DICKEYVILLE—After serving in the Naval Air Corp for three years during World War II, Glen Middaugh, 90 of Dickeyville, preferred to travel by car to allow him to make more stops and see the sights during trips with his family. On Sept. 13 he boarded his first plane since the war and was surrounded by other veterans who were visiting their war memorials in Washington D.C. as part of the Honor Flight program.
Glen Middaugh was drafted in early 1943. He was able to choose the Naval Air Corp at that time. He trained in San Diego and when the squadron was assembled they moved to Hawaii.
“I joined the Navy because I didn’t want to be in one of the fox holes,” Glen Middaugh said. “I didn’t want to slop around down there in the mud.”
Glen Middaugh was a part of Patrol Squadron 23 that flew over the Pacific Ocean to try to spot ships.
“We had amphibious airplanes, so if a plane was shot down and the guy was still alive out there, if the water wasn’t too rough, we would land on the water and pick him up,” Middaugh said.
Most days started by being told if the squadron was going to be sent off. His job was to start the engines and check the gauges before the pilots got in. A typical day was spent flying over the ocean and islands looking for enemy ships and planes. Middaugh said he found a few. He would radio back the position and then get out of the area before he was seen or shot at.
“Most of those islands have mountains,” Middaugh said. “They had them so honeycombed, they had been getting ready for this for years. You’d never see one of them at all. That’s the reason they had the flame thrower. It’s the way they got them out of there. It wasn’t my job, but that was how they did it.”
Middaugh said his squadron followed the B-29’s that bombed Japan in case any of them were shot down.
“After they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, we were on Okinawa, pretty close to it,” Middaugh said. “The guys who were eligible and spent enough time to be discharged were able to take a battleship back to be dry docked. There were a bunch of us that were eligible and went on the ship. The funny part was that we didn’t know the first thing about a ship. We’d never been on one. There were other guys who were ship guys going back to be discharged. These guys had to work all the way back to take the place of the ones who weren’t ready for discharge. They used to give us hell because we weren’t doing anything, but we didn’t know what to do.”
Middaugh served until February 1946.
Originally from southwestern Iowa, Middaugh met his wife, Avis, in a restaurant where she worked in Dubuque, Iowa. They have been married for 63 years and had five children, although they lost one. They moved to Dickeyville in 1959 because Middaugh preferred a small farming community to the city.
Middaugh’s daughter-in-law, Darci (Rodas) Middaugh, took care of the Honor Flight application for Glen Middaugh and volunteered to be his guardian during the trip.
“She’s a pretty thoughtful woman,” Avis Middaugh said.
Middaugh arrived in Madison at 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 13. He and 84 other veterans flew out around 6:30 a.m.
“When we got off the plane and went inside the building, there were people lined up all over. We had to shake everybody’s hand and they would thank us for what we did,” Middaugh said.
The buses drove the veterans to each of the statues to allow the veterans to see each of the war memorials.
Middaugh said he was impressed with the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
“It was worth the trip,” Middaugh said. “I’ll never forget it.”
Some family members were among the crowd that greeted the veterans upon their return to Madison.
“That was a lot of hand shaking, I’ll tell ya,” Middaugh said. “It was hard to keep the tears back after a while.”