By Max Hrenda
Of all the names adorning the Elizabethton/Carter County Veterans Wall of Honor, Austin Augusta “Gus” Julian Jr. may have seen more of the world – literally – than any of them.
In his 29 years serving in the U.S. Air Force, Julian logged more than 8,500 hours of flying time in 118 different aircraft, including training and combat missions in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Along with his international travels, Julian’s military career facilitated a journey across the U.S., from Hawaii to Ohio to Illinois to Utah.
Despite his travels and his knowledge of the world, however, according to his niece, Martha Whaley, Julian always held his hometown of Roan Mountain in high regard.
“He really milked the fact that he was from Roan Mountain,” Whaley said. “He loved to talk to his friends about what it was like in Roan Mountain, even though he never came back here to live.”
Julian was born on Nov. 2, 1922, to Austin Augusta Sr. and Betty Ellen Julian. Although he was the youngest of 10 children, he would ultimately be chosen to share his father’s name.
“He had three older brothers, but he’s junior,” Whaley said. “I guess they just ran out of names.”
Julian graduated from Cloudland High School in 1940, and attended East Tennessee State University until after the U.S. became involved in World War II. Julian joined the Air Force in November 1942, and went through training at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center.
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