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November 1944: Adair County at War

To all who have served in the armed forces, a heartfelt thank you.

By JIM

By the time mid-November 1944 arrived, the United States had been involved in the war for nearly three years. Some four dozen young Adair County service men had died, several had been captured and taken as POWs, many others injured in combat or in training mishaps -- and the Battle of the Bulge and some of the worst of the South Pacific bloodbaths loomed large (but mercifully yet hidden) on the near event horizon.

Several items in the November 15 edition of the News dealt with the war.

David Heskamp had been named by F.X. Merkeley, the chair of the Adair County War Finance Committee, to head the Sixth War Loan Drive, set to run November 20 through December 16. The county goal was $250,000. To help jump start the effort, the Committee planned to hold a Bond Rally and Auction on Saturday, November 25. (The quarter million dollar goal, some $3.6 million in today's money, was met and exceeded. At the rally alone, Adair Countians bought up $100,000 worth of the War Bonds.)

Another fund-raising effort, the Adair unit of the state War Fund Drive already had collected nearly $3,000 and expected to receive more. All monies received beyond the goal of $2,600 were earmarked for "erecting an honor board in the Court House yard, listing all Adair men in the Armed Forces."

Other home folks gave to the war effort in a different manner. On the previous Wednesday, no fewer than 261 Adair County motored to Louisville in a 62 vehicle caravan to the Red Cross Center there to donate blood.

Several service men drew mention is edition of the News, including:


  • Cpl. J.W. Stone of the U.S. Army Air Forces, had gone into service in 1942. After spending almost a year in the Aleutian Islands, he was now at his new duty station, Stinson Field, San Antonio.

  • 1Lt. Asa M. Shelton, a once and future instructor and administrator at Lindsey Wilson, had just received a promotion. The newly-minted 1st Lieutenant, serving in France with the U.S. Army 9th Air Force as a meteorologist, had also recently been awarded the Bronze Star for "outstanding service in the aerial offense over Germany."

  • Pfc. Curtis Lawless, son of Osborne and Bertha Lawless of the Montpelier section, had been killed in action on Peleliu Island in late September. His parents received notification of his death several weeks later. Their other son, Sgt. Carson Lawless, was stationed in Europe.

  • Pvt. Edward Tabor, of Fairplay, stationed in the West Indies, had met up with fellow Adair Countian Lt. Col. Bert Rosenbaum and taken a ride in the latter's airplane.

  • 1st Lt. George W. Morris, of Columbia, a P-15 Mustang fighter-bomber pilot operating out of England with the 357th Fighter Group, recently had added a third Oak Leaf Cluster to his previously awarded Air Medal.

  • S1/c James Bradford Thompson, serving in New Guinea for the past six months, had received a promotion and was now Seaman First Class Thompson.


This story was posted on 2019-11-10 07:09:35
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