Intermission Stories (24)

Charlie Meyer (left) and his brother Robert (right), both US airmen.

Charlie Meyer (left) and his brother Robert (right), both US airmen.

Charlie Meyer

Bombardier, US Army Air Corps

Charlie Meyer, of Hoboken, New Jersey, became a B-17 bombardier  for the 388th Bomber Group and made 34 mission flights over France and Germany in 1944 – this included D-Day.

The B-17 crew received strict orders before departing Knettishall, England, in the predawn darkness of that famous day: “No aborts on this mission.”  Bombardier Meyer’s target – the beaches of Normandy.  His timing?  Just before the Allied troops went ashore.

Perched on the nose cone of a B-17, Meyer typically enjoyed the best view the Flying Fortress had to offer.  “Beautiful. Up, down, sideways and all around,” he said in his interview with Staci Sturrock.  But as his plane crossed the English Channel early that morning, “you couldn’t see a damn thing because of the cloud coverage.”

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Their second time out, the B-17s bombed farther inland.  “This time, the clouds had cleared, giving us a panoramic view of this awesome undertaking.  A bridge of ships across the Channel.”

Although he wasn’t able to clearly see the troops on the beaches of Normandy – “They were ants on the ground” – it wasn’t hard for Charlie to imagine what they endured.  “It must have been hell.  I wonder how those guys lived through D-Day.  I don’t know if I would have made it on the ground, truthfully.”

But World War II was a true team effort, unlike any military conflict since.  “Our war was a lot different because 100 % of the people were in it.  Everybody was involved.  Most of us who lived it all these years lived it quietly.  “I’m not a her.  Somebody said, ‘Do it,’ and we did it.”  Meyer ended up flying 34 missions.

Charlie Meyer is 95 years old now, resides in Greenacres, Florida and, as you can see – he can still fit in his uniform!

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Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal note –

I would like to know your opinion of my inserting more humor into the posts to ease the constant tension of war (similar to what the soldiers themselves did at the time.)  Should it be a small joke, picture, postcard or cartoon per each post or a post by itself – say, after every 5 or 6 posts?  Should the humor be above or below the Farewell Salutes?  Will this be making the posts far too long and you’ll get bored from all the reading?  You do  have a say in how you read this site – so voice your opinion!!

Being as this post was about the Army Air Corps – one of these might have been used ___________

91ac6afb26f5b93c085ab3c3781992c4

The new "Learn-as-you-Go" pilot training method.

The new “Learn-as-you-Go” pilot training method.

We’ll be back into WWII after July 4th and if I don’t hear from you – – Well, do you REALLY want to leave me to my own resources? (Actually, I will be getting some assistance from Chris @ his site.)

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edward Adrian – Lake Stevens, WA; US Navy, WWII, USS Long Island7388b_To-Honor-Ones-Country-Wreath

Michelle Bates – Royal Palm Beach, FL; US Air Force, 8 years

Thomas Bigley – Washington DC; US Navy, ViceAdmiral (Ret. 38 yrs.), submarine & surface vessels

Marvin Etter – Chambersburg, PA; USMC, WWII & Korea

James Honey – Arkansas; US Army, Korea

Robert Montgomery – Dargaville, NZ; Regimental # 625875, WWII

Frank Petrone – Stonington, RI; US Army, Korea, 2 Bronze Stars

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on June 23, 2014, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 126 Comments.

  1. I see nothing wrong with putting a touch of humor either with the article or in between. Amazingly, humor can be found in the direst situation.
    During my nursing career we often used a touch of humor to break the tension and refocus. You almost have to, I think. Nothing like the craziness on the TV series “MASH”, just a simple chuckle. I doubt that a lay person would understand and probably want to sue for lack of sympathy or being rude. I’ll share the duck story on my post.
    Once while doing CPR on an elderly gentleman in the nursing home, I remember cracking a joke but not what was said. I stopped to take a breath and check the time. We had been doing CPR for 20 minutes and EMS had not arrived yet. I commented to the others something about not sure how much longer we should try. A male voice stated from the doorway, “That’s enough.” I looked and, sure enough, there stood his son. My first thought was–did he hear the joke? I talked to him afterwards and he assured me he was okay with what we did and held no hard feelings. All these years later, I still can’t remember what was said; but I’d like to use it in one of my novels–”A Pinch of Sweetness, A Slice of Murder” (I know, it’s a long working title, but I kinda like it.)

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    • Great comment and examples, Connie. And there’s nothing wrong with that title – I kinda like it myself – sounds like something your imagination could run with. I also remember a story of my god-father’s daughter in nursing school. She was, at first, quite taken back by the doctor telling dirty jokes during surgery the first time she observed an operation. She later learned that each doctor had his or her own way of dealing with the stress, some music, jokes, total silence, etc. Your feelings are in the majority, so I will be running with the humor in the posts when I can find one applicable or at least close. Thanks for your point of view and story.

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  2. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    Just reading “up, down, sideways” makes me queasy! Charlie must be a great guy. 🙂

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  3. Humor is best if it is a reflection of the period and it should be before the farewells…out of respect.

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  4. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    I hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th.

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  5. I’d have no problem with a touch of humor. Often in a crisis situation on my job (RN), we’d crack a joke. It helped to bread the tension and give us a chance to regroup and refocus.

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    • There you go – exactly my point with the troops. Putting in humor not only makes the post a bit more realistic (as the soldiers handled it), but helps to break the constant tension of war in the posts (especially since we keep hearing of war in the newspapers, etc) Thanks for your opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the WW II stories and they can be long because they are great stories! I also appreciate the humor when it is included. Love this one. Thanks for writing and sharing what you know best!

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    • My pleasure, Jan. I like that everyone seems to enjoy getting involved, whether they are WWII and history orientated or not. Hopefully, a little something for everyone.

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  7. A little war time humour can only enhance your posts.

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  8. The airman is one great man to be admired, 34 flights over France and Germany must be considered an incredible feat.
    I agree with a little bit of trench humour where it fits, humour is what kept many servicemen going, and if you read the stories of Changi, which you undoubtably have, humour actually kept men alive.
    Regards
    Ian

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    • I do happen to have a few of the Changi POW camp sketches and undoubtedly, the artist kept many of his fellow prisoners smiling. I know for a fact my father used it and he wasn’t even a POW. Thanks for the reminder – I do have some in my file.

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  9. Top notch as always. Thank you.

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  10. Firstly, Mr. Meyer… I hope his family not just only knows but deeply appreciates him. If they don’t know, things will certainly fade into the depths. There will not be another recurrence of this magnitude.

    Humor? I don’t know but as you can tell, life has gotten in the way of me keeping up with anyone’s blogs. 😦 It is your wonderful blog and no one “else’s”. But if you do decide to insert something, perhaps something in line with an old Sad Sack cartoon may be an idea. We have plenty of jokes flying around on the internet anyways, whether we like it or not. I come here to read your stories and learn.

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  11. I was going to say that I don’t need jokes, but then I got the two cartoons and thought they were great. Very keen on shorter rather than longer posts, as I am frequently behind.

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    • I know what you mean about getting behind and I can surely relate to that situation. So far the consensus is, to have humor. I even got word from my veterans in Little Rock and they said, humor, prayers and memories got them thru. Thanks for coming by, Hillary and voting.

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  12. By all means, include the humor.

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  13. I thought the ‘Murphy’s Laws of Combat’ reposts were refreshing little breaks. I agree with the readers who think that occasional, separate humorous posts would be appropriate.

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  14. I think that injecting some humor would work. It does get us through the rough times and they sure had plenty. Also think that at the end of the post would work well.

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  15. Great story telling here. I thought I heard the sound of darkness as these young men pushed ahead. You have a wonderful talent for bringing each entry alive.

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  16. Another great interesting post. I like the idea of a little humor thrown in. But that’s just me! 🙂

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  17. Such a poignant photo of Charlie Meyer in his uniform today. I am always in favour of humour if done properly – I like it in funeral remarks about the deceased so I think it has a place in your blog…perhaps at the end as you have it in this one?

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  18. Humour anywhere is an essential. The humourless are folks to be very very wary of …

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  19. Interesting posts pacificparatrooper. Don’t forget to spread the good news of my blogs which will eventually include Posts on all British wars, on sea, land and air. I’m trying to push in US much that will be of interest about Brit. http://www.dailybritain.wordpress.com cheers Col

    Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 09:52:10 +0000 To: colindunkerley@hotmail.co.uk

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    • I hope you looked at more than one post to make your decision, but thank you for your opinion – and Welcome. I’ll look forward to see your posts on the British war, as I proceed in the Pacific.

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  20. I can imagine the view from the nose cone of a B-17. Like sitting on the cockpit of Millenium Falcon? 🙂

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  21. Damn.. I wish I could still fit in my uniform. 😀

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  22. Humor is what keeps us going when the times are tough. Think it would be a nice addition to your blog, but I would put it at the end, I believe…unless it fits right in with something you are writing about. You do such a great job of telling the stories, I am sure you will make the right decision.

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    • You have more confidence in me than I do, Bev, 😆 but thanks for the vote! Believe it or not – you are the first one to remark on where it should be – makes me wonder just how many people actually read the post or just click on the Like button so that I’ll click theirs?

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  23. Great story. Love the picture of Charlie in his uniform. 95! He’s made of sturdy stuff.

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  24. I think you would probably insert just enough of the type of humor that would add to your outstanding posts. Keep up the great work!

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    • Thanks for putting in your vote, George, and for the wonderful compliment. I appreciate that. Good to see you again. Does this mean we’ll be seeing some new posts of yours? (It’s been almost 2 months!)

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  25. I like the idea of humor. Especially if it is the humor of the armed service personnel. What got them/gets them through?

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  26. your readers may be interested in my latest korean war blog which is about a canadian paratrooper who was at dc-day, the drop over the rhine and in korea.
    http://kapyongkorea.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/from-d-day-to-the-rhine-to-korea-roy-rushton/

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  27. Great story and pic, I’ll have something on Wednesday that is close to this story, I found it circling Wichita Ks yesterday..:-))

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  28. Reminds me of my uncle , the B-17 pilot’s words : ” It was a job and we did it . “

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  29. I always think a bit of humor is worthwhile. As you commented, humor in war is a way of breaking the tension. Not that i would know, never having had the misfortune to be involved in one.

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    • So, by your statement, I take it you would like the humor in on a vote of Occasionally? Duly noted. [What? NOT in a war, John? – WELL you missed out on a perfectly good way to get yourself hurt! 😉 ]

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  30. The humor is a good idea, GP. Maybe some Willie and Joe cartoons, always made me laugh. I think you found the best place to out them.

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  31. The photos are so lovely. They tell stories of their own. Photos of dog tags always get to me, evoking emotions within me.

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  32. Humor is needed otherwise we would all go mad.

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    • I just didn’t know if my readers wanted to see any of it or not, Barry. Do you think every post or separate ones?

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      • separate ones. I think there was a cartoon series by Mauldlin? I thought Hogan’s Heroes would be to much and yet it was successful.

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        • Oh, you know Mauldin HAS to be there – the trademark in military humor during WWII! Hogan was one of my favorites. In fact Don Ostertag got me on a “I know nothing…” kick a while back with his post about the show. I think I started to drive Pierre a little nuts by saying it so much. O_o

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  33. What is history without a little humor thrown in? The guys had to find something to smile about to ease their stress levels.

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  34. Some humor in war stories is okay, and I’ve always appreciated your moderate approach. Years ago, I attended a “citizens’ police academy,” presented by the local gendarmes. The primary host was a fellow who appeared to be auditioning for a comedy show in Vegas which grated against me since enforcement of any kind should be taken seriously and regarded as serious business by those sharing with the general public (like me). Soooo, a few weeks into the series, I dropped out and didn’t come back. P.S. They still mailed me the T-shirt that gave me credit for attending! 🙂

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  35. Humor is essential to coping with the worst of times. Looking through WWII magazines and newspapers (Stars & Stripes, for example), there was plenty of things to bring about a laugh, ranging from comics from home (Blondie, Joe Palooka, and others) to funny references to situations the men and women were experiencing in the build-up to the invasion. There were irreverent comments about the other side’s leaders. Basically, I think you are in order to include humor in your posts because it was a regular part of life even in the world at war.

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    • Thank you for your side of this, Doug. I was lucky to find a copy of the Smithsonian’s Collection of Newspaper Comics in a thrift store about a year ago, and some cartoons from Stars & Stripes, etc. So, I’ll keep all that in mind as I tally the votes.

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  36. gp, So much here hits home for me! Charlie Meyer’s B-17 story over Normandy was great! My father was Arny Air Corps. Using any other sources on your topics is fine. Some websites do a lot of reblogging the posts of others all the time! BUT BY ALL MEANS PUT IN THE HUMOROUS ANECDOTES!!!!!!!!! I just started that with my latest post “My Vietnam, 1970.” See http://excuseusforliving.com Tere I set the scene & give credit to those who lost their lives & those wounded. I hope to followup from time to time with “More Vietnam, No. 1” & No.& & so on. Truth is, there was humor even under combat. I had a support MP duty. But eve guys in the boonies fighting, they too had there moments of laughter. So try it! And see my latestest post as an example! Phil from “Excuse Us…”

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  37. Pierre Lagacé

    I just loved the latrine anecdote told by your father…
    There was also the samurai sword anecdote…
    Your father had a great sense of humor.

    Writing about it is what makes this blog so great…

    There I go again with my self-serving comment… (pun intended… you know me GP)

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    • Yes, I do. Pretty much like a cousin. My dad had a great dry sense of humor. I have a dry one too, but people often take me the wrong way, so I’m forever apologizing and explaining.

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  38. Pierre Lagacé

    When I meet my veterans they always talk about funny anecdotes, never about the bad memories.

    I would have wished my wife’s uncle had talked more.
    All he said was things that haunted him before he stopped talking.
    I guess he was not ready to tell funny anecdotes.

    I quite understand what he went through and I think he had not many funny anecdotes to share.
    A 16 year-old kid who had lied on his age to join the navy and was on the Athabaskan on April 29, 1944.

    This is why I had to write about it…

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  39. I think humor would be a good break, and it is in keeping with the experience. It might take away from some posts, but you could always judge that for yourself. I’m going to keep reading, so don’t worry.

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  40. There’s nothing wrong with a little gallows humor. The GI’s used it all the time.

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  41. I think some humour would be great. It was part of the war experience. Recently I have been fascinated by these POW logs. They have humour too. http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/davidsonlogbook.html

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    • As you can see, they needed stress relief. But, I must say, the art, detail and emotions on that site come screaming thru!! What an outstanding catch on your part, Gallivanta, and I appreciate you bringing it here! Thank you!

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  42. I don’t think I’d like humour in the same post as your war stories. Perhaps a separate post? but, whatever you decide I’ll still follow, your stories of unbelievable bravery are fascinating.

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    • Thanks, Phil. I didn’t put in one of those polls, but I am keeping tract of the remarks – I appreciate your opinion and your loyal readership!

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      • Pierre Lagacé

        Humor was present at the same time as the horrible stories. I have listened to stories on the Internet where veterans tell their stories. You will hear both sides… the funny and the not so funny at the same time. So I would go along that route.
        As a veteran once said, all was quiet then in a few short seconds all hell broke loose and then everything was dead quiet.

        Like

  1. Pingback: For D-Day, Two survivors sing a WWII foxhole song … | Pacific Paratrooper

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