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Pilot Jared is still on a 'hell of a ride' in memoirs

POSTED: February 22, 2009 1:00 a.m.

During World War II, early in his flying career, Ed Jared worked for a private company teaching potential Army Air Corps pilots to fly.

Not too enamored with the job, he flew upside down over his boss's house, hoping to get fired. Ed's wife, Celeste, was sitting outside their home when she saw this plane flying upside down and reported it to the company, not knowing her husband was the pilot.

Ed's escapade didn't work though. Instead of firing him, the company fined him $50, a pretty good chunk of change back then. Ed did, however, end up ferrying military planes all over the country and flying "The Hump" to take supplies to the Chinese during the war.

That's just one of the stories Jared tells in his memoir, "One Hell of a Ride."

As a "Hump" pilot he flew resupply missions from bases in India to China and Flying Tiger airplanes operating against the Japanese. It was dangerous duty because the planes were heavily loaded with supplies as they flew over the high Himalayan Mountains.

Many pilots and crews didn't return from their missions. On one mission, both of Jared's engines failed. He prepared the crew to jump, but finally got one engine to restart. Jared landed in Myitkyina, Burma, describing the incident as a "real hairy flight on the way down" through a low ceiling.

A group of army nurses ran to the plane to greet them, hailing Jared as a hero. But, said Jared, "Actually, I saved my rear end, and this is what I was worried about, not the airplane."

Jared learned the war was over while completing a mission to Kunming, China. As they flew back over the Hump to India that night, they could see lights flashing below or fireworks exploding from celebrations.

One of Jared's close friends in service was Ben Epps Jr., son of Athens aviation pioneer Ben Epps. After the war, he invited Jared to Gainesville, where he was operating the River Bend Airport, site of today's Laurel Park on Lake Lanier.

Together they ran a flying service, and it was on a charter flight that Jared put the only scratch on an airplane during his career. He was flying a family from Atlanta to Jacksonville when the engine quit, and he had to crash-land in a pasture near Griffin. Though all his passengers were soaked with gasoline, none was injured.

Jared later opened the first fixed-base operation at what is now Lee Gilmer Airport with Guy Stancil, but shortly, with the help of pilot Dr. Homer Lancaster, started his own Jared Air Service.

That lasted until he became manager of Gainesville Chamber of Commerce for $50 a week in 1949. He was called to active duty in the Korean War, but returned to the chamber in 1953. He recruited some big industries to Hall County and takes credit for "squaring the square" as president of the Jaycees.

The downtown square on which the Confederate monument sits, used to be a circle, and cars would endlessly circle it hunting parking places or simply "cruising" at night. Traffic lights were installed to discourage that.

Jared's varied career included manager of WGGA radio station, pilot and executive positions with J.D. Jewell Inc., Tyson Foods and Harrell Farms and even managing the Dixie-Hunt Hotel. His work in the poultry industry led him to know celebrities such as Art Linkletter, Joe DiMaggio and astronaut Wally Schirra. He was in on the pioneering efforts in the frozen chicken business. Jared's expertise was in poultry sales to the military.

One of the reasons Jared stayed in Gainesville is because his family moved around a lot when he was a child, and he was determined in adulthood to find a place for his wife and children to call home. That despite the fact that in the military he traveled all over the world, and even in private life after the war he was always flying somewhere.

Jody Powell, former President Jimmy Carter's press aide, wrote the foreword to Jared's book. He married the Jareds' daughter, Nan, who pressed her father to write his memoirs for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The book is available at Lanier Village Estates, where Ed lives, and also on Amazon.com. Several books at Amazon have similar titles, so if you order, be sure it's Ed Jared's "One Hell of a Ride."

Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times and can be reached at 2183 Pinetree Circle N.E., Gainesville, GA 30501. His column appears Sundays and on gainesvilletimes.com, where you can read past columns from recent weeks.



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