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A Coca-Cola poster family remembers WW II days...

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Magazines313 of 5841974-1978-amateur photographer magazines-girly covers!1976-cameras-the canon ae1-'amateur photographer'.
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Posted 4 years ago


(1 item)

During the days beginning shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, and ending in 1946, I - as the younget of our family, have perhaps the least recollection of wartime events. But that doesn't mean I don't recall the day when I met "Captain Dave", a Flying Tiger at the Soda-fountain... Now, I recall that a photo was taken by someone behind the counter, and also that my mother had to get a release signed by my father who was at his USO director's job.
Oh - I was very intently listening to the airmen describe how 'his boss' taught him and the others the art of aerial pursuit, or better said 'tactics' which took the Japanese by surprise - diving thru their formations from above, with guns blazing; two at a time with a third member flying 'cover' above... then diving away; climbing above and repeating it on other enemy aircraft.
It would be two year later and several moves opening new USOs for my father & mother, before my sister's National Geographic arrived and she showed the back cover to our parents - sure looked like Jacoby's Drug-store and my sister, I and Dave... but my mother's khaki USO uniform was a dark brown, and a hat (which she never wore) was upon her head. Capt. Dave looked just the same though; going thru a gesture he had used more than once. My father remarked that there was only a 'fair resemblance' and it was laughed about and forgotten for years...
When my mom pased away we found several items in a tin lock-box - two coins which was all her father had left after they immigrated from Holland and found jobs in the celery fields of lower Michigan; a novel of China which mom had been given by author Pearl S. Buck in 1946 when my father closed down the Philadelphia Naval Yards USO; my maternal grandmother's crystal Rosery, and a paper-wrapped June 1944 National Geographic with our first names - Sadie, Jeanne, Phil, Dave and Pauly(the soda jerk) going from R to L on a piece of tellowed paper dated: July 30, 1942 - the date the photo was taken.
Back then we didn't know about the D'Arcy Illustrators of St. Louis, MO who often gave interesting photos to their illustrator for Coca-Cola ads... nor did anyone know I'd be a Flying Tiger & CBI artifact collector for over 50-years from age 12.


  1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
    Fascinating story & will be imprinted in my mind from now on! Had many pilots & others tell their stories, with hand motions etc, just like what you describe. None of them ever showed any indication that they ever thought they might die during it. Thanks, you brought back memories from the past.
  2. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Great image & story thanks for sharing!
    Welcome to CW & I hope you have more for us.
  3. vansos01, 4 years ago
    Those that returned were the lucky ones, but though a few of the AVG stayed on in the Army Air Corps, many more returned to China by choice. I am always amazed when I read about or see photos of the Doolittle Raiders, who most do not realize were the bombers and crew Chennault waited for - 63% of those who made to crash-land in China, actually stayed there to fly and crew bombers that Chennault finally got. Of course Jimmy Doolittle was already and 'old China hand', having trained CAF pre-war and his promotion after the raid made it possible to get a few extra bomber to the 14th. Airforce.
    You might like going to <> to see my tiny part of a current endeavor effort, and the great new museum the Chinese are building at a former US airbase commanded by Chennault, Scott and "Tex" Hill near present day Guilin. I've crated 655-lbs of artifacts returned to America from China and they await transport to the 2014 finishing of the museum interior. We know the place as Yang Tang (Kweilin); with its Command cave and others used to service the largest airbase in Eastern China until 23rd. Oct. 1944. I resided in Guilin for 8-years, and perhaps I just know it a little better than most! We'll be restoring the command cave next! Thanks for the fine compliment; I never knew I was a poster-child until 1981... Phil
  4. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    I had trouble finding your link, you have an "s" on tiger.
    Looks very interesting & will take the time to read it later.
    I just wanted to point this out, so others could find it.
  5. vansos01, 4 years ago
    Have to look into that - it's supposed to work either way as the FTHO name has the 's' in it, but we have had a newer board-member re-working the site with a Chinese version also - the gentleman stated he was able to "shorten" the name to what he recommended as easier to input. It was my understanding that a second avenue was far shorter than reducing by a single letter. I only contribute some documentation and photos to the FTHO Newsletter, but am told that anyone may receive it and all of the contact info is in there. I'll have to start reading more than the 'proofs' that come back... supposedly a new one is being published as I write and is over-due as a "Quarterly" since the board has been waiting on the Chinese Embassy in DC to confirm an event date there. This being a political fund-raiser, I've tried to distance myself from involvement, but today is the day when this installment receives the 'word' and goes to press. I fear that our main theme, which has been entitled: "LONG AGO and FAR AWAY" (the continuation of the AVG story - last published as moved from Toungoo, Burma to Kunming, China) 6-months ago, will once again languish due to space, and the BIG event announcement. My "Boss" substituted a short story on Boatner R. Carney.
    Thanks for letting me know about troubles getting into FTHO site. Phil
  6. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
    Van/Phil, hope you are going to share pics of collection when unwrapped & the cave. Looking forward to it.
  7. vansos01, 4 years ago
    I was supposed to do a piece-by-piece photo/name-it of everything in the crate, but there were 2,500+ individual items; I generalized quite a bit - ie: 'Ammo box containing wings, ranks, DIs, uniform buttons & spares', -or- '25 military uniforms, vacuum packed in box' because quite frankly the museum-staff must get advanced Customs clearance and being Chinese, they're not going to pay any applicable duties since they are using Beijing funding in the $millions! Perhaps they'll take photos when displays are done.
    As for the cave restoration: I submitted several ideas, based on my having been in it during various weather conditions. My grandest was a covered, elevated walkway connecting the museum to the cave about 100-meters away, with sketches of the drainage and interior roofing required (cave leaks - you see, before it was abandoned and the base's 550+ structures burned at abandonment in the fall of 1944, they lugged a 500-lb. bomb to that cave to destroy its interior which contained offices, map-rooms and a huge 1/2" thick glass plotting table... in the explosion the ceiling of the cave was weakened and during the area's two rainiest seasons it leaks beginning a day after the first rain - as being in a karst limestone mountain - this dripping would ruin the wooden floor & reproduced furnishings. Therefore I contacted a metal building fabricator in China, and 'stole' his ideas to internally roof & drain around the sides. I was quite dismayed when this proposal was 'tabled' by the adminitrative board; mainly because it would have been far cheaper to build when they were pouring cement for the museum, and the entry-way provided security, as well as an all-weather level walk-way (for hadicapped & those visitors who didn't like the steep climb) - believe me, I have scoured that hillside, finding all sorts of stuff blown out of that cave; half-buried in the red-clay and under brush (with big spiders) and fortunately never to have met the infamous 5-step Chinese snake (how far one can walk before the venom kills you!)... The idea never reached the Chinese... One can only dream, I guess.
    China has several museums, well beyond Beijing... but the Guilin Flying Tigers Museum will be the largest, solely dedicated to airmen; Chinese & American - from the time the Yang Tang airfield was first used by the KwangSi warloards' bi-plane armada (the then largest air force in early 1930s China) to it's final home of the 14th. Airforce Eastern Defenses (Chennault's "string of pearls"). Literally anyone and anything ever dropped out of, or landed by a plane will be covered - that includes US Cavalry mules, troops in gliders and equipment used to build the Ledo Road, maintain the Burma Road and airfields, as well as Chinese & US paratroopers... If it flew, was flown - this museum will cover it somehow!
    One thing the Chinese have agreed to do is construct a control-tower based on old photos and a replica of an airman's hostel - to this end I found them an original 4-poster bed complete with mosquito netting, and old pot-bellied charcoal stove (may not be restorable), an ancient ice-box and a Coke-cooler in what was once one of five service caves in a near-by hill. There are thousands of bottles on the floors, old cooking utensiles & pots, and evidence of cold-storage rooms built of cement-blocks inside also. Those caves are as of yet not part of the park confines and I have made suggestions to the Chinese that they go in there on a "Treasure Hunt" with high-power lights (and rat-warding-off leggins for the timid); they have been leased to 'mushroom farmers' and the only way we and our Guilin friends got inside, was by promising an old woman mushroomer that we'd take video of her and put it on TV (I did - and we later showed it on our TV with the cam-corder hooked up! Would I lie?) Interstingly - thesee 5-caves are mostly 'tunneled' all the way thru the large hill with what could have served as AA-gun emplacements blocked & cemented platforms at each end of three. Large wooden doors remain on the sheltered N.E. side which looked out on more than half of the runway area. The original control tower sat along an old road and a railway spur on the hill's eastern flank. They were known to be used by airmen and air-crews as air-raid shelters during the Japanese raids over Kweilin and Yang Tang 'every clear moon-lit night', as well as supplying cooked dinners down the hill to the main mess-hall. We found them because a Guilin friend's father was a B-25 pilot, and married her mother, who served meals to the airmen... this lady was quite active in the Chinese reunions of old airmen until 2005 when they ceased. A "chatterbox" who'd continue to explain things with both hands, even after my wife stopped interpreting her words... making for some interesting video and photos. One thing the museum will get back is a 1943 US Bronze fueling nozzle which M's Huang's husband found still attached to a hose (he cut it off with his pocket knife) and somehow smuggled it out of the cave while we toured... and where he found seat-belts removed from C-47; most-likely to change it's bench-seating to cargo area, I'll never know.
    I found lots of small stuff, like an old .30 cal. wing gun, and odd pieces of heavy aluminum; 1940s Chinese 'nickles & dimes', a very rusted Indian Kukuri knife and bits of old locks & hasps - using a metal-detector there in 2006. I realized later I was just on the edge of the old 396th. Service Sqd'n salvage yard, and possibly some of the larger 'hits' that were too deep for my probe may have been aircraft sections or engines even (we know that much was bull-dozed under) and this was the largest salvage yard in China where fighters, bombers, transports were dismantled or rebuilt from parts - the 396th. guy actually scoured well into Japanese-controlled areas for crashed aircraft with their trucks having lifting rigs.
    Who knows what a good 'dig' might produce, although the red-clay road which now traverses this area may eventually get paved over and connect beyond the hills to one going to the newer Guilin International airport; for now plans are to pave only a portion of it as entry to the museum and Command cave park.
    If one were planning a trip to China and wanted to visit the major museums and other Flying Tiger haunts, I would say make your plans for August-September of 2015, which will be the 70th. Anniversary there of the end of hotilitie between Japan and China. I know four museums have big celebrations scheduled - one in Nanjing, another in Kunming, a third where former President Jimmy Carter unveiled the Chennault statue at Zhijiang, and of course Guilin's... but I am sure Beijing's National Aeronautical museum, Chengdu's Flying Tiger/B-29 museum Chonqing's Stillwell & F-T annex. and many memorial parks will be in celebration also. Kunming would be my choice to begin or end, because thete you have the magnificent Chennault/Flying Tigers wall, The HUMP Bar, and The HUMP and Burma Road memorials as well I hear they may spend $453-million on a joint Sino/Singaporean/Australian F-T park 20-miles S.E. of the city with the newest International Airport in China! Phil Van Zandt

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