The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Letters to the editor

January 16, 2014

Adding to tribute

GREENVILLE — To the editor:

Please permit me to add to the tribute to Milburn Anglin, by Mr. Michael L. Compton. I met Milburn in 1966, when I moved to Greenville and found him to be true to the description by Mr. Compton. I’m a flight instructor at Majors Field and Milburn flew with me often. We talked about Jesus, politics, his family and flying.

Milburn Anglin, another member of Greenville’s Greatest Generation, graduated East Texas State Teacher’s College. He retired as a Lt. Colonel  in the Air Force Reserve, but before that;

Milburn entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941, entering primary training with a civilian organization called Ryan School of Aeronautics, in San Diego, California The aircraft used for Primary Training at that facility was, the Stearman, the PT 17 and the PT 22. The next training step was Basic Training at Lemour, California. The aircraft used there were BT 13’s and BT 15’s, which were large, radial engined aircraft. Chandler, Arizona was the next stop, for advanced training. There, Milburn was introduced to the AT 6, the advanced trainer for all services. It was Milburn’s introduction to retractable landing gear. From Chandler, Milburn went to North Island Naval air station to learn to fly the Lockheed P 38, a twin engine, twin boom, all-weather fighter. He flew patrol up and down the West Coast, searching for Japanese submarines.

Milburn’s next base was Bradley Field, Connecticut, for 1 month’s training for over seas duty. The usual route to Europe, at that time, was; New Foundland-Greenland-Iceland-Scotland. He was in Reyjavik Iceland, when the Flight of B 17s and P 38s ran out of fuel and bellied in on the ice. The crews were saved, but the aircraft were left at the sight of the forced landing and over the years sunk into an icy grave.

It was on to North Africa for duty as bomber escort, because of the P 38’s long range capability and low level strafing, because of it’s load carrying capability. While in North Africa, Milburn and some friends became enamoured with German BMW motorcycles. There was an area where the Germans had abandoned many tanks, halftracks, volkswagons (their version of our Jeep) and numerous BMW motorcycles. During a trip to scavenge parts for motorcycles they were using, Milburn came upon two German soldiers, who rather fall into the hands of the Russians, happily surrendered and turned out to be the last two to surrender in the North African campaign.

Milburn was discharged in1946, in Stuttgart Arkansas and after finding that the Airlines had little use for fighter pilots, came back to Greenville, where he went to work Love’s Clothing Factory, as a sales representative.

Later, Milburn founded the Wholesale Clothing Co. and presided over that until retirement.

Milburn has remained active in First Baptist Church and Civic activities.

The last time Milburn flew was with this writer, in a 1947 Aeronca Champ, with Milburn in the front seat and I in the back. Milburn had a stroke earlier and his knee didn’t work so well, so I handled the rudders and Milburn handled the stick. We flew for about an hour and came in for a landing. We had done so well in our joint effort, that we landed the plane with I on the rudders and Milburn handling the rest of the chores. For those of you who know the difference between a good landing and a bad one, Milburn’s last landing was a “Greaser”.

Jim Folks


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