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Legacy Of:

Harry  L.  Orthman

 

Personal Legacy
HARRY ORTHMAN
World War II
Memories and Biography

When the 492nd broke up, Snavely, Adams, and Turnbull all moved over to the same jobs at the 44th BG. I had flown missions out of North Pick with each of them in the right seat as command pilot and had flown a lot with Turnbull in the Anti-sub Squadron. He was a first-class guy as was Mahoney. The nicknames didn't stick with the new leaders very long at the 44th. The few of us (which included George Haag) who also moved over to the 44th were scattered in different squadron and what had been started pretty much as a prank now seemed trivial. Frank Haag had been shot down on 7 July 1944 and this was a sobering influence on George who was extremely worried about his twin brother. He waited about three months before receiving notice that Frank was a POW in Germany. George was greatly relieved when he got that news.


HARRY ORTHMAN
World War II
Memories and Biography

One day in 1992 I was out talking to the neighbor who lives behind me in Mission Viejo, CA and he mentioned that his next-door neighbor, whose house I could see out my rear window was a former bomber pilot. When I went over to meet this bomber pilot it turned out to be Bill Keeler who had already been living there about eight years. We soon became acquainted and found out that although we had been in both the 492nd and the 44th bomb groups at the same time, we had never met.

He had never heard of the 2nd Air Division or 492nd BG Veterans Associations, so I gave him a copy of Allan Blue's Fortunes of War and invited him and his wife to the El Toro reunion.

Each year we have a 2nd Air Division reunion on the last Saturday in February at the El Toro Marine Base. In 1992, it occurred on February 29th because it was a leap year. Bill and his wife attended and sat with us and we all told war stories and they both enjoyed it tremendously. He told the Snavely story along with many others and in the end, stated that he would like to enjoy much more of this camaraderie and we certainly welcomed them to join our group.

Later that next week, I was reading the morning paper and in it I saw his obituary. He had died on March 4th. He had lived just in back of us all these years and four days after our first real get-acquainted social event, he died. We did have some mutual friends, Harold Stanhope being one. Stanhope was later transferred to a staff job at 14th Combat Wing Headquarters where I used to visit him.
 
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Last modified: 01/26/14