Edwin Cottrell: An Enemy's Gesture Leads to a Lifelong Lesson

Apr 12, 2016

Edwin Cottrell, a World War II pilot with the 48th Fighter Group, told his story as part of the "My Life, My Story" project at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, N.C.  He talked to VA interviewer Melanie McConnell about his life in and after the military.  Later, he spoke with WUNC reporter Jay Price.

Edwin Cottrell holds an illustration of the P-47D fighter plane he flew in World War II.
Credit Jay Price / WUNC

Cottrell, 94, describes a World War II dogfight that had "a major effect" on the rest of his life. His plane was severely damaged by German ME109 fighters, but those same enemy fighters also escorted his crippled aircraft to safety.

Edwin Cottrell delivers a talk at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, where he is a Professor Emeritus of Health and Physical Education.
Credit West Chester University

Cottrell explains why he decided to talk with McConnell for the "My Life, My Story" project. While he's not sure whether it will affect the quality of his care at the VA Medical Center, he says he's eager to tell his World War II stories for another reason.

Hear Jay Price's full report on the VA's "My Life, My Story" project.