It Just Gets Better (a/k/a Who I met on December 7th)


Well-Known Member
Yesterday (Sunday, December 7th) as I was working my shift on the line at TPF, I had the distinct pleasure and unique opportunity of meeting one of the few who got to fly one of these with in this paint scheme during WWII:


His name is Henry Bohler. He is a resident of Tampa and keeps his Cherokee at TPF.


This is a painting of 2nd Lt. Henry C. Bohler painted by John Silva.

I was in total and complete awe as I stood there talking with him yesterday morning!

From the Memphis Belle on Tuesday to one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen yesterday....all I can say is "WOW!"

Wow.. that is incredible !!

Isn't it the most amazing sense of awe and amazement when you are standing next to someone like that, especially when it is something you study or absolutely love like aviation for each of us.
Did you get any good stories out of him?

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Nope. Just talked to him briefly about his Cherokee (because it would not start) and mentioned seeing the Memphis Belle and where it was in case he was interested.

He's out there a lot, so if I ever get a chance, I'd love to sit down and talk with him about WWII if he wants to, but if not, it's all good.
Interesting you should bring this up.

Flash back...3 years ago. I was a sim instructor on UPS's new A300 fleet. One morning around 6am, I was talking to one of my sim students, Leon Johnson, who was going to be our new A300 chief pilot, is also an Air Force General (flew A10's)and happens to be African-American.

As we were standing in the hallway looking down into the sim bay and basically shoot'n the sh%t while waiting for the f/o to show, we spotted an older African-American gentleman sweeping and preparing the sim bay floor for some safety striping. At first I thought he was a janitor and really didn't give him a second glance. How wrong I was about to find out. Leon pointed to the man and ask me if I knew who he was? I said I didn't and Leon proceeded to tell me that he was ret. Lt.Col John H. Carter Sr. and was a Tuskegee Airman flying the famed "Red Tail" P51's.

Being completely bowled over at this point and after picking myself up off the floor, Leon asked me if I'd like to go down and meet him. I have to admit, I was like a giggly little school girl at the thought of meeting him.

As we walked down Mr. Carter turned at hearing our approaching footsteps and immediately saluted Leon and said, "Good Morning, General". We talked for a while and Mr. Carter was very polite in answering my stupid questions.

It's impressive enough to meet someone who fought and survived WWII. It's extremely impressive to meet someone like Mr. Carter and to think about what he must have gone through to obtain the level he did in the environment he had to deal with back then.

I search the Internet and found some high quality "Red Tail" P51 models. I bought 2 and presented one engraved model to Mr. Carter on behalf of the UPS pilot group while keeping the second for my own. Mr. Carter graciously signed the wing for me and I have it proudly displayed in my office.

Meeting Mr. Carter was one of the coolest events in my aviation career!! It's not the flying but the people I've met along the way that I'll remember when I retire.
mentioned seeing the Memphis Belle and where it was in case he was interested

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When were you in Memphis? Everytime I go home I make the trip out to see the plane. They are building an actual museum to house it and some other things (Jeeps, etc) from WWII, but last time I was there, it was still under the tent-thing near Mud Island.
Re: It Just Gets Better (a/k/a Who I met on December 7th) *DELETED*

Post deleted by ready2fly
Okay... so.... after seeing Kellwolf's response, I e-mailed the curator of the Memphis Belle Museum asking him if the Belle was flying again. This is his response:

<font color="green">Stan:
The aircraft you saw was a flying replica of the "Memphis Belle" which is in
no way connected with or endorsed by the Memphis Belle Memorial Association.

Peter A. Cash, Ph.D.

Damn it all. Bamboozeld by an imposter.

But fuggit! It was cool to see anyway.
Ruh Oh! An Imposter?! Does that mean that the Memphis Belle that was on display at Whittham field in FL last month was an imposter? Does that mean all those feelings of awe and "being in the company of" was a sham?! All those photos I took and video footage I shot was Tom foolery? I'm non-plussed. Perhaps. But I suppose on the bright side, I did get to see a live B-17 and got to walk around inside and make tactile contact with a piece of US war history. I bought a Belle t-shirt too. Maybe it should say " Memphis Belle Sort-Of" on it!

On a side note, I too met a Tuskegee Airman. He spoke for an hour at the Arlington EAA Airshow in WA. Very interesting stories. I was lucky enough to met and hang with him afterwards. He speaks alot and talks with youth in San Diego if I remember right. I don't remember his name but got his autogragph on a ballcap which is stashed away. I was in solemn awe of him too.

That was great of you to present him with the P-51. I'm sure it felt good for him. Another small way that we can thank those that fought. Very cool to have your own, autographed by him. I have one of those mahogony replicas too of the Tomcat that was given to me by both my bosses after I earned my PPL. I would like to get a couple of those autographed ones by Yeager that you can buy.
As of now the "real" Memphis Belle, it currently undergoing restoration.

It's being refurbished by volunteers, mostly FedEx A&amp;P mechanics.
Heeyyy, that looks just like the Memphis Belle I saw only with a smaller gross weight!!

Glad to hear the real one is being cared for and undergoing restoration. Thanx for the pic.
Cool! When I get my pics developed of the Imposter Belle
, I'll post `em.

Either way, it was a thrill! I had never seen a B-17 up close and personal unless it was a static display at some museum... so this was a HUGE bonus!!