Skip to comments.WWII bomber jacket rescued from Goodwill, returned to 90-year-old vet
Posted on 04/30/2013 10:51:16 AM PDT by DoogleEdited on 04/30/2013 10:52:26 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
A military buff like John Dodds could tell right away the leather bomber jacket wasn't just any old coat hanging on a rack at a Washington, D.C., Goodwill shop.
His daughter had noticed it and called him over, and Dodds began to examine it. The leather was a a bit stiff, but it was in good shape, with that perfect vintage patina. On the back was a red-bearded man in a winged helmet, the words “Red Raiders” and “22nd Bomb Group” emblazoned above and below. The jacket had lieutenant bars, a pricetag of $17 and a pretty big clue as to its original owner.
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A wonderfully selfless act.
How long before one of the grand-kids tries to sell it on Pawn Stars?
Not trying to be a thread stealer but this story is sort of on-topic...and I want to share it with folks here who would appreciate it.
I had a wonderful dinner experience last night in SoCal. I'm here on business and was really hungry.
I went to a place in a town called Laguna Hills. It looks like its a very small town that is one big retirement community. The golf carts mix with regular traffic on a limited basis. All the shops are located on either side of the main drag in two huge malls. Restaurants, Home Depot, Home Goods, etc, etc. Each mall has a large hotel style set of condos .very ritzy looking at one end with lots of palm tress. Very Hotel California looking.
All the stores have golf cart parking only where one would expect handicap parking. I went there because there is a place called Hometown Buffet. My type of restaurant and I was hungry. As I walked in to the Hometown Buffet, I saw the Golf cart parking spots and grumbled, Oh great. Lots of old folks. It should only take a week to get through the chow line.
I paid my money ($14) and picked a table. I went to get some food and as I returned to my table I passed a very old gentleman had to be over 90 who was picking away at his little bowl of what looked like Blueberry cobbler. What caught my eye was his cap on the table. It had the US Army Airborne insignia on it.
I went to my table, put my plate down and went back to his table. I said, Excuse me sir, Im sorry to interrupt your meal but I couldnt help noticing your Airborne cap. He said, Yep. 82nd. Europe. 41 through 45.
I said, Id like to shake your hand and say thank you. You gents are a vanishing breed and the greatest generation our country has ever known. He asked me where I served. I told him I never had the honor but my late father was a Sergeant in Korea and he would have cuffed me upside the head if I didnt stop and shake his hand. He said thanks and I went back to my table.
Actually, the conversation went a little longer than that as I had to repeat myself a few times since he was wearing hearing aids.
I finished my first plate and after Id procured my 2nd, I stopped a server and asked if I could speak to the manager.
I was taken to an older gentleman probably in his early sixties. I introduced myself and asked his name. His name was Mohammed. I explained that I had just spoken with an older gentleman who said he had served with the 82nd Airborne. Mohammed said, without a hint of an accent, Ah yes. Thats Joe. he comes here quite regularly. Two or three times a week. I told Mohammed that since Joe had likely already paid for tonights fare, I would like to comp his next trip here and did they have Gift Cards? He said they did and that Joe gets a special personal discount from him so his meals only cost roughly half of the regular price.
He led me to the front and he set me up with a $20 Gift Card in a nice Gift folio as we chatted about veterans and he said his father served in WW2. I told him that this is something that my late father a Korean veteran would do without thinking twice. So I wanted to make a gesture to Joe and honor both him and my father in one stroke. He said that was a very nice thing to do an not enough people today would stop to do that. We both agreed that the younger generations have not been taught our history properly much less the manners to even conceive of such a gesture.
I went back to Joes table and again apologized for the interruption and told him Id like to sit for a moment if he didnt mind. I presented him with the gift card and explained my reason for doing it. He thanked me and then proceeded to regale me with a number of stories from his time in Europe. He is 98 years old and his memory was sharp as a tack.
He had been a paratrooper in the European theater and had seen action in Arnhem, Malmedy and the The Ardennes.
He also had served as an advisor at the Pentagon in later years. I got the sense that he hadnt spoken about these subjects for some time and was grateful for someone to listen. In the end, I thanked him again and said I would leave him to finish his meal and I needed to get back to mine. I told him about the WW2 air museum over at the John Wayne Intl airport. He had never seen it but said hed make the trip for sure.
All in all a very cool dinner experience. And the food was really good too.
Now that makes two feel good stories I’ve read about, all in one thread. Thank you for sharing!
You ‘da man. Great job.
his wife gave it to good will... unrealI remember my wife asking if I was ever going to wear it again, and I said I didnt think I would, except for a veterans parade, said Arand, who believes that his wife may have donated it to a charity in Cincinnati in 1950.
It may have seemed gaudy and unseemly for everyday use, and hardly what you would wear to church. Things in that category do tend to get disposed of when space gets tight or when moving. And of course we all know about the baseball card phenomenon. So things which once were commonplace can, if kept in good condition, get to be highly collectable.I had a leather overcoat my uncle gave my father. It was nice looking, but not especially warm, and it didnt fit me well. Just sort of a white elephant. We sold our house and moved where we didnt have the space to keep it, without any intention of using it. My wife must certainly have given it away. It was the only sensible thing to do.
I saw a young fellow just last night at a brisk walk with his camo on carry a full and heavy ruck sack. He had come down the road from the main drag and was waiting at the light to walk/jog towards me. Early twenties - in my mind I imagined he had just got off the bus and was heading home. I thought that I should offer him a ride, but I was going the wrong direction, but what the heck... but then the light turned and I missed my chance before I had fully thought it out.
In my mirror I saw a pickup truck stop - and was waved off by the young soldier. Glad to see someone else thought the same thing I did - but did something about it. It gives one hope. That and seeing the young soldier. God bless them young and old.
I remember my wife asking if I was ever going to wear it again, and I said I didnt think I would, except for a veterans parade, said ArandShe obviously thought she had asked.
Now the 90-yo man wears a cap memorializing his service. In 1950, it was slightly gauche, in that everyone and his brother had been in the army. Now if you were running for political office in 1950 and you could not put military service on your resume - well, maybe you needed to go into a different line of work. Your opponent certainly would, and your lack of that credential would have been a huge disadvantage with the voters, who also had a service record or had a son who did. Too many voters had relatives who went, and didnt come back in one piece, or at all.