Posts Tagged ‘WWII



“An 18-year-old boy is carried into the shock ward, and he looks up at me trustingly asking, “How am I doing, nurse?” I just kiss his forehead and say, “You are doing just fine soldier.” He smiles sweetly and says, “I was just checking,” Then he dies. We all cry in private. But not in front of the boys. Never in front of the boys.” ~ June Wandrey, WWII Combat Nurse


Memorial Day & Nostalgia

Joseph's Coat, Roses, Garden, SwittersB

A bit overcome with nostalgia this morning. I was watching someone’s tribute to WWII veterans, who are passing on at a rapid rate now. It made me think of my Father and my Mother. My Father was a quiet, unassuming man, my Mom the more animated one of the duo. Their life’s journey and all they had endured was not lost on me as a youth: early life abuses and hardship, the Depression, the war (WWII) and their partnership through the years of combat, distance and waiting, later their building a life together pay check to pay check. But, I only knew what I knew from brief overheard conversations with others.

Through all those years, I never once sat down and talked to my Father about his thoughts, feelings or memories of those years away and what he saw, what he felt. And, he didn’t offer it up…he had just gone on with his life. Now, as an older man, I think I recognize that my Father had his demons. It reaffirms my admonition, once again, establish the connection with your parent. Awkward at first perhaps…but more awkward than the lost opportunities to discover?


Nature: Cattails’ Down

Cattails Collage Bucky

“Dutch East Indies (in the days before the introduction of man-made fillers, “kapok”, a tropical plant fiber was an important padding in such items as life jackets and mattresses). When the islands fell to the Japanese, our kapok supply was cut off . . . and some form of replacement had to be found immediately.

It was then that a Chicago company began to substitute cattail cotton in furniture cushions and baseballs. Soon afterward, the Navy decided to look into the possibility of using the fuzzy heads of the aquatic weed in life belts and aviation jackets. A wartime water-resistance test demonstrated that-even after 100 hours of submersion-the “swamp down” was capable of maintaining buoyancy. So, cattail fluff, (along with milkweed down), was briefly seen as a “war effort resource”. (source)


Cattail Down at


Dragon Fly on Cattail Down at


Frank Moore & Mending the Line……

Because I have been a bit remiss of late with the fishing part of SwittersB & Fly Fishing, I thought to myself…’self, you should post something about how to fly fish’. So, I decided something about mending the fly line. I went to the Youtube vid’s and came upon an inspiring, pleasant video encounter with 90 year old Frank Moore. In short, the Normandy Beach WWII Vet wanted to return now to France to revisit Normandy and to most particularly fish the streams he saw some 70+ years ago.

 Frank Moore Smile

A fund raiser commenced this past year and funds were raised to coordinate a trip for Frank and his wife to France along with a film crew looking to capture the journey. It is reportedly scheduled for release in early 2014. (Moldy Chum Update)

frank moore fishing france

Photo of Frank Moore fly fishing in France (Uncage the Soul Productions/Moldy Chum)

Frank can still unroll a nice loop. A touching journey and an inspiring gent! A different sort of mending the line resulted from tonight’s search.


Confused Rufus Pattern & Toxic Waste

I combined the tail of a Minnow Bugger and the Marabou wing of a Rufus Fly. Normally, the marabou wing is situated so the fly will ride point up. So, the wing is tied on the underside of the shank, ‘beard’ style. This reportedly causes the hook to rotate over and present the hook, point up. The slow descent of the fly through the water column should have the marabou wing fluttering upward until the presentation propels the fly forward. All these stillwater ‘bugger’ patterns are tiresome to some, but I find them more tiresome to the arm. I believe the pattern is named for the Rufus Woods Reservoir (Upper Columbia River) Washington State          SwittersB

Speaking of Washington State, while doing a little research on the excellent fishing at Rufus Woods, I came upon a site, The Spokesman, that reports on local fishing in Central/Eastern Washington. They posted a very interesting clip of a 1947 newsreel about Lake Lenore and the dumping of WWII materials into the lake. Zero comments on the blog, but given what a fishery it has become, I wonder what the fishery’s biologist considered when they started developing Lenore?  The Rufus Fly & Chemical Dumping…what a diverse post this was.


Alaska: The Other End of ‘Paradise’

The other day, I was killing time between appointments and stopped off at a restaurant for a cup. As I approached the entry way there was a car in the disabled parking spot and jumping out at me was the decal affixed to the side of the car.

A pretty prominent display of veteran’s status, of the Aleutians, and it resonated with me because as I have written here once before, my dad was an Army vet that hunkered down for close to a year in the bleak hell of Attu, Shemya and Kiska (Aleutian Islands). He was proud of that part of his life, but never talked about it..never once remarked about that time in Alaska. He deflected all mention of it toward his exploits and pride in also being a part of the Al-Can Hiway’s Construction.

As a boy, I recall my dad hated being cold. Little bothered my dad: he didn’t like rats (he lost an older brother to a rat bite), he didn’t like spiders and he did not like the cold.

As, I entered the restaurant, I sat near the door. I looked about the tables and booths and there was not one elderly male (late 80’s/90’s) nor female (spouse) that could have fit the bill. No one came out of the restrooms. I spent almost an hour waiting for someone to settle up a tab and head for the car with the Aleutians vet decal. I wanted to briefly say hello and relay my connection.

Jim Muncy

But, the car did remind me of my dad, his stoic life and resolve. This Winter as I complain about my frozen toes and numb hands and nose, I will remember my cold does not equal his cold. The saving grace is my dad loved to camp and gave me that…I have passed it on.


Alcan Highway (My father’s passed on…a roadtrip for him?)

My dad died in 1997, and one of his most cherished memories was being part of a ground breaking force that helped construct the Alcan Highway. He was a Staff Sgt. in the Army’s 18th Engineer Combat Regiment. He moved from Skagway toward Whitehorse and then inland for the better part of a year under extreme conditions. He also spent very hard times on Attu & Shemya in the Aleutians. His origins were from the hills of West Virginia, near Panther. Eleven children, a farm, coal mines and a lumber mill. Stills and shotguns. He left home young. He grew up quick. This was my dad. That was my surrounding aura of expectations. My dad worked til he died at 76 y/o. He never really learned how to relax. He did take me camping and as often as not, it was where I steered him toward possible fish. He didn’t fish, but he drove that way anyway. 

I have a calling toward that mega roadtrip in his honor. Time is passing. I figure I would need a month to move up and back from Oregon to some meaningful end point to say we made it and to incorporate the fishing of B.C. and part of the Yukon. I am not sure I will make this happen. But, to write about it and the tough men that endured that experience is at a minimum important. It reminds me of my blessings. It reminds me of my genetics and upbringing. It reminds me to not be a complainer….he wasn’t. Duty, honor, country. He was man of complex components and a simple result…a rock. Love you dad.     


If anyone knows of viable fly fishing opportunities up that way, let me know sometime. I may make it in a year or two.          


WW2 Aircraft Nose Art (Pre PC, when boys were men)

While researching the ‘river nose’ issue, I came across ‘nose art’. I had no idea what that was, but came across all manner of aircraft nose art. The art ran from WWII to Korea, Vietnam upto the Iraq conflicts. The art dynamics in recent conflicts have swung toward the non-sexual/suggestive form. I prefer the ‘girls’ of WWII. 
B-24 Liberator

B-24 Liberator

“History shows that the artwork spans almost a century, from World War I — to Operation Iraqi Freedom, but its most notable period was clearly in World War II and Korea. This was a time when the military commanders were more flexible in boosting the morale of the pilots and crew — and weren’t as concerned about ‘political correctness’ during the crew’s most dangerous and deadly war efforts.”

“To personalize their war chariots, these renegade pilots chose a variety of designs from pin-up girls, slogans, cartoons, and nicknames — to hometowns, humor, and more girls.”

 “The subject matter of the art–particularly the sexual portrayal of women–has been a challenge to nose artists. The unclothed female figure was popular with the crews, but inevitably went against commanders’ wishes. There are several obvious explanations for the sexual aspect of nose art. Combat troops are comprised of a select portion of the population–they are primarily young, unmarried males. For the first time in their lives they are separated from home and the constraints of civilian society. Additionally, under conditions of war, in which death and wounding are the prominent concerns, moral controls relax. The farther from home and command headquarters, the more daring was the art. That this art not only made its appearance, but was allowed during World War II, suggests that war alters attitudes. In World War II especially, society applied different rules to the combat troops they considered to be risking their lives for the country. Normal societal rules fell into place when an aircraft was brought home for a war bond promotion and nose art nudes were ordered clothed. Some crews, refusing to bow to public pressure, placed the stamp “Censored” across their art instead…”

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