MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28,1987 COMMUNITY THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL An aviator's memories and dreams of flying By U BE1 WEN Journal Correspondent When the quiet of a normal day in Ukiah is shattered by the blast of a sonic boom, most of us react with a jump, but not Irvine Styer. He knows that somewhere in that vast space of sky an air force pilot is putting an SR 71A/B Blackbird through its paces, and that brings back memories of his own thrilling experiences in the air. Of course, he is recalling the excitement, and the fear, of a fighter pilot maneuvering a P-38 Lightening through an enemy attack during World War II, almost 45 years ago. It's a whole new world up there in the skies today, and Styer, who lives in the secluded pcaccfulncss of his home in Rogina Heights, sometimes flies along with the modern pilots in his thoughts. "I'm glad I was flying back then, but I have had some real longings. I would love to be flying F-15's. It's strictly day dreaming, he admitted. The planes that create the sonic boom* In the air over Ukiah arc the fastest aircraft in the world. "Those planes are coming from Beale Air Force Base near Marys- villc, and in 1976 they set the world speed record of 2,193.167 miles per hour at 78,000 feet," he said. A sonic boom is created when the aircraft passes the speed of sound, or mach, which is 760 miles per hour at sea level. These planes fly more than mach three. Slyer is amazed at the advances that have been made in aerospace since he flew the twin-engine, singlcvseat P-38 fighter aircraft. "When you look at these advances on a graph from World War I to the present time, right now, the logarithmic curve is in a vertical position. It was on a standard curve, but today it's vertical," he said. Today's pilots, according to Styer, must master many skills. "It's sort of awesome what they have to know. Today's planes are a highly sophisticated miniature This Is photo of P,38, the plane flown by Irvine Styer during World War II Irvine Styer works on Association. newsletter for the First Fighter Group computer that's a lethal platform. You wonder how much fr r |hcr we can go with humans at Uic controls," he said. While modesty might prevent him from admitting it, a lot of skill was also required for the type of flying Slyer did during 51 combat missions in the Mediterranean Theatre of World War D. His medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross wilh an oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal wilh 11 oijk leaf clusters, mid trie Pres- identi^nit;$talion with twooak leaf clusters, qs Well 'as/hiirrier6iis'; campaign ribbons and .other, commendations, are testimony of his courage and skill. For example, he was awarded an oak leaf following a mission on Aug. 21,1943, when he was leading a bomber escort mission over Naples. The mission was atlackcd by. a large force of enemy figlilcrs attempting to intcrcepl Ihe bombers. Slyer dirccled the defensive tactics so expertly that Uie bomber ' squadron was able to complete its bomb ran unmolested. He also maneuvered his formation to escort iwo waves of bombers oul of danger and back to llicir home base. On the flight home, he turned back nine times lo protect damaged planes 'which had fallen behind, personally shooting down one enemy aircraft and probably destroying two others. His award ciles his "pulslanding leadership and professional skill," and is signed by Major General James Dooliltle. He had decided to fly a second tour of 50 missions. However, fate stepped in on Nov. 20,1943, on the Island, of Sardinia. An Julian Army , , tjruqk cqllided withjhc car in'which ; lie was a'passenger ana,he .spent , lhr,cc yc.ar$ in army hospitals before being released from active duly in 1946. A limp will always remind him lhat Ihe accidcnlmay have saved his life. During his hospilalizalion, a number of his buddies were shol down on missions. After having altained the rank of captain, his military flying career was over at the age of 21. And, earning Uic rank of capiain look time as Slyer was a member of ihc last class of avialion studenls of slafi'scrgeanl pilols who had lo go ihrough two exira ranks to become equal to Uie cadets. Cadets were civilians wilh two years of college who completed the same pilot iraining wilh Ihe rank of second lieulenanl. Slyer began his career wilh the California National Guard and became an infanlry platoon sergeant when they were mobilized in 1941. He transferred to the Army Air Corps. Following his military duly, Slyer spent 20 years with Northrop Architectural Systems as national sales manager and director of mark- cling. He spent four iyears wilh .Ovwseas^ Operations, as ,a ; group vic'e'presidcnl. He'was also market- ing'managor wiUv ; Telcdyne Laars. ' He came to Ukiah in 19,75 lo manage The Lido, a rcslauranl he had purchased in 1973 in partnership wilh Phil Johnson, ihcn presidcnl of Tcledyne Laars. After Ihe Lido was sold, Irv, and his wife Juanita, slaycd in Ukiah. Buying Ihe reslauranl was more nalural than it seems because cooking has always been Irv's hobby and he still does most of the cooking in the family. The Slyers have two grown daughters, Christy and Rhonda. Bui in irulh, Irv never lost his love of airplanes and flying, and in 1977 became the firsl president of the 1st Fighter Group Association, whose members were with the 1st Fighter Group in World War H. He is currently Ihe editor of the association's newsletter. He is the immediate past president of the 27th Fighter Squadron Historical Association. Styer has watched with interest the changing views of Americans toward the military. He believes lhat today the swing is back toward a positive attitude and a realization that everyone desires peace, but not at all costs. ."There's more.of.an acceptance on the part of a majority of the people," he said. Slyer is concerned that fighting can be confined to Ihe use of con- venlional weapons. "I don't see how that's possible. If the adversary is pushed into a corner, I can't believe they will abide by a promise on a piece of paper," he said. However, he is encouraged by the renewal of talks on arms reduction and is hopeful such meetings will bring world peace. "What's being accomplished by a joint effort of both sides of the fence is good. Reduction in arms has got to be a step forward," he said. Calendar TONIGHT ONGOING WOMEN'S SUPPORT GROUP, 5:30-7 p.m.. Mendocino Family Services. To register phone 5:50 to 7 p.m. Phone Mira Walkor, 462-9029. FREE PREGNANCY TESTING AND COUNSELING, 6 to 8 p.m., Crisis Pregnancy Center, 331 N. School St., Ukiah. Phone 463-1436. (24 hour crisis line). YOUNG PEOPLE'S AA, 6 p.m., 2205 S. State St., Ukiah. NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS, 6 to 7 p.m., 2181 S. State St., Ukiah. TOPS (Take off pounds sensibly) CA 1886. 6:30 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church, 495 Luce Ave., Ukiah. Call 462-0930 or 462-3082. WOMEN IN TRANSITION, therapy and support group, 6:30-8 p.m., Lambs Inn, 415 N. State St., Ukiah. FRONTIER TWIRLERS, square dance club, 7 p.m., Brookside School, Spruce and Lincoln Way, Willits. Phone 459-2100. UKIAH CHESS CLUB, 7 p.m., Sign Shop, 150 Cherry St., Ukiah. SHORIN-RYU KARATE EXPLORER POST 213, sponsored by American Legion, 7-8:30 p.m., Veteran's Memorial' Building corner of Seminary Avenue and Oak Street, Ukiah. Phone 462-0744. YOKAYO BOY SCOUT TROOP 65, 7:30 p.m., United Methodist Church, corner of Pine and Smith streets, Ukiah. DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB, 7:30 p.m., Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 640 S. Orchard Ave., Ukiah. CORNELIA REBEKAH LODGE, official visit from president of Rebekah Assembly, 8 p.m., IOOF Hall, 100 block, East Standtey St., UWah. POTTER VALLEY AA MEETING, 8-9 p.m., Senior Center (next to health center) Main Street, Potter Valley. Call 743-2052. OLD TIME COMMUNITY DANCES, 8-11 p m., Municipal Clubhouse, 620 Park Blvd. Admission $3 per person. TUESDAY FELLOWSHIP GROUP AA meetings, 8:30 a.m., 12 noon and 8 p.m., 2205 S. State St. Call 463-1199. SCIENCE CLASS/CLUB, 9 a.m. to noon, 4-5-year-olds; Vinewood Park. Elm St. FAMILY PLANNING CLINIC, 9:15 a.m. to 3:15, Mendocino County Health Department offices, 890 N. Bush St., Ukiah. SENIOR DAY CARE SERVICES FOR FRAIL ELDERLY, 10 a m to 3, 640 Orchard Ave., Ukiah. For transportation call 462-7207. SHORIN-RYU KARATE, 11:30 a'm. to 1, Room 502, Mendocino College, 1000 Hensley Creek Dr. GRACE HUDSON MUSEUM closed on Tuesday. SENIOR DISCUSSIONS, 1 to 2 p.m., Ukiah Senior Center, 497 Leslie St.. Ukiah. Present topic: "Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?" book by John Powell. SUPPORT GROUP FOR BATTERED WOMEN, 1 .to 2:30 p.m., Project Sanctuary, 330 N. Main St. Call 462-9196. BETTER BREATHERS, 3 p.m., Ukiah Adventist Hospital. FREE SENIORS 1 PHYSICAL FITNESS CLASS 4:30 p m Autumn Leaves Retirement Apartments, 425 Gobbi St., Ukiah. AEROBICS FOR WOMEN, by Body and Soul, 5:15 to 6-15 pm Evangelical Free Church, 750 Yosemite Dr., Ukiah Call 462-8587 or 462-2305. OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS, 6 p.m., 741IS. Oak St., Ukiah Open to public. No dues. No fees. No weigh-ins. Call 485-0889. SPANISH SPEAKING AA, 6 p.m., 2205 S. State St., Ukiah. NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS, 6-7 p.m., 2181 S. State St., Ukiah. UKIAH KIWANIS CLUB, 6:10 p.m., Elks Lodge Hall, 1700 Hastings Rd., Ukiah. ROUND DANCE WORKSHOP, 7-10 p.m., multi-purpose room, Frank Zeek School. MENDO-LAKE CARDIAC SUPPORT GROUP, 7-9 p.m., Ukiah Senior Citizen Center, 495 Leslie St., Ukiah. BOY SCOUT TROOP 46, 7-9 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, comer Perkins and Dora Streets, Ukiah. BOY SCOUT TROOP 7S, 7 p.m.. Calvary Baptist Church, 465 Luce St., Ukiah. BOY SCOUT TROOP 65, 7:30 p.m., United Methodist Church, 270 N. Pine St., Ukiah. AL-ANON FAMILY GROUP, 8 p.m., 741 S. Oak St., Ukiah. In rear of building. GRATITUDE AA MEETING, 8 p.m., 640 Orchard Ave., Ukiah Carole Ratzloff looks at children's books donated to Ukiah library by Gail Monpere, right, in her mother's name. Books donated as memorial Gail MonPere has started a book fund in memory of her mother who was a children's librarian for many years in New York City. In addition lo establishing an account for Uie children's section of Ukiah Library to which local residents may contribute, Mon- Pere also has presented Ihe library wilh books donated by family and friends in lieu of flowers. The Redwood Empire Association for Education of Young Children, of which MonPere is a merhber, also is a donor. Book plates, indicating Ihe books were donated in memory of Veronica Engels are being designed by Cassie Elsberg Smith, MonPere has staled. They will be placed in each of the books donaled or purchased wilh money from the fund slaried by MonPere. Before her death, Engels was a regular visitor to Ukiah, spending untold hours reading to her grandchildren, Sarah and Sacha Mon- Pere During her visits she became acquaincd wilh many of ihc Mon- Pere family's friends ,and associales. Engels' daughter feels this way of remembering her mother is appropriate. "She was children's librarian for the New York City school system for 20 years," MonPere says. "Donations are especially important at this particular time, since children's librarian, Carole Ratzloff, has been advised there ae no funds available lo purchase new children's books this year due to the county's budget cuts," the donor said.
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