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“Buzz” Smith 2010
Woodrow Walter Smith was born on New Year‟s Day, January 1 st, 1918, in Elsinore, California, the fifth (and last) child of a Methodist minister, Walter Grant Smith, and his wife Kathryn Florence Frank Zane Smith. His father named him for President Woodrow Wilson. In Brawley, California (Imperial Valley), in 1921, Woody got diptheria and his sister Lucille thought he might die. Alhambra, California, summer 1922. At age 4, Woody learned “paddle-kick” swimming at the Alhambra Plunge, and was somewhat traumatized there to see his big brother Jim bleeding profusely from the mouth after being punched. South Pasadena, California, 1924. Woody caught whooping cough and it became chronic, so his father took him to Indio for a weekend. Pacific Beach, California, 1925-1926. Woody was in the 3 rd grade and was already reading Zane Grey westerns and Edgar Rice Burroughs‟ Tarzan adventures. Kanopolis, Kansas, summer 1931 - 1933. Woody learned to play clarinet (an old Albert system clarinet handed-down from brother Chuck), and an E-flat Alto Horn, and he played with his older brothers at evening church services (Chuck on a modern Boehm system clarinet, and Jim on the trumpet). Woody also played an old German bass tuba in the high school orchestra, including a solo at spring concert. He finally took up the violin so that he could be close to girlfriend Muriel Henry, but gave it up when he left for Tescott in 1934. Meantime, he played in a German band for the start of the Epworth League Institute, etc. Woody also began building rubber-band powered model planes of balsa wood and rice paper. Tescott, Kansas, 1934. Woody took up playing the trumpet and joined the town band. He kept up his model-airplane building, and entered and won second place in a local oratory contest. Due to the lesser quality of the local high school (they lacked needed college preparatory classes), Woody went by rail to live with sister Lucille in Buena Park, California, and attend nearby Fullerton High School, where he played his Karl Fuchs slender trumpet in the Junior College Symphony Orchestra, and Sunday evenings at church -- and even went on a field trip to hear Otto Klemperer and the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra. Buena Park, California, 1935-1936. Charles & Woody overlapped in their attendance at Fullerton Junior College since Chuck had taken a full year off to work for the CCC. So Woody was first a senior at Fullerton High, and then a freshman at Fullerton JC while Chuck was a sophomore. He managed to get some $20 gigs with Clarence Williams‟ dance band, and
“Stormy Weather” was his special solo number. He and Chuck rode the school bus together from Buena Park to Fullerton and back each day (along with Virginia Knott and the usual conglomeration of high school students). They later proceeded successively to the University of California at Berkeley, eventually renting together at 1749 Oxford Street in Berkeley (Charles graduating in May 1938, Woody in 1939), along with one other guy. Chuck washed dishes and waited tables at Jules' Creamery (the following year so did Woody), a hundred yards down the road from Sather Gate. It was a great hangout for students, and Woody and Mildred later met there. Chuck also sold his rare blood type locally for $25 a pint, and he used his streetcar tokens to wash clothes in a local laundromat. Times were tough, but a poor man could work his way through college. Woody married Mildred Irene Walker August 29, 1939, in Berkeley, California. 9-1-39 9-17-39 5-40 to 6-40 Germany invaded Poland Soviet Union invaded Poland 338,226 British soldiers evacuated from the port of Dunkirk, France; 68,000 British soldiers killed, captured, or wounded by Wermacht (German Army). 12-7-41 Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and Singapore 12-8-41 Japanese attack Hong Kong 12-11-41 Germany declares war on USA 4-18-42 Col. Jimmy Doolittle Raid on Tokyo using twin-engine B-25 Mitchells Sprg 42 Halverson Project (HALPRO): 1st Ploesti bombing raid, from Middle East, a failure, with most of the planes lost 5-6-42 Surrender of Corregidor Island, Manila Bay, Philippines 6-3 to Battle of Midway: defeat of Japanese fleet by Task 6-6-42 Force under R/Admiral Spruance . July 1942. Woody was hired to teach English at Chaffey Union High School in Ontario, California, where his sister-in-law Marjorie Smith had recently taught. 10-23-42 Operation TORCH: Allied invasion of French North Africa
In January of 1943 (card with photo of Chaffey), Woody was still teaching at Chaffey, awaiting word from the Selective Service about service in W.W. II. He was also awaiting the birth of his first child. Roy “Bud” Walker, his brother-in-law, had just gotten his wings. Based on his example, Woody had already decided to serve in the Army Air Corps.
February 4, 1943. Woody assigned as a private to Army Air Corps, serial # 19181550, and ordered to report to Fresno, Calif. His orientation, testing, and preliminary training began February 8th at the Fresno Fairgrounds. 2-43 German surrender at Stalingrad.
Woody sent by train to Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, for a 6-week refresher of college courses in physics, geography, navigation, meteorology, and public speaking -- along with grueling PT. Woody was given his first airplane ride in a Ryan L-6 “Interstate Cadet” trainer 1 (a two-seater, like a Cessna 170) at Sky Harbor airfield in Phoenix. Woody was in the first group then sent for pre-flight training to the 9 th Air Force Training Command Base in Santa Ana, California. Pre-flight training at Santa Ana Air Base, and promotion to Aviation Cadet: Assigned to Class 44-BX, due for graduation February 1944. Primary Training at Claiborne Flight Academy, just west of Wickenburg, Arizona. Flying “Yellow Perils” (PT-13 open-cockpit Stearman biplanes, which cost $30,000 each). 5-13-43 7-10-43 7-25-43 8-1-43 9-3-43 9-9-43 9-10-43 9-28-43 Gen Van Arnim surrenders Rommel's Army at Tunisia Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation HUSKY). Resignation of Mussolini and his cabinet SOAPSUDS: 2nd Ploesti bombing raid, from N. Africa Invasion of Italy proper (Montgomery crosses the Straits of Messina); Italy surrenders unconditionally, but German Army refuses to leave AVALANCHE: Amphibious assault of Naples by U.S 5th Army Germans occupy Rome Naples liberated by 5th Army
Basic Training at Polaris Flight Academy, Lancaster, Calif., Sept-Nov 1943, flying closed-canopy Vultee Valiant BT-13B “Vibrators” (monoplanes with variable pitch propellers), including night flying and formation flying. Advanced Training for ten weeks in November through January at the Pecos Army Air Field in Pecos, Texas (Col. Orin J. Bushey 2 commanding). Flying canvass-skinned Cessna UC78 twin-engine utility-cargo planes (“Bamboo Bombers”) with retractable landing gear – doing C-I-G-F-T-P-R take-off procedures, learning WINK radio range navigation, along with use of
Currently built and used in Alaska as the “Arctic Tern” (since 1969). Col. Bushey, who flew his own Douglas SBD Navy Scout Dive Bomber in Pecos, died along with two others Sept 27, 1944, on board an AT-7C, by crashing into a mountain about 3 miles east of Weatherford, Texas. He was commandant of Roswell Air field in New Mexico at the time. The other two on board were Major Edward F. Bailie and Staff Sgt J. J. Nemtez.
artificial horizon, gyro-compass, needle-ball-airspeed, and cross-country low level flying. He learned emergency single-engine landing procedures, and did more formation flying as well. 1-22-44 1-24 3-23-44 Allies land at Anzio, Italy Battles of Monte Cassino
February 8, 1944, graduation as an advanced two-engine Pilot, receiving his silver wings and a commission as a 2 nd Lieutenant, serial #O-767023. Woody was immediately assigned as a flight instructor at Pecos Field. North American AT-6 “Texan” fighter-trainers were included in the training-plane inventory, though Woody never flew them. He did manage to train three classes of new pilots. Wife Mildred and 9-month-old daughter Bonita Jo soon arrived and they set up housekeeping first at the Triangle Auto Court Motel in Pecos, but managed to find a house to rent within a few weeks. Woody would occasionally visit his parents in Anaheim by flying from Pecos to Santa Ana Air Base on weekends. On one of those occasions, when Woody and a buddy flew a UC-78 from Pecos to Santa Ana, they were supposed to stop and refuel at Palm Springs, but decided to skip it and go straight to Santa Ana. However, when they got to Santa Ana with their fuel almost completely gone, they had to get into a holding pattern while other aircraft landed. They barely made it landing on little more than fumes. He also took Mildred and Bonnie on trips in his used „37 Chevie Coupe to places such as Carlsbad Caverns, or to Forth Worth. During World War II, despite his being a pacifist and having endured three heart attacks, Woody‟s father, the retired Rev. Walter Grant Smith, helped build Boeing B-17 tail assemblies at the Douglas Aircraft sub-assembly plant in Anaheim – he walked to work each day from his house at 422 Broadway. 6-1-44 6-3-44 6-4-44 6-5-44 6-6-44 7-24 & 28-44 8-25-44
D-Day embarkation begins3 D-Day embarkation completed Rome liberated by Allies Operation OVERLORD delayed one day due to very bad weather D-Day Landing at Normandy beaches: Operation OVERLORD (Gen Montgomery commander of all land forces, Gen Eisenhower Supreme Allied Commander), H-hour 0630. Operation GOMORRAH: fire-bombings of Hamburg, 42,000 killed Paris liberated by Patton & LeClerc
See "D-Day," in PBS-TV series The American Experience (Boston: WGBH, 1998).
In the summer of 1944, with the Allies operating from France and the Luftwaffe having been effectively destroyed, new pilots were no longer needed. At the same time many flight crews were nearing 60 missions, and being sent home. Another factor, which led to a rumor then making the rounds, was the plan for a large drop of paratroops (or gliders) well behind Nazi lines, in Holland perhaps, and the consequent need for many pilots to fly the C-47s (DC-3s) required for such a mission (this was Gen Omar Bradley‟s “Secret Project Item X-Ray”). These are the putative reasons for 565 twin-engine instructors from the 9th Air Forces Training Command (including Woody) being sent to the European Theater of Operations in the Fall of 1944. Woody volunteered to be included in that list of transfers to ETO, and so replaced a reluctant transferee. However, the secret mission was canceled when (1) Patton‟s armored units had moved so quickly that such measures were no longer necessary, and following (2) the Remagen Bridge disaster (“A Bridge too Far”). In any case, that September, Woody, Mildred, and Bonnie were soon on a train headed for Greensboro, North Carolina (an overseas replacement depot), but Mildred and Bonnie changed trains at Fort Worth and headed for the Walker family farm in Hoskins, Nebraska. Upon arrival in Greensboro, Woody took a furlough to visit brother-in-law Leroy Walker in Greenville, S.C., and he also went to State College, Pennsylvania, to see his brother Jim and family. 9-4-44 9-17-44 10-44 Antwerp liberated by Montgomery Invasion of Holland. Operation MARKET-GARDEN: H-hour 1330. MacArthur returns to the Philippines
October 25, 1944 (letter), Woody waiting at the Point of Embarkation (P.O.E.), Camp Kilmer, NJ, for word to shove off for European Theater of Operations. Finally set off aboard the Ile de France, which soon anchored in the Firth of Clyde off Greensock, Scotland, just a few hours after the Queen Mary. Woody debarked the next day (11-11-44, Armistice Day) and proceeded south by train to Stone-on-Trent, and then to a replacement depot in The Potteries (Stoke-Podges) of Central England – northwest of London. December 1, 1944. Woody Smith and Billy Sorrels received orders to fly by C-47 (Douglas DC-3) to the 134th Replacement Depot on the grounds of the Rothschild Chateau in the Bois de Boulogne just outside Paris, France. Upon arrival, Woody (who had studied French in high school) visited Paris for a few days. December 6, 1944. Woody reported to the 344 th Bombardment Group (M) of the 496 th Bomb Squadron, of the 9 th Air Force, based at Cormeilles-en-Vexin (Pontoise), to be trained as a
co-pilot on a B-26 Martin Marauder 4 – one of Col. Reginald F. C. Vance‟s “Silver Streak” Bridge Busters (Col. Vance was the C.O. of the 344 th). 12-16-44 Battle of the Bulge: Hitler orders all-out attack in Ardennes Forest in southern Belgium (5th & 6th Panzer Armies, and 7th Army); attack led by Gen Von Runstedt (as in 1940); an entire U.S. infantry division is lost (captured), while U.S. troops flee in panic; German team parachuted into Belle Croix to disrupt Allied communications is captured within 24 hours5; meanwhile, Eisenhower and Bradley partied in Paris.
December 18, 1944. Woody drew emergency road-block duty on the road to the airfield due to this underhanded German commando tactic at the outset of the Battle of the Bulge. The Allies lost 76,890, the Germans 81,864 men – reminiscent of the huge losses of WW I, to no purpose. 12-22-44 12-24-44 101st Airborne Div HQ in Bastogne German demand for American surrender 101 A/B acting CG Anthony C. McAuliffe replies “Nuts!” to German demand for surrender6; Bastogne shelled Xmas Eve; U.S. losses averaged 2,000 men per day (mostly from artillery fire), during the Bulge. Patton breaks through to Bastogne
December 25, 1944. Woody lost his first barracks mates – missing on a bombing mission. January 1, 1945. The last large raid by the Luftwaffe – on airbases in Belgium and Holland.
The Martin Marauder was sometimes called “The Widow Maker,” due to being such a difficult to fly, high wing-load aircraft. See Lambert D. Austin, ed., 344th Bomb Group “Silver Streaks”; History & Remembrances of World War II (St. Petersburg, Fla.: S. Heritage, 1996). The last known operational B-26 was recently restored at Chino, California, and is housed at the Kermit Weeks Museum in Florida. 5 Under the command of Lt. Col. Otto Skorzeny, 33 English-speaking Germans in U.S. uniforms and driving captured U.S. vehicles had infiltrated near Malmédy, and caused considerable confusion; 18 were captured and immediately shot by U.S. firing squads; 15 escaped back to Germany. 6 Merle W. McMorrow (then of the 463rd Field Artillery Bn) saw the two German officers and two enlisted men sent over with white flags by the German commander; the Germans received McAuliffe's reply (whatever it really was!) on Christmas Eve: mimeographed copies were made available to the U.S. troops that same evening.
January 6, 1945. A UC-45F with a couple of Captains (David Cook and Wilitz Ott), a 1 st Lieutenant (Nelson Ott), and a PFC (John Davidson) on board (all of CADA/ASC 403 rd BAD HQ), but without clearance for take-off, got in the way of 1 st Lt. Keith Caldwell, 2 nd Lt. John C. Dinou,7 1st Lt. John O‟Brien, and Woody aboard their “Queen of Hearts” (Q-Queen) B-26B/C Marauder during landing (S/SGT Lawrence Biggs was also aboard). Head-on collision, with the B-26 on top.. All got out of the B-26 and UC-45F alive, but Woody lost his B-10 jacket when he placed it on a badly injured officer from the UC-45F.8 1-12-45 Red Army offensive begins on the Eastern Front.
February 1, 1945. First mission: Flew on W-William with Ehst and crew to destroy a bridge at Nassau, Germany, There was light, accurate flak south of Koblenz. 9 Woody broke a canine tooth biting down on a frozen Milky Way bar on the way home. It took some time for the dentist to find enough gold to fix it. This was the closest Woody came to getting a “Purple Heart”! February 3, 1945. The 8 th Air Force hit Berlin for the tenth time, this time with 1,000 B17s (932 of them dropped 2,279 tons of bombs, 250 tons of which were incendiary). 10 February 4, 1945 (letter), Woody in the midst of War in Europe. Just shaved off his mustache. 2-13 fire-bombings of Dresden by British Bomber Command and 2-15-45 USSTAF, from 35,000 to 250,000 killed.11 Chemnitz and Magdeburg were also fire-bombed
Dinou, who flew 65 missions with the 344th, wrote Fading Wings / Faded Glory: Memoirs of Coffin Corner (Carollton, TX: Impact Publ., 1972). He trained in the “Vultee Vibrator” in July 1943 in Waco, TX, before going to twin-engine school. He died in early 2006 in Arlington, TX. 8 Mike Stowe accident reports available online. 9 Woody‟s maternal grandmother was Mrs. Koblanz, née Augusta “Kuste” Knoblauch, who was born in Saxony (or Preillau, Prussia). 10 Davis, Carl A. Spaatz, 552. 565, “The standard American incendiary bomb from January 1944 on was the four-pound magnesium, thermite-filled, incendiary M50A1, dropped in 500-pound clusters. On ignition it burned for six to eight minutes at a temperature of 2,300 degrees Farenheit.” They were used only against “soft targets,” and (570) their purpose was “collateral damage.” Cf. Appendix 16. 11 Kurt Vonnegut Jr was a prisoner-of-war in Dresden then, and has discussed the horrific experience in detail, both factually and dramatically, e.g., Slaughterhouse-five (N.Y.: Delacorte/Dell, 1969). Some say that this was no military target, but was terror-bombing as revenge for the many German bomber and rocket attacks on English cities, and in order to end the war quickly (Richard G. Davis, Carl A. Spaatz and the Air War in Europe [Wash., DC/London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992], 556-557,570). However, see Frederick Taylor, Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945 ( ), who insists on the significance of Dresden as a militarized city producing armaments and providing important communications.
February 14, 1945. 1 st Lt. Gordan K. Holm, 2 nd Lt. Phillip C. Mulholland, 2 nd Lt. William M. Holman, Sgt. Melvin A. Rabalais, and Sgt. Frank A. McKenny (tailgunner) were lost on a B-26 mission over Koblenz. William Spear bailed out and was captured. February 22, 1945. Woody hitched a ride into Paris for the day, while operation CLARION (the “Big Day”) put 9,000 U.S. planes on bombing runs into Germany (the 8 th Air Force lost only 2 of 1,000 bombers sent out that day). Then a second round was launched. 12 February 26, 1945. Woody and buddies (Agnor & Billy Sorrels) supposedly to be receiving permanent crew assignments. 13 March 4, 1945. A B-26 with Lanford, Lohnes, Hague, and Athy crashed, although it was discovered over a month later that Lohnes and Athy successfully parachuted from the burning plane. 3-7-45 3-9-45 US 1st Army begins crossing the Rhine at Remagen (on the captured Ludendorf Bridge). fire-bombing of Tokyo led by Curtis LeMay, over 130,000 killed14; one B-29 lost.
March 11, 1945. Woody received word that his second daughter had been born, Barbara Susan, on Feb 28. Expended 2 bottles of champagne and 12 cigars. March 14, 1945. Woody flew 2 nd mission with flight leader Taylor, 15 but the effort was a lengthy failure, and many flak holes endured (a 4 ½ hour flight).Target: Kreuznach. March 15, 1945. Woody flew 3 rd mission with Art Williamson and crew into Pirmasens, east of Saarbrucken, and dropped 4,000 lbs of M50A1 incendiary clusters (500 lbs each cluster, each individual incendiary weighing 4 lbs) on the city. March 16, 1945. Next mission was to bomb a barracks area at Landau.16 Bombed hospital area on second pass due to enemy fire. Received 15 flak holes in plane.
Mets, Master of Airpower, 275. Was Robert F. Yeager of the 397 th BG among his fellow crewmen on the Q-Queen (along with Meves and Hank)? – apparently on a mission (date unk), with 36 crews escorted by a flight of P-47 Thunderbolts, to destroy a railroad bridge & marshaling yards at Landau or Kaiserslautern, Pfalz (on which the bombardier was “Silver-Star” Cargill from San Francisco, perhaps 1st Lt William D. Cargill, O426125, who won the French Croix de Guerre while with the 359 th BS/B-17s). However, Robert Yeager and William H. Rybend went down somewhere north of Chartres on Aug 4, 1944. 14 Similar raids were made in coming months on Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, Yokohama, and Kawasaki, bringing the total killed to over 250,000. Gen LeMay was assisted in this endeavor by Lt. Col. Robert S. McNamara, later the Secretary of Defense during the early Vietnam War. 15 See “James W. Taylor‟s WWII Experiences,” available online.
March 17, 1945. Flew again with Art Williamson and crew. Target: Neustadt marshaling yards, and Arnweiler. No flak. Received air medal and Presidential unit citation 17 at HQ in Namur, Belgium, from Col. “Earthquake” McCone, who served cognac. 3-22-45 3-24-45 3-26-45 US 3rd Army crosses the Rhine south of Mainz. US 9th Army, Canadian 1st and British 2 nd Armies begin massive crossing of the lower Rhine under Monty (operation VARSITY). US 7th Army crosses the Rhine near Worms.
March 28, 1945. 2 nd Lt. Walter H. Hedstrom, 2 nd Lt. John R. Gersting, 2 nd Lt. Quinn L. Smith, Cpl George I. Burton, Cpl Henry F. Cavaveste, Cpl Bernell B. Barney (all crew 3); 2 nd Lt. Arthur M. Williamson, 2nd Lt. Henry F. Smith, F.O. William A. Orthberg, Cpl Gelgo J. Lauteri, Cpl Robert A. Greenwood, and Cpl Albert P. Elliot Jr. (crew 6), died in a mid-air collision of two B-26Bs, both crews killed. This must be the same as the following entry: April 1, 1945. Twelve crewman died (including Art Williamson and Major McNally?) in terrible crash of two planes at the end of the runway. 18 Same as above entry. 4-1-45 French 1st Army crosses Rhine near Philippsburg. Invasion of Okinawa; 30 U.S. ships sunk and 50,000 Americans killed in action taking Okinawa.
April 3, 1945. Moved base to Florennes, Belgium – from where several missions were flown by the 344th, but the distances to targets were too great and they did not have enough fuel to return, thus having to land at Frankfurt. Woody was soon to be transferred to Maastricht. April, 1945. Woody on pass to Namur, Belgium. 4-12-45 Pres. Roosevelt dies
April 18, 1945. Word came that Athy was now in a Paris hospital with an amputated leg. 1st Lt. George W. Patterson, 2 nd Lt. Robert W. Sibinski, S/Sgt Harold W. Stafford, T/Sgt Eldon Keys, Sgt Chester Bowser, and Cpl Leighton R. McKeen fly their last sortie.
Landau, Pfalz, was near the family home (in Edenkoben) of Woody‟s maternal grandfather, Johann Heinrich “Henry” Frank, and Henry had listed Landau as his birthplace in his U.S. Civil War pension file. 17 The blue Presidential unit citation was for dropping bombs (by mistake) on a town then under attack by Gen. George Patton‟s armor. 18 Also lost were R. D. Smith, Henry F. Smith, Walter H. Hedstrom, John R. Gersting, William A. Orthberg, and many others that Woody did not know.
April 20, 1945. Lohnes in England waiting to go home. He saw either Lanford or Hague parachute into a river the month before. 4-45 4-22-45 Gen Spaatz (commander of USSTAF) declares the strategic air war over19 3rd Army (Gen Patton) began sweeping down the Danube; 6th Army Group (Gen Devers) crossed the Danube, heading Southwest toward the Alpine Nazi Redoubt area (Bavaria). Heinrich Himmler sends surrender message to Churchill via Count Bernadotte of Sweden and SHAEF, in late April. The conditions were unacceptable to the Allies. 8th Air Force bombed the Nazi National Redoubt at Berchtesgaden. Mussolini captured and executed by Italian partisans, his body then publicly mutilated. All German forces in Italy surrender to Gen Sir Harold Alexander, to take effect May 2. Montgomery's forces cross the Elbe River. 7th Army's XV Corps captures Munich Hitler suicide in bunker at Reichschancellery, Berlin, Admiral Karl Dönitz taking command of German government. Truce with Allies in Holland arranged with Nazi High Commissioner there, Artur von Seyss-Inquart (who was hanged later at Nuremberg).
4-26-45 4-28-45 4-29-45 4-30-45
April 30, 1945. Woody returned from pass to Namur to find orders to transfer to the 387th Bomb Group (the “Tiger Stripes”) of the 98 th Wing at Maastricht, Holland. Checked out there as a 1st Pilot. 5-3-45 5-4-45 Innsbruck surrenders to 7th Army of 6th Army Group. Salzburg surrenders to 7th Army. At about that time the Nazis abandoned a 24-boxcar trainload of gold, jewelry, and art in a tunnel near Salzburg. The loot, stolen from Hungarian Jews, was worth $206 million then, but $1.9 billion in today’s dollars. It was then seized by U.S. troops and transported to
David R. Mets, Master of Airpower: General Carl A. Spaatz (Novato: Presidio Press, 1988),
various warehouses in Austria from where it all disappeared without a trace.20 7th Army's VI Corps 103rd Div met the 5 th Army's 88th Div on the Italian side of the Brenner Pass. All German forces (under Admiral Friedeburg) in NW Germany, Holland, and Denmark, surrender to Montgomery. German 1st , 18th & 19 th Armies (Army Group G and German Forces between Bohemian mountains and the Upper Inn River) surrender to Gen Devers at Haar (Baldham?), Bavaria, to take effect May 6.
May 5th, 1945. German northern army had capitulated and the Dutch were celebrating. One pack of cigarettes bought dinner and a hotel room for the night in Maastricht. 5-6-45 5-7-45 3rd Army's V Corps captures Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, and quickly links up with the Red Army.21 At SHAEF HQ, Reims, at 2:41 AM, Field Marshal Alfred Jodl (on behalf of Admiral Dönitz) signs unconditional surrender for all German forces, the surrender to take effect one hour before midnight of May 8, V-E Day
May 8, 1945. War over. Everyone celebrating. May 10, 1945. Perhaps too much celebrating caused Tiernan‟s pilot to buzz into the ground. May 20, 1945. 556 th BG. 1st Lt. George W. Patterson, 2 nd Lt. Robert W. Sibinski, and S/Sgt Harold V. Stafford crashed in a thunderstorm at Charleroi/ or near Junet, Belgium. Other crew members, T/Sgt Eldon Keys, Sgt Chester Bowser, and Cpl Leighton R. McKeen apparently survived because they were not on board. May 29, 1945. Woody now based at Meharicourt near Amiens, with the 556th BG.?? Mid-August 1945 (letter ref), flew to Liege, Belgium, and Maastrict, Holland.
Henry Weinstein, “Hungarians Sue U.S. Over Seized Holocaust Loot,” L.A. Times, 8 May 2001, A14, citing Kenneth D. Alford, The Spoils of World War II: The American Military’s Role in the Stealing of Europe’s Treasures (1994), who estimates those spoils at $1.9 billion in today‟s dollars. One is reminded of the movie “Kelly‟s Heroes” starring Clint Eastwood. 21 The 3rd Army - Red Army line of occupation ran from Karlsbad to Pilsen, then Budejovice to Linz rail line, and from there along the Enns River (Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, 418).
August 28, 1945 (letter), Woody‟s Bomber Group waiting in France for orders to shove off to assembly and staging areas for trip home. The B-26 Maurader was now obsolete, and there seemed little chance that Woody would be sent to the Pacific. However, one needed 85 points to go home by Christmas. So, even though the War was over, Woody kept up his flight pay and got additional points by flying a heavy schedule in the B-26s (“B-Dash-Crash”), into Austria, Germany, and Belgium, and making regular mail runs to Paris and back, and teaching, and taking PT to pass the time (at “Tiger Stripe University”) -- and going to the seaside BerckPlage resort for R&R occasionally. On one trip to England to drop off some “high point” guys, while landing, Woody came in too close to the plane just in front of his, got in the prop wash, and even passed that other plane on a runway just barely wide enough – barely missing an irrigation ditch along one side. Woody was planning to go to Ontario, California, on return to U.S.A. August/Sept 1945 (letter ref), crews flew their B-26s to a pasture near the Landsberg storage depot so they could be blown up and scrapped. 22 Later, he and another pilot dumped an L-5 Stinson Sentinel in a field at Goppingen, and then found their way back to Liege, Belgium, by catching a B-17 flight out of Frankfurt. 8-6-45 8-9-45 Hiroshima: around 92,000 killed by nuclear fission weapon dropped from a B-29.23 Nagasaki: around 40,000 killed by American fission weapon.24 Operation OLYMPIC (invasion of Japan) canceled due to forthcoming unconditional surrender of Japan. V-J Day: in Tokyo Bay, formal surrender of Japan to Allies under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.
September 1945 (letter ref), trip home on the Ile de France (again). November 11, 1945 (Armistice Day): Woody arrived in New York Harbor. Stayed temporarily at Camp Kilmer, again, and went with a Major from Palo Alto to see “Oklahoma” on Broadway. 1946 Began teaching again at Chaffey H.S., Ontario, California. Under the G.I. Bill, Woody obtained his counseling credential, administrative credential, and master‟s degree at the Claremont Graduate School. He stayed each summer vacation with his family at Yosemite, where he was a park ranger-naturalist.
See Maj. Gen. John O. Moench, Marauder Men (Longwood, Fla: Malia Enterprises, 1989). By 1986, related deaths had brought the total to 140,000. 24 Thirty years later this total is over 48,000.
In subsequent years, Woody became principal of Huntington Beach High School, from where he later retired. He is a member of the B-26 Marauder Historical Society, and currently lives in Ontario, California.
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