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The FReeper Foxhole Remembers Charles W. Anderson and the 15th Air Force - Oct. 8th, 2003
http://www2.gvsu.edu/~vandelej/part1.html ^ | Leslie VanderMeulen

Posted on 10/07/2003 11:59:56 PM PDT by SAMWolf



Lord,

Keep our Troops forever in Your care

Give them victory over the enemy...

Grant them a safe and swift return...

Bless those who mourn the lost.
.

FReepers from the Foxhole join in prayer
for all those serving their country at this time.


...................................................................................... ...........................................

U.S. Military History, Current Events and Veterans Issues

Where Duty, Honor and Country
are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.

Our Mission:

The FReeper Foxhole is dedicated to Veterans of our Nation's military forces and to others who are affected in their relationships with Veterans.

Welcome to "Warrior Wednesday"

Where the Freeper Foxhole introduces a different veteran each Wednesday. The "ordinary" Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine who participated in the events in our Country's history. We hope to present events as seen through their eyes. To give you a glimpse into the life of those who sacrificed for all of us - Our Veterans.

To read previous Foxhole threads or
to add the Foxhole to your sidebar,
click on the books below.

My Grandfather's Story
by Leslie VanderMeulen


Leslie VanderMeulen is a student at Grand Valley State University. For a semester project, she chose to research her grandfather's military career.

Charles Waldo Anderson, my grandfather, served in World War II, a war that altered his life forever. I have never had the privilege of meeting this man, but have been told his story many times. Gentle, shy, intelligent, fun loving, easy-going, a good sense of humor are words and phrases that characterized my grandfather’s personality before the war. Unfortunately, his experiences during the war had lasting effects, and after returning home he was not the same. I am not at all surprised that he changed in light of his time in war; many men with many different stories changed after they faced war.


Charles Anderson served as a tail gunner in the 15th Army Air Force, 463rd Bomb Group, 772nd Bomb Squadron during World War II. On February 13, 1945 his plane was shot down, and he spent the rest of the war as a POW in several camps.


A young Charles planned to enlist in the Army on a Monday in 1942. It is fortunate that he wanted to join, because he received enlistment papers before he went down to sign up. He departed for St. Louis, Missouri, only twenty-one and recently married. For six months he went through basic training in St. Louis, then (in February 1943) he went to Las Vegas, Nevada for gunnery training. In May of that year he joined his flight crew and departed for Sioux City, Iowa where they underwent combat training. After graduating from combat training, his flight crew picked up their plane in Nebraska and proceeded to their final destination: Foggia, Italy, which remained their home for the duration of the war.



In Foggia, and anywhere troops are stationed during wartime, the soldiers lived in humble quarters, to say the least. All soldiers of every rank slept in tents on the ground at camp. However, my grandfather’s crew used their ingenuity and made their stay as comfortable as possible. One night they took the rations of whiskey, which they received periodically, into town where they sold it and bought basic building supplies. When they returned to camp they built a small house, and when everyone woke up in the morning, they saw this little building in the middle of camp. Simply built of brick with a roof on top, it was a humble house. Nevertheless, my grandfather and his crew had the best sleeping quarters of any of the soldiers.


Camp in Foggia, Italy.


Though the crews tried to make the best out of life in the camp, wartime certainly did not consist of fun and games. My grandfather’s flight crew performed many missions during their time in Foggia. The crew was part of the15th Army Air Corps, specifically in the 463rd Bomb Group, 772nd Bomb Squadron, where my grandfather did his job as a tail gunner on their B-17. A tail gunner’s job is to shoot from the rear of the plane. Their final mission took place on February 13, 1945. This mission included bombing Vienna, Austria, and proved to be quite unsuccessful. The plane received a shot in the fourth engine, causing the third engine to catch on fire. This sent the plane crashing down in flames, and the entire crew bailed out at 15,000 feet. The report sent to my grandmother regarding the crash stated “plane sighted going down in flames – no parachutes sighted”.



My grandfather experienced a stroke of luck that day which saved his life. After he bailed out of the plane he landed in a tree, while his crewmembers landed on the ground. When Viennese civilians found six of the crew members, my grandfather watched them lynch his friends right there. The civilians took this action because German soldiers had convinced them that the Air Corps planned to bomb their villages and homes, thus they were very angry at these soldiers. German soldiers did find my grandfather’s extra pair of shoes that had fallen off his belt when they went to look for survivors. However, seeing no footprints in the snow, they concluded that this man must be dead. Lucky for my grandfather, they did not look up to see him sitting there in a bare tree.


Tail Gunner position on a B-17


In a report taken after the war, my grandfather stated that he evaded capture for three days, but a farmer turned him in, and he was then taken to Weiner Neustadt Airfield, Austria. Held there from February 16 to March 5, he then encountered interrogation for two days (March 8-10). After the interrogation, he was transported to three more camps. From March 12 through 16 he stayed at Dulagluft, March 18 through April 4 held at Nuremberg, and from April 4 to 29 at Moosburg.

My grandfather never spoke to his children about the treatment at the camps. All that he did say is that they were given very little to eat, so that they would be too weak to fight back. Most imprisoned soldiers involuntarily participated in prison detail, which consisted of any hard labor that could be found to keep the prisoners occupied. Most of this work done outside the camps, thus the Army Air Corps could not participate. Airmen could not perform prison detail because of the angry civilians, who attempted to harm them. If the men in the Air Corps attempted to work outside the prison, civilians tried to throw stones and such at them.



Civilians also abused soldiers during their marches between camps by throwing stones and rocks at them. The walked to and from camps or railcars must have been terrifying. Not only targeted by civilians, my grandfather and fellow soldiers incurred bombing by their own men in a few instances. While on a 100-mile march to Munich, they feared for their lives as their own planes dropped bombs on them. The soldiers faced more bombing by American planes when held locked in boxcars for three days in the Nuremberg Rail Yards. In this situation, the men stood cramped in the small cars with no room to sit, no food, water, or sanitation. The soldiers probably faced more danger between camps, whether walking or on trains, than actually in the camps.

The treatment that my grandfather and his fellow prisoners received was certainly inhumane. The situation did improve in a few instances, however, and that is how they knew the end of the war neared. Food rations increased, and the prisoners began to receive better treatment from the guards. The prisons also removed some guards from their posts who previously mistreated prisoners. This occurred because when the war ended and U.S. troops came in, they asked the soldiers who had mistreated them. These guards got taken out and immediately shot.


Charles W. Anderson


Luckily for my grandfather, his plane was shot down towards the end of the war, therefore was only held as a prisoner of war for a short time. After the war ended, he headed for Camp Lucky Strike in France, where he would be sent to London, and then home. However, he caught the mumps in France, hence he was detained in the hospital for three weeks. By the time he was on the way home, my grandmother finally received word that he had been accounted for. On July 11, 1945 he returned home for good.



Honorably discharged from the Army on September 25, 1945, my grandfather received several medals including a Prisoner of War Medal, an American Campaign Medal, a World War II Victory Medal, and a Purple Heart. Hearing all of this, I wonder how he felt about his experience in the war and how it ended. Since he rarely talked to his kids about it, all I can guess from is the ways in which his personality changed after he returned. Instead of easy-going and gentle, he became a man with an unpredictable temper, not much respect for authority, and a bitterness about him. Obviously this change stemmed from his time during the war, perhaps as a result of seeing and enduring too much in not very many years.



TOPICS: VetsCoR
KEYWORDS: 15thairforce; b17; charlesanderson; freeperfoxhole; italy; pow; veterans; warriorwednesday; wwii
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To: w_over_w
Good morning w/w. I remember that show.

It's where I first understood what it meant to say a certain position was at 12 o'clock high or at 3 o'clock, etc.
51 posted on 10/08/2003 9:17:04 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; Valin
Forgive me if this has already been posted. My daughter sent this to me this morning.

At Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC recently, the Sergeant Major of the Army, Jack Tilley, was with a group of people visiting the wounded soldiers. He saw a Special Forces soldier who had lost his right hand and suffered severe wounds of his face and side of his body.

The Sergeant Major wanted to honor him and show him respect without offending, but what can you say or do in such a situation that will encourage and uplift? How do you shake the right hand of a soldier who has none?

He decided to act as though the hand was not missing and gripped the soldier's wrist while speaking words of comfort and encouragement to him.

But there was another man in that group of visitors who had even brought his wife with him to visit the wounded who knew exactly what to do.

This man reverently took the soldiers stump of a hand in both of his hands, bowed at the bedside and prayed! for him. When he finished the prayer he stood up, bent over the soldier and kissed him on the head and told him that he loved him. What a powerful expression of love for one of our wounded heroes! And, what a beautiful Christ-like example!

What kind of a man would do such a thing? It was the wounded man's Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush, President of the United States.

This story was told by the Sergeant Major at a Soldiers Breakfast held at Redstone Arsenal, AL, and recorded by Chaplain James Henderson, stationed there.
52 posted on 10/08/2003 9:31:45 AM PDT by bedolido (I can forgive you for killing my sons, but I cannot forgive you for forcing me to kill your sons)
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To: Skylight
What a powerful expression of love for one of our wounded heroes! And, what a beautiful Christ-like example!

H.U.A.!

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

~I Cor. 15:58

53 posted on 10/08/2003 9:44:04 AM PDT by w_over_w (Today is the first day that Grayout Davis begins to disappear like a fart in the wind.)
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To: Skylight
Thank you skylight, I just realized I promised to update the ping list with your new name and didn't. I'm going to do it right now. Sorry.
54 posted on 10/08/2003 10:03:51 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: w_over_w
Hi w_over_w.

12 O'clock High - Good Flick. You want to see a heartbreaker see if you can find "All the Fine Young Men" a Discovery Channel documentary about the B-17 and the 8th Air Force.
55 posted on 10/08/2003 10:05:55 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf
The air force lost 229,544 aircraft from July 1940 through August 1945, while 52,173 of the 115,382 men injured in combat died.

What a sacrifice.

The 15th Air Force was the outfit Ambrose wrote about in "The Wild Blue" as I recall. The Eighth Air Force, based in Britain, seems to have hogged most of the press.

Twelve O'Clock High is an outstanding movie. At one time it was shown to students at the Harvard Business School regarding effective leadership and management techniques.

56 posted on 10/08/2003 10:06:05 AM PDT by colorado tanker (Oddball: "A . . . tank can give you an . . . edge.")
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To: Valin
That's the story I heard too.
57 posted on 10/08/2003 10:06:38 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: Skylight
Oh, that story brought a tear to my eye. That the Dims aim such vitriol at such a good and decent man sure speaks volumes about the kind of men they are.
58 posted on 10/08/2003 10:07:38 AM PDT by colorado tanker (Oddball: "A . . . tank can give you an . . . edge.")
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To: Valin
Can you imagine having to kneel for the better part of 12 to 13 hours of a mission? Only thing worse is being crammed into a Ball Turret
59 posted on 10/08/2003 10:07:57 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: SAMWolf
I rented Band of Brothers last weekend. Amazing and moving stories based on actual events.
60 posted on 10/08/2003 10:09:39 AM PDT by bedolido (I can forgive you for killing my sons, but I cannot forgive you for forcing me to kill your sons)
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To: Skylight
Hawaii! Good time of year to be there.

I'd love to see Pearl Harbor. Never made it to Hawaii except as a refueling stop.

Enjoy yourself and have happy birthday to the granddaughter!
61 posted on 10/08/2003 10:10:20 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: Samwise
Unfortunately she didn't say what her grade was.
62 posted on 10/08/2003 10:14:35 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: Samwise
Congrats to SamWise, Jr. Nice to see some kids are learning what's really important.
63 posted on 10/08/2003 10:16:21 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: Skylight
Thanks skylight. Great story, how different the current CIC is compared to the last one.
64 posted on 10/08/2003 10:17:36 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: colorado tanker
Yep. The 8th got all the press, the American people always treated the Med as a "secondary front". A discredit to the men who served there.
65 posted on 10/08/2003 10:19:43 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: Skylight
I got the set for Christmas. It's a great series. The book is excellent too.
66 posted on 10/08/2003 10:20:50 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: SAMWolf
One of my favorite movies is "Battle of Britain". I have read many books on the battle and watched the english film version of the story. Amazing air battles of strength and endurance against overwheming odds. The Germans were also brave and fought well. The English were blessed (and lucky) because the German leadership were fools. If they had let real airman wage the war the outcome would have been different. God most assuredly, blessed the British.


67 posted on 10/08/2003 10:22:07 AM PDT by bedolido (I can forgive you for killing my sons, but I cannot forgive you for forcing me to kill your sons)
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To: SAMWolf
Another great presentation today, SAM. Thanks
68 posted on 10/08/2003 10:53:56 AM PDT by Diver Dave
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To: Skylight
Beautiful story.
69 posted on 10/08/2003 11:08:39 AM PDT by Samwise (There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.)
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To: snippy_about_it
You can brag about her any day here at the Foxhole.

Thanks. If I ever go overboard, just smack me. ;^)

70 posted on 10/08/2003 11:10:14 AM PDT by Samwise (There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.)
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To: Diver Dave
Thanks DD.

It was good to see a granddaughter take the time to learn about her grandfather and make theeffort to dothe tribute.
71 posted on 10/08/2003 11:17:58 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: Skylight
If the Germans had continued the attacks on the air fields they could have beat the RAF. They came so close but the High Command screwed up. Same thing with switching to the close escort of the bombers, the Fighter sweeps were accomplishing the goal of destroying the British fighters.
72 posted on 10/08/2003 11:20:48 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: Samwise
..just smack me. ;^)

LOL. I'm always telling SAM I wish sometimes I could smack him upside the head through the computer! All in fun, of course, he rarely deserves it. :)

73 posted on 10/08/2003 1:46:37 PM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Prof Engineer
IMHO, best heavy bomber built.
74 posted on 10/08/2003 3:08:56 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; SpookBrat; AntiJen; MistyCA; PhilDragoo; All
Nice thread, Sam.

Good evening all.


75 posted on 10/08/2003 7:31:52 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul (The CA recall's biggest losers are the three musketeers: the RATS, the LAT, and the National Inquire)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it
1982 Poland bans Solidarity

Now that certainly worked well.


76 posted on 10/08/2003 9:05:21 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: SAMWolf; Skylight
If the Germans had continued the attacks on the air fields they could have beat the RAF.

And the Japs failed to take out the fuel dumps at Pearl--which would have been a severe setback, worse than the actual attack.

77 posted on 10/08/2003 9:07:10 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: Victoria Delsoul
Good Evening Victoria.

Nice graphic for tonight.
78 posted on 10/08/2003 9:53:26 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: PhilDragoo
Some things you can ban, but you can't stop.
79 posted on 10/08/2003 9:54:23 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: PhilDragoo
Yep the fuel farms and the repair facilities. I believe that was supposed to be the third wave's targets, but not knowing where our carriers were and due to losses over an already alerted target, the third wave was never launched
80 posted on 10/08/2003 9:56:09 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; Victoria Delsoul; E.G.C.; colorado tanker; Light Speed
From zenoswarbirdvideos.com:

From armyairforces.com

B-17G, serial #44-85784 "Sally B"

B-17G, serial #44-85829 "Yankee Lady"

Original tail configuration (left) next to the Cheyenne Tail modification (right)

B-17G, serial #44-85829 "Yankee Lady"

B-17G, serial #44-85740 "Aluminum Overcast"

From Update History of Tony's B-17 Pages

From warbirdsalive.com

From b17warhorse.fws1.com

385TH - Tail Gunner - "DON"

Don shown cleaning glass about his Tail Gunner position. This photo taken in 1944 is on a B-17 of the "F" series model bombers.The small dark rod to the left of the photo is the gun sight for the gunner's two 50 cal. machine guns located in the extream tail end of the airplane located to the left of the photo.

To get a comparable size of this position look at a full size B-17 photo.

The Tail Gunner had an escape hatch just out of sight to the right of the photo. The hatch door was about 20 inches square - just big enought for the Airman to slip through with a parachute.

It would have been impossible for a man with a parachute to get out of the bomber through the window Don is shown in.

The vertical rudder is just above Don's head - and - the smaller part on the lower rear edge of the rudder is a trim tab the pilot used to correct trim of the B-17. Sort of gives you an idea of compartive size of man and machine !

From B-17G Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby

Crowds of revelers flock to Monument Circle to celebrate the end of World War II. Star file photo.

Allison was manufacturing airplane engines. RCA was improving proximity fuses. And at the Naval Avionics center on Arlington Street, one of the most important inventions of the war was in development – the Norden bombsight.

Later on Arlington Street the city would build my high school, Arlington, where I would graduate the same year David Lick-Hitlery's-Boots Letterman graduated Broad Ripple.

My friend Bob's dad worked at Naval Avionics, and he brought home a very neat viewer with a 90-degree prism and crosshairs that fascinated us fourth-graders.

The paper I carried in junior high was the Indianapolis News which Dan Quayle's family owned. He would graduate from Depauw the year I graduated from Wabash (college rivals separated by some twenty miles of two-lane blacktop).

The editor was M. Stanton Evans who wrote the strongest of defenses of Ann Coulter's Treason and whom she acknowledges first in the book as "the world's leading authority on Senator Joseph McCarthy".

I saw Evans debate Dr. Robert Risk president of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in 1964 with my Young American for Freedom friends. It was an up close and personal look at the rabid bearded Marxists spewing embarrassing cliches--satires of themselves who have morphed into the staff of the New York and Los Angeles Times newspapers.

I see in Coulter's coverage of McCarthy that the man and his work are as different from the leftist myth as Bush is from the DU caricature: in short, a determined campaign of hateful lies has, after fifty years, made one embarrassed to mention the name McCarthy.

But, Venona proved him right: the government was riddled with real Soviet spies, not pink little old ladies, not indiscrete professors, spies.

And he served as a tailgunner on combat missions though he needn't have.

The history of the bomber crews is pure courage: to have gone up where ice forms and oxygen is unknown to carry explosives in aluminum cans vibrating with hellish noise as enemy gunners sent streams of murderous lead to rip open your life like a zipper.

Then to come back to a nation where Edward R. Murrow and Harry Truman would defend Soviet spies and slander the man who sought to remove them from government.

Bulletin: Bush in 2000, Schwarzenegger in 2003, and the rise of the dangerous vast right-wing conspiracy with such websites as Free Republic have come like daybreak for vampires to the Left.

And the Foxhole has America's six.


81 posted on 10/08/2003 10:42:49 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: PhilDragoo
Evening PhilDragoo.

Great pictures and info on the tailgunner postion.

The history of the bomber crews is pure courage: to have gone up where ice forms and oxygen is unknown to carry explosives in aluminum cans vibrating with hellish noise as enemy gunners sent streams of murderous lead to rip open your life like a zipper.

Excellent commentary. Beautiful description of bomber crews.

82 posted on 10/08/2003 11:53:55 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Practiss makes perfict.)
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To: PhilDragoo
BTTT!!!!!!!
83 posted on 10/09/2003 3:07:03 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it
Thanks again Sam and snippy. You know how I love the airpower threads. I was the Deputy Surgeon for 15th AF at one point in my career. cj
84 posted on 10/09/2003 3:54:26 AM PDT by CholeraJoe (No animals or longshoremen were harmed during the fabrication of this tagline)
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To: CholeraJoe
Hey there cj, good to see you, we know you've been busy so thanks for dropping in, glad you liked the thread.
85 posted on 10/09/2003 4:26:05 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: PhilDragoo
And the Foxhole has America's six.

Thanks Phil!!

86 posted on 10/09/2003 5:56:20 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: CholeraJoe
Hi Cholera Joe.

Just finished a thread on a B-24 Group in the 15th AF. Coming soon to a Foxhole near you. :-)
87 posted on 10/09/2003 8:04:45 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Blame Saint Andreas - it's all his fault.)
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To: PhilDragoo
Well, Phil, I'm just in awe of your tribute to B-17 tailgunners and Tailgunner Joe. He was right as was Whittaker Chambers. The left has been spewing lies about "McCarthyism" for fifty years. I was disgusted when Elia Kazan, a great film director, died recently and most of the obits were full of leftist crap dumping on him for testifying truthfully before Congress about commies in Hollywood.
88 posted on 10/09/2003 9:35:17 AM PDT by colorado tanker (Oddball: "A . . . tank can give you an . . . edge.")
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To: Samwise
Ooooh my! I hate it when this happens! I was going back through "pings" in search of something when I ran across your post. I'm sorry I missed it before. Please accept my apologies.

Love your graphic!

That's one of my favorites, too. I can't remember where I found it but go ahead and snag it from the thread. It's a good one to keep in the "closet" for posting from time to time. That's what I've done.

Pleased to meet you, BTW.

89 posted on 10/10/2003 10:19:54 PM PDT by radu (May God watch over our troops and keep them safe)
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To: radu
It's a good one to keep in the "closet" for posting from time to time.

Thanks! Not only did I save it, but I added it to my homepage. Glad to meet you too.

90 posted on 10/11/2003 4:44:20 AM PDT by Samwise (There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.)
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To: Samwise
Not only did I save it, but I added it to my homepage.

DUUUUUUUH! Now why didn't I think of that? LOL! It's perfect!! On my way to add it to mine, too. It'll fit right in. I really need to spend time on the 'puter in the day time. My brain doesn't seem to function well late at night. LOL! Otherwise, I'd have thought of it sooner.

91 posted on 10/12/2003 1:15:05 AM PDT by radu (May God watch over our troops and keep them safe)
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