Charles Bonini arrived at the Dale Mabry Field in 1940; two years after the military began to use it as an air base and training facility. Charles was a young Michigan native who was highly recommended to the Army by a commercial airline out of Detroit. He was recommended because of his outstanding flying skills and the army was in need of a pilot to conduct top-secret missions in Germany. Charles was not quite war ready, with no military experience, he was sent to the Dale Mabry Air Field for training. This Air Field was beginning to become well known for their exceptional training abilities. The Air Field was receiving young pilots from all over the world and shaping them into heroes. Which is why the Army decided this was the perfect place for Charles, who was known to have potential in aiding the U.S in World War II.
Charles never wanted to become involved in the war but at the same time he understood that that his country needed him. He was willing to make the sacrifice for the freedom and victory for his country. Upon his arrival to the Air Base he immediately was wishing to return home to his family, but instead the Army made an agreement with him to fly his family in and let them live with him on base. This was perfect because the Dale Mabry Airfield had basically become its own little city with homes, its own hospital, a church, and even a bowling alley. Charles knew this wouldn’t be so bad for his family especially because they could barely afford to live back in Detroit. The Air Field made him feel like he was right at home again.
Charles was a 42-year-old man who had already had 10 years of flying experience under his belt working with the commercial airlines. This made him one of the most advanced raw pilots at the Air Base. Some of the generals thought it would be a good idea if he began to spread some of that knowledge with some of the other 3,000 enlisted men and women. He began teaching take off and landing techniques to the young pilots one of the three Dale Mabry Runways. The Army began to reconsider sending him out on secret missions. They thought maybe his teachings here were far too valuable. This made Charles really happy, as this presented a way to serve his country without actually going to war. He loved the idea and stuck with it.
As the war progressed the need for talented and skilled pilots became more prominent. Charles was doing an excellent job of teaching young men to become honorable war pilots. Although his teaching were significant he was once again asked to serve in the war as part of the Army Air Force. He was one of the most knowledgeable people in the field knowing everything was to know about the planes being used. From the C-47 Skytrain, to the B-29 Superfortress Charles knew how to handle these planes better than anyone. The request meant once again leaving his son, two young girls, and loving wife, and this time he didn’t know if he would return. Training young pilots had instilled a sense of nationalism in Charles that he could not ignore he knew what he had to do.
Saying goodbye to his family was the most difficult thing that he had ever done, but he knew that he was doing it for the greater good. He told his eldest son that he was the man of the house and that he was to look after his mother and sisters. Charles went to war leaving his new home of Tallahassee behind praying to return soon. His duties as a pilot helped the U.S air force to dominate the skies over both Germany and Japan. Charles became a hero he sacrificed his life for his country, and taught countless pilots. During battle he nobly flew his plane into an enemy jet, knowing it was the only way the U.S could succeed he sacrificed his own life for others and helped the U.S become victorious.
Charles Bonini is responsible for teaching thousands of our World War II pilots who served a big role in the war for America. Charles served for the army for 5 years up , and the war ended when japan surrendered in 1945. He did more for World War II then people will ever know and that was his biggest secret mission of all. Tallahassee made a memorial for him right outside of the Tallahassee Community College Basketball gym, which is near the location of where the old Army Base once was.
Comments: Seriously?! I need to go find this statue!!