Almond Keith Sears
September 17, 1919 - January 11, 1993
I don't think I knew my father all that well. I once, sometime around 1980, read him the page of his horoscope from Grant Lewi's book, "Heaven Knows What" that describes his astrological Sun/Moon sign. He replied, "What'd you expect me to do?"
I've since learned a little bit about a newer personality typing system becoming popular with psychologists, the Enneagram. I think he was an Enneagram Type 8, "The Boss". He built a Drive-In Theater in Fenton, Michigan the year I was born, 1954. I remember being a teenager working at the Drive-In one time when a 6 foot tall, older kid working there named Chris said to me, "It's amazing how your dad can make you feel like he's taller that you." My dad was 5'-6" tall. I replied, "Yup."
At an early age, my heart took to the sea. I feel mildly accomplished with a few minor racing trophys, and having traced the route of Steinbeck's journey to the Sea of Cortez with my wife and dog on the boat I still live on. In the same way I took to the sea, my father took to the air. Though my involvement with the sea has been purely for the pursuit of happiness, my father was a professional.
My Father's plane went down 10 years before I was born. The way I remember it from the stories I heard was my father was the pilot of a bomber that was shot down over Italy. He spent 3 days floating in the Adriatic Sea before being rescued, and was one of only 3 survivors. The word tail gunner is in there somewhere but I'm not sure why. He then had to walk across Italy to get back to his base. He had to send the dog tags of the soldiers that died on that mission to their folks. I remember him saying he had to send mom a telegram saying don't spend the insurance money, he was still alive. My mom reported it was very likely I may have siblings somewhere in the middle of Italy. The mental distress from the experience was cause for about 17 years worth of disability checks, the last one of which I remember. This morning, December 30, 2006 was the first time I read his report of the incident. Many thanks to my brother-in-law, Ron Lathrop for locating, scanning, and sending me much of the content on this site.
It wasn't until sometime in 1985 or 1986 when I was working at a company called Symbolics, in Palo Alto, CA, on Page Mill Road, that I learned my father faught in the Battle of Ploesti, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. He was visiting and I had to go on a sales call so I left him wandering around Page Mill Road for about an hour or so. When I returned to the office, he was inside sitting in one of my coworker's, Dan Salas, office chatting up a storm. Dan later told me about the fact my father fought in that battle. My father later received a copy of the book Target Ploesti from a fellow soldier, Bob Keegan.
In all, he flew on 35 missions, the maximum the Air Force would allow, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal. There is no way I could be comprehensive about Al Sears' life in this one page, these are a few of the highlights.