George Whitten by: Matt Machunski
When I was a young boy back when I was about 7 or 8, my grandfather would tell me stories of when he was in the war. The first story he told me about was when he was in World War II and he flew a glider plane into Normandy. He didn’t fly to the beach; he flew over the beach so that the troops could trap the Germans. He has told me about other missions and he is proud to tell them. He loves telling these stories to all of the family and he usually tells stories every time I see him. He also tells my brother the same stories whenever he sees him too. Everyone that is in the family has heard most, if not all, of the war stories and we all love hearing them again.
My grandfather’s name is George Whitten. He first went into the war when he was 18 years old. He flew a glider plane, which not many people could do or wanted to do. He went through hard training because he had to learn to fly the glider, as well as crash, because that is the only way to land. Not only did he need to learn to fly, he also needed to learn to fight. He needed to fight because he couldn’t take off after he landed. This is because there are no engines in gliders. There were times when he needed to fight becuase his plane was down and he needed to cover himself. He also needed to help cover the troops that were around him.
He remembers a lot of stories very clearly and he loves to talk about them all to the family. The story that he regrets the most was when he was behind enemy lines and was switching planes on an airbase. The airbase was not secure so everyone was moving quickly, but there was a sniper hiding in the woods and shot my grandfather. The troops got him on the plane and got him help. He recovered and went back to the war later. After the war ended, he got a purple heart for this. A purple heart is a medal that a soldier gets after they are shot.
FLYING BEHIND OMAHA BEACH
This story my grandfather is very proud of. He was flying his glider plane into Normandy, not the beaches but behind them. The idea of the mission was to set troops behind Omaha beach and eventually trap the Germans in between Omaha beach and the landing sight. Like it was said earlier, the only way to land a glider plane is to crash-land it. So my grandfather did so, but got very injured in the process. He was unable to go on, which scared him a lot because he was in Normandy, in a very unsafe area. The troops with him thought fast and they moved him into a house for cover. They put him into the fireplace and put a blanket around him so that he would be able to hide. The troops went outside and secured the area, then came back to help him. Eventually the troops got him to help and he was fine. My grandfather is most proud of this event because it shows what really happens when something goes wrong. He got injured and could only move very slowly, but his troops wanted to help him before they did their primary objective. In other words, they left no man behind, which is the way it should be.
My grandfather has many stories that he has told the family, but my grandmother later says that he is exaggerating about some stories that he has told me, but none of these. The stories are still very good, even if they are not true. All of the stories that he has to tell have been told to the family, and we all love hearing the stories. My brother and I were the last people to have been told his stories and we both have to say that the stories that he tells are absolutely amazing.
1. National WWII Glider Pilots Association Inc. Recieved February 26, 2004.
2. National World War II Glider Pilots Association Inc. Recieved February 25, 2004.
3. National World War II . Recieved February 27,2004. http://www.ww2gp.org/Luzon.htm
4. Planes of the Parachute Regiment in World War II. Recieved March 2, 2004. http://www.britishairborne.org/planes.html
5. Planes of the Parachute Regiment in World War II. Recieved March 2, 2004. http://www.britishairborne.org/planes.html
|Whitten, George interview February 20, 2004