WWII veteran treats Rockwall Kiwanis Club to captivating war stories

(ROCKWALL, TX – June 1, 2016) The Kiwanis Club of Rockwall County enjoyed some truly fascinating war stories in wake of the Memorial Day weekend during its weekly meeting on Tuesday, May 31.

World War II Army Air Forces Captain Jack Ogilvie treated club members to several tales of the wildly harrowing situations he found himself in during his time in the service, one of which involved a crash landing at a hidden monastery in the African mountains.

The story begins with Jack flying a war plane over the mountains of Africa near the Sahara Desert to – as strange as it sounds – deliver a satchel full of mail to a nearby town. He was admiring the monkeys and apes down in the mountain below when all of the sudden the plane’s motor failed.

“As I’m trying to get the motor started, I’m looking around and there’s nothing but mountains and cactus as far as I can see,” Jack said. “But there’s one little green speck way over there, so I thought maybe I could try and land the plane there.”

As the plane loses altitude (and the plane’s not gliding at all, according to Jack), he heads for an opening between two trees to try and land the plane in the small field. The plane gets hit on both sides by the trees, slowing it slightly but not all that much, as the plane’s still hitting upwards of 200 mph at this point.

And then Jack encountered another obstacle barring his way to what might have been a successful (and likely very bumpy) landing: a four-foot-wide wall made of stone!

“If I had hit the wall an inch higher from where the plane ended up making contact, I would’ve bounced in there and may have made it,” Jack said.

Alton Brown (L) with American Legion Post 53 presented Rockwall Kiwanis Club President Maryann Hall with a $500 check to benefit the club's Angel League baseball program. Post 53 donates a check each year to benefit the Rockwall Angel League, a baseball program for special needs boys and girls ages 4 to 15.

Unfortunately for Jack, that wasn’t the case. As the plane hit the wall, it shot over it and the plane’s cannon caught the ground. The entire plane drove nose first into the dirt for about 60 feet and dug a deep trench in the field. Jack was knocked unconscious on impact.

Jack awoke in the dark, feeling the heat from a tremendous fire that raged behind him. In the blackness he saw hooded figures, beating on the bulletproof glass of the plane’s canopy with hoes and chanting.

“I heard all of this chanting and I thought, let me burn alive,” Jack said. “I figured I was in hell at this point.”

The figures managed to pull the soot-covered Jack out of the wreckage, where they saw the insignia of his squadron (known as the Fighting Devil Hogs) on his jacket – a devil riding over a bomb with a gun.

“They think I’m the Devil,” Jack said. “I came out of the blue and they didn’t hear the plane, and all of a sudden there I am in a burning plane underground with a devil on my jacket.”

He soon realized just where he had landed: in a grape vineyard at a monastery. And the chanting hooded figures with hoes? Monks.

“It turns out that this monastery had been there for 500 years,” Jack said, “and its sole purpose was to make a certain kind of grape to make a special kind of wine that was used by the Vatican.”

The monks then took Jack into the monastery and treated him to a big glass of Cognac.

“When I woke up, they thought I had been resurrected,” Jack said. “They thought that I had died and come back an angel.”

 

About Rockwall Kiwanis

The Rockwall Kiwanis Club is comprised of service-minded-men and women who respond to the unique needs of our community and address issues by serving our children.

The Rockwall Kiwanis meet every Tuesday at noon at the Rockwall Wedding Chapel (305 S Fannin St) for an atmosphere of fun, learning and fellowship. Weekly the club hosts guest speakers to educate members on events, activities and needs in the Rockwall community.

Story and photos by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News editor.

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