461st plaque

461st Bombardment Group (H)

About Jesse Pettey

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Jesse Pettey

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Jesse Pettey grew up in Nacogdoches, Texas where he observed life during the depression in a small East Texas town.  He graduated from high school in Nacogdoches and was enrolled at Stephen F. Austin State University as music major when Pearl Harbor propelled the U.S. into World War II.  Within a few months he volunteered for service in the Army Air Corps where he was trained and graduated as a pilot of heavy bombers.  During the war he flew 35 missions for which he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross, four Air Medals and a French Citation for participating in the Invasion of Southern France.

Upon completing his combat flying, the author volunteered to remain in Italy with the Mediterranean Air Transport Service (M.A.T.S.) flying cargo to various British and American air fields in Europe and the Middle East.  While stationed in Naples, Italy, he met and fell in love with an Italian girl.  They were married on a military air base in Naples. 

Returning to Texas after the war, both he and his Italian wife completed their education at Stephen F. Austin State University where he earned a Masters degree and taught music as a band director in several high schools over the next several years. 

The author joined Prudential Insurance Company in 1957 where he served as an insurance executive while raising a family of four children.  In 1980 he retired and moved to Italy with his wife to travel and enjoy the Italian culture. 

Upon returning to Las Vegas in 1986, Mr. Pettey again returned to his favorite past times: playing in various instrumental musical groups, painting and writing.  The author has played saxophone in jazz bands over his life time and still retains a passion for music.  He presently lives in Houston, Texas.

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