Questions being asked and answered by his great niece/adopted granddaughter from the Orlando, FL area.

I had a fun time explaining what Reddit is :) please share where you’re from if you ask a Q so I can share.

EDIT: I’ll record some Audio and share more pics as well. Thank you all so much. It’s been a wonderful way for us to bond.

EDIT 2: 10pm ET March 12. He fell asleep! I’ll be back in the morning and we’ll do more Q so feel free to post below :) thank you!

EDIT 3: 10am ET March 13! We’re back! I’ll be answering as many as we can until I (sadly!!!!) have to go catch my flight!

EDIT 4: 343pm ET March 13- I was asking questions literally up until I had to go to the airport so I am sadly in line for TSA now and sadly “done” with the AMA. I’ll add links to all the audio (some of which I still have to upload) and more pics (ditto!) to this post (as well as to the specific Q’s) when I am able and will try and go through any other questions as well! Our continued thanks to all here!!!!

for now, here’s his sign off message

EDIT 5: answers re DM’s since some folks have been messaging -

  1. Jack is in a senior living center and currently not receiving PT. He injured himself doin a snap roll a year ago and hasn’t walked since but his greatest dream, as said below, is to one day walk again. If anyone knows a kind human who would be willing to help out in the greater Orlando area (I’m not sharing exact location on purpose) feel free to slide into my DM’s!

  2. DM’s also open if you want to interview him or talk to him for any particular reason. I’ll ask! I think everyone should have full autonomy over their own life so it’s up to him, not me, to say yes or no. I’ll obviously vet you first and reserve the right to say you’re a little too out there for me to feel comfortable (there are some ….ahem….interesting folks in this world). I go back to work tomorrow but will do my best to relay as much as I can. Thanks for being kind! <3

Comments: 516 • Responses: 101  • Date: 

Prozealotyzer277 karma

Holy cow, what an amazing human. Getting shot down once seems almost certainly fatal, but twice? Is surviving that experience mostly luck or is it not necessarily at bad as it sounds?

AtypicalCommonplace405 karma

“Oh god how do I answer that” he says 😂

“The first time I got back to the field and when I dropped my gear my indicators showed I had three down and locked. What they didn’t show was that I didn’t have a wheel on my right strut. So that crash was considered being shot down and destroyed the aeroplane, but I was able to continue flying.”

“The second time I was in a different type of airplane, I was in a P 47, I was so low, all I could do when I got hit was put the nose between two trees and let the trees take the beating. And there again, it was an accident.”

I asked if he thought it was luck.

He said,

“In some respects, in other respects it was due to having flying time. I was an instructor before I went over seas so I had a lot of flying time, so my reaction was quicker because of that.”

generousone80 karma

What was he flying in the first instance?

And did he call the P47 a "Jug", or was that not as common as people make its nickname out to be?

AtypicalCommonplace257 karma

“A P-38!”

“Yeah, we called it a Jug”

I asked him about other nicknames for planes.

The name of his P-38 was “in memory of nurse Margaret” she was a nurse. I was a replacement. I took over the plane after another guy. And he had named it after his fiancée who was killed. And I didn’t want to replace it.”

His P-47 was called the “frigid midget.” Ill share a picture of it when this is done. He said “I’d tell you why it had that name but I’d have to kill you….how do I put it…. It was an obscene song. And I’ll let it go at that”

Edited to add the picture!!!

the frigid midget!

zukka92493 karma

LMAOOOOOOO i love this guy hes hilarious

AtypicalCommonplace76 karma

I know, he’s totally the best.

My grandma (his sister) was the same. Though with less war stories and I don’t think she ever went to Paris….. 😂

pyroguy6938 karma

You should post “frigid midget” over at r/warbirdnoseart

AtypicalCommonplace20 karma

Wow thank you! This is so cool (if I ignore the misogyny lol) and I will def share tomorrow!!

stevez9231 karma

What would you say is the one invention or thing that most changed peoples daily life since you were a child?

AtypicalCommonplace644 karma

He says

“Oh my god” and we laughed. He spent some time thinking,

“Wow. Things have really changed tremendously if you think about it.”

“Gosh, it’s probably the cell phone.”

I asked “would you like to elaborate?”

Him: “no” 😂😂😂

stevez9203 karma

How has aviation changed since you have been flying? What is better? What is worse?

AtypicalCommonplace420 karma

This one gave him a big smile.

“Phew, I learned to fly in an open cockpit biplane. And the gas gauge was a vial in the top wing with a cork in it. And now of course it’s entirely different.”

“The whole instrument panel is much better than my initial flying days.”

“I can’t think of anything worse!”

SimpleandDriven46 karma

What was the feeling like flying through an open cockpit plane exposed to the elements?

Does it resemble the feeling of sticking your head out the car window if it was being driven at speed?

codyt321167 karma

After all of the things you've experienced in the last 101 years, what do you want out of life now?

What is it like to say "I was born over a century ago"?

AtypicalCommonplace276 karma

“I want to walk.” (He got injured doing a snap roll about a year ago and then was hospitalized and hasn’t walked since)

Second question:

“Whoopy” (answered very sarcastically while laughing lol)

ARoundForEveryone125 karma

100 years old and running barrell rolls? Fucking badass.

sunshine-x19 karma

And still chasing tail. This man’s a role model.

glitch2613 karma

LMAO that's not how I read his "whoopeee!"

AtypicalCommonplace7 karma

Hahahahah he has a long time girlfriend (she has dementia and they are living apart but speak nearly every night) so not chasing tail but love that!

The whoo pee was said v sarcastically

AtypicalCommonplace165 karma

Here’s a. Video of him flying for you to watch while I am picking up our supper!

thelongflight125 karma

Former clipped wing Piper J-3 Cub pilot here in Austin Texas. I’d like to ask Jack if he ever gave a nickname to any of his airplanes during the war or after.

Also, if he got a chance to fly a Stearman again, would he still be able to barrel roll it?

Edit: I just read that Jack got injured doing a snap roll last year. So I’m sure he’d have no trouble doing a barrel roll!

AtypicalCommonplace148 karma

He smiled and winked when I read the intro.

Nickname Q answered above!

Barrel roll Q:

“Yeah. Cause I did! I was just stupid enough to snap roll it and that’s why I’m laying here in bed.”

ExtraPeace909104 karma

Does it feel strange to think of Germany as a close ally? How do you see Germany now?

AtypicalCommonplace169 karma




Him: How do I see them?

Me: yes

Him: I don’t give it much thought.

pickle_whop101 karma

Where is your favorite place you've been?

AtypicalCommonplace534 karma

“Probably Paris.”

I asked why and he gave a very sly giggle

“Never mind you asking that”


I think we can all guess.


I was laughing so hard and he asked why I was laughing so much. I said “Because I bet I can guess why it was your favorite place”

Him: “and you’d be right”

He starts thinking and goes “god, that was the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen in my life…”

Me: “so why you’d do it?”

Him: i was drunk, I thought she was beautiful.

I proceeded to teach him what “beer goggles means”

Him: I’ll have to remember that.

We are both laughing so hard. When we finally stop.

Me: “wait but Jack, if she was so ugly why was Paris your favorite?”

Him: because the rest of them weren’t

Commentary - Y’all I am DYINGGGGGG!!!!

HeyPali145 karma

As a parisian I could not be more proud of my city right now.

AtypicalCommonplace131 karma

Hey maybe we’re related! 😂😂😂😂

ARoundForEveryone67 karma

This dude is a riot

AtypicalCommonplace43 karma

He really really is!

xisnotx72 karma

Should you live your life "one day at a time" or "in the moment" or is it better to have long standing goals that you work to achieve even though it makes you sad and stressed on a day to day basis?

AtypicalCommonplace150 karma

“Jesus. That’s deep.”

I said “people want advice from you!”

Him “why? Because I’m old”

I laughed and said yes.

I asked again “is it better to work hard towards goals or live day to day Willy nilly”

“I kind of think day to day. Having a niece whose a lawyer helps” (I’m a lawyer but never for him so I asked why!)

“Just seems like a good idea”

1968camaro71 karma

THANKS for your service!!

Favorite plane? Most scary incident?

What do you wish you could have piloted?

AtypicalCommonplace151 karma

I read him “thanks for your service.”

He said “you’re welcome, hang up” he’s such a hoot.

For the rest of the question:

Favorite plane? “P-38”

Most scary incident? “God this is lengthy. Alright, over the Mosel and the Rhine. The mosel had a marshaling yard , and there were hills on each side. So to attack the marshaling yard, they were able to shoot from the hills. As we went down to attack the marshaling yards.

I remember the sky was full of lead. I remember that. We were a flight of four, flying too cover, and I watched the other guys go in to dive bomb the marshaling yard. And it was just solid lead….

And when it came our turn to go down, I got figuring if… everything stopped where it was. And even if you could move a quarter mile an hour you’d get hit, because of all the lead in the air.”

But it was our turn to go down, so we went. I figured there was no way we’d be missed, but we did. Instead of pulling up we stayed in the river and stayed in the mozelle River, so we escaped all the fire, and we didn’t lose one guy.

And it was so scary.

That was the most scared I’d ever been.”

I asked him if it was hard to remember things like that. I mentioned how brave he was.

He said

“Well the other guys go, so you can’t NOT go. And even though you’re crapping your britches, you’ve got to go. And you scream and holler as you go down the river “you didn’t get me you bastards!!!”

It’s amazing how few hits they got.

And other times, you don’t see the black. And you come back full of holes, and you think “where the hell did that come from.”

“I can visualize the two rivers. And I can visualize the marshaling yards and the hills and everything but it’s hard….. but I thought “oh crap. I gotta go into that?!”

Last question re what you wish you could have piloted.

“Nothing, I was so happy with the P-38!!”

EDITED to fix typos! Still have no idea how to spell where he was!

EDITED: correct place names added! Who wants to host us to visit the wine country there now?!?! 😂😂😂

Janus_The_Great31 karma

Concerning location and spelling:

Mosel (or French Moselle) river and Rhine (Rhein in German) river. Must have been around Koblenz where the Mosel River flows into the Rhine.

Beautiful wine country today. Must have been crazy.

Much appreciated AMA! Best wishes to you and and him!

AtypicalCommonplace12 karma

Thank you! Now I am inspired to go and toast to him there!!!!

vergangenheit8425 karma

What a great story! Trying not to be pedantic, but as a German teacher, my students spell the Rhine and Moselle the same way.

AtypicalCommonplace19 karma

Not pedantic at all! I was focused on capturing his words quick enough while typing on a phone so no time to look up spelling so this is helpful! Thanks!

smushymcgee68 karma

So cool! What is your abiding memory from your service in WW2? And are there any life lessons you wish to share? Thank you for your service (and for the AMA)!

AtypicalCommonplace100 karma

“Gosh I don’t know” (re memory)

I asked the second question:

“Whoa!!!“ (chuckles) “I don’t know what they’d be. Be patriotic I guess.”

Back to Q 1:

“You know, I really loved being a fighter pilot. It had been my dream all my life. I was so proud of it and so happy. Having met what I wanted to do.”

smushymcgee22 karma

Thank you! Best wishes to you and your adopted grandfather/great uncle :)

AtypicalCommonplace33 karma

Thank you! He called me “Smushy” last time I went to visit him so I like your username!

InsultThrowaway3-7 karma

“Whoa!!!“ (chuckles) “I don’t know what they’d be. Be patriotic I guess.”

Your granddad is awesome. You can just about get lynched for saying that sort of thing these days!

AtypicalCommonplace16 karma

I’m gonna post an audio response with him to this tomorrow because I’m interested in a much longer convo as someone who is very very liberal (me) and someone who is very very conservative (him).


Audio convo here!!!! audio convo here!

miscnic62 karma

Thank you for your AMA, your service and insight, and your relationship with your sweet scribe allowing your words to be heard in this way. In your 100 years, do you feel you’ve seen the world getting better or worse overall? Are we as humans progressing towards good? Are we any better in 2022 than we were in 1932 or 1962? Do you see repeated wrongs, lessons repeated we just aren’t learning? How can we do better? And you seem like a pretty fun guy, what phase of your life have you found the find most joy?

AtypicalCommonplace86 karma

“I think it’s getting better. I think there are some bad apples in the world but generally speaking it’s getting better.”

Second question

“Probably the phase with the (great) niece in the yellow dress”

(I’m wearing a yellow dress right now and we just got done laughing our heads off about Paris, see above)

miscnic16 karma

Oh my heart, thank you!

AtypicalCommonplace12 karma

Thank you for the Q and the compliment ! <3

ILiftBigCircles61 karma

What the skincare routine to look that good at 101 after being shot out of the sky twice?!

AtypicalCommonplace78 karma

“They don’t realize how bad my skin is!!!”

not_your-momma60 karma

Thank you for your service.

How did you transition from Pilot to designing irrigation systems?

AtypicalCommonplace104 karma

“I’m trying to think myself how I did it!” “I had gotten out of the service obviously and, let’s see, I was selling equipment and one of the customers was a guy at Disney who had just started up. And he suggested that I find a guy in irrigation for a tree farm that Disney was going to start up, and that we go in business together and he would get us all the work in irrigation for Disney world. So that’s how I started.”

No experience necessary back in the day I guess 😂😂😂

jg8tes28 karma

My grandfather also worked as a draftsman designing a water system for Disney after WWII. He was an air mechanic in Italy I believe. He would have been 99 last month.

AtypicalCommonplace17 karma

Wow what was his name? I’ll ask if he knew him!

jg8tes10 karma

James Thatcher

AtypicalCommonplace15 karma

“Thatcher? Funny, I don’t recall the name.”

AtypicalCommonplace10 karma

Thanks! I’ll ask tomorrow :)

blastmyasswithjizz11 karma

Can you please ask if he knew a pilot named Morris Thompson? He was also shot down in a p-47 in 1944. Thanks for all the stories! Edit to add that there is a Jack mentioned in his diary, "Met Thomas from Weatherford who knew Brock at A&M and Palmer from Ranger who knows Jack".

AtypicalCommonplace8 karma

Wow!!!! Thank you for this. I will def ask.

AtypicalCommonplace7 karma

Lol I know right?!??? Sadly he did not! Sorry blastmyass!

Shoot_from_the_Quip6 karma

While you're at it, ask if he knew Fred Cooper, grandfather of a dear friend and like Jack a legendary, can-do kind of guy. Seems they grew them impressive in that era.

Fred was Navy, but after the war while doing engineering for Disneyland he built a few small planes and even flew Walt Disney a few times. Their paths may very well have crossed.

AtypicalCommonplace3 karma

Sorry no! But sounds like a great guy!

ExistentialCrisisAct60 karma

What would you say to American citizens that are. Currently, as of this very moment, flying Nazi flags? You don't have to ask him if it will upset him.

AtypicalCommonplace278 karma

“You know; I saw a guy, he was a motorcyclist, and he had one of those German helmets on with a swastika on it. And I said to him ‘last time I saw one of those, I shot the sonofabitch down’.

He turned as red as a beet and took it off.

I think one of these days someone’s going to punch me out. These things come out of my mouth without me thinking.” (Chuckles)”

Askmeifiwould59 karma

Do you sometimes think you haven’t done enough in your life?

AtypicalCommonplace153 karma


I asked if he wanted to elaborate


Him and I then talked about how we both put pressure on ourselves to do more even though we have each done a lot and he said

“It’s stupid isn’t it?!”

ULTRAVIOLENT_vegas57 karma

Who was your first love? Would you please describe how you met ? And thank you for your service!

AtypicalCommonplace158 karma

“My wife is dead but actually she was my first love. I met her on a blind date, I was set up by one of the instructors in cortland, Alabama.”

I asked him “and?!?”

And he said “what else do you want to know? You’re talking a helluva lot of years ago. This would have been 1943? Yeah, 1943.”

I asked “how did you know you loved her”

He said “I don’t know! You’d have to get reliance magazine for that. I just knew. She told her mother the day we met but her mother didn’t like me because I was from the North. Her mother wanted her to marry some guy down the street. It was difficult in those days! I didn’t have a car. There were rations in those days so I had to use his rations as far as fuel went in all of that. So I had to drive from the base to Decater ALabama (sorry about my spelling here!) to go to the movies and use his gas.”

edited to add this photo of Jack and his wife Martha!

AtypicalCommonplace53 karma

If you’re reading this please drop where you are (even just country!) it’s super fun to share with him.

ymmotvomit35 karma

New Jersey. My pop served on an LST and landed troops on D-Day. Then they shipped him to the Pacific to do the same. Lost an uncle on Okinawa. Jack and his brothers in arms have always been my heros. We can never repay the life and liberty you’ve afforded us. God bless you.

AtypicalCommonplace11 karma


Nadinegeorgiax5 karma

Reading from Melbourne Australia! He sounds like a wonderful, hilarious person

AtypicalCommonplace3 karma

He is!

Xanza52 karma

What's it like having huge testicles?

In all seriousness, thank you for your service.

AtypicalCommonplace92 karma

We laughed.

“I know what they mean. They mean was I extra brave? This is what gets me. Look at the number of guys that were in my group. Then look at the number of groups. I wasn’t braver than anyone else.”

“I think there were 90 fighter pilots to a group. I don’t know how many groups there were. But I wasn’t any braver than anybody else.”

I said “I think some people may have given up after getting shot down the first time.”

And he said “well that accident could have happened because someone forgot to tighten the Luds. Becaude look at what happened? First the wheel would have to be shot off. Then the door. That can’t happen without the strut being shot! But it did! Was it because they didn’t tighten the ludd nuts? Or enemy action? so we don’t know. But what do you do? Quit flying because of it? No.”

Again sorry for my spelling here I’m typing to type as fast as I can and can’t look up specific terminology I am not as familiar with)

Ahoward101047 karma

Hey Jack! Thanks for your service! I’m a naval aviator in Texas flying as an instructor pilot. I flew the EA18G growler. What was your callsign, and how did you earn it? Cheers!

AtypicalCommonplace59 karma

“See we didn’t have call signs, the navy does. Like if you’ve seen that movie top gun? That was the navy. We didn’t have em”

My commentary- sorry to disappoint!

RevolutionarySnow11245 karma

My great grandfather was a foreman on that Disney job site. I actually have photos of some of the construction. He was very proud of that project. Would probably be a long shot, but do you know the name Eldon, his nickname was Buster or Bus for short?

AtypicalCommonplace54 karma

Omg he knew him!!!!!!! He said he doesn’t remember anything specifically but knows the name!!!

“I don’t remember why I remember him. Because each company had its own foreman. But I do remember him.”

AtypicalCommonplace13 karma

I will ask! Those photos must be amazing! How cool would it be if they knew each other!!!!

RevolutionarySnow11214 karma

I hope these are the right ones. He did these big jobs all over the place. These are 8x10s nothing written on back.

AtypicalCommonplace12 karma

Wow! Thank you! We loved looking at them!!!!!

OneGoodRib44 karma

What's your favorite dinosaur? And what's the most beautiful site you've ever seen (like a particular sunset or a landmark, something like that).

I'm from Washington but I used to live in Venice and Sarasota FL!

AtypicalCommonplace73 karma

He burst out laughing.

“What kind of a question is that?!? A Rex! Only because that’s the only one I know.”

“One time I was ferrying, I forget if it was to Davis Moncton (spelling?) in Arizona….”

Then I decided to record!

here’s the audio

gemfountain39 karma

Thank you for your service sir. Does the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia strike any similarities in memory to WW2? How do you believe Ukraine should proceed?

AtypicalCommonplace60 karma

First question

“Not really”

Second question

“God I don’t know. I feel sorry for Ukraine. You almost want to say just give up. To avoid being bombed and everything, they’re bombing civilians and everything else.”

I clarified “but you don’t think they should give up?“

He emphatically said “no! They’re an individual nation, but they’re gonna get smashed. It’s just all horrible. Horrible.”

(We did talk about how horrible it all is earlier today)

gemfountain23 karma

Thank you for the response. It is horrible yes. Wishing you both peace and comfort.

AtypicalCommonplace19 karma

You as well <3

FlavivsAetivs34 karma

Have you thought about writing down and publishing your experiences?

Sometimes it doesn't seem like individual perspectives mean much in the grand picture of history, but they're actually incredibly invaluable.

AtypicalCommonplace31 karma


I read the second part of what you wrote

Him: “ok. If you say so.”

I laughed

Him: “it’s good to know.”

racht7032 karma

Hi, Lincolnshire Uk here and thank you for your service. Lincolnshire during WW2 had at least 20 airfields due to the fact it was flat and the county’s proximity to Germany made it perfect for airfields. Not many left now but one is RAF Scampton home of the Red Arrows, I often them practise and is such an amazing sight. Ok 2/3 questions - 1. Did you ever fly from one of Lincolnshire’s airfields ? If so which one? 2. Is there anything in your life you would of done differently ?

Rach x

Probably my fav thread on this app

AtypicalCommonplace38 karma

  1. “No.”

  2. “Oh boy. I probably wouldn’t have buzzed the general.”

Me: what does that mean?

Him: well, he was driving in a staff car and I dove on him and put him in a ditch. It was a two star. And that cost me

Me: how did it cost you??

Him: well, they reprimanded me.

Me: did you think you were being funny?

Him: I did. He sure didn’t. I got fined. And I got article 15’d. And that’s all on my permanent record. And it kept me from staying …..well, it got me kicked out.

Me: it did?!?

Him: well yeah, when the war ended, they went through to see who stayed in and who was out. And I was out

Me: why??

Him: well, that was on my record. And I didn’t have a college education, I only had high sxhoool. So I was out.

Me: was that sad for you?

Him: well yeah, I wanted to stay in and I was out. But as it turned out there was a conflict in Korea and I could have gotten killed there so i suppose it’s for the best.

advocate155232 karma

That's amazing! Hello Jack, what are your top three life lessons that you've learnt and want to pass on to future generations?

AtypicalCommonplace101 karma

“Oh my god, I don’t have anything. Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you know anything.”

I said “what if I had a kid who asked you this question, what would they say?”

“Go look it up in the encyclopedia britanica”

advocate155222 karma

This is somewhat reassuring! Stay healthy and safe friend ☺️

AtypicalCommonplace18 karma

Haha right?!? I guess it’s ok that I haven’t figured it out yet at 38!

LocalAreaResident22 karma

What don’t we have that you used to have? Like fun traditions or silly ways to pass the time

AtypicalCommonplace48 karma

“That’s a good question isn’t it?? I don’t know but it’s a legitimate question”

Me: what did you like to do as a boy to pass the time

Him: you know, we found a lot of things to do. We played in the neighborhood with relieve-o

Me: what’s that?

Him: someone was it, and you threw a stick away, and the guy who was it would run for the stick and while he went for the stick we all ran away and then he tried to find everyone without losing the stick….we played kick the can, all sorts of games in the neighborhood. We had a great time.

When spring came around we played down in Cabot park. We played scrub

Me: what’s that?

Him: there were a bunch of guys, one guy went up to bat, it was baseball but without having a team.

Mrgray12317 karma

Not attacking you for this or knowing your own personal views but how did you feel growing up in a very segregated society?

AtypicalCommonplace57 karma

this Q led us to some fascinating places! Thank you!

We just had a debate about when segregation ended in the US. Because he said there wasn’t segregation when he was alive and I had to remind him of some things.

Him: well if things were segregated I didn’t know about it. The class treasurer was Black. Beverly Booth. Most of the Blacks lived in newtonville. And they were integrated in our school

(My note, he is using outdated language that I am not censoring)

Me; what year did you graduate?

Him; Should have been 38 but they held me back.”

Me: why did they hold you back?

Him: because I told them to go screw themselves,

Me: why?

Him: because they kept comparing me to my brother. They would say your brother did this, your brother did this, he got letters in baseball, football and hockey; he was reserve award, he was national honor society. I got tired of hearing it. No matter what I did it was wrong. My mother even had to go down to tell them to lay off of me. He (his brother) even came down from Dartmouth to tell them to lay off. And they didn’t , I got sick of it.

He was my dads favorite child. And then he got killed (his brother was in the army) he couldn’t fly because he was deaf in one ear. He was a meteorologist, he was just riding. And the dumb pilot tried to turn back to the field. There were a million pastures he could have gone to. He (the pilot) must have had a lot of flying time. But he tried to turn back to the field and you don’t do that.

Me: so they died

Him: right, the pilot died right away. My brother died on his 25th birthday.

Me: in the hospital?

Him: yeah, and my parents went and got the body and brought it back to Boston. They had me go see the body and decide whether it should be an open or closed casket. I don’t know why they had me do it. He didn’t look anything like himself. He was so badly burned. He looked like a wax figure. I don’t know who they thought he looked like but it wasn’t himself.

I still have that picture in my head of his body. But it wasn’t him.

I remember we went down to Martha vineyard for dads funeral and we had a closed casket. Someone told me it should’ve been open and I told him what he could go to do himself. I don’t think I made any friends on the vineyard. “

We started talking about the impact his brothers death had on my grandmother, his sister.


“She was at her friends, I went over there and I was at the bottom of the stairs and went in the door and she burst out crying. She knew why I was there. The poor thing.”

And, you know, I never thought about how my parents must have felt about me flying. And flying combat to boot.”

We talked about if he became a pilot because of what happened to his brother

“Oh no. I wanted to be a pilot, I dreamed of it. It’s almost as if the war happened because I wanted to be a pilot.”

jesture10117 karma

Having seen what you have seen as well as what you having done what you have done, my question for you is : what is next?

AtypicalCommonplace36 karma

“How in the world can I answer that? I’ll be lucky to even walk!!”

CapnGoat15 karma

With 101, how are you dealing with your own mortality? Would you prefer to live another 101 years or are you content?

I'm 33 next week and terrified. I hope I get to reach 101, too!

Sorry if this question is a bit too dark or something like that.

I'm from Berlin, Germany. But only recently moved here (family is Russian-German, with ancestors form Prussia during WWI. My parents got to Germany in the 1970s).

AtypicalCommonplace25 karma

He says “no!!!” About living another 101 years.

“I wouldn’t want to live another 101 years.”

I ask about mortality “it doesn’t bother me, one way or the other. I don’t even dwell on it. I’m surprised I’ve lived this long!” (Chuckles)

wuapinmon15 karma

Having seen so much of life, are you hopeful for the future--not just yours, but everyone's?

AtypicalCommonplace51 karma


I asked him if he wanted to elaborate

“No. I’m just optimistic”

Me: “but why??”

Jack : “well it would be awful to be pessimistic”


charlotte-ent15 karma

I feel like I'd rather just listen to you talk about your favorite memories. You must have so many amazing ones to share.

What is one of your niece's favorite stories of yours, since she's manning the keyboard for you?

AtypicalCommonplace41 karma

Awww thank you for this! I’ll try and record some audio!

EDITED To add Audio!

jack describing most beautiful thing he’s seen

jack describing what went through his head when shot down the second time

Commentary -

I actually didn’t really know him while I was growing up. Him and I started to become close after my grandmother, his sister, passed away in 2016. I am lucky that we now have a very special relationship and chat on the phone often and I try and visit him when I can!

He now says I am his favorite liberal so there may be hope for us As a country yet lol

DeltaSandwich14 karma

Thank you for doing this! I’m Moose, from Las Vegas. Both my grandfathers served in WWII, but didn’t stick around long enough for me to ask any questions.

Having seen so much change in your life, what would you say to someone who is afraid of change?

AtypicalCommonplace29 karma

“Don’t be. Change is good.”

<3 (I added the heart!)

Otherwise_Formal183413 karma

Wow amazing life! So I heard that the irrigation system at Disney world was specially designed for mosquito control. What notable things do you remember about the irrigation system to help control mosquitos?

AtypicalCommonplace14 karma

“I don’t recall that. The stupid part of the whole thing is that the design was done by a guy in California, and the materials were California built. So we had a helluva time trying to get the materials in Florida. So we kept talking to Bill Evans, who was the architect, and said Bill this is ridiculous! We gotta get the local stuff, this is costing you a bundle.

We finally got it done. But it was all brass and heavy so the shipping costs were so expensive.”

kingmirlin13 karma

My grandfather would have been about your age and flew p38s. He was a Captain named Lorenzo Olsen. He told me a story about how he blew off his own tail when he tried to make sure he didn't have any civilians casualties. He landed 5 miles off the cost of the island he bombed and got picked up by a lucky Norwegian patrol. What p38 group were you in?

AtypicalCommonplace10 karma

367th fighter.

And then

“How could he have blown off his own tail?”

I said I’d ask

Him: “you can do some weird things”

Me: guess so

kingmirlin13 karma

He was dropping dumb bombs. And doing the dive before releasing the bomb. He didn't want to miss and went too low. The blast damaged the tail. He was in the 68th fighter. I have his flying cross and captains wings. Needless to say Im pretty proud of his legacy. And I'm sure your grandkids will cherish yours as well.

AtypicalCommonplace18 karma

Thank you!!! I will be sure to share with him! He doesn’t have any bio grandkids which is why I’m adopting him as both my bio granddads are gone too. <3

PeteDraper10 karma

Can't believe no one has asked yet but: What plane(s) did you fly in the war and how many kills did you have?

AtypicalCommonplace35 karma

“Just one. I got in one dog fight and had one kill. I went up against an ME109 and shot him down.”

“This is what bothers me. I was in the 9th Air Force. Our loss rate was, damn I wish I could remember the exact figures (niece here, someone look it up!). The 8th was mostly escort, so they were the ones who got in the dog fights. So they had a pretty high rate of kills. So they were the glory boys so they had more aces then the ninth Air Force. The 9th Air Force was mainly ground support, so we had a higher rate of losses. Our loss rate was 5 to 1. Theirs was 1 to 1. But they got all the glory. But what the 8th did was not nearly as difficult as what the 9th Air Force did. Cause everyone was shooting at you. But all the glory was in the 8th because you got to shoot down the other guys aeroplane. I don’t remember the facts but you understand my point.”

nrileysy10 karma

Thank you for your service!

What's your favorite food?

AtypicalCommonplace12 karma

This is the one question that has stumped him so far!!!!!!!

Foreign-Code-94519 karma

Omaha Ne what is the hardest thing u had to overcome and how?

AtypicalCommonplace27 karma

Him: furrows brow

After two minutes

“Gosh I really have no idea how to answer that. I can’t

I love the aeroplane. And learning to fly it I had no problem with it. And when we switched to P 47 I had no problem learning to fly it.

I asked him about having no immediate family left and if that ever made him sad.

Him: I’ve never felt lonely, because I have so many friends. One of the toughest things was losing Jack (his son who died two years ago) because then I felt by myself…. I guess that would be it.

Me; how did you overcome that?

Him: huh. Never thought about that. But I never got a chance to say goodbye, because of COVID I couldn’t go see him when he was sick at the VA hospital….That was no fun…..I guess that would be it…. But you know I lost mart (his wife) I lost robin (his daughter, who was chronically ill)…..

Me: and that’s why I’ve adopted you as my grandfather

Him: and I love that

My commentary / (his son was a Vietnam vet and I have heard stories about the mind blowing difference in the way Jack was treated upon homecoming (as a war hero) versus his son (who was spat on on his plane ride home.)

PeregrineGhost8 karma

Good evening to the both of you! I'm writing from Albany, NY.

I've been told the 40's to the 60's were the golden age of American cinema. Do you happen to have a favorite movie? My favorites are 'Pacific Rim' and 'Good Morning Vietnam. ' (Y'all can both answer if you feel so inclined!)

Thank you for your service, and thank you for setting up this AMA as well. Hope you're both doing well!

AtypicalCommonplace15 karma

He couldn’t think of a favorite. I asked if he remembered the first one he ever saw

Him: “as a matter of fact I do! It was in black and white and it was about pirates. There was a character named peg leg…. There was buried treasure.”

Who can find the name for us?!?

EDITED to add that it was treasure island!

As for me, my favorite is actually from that time period: “singing in the rain!”

He said your picks were good by the way :)

Lower_Sort27618 karma

I’ve only posted on Reddit a handful of times and am not real familiar with all of this; but what a fantastic read! (Hope I get notifications of replies on this)

And my grandfather was a flight mechanic (?) oversees and always talked of the P-38. The 367th sounded familiar to me and I peeked at a letter he received for an award for their service and sure enough…….He was in the 367th fighter group also!……..the letter is really cool and talks a lot about some of stories Jack is relaying. I thought my grandfather mentioned something about the ‘Dynamite Gang’?……..just curious if the ‘Dynamite Gang’ sounds familiar?……..and possibly if he knew a Phillip Hamm Jr ‘Junior’ ? (Total long shot, I know:-)

AtypicalCommonplace6 karma

Omg!!!! Sorry I am just seeing this as I was traveling to airport. I’m trying to write down Q’s to ask him next time I talk to him on the phone and I will def ask!!!!! How cool if they knew each other!

WhyDoesthisExist09458 karma

What went through your head as you got shot down the second time??

AtypicalCommonplace6 karma

I did audio for this too! How do I upload? It’s great.

edited to add the Audio here!

WinnyDaBish8 karma

What do you think the meaning of life is? :)

AtypicalCommonplace56 karma

“Oh my lord.”


“Can’t they think of something better than that.”

We laugh

Me: I mean, I want to know the answer to that!

Him: I do too. These people who ask questions like that are way out there. They must be on that marijuana.


We started talking about how I wish I could know what the meaning of life was so I could do the “right thing”

Him: “Whose to say what the right thing is? You’re a beautiful young lady and you’re clearly doing it right?”

Me: sure but I’m single and not married

Him: what the hell does that have to do with anything?

Me: well nothing really but I’d like to be a mom and I’d like to have a partner and I don’t have it yet

Him: well that’s because you haven’t found a man worth a damn

We laugh.

Him: I feel like I’m sitting on the top of a mountain with my arms folded and my legs crossed going “ommmmm” in the meantime. And someone says “dear sage, what is the meaning of life” and I say “I’m glad you asked my child.”

We both laugh so hard we cough

Him: when I’m 102 I’ll answer.

Me: ok I’ll ask then in November (his birthday is November 17)

Him: well then I’ll postpone it until I’m 103.

aguirrvi7 karma

What do you feel and say to the people who want to revive the Nazi movement?

AtypicalCommonplace8 karma

Please see Q below (or above, sorry I’m new to Reddit!)

AtypicalCommonplace7 karma

“I was in a P-38”

“Yeah, it was a jug”

Commenter tell us where you’re from!

jbob887 karma

Morning! Airline pilot and amateur historian here.

What piece of advice would you give to a new P-38 pilot?

Where were you on VE day and how did you feel about it? When did you get to go back stateside?

AtypicalCommonplace11 karma

“I’ve probably given advice to new pilots and I’m trying to think of what it would have been. You’re busy with the two engines…”

Me: are they hard to fly?

Him: not really, except when you’re flying formation you can’t take your eyes off the plane that you’re flying behind and you’ve got both engines that are working.

killerkeano6 karma

How quick has 100 years gone?

AtypicalCommonplace10 karma

“Quick. You wouldn’t believe how quick 100 years has gone.”


SuperBaconjam5 karma

From what I heard from my great grandpa who served in WW2, this war in Ukraine sounds like the beginning of WW2. What are the similarities you see happening in the time leading up to WW2 and the war in Ukraine right now? Do you have any thoughts on what might happen in the future given your experience during the prewar years before WW2?

AtypicalCommonplace26 karma

He asked to not answer more Q’s about Ukraine. I’m sorry, I think it’s upsetting to him <3

Steve18085 karma

Gosh, reading that you were still flying up until a year ago, even at your age! You don’t give up huh! Reminds me a lot of my grandfather who was still flying up until a year before he passed at 93 in 2013. He would be 102 now, and I’m sure he would have kept trying to fly if it wasn’t that sudden health decline he experienced.

I guess since I need to ask a question, how did you come to learn to fly? Was it with going into the military for the war?

AtypicalCommonplace5 karma

Yes! He enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed and started training right away!

CorrectKey91775 karma

Wow, I guess my first question would be how the heck is it even possible to survive that? And 2, as someone who spent time as a pilot in WW2, how would you say the experience affected your life? Any positive takeaways, or just bad ones?

AtypicalCommonplace8 karma

“Yeah, that was something I always wanted to do and I did it. So it was positive….

I think it taught me a lot of discipline that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. You learn that you’re part of a team.”

Me: I think that’s why a lot of people feel lost these days. Because they don’t feel like they belong to anything.

Him: you’re probably right.

Mr_Scruff1235 karma

I hope I look that good if I hit 90, let alone 100! Three questions here: Did you ever return to Germany to visit some of the sites where you fought? Did you ever speak with Vets from even older wars in your youth, like the Civil War? Of all the presidential elections throughout your life, which one got you the most excited?

AtypicalCommonplace18 karma

Re civil war vets “I did, when I was a Boy Scout. At the time it didn’t go over like it should have. We were forming up for a parade and there was this limousine, a big car, and the roof was back and there were these old guys, maybe 4, 6, they were all in navy blue uniforms. One said son come over here. And I did. And he said shake my hand so I did. And he said “now you’ve shaken the hand of someone who’s shaken the hand of Abraham Lincoln!”

“I didn’t think much of it then but since then I’ve told kids, here now shake my hand.”

Commentary/ I of course immediately shook his hand! I didn’t know this story!!!!!!!

realjoeydood5 karma

I know that we are supposed to ask questions in here or they get deleted so here goes...


So that's my 'question'. Mods don't delete.

AtypicalCommonplace3 karma


NiddTheBat4 karma

Hi Jack, and your amazing niece/adopted granddaughter!

It's almost 05:00 here where I live (South Africa!), and I can't go back to sleep because I'm so invested in reading all of your stories haha

So my question is this. We know Paris is your favorite place to have visited, but is there anywhere in the world that you haven't had the chance to visit that you wish you could have?

AtypicalCommonplace2 karma

“I’d like to go to Australia.”

Me: any particular reason?

Him: “it just seems like a great place.”

Me: you know, that’s where my sister met her husband!

Him: well maybe that’s where you should go and hang out.


ExtraPeace9094 karma

Do you think people are happier now than they used to be?

AtypicalCommonplace11 karma

Big sigh.

“You know, I guess they probably are.”

Sorry that’s all he’s giving me!

AtypicalCommonplace4 karma

“I wasn’t….I’m trying to think if I knew anybody… I guess I didn’t know anybody that did. No.”

twintailcookies3 karma

How come they didn't let you fly a P-51 till three years ago?

AtypicalCommonplace6 karma

“It just never happened.”

Edited to add - commenter was noting this video :

whosondeck3 karma

what's the key to living so long?!

AtypicalCommonplace19 karma

“Oh god, I knew that would come up sooner or later.

I haven’t any idea! I haven’t the foggiest! People keep asking me that and I don’t know!

(His nurse came into the room)

“Probably having good friends like Callie” (the nurse’s name)

Soviet_Yoda2 karma

Did the skill of the German pilots vary a lot? Or did you mostly meet green or experienced pilots from your experience?:)

AtypicalCommonplace2 karma

“I don’t know. Having only been in one dog fight.”

driverofracecars1 karma

Do you have any connection to Hallett, Oklahoma?

AtypicalCommonplace1 karma

“No. Not that I know of.”

RavenousBreadbag1 karma

How did you get the plane off the ground the second time with "nether regions" that big? My hats off to you Sir.

AtypicalCommonplace3 karma

Hee Hee. Answered this above!

sneeps1 karma

Did you smoke tobacco?

AtypicalCommonplace13 karma


Me: did you ever?

Him: yes.

Me: how did you quit?

Him: “I just decided it was stupid and put them down. I was driving and found myself with a cigarette in my hand and figured, this is so stupid, I didn’t even realize there was a cigarette in my hand! It was thanksgiving weekend. A bad weekend to quit with football and everything but oh well, I quit.”

My commentary : Sorry if this is a totally unhelpful response for any would be quitters out there lol!

sneeps1 karma

Thanks for the reply.

Just curious, how long did you smoke?

What's your opinion of cannabis?

AtypicalCommonplace23 karma

“Let’s see I started when I was 15….”

He couldn’t calculate how long so I asked if it was more or less than 10 years

Him; oh yeah.

Me: more than twenty years?

Him: yeah. I stared when I was 15 and I quit in 1978 so….

Me: holy shit! You smoked for 50 years? (He was born in 1920h

Him: yeah

Me: and you just quit one day?

Him: yeah, I just put ‘em down.

Funnily enough your Q got us talking about weed and I told him about how I smoke cannabis. He said he had never tried it and I asked if he wanted me to bring some next time I visit.

He went “wheeeeee” I wish I got it on video.


worldChangerRR1 karma

I'm not rich. Is it worth the expense to acquire a flying licence?

AtypicalCommonplace5 karma

“Absolutely! There’s nothing that can compare with being able to fly your own aeroplane!”

afakasiwolf1 karma

Do you believe in aliens? Or have you seen anything that was strange while flying?

AtypicalCommonplace2 karma

Very quick “no.”

Me: have you seen anything strange while flying?

Him: no.

Sorry to disappoint again!

GlitchyRich_1 karma

Hopefully with the amount of time spent in the air you've visited/flown over and seen some beautiful places. Is there any specific country/island/spot that sticks out to you as being spectacular that you would like to share and/or somewhere you've always wished to fly over but never have?

AtypicalCommonplace1 karma

Yes! Answered above and trying to figure out how to record audio.

EDITED to add audio of him describing it!

ExtraPeace9091 karma

What do you think about the use of UAVs and Marbles in recent years?

AtypicalCommonplace1 karma

“I don’t know enough about them to comment”

LeminskiTankscor1 karma

Hey, having you here is all sorts of cool! If you would fancy a couple of hours flying in any kind of plane now, even just to ride along, what would you choose?

AtypicalCommonplace5 karma

“Probably the P-38”

That should have been his answer for the first love question!

BizzarFish11 karma

Whats the favorate aircraft you flew and what is your dream aircraft that you wish you could have flown?

Also whats your opinion on the AVRO Vulcan?

Edit: Congraulations on flying to the spritely young age of 100 and Hello from The United Kingdom!

AtypicalCommonplace2 karma

My commentary- he loves his P-38! He has pictures and pins and things of it everywhere.

Me to him: do you know what the AVRO Vulcan is?

Him: “I do and I don’t.”

Me: what’s your opinion of it

Him: I can’t really give one.

Worst-Best1 karma

1) What was your favorite aircraft to pilot? 2) Which Axis fighter did you fear the most?

AtypicalCommonplace1 karma

  1. p-38
  2. I don’t know, I never got to fight any of them except the ME109

Me; were you scared to see them or no?

Him: not really, I wanted to see em so I could make ace!

Me; is ace shooting down a plane?

Him: no; it’s five

Me; why is it called ace if it’s 5?

Him: because that’s what somebody designated it.

LoveTheFirekeeper1 karma

Have you ever considered Piloting Helicopters ? For a change on the routine, maybe ?

AtypicalCommonplace8 karma

“I’ve considered it, yeah.”

Me: why didn’t you do it?

Him: because I’ve been up in the things and I’ve said “that’s enough.”