U-196 EMAIL: ONE MAN'S OPINION


OR CHRONIC GRUMBLING?


THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE

the Wanderling


"However, even though (the story on the U-196) breaks down or falls apart in other ways, albeit easily correctable, I remain sympathetic to the cause and feel there is more truth to it than fiction. The reason I say so is because I have seen with my own eyes, proof. At least for part of the story as I have laid it out above, and coincidently, that proof is related to the easily correctable breakdown to his story I mentioned in the previous paragraph."

THE STRANGE ODYSSEY OF THE GERMAN U-BOAT U-196


"Not many like me are left that actually came within range of the watchful eyes peering through the periscope crosshairs of a lurking just below the surface Japanese submarine or German U-boat. Remember what I wrote a few paragraphs back about me and my own experience. It gives me a different take on what I write:

"(My) whole route of travel from India, around Africa and into the Atlantic on to England was crawling with submarines, every one seeking an easy, vulnerable target. Looking back it must have been pure luck, fate or karma, but in any case throughout the years I have come to appreciate the results and established in me a strong interest in how the actions and selected non-interaction of submarines and their operations, Japanese or German thereof, have impacted me and the outcome of my life."

THE STRANGE ODYSSEY OF THE GERMAN U-BOAT U-196


THE DISAGREEMENT:

Below is an email I received in total disagreement with what I have presented regarding The Strange Odyssey of the German U-boat U-196, followed then by my point-by-point responses to where and how I think the letter writer has gone wrong in his viewpoints. The quoted paragraphs at the top of this page were written by me and found in the main text of the disputed U-196 page, in turn offering a much different viewpoint regarding the credibility of what I have offered than that of the email author who wrote and sent me the following:


(We) can categorically state that the story of U-196 and some of the rest of that clip is totally false. We did not take the time to read it all because once several flaws are detected, it is obvious that the piece was not researched at all and contained a large amount of incorrect data.

(It) is nothing but speculation and false details. The first tip-off in any of these so-called revelations in the gratuitous use of the term "Nazi". The next tip-off is the cargo full of gold.....all U-Boats carried a fortune in gold if one believes the stories but in fact, only a handful did and those were special missions. It is also difficult to believe where U-196 was spotted in December 1944 since she was sunk in November 1944. Most likely a lot of what this "story" contains is accurate, but the overuse of "Nazi", the gold on board and the fact that the boat was lost in November 1944, one month before she was spotted in December 1944 - the whole thing reeks of fantasy and fairy tale. Feel free to pass this on to "the Wanderer" whomever that may be.


THE TRUTH:

Before I get into the meat of the subject I will start with the end of the author's email, then return to the subject at hand. In the very last sentence the letter writer calls me "the Wanderer," unable, apparently, to get my name right in some fashion. The question to be asked then, is if he can't get my name right, what else can't he get right?

Then the person who sent the email, he being, according to a Google search, nothing less than a nationally known way-up-there self-proclaimed know all about submarines guy --- and why, him being an authority and all, the reason I am going through all the trouble clarifying the inaccuracies in his email --- follows up the name situation with "whomever that may be?" as if he is too good to know who I am relative to himself and what I write or have written is not much more than chopped liver or less.

In reality it isn't too difficult to find out who's who these days --- which knowing might add a little credibility into what one is reading. I did it right away with the email writer and got a ton of results. A little research, say on Google for example --- of which most people who use the internet on a regular basis have a fairly good ability to use --- answers to most queries come up quite rapidly. If a person is able to find my U-196 page then email me, I would pretty much take it as a given that any such potential ability is cross transferable to having a Google search ability. It could even be as easy as asking Siri. However, as it relates to me, a good portion of any such results usually turns up with stuff written by me --- which begs the question if it is biased in some fashion or not. Who cares. If you don't like what is written about me in World War II Comes to Redondo, The Wanderling and His Uncle, Area 51 or Dark Luminosity, for those who may be predisposed for another opinion, my suggestion would be to read what Sarlo has to say or the insights as provided by the unknown author who wrote Windswept, Zen-swept, Mind Dunes.

Most people who have a tendency to dump on my works, typically those who present views as to how wrong it is, usually do so by never reading or spending any amount of time going over the footnotes, the footnotes being of utmost importance. They are important because they interject clarification regarding a specific or given thought without impacting the flow of what is being presented. Overlooking footnotes is bad enough, but the plain truth is, on a higher level, it is too bad the author of the email didn't take the time to actually read what I've written regarding the U-196 let alone the footnotes. If he had done both he would have found most of what he denigrates isn't at all how it is presented. He says the first tip-off is the gratuitous use of the term "Nazi."

Actually, my use of Nazi on-and-off throughout the text, besides being a great Google search word, is invariably used to present the usual oft repeated stories of the U-196 followed up by any qualifications or disagreement with what the source said. For example I write:


"The first chaff to be removed is a report that no sooner had the U-196 left the pens in La Pallice, France than 13 high ranking Nazi turncoats along with three children escaping Nazi Germany were transferred aboard the U-196 just off the coast in the Bay of Biscay after another U-boat they were on was destroyed by British aircraft."


Notice I start out by saying the "first chaff to be removed." That means what is being said about what is typically found regarding the U-196 in the sentence should be discarded, discounted, or removed as not being factually true. To emphasize, I immediately follow-up the sentence with "Not likely" flatly intimating the meaning within the context of the sentence just isn't so, which for clarification with what has been typically been presented as true regarding the U-196 that we are discussing is "not likely," that is, not likely to be true. The use of the term Nazi as in "Nazi turncoats" is part of what is being discounted and the use of Nazi thereof is an imbedded part of the oft repeated story --- which means, to say what you are saying you have to use "Nazi." The letter writer goes on to say:


"The next tip-off is the cargo full of gold.....all U-Boats carried a fortune in gold if one believes the stories but in fact, only a handful did and those were special missions."


First, for one thing I wasn't talking about all U-boats, I was talking about one specific U-boat, the U-196 and only the U-196. Secondly, if what the U-196 was doing couldn't be construed as being on a "special mission," albeit outside an officially authorized or sanctioned mission, I don't know what is. Third, if the letter writer were to have read the full account of what I have presented he would have learned that in the end I wasn't talking about Nazi gold at all. The gold was actually Japanese gold originally in transit to the Third Reich. The use of the term Nazi gold is to disqualify it from being Nazi gold, to wit as found on the U-196 page:


"The Germans, in conjunction with their own efforts, sensing a potential collapse of their regime in Europe, began shipping uranium through France, loading it into U-boats and transporting it to Japan for the Japanese nuclear bomb project.(see) In turn Japan paid for the enriched uranium-oxide with gold bullion. As things in Europe deteriorated for the Germans and hard to come by materials used in their far-flung war efforts became more scarce and difficult to obtain the Nazis began using submarines to transport the rarest and most important of those materials to their homeland. A good part of the Japanese gold intended to be shipped through to Germany as payment started piling up in the far east submarine ports because of being continually bumped by those more important strategic materials. The piles of bullion, easily transported in the hold of a submarine or two --- and worth a fortune --- began making an ever increasing mouth-watering target for anyone in the far east possibly uneasy with an unfavorable outcome of the war and having in their hands a way to get away with absconding with it."


As for the U-boat being sunk in November 1944 as stated by the emailer, a whole month before she was spotted in December 1944 as I have stated, is pretty much explored and clarified within the context of what has been presented --- something the letter writer would have learned had he read it. Briefly, the U-196 was officially stricken from the records and was stricken from the records not because she was known to have been sunk as the email writer suggests, but because there was no response to repeated radio messages to contact her and was thus then, considered missing. Lawrence Paterson, the highly regarded author of some fifteen to twenty books on submarines, most specifically German U-boats, in his book Hitler's Grey Wolves: U-Boats in the Indian Ocean (2004), on the fate of the U-196, writes:


"A recall order was issued to U-196 on the day of her departure, repeated six times but receiving no response. The presumed position of the U-196 continued to be charted, BdU's War Diary entry of 12 December illustrated the bewilderment and blind hope as to Strigegler's whereabouts and trusting to a faulty communications problem as the cause of persistent silence:


"According to report from Naval attache' in Tokyo, U-196 left Jakarta on 30 November, supply of U-510 by U-196 foreseen earlier must have fallen through, since U-510 entered port because of damage to her machinery. U-843 left Jakarta on 10 December for Germany and will be supplied by the U-196. Since the position of the U-196 is not exactly known, she will be requested to send her position after supply activities are completed. After supply activities are completed, U-196 will make a short patrol and return to Japan to get new batteries.


"Finally, on 22 December BdU admitted the inevitable, informing Dommes that they consider U-196 sunk by enemy submarines shortly after leaving Jakarta --- probably ambushed in the Sunda Strait. In actuality the Allies, who had followed the signal exchange with interest, were equally perplexed as to Striegler's fate. Allied submarines within the area had made no claims and the Sunda Strait was not minded until weeks later by a Dutch submarine. U-196 and her crew of 66 had simply disappeared."


So, according to Paterson, allied submarines within the area had made no claims of any sort of interaction or sinking of the U-196, claims of which invariably come with a huge amount of bragging rights. Plus, the Sunda Strait wasn't minded until weeks later, the U-196 and her crew simply disappearing.

But, if in fact the U-196 was sunk, the nagging question for me then becomes how did a known crew member of the U-196, Dr. Heinz Haake, which I've thoroughly addressed at length in Footnote [2] of the U-196 page by the way, end up buried six feet down in a hard-ground mountain grave located in the German Military Cemetery (Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof), not far from Jakarta, just above the Sunda Straits where the U-196 supposedly went down? So said, please note in the graphic below the mention of the U-196 is clearly carved into Haake's gravestone.



(for larger size click image then click again)


As for the letter writer's suggestion that what I have written wasn't well researched --- as if he would know in that he says he didn't read it --- it isn't every page on the U-196 that provides a photograph of the buried in-the-hard-ground dirt and rock covered gravesite of one of the known crew members of the U-196 when the submarine itself was said to have been sunk along with the WHOLE crew, supposedly ending up going down through meters and meters of water to the ocean bottom of the Sunda Straits. Otherwise, by-passing that, however facetious, as for any research, all one has to do, as an example, is go to Footnote [1] on the U-196 page. The sort of information found there, that is, all those numbers and stuff, just don't fall out of the end of a sunken or missing U-boat's torpedo tubes on their own. The same is true about the information I provided in the main text of the U-196 page regarding the German heavy cruiser the Admiral Graf Spee that was heavily damaged in a heated battle with British warships off the coast of South America. Research pure and simple.

For the letter writer or any of you who may have missed it, in Footnote [9] of the U-196 page you will find mention of my 1985 all day long and into the next day meeting and interview at the Riverside Casino along the Colorado River in Laughlin, Nevada with a man named Johann Kremer. Kremer was a World War II Kriegsmarine U-boat veteran and onetime crew member under the infamous U-boat captain, Jurgen Wattenberg. About six months before the end of the war, Kremer, along with Wattenberg and 60 others, escaped from the Papago Park POW camp in Arizona. During our meeting we discussed and he clarified much of what I presented, probably more so than anyone has ever done in relation to similar type subject matter. While we were talking a man stepped up out of the milieu and speaking only German, introduced himself. A few minutes into the conversation the man set a small cloth bag on the table, the inside of which contained part of a gold ingot. Translating the man's German into English, Kremer paraphrased the following, which if taken in context is highly U-196 related if overlaid with what I have already presented regarding the U-196:


"The man made it clear that during the war he was never an internee or prisoner at the Papago Park POW camp, but instead had been a crew member on a submarine he identified as a Type IXD2 from the Monsun Gruppe 33rd Flotilla operating out of Penang, Malaysia, and without clarifying, or at least as Kremer excluded or related it to me, said he ended up in Mexico and that there was more gold where that came from."(see)


Another thing people jump up and down about related to the above, not so much the quoted letter writer per se, but others, is Kremer being in Laughlin, Nevada in 1985. Intimating not only it is so much cow dung but pretty convenient for me, they want to know what the heck a German foreign national and former POW was doing in Laughlin in the first place --- and how did I know or find out that he was?




Although I have rather solid and significant proof besides simply my remembrance of it, because it is so far out, Kremer, who lived in Germany, him being in Laughlin, a small little gambling town out in the middle of nowhere along the Colorado River, is just not one of those things anybody would make up out of whole cloth and expect people to believe if it wasn't so.

Until Kremer told me, as found in the aforementioned Footnote [9], except for a vague reference to a possible reunion of some sort mentioned to me by a former ranch foreman who had in years gone by worked for my stepmother together with an old newspaper article he stuffed into my hands with some photos of ex-POWs, I had no idea why Kremer was in the states. Nor did I know why he was in Laughlin or how he got there --- only that my stepmother's ex-ranch foreman Leo contacted me one day and told me he heard through old contacts that Kremer was coming to the U.S. and would be in Arizona at a certain time and asked me to deliver a medal to Kremer that had at one time belonged to him.(see)

After a couple of days, just as we were parting, Kremer told me almost everybody in the group traveling with him, after a quick stop at the old mining town of Oatman and then on to see the London Bridge at Lake Havasu, planned to follow the Colorado River south to see the infamous swastika bridge associated with the Laguna Diversion Dam and from there he said, head over to Phoenix to catch a plane to a connecting flight back to Germany.


The thing is, as tranquil as it all seemed, my meeting with Kremer in Laughlin in 1985 wasn't the first time I ever met him. In a paragraph on the U-196 page I write that the story of our meeting was a little more complicated than I want to get into. I say so because of the circumstances surrounding our very first meeting --- and I don't mean the Laughlin meeting --- I mean a meeting that occurred when I was a very young boy and Kremer attempted his first POW escape from a camp he was interned in near Roswell, New Mexico. I was sleeping along the Rio Felix one night about 20 miles south of Roswell with a Native American spiritual elder waiting for my Uncle when Kremer and two other escapees, seeing our fire, walked into our camp looking for food and to get warm. See:


THE SPIRITUAL ELDER AND THE SANTA FE CHIEF


Initially when I went into Laughlin in 1985 I had not put together the fact that Kremer was one of three men that stumbled upon the spiritual elder and myself at our camp that night along the Rio Felix. Matter of fact, the only way I thought I would be able to find who I was looking for in the first place among the other POW attendees was through a tattered 40 year old newspaper article dated December 28, 1944 the foreman gave me that had Kramer's name and photo of him as he looked then. I simply showed the article around until someone pointed Kremer out. The thing is, at the time, knowing the article was published 40 years before, I was only thinking of him as a "name" and not really connecting his name to the picture. It was only when we met and I glanced back and forth between the photo and Kremer that it suddenly dawned on me --- and after mentioning it to him and his recall as well --- that he was one of the three men that came into my camp that night.(see)

The old newspaper article the former ranch foreman Leo stuffed into my hands that has photos of ex-POWs I speak of directly above and a few paragraphs back, including Kremer's name and photograph as he looked back in 1944, can be found in full by going to Footnote [4] of the Santa Fe link above.


AND NOW THIS:

By now many of you may be wondering why I have gone through all the trouble to write what I have regarding the email and the email writer, as though I have sour grapes or something. First of all, and most importantly, I did so in order to clarify what I have written regarding the U-196, especially so in case any of you, as readers of my works, harbor similar or like feelings as the letter writer. Not all of you are World War II submarine experts or historians and you either take what I have presented as accurate or disregard what I have presented as falling into a rather large questionable realm. Me pointing out things seen by another as being questionable compared as seen by me is to set things straight.

I would be hard pressed to say the email writer was a teacher in the classical sense, that is with a classroom and students and all, but, he being nothing less than a nationally known way-up-there self-proclaimed know all about submarines guy and, in that we both impart knowledge so others may learn, which is not unlike the role of a teacher, there exists strong similarities between he and I and teachers. So said, in relation to what he has to say I kind of like something what the venerated spiritual teacher Lee Lozowick (1943-2010) once said in his interview with What is Enlightenment? Magazine that goes something like:


"I was criticizing every other teacher, like I was the only teacher on the face of the planet who was real. That's such a ridiculous posture. As time has gone on, I've become much more willing to just relax and acknowledge other people's strengths."


Actually, as I view it, there is enough room on Earth for all of us. Readers of my works notwithstanding, when it comes to all things submarines I have a personal commitment in my endeavors to get things right. Why? Because as clearly laid out in The Last American Darshan, as a very young boy with no possible way to be in charge of or in control of my own destiny I was put into a position to be traveling by ship across the submarine infested Indian Ocean during the Second World War and most likely, with me not even knowing it, coming under the crosshairs of more than one enemy submarine more than one time. Why the ship I was on was spared while so many others in the exact same area at the exact same time were being blown to bits and sunk all around me while the one I was on was bypassed is something I don't think I'll ever know.

Even prior to that, as found in World War II Comes to Redondo, my father took me down to see a Japanese two-man midget submarine that had washed up on the beach after it had been bombed just off shore from my house. My dad even lifted me up to look in the hatch to see the interior where it has been said two Japanese officers had been found dead. Interwoven in it all as I describe in The Japanese Secret War, linked below, my dad's brother, my uncle, who was responsible for the majority of my early childhood upbringing following the death of my mother, during the early throes of World War II and before I fully came on the scene was shot in the back and left for dead because of innocently stumbling across two Axis spies covertly testing for high levels of radioactivity in the desert southwest. They had come ashore from a German U-boat in the Sea of Cortez, the two having been left off along the northern coast of Sonora, Mexico. They got as far east into the U.S. as the state of New Mexico totally undiscovered and were almost on top of the super secret Los Alamos nuclear site when they ran into my uncle, something they could not let out, hence the bullet to his back.


THE JAPANESE SECRET WAR


LOS ALAMOS, NEW MEXICO


As for more on me as a young boy being caught in those crosshairs of U-boats and Japanese submarines in the Indian Ocean circa 1944, please see:



THE BRITISH SHIP MV TULAGI

(please click image)




THE STRANGE ODYSSEY OF THE GERMAN U-BOAT U-196


GERMAN SUBMARINE ATTACK ON HOOVER DAM


SECRET JAPANESE SUBMARINES BASES ON
THE PACIFIC WEST COAST


GETTING LETTERS AND EMAILS


THE JAPANESE SECRET WAR



TWO-MAN JAPANESE- MIDGET SUBMARINE MOUNTED
ADJACENT TO THE MOTHER SHIP'S CONNING TOWER

(please click image)


E-MAIL
THE WANDERLING

(please click)


U-BOATS IN THE FAR EAST BY DAVID OEARN (PDF)





















There is a formidable war memorial in Germany dedicated to the memory of all U-boat officers and men who served and lost their lives at sea in the German Navies during World War I and II called the U-Boot-Ehrenmal Möltenort (Möltenort U-Boat Memorial) located in the seaside resort of Heikendor just off the Baltic Sea. The memorial has a high, large half-circle-wall with the open section of the half circle facing toward a central monument. On either side of the walls are a series of metal plates, one each for each U-boat and each plate containing the names of those who lost their lives in the line of duty in each of the so designated U-boats. One of the memorial plates is dedicated to the U-196. Both the names and birthdates of Dr. Heinz Haake and the man who approached the former POW in Laughlin appear on the plate, the man of which who by the way I met peripherally. Peripherally in that the two of us were introduced to each other by Kremer --- in German --- and after a brief shaking hands that was about it. The rest of the conversation was between he and Kremer while I for the most part, sat idly by.



(please click image)


As mentioned above, both of the names and birthdates of Dr. Heinz Haake and the man who approached the former POW in Laughlin appear on the U-196 plate, with me having met the man doing the approaching in Laughlin during his introduction to the ex-POW.

I know that the names and birthdates of both men appear on the U-196 plate because I personally saw their names and birthdates on the U-196 plate myself, having done so during a trip to Europe as found in High Mountain Zendo, described briefly in the quote below:


"I found it most expedient to make myself scarce, which I did, traveling through Europe for six weeks-plus instead, leaving the Condors and wolves behind. Along the way, Stonehenge, Pompeii, Acropolis, Running of the Bulls, the villa of British author and playwright William Somerset Maugham, Da Vinci's birthplace, statue of David and a friend in Cannes.

"Although on other occasions I have done or visited some or all of the places above, for me, on this trip, one of the most important things I wanted to do was to visit the German World War I and II submarine memorial called the U-Boot-Ehrenmal Möltenort (Möltenort U-Boat Memorial) located in the seaside resort of Heikendor just off the Baltic Sea. My interest is because along with hundreds of other German names that appear on the metal plates dedicated to submariners who died in the line of duty serving on U-boats --- a man I met, a former German submariner who strangely enough had been living in Mexico and whose hand I shook and was quite obviously alive and well, has both his name and birthdate on the plate that commemorates the fallen crew members of the U-196."






















The former ranch foreman, Leo, was a one time World War II Pacific Fleet Navy boxing champion. Leo had heard through old contacts there was going to be a reunion of sorts, or a Commemorative Observance as they called it, of former camp POWs and he felt there was a good chance the submariner was going to attend. As it came down to me from Leo, his old contacts were associated through an event that circulated around a fellow boxer he somehow knew named Jeep O'Neal. During the war O'Neal, who won the 1943 bantamweight Golden Gloves championship in Chicago and the national AAU title, had been an Army MP guard at the POW camps in Arizona and in the process fought several organized boxing matches between himself and POWs. O'Neal died in January 1984 after a long illness, about a year before Leo was finally able to catch up with me. Leo did however, attend the funeral in Phoenix and it was there he came in contact with who he referenced to me as old contacts.




The following about the ranch my stepmother owned and I stayed on for a few summers during my high school years is found at the source so cited:


"Otherwise, there was a bar, swimming pool, dance hall, rodeos and boxing matches on the weekends, at least two dozen one-armed-bandit slot machines in a secret hidden room, and a flock of ever present hostesses."(source)


In a general sort of way I remember the boxing matches well, maybe not any specific individual match, but for sure the events and all the hub bub surrounding them, including the Damon Runyon type characters that inhabited the crowd and the gambling that went with them --- as well as the boxing ring itself. I used to climb under the ropes onto the canvas, jump up and down and phony spar or shadow box as they call it and bounce off the ropes. My stepmother always said she was going to get some of the big time L.A. wrestlers like Baron Michele Leone and Freddie Blassie, who Leo the ranch foreman knew from his old World War II Navy days, to come up and wrestle, but she never did. Blassie did show up hobnobbing with Leo for a good part of the day once, but I never met him.

At the end of one of the boxing days, some of those Runyonesque types, knowing I was the "son" of the owner and having been ferrying bet money between them on some of the matches invited me to sit down and have dinner with them. My stepmother, circulating through the crowd, after noticing me at the table with some fairly risky types, came over to see if all was well. In small talk one of them said they had come up for the day from Del Mar and would soon be heading back to continue their gambling on the thoroughbreds, then asked if I could go back with them and learn about the horses. My stepmother, having a complementary bottle of wine sent to their table, asked to let her think on it.

Later, when she and I were alone she told me I was welcome to go if I liked but to be aware, despite their appearance and demeanor they were pretty rough types, possibly some even packing heat. That night I left with them riding in the back seat of a brand new 1953 Cadillac convertible with the top down, the whole of the trip to Del Mar done mostly flat out. In the afternoon of second day, and nearly $500 bucks ahead thanks to their suggestions, I took a train to L.A. where I was met at Union Station and taken back to the ranch. Little did I know at the time that for the whole trip I was being watched closely, albeit from a distance, by one of my stepmother's employees.


Jeep O'Neal was another thing. How Leo and O'Neal came to know each other and become friends was because O'Neal either boxed several matches at the ranch or promoted matches. In the process O'Neal being a one time guard in the Arizona POW camps came up and one thing led to the next.


















The following quote is from the main text above:


"Although I have rather solid and significant proof besides simply my remembrance of it, because it is so far out, Kremer, who lived in Germany, him being in Laughlin, a small little gambling town out in the middle of nowhere along the Colorado River, is just not one of those things anybody would make up out of whole cloth and expect people to believe if it wasn't so."


The rather solid and significant proof is a story reserved for another day. However, I do have a rather interesting follow-up story regarding the German POWs who came into the no-frills camp the spiritual elder and myself set up that night along the Rio Felix. I've mentioned elsewhere that just as I was about to fall asleep, one of the POWs accidently stepped on my leg or foot, most likely because where I was laying wasn't nearly as illuminated as it could have been in that I had moved back from the fire to sleep.

After giving them some food of what little we had and restoking the fire back to it's former luster my once drowsiness faded as my ears perked up at the thought of escaped German POWs being in our camp. I remember clearly they did not seem to present any sort of a danger or threat, only hoping for a little food, some warmth, a few safe minutes to rest, and information as to where they were specifically.

The night before when I was in the train station a man came up and sat down next to me showing me a comic book that had what he said was a true story and that his son had participated in the actual events so depicted in the story. The following, from the source so cited, picks up as the man sits next to me that night while I was in the train station with the tribal spiritual elder waiting for my uncle to show up:


He came over and sat next to me and asked if my dad was in the war. I told him no that he worked in the shipyards. Asking if I liked comic books he opened his suitcase and pulled out one called Blue Bolt. All the while he was thumbing through the pages like he was looking for something he was telling me he had a son in the war and that his son was a pilot. After he reached a certain spot he folded open the pages and pointed to a story about a group of American pilots that shot down 77 German planes in one outing. Then, carefully reading the story page by page and pointing to the different pictures he told me that his son was one of the pilots. My uncle told me with that I took the book from the man's hands completely fascinated, so much so I read the story over and over without stopping or setting it down. The man, seeing how much I appreciated the comic and the story, said I could have it. After that my uncle said I continued to read it again and again all the way back to California and months afterwards."

NUMBER 3774:BALDWIN BUILT 4-8-4 NORTHERN


What I haven't stated elsewhere is that in my new found enthusiasm regarding the story of the P-40s that in one outing shot down 77 German planes in the so-called Goose Shoot, is that I had the comic book still with me the next night when the POWs came into camp. With additional light from a restoked fire I got out the comic and began reading the story, all the while pointing out page after page of the graphic drawings of the event. Needless to say, even though they eventually were caught up in what I was showing them in that they had not received any substantial amount of news from anywhere let alone the battlefront, they just were not up to giving any truth to the story, especially so from a comic book and a kid along with what I deciphered much later along the way as a still lingering belief in German superiority.

Not only did Kremer remember the incident involving his fellow POW stepping on my foot as they came into camp he remembered as well the story of the Goose Shoot from my comic book.