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WW-II stories

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From a 1945 newspaper Article

George Young

Seabee George Young, San Angelo boxer who has won many championships as a civilian and as a Navy man, unburdens himself about the loss of a fin Texas boy who was a buddy of his in the Seabees:

(The remainder of this piece was in quotes and is the first-hand story in the words of George Young.  Except for the quotes, it is reproduced here exactly as written in 1945)

I'm going to tell you a nightmare that cost my buddy's life.  As you know this place is knows as Hell's Acre.  I'll grant you that every inch of it is Hell's Acre.

Besides the danger of the remaining Japs here, which are plentiful, we have plenty of other dangers of such there is no use trying to describe other than the one I was a character in.

The duty my mate and I were performing was haling gravel from one end of the island to the other, working all night long, twelve hours.

Around 4 AM Monday the most horrible experience I'm sure I could ever witness came to me.  My buddy, whose name I can't mention yet, and I had dumped our load and were on our way back.

PLANE COMING IN

As we traveled along the road beside the air strip we had to stop and put out lights out since all other lights except the field lights were out—for the sole purpose so the pilots in the plane, which was about to land,could see the field and h it the strip.

It was a bad morning, cloudy, light rain and very smoky.  I pulled behind a light tower about 25 feet high—and also a jeep.  My buddy pulled his truck in behind mine.  We were standing beside his truck talking when we saw the plane circle for the landing and start downward.

It looked as if he was missing the strip, but we kept talking and never gave it much thought, thinking he would pull over and make his landing okay—as he was at that time quite a distance away.

THEN IT CAME!

MY BUDDY DASHED OFF AROUND HIS TRUCK—AND I LOOKED AROUND TO SEE THE B-29 ON THE GROUND KNOCKING THE LIGHT TOWER OVER AND NOT 20 YARDS AWAY.

The plane was  headed straight for me.  I started to run from in front of it but realized I could never get a way from the wingspread that it had.

My only chance, which looked pretty slim, was to hit the deck... I fell flat on my face, as if somebody had shoed me with all their power.

The plane struck the tower, the jeep, my truck and was tearing my buddy's truck apart when it rolled over me.  I had already kissed my daylight goodbye.  The Body of the plane rolled over me—and as I saw the plane pass over and keep going I was shocked with surprise at my escape.

Then my real scare came.  I jumped up and called my buddy's name.  I had no answer.  I grabbed a light from a bystander whom I told to get an ambulance.   I looked where I last say my buddy heading, but found him 15 yards down the road—and to my deepest sorrow, he was dead.

My guess is that the wing of the plane had dipped w while  hitting the trucks and struck my buddy.  The plane then rolled several hundred yards before cracking up in a steep bank. 

This is the lad from Big Sandy, Texas.  I've worked and buddied with him ever since I've been in the Seabees.  Blondy, when you loose one of your fellow men, its like loosing a brother.  I can't understand why it wasn't me instead of   him, for I was in its path and I was hoping so much he had gotten out of the way.

I'm telling you that was the largest plane in the world as I saw it... It all happened so fast I can't believe yet that I am still alive... I suppose that all goes with war.

SEES DELMOND HAMNER

I had another episode the next day (no nightmare) and boy what a happy one it was.  My brother in law, Delmond B. Hamner EM 1-C, had flown over from Sumari Island in the Philippines to see  his brother Chester Hamner EM 2-C and myself.  He spent three days with us before going back.  Delmond has been out for about 16 months and he thinks he will be back in good ole S.A. by Xmas.