No other generation will ever match the one that fought the war.  Here in fond remembrance are pictures of relatives that were there.

 

 

 

My father, Walter Fletcher Autrey, Jr. (just W.F. to friends), was a PFC in the Marines when I was born and when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  He was stationed on Midway Island around that time.  Unfortunately for me, my parents divorced when I was still an infant and I never had the privilege of meeting him until I was 18 and under my own control. 

 

 

W.F. got an inter-service transfer to the Army Air Corps and became a B-17 and B-25 pilot and spent the remainder of the war in the European Theatre.  Here he is (rt) with a friend at Capri.

 

 

W.F. looking out of the cockpit of his first plane.  He eventually rose to the rank of Captain.

 

 

W.F. (lt) having a discussion with another pilot.  Most of his flights were from a base in Libya across Europe on bombing runs.

 

 

 

W.F. (rt) with his first bomber crew.

 

W.F. being awarded the Purple Heart by General Knapp.  He was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, and the EAME Theater Ribbon with six bronze stars.

 

 

W.F. relaxing with a friend in a club in Rome.  Following his unsuccessful first marriage, he did rather a better job on the second try.  He and his wife Ruth had two sons and a daughter.  I'm on congenial terms with all of them.  W.F. died on December 26, 1960 at age 40.  I only knew him for one year.

 

 

My favorite uncle, Varney Benton, shown here with his wife, Alvirta.  He served in combat in the 142d Engineer Battalion in Europe.  He was wounded accidentally while handling a POW detail and was evacuated back to the states.

 

 

Prior to my father's arrival in Libya with the U.S. Army Air Corps, a previous tenant of the country was my future father-in-law, Karl Peter Kirchner, a Panzer Feldwebel in the Afrika Korps.  His hometown, Geislingen an der Steige is close to Heidenheim, the home of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.  The latter was particularly a hero to the men of Swabia, who regarded him as their own.

 

 

Here, in better days before the fighting is Karl with his wife Paula and daughter Christa (my wife).  After North Africa, the Eastern Front, and Greece, he was a bit the worse, having contracted a severe case of malaria and having had an eye put out by a ricochet shot.  He and I put down a lot of steins of beer together. 

 

 

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