Ride Report for Ride Captain FastFooter
One of our friends and fellow rider, Tim “Fastfooter” Pellaton contacted me & asked if we could escort a Welcome Home for his stepfather, a WWII Veteran.  Of course I said yes – why wouldn’t we?!  In the fall of 1941, Ralph attended College of Pacific in Stockton, CA & then joined the US Army Air Corps in 1942.  After training and school, he started flying in 1943 & got his wings in 1944 – off he went to Germany.  During this time, he married Betty in Ventura, CA.  Ralph flew B-17 bombers & spent many missions dropping bombs, until one day his aircraft “my ideal” got shut down.  After making sure his crew bailed out, he was the last to leave the aircraft.  He landed hard from his parachute jump & had severe damage to his entire pelvic and lower back area.  Some local farmers found him in a church graveyard, which they moved him to the basement of the church & hid him from the Germans.  While he was in bed in the basement, he noticed he was laying next to a German soldier who was still armed with a German Luger.  Ralph reached over to the soldier & removed the weapon, which he still has today.  Ralph was then moved to Scotland where he recovered from his injuries.  He then made it back to Rougham Air Base in England & continued to fly bombing raids until the end of WWII.

After surviving 30 combat missions over Germany, his plane being shot down from under him and receiving a Purple Heart medal, Ralph received his honorable discharge.  He also received the Air medal with five oak leaf clusters & was inducted into the “Lucky Bastards Club” for surviving a parachute jump out of a B-17 bomber.  Ralph came back to Oakland, CA and got a job with Naval Supply Depot for about a year.  He then got a job with Kaiser Sand & Gravel where he worked for 30 years until retirement.  Our mission for this lucky man was to pick him up at a local eatery in Brentwood and escort him to his home for a proper Welcome Home Celebration.  With 10 bikes and Ray & his POW/MIA Corvette, we surprised Ralph at Vic Stewart’s Steak House.  The look on his face when we walked in was priceless!  We gathered him up with his family & escorted him home.  We rolled up to the house and with Bryan Welden of Diablo Valley Flag Brigade, we did a proper welcome home after all these years, with several presentations from local Veteran Support Organizations – coins & flags.  Welcome Home young man.