Oklahoma Honor Flight: What they said

Oklahoma veterans speak about World War II memories during their Oklahoma Honor Flight.
by Bryan Painter Published: October 16, 2011
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Billy Shaw

Age: 85

Hometown: Choctaw

Military Branch: U.S. Navy

“Well there are several, but I think probably the most notable is that my communication officer told me that I'd messed up again when I reported that I'd just received the message that a bomb with the force of 200 B-29s had just been dropped on Hiroshima. He said ‘Well you've messed up again. It couldn't possibly be that big.”

James Lawson

Age: 87

Hometown: Tulsa

Military Branch: U.S. Army

“Sailing into New York harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty was the thing that cheered me up. I'd had enough of that over there.”

Billy Johnson

Age: 87

Hometown: Ponca City

Military Branch: U.S. Navy

He was working in a Naval station not far from Washington, D.C., and had “liberty coming up for the weekend” but was denied. So he never got to D.C. to see the sites. “I'm getting even with him now,” he said laughing.

Glen Stewart

Age: 88

Hometown: Tulsa

Military Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps

Stewart, a crewman, flew on 65 missions. “I guess Christmas Day of 1944. I'll always remember that of course. We took off in the dark and landed in the dark, flew two bombing missions that day, ate turkey between them.”

George Teague

Age: 90

Hometown: Oklahoma City

Military Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps

“I appreciate the ones that are fighting today.”

Richard Combest

Age: 87

Hometown: Ponca City

Military Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps

“You'd have a full crew the first of the week and down a few come the next week.”


by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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