Jack Hibbits and his wonderful daughter, Sunny, came to visit the museum on June 1, 2013. Jack flew photo recon B-24 Liberators in the Pacific during WWII. From the roughly 200,000 cadets trained by the United States Army Air Forces in World War II, Jack was specially selected after he had completed B-24 training to go back and visit all of his flight training bases he had already graduated from. He flew himself, a writer, and a photographer to revisit where he had completed Primary, Basic, Advanced, and B-24 operational training. Jack and his team then completed the book "Take 'Er Up Alone Mister" so prospective pilots could read what it was like to became a pilot in the USAAF. After the book was written, Jack went to the Pacific to begin his combat missions.
My good friend Richard Smith was the hero years earlier in finding Jack and his wife Ginger living in North Carolina. Jack had no idea at that time that people still loved his book and that there was such a huge interest in World War II pilots and aircraft. He brought Jack, Ginger, and other family members with him to Oshkosh and then it became almost an annual event to see Jack and family members there. I became close friends with Jack and many of his family.
The timing of their trip was really amazing. They flew into Oklahoma City with me the day before and stayed at my house. That night, the widest F5 tornado ever recorded came very close to wiping out Mustang Field (El Reno Airport) and Page Airport (Cimarron). Luckily, both airports were spared but I had no power so we had to tour one of the hangars the next day by flashlight! In spite of the lighting situation, we still had a spectacular visit.
John J. (Jack) Hibbits died on June 5, 2016, at the age of 94.