Our Heritage

Mark Wells

 

My Dad, Major Maurice L. "Blackie" Wells, USAF Retired (b. 1926 - d. 1997), entered the US Army Air Forces on 7 December 1944 as an enlisted man. Trained as a gunner on the B-17 and B-29, he stayed on after the war as an Administrative Specialist in the Army of Occupation in Japan, rising to the rank of Sergeant.  

He enrolled in the AF Reserve and subsequently went to college, taking ROTC and was commissioned in 1951. Pilot training followed and he flew interdiction missions in the Douglas B-26 Invaders (13th Bomb Squadron Light) during the Korean War. His airplane, "Dotty," was named after my mother.
After Korea he spent 10 years in the Strategic Air Command, flying Boeing B-47 Strato-Jets with the 380th Bomb Wing at Plattsburgh, NY. He sat nuclear Alert and participated fully in the Cuban Missile Crisis.  
When the B-47 left the inventory he ended up in Thailand, flying combat air rescue missions in the Sikorsky HH-3E "Jolly Green Giant" and was credited with 100 combat missions over North Vietnam and scores of rescues of downed USAF and USN airmen.  

When he finally retired in 1971 from Eglin AFB (where I went to High School), he took a job as an AF Junior ROTC instructor in Derby, KS, just south of McConnell AFB near Wichita. He taught there for 19 years and sent more than 20 kids to USAFA and hundreds more to the Air Force. He was very well known by the Director of Admissions and the staff. As a result of this, USAFA's Superintendent made an exception to policy and he is buried at the Academy cemetery. As you can imagine, he remains my role-model and hero. In fact, as a cadet, I always had trouble trying to compare AOCs to my Dad. Few measured up!