In a Scottsdale home decorated with model ships and planes, old photographs and a 1952 Chevrolet truck decorated as an old bomber, resides one of Arizona’s few remaining World War II veterans.
Just before Memorial Day, 90-year-old Korean War and World War II veteran Jack Mosleysat arched back on his living room couch recalling his military days.
“Oh, that’s Barney’s Buzz Wagon,” Mosley said, referring to his blue Chevy parked in the driveway.
A fake birth certificate and a crash
The spotless Chevy with stickers on its side and frontresembles the first and favorite plane Mosley had ever fought in — a B-24, where he occupied the tail-gunner’s seat.
Barney’s Buzz Wagon is what his flight crew named the B-24 and what he calls his truck.
At just 15 years old, Mosley’s aunt had falsified his birth certificate to send him off to war in the 1940s. He soon had his first of three crashes in Barney’s Buzz Wagon.
“The remaining engines flew off, and props flying in the air. And the rest of the airplane, people in the front jumped off,” Mosley said. “The B-24 was a wonderful airplane. It was faster, carried more, but it didn’t take the engines.”
It was the first mission, and his crew’s Buzz Wagon was toast.
The crew was not happy. Mosley still stays in contact with some of the family members of the service members from that era.
Restoration of the wagon
But Barney’s Buzz Wagon still lives today on the 6200 block of Pinchot Avenue in Scottsdale.
The truck was originally purchased by Mosley for his daughter, Kerrye Mosley, for $1,000 in 2009. She fully restored it and spruced it up to be fit for her father, and returned it back to him as a present.
His daughter now drives him around in the vehicle.
Remembering his service
Mosley was able to reconnect bits and pieces of some gruesome war stories.
He pointed to a scar underneath his shorts on his right quadriceps that he rubbed and slapped. He began to tell of a mission when his crew went to bomb Hamburg and Berlin, Germany. His plane flew to Hamburg.
“I got wounded on my fourth mission. An 88 hit me,” Mosley said, referring to a German fighter plane. “I told him (a crew member) I was hit, and he came out and put his knee in the big hole I had in me. He stuck it in there to keep me from bleeding to death.
“And then he said ‘We’ve still got the bombs on board. Can you hold on that long?’ I said ‘Hell yeah. Go for it.’ “
It took four hours until Mosley was treated at his base in England.
Mosley said he was never afraid on a mission. He said he started to get a “little chicken,” but was never afraid of dying.
When Mosley was honored as the grand marshal in the Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade in 2013, he explained possibly his greatest war accomplishment during a flight.
“We were stuck with bombs that were hung up. I knew we had to do something so I manually disengaged them by hand with a screw driver,” Mosley said in an interview with the Honor Our Heroes Foundation.
As the grand marshal in the parade, it was one of the many times Mosley has been honored for his service.
“As long as I can remember, he’s been honored,” his daughter said. “They wanted to give him a parade as a hero coming home from World War II and he wouldn’t let them do it. My mom was always upset about that, so when that came about to have the (Veteran’s Day) parade, I nominated him and he got it.”
Mosley stressed his feeling towards the Memorial Day holiday and being honored as a veteran.
“It makes you feel that you didn’t waste your life, you know,” he said.
In commemoration of Memorial Day, Kerrye and Jack Mosley will cruise in Barney’s Buzz Wagon to the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars and American Legion Post 44 buildings in Scottsdale.
‘A very good friend’
While it was tough for Mosley to recall some memories, his daughter reminded him of his good friend Dean Curry, who was killed in the Korean War.
“Dean Curry was my pilot — in fact a very good friend,” Mosley said. “When the war (World War II) was over, I reenlisted and went back again. He came back in, too. He wanted to put me on his crew, but I said ‘Nope, I’m going to Puerto Rico.’ He got shot down in the Korean War.”
Mosley spent 23 years in the military, and said he worked with More Business Forms after his service. He also worked with Best Western Hotels.
Now, Mosley performs his hobby sculpting models of ships and planes. His models decorate his house and he said he gives many of his models to a nearby church and to children in the neighborhood.
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