The following is an account written by my dad about his youth and military experience.
March 4, 1923 - November 30, 1941
At the request of my sons, I will make a supreme effort to recall highlights of my life in this written communication and then put on tape -- this date is August 6, 1995 -- I am presently in my 73rd year, having been born March 4, 1923 and March of 1995 I had 72 years behind me.
My Mom brought me into this world at 1205 A.M. on the date above. I am told Dr. Hackworth did not think I would be born alive as Mom had typhoid or diphtheria during pregnancy, at which time all her hair came out from a high temperature. There was a 3-room house located behind 518 Magnolia (Doug Fitz home) and that is where I was born. Doctor charged $20.00 to deliver me.
The first recollection I have as a child, we were in a 3- or 4-room house on Holly Avenue. That is the first place also that we had electricity. Ice would be delivered daily in 10-15-25-50 pound pieces -- a card would be hanging outside to advise how much ice to deliver. Roads were gravel and while there I fell on the road, cut my lip and the scar on my upper right lip is a result of the fall. While there also, a man delivering groceries with a horse and wagon ran over a collie dog of ours and killed it.
The next house we lived in was located across the street from present City Park -- I think on Pine Street (I'll check this out) -- this was in 1927. I remember Dad came home and made the statement there was trouble brewing in town (due to labor strike at U.S. Stove). Later that day 7 men were killed at the corner of Cedar and 3rd. National Guard came to South Pittsburg -- I don't know how long they stayed.
We moved to a 4-room house (no indoor toilet) at the corner of 5th and Elm. Lived there 5 years at $15.00 per month. Coleen was born there. On one occasion, at a miniature golf course where Cars For Sale is located (5th & Cedar), the big boy who kept the grounds (A. P. Hall) jumped on Joe and pinned him to the ground, slapping him. I picked up a broken brick and popped him on top of the head. Letting Joe go, we both ran home, probably 200 feet, and escaped.
A Gibson family lived about halfway down the block on Elm -- two boys, Hoot and Jack, lived there with their family. I would regularly fight them and their mother would chase me. A large drain was under the road, so I would crawl up in the pipe and taunt her. Coleen was named for a movie star named Coleen Moore and the picture was showing in town at that time.
Helen had a tricycle -- we went to the top of the hill at the high school -- she was on the back and I was steering. A schoolteacher was on the sidewalk and I kept hollering "pee deet" -- left/right -- heck, I don't think she knew what "pee deet" was and I did not know left from right. I hit her, knocked her on gravel -- she skinned her knee and tore her hose up -- Mom spanked me good and gave the lady money for a new pair of hose.
We had a milk cow which was staked out in a field where Sq-Co-Op is now located. She had horns and when evening time came, if you did not move fast enough, she was not hesitant in putting those horns to your hips and running.
I started to school in September after my 5th birthday. I think a lady named Sara Collins was teacher. When 2nd grade rolled around I was out for a period of time with scarlet fever, whooping cough and mange in one year -- did not pass. I do remember one of our class mates (named Jarrett) died of diphtheria -- only about 6 or so.
While in the aforementioned house, Dad bought an A-Model Ford with windows that rolled up. First time I had been in one and when inside I did not know how to get out. Shortly thereafter Panic hit Wall Street -- Dad had to turn auto back in. Bought a used Whippel and later had to jack it up (keep tires from rotting) and walk in his work.
We next moved to a much nicer home located at? ? ? I don't remember how long we lived there but it was fun. Had a lot of corncobs in the barn and many a battle took place throwing cobs soaked in water. They could take the skin off!
From there we moved to 618 Holly -- nice home. While there my Grandmother McGraw died. She lived at 518 Magnolia. My father was drawing $12.00 per month disability -- gassed in WW I. He received a bonus $400.00 -- bought the McGraw house for $720.00 -- $400.00 down and was due to pay Grandpaw $12.00 per month. When that was cut out, I think 1933 or 1934; he and Mom scraped the balance of money together and paid for the house. I stayed there until 1941 and shortly after WW II -- more on this later. there we always had a big garden -- some peach trees also -- Mom did a lot of canning.
I had a morning paper route in 1939 and early 1940 -- worst winter in many years. Bicycle cost me $39.95 -- $4.00 down and $4.00 per month. The month I got it paid for I quit the paper route. Sometime the following week it was stolen from the front porch. I learned to drive a car while there -- this was still during the depression. Dad in winter would buy flour (a barrel), corn meal (by the peck) and give Mom from $4.00 to $6.00 per week for groceries. With the garden, (black berries bought for 15-20 cents per gallon) canned goods, etc. we always had plenty to eat and 3 big meals per day. Most of the time on Sunday there was fried chicken and as youngsters, 4 were fried to feed us. Mom always had hot biscuits for breakfast -- gravy, jam, preserves and eggs. Sometimes bacon or steak of loin. Dinner was always served with corn bread and most of the time leftovers for supper. Ed Fitz and Kenneth Beene were my best friends -- we would play Monopoly and tennis -- I was not much of a baseball player and while there fell in love I suppose many times. Dated a lot of girls in South Pittsburg, some in Jasper, several in Richard City. No sex was ever involved. Picture show cost a quarter. I also was in the band --played alto saxophone. Went to church on Laurel Avenue Sunday morning and Sunday night -- many times I would go to church on Sunday night and then rush to the theater as the movie did not start until 830 P.M. Forgot -- dated a few girls in Bridgeport and Stevenson.
Attended South Pittsburg High School 1937 - 1941. Courses were limited -- mostly prep classes for college. I was not what you would call a good student. I did take 2 years of Latin, 1 year of French and passed those. I could never grasp geometry and was poor in biology -- no typewriter ever in school except in the office. Professor Havron would beat your tail for almost any infraction of the rules.
Serving Uncle Sam During WW II
December 7, 1941 - September 7, 1945
To the best of my recollection, experiences from the above dates will be included. Surely there are dates and places forgotten -- my best intention, however, will be to make it as accurate as possible. Maybe the history of the 22nd Bomb Group will be published soon and many dates, places and people will be within the book. Hopefully this epistle will be of interest not only to you three wonderful sons but also to my grandchildren.
I was in Washington D.C. in December 1941 -- two other men (Leonard Ritchie and Fred McReynolds) and I shared an apartment at 17th and E Street. Rent was $50.00 per month. On December 7th one of my apartment friends, Leonard Ritchie, and I attended a movie and stage show at a fancy movie house. The Rockettes from New York put on a stage show, but I have forgotten which movie was shown. Upon exiting, newsboys were shouting the headlines of Japan attacking Pearl Harbor. Heck, I did not know of or even know where Pearl Harbor was located. My second thought was Japan being so small; the war would not last 90 days. Fooled us all, didn't it?
I was in Washington D.C. working for the Civil Service Commission at $90.00 per month. My job title was "Mail Messenger". In early March I visited the Navy recruiting office. I took all of the exams except the final physical (told the recruiter I wanted to be a "Volunteer" from the Volunteer State). I was told by him to go home and after visiting for a few days to report to Nashville for my final physical. The recruiter and doctor in Washington D.C. knew I had a double hernia, but they (the Navy) would repair it after I was sworn in. In mid-April I rode the bus to Nashville and after my physical was advised that the policy of the Navy repairing my double hernia had been discontinued. They told me to go home, have the operation, and return in 6 weeks.
In early April a Dr. James did the operation at Richard City Hospital. Incorrect anesthesia stopped my heartbeat. Nurse Dixie Hackworth went to my Dad three times to tell him I was dead. She (Dixie) and another nurse, Audrey Barnes, and the doctor kept working on me and restarted my heartbeat.
Six week later I was back to the Navy recruiter. After my physical exam I was told I was not healed enough and to come back in two weeks. Second trip, same story. Next trip I was told I was rejected. The Marine Corps told me the same thing. Next office was the Army. They said, "Hell, hold up your right arm" and they swore me into the U.S. Army. Later that day I was given some I.Q. tests, as I wanted to be in the Air Corps. 105 I.Q. qualified for USAAC, I scored 129. Later that day transportation was provided to Camp Forrest in Tullahoma, TN. I don't remember whether transportation was by bus or Army truck. For two days we shot craps, played blackjack and listened to General Orders. The third day we were put on trucks and sent to Ft. Oglethorpe, GA. Even though it was mid-July, we were issued winter and summer uniforms, a barracks bed and mess kit. Next came more tests and more physical exams. That day I was given the following injections -- small pox, typhoid, lockjaw and one other. All could have very bad side effects. At 4:00 A.M. I felt as sick as I have ever been. Rolled out for K.P. and was assigned to pots and pans, and peed in the pot until 600 P.M. that night.
The next several days were spent on how to line up, march, salute and more lessons on military etiquette, plus the proper way to fold your clothes and make your bed.
Four or five days later we were all put on a train (wooden seats no less) and transported to Jacksonville, FL. Five to six days of drill there and then to Miami Beach where we stayed in a fancy hotel. Twenty-one days later I assume the U.S. Army thought I had enough marching, tests, etc. and shipped me to Tyndall Field, FL. (near Panama City). I had qualified as an aerial gunner (5 week course).
In my training we shot 12-gauge shotguns at skeet (clay pigeons), rifle firing at stationary targets and 45-caliber pistols. I must have done okay as the next step was to enter a two-seated plane, an A.T. 6, for aerial gunnery practice, shooting a swivel-type 30-caliber machine gun. One plane would pull a long sleeve (10 feet long) and the gunner would fire at the moving target -- first plane I was ever in. I believe this practice lasted 2 to 3 weeks. Graduation day arrived and I was given aerial gunner wings and promoted to Sergeant on flying pay of $117.00 per month -- more money than I had ever seen. For the next 3 months I sent the surgeon (Dr. James) $50.00 per month and paid off my hernia operation.
From Tyndall Field, FL. we were sent to Columbia Army Air Force Base in Columbia, SC. We slept in tarpaper shacks with a potbellied stove for heat. Within a few days I was assigned to a crew on a B-25 medium-range, two-engine bomber. The crew consisted of a pilot (James Bean), a co-pilot (A. Huskey), a bombardier (Willie Krietz), a navigator (I've forgotten his name), a radio operator (James Carson) and a flight engineer (Art Miller).
For the next several months training was 6 days per week most of the time, consisting of take-offs and landings -- 20 to 30 per day on those days. Skip bombing, was when we would fly over water (20-30 feet above) and drop a practice bomb and let it skip over water to the target (used mostly against shipping). Buzzing, as it was called, was when we would fly 30 to 40 feet above the target and drop delayed-action bombs. Crew members took over plane controls for a short period of time, strafing targets with 50-caliber weapons. The maximum altitude for the B-25 was about 13 - 14 thousand feet. We practiced bombing from that altitude plus 4-5-6 thousand feet. We had gunnery practice for crew members -- my position for gunnery practice was in a turret (movable 180 degrees) with a dome in the center of the plane. The engineer operated the turret just behind the pilot. The radio operator operated guns in the center of the plane. During one phase of training we were assigned on a temporary basis to Myrtle Beach, SC. There was nothing there at that time except two runway tarpaper shacks and a very small town -- lots of heat.
I don't remember exactly how long we trained as a crew -- I'm guessing 4 to 5 months. Columbia, SC. was a city of 50 to 60 thousand. An infantry base was there with 85,000 troops and an Air Force base with approximately 2,000 troops. Is it any wonder the town paid little attention to troops?
On one occasion while there, someone caught a Mexican stealing from his own barrack mates -- first time and last that I have seen a person tarred, feathered and rode on a log all over camp. In this day and age the person who prompted the punishment would be treated the same way.
We left Columbia the first or second week in January. Two or three stops en route to San Francisco -- from San Francisco we flew to Sacramento where all armament was removed -- 500 gallon tank inserted in the bomb bay -- flew to Los Angeles for several days while this was completed. Took off from San Francisco near the end of June. It was a 23-hour flight to Hickam Field in Hawaii -- that is from Hamilton Field, San Francisco. We stayed in Hawaii for about one week while all equipment was reinstalled. From there we stopped en route to Australia at the following places Christmas Island, Fiji Islands, Celebes Islands and maybe one other, which now I cannot recall. All of those stops were for one night only.
Our first stop in Aussie Land was Brisbane. I had become a member of the 5th Air Force, Southwest Pacific - 22nd Bomb Group, 33rd Squadron. There are 4 squadrons to a bomb group -- ours were the 408th, 19th, 2nd and 33rd. A couple of days later we were 2 to 3 hours from Townsville, Australia -- about the size of Richard City. The squad and group had some men that had been in New Guinea and Townsville from late January 1942 and they were very glad to see us. The group had been the only group ready for combat when war started and left Langley Field in VA on December 8, 1941. A short time later we flew to Port Moresby, New Guinea and the next day flew on our first bombing mission to a Jap base called Wewak. Mosquitoes were so bad in the evening they called it Mosquito Hollow. No way you could sleep without a mosquito net. Day temperatures reached as much as 110 degrees, but you had to have a blanket after 8, 9 or 10 o'clock at night. Eating consisted of many types of make-believe rations -- dehydrated peas, carrots, melted sugar for syrup, artificial lemonade (of course no ice). On rare occasions fresh eggs and toast and also on occasion a decent meal.
This was the beginning of 42 combat missions in which I participated.
(Written by Dad in July 1997)
Dad died September 8, 1997, just months after the above was written.
During Korea, Charles Dallas was an Airplane Armorer Gunner 612 in the United States Air Force, enlisting on 4/23/1948 and discharged under a Dependency or Hardship order on 2/2/1949.
The following newspaper article appeared in the South Pittsburg Hustler.
++++ INSERT NEWS PAPER ARTICLE HERE++++
Charles Dallas Duggar graduated South Pittsburg grammar school on 4/30/1937. He graduated from South Pittsburg High School on 5/23/1941, having obtained credits in
Algebra - 2
Medieval & Modern History - 1
English Grammar - 1
American History - 1
Rhetoric - 1
Music - 1
American Literature - 1
French - 1
English Literature - 1
General Science - 1
Latin Grammar & Composition - 1
Biology - 1
Caesar - 1
Shop Work - 1
Charles Dallas, known by friends as Dallas and by business associates as Charlie (never Chuck, he hated that name). Also never allowed anyone to refer to his children as "kids", saying that kids were goats and he wasn't raising a bunch of goats. Dad was born on March 4, 1923 at 1205 AM. He and his brother Joe were fondly known as the dread of South Pittsburg and were always in some sort of mischief or another.
Dad graduated from grammar school on 4/30/1937 and from South Pittsburg High School on 5/23/1941, just shy of 4 months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to bring the United States into World War II.
In October 1941, Dad read an ad in the Post Office in South Pittsburg and headed for Washington, DC to take the Civil Servant's Exam for the Post Office. At 18, he was with his Aunt Ola, in Washington, DC. delivering mail in the Civil Service Commission Building at 17th and E Streets. During that period he met co-workers Leonard Ritchie and Fred McReynolds and subsequently moved in with them.
In March of 1942, Dad enlisted in the Navy, but was rejected because of a double hernia and therefore, disqualified. He had the hernia operation in Richard City for $150.00 and the doctors told Charlie (his father) that he died on three separate occasions during the operation. He eventually enlisted in the Army, tested for the Air Corp. A perfect score was 150; Dad scored 129 and was accepted into the Air Corp.