by Victor Lopez
MIDLAND-- It wasn't a girl friend, but what's left of the plane he flew on. NewsWest 9 was on hand to capture the reunion.
"I am now 87. I was, I'm thinking, 23, the last time I saw it," Ted Carpenter, a retired U.S. Navy Second Class Petty Officer, said.
Carpenter, who is from Milford, Iowa, says his last mission was in the Pacific Theatre around the time of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, "I was an aviation radioman, which is your secondary job. Your first job is working with guns. We almost always flew one plane at a time because we were patrol bombers. We would search and report or we would fly weather hops for the Halsey or the Nimitz in the task force."
Carpenter was at the CAF Airpower Museum on Tuesday to see their collection of war plane nose art.
Aviators have always named and decorated their aircraft, not so common practice in the Navy.
According to Carpenter, he and his crew never had a plane to call their own, "It would vary, from day to day, which plane you would take. Whenever that came up, if Easy Maid was ready to go, that was the plane you were assigned to."
Carpenter remembers, it was a good friend that talked him into volunteering for an assignment. He said it was to keep them from being separated, "This other boy, he was from Iowa too, that stepped out and talked me into coming, he got shot down and never found."
It's taken Ted Carpenter 25 years to find Easy Maid again, a reunion that brought back memories. His history is being recorded to form part of the Air Power Museum records.
Through it all, Carpenter says, if he had it do over again, he wouldn't change a thing, "No, no. That's, uh, when you're young, you do what you're told. Somebody gives you an order, you go and obey it."