He joined the army corp in World War II as a mechanic but the thrill of flying lured Raymond Nash into the cockpits of a long list of American warplanes and across more than three decades of combat service to our country. Nash keeps that thrill alive today in the workshop of his Shreveport home.
Raymond Nash is working on his next model airplane. He already made an older model B-52 like the one he flew during the Vietnam War. He's also made all kinds of other planes he flew for the United States starting with his first trainer, a PT 19. And, many more planes including all of the bombers he flew during World War II and when he was activated during the Korean War in addition to the B-52 he flew over 'nam and during the Cold War patrols. He shapes the models out of good, spare pieces of wood and shines them up. He's even made some big radio controlled models.
"It's a symbol of what I flew my first combat missions in" says Nash.
Nash and his fellow bombers faced high danger over Europe facing fierce fire from the Germans. Nash even remembers losing a wingman.
"That fire got heavier and heavier and burned the wing off and he started spiraling down and that's the last I saw him" recounts Nash. "We came back from one sortie and my crew got together and counted 218 holes and/or dents on the front surface of the aircraft."
But, Nash was eager for the challenge after starting out as a plane mechanic in the army air corp which meant cranking up the engines.
"I was up in the cockpit of that P-38 revving those engines up and it was just bouncing up and down like it wanted to go" says Nash.
And go he did as a bomber pilot and instructor pilot on lots of planes across 32 years of service to our country.
Nash says that the other great thing about being in the Air Force, besides flying, was that he met his wife of 68 years when he was stationed here at Barksdale. They married soon after he came home from World War II.