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Old 01-20-2010, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Universal City, Texas
3,109 posts, read 8,724,535 times
Reputation: 1785

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BudB View Post
Familiarity with Norman Brock's place dates me as a genuine old timer but that's ok because I still have some of the treasures found there and one in particular is a true family heirloom now. Those who recall the WW II movie "12 O'Clock High" with Gregory Peck will appreciate my find. While digging thru the piles and shelves in Brock's dark and creepy basement one day about 1980 or so I found a first edition of the novel 12 O'Clock High, the book the movie was based on. It was written by Bernie Lay and Sy Bartlett who were both 8th Air Force veterans and Hollywood screenwriters. That would have been a great find on any day and this copy was still in its original dust jacket. Best of all was the fact that the book had been signed by both authors with an inscription to its original owner General Jimmy Hodges wartime commander of the 2nd Air Division, all the 8th Air Force's B-24 units. He was one of the men who the story's main character Gen. Savage was based on and as portrayed by Gregory Peck. After the war Gen. Hodges headed the Air Training Command at Randolph.
There was no penciled price noted in the book so that meant carrying it upstairs for old man Brock to evaluate personally. He nearly always sat at his desk chewing a cigar and surrounded by piles of books. Never what you'd call friendly, I luckily caught him on the phone so handed him my little treasure and held my breath. Apparently in the middle of wheeling and dealing a big money, rare book sale, he glanced at my book and said 10 bucks by flashing five fingers at me twice while still talking on the phone. I paid him and walked nonchalantly out the door then ran for the next three or four blocks down Commerce St. with a big grin on my kisser but afraid that he might have second thoughts and yell for me to come back. He didn't tho so it's still mine and I love telling the story. His wacky politics aside Brock's was indeed a gold mine of such treasures if you took the time to dig for them amongst all the mountains of published material he had collected over a few decades. He had countless other rare books, journals, and maps, etc. and also a lot of worthless stuff too. My book is worth a lot more then $10 but I will never sell it.
Btw, in the years following WW II many important generals retired in San Antonio and Jimmy Hodges was one so I guess following his passing the book somehow got to Brock's. Gen. Hodges' grave is in the Fort Sam National Cemetery along with a lot of other famous WW II names.
BudB: A cousin of mine was a WW2 pilot flying out of England. He was in the company that was based on "12 O'Clock High". Some of his stories were brought out in the movie. Remember when the pilot was sick and another pilot took his place and that pilot and plane was lost. That was his story as well as the plane that came in all beat up, full of holes. My cousin's name was Carroll Moench. He was of German heritage flying over Germany. After the war he went on to become a Colonel in the Air Force. He is buried at Ft. Sam Houston cemetery.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:45 PM
 
Location: I live south of San Antonio in a place called Atascosa.
854 posts, read 2,079,872 times
Reputation: 511
I love stories about WWll. I was living in an apartment by Ingram Mall and there was this little old hungarian dude that was the talk of the complex. He would throw parties all the time and he was a real skirt chaser. I got to know him and noticed he had a number tatooed on his arm. When I asked him about it he told me he got it at a POW camp in Germany. He was somehow connected with Southwest Research Inst. in it's early day's and told me about some of the German Scientists that worked there. One of the guys designed the engines for the Hindenburg. I wish I could have got him to talk more about that stuff but he really didn't want to talk about it much
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:01 PM
 
Location: Universal City, Texas
3,109 posts, read 8,724,535 times
Reputation: 1785
If he had a number that means he was probably in a Jewish death camp.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:03 PM
 
Location: I live south of San Antonio in a place called Atascosa.
854 posts, read 2,079,872 times
Reputation: 511
Yes you could be right but I prefer to think about the Hindenburg guy. No wonder he was in San Antonio looking for a job!!!

Last edited by Dwangle; 01-20-2010 at 06:06 PM.. Reason: forgot a word bad proof reading
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:49 PM
 
Location: South Central Texas
114,173 posts, read 54,262,209 times
Reputation: 163323
My uncle lived on Rigsby for 40 years probably and just passed a few years ago. He finished all his missions as a gunner or bombardier on a B-24 I believe in WWII. I knew an old fellow that lived in Castle Hills a few years back. He had a lot of rent properties. He once showed me a photo album of Pappy Boyington and the "Black Sheep" Squadron. He wasn't a member I think but had been closely involved with the group.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Universal City, Texas
3,109 posts, read 8,724,535 times
Reputation: 1785
I had another cousin that flew the "Hump" (indo china). After the war he worked for Tom Slick in San Antonio for a few years. He flew transport flights for Slick Airlines. He wrote a family history for all the members of our family. He too is buried at Fort Sam Cemetery.
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Austin, Tx.
237 posts, read 703,375 times
Reputation: 155
Default WW II people

Quote:
Originally Posted by gy2020 View Post
He too is buried at Fort Sam Cemetery.
Thanks to all of you who wrote about your friends and family members from WW II as it's very important for us to remember them and their sacrifices. Arm tattoos were exclusively for death camps but included more than Jews as the Nazis tried getting rid of Slavs, Gypsies, gays, midgets, and other non-Aryans.
As for ex-Nazi scientists, San Antonio's most famous was Dr. Hubertus Strughold who worked for many years at Brooks AFB School of Aerospace Medicine and lived at the Menger Hotel. Sometimes known as "The Father of Space Medicine", Strughold was a medical doctor who specialized in aviation health issues beginning early in his career in Germany.
Wikipedia says of him; "As the head of Nazi Germany's Air Force Institute for Aviation Medicine, Strughold participated in a 1942 conference that discussed "experiments" on human beings carried out by the institute. The experiments included subjecting inmates of the Dachau concentration camp to torture and death by being immersed in water, placed in air pressure chambers, forced to drink sea water and exposed to freezing temperatures. Strughold later denied approving the experiments and said he learned of them only after World War II. After the war, he was Professor of Physiology and Director, Physiological Institute, University of Heidelberg."

A footnote here should say that the experiments noted by Wiki were done for the German Air Force or Luftwaffe duriing the war to help them design better cold weather and high altitude clothing, life preservers and other flight gear for aircrews. This in no way excuses the activity but does help understand their purpose compared to the brutal behavior of some nazis just for the hell of it in the camps as seen in "Schindler's List" for example.

Wiki continues; "Strughold was brought to the United States as part of Operation Paperclip. He first coined the term "space medicine" in 1948 and was the first and only Professor of Space Medicine at the School of Aviation Medicine (SAM) at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. In 1949 Strughold was made director of the Department of Space Medicine at the SAM (which is now the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas). He played an important role in developing the pressure suit worn by early American astronauts. He was a co-founder of the Space Medicine Branch of the Aerospace Medical Association in 1950. He was named Chief Scientist, Aerospace Medical Division in 1961. The aeromedical library at Brooks AFB was named after him in 1977, but later renamed because documents from the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal linked Strughold to medical experiments in which inmates from Dachau were tortured and killed."
I met him at Brooks one day when my dad was a driver for the chauffeur service the base ran. One of his duties was to pick up or return Dr. Strughold to the Menger. We chatted for a little while and he gave me copies of some if his research papers done at Randolph or Brooks. When I met him about 1970 or so he was just a nice old guy with a heavy German accent and quite friendly. It was years later when I learned of his wartime history in a PBS Frontline special about Operation Paperclip.
Wikipedia has a list of his Legacy and the last one is my favorite;
"The television show The X-Files weaves Dr. Strughold into its complex government conspiracy mythology. In the episode "Paper Clip," characters visit the fictitious Strughold Mining Company, a front company whose long-abandoned warehouse was used to store data related to post-World War II genetic research." Look there for more info.
While you're there check out Tom Slick who was another colorful San Antonian and one with a much more positive history that ended early in a plane crash. Thanks again to all.
ps; here's a postcard that Dr. Strughold gave me during our visit at Brooks. It shows him with LBJ probably during Pres. Johnson's time in office since he was a big supporter of the NASA & the Space Program.
Attached Thumbnails
Gone But Not Forgotten in San Antonio! - Part II-strughold.jpg  
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:23 PM
 
Location: I live south of San Antonio in a place called Atascosa.
854 posts, read 2,079,872 times
Reputation: 511
I love that picture! The eyes of Texas. Two Centrifuges!!
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:57 PM
 
Location: South Texas Coastal Bend
45 posts, read 126,403 times
Reputation: 46
Sorry this is a bit late but....reading through the posts from early Jan 2010 about phone numbers brought back such great memories. Ours was WA(lnut)2-6890. I remember so well Granny giving our number as "Walnut 2 6890". Thanks for that trip down memory lane! I really needed that today.
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:07 PM
 
Location: South Texas Coastal Bend
45 posts, read 126,403 times
Reputation: 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by BudB View Post
Did you attend Poe and if so when? I lived on Cooper St. just off New Braunfels so Poe was only a half block away.
Another telephone memory worth sharing was that of the party-line. I lived out past Martinez on St. Hedwig Road for a couple years from Sept. 1972 thru June of '74. To keep costs down I subscribed to a four party line each one with a certain ring. All four home's telephone rang simultaneously but you only picked up on your ring which was two shorts and a long for me. I left the area that summer of '74 to get married then later settled here in Austin. I have no idea how much longer party-lines remained in operation in Bexar County or elsewhere but would like to know if anyone out there can say.
Bud - we moved down here (about 35 miles northwest of Corpus Christi) in June 1976. We had a party line. My parents still had it until the early 1980's at which time the phone company changed all to private lines. As teenagers, we sure had some fun with that party line. Some of the old women who loved to gossip would wait a couple of minutes after we answered our ring then they would pick up (thinking we couldn't hear when they did so). The conversation would turn "colorful" to say the least. We got a kick out of hearing the "gossip" the next day (although my parents sure didn't!).
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