"Well after I left the military, [I] came back here for a year. Then, I decided the military looked pretty good. So, I applied for active duty. Well, it just so happened, right at that time, the Berlin problem came along where the Russians tried to force everybody out by not allowing traffic. They were willing to starve the whole town of Berlin in order to do that. They were pretty ruthless. But, anyway, we decided – Our country decided we weren't going to be chased out. That we would supply Berlin with the necessary things by air. And we did. We done a heck of a job, and it was a heck of a job. We got to the point where we had it figured out how many tons was necessary for the basic necessity of the people living in the town. And we were able to supply that much. It was a 'round the clock operation. The weather didn't stop us. We had four fields around Berlin – but, in the American zone and the British zone – that were flying cargo into the town. The British had two. And between the both of us, why, we were able to supply and keep the people in the town alive…
   "I remember one time I was sitting on the ground – we'd be on the ground for just a few minutes while the labor, the handlers would unload our airplane. And they had a snack wagon that would come down the line of airplanes giving you coffee and sandwiches and whatnot. I was waiting, and they were kind of slow bringing my coffee. And I said, 'Hurry up, or I'm going to – I could starve to death standing here,' I said.
   "And this girl that was waiting on me – with very straight face, she said, 'We would have all starved if you hadn't been here,' she said, which shut me up…
   "I flew from Wiesbaden, Germany, to Berlin. And we would land and unload, and take off and get back to Germany, back to Wiesbaden and get another load. If it worked out right, well, we'd fly two trips a day which, depending on when you got your first airplane, why, it might be 18 hours that you're on duty before you got to go back to bed. Which was about all we did, was sleep, and eat, and fly. For three months I never had a day off. It was a hard job, but I was flying and I enjoyed it…
   "I tell you, it really improved our image to the German people. And I enjoyed that a lot more than I did bombing them."

Jim Chenault & The Berlin Airlift


Other Excerpts from Jim Chenault's Interview:

Pearl Harbor
Enlisting before High School Graduation
Bombing Germany from England
Nisei Internment in California
V-E Day
Student Pilots on the GI Bill
Mining the Aquifer
Irrigation Enabling Other Technologies
Crop Dusting