Doc Wagamon did not have to write in for publication. This time he was written up in an off-the-opinion-page story reported in the Huntsville Item, honoring his World War II service, with a sentimental twist.
January 12, 2014
By Brandon K. Scott Staff Reporter
Charles Wagamon, left, leads Linda Woltkamp and her
brother Tom on a tour of the HEARTS Veterans Museum.
HUNTSVILLE — One of the things on Linda Woltkamp’s bucket list was to finally meet her father’s pilot from their days serving in the United States Army Air Force during World War II.
Woltkamp’s father Fred died nearly four years ago, but not without making it known to his children that former Walker County Judge Charles Wagamon was “the one who brought him home.”
Wagamon and Fred Woltkamp, members of the B-25 Mitchell Bombers that carried out missions over Italy and Germany, never saw each other after the early 1940s. But the two kept in touch for more than 50 years, even up to just two days before Woltkamp’s death.
Letters were exchanged and phone calls were made throughout the years. Linda and her brother Tom finally met Wagamon in person Friday for a tour at the HEARTS Veterans Museum in Huntsville.
The Woltkamp siblings flew into Houston from out of state — Linda from Denver, Colo., and Tom from Kansas where their father lived.
Both of them told the Item how their father spoke highly of his days as a tail gunner on B-25s with Wagamon and the rest of the crew.
Woltkamp trusted Wagamon with his life.
“Otherwise we wouldn’t be here,” Tom Woltkamp said.
The meeting also meant a lot to museum founder Charlotte Oleinik, who started the museum to reach out to veterans’ families and people who could appreciate their stories.
“I was just buying and collecting so many military items 20 years ago,” Olenick said. “We just wanted the soliders to tell their stories.”
Wagamon showed the Woltkamp siblings a photo of the six-person crew, lined up from tallest to shortest. He recalled how young the soldiers were, making decisions at age 17 that would impact the lives of people all over the world.
|Charles Wagamon's WW II B-25 bomber crew.|
“It’s just the beautiful thing about this generation,” Tom Woltkamp said. “They did their duty, were very humble about it and didn’t talk about it much. It’s amazing to see what they’ve done with this museum.”
As those born in the immediacy of World War II get older, it puts more perspective on life. That’s why Linda Woltkamp wanted to scratch this particular item off her bucket list.
Wagamon is 89 years old, six months older than Fred Woltkamp.
“Fred was the youngest of our crew but he was bold. We all had to be,” Wagamon said. “Even as Fred got older, he still maintained that same sense of humor. And his voice, when I heard him speak over the phone, I couldn’t tell he was aging the way he was.”
Wagamon pointed to the photo again.
- See more at: http://www.itemonline.com/local/x1186923390/Unique-reunion-makes-everyone-happy-at-HEARTS-Veterans-Museum#sthash.F7sOc9ik.dpufCharles Wagamon flew in a B-25 Bomber during World War II. He and his friend Fred Woltkamp flew bombing missions over Italy and Germany with the 486th Bomb Squadron of the 340th Bomb Group in the 12th Air Force.
Doc stayed on to serve a cold war warrior as well. We just found this 1956 photo, documenting his service, published in the Lubbock (Tex.) Morning Avalanche.
|The Lubbock Morning Avalanche, June 8, 1956.|
Thank you for your service. Way to go Doc!