by: Charley Norton
Maybe there is a place for those that didn’t fight for their country or be a part of something that changed the world. Maybe there is a place for those that tried but timing, good or bad luck (depending on how you look at it), or even the winds of fate intervened to separate a few that would remain, just to tell the story of those that did.
I’d like to think so and I’d like to think I may be one of those people. Maybe that is why over the years, I’ve logged back into my limited memory some exceptional people. People that one day I could tell their story, or at least parts of it. A story that also includes, through their recollection, the stories of those that are no longer here to tell them themselves.
This is for me, the most important thing I have ever done. And with that said, I’d like to tell you about another person of distinction we should all know and appreciate. What he did for love of country and the love of flight is an inspiration to anyone that loves their country and loves to fly.
I have often said that I should never be thanked for my service because the Air Force made me who I am today. This man is one who would agree with me from his own experience, as he sees it. Respectfully, he would be wrong.
His name is Page Enloe. No beans about it, this man served his country.
He was in harm's way many times (I was not). But he was doing something he loved and was with others that felt the same.
There are literally volumes of content that I am going to compress to only a few words which will not be enough but it will have to be enough for now. Basically, a parenthesis of content within the whole story, if you will. But, there will be more writings that I will make about this man and the memories he has of others that structured the making of Randolph County, as well as, the perils of war. It is a story that should be told and this is one of the last men, if not the last man, that can tell it. I am only a conduit, and proud to be one. Page’s literary co-pilot, if I’m worthy.
I am actually going to skip to the middle of his story, where Page left school (Clemson) to be in the new Army Air Corp. He took a test to be approved to go to flight school. A test he admittedly guessed through, but to his amazement, he aced only to find no more applicants were to be accepted.
This was 1941, before we got into the war, before our government was looking so hard for new pilots. But, with the help of an Army Sergeant, he was offered the chance to fly, if he made it to the recruiting station in the basement of the Ashville, N.C. Post Office by 5 pm that day. He hitched rides and made it just in time. Then his training began.
In his day, there was no basic training. Basic, to those that have not served, is one of physical aptitude and survival. Everyone, I thought, back then had to complete some kind of physical training. But pilots, Page told me, were held to a different standard (at least in the Army Air Corps). One much different than today, but for good reason. They needed pilots. The Army needed to get them trained and off to battle where they can fight. So the Army Pilots of WWII had no physical training, at all. Learn it, fly it, know it, and don’t get killed doing it was pretty much the Army’s stand on it.
Page obviously loved the air and was fiercely competitive, even when he was competing with himself. To be honest, I don’t think he has changed much even at 90+ years old.
Man has he shared some stories. Some I can tell that there is no room for, for now, and others I have been asked not to tell at all. But I do have one I can share and there are several folks that probably would love a little clarification. In other words… the rest of the story.
EDITOR IN CHIEF