Remembering Lubbock World War II veteran Wilford Naylor

Published: May. 29, 2023 at 6:24 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Wilford Naylor served in World War II as a pilot in the Army Air Corps, now known as the Air Force. His daughter, Marilyn Mills, says her father didn’t think twice about answering the call to serve his county.

“Just strictly, he loved his county and his father was a WWI veteran, so I don’t think it ever crossed his mind to not join,” said Mills.

Naylor’s passion for his country is something he would often share with anyone who would listen.

“It wasn’t really to pump himself up, it was to remind people over and over about the freedom we have and the sacrifices of others that we have this freedom,” Mills said.

Mills says he would also share stories of his service, usually making light of his time flying overseas.

“He always gave the details: that it took 12 hours and 45 minutes to fly over the Atlantic and there was no place to land and he would remind me there were no bathrooms,” said Mills.

While Naylor kept his sense of humor, Mills says out of his 35 missions, there were many times engines would fail in enemy territory and he did not know if he would make it home.

“He was struggling to keep the plane in the air, those are big airplanes and so as they were heading back to try to get to England, they were running low on fuel and another engine failed, he said he landed that huge plane on two engines and he said that’s just not done,” Mills said.

Knowing the sacrifices that were made by Naylor and other Veterans is something his family will never forget.

“My heart just swells with pride when others refer to him and others as the greatest generation, we just need to not forget about all of these veterans in all of the wars,” said Mills.

Wilford Naylor died on May 18 at the age of 102 years old.