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Thanks for the Lift!
By Doug Skare
October 15, 2015 - On Friday, October 2, for the third time I was trying to get a van with a wheelchair ramp registered at the Department of Motor Vehicles, in case you’re wondering how my day started. Once that was resolved, though, I was free to get to Long Beach Municipal Airport! The EAA B-17, Aluminum Overcast was there for visitors.
When I arrived, I chatted with the EAA hosts and told them that my brother, Carter Morrison Skare, was a navigator on a B-17 named Auld Shillelagh in 1943-44 stationed in England. After the war he stayed in the reserves as a navigator/bombardier on a B-26 Invader at the Long Beach Air Force Base. In fact I was standing where the base had been and where he reported and was reactivated to go to assist South Korea the first day of the Korean War. The crew was on a night mission in February 1951 and their last contact was with forward control and they became MIA. My mother went to the draft board and invoked the “Surviving Son” provision for my name. Later, the USAF posthumously promoted Carter to captain.
When the EAA B-17 landed, the passengers disembarked and the rest of us walked out to look over the plane. Then it was time for the next passengers to load up. The last one had climbed up and two of the ground hosts came to me and said the boss had approved that if I wanted, I could have the 10th and last spot because it had not been sold.
Free! Wow! I called my sweet Carol to tell her. With help from a passenger near me we got my seat belt on. To my right, below me was the ball turret; across from and in front of me was the left side machine gun. The engines came to life and settled into a smooth sound and we began our taxi.
Takeoff was amazing, we banked to the left. Made some turns as I recall, then banked right around the Palos Verdes Cliffs. At Santa Monica we turned left and retraced our steps to Long Beach.
What a wonderful unexpected gift I had received!
Greeting me at home were my wife Carol and caregiver Norma Jimenez. They had spotted us over the treetops a mile or so southwest.
EAA did a thing fantastic for this 83-year-old proud brother and retired educator/administrator.