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American Legion children and youth programs in Minnesota.
More War Stories from the pages of the Minnesota Legionnaire written by Al Zdon
For $50 a month more pay, you could join the paratroopers. John Hinchliff grew up in Park Rapids. Times were tough, so he joined the National Guard. His unit was federalized after Pearl Harbor, and Hinchliff was assigned to anti-aircraft duty on the West Coast. But the job was tedious, and when a recruiter for the airborne came around, Hinchliff decided he was tough enough for that outfit.
1 Year and 6 Days - Elmo Wojahn grew up on a farm near Comfrey and enlisted in
the Navy in 1941 when he was 17 years old. He was aboard the USS Hornet (CV-8) when it was commissioned on the East Coast and when it was sunk at the Battle of Santa Cruz. That one year and six
days included the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo and the Battle of Midway.
Flying the Superfortress - Loren Zander of Howard Lake told the Army he wanted to fly the biggest thing they had. He got
Leon's Other War - Leon Frankel thought he was done with the military after flying torpedo bombers in World War II -- earning a Navy Cross sinking a Japanese Cruiser. In late 1947 he had a good job, plenty of money, plenty of girl friends, and was still flying in the Navy Reserve. Life was good for the kid from St. Paul. But then he got that fateful phone call. His services were needed again.
From a Minnesota farm to a British Spitfire - Growing up on a farm near Hector,Minnesota, Floyd
"Rod" Rodmyre didn't plan on being an Army Air Corps pilot, let alone flying the plane that won the Battle of Britain, the Supermarine Spitfire. But when he arrived in North Africa as a P-39
fighter pilot, he found out that the Spitfires were providing escort protection when the P-39s went on a mission. "Fighters being escorted by fighters. It soon dawned on us that our P-39 wasn't
much of a fighter plane." When the opportunity came to volunteer to fly the Spitfires, it took Rodmyre and his fellow pilots about three seconds to jump at the chance.