Missouri veterans connect future, past through Honor Flight

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | 7:56 p.m. CDT; updated 12:34 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 26, 2013
Staff Sgt. James Shipley is escorted through the cheering crowd Wednesday at 12:50 a.m. One volunteer shouted that it was Shipley's birthday, and the crowd began to sing. Shipley was escorted by two community members and Honor Flight volunteer Doc Kritzer, at right.

COLUMBIA — Every soldier has a story.

Some are patriotic adventures, others are somber memories of comrades lost. James Shipley and Dabney Doty certainly are no exceptions. Both veterans of World War II, they were among nearly 90 who participated in the 10th Central Missouri Honor Flight, which began early Tuesday morning. They spent the day in Washington, D.C., visiting several war monuments and memorials.

Veterans participating in Honor Flight

The following are veterans who were scheduled to attend the Honor Flight on June 29. Honor Flight representatives said the list of participants could have changed before the event.

  • Paul Allen of Trenton
  • Marvin Ancell of Moberly
  • Laurel Ethan Anderson of Columbia
  • William "Bill" Bailey of Columbia
  • Donald Baker of Lee's Summit
  • Mel Bartel of Columbia
  • Fred Baumhoegger of High Ridge
  • Hershel "Bo" Bell of Fayette
  • Kenny Biesemeyer of New Franklin
  • Kenneth "Bing" Bingham of Mexico, Mo.
  • Harry Black of Columbia
  • Bob Blosser of Jefferson City
  • Ed Brune of Linn
  • Bernie Burger of Columbia
  • Charlie Byers of Fulton
  • Raymond "Bud" Carel of Jefferson City
  • Marvin Chilton of St. James
  • Dwight Claxton of California, Mo.
  • Jim Crosby III of Columbia
  • Joyce "Frenchie" DeWeese of Marceline
  • Dabney Doty of Columbia
  • Lon Douglas of Jefferson City
  • Wallace Drane of Columbia
  • Bob Elliott of California, Mo.
  • Emich 
  • Bill Farnen of Salisbury
  • George Fleener of Columbia
  • Jerry Forck of Jefferson City
  • Tom Foster of Salisbury
  • Billy Franke of Macon
  • Joe Franke of Columbia
  • Bill George of Columbia
  • Tom Goodman of Belle
  • Lee Gose of Fayette
  • Bob Hahn of Osage Beach
  • Roy Hannah of Moberly 
  • Jim Holman of Moberly
  • Fran Hughes of Columbia 
  • Jim Jacob of Columbia
  • Russell Joiner of Trenton
  • Norman Jones of Belle
  • John Jungmeyer of California, Mo.
  • Tom Kenney of New Florence
  • Kennison 
  • Don Kievit of Columbia 
  • Art Landers of Jefferson City 
  • Ken Langer of Osage Beach
  • Norman Lenhardt of Columbia
  • George Long of Macon
  • Robert Love of Macon
  • Bob McGrath of Columbia
  • John Morrison of Lexington
  • Jim Moseley of California, Mo.
  • J.D. Murray of California, Mo.
  • Tim Nadeau of Boonville
  • Bill Novak of Jefferson City
  • Fred Oerly of Boonville
  • Gerald Oswald of Boonville
  • Edgar "Bud" Pearce Jr. of Fulton
  • K. Roger Pennel
  • Carl Poehlman of Columbia
  • Leroy Ridgway of New Florence
  • Raymond Lee Roberts of Paris, Mo.
  • Bill Rogers Jr. of Fulton
  • Warren Rollins of Dixon
  • Earl Ross of Mendon
  • Ralph Roster of St. James
  • Leo Scrivner of New Bloomfield
  • Cliff Sell of Ashland
  • Raymond Shellito of Lebanon
  • C. Tom Shepard of Holts Summit
  • James Shipley of Tipton
  • Bill Sloan of Jefferson City
  • David Smith
  • Jim Stoner of Moberly
  • Andrew Talley of Osage Beach
  • Gene Truesdell of Clark, Mo.
  • Jim Tudor of Hallsville
  • Vernon Umphenour of Cairo, Mo.
  • Ted Vogelweid of Moberly
  • Bob Waters
  • Whitehead
  • Ray Williams of Bucklin
  • Lee Williams of Tipton
  • Cecil Wood of California, Mo.

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The veterans returned to a community celebration on Wednesday at 12:30 a.m. after their flight back to Missouri. About 200 people gathered at the Courtyard Marriott to welcome home the veterans.

Children, up hours past their bedtimes, waved flags, and elderly family members stood up from wheelchairs to clap and cheer. In a sea of stars and stripes, the excitement was contagious.

"It's a connector of what was and what is," said Capt. Ralph Dobbs, who participated in an Honor Flight in 2009.

People of all ages and backgrounds joined together to welcome each of the 87 veterans returning home from Washington, D.C., and to celebrate their stories.

Army Air Force Staff Sgt. James Shipley

James Shipley walked into an ice cream shop still wearing his military uniform after spending two years, 11 months and 29 days serving his country in World War II. Shipley was told if he wanted ice cream, he needed to go to the back door.

At the time, Shipley's service and sacrifices didn't matter — he is black.

"Fresh out of the service, you can imagine how I felt," Shipley said. "I said, 'You can keep the ice cream.'"

Shipley served as a mechanic for the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation's first black military airmen. At that time, some Americans believed black people lacked the intelligence or skills needed to fly or work on planes.

"They really said the black guys couldn't fly," Shipley said. "We were just an experimental (group)."

Shipley volunteered to serve his country when he was 19 years old. On Nov. 7, 1942, he went into the service and was on his way to Tuskegee, Ala., for basic training. After training in different states across the country, he was deployed to Italy.

Shipley is proud that his squadron never lost a plane while flying cover. He deeply enjoyed working on the planes and getting to know the other mechanics and pilots.

Shipley recalled watching roughly 65 planes taking off one after another one morning near the ocean. 

"That was a beautiful sight to see," Shipley said.

But Shipley also remembers the more difficult times of his service, such as being welcomed to Italy by a heavy rainfall that soaked into his tent. There was also an instance in which his field was bombed. Several of the planes Shipley had worked on were destroyed.

Shipley was dedicated to his mechanical work and enjoyed getting to inspect the engine and search for bullet holes. 

"Whatever it took to get her off the ground, that's what I did," Shipley said.

When Shipley finished his service, he returned home to Tipton. Although not everyone received Shipley with the same level of respect, he was able to return to his job at Paul Miller's Garage. Eventually, Shipley started working for Co-Mo Electric Cooperative. 

"I said, 'After three months if I'm not saving you money, you don't need to tell me to leave. I'll quit,'" Shipley said.

Shipley succeeded and worked at Co-Mo Electric for 29 years.

Throughout the years, various members of the community began to recognize Shipley for his service. But Shipley has a humble attitude about the recognition.

"I'm looking forward to the Honor Flight," Shipley said Friday. "It's a real treat for the veterans. They're trying to honor us, but we were just doing our duty."

The Honor Flight came at a unique time for Shipley. He was able to see multiple war monuments while celebrating his 87th birthday. He said the Honor Flight and grand welcome home were quite a birthday treat.

For a profile of another veteran on the 10th Central Missouri Honor Flight, click here.

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