April 10, 2011


My Dad passed away today. We are so incredibly sad, but take comfort in knowing he is with his beloved wife, our mother, Ruth, in eternal peace. I love Dad's service pictures. He was so young and handsome. I spent this weekend with Dad. He didn't talk much, in fact, he didn't talk at all. I got to take care of him one last time.

"I enlisted on 20 Nov. 1952 and was assigned as an Airman basic to Lackland AF base for Basic training. Promoted to A/3c and assigned to Francis Warren AFB on Feb. 18, 1953. On June 4, 1953 I reported to Camp Kilmer NJ. For assignment overseas. Spent 10 day on a troop ship crossing the Atlantic to Bremerhaven Germany. Put on a rail car through some of the worst hit towns during WWII. I will never forget the devastation we inflicted on Germany. You couldn't help but notice all of the women and very few men. You could get anything you wanted for a pack of cigarettes. We road that train to Paris where we immediately boarded another one headed to Bordeaux. We finally arrived there on July 3rd, 1953. That was my home in the tents for the next 36 months. Promoted to A/2c on June 1, 1954. Promoted to A/1c on February 1, 1956, I left France on June 4, 1956. On July 15, 1956 I reported to Biggs AFB, El Paso, Texas. Discharged from active duty November 19, 1956. I was released from the Reserves on November 19, 1960. I had the Good Conduct metal and the national defense service medal. I qualified as an expert marksman, and was on the rifle team with the highest ranking on our base. I had a secret clearance one of only two on our base. The other one was the base commander. I was in charge of all the ordinance on the base." James E. McDowell, 1/2003

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