Aviators
G

GAILITIS, JEKABS

Gailitis
  • November 26, 1915 - Born, in Siberia.
  • His father, a revoluntionary from 1905, had moved to Siberia to escape Czarist retribution.
  • 1921 - the family returns to Latvia, living first in Plavinas and then in Riga.
  • Graduated from Riga High School #4.
  • Enrolled in the University of Latvia, veterinary medicine faculty, but his studies were interrupted by his mandatory military service.
  • 1944 (German occupation) A glider pilot, he was called into the Luftwaffe Legion Lettland and was sent to the front as a bombardier in Capt. Salmins' night bomber squadron. He completed 15 night bombing flights. On one such flight his aircraft was caught in the searchlights over Jelgava. His pilot, V.Malins, was able to skillfully fly their aircraft out of the illumination and they returned to base with minimal damage.
  • April 1, 1945 - he escapes Soviet capture and, along with Erik Savicis (another aviator) they make their way to the western front.
  • Gailits wife, Maiga, had escaped to Czechoslovakia and seemed to disappear. Four times he re-entered the Soviet-controlled region to find her and finally managed to locate her and her family, bringing them all to Hofa in the American sector.
  • After the war they emigrated to East Lansing, Michigan USA.
  • Studied chemistry at Michigan State University and found employment as manager of quality control for Ren Plastics.

    Sources

    - Daugavas Vanagu Menesraksts 1985, No.1

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