Last Sunday, on Canada Day nonetheless, I was blessed with the opportunity to fly out of the very same airfield as my grandfather did 76 years prior, Elmendorf Field, (Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson). It was 1942 and the RCAF had just arrived in Anchorage to commence joint operations with the U.S. Army Air Corps. Here is what their day looked like.
“A six plane scramble today to intercept Bolingbroke aircraft. The scramble was not successful as the wrong vector was given. The second scramble at lunch time- Bolingbroke aircraft intercepted and identified as Bolingbroke. Section formation carried out for an hour.”
|Elmendorf Air Field in 1941 roughly six months prior to the arrival of the RCAF.|
Our westward take off out of what is now Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson using the same WWII runways that my grandfather and his squadron would have used. Look closely and you will see the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds lined up. They were there as part of the weekend's Arctic Thunder Air Show. Incidentally, "Thunderbird" was also the name of my grandfather's squadron; 111(F) Thunderbird Squadron, RCAF. Neat!
|RCAF P-40's flying over an Alaskan range. Photo courtesy of Maj. Fred Paradie.|
A surreal moment. Allies then and allies now.
A humongous thank you to the Commemorative Air Force- Alaska Wing. Such a great group of people. If you have an interest in WWII aviation or WWII in Alaska then I strongly encourage you to join the squadron and support their efforts in keeping the legacies of these warbirds and those who flew them alive. It was the best thing I have ever done!