One of the things my mom did in her retirement years, was to go to the “Plainsman Herald” newspaper office and hand copy news items which she had someone else type then she self published. The following items are from January and February, 1944 in her booklet, “Baca County History, the Forties.”
I was ten years old in 1944. These items show what influenced me at that time in my life. Most of the men in my family were exempt from draft because of being farmers. But you can see that the “folks back home” were supportive of the men who had gone to war. We had only a radio and a weekly newspaper. We were deeply patriotic. To this day I regard myself as a Patriot and I am offended that the term “White Nationalist” is degraded and sneered at. I am white; I was born that way. I did not choose my color. However, I am a supporter of my country, America, the USA. I think it has been highly blessed by God and I think it has blessed other nations of the world. I guess that means I choose to be a nationalist. White Nationalist? Do I need to apologize for that!
Dec. 9, 1943 Earl E. Doty, son of Mr. & Mrs. Ott Doty, was born in Springfield in 1919 and died Nov. 13, 1943 on foreign soil in Sicily at the age of 24 years.
Jan. 13, 1944 Thirteen men leave for Army examinations: James Hargis, John Hicks, Byron Russell, J.D Whitted, Calvin Moody, Bob Rich, J. W. Rutherford, J. R. Coulter, and Eugene Dillon.
Jan. 13, 1944 Sgt. Eugene Dunlap arrived here to spend a 10 day furlough with his aunt, Mr. & Mrs. C.G. Eckles. Sgt. Dunlap is stationed in Deridder, Louisiana.
Jan. 20, 1944 Five hundred Baca County men are now in the Armed Service. Buy Bonds to Help!
Jan. 27, 1944 Baca County is still sending men to the Armed Service. (Lavoe Holt, a well known young man of Springfield was among this group.)
Feb. 10, 1944 The War Department notified Mr. M.R. Sunday that his son, Lt. Markham R. Sunday, had been killed in action in the Pacific.
Feb. 24, 1944 “41 Leave for Uncle Sam’s Services” Forty-one young Baca County men were forwarded for physical examinations to the armed forces induction station at Denver, Colorado by the local draft board at Springfield on Feb. 21st.
Feb. 24, 1944 Sgt. Russell Robinson of Springfield, Colorado, parachuted to safety after his pilot and co-pilot were both hit and the Fortress was crippled. The story began with a burst of cannon fire from enemy fighters that killed the pilot and seriously wounded the co-pilot. On the orders of the control tower, four men parachuted to the ground. The Fortress crashed onto the field and exploded, killing the engineer, navigator, and the pilot.
Excerpt of letter from Mr. and Mrs Ira Chenoweth’s son, Marion – January, 1944
Dear Folks, I am in New Guinea. We went ashore yesterday for a few hours. It was really a change to get off of the ship for a while. I had an extra meal that day. It was a treat to get three meals in one day I tried climbing a coconut tree but had to give up and have a native go up and cut down the coconuts. You can’t fool them on money for they know when they are getting hooked They sure like cigarettes though. For three cigarettes, they will climb any tree and cut down coconuts for you. I went swimming in fresh water that runs out of the mountains. It sure beats these salt water showers we get on board ship. Marion E. Chenoweth
Mar. 23, 1944 Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Woodhouse, motor mechanic in the Air Corps, is stationed somewhere in Italy with the 82nd fighter group.
Mar. 23, 1944 Part of a letter written from North Wales by Wilbur Konkel, son of Sam Kpnkel: “We are all on the front lines over here you know. People in America who have never experienced an air raid have very little idea of what that kind of war means. I see lots of boys from America over here.”
I am indeed thankful for the military men and women of the world including 416,800 Americans, about 500 of whom were from Baca County – family, friends, and neighbors from a small dot in fly over country – who gave their lives for my freedom. My generation is fading fast. Will anyone remember?