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Old 12-28-2006, 07:57 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by prhamilt
....... In fact, chances are the aluminum salvaged from the 15,000 B-24's that were originally produced is probably in the skin of many an early Airstream. I like that thought...



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Old 01-13-2007, 02:22 PM   #58
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Like so many on the Forums, my parents were brought together by WWII. There would have been no other way a young man from Clarion, PA, and a young woman from San Antonio could have gotten together. I have scanned a couple thousand photos in four family albums up until he started taking slides in about 1957; now my brothers and sisters can share without pulling those prized albums apart. My father died five years ago and this scanning raised so many questions that will always be unanswered. Don't put this off!

Photo 1: My father (on your right) with two other pilots at Plant City, FL; probably 1944.
Photo 2: My father in the pilot's seat of a B-17 (he flew missions as a copilot).
Photo 3: He went straight to Texas after flying his plane back from England. This is Ben Smith and Billie Jean Thompson at Blanco, TX, on August 8, 1945.
Photo 4: My father flew countless aircraft to the future-Airstream boneyards in Arkansas and Arizona after the war. My parents got married in Oct '46 while he was on convalescence from a C-54 crash on Johnston Island (passenger). After two years as a flight officer at Haneda airfield (now Tokyo Int'l), this March '49 pic is their last morning in Tokyo -- my mother is 3 months pregnant with me; I was born in San Antonio. I grew up living in Fairborn, OH, Chateauroux, France, and multiple locations in Texas.

Several of my dad's WWII pics are at 571st squadron page. He flew in the last 8th Air Force mission over Germany, then participated in food drops to starving Dutch.
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Old 01-13-2007, 10:24 PM   #59
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Good reflections. My dad was building turbo chargers for bombers at GE thus exempt. He was proud of his work, but wished he had served. (He was a in the CCC prior to the war). My mom was an RN during the war. My uncles served in the Army during the war. One in the Pacific I believe, and saw much action. Did not talk much about it, but he continued after trhe war with the reseres and retired. The other managed to enlist despite poor eye sight and ended up in Fla. as a fireing range instructor. My Great Grandfather enlisted at fourteen (lied about his age) and served in the union army during the civil war. We had cousins on the Confederate side. I did twenty in the AF. My youngest is a Marine and served in Iraq in "the wild wild west" (made some good Iraqi friends). Middle son is AF in Europe and oldest could not serve (blind in one eye) so he joined up with KBR and is on his second hitch in Afganistan.

Father in Law was career Army (Quarter Master) who stayd on after WWII and did thirty years. He was in Berlin when the wall went up..but did not live to see it come back down.
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Old 01-13-2007, 11:25 PM   #60
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My Dad...

Was a worker for the Rock Island Lines Railroad after high school and joined the National Guard in 1939 when he was 19. He and many of his fellow Guard Unit members then enlisted in the Army the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked. He had already almost two years in the Guard and so was sent with some of the first U.S. Army combat units deployed to the Pacific theater. He was sent to the Phillipines early in the war to defend against the Japanese onslaught. He was badly wounded by Jap machinegun fire and sent to the States to recover from his wounds. He was then sent to France after D-Day and fought in both France and Germany. During this time he was written to by a young girl from a cotton farm in Arkansas as she was writing to other members of his unit. He told them all that they should stop writing to her as after the war he was going to go home and marry her. They had a good laugh at that remark and continued their letters to her. However, he did come back from the war in Europe and traveled to Arkansas to meet her. Before he returned to Ft. Knox from his leave they were married. He told me very little of his war experiences. Just to hard to talk about with a kid I guess. I was only 17 when he died of a heart attack at the age of 49 in 1969. He did tell me that when he was in an inspection just before he got out of the Army in 1948 that the inspecting General got in his face regarding his ribbons worn on his dress uniform jacket (Ike Jacket). Seems the General thought that his ribbons were displayed wrong on his uniform. Without blinking he replied that the General was mistaken. The General of course blew his stack and stated that this lowly Tech Sergeant was out of uniform for wearing his ribbons incorrectly. My dad then responded "Sir, I served in the Pacific first and then in Europe, Sir." Then the General turned bright red and left the parade field without finishing the inspection of the rest of the troops! Telling that story was one thing that always made him laugh. My older brother was in the Marines and wounded three times at Khe Sanh in 1968. I served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1971 to 1972. Ed
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Old 01-14-2007, 01:11 PM   #61
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Great stories Rob & Ed.

One of my dad's favorite moments in his 30 year Air Force career was while stationed in Thailand in 1966-67. The USO C-130 was in the hanger, so my dad & his Gooney Bird were mobilized to fly Roy Acuff to do shows all around SEA. He had grown up listening to WLS when it had C&W shows.

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Old 01-14-2007, 01:33 PM   #62
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War story

For many years past my passion was flying in CAF (Confederate Air Force) Air Shows. One year at the annual Air Show I was sitting under a WW-II B-25 Bomber owned and flown by a great friend. This plane had been extensively modified into an executive class transport, to include a bar, lounges, mirrors, carpeting and plush drapery. The exterior was strictly WW-II. As we sat below, the wives of some of the crew were inside "resting" up and having a few cool ones. Two young boys, about 12 +/-, airplane Fans, approached and asked if they could look inside the Bomber. As they came down the steps from the modified bombay, where the mini skirted ladies were , I heard on boy say to the other..."That War was not as tough as he'd been told."
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:20 PM   #63
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Time to Bump this Up!

Today is Flag Day, and it seems an appropriate time to bump this thread back up - it's almost six years old! Besides, as several who posted earlier noted, the mod's should rename it "Fathers, Mothers, Grandfathers and Grandmothers..." - not for political correctness, but because it's true.

My Dad went in the Army in 1943 - as did my Mom. Only my Dad (they weren't my parents then, BTW) was in Illinois and my Mom in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was trained first in teletype repair - Signal Corps - then repair of crytographic message systems. My Mom was first a WAAC, later a WAC, and trained as a telephone operator, then a crypto-teletype operator. She shipped out in the late fall of 1943 to North Africa about the same time my Dad did, but on a different ship. She went first to Casablanca, then Algiers. He landed in Bizerte, off-loaded their equipment, then watched as the ship sailed out of the harbor where it took two torpedoes, blew up and sunk. Gives one pause. They both ended up at the same 12th Air Force support unit in Algiers but of course, in different companies. In 1944 they moved with the bases (as the aircraft moved) to Naples, Italy where. as my Dad told the story, my Mom's teletype "...seemed to constantly break down more than the other girls..." and he was called to fix it. He always ended the story with "...never could find anything wrong...."

We've learned many stories over the years, but my Dad's work was actually classified, as it was throughout his career, and he never spoke of it. But, one of the best from my Mom was that she was on the shift May 7, 1945, and decoded the message that the war would end the next day - May 8. She said when the shift was over, their Captain broke out a bottle of bourbon and everyone shared it, then one of "the girls" had a boyfriend in the motor pool, they got a Duece-and-a-half and some wine and they all drove around Naples in the back, celebrating while people just stared. Then, the next day - officially VE Day - after their shift, they got the same truck, more wine and did it again, only then people were in the streets celebrating! "It was the only time we 'broke code' " she said, but the news was such a relief. Each May 8 in recent years she notes "the newspaper didn't say anything about VE Day... again." That day was important to those vets in the European Theater as was VJ Day to those who served there.

Once the war ended, they both ended up coming home separately but quickly found each other in Albuquerque, married and had 65 wonderful years with my Dad retiring as a career USAF Chief Master Sergeant. He kept his secrets about what he really did to the grave, but only after he died did we find out he had a Bronze Star from his time in Italy. He never wore that ribbon. My Dad passed away 18 months ago at 90; my Mom's still going strong at 92. They were 23 to 25 years old during those war years -- "everybody was," they'd say, and my daughter still calls every November 11 to say, "Thank you for saving the world." And, I think that generation did, in truth, do just that.

Thus, let's revive this thread!
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:06 AM   #64
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Thank you for a wonderful story,. You must be very proud of your parents service as I am of mine. Both of my parents were in WW11 also. Jim
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:55 AM   #65
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He was a Pilot

I accuse him of being in a Group similar to "Kellys' Heros." Thats him in the flight cap.
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:03 AM   #66
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Looks like a rough landing

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Old 06-15-2012, 07:11 AM   #67
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My father (still living, age 92 last December) was a Lt. JG US Navy in WWII. For most of the war he was a aviation navigator performing daily sub search from Hollywood Beach, FL up the coast through the Carolinas. In the winter of 44-45 he was assigned sea duty aboard the USS John D. Barry, an old WWI (DD248) "4 stacker" which had been converted to an oil burner high speed attack patrol destroyer (APD23, IIRC) for WWII. He arrived off the shore of Okinawa during the Naval Bombardment of the island and Marine landing.
The Barry's duties included slipping Frog Men (precursers to today's SEALs) into and out of small island outpost and radio stations to do their thing swiftly and silently. They also escorted hospital ships out of the battle zone and were a part of the "radar picket fence" It was during the latter duty that the Barry met her fate at the hands of a Kamakazi attack and was ultimately sunk.
It was on the bridge cat walk, the night before entering battle, that Dad found God and prayed only to give him strength to perform his duty for a few days, and then he could have his will be done. He has been rewarded (so far) with 92 years! And he is still as healthy as one can be at that age....still drives!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

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Old 06-15-2012, 07:16 AM   #68
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My dad was a tweens during WW2, my grandfather was a top notch machinist and was drafted by the government and put in charge of a large machine shop in the Midwest that produced parts for aircraft engines. My other grandfather was a farmer and IIRC was growing hemp that was used to make rope in addition to producing dairy products. Not everybody serves on the front lines

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Old 06-15-2012, 07:46 AM   #69
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My father passed in 2011 at age 93. I have his medals hanging on my wall including a purple heart and bronze star.

He was drafted prior to Pearl Harbor, in civilian life he was a professional musician (piano player) in New York City so of course the army made him a bugler. When the war started he and all the other privates were promoted to corporal and never saw a bugel again. He was sent from Fort Dix to Alabama where he met my mother, probably the only way a New York City boy would ever meet a girl from Alabama in those days.

Dad went overseas with the 4th Armored Division and was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge. Unlike more modern wars he recuperated in England then went back to his unit.

He finished the war as a 1st Sergeant, went back to school on the G.I. bill and lived the life typical of most WWII vets. He did not talk much about the war and when pressed about his Purple Heart just said "I felt something hit my leg then woke up in a field hospital." I think the saddest I ever saw him was when I went to Vietnam.
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:43 AM   #70
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The Brits!

My grandfather served in the British Army as a chaplain. He was stationed in the Middle East and spent much of his time helping the mortally wounded find peace as they departed this world. Here's a picture of him on leave with my mother, grandmother, himself and my aunt. This picture was taken in 1941, it's the only one of him in uniform.

My father joined the Royal Marines in 1947, he was never called to active duty but was just as proud to serve during peace time. In the years following two world wars he was ready to serve his country. This picture is of he and my mother in 1948, they married in 1951.

They have all passed on now. They were all heroes to me. Wendy
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