WWII

courtesy of John Harshman

For some who serve in the military, their work is top secret, and the contribution they make to national security may never be publicly known. Today our Veterans Voice series continues with the story of Army veteran John Harshman who, unbeknown to him, helped crack the code of the German Enigma machines. Those machines were used to encrypt secret messages during World War II. Marine Corp veteran and Wright State student Jeremy Dobbins has the story.

Dan Patterson

Last week WYSO's aviation commentators, Paul Glenshaw and Dan Patterson, teamed up to cover the World War II Flyover in Washington DC. A parade of privately owned vintage warbirds celebrated the 70th of VE Day – the victory in Europe. Paul recorded voices and Dan took photographs to bring us this impression of the event.

9th Air Force P-47 Thunderbolts
Dan Patterson

Friday, May 8th is recognized as VE Day, which stands for Victory in Europe. 70 years ago, in the spring of 1945, American armies were streaming across Europe – the war was nearly over.  Part of the Americans' success came because they had learned how to support the troops and tanks on the ground with support with from the air.

Military flying began in 1914, in the early days of WWI as a way to see over the horizon and figure out what the enemy was up to.  Soon military flying became a sophisticated tactical and strategic weapon in itself.

Tuskegee Airmen
Jerry Kenney/WYSO / NMUSAF

This month, the National Museum of the United States Air Force is featuring an exhibit dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen—an all African-American army air corps squadron who served in the WWII.  The museum has expanded the exhibit, and to find out more about the Airmen and their historical significance, we spoke with museum historian Dr. Jeff Underwood. In the following interview, Underwood calls the inception of the Tuskegee Airmen into WWII a 'watershed moment' in American military and civil rights history.

Today our Veterans Voices series continues as we learn about Army veteran Jim Martin who despite being 93 years old, parachuted into Normandy this year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Jim was in the now famous 506th parachute infantry regiment featured in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. He was nicknamed “Pee Wee” because he was the lightest man in the unit. At the end of the war, Jim returned to Xenia to build a house, raise a family, and live a modest life. But when Jim got online and connected with social media, his popularity reached celebrity status.

Jeremy Dobbins

Jeremy Dobbins served four years as an infantry rifleman in Afghanistan, and when he got out in 2012 he found it difficult to talk to people about his military experience. But when he was ready, he chose to tell his stories to an old family friend from Springfield named Charlie Dyke.

Jeremy had joined the Marine Corps at age 17. Charlie enlisted during World War II shortly after his 18th birthday. Both men returned to Springfield after their service ended to raise families and begin new lives.

Dan Patterson Archival Collection

November 11 marks Veterans Day, when the country honors all who served. Our aviation commentator Dan Patterson has some thoughts about one of the veterans in his family and her remembrances of flight.

Dan Patterson Archival Collection

Seventy years ago, the country was deep into World War Two, and the US was on the offensive in the air.  Commentator Dan Patterson says that the big US four engine bombers were being shot down in shocking numbers.

Think about this: on one mission, we lost sixty bombers.  That's six hundred men.  It was just too much.

The US needed a fighter plane with long pegs, one that could go all way deep into Germany and protect the bombers, essentially win the air war and provide the long sought after supremacy of the air.

Over 56,000 American troops have been listed as missing in action in wars that have been fought over the past century. The majority of these soldiers were lost in the Pacific theater during WWII. In "Vanished"  Wil Hylton traces what became of the eleven man crew of an American B-24 bomber that crashed in 1944 near the remote Pacific archipelago of Palau. Divers searching for the underwater wreckage of the plane eventually located it. Wil Hylton describes how the search for this missing plane happened.

Dan Patterson Collection

History is broken down into the moments we remember about our own lives, like weddings and birthdays and graduations, and then there are days when we pause to remember together, as a nation, an event that affected us all.

Pearl Harbor Day, just passed, when Japanese pilots attacked American navy ships north of Honolulu, is one of those, even though it's now more than 7 decades passed. Commentator Dan Patterson finds himself finds himself turning it over and over in his mind.

Pages