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Subject:    317th Depot Repair Sqdn, 12th Air Depot Group, Townsville
Date:             Wed, 10 Jan 2001 16:21:25 -0600
From:           "Louis Calvin McClure" <calmcc@arkansas.net>

Hello Peter,

I have had e-mail correspondence with Sherman Freer recently, and he called me last evening and we had about a 130-minute talk about the old days in the 12th DRS. He was the first person I have talked with who was in the 12th or its associated units since I was discharged in 1946! Wow!

I don't remember whether I filled you in on my experiences in the 317th, the 4th Engine Overhaul Sqdn, etc. while was in Townsville from about 1December 1943 to about 1Feb. l945. I was transferred to Biak and left Biak about the time we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We were part of a fleet of 6 LST's which landed at Yokohama, and set up camp at Haneda airbase. I was returned tothe States in January, 1946, and discharged at Jefferson Barracks, MO, on Jan 29, l946.

I remember the engine test cells very well. Sherman ran one of them. He apologized for keeping all of us awake all night when we first arrived at Townsville! I worked on the overhaul shops, in the elelctrical accessories shop, reconditioning voltage regulators, engine ignition harnesses, and millions of spark plugs. I also worked in the engine pickling and storage warehouse, and a few other jobs. I enjoyed Townsville, laned had lots of fun there. I also had a running battle with my 1st Sgt. all the time I was in Australia.

I attended Central Tech. Inst. in Kansas City, Mo., from 1947-1950. I worked in broadcast radio a while, and then went into field engineering with RCA for about 5-1/23 years. I traveled all over the US and Pacific areas investigating problems in Navy aircraft electronics systems. then I had 5-1/2 years with Hughes Aircraft, as a liaison engineer. I had 3 years with Autonetics, North American Aviation, as a data and reliability engineer on the TOW weapon system. then 7-1/2 more years with Hughes Aircraft, and finally ended my career with 13 years at US Borax as an electronics engineer. I have been retired for 14 years now, and love it.

I spend my time working in my wood working shop, building speaker enclosures, doing experimental work, writing articles for Speaker Builder and Audio Electroncis magazines, playing with my computer, and playing my organ. We have four sons, one is a minister, another the VP of a telephone company, another is a chemical engineer with a nuclear plant in Illinois, and the other is a member of the Inst. of Nuclear Powerplant Operators, an international group which inspects and advises nuclear power plant operators. I feel like the light-weight in my family!

We enjoy living here in Van Buren, Ar. It is a slower pace, the people are very nice, and the weather is usually nice. We really had a duzzie of an ice and snow storm over Christmas and New Years' holidays, though. Worst storm they have had here since they started keeping records in 1819! Boy, was it cold! power was out for some people for over two weeks. We only lost power for 48 hours.

We are active in our church, and I volunteer at a local elementary school, working with 1st and 2nd grade students, helping them with their reading and arithmetic. I really enjoy it. there is such a need out there.

I am looking for some people who were members of the old 317th Depot Repair Squadron. I want to write my memoirs, and I need to find someone who can verify some of the things I got into. If you have any leads to any of the old 317th, please let me know! since I was only 18 when I arrived in Townsville, I was one of the youngest in the squadron. So, the others are several years older than I am. And I am 76. I'm afraid there's not much time left!

I am in reasonably good health. I'm thankful for the life that I have had, and hope to have a number of more good years ahead.

Sherman and I were talking about the "honey dippers" we had at Townsville. They would dress in just a pair of shorts, and manually dip the crap out of the toilets and pour it into the tank on the truck. They would have liquids, etc! running down their arms, their chests, and legs! Boy, I don't know how they could live under such conditions.

I recall the recreation hall we had, the mess hall, the dispensary, the beer busts, the barracks, etc. I looked at the photos which were taken in 1959 and also in 1992. I would not recognize the place now if I saw it!

I remember riding to work on the 40-foot flat bed trailers also. And the one-half day off each six weeks we had for a while! And the aussies, over at Garbutt strip, were celebrating our 4th of July! Of course, we had to work.

Well, buddy, I'll let you off the hook for now, please keep in touch, and if you can get any info on anyone from the old 317th, PLEASE let me know! Respectfully, Pfc. Louis C. McClure, 37607946. P.S: My home address is: 2910 Old Uniontown Road, Van Buren, AR, 72956. My telephone No. is (501) 474-3352. My e-mail address, of course, is calmcc@arkansas.net.

Cheerio, Mate!


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 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 13 January 2001

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