For all of us WWII and Post-WWII inhabitants of Shemya, this is where we can post our "believe it or else" stories, most of which probably begin with, "This is no S____!" So, while keeping them as clean as possible (this is a family show), please E-Mail your contributions to this site and I'll post them here.
I was a USAFSS linguist/traffic analyst on Shemya from 11-1960 through 11- 1961. Thank you for your superb efforts to build a website for three generations of Shemya vets! After reading the e-mail entries, I remembered my favorite Shemya story about one night in May 1961. We had returned after swing shift and discovered a young man in our day room near the pool table and table tennis table. His arm was in a sling, he was sporting a beautiful shiner and had his jaw was wired shut We started to shoot pool. Then, of our people recognized he kid as being from his home town, somewhere in the deep South. When the two greeted each other, our man found out the injured man had been flown over from the Attu Coast Guard station for medical treatment. Our Shemya man asked the injured Coast Guardsman how Shemya compared with Attu. In a mournful drawl, the man replied through his wired shut jaw, "Hell man, y'all got two ping-pong paddles here." Somehow, the kid's reply made the rest of our 12 month tour a little easier to endure. Charley Humphreys, age 60 as of 11-28-98. E-mail Charley Humphreys Posted 13 March 1999
I was on Shemya for seven months between 1943 and 1945. . .don't remember the exact date I arrived or left. I was a medic in the Air Base Dispensary. We were part of the 23rd Service Squadron, 32nd Service Group (or it could have been the other way around). I remember three B-24s, painted blue, which almost daily, weather permitting, would fly over the northern islands of Japan to take pictures. One day one of the B-24s landed just a little too soon and tore off the wheels on the end of the runway. On February 7th, 1944 at 7:07AM, a B-24 taking off for a bombing run crashed and all aboard were killed. The plane came over our new infirmary, which was built along side of the runway. It burned and we never rebuilt it as long as I was there. Don Blumenthal, Porterville, CA. E-Mail Don Blumenthal Posted 10 December 1999
I arrived on Shemya in early February 1946, and could not see a thing. Due to the fog the visibility was only about 10 feet, and you could just barely make out the dock. I was taken (I don't know where) and my first thought was "what am I doing here?" I should have stayed in Texas (Sheppard Field). I was a drill instructor there. I was assigned to Armament and was doing O.K. but that wasn't what I really wanted. After two months I got transferred to Communications where I should have been in the first place (you know the Army Air Force!). Things went well there and Sgt. Groff was a great guy to work for. We did phone lines (the old twisted pair) and all the maintenance on the VHF, IFF, radio compass. . .low frequency stuff. I did some pole work as well. I think it was in December of 1946 or January of 1947 that we were hit with some 40 foot waves that originated in the South Pacific that did a lot of damage on the island. We had winds of 90-plus mph (tore the wind tee apart). Some of the huts were blown off their foundations, Pacific Huts were blown apart when the guys opened the door! The P-38s were blown from their anchors, and the hanger doors were blown open about as fast as they could be closed. There was a ship at dock that unloaded personnel throughout the island, we got some 25 or so in our squadron. It was a long night. I think there were three aircraft that sustained considerable damage to the point they were no longer able to fly. Some time in January, 1947, I got caught along with some other guys shooting "craps" in the mess hall. As a result, I got to do two weeks of garbage detail. It took a bar and a shovel to get the garbage out of the cans and dump it into the ocean! Finally my orders came to go home. The route was from Shemya to Adak to Anchorage to Fairbanks to Edmonton, Canada and finally to Great Falls, Montana where I was discharged. The travel pay was better than the muster pay! Bob Leavitt. E-Mail: Bob Leavitt Posted 10 December 1999