THE RARE BREED |
Recognizing Area Veterans Of World War II
Robert Fletcher Repaired
Ships In The Phillipines
ROBERT FLETCHER, 1945
Robert J. Fletcher was living in San Antonio and working for the Army Air Force at Kelly Field in San Antonio when the United States was plunged into World War II on that fateful Dec. 7, 1941 date.
A native of Beaumont, he had been born on July 28, 1917 to Marie and John Fletcher.
Fletcher's duties at Kelly Field, confirmed on a document signed by his immediate supervisor (which he still has in his possession) were to:
"Supervise 11 men, including machinists, junior machinists, helpers, mechanic learners and classified laborers in the manufacture of highly precision airplane and airplane engine parts, which requires a special knowledge of all types of materials used on aircraft such as alloyed bronzes, alloyed aluminum and alloyed steels....to check not only for precision and accuracy, but also that all safety precautions are maintained....."
The last job Fletcher did at Kelly, before leaving to join the military service was to install a highly secretive and huge bomb bay on a new B-29 bomber.
"They had guards all over the place," he recalls. Later, he began thinking that the B-29 may have become the Enola Gay -- which in August of 1945 dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.
Fletcher left his Kelly job and, at the age of 27, entered the Navy as an Apprentice Seaman in October of 1944 at Victoria.
Following boot camp and initial training, Fletcher found himself in the Navy's ship repair occupation. He was soon in The Philippines, helping to repair ships that had been damaged by the Japanese Kamikaze attacks, storms and other war action.
"I never saw any fighting. I never shot at any Japs and no Jap shot at me. I just did my job," a modest Fletcher said.
With the war over and after 18 months of service, nearly all of his overseas tour being in The Philippines, Fletcher returned to the States.
He received his discharge, at the rank of MOMM Third Class, at Camp Wallace in Hitchcock, Texas in April of 1946. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal.
In 1954, Fletcher and his wife, the former Myrtle Warn, whom he had met in 1936 at Refugio, moved to the Palacios area to establish an egg farm.
The Fletchers, who live on Route 1, have a son, Scott Fletcher, who lives in Palacios; and a daughter, Cindy Quigg, who lives in Katy. There are also five grandchildren.
Robert Fletcher on his
85th birthday, July 28, 2002
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