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The Tuskegee airmen once shot down three German jets in a single day.

May 25, 2020
On March 24, 1944, a fleet of P-51 Mustangs led by Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, commander of the Tuskegee airmen, set out on the longest escort mission their crews would fly during World War II. The 43 fighters were there to help B-17 bombers run a gauntlet of over 1,600 miles into the heart of Hitler’s Germany and back. The bombers’ target, a massive Daimler-Benz tank factory in Berlin, was heavily defended by whatever forces the Luftwaffe could muster at that point in the war. The 25 aircraft protecting the plant included the battle-tested Fw 190 radial propeller fighters, the Me 163 “Komet” rocket-powered plane and the much more formidable Me 262, history’s first jetfighter and the forerunner of today’s modern fighters. While the American P-51s typically lagged behind the Me 163s and 262s, they could outmaneuver them at low speeds. The German planes also tended to run out of fuel more quickly than the Tuskegee airmen’s Mustangs. Making the most of their limited advantages, pilots Charles Brantley, Earl Lane and Roscoe Brown all shot down German jets over Berlin that day, earning the all-black 332nd Fighter Group a Distinguished Unit Citation.

Tuskegee Thunder

November 12, 2013

This is a picture that was drawn by the famous war artist Robert Bailey. 

March 24, 1945. 1st Lt. Earl R. Lane of the 100th Figher Group destroys a Messerschmitt-262 jet high over Germany. Also shown: the Luftwaffe were using a captured P-51 (all black) Mustang during this action.

Unofficial Words to TAPS

May 27, 2012

Day is done, gone the sun, from the hills, from the lakes, from the skies.  All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.  

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep, may the soldier or sailor, God keep.  On the land or the deep, safe in sleep. 

Love, good night, must thou go, when the day, and the night, need thee so?  All is well.  Speedeth all, to their rest.

Fades the light; and afar, goeth day, and the stars, shineth bright, fare thee well; Day has gone, night is on.  Thanks and praise, for our days, 'Neath the sun, Neath the stars, 'Neath the sky, as we go, this we know, God is nigh.

When the Chickens Come Home to Roost

January 28, 2012

This happened during one of my visits to Uncle Earl and Aunt Dorothy's house in Wickliffe.  Leslie and I loved to go next door to her grandparents, Levi and Christine Lane's house.  It was on one of those occasions, after getting in the way, Grandma Lane decided to keep us busy for a while.  Grandma Lane asked if we would be helpful girls and go to the chicken coop and gather some eggs for her. I know what you're thinking, eggs? coop?  Not Kroger? 

Helpful girls that we were, Leslie and I quickly headed for the hen house.  After opening the gate and gathering a few eggs in our little wicker baskets  it happened, (the hens didn't seem to mind us taking their eggs), we were met by the biggest, baddest, roughest, toughest, @#%@# rooster.  He proceeded to chase Leslie and I all around the coop.

It wasn't until Grandma Lane came out with her broom, pulling the starched apron from around her waist, waving it at the mad rooster, were we able to escape.  I wish someone had a movie camera at that time.  All you heard were the sqaulks of chickens, the screams of two little girls, along with the laughter of one grandmother.  That was my first and only lesson in collecting eggs.  Surprisingly, I still like eggs.  I call it payback.

An Aha Moment

January 28, 2012

It just came to me that Uncle Earl was just four years older than I am today, and Hubert was five years younger than I am now when they passed.  Wow, it puts it all in perspective, that time is fleeting, and we should live each and every day as if it were our last, because it very well may be.

I want to put down as many stories as I can recall for my children, grand-children, and their children.  Especially since Leslie died having no children, and I'm one of the older generations who still can remember. Time seems to be accelerating.

I only pray the remaining Tuskegee Airmen are telling their stories to their children, and grandchildren.  Don't let it be left up to movie-makers and Hollywood actors to tell your stories.  You should be telling the unabbreviated, not  necessarily politically correct, raw, good, as well as negative experiences.  What a teachable moment. 

Uncle Earl's Father

January 28, 2012

This is on a plaque in the Wickliffe Ohio Hall of Fame regarding Uncle Earl's father, Levi Morris Lane, who was honored in 1993.

Described as a "soft-spoken, but steadfast and unmovable worker."  Levi Lane was a civil rights activist long before the Civil Rights Movement was popular.

Moving to Wickliffe near the start of the Great Depression, Mr. Lane helped to found the Outlook Club and served in all of the positions on its board.  He became the club's treasurer in 1947, a role in which he was still active when inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1993.  Levi expressed a sincere commitment to the City of Wickliffe through his participation with Wickliffe Day Care, Antioch Baptist Church, Senior Center.  Even in his occupation, Mr. Lane exhibited dedication and persistence in a lengthy career with the Bailey Meter Company.

Still active in his civic duties nearly 30 years after retiring, Levi Lane has been recognized for his strong sense of civic duty, for which , appropriately, Civic Park - a gift to the City through the achievement of Mr. Lane exists as a reminder.

Uncle Earl and Aunt Dorothy's Wedding Day

January 28, 2012

I don't remember this, but it was always a source of amusing conversation whenever the sisters got together, my mother was Aunt Dorothy's older sister.  Even though it happened over 60 years ago, it is still quite funny.

The story goes like this -  It was a hot summer day in June, 1948 in Cleveland, Ohio.  This was before central air-conditioning in homes, so the luxury of the day was to have electric fans placed in strategic spots all around the rooms to keep the guests as cool as possible.  Just before the vows were made between the bride and groom (Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Earl), the ceremony was interrupted by the screams and cries of a child in pain; yep, you got it - ME.  It seems at that particular time, the fascination of blades spinning on the fan was more interesting than watching the nuptuals.  Needless to say the ceremony was delayed for a few minutes. 

The good news is that I have all ten fingers (I never found out which one I tried to amputate), and Uncle Earl and Aunt Dorothy finished their vows, despite my interruption.

The moral of the story (in my humble opinion) don't put an electric fan on the floor where a 3-year-old can get to it.  

If you look closely, you can see a fan on the floor in one of the wedding pictures, not sure if it's the fan in question.


Soaring Brothers

January 28, 2012
I remember visiting Uncle Earl and Aunt Dorothy one summer.  I think I was in elementary school at the time, and my mother let me go visit without my two  little brothers.  I traveled alone, on Amtrak. I had a large placard with my ticket and credentials, what would be like a press-card today, pinned to my coat and how the Red-Caps and Pullman Porters treated me like a little princess, catering to my every need until I could be delivered safely to my Aunt Dorothy in Cleveland.  Traveling by rail was very sophisticated at that time.

One evening after Leslie and I had already gone to bed, we were awakened by the sounds of adults talking.  We got up and sleepy-eyed went into the living room where Uncle Earl and several men were laughing and talking.  Aunt Dorothy was in the kitchen cooking.  I thought it was kind of odd, it was still dark outside, and I knew it wasn't time to get up.  Nevertheless, there they all were, laughing, talking and eating what Aunt Dorothy had prepared.  The men seemed to know Leslie, and Uncle Earl introduced me as his visiting niece from Detroit.  We were allowed to stay up for a while, but then were ushered back to our room to go back to sleep. 

I found out later that these were Tuskegee Airmen who flew with Uncle Earl during the war.  Whenever any of them were in town, they always got together, it didn't matter what time of day or night.  Their bond seemed closer than brothers.

I have often wished, since I have been grown, that  I had asked Uncle Earl about his time during the war, but he was a soft-spoken man who I'm sure would have played it all down.  He was never one who would be boastful or make what he did seem like anything but a duty he and his comrades had accomplished.  


Deaths of Uncle Earl and Hubert

January 28, 2012
Leslie and I had gotten closer in our adult lives.  Even though we were only three years apart in age, I always referred to her as being my little cousin.

The day that I lost my husband, Leslie was one of the first people I called.  I remember her saying, "Donna, you know I will be there."  Unfortunately, two days later, Leslie called me and said her beloved father had just passed.

I was unable to say my good-byes to Uncle Earl, so I decided to make this memorial for him.  I think Leslie would have liked it.  Death called for Leslie in 2006.  I like to think that Uncle Earl whispered in her ear on that day that he had come to take her for a ride in his new plane.





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