As the nation celebrates Veterans Day, the State Bar of Texas would like to honor some of those who served our country by spotlighting interviews from The Veterans’ History Project, a joint project between the Texas Court Reporters Association and the State Bar of Texas. The following post is an excerpt from an interview with Jerry Davis Minton who served in the United States Air Force from 1951-1955.
MR. KUBES: Tell me about a couple of your most memorable experiences.
MR. MINTON: You mean missions?
MR. KUBES: Yes.
MR. MINTON: Well, one that I remember very clearly was on Christmas Eve of 1952. By that time I was a flight commander. I was made a flight commander, I think, on December the 1st, '52. They assigned our flight, which was A-flight of the 80th, for a night mission on Christmas Eve, and I took it. And as I told you, we didn't really have the equipment for all-weather, and when I went out to the airplane, preflighted it, it was snowing and the ceiling was very low, and – which I didn't like, but, you know, it didn't make any difference what you liked. That was what you were assigned.
And I took off and it was in the overcast almost immediately, popped out on top, and went up north of the assigned section of the MSR, which was just south of Sinanju, North Korea. And it was clear on top and then in the front, but the snow disappeared by the time I got the other side of our front lines. I remember flying about 30 miles west of Pyonyang. It was their capital then and the enemy capital today. And I was surprised to see lights all over Pyonyang; not like Fort Worth or New York or something on Christmas Eve, but a lot of lights, and it kind of surprised me.
But I found a – I found a convoy and dropped on them, and I was really apprehensive about making an approach back to the base in snow and low ceilings. The only approach we would have had would have been the so-called GCI approach, ground-controlled instrument approach, which we didn't practice very often. And I got back to about 15 miles south of our lines and looked up ahead of me at the base, and the thing had cleared out and the stars were out. And I was one happy pilot because I wasn't going to have to make an approach in the snow.
And when I got back to the quarters, people had champagne and other things and all the goodies that they had gotten from home, and they were having a Christmas Eve celebration. And I – I just thought that was absolutely great. I was glad to get that one out of the way and then celebrate Christmas Eve. It was nice. Read the full interview.