James P. Harris, Jr.
After my tour of duty with the 461st at Torretta, Italy, my crew and I returned to the United States. We flew back via Dakar, West Africa, and Natal Brazil to Miami. I was on leave at home in Washington, D.C. pending reassignment to Pacific Theater when V.J. Day arrived.
I was discharged, looked around awhile and Jim Hardee and I reenlisted and were stationed at MacDill Field, Tampa Fl. I stayed there as crew chief on the B-29 until June 1950 when the Korean thing started.
I was transferred to the Far East Command on some sort of special project that was canceled when we got to Japan. I stayed there about five months on B-29's. I went over to Korea as a replacement Flight Chief on -- What?? F-51's!! All I knew about the 51 was that it only had one engine and the pointy end went forward. The troops took care of me though. They said, " No sweat, Chief. You take care of the paper work and keep the wheels off our backs and we will handle the airplanes." I stayed in Korea about 13 months and then rotated back to the States, assigned to an Air Force Reserve outfit at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
I came up for discharge in Sept. 1952 and asked for assignment to either Bolling or Andrews due to hardship as result of my parents poor health. They said no way! I said good-bye, it's been fun.
I looked around for a job and saw an add in the paper that the Air National Guard was hiring. Talked to those folks and signed on in full time Civil Service capacity and weekend Military Reserve capacity. I worked for the DCANG on fighter type aircraft at Andrews AFB from 1952 until 1973 when I retired from Civil Service and retired militarily as CMSgt. in Dec 1977.
I've been riding the gravy train ever since.
Oh, I guess I should mention I have been happily married since Sep. 1953 and we have two children and two grandchildren.