Life After Death After Life: James 3 (Part Two)
Bruce did more research and found the Natoma Bay Association. From there, he got in contact with Leo Pratt, an Avenger fighter pilot veteran.
Leo Pratt was able to confirm that there was a pilot on The Natoma Bay named Jack Larson. Bruce attended a Natoma Bay reunion in September of 2002. Without telling the veterans his motivation for asking all these questions, he learned a lot about the VC-81 squadron and a pilot named James...James Huston Jr.
James Huston Jr. was a fighter pilot on the Natoma Bay. Huston had volunteered for a mission to disrupt a shipping line at Futami Ko Harbor near Chichi Jima, and this would have been Huston's 50th and final mission before returning home in April. Huston was the only one shot down during this mission.
Bruce tracked down Jack Larson as well. Corsairs were NOT housed on the Natoma Bay, he discovered. James Huston was shot down while flying a Wildcat fighter. Little Jack 3 had always talked about flying a Corsair, however. Maybe this inaccuracy was proof to Bruce that this whole reincarnation stuff was simply one big coincidence.
In 2003, Bruce got in contact with James Huston Jr's sister, Anne Huston Barron. Through lengthy conversations on the phone, Anne was genuinely interested in figuring out this great mystery. Was this little four year-old boy her own long-lost brother reincarnated? She sent Bruce and Andrea some personal things of her brother's - and it shook Bruce's beliefs.
One was a photo of a young James Huston standing in front of a Corsair fighter plane. Bruce and Andrea learned that although he had been shot down over Chichi Jima in a Wildcat, James Huston had been part of an elite figher group that flew Corsairs.
Bruce came to believe that his boy was indeed "James 3." James Huston Sr, then James Huston Jr. and now little James Leininger.
Here's a quick rundown of some very weird synchronicities between James Huston Jr. and James Leininger that might give you the willies:
1)While falling asleep, Bruce and Andrea would often ask James some questions regarding his nightmares. James had said that the Corsair planes had an interesting characterisitic: they had a problem with getting flat tires all the time. After contacting aviation historians, this was confirmed as being true.
2)Bruce learned that another air squadron had run parallel to the VC-81. Members of the VC-83 squadron vividly remember seeing James Huston being shot down. They said that they saw the plane get hit in the engine and then crash in the Futami Ko Harbor...the exact spot that James 3 had pointed to on the map of Bruce's book back in 2000.
3)When Andrea said that she was going to cook meatloaf for James for the first time, he said that he hadn't had meatloaf since he had been on the Natoma Bay. After speaking with the vets at the reunion, they learned that meatloaf was a regular meal for the crew.
4)James had named his three G.I. Joe dolls Leon, Walter, and Billie. According to U.S. Pacific records, there were three pilots part of the VC-81 Natoma Bay squadron that had also lost their lives in other battles: Lt. Leon Stevens Conner, Ensign Walter John Devlin, and Ensign Billie Rufus Peeler. When asked why he had named his G.I. Joes those names, James said, "Because they greeted me when I went to heaven."
OK, that one gave me the chills.
Is James 3 really James Huston reincarnated? Or is this some sort of hoax created by very creative parents?
Epilogue: James 3 is now a very bright 8 year old boy that loves Star Wars. His memories of his "past life" are fading quite quickly. Those that study these children say that this is quite typical. Very soon, he'll probably have no recollection of his life as James Huston Jr. - fighter pilot on the Natoma Bay and World War Two hero.