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Flying Memories: Group of Gulf Coast Village veterans reminisce at Page Field
By Frank Bumb
Part of a Gulf Coast Village group of WWII, Korea and Vietnam veterans, Watson remembered his flights at 19,000 feet, flying wingtip to wingtip with dozens of other 90-foot wide bombers.


Battle of the Bulge Survivor Finally Finds Peace
Now a resident at Advent Christian Village, Alan Leith enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He started out as a mechanic, but performed many other duties, including firing mortars with the 91st Chemical Mortar Battalion.

It’s been said that war changes people. Those that go away are changed. Those that stay home are changed. And sometimes, the greatest changes happen after the warrior returns home. On this 70th anniversary of World War II, we take a look at one such soldier. Alan went away a boy and, like many others, he came home a troubled man.

Alan was born in Wisconsin and graduated from high school in Wausau, Wisconsin. When he was 18, the draft was imposed, so he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. July 6, 1942, Alan entered the US Military and was shipped to St. Louis, Missouri, for basic training. After basic training, he was sent to an aeronautical university in Chicago to study mechanics.

After graduation, the Army Air Corps moved Alan around a bit, taking him to Bainbridge, Georgia, and then to California for a whole 12 days before he was brought back to New York and put on a ship, the USS Argentina, bound for Europe. Because of the threat of German U-Boats, the trip took 18 days before Alan and his shipmates finally landed in Liverpool, England. He was assigned to an airbase at Warrington, England, out of which flew B-17 “Flying Fortress” bombers. While Alan’s training qualified him to work on the B-17, unfortunately, because of extreme casualties, there were more mechanics than planes. So, Alan, along with others, was assigned to different units while in England. For a while, he was part of the military police.

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