Navigator in WWII to lead big parade in Lawton
LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - A World War 2 Veteran will be leading the Armed Forces Parade.
Colonel Dr. Jack Spencer is a retired chiropractor and had a 65-year practice in Lawton.
He also served in the United States Air Force for more than 30-years, and the National Guard for more than 10.
Spencer was a senior in high school at the time Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. He said back in those days, everybody wanted to be in the military.
So instead of joining after graduation like he wanted to, he and several of his classmates decided to go to California to work before attempting to enlist.
“I remember seeing some movies about the guys with bars on their shoulders and the wings on their chest, and the pretty girls closing them. So, I thought I’d go to Louisville, Kentucky, and take that examination for aviation cadet, and I passed it,” Spencer said.
Spencer spent time training in Nebraska, Texas and South Dakota before being deployed to Scotland for additional training.
“From there we went on down to Norwich which is on the coast of England. 30-miles from there they hooked us up 100th bomb group. We did a few training missions there and we flew our first combat mission on February 1, 1945,” Spencer said.
That first mission was in the closing months of World War 2. He was a Navigator on a B-17.
Spencer said it wasn’t any fun at the time because it was known that the United States was going to win the war.
During combat, a Germany Fighter Jet was taking out U.S. planes left and right.
At one point his plane became a target, forcing him to eject himself from the burning plane.
“I just pulled the rip cord, socked into my parachute some where up there close to 50-thousand feet, and man it is cold. It seems like it took me almost forever to hit the ground. In the mean time I saw my plane go back in a cloud and explode and I thought they all died,” Spencer said.
He later learned that the other men in his plane were alive when he ran into them later.
Spencer is proud he was a part of the war.
“The more the years go by the more proud I am because we old timers dwindling. I’ll be 97 next month, so I’m moving on,” Spencer said.
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