Posted in World War 2

“XP38FLR” Happy Veteran’s Day, Dad!

My father Millard Earl Gooch, passed away in 2006, and my mother, Ann Francene Pomeroy Gooch, in 2003.  I visited their graves in Claremont, California yesterday.  Today, since it is Veteran’s Day, I would like to honor my father by posting a few pictures representing his military service in the Army Air Corp during World War II.

Millard Earl Gooch in front of a P-38 WWII

His license plate read “XP38FLR” because he flew P-38 aircraft in World War II. He always lamented the fact that he did not get to drop any bombs from his P-38, because he arrived in Germany at the close of the war.

The story goes that during his flight training in the U.S. he had to have his wisdom teeth pulled, and he developed an infection which caused a delay in his deployment.  While he was recuperating, his flight training buddies got shipped out to the Pacific, while he had to stay behind.  He was sorely disappointed, but later commented that that toothache had changed the course of his life. He finished his training course in April 1945 and was sent to the European Theater, but the war in Germany had ended in March.

Flight training completion

Since he was among the last to arrive in Germany he would be one of the last to leave, and he got to witness post-war reconstruction in Germany and England.  He actually served as the private pilot for the commanding General there, and had lots of stories about his adventures which he shared with us through the years.


Dad named his airplane Kathleen, after his mom, and his jeep was named after his girlfriend, Francene (my mom).

Earl’s jeep “Francene”

While in Berlin, he also was enrolled in the Army Education Program at the Berlin Consolidated School.  Here is his certificate of completion for a drafting course.  Notice the “superior” grade.  Good job, Dad!

Berlin Consolidated School, Army Education Program

Dad was discharged in 1947 and went to University of Southern California on the GI Bill, graduating from the USC School of Architecture in 1953.

Earl Gooch military discharge card

Fortunately, my father left a memoir of his WWII experiences.  What a treasure!


I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

2 thoughts on ““XP38FLR” Happy Veteran’s Day, Dad!

  1. it was interesting to read some of the history or Earl Gooch. I met Earl in Safford, Arizona. He helped me with my application to USC, School of Architecture, and latter at USC .

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