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Robert H. Meyer: World War II Veteran. King High Remembers Brittany Ridenour Brooke Vails. “Today it will be the 338 th time I told my story.”. From Ministers to Military. “I learned to fly four motor airplanes before I learned how to drive a car.”.

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robert h meyer world war ii veteran

Robert H. Meyer: World War II Veteran

King High Remembers

Brittany Ridenour

Brooke Vails

from ministers to military
From Ministers to Military

“I learned to fly four motor airplanes before I learned how to drive a car.”

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

flying for the first time
Flying for the first time

“I can sum up my military career in four words: flew in, walked back.”

“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.”

a day in the life
A Day in the Life

““I heard an explosion and thought some poor guy got it…I didn’t know it was my best friend.”

“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.”

flying into normandy
Flying into Normandy

“The only pictures of the invasion site were 30,000 feet in the air; they looked like postage stamps.”

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.”

coming in for a landing
Coming in for a Landing

“It looked like the Fourth of July because the air was full of tracers.”

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.”

a state of perplexity
A State of Perplexity

“Our goal was simple: discombobulate.”

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.”

bewilderment
Bewilderment

“It didn’t even hurt.”

“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.”

trying to get back
Trying to Get Back

“Casablanca was all different colors: the most gorgeous city I’d ever seen.”

“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
Casablanca

“It took me almost 13 days to go back from South France to England.”

“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.”

holland 3 rd mission
Holland (3rd Mission)

“The Germans and us were only 80 feet apart. Nobody would shoot at 80 feet.”

“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.”

surprise surprise
Surprise, Surprise

“I was the poster boy for the Holland invasion.”

“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.”

and another side trip
And Another Side Trip

“General Eisenhower had to put out an order saying glider pilots go home.”

“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.’

the rhine
The Rhine

“The most glorious fight.”

“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.”

deal or no deal
Deal or No Deal?

“We were in the same class and didn’t even know it.”

“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.”

pure luck
Pure Luck

“To make all four missions without a bullet hole, that’s what you call 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.”

little known secrets
Little Known Secrets

“We had a secret weapon to fool the Germans.”

“Mannequins dressed in flight suits were dropped during flight.”

“The telephone lines were ringing “paratroopers, paratroopers, paratroopers.”

“D-Day was the 6th, 7th, and 8th 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.”

nowadays
Nowadays

“The men started to ask for Kotex pads. To put on their backpack straps, of course.”

“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.”

Operation:

A Bit

of Home

Because supporting your troops means more Than placing a magnet on your car!