Friday, June 15, 2012

Regrets, I've had a few ...

I have a few regrets, mostly about things left undone, and one of those is that I did not get to sit down with Jim Schultz. We had talked several times about my driving over to Miami from Clearwater but we did not connect except over the telephone. Jim died on May 24, 2012, a month after his 94th birthday.

Jim's best friend growing up in New Jersey was Bob Dietze. Bob was a copilot for American Airlines when World War II broke out. Jim Schultz began his pilot training after Bob and was hired by American a couple of weeks before Pearl Harbor. When the war began, there was a shortage of trained pilots and the airlines were an obvious source. Bob volunteered for the Air Transport Command and eventually volunteered again for a more hazardous mission - to be sent to India in August, 1943, to fly supplies over the "Hump" - the Himilayan Mountains - to our allies in China. He lasted 10 days in abysmal conditions until his C-87 (the cargo version of the B-24) crashed after losing both engines on one side, on takeoff. Jim Schultz lost two friends that day. He had introduced the Captain on Bob's last flight to the woman who was the Captain's wife.

Jim's passing leaves a bit of a hole in my heart; he was the last connection of his generation I had with my wife's father, John A. Dietze, a man I admired greatly and who missed his brother, Bob, all his life - as did Jim Schultz.

They are together now. 

Happy Landings, Jim.