This month we asked residents, “What was it like on the home-front during WWII?”
We hope you enjoy the variety of memories we are sharing.
We salute all LCG veterans this month, from all eras. Thank you for your service.
Contributed by Bill McDade
I was 8-years old at the time of Pearl Harbor. My father was a Naval officer and aviator and had been ordered to become the Commanding Officer of a squadron of long range patrol planes based at North Island. I remember my father telling us goodbye for a while as his squadron was vital in long range patrol duty thinking that the Japanese fleet might be headed to the West Coast to invade the U.S. He flew 24/7. We did not see or talk to him for several months. He sent us to live in Ramona until the invasion threat passed.
My mother became a Block Warden who would walk around our block every evening to be sure that all residents had their “black out” curtains in place. Rationing was present everywhere: gas, meat, rubber products, etc.. We only drove when necessary; otherwise we took a street car or walked.
A detachment of Army soldiers flew a barrage balloon from our school’s playground. Another detachment took over several vacant lots and created an anti-aircraft battery, complete with gun, searchlight, sound detector, mess hall and underground barracks.
My mother and neighbors baked cookies for the soldiers and I became the delivery boy. My class helped put together Red Cross boxes for those who were overseas or imprisoned. After the war we learned that most of those boxes were never delivered. We were also involved in raising money for War Bonds. I pulled my wagon around the neighborhood collecting newspapers and old magazines during paper drives that seemed to be everywhere.
My mother started a tradition of welcoming soldiers, sailors, and marines to our home for Thanksgiving dinner.
We think of the sacrifices made in wartime and celebrate on Veterans Day.
What I Did in WWII
By Pat Grant
What I did in World War II was probably what many high school kids in America were doing. I was 11 when the war started in 1941, and 15 when it ended in 1945. I still have my 5- year diary for the war years and I note that it has a lot about boys and grades and school dances and not a whole lot about battles.
We collected aluminum, even the foil from cigarette packs. We bought war bonds and held rallies to sell them. We wrote letters using that flimsy blue stationary to everyone we knew and some we didn’t as long as they were in the Armed Services—especially our high school basketball star. We mixed that awful yellow coloring into margarine and walked to dances—no gas.
In 1943, I was recruited by the U.S. Army Air Corps as an enemy aircraft spotter. Our little town of Madrid, St. Lawrence County, New York, was close to Canada and Vermont . I went to classes to learn to identify the silhouette of each and every German and Japanese plane— fighters, bombers, everything.
Although I never spotted a single Folke-Wulf or Mitsubishi, I was certainly ready with my binoculars and my hot-line phone. It got a little lonely up on the highest hill in town next to the water tower, but I had a hut to shelter in. I was proud to do my bit for the war effort.
Recently, I found the certificate the Army Air Corps awarded me. It is a prized reminder of a time when we were working together for the good of our country and even school kids could help.
On the Home Front
By Sharon Wood
Living only 20 miles from Fort Lewis, Washington, as a family and a community, we were extremely involved with our young WWII soldiers. My mother made it a “must” that, upon exiting church, we’d invite one or two in uniform for a home -cooked dinner. Toward the holidays we often had three or four joining our family get-togethers with Gramps, two aunts, two uncles, one cousin and our family of four.
My mother also rolled bandages at the Red Cross and my dad patrolled our harbor to make sure no Japanese subs or ships appeared. One of my uncles was a Blackout Warden, checking on homeowners to keep their nightly windows darkened. Everyone was involved—from the important to the mundane. Most things we did, in some way or another, were impacted by war time situations, and especially those who lost loved ones at war, becoming “Gold Star” parents.
Contributed by Wayne Strunk
On September 28th, three LCG residents, all veterans during the Korean Conflict, embarked on the San Diego Honor Flight, an allexpense paid trip to Washington, D.C. There, treated like VIPs during the 3-day weekend, the group visited the WWII, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials, and witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Many LCG residents, past and present, have already participated in the Honor Flight. Now Hal Sprogis, David Davis and Wayne Strunk are honored to have shared that experience.
There were 32 WWII and 48 Korean Veterans on this Honor Flight. All veterans of these wars are encouraged to sign up for Honor Flight (service during December 7, 1942 to December 31, 1946 or service during June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955). The Honor Flight organization is also now accepting applications from Vietnam veterans for the future. Just go to the website www.honorflightsandiego.org for details and the opportunity to participate in one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime.