Members of Sunbury Halter & Saddle 4-H Club visited Trenton Cemetery on Sunday, Nov. 6, to place flags and markers on the grave sites of more than 90 World War Two Veterans, with flags and markers provided by Sunbury’s American Legion Post 457.
Bob Cheadle, a former US Army paratrooper who served in WWII and Korea, shared some of his experiences with the 4-H Club members, and introduced what he calls his Band of Brothers.
“You won’t see them,” Cheadle said as he called the Band of Brothers to attention and recited their names. “They’re not ghosts, they’re spirits that a former GI never forgets. We all gave some, but some gave all. We owe them a lot.”
Cheadle told his invisible Band of Brothers that the 4-H Club members would not forget them, and thanked the 4-H Club members for their on-going efforts to remember veterans buried in Big Walnut-area cemeteries.
Cheadle also shared a few personal experiences of his time in the service.
He told of a stateside training jump when he noticed something wrong with an airplane’s engine. He told the pilot, the pilot said not to worry about it.
Cheadle was that flight’s jump master, so he rushed his 13 men to the plane’s door and told them to jump without a pre-jump equipment check. After his parachute opened, he looked back and saw the airplane explode in mid-air.
After wandering overnight in the wilderness, a local man driving a truck picked him up and asked him if he had heard about the airplane explosion the killed a flight crew and 13 paratroopers. Cheadle had to inform the driver that the paratroopers survived, that only the pilot, copilot, and flight engineer died in the explosion.
Known for his subtle sense of humor, when asked how many jumps he had made while a paratrooper, Cheadle said one jump – he was pushed out of airplanes another 49 times.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.