At 100, a World War II navigator looks back on ‘a good life’ of adventure

PLYMOUTH − Bob Hughes has certainly enjoyed a life filled with adventure.

“My father has always had so much energy and drive, a passion for life, which he exudes even at age 100,” his younger daughter, Alexia, says.

I recently listened to Hughes as he provided all the elements of a good story, speaking with confidence, candor and humor.

As interesting as it was, I was also impressed by how he handles the present − accepting both what it provides and what has been taken away.

Older, wiser in a kinder, gentler world: Elders who inspired us in 2022

A Good Age: Married 74 years, Pat and Veronica Pastuszak craft independence at home in Abington

Legally blind due to glaucoma and macular degeneration, he is a resident of Newfield House, a nursing home overlooking Plymouth Harbor. He spends much of his time alone in his spacious room, well cared for, with an attentive family who call daily and visit often.

“We had some great experiences,” he said. “And now I take care of myself as much as I can. I can spend almost a whole day taking care of myself.”

Bob Hughes, 100, of Duxbury, was a lieutenant in the Eighth Army Air Force during World War II. He was a navigator on a B-24 Liberator and flew 33 missions over Europe.

Bob Hughes, 100, of Duxbury, was a lieutenant in the Eighth Army Air Force during World War II. He was a navigator on a B-24 Liberator and flew 33 missions over Europe.

In his youth, he believed “in hard work and whenever I got a job, I made it pay.”

His job took him, his wife, Jean, and their four children for long stays overseas.

Now, at 100, life has naturally slowed down.

Jean died in June 2020 at age 92 of Alzheimer’s disease, after also being cared for at Newfield House. His family includes two daughters, Alexia, of Pennsylvania, and Annette, of New Jersey; two sons, Glenn, of Florida,

Read the rest
Read more

Louisville-area World War II veteran reflects on life of service, adventure | News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The people who served our country during World War II are known as “the greatest generation,” and eight veterans from that time period took part in Honor Flight Bluegrass last week. 

Including World War II veteran, Lee Smith. While his time in the service didn’t go as planned, his dedication to the military had led him on an adventurous path.

In 1943, at 19 years old, Smith decided it was his time to enlist.

“Nineteen years old, 20 years old, you are invincible,” Smith said. “It isn’t gonna happen to you, it’s gonna happen to the guy next door.”

Smith chose the Army Air Corps. He could recall taking his first plane ride at just eight years old, and fell in love.

Lee Smith

Lee Smith, a World War II veteran.

“I wasn’t really mad at anybody, but I wanted to fly planes,” he said.

The United States had already been fighting in World War II for about two years.

“I knew the war was going on if I didn’t, I would have been drafted maybe handed a rifle and told the enemy is that way,” Smith said.

Wanting to be like his older brother, a Navy Pilot who was stationed in South Pacific, flying made the most sense.

“Well things don’t always go the way you want them,” Smith said. “I got scarlet fever and I was in the Army hospital for about five weeks.”

By the time Smith was released, his class already shipped off to their assignments.

Smith bounced from base to base in Texas, Wisconsin and Illinois. Until landing in Boca Raton, Florida, in Radio Detection and Ranging School, also known as radar.

“I was trained what was known as counter measures, now it’s electronic warfare, but at the time it was to defeat

Read the rest
Read more