Growing up in the 1930s, Lt. Col. Miguel Encinias wasn’t sure if his dream of becoming a military pilot was in reach. In those days, combat pilots of Hispanic heritage were almost unheard of.
But Encinias was accepted into the Air Force cadet school, and would go and serve as a combat pilot in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He flew around 240 combat missions in all.
Miguel Encinias in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1961. (Courtesy of the Encinias family)
He died in 2016, at the age of 92.
Two of his children, Isabel and Juan Pablo Encinias, came to StoryCorps to remember him and his love for flying.
Juan Pablo Encinias and Isabel Encinias in 2016. (Courtesy of the Encinias family)
Top Photo: Miguel Encinias crouched beneath a F105 aircraft in 1967. (Courtesy of the Encinias family)
Originally aired November 5, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.