veterans day 2013 – thanks

Posted: November 11, 2013 in Personal, Truth and Grace
Tags: , , , ,

Thanks to my dads for serving our country. Only have a picture of J.K. Wakefield, European Theater, AAF WWII. M.H. Smith, Stateside, Ft. Sam Houston.

Pictures from Europe and Sheppard’s Field in TX

The following is a letter from D. Gwyther (USAF Ret.) recalling his experiences with the advance cadre of the 34th Bomber Squadron of the 17th Bomb Group in 1942.

“I cannot say I was a close friend of your father, but we shared an ungorgetable experience together. I was the Non-Commissioned officer, Tech Sergeant in charge of the Cadre [34 airmen, two lieutenants, a captain, and a major chaplin] that was formed to travel to England [via the Queen Mary] to ready an air terminal for the arrival of the 17th Bomb Group B-26 aircraft. To this day I am not sure if we were selected for our skills, or lack of skill, or as a decoy or maybe as a group like in the movie, Dirty Dozen. For whatever reason it was a rough tough bunch of GIs. On the Queen Mary there were nineteen thousand troops just for that one trip. Just out of Scotland the QM hit a cruiser, cutting it in half and we saw it sink. Four-hundred sailers went down with it. If the cruiser’s amo would have gone off it could have sunk the QM.

The two-and-one-half months we spend in England were not bad duty and we all learned how to drink our beer warm, dark or light, and by the pint. Many things happened during the time in England that we don’t tell much about.   From there we some how got orders to join the African invasion fleet and try to join up again with our aircraft somewhere in North Africa. We were loaded on a small, and I do mean small, very dirty and old English troop ship called HMS Derbyshire. The next twenty-some-odd days were as close to hell as I want to come. It was bad. Most everyone was sea sick, latrine ankle-deep in you-know-what, almost no food, but we were not allowed out of the locked hole. As NCOIC, keeping the men from killing each other, or me, was not easy and, like I said, I could have no friends. Don’t remember seeing an officer for the entire trip. We went in after the army secured the beach at Tunis, North Africa. Had a few sniper shots fired at us and bombs some distance from us, but we would have faced anything just to get off the HMS Derbyshire!   For the next week we stayed in a muddy, plowed field in the rain with no fires or lights allowed. We did get some English rations–kidney beans and tea–cold. For the next three weeks we criss-crossed North Africa in the little box cars called “40 and 8s”. Forty men and eight horses. We didn’t have the horses, but they might have been better than some of the men. I won’t go into the things that happened during the train rides. That is another story too long to write about. One thing for sure, the time your dad and I spent together was a heck of a ride.”

Sheppard Field, TX; Barksdale Field, LA, 24 Jun-18 Nov 1942; Telergma, Algeria, 23 Dec 1942; Sedrata, Algeria, c. 13 May 1943; Djedeida, Tunisia, 25 Jun 1943; Villacidro, Sardinia, c. 6 Dec 1943; Poretta, Corsica, 21 Sep 1944; Dijon, France, 20 Nov 1944.


John Wakefield Europe 1944 John Wakefield - mechanic training Sheppard Field 1942 Air Corp Tech School graduation - Sheppard Field - May 1942 Airplane inspection - Sheppard Field 1942 Between Classes - Sheppard Field 1942 Classroom at sheppard field 1942 Col E.C. Black - Cammandant Sheppard Field 1942 Final airplane inspection Sheppard Field 1942 Instruction - Sheppard Field 1942 Instruction at Sheppard Field 1942 Instructional building - Sheppard Field 1942 Motor Pool - Sheppard Field 1942 Non-Com Officers Club Wichita Falls 1942 Review at Sheppard field 1942 Review Sheppard Field 1942 Sheppard Field Student Hanger 1942 Sheppard Field Tech School Hangar 1942 Student hangers - Sheppard Field 1942 Student mechanics - Sheppard Field 1942
34th medium bomb squadron17 bombardment group

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