many interesting people, and at AirVenture, one of the highlights was meeting Lt. Colonel Dick Cole who died a few months ago. Doug was also given a free P-51 ride by Cowden Ward, who is devoted to flying veterans in his P-51, Pecos Bill. He loves doing that for veterans. The look on Doug’s face when he landed was quite a picture.
died, gone west as they say, on January 26, 2018. The day of his celebration we
were honored to have a P-51 and a Corsair from the Flying Cloud Airport in
Minnesota fly over to our airport, Log Cabin Airport in Mondovi, Wisconsin, to
honor Doug. Two beautiful songs, Wind
Beneath My Wings and Doug’s favorite Proud
To Be an American, were sung by assemblyman Warren Petryk from Eleva, Wisconsin,
also an aviation enthusiast. I have continued
doing presentations at many schools and museums. I feel his story must continue
on. A huge thanks to this wonderful organization. R.I.P., Doug.