Woman who trained pilots to be recognized.
The “Every Day is Veteran’s Day” event on Nov. 10 will have two “very special presentations” according to organizer Gwen Redman.
A 102-year-old woman who trained pilot in World War II will be honored, as well as an Air Force veteran who has encouraged patriotism among young people for 15 years.
The keynote speaker will be retired USAF four-star Gen. Mike Dunn, who is considered a premier expert on Korea. A former advisor to Donald Rumsfeld, former secretary of defense, he will talk on "The 10 most common misperceptions about North Korea."
The luncheon is scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. at the Anderson-Price Memorial Building, 42 N. Beach St. Redman is veteran liaison for VITAS Healthcare, the primary sponsor.
There will also be a Voice of Democracy presentation that Redman said will be “powerful, emotive and
encouraging.” In this annual program sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars, area students record an oral essay on a patriotic theme.
Looking for a few good guinea pigs
One of the veterans being recognized is 102-year-old Jamye Green, who made a unique contribution to the war effort in World War II. Redman called Green “a true pioneer for women.”
Green, who now resides in an independent living facility in DeLand, said she was in the Civil Air Patrol in Atlanta in 1942 when one day a man met with them and said the military was going to have a “guinea pig” class of women teaching pilots how to fly by instruments.
She said it wasn’t unusual for women to fly in the ‘40s.
“There were a bunch of us girls in the patrol,” she said. “We had a lot of fun.”
So, she took a leave of absence from teaching, and after being trained by Navy pilots, became an instructor.
She trained both WAVES and men at air bases in Corpus Christie, Memphis and Pensacola. At Pensacola, she also taught ground school, which includes navigation and Morse code, and her notebooks and lesson plans are still kept at the air museum there for research.
She did not join the military, but worked in the Civil Service for the Navy for 15 years until 1957. She said it was a lot of fun and she was proud she could make a contribution.
“I loved it more than any job she ever had,” she said. “I knew I was helping the men with their instrument flying and the war effort.”
She used a Link trainer, a simulator that was used in those days to train pilots. Invented by Ed Link, a former organ builder, it used valves, pumps and bellows to respond to pilot actions.
Green said she used her instrument-flying knowledge herself. Once, while flying to Birmingham with a friend, they became lost. She said they relied on instrumentation and radio signals to find their home.
After her flight instructor career, her flying hours declined.
“It was expensive to fly,” she said. “I could choose between flying for 30 minutes or buying a new dress. I bought a dress.”
After her service, she attained a master’s degree in library science and had a career as a media specialist.
She has also stayed busy with a hobby, ventriloquism. As a child, she saw an ad for lessons. She kept the ad through high school and college, and it wasn’t until she was a teacher that she took a course in Chicago.
She then went on to perform ventriloquism at various events as a hobby.
“We didn’t have marketing back then so you could get paid,” she said.
She can’t carry her original dummy, Clarabelle, around, but still performs today using a sock puppet.
‘I did everything I wanted to do as a kid.’
Retired Air Force Colonel Jim Dearborn is receiving recognition for work he has done over the past 15 years as leader of the local Voices of Democracy, a scholarship program conducted by Veterans of Foreign Wars since 1947.
Dearborn is a member and past commander of VFW Post 3282 in Port Orange, which conducts the local program. The VFW also coordinates Patriots Pen, a written essay contest for sixth through eighth grades that has monetary prizes.
Dearborn’s career with the Air Force began in 1950. He had assignments all over the world, and his wife, Joan, managed 26 moves after their wedding in 1954.
These days, she helps with Voices of Democracy. A former school teacher, she weeds out the submissions before they go to the judges.
She said the program promotes patriotism and gets young people thinking about the subject.
“We enjoy it so much,” the former school teacher said. “I’m impressed. They are so dedicated and such believers in our country.”
Jim Dearborn agrees with the quality of the submissions.
“They inspire me every year,” he said.
The Dearborns have encouraged and mentored many students over the years, and a former student will be at the event on Nov. 10 to present the honors.
Last year’s Voice of Democracy theme was “Why veterans are important to our nation’s history and future,” and this year’s theme is “My vision for America.” The contest is currently going on, and banquets where the winning themes will be read will occur later this year. Winning students can go to districts, state and national competitions.
Dearborn flew F-84s in the Korean War and F-4 Phantom jets in the Vietnam War. He flew 200 missions and 450 combat hours in Vietnam.
Looking back on Korea, he said he sometimes wonders how it could be in the same situation it was when he left, with only a truce. But he said the U.S. did good work there.
“North Korea has not been able to exercise their will over the country,” he said.
He said the Vietnam War was not conducted by the military, but by Washington D.C.
Dearborn enjoyed his military career before retiring in 1983.
“I got to do everything I wanted to do as a kid,” he said. “Fly fighter jets.”
After Vietnam, his duties included being squadron commander at Eglin Air Force Base and commander of the 40th Tactical Group for NATO at Aviano Air Base, Italy.
His decorations include two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, 15 Air Medals and more.
After retirement, he worked for H&R Block.
If you go
The Every Day is Veterans Day event is scheduled noon to 2 p.m., Nov. 10, at Anderson-Price Building. To see if seats are still available, call Redman at 383-8899. To receive notice of future events, email her at [email protected].
The event is free, but donations are encouraged which will go to the Delta Center, a nonprofit organization that treats veterans with PTSD utilizing hyperbaric technology. A presentation will be made about the center.