Floyd Fulkerson was born in 1921 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on January 21, 1942, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings on September 29, 1942. Lt Fulkerson next completed B-25 Mitchell transition training, and deployed to Port Moresby, New Guinea, in June 1943, where he flew combat as a B-25 pilot for six months. He then transferred to the 431st Fighter Squadron of the 475th Fighter Group, flying the P-38 Lightning in New Guinea, and later from the island of Biak, from January 1944 until he was forced to ditch his aircraft in the Philippines on December 25, 1944, after having been credited with the destruction of 4 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 5 more on the ground while strafing enemy airfields. After his crash landing, Lt Fulkerson joined up with Filipino guerillas and fought with them and American OSS agents before he was rescued in February 1945. He then returned to the United States and left active duty on March 1, 1946.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.