The 512th Fighter Squadron
Middle: Greece, Wilson, Preslopsky,
Devlin. Front: Twardosz, Tilbury,
O RDNANCE: Chow! Chow! Echoes thru the hall, as the sun hits the horizon and (Black Boy) Christy Greece, our section chief, is politely trying to awaken his superb, hard-working, back-breaking ordnance bunch. The secret to his ability of awakening early is attributed to (G.I.) (Early Bird) Wilson, who rises before the C.W. Then comes the mad rush to eat. Usually one or two manage to make it. (Mad Russian) Lou Preslopsky of Brass City and (Speedy) Lou Riddell everlastingly make the chow line, which is more than can be said for the rest of us meatballs. Our one and only (Sack Man) El Umbenauer, if by some chance should get a furlough, well, that might eventually lead to his eating breakfast for the first time since his arriving in the E.T.O. Anyway that's enough on the chow subject.
Next comes the pre-flighting of our trucks, which are voluntarily done by (Stick Time) (The Kid) Stichenoth and (Old Bean) Wilmer R. Tilbury, who keep blowing the horns with the idea of persuading us to go to the line. Naturally, that's very silly, but as the hours pass the bunch finally show up for work. Once there, it's the same old story with (Bull) (Gin Hound) Sondecker and (Slicky) (Never Wrong) Honig starting their crying and moaning of how much there is to be done. Everyone is accustomed to that so Steve (fingers) Twardosz tries taking some guns apart without dropping the parts or the guns. Our bookkeeper (Bird Brain) Dan Meager tries once again to take inventory on the bombs and fuses, but as usual the count is wrong. Last, but not least, our mechanic Wilbur (Never Grind The Clutch) Lonergan sort of suggests lunch and before you know it the trucks are all off again with Black Boy bellowing Chow! Chow!
P.S. We want to thank our Lt. Donald Devlin for his wonderful leadership, which has put a minimum on fights and arguments in the section.
P.P.S. It's now ten a day instead of an even dozen.
Kneeling: Cooper, Hartshorn, Cooper.
TECH SUPPLY: Here are the boys who exploited to the fullest extent the use of the well known phrase "Not in stock." In fact, we sometimes think that they are the guys who made the phrase well known. Perhaps there's room for debate there because, seriously, they comprise a smooth, efficiently operating section whose duty is to obtain and keep on hand spare parts and equipment required to "Keep 'Em Flying."
Lt. Hand is the section officer and has done a swell job of keeping the boys "on the ball." He hails from—I hate to do this to anyone—Mississippi, and what's more he is proud of it. "Mac" McCloud, an "Okie," is the "little wheel" and has become the bookworm of the section by keeping up the property accounting, publications files, and various other things—such as those unpopular "statements of charges." Harold Busbee, commonly known as "Buzz," and one of the two Texans of the section, is the spare parts specialist; and in spite of his casual, quiet manner, he rates second to no one in that capacity. K.W. Cooper, who lived in Indiana, and Joe L. Cooper, the other Texas, are the "Bolt & Nut" boys—they also handle several hundred other items. They're the guys who have a "million bolts" but not one that will fit. Joe "Charley" Hartshorn, the Kansas Duststorm, is the jack of all trades, capably performing any and all tasks. The two trailers in which Tech Supply is now set up is a reflection of his abilities.
The fact that these guys are not "all smiles" when confronted with requests for items of supply is not a true indication of enthusiasm for their work. They wouldn't trade jobs with anyone in the outfit; and that's what it takes to make a good section in a good outfit.
PARACHUTE: In the Parachute and Personnel Equipment Section of the 512th, Ftr. Sq., we found Lt. William W. Ziegler from Pacific Grove, Calif., as the officer in charge. Ben W. Payne from Memphis, Tenn. And Ralph C. McCartney from Grafton, West Virginia, the enlisted men, were very capable assistants and saw that regular inspections and repacks of the "great white umbrellas" were maintained and also aided in the task of keeping the pilots fitted with flying equipment.
The old saying went, "If your parachute doesn't work, bring it back and we will give you a new one," guaranteed by L. Ziegler. Well that never happened to us but we had some satisfied customers and it was principally due to the good work of Ben Payne and Ralph McCartney, who have fitted parachutes from Congaree, S.C. to Handorf, Germany. Of course some of our customers weren't so happy when they hit the ground. There was Lt. Col. Locke, who bailed out and had to dodge the Jerries for a few days and finally returned to our organization. Then "Chief" Underwood, who bailed out and was taken prisoner, but escaped four days later. Of course none of us will forget "Lucky" Lief Johansen who was compelled to hit the silk twice. Once he spent 17 hours in the English Channel and the second time he bailed out in enemy territory, was taken prisoner and has been prisoner ever since. At least 18 lives have been saved by parachute jumps in this organization and that certainly is worth a lot.
We enjoyed working with the "heroes of the skies" and with their job well done, we were greatly satisfied.