On October 14, 1947, a man by the name of Charles “Chuck” Yeager went down in history as the the first human to break the sound barrier.
Let me repeat myself.
Charles “Chuck” Yeager went down in history as the the first human to break the sound barrier.
As a child, I sat and listened to my grandfather’s stories about his past lives.
Stories, oddly enough, that no one in my family wanted to listen to.
Stories that amazed me.
Made me think.
Had me question the world around me at a very young age.
In one story, Germany had won World War 2.
Country after country after country toppled like dominoes, and there was nothing the United States could do about it as Hitler had amassed not just a relentless army, but with fission bombs, country after country after country which refused to surrender was bombed until they surrendered.
The Allies had been systematically toppled, one right after the other, starting with Russia, and then from there spreading to both sides like wild fire. The far east. Latin America. All of it was under Germany’s direct control.
In 1947, United States was surrounded on all sides by armies which, as my grandfather described – seemed inhuman. Without emotion.
It was, as my grandfather explained “Like Hitler had been using some exotic form of mind control to control his armies”.
My grandfather, a trained pilot, and at that time a Brigadier General in the Army, was spending more time at his home with his newborn boy and wife in Redondo Beach, California, commuting, in secret, to a base in the Mojave Desert.
He’d personally commissioned the flight of an X1, and actually insisted he become the test pilot.
“I couldn’t ask my men to do something I was not willing to do myself,” I remember him saying.
On October 14, 1947, he boarded the experimental vessel, the X1, and subsequently disappeared from that timeline, forever.
On September 12, 1941, my grandfather was enlisting with the US Army, when he collapsed during his medical.
When he came to, he asked for the President Roosevelt.
They thought he was joking at first.
The base commander was called.
It was then my grandfather laid out some predictions about the future: Dumbo would be released by Disney in October and Mount Rushmore would be completed, the USS Reuben James would be torpedoed on Halloween (he remembered it happening on Halloween), and a massive attack on Pearl Harbor would occur in December.
And oh yeah. A woman named “Wonder Woman” would appear as a lead character in the comic books
At first, he was held against his own will. His nearly ‘blasphemous’ remarks concerning the United States involvement in a war that meant nothing to them did not matter.
But two months later, Roosevelt came to release him, personally, from Fort Leavenworth in Colorado.
“Is it happening like you remembered it?,” my grandfather remembered President Roosevelt saying.
“Almost exactly,” my grandfather told him.
“Has anything changed?” Roosevelt asked.
“You didn’t try to declare peace with the Emperor last time. And Dumbo was pink,” he told him.
“Pink elephants?,” Roosevelt laughed
That’s how many times my grandfather had gone from October 14, 1947 back in time to September 12, 1941.
Each time, signing up for the US Army seemed to be ‘his return time’, as if he was taking a journey in his own mind to see his own future. A future he had felt like he knew he had lived before returning to the moment of signing up for the US Army.
Minor changes occurred in his returns. But having lived for 18 years through wartime conditions, my grandfather began researching his ‘next steps’ before getting on board the X1 for the fourth repeat in history – as my grandfather reconsidered the flight.
That is until he came across atrocities committed by the Japanese in Nanking against the Chinese. An entire city raped and pillaged by the invading Japanese forces.
My grandfather thought of his family and developed a far reaching plan that would transcend all of time.
On October 14, 1947 my grandfather traveled back in time to September 12, 1941.
From there. He asked for the President.
Without four hours, the President had arrived. My grandfather had acquired enough information in ‘his future’ about these people’s own personal lives that it made it nearly impossible to dismiss him.
At his request.
He changed his name to Charles “Chuck” Gregory, as well as the rest of his family – Jesse and David.
He asked that he not be treated special or different. To him, it was important that his life ‘go on’ just like it had.
The President agreed, with one caveat.
My grandfather signed up for the US Navy. And was put on reconnaissance flights in the Bermuda Triangle looking for Amelia Earnhardt’s plane which had reportedly disappeared in the region.
It was then my grandfather knew what was going on.
“I told Mister Roosevelt,” I remember my grandfather distinctly saying, “That plane was reported to have gone down in the Pacific.”
That’s when he told me something I have treasured for the rest of my life, and that no one – back then seemed to understand:
The war was about history.
My grandfather spent the rest of the war in the islands.
“It was like a vacation,” he told me. “Time served, Roosevelt actually sent me on an extended vacation where I had the chance to ‘sit out the war’ and look for things where people wouldn’t understand why they were at where they were at. “
On July 4th, 1995, I had just received my pilot’s license, when my proud grandfather looked on – and was the first to volunteer to go up with me for a flight.
As we talked flying around Phoenix, he told me something about him I didn’t know.
“On October 14, 1947, 17 days before my release from the US Navy, I spotted pieces of Amelia Earnhardt’s plane debris along side of a large capsized Navy Vessel, the USS Eldridge, in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle in the Atlantic Ocean. When I was released, they let me bring the propeller back, and they used it to dedicate the library in North Hollywood to her. That’s the original propeller on display there if you ever get the chance to go.”
On April 17, 2010, My grandfather passed away.
Charles “Chuck” Gregory, a lifetime resident of the South Bay, was survived by his wife, Judy; son, David; daughter, Susan; 5 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren.
I suppose learning about my family’s history after you’re gone is the only way…
“The Foundation” is an organization established by President Roosevelt in 1945, in dedication and honor of people like my grandfather, who were ‘lost in time’, an organization’s whose sole purpose is to discover, recover and preserve the national assets of this great country – the people and places of this country lost in time – wherever they may be.
The organization works directly with the Smithsonian as a support and discovery organization and reports only to the President.
And I have been handed over leadership of this organization.
To say I know how this happened.
Or who preceded or will succeed me.
Would be a lie.
Thank you, Charles “Chuck” Gregory and Jesse Gregory, aka Grandma and Grandpa, for the wonderful stories.
And FYI, if you’re listening, somewhere, sometime, you already helped me put Luxor, in Egypt back on my map.
Thanks to both of you.
I look forward to the other discoveries and reintroductions that await me.
And yes. I understand why you did what you did.
Thank you for that.