Yesterday, Lt. Col. Robert Goebel, double-ace (11 victories) of the 31st FG, died at his California home.
Bob was one of the first pilots I interviewed. He gave me gracious encouragement as well as his time.
He was an unusually articulate guy - careful in speech, erudite, intellectual. He absolutely shattered my prior (ignorant) ideal that an Ace was necessarily a tough-talking, brassy hot shot. No, Bob Goebel was a right-minded gentleman of the first order. He also possessed a strong positivity about the youth of America and their potential for growing our Nation.
Upon hearing of his death, I scrounged through my notes to find something worth passing onto readers and impressing into the digital archive.
The following was Bob's response to my question about what life was like before WW2.
If you'd like to know more about Bob, click here. In the meantime,The country in the late 30’s and early 40’s was a different place than it is today. It was a slower paced, simpler life where one’s reputation and personal responsibility were very important. Young people just didn’t bring disgrace to the neighborhood or to one’s family by getting kicked out of school or being talked to by the police. Of course after Pearl Harbor, there was a kind of national euphoria among young people who knew they were poised on the edge of a great personal adventure in whatever Service they were destined for.