World War II Chronicle: 17 December 1941

After spending all night dancing and playing poker at the Wheeler Army Air Field Officers’ Club, lieutenants George S. Welch and Kenneth M. Taylor had just hit their racks. When the sound of explosions and enemy aircraft woke them up, the young pilots — still wearing their dress uniforms — jumped in Taylor’s Buick and raced the ten miles to Haleiwa Fighter Strip (dodging fire from strafing enemy fighters). The pilots had called ahead and had their planes warmed up and ready for action.

Payne is interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Welch shot down four enemy warplanes and Taylor scored two victories (in addition to two probables), and Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold put them in for the Medal of Honor. However since they took off without orders, their commanding officer downgraded the request to Distinguished Service Crosses. See page 8 for more.

In 15 December’s edition we discussed Columbus Alexander “Alec” Wills, a Civil War veteran of Cape Girardeau County that passed away. This issue features a photograph of Mr. Wills. on page 10. Seaman 1st Class Kenneth Morris Payne, 23, of Ilmo, Mo., did in fact pass away during the Pearl Harbor attacks (see lower right corner of page 1). He was one of 98 men killed aboard the battleship USS California.

Headlines found in today’s edition:

  • U.S. Destroys 26 Jap Planes
  • Japs Land Force on Borneo Coast
  • Nazis Admit Hard Setback
  • Yank Submarines Off Japan Give U.S. Grim Satisfaction
  • President’s Son is Ordered to West Coast

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Author: Documents

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