"He was an excellent student, never forgot a procedure I showed him or anything I told him." - - Jerry Taylor, USMC flight instructor.
Here are three men who stood tall during the Second World War [WW2]. All three men aviators, much in the same class as Gene Autry, Jackie Coogan, or Ed Mc Mahon. When their country called, these men responded.
One man a world class celebrity. A second, on the verge of stardom, and a third to whom great honor and fame was in the future, but not that far off!!
1. Tyrone Power.
"Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. . . . an American film and stage actor
who appeared in dozens of films from the 1930s to the 1950s, often
in swashbuckler roles or romantic leads"
"In August 1942, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He attended boot
camp . . . and then attended Officer's Candidate School at Marine
Corps Base Quantico, where he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant"
". . . Because he had already logged 180 solo hours as a pilot
prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps, Tyrone Power was able to
go though a short, intense flight training program at Naval Air
Station Corpus Christi, Texas, where he earned his wings and was
promoted to First Lieutenant . . . He flew cargo and wounded
Marines during the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Battle of Okinawa"
". . . He was promoted to Captain in the reserves on May 8, 1951"
"Tyrone Power was buried at Hollywood Cemetery . . . in a military
service . . . Chaplain Thomas M. Gibson, U.S.N.R. officiating. The
active pallbearers were officers of the United States Marine
2. Bobby Locke.
"Arthur D'Arcy 'Bobby' Locke . . . was one of the first internationally successful South African golfers."
Locke, prior to the start of WW2, was at the height of his game and poised to make the U.S. tour with great promise. A promise cut short in 1939.
"His golf career was interrupted by service in the South African Air Force during World War II."
"His career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the South African Air Force"
"officially with the S.A.A.F. , encompassing his [Locke] entire record as a trainee/pupil pilot, instructor pilot within South Africa plus short foreign posting. His official records lodged with the South African Records Office in Pretoria, in fact . . . record 1162 hours [flying time] gross total" NOT however in a combat capacity!
That SAAF during WW2 seeing duty on a variety of fronts and doing so with panache'. Recall that during the Warsaw Uprising , of all the allied air forces attempting to drop supplies to the Polish Home Army, ONLY the South Africans were successful. South Africans are not in the habit of shirking their duty, and SUCCEEDING WHEN THEY DO PERFORM THEIR DUTY!!
"Five years in the South African Air Force changed him from a 120-pounder to a heavy-jowled 180 [lbs.]"
3. Edmund Hillary. [Sir Edmund]
With Tenzing Norgay, being the first to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. And in the aftermath of Everest, an "ambassador" for New Zealand of the first magnitude. It is safe to say that Hillary was New Zealand and New Zealand is Hillary?? And before Everest, a military aviator!
"Upon the outbreak of World War II Hillary applied to join the air force, but withdrew the application before it was considered because he was 'harassed by [his] religious conscience'."
"Following the introduction of conscription on the outbreak of war in the Pacific, in 1943 Hillary joined the RNZAF as a navigator and served on Catalina flying boats."
Three men who were men when it counted! Stood tall and proud.