Before I get started on this week's article, I want to announce that on 1 November 2014, the Pipe Creek Cemetery Association will be having a Cemetery Work Day in honor of the founders of the Pipe Creek Cemetery and the 40th anniversary of the association! The work day starts at 10 am and will end at 2 pm followed by a potluck dinner. I am looking forward to good support of this important event.
Now on with the story. My dear sister, Betty Jean Merritt, is 12 years older than me. When I was hatched back in the mid 40s, Mom said, "Oh, my, what are we going to name this little boy?" It just so happened that my sister was working on a special report about airplanes. And the name that popped up the most during her research at the time was "Douglas Aircraft Manufacturing Company." So she suggested the name Douglas for Mom to name me.
Through all my school years, elementary through high school, everybody knew me as Doug or Douglas. My actual first name is James after my grandfather, James Richard Coker.
So everything went great through my world being called Doug. Then the US Army got involved way back in '68. The first day we had roll call the big ol' mean-looking Sergeant called out the names of each new recruit. When he came to my name he announced, "White, James D." He repeated that three to four times.
Nobody answered, and he was beginning to get a little frustrated.
The recruit next to me noticed my orders and said, "Man, that's your name isn't it?"
I was a bit embarrassed and then answered "Here, Sergeant."
He just figured that I might be a bit hard of hearing and let it pass. However, in my own mind I never went by James, only Doug or Douglas.
Well from that day on, my military comrades knew me as Jim. It worked out pretty well for the rest of my career. To me I had just been given a new name, so to speak.
Now going back to my sister naming me Douglas after Douglas Aircraft. It turns out that the company was founded in 1921 by Donald Willis Douglas Sr. and later merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas.
Gee, I my sister could have named me Mc, or Willis, but Douglas is fine with me.
One of my favorite Douglas Aircraft is the C-47 and later the DC-3.
I recall that while I was assigned to Hunter AAF in Savannah Georgia there was a C-47 maintenance plane that flew to Corpus Christi every weekend. I was not aware at the time or I would have taken that plane to Texas every once in a while.
Bummer to find out its weekly destination too late!