Interactive news, reviews, gossip, musings, activities, photos, mysteries, histories, stories, truths, lies & video tapes from & for graduates of the Kirkwood (MO) High School fabulous class of 1965. Email us anything you would like to share to leslieatkhs65dotcom. See photos at www.khs65.com - comment here or on the website to make yourself heard! FIND US ~ www.khs65.com ~ www.khs65.org ~ FACEBOOK KHS65 ~ http://khs65blog.com ~ KHS65 MAKE IT A HABIT!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Celebrating VETERANS - & a Volunteer opportunity
Rich Mills Bob O'Neill Ken McBride Judge Gary Schmidt Rusty Nelson Linda Stevens
Jack Toman Paul Silman Alan Yount
Larry Allin - herewith, with his permission, a note received from Larry: "Your post was timely; I am a Vietnam veteran recently returned from the 3rd annual reunion of the unit I served with.
I was a combat medic, assigned to a reconnaissance company in the First
Cavalry Division. In 2008 6 of us "found" each other; phone calls & emails were great but not quite enough. We agreed to meet at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, to pay our respects & get reacquainted. It was a bit awkward at first; but within hours the years
fell away and we were close friends once again. We spent 3 days catching up on the 40 years since our service together & reliving the good and bad of Vietnam experience.
It was cathartic and has prompted us to look for others we served with and to meet again. We have found another dozen of our "brothers" and have met twice more; the search for others continues and planning for the 2011 reunion (in Myrtle Beach, SC) has begun." Thank you to Larry so much for sharing! Larry is one of our classmates who lives, still or again, right in Kirkwood!
Also, click Linda Stevens' name for a great description of her father's incredible service in WWII. There is more information in older posts (see Snipets from Classmates, July, 2010), but this is a nice write-up I just found, written when he was honored by the Missouri State Society, Daughters of the American Revolution. He had an amazing flying & bombing career!
I just found this on a history blog I follow:
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
A Call to Record Veterans’ Histories
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has issued a call to action to all Americans. During the Veterans History Project’s 10th Anniversary Commemoration Sept. 29, he launched a new campaign asking America to "collect and preserve the story of at least one veteran" and to "pledge to preserve this important part of American history." Time is of the essence, he added: "Help us gather in the accounts of 10,000 veterans by Veterans Day."
Congress created The Veterans History Project in 2000 as a national documentation program of the American Folklife Center (www.loc.gov/folklife/) to record, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of American wartime veterans from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. More than 68,000 individual stories comprise the collection to date.
The project relies on volunteers to record veterans’ remembrances using guidelines accessible at www.loc.gov/vets/. Volunteer interviewers may request information at email@example.com or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.
Here is another account of the story of Linda's father being awarded the Silver Star 66 years late! Thanks once again Linda for sharing:
"Leslie, here is a follow up on my Dad's service. Several years ago Dad started talking about his experiences during WWII. He had never done this before. One incident helped me to understand what a great man, skilled pilot, hero and of course, great father he is and was. My Dad was a B-17 pilot during the war. He flew 38 plus combat missions. In addition, after his crew returned to the US, Dad volunteered to fly bombardiers to North Africa from England, so that they could practice dropping their bombs. He laughed when he told us this story. It appears that by the end of the war, the Germans had learned to trim their planes to look like American planes. This was an attempt to keep from being shot down. Dad said that during his flights to N. Africa he got shot at by the Germans and on the way back from N. Africa, he got shot at by the Americans until they identified his plane. I have many stories about my Dad's gallantry, heroism and flying skills, but I'll just tell you about one. In 1944 Dad's mission was to fly from home base, Glatton England, to France to bomb rail sites. On the way into France, Dad's plane underwent withering ground and air fire and 2 of his 4 engines were shot out and the planes fuselage was shredded. But Dad was determined to complete his mission. One hundred miles into France, Dad's 3rd engine was shot out. Dad determined that flying to his drop site would be impossible. So he dropped his load and turned around back toward England. He gave permission for his crew to bail out as he was unsure if he could get the plane back. The entire crew stayed with Dad and their plane. Dad could only generate enough power to keep him just above the waters of the English Channel. It took all of Dad's concentration and flying skills to keep them out of the water. While telling the story, Dad laughed to himself. He said he had worked so hard to stay out of the drink that he had forgotten the damned Cliffs of Dover. It wasn't until they came into sight that Dad knew he didn't have the power to clear the cliffs. The English coast is very rocky, with very little in the way of sandy beach. But Dad knew that most of his hydraulics had been damaged and he didn't believe that he had brakes that would bring his plane to a stop. His idea was to circle until he located a sandy beach to bury his wheels and bring his plane to a stop. After circling and running low on fuel, Dad finally came upon a very small strip of sandy beach. He again gave his crew permission to bail out. But once again, they chose to stay with Dad and their bomber. Dad set the badly damaged bomber down and buried its wheels in the sand to bring it to a stop. Not 1 man in his crew received a scratch and his plane was salvaged to fly again. While waiting to be taken off the beach the men in Dad's crew decided to count the holes in the plane's fuselage. They stopped at 151, many big enough to put their heads through. This number did not include the 3 dead engines. After hearing this story, I realized that Dad's skills and heroism had been overlooked. So, over the next 4 years, with the help of Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay, MO, I worked to have him recognized. I do genealogy research and what it came down to was finding another eyewitness. Keep in mind this was 66 years after the event. But, as luck would have it, using my research skills I found the only other living member of my Dad's crew, contacted him and he told me the exact same account of that day. I asked him if he would write a letter to verify the event. He wrote not 1 but 2 letters. Sgt. Neelan, thank you! To bring the story to an end, on May 22, 2010 my Dad was presented the SILVER STAR for GALLANTRY over France in 1944. Congressman Clay arranged the ceremony and presented the award. See http://stltoday.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=1009779&CategoryID=38578 for a little more about my Dad. He was among the first graduating class of the Army Air Corps helicopter pilots. He later became an instructor. He is proven to have been the 1st pilot to land a helicopter on the deck of an aircraft carrier. BTW, if you should see the movie "The Last Time I Saw Paris", look for my Dad, he marched in the Victory parade shown in the movie!"
Remember, every woman who has served in the US military, was a VOLUNTEER!