On this Memorial Day weekend I thought I’d introduce you to one of your bros, 1Lt John Wayne Roberts. You gotta love a middle name like John WAYNE don’t you?
John was a classmate of mine, well, a year younger than me, but at a small school like we went to, we were all kind of lumped in together it seemed. He was a ’68 graduate of sleepy little Grandview Heights High School; in the shadow of Upper Arlington High School known for Jack Nicklaus and Wendy of Wendy’s Hamburgers. Nobody like that at Grandview, but John is our hero nonetheless. John and I were in the band together…both played trumpet. Oh, sure, he played a bunch of sports too, all around guy he was.
Last time I saw John was at Dobbins AFB circa 1972. I was stationed there as an Air Traffic Controller, but also held a part time civilian job as the CQ at the BOQ. On a Saturday morning at checkout time at the Q, here comes John. We were both amazed to see each other. He was a student pilot on a x-country out of Columbus AFB; in 38’s that day I believe. There was John and another student plus a couple of IP O-3’s (Captains). We didn’t have much time to talk as they were scheduled to go somewhere…where? I don’t know, but we yukked it up a tad, slapped each other on the back and then off he went.
My second surprise of the day was a couple of hours later when the four of them came back to the Q; their flights scrubbed due to bad weather. I gave the IP’s their old rooms back and then gave the two 2Lt’s the VIP General suite (much to the chagrin of the IP’s as you can imagine). That gave us a little more time to catch up. Small world that we would find each other like that…about 5 years out of high school.
Makes for a great story and I wish it ended there, but sadly, it does not.
Unfortunately, John was killed in 1975 while driving an F-4 in Germany. And while certainly that strikes a chord with you, I know, to bring it even closer to home, John was TDY with the 7th FS out of Holloman at the time. So my classmate is your brother; part of the rich legacy of the 7th. Another example of the kind of men that sacrifice their lives in service to this great country of ours.
I thought it would be nice if just one of you guys got to know a little about John WAYNE Roberts. If not too late, maybe a toast to John at a roll call.
Submitted by Bill Fauth