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

Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University, 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I'm Director of the Program in Integrated Studies and former Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade), and translations of a book by Austrian author Peter Handke and of a catalogue of an exhibit called "The German Army and Genocide." More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as a watershed scientist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a corrections officer, as university students, and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett and our yellow dog Blue. Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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