Mac McGalliard's War Stories, part 5

Maybe this is the last story I can come up with, or maybe my old memory is fading?

After all it’s been 55 years since I left the Aleutian Islands. (Sept 44) I stayed at Elmendorf AFB about three weeks, then boarded a C-47 and flew to Coldbay. Stayed there 3 or 4 months. This was the time and place one of our better known men died in a C-47 crash. When we got to Anchorage our pay roll got fouled up (wrong station). Payroll made up for Umnak and we moved too soon to get paid. At Cold bay we couldn’t get paid cause payroll was made up for Umnak (screwed up all around).

Next payroll went down with Sgt. Unger (the afore mentioned man). By the time the Govt. Paymaster had a clew as to where we were, we moved to Adak. Pay roll had to be made up again. Of course through this NO MONEY entire situation, you must remember there was absolutely NO PLACE to buy any thing. No PX, no PUBS, no GIRLS, no nothing, except Tony Rottmans mess hall. Well to end this story our payroll finally caught up with us. I got 7 (seven) months pay all at once. It lasted 3 (three) days. I guess you might say I was a poor poker player. OK say it. The only good thing to come out of my time in the Aleutians was that I had $70 held out of my payroll and sent home. That was the only money I saved or sent home in the 28 months I was up there.

Boy the crap games they had wide open no restrictions. Even the nurses were making money. I heard some of them were sending home $500 bucks a week. They could have made more, but they were laying down on the job????????.

One of our guys traveled around from outfit to outfit gambling. Supposedly he carried around $20,000 in a money belt. He was found one morning in a jeep, upside down, down an embankment, DEAD. NO MONEY BELT????????.

We had an aircraft inspector who went home early. Got on the boat but when they got to Seattle, he was MISSING. Authorities could not prove what happened, so case closed ???????.

I tell you this last one with tongue in cheek. I know nothing else except what my mom had sent in newspaper clippings from state side newspaper in my hometown.

As the story went ---this C.O. was a mean and demanding so and so. No one liked him or respected him. By and by it was a volenteer action to put as much as you wanted to in the POT, for the guy who got the C.O.

One day a PFC or CPL. Was digging a hole in a bank with a bulldozer for a QONSET HUT to be erected. Guess what, the C.O. came up in his jeep and parked behind the dozer. The kid backed up, and too late -----the C.O. was dead. Crushed in his jeep. Accidental death was the finding. The kid collected 6(six) figures. That’s the story as was in the clippings that mom sent me. We checked at the time, oh yes there was an accident. But no one knew any thing about the particulars?????? Strange things happen in a war. The thing that bugged me was, how did the newspaper in the 48 get the info?????

Well we moved from Adak to Amchitka to Shemya to Attu.

About two weeks before we (who were being relieved) got on the boat to go home, we were put into a casual area. Nothing to do but eat sleep and check the mail. One day going to chow two guys began to argue. Why, I don’t know. One was Jason Grey if I can recollect properly. They got to scuffling and rolling in the dirt and rolled to a MUDPUDDLE. By this time Jason was on top and had his friend by the ears and was holding him face DOWN in the mud puddle. Along come our FLIGHT SURGEN and another officer. They looked at the situation and said, “be care full Jason” and WALKED ON. Jason was so stunned by the officer’s comment that he just got up and walked to the chow hall in silence. We were ALL READY TO GO HOME.

I never got home sick any time I was in the service except once. That was when I was in the CASUAL area getting ready to go home. I got a letter from my mom one day and for some unknown reason, I couldn’t stop CRYING. I guess I knew it was over and I was going home at last.

H.R.McGalliard
54th Interceptor Sqdn.
343rd Fighter Grp.
Alaskan Defense Command.