ON A WING AND A PRAYER
My dad was Garrett Lamar Minnick who served in the Army Air Corp now the Air Force.
He was in the Philippines during WWII as a medic in the Island of Leyte and talked about the horrible voyage across the Pacific in an English troop ship. They had no fresh water to shower and the soap would not lather in salt water. He talked about trying to do his work as a medic with short supplies and the ones he couldn’t save. When the war was over he escorted 4 train carloads of wounded men from California to New York, still caring for them all the way.
This is my mother, Hazel and this picture was taken of her and Dad in Atlanta, Georiga right before he shipped overseas. My sister, Marla was one year old and stayed with grandma so my parents could have a few days together not knowing if they would ever see each other again. We lived and still live in Cumberland, Maryland.
Sometimes later in his life he would weep, thinking about the ones who never came home. He talked about moving from Island to Island as the men moved forward and how the pilots would sit late into the night smoking, trying to calm their nerves. He often remembered the brave pilots who took off literally on a wing and a prayer and the talented mechanics who kept those planes in the air when no one thought they could.
He spoke highly of the people of the Philippines who helped as best they could and how friendly they were to the guys. He loved those people and could still speak a few words of their language even into his 90’s. He went to his reunion of the 43rd Bomb Group every year.
He was a wonderful, caring man and of course…my Hero!
~ Sally Mitchell
Veteran Stories Interviewed and Collected by Jenny La Sala www.JennyLasala.com