Anyone who has read my memoir Yorkie Doodle Dandy knows I was a kid from the streets of Cleveland. My father took off when I was three. I have an older sister & a younger brother. Because my mother couldn't find anyone she could trust to take care of my brother and me, we  were sent to Parmadale Orphanage, a Catholic Charties most modern village (built in 1925) of beautiful brick English cottages. There were 40 kids to one nun to housemaid us. For the 400 kids capacity over the years it worked.  If they stayed in the system, they received Catholic high school and college educations. Luckily I went home after two years and had the best childhood any kid  could have. The women in the family guided me as I ran the streets getting the education that would take me through life in professions where experience was more valuable than schooling. I flunked a couple of grades, finished High school at West Technical High School where  5600  kids were in one building spread over two city blocks.

The courses were unbelievable. There were 350 great teachers. College prep, but you had to take a shop because it was a technical school, commercial & technical courses. Electrical, Machine Shop, Mechanical Drawing, Printing, Wood Working, Pattern making, Foundry, Chemistry , Auto repair, Aircraft engines , a student had to take apart and put back an engine and make it run to graduate. Our WWII losses were heavy, 227. Most were flight mechanics. The U.S. didn't have many to start with trained as aviation mechanics. Of grad Art students, 282 received  four years college scholarships in  a 30 year period. Taught by husband and wife teachers. All three year technical courses met state requirements for High School diplomas.  Photography, either still and motion picture.  I took this course as an elective in my senior year. This turned my life around away after the three years of specializing course and career in Horticulture in the world's largest green house for a high school. We learned years later, this was the three year Cornell U. course. We had in a 10 year period several grads who became superintendents of schools , Doctors, Lawyers, NASA scientists and numerous teachers. Most famous grads are  Kaye Ballard - Broadway star, and Bill Cintons Health and Welfare head Donna Shalala.  Charles Csuri All American football player in 1942 at Ohio State and Chairrman of the Art Department at OSU, is the inventor of computer art.  Chuck is still going strong in this field with worldwide acclaim . The photo course at Tech opened the door for me when I was drafted and was sent to the USAAF and Denver Lowery Field Photo School. Then Aerial Photo School at Peterson Field Colorado, the  place where most of the photo recon squadrons were being formed. The book gives more details of the AAF experience.

I worked  in the 26th Photo Recon Sq.  as a Lab Tech, one of 65 assigned. Oct through Dec in 1944, flew four months combat as an aerial photographer flying with the 3rd Emergency Rescue Sq. ( Catalinas) and later  as a camera installer on P-38 Photo recon plane (F-5s)  We on occasion  worked two 12 hours shifts.  At one point pumped out 65,000 vital prints in a month in prep for the Invasion of the Philippines.  We were at  front line bases for 18 months. The 26th was a terrific Sq. The  average IQ for 350 men  including cooks, bakers, and general soldiers was 119. Some of the enlisted men were college graduates, a couple were school teachers. Had a college art professor U. of Georgia , in my tent. The Photo Lab chief M/Sgt. was a chemical engineer. Later became head of Materials for 3M.

It blew the mind of a Major who was checking records when the Sq,. was in Camp Stoneman ready to ship overseas, as to why many of these men weren't in OCS ? Four became MDS after the war including Major George Gaithers a CO with 510 combat  hours with the 20th CMS and 26th Photo. Later  Gaithers became the Dr. for the University of Oklahoma football team for 38 years and continued on a volunteer basis after he retired.

Some  stories in the next book came  from Gaithers and  Executive Officer Hartwell C. MacCullough an accountant, and recent grad of U. of LA who was 23 when  he took over the care of all the needs of the Sq. with Texan age 43  widowed, with three married kids. F/Sgt J.B. Howell and owner innkeeper in May of 1943. Capt Mac was with us until we arrived back  in Tacoma ,WA.  Nov. 12,1945. Gaithers said all four of the overseas COs left the management of the Sq. to MacCullough and Howell ,"there was no way it could have been managed better."  


Flaming Mamie

Ice Fighters - Time

I had a lot  time on a XB-25E, Flaming Mamie. during flight icing research. NACA/NASA. Cleveland '47-'50 . Was on a flight when we lost the starboard engine on takeoff. Howard Lilly pilot, later killed at Muroc in the X-1 Skystreak immediately banked the plane to the left to circle around to attempt a landing. Joe Walker, later X15 Piolot that put that plane into  orbit under its own power at 80,000 feet and copilot  of Mamie immediately feathered the prop of the dead engine. Joe was  later killed in chase plane that crashed  after colliding  with a  B-52 bomber that got safely down.  We too got down safely this day as the Fire engines of Hopkins on one side and NACA's fire trucks ran along side of us as we landed. I was standing behind the pilots looking over their shoulders on take off ( foolish move on my part only did that once)  I usually sat on the floor with my back up to a bulkhead facing backward)  When the engine quit 500' off the ground it was like a giant had grabbed the tail and we all lurched forward.