I have been studying a lot lately about World War II. It is my “favorite” war…if one can have a favorite war. My dad, Allen Spencer was a Staff Sergeant in World War II. He served as flight engineer and top turret gunner on a B-17G, the flying fortress. The more I study World War II, the more I realize just how dangerous was…no matter what branch of the service a soldier was in. Dad’s family was one that didn’t have to suffer the loss of their soldier, because my dad came home after the war. He was the only one in his family that saw action in World War II, other than his half-brother, Norman Spencer. Dad’s older brother, Bill tried to serve, but due to flat feet and a hernia, he was turned down. My Uncle Bill was devastated by the rejection. My dad was his little brother, and he had always felt a need to protect him, not because Dad was accident prone or anything, but because he was his little brother. Now, he was going to have to let Dad go without the “backup” that Uncle Bill had hoped to provide. That was one of the hardest things my Uncle Bill ever had to do. So, Dad went with angel backup instead…and his mother’s prayers.
Dad served and returned home to his family, and because he did, my sisters and I, and our whole family exists. Dad, like many of the soldiers in that generation, never spoke of his time in the service during World War II, and all we knew was what little we heard from his family, and a couple of newspaper articles. Knowing my dad as we did, those years were his duty, but never his desire. Dad was a gentle man, and the idea of killing must have weighed heavily on him. Nevertheless, he knew it was his duty, and he would never have shirked his duty. There were a number of heroic times in Dad’s time in the service. He actually saved his crew, when he cranked down the landing gear just in time to hit the runway. It must have been damaged by the anti-aircraft flak, because it wouldn’t come down. There were other times that his actions saved his crew, such as the enemy planes that he shot down. They were a good team. They were all heroes…every single one.
While my dad was a hero during World War II, I will always consider his most important accomplishment, his family. Without my dad’s safe return from the war, we would not exist. He met my mom, Collene Byer Spencer when she was still a schoolgirl, but even then, they knew it was that forever love. They married in 1953, an became the parents of five daughters, Cheryl, Masterson, Caryn Schulenberg (me), Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, and Allyn Hadlock. They went on to have grandchildren and great grandchildren…all of whom owe their lives to the fact that dad came home from war. For that I praise God, and I give Him all the glory. Today would have been my dad’s 99th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Dad. We love and miss you very much and look forward to seeing you again when we get to Heaven.
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