Jimmie C. Wright died last night (17June2008) in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. He flew out of Bottisham May 1944.
Col. Wright continued to fly for several decades as a member of the SC Air National Guard.
My Dad was Jimmie Wright's armorer. After 60 years of their service together, I found Jimmie Wright, only to discover that he lived in the same town that I live in (Columbia). I called him on the phone and was so excited I couldn't hardly talk. I told him who I was and that he probably didn't remember my Dad (he did because he told me that my Dad flew with him when a special group was sent to Belgium). He had a wonderful sense of humor. Since Col. Wright was a "pilot" I made a comment that my Dad was just an "armorer". He corrected me quickly by saying "honey, your Dad is the reason I'm here today..." He gave the "armorer" the distinction of being the most important job he could think of as a pilot. He said "if your Dad hadn't done his job right, I wouldn't be here". That made me feel really good. I asked him several questions and told him how much we honored him. He, just like all the other WWII vets, was very humble. "Just doing a job....". When I read in his obituary that he was the #2 destroyer of locomotives in the Eighth Air Force it really hit home how humble he really was...I went to the visitation last night and I met his wife (wonderful lady). They were married 60+ years and all she could say was "he was the greatest man I've ever known". "We never had an argument". All the books, photograph albums, patches and even his uniform adorned the parlor....I looked through the pictures and felt like this was truly a "hero". The parlor was full of other pilots (some old and some young). Everyone had an amazing attachment to Col. Wright (Akack was his nickname). I felt as if a part of the 361st is gone but I am so glad I actually found him for my Dad's memory after all these years....truly a great warrior!
For those of us who didn't know Jimmie Wright personally, your tribute ot his memory said it for all of us. Thank you.
Great post Donna,
You said it all.