I received the sad news that Robert (Bob) Ingersoll, a Flying Tiger pilot of World War II fame, had on Feb. 4, 2018, flown on a one-way flight to his eternal home. Years ago, from Florida, Bob and family moved to a farm in Germany Valley, in Rabun County, Georgia, in the valley where I grew up. After I became a friend of Dan, the son of Bob and Barbara Davis Ingersoll, I went on trips with him, my brother Dick and others, to Wyoming to camp and fish. Dan’s parents also became good friends.
I made a remarkable trip with Dan and Bob and Barbara to a Flying Tiger reunion in Washington, DC. On that journey I was treated as one of the family and met several old Flying Tiger pilots and their families. With them I visited the WW II Memorial, which was an emotional, very moving experience, especially as old veterans with wives and other members of family walked around with tears in their eyes. Dan Ingersoll, a veteran of Vietnam, and I, a veteran of Korea and Vietnam, were moved when we visited those two memorials. Fond of history since childhood, at last I walked among historical buildings, shrines and monuments depicting our great national history.
In our group meetings in a hotel I feasted upon the stories told by the old vets and wives. I sat and wrote notes and took photos, and was able to share with newspapers some of the stories of these remarkable members of our “greatest generation.” To hear them share memories and see the emotional reaction between the husbands and wives, and other members of family, was heart touching!
I noted, too, the courtesy and respect for others these old vets and wives displayed. There was no rudeness, abrupt breaking off of conversations, or bragging. I soon felt at home among folks I just met on this journey to the heart and soul of our nation. I still feel appreciation for meeting them and having visited our capitol where we saw the Washington Monument; the Iwo Jima, Vietnam and Korean memorials, Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, National Air and Space Museum, and White House. Due to someone’s special contact, our group was one of the first to get access to the Pentagon where we were met and conducted by an admiral. Even today I feel awed by having been there.
Only a few World War II vets remain. Not many of us Korean and Vietnam vets are still around. We also have vets and families of later wars and many of our troops in war torn areas today. May we remember those in harm’s way and the families who wait for their return.