Armed Forces Day 1965

Armed Forces Day 1965 holds special memories for me. It was a big deal for a military brat. I was living on Biggs Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas.

Living on a USAF base was wonderful as an eleven and twelve years old boy. I had so many other boys my age to play with. Boy Scouts was a big deal to me in 1965. I loved wearing the uniform, going hiking, camping, and our community action projects.

Armed Forces Day 1965 was a community action project for the Boy Scout Troop I belonged to that year. We went on the flight line (the tarmac and runway). We touched the airplanes. We went inside some of the airplanes.  It was the adventure of a lifetime for a boy.

In May 1965, the television show Twelve O’clock High was big on TV. It had B-17s airplanes on it. We had a B-17 present that Saturday for Armed Forces Day. Allowed to sit in the gunner turrets, sit at the radio, and sit in both the pilot and co-pilots seats I felt like I was a star on Twelve O’clock High. At the end of the day, they took some of us Boy Scouts up in the B-17. I felt like I was in heaven.

B-17 at Biggs Air Force Base, El Paso, TX
B-17 at Biggs Air Force Base, El Paso, TX

Other airplanes I was able to go into included the B-52B Bomber and the only C-123 at the base. I did not get to go for a flight in them.

B-52B at Biggs Air Force Base on Armed Forced Day Open House

Most of the day the Boy Scouts either worked serving refreshments to the dignitaries or being the guides to move the big shots from the holding rooms to their appointed assignments.

It was one of the most fun days I ever had growing up. I was sure that day I would go to the US Air Force Academy and become a US Air Force officer. That didn’t happen. Instead, nine years later I became a US Army Officer. That is another story for another day.

Yes, it was great growing up as a military brat.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can visit him at http://www.jimmiekepler.com.

Armed Forces Day 1965

Armed Forces Day 1965 holds special memories for me. It was a big deal for a military brat. I was living on Biggs Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas.

Living on a USAF base was wonderful as an eleven and twelve years old boy. I had so many other boys my age to play with. Boy Scouts was a big deal to me in 1965. I loved wearing the uniform, going hiking, camping, and our community action projects.

Armed Forces Day 1965 was a community action project for the Boy Scout Troop I belonged to that year. We went on the flight line (the tarmac and runway). We touched the airplanes. We went inside some of the airplanes.  It was the adventure of a lifetime for a boy.

In May 1965, the television show Twelve O’clock High was big on TV. It had B-17s airplanes on it. We had a B-17 present that Saturday for Armed Forces Day. Allowed to sit in the gunner turrets, sit at the radio, and sit in both the pilot and co-pilots seats I felt like I was a star on Twelve O’clock High. At the end of the day, they took some of us Boy Scouts up in the B-17. I felt like I was in heaven.

B-17 at Biggs Air Force Base, El Paso, TX
B-17 at Biggs Air Force Base, El Paso, TX

Other airplanes I was able to go into included the B-52B Bomber and the only C-123 at the base. I did not get to go for a flight in them.

B-52B at Biggs Air Force Base on Armed Forced Day Open House

Most of the day the Boy Scouts either worked serving refreshments to the dignitaries or being the guides to move the big shots from the holding rooms to their appointed assignments.

It was one of the most fun days I ever had growing up. I was sure that day I would go to the US Air Force Academy and become a US Air Force officer. That didn’t happen. Instead, nine years later I became a US Army Officer. That is another story for another day.

Yes, it was great growing up as a military brat.


clean shavenJimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can visit him at http://www.jimmiekepler.com.

Mission to Berlin: The American Airmen Who Struck the Heart of Hitler’s Reich

Robert F. Dorr’s “Mission to Berlin” documents the mission that took place on February 3, 1945 to bomb Berlin, the capital of Nazi Germany.  The author does a very skilful job of telling the stories of the men who flew on it. He shares the incredible story of American fearlessness in the last months of World War II. The size of the air battle challenges our belief as in excess of 1,000 bombers and multiple-hundreds of fighter aircraft originating from Allied bases journey to the heart of Nazi Germany. You also get a good overview and understanding of the structure and operations of the United States Eighth Air Force.

Author Robert F. Dorr gives a detailed report of its evolution. He takes us from the pre-takeoff preparation and activities to the concluding landing.  The book is well paced. The basic structure of the book is spellbinding narrative. The storyline presents a mesmerizing description of many of the aviators on this historic mission. His use of primary source references such as first person interviews and personal letters adds warmth and the human touch to the narrative.

I found the way Mr. Dorr combines his interviews and letters with the detailed duties of each member of the crew a great way to explain the duties and procedures of the B-17 crew. The way he tells the story you feel as if you are there from take off to landing seeing the point of view of each member of the crew. He does an amazing job of drawing the reader into the life of the crew. This alone is reason to read the book.

Another reason to read the book includes the good picture of how the war affected the young crews, the technical side of the B-17 and its development and deployment as well as the evolution of fighting strategies. It was fascinating to see the change in philosophy as to the use of the fighters and to see how the Thunderbolts and especially the P-51s made a great difference in the  survival rates of the B-17s once they were able to escort all the way to Berlin.

I enjoyed the appendix that explained “What Happened to Them?” It told us of what key personalities mentioned in the book did after the war. It was a pleasant addition to the book.

This is an outstanding book.  Every World War II buff as well as aviation enthusiast will want it in their library. This is the second book I have read written by Robert F. Dorr. The first was “Hell Hawks!” which I also strongly recommend.  Zenith Press is the publisher.