N. B. Terry
2 Lt
U. S. Army Air Forces
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 12/08/1942 - 10/05/1945
B-25 Pilot

N.B. was born in Shreveport in the Queensborough subdivision on Darien Street, as one of two children of Columbus Molden Terry and Claire Mae Dial Terry. His father was a World War I veteran, while his grandfather fought in the Civil War. N.B. served in World War II, and his son, Ron, in Vietnam. "So we have four generations--each one had its own war," he says. The family moved to Linden Street, but lost their home during the Depression. After that the Terrys made a series of moves. "It seemed like every time the rent came due we were moving," he says. He recalls that his father, a barber, was making $15 a week and paying for an automobile and apartment rent. The family moved to Vivian where N.B. held several jobs, including selling The Shreveport Journal and working as a soda jerk in three drugstores. After graduating from Vivian High School in 1939 he worked in Shreveport as a drugstore soda jerk and at Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company, first in the mailroom, then in the cashier department, earning $110 a month. He also attended Norton Business College. Meanwhile his mother had re-married Ellison Tillery, a fire captain who also owned a motel and sandwich shop. He drove the family to Houma, Louisiana, where N.B. met his stepbrother's daughter, Mary Jewel Tillery, in August of 1940. "She was fourteen years old. I was sixteen. I kind of liked her looks," he recalls. From their meeting until their marriage on September 15, 1944 he saw her "a minimum of three days or four days," he recalls. "Everything else was through correspondence, so we had a lot of letters back and forth. She waited for me." (They would have two children, one grandchild, and one great-grandchild.) Meanwhile, N.B. had joined the U.S. Army Air Forces in December of 1942. After basic training at Sheppard Field in Wichita Falls, Texas, he completed radio school in Chicago to become a radio operator mechanic. He was sent to Randolph Army Air Field in San Antonio briefly, then to Brooks Army Air Field where he served as a control tower operator at nights. Accepted as an air cadet, he was shipped to Des Moines, Iowa, as part of a College Training Detachment (CTD). At Drake University he spent five months learning theories of flight, weather, and subjects related to flying. He completed flight training at bases in California and Arizona (and learned to fly the B-25). Mary joined him, and always found jobs near bases where he trained. He graduated on June 26, 1945 and was commissioned a second lieutenant. He was stationed in Yuma, Arizona, when the war ended. He was discharged at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on October 5, 1945. The next month he returned to work for Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company in the cashier department. N.B. remained with the company until retiring on March 1, 1978.