3:16 | India was the strangest country Ralph Way had ever seen. The beggars and the street vendors were very odd to him. Most of the town of Karachi was off limits to the men, who had only a USO club to fight the boredom.
Keywords : Ralph Way aircraft mechanic India Karachi United Service Organizations (USO)
He was trained in the Army Air Corps as an aircraft mechanic, specializing in hydraulics. Ralph Way would put his training to work in Karachi, which was in India at the time. He serviced cargo planes flying over the Himalayas to supply the war effort against the Japanese in China.
Flying over the Hump, the Himalayas, tested the abilities of both pilots and planes. The maneuvers required made small loads a necessity. Ralph Way was part of the ground crew, but he needed flight time to get the flight pay, so he would hitch rides to get in his hours.
The men at the air base in India were due for some badly needed R&R, so they were shipped off to a rest camp. Ralph Way remembers watching the monkeys in the trees and thinking how nice it would be to have one of those monkeys. How, exactly, could you make that happen?
Ralph Way was an aircraft mechanic in India, maintaining cargo planes. He recalls one incident in which a pilot couldn't tell if the landing gear was up or down. That was resolved successfully, but there was another incident regarding propellers which did not end so well.
Ralph Way recalls two things from his service in India which made him laugh. One of them left an aircraft dangling from utility pole wires, another left him in water up to his knees.
Aircraft mechanic Ralph Way would hitch rides to keep enough time in the air to get his flight pay. On one of these flights, he noticed that there were two more planes taking off at the same time and he began to get a little worried, but it was too late to back out.
He had just arrived in India. Aircraft mechanic Ralph Way got the unenviable task of guarding a crashed plane that was burning with a dead pilot visible in the cockpit. What he witnessed really got to him.
When he was issued his first winter dress uniform, Ralph Way was very dissatisfied with the slacks. He improved the situation, but it left him nearly broke.
It took four days to send him to war by plane, but when the time came to return from India, Ralph Way spent a month on a ship. At home, he got married and went to college, thanks to the educational benefits from Uncle Sam.
The invasion operation became an occupation operation after the war suddenly ended. Howard Dean was in charge of a radar unit, which he had to get off the ship and into a safe place ashore in Japan. He found a Signal Corps station where he could put it, but the officers there took off for leave as soon as he got there. This led to a potentially embarrassing situation.
Two engines were out, a third smoking, and they were were losing airspeed and altitude, but they were flying level and pointed home. Then time ran out for the B-17 and Don Scott had to slip down the hatch into the slipstream. Part 2 of 3.
Bill Garrison was standing in a chow line when a man up the line suddenly dropped, shot dead by a sniper. That was only one hazard at the air fields in China; the others being Japanese air raids and infiltrators. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
It was their third mission over Berlin and they were heading home. Four German fighters pounced on the B-24 and it was engulfed in flame and going down. Clyde Burnette fought for consciousness as the other crew in the back of the plane bailed out. He woke in free fall with no idea how he had made it out, and soon he was in German custody. Everyone made it out of the plane except George "Danny" Daneau, the nose turret gunner, who went down with the aircraft.
After a nerve-wracking mission to bomb Tokyo and a typhoon, B.E. Vaughan and the destroyer O'Brien suffered a second kamikaze attack which killed all three of his hometown pals who served with him on board. Then, began the grim task of collecting the personal belongings of the dead and preparing them for burial at sea.
The first operation for the 4th Division was the landing on Roi-Namur. Lawrence Snowden remembers that, though it was an easy victory, valuable combat experience and important lessons were imparted on the Marines.
Howard Dean was an engineering student at Georgia Tech when he was turned down by the Navy. He settled for the Army and they sent him back to Georgia Tech, where he finished his degree, then they sent him to Boston for a Harvard and MIT program studying radar.
After victory in Europe, Marvin O'Neal's crew transported grateful French POW's home to Paris. Then, they were scheduled to switch to B-29's and head to the Pacific. When the news came that the war there was over, they were jubilant.
Shortly after the main landing on Leyte, radar officer Howard Dean came ashore. He had no assignment, yet, so they sent him to a nearby anti-aircraft battery. He began to observe gunners on the ships in the bay, who were undisciplined and shooting up the shore when they fired.
Joseph Williams was one of the first black Marines, serving in an anti-aircraft unit defending the Marshall Islands. The guns were advanced for the time, with a computer-like fire director that translated weather data into fire control.
Radar officer Howard Dean was in the 12th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, but he didn't know it yet. He'd arrived in the Pacific with no real assignment, and was attached to an anti-aircraft battery for a while. Then he was told to load a radar unit on a ship and prepare for a landing. Where was that going to be?
After boot camp at Parris Island, Paul Deverick went first to Quantico, where he worked at the Officer Candidates School. His next stop was Cherry Point, where he went to MP school and then served as an MP on base. He had two brothers serving in combat, which kept him out of action in the Pacific.
B-17 radio operator and waist gunner Marvin O'Neal recalls his first mission, which involved a lot of flak and a lot of praying. He entered the war in Europe near the end and, on his last mission, he saw a German jet fighter streaking through the sky. Could they win the war with that thing?
He could hear the buzz bomb. Ray Hutchins was billeted with an English family and on his first night there, he heard the closest one he'd ever heard. It actually was a good thing if you could hear it coming.
Radar officer Howard Dean became a specialist in gun laying radar, a system which linked radar with the fire control on an anti-aircraft battery. The Army wanted his engineering talent at MIT, designing radar units, but he wanted into the shooting war. Eventually he got his orders to ship out for Leyte.
After the war, Ray Hutchins had some German prisoners working for him in the motor pool, and some of them were the best mechanics he had. There was a lot of work to do, including collecting and shipping war vehicles.
He was in the Marshall Islands to man an anti-aircraft battery. Joseph Williams recalls how the guns would respond before attacking planes got close, thanks to the radar unit. He also remembers the furious typhoons that would keep him hunkered down in bunkers.
While on occupation duty in Japan, Howard Dean took a train to Kyoto. The station master tried to clear out an entire car for him, but he refused and insisted the civilians be allowed to stay. Soon after this, he became part of a massive operation to account for all the equipment scattered across the Pacific.
After occupation duty in Japan, Howard Dean stayed in the Army Reserve. The Lieutenant was destined for a higher rank in Korea, but lingering health problems from his days in the Philippines kept him at home. He went to work as an engineer, always remembering his great friends from the military.
After a slow Atlantic crossing, Ray Hutchins landed at Liverpool and began his job directing the transportation of Army vehicles across England. The half-tracks and other heavy vehicles needed assembly before they could be used. Eventually he moved to Southampton, where many ships were being loaded for Normandy.
During some down time, Howard Dean made a boat excursion to Corregidor, where he saw the entrance to the Manila Tunnels, a vast underground complex. What he later learned about it caused some surprise. The radar officer had another surprise when he drove his jeep near a combat zone.
When the word came that D-Day was on, Ray Hutchins loaded ships in Southampton for a couple of weeks, then he got on one. It was eerie landing at Omaha Beach after the successful invasion. Once ashore, the transportation specialist followed the front lines into the interior of France.