7:00 PM - Nature
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Give us your name and spell it and then where you live.
Guy Dunn: Guy Brown Dunn, Dunn. Live in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
How long have you lived there?
Guy Dunn: 41 years now.
And you supervised the construction of the house?
Guy Dunn: Yes, I did. Back in 1972.
Guy Dunn: Every day. Well I had to take one of my daughters to kindergarten at that time. And the kindergarten was real close to school.
Talk a little bit about where you grew up and what it was like growing up there and what your schooling was and that sort of thing.
Guy Dunn: Well, I'm the oldest son of a family of seven.
Guy Dunn: I was the oldest son of a family of seven from my dad who was an dad and mother who were my dad was an automobile dealer. As I grew up, he would bring me automobile parts and as a kid I would use them for toys and tear them apart and put them back together and make sure they worked. I entered school in an old hotel, went through the third grade in an abandoned hotel that was used as a school. Then I graduated from that from third grade and went into the high school building where they had the other grade schools. And I graduated from high school in 1939. I played basketball and baseball. We did not have a football team, but we did real well in basketball. Went to state championship twice for our company school.
Where was all this?
Guy Dunn: This was Bland, Virginia.
Where did you grow up?
Guy Dunn: In Bland, Virginia, which is in the southwestern part of the state of Virginia, right in about the lower part of the valley of Virginia.
Were there a lot of people there?
Guy Dunn: Not very many. I guess the population of the city of Bland, the town of Bland is about 800. It's up to about 2000 now. But it's also the county seat.
And so you got your love of mechanics and stuff from your dad?
Guy Dunn: From my dad. I worked for my dad during high school. I thought it was real interesting. I worked for the shop foreman at back, greasing automobiles, washing 'em. And it got to the point where I was tearing them apart and putting them back together. And the shop foreman paid all the other workers but I was directed to always go to the front office and my dad would pay me.
When you were growing up did you have any idea that you were going to end up flying airplanes?
Guy Dunn: No, I didn't.
Guy Dunn: No, my interested at that time was to be a designer of automobiles. And that's what I entered Virginia Tech for, to be an engineer.
Did you have any idea you were going to be in the military?
Guy Dunn: No, I didn't. Not at that time.
You graduated high school in 1939 and then you went on to college?
Guy Dunn: No, I worked one year to get enough tuition to go to college. And then I entered Virginia Tech in 1940, in the fall of 1940.
So the United States had not entered the war?
Guy Dunn: No, not at that time.
What was the atmosphere like back there when you were a freshman or a sophomore?
Guy Dunn: It was a military school and in that the war in Europe was raging, we were quite interested in what was happening in Europe.
What was the atmosphere like at Virginia Tech when you entered?
Guy Dunn: Everyone was interested in getting their commission to serve in the service.
The war hadn't started yet?
Guy Dunn: No, not as far as we were concerned, but the... objective, we knew that we would eventually I think everybody knew that they were gonna become involved in the war.
You made it through your first year, you were in the middle of your second year and December 7th, 1941 happened. Where were you and what were you doing on the 7th of December?
Guy Dunn: That was on a Sunday morning and I was getting ready to go to church and I was putting on my blouse, military blouse. And somebody announced that we were at war and everybody stopped what they were doing and was willing to volunteer to go fight.
Then what happened? How did you end up going from Virginia Tech into the service?
Guy Dunn: The commandant of cadets, Colonel Cochran assembled all the freshman and sophomores and said, "Gentleman, I can no longer keep you out of the draft. But the army wants to send all of you to be cannon fodder in the Pacific because you've already had basic training." And he says, "I don't like that and I'm gonna get the cadet boards up here and I want each one of you to take the cadet boards." And I passed both exams and told myself that I would join the service, either the Navy or the Army, which one called me first for a physical. And the Army called first.
You left Virginia Tech, you went to Army basic training?
Guy Dunn: No, we'd already had the Army felt that we'd had basic training. I entered the cadet program as a result, and they had sent us to a preflight
So the commandant of cadets said we're not going to make you cannon fodder.
Guy Dunn: I'm going to get the cadet boards up here, both cadet boards up here and I want you all to take the exam.
Cadet boards. Tell us about that.
Guy Dunn: He, the commandant of cadets got both
One more time, after December 7th 1941 happened, what happened there?
Guy Dunn: I was going to church that morning, that Sunday morning. I was getting, putting on my blouse, getting almost ready to go and someone announced that someone in our battalion announced that we were at war because the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Well everybody quit what they were doing and went out and volunteered to go immediately. Of course that was not accepted. And as a result, the commandant of cadets assembled all freshman and sophomores, almost a year later, and said that he didn't want us to become cannon fodder in the Pacific and he would get the cadet boards up to the school and he wanted every one of us to take the exams. Well I passed both exams, both the Navy and the Army exams and told myself personally, that I would join the service that called me for a physical first. The Army called me and I went to Richmond. About 15 or 20 of us got on a train and went to Richmond for exam. After passing the exam and going through the physical, we were put on board a Pullman train for Miami where we stayed a week while they were trying to get us into a preflight school. After that week we were supposed to go to Nashville, to the preflight school at Nashville. We got to Nashville, Tennessee and the preflight school was full, so they put us back the train and took us toward San Antonio, Texas which was the other cadet center. And we crossed the Mississippi River because each class would be full. So finally in April of '43, we made it into San Antonio Texas for the aviation cadet center there. And I took my preflight there. Went from there to El Reno, Oklahoma for primary. From primary, after graduating from primary, went to Enid, Oklahoma for basic training. And then to Altus, Oklahoma for advanced training.
Eventually you wound up qualified to fly what?
Guy Dunn: Right after graduation, with ten days' leave we were assigned to Monroe, Louisiana to fly navigators in C60s. About six of us reported in at the same time and they says no, your orders have been changed, you're to go to RTU at St. Joe, Missouri. We drove straight through to Missouri because we had to report within 24 hours and it was about a 20hour drive from Louisiana to Missouri at that time. And after graduating from RTU in C47's and B25's I had orders to go to Europe. When I got to Europe, got to London, they assigned me to Prestwick, Scotland to fly C47's.
Did it make any difference to you whether you wanted to go to the Atlantic or Pacific?
Guy Dunn: No, not at that time.
You were in Scotland and this would've been 1943?
Guy Dunn: '44, early '44.
And you were flying C47's?
Guy Dunn: C47's.
Everybody knows those as the
Guy Dunn: I didn't arrive into Scotland until about six days before Dday, before Dday.
You were assigned to Scotland and you were going to fly C47's. When did you get to Scotland?
Guy Dunn: The first of June. First or second of June of 1944.
You were there just before Dday?
Guy Dunn: Just before Dday.
But for six days you might not have been flying on Dday?
Guy Dunn: No. We didn't fly on Dday. Our unit was stationed in Scotland and our primary job was Prestwick, Scotland was a terminal for the crossAtlantic 54 flights and we were distributing their material and personnel to other parts of England.
When did you first fly over Normandy?
Guy Dunn: D plus two.
I saw Normandy for the first time
Guy Dunn: I finally saw Normandy for the first time, D plus two with a load of mortar shells. And we landed just behind the beach at Normandy. And the mortar shells were for knocking down the hedgerows that the Germans were hiding behind.
After Normandy then what happened?
Guy Dunn: We finally were getting to gain some grounds and after the St. Lo breakout my loads were transferred to fuel for Patton's tanks across France. And I followed Patton all the way across the third army all the way across France.
This would've been in late '44.
Guy Dunn: This was in the fall of '44.
So you got involved in the Battle of the Bulge. Tell us about that.
Guy Dunn: Just after the Battle of the Bulge started I was asleep in my quarters which was a chateau, a French chateau. They came and woke me up and said you're to get your airplane and go to Marseille, France, and pick up troops and haul them as close as you can get, as weather will allow now to get to where the Battle of the Bulge is, to Bastogne. We would fly back and forth from whatever that field that was close enough to Marseille and pick up new replacement troops. And on the outbound trip we would haul wounded personnel to hospitals in France.
Tell me about some of the other people that flew with you during the war.
Guy Dunn: When Patton was stopped by Eisenhower at Siegfried Line, I was sent over to Metz, France to pick up General Patton and bring him back to Orly, which is outside of Paris to have a conference with Eisenhower. And when we landed back at Orly, one of Patton's aids met him with a wire. He handed the wire to Patton just as we got off the airplane and Patton read the wire, smiled all the way across his face, didn't say anything and turned to his lackey which was a colored boy, and said, "All right, you dirty son of a " the language I can't use here that he expressed. He said, "You play it sergeant, you can sew on those master sergeant stripes." And what had happened was was that this colored boy, this African American had been with Patton when Patton was a lieutenant colonel and he was a corporal. Each promotion that Patton got, he also promoted this blacky. And the lackey's job sole job was to keep Patton dressed properly. All he did was polish his helmet, his pistols, his hardware, belt, making sure Patton was in spickspack shape for meeting the public.
When did you know it was the beginning of the end for Germany? Could you see the end of the war coming?
Guy Dunn: Yes, we could. As soon as we crossed into Belgium, and the Battle of the Bulge was over, we knew we were winning. Every front was winning and we were pushing Germany, pushing the Germans back into Germany. And we knew that the surrender was going to occur.
Where were you for VEday?
Guy Dunn: I was flying from Paris, from Paris to London and London back to Paris with a load of people that were legislatures and everything that were interested in being at the signing of the treaty. I stayed in Europe after VEday for about six months and flew VIP. I flown Eisenhower, I flown Arnold, I flown Patton, I flown Bradley, I flew Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, Sonja Henie, as visits for USO troops all the way through the hospitals and all through Germany.
After the war, did you fly to Berlin?
Guy Dunn: No, not to Berlin, but to Bremen which was a major port at that time.
It was bombed during the war.
Guy Dunn: Oh, yes.
So what did Bremen look like after the war?
Guy Dunn: Most of the towns and cities you could stand on one side and see the west side of the city because it was all bomb rubble.
What about the people?
Guy Dunn: The people were living in the majority of the Germans weren't Hitler supporters. As a result, they were living in caves and bombed out buildings, nearly all the homes in Europe have basements and they were living in the basements.
Did they have food, did they have water?
Guy Dunn: No, food and water were very hard to come by. Water was not hard to come by because there's lots of canals in that part of Germany. But food was very scarce.
This is after the war, where did you run across Gail Halvorsen for the first time?
Guy Dunn: I came home in November of 1945 and was stationed a short time at both Nashville and Memphis flying across United States hauling troops to be discharged on either the west or the east coast. I had been moved to West Palm Beach and I met Gail at West Palm Beach at the swimming pool.
What were you doing in West Palm Beach? Were you flying?
Guy Dunn: We were flying from across the southern route through Brazil into Ascension which is an island in the south Atlantic to Marseille, France to Cairo into India.
And Gail was a pilot at that time?
Guy Dunn: Gail and I both were pilots at that time.
You met him in a swimming pool. Tell us about that.
Guy Dunn: When we were off duty we'd frequently spend our offduty time in the swimming pool at both Marsden Field which is West Palm Beach and Brookley. Later, in '47 we were transferred from West Palm to Mobile, Alabama, Brookley. And they also had a swimming pool. So anytime we were off duty we were spending it in the swimming pool.
What did you know about him?
Guy Dunn: When I first met him, he didn't have any hair at all. And one day I got courage enough to ask him, I said, "Gail, how come you don't have any hair anywhere?" And he says, "Playing hockey while in high school I was hit in the side of the head with a hockey puck that knocked me unconscious. They took me to the hospital and I run an extremely high temperature that killed all the hair follicles, destroyed all the hair follicles." As a result, up until maybe 20 years ago Gail still didn't have much hair.
Did you fly with him on these trips?
Guy Dunn: No, I never did fly with him. The only time I've ever flown with Gail was when the Berlin Airlift, when we had to send airplanes to the Berlin Airlift. And the way I got into the airlift was a real good friend of mine, that Saturday morning, we were going to play golf. But in order to get off the base at Brookley, you had to drive by the commander's house. He was standing out in the road, and waved us down and stopped us and he said, "What are you guys gonna do?" And we said, "We're gonna go play golf." And he says, "No you're not, you're gonna go to work." And at that time, he got in the car and then I drove him to operations. And he gave us a list of jobs to do and it was to start calling people because nearly everybody was off on Saturday start calling people and telling them to come back to work.
And so you called everybody back together again. What was Gail doing that day? How did he get picked up for all this?
Guy Dunn: Real interesting. A real good friend of his, Peat Soa's wife was pregnant. And Pete Soa was one of the people that we had selected to be one of the crews on one of the airplanes. And Gail came in and volunteered to take his place. As a result, Gail, myself, and four or five others were on the last airplane to leave Brookley for the airlift on the Sunday morning 1948. It was the 9th of 1948, 9th of July, 1948.
It's long way from south Alabama to Germany. How did you fly?
Guy Dunn: John Kelly and I flew the first leg into Westover. Halvorsen and John Pickering flew the next leg to (Logis?). Larry (Keskie?) And Everett Payton flew the last leg into RheinMain. So guess whose time it was to fly again when we arrived at RheinMain? And the airplane was still in commission so within an hour I'm in route to Tempelhof with a load of coal.
With a load of coal? That was worst thing to fly with. Can you talk about that? The types of things that you carried and what was bad and what was good?
Guy Dunn: Well, first, General Clay put the Berliners on 1500 rations per person as long as they weren't working with the Airlift. Eventually, with dehydrated food we got them up to 1800 calories a day. The hardest cargo, the most damaging cargo was either coal or flour because of the dust and the dust would get on, throughout the airplane. I'm sure some of the 54's that are flying around today still have dust on the cables that control the airplane.
Was the Berlin Airlift a surprise to you? How did you find out about it and how did you know what was going on?
Guy Dunn: No. We were pretty well informed by intelligence. Even though we were flying in India, we were pretty well informed of what was going on in Europe. And that morning when the group commander stopped us, we knew that we were going to go to the airlift.
Why was the airlift needed?
Guy Dunn: To provide food and supplies for the 2,300,000 people that were in West Germany, West Berlin.
And this was because the Russians had ?
Guy Dunn: Had blockaded. Had stopped all traffic except air traffic. And during the Yalta Conference, Eisenhower, Truman, Churchill and Stalin had agreed that there would be three (inaudible @ 30:12) always left open in into Berlin.
Your first trip into Berlin, what did Berlin look like?
Guy Dunn: Bomb rubble. The most amazing thing about it was nearly all the buildings that we could see on final approach, the roads were full of bomb rubble and there wasn't any cars moving or anything, but the paths, you could tell where the paths went around the bomb rubble and they were like snakes.
You got to Berlin for the first time. You met some of the Germans at that point. How long were you on the ground?
Guy Dunn: About 30 minutes. No longer than 30 minutes because the airplane was offloaded and you had another trip to make.
How many trips would you make in a day?
Guy Dunn: Two trips. We were working 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Two trips were all you could take because it was two hours and about 20 minutes inbound and outbound it was about two hours and 40 minutes. So by the time you had flown both, two trips, you'd consumed most of your 12 hours.
You started flying into the airlift. And Gail was in your squadron. After that first flight, did you have any idea where your stuff was, where you were going to go?
Guy Dunn: After the second trip we knew that we were to be billeted. And we asked operations where our squadron was and he said over in Zepplinheim which is across the autobahn from the RheinMain. And right off the end of the runway I found my baggage outside, in a big lot next to a barn. Went into the barn because they said that's where you're gonna be billeted. And found a bunk real close to Gail Halvorsen that was empty and I took that bunk. That's why Gail and I got to be friends once we started dropping candy.
You did fly into Berlin sometimes but you wound up not flying so much into Berlin. What was your job on the Airlift?
Guy Dunn: Well, a C54 check pilot. And I rode a lot in the right seat of the airplane checking pilots out to upgrade them to aircraft commanders.
And what did that involve? The airlift was a pretty complicated operation from a flying standpoint, wasn't it?
Guy Dunn: Well, yes. But once you had read all the instructions and had the intelligence briefings and everything, it got to be routine.
What was the scariest part about flying in and out of Berlin?
Guy Dunn: Final approach into Tempelhof and every once in a while the Russians would try to force you out by buzzing. A fighter would try to buzz you, would buzz you and try to force you out of the carter. Once you out of the carter they felt you were free game.
And they'd shoot at you?
Guy Dunn: No, I don't think they'd shoot at us because Truman had told Stalin that he was signing B29's to England. And he said, "You shoot down one of my airplanes and I'll bomb all your cities."
Did you end up flying with Gail into and out of Berlin?
Guy Dunn: No. I've never flown with Gail except that one trip across the Atlantic.
But you wound up getting drawn into his operation. Did you have any interest in going to Berlin on your own?
Guy Dunn: No, I didn't. But Gail, being curious, got Bill Christian to give him a ride. He and Pickering a ride to Berlin.
And then what happened?
Guy Dunn: Well, he later told me that while at the fence he commandeered a jeep and a driver and was going to tour Berlin. And one of his tourist stops was at the fence at RheinMain while the kids were watching the airplanes land.
Start over. You meant Tempelhof.
Guy Dunn: He commandeered a jeep and got the driver to take him through some of the parts of the cities of Berlin. One of the stops was at the fence at the end of the runway at Tempelhof. Yeah, Tempelhof. And there was a lot of kids. And Gail and Pickering were talking to the kids and Gail was impressed by the fact that none of them were begging for anything. He says, "You guys just keep flying, we need to food." And when Gail started to walk away, he told me later that he reached down in his pocket and was saying none of these kids didn't beg for something. He says, let me give them this gum. So he took two sticks of spearmint gum and tore them in two and handed them through the fence to the kids. And the kids didn't chew the gum, they unwrapped it and smelled the paper and he said he never saw one of them put the gum in their mouth. And as a result, they said what else can you do? And they said we need candy. And he said, "I'll drop you some candy tomorrow." "How will we know that you're " they asked him, "How will we know that that's you?" He says, "I'll wiggle my wings." As a result, his email address is wigglywings today.
He came back from Berlin, having done all of this and then you got drafted?
Guy Dunn: Well, at that time candy was rationed even to us in RheinMain. And Gail started asking around for donations of candy and donations of handkerchiefs. And as a result, quite a few of us got involved in, during our offduty time, tying candy to parachutes, making parachutes and tying candy to them. And then we would take that and we'd get a lot done. We'd take it and each pilot in our squadron ended up dropping candy to the kids in Berlin. It was real interesting. The first candy was dropped through the flare shoot that Gail dropped. And that was a real small opening in the bottom of the airplane. We got so much candy that that wouldn't work. And so we started throwing it out the hatch in (inaudible @ 38:31). And the parachutes would open and the kids would get it.
When did you and Gail start to realize that this was bigger than any of you had ever thought?
Guy Dunn: At the time, during the lift, it was just another job to do. After the lift was over, two or three years later we realized that it was very diplomatic what we had done.
It started to get a lot of publicity. What happened?
Guy Dunn: Well, General Tunner let Gail come back to the States and make two or three addresses to both on CNN and both on the TV
Go back. What did you squadron commander think of all this when it started?
Guy Dunn: He called Gail in and said, "What are you doing Gail?" And he says, "Flying, sir." And he says, "No, no, what else are you doing?" He says, "Nothing." He says, "Well, the news reporter bought hit in the head with a chocolate bar." At that time he says, well, I'm gonna be courtmartialed. But after talking to Colonel Han for a short period of time, he says, General Tunner wants to see you. So Gail had to report to General Tunner and Tunner thought this was a great idea which was the beginning of Operation Little Vittles.
How did the Berlin Airlift get the name Operation Vittles?
Guy Dunn: When the first started, General Lee said, "Hell, we're providing food for Berlin, let's call it Operation Vittles."
Then you provided food for kids.
Guy Dunn: Then Operation Little Vittles started.
And that was ?
Guy Dunn: Dropping candy. Which ended up 23 tons of candy was delivered to the kids in Berlin.
After Gail met with General Tunner, they recognized that they had a public relations success. So then what happened to Gail?
Guy Dunn: He was sent back to the States where he talked on radio to the public and some of the candy companies realized that if they provided candy free of charge, there would be lots of candy delivered to the kids in Berlin. And as a result, the candy was shipped to Westover, Massachusetts and the Chicopee High School students, in a fire station, started tying chocolate bars to candy parachutes and they were shipped over to us. So we didn't have to tie as many parachutes.
By the time it was over you did 23 tons of candy?
Guy Dunn: Yeah, well, I came home earlier than the lift was over to fly across the Atlantic in the 74 of hauling engines to the airlift. The 23 tons of candy continued to be dropped, the candy continued to be dropped after I'd come home and was flying across the Atlantic.
Was Gail there for the whole thing?
Guy Dunn: No. Gail came home about the same time I did. And it's real interesting, instead of continuing to fly, he was sent to the University of Florida where he graduated with a degree. And from that time I never saw him again until even though we corresponded frequently, I never saw him again until we started the reunions in 1988.
So the Berlin Airlift ended. Gail had come back, you had come back. At that point did you decide you were going to be in the Air Force for a career?
Guy Dunn: My group commander called me in and said you're the type of guy that we'd like to keep in the Air Force. But you've got to have an additional duty. And so he says, "Look around and see if you can find yourself something to do other than fly airplanes." And I went down to maintenance and became a maintenance officer.
But you never ran into Gail again. He went on and had a pretty distinguished career in the service. Did you know what he was doing?
Guy Dunn: Yeah, I did. Particularly, when the Air Force give him orders to go back. He had been promoted up to colonel at that time and had given him orders to go back to Tempelhof as the commander for Tempelhof. Gail and the Air Force weren't in agreement but the State Department insisted that he go back because of the publicity.
So in 1988 you saw him again. Talk about 1988 was the 40th anniversary of the airlift.
Guy Dunn: Gail wasn't among the group that went with us back at that time. And we were in Berlin for a short period of time, but most of the time was spent at Frankfurt. And we did go from one of the trips that my wife and I went on with about 30 or people was to down the Rheine River was very interesting.
In 1998 you went back for the 50th anniversary. Talk about that trip and what the people of Berlin were saying and did.
Guy Dunn: We were treated the best that you can possibly be by the people of Berlin. The quarters were free, the trip over was free. And the only transportation I had to pay for was from Fort Walton Beach to New York. It was a wonderful trip. And I've been back four times since then.
Why do you think the German people still remember this?
Guy Dunn: I think that one of the things that impressed me most was I heard a statement made that the freedom to vote, the freedom of religion, and the freedom of speech were carried into Berlin disguised as coal, flour, and medicine. As a result, the people of Berlin really understand and support anything that has to do with America.
1998, you were with Gail on this trip. How did the people of Berlin react to Gail?
Guy Dunn: Oh, they mobbed him. Every place he went the kids in the streets and even the public, adults would come up and congratulate him.
When you were flying into Berlin, and you had candy on board and you were going to drop it, did you see what happened when you were flying in?
Guy Dunn: No, you didn't. When you pitched the candy out of the airplane, the airplane was just before touchdown so you were busy flying the airplane instead of watching you didn't know what happened to the parachutes.
Talk about that approach. It was not normal.
Guy Dunn: No, there was two apartment buildings, fourstory apartment buildings on each side of the approach to the runway and the approach was right down through the middle of the approach, just before touchdown, there was a graveyard. So you were flying down over the graveyard just across the fence and touchdown was right at the end of the the touchdown point was right at the end of that runway.
And when all of this first started and the candy was being dropped, there was a bunch of kids by the fence. Initially there were people in the neighborhood weren't happy. Why was that?
Guy Dunn: Because the kids were trampling down over the cemetery.
Eventually everybody came on board and how many kids would be at the fence?
Guy Dunn: No, it kept getting larger and larger and larger. They start with about 30 kids but it eventually, I don't have any idea at what the total would be.
Did Gail go back after that first trip to the fence?
Guy Dunn: Not during the airlift. Of course he did when he was a commander there. But I don't think he ever went back to the fence. At least not to my knowledge, did he ever go back to the fence while we were on the lift.
So this was all the result of one meeting, one day, one guy.
Guy Dunn: Two guys. His copilot was with him.
And what did they see? Talk about what that must have been like.
Guy Dunn: Well, with very little clean clothes, most of them had spent their time in cellars and things like that so they weren't in the best condition. But they were all happy that we were flying food in to them. Food, supply, and medicine.
Looking back on it, how do you feel about that and about what you did in the airlift?
Guy Dunn: It was real interesting. During the airlift, as myself as an instructor pilot, we would frequently be called into a meeting with what was known at that time was a (Polad?). It was an individual that the State Department had assigned to Tunner's staff. And he would brief us on what political affect this was having on the people in Russia, particularly Stalin and his group. And he says if you guys just keep flying, keep up, keep doing what you're doing, we're going to win this. And that was encouragement for us because everybody was getting really downhearted because it became such a routine that it got to be boring.
But, there were some things that made this very, very difficult. Talk about the weather.
Guy Dunn: The Germans said that was one of the worst winters for weather, that winter was one of the worst winters for weather.
Tell us about the weather.
Guy Dunn: The weather was real, real bad. The Germans said that this was one of the worst winters they had had in years. The fog was thicker than it could be. Very seldom could you ever see more than two or three sets of runway lights at any one of the either RheinMain, Wiesbaden, or Tempelhof.
Other difficulties as well. You had a friend who almost had a propeller go right through his cockpit. Talk about Bill Anderson and what happened to their airplane.
Guy Dunn: Bill was on takeoff out of Celle when the number two prop came off. It went through the radio the prop cut a great big hole in the side of the fuselage over the radio operator's compartment which was not in use at that time because we only had three people on board the airplane the pilot, the copilot, and flight engineer. He managed to get the airplane back around because it was almost uncontrollable.
Are you surprised that so much was done and that the United States was able to do so much for our country that they had been at war with just three years previous?
Guy Dunn: I wasn't surprised because after reporting to the Airlift, it just became another job. It could've been flying anywhere, but it was just another job. It had to be done. Of course, my job, in addition to flying the Airlift was as an instructor pilot and I did an awful lot of my flying from the right seat of the 54 checking out other people.
You did some candy dropping. What did the rest of the folks in your squadron think of this whole thing?
Guy Dunn: They all volunteered to drop candy. One of the interesting things that I always will remember is we were checking out the new pilots that had just graduated from Great Falls, the school at Great Falls. A lot of them had never flown a fourengine airplane before. I was flying with a Captain Parker and we'd made about four trips. We were going back into Wiesbaden one night, the weather was really bad, the fog was very, very thick. And he was doing a fine job finding the instructions of the ground approach control. So I had glanced up and I'd seen two or three sets of runway lights and I knew that he was right in the middle of the runway on a final approach. So just as we crossed the threshold, I said, "Parker, pull the nose up just a little." About that time the wheels touched down, the main gear touched down. He turned lose the yoke, turned around at me and screamed with profanities I can't repeat here. And I very calmly told him, I said, "Parker, please get back on the nose wheel and drive this airplane down the middle of the runway, otherwise you're gonna kill all three of us." I'll remember that. He was as white as a sheet when he turned to look at me. And I'll never forget that expression.
Why was the Berlin Airlift important to the people of Berlin?
Guy Dunn: Well, the coal kept their industries going. The only thing that was lacking, the Russians would cut off power and as a result, quite frequently, they'd go without power for almost a day. And then the Russians would turn it on for an hour. But we did keep their industries going. And in Berlin it's primarily the industry center of Germany. And quite a bit of the material that they manufactured came from West Berlin while East Berlin controlled by the Russians, was primarily farm country.
How do you think Gail Halvorsen should be remembered?
Guy Dunn: He should go down in history as one of the great Americans because of his attitude, his kindness, his desire for people to stay free. I would place him among some of the honored people of America.
The Air Force has certainly recognized him as such.
Guy Dunn: Oh, yes, the Air Force has over used him.
Tell me about your reflections. How hold were you when the airlift started?
Guy Dunn: 25 years old.
And tell me about what did all this mean to you?
Guy Dunn: Back then, well, initially it was just another job to do. But at the same time I knew that I was gaining a lot of flying experience. As a result, every airplane that I've flown, and I've flown 42 different types of airplanes, I've been an instructor in nearly all of them.
And so that was then. Now what does that time in your life mean for you?
Guy Dunn: One of the greatest accomplishments of my 30 years in the Air Force.
Guy Dunn: Thinking back, it was what we accomplished. We broke the blockade. But at that time, it meant very little other than the fact that it was just another job to do.
You still stay in touch with Gail. What is he like today?
Guy Dunn: Same Gail Halvorsen. Kind. Caring. Very religious. Set on keeping America free.
He still drops candy?
Guy Dunn: The Berlin Airlift Historical Society bought an airplane, a C54 and has created a museum in the interior of the airplane about the airlift. And Tim Chopp is the founder of this. He is Gail fly together quite a bit and still drop candy over high schools and schools. Even outside of the United States.
Do you think that means anything to students and kids today?
Guy Dunn: Oh, yeah. Each time the Spirit of Freedom, which is the name of that C54, lands anywhere, there's at least 30 or 40,000 people tour the airplane.
There was a plane crash in August 1948 at Tempelhof. Can you talk about what happened there?
Guy Dunn: Weather and the fact that the pilot landed too far down the runway. And at the far end of the runway there was a railroad track. It knocked the gear out from under the airplane and it turned over and burned. A good friend of mine, was at that time, was an instructor pilot for the crew that was flying that airplane. And they all got out, but he was burnt real badly.
Did he survive?
Guy Dunn: He survived. But he carried a scar on the side of his face for a lifetime.
Talk about what kind of guy Gail is.
Guy Dunn: Caring. Religious. Give you the shirt of his back if you had to ask him. He wants to make sure that everybody stays free. Has the right to vote, right for religion. And he does not, even though he's a Mormon, he does not push that fact on anybody else. You make your own choice.
Anything else you want to say?
Guy Dunn: No. I think we've covered nearly everything. Oh, one thing that was real interesting, the Russians would always there was two fighter bases that we flew over on the south carver going into Tempelhof. The Russians would always try to come up and force you out of the carver. All you had to do to get him to break off his formation with you was to take a camera and stick it in the window toward him and he'd immediately peel off.
Talk about the rest of your career. What happened after Berlin?
Guy Dunn: I came back to Mobile, Alabama. Fly 74's across the Atlantic hauling engines, and also became a maintenance officer. (Inaudible) squadron. And I ended up with about 3,000 hours in C74's which is the best airplane I've ever flown other than the 130.
And then what happened?
Guy Dunn: I married my mother. I married your mother in 1951 while stationed at Mobile. We went from there to Guam. And you were born on Guam.
And then you finished out your career with the Air Force? You went to Vietnam?
Guy Dunn: Went to Vietnam. I was a detachment commander at Cam Ronh Bay which was a detachment of 130's providing transportation in Vietnam.
When you got in the Air Force you had no idea that you were going to serve how?
Guy Dunn: World War II.
Guy Dunn: I served in World War II. Berlin Airlift. Korea and Vietnam.