COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Veterans Day…for those in the military, it is a time to reflect. For World War II veteran Arwood Begor of Columbus, the memories include nine special guys, all gone now, who made up the crew of Begor’s B-17 bomber. They flew out of Royston, England with the 398th Bomb Group.
Begor says he was assigned to all kinds of flights over France and Germany. “I wound up flying 17 flights. My plane had some damage, but we never got knocked down and never had to bail out.”
He was a navigator. His position in the B-17 was in the front of the plane underneath the pilots along with the bombardier. He says his job was to keep the plane going in the right direction towards the intended target and to take all kinds of information along the way. “If it was cloudy, I would drop a smoke bomb to see the direction the wind was blowing and how fast.”
Begor’s job was critical. He says, “The plane had to rely on me. Even though the pilot flew it, I had to direct them there and back because otherwise we would get lost.”
He recalls one flight when the enemy’s fire got a little too close for comfort. “They would shoot bombs up at us. These bombs would explode at the elevation we were flying. They were full of pieces of metal. The plane just had aluminum siding. The (shrapnel) would penetrate the aluminum. One time it knocked one of our engines out, but we were still able to come back to the base.”
When asked if he ever got nervous or scared, he responded, “No, I was too young to be nervous and scared. I would be now, but not then.”
With Veterans Day approaching, Begor is counting his blessings. “I was very fortunate that I came through all of that and I’m able to remember and talk about it.”
Begor celebrated a huge milestone on September 29th at the River Club in Columbus. He reached the century mark. He fondly recalls, “My son from Chicago came down and brought all of my family. There were 17 of us. We all had a big party for my 100th birthday.”
Just as Begor kept his B-17 on the right path during their WWII missions, he has trusted God to do the same for him as he’s journeyed through this life. “When I ran into a problem, I thought about it a lot and let Him guide me in the direction to go.” And he is trusting the Lord to guide him safely home.
Begor says he first joined the church when he was six years old living in West Palm Beach, Florida. He moved to Columbus in 1950 where he worked in the textile industry. He joined First Baptist Church of Columbus in 1952 where he has served in a multitude of capacities. Begor is a faithful member attending services each Sunday and Wednesday night.