Richard Ira Bong's American Dream

1748 Words 7 Pages
The United States of America is notorious for being a land where opportunities abound and dreams come true. It is common to hear stories of great Americans who ascended from the clutches of poverty and amassed great wealth, because they had a dream and pursued it. They did not allow their circumstances, no matter how daunting, to overshadow their ambitions of success. Richard Ira Bong is a perfect example of such an American. He was simply a farm boy with a deep longing to fly airplanes. He did not arrive into this world accompanied by wealth and power, but he determined to turn his dream into a reality. The most inspiring part of Richard’s story, however, is not the successful completion of his personal goal. Instead, it is the fact …show more content…
13). His parents owned and operated a commercial farm near Poplar, Wisconsin, so Richard spent his early life out in the country surrounded by animals, crops, and fresh air (Yenne, 2009, p. 20). In the 1920’s, times were different, and parents expected their children to start carrying their share of the family responsibilities at an early age. Richard spent his time completing a wide variety of chores ranging from milking cows, feeding chickens, and gathering eggs, to haying the fields, planting crops, and bringing in the harvest (Yenne, 2009, p. 20). He loved outdoor life, and enjoyed hunting with the Winchester twenty-two caliber rifle he received for his twelfth birthday (Yenne, 2009, p. 21). It was not long before he was hunting with his father, and helping to fill the family’s meat stores (Yenne, 2009, p. 21). Richard was a prime example of an All-American boy in the 1920’s and 1930’s. As the oldest of nine children, Richard began building his leadership skills at an early age, and his parents instilled in him the value of hard work. He was courteous to and respectful of others, modeled good values, enjoyed being a bit of a prankster at times, joined his high school’s marching band, played several different team sports during high school, engaged in occasional mischief making, and sang in his church’s choir (Yenne, 2009, pp. …show more content…
The end of World War I flooded the United States aviation market with a massive surplus of economical and well-built airplanes (Yenne, 2009, p. 15). As a result, the use of airplanes rapidly increased in popularity (Yenne, 2009, p. 15). Before long, transportation companies started employing aviation assets, and the United States Postal Service began offering timely mail delivery by air (Yenne, 2009, p. 17). Through this new advancement, young Richard experienced his first encounter with the world of aviation. It so happened that President Coolidge was summering in Superior, Wisconsin in 1928, and was utilizing the local high school as his temporary headquarters (Yenne, 2009, pp. 17-18). Every day an airplane would fly over the Bong farm on its way to deliver mail to the President, and every day Richard would be outside waiting to watch it (Yenne, 2009, p. 18). That summer, Richard developed an unquenchable passion for aviation. He soon became quite the airplane model builder, and spent many hours dreaming of flying (Yenne, 2009, p. 17). Upon graduating from high school in 1938, Richard decided to attend a local college (Yenne, 2009, p. 25). He had dreams of joining the Army Air Corps, but needed at least two years of college credit to do so (Yenne, 2009, p. 25). In 1940, Richard’s dream of flying came true when he enrolled in the government backed Civilian Flight Training Program (Yenne, 2009, p.

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