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Ernie Pyle, the warrior journalist

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Graham Air Base Featured

Graham Air Base

I am writing this article because of the recent death of Paul Fuder. He was a flight instructor at Graham. For many years there have been four previous Graham instructors living here. They were Paul, Joe Quick, Jake Huizer and me. Joe died a few months ago, I have moved to Prattville, AL, so, suddenly there is only one left, Jake Huizer. I think he and I are both 89 and I think he is in relatively good health. When Jake leaves, there will be no one left in Jackson County who flew for Graham.

I just want to say a little about the times of Graham. (1953-1961). At that time there were still many 40 acre farms in this area. Rural folks went to town on Saturday to shop and visit. I remember going to the grocery on Market Street and there was a man standing at the door. He said "You are not from here, are you"? We had a good visit and that began my attachment to Jackson County.

Graham-Aviation-2Oxen were still used. Slade West had opened the West Manor subdivision and he had three men who worked there cleaning out undergrowth. I was building houses in that area when I was not flying. He told me I could use his men to help me when I needed some help. He would pay them and I could reimburse him later. Bartow Ford had a service station at Lafayette and Jefferson and if you stopped for gas it would be put in for you, the windshield would be cleaned and the interior would be vacuumed and the tires would be checked, and if you wanted, he would charge it to you.

Since Graham had students from so many foreign countries it brought a certain kind of sophistication to the area. I just also want to tell you a great many young ladies from here married some of those bright boys who later fought wars, became prisoners of war, astronauts and generals. I had students from France, Denmark, Holland, and Columbia South America.

I have tried to do television interviews of local people who lived here at that time, but those I selected were too shy and have now departed. There are still some residents from that era around who could do it but, so far, they have not agreed. I'll be glad to come down for that if it can be arranged. I think Graham's posterity deserves it.

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Last modified onMonday, 23 December 2013 03:34
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