Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ellis while serving in the US Air Force

Ellis graduated from Utah State University and then went into the Air Force as an officer.  These are the only two pictures I have of him from that period of time.  He has another which was a painting of him when he was in Vietnam, I believe.  Mom and Dad had that picture hanging in their home I think until the day they died. The first picture is of his Navigator Class graduation in Texas. I remember how proud Mom and Dad were of their soldier son, as was I.

I think this picture was taken about the same time.  Here he is all dressed up ready for duty.

I appreciate the example Ellis set for me when I was growing up.  We had our brotherly battles with me always coming out on the losing end of the stick, but we loved each other and we worked and played together for many years,  I missed him when he got married and went into the Air Force.  I remember thinking Greg and Jeanne were to two cutest kids ever.  Of course that was before I got kids of my own and even better than that was when I got grandkids of my own.

by Bart

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Memorable Events During Military Career

I promise this will be my last post on military, wars and the like.  They were hard to include in one post however but were events that I felt were important in my life.  In 1961 I entered Navigation School in Waco Texas as a 2nd Lt.  18 Months later I completed Navigation and Radar Intercept School and Survival Training at Reno Nevada.   My first operational Unit was the 963 Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing.   I was checked out in the EC121 which is one of those aircraft with big radar pods on the top and bottom.   It had lots of sophisticated  radio equipment.aboard and was designed for special missions.    Shortly after I was checked out in the aircraft I was called up and told to be ready for deployment within 1 hour.     It turned out to be a mission operating under the Joint Chief of Staff and participating in the Cuban Missile Crises.  The entire military was in a high state of alert and each morning we took of from an Air Base near Orlando Florida,  We flew very low out over the ocean and as close as we could get to Cuba.  It was our job to control the U-2s, which were very high flying aircraft with the ability to take very detailed pictures.  On one day that aircraft was hit by a missile and crashed into the ocean killing the pilot.   I performed this mission for about a month sometimes flying as low as 100 feet.

In in 1965 my crew went to Viet Nam.   Viet Nam   was a terrible environment.  It was hot, humid and smelly.  We flew every day, sometimes 12 or more hours.   We mostly flew over Laos, N Vietnam, and in the Tonkin gulf.   Other aircraft were constantly getting shot down.  It was our job to warn the fighters of hostile aircraft in the area.   I had a large Radar next to me and some days there were emergency locator beacons all around me, each one representing downed aircraft and crew.  One of the most frustrating things was the sight of Russian ships coming and going in the Viet Namese ports.  No one was allowed to touch them.  War is a violent way to live.  There are those that like it but they change over time --seem to lose care for anything but fighting and killing.

I saw so many horrible things in Viet Nam, kids with their legs and arms blown off, dragging themselves around.  I decided that that kind of life was not for me.   If  I was fighting to defend my life or my home I think I could do it -- but that is the only way.  I didn't want to do it as a way of making a living.  We landed with one or more  engines out many times.  On one early morning takeoff we had the 2 right engines catch fire. 

I quit flying with the Air Force and Air National Guard after 12 years.   I held the rank of Major.   I enjoyed the Military and the flying but not the war.  I bought a couple of  Cessna 182's  during the 1990's which I really enjoyed flying, but I don't fly any more --except as an occasional passenger.

I have great respect for the military.  My experience has proven to me that the soldiers in the various military organizations are among the finest  people in our country.  Their training and discipline and character is emphasized.  I believe military training would be good for all youth.  

This country has made many mistakes around the world in their interactions with other Nations.   One important fact, however, was relayed to me by a friend of mine who lives a couple of streets away and who survived the advances of Hitler in Europe during the 2nd world war.  He said " THIS WOULD BE A MUCH DIFFERENT WORLD IF IT WASN'T FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA".  Yes there are those among us, both Republicans and Democrats,  who have forgotten that they were elected to serve the public.  Some have become impressed with their own power and have desired to obtain more, rather that to serve the public and to uphold the constitution.  Evil will continue to to be among us.   All government policies and those that want to implement them should be judged by the effect they will have on our freedom, which is GOD GIVEN.   Remember government cannot give us anything that they don't first take away.   Don't let anyone take our freedom away.

By Ellis

Memories of Korean War

The Korean War took place from 1950 -1953.  This period of time was part of what was known as the cold war between the United States and the U.S.S.R.   In 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea who was an ally of the U.S.    The U.S. went the aid of South Korea and it didn't take too long until North Korea had been pushed back well into the North.   It is not my intent to provide a history of that war but rather to express some of the feelings I had at the time.  The end of World War II was such a relief and had been brought about largely by the U.S dropping two atomic bombs on Japan.  The beginning of another war so soon brought considerable stress to us and to me especially.  I was about to enter high school and could envision me being called up before to many years went by.

There was a lot of  speculation over the radio and in the news papers.   My cousin JT Eborn, who was Uncle Harlan's oldest son was drafted and  went to fight in that war.  He was wounded in a battle and was sent to a hospital in Japan.  All of these things contributed to my concern.  Just when the North Koreans were about to be defeated, the Chinese Army came across the border in massive numbers and overwhelmed the U.S. and South Korea.   If that wasn't enough, I was listening to a national radio news broadcast in which the broadcaster said that it was predicted that a Nuclear war would begin within 3 years.   I remember thinking that it was a terrible time to be growing up.  In my young mind I felt my life was wasted.  All of my study and hard work would be for naught.

It was a terrible war and many thousands of Americans were killed or captured.    One of  my reasons for writing this post however is so that others will learn from my experience.  During that war I was so distressed and had about given up--to quit trying.    That was almost 60 years ago and I have had a great life and been able to do most of the things I wanted to do.  We never had the nuclear war that I feared we would have and I have a great family that loves me.   Thankfully most of the things we worry about never occur in our lives and most of the problems coming down the road never get to us.   Live well during each day.  Don't stress over imagined problems.

By  Ellis

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Memories of World War II

As I write some of these postings I am painfully aware that they are getting rather ancient.  It is information, however, that probably no one else in the family is very familiar with.

I was 4 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked.   I didn't remember much about it for awhile but by the time I was 5 or 6 I became very apprehensive about reports that were coming over the radio and conversations between neighbors and other adults in our town.   I remember being afraid that Dad would be drafted and have to go fight in the war.  He was about 30 years old and Mom hoped that would be enough to keep him home but it wasn't certain.  All of the young men from 18 - 26 or so were being drafted.  When each person was drafted the Ward would have a "farewell" party for them at the church with food and dancing.  Even though I was very young, I went to many of them.   Two of the young men that were drafted from our little town were killed and never came home.  There was a lot of sadness in the town when we were notified.  I can't remember their names but one was Worthy Becks brother and  the other was a Passey.  If any one knows their names I will edit this posting and put them in.

Every morning at breakfast time we would sit around the kitchen table and listen to reports of the war on an old radio that could barely pick up the signal.  We were not allowed to talk during breakfast because it would make it more difficult to hear the reports.   I remember hiding behind a tree, a wagon or something else whenever I would see a group of planes flying over, which happened fairly frequently.   For many months after Pearl Harbor it was expected that the Japanese would invade the West Coast and perhaps push well into the United States before they could be stopped.   In anticipation of this the Government built 2 nice runways in bottom lands between Paris and Dingle which could be used as a fall-back position in the event of such an attack.   When the runways were complete the whole valley turned out for a ceremony and a celebration.   That was the first time I had been up close to real war planes.  They did takeoffs, landings and high speed flyovers with aerobatics.  It was very exciting.   Little did I realize that 20 years later I would be in a jet fighter doing high speed dives at 500 knots over Texas.

As I look back upon that time period, it is easy to believe that the country and the people were in a state of paranoia.  I suppose we were, but communication was limited in those days.  Intelligence was not available and everyone seemed to expect  the worst.  Almost everything was rationed, gasoline, sugar, building materials etc.   The future looked bleak.  As future readers of this, don't make the mistake of judging the events and decisions of those times by the view of history  we have available today.

One day Dad and I went to the canyon to get a load of firewood for Winter.  When we came home that evening  as we entered the yard West of the house, Elsie Roberts came out of her house and called over the fence that the war was over.   I remember the  feeling of happiness that  went through us.  That night we milked the cows early and went to Paris.  There was a party going on that surpassed everything that I have ever seen in that town before or since.  The streets were blocked off and there was music in the streets and bands and dancing everywhere.  Everyone went from worry and concern about those in the war zone to joyous exuberance in minutes.   I have wondered many time where all the bands came from.  The soldiers started coming home immediately after that.  It was a good day.  I was 8 years old.

By Ellis

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Eborn Clan's Modes of Transportation

The earliest automobile that I can remember owning was a pickup truck.  I was old enough to stand on the seat between Mom and Dad.   I think it was a greenish color and had a stripe running around the cab about an inch wide.   The next car I can remember was called a Durant.  It was quite old when we got it and had spent too many days in the Bear Lake weather.  It was a rusty brown in color,metal inside and out and with very little cushion on the seat.  If you're not yet getting the picture, it was ugly.   It was similar to the one in this picture but not as well cared for.  I remember the family getting all dressed up to go to town on Saturday.  We would all get in the car, mom would work the choke and gas pedal and dad would insert the crank and begin to crank. It was very difficult to start and many times it would not start.  When it wouldn't start after Dad had cranked his guts out for a half hour or so there was nothing to do but go back in the house, change our clothes and go back to work.  I remember how frustrated I was at so looking forward to going to town and then not being able to.  I was probably 9 or 10 when we owned this car.

When the Durant was sold or fell in to the garbage dump, I''m not sure which, dad bought a 4-door Chevrolet similar  to the one in this picture except it was black.  It was more reliable and looked much nicer as well.  It still had to be cranked however.  I remember coming home from Montpelier one day and the kids were egging Dad to go faster.  He really steped on it and we watched as the speedometer went clear up to 55 MPH.  That much speed was really scary.   This was the first car that I ever got behind the wheel and tried to drive.  I started the engine and put it in  gear and drove a few feet forward and a few feet backward.  That's how I learned to drive.  One day when I was going through this little ritual I ground the gears and Mom came out and made me quit along with a few words of "don't ever do that again".

In Idaho, at least when I was a kid, you could get a drivers licensee at 14 years of age.  That worked wonderfully well for me because about the time I turned 14 Dad bought a brand new Plymouth.   I thought I had died and gone to heaven.   It was so nice to drive and smelled new and I was sure the "chicks" would like me now.    I drove it all through my high school years and at least some of the "chicks" liked me -- well at least one.   As I look back, I think Dad stuck his neck out a little when He bought that car.   He was pleased at how happy I was--and the rest of the family as well.  It was his first new car.

About 1956 when I was in college Dad traded in the 1950 Plymouth for a 1956 Plymouth Fury.   It was a very good looking car and had a "push button" transmission with the buttons just left of the steering wheel on the dash.    The family mode of transportation had come a long way from the days of the Durant.   I don't think we had any cars for some time after Dad and Mom were married.  I remember Mom pushing me in a "buggy type" contraption when I was little.   Until I was into my teenage years we always walked to church and to get the mail which was over on the main road by Uncle Harlen's house.   In the country transportation is important and I appreciate the sacrifice they made to provide nice cars to drive, especially when I got into my teenage years.  Cars and gas were expensive then just as they are now relatively speaking.  

By Ellis

 Below is a picture of Dad by that new 1950 Plymouth.  It was his first new car.  That must have felt like quite an accomplishment after only sixteen years of married life,  farm paid for, five kids already, and now a new car, not to mention all the other improvements that had been made around the place and home.  Dad and Mom worked hard together and they were fortunate in the respect that they could actually look around and see what they had been able, with the help of God, to do and create.  Dad used to often say how he enjoyed working in the fields, because at the end of the day he could look back and see where he had been and that he had, indeed, had an effect on things.
By Bart