Ken Beaton: Desert Eagles II
This story began when Melanie Meehan-Crosley, a fellow Kiwanian, handed me her copy of the book, “Desert Eagles,” first published in 1993. She showed me where the book was dedicated to a Genoa resident, Mike Miluck. From 1941 to 1943, Miluck was an American Eagle pilot in the Royal Air Force. He autographed the book in 1993.
“To Melanie & Mike, I’m sorry I missed you Mike. Another time, I hope. Michael Miluck.”
Melanie & Mike are Genoa residents and knew Michael Miluck through their book club.
I read the book in five days discovering that he was 46 years young when he married Nancy Christian in 1964. In 1966, their first daughter, Mary Grace Miluck, was born in San Francisco. The family moved to Genoa, Nev. in 1969. Elizabeth (Elise) was born in Genoa in 1970.
Being curious, I called Genoa’s town hall. The person at the town hall gave me Mary Grace’s address and a cell phone number. I called her cell and left a message on a Friday. Three days later, Monday, I decided to drive to Genoa. Melanie had suggested that I inquire about Mary Grace at a certain retail business.
“They know everyone in town.”
The business had their retail hours posted on their door. Unfortunately, the time was 10:40 and the business opened at 11. Not wanting to wait 20 minutes, I drove to Mormon State Park and walked across the street to Sierra Chef. Chef Cynthia Ferris-Bennett remembered me as a student four months earlier. I told her who I was attempting to locate.
In the middle of a cooking class, Chef Cindy said to me, “This woman knows everyone in Genoa.”
I told the cooking student who I was attempting to locate. She gave me exact directions to Mary Grace’s home which was about two blocks from Sierra Chef. Following her directions, I parked in her circular driveway. Opened the custom-made iron front gate with a horseshoe latch, I rang the doorbell, no answer. Walking around to the back of the house, I didn’t see anybody except a duck and several chickens.
Returning to the front of her house, I called her cell phone. This time, Mary Grace answered. She was walking her two dogs and told me she’d be at her home in 10 minutes. True to her word, she parked her SUV behind my car, opened the back hatch and let her dogs out. She invited me into her home.
I explained to her that I write commentaries for the Nevada Appeal. Having read “Desert Eagles,” I was fascinated with those two years of her father’s life. I asked, “Do you have a picture or two you could email me?”
She went upstairs to see what she could locate.
“Sorry Ken, all the pictures of my father are in frames.”
She returned with three books about RAF Eagles Squadrons. After scanning the table of contents, I decided to borrow “The Eagles’ War” by Vern Haugland and “The RAF Eagle Squadrons” by Philip D. Caine. Philip Caine’s book had a 1,500-word biography with a picture of each of the 245 American Eagles. Their hometowns and state were listed in the book. Unfortunately, Nevada and five other states were not represented by American Eagles.
Kevin Bacon was correct about being six degrees or less from knowing someone. I’ve tweaked Kevin’s statement, “I never know who’s standing or sitting beside me, until I ask them questions and discover, they’re someone to know.”