By Jan Harrison Knowles
My Dad, like many in his generation, would not talk about WWII and he was no exception.
I was born on April 8, 1945. My Dad was a Hoosier when the army came to Indiana and secured some college students to enter what was then the Army Air Corp and Dad took the bait. He became a fighter pilot in the war, and we did not see him too often even when it was over. We were stationed in Japan, France and then England. I assumed he was fighting in Korea at the time. When I was 14 years old, we finally got to go to the United States of America and lived there while he was in the reserve. He got a regular Job at Pan Am and we finally had a normal life. I used to ask Dad about the war and he would say why do you ask me those questions, and that was the end of that. I am sure he had many medals but the only thing he ever displayed were his gold wings.
After he passed, going through his things in the attic, we found his burial flag as well as one flight book. I glanced through it a few times and packed it away. I had a very good friend who happened to be a genealogist named Frasier Mountain and he fought in World War II also and was very interested in my Dad’s career, so I sent away for his military records and there were 20 years of his history, to my dismay a lot of pages were blackened due to security I suppose. Frasier helped me go through most of them.
One day he called me up after going through some of my dad’s military things and asked me if I had read the one flight book that my dad had saved, I replied, “I just scanned it, why?” I did not know it, but it said my Dad was commander of an airstrip named Haleiwa on the island of Oahu, HI, about 20 minutes by air from Pearl Harbor and Frasier said my dad took out his plane on a special day from that airstrip. Frasier said, “Read the last page and read the date,” Frasier gave it to me and the date was Dec. 7, 1941. That was the last entry. It had no time of taking it out or bringing it back, just a date.
So my Dad was indeed involved in some way at Pearl Harbor.
In 2016, I visited that area and finally found the abandoned airstrip with weeds growing up through the runway. I am attaching some pictures taken at the airstrip and area.
I still have his flight log with that memorable day in his life, and am searching for a museum to donate to, so he won’t ever be forgotten because I know my dad and I am sure he was a hero whatever and wherever he went in that plane that day. I miss you Dad and love you and I will always honor the military. He was just one person, one hero and I know there are so many more. So please take a minute out of your day to salute our military who have kept this country a place where we can live in peace. I salute Lt. Col. Franklin Asbury Harrison in the U.S. Army Air Corp and the U.S. Air Force for his service of 20 years.
Your loving daughter,
Jan Harrison Knowles