From one pilot to another

Harold Joseph O’Grady, from the 1941 edition of the Seminole yearbook.

Behold The Colonel, before he was a colonel, or even a pilot.

Harold Joseph O’Grady of Foley, Florida, was a freshman at the University of Florida in 1941. By February of ’42, he was a private in the U.S. Army Air Corps, having enlisted at MacDill Field “for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law.”

He stayed on a little longer than that. The old man retired as a full bird in 1972, when I was a freshman at Adams State College in Alamosa, getting grades that were even worse than his had been. And mind you, I was taking stoner classes, not elementary physics, organic chemistry, and motorized artillery.

I didn’t last long in college, either, but not because I was going to war to save the world from fascism. I was going to be a push-broom pilot, saving banks from stanks.

Oh, well. As Will Rogers observed, “We can’t all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”

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15 Responses to “From one pilot to another”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Quite the resemblance, O’G

  2. katholoch Says:

    Agree on the resemblance!!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      There’s some of Mom lurking in that hippie mug too. Though Dad and I both had that triangular head thing going on.

      One shot of me as a kid, you’d swear I had just beamed aboard the USS Enterprise from some alien craft. Or maybe I was the inspiration for the Star Child in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I ain’t digging that one out, it scares me.

      Mom was big into the glamour photos.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        What did they do to deserve the likes of us?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I don’t know about your parents, Paddy me lad, but judging from how my parents were made to suffer in this life, I figure that in the previous go-round they must have been serial killers, kiddy pornographers, or Republican lawyers.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        I think I am mostly my own fault. I left the nest at 20, drafted by my friends and neighbors, and did not return except for two short stints which reminded my why I should stay away. Black sheep of the clan? You bet. But, it turned out really nice. It is amazing to me how people can build their own prisons.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        O, for sure I’m mostly my own creation, for better and for worse. The folks gave me three hots and a cot, more education than I could use, and not nearly enough beatings.

        Their one fatal error was insisting that I think for myself. I think they thought that meant, “Think like we do.” But they had another think coming.

      • katholoch Says:

        You are right! You are a true mix!

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    loser.com

  4. Chris Ivich Says:

    “We can’t all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” My grandfather thought Will Rodgers was one of the greatest men who ever lived. Thank you for this quote which greatly illuminates that opinion.

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