Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

March 27, 2013

Glen Pinkston: Profile of a reluctant hero

March 27, 2013 — Glen Pinkston is a rare man.

Pinkston served on a B-17 bomber during World War II…but that isn’t what makes him rare.

The fact that he is a farm boy turned soldier and is a survivor of the war and still alive to tell the tale aren’t rarities either, at least not the most significant one.

No, Pinkston, unlike so many of the Greatest Generation that returned from WWII, actually wrote down his story and those with whom he worked during the 1940’s.

Glen Pinkston grew up on a farm near Nashville, Tenn. In January of 1943, he enlisted in the Army.

He was a volunteer, taking the place of one who might have otherwise been drafted.

At the time he had no interest in flying, but after being promised a position as a quartermaster, a post his WWI veteran father suggested, Pinkston found himself headed to flight training.

He began basic training in Miami, Fla., and moved on to other training bases in Mississippi, California, and Utah, ending with an assignment as a flight engineer on a B-17.

Although he was assigned to the top turret, he ended up flying the right waist.

Called the Flying Fortress, the four-engined B-17 had a crew of 10 or 11 men.

“All the time we trained we were planning to be sent to the South Pacific – and they sent us to Italy, so naturally everything worked out just fine,” Pinkston said with a grin in his home near Grayson.

“Vienna was the hardest target we went to with so much flak in the air. Some of them were milk runs, but not that one,” he recalled.

Pinkston explained the fear that he and his crewmates felt as they faced down flak – fire from the 88 mm guns used by German anti-aircraft units.

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