KCRA Glen Vanderfort — A Veteran For Veteran’s Day
I love doing stories about veterans. My father Ward V. Carroll served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific in World War Two. Any time I can do a story about a WWII vet, it puts me closer in touch with my dad.
For two years now my good friend & Sacramento history buff Richard Stevenson, who I have done stories with about the Land Park Volunteers maintaining the city’s gem of all parks, has been after me to do a story on Glen Vanderfort. At other times there were too many photographers on vacation or it was a weekend when we are low on photographers to begin with. But–finally!–with Veteran’s Day approaching I was able to pitch it to the assignment managers and be given the time.
Glen is 95-years-old now, rapidly nearing being a century in age. But his mind is sharp and crisp and clear and generously shared his memories of being a U.S. Army Air Corps instructor, training pilots–in only six weeks–how to fly the P-38 Lightning fighter-bomber with efficiency and confidence.
After returning from the war, Glen married and worked with his father-in-law at Newbert’s Hardware on J and 17th Streets in Sacramento, an institution from 1915-1993 when it finally closed from competition with superstores like Home Depot. KCRA news video editor Cindy Koppel, who has an encyclopedic mind for stories over the years, miraculously and almost instantly dug up the story–from 1993!–and in minutes I was including footage from the archival story, which was reported by KCRA reporter Alice Scott, a good friend from when she worked here.
In that footage you can see Glen when he was a tad more physically active, as a young man of only 70.
Glen still gets out and can be seen in Veteran’s Day parades and every year at the Air Show at Mather Field, formerly Mather Air Force Base, at a tent by a still operable P-38 Lightning.