For this Veterans Day, Nov. 11, I wish to offer a memorial tribute to three local World War II veterans who passed away this year — Joe Goode, Bobbie Johnson and Nelson Saunders.
Joe Goode and Nelson Saunders were fellow members of our American Legion Post 54 in Bedford. I was privileged to interview Joe as well as Bobbie Johnson, both natives of Bedford County, for my history of Bedford County in World War II.
Joseph E. Goode was born and raised in Bedford County. After graduating from Huddleston High School in 1936 and working on the family farm, he, at age 21, enlisted in January 1941 in the U.S. Army Air Corps (later named the U.S. Army Air Forces).
Bobbie G. Johnson was born and raised in Bedford County, south of the town of Bedford. At Moneta High School, he took an optional, extra class on pre-flight aeronautics taught by teacher Ivylyn Schenk (*see note below). Bobbie learned to fly small airplanes and worked for a short time at Buford’s Airport in the Montvale area of Bedford County.
Nelson B. Saunders was not a Bedford County native, and I did not interview him for my book. I have learned, however, some information about Nelson from his family. Nelson grew up in Nelson County, Virginia (south of Charlottesville). He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and around the time of D-Day he served as a seaman first class on the USS Thomas Jefferson.
-For more information, see the Nov. 6 edition of the Smith Mountain Eagle-