My father Arnell (Stormy) Sult is from a small town in IL. He enlisted into the Army Air Corp and was sent to radio school. He kept his head down and reached Master Sargent. Later, he was sent to officer candidate schools and was commissioned. From there it was flight school, his real dream.
After Pearl Harbor, he was assigned to support communications in the Pacific. He was part of a transport group hopping island to island setting up communication hubs. He tells stories of bugs so big on some of the Pacific islands that they would shoot them with their 45s as sport.
Later, during the buildup to the invasion of Japan, his orders were to land on the southern island of Japan by any means necessary and establish communications. This was a one-way mission. As I was not yet conceived, I am glad the invasion never occurred.
Later he was a part of the occupation of Japan. My Mother, two brothers, and sister joined him later and lived there for 2 years.
From Japan he was sent to the Korean conflict. Very hard duty, investigating atrocities. In my teens, I once opened a trunk in our garage up in the rafters only to find 8X10 photos of piles of dead bodies. Why he had that, I do not know but, it disappeared after that day. My sister (the youngest) and I are post Korea babies.
After the war, he was given order to report to a PO Box in plain clothes in the LA area. He packed up his family and moved to LA. That was to become the early years of the space program. He worked there until about 1964 when he was lured into private industry. He worked for Philco/Ford traveling the world, overseeing the instillation of satellite tracking dishes. I still have wooded figurines of giraffes and elephants from his travels to Africa. Our house was always full of scale models of the tracking dishes, ceremonial hardhats from project sites, and exotic souvenirs.
In addition, my Dad was a lifelong Ham (Ham Radio Operator). We would sit around his Ham Shack (a corner of our garage) as he turned his beam and tuned the dials to CQ someone from a far off and exotic land. Not to mention all of the cool electronic parts laying around the place for a boy to play with as he grew up.
Stormy. We were told he got that name because he liked flying in stormy weather. But the real story is much more colorful. He was sent on TDY to New Orleans. While there, he started sending post cards to his group back at his regulate base. It turns out they were post cards of a stripper named... Stormy. Upon his arrival home. There was a name plate on his desk - STORMY. He thought he had shaken it when he was sent to Japan but then, as goes in the military, some of his old group were there.
My dad was a doer and an explorer. I acquired wanderlust from him and have crossed 2 oceans in small sail boats more than once. One via sextant and watch alone. My travels have taken me to the top of mountains and ski mountaineering on 5 continents. Never been to Antarctica and have not climbed or skied in Asia, but they are on the list.
Things happened fast for dad. Up until two years ago, he was still flying airplanes. The last two years were really tough on him. Medical issues had stripped him first of his physical ability and later of his mental ability due to strokes. Depending on your point of view and your beliefs about an afterlife, perhaps this is his next great adventure. In any event, he was ready.
Here’s to you, dad! I’ll see you over the horizon.