About the Author
"I'm Larry Wood"
My book “A Crew Chief’s View” concludes after my fathers return to New York from Germany and his extraction from Army service at Fort Sheridan Missouri in November 1945. I was born nine years later in 1954 after Dad relocated to the brand new suburb of North Highland outside Sacramento California. Here, living across the street from McClellan Air Force Base he began a twenty-six year civil service career in aircraft maintenance and support.
For me growing up next to McClellan A.F.B. the ever evolving array of aircraft was a daily audio and visual backdrop. With Mather, Travis and Beale Air Force bases on our outskirts, seeing jets, bombers, and transports was common. So my interest in aviation set in early. You hear it a lot that the smell of jet fuel and fast aircraft gets in your blood. With me that’s certainly the case. I never aspired to become a pilot but iv’e always attended airshows and Air Force facilities open houses including many with Dad’s 354th Fighter Group reunions from 1990 until they’re final reunion in 2015. I also attend The annual Reno Air Races every September where vintage airplanes and P-51 Mustangs, like my fathers during WWII race at speeds up to 500 mph over a five mile desert valley course at sometimes 50 to 100 feet off the ground
After High School and a year in College my nine year background in music flourished. I played guitar and bass, toured locally with several bands as I still do today. At 22 I started a career in construction and music when I began working as a carpenter for Sacramento’s Tower Records. We designed and built record and book racks for new stores in other cities, states and countries. My music awareness grew as I was exposed to all forms of music working for Tower.
I got the smell of jet fuel again when in 1981 I continued my construction work , this time in civil service as a carpenter at Mather A.F.B. in Rancho Cordova. Our work took us to every corner of Mather. We reproofed giant airplane hangers, repainted and retrofitted warehouses and buildings. We often worked near the 10,000 ft long runway. I was always amazed to see the Alert Fleet of Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers and KC-135 tankers take off one by one several times a week. Nuclear armament was a fact and well known on base. It was an exciting time to be a civil engineer at one of our oldest and intricately important bases on the West Coast, originally known as Mather Field.
I’m just as excited to introduce this new book. A compilation of extensive memorabilia, photos and descriptions of Army Air Corps life as one soldier experienced it. His attention to detail shows in the historical content of the information he kept safe for 56 years until his passing in July 2001. I grew up knowing the importance of the WWII stuff he kept in a footlocker in the shed. It wasn’t until after his passing, when I read his letters home and realized if all the material was set in a chronological timeline we all could experience his journey beginning to end in real time 1941-1945. It is an experience we all can learn from and also reflect on the dedication, the seriousness and the excitement of one enlisted soldiers story.
"My First Milestone"
Growing up next to McClellan A.F.B. East of Sacramento and with my interest in aviation, WWII history and the P-51 Mustang, I’ve been aware for years that a homegrown hero WWII Ace Clarence E. ‘Bud’ Anderson lives just up the highway from me and frequented the Auburn Airport where he maintained a hanger. As my early book
manuscripts were forming I made a pledge to share it someday with Col. Anderson. In 2016 I saw him signing his book ‘To Fly and Fight. Memoirs of a Triple Ace’ at the Reno Air Races. I informed him of my efforts and he graciously volunteered sharing timely sections of his book for my manuscript. In 2019 He received one of my first published books with his likeness and stories on page 140, Chapter 19. In Feb. 2020 I escorted him to breakfast at the Auburn Airport Grill. Afterwards he shared his home and extensive library, memorabilia collection and personal thoughts with me.
Truly a plan and dream come through. Thank you Colonel Anderson for your kindness.
Larry, his son Shea, and Col. Anderson at the Auburn Municipal Airport 2020