Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dale Mabry Field Project Rough Drafts #1

The year was 1942, the month was December, and the temperatures in upstate New York were frigid. It had been just over a year since those damn Japs attacked and spearheaded us into the war. It was only 9 months ago that I got that dreaded phone call that I had won the lottery, the draft lottery that was. I had been unlucky all my life up until that point so it was only fitting that I hit the jackpot, right? Ma immediately broke down when I told her the news and begged me not go, as if I had a choice. Pop seemed more enthusiastic to the idea of me shipping out and “getting the fu** out of a small town like Brewster.” 

I didn’t want to be a coward but I had my heart set on getting an education and making something of myself. There wasn’t much to do in the military for negroes like me at the time but unclog toilets anyway. Looking back at it, I really had won the lottery. The Army Air Force made a man out of me and I was part of something bigger than me and even the war, the fight for equal rights at home. Anyway, back to the story. I was a frightened kid back then that wasn’t sure what he was in for. The war had just begun for us but I knew other countries were losing men left and right. I was suffering through a New York winter at the time when I finally got my orders from Sgt. Peppers. I was heading to Alabama.

I was stationed at Dale Mabry Field. Tallahassee, Florida wasn’t exactly the sunny haven I expected. It was way more north than I had hoped for, but I’d be damned if I was going to complain after coming from the Arctic. As I arrived on base, I noticed that every other new soldier arriving headed into our squadron and was black as well. This was not odd however, what was odd is that everyone outside of our newly forming squadron on base was white. Normally, they did not have to integrate with “our type.” We were told that the reason for our being at Dale Mabry Field was to receive the best flight training to test a new experiment to let blacks fly.

(I still have A LOT more to write)

Comments: Yes you do. This isn't a rough draft, it's an introduction!!