Salute to WWII Pilot, 101-year-old George Mobbs

Veterans Voices

George Mobbs honored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) (Source Office of Senator John Boozman (R-AR))

(KTAL/KMSS) – George Mobbs has a long exciting career as a pilot with the U.S. Air Force, serving in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. During his service, he fought Axis forces in the Sahara, survived a crash landing after being shot down, and commanded a squadron in Okinawa. He was recently honored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) in a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans, ‘Salute to Veterans.’ 

Mobbs was born in Wooster in 1920 and grew up working in his father’s sawmill and grist mill during the Great Depression. He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and completed high school while building roads and doing conservation work under FDR’s New Deal. He was determined to further his education and began classes at Arkansas State Teachers College in Conway when he was approached to join the civil pilot training program.

“I got lost in the Forrest City area and ended up landing in a farmer’s field to find out where I was,” Mobbs laughed. He joined the Army Air Corps in February 1941, which became the Air Force in 1947. Mobbs flew P-39, P-40, P-36, P-38, and P-47 during his training at Mitchel Field on Long Island.

Mobbs was assigned to support the British Eighth Army in 1942 “chasing Germany and Rommel’s forces” through the Sahara Desert. His first mission did not go smoothly. They came under attack while escorting bombers, after which he vowed to never fly that slow again. He shot down a plan on a mission in Libya before he found himself in danger.

“All of a sudden holes starting appearing in the wing of my airplane,” he said. “And then my guns wouldn’t work.” He crash-landed on his home airfield. “My guardian angel took care of me.”

He received the British Distinguished Flying Cross for his service before returning home and marrying. His next assignment was in Florida training pilots, where he earned a letter of commendation for an evacuation mission during a hurricane. His career also included commanding a squadron in Okinawa during the Korean War, deploying to Vietnam, and serving at the Pentagon. He retired in 1996 as a Colonel and worked as a certified public accountant until his retirement in 1998.

“George Mobbs honorably served in our nation’s uniform and experienced unimaginable circumstances while defending our citizens and interests abroad. He served with honor and distinction during his military service. I’m honored to share his memories of his sacrifice for future generations,” Boozman said. Boozman will submit Mobbs’s entire interview to the Veterans History Project, an initiative of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center to collect and retain the oral histories of our nation’s veterans.

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