Paul Polink along with his four brothers served in the military during WWII. Miraculously all five brothers survived the war. Paul himself signed up for the Air Force Reserve during his senior year in high school and was trained as a gunner and an aircraft mechanic.
He was assigned to the 54th Troop Carrier Squadron, which transported mail, troops, the wounded, supplies, the Governor of Alaska, several U.S. Senators, and members of the USO such as Joe Lewis. He also played baseball for his squadron and remembers playing at midnight due to Alaska's midnight sun.
Paul Polink (middle) and two other men wait for a bus to Anchorage
photo courtesy paul polink
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- Year of arrival in Alaska, joining Air Force reserves, desire to become a pilot, aptitude and selection as an aircraft mechanic audio / transcript
- Five men from family serving in WWII audio / transcript
- Ford Bomber School, Michigan, military training in various schools audio / transcript
- Troop carrier school, assignment to the 54th Troop Carrier Squadron, landing at Elmendorf Field in 1944 audio / transcript
- Flying missions out of Elmendorf Field, flying C-47s audio / transcript
- Flying missions to the Aleutians, remembering when the Japanese surrendered audio / transcript
- Colonel Grossmith, flying well known people to the Aleutians audio / transcript
- The C-47 as a medical ship, handling wounded, the effect of Aleutian duty on men's psyche audio / transcript
- Impressions of the Aleutians, frightening landing on Attu, weather audio / transcript
- Flying materials and men into weather stations, what it meant to serve as a C-47 mechanic in Alaska, working part time for commercial carriers, mechanics pay audio / transcript
- Profession as school principle after the war audio / transcript
- Life on Elemendorf Air Force Base, winter darkness in Alaska, interest of a 19 year old in seeing Alaska audio / transcript
- Recreation during time off from military duty, playing baseball, love of baseball, playing baseball for the 54th Troop Carrier team and later for the St Vincent College, Ft Richardson field, midnight sun baseball in Fairbanks audio / transcript
- Playing sports as a kid, coaching for a high school team, military baseball league audio / transcript
- Making friends in the service, popularity of the 54th among the men, giving men a ride to "see the sun" audio / transcript
- Keeping in touch with family, news from other theatres of war, worries about brothers safety, where four brothers were stationed during the war, desire to write a book about all 5 brothers war experiences audio / transcript
- Photos from an emergency evacuation of a ship aground, Aleutian volcanoes audio / transcript
- Recognizing veterans for their service, pride in service under the 54th, plaque for 54th at Air Force Academy audio / transcript
- Colonel Grossmith, Grossmith and the Berlin Airlift audio / transcript
- Popularity of the 54th among the service men, dreams vs reality in military service, importance of aircraft mechanics to air crew audio / transcript
- Confidence in pilots in the C-47, mechanic training, brothers experience as a B-24 pilot in the 15th Air Force audio / transcript
- Availability of aircraft parts, learning from more experienced mechanics audio / transcript
Paul was a gunner/aircraft mechanic for the 54th Troop Carrier Squadron transporting important people and goods. Five in his family served in WWII.