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S/Sgt. Charles D. Sands
722nd Squadron


A LIFE PRESENTED WITH CHALLENGES, PENALTIES AND REWARDS

BY CHARLES D SANDS

I am Charles Dominic Sands, born at home in New Castle, Pennsylvania on 20 January 1926. My mother Mary Lucy Scungio, came from a large family (eleven living siblings). She also was born in New Castle (on 27 April 1901). Dad came from Italy to New York on the SS Verona in 1914 when he was a young man of 19. He met Mom in New Castle and in 1919 they eloped to Cumberland, Maryland (where Dad's cousin lived) and were married. On 30 October 1923, my sister Phyllis was born in Canton, Ohio. Dad bought a beautiful brick home in one of the better sections of town. For a short time we were quite comfortable there but came the Depresssion and Dad lost the home. We moved to New Castle for a short period while Dad sought employment in the local industries but had little success there. My earliest recollections where that Dad was constantly chasing hard-to-find jobs throughout the northeast states. Some of my narrative is not first hand but mostly it is as I recalled it.

We left New Castle for New York, stayed for a short time in the big city with friends from Italy, then heard of possible work in road construction near Mineola, Long Island, N.Y. Dad worked! On Sundays we drove out to the local airfield, Roosevelt Field, which later grew to be a huge International Airport. We would park right at the edge of the runway and watch modern airliners such as Ford Tri-motors taking off and landing. What a thrill! We lived in a second story apartment on the fringe of town. The work contract soon ended and it was time to relocate again.

We left for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where we lived near the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland. Dad worked at a variety of things, including even a stint at creating ice sculptures for a downtown hotel. Uncle Frank (Mom's younger brother) had been a student at Pitt but he married, had his scholastic life terminate, and came to live with us. I recall warm summer nights when Uncle Frank took me for walks near Pitt's Cathedral of Learning where I sometimes sang for the lounging student couples. Occasionally they gave me a nickel as a reward. It was in Pittsburgh that Mom gave birth to Rose Marie on 30 November 1930 at Montefiore Hospital, basically a Jewish facility, where each day a rabbi came in to bless her. That stopped when she informed a nurse that she was Catholic.

When his job petered out, Dad took us back to New Castle for a short time until he found work in Canton, Ohio. We moved there and rented a very nice home. Dad found work running a downtown parking lot. I was only 9 but would walk from home to the lot each afternoon to relieve him so he could go home for dinner. I had some bad experiences with people who wouldn't' pay "the kid" a dime to park in the lot but I found help at the gas station next door where the muscle guys would bail me out of those bad situations.

Dad decided I should learn to play the piano accordion so I began taking lessons and practicing. Dad's job changed and he gave up the parking lot and went to work in Coraopolis near Pittsburgh for Duquesne Steel. He would come home to Canton every other week-end which was a joyous time for us. Sometime we would go for a ride on Sunday afternoon, ending up at Isaly's for a nickel ice cream cone. We weren't living in the lap of luxury but we were happy. One unforgettable day, 20 May 1937, Mom received a call a on neighbor's phone that Dad had been severely injured at the steel plant. We loaded into the neighbor's car for the 75 mile trip to Sewickely, Pa. A worker using a grinder wheel on the steel ingots had the stone shatter. One piece flew through the air to hit Dad behind his ear fracturing his skull and breaking his neck. Death was instantaneous. At that time we knew nothing of the severity of his injury. Leaving Canton, we had to go through the plant site of Republic Steel which was in the throes of a very violent strike that involved vehicle burnings, a child's death and other physical dangers. As we progressed through the mill areas, some of the strikers descended on our car and began to rock it to overturn us. Our driver prevailed on them to allow us safe passage because of our mission and the fact that Dad was a steel worker. I recall seeing a burning bus on its side alongside the road and fires burning near-by. That was a truly traumatizing journey.

Things were hysterical and unpleasant for the next few weeks. Mom became almost paralyzed with grief and was bedridden for weeks. On the same day as Dad's accident, Grandfather Frank Scungio's sister had died so there was a huge double funeral which added to the emotion. For the wake, Dad was laid out in Grandfather's living room where a vigil was kept which meant a constant watch by the coffin. I, although barely 11 years old, stood my tour alone for two nights on the midnight watch. Not a great experience.

There followed a period when we three children were farmed out to stay with aunts and uncles. This lasted about 2 months. We then found a house to rent and Uncle Frank and his family stayed with us while he worked for the WPA at the local quarry. He helped with the rent while Mom worked as a seamstress. She was excellent at crocheting and earned money selling her work. Somehow we found enough money to continue with my accordion lessons. This period was before Social Security or insurance provided any financial help. All this was happening while the Great Depression was raging so there were no relief agencies to look to. Dad had always been too proud to go on any form of "relief", therefore the constant moving to chase possible employment, from Ohio to New York and back. Mom found work sewing at the local pants factory. She also took on the role of "Avon Lady". She did the selling and I did the delivery, on foot. Sometimes later, Cousin Celestine donated her girl's bike and my chores were speeded up.

Phyllis and I went to Benjamin Franklin Junior High School together. I was class president in 8th grade, Student Council President in 9th grade. I often performed in the school assemblies. I was successful scholastically and had a part in our graduation ceremonies.

We went on to Senior High. School was overcrowded so we were on two daily sessions. Since I had job at the local public library in the afternoons, I was put on the early shift, something like 7:30 A./M. to 12:18 P.M. My library hours were 1:00 to 5:00 P.M. My Avon delivery continued in the evenings. My accordion lessons also continued. I was working occasional gigs with small dance bands and was recruited to entertain with a country group called "Slim Rogers and the Ramblin' Rangers". We played a t a few square dances and had a weekly half-hour on the local radio station WKST. During he war, Mom got a better job working at the Vitale fireworks plant making cartridges for Very Lights (flare guns for the military forces).

As the war progressed and more and more of the guys in town left, I began to feel the first urges of latent patriotism (I think). The Navy sent recruiters to the high school and I took the tests for admittance to their V-5 (Aviator) program. I was 16 at the time. After passing that test, I was given a physical and told I would be called when I finished school After more thought of Navy flying ( mostly over water) I changed my mind and went to the Army recruiters to test for their A-12 program which provided a college engineering degree. I had to enlist in the Army to take advantage of any of these programs so, there being no recruiting station in New Castle, I had to take a long train ride (at my expense) to Pittsburgh taking along my little sister and my mother who had to sign for me. The recruiters were glad to see me and I was processed along with the large contingents of draftees who were going through a much more vigorous session. I encountered a problem in that, since my home birth had not been recorded in county records, there was no birth certificate, thus no hard evidence of my existence. I had prepared for this and had armed myself with a baptismal certificate from the church. This was warily accepted. At 17, I was then sent to Penn State University. After a short time there, I began to think. I didn't want to have the war, the biggest event in my life, pass without my participating in it. Psychologically, we, the youth of America, had been given all the stimulus to almost demand that we do our bit to defend our nation. At that, I resigned from the A-12 program, took the Army Aviation Cadet test, passed it, and was called by the U. S. Army Air Corps to embark on their pilot's 1 year training program.

I pursued the rigorous training enthusiastically and completed basis training. While waiting for the start of the next phase, the military, in all their wisdom, determined that, by the time we finished our training, we would be surplus to their needs as pilots, But, since the war was costing an enormous amount of young man casualties of bomber crews, that was where manpower was needed. Preparation for combat assignment was far shorter, also. Off I went to aerial gunnery school at Ft. Myers, Florida, crew assignment, overseas training at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho, then to the war.

There we were, ten young men ages 18 to 26, assigned to take a shiny new b-24 Liberator Heavy Bomber to the combat zone. I got the tail gunner assignment on our ten man crew. There were three Pennsylvanians, pilot 1st Lt. Tom Considine, 26, radio operator PVC Rudy Srebacic, 19, and tail gunner PVC Charles Sands, 18, one deep southerner (Mississippi farmer) waist gunner PFC Jim Brewer, 18, flight engineer/crew chief S/Sgt. Harry Berger, 24, a Jewish old soldier from Brooklyn who had been at Pearl when the Japs hit, and five other interesting types from the mid-west. They were bombardier 1st Lt. Jack Foster, 27, another pre-war Army man, co-pilot 2nd Lt. Don Watson, 21, and air conditioning worker from Chicago, navigator 2nd Lt. Jack Parker, 20, from St. Louis, Cpl. Don Erwin, 21, our armorer from Alton, Illinois, and PF Tom Ludlow, 18, nose gunner from Michigan. Our pilot and bombardier were the most elderly at 26 and 27 bur required little help in boarding aircraft.

We received our plane in Lincoln, Nebraska, flew to New Hampshire, then to Goose Bay, Labrador where we taxied inside 40 foot high snow drifts at -24F temperature, on to Gander AFB, Newfoundland where we were held up for engine work for a while. Then on to the Azore Islands in the mid-Atlantic region. Navigation problems caused us to miss the island so there was an anxious half hour spent circling and burning fuel until we finally found Lages Air Base. From there to Marrekech, French Morocco, then to Tunis. Last stop was Italy where we had our beautiful new plane taken from us and were put on the ready list to take one of the old war-weary planes on our first combat mission. Things weren't as planned and for the first time ever, we were fired upon by people who wanted to hurt us. We collectively changed from eager young warriors to soberly thoughtful (and scared) men. This was the start of many more. Mission targets ranged from Germany and Austria to Romania, Yugoslavia and northern Italy. We learned to be more terrified of anti-aircraft fire than enemy planes because there were so many more of the ack-ack guns targeting us. We could defend against fighter planes but just had to ride through the flak explosions. Riding in the tail was a hot spot but allowed a view of the explosions on the ground as well as formations of friendlies, or not so friendlies, behind us. The trips were agonizingly long and cold with temps going down to -56 at altitude. The planes were neither pressurized nor heated. Without our electric suits and heavy outer garb we would not have survived the missions which sometimes last eight hours. Arising at 0430 hours, preparation and briefings took about two hours and de-briefing another hour so it made for a long, stressful day. Often we flew back-to-back missions, day-to-day denying us any leisure time. Our fighter cover included the squadrons of the Tuskegee Airmen, the famous African-American pilots who broke the color barrier to become pilots and amass enviable records in the aerial combat books. Our crew sustained one man wounded by flak (the bombardier) and one man (the navigator) injured freeing up a 250 pound bomb stuck in the bomb bay. Many of the other crews weren't so fortunate and suffered much more serious damage or didn't make it at all. Each plane we watched fall had ten men aboard and sometimes no chutes could be seen blossoming below. Our group compiled a horrendous casualty record but never failed to put planes in the sky when scheduled. Danger existed in many ways, not only to, from, and over the target. We had planes explode on take-off and some didn't survive the landing after sustaining damage on missions. Many who did land were damaged on missions. Many who did land were damaged beyond repair and were relegated to our "bone yard" for salvage value of parts.

Hearing the rattle of flak exploding on the plane's surfaces really elevated your "pucker factor". Also, seeing other planes in the formation being hit and watching companions either riding them down or bailing out to become evaders or prisoners made you sometimes angry but mostly sad and scared. The trips back to home base were usually less eventful. You were more anxious about the landing not going sour. De-briefing, a shot of quality whiskey, then back to the dismal barrack areas. We lived in old abandoned Italian army barracks which had gaping shell holes in the roofs and walls.

When our navigator was hospitalized for his injuries, our waist gunner and I decided to visit him. He was in a hospital a distance from our base so we hitched rides to a very small town nearby. This was territory not friendly to the Allies, Americans in particular. As we walked up the hill through the village, people pulled their children, animals and themselves out of sight and shut their doors and shutters. We walked down the center of the street through the town but knew we were being watched closely each step of the way. It was scary and we knew we had to come back the same way. Fortunately, nothing really bad happened.

We had seen such squalor, hunger, and degradation of people in our stops in Africa and our travels to the villages and towns of Italy that our view of life and humanity became jaded and extremely depressing. It seemed that the people of those countries (and some of our own) were just beggars, thieves, or worse. But on Easter Sunday of 1945 I experienced an epiphany of my own. My waist gunner and I went into the Town of Manduria to visit the local church. The war was winding down, the people were celebrating the holiday and the church was crowded with townspeople. There were no pews or kneelers so everyone was standing. Jim and I stood at the rear of the church and I noted a young lady standing nearby holding the hands of two small girls. I assumed this was a mother with her daughters attending Easter services. The older daughter, about 5, was holding a small bouquet of bright yellow flowers and gazing around the church. My attention wandered until I felt a small tug on my sleeve. I looked down to see the 5 year old holding some of her flowers out to me. Experience told me that she was either selling them or was begging. When I took the flowers and was reaching into my pocket for some lire, she smiled at me, turned and went back to her mother. It appeared that she had noticed that she had flowers and I had none and wanted to rectify that imbalance by sharing her flowers with me. It was the purest of intentions that I had misunderstood and I was ashamed that I had let my pessimistic outlook color by feelings. I t was one of the few really noble experiences I had seen since I had left home and it came from an innocent little stranger. I will always remember that day and wonder what became of that sweet child.

When the war in Europe ended, we embarked on a large ship, the Wakefield, which had been an American liner, to go home and prepare to ship to the Pacific to fight Japan. We landed at Boston Harbor at dawn to the biggest demonstration of welcome I had ever seen with fire boats hosing into the sky, blimps and small planes buzzing the ship, and a wild mass of grateful citizens and reporters filling all the dock spaces and taking pictures. In addition to the large cargo of relatively able-bodied troops on their way to re-deployment, we carried 1500 wounded and amputees who were removed by stretcher through lower, covered gangways so as to not dilute the public joy of our homecoming. We loaded onto trains where the gray ladies of the Red Cross fed us as much white, fresh milk as we wanted. Not having had anything but dehydrated milk of a while, I gorged on this delicacy to excess, not realizing until hours later the tendency of that treat to quickly shoot through the bowels. That produced a very uncomfortable trip to our overnight destination, Camp Miles Standish which was manned by German POW's in freshly laundered khakis. We, of course, looked especially grungy after ten days at sea with no laundering availability. This, plus the natural dislike for our former opponents, fostered a little hostility on our part with the terrified POW's which caused them to run back to their barracks and refuse to provide any services for us. We had to perform our own KP and firing of the water-heating boilers in our barracks. Geneva Convention rules prevented our MP's from inflicting any physical injuries on these defiant prisoners. Fortunately, we only remained overnight. Our contingent of the 15th Air force went from Camp M.S. in New England to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Las Vegas, Nevada. On the way we were given 2 weeks of rest and recuperation leave at home where the joyous welcome was clouded by the knowledge that we were on our way to another far away destination to again face another dangerous and desperate enemy.

As we traveled westward later on the way to a port of embarkation on the West Coast, we were getting some training and getting in our flying time. Pilots and crews had to maintain their proficiency ratings and we had to fly to qualify for our monthly flight pay. While at Sioux Falls in July of 1945, our crew located a B-25 which would suffice for a training trip since our first pilot had flown them on anti-sub patrol earlier in the war. We bade our barracks mates adieu and went off to the plane. However, when we got there we were outranked by a colonel who wished to fly to New England in said B-25 which he proceeded to do. We found that there was a B-17 available at Sioux City, Iowa that would be suitable for our needs so our crew commandeered a 2 ton truck and went there. We flew for two days through the mid-west then returned to our origination point in Sioux Falls. When we entered our barracks, we were met with strange reactions and claims that we were thought to be dead. The story came out that the B-25 which we had been destined to fly had indeed flown to New England but, on its next flight leg southward they encountered fog and had flown into the tower of the Empire State building in New York. The plane and crew were destroyed, many civilian had been killed and the tower had been severely damaged in the ensuing fire. Our buddies had assumed that that was our flight and well it might have been but for that small quirk of fate.

Our next leg was to the just awakening little town of Las Vegas, Nevada. While we were baking in the desert of a small air base at Indian Springs near Vegas, we received the marvelous news that the war in the Pacific had ended. Everyone moved to the dusty street of Glitter City and its wild and hysterical populace. Our night there was filled with celebration and joy. We were then transferred to Buckley Field near Denver, Colorado where the frantic de-mobilization began. While those wheels ground out our most senior men, the rest of us were given the tasks of running the Air Base. I, being a Staff Sergeant, was given command of the Base Post Office, a job of which I had no knowledge. I had about 20 civilian and military personnel to supervise while I learned the intricacies of the military postal system. But manage them I did.

Checking with the folks in New Castle, I learned that new employment in that region was non-existent so, since my current assignment was not unbearable, I volunteered to extend my service to June, 1946. That period of activity was reasonably challenging and interesting as I learned how to assign, train, and supervise the men and women of my command. When my term was up I went to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas for separation then proceeded home.

I worked several short jobs (including "throwing clay" to make bowls at Shenango Pottery) and resumed my schooling. I joined the Pennsylvania National Guard where I was in charge of the ammo train for an artillery battalion and also the training of the .50 caliber machine gun sections. Further schooling and service allowed me to apply for a commission. I passed the testing and the oral board in Pittsburgh and was subsequently commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Artillery.

While at summer training at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania with the 28th Infantry Division the Korean situation exploded in June, 1950 and we were immediately Federalized. We "closed station" and moved back to New Castle. We were given a week to sew up our civilian lives and loaded trains to Camp Atterbury, Indiana where we had to re-activate the base which has been 99% closed since the end of the World War II. Also leaving central Pennsylvania was another train carrying our sister artillery unit, the 107th Field Artillery Battalion. As they proceeded through Ohio, they were shunted into a siding to allow an express to pass. There was a problem with the switch and the express, when it came, was shunted by a malfunctioning switch to the same track the troop train was on. The crash was devastating and tragic. There were 37 young men from the same town dead and twice that many severely injured. These were people who had just the day before bade farewell to their loved ones. The town was almost overwhelmed by sorrow and the rest of the battalion, after going on to Camp Atterbury and repopulated by replacements, was never again the virile and successful unit they had been.

We began intensive training and conditioning while acquiring the implements of war such as vehicles, weaponry, and 105mm Towed Howitzers. I spent most of my time instructing the men in some of the different skills they would be needing. As the conflict in Korea intensified, we converted to a training facility. We received new men, rapidly trained them and shipped them off to Far East Command (FECOM). I was given command of a Basic Training Detachment in addition to duties with my unit, the 229th Field Artillery Battalion. The weather in wintry Indiana was brutal for all of us but was good conditioning for the troops we would be sending to Korea.

While conducting training at the machine gun range, I sustained an injury to my left eye which was serious enough to keep me hospitalized for nearly two months. While there , I ran into several of the men I had trained who had been wounded in the fighting and returned for treatment and recuperation. That put the war into a much sharper focus. My vision eventually returned and I was returned to duty. I was then scheduled for shipment to FECOM. While processing for shipment it was discovered that I had not completed the Artillery Officers Basic Course which was a requirement for combat service so I was sent to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for three months of schooling. I learned the fine points of forward observing, survey, fire direction control, firing battery operations, etc. By the time I graduated, my required term of service was depleted enough that not enough time was left for effective deployment to FECOM so I was sent to Camp Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado. For a short time I was assigned to the 4th Field Artillery Battalion 77 mm (Pack) where the guns were carried by mules and I had to ride a horse which didn't particularly like to be ridden. Then, just as I was contemplating putting my horse to permanent rest, I was given command of a truck-drawn artillery service battery with 140 returnees from the Korean conflict. In addition to other duties, the General assigned me to be post Agronomist. I later learned that meant it was my responsibility to make green things grow on the barren soil of Camp Carson. I requisitioned several flat bed trailer trucks and, with forty strong young men, went into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near the camp and pulled several dozen large pine trees from the ground. These we transported to spaces we had prepared near the roadways of the camp, transplanted them, set up a massive watering schedule, and found someone else to carry on with the General's dream of an oasis on the plains. I understand that the greening effort was successful and resulted in, to this day, a much more pleasant appearing station. Then I devoted full time to preparing my soldier charges for separation and re-introduction to civilian life. When that assignment terminated, I was separated from service and returned to Pennsylvania.

I returned to my schooling in Industrial Management at Pittsburgh Technical Institute (where I momentarily ran into my old radio operator, Rudy Srebacic from my 1945 days) graduated, then was re-hired at Shenango China in New Castle where I had spent several earlier years. I worked in Industrial Engineering, Industrial Relations, and, for a short time, as Employment Manager. During this period I was continuing with my National Guard service, helping to re-activate the 229th F. A. Bn. I was promoted to Captain, given command of the Service Battery (to include duty as Battalion Supply Officer) and commenced rebuilding the unit. I spent a great deal of my time recruiting young men and boys to flesh out my unit. We eventually put together a strong, well-trained, functioning operation.

During this time, I worked with various small dance bands on occasional jobs, then joined a C & W band, "Slim White and the Dusty Trail Boys". We worked square dances and had a half-hour TV show weekly for a while. Most of my musician friends derided "hill-billy" music but that was where the money was at that time. In recent years that has been elevated to more popularity than many other forms of music.

During and after my Korean War involvement, sister Rose Marie had finished high school, and then completed her degree at Slippery Rock State Teachers College. She then was able to become a teacher in an elementary school near home, one which our mother and, much later, I had attended. Mother was hired by the city parks and recreation people to teach innovative crafts to their various playground supervisors. In 1954 they moved to California where Rose Marie would teach in an elementary school in Whittier. I remained in New Castle but was growing weary of the severe winter and spring weather. In my travels, I had seen the much more pleasant climate of the far west. I moved to California in December 1956, found work in engineering at Hughes Aircraft Company, continued my education in UCLA, and joined several local military Logistical Commands as Adjutant. I pursued my military schooling and completed the requirements for transfer to the adjutant general Corps and promoted to Major. I then enrolled in Command and General Staff College (C&GSC) which consumed fire years of Reserve duty, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and joined a local military schooling unit.

In the next five years following graduation in 1971 from C & GSC, I completed the required courses of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) during which time I received promotion to Colonel. I became part of the ICAF faculty, first as an instructor, then on staff as Director of Training Evaluation at Ft. MacArthur, San Pedro, California. On several occasions I was invited to lecture to ROTC classes at UCLA on subjects such as military ethics. These were interesting and rewarding exposures to the young men and women who would be providing the back bone of our future military strength. I retained my posting at Ft. MacArthur until retirement in May, 1985. Total service was 42 years. During that period, I participated in founding the San Pedro Chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I also became a member of the G/A Omar Bradley Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars. I occupied several staff positions including two terms as Commander.

I had previously begun to trace the whereabouts of my WWII crew members. I found that Erwin and Ludlow had passed on, Berger was a pharmacist in New York, Foster had stayed in the Air Force, retired as Colonel, and had passed on. I visited with Brewer on his estate in Mississippi on my way home after separation in Colorado. On one of our later journeys through the mid-west chasing down some of Pat's genealogy, we visited with Don Watson in Illinois who was not faring well with emphysema, and Jack Parker in St. Louis who was grieving the death of his wife. I talked Tom Considine and Jim Brewer into attending the annual reunions of the 450th Bomb Gps. We enjoyed our little mini-reunions for about three years but then, they too were gone.

I worked in Industrial Engineering at Hughes for nearly 8 years in manufacturing methods improvement. We were tasked with solving manufacturing problems and cost control associated with the production of sophisticated controls for fighter planes and space vehicles such as Surveyor. Concurrently I completed studies and qualified for a Professional Engineer's license in the state of California. During that time I also studied for and was awarded a Realtor's license for the state of California. I became active in the professional international organization "The Institute of Industrial Engineering" and was president of the Los Angeles chapter which had a membership of over 600. I served in various other positions and termed out as Emeritus Member of their Board of Directors.

I moved to Douglas Aircraft for the next 11 years in Indirect Labor Measurement, Production Improvement and other industrial engineering projects. After hours I arranged to present a two year course in National Security Management for The Industrial College of the Armed Forces. My class expanded to over 600 students including the executive staff of Douglas Aircraft Company. Douglas was then acquired by McDonnell Aircraft and the resultant organizational changes made the atmosphere a lot less hospitable. I left there as Branch Manager of Overhead Cost Analysis and Control when plane sales faltered in 1978.

I returned to Hughes Aircraft in Direct Labor Manufacturing Analysis and Product Improvement for over two years, than was recruited for a more engineering-oriented position in a process gas compressor company, first as Project engineer, then as Division Manager. We were engaged in cutting-edge development of process gas compression (using rotary compressors built by our Japanese corporate partners) which involved the design of the systems, some of which had not previously been successfully put into operation. The work was high pressure and involved all phases of the business from sales through parts specification, acquisition, test and manufacturing, product delivery and after-sales engineering support. I was also responsible for employee recruiting, training, and performance and operational profit and loss. Some of our customers were Dow Chemical, Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Research Laboratories, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratories.

Almost three years of that pressure cooker was enough and I returned to Hughes Aircraft as a Senior Process engineer for my final eight years. While still engaged in the work of producing advanced radar assemblies for fighter planes and space vehicles such as Surveyor, several of us worked on development of devices to aid in the speedy and accurate dispersal of electronic parts for fighter gun controls for which we were awarded two U.S. patents. I retired in 1989 and restarted my real estate sales adventures in partnership with my wonderful wife Pat. We have continued in that field ever since although with a steadily declining intensity.

In June 1960, Pat bore me a son, Chuck, who would eventually become a Registered Nurse working in various Emergency Rooms in the area. He finally acquired his Bachelor's degree from UC Irvine in biological sciences. From all that I have heard, he was an exceptionally competent, sympathetic and well regarded nurse. Tragically, he was killed in an automobile accident when he was 42 leaving a wife, a son and a daughter. We had a second son in 1961, Mark who earned his degree at Long Beach State University. He eventually began a career in County Department of Public Social Services where he is currently a Deputy Regional Director. He is in a very successful marriage with a loving wife, two adult step-daughters, and a beautiful 7 year old daughter of his own.

When I migrated to California in 1956 I was kept busy with work and my military ventures but I managed to meet my sister's fellow school teacher, Patricia Claire Roberts. She lived in Whittier with her parents where she taught school. Her father was an active FBI agent. She had two brothers, one at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and another in Law School at USC. I was fortunate enough to woo and wed my beautiful lady and she accompanied me on my journey though a busy life, hers and mine. She taught for a short time before we started our family. When our two boys were 5 and 6 we tried to enroll them in our Catholic School. The nuns there found that she held a lifetime teaching credential for teaching in California and anxiously offered her a job at the school. She was not ready to take that on yet but promised to "think about it". After our vacation in Idaho, they were successful with their prayers (according to the nun-principal) in prevailing in their crusade to join them. She stayed there for ten years, progressing to Vice-principal. Her career there was very successful and satisfying and her students and their parents were extremely happy with her efforts and dedications. To this day, her ex-students (who we meet often) are lavish in their praise of her work with them so long ago.

We purchased our home in 1961 upon the birth of our second son and have lived there ever since. In 1994 I signed on as a volunteer at Los Angeles Police Department and worked with the detective section at Harbor Division here in San Pedro for over 15 years. I also have and continue to serve on the election board at polling places during elections. Pat maintains a deep involvement with our church. About 14 years ago she took on ministries as liturgy reader and pre-baptismal teacher, a task in which I assist. We divide our time between California and our summer cottage in northern Idaho (on Lake Coeur d'Alene). Between that, our family life, a small effort in real estate selling, and some traveling we have a fairly fulfilling life and hope, God willing, to continue.



Information courtesy of Charles Sands

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