- Posted December 10, 2013 by
Corpus Christi, Texas
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World War II Veteran Joined Military to Support Family
Nance was attending the Southwest State Teachers College in the 1940s, and had been a student there for two years when he realized that he would only make $90 a month as a teacher but could make around $300 a month to train pilots, so he signed up.
“At the time, the U.S. Army Air Corps was building airplanes quicker than they could train pilots,” said Nance. “They didn’t have instructors back then. They came out with a Civilian Pilot Training (CPT) program. The military knew our country would get into World War II, so they provided money to train instructors for the CPT program.”
Nance got his private pilot license and then his commercial license and started instructing the Army Air Corps pilots. At that time, all of the Army Air Corps pilots were taught to fly by civilians.
In early 1944, they started drafting people who were instructors. The war was winding down, and they didn’t need as many pilots anymore. They let the CPT program instructors go in as flight officers. Nance ended up going to India and flew C-46s from India to China. Most of the cargo they carried were 55-gallon drums of gasoline for the Chinese Air Force.
After WWII ended, Nance retired from the service to return to school. He had two years left. At that time, he met his future wife. He was about to graduate when he realized it would be difficult to support a wife on $90 a month. He ran into a Colonel and the man found out Nance had been an instructor. He gave Nance an application to come back to active duty.
“When we’d been married for two months, I asked my wife if she liked to travel,” said Nance. “She said yes, so I sent in my application. I went to Chanute, Illinois to train for nine months. My wife went with me. They said no, but I took her anyways.”
After his training, Nance was sent to Washington D.C., where he went to a weather forecasting station in Bolling for a short time. From there, he went to Silver Spring, Maryland and trained to be a seismologist. He was sent to places all around the world to set up seismic stations to monitor the Russians and for atomic bombs. He did that for about ten years.
From Washington D.C., he went to Tehran, Iran then to Spain and then back to the United States where he was sent to officers’ communications school. From there, he went to Andrews Air Force Base for two years and then to the Pentagon. He worked in the basement of the Pentagon where they had communications with Air Force stations all over the world in case of war. He was there in the basement of the Pentagon during the Bay of Pigs and when Kennedy was shot in Dallas.
He recalls that at first he would work 16 hours straight, never getting up or leaving the communications console. He says people would bring him his meals. He says after receiving seniority, he got to be on duty during the daylight and work an 8-hour shift.
After his service at the Pentagon, Nance went to Guam, where he was commander of the 1958 communications squadron. He provided communications for the B-52s flying out to bomb during the Vietnam War. He recalls that 90 of them flew out every day. Nance provided communications from Anderson Air Force base on Guam, where he was in charge of a tower and had 140 airmen.
After retiring from the military, Nance moved to Corpus Christi where he worked for the Health Department as an environmental health specialist, which he did for ten years. At that point, Nance retired, and he and his wife began traveling again, but this time just for fun.
Nance, 92, and his wife live at Mirador senior living community. They are looking forward to celebrating their 66th wedding anniversary this December.
Located in the heart of south Corpus Christi, Mirador is the area’s only full service life care senior living community. The only Masterpiece Living® community in the Coastal Bend area, the $79 million gated community includes 125 customized independent living apartment homes, each with a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, and 24-hour emergency response system, as well as 44 private assisted living suites, 41 private rooms for dignified nursing care, and 18 private residences for memory support. Designed to enrich the lives of seniors, Mirador features 25,000 square feet of commons areas on a lush 17-acre campus with a premier location close to local restaurants, shops and attractions.
Mirador is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit senior living community sponsored by Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC), a Texas-based nonprofit organization that sponsors sister communities Edgemere in Dallas, The Buckingham in Houston, Querencia at Barton Creek in Austin, The Stayton at Museum Way in Fort Worth, and The Barrington at Carmel in Indianapolis. For information, visit www.miradorretirement.com, or call (361) 288-7027.