Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

When all else was lost, a joyful heart remained

In October 1942, with American forces committed to the Allied cause in World War II, Johnny A. Biberos did what so many others had done, he joined the Army Air Force at just 17 years old.

Johnny was raised in Bridgeport and was attending high school there when he was called to duty. He began his military training in Baton Rouge, La., as an airplane mechanic and was deployed to the Pacific theater.

He boarded a ship in San Francisco, a young man from rural Nebraska, with 4,000 military men for a 52-day cruise into the Philippines. Years later, he would return to the States unsure even of who he...