Trumbull – Letters From Each Son (1) News From Alaska – July, 1945

Grandpa hit the jackpot this week. He received letters from all five sons and he is thrilled to share the entire letters in this 6-page missive to all family members. I will be posting this one letter for the entire week. Enjoy catching up on the activities of each son away from Trumbull and the Homestead.

Copy of a letter from Ced, postmarked July 24th and addressed to M. Alfredeau de Guion, Baux 7, Trumbull, Conn.

The ski club scheduled a hike and picnic for today (Sunday) but the weather was stinko this morning, consequently the trip was called off. Lad has been doing such a wonderful job of writing and answering your letters that he puts me to shame. So in humility I shall attempt in part to make recompense. To Lad you say he is probably hardest hit by being situated as he is. Reasoning is good and I think you are perhaps right. I hope, whatever happens, that he will find it not too depressing (witness Dave’s glowing account of the beauties of Okinawa). There is always the assurance that each day is one nearer to home, no matter how you look at it. Dan – – ah, there’s a fellow – – our Monsieur Guion. I keep telling all the girls at the office that I’ll write him and Paulette one fine day – – weather sure MUST be stinko – – and for sure I will. I should also take up French but time is so scarce. Perhaps by now Chiche and Dan are probably hitched. I hope so, at any rate, as it must be heartbreaking to have to keep putting off such an important thing in one’s life. How I would like to have been there to witness the ceremony and properly welcome the bride and groom – – wouldn’t we all.

Dave mentions my flying down to Okinawa on a visit. What does he think is going to happen when I fly over Paramushiro? Of course the Japs don’t give much opposition in the air anymore, but if a poor little puddle-jumper such as I happened along, I’m afraid my gas might be so low at that point that I’d have to stop for more, and while it might be fun to steal some Jap gas, it would be a little foolhardy, don’t you think? I’d sure like to be able to do just that tho, Dave.

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion  (Ced)

Now you wonder about my future plans. They are not too definite yet but I hope to get a commercial pilot’s license. If I stay in the flying game it will be as a pilot – – of that I am quite sure. Flying is becoming safer every day and I don’t expect to get into trouble. I wish you were up here this afternoon and I’d take you up for a spin. Should we get into trouble, I expect I could land almost anywhere with little or no scratches. The plane might suffer considerable damage but occupants would be comparatively safe. For the present I am sitting tight awaiting developments up here. I’m afraid this will not satisfy your requests for information, but we have this in common. I am just about as set on what to do as the proverbial tumbleweed, which puts me in exactly the same category as yourself concerning my plans.

To Jean and Dick it must be a lovely world just at the moment. I am interested in Dick’s answer to your question as to whether or not he is still expecting to come to Alaska. It might be that I could do something for him in the event he is still serious about it. As to your plans for Dave at the office, I suspect he is going to stoop to a little subversive activity to prolong the war. Certainly the easy life of a soldier stalking through swamps, sleeping on tree stumps, guns firing near misses now and then, nasty officers asking and requiring the impossible, would be a picnic beside the task of upholding a schedule such as you line up. Just because you lean to the Superman-style is no reason you must expect it from your youngest son. Dave’s letter about being in Okinawa was a little worrisome for a while but he came through with flying colors. Incidentally, neither he nor you seem to have realized that Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, killed just a few days before the end of the Okinawa campaign, was Commanding General of the Alaska Defense activities, stationed here at Fort Richardson from 1940 through 1944. He was credited with saving Alaska from the Japs, owned land here on which he intended to build and it was here he planned to live after the war. He resided in a house in Anchorage for some time prior to the outbreak of hostilities, along with his wife and family. Rusty has been

Page 2 of Ced’s letter

at several parties at which he was a guest and knew him quite well. I never met him but have seen him many times on the street and at civic and Army gatherings. Dave’s mention of having seen him a few days before his death interested me, and more so, the remarks on his popularity. While here in Alaska he was quite well-liked, both in and out of Army circles. I suppose there were many who didn’t like him but the vast majority seemed quite taken with him. He was a heavy drinker but held it well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Bolivar_Buckner_Jr.

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of Ced’s very long letter (two and a half typed pages from Grandpa. (I don’t have Ced’s original). Letters from the other sons will appear later in the week.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Foreigners (3) – More News From Ced And Some Answers – June 24, 1945

Judy_0003

Cedric Duryee Guion

Page 3       6/24/45

Skiing is done. Summer hikes are coming up but I put in very little time on them. I am singing regularly in the choir when I’m not working Sunday (average once a month). Flying. There we have a little surprise for you. I am the proud possessor of one private pilot’s license with authority to fly any plane from 0 to 80 HP., as of last Wednesday. The inspector told me I did a good flight test. Now I’m anxious to put in more time and get a commercial, but oh, the cost.

Dan’s coming nuptials are considered much as you in Trumbull view them. Does Dan need to make a request for a package to be sent him, and if so, can you get me one from him as I’d like to mail something to him. Paulette is certainly a knockout on looks, isn’t she? I certainly enjoy hearing from Lad and Dave via you and am pleased that Dave is so happy with the whole thing. Sounds as though he’s being a good sport. I don’t intentionally cut out Dan and Dick but lately your quotes haven’t included much from either of them. (Wait to get last week’s eight pager, Ced, about Dan’s experience). I enjoy all the quotes – – particularly enjoyed Lad’s description of the plane trip. Let’s have more descriptions of European experiences – – this for Lad and Dan’s benefit. I finally heard from Rusty. His latest flame is Ann Berg. He has been corresponding with her and trying to get her to come up to Barrow to become his spouse. Rusty is still crazy about Barrow and its inhabitants. Has just returned from a whale hunt and says he has material for two years painting. Love to all the gals. Ced

Now to answer some of your questions. Whether or not a request is needed before sending packages to boys overseas seems to depend on the local postmaster. I know it is required sometimes in Bridgeport but not in Trumbull. Suggest you inquire of your own post office. Above I have quoted a letter from Dave asking for serviceable, not fancy, moccasins. Perhaps that will do. In back letters you will also find quotations from Dan asking for this or that. Perhaps that will be sufficient. I still think I’d like to give you a ring rather than the other items you mentioned. How would a smaller ring for your “pinkey” go? If that, what size would this be? At last I have a picture of you in uniform but I didn’t see any stars on the collar. CONGRATULATIONS in big letters on the pilot’s license. I’m glad for you but I’m just old-fashioned enough, particularly after getting the news in the letter telling of narrow escapes and planes, to wish it were something the insurance companies would consider less of a hazardous occupation. However, the compensating thought is that your mechanic experience must have impressed on you the wisdom of taking no chances with imperfect workmanship, carelessness, etc. I have no fear as to your good judgment or quickness in emergencies. In fact I would feel the same way about you that you do about Ernie and Bill.

Next week maybe I’ll have a letter from Lad to quote but the Censor hasn’t taken the lid off as in Dan’s and Dave’s case. Until then, good night and good luck to you all, until we meet again.

DAD.

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to all his boys in the service.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Foreigners (2) – Ced Writes Of Dramatic Events – June 24, 1945

Ced @ 1945

Page 2     6/24/45

Now for Ced’s quarterly statement. After the expected apology and the discovery that he can forecast the weather in Connecticut by telling us two weeks before we get it what is happening in Anchorage, quite overlooking the fact that if he writes only once in two or three months the information will be a bit late when received here. However, we’ll let that pass. They have had trouble securing competent help (as who hasn’t) leaving him with much work to do alone. Just as they thought they had things in hand, trouble started.

First the Travelair landing gear, then pilot and copilot of the Boeing took off for Juneau one morning. “10 minutes later the radio operator, Chuck, and I were eating breakfast over at the airport café when someone behind us said “Surprise”. It was the pilot himself and a ghost wouldn’t have been more disconcerting. It seems he had just gotten headed for Juneau when both engines stalled simultaneously. By switching gas tanks and manipulating throttles he was able to get the engines going again. There were some 5 gallons of water in the tank when we drained it. Water had apparently leaked under the gasket in a new funnel and we had used a hose which had lain idle for over a month, which had apparently been a full of water. No harm was done other than a scare and lost time. That was Friday.

On Sunday the same two started for Naknek, got to Kenai when the right engine went sour. They returned to Anchorage on the left engine. Trouble – cracked cylinder head.

On Tuesday the same two, returning from the regular run to Juneau, when about 10 minutes out from here and about 6000 feet up, they noticed a smell. A radio operator was watching their approach and listening to their request on the radio for clearance to land. They saw what appeared to be the landing light turned on for a few seconds. A minute later the pilot reported he was in serious trouble and to stand by for an emergency landing. Suddenly the right engine burst into furious flame and while the copilot turned on the fire extinguisher, Ernie prepared for a crash landing at Turnagin Arm. He dove from 6000 to 2000 feet in the time it took the fire to go out (thank the Lord). In the meantime, he had opened the passenger door and told all passengers to fasten on their safety belts. He was afraid they would either panic and start jumping out the door or come forward and try to get into the pilot’s compartment. However, they behaved beautifully, the fire was out and at 2000 feet the pilot was set for a dunking in the Arm with all on board, right engine inoperative, when he suddenly realized the ship might limp into the field. He leveled off and started to strain the left engine to pull into the field. Landing was made without further mishap to the relief of all concerned. Incidentally, I would fly anywhere with these two. They show excellent presence of mind and judgment. The fire burning less than a minute nevertheless did terrific damage under the cowling. The main gas line, due to defective installation at L.A., had broken and had spewed high test aviation gas directly out of the pressure pump into the open engine nacelle at the probable rate of more than 2 gallons per minute, some of which had undoubtedly run out under the bottom of the wint. (A nacelle, in case you haven’t a dictionary handy, is the covered seat for the pilot of a plane).

I’ll continue Ced’s letter later today. On Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his five sons.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – FROM…SHGHF (2) – Lad Flies At 10,000 Feet – May 13, 1945

This is the second part of a very long letter from Grandpa to his five sons scattered around the world. Lad had a chance to go up in a B-26 and relates the story in a letter to his wife, Marian (my Mom).

Lad and Marian Guion, 1943

Marian Irwin Guion, wife of Lad

I hitched out to the base with Al Vegel, and by inquiry, we found that quite a few ships (B-26’s) were going to go up for practice formations. We made arrangements to go up in one of them, but a few moments later the flight was canceled. We decided to try another squadron, but just as we were asking, all flights were canceled there too. We were persistent and in a third squadron, got lined up again – – just before cancellation.

Across the field we could see a plane warming up so we started for it. By the time we had walked about half the way across (about one third of a mile) the plane taxied off. Al decided to take a picture of it as it went past us on the runway so we hurried a little to get ready before it reached us. We got there O.K. just a few minutes before he started. The wind was still blowing a little and after the plane left the ground the wind lifted it so that it passed directly over us. What a noise!!

Just about then we heard another plane warming up so we continued on across the field toward it. Once more we were late and decided to make one more attempt. By this time, we had been wandering around for about two and half hours. Our last inquiry gave us a lead to a ship which had a new engine just installed and it had to have a trial run. We made the necessary arrangements with the pilot, a captain, and got our chutes. Back at the plane we climbed aboard and after a final power test we taxied about 1 ½ miles to the beginning of the airstrip. Before pulling on the runway, if time permits, one of the crew gets out to check the tires for glass, nails, splinters, steel, etc., to help protect against flat tires. Time permitted, and the navigator got out. In a very few moments he was back again covered with oil spray. After a very short consultation with the second pilot they both got out again. When, after a few seconds, they climbed aboard again, they said it was leaking oil too badly to take a chance. So, we taxied back again.

Apparently the pilot and second pilot had to go up anyway so they called for another plane. Our hopes rose again and we tagged along to the other plane – – the oldest on the field, and it sure looked it; plenty of patches all over. We stood around for about 10 minutes while they made a minor engine repair and we all climbed aboard again. This time there was no hitch and we were airborne about 4 o’clock. The pilot willingly flew over our post so we could see what it looked like from the air (10,000 feet) but it was almost too small to see. We made a big circle and came down again at 5:30 after flying about 300 miles over very picturesque country with little hamlets or towns quite close together all over the place. It was really very pretty. Of course we asked all sorts of questions but the answers in general are probably restricted information so I’ll not repeat any of them.”…

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of Lad’s letter. On Thursday, I will post Grandpa’s comments and additional news about family and friends. On Friday I’ll post a letter from Lad, written on the same day as Grandpa’s, but not received until May 24th.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Oh Ye, Far From Your Father’s Home (5) – The Voyage of the Taylorcraft – February 17, 1946

Continuation of the Voyage of the Taylorcraft

from Conn. To Alaska

          The weather having cleared somewhat, and with the directions as to how to locate the Chagrin Falls airport settled in my mind, I determined to make a run for the airport. The three farm boys at the house were anxious to accompany me out to the ship, so we four trudged down the road, through the gateway and set about turning the plane 180° so that I faced the strip on which I had landed. This proved quite a task as the snow was probably a foot deep, and besides sifting down in our shoes, it blocked the wheels and made heavy pushing. That finally accomplished I thanked the boys, cranked the propeller and climbed in for the long hard taxi down to the far end of the field with wide open throttle. The engine strained and heaved. Eventually, tho falteringly, we got into position for the takeoff into the wind, and then came a tense period while we lurched sickingly and sluggishly down the strip for an eternity, but finally we were airborne and rising above the frowning telephone and light wires, we were on our way while the boys below waved in farewell. Finding Chagrin field was no picnic, as the snow swirled more heavily again — so much so that as I arrived over the river and flew along it toward the town of Chagrin, close enough to the ground to see plainly the house which Draz’s occupied back in 1934 — yet on approaching the town all was gradually obliterated from sight, and after twice repeating this maneuver and circling back without so much as glimpsing any part of the town or the river near the town, I headed out in the general direction of the airport, determined either on finding the airport or another farmers field. Five minutes more of futile searching served to discourage me, and I was circling over a nice flat field with the intention of settling down on it when almost miraculously, just to my right and directly under my wing, appeared a windsock, which naturally meant I was over an airport. Another minute or so and my wheels were digging into the deep snow on the runway. I taxied over to the hangar and with the help of the attendant, the ship was soon tied down and we went inside to warm up — just a little thankful to be back on the ground again and in good shape. Next move was to call Draz’s on the phone, but there was no answer, so I tried to get a cab, only to find that they were already four hours behind schedule — one of their two cars was out of order and as it was still snowing the prospects were that they would have more and more calls as the afternoon wore on. Only alternative was to wait until the attendant closed the building for the night and went to his own home, some two hours later. In the meantime we did a little hanger flying as we watched the snow busily working to disrupt transportation outdoors. During this time I tried occasionally to reach Draz’s, always without success, and even when I got into town I still failed to get an answer. I grabbed a bite to eat, then literally waited in line at stores in town, trying to buy a pair of overshoes, which were finally purchased at a little shoemaker’s shop; and then finding Draz’s still silence, I asked directions from the cab girl (who said they were then six hours behind), was duly instructed, and set out afoot to go the alleged 3 miles to the Draz place. A pickup picked me up and drove me the last 2000 feet — hardly got the thing in high gear. Dorothy Draz had come in just a short time before and welcomed me in her gracious way. I took a bath and dressed while she went down to the station to meet Frank, and when they returned, Dick and I joined them in a delicious supper served in the living room in front of the blazing fireplace, and with candles lighting the table. Later we sat in front of the fire and talked till late in the evening. Wednesday morning the snow was still falling, so after breakfast with the family I held the fort alone, repairing radios, while Frank went to work, Dorothy to a meeting and Dick to school. Dorothy returned at noon and we had lunch together.

 

Voyage of the Taylorcraft – continued.

As we finished eating the snow let up and the sun started to peek out, so packing hurriedly while Dorothy cleaned up the dishes, we prepared to drive out to the field. It was then that we discovered that Frank had taken my new overshoes, thinking that they were an extra pair that he had presumed were lost. Dorothy searched frantically for a satisfactory substitute, and finally located a pair of high-cuts, which, though a little tight, would serve the purpose. Then the car bogged down in the snow in the driveway, involving several minutes more delay, but it last we reached the field, had the plane serviced, loaded in the luggage, said my farewells and was off and away, not without snow however, which had commenced just as I took off. By the time I was approaching Cleveland the snow was letting up and soon I was out in the clear. There was hardly 2 inches of snow on the ground west of Cleveland. That jaunt was the first completely secure one I had had, and after crossing and checking proper landmarks along the way, I landed at Norwalk one hour and 15 minutes after leaving Chagrin airport. A magazine salesman took me over to a house where a phone was available from which I called Marion Peabody and told her where I was. She said she would phone Larry in Sandusky and have him pick Alan and herself up on the way down to meet me. I went back to the airport and unloaded all the extra junk, making the ship ready for a little pleasure hop. The Peabody’s arrived just at dusk, leaving time for only one hop, and course it was Alan who went. We flew all over Milan and back and then tied up the ship for the night. We all drove back to Milan and Marian whipped up a delicious meal of good old New England pancakes with maple syrup from you know who’s farm, and fresh eggs. As the plumber, working during the day, had caused a leak in the bathroom sink drain, Larry and I went to work on it, but only made conditions worse; so Larry finally decided to let the plumber fix it the next day. The balance of the evening was spent being shown through the house (it’s really a nice place) by Alan and Larry, and then talking while Larry and Marian wrapped Christmas stockings and looked at the slides and snapshots I had taken along with me. My cold was still bothering me a little so when I went to bed they made me a hot lemonade. Next morning after breakfast Marian drove me to the Norwalk field and I took off in bright clear weather. This was too good, tho, and an hour later I was once more getting into snow clouds. 30 minutes later I landed at Auburn, Ind. After having the ship serviced and checking the weather, which was unfavorable, I hung around for another one and half hours when the ceiling lifted and once again I was away to the west. Snow still dogged me, however, and 40 minutes later I was forced to land again, this time at Plymouth, Ind. Kept checking whether all afternoon, but it never improved so I had to stay over. This had redeeming features, tho, as I had an ailing radio overhauled by a competent radioman and also met an interesting radio engineer-scientist who took me under his wing, advising me on hotel and restaurant accommodations, supped with me during which we had a very interesting discussion on radar, radios, wireless power for aircraft, Jules Vern’s submarine (the Nautilus), Buck Roger’s visions, etc. He was a rather stout fellow, very sloppy in dress, and apparently tending to be overbearing, although after one talks with him as I did, this seems more and illusion than fact. One thing he certainly went out of his way to help me, and I did appreciate it.

Tomorrow, a Special Picture and on Sunday, a Guest Blogger, GP Cox, shares insights into the ordinary life of families during the 1940’s. She blogs on pacificparatroopers.wordpresss.com 

Judy Guion