At his age, folks thought he was too old to sign-up, but he’d been flying small planes since his teens,
so he hoped the Army would let him fly.
The men called him “Gramps”, but Earl was ready for most anything - even the training for hand-to-hand combat.
Not much different from ice hockey fights and bar room brawls - and he had the scars to prove he loved ‘em both.
Earl was assigned to the 886th Signal Company AVN - but at some point, the Army recognized his time behind a joystick and
assigned him to teach young offficers the basics of flying.
They flew Stearman Bi-planes; a plane so forgiving that he was able to try a few stunts.
Earl was accustomed to the comforts of life, so he did what it took to get them.
He helped set-up and hide a jungle-juice “winery,” and then arranged to exchange their “juice” for ice with the nurses at the infirmary.
When other supplies were needed, he boldly scrawled "Henry T. Ford” on the requisition form and carted away what they wanted.
One of Earl's best stories was how he and his buddies “borrowed” a lumber saw - actually an entire mill - from the nearby British Army base.
He didn’t say if he bribed some British soldiers or somehow absconded with the mill.
But however “borrowed”, they cut themselves lumber to build boardwalks and flooring for their tents - just like the Brits enjoyed.
No more slogging through the mud during monsoon rains.
They managed to return the sawmill without a hitch, so they hoped the Brits never noticed it was missing.
The Brits had noticed - but didn’t know who took the mill - until a British officer visited their barracks and noticed the new boardwalks!