Freedom Fighters: Earl Bibby

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Earl Bibby enlisted in the U.S. Air Corps in 1940. With the Great Depression gripping this country, he hoped to find security.

"I thought it was better than any job I could get and have insurance and such as that."

Bibby did find security in the service, but with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, he found much more than he had bargained for.

"I was always stationed in the jungle."

Bibby was stationed on a series of Philippine Islands including Okinawa.

"Went in on LST"s and you couldn't get up on the beach so you had to sade water."

Because the Japanese already had a stronghold on the Islands, American forces usually had to camp on the beaches.

"We had to have a jackhammer to break through the coral."

The beaches, made up of hard coral, offered no foxhole possibilities for Bibby and the others as protection from the Japanese planes overhead and the soldiers in the caves and hills.

"I remember getting behind this one tractor that they had just gotten off the thing there and one practically knocked the gas cap off."

"I said oh I'm in a bad place."

Even though Bibby's designation was in survival, he had a variety of jobs assigned to him.

"I worked in the tower one time."

Bibby's job at the small island airfield was to bring in American planes for landing. The biggest problem there was that the tower was being shot at during the day and bombed at night.

"I'd have to go early the next morning and try to put it back together."

Bibby says he never knew when the bullets would be flying his way.

"You've got to live from day to day and I said I hope to live to be 50-years-old. I was about 20 or somewhere along there."

Bibby did survive World War II without injury. However, it was only a few years when he was called back in to serve in the Korean War.

"I went there, I think it was January of 50."

Bibby was assigned to run the camp club, located near Suell.

"The only time I really got scared, I guess as scared as I've ever been, I had to go to Suoel City to get some supplies for that club."

At the first checkpoint, a huge group of kids descended on the truck and began taking it apart, from gas cap to the pencil out of Bibby's shirt pocket.

"I didn't want to shoot those kids."

Fortunately, the MP's came by just in the nick of time. Now, at the age of 96, Earl Bibby has far exceeded the 50 years he had once wished for, and has only proud memories of his time in World War II and Korea.

"I'd do it again if I could I'd do it again."

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