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King High Remembers Brittany Ridenour Brooke Vails.

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1 King High Remembers Brittany Ridenour Brooke Vails


3 From Ministers to Military  Robert H. Meyer’s family came to America from Germany in 1635  His family members were either ministers or members of the military  His father was a pilot in WWI  His brother was a pilot before the war  Joined military right out of high school when he was 18  Goonies and Gliders “I learned to fly four motor airplanes before I learned how to drive a car.”

4 Flying for the first time  “I loved it from the very first time…”  “I was in all four air invasions.”  “I never put a scratch on a glider.”  “You feel nothing can stop you, like any normal teenager.”  “In my off time…I flew.” “I can sum up my military career in four words: flew in, walked back.”

5 A Day in the Life  “Background, your faith, and your dependency on comrades: if you have those, you can do anything.”  “I was never wounded…that’s pure luck.”  “You can’t fight a war without casualties.”  “…It seems like it’s always your best friend.”  “We were carrying mines and he got hit in the air by a shell.” ““I heard an explosion and thought some poor guy got it…I didn’t know it was my best friend.”

6 Flying into Normandy  We went into Normandy at 4 o’clock in the morning; we had no idea what we were getting into.”  “…couldn’t tell the difference between clouds and the ground.”  “Everything was black.”  “ Came across the English Channel and there were over 4,000 ships in the Channel.”  “It looked as if you could walk from one ship to the next.” “The only pictures of the invasion site were 30,000 feet in the air; they looked like postage stamps.”

7 Coming in for a Landing  750 feet in the air: “All hell broke loose.”  “Now or never.”  Telephone poles with diagonal cables with landmines attached.  “When we were down, we were infantry men. We weren’t air force anymore.”  “We had to find the highest ranking officer and fall in line.” “It looked like the Fourth of July because the air was full of tracers.”

8 A State of Perplexity  Metal Cricket (“Crick, Crick”)  “…thought we heard the crickets but it was German guns with bolts going “click, click.”  “We had landed 25 miles behind the German line.”  Organized Confusion  “…tore down telephone pole wires so they wouldn’t have any communication.” “Our goal was simple: discombobulate.”

9 Bewilderment  “I saw one of my best friends in a first aid tent.”  “ He had a gaping hole in his stomach and back.”  “What do you tell a friend who’s dying?”  “I’ll see you in Paris.”  “German divisions were firing wooden bullets.”  “What do you know? I saw him about 3 months later…in Paris.” “It didn’t even hurt.”

10 Trying to Get Back  “I hitchhiked to Italy then to Rome.”  “…sat in an airport for a week waiting for a pilot who was going to England.”  “A pilot noticed my uniform, and told me he needed a co-pilot for Casablanca.”  “He took off and then let me take over. He watched for about 30 minutes and then curled up and went to sleep.”  “He would wake up every now and then and remind me to keep at the heading.” “Casablanca was all different colors: the most gorgeous city I’d ever seen.”

11 Casablanca  “There weren’t any toilets in Casablanca.”  “They had alleys painted in black waterproof paint. That’s where you did your business.”  “The temperature reached around 130 degrees.”  “I ran into some Canadian pilots who flew Sterlings.”  Sterlings: huge flying boats that land on the water  “They were stationed only 15 miles away from my base.” “It took me almost 13 days to go back from South France to England.”

12 Holland (3 rd Mission)  “We were carrying mines.”  “I didn’t have a co-pilot. When I asked why, I was told “Why waste two?”  “There were 1500 airplanes in the air.”  “It took half an for all of us to pass one spot.”  “A few members of my group ejected from their gliders on the way there.”  “Our objective was to capture a canal. Which we did, of course.” “The Germans and us were only 80 feet apart. Nobody would shoot at 80 feet.”

13 Surprise, Surprise  “The Germans had started to build a barricade. So we built one too.”  “We heard sirens in the distance, so we pulled the barricades aside to let it pass.”  “Two of my crew members were on the fire truck dressed as firemen. “  “A few years ago, it was the anniversary of the invasion and I was asked if I would go back for it.”  “I said I would not go back to have the Dutch thank me.”  “I’m going back to thank the Dutch.” “I was the poster boy for the Holland invasion.”

14 And Another Side Trip  “Brussels is ten times the party town as Paris.”  “I stayed in Brussels for three weeks.”  “I took off my helmet and threw it in the bushes.”  “I realized I was out of uniform and would be arrested if found that way.”  “I’ll give you this medal for your hat.”  “Don’t you dare stop us.’ “General Eisenhower had to put out an order saying glider pilots go home.”

15 The Rhine  “Germany had crossed the Rhine.”  “We landed 15 miles behind the Rhine.”  “…dig the deepest fox hole you can.”  “At about 2:30 in the morning, the most glorious fight started.” “The most glorious fight.”

16 Deal or No Deal?  “A German paratrooper jumped into my foxhole.”  “He pulled out a gun and said “Do you want to die?”  “HELL NO.”  “Let’s make a deal. If we win, you’re my prisoner. If you win, I’m your prisoner.”  “We talked for five hours.”  “As it turns out, we were both from Chicago and we attended the same school.” “We were in the same class and didn’t even know it.”

17 Pure Luck  “Only 12 out of 6500 pilots made all four air invasions.”  “We were supposed to go serve in Japan afterwards.”  “After Hiroshima and Nagasaki we didn’t have to go.” “To make all four missions without a bullet hole, that’s what you call luck.”

18 Little Known Secrets  “Mannequins dressed in flight suits were dropped during flight.”  “The telephone lines were ringing “paratroopers, paratroopers, paratroopers.”  “D-Day was the 6 th, 7 th, and 8 th of June.”  “Some complaints were made about not being a part of it”  “Eisenhower said he couldn’t land in one day, he needed three days.” “We had a secret weapon to fool the Germans.”

19 Nowadays  “I started an organization that sends care packages to the troops in the Middle East.”  “There are 24 hours in a day: 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of terror, and 8 hours of boredom.”  “I send portable DVD players with lots of different movies. Mainly comedies. They need a good laugh.”  “My daughter was in Iraq for two days. She called home and told me there weren’t any feminine products.”  “In my neighborhood, I started a fundraiser to send her and the other girls what they needed.” “The men started to ask for Kotex pads. To put on their backpack straps, of course.” Operation: A Bit of Home Because supporting your troops means more Than placing a magnet on your car!


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