World War II navigator flies again

Veterans Day is coming up this Saturday.  Tonight it seemed most appropriate to focus my News 3 Neighbors story on a local World War II veteran who doesn’t let his age stand in the way of serving his community like he served our country.

Columbus resident Arwood Begor may be 94-years old, but the World War II veteran has a razor sharp memory when it comes to his flying days over Europe. He retraces his steps once he finished training to be a navigator as a young man.  “They sent me to Drew Field where our crew got together.  Then we went overseas and was at Royston, England in the 398th bomb group. We did 17 missions.” Arwood was the navigator in a b-17 bomber.  One recently flew into the Columbus airport and Arwood was given the opportunity to go up one more time.  He says, “The plane was exactly like the one I flew in.  But I’ve gotten older now and it’s hard to climb up and down all those levels.  I could have sat in the navigator’s seat, but it’s so far down in there that I sat up behind the pilots while they flew that 45 minutes.” No doubt the flight over Columbus brought back memories of some of his missions during the war.  He recalls, “The two scariest ones were over Berlin.  The last one (mission) they had a jet fighter that they had projected.  We were flying at 28,000 feet and they had to get above us.  When they got up around 30,000 feet their fuel gave out.  So that kept them from getting in our formations and shooting us down.”

Arwood’s pastor, Jimmy Elder of First Baptist Church in Columbus, was at the airport to witness Arwood’s historic flight.  Jimmy says it was his exit from the plane that stole the show.  According to Jimmy, “They all go and they’re standing on both sides.  They have the ladder there and they’re going to help him down. And he grabs the top of the door and he swings out and plops down just like he did when he was 20 years old.  It was absolutely amazing!”

Arwood summed up the flight this way, “It was a good experience to go back and do it one more time, but I wouldn’t want to fly it every day.”

Pastor Jimmy says Arwood is a pillar of the church at First Baptist, having served in just about every leadership position available. And doing it well.

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