Today is my dad's birthday. He is 54 today. And as he said to me this afternoon, at least he's still "driving under the speed limit" for another year. This morning, his dad, my grandpa, Benjamin Franklin Mann, passed away at 4:45 am. He was 89. I didn't know him all that well because weren't up in Orlando all that much and when we were, we would usually spend one afternoon over at his house. I do know that he was a proud man. I pulled out all of my family history papers that I've collected over the years and this is that they said regarding him:
He was born in Boston in March of 1917. He enlisted as an army private in March of 1941. He married my grandma, Mae Dolores Sacki, on Aug. 14, 1943 in GA. He was a Browning automatic gunner and a radio operator. In 1943, he transferred to the Army Air Corp for training as an aerial navigator, resulting in his commission as a second-lieutenant. During World War Two, he was stationed in Italy and flew 43 combat missions in Europe as a navigator. His last mission was on May 7, 1945, the day before the war ended. He made the military his career for 29 years- 15 as Chief Warrant Officer, 4 as a commissioned officer with the Reserve rank of Lt. Colonel, and the last 10 as a Master Sergeant. His overseas stations were in Italy, Ankara and Izmir (Turkey), and West Berlin. His man decorations and awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross and four U.S. Air Force Commendation Medals.
I wish that I had known him better. I would have loved to have heard stories about living overseas. It's actually really interesting now, as I think about it, that I would be reflecting on a member of my family who lived a good deal of his life overseas as I am strongly considering the possibility of someday living overseas, whichever sea that ends up being. I'll write more later when I know more.