I learned yesterday, Sunday the 28th, of the death of my friend, Thunderbolt pilot Quent Aanenson. My heart goes out to his family, and especially to his beloved wife of 63 years, Jackie.
I’ll post more about Quent in the next few days. Meantime, please visit his site, A Fighter Pilot’s Story. If you haven’t seen his video of the same name, you’ve missed one of the most moving memoirs of WWII.
Thomas D. Jones, pilot and veteran shuttle astronaut, is the author (with Robert F. Dorr) of Hell Hawks! (Zenith, 2008) the true story of a band of Thunderbolt brothers who fought in the air alongside Quentin C. Aanenson.
Bud Bristol says
deepest sympathy to Jackie and family from a fellow Jug pilot who was flying my plane, Topsy, in the above image.
Thank you, Bud, for contacting me about Quent. And thank you for your service with Quent and your fellow P-47 team members.
With respect and admiration,
I’m watching the Ken Burns’ series a second time, and am loving it all over again, particularly the segments with the gentle and soft-spoken Quint Aanenson and the quotations by Eugene Sledge–among a couple of others. What a marvelous letter Aanenson wrote–but didn’t mail–to his wife in response to her desire to know the truth about his life as a pilot. I can’t imagine how a person balances the desire to be honest with a spouse with his desire to not upset her beyond what is necessary that she might believe that she is being allowed to fulfill her wish and obligation to support him to the fullest extent that she can. I recall the story–also from the series–of the Italian-American who described his life at the front as safe and comfortable, right up until the day he died, leaving his family to understand that he had tried to protect them by sacrificing even a modicum of honesty, thereby implying that he didn’t believe that they were emotionally capable of handling the truth. Clearly, he swung too much in one direction, while Aanenson might have been right in that the complete truth would have been too much in the other.
TOM JONES says
I still remember Quentin with respect and warmth. He was an honorable and brave American.
Thanks for your comment and reflection.