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To: Prodigal Son
My Dad was an aircraft mechanic and a civilian crew chief at McClellan Army Air Base during WWII. He is mentioned in the book "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" as the unnamed crew chief who the book's author, Capt. Ted Lawson, was mad at because he was revving the engines of the Ruptured Duck beyond specs while it was chocked and chained down and the props were kicking up sand and rocks that were hitting the fuselage. It was my Dad's crew's job to tune those engines to get 110% efficiency so they could make it to Tokyo and beyond. Dad's crew also worked on the Enola Gay.

A few years later, a co-worker with my Dad, one of his crew of mechanics, boarded the chase plane that had followed the Enola Gay over Hiroshima. That plane, intending to photograph the bomb damage, accidentally flew through the edge of the cloud of fallout from the bomb. While on board, my Dad's friend got some oil on his hands and picked up a rag on the plane and wiped his hands. Around 20 years later, he started developing tumors on his hands. He reported them to his supervisor after the doctor diagnosed them, and he was medically retired with full pay by that afternoon.

This guy lived about five doors down from where my Mom still lives. He lived to a ripe old age, in fact outlived my Dad who died at 85, but his hands kept producing tumors that had to be cut off. He also had extremely sensitive skin and they were easily damaged by even the lightest touch.

Radiation is nothing to play with... or to wipe one's hands with.

16 posted on 07/26/2009 12:58:54 AM PDT by Swordmaker (remember, the proper pronunciation of IE is "AAAAIIIIIEEEEEEE!)
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To: Swordmaker

Thanks for that post, I remember the first time I read the book ‘Thirty Seconds over Tokyo’, it was a wartime edition with many of the names of the Chinese who helped our air crews escape from the Japs blanked out, likewise for many of the small villages where they traveled, and I remember that part about the crew chief revving the engines of the Ruptured Duck in a manner displeasing to Captain Lawson, lol (not funny at the time, but funny in retrospect now)

One of my great uncles was a welder in the Kaiser shipyards in California during WWII and as the story goes, he and other welders were approached and asked if they would volunteer for a secret welding job, they agreed, were given background checks, sworn to secrecy and then put on a bus with blacked out windows and driven for what seemed like an eternity to a place where they disembarked and told that they would be building a radio transmission tower out in the middle of nowhere (a desert), they built the tower, got triple wages for it in cash, and were driven back to California and told to never speak of it.

Years after the War ended, my uncle saw a picture of that radio tower in a copy of Life Magazine, and that’s when he realized that he had actually helped build the tower from which the Trinity device was detonated.

He only acknowledged it to family members, who mostly kept it to themselves over the years, never looked to cash in on it, or get a book deal, or be ‘famous’ on TV, he was just proud to have been part of it, and was grateful for having been generously compensated for his skills.


32 posted on 07/26/2009 6:02:59 AM PDT by mkjessup (Jimmy Carter is the Skidmark in the panties of American history, 0bama is the yellow stain in front.)
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