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O’Donovan Recollections and Perspectives

18th FBW cup designed to recognize the command's second year of combat in the Korean War.
18th FBW cup designed to recognize the command’s second year of combat in the Korean War.

LTC Edward D. O’Donovan, a veteran of WWII was posted to the 18th FBW in 1951-1952.

In a recent letter to CAPT Tracy Connors, author of Truckbusters from Dogpatch, his son, Robert, noted that he had “…just received my copy of Truckbusters from Dogpatch and I am very pleased to begin to read it. My father, Major (later LTC), Edward D. O’Donovan as assigned to the 18th FBW. Although he had a long career in the USAAC and then USAF, it was Korea and the 18th that he seemed to talk about the most as I grew up as an Air Force Brat. Over the years r was fortunate to meet others who had served in the 18th with him, especially the SAAF personnel, but the passage of years has erased their names but not their stories.”

“Charley Tune” area of the K-10 “Top of the Mark” Officers Club in early 1952 where 18th Group pilots made “nail cuts” in the floor while singing Ay Ziga Zumba. The officer on the guitar is Lt. A. S. Van der Spuy–“Topper 6” or just “Topper,” his call sign during WWII in Italy–a pilot with the 2 Squadron SAAF. Behind Topper is 2nd Lt. John W. Yingling. At right rear, Second Lt. Archie Connors of the 67th Squadron sings along.

O’Donovan reported that the family retains treasured 18th FBW memorabilia, including: cups, U.S. and SAAF wings, Number 2 Squadron Cheetah pin on insignia, and photographs, including movie film of the children at the orphanage that the Dogpatch O’Club supported.”

O’Donovan recalled his father, Edward, wearing “a silk style blue jacket with silver sleeves and many ‘Dogpatch’ patches on it, the jacket self-destructed but we still have the patches. I had almost forgotten about it until I saw a similar one in the SAAF museum. The jacket, like the cups, were pretty much “de rigueur” for everyone.”

As he worked his way through Truckbusters, a “reference to the SAAF Officers singing and breaking tbe floor in the O’Club,” caught his eye. “I am afraid my father often contributed to that, he played honky tonk piano many a night after hours at the club. I can still sing the” Ay Ziga Zumba” song but some of his lyrics were certainly different and maybe not for children!”

“In my career,” O’Donovan pointed out, “I have had the honor of getting to South Africa and visiting their museum outside of Pretoria with South Africans who served with me in Iraq. I was able to talk on the phone with several veterans of Number 2 Squadron, and meet with others at the Air Base.”

“I have only begun to be able to read the book, but it is a great connection for me to my father who has since passed on,” he concluded.

Thank you Robert for sharing this memories with our readers and visitors.

We would like to hear from more of you.