Service Years: 1942-1946
U.S. Air Force Aircraft and Engine Mechanic
Irving was born on June 11, 1921 in New York City. Prior to World War II, he was employed at this father’s furrier business, tailoring ladies’ fur coats. Irving decided he would enlist, rather than be drafted. He also wanted to join in order to fight for the Jews being He signed up hoping to be trained as a photographer. The Army told him there wasn’t room for photographers, but there was a strong need for airplane mechanics. He was sent to Chanote Field, in Rantoul, IL for training. He would remain a engine and airplane mechanic for his entire military career, often flying on test flights for plane and engine tests.
He was later sent to Guam to work on B-17s and B-29s as an airplane mechanic, and to make sure the planes were ready for bombing missions over Japan. He would work day and night as needed. There was no set schedule, so it was easy to get used to the impromptu day. There wasn’t much to do outside of the base on Guam and there was little interaction with the native population. Irving mentions how there was a large cultural difference between the American soldiers and natives of Guam.
He was stationed in Guam for 14 months. When his father’s wanted him to return to the fur business, but Irving decided to become a pharmaceutical salesman with Dorsey Labs.