Warbird Radio Friday Favorite – A-20 Pilot Edward Cassidy

A-20 Pilot Edward Cassidy By Warbird Radio_3

Starting today, Matt Jolley will share his favorites interviews with WWII veterans and famous aviators with us. Take flight with A-20 Havoc pilot Edward Cassidy. Find out what it was like for the men of the 388th Bomber Squadron.  The 388th fought in some of the most remote areas of the world, with only the basic necessities and their trusted A-20’s.

Matt Jolley…

When people find out what I do, they often want to know if I have a favorite story or interview. The short answer is no. Each story is different and there’s a take away from them all. Some stand out more than others, but that’s usually because I learned something about myself. That’s a pretty selfish answer, but it’s the truth. If the stories I share on WarbirdRadio.com don’t transcend the airplanes, then I didn’t do my job as an interviewer. Fellow journalist, aviation artist and exceptional human – John Mollison once said something that changed the way I interview. He said, “Matt, when an old man dies, a library burns.”

A-20 Pilot Edward Cassidy By Warbird Radio_2

I love Mr. Cassidy’s story because of something I didn’t hear during the initial interview. The comment I’m referring to didn’t jump out until I was editing our conversation. After replaying the raw audio, I discovered something I’m not certain he really wanted repeated, but today it’s the heart of the story. So what did he say? I’ll briefly add to dismiss your worry – he’s heard the story and liked it. Sitting in his rocking chair and staring down at his squadron book he muttered, “I went through the war and never saw a dead person. All my friends that I lost (and I lost a bunch of them). We lost twelve of them in one day, in one flight…and you never saw them again.” Here’s a man who experienced loss, but worse, a never ending worry about what happened to his friends. The impact of this no doubt took a toll on his life, but it didn’t steer his life. Rather than dwelling on the worry and the loss, Mr. Cassidy focused on what he loved more.

A-20 Pilot Edward Cassidy By Warbird Radio

At the end of the war, when given the opportunity to command in the military, Mr. Cassidy chose to go home. He went to work in his family’s automotive garage in downtown Macon, Georgia. The day I did the interview, his son was there working alongside him. The memory of his lost friends clearly stayed with him, but through that terrible experience came his daily practice of cherishing the time with those he loved most. Nearly every veteran I interview says something similar about their service. Most say it’s a privilege to serve, and when asked to clarify, the explanations can usually be boiled down to love; love of country, love of freedom, but ultimately love of family and friends. If we obsess over the aircraft and the flying stories, we miss the real meat of their life lessons.

Mr. Cassidy’s story is one of the greats. It’s honest, authentic and to the point. Sure, Mr. Cassidy shares some great flying stories, but in the end that’s really not what counts. Take a listen to his story by clicking the link below, and let’s not let any more libraries burn. We will have another story next week…

Click HERE to listen the full audio interview.

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