World War II

Just graduated from high school in Windsor, Colorado, our father volunteered for service in WWII. He did flight training in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and eventually was stationed with a B-29 crew in the Pacific. When I think of him during that time, I have in mind images of him like this one that shows him, bottom center, with other pilots.

fliers

Dad looks young in the next photo, leaning casually against an Army truck (it was the Army Air Force at that time). As he looks into the lens I wonder what he was thinking, thinking at this precise moment and thinking during the entire bombing campaign from Tinian and then Iwo Jima (or Io Jima as it says on Dad’s map).

dad

When we cleaned out Mom’s house before she sold it, we found some photos Dad had never shown us (he didn’t talk about the war). These four are especially interesting.

bombs

These four radar images show the target area, bombs away, and leaving target.

radar

I found a short film made in 1946 to sell “peace bonds” that shows a radar operator at work. The moment in the film when a navigator draws a ruled line from somewhere in the Pacific to a target in Japan takes my breath away. Dad left a map just like the one in the film with lines exactly like that drawn by his own hand.

scan0031

I wish Dad were still here. I’d love to ask him about the war. His war service must have exerted enormous influences on who he became.

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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