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The Bluffton news. [volume] (Bluffton, Ohio) 1875-current, August 10, 1944, Image 7

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“So the Major started out then on
trying to find this Cloncurry—you fly
so many minutes north, and then
east, and then south, and then west,
and then, lengthening your time,
north again, and so on. We kept
this up for quite a while, but no
Cloncurry, and our gas was running
out. I’ll say this, though, the Major
sure wasn’t running short of advice.
What with his cockpit full of air gen
erals of all nations, he had plenty of
that, and every different kind you
can imagine—they all knew just
what to do.
“They were all looking pretty wor
ried by now, except the Swoose
crew. One particular high officer
was really carrying the ball here,
only he couldn’t worry so well sit
ting down, so he’d pace back and
forth from the cabin up to the cock
pit, asking Frank did he think he
had enough gas, and why did he
think so, and how could he be sure?
“The trouble was, every time he
paced from the nose of the plane
back to the tail, it would throw the
plane out of balance, and Frank
here would have to trim ship, in
addition to all the questions he was
answering. I guess this pacer had
never thought of that.
“By this time Frank had decided
the only thing to do was to make
a forced landing, so he was leaning
over the side trying to pick a spot.”
“We have a saying in the Air
Corps that any forced landing you
can walk away from is a good one,”
said Frank, “and yet with all this
rank aboard I knew if I spilled them
all over Central Australia, there
would be hell to pay. I wanted to
make it as easy as possible. None
of that country looked any too good,
but we finally spotted a couple of
white houses where we thought there
might be some help in case we
cracked up badly and yet some wen
still alive. So I dropped down to
what was the most likely place near
them and dragged it a couple of
times—flew over low, circled to
come back and buzz again, looking
for gullies I mightn’t have seen
from upstairs. The sun was very
low, and we wanted to get it over
with (whatever it was going to be)
while it was still light.”
“With all of those guys yammer
ing at you, telling you what to do,”
said Red, “and this guy pacing. Only
for a while he stopped, but just for
a minute, while he was putting on a
parachute. Why, I wouldn’t quite
know. Because we were down to
500 feet, and if he did jump of course
it would never have time to crack.
But I didn’t say a word, because
buckling himself in was keeping him
quiet. Only right away he starts
this pacing again, with the poor Ma
jor trying to nose her down for a
crash landing, and he tells me to
tell them all to get back in the tail
so it will act as a brake, only this
guy starts pacing again.
“Now I was getting the jumps,
for even if the Major is the best pi
lot in the business, a crash landing
is no joke, even for old-timers. So
I grabs this pacing guy and ‘Now
look,’ I says to him. ‘You may car
ry plenty of rank on your shoulders,
but to this pilot you’re just two hun
dred pounds of ballast. So now you
quit shifting around—you get on
back there and sit down.’ And I
herded him back to the very tip end
of the plane, and pushed him down,
parachute and all, on that little seat.
You’ve probably been wondering all
along, just where this little seat is,
on a bomber. Well, it’s juc* where
it would be any place else—even on
a farm—all you do is follow the
clothes line, back down to the end
of the grape arbor, and there she
“Well, I pushed him down on the
seat, and in about a minute there
was quite a bump, but still it was a
perfect three-point landing. In four
seconds the Major had her rolling
smooth. The ground was soft.
Twenty-five tons is a lot of bomb
er, and her wheels began to sink in
—about six inches. But the Major
could sense this, so he gave gas to
all Jour engines to keep, her rolling.
To his considerable amazement and
perturbation, Wilbert Winkle, a timid
little man afraid of guns or violence of any sort, finds
himself a soldier sent overseas to fight.
There are many stories about the war, but none
presents such a character as Mr. Winkle, 44-year-old
draftee, a loyal American and a hero in spite of him
self. Don't miss this absorbing new serial.
©.WHIT* W.N.U.FtATUftlf
and taxied her up to high ground
hard enough to hold her up.
“We got out. Pretty soon Aus
tralian ranchers begin crawling out
of holes in the ground—I don’t know
where else they came from—and
right away Lieutenant Commander
Johnson gets busy. He begins to
get acquainted. They tell him where
we are and some of them go off to
get a truck to take us into town
where we can telephone, and more
keep coming, and Johnson is shak
ing hands all around, and he comes
back and tells us these are real
folks—the best darn folks in the
world, except maybe the folks in his
own Texas. Pretty soon he knows
all their first names, and they’re
telling him why there ought to be a
high tariff on wool, and there’s no
question he swung that county for
Johnson before we left. He was in
his element. I know he sure swung
the Swoose crew. He can carry
that precinct any day.”
“Listening to him made us all
homesick,” said Frank, “so I sup
pose it was a good thing we got
suddenly ordered back to the States
at the end of the month. In a curi
ous way I was ready now to come.
I’d turned it down before, because
after we were thrown out of Java
we all had that sick feeling—trying
to hold onto something that was
slipping away in spite of everything
you did. You couldn’t walk put
feeling things might suddenly cave
in again.
“But now it was different. In
Australia and that island chain
above we were getting firmly set,
the way we should have been in the
Philippines and Java, and didn’t
have time.
“But we’d had it now, and knew
how to use it. Best of all, we were
finally getting some fighting equip
ment, not just production figures.
So even though we were soaking up
plenty of heavy punches in the is
land chain, we were sure now we
could at least hold them. But as
yet I hadn’t dared hope for much
“Only now I come to the thing
which at last changed that, because
I had to see it before I could believe
“It happened out on that long
trans-Pacific trail where we’ve al
most worn ruts in the sky between
the States and Australia. It was
like this. We were letting down for
one of the island steppingstones
which, according to Harry’s naviga
tion, should be somewhere ahead of
us. It was very early in the morn
ing. Harry’s the best navigator in
the business, and he had said we
should be in there six’"hours from
the time we left the last island.
But of course his figures could be
a little out, or maybe the wind drift
would change—you never know. The
Pacific is too big a place to take
chances in, as Eddie Rickenbacker’s
party found out. So after we’d been
out five hours we got the island on
the radio, and asked them to give
us searchlights, just so we wouldn't
miss their little pinpoint in the
“We’d flown without change of
course for five hours. Now Harry
took his final shots and we started
down the line to that island. Harry
had said six hours—it took us just
five hours and fifty-seven minutes.
The island was an atoll around a
shallow basin where Navy PBY fly
ing boats could light. The atoll is
two feet above high tide at its high
point. On one side are labor con
struction tents, a cantonment build
ing for the tiny garrison, ack-ack,
searchlights, and even a tiny movie
theater. On the other side is the
landing strip. I’ll swear Harry must
have navigated not for the island,
but for that landing strip itself. For
without change of course, all we
have to do is let our wheels down.
Some day I w'ant Eddie Kickenback
er to meet Harry.
“As we’ climbed out of the Swoose,
the island garrison asked us, very
excited, ‘Did you see anything?’
When we said we hadn’t, they went
off by themselves, whispering. I
wanted to know what was up, so I
asked _their Colonel. Told him we
were on an important mission our
selves—had a top-ranker aboard—
and what did he expect here at this
‘Trouble,’ he said. Looking at
his little setup, I couldn’t help think
ing of those poor guys who were
overwhelmed on Wake Island. Eut
the Colonel wasn’t sure what kind of
trouble was coming He only knew
orders had mysteriously come put
ting the Navy patrol planes on
extra-long hours, doubling shifts.
Somewhere, somebody was certain
ly on the lookout for something, and
those poor devils had to sit on that
atoll and guess what it might be.
“It didn’t smell good. We gassed
up and got out forty-five minutes lat
er, just as it was cracking dawn.
By now, the equatorial front had
dissolved into a spotted ceiling. I
suppose we’d been going an hour
when, through a hole in this ceiling,
out suddenly popped four or five
ships down on the wrinkled sea. But
I could only look at one of them.
“Now you think you’re a man,
with everything under control, yet
I’m telling you I reacted to this one
the wray a fox terrier does to a rat.
Because it was a whopping aircraft
carrier! And after Java and the
Philippines, say ‘carrier’ to a pilot,
and he steadies everything for his
bomb run, tense as a violin string,
hoping his bombardier has the hair
lines of his bomb sight crossed on
its flight deck just over the engine
room. It’s like a bird dog pointing
quail, with his tail tip quivering.
Only, after half a second, I’m a
man again and can think, can re­
Now, over the interphones, comes
a shout. They’ve spotted another
member we haven’t any bombs
swinging on their shackles in our
bomb bays—nothing we can drop on
this beautiful target but the high
ranking passenger who is riding with
“Then comes reaction number
two. No bombs, but what about the
carrier’s covering fighters? You talk
about a mother tiger fighting for her
young—that’s nothing to the way a
patrolling carrier fighter will defend
its mother ship. Because every car
rier-based fighter knows that once
his carrier is hit and the waves be
gin to sweep over that long flight
deck, and one end of her hoists up in
the air, then he’s out in the big sky
by his lonesome—no pontoons, noth
ing to do but sink into the sea when
his tanks are dry. Those Zeros will
come screaming in to hit me from
almost any cloud. Since I can’t
make a bomb run, I must get away
“But now, over the interphones,
comes a shout—they’ve spotted an
other carrier. I look and see it too.
Then another! And now—my God, it
can’t be, but it is—four! It makes us
frantic we haven’t got something to
plunk through those smooth flight
decks into their engine rooms, and
maybe blow a few square yards out
of the bottom of their hulls!
“Only we now grow cold, because
W’here are the escorting fighters? We
can’t speed up, because they should
be up ahead, but they might show
up any place—come leaping up at
us out of this fleecy blanket of over
cast like dolphins jumping through
the foam.
“Down there are not only four
carriers but a gang of other stuff—
a fog of destroyers, at least fifteen
cruisers, and one thundering big bat
tleship. Only as a bomber pilot I’m
fixed on those carriers, enormous
brutes. Too enormous. Say, what’s
going on? Because Jap carriers are
little devils—you can hardly pack
forty planes into them, while these
might hold double that, like our best
ones. Now wait. Maybe we’re too
low and these just look big, but
no—I glance at the altimeter and
we’re at 7,500.
“So they’re ours! This big parade
of surface strength is us Ameri
cans! I change course just the same
—30 degrees, swinging wide of this
big naval parade, because we can
take no chances on their air patrol.
Even an American carrier fighter,
when he sees a bomber over his
mother ship, should shoot first and
ask questions later. We don’t want
to tangle with Grummans.
“We swing out wide and away,
but with what a different feeling!
Because it’s our own boys down
there on that big gang of ships! At
last, even after Pear] Harbor, we
can hold up our heads in these Pa
cific waters! We’d stopped them in
the air, holding them back to Timor
and Lae, and at last I can see we’re
beginning to sweep them off the
top of the waters. A long job, but
we’ve begun it!
“Well, I guess that’s about all,
except on our homeward trip, we
cracked the trans-Pacific record
wide open. The old Swoose, with
her war-worn motors, made it from
Brisbane to San Francisco in thirty
six hours ten minutes flying time,
the only one of the original 35 on
Clark Field to see home again.
“Then there was our last night
flight in. Clear, so the stars were
out, even down to the horizon. And
calm, so I could put the Swoose on
automatic pilot and sit there half
dozing, thinking about all those
months. Mostly about my trip out,
in Old 99 and with my other crew.
And the way old Tex used to sit
beside me, slumped in his seat.
You'd think that happy-go-lucky kid
was asleep, and yet somehow he al
ways kept an eye cocked on the in
strument panel and the horizon, so
if anything started to go even a lit
tle funny, Tex would snap up, quick
as a fox terrier pup, bless him. And
so much had happened since then—
two wars, really three. And then I
thought of that sprawling line of
my crew on Clark Field. And of
Old 99, so crumpled, sagging on
the ground. But something had
somehow happened to wipe that out.
Because at times like these, half
dozing, it seemed like I was back
with the old gang again, who had
brought me safe out East and now
were bringing me home again. Ev
erything easy and comfortable old
Tex beside me, and Sergeant Bur
gess probably catching a few winks
on the bunk in the cabin, and all I
had to do was sit here and follow
those tw’o wing lights, so steady
ahead in the dark, those unwavering
wing lights which would lead me
safely back. On calm nights like
this, in formation, there’s little fly
ing to do those wing lights ahead
seem to pull you home.
“I guess I must have been doz
ing, because a little motor undula
tion aroused me, and I realized of
course there was no plane ahead—
never had been one. It had only
been two blue stars which are close
together in the eastern sky, and the
Swoose was alone, over the Pacific.
Yet somehow I didn’t feel alone.
And Old 99 didn’t feel far away.”
“When they said long distance
was calling from San Francisco, of
course that didn’t mean anything to
me,” said Margo. “With two broth
ers In the Air Corps, one in bom
bardment and one in pursuit, it
might be either one. Then I heard
Frank’s own voice saying ‘Margo?*
Because I hadn’t heard any over
seas operators, or any censor click
ing in, I knew he must be here in
the States. For the first time I could
cry on the phone It’s nice to
be strong, but so much more fun to
let dowm when you can, and I did.”
News Notes From
Four Counties
(Continued from page) 6
War Department stating that their
son, Pfc. Gail V. Aerni, was wound
ed seriously in action June 29 in
Myitkyina, Burma. In a recent let
ter from their son he said his
injuries were in his right leg and
left arm and that he was in a
cast. Pfc. Aerni served in the
infantry and went overseas in
Learn Ottawa Man
Killed In France
Serg. Thomas Henry Rieman, 32,
son of William J. Rieman, Ottawa,
was killed in action in France June
17, the War Department reported.
In service since January, 1942, he
has been overseas since October,
1943. Sergeant Rieman was a
native of Dearborn, Mich. He lived
most of his life in Glandorf, near
Mail Premium Lists
For Putnam Fair
Premium lists for the 1944
Putnam-co fair were mailed by the
board of directors of the Putnam
co Agriculture society. The event
will take place here Oct. 3-7.
Carrying only minor changes, the
lists show the change made during
the last year on the board of
directors with N. H. Whitis being
succeed in Perry-co by W. S.
Myers of Dupont. Myers also re
placed Whitis as superintendent of
the junior fair department.
All servicemen in uniform will be
admitted free thruout the fair, it is
noted. School children in the ele
mentary grades will be admitted
free on Thursday, Oct. 5.
$195,000 Tax Collected
In Putnam
Putnam-co property owners paid
more than $195,000 in real estate
taxes for the second half of 1943,
it was reported by County Treasur
er Arnold Lauer after he closed the
This total along with $215,000
collected for the first half of the
duplicate gave the county a total
1943 collection of $410,000, Lauer
Delinquent taxes in Putnam-co
have been pared to less than $18,
000 with county officials planning to
offer at public auction most of the
property on which this delinquency
exists, the treasurer stated.
Operates every week from
Tuesday to Friday until
further notice
They were umbrellas you saw on
the street last Saturday very
rare and used commonly back in
the days when we had rains
’s fact, they were almost forgotten
—hadn’t been used for six weeks ..
and the smart boys told us last sum
mer that it’s always wet weather in
war time they’ll never get away
with that again Supt. Lanham
here taking over his new duties as
head of the schools—and looking
for a house—says he may have to
live in a tent and if you’re
renting you’ll never know what
morning you will wake up and find
the house has been sold—and then
you’ll buy another house right out
from under someone else there’s
a vicious circle for you—meanwhile
property prices skyrocket and rent
ceilings don’t mean anything
and the Lions club getting ready
with hammers and paint brushes to
tidy up the Buckeye next Tuesday
night and then there’s that
little matter of $2 for garbage col
lection—don’t forget to pay this
week or else Lee Coon will forget
to empty your garbage pail next
Monday morning—and that’s bad in
hot weather new telephone
directories out and Eli Deppler says
the old ones should go into the
waste paper collection.
Wartime travel is not for the
Great Lakes
faint-hearted as Pvt. Dick Davies
learned last week when he came
from Camp Kohler, California to
spend a furlough with his wife, the
former Vernice McElroy and little
son Morgan. The train was crowd
ed, so Dick stood from Sacramento,
Calif., to Cheyenne, Wyoming. And
the short stops which the train made
enroute often proved too short to
obtain a quick lunch at crowded
railroad station restaurants—so Dick
went on an enforced fast from
Thursday night until he arrived in
Lima, Friday evening.
And speaking of crowded railroad
stations, they’re the crossroads of
the world nowadays where all the
great, near-great and would-be great
are seen. Among the great was the
diminutive motion picture star,
Mickey Rooney, seen in the railroad
station at Los Angeles by Pvt.
Kenneth Hartman, son of Mrs. Mild
red Oberly’ of Bluffton! Hartman
and a group of buddies were stretch
ing their legs when their troop train
made a short stop at the station
when they spied Rooney. Hartman
says his group had no difficulty in
recognizing the film celebrity, altho
he was not as tall as they had anti
Rain that falls on both the just
and the unjust did a selective job
over the week end when some areas
received several good rains—Pandora
got downpours on Friday and Satur
day—others had one rain—Bluffton
had a heavy’ one on Saturday—and
others, Orange township in particu
lar, got none.
The War Department and Navy are pressing us hard for maximum
production of tires, tubes, life belts, landing boats and pontoons.
Experience Not Necessary—Paid While You Learn
Time and Half After 40 Hours
As our production is essential war work we invite
who are not now in essential war work
All applicants must comply with W. M. C.
stabilization program.
All Hiring Done Through the
United States Employment Service
216 South Main St., Findlay, Ohio
Scarcity of feed and resulting
high prices are being reflected in
prices for riding horses which have
slumped generally. Gas rationing
together with abundant feed crops
of a year ago stimulated a demand
for riding horses and prices rose
accordingly. This summer, accord
ing to reports from informed sources
prices are roughly about half what
they were at the peak.
Every’ cloud has a silver lining—
and Bluffton area fishermen are find
ing that out Came the drought
and nightcrawlers disappeared and
with that vanished a lot of choice
bait. But with the disappearance of
nightcrawlers came the corn borer—
than which there is none whicher
when it comes to bait, especially' for
bluegills. Some oldtime anglers say
corn borers are the best bluegill
bait they ever used.
Rev. W. H. Lahr, living on Har
mon road former pastor of the St.
John’s and Emmanuel’s Reformed
churches here is technically’ a retired
minister, but in these days of man
power shortages, he is frequently
more busy’ than when he was serving
regular pastorates which he (lid for
fifty-one years. Last Sunday’ morn
ing the Bluffton minister preached
at Calvary Reformed church in Lima
and officiated at a funeral service
in Ada in the afternoon.
Sorry’ folks, there will not be a
snake exhibit in the News window
on Saturday night. Charles Tripple
horn, who specializes in all kinds of
reptiles says he is making arrange
ments by which he hopes to have an
exhibit of copperheads and rattle
snakes within the next few weeks.
The snakes previously exhibited
have been non-poisonous ranging
from garter snakes to blue racers
and have attracted much attention
from Saturday night crowds. The
coming exhibit of venomous species
should be a major drawing card for
the public which has displayed an
unusual interest in snakes.
Some of those on the shady’ side
of fifty who recall struggling thru
the mazes of Park’s grammar back
in the 8th grade school days will be
interested to know that Mrs. J. G.
Park, widow of the author of the
book was honored Tuesday’ night as
an active member of Pleasant Hill
grange near Ada for seventy’ years.
State Grange Master, Joseph Fichter
presented Mrs. Park with a jeweled
pin symbolic of her 70 y’ears of
grange membership. Her husband
was a professor of English in the
early’ days of Ohio Northern at Ada,
known then as the Ohio Normal
school and his textbook on grammar
was used for many years in the
Bluffton schools. Mrs. Park was
graduated from Ohio Northern in
the class of 1900, specializing in
fine arts and several of her pictures
were on exhibit at the Columbian
exposition at Chicago in 1898. The
affair Tuesday night was held at
Huntersville church near the grange
hall. As far as known, Mrs. Park
is the only granger in the country
News Want-Ads Bring Results.
D. C. BIXEL, O. D.
122 South Main St., Bluffton
Office Hour*: 9:00 A. M5:S0 P. M.
Evenings: Mon., Wed.. Fri., Sat. 7:00
to 8:00 P. M. Closed Thursday Afternoon.

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