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WWII vet returns to Tyndall

three people standing, looking at a photo

Thomas Bonifay, 325th Fighter Wing public affairs community relations liaison, left, John Pierce Scott, center, and Lori Wallace Gleason, right, view a historical photo, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 1, 2020. Scott, a veteran of World War II, attended gunnery school in 1942 at what was then Tyndall Field. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Kayla Fitzgerald)

woman and man standing facing camera

Lori Wallace Gleason, left, and John Pierce Scott, right, pose for a photo at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 1, 2020. Scott, a veteran of World War II, toured the base with his granddaughter. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Kayla Fitzgerald)

head and shoulders shot of John Pierce Scott

John Pierce Scott, a World War II veteran, is pictured in a photo from his time in service. Scott was stationed at Tyndall in 1942 and recently toured the base. (Courtesy photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE --

Six years before the establishment of the United States Air Force, Tyndall Field was opened as a gunnery range in 1941.

Thousands of students went through the Flexible Gunnery School No. 9 at what is now Tyndall Air Force Base, one of whom was John Pierce Scott.

“I was training as a gunner with the Army Air Corps, and I was (at Tyndall) for five weeks,” said Scott. “They had a track with this cart running around it pulling a target, and we would shoot at that.”

Scott, a World War II veteran, recently toured the base with his granddaughter and saw how much it has changed since he was stationed here in 1942.

“It’s amazing how big (the base) is now,” said Scott. “There wasn’t a lot to it when I was here, just a runway and a row of buildings.”

After completing training at Tyndall and other stateside bases, Scott was sent overseas where he flew on 24 combat missions.

Scott was grateful for the chance to see the base again, and was impressed at how far the installation has come.

“It’s incredible, I couldn’t even imagine (back then) anything like it is now,” said Scott.