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Ralph  I  Lipper

 

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RALPH LIPPER
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

405 Bluemont Circle
Manhattan, KS 66502

December 6, 1985

Dear Bill:

Thank you for your good letter of February 9 last year and for news of old soldiers you've been in touch with. You are doing much better than I. Wife, Mary, and I went to the 2AD reunion in McAfee NJ last September - first reunion involving the 44th I've attended. There were only a few I knew in a big crowd, but I had fun - probably because I hadn't expected too much. The only reason we went was that Bruce Pauly whom I succeeded as group engineering guy had written that he and wife, Dorothy, would be there. Gilbert Magasiner who had been group supply was there.

I enjoyed seeing Godwin Griffin again and Charlie Hughes. That's about it. We had driven our motor home and were joined in New Jersey by my brother and his wife in there for a tour into Nova Scotia. On the way back, we saw Charlie and Kay Allen in Boston and Mary and I had a fine time celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary with them in their place on Cape Cod.

Charlie gave me Bill Weaver's address and I am writing to him. We've been almost next door neighbors (2 hours drive) all these years and no contact!

Of the people you mentioned having disappeared, Ross Hager is the only one about whom I have even a clue. I saw Dave Nathenson in Dallas about 15 years ago and he said "Tex" lived there then. I was unable to contact him.

I'd like to have Bill Strong's address. He's an old Kansan. So was "Red" Wright [Lewis W. Wright was from Dodge City] but I've never heard of him since Shipdham.

We've been home here in Kansas between half and two-thirds of the time this year. Toured the southeast along with one of Mary's sisters and husband during azalea and dogwood blooming time last spring and had flown to Portland, Oregon before that. I expect I wrote you before we have a son and daughter, both of whom live in Portland. We're leaving for there again in a few days.

I wish you and yours happy holidays and a good 1986. Hope our paths can cross again one of these days.

Our best wishes. Ralph Lipper




RALPH LIPPER
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

30 November 1988

2539 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy.
Portland, OR 97201
(503)293-2343

Dear Will:

No need to apologize for "bothering" me. I'm glad to help. You are doing great service for the old boys of the 44th. Now I apologize for taking so long getting back to you. We are in the process of moving after 43 years in Manhattan. As you can imagine, we had a great deal of junk to haul out and unload in various ways. Both our son and our daughter and their families live in Portland. They have urged us to move ever since I retired from the faculty of the Dept. of Agricultural Engineering at Kansas State University in 1983. We are doing it now because my health is beginning to deteriorate and we thought we better do it before we have to be helped or dragged out by our heels.

Indeed our paths did cross as members of the 44th. I would not recognize you, but I remembered your name when I first started seeing it appear in print. I was assigned as Assistant Engineering Officer to the 67th in Oklahoma City. As you know, "Tex" Hager was engineering officer. He tolerated me gracefully but he inherited such a fine organization that he had little need for any services from me. During the first winter at Shipdham, before the sub-depot group arrived, Bruce Pauly, group engineering officer, put me in charge of specialists from the three squadrons in a hangar to perform as best we could, the services of sub-depot maintenance. I acted as tech-supply officer for the 67th at the same time so I did get somewhat acquainted with quite a few of the 67th mechanics. Mercer U. Clark was the 67th Tech supply NCO. He did such a good job that all I did was learn from him. It was the same way in maintenance.

I made the two trips to Africa with the outfit that arrived in England with no ground echelon. On the Ploesti sojourn, I was a squadron maintenance officer with buck sergeants and corporals from the 67th as crew people. They did an outstanding job. I always said they were the ones who had been doing all the work anyway while you master sergeants did the supervising. The 389th (I think that is the outfit) air crews were so impressed with our men and the work they did out on the desert that, when they got back to England with their own ground crews, they wanted to throw them overboard and keep our fellows. Our guys were enthusiastic about that idea because it would give them opportunities for fast promotions. Of course, there was no way that could be accomplished.

I did get a chance to go with them. The squadron engineering officer was killed in the crash of a test flight and I was invited back with the promise of immediate promotion to captain. I made the trip to Tunis with them. But Bruce Pauly offered me a job, not on the TOSE, of helping him - writing unsatisfactory reports and all such stuff. In the winter of 1943-44, Bruce went to Division to stand in for the division-engineering officer while that man made a junket back to the states to make unsatisfactory reports in person. Well, he didn't return so Bruce didn't return and that's how I, officially assistant engineering officer in the 67th, came to be group engineering officer and staff S-4. As you know, Hager of the 67th, Landrum of the 68th, and Strause of the 66th moved on to be group or sub-depot engineering officers in newly arriving outfits. I think Fenn must have been 67th engineering officer when you were inspector.

Frank Fox was my inspector in the group. I couldn't have made a go of my job without him and some others - Pat Stakelum, above all, whom I never heard from afterwards and still would like to get in touch with. Pat was the officer administrative master sergeant. Frank had an interesting career after the war. I saw him once at La Guardia where he was in charge of maintenance for American Airlines. He died several years ago - great guy and one I owe a lot to.

A person you would have known well, M/Sgt. Hanely, a flight chief in the 67th who, I understand, is now gone was one I knew pretty well. We had an interesting encounter when I was in group and a plane, I think from the 66th, with Col. Snavely as command pilot, ran off the end of the runway on takeoff one Sunday morning. I was out there before the dust (or splattering mud) settled. No one was hurt and the ambulance was just hauling the crew away. No one else had arrived yet, but there was an empty Jeep standing there. As I surveyed the wreckage, Sgt. Hanley came crawling on his belly, elbows propelling him like the flippers of a walrus, from under a crushed bomb bay door with all four electronic superchargers under his arms. It was when they first replaced the hydraulic variety and were in short supply. I'm sure we could list many names of common acquaintances from those days. Bruce Pauly was a product o the 67th having been assigned way back, perhaps like Goodman Grifin..

Now, to get to the business about which we are writing! I contacted Donald Heskett's sister at the little town of Milford not far from here. She says he is in poor health with cancer. He lives at 581 West Shannon, Chandler, Az 85224, telephone (602)963-9090. She called him to confirm that it would be all right to give his location and said he would be delighted to hear from Rendall.

If I can be of further service, don't hesitate to contact me in Portland.

Respectfully,

Ralph Lipper
 
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