of Hickory, North Carolina
This our good friend John Parker. John has become a regular here at our museum Veteran’s gatherings. He is a joy and is a former navigator in B-17s. John flew 30 missions with the 457th BG out of Glatton England with the mighty 8th AF. Of interest, John shared a story with me of the 457th’s Deputy Commander Bill Smith. On July 28th, 1945 he was the man that flew a B-25 Mitchell into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building. He was trying to get to see his newborn daughter he had never met. He commandeered a B-25 and needed a rated pilot to fly with him. He eventually acquired a Marine ‘co-pilot’ and off they went. The weather was just terrible and he lowered the aircraft to see the ground. After dodging several skyscrapers, he didn’t miss the Empire State Building. John knew him well and it is amazing how small the world gets when you talk to these great men!! Also, John looked fantastic at our Veteran’s Day celebration in his uniform!!