Home | Archives | Search | Subscribe | Press Kit | Help | | Full Graphic Version | August 20, 2000 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
(Note - this is a rough text dump by computer and it contains several errors. Download the full graphic version for higher degree of accuracy. H. Corbin - 8-19-00)
Class of 1939 The Fifty-Fifth Reunion
Book October 1994
Memoirs from World War II
Westfield Senior High School
WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL PLAQUE
December 7, 1941, and our entry into World War II changed the lives of WHS 1939 in ways none of us could have imagined. We will be forever indebted to those who rose to the challenges of the war and gave their lives in the process. Seven of our classmates from the class of '39 fell in the war. They, along with 77 other Westfield servicemen lost their lives. All are honored on the memorial plaque shown on the next page. The plaque is mounted on the Broad Street wall of the Town Hall and was dedicated on November 11, 1993 by Bill Lowe, representing our class. The plaque was initially funded by a contribution of over $2,000 from our class's 50th reunion fund. Other donations for the plaque came from townspeople, relatives and friends with the support of the Westfield Historical Society. As we enjoy our good fortune at being here 55 years later, let us take the time to visit the Memorial and remember our seven classmates who paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom. In remembrance, the classmates are:
Lt. SALTER STORRS CLARK, II
Lt. H. LESTER GEBLER
Lt. WILLIAM H. LYMAN, JR.
Cpl. LAWRENCE A. RANKS, JR.
Lt. ELEFTERIOS V. STAVROS
Sgt. JAMES L. THOMAS
Lt. ARCHIBALD L. WILLIAMS
Regrettably, some years ago a fire at the Army Personnel and Records Center facility in St. Louis destroyed the military records for the period of the war in which they participated, preventing us from providing the details of their military careers.
We were the class of 1939 B.C. (before computers). Remember? We were before Saran wrap and Scotch tape, before nylon and dacron, before penicillin and polio vaccine, before Xerox and Polaroid, before credit cards and even ball-point pens. In our cars we had to open the windows in the summertime and shift the gears by hand. The boys did this with nonchalance even though there was little horsepower under the hood (which had to be raised from the side, not from the front). The girls made a fashion statement by weanag bobby son and saddle shoes. The boys answered this with "reversibles and dirty saddle shoes. The Malce Believe Ballroom was real, and we learned what was going on in the world by hearing or reading about it, not by watching it happen on TV.
Pearl Harbor changed all that and what follows are wartime memories and experiences as recalled by some of our classmates. These memoirs include only those of ~wm~s who were able to respond before the deadline. Some are more extensive than others. Together, this collection plus all the other reminiscences that will surface during the reunion should make for a very stimulating weekend!
GLAMOUR IN THE WAVES
I left Cornell for boot camp in Cedar Falls, IA, lived in a me room with bunlc beds, desks and chairs, and three total s - mgers. Life was regimented hom reveille to taps with lots of marching in Rigid, snowy fields. New, 3 months at Atlanta Naval Air Station, with many WAVES in a bard, learning to operate and teach the T. ink Trainer. Briefly allowed to do blind eying in dual controlled plane. After brief leave, sent to Whiting Field, FL - newly fenced in scow pine bans - 1W WAVES in a bananas with cubes and mosquitoes, no hot water, winals in the head, wilt pigs under the bamboo and wilt sailors plastered to windows at night in the next berm─. No Ships Store or Gummily, tenible food, impossible to keep u~utorms clean, we were issued sailor's dungarees, name stenciled shirts, and pith helmets. On 8th day am, in uniform, we were t~an~orted SO miles to Pensacola in a cattle car. There we hopped a bus to the main base where for 25' we could have an air conditioned room with a door, hot shames, a separate WAVES mess hall, swimming pools, movie theater etc.
After 6 months at Whiting my parents drove down in a 1937 4-door Packard, allowing me to continue something mentioned in our year boolc This made life much easier, and when I was accepted for ~ To I driers that Paclcard, filled with WAVES, to Quonset Point, RI─Great Darryl
ME AND HENRY MANCINI
In February, 1943 Congress was pressured into calling up a bunch of reserve units. The Andy Air Corps Reserve, which I volunteered for in early 1942,
quested my presence at the Newark induction center and promptly sent me to Atlantic City for basic to After 3 months ~ 20 pounds of Ding it at the Odor H - l I was declared duly trained and sent to SgTac~e University for five months to study English, plastics and math (Burr the misconception
no doubt that WHS and UNC were deficient in teaching these bados). Volunteers were requested to form a marching band to march the Cadets thither and yon and back I did. (Mr. Warner would have been proud of me). After 5 months we were all herded on a troop train Destination, Classification Center, Nashville, Tenn. After classification as a potential pilot, several mouths were spent at Maxwell Field in Montgomery, Ala. going through Preflight After more English, math and physics we were told all the basic training centers were full. We were put on hold for a few weeks. To help pass the time _e suggested we organize a ~ They Healed a baritone sac player, so I volu_ In due time we got to basic eight trading at Camden, S.C. At Camden we learned the Air Corps had about as many pubs as they could absorb in two years at the current rate of attrition. After mar final check ride I was told that nay flight would have been acceptable two weeks earlier. Two days later I was enroute to Seymour Johnson Field in Goldsboro, N.C. for recodification..
Not only were pilots a glut on the market in April of 1944, but the only technical school available was gunnery school. Not wishing to be stuffed into the ball turret of a B17, I declined. The clarification officer diligently questioned me about what I was qualified to do, what civilian jobs I had had, etc. It soon evoked that I wasn't qualified either by experience or education for any of the openings then available. After further study of my file he noted I had listed music as a hobby and admided to plying a saxophone. Without consulting me, he picked up the phone and called the Warrant Offlcer at the band He asked the WO if he could use a sax player with 12 years experience ( he padded it a little in his desperation to find some place to pull me I Day had about 10 years even if you count the 3 years in Jr. Hi Band as experience) The WO said, "Send him right over." It turns out the guy who was supposed to play tenor at the Offl~s Club that night had gone to the hospital with an emergency ~eaomy. Another sax man was on three day pea and the guy who normally played with this band was on fi~iough I was pressed into service. I struggled mightily and managed
to get through. Incidentally, the guy playing the piano that night was a kid named HENRY MANCINI.
To shorten a long story, I was rectified as a musician and ply sent to the Air Corps Overseas Replacement Depot in Greensboro, N.C. While at ORD I was foromate enough to meet Eleanor who has been my wonderfi~1 bride for 47 years. Most of the guys in Gtoro were professional m_ (the m~s Glenn Miller did not tale with him overseas). So once again fat as uscfi~1 as a trailer hitch on a Rolls Royee, and it wasn't long before I was on my way Camp Davis near Holly Ridge, N.C. Camp Davis had once been a Anti-Aircraft Artillery training ground und1 it was abandoned by them. After a few works we knew why. The heat, humidity and mosqnimes!! Nevertheless, the Army Air Corps valiancy tried to Covert abandoned Camp Davis into a Center for returnees from the European Theatre. I was proud to serve in a band that would play for these hardy combat veterans of Europe and Africa But this too was ~ to be an abbreviated tour for the call came through for any surplus musicians to be shipped to Fort George Wright in Spokane, Wash. This was sometime in the late summer of '45. Ft. Wright was also in the prooas of bang tuned into a center for returnees from the Pacific Theatre.
As you know, the Japanese su_d in September, and my undishoguished military career ended with my discharge in Fed, 1946 almost exactly three Years after it started
AIRCRAFT CARRIER ROMANCE
In December, 1943 my he Bob, was stated aboard the aircrew comer U.S.S. Card in the North Atlantic. The 'Hugh seas made the flight deal; into a 'regular folder coaster and on Bab's tale off run, the bow of the ship lurched upbeat as the TBF Aveoger (torpedo bomber) lifted off the deck Uf~nately, the flight dodc We faster than the climbing aircraft and the Avenger, Bob and his crew went for a swim They were rescued by the U.S.S. Scheablc, a WWI Deserted four stacker desirer. He was taken bade to BrwilOyn Navy yard, home port for the destroyer. The officerss on the Schen~c had been malting party plans for the New Year and inched Bob in thdr plans as the U.S.S. tom was not due ifdO its port ~ Norfolk for several days. Having been away from Wes~dd for seven years, Bob did not know which femme fataks were amil~Je. In Deer desperation his mother came to his rescue and she suggested his young sister's Sunday school ~her, yours truly.
The evening in New York City with the Sbenclc's officers and wives was delightful.. We were so smitten that a follow up date was planned for the next evening to go dancing at the Chanticleer in Milburn Keith Bronson, also class of '37, went AWOL to see Bob and naturally he joined up Upon returning fee to my parents home in Westfield, Bob proposed marriage and I responded "You bet I will"! After Bab's next six weel: tour on the U.S.S. Card, we were mamed in the Westlidd Pr~ri" Church
Below is a copy of article from Westfield Leader, November 1943. Truth is now ok it was Bob Halley.
Edythe Bell Guldemond
When my husband John, was stationed with the 323rd Bomb Group near Colchester, England, he had a nsit from Keith Lyman then Sgt 12098599 or 4. 19th Station Complement.e~ln Sp.(froma50-year old address book). We are not sure now what circumstances led to Keith's learning of John's e~ostence, but I feel it might have been from a roster of church members who had a spouse in the military listing their =~ and addresses. It is a tribute to the ldat of person Keith was that he chose to tale the time and elibrt to sods out a stranger to undertake this ~gn~mnw~ gesture of goodwill in time of war.
EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER
Although we did not all enter military service, everyone in this class of '39 was touched by W.W.II, if only to live ~ the bit on the East Coast We civilians did what we oculd to hap, with memories of such twigs as rationing, civilian ~─war bonds aDtuSO acthide~
I was in college in Michigan at the time of Pearl Harbor. I worried about my family on the East CoasL I can never forget the day the ERC (enliven Reserve C"ps) left Albion. Everyone students, faculty, townspeople - saw them off at the railroad stat I can't find a ward to den ribe the fading, the mood that prevailed. It was awful.. Classes were canceled that day. Campus life was new' the same again An AN Force training corps was later stationed on Albion's campus, but it was a different tune, a different life.
I was wowing in New York City dunag W.W.II. We saw the troop ships as they sailed down the Hudson River on their way ~seas. The bores of the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth were unmisb~ble. We couldn't help letting out shouts of iffy whenever we hard them as they came into the harbor after a end crossing, but only silence prevailed when we heart them as they were beving
The joyous celebrations in New York City at the time of V-E and V-J Days are unforgettable. So are the parades up Broadway for Eisenhower and McAr~ur. We added to the tickertape. That infectious grin c`.Ei~b~er's can never be forgotten
By the time I graduated from Action in 1943, I wanted to come home, to be with my family, to share
whatever might befell tom Both of my brothers were too young for W.W.II savioe, but both did serve later in the Army. One, Ted, sad two periods of service, the second in the Korean War. We were fh~l for his safe return and save empathy for families WHO Bad men in sernce in W.W.II.
GENERAL PATTON EXPRESSES HIS WISHES
After Alec Training Uncle Sam sent me to Glasgow, Scotland on the Queen Mary anIicipadng a smooth ride, but which was more lilts a row boat in a heavy sea. Then on to Le Halve, France and to Belgium joining the 80~ Isf. Div. I became Staff Sergeant within three months due to the German process of elimination I carrion 24 Ibs of TNT to the pill boxes of the Maginot Line only to give it up before the attack tbanlcs to the U.S. Ardent Air Corps dropping bombs on the pill boxes. While spring the night in a bombed out farm house with a squat of hungry men we ldllet several chiclases for fang in a L - stat fging pan, but the chicken ant flying pan went flying thru the window for it conning a human fingers Most of us were sick after eating the rest of the chicken.
We bat the pleasure of riding on the 4th Armored tanlts on the autobabn in Germany. My first meeting with General Patton was when the company fadlet to cross the river at the Maginot line Rue to enemy fire power. The next day, he spoke to us as be stood on the hoot of his jeep with both bands at his waist on his pearl-bandlet pistols ant said "You will cross the river if it talces a box car load of dog tom.
We crossed the
FROM ANNAPOLIS TO TOKYO BAY
On December 7, 1941 I left the bull session in our mom en rome to a movie in Annapolis with a regalia to the effi ct that I wishes the Japs wault start
something we could skill whip them. They did ant we did but four years laterl
The Academy was in turmoil when I Teturnedarmet sailors, armed midshipmen (a mistake), and general confusion.. Things settled town almost immediately ant we continuer our hurryup program. We actually did to 90% of the curriculum in 75% of the time. I graduated in June 1943 (Class of 1944).
Upon graduation we were assigned to aviation ind~in;~on in the Jaclcsomrille area My very first flight ever was in a dive bomber. Desks lodged ghoul
I joined the Paul Hamilton (DD590) in Charleston and after completing commissioning, we shook town in Bermuda ant heated for the Pacific.
In PeaTi Harbor I fount orders to the Gunnery School in Washington, DC. Upon completion of the course I started the long trail to Manured (DD728) ant finally caught her in Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Edants. From then on we screened the fast carrier gems under Halsey ant Spruance until the cat of the war. We picket up several pilots, shot down 8 kamib~zis, took part in invasions of the Philippines ant Okinawa, mate a torpedo run into Lower Tdryo Bay ant troppet anchor in YE Teat was my war~oredom, no sleep, no mail, some fright ant a super sultan
George W. Greiner
MESSAGES BY SAND BAG
I volunteered to serve nor calmly by pining the U.S. Nary in espy 1942.
ARer completing Boot Camp in Newport RL I was sent to aviation Wool in Jacksonville, FL. Upon completion of aviation school I was assigned to serve abroad the USS Who ibis ship was a four~aclc cnnser of WWI vintage. It was equipped with catapults and two OS2U float~lype pi The duly of the Omaha was to stop bloke nursers and submarines in the South Allanbc.
My specific duly was to be the bdc out and gunner from the rear seat and to eddy met from the pilot to the ship by pi - ng the messages in ~ bags and dropping them on the dealt of the ship as we flew over. Usually I did not miss the dealt
In 1944 I was assigned to the Naval Air Station in Fort dale from which I was discharged in 194S.
BASTOGNE MINE FIELD
In the fan of 1944, I went overseas to England as a liaison officer with the 11th Armored Division of the 3rd Army. We crossed the Chanad and entered combat in December during the Battle of the Bulge as part of Patton's Third Any. On Jazzy 14, 1945 at about 4:00 o'clock in the morn" while on a liaison mission for mar battalion, nor Jeep was blown up by a German teller mine as eve tried to pass through a mine field about 7151ometers northeast of Bastogne.
I was flown back to an army hospital near Warrington, England where I spent the next 3 months
hag from a fractured heel, split eardrum, and light facial burns. Just before I was released fi om the hospital to return to nor outfit, I spent the weekend in London. While there, late one evening, there was a V2 air raid alarm I ran into the nearest air raid shyer which was pitch dads. In the total da*oess I recognized the voice of one of our ~─ It was none other than Grant (Bud) Leonard who had been in combat with the 80~ Fry Division.
There was ply no light in the Em, so we could only have a verbal reunion in the dads. Although I recognized Bud by his voice, he chime he recogmzed me by my facial profile.. Others have told me that his claim is entirely valid based on the prominence of my nose.
Bud was also on leave from the hospital, having been wounded and in combat in France after arriving on the continent at Utah Beach on June 12. Because we were both due bade shordy at our hospitals, eve never got a good look at each otb" in the light before we had to leave.
I ran into Bud some time after the war in Marshall Field's where I spent my career after college, and we had a hilarious phone conversation recendy to rechedc the accuracy of this stony. War stories have a tendency to grow over time, and we look forward to this one at the ~ion.
STAGE DOOR CANTEEN
Dunng W.W.IL I was a bypass at the Stage Door tin for Foreign Sailors (NYC) and at the Andrew Funueth Club. Ad been paid as a musician and was therclbre eligible to be there.) I belonged to a little ova gasp and played at Camp Kilmer and
elsewhere for the soldiers. Along with some of my friends was among the first to send a CARE package. I remember going down to the International Seamen's Union to ask the sailors to take packages to France for the Widows and Orphans of the French Resistance. My knees quaked literally and the men joked about it (I was up on stage above them and the shaking was very visible). However, they encouraged me and did tales food, clothing and other help overseas
I had my first students then in ESL, students from Austria, France, Brazil, and Peru.
Lester and I became engaged after his boot camp. He was first assigned to the Army-Navy contingent of the U.S. Secretariat at the United Nations Conference on Tr~terDational Organization in San Francisco, the beginning of the U.N. From there he was sent on_ Nadirs on Oldnawa He was in Burner Bay on board ship through several typhoons, and lice so many others, I worried and when there was no mail for weeks, called the Red Cross to find out if there was any word of his ship. Our it prayed down the destruction caused by the weather. I thanked god when mail finally came.
During World War II, I was an Array Air Corps meteorologist on the Alaika-Slbe~ia route. Thousands of alma* went over this route headed for the Russian front. They helped to turn the tide of the war.
BLOWING UP THE UNIVERSE
Prologue: Se_, 1939; World War II was to scatter our high school clause and, though I did not know it then, it was, with few exceptions, to be forty yews beige I saw any oyou again Germany invaded Poland on the 1st. Britain and France declared war on
the 3rd. I entered engineering school at Purdue University on the ?th. On the 29th, James B. Conant, President of Harvard, spoke: "Every ounce of our sympathies" is on the side of those fighting the Nazis. ─The condict win shape the future of everyone here. ─On America's response may rest "not only the fate of─free institutions but the potency of man's belief in reasons─"The forces of violence must be beaten back by superior violence" This implied the US would have to go to war. I believed that. Many didn't (Hershberg1993, p.ll6).
On 8 June, 1940, having finished freshman engineering, I stayed in school for sophomore courses. France felt on the 24th. The air battle of Britain peaked in August and September and the bombing of London began With a deep sense of love lost and ford~odi~, concentration on academics (at age 19) was difficult. In November, I went to Boston to join the RAF via the "underwound" (the US Neutrality Act was in force) but failing to qualify, went to Texas to wow in the oft fields for 8 months white learning to fly. Action was solace as was classical music.
Three months after I returned to Purdue on 8 September, 1941, the US went to war. The first sign of h on that quiet Slangy turning of 7 number was the sight of Army trucks "fling down Russell street to assembly areas towing it e French 75s and 155 mm howitzers used for our ROTC training. The inevitable had happened. The world changed We were advised to ~oool it., join the reserve and stick to cur studies. For 18 months we lived and breathed physics, chemistry, metallurgy, Huh and engineenag. In May, 1943, the reserves in my class were caned up and, after 17 weeks of basic toning, three of us were sent in November, 1943, to the University of Pennsylvania for more sixty.
On 18 March, 1944, I was ordered to talcs a group from Penn to a clarified degin~tinn the atomic bomb project at Las Alamos, NbL The=, I was taught by Arthur C. Wabt to do radiochemicat anabds of plutonium (of which he was aver) and three months later was asked by hhn to help develop the process for purifying it. Achieving the extreme purity needed for a weapon to wortc was thee thought to be one of two most difficult pueblos at Los Alamos (Hewlett ~ Anderson-1962, p.243). We had a process by September, and I was given the lead to design, oonstn~ct, staff and apoate the purification _s and the radioc~y laboratory. To avoid harm from plutonium, we calculated body burden limits (based on the New Jersey radium diet cases) and wore marks hair covers, surgeons gloves and coveraUs. Plutoniu n batch size limits were set to avoid criticality accidents which could IciU those nearby with bursts of radiation as was to happen later in two other operations
at Los Alamos.One purification step involved extracting plutonium from an aqueous solution of ammonium nitrate with gallon quantities of diethyl ether which is extremely flammable. We oontrotted it using explosion prom ele*icat eqmpmad, flame stoppers, vent systems, explosive limit meters, discipline and lube The solid ammonium nitrate supply was kept in an isolated shack because it tends to Detonate when dry (it blew up Texas City). Since we had "X' priority, we got what we needed; e.g., six Hungarian glassblowers and more than the then existing world's supply of tantalum metal. As de facto staff membem, we could attend oolloqma on Friday evenings where senior staff, including 0~_, debated problems and solutions.
In early July, 1945, I went down the hall to the metallurgy area to see the first plutonium metal hemisphere; half at a weapon core; baseball~zed and sib era-─resdog on a tripod in a d~ybox~ On 16 T..h, ;t are Aot~nqt^A in the T~initv tort at AhmqanrAn
The i~i~ were not lost on us. In a previous ~UiUD, physicists had described what the explosion would be lilies It was lice that On 6 and 9 August (US time) atonuc bobs were dropped on Hiroshima and N-q-~=q-l~i The Japanese ~1 on 14 August after a coup by Japanese officers who wasted to continue the war was aver" The next Dog, I met Geaaal "Skinny. Wainwright who had shod the Balasn Huh much Sisals hands he said: ~ You got us out ofjail .n
Epilogue; Winston Chun hill wrote: "British in principle to the use of the (atomic) weapon
had been given─. The final decision now lay in the main with President Truman; but I never doubted what it would be, nor have I doubted since that he was rightly ─ To quell the Japanese resistance man by man and conquer the country yard by yard might well require a million American lives and half that number of British ─ This nightmare picture had now vanished. Moreover, we should not need the R;─iamb (1= SECOND WORLD WAR; Golden Press, 1960, p.373)
KAMIKAZES OFF OKINAWA
On Dee 7, 1941, I was a plebe at the Naval Academy. That afternoon I went to a
movie shown in one of the academic ~
buildings. On my way to the show the a:
Academy yard was full ~ tounsts.nl=7
When I came out of the Marie th-e1~^
yard was devoid Atomic courtesy of
the Japanese and prearranged Navy
I graduated in June of 1944 and, aRer some leave, joined my destroyer, DD630, in the Naval Shipyard at Long Beach, California The ship left ct icy for the western Pacific.
We were in the first wave of the invasion of the Philippines at Leyte plus eight other landings at various locations in the icings. We also participated in the last surface action of the war.
We were then sent to Okinawa While on piclcet duty off of 01 inane, we were hit by two la~mihzes each carrying a S00 pound bomb. The explosions Idled 1/3 of the crew and wounded another third. The ship was badly damaged yet in spite of talking more casualties then any other defer during the war, we _d to stay aBoat.
ARer temporary repays, we brought what was led of the ship bade to the In Navy Yard where she had been commissioned about three years earlier.
RESCUE IN OSAKA DAY
Right aRer college I was trained by the US Army Air Force as a 2nd T. implant Flight Engineer for the then e~i~ B-29 aircrew Was in the fast B-29 combat gasp to fly overseas in April '44 to bases above Calcutta and over the Azaleas to
advance bases near Chengdu in Szechuan Province, China. From these we flew raids on MuLden, Manchuria all the way down the Chinese coast and to Kyushu, Japan's southernmost island. Also to BangLak and Singapore - the latter at that thee the longest raid in aviation history, both in time and distance.
In April '45, all activity transferred to the newly captured island of Tinian. Participated in raids on all major Japanese cities, including the low-level fire bomb saturation raids that leveled Tokyo and others.
My most hair-raising experience was my 3Sth and last mission - supposedly a low-risk mission in a B-29 specially equipped for air/sea rescue wow We received a radio report that three parachutes had been seen from a wounded B-29 going down over Osaka Bay, a part of the Tend Sea approximately 100 miles into the interior of the major island of Honshu. The seaport cities of Kobe and Osaka border on the Bay.
ARer searching for an hour we located two fliers in life preservers, who waved but were apparently wounded since they did not climb into the life rafts we dropped to them. We radioed our sighting to the Navy rescue subn~rine that had already started into the heavily mined Tend Sea - they were skill sexual hours away. We spent a Ihely next several hours flying circles around the two downed fliers at altitudes below 500 feet so we could keep them in sight. The Japanese Could see us my clearly from both Kobe and Osalce, less than 10 miles away, and sent out wooden torpedo boats to capture our men. As they sent one
another, we Hank them using our eight forward machine guns. Andy they bad no For aircraft available.
Without qnmion the most unforgettable, thrilling sight of my life was, upon maldag a detour to determine the sub's location, seeing the Wing sub on the surface at full speed, spray fling, a large American Bag flying, and officers in the conning tower waving to us as we flew past. All this in p~cally the middle of Japan! As we were _ dangerously short of fuel, we had to leave, later malting an emergency landing on Iwo Jima I fond out years later that the sub had found the men and delivered them safely back to Guam What a heroic submarine crewl
I completed my flight around the world by flying a war-weary B-29 back to the USA via Kwajalein and Hawaii, and was on R and R when the Aplomb was dropped
I entered the service in June of 1942, going to Keesler Field in Mississippi to study Airplane Mechanics. From there I went to she Boeing Plant in Washington to specialize in B17s. Then onto Gunnery
school in Las Vegas to learn to shoot I finally ceded up in Spokane, Washington as a Bight e_ on a crew with the S68th Squadron, 390eh Bomb Group.
This was the last complete gasp to train and go to Europe. We arrived in Flamlingham, England (Station 1S3) in July, 1943 and entered Moat on August eighth. Our first mission was to BOON, Germany. Next there were two diversion missions where we were to divert fighters from the main mission. Our fourth mission was to an airfield in France on August ISth
The odd thing about flying in combat, you just about go in a straight line, paying no heed to the antiaircraft batteries. In 1943 we only had fighter escorts across the Channel - we flew mainly on our own Our fifth mission was ow downfall. On August 17, 1943 the mission was to bomb the aircraft factory in Regensburg and continue on to Africa. We did not reach our target but did drop our bombs on Mannheim industrial area before crashing on our way trying to reach Switzerland
I was interned as a Prisoner of War and sent, after interrogation, to Stalag 7A in Moosberg, Germany (just outside of Munich). I stayed there until October 1943 when we went by 40~8 cars to Krems, Austria to Stalag 17B. We were the first Americans there (about 2S0). We stayed there until April 194S.
When we could see flashes from the guns of the Rn~ns outside of Vienna, we were moved. We started walking west towards the old Austrian/German border where the Inns and Salzbech rivers meet. There
were ten groups of 500 each Being the oldest POWs we were the last to leave. We were liberated by soldiers of the 13th Armored Division (part of Patton's anny) on May 3, 194S. We were flown back to France to Camp Lucky Strike for interrogation and rehabilitation before coming home in rune.
I had my first 30 day leave at which time my mother and I visited her oldest sister and my grandparents in Cleveland. Then we went to Pottstown, Pennsylvania to visit her youngest sister. They had a big parry for me. They asked my uncle's secretary to be my date. We became engaged a short time later. We were married in December 1945 and have lived happily thereafter.
Guy J. Overman
FROM PURDUE TO YOKOHAMA
After having completed four years of bade and advanced ROTC training at Purdue University, I reported to the Officers Candidate School of the Field Artillery School at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Normally I would have been commissioned a second lieutenant upon completing the ROTC program. Since the war was already in progress betwocn my junior and senior year, the compulsory summer camp tour was canceled and the field training was accomplished in the Of fibers Candidate School.
I was finally commissioned a second lieutenant in graduation exercises held at the post auditorium on August 12, 1943 (Note the date). I had majored in radio communications toward my Electrical Engineering degree so I was selected to become a communication inductor in the Communication School at Ft. Sill. This lasted nearly two years until May 194S when I was transferred to an overseas replacement center at Ft. Ord, California.
During my tour as instructor at Fort Sill we were required to attend different artillery demonstrations each Saturday afternoon. Considering the number of artillery rounds which were fired during each demonstration on the same firing range, I have often wondered since if that ground has ever retwood to normal. I also had two breaks beside normal military leave during my tour at Ft. Sill which I enjoyed. Our Commanding Officer in the Communication School was called upon to send an instructor to the Signal Corps School at Ft. Monmouth, N1 for three weelts of specialized training. He checked over his staff and selected me since as he said you only live a few miles from there and it will be a chance for you to visit your folks in Westfield. I always appreciated his thoughtfulness for that assignment. I also had a
transfer to the Tank Destroyer School Texas for two weeks of M-17 Tally Destroyer training. First tune I ever saw a full track vehicle go 60 mph.
From the 30 days at Ft. Ord Replacement Center, I was given orders to report to Vancouver Barra - , Washington from which we would depart for points unknown in the Pacific Theater. It turned out to be 40 days on a C-l cargo ship before we dim_ on August 12, 1945 on Okinawa. I was assigned as communication officer, 249th FA Battalion, 27th Tnf~n~y Division. VJ day was only a few weeks away so I can't say that I saw any real combat duty, only a few air raids by the dying Japanese Air Force.
Moved with the rear echelon of our Division to Yokohama several months later on an LST with no cargo other than a sea of enlisted personnel on the tam' deck as we moved on a four day voyage through a typhoon. First time I ever saw steel deck plates actually ripple as the flat bottom era* smoked down on the waves. Thank God that Rosie-the-Riveter had learned how to weld
Spent nearly a year on occupation duty at arious locations in Japan It included a week of R&R at the Fuji View Resort ant one of the activities was to climb 13,000 ft. Fujiyama Don't know how I ever did that.
One of my memorable moments in Japan was touring every military Outpost from Tokyo north including H6lcaido on a pmate railroad car With the 9th Corps Commander and his aide. I was checking on the communication facilities.
We fiin~y Repelled Japan from Yokohama on August 12. 1946 (I'm seen that date before) on the SS Monterrey with only 900 officers.. It had camed S000 troops during the war and had now been restored to carry civilian military personnel overseas.
And so went my military career in WWII.
James B. Price, Jr.
THE LAST OF THE FUN WARS
I Sported to Aberdeen P=ving Grounds, MD in June 1943 and joined OCS Class 56. Class S6 was unique in that all Is were college graduates. Most of the class was made up of ordnance ROTC people from the various _Ing colleges who were required to attend OCS since the ROTC summer camps had been canceled the pr - ~ summer He of mobilization requirements. We also had a number of Volunteer Dicer Candidates who were enlisted men attempting to get a commission. It was also the last 90 day OCS class. The next class went for 4 months.
We were commissioned as 2nd LO on Sep~ 25 and assigned to three months of ordnance technical training at Aberdeen. Our OCS was all infantry training because of the wry bad combat performance of ordnance units in the early days of the North African operations. We were all advised during our advanced tang that the He slots (Ordnance Districts and Class II Inflations) were filled and that we were headed for overseas assignments However, it didn't work out that way. Most of the class was assigned to US slots.
I was assigned, along with two of my chromates to Jefferson Proving Grounds (1PG), Madison, Indiana About an the practical information we could get was that the nearest Tailh~ was Nodh Vernon Indiana Reporting date was on or about January 3, 1944. We arranged to meet on the train and go to North Vernon together. We caned the post to see if they had any trucks coming to No th Vernon that we could get a ride on We were told to go across the street to the hold and they would send a staff car for us. In about an hour the staff car arrived with a civilian driver. By the tune we got to 1PG, 40 miles or so, we knew that we had been sent to heaven, so to speak
The mission of 1PG was to proof test production lots of ammunition from 20 mm to 8 inch howitzer, plus aircraft bombs. The staff consisted of about 40 Ordnance Qffi=rs, 10 to 15 Army Air Corps deicers, So or so AAC enlisted men and 3000 civilians. I was assigned as Aunt Chief of the Metal Components Branch Our particular mission was the testing of all the metal parts (cases, fuses, pumas, shed etc.) before the production lots were sent to the loading plants for loading. Samples of the loaded ammunition would come back to 1PG for testing again by the Loaded Components Branch and Hones a third time as a complete round
Timing and coordination was very critical on these operations. The a =on pipeline w─moving so fast and was so fun that even a few hours deny in testing resist be a p - ~ In ~ cam test samples were hand delivered lay ~ plant "s who waited on your door step for the results. This method of operation did result in a seemly never ending wanly of box seats for the Cincinnati Reds games on was.
I spend a considerable amount of time on a research project to determine why 10S MM howitzer rounds were dropping up to six hlmAred yards short with disastrous results to the infamy following field archery barrages. We fired so mater meads of 10S MM shell over a period of several months that I would dream about it. The tests were developed ~ Aberdoes and changed as required based on the previous filing. Each inert round was physically mailer", filled with
sulfur, weighed, Powder charges were weighed, velocity pressure recorded for each sample fired and the range was determined by observation at the impact area The rounds were then recovered and re-measured for any changes. The problem was found to be incomplete seating of the rowing band caused by inconsistent manicuring procedures from shift to shift at the producing plants.
Now for the fun part of JPG. The BOQ cone d of two big farm houses that had been moved to the Of fleers Circle We replated much the June as a college fraternity. Two women cooked lunch and dinner and set up a do-it-yourself brealdist bar. We dected a house steward to supervise the operation. Doesn't sound much like the Army, does it? We an had honorary memberships in the Madison Country Club, the Ellis and were enchained periodically by Madison's first families. A shuttle say=, on can, was operated by the post to Madison for social activities. Military protocol was at a minimum. The only requirement was to get the work out on time. We saw the Post Command=, COL Hardig, once a year for dinner at the BOQ - the purpose was to discuss the Victory garden we would have behind the BOQ. Not too bad though. The Post E_ put in the water and did the plowing
In my memory, no ordnance officer was transferred off the post until after V-1 Day. There were occasional changes in the AAC detachment.
On the signing of the Japanese sunder, wires went out to the ammunition plants halting production. We had about two weeks of test world and another two wedges or so to put the post in a holding condition. From the on it was a matter of dgning the roster at the E - aqua once a day.
But there was a payback for all this fun and gamed at least for the junior owners.. After a couple of welds of this REAR COL Hardig declared us surplus and sent our records to The Office of Chief of Ordnance and within the week we had transfer orders. There were eight 1st Lts, four were assigned to the 88th Division in North East Italy and four went northwest to Attu, Alaska My luclc held; I was asdgacd to the 788 Ordnance L.M~ Company in Cividale, Italy.
The 88th Division was under the 13th British Corps in occupation of the volatile Italian province of Venezia Giolia in 1945 - 46. I arrived in Italy in early October 194S and todc up the duties of Shop Object of the 788 Ord LM Co. The persona of the 88th Divas made up of the low point people of the 88th Div. the 34th Div and bade trainees that arrived in Italy with me on the USS Walcefidd, the fast shipment to Europe aver V.J Day.
The moon of the 788 Ord LM Co was ordnance maintenance and supply support ofthe 88th
Div units. Fortunately, we had a German maintenance company wedging with us ibis unit was made up of POWs who had not as yet been ~ia" They were paid a wage and had been promised that their return to their homeland would not be delayed because they were wowing for the Army, Under the Geneva Convention this was permitted sflcr peace was signed. Without their efforts we would have been unable to accomplish our misdon. We also had sonic Italian civilian world In addition to the normal US equipm - , we had a bus shop to maintain a group of captured German and Italian buses, and another shop that maintained captured civilian automobiles. It was an interesdag year.
The 788 Ord Co was housed in an Italian cavalry post and thus had stables. As a result ofthis the 88 Div stables were located in our area along with a CPI Powers who claimed to be the last remount
in the US Army. We had a race hone named Sam that we ran in races run by the British Sam refi'sod to win but he came in second a number of times. When we learned that we made a little money. The Red Cross Club and the Coca Cola plant were located in Cividale and their US pc~sonnel tools their meals in our mess which made things seem a Owe more lilts home.
We were able to get to Venice on _s. The British had talcen aver the Europa Hotel on the Grand Canal and made it into an officers rest hotel. As I remember the room face was SS.00. Found time to get in a R&R tour to Switz=~ I think the bill for that was S52.
I did get to see Ann Satterthwaite in Tricstc dunag her trip through Italy. As I mmember my Company Commmukr met her in a hotel bar and called me in Cividale and I drove down ant pined them
During the time I was assigned to the 88 Div there were several alerts as a result of patrol action on the Morgan Line. (Line between our Aces and the
Yugoslaves) In August '46 there were two serious air incidents. Two of our C-47s~e fired on by Yugoslav fighter planes. The first resulted in the injury of one Turkish officer. The plane was forced to land in Yugoslav territory. The second plane crashed with the loss of 5 US personnel. The US Government made a strong protest demanding that the bodies of the dead and the survivors of the first plane be returned within 48 hours. They were.
Lot Italy in mid September on the Antioclc Victory. I made it (five weeks) to Hobble, the Antiock Victory didn't─but that's another story.
Ann Satterthwaite Killen
1944 IN ITALY WITH THE ITALIANS
The aftermath afPearl Harbor lead many of us into experiences far beyond our imagining a few years earlier. It all began for me in mid-1944 when I was hired by the Office of War Information whose foals was to reestablish the local networks of information and cultmal exchange as the annies left an area divined by war.
My first airplane ride ( New Yorlc to Africa ) turned out to be a luxurious seaplane canying 12 passengers with 10 in the crew. It had big picture windows and builds I assumed all flying would be on this so ale, but not for longl After landing in the bull rushes of M~ccco, I dbanged to more Die ATC transport and later sampled a variety of military aid My stay in Algiers included Bastille Day celebrations when French airmen were bumag the main Rue Michelot, their wingtips level with and inches (it seemed) from my third floor office windows. Soon afterwards I was sent by slow troap~up to the new ~nas at Naples, Italy.
At the time the Allies were massing for the invasion of southern France. I leapt wondering where the Italians were; there seemed no In for them on the streets. The rumble of tic conv~6, just their pinpoint blackout lights showing, continued day and night as did the steady parade of ships great and emu rounding the Sorrento headland, packing into the big harbors. From north of the city came large numbers of big Sherman tanks, the swelt0g young men crowding the open tunets in the Wading sun. The noise, the heat, the smell of churning asphalt was memorable. Visits to a B-24 Bomber Base were equally awesome with the do roar of precision to being us against the buildings and temporarily feeding the carpets of red poppies sur~mding the
base. I used to wonder how we ever got it all together, all of these well trained people, all those nuts and bolts and parts and pieces put in place to form a giant worldog operation!
Most nights before the invasion forces sixty disappeared overnight, the gun employment neat to us would send up colt tracer fire, usually targeting a lone reconnaissance plane. However the tenor of the small children running and crying for their moths told of more desh~ive earlier night flights. Lucidly, my only brush with deadly fire was when the British Ors with whom I wedged blew the wall out of my choice while making tea. There were no casualties.
As the Allies pushed north in late 1944 I drove part of their route up the spine of Italy to Monte Cassino. The de-nuded landscape was banes, the few remains of ghost villages appeared totally empty except for a stray buno or pet but seemed alive with eyes watching as we had our c'ation picnic. It was a beautifull day to climb up to the Abby, the over-L~ing so much destruction was spinal Until rcLievod by a few sparrows among the nibble. My guide this New Year's Day of '4S was a classmate of Hal Shatenan our WHS Spanish teacher, one of the mange "~11 world" incidents of the times.
The lights went on in Naples to code V-I Day. The city celebrated V-E day with the JOYOUS din of hundreds of church bells. Very soon af~nvards I headed north in a Dodge carryall with four other girls. A "tourist" trip with heavy reminders of the price of war but also areas of lovely Wayside. Going through the alpine pas to BaJzano add Inod~odc we began to accept the goal German voices, startling after toe more emotional Italian Soon we were in Salzburg, that lordly setting for We Sold of Music", 80 inn and charming with Ever ~ than many tow" Tl~e a main objective was to reside the famous Salzburg Music Festival aRer a hiatus of twelve years. On the dancer side of the beautiful countryside was the awareness of Dachau nearby and the sinister and twisted implications of the Bertchesgarden retreat.
When the Four Powers division the city I was sent to Elena The drive through the Russian Zone sum~unding the city was bleak with flat emptiness, the only tragic being old t~ucl;s piled high with looted household items, and heated for Russia We seemed alone ping toward the city. I drove with a ball young ant sparlcy linguist, ~ Russian extraction not apple - t to some rough sad unruly M~ian soldiers at our last, late checkpoint. She underwood all of their compensations and at just the right moment let We with a blast atRu~ that dmppot their jaws, brought them to attention, returning our papers with salutes! She was a terrible driver but a great actress We mere
still when we finaUy arrived with anxious friends waiting for us.
It was a cold winter in heavily bombed Vienna, but the old ~ (and a lot of ingenious deals) seemed to get things operating as each outfit set up shop. In ow domain we put out the best of the newts; theaters were made operable; artists were brought bacls the examiners eager to perform despite open frigid conditions. Privately I had some touching experiences looking up families unable to communicate for over twelve yeses.
By spring of '46 there was the let-down from a former sense of Agency as programs were cm, replacement:, replacements (so young) amved and many long term veterans were dying daily. I opted
=~ _ :_~A INGOT ~#,,─~..l~t~A 1~
aUowed meats to Italy and Switzerland and to spared time in France where I was thrived to buy an Army pep (S200 landed in Staten Island). I drove it to the 410clcs in Le Eve, checked into Camp Lucicy Strike and soon boarder the Algonquin, a smaU 1~1 ship thing civilian women My first ocean voyage divas really quite stormy, but "Inflow no fear nothing" I thought it was great as we hi south to the Azores to avoid the heavy seas Atrhal in New You gas quite a thrill and to change gears and to focus on a dint life that brought me to Nanh~cet
Ann Scott McElroy
We spent two months together after our June wedding in 1943, but the reality of the war set in when I followed John to San Francisco. He bad already gone to sea, so I ended up living with other Navy wings. We bad jobs and kept ourselves engined while awaiting our fighting men. It wasn't easy.
A wartime Cabanas without husbands or family was difficult, so six of us decided to have dinner at the elegant St. Francis Hotel. A long, narrow table dominated the dining room. Twelve Army men fined
~4A ~1% t~.A ~BAIL mat ~tP them ~
middle-aged, civilian couple preside When the soldiers and sailors rose to leave, they expressed their gratitude with such emotion that there was not a dry eye in the
We mate it through many trials, but when the headlines read, 41)estmyer Sunk in Pacific", we worried Positive thing helped; writing alla receiving ch~fbl haters helped; bang on the West Coast helped; and being where fricods
and went helpot; ~1<~1~r;A~ h~h_A
It was while doing that at the St. Francis fourteen months after my arrival in San Franc, that the Mel phone rang. "Scony, its Jo=," a frond said.
I bad pictured his h~w~ ~ My hair would be perfect, Ed be in my hat neater and skirt, and the apparent would smcU of fresh wee and apple pie. Such was not the case, but it was happy, anyway. He was Marc for Ax Cedes' That second wartime Christmas was differcat from the field We bad seven family munchers together for dinner in our apartment Jabn s broths &hip "d also arrived, and his win, Hden, and blats pare bat treaded by train from New Jersey. My mother bad already moved to San Franasoo. Of course, I incited on cog the turkey. After Awing bun up, I questioned Ally the
basting bad to be repeated every twenty minutes. A family was bom.
Following that Christmas, John left for another ten months, but after the war ended, his destroyer went to Charleston. I joined him there, and the long wait was over.
Bubby Sheffield & Bill
ASK US AFTER A FEW DRINKS
This accounting may have a very familiar ring, for Bill Weiland and I pined the Marine Corps if after Pearl Harbor, and we were together throughout the next four years.
After boot camp and some additional training, we left the States in early summer for New ?~1~ Then to Tulagi (Gn~caaal) for &uc months aRer which we t~an~rrod to the 2nd Raider Battalion under a Colonial Shapley (fogy Carlson's Raiders). We were then sent to Bougainville and aRer being relieved, we retrained and went to Emily and then Guam
By tius time we had been overseas twentyaiae months, so we were returned to the States. Bill received his field commission at this time and I went through Quantico where I was comnussionod
The war ended shordy aver, and Bill and I were discharged within a few welds of each other.
I did get called back during the Korean War, but that is another war and another story.
A more colorfull acownting of the above events can be had by asking dither of us aRer a few drinks.
CAPTURE ON THE HIGH SEAS
The Wodd War ~ iDCi~ I will all mmember tools place in the Modite~aa during the invasion of Southern France. Our destroyer, the USS Somers, after action in the English Channel dunog operation "Overlord-, was sent to "cover" the landings of US Rangers and Free French off St. Tropez.
At 4 Am, fit IS, 1944, the general alarm seat us scurrying to bathe statims. We were told of two ships spotted on radar, closing us rapidly. Our Captain flashed a recognition signal. When there was Do response seer 30 seconds, he ordered, "Commence faingl" The newest vessel was hit by an eight guns on the first servo. On fire, with explosion, it was
imm~i~ out of action and sank rather quickly. The second ship resumed fire, fortunately not very accurately, and as the sun began to rise, we could see the enemy beginning to abandon ship. We picked up survivors, including their Captain The order came down to, "Away the Boarding Partyl" Another officer and L along with ten armed enlisted men proceeded in a 20 R. motor whale boat to the damaged German Corvette. Our Captain's orders were to "Secure the Nazi ship, get it underway and conduct a thorough search for valuable intelligence information." He then told us he had an urgent mission to recidivous with a tmop transport, but he would return to pick us upl We took the Gennan Captain with us to lead us amend any booby traps there might be and to locate the code boom, maps of mine Odds, etc. We bearded from the fantail. There was very Lime resistance; the ship was manned by dead and dying Nags.
As I questioned the German officer, I thought, "If Miss Dodds could see me cowl" First thing to do was to take down the German naval ensign (Swastika) and raise the US Navy battle flag. This was a stirring moment for us; if only for a short time and known only to us, there was a new US Navy shipl
We did find charts of enemy mine fields and other valuable Gasified material The mine field charts were of great value in saMy moving troops and supplies in support of a rapidly moving invasion force. It was apparent, by row, that while we seared, the drip was settling, dowry, but solely, and there were fires in the forward section. We decided to abandon all thought of salvage gather up the mass of menial we had collected, and leaver
Back in the whale boat, we watched as the Corvette, bow reused venally, exploded and saw There, we all sat in a 20 ft. whale boat....,with an invasion in progress, wondenag when the Somers wood ~ From the coast of Franc, we spotted a British Spitfire coming low ant straight toward us. It occurred to me that we could be in big trouble as the only flag we had was a Swastikal Our US battle flag had gone down with our "prize". The pilot was very wary, but he finely answered the Fiat est wave I could manage with a ~ up". He died over the horizon, only to reappear, guiding the Somers to our position.
Awards ceremonies and newspaper Views came later. An interesting historical footnote: That German Console was the first enemy surface Bessel boarded and captured on the high seas since the War of 1812.
MY BOMBER IN THE ZUYDER ZEE
Trained as a copilot on a B.24, we were on our third mission when antiaircraft shrapnel damaged three of our engines, and we were forced to ditch in the Zuyder Zee, in Holland. I was captured and spent 17 months in Stalag Lust 1. While there, I met Fred Nelson and Nonnan Massett, both of Westfield..
In the summer of 197S, the Westfield Police called to say that the Royal Netherlands Airforce had found the wreckage of our bomber. They had drained part of the Zuyder Zee, read the serial number on the plane, and learned that I was the only survivor. NCRVTV wanted to produce a day on the rowvery of the plane, and flew my wife and me over to Holland in October. I was talker to the plane, still in two feet of water, past before they moved the remains of the five other crewmen, to send them home to their families.
Since that d~me~y abed on December 22, 1975 surprising things have happmed One, a Dutch ship designer, Hans Verhulst, obtained parts of our plane and welded a 1M6 battleship with 1976 on its side commemorating our bicen~nnia' celebration. Two, a German Interpol Pdi~man saw the JO and said that he was on the patrol boat that rescued me in 1943. We ~ for sexual years. Third, Mrs. SchmidtVerhulst, &s' sister, and a school teacher, made a ban with shiny children in Cramps at many lands, holding hands in peace. Fairy, the US Air Farce in~iew" me in 1976 and gave me an eight minute 16 mm fibn covering the recovery of the plane. Fifth, the Dutch International Society invited Enid and me to Holland, Michigan, where they showed us the Dutch DocDnen~'y, and presented us a copy of it. Recarry, I was conned by Jim Reynolds, my pilot's nephew, and his mother, my pilot's sister. I sent them copies of those video tepee. They Arc thrilled!
THE WRONG PLACE, THE WRONG TIME
~ Was and a year at Blue Ridge College and a year and a belf at the University of Maine, the war came aloe& My college career was not going real well, and the war was a good excuse to drop out and pin- up. I joined the Air Corps which eventually the U.S.~F. After tag in Texas, Oklahoma. California and T_e I went to
England with my crew. I was by then a 2nd. Lie~nt Navigator on a B-17. We were assigned to the 305th Bomb Group at Chelveston Air Base in East Anglia.
My crew arrived in England in mid-August of 1943, and we lasted und1 13:48 hours on October 14th of that year. It was a very rough time for the 8th Air Force. We were flying missions deep into Germany with no fighter escort much beyond the English Channel. We got in about 15 missions, and then our luck ran out on the 14th of October. We were heading for the ball bearing complex at &weinfwL As soon as our fighter escort of Spitfires left us the ME-109s hit us. It w a disaster for Or 305th. Of 15 planes in our
Group, 13 were shot down I bailed out at 2S,000 feet. I was ~vbd but captured in Maastricht, Holland and spent the rest the war in Stalag Lust 3 and in Moo~g, Bavaria I eras in Luit 3 at time of the "Great Escape" but did not participate and was later L; - ated on April 29, 194S by General George Patton's 3rd A'my and the man himself from the POW camp at Mbosburg
A good story of the disaster raid of October 14, 1943 is told in boa`, WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME. by George C. KDh1 and published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 77 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310.
I am 8 condor to this book but it is not exactly a best Idler. A local book store Mold beve to order it or else it may be found in an Air Fome PX or similar venue.
When it became apparent that the United States would become involved in WWII,Idecided that with my love for flying I wwld be smart to bead for Canada along with about 20,000 other Americans where requirements were already what the U. S. enacted a year or so later - high school and 17 1/2. Following training that started in Toronto and gray moved me eastwards until I received my wings in Moncton, N.B., I was on my way to England on board the Queen Elizabeth along with more than 22,000 other trmps. I shared a beautiful first~class stateroom for two - A-ll9 - with 20 other pilots and 42 Fad bags sandwiched in seven triple deck bunks fortunatetr for only 6 days.
My first tom of "combat eying" was flying convoy patrols on the coast of Scotland where the convoys and the novice combat pilots were safe from enemy aircraft I was then transferred to an RA.F. base albeit 60 miles northeast A London where I was to fly the Hawker "Typhoon", a very fast low-level fightelbo~er. I was just settling in when I received orders to report to London for my transfer to the U.S. Air Corps.
A few months aRer my transfer I was bade at the same airfield - now a U. S. air base and flying the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. Most of our duties were to provide protection for our bombers, to keep enemy aircraft from attaddn8 them Ike majority of these missions were uneventfull as the Gennan pilots feared the Tbund~bolts and would not make direct amps on US. OF occasion we flew ground support moons a~in8 ant strafing lop freight trains, military vehicles, Mel lax lies and anything that moved However, we did get involved in some very seriws combat when the Gennans wwld coordinate the takeo~s of as many as 100 to lS0 of their fighters to make a me attack on our bombm. At these times we knew real fear because the Germans planned their away at a place and time when our fighter escort would be at its
--I, when there were only as few as 20 to 40 of our fighters available to break up their attack. On one of these occasions twelve of us attacked the Germans losing only one of our pilots while descrying 27 of the enemy and severely disrupting their attack.
The morning of D-Day (June 6) I was awakened at 1:30 AM aRer less than 2 hours sleep with the greeting "This is its We were part of the first aerial coverage of the ideation. Pictures cannot do justice to the scene below ~ Snips, ships and more ships of every description, it seemal, were everywhere
we look During the first two days we flew double missions with half of the squadron on the way to the invasion area while the other half was returning. Several of our pilots Completed their tour of combat and several others were shot down or crashed so that we were snort of pilots and the remaining pilots didn't get much rest. Gradually the allies tonsils control of the invasion, and I completed my tour of combat ant returned to the States. My last mission also produced my final air victory.
After instructing pilots in combat tactics for several months, I was sent to the Pacific theater as a combat leader in a newly Sonnet fighter group, This group oonsistet of a luncher of flight instructors ant many recently commissioned pilots. We were to fly from Iwo Jima to Japan and return appro~dm~ely 800 miles each way over open ocean in single engine fighters with only the one pilotcrewman on board We arrived on Iwo Jima just in time for the second A-bomb to be dropped, and 10 days later the war was over. There were very many relieved pilots when that news was received. Soon after this I was on my way back to the States and my return to civilian life.