After the attack on Pearl Harbor, America increased its military spending, and installations began to pop up across the country to help support the war efforts in Europe. Small airfields and bases sprang up all over Oklahoma in towns like Altus, Enid, Tinker, Woodward, Jet, Frederick, Burns Flat, Muskogee, and Ardmore to serve the Army Air Corp. The US Navy also had small air bases in Clinton and Norman, OK.
By the summer of 1943, Oklahoma was swept up in the war movement. People were extremely supportive of this endeavor against evil happening overseas. Food, clothing, and fuel were rationed since they were needed for the war effort. Most cities observed blackout status so they wouldn’t be targeted by the Axis Powers in one of those daring nighttime bombing runs.
If you lived near Altus, Tinker, or Vance Air Force Bases in Oklahoma, you could hear planes at all hours of the night since training happened twenty-four/seven. Remember the cheer, “Freedom Never Sleeps?” In Lawton, OK, home of the Field Artillery, it was not uncommon to hear the howitzers in the dead of night as our nation's military trained hard.
On a humid July evening in the summer of 1943, the bellowing engines of a bomber came roaring over Boise City in the Oklahoma panhandle. Although it was after midnight, truckers and night workers were still eating in the diner on the square. As they enjoyed their meal, the quiet drum of conversation suddenly stopped when an explosion rocked the diner. Everyone in the small town rushed to see what had happened. A bomb had crashed through the roof of a nearby garage leaving a huge crater in the floor. Just then, the planes came around for a second bombing run, dropping ordnance close enough to the local church to blow out the windows.
When the truckers realized what was happening, they sprang into action moving a load of munitions one truck was carrying and a tanker of gasoline away from the city, knowing the horrible damage that could occur should one of them be hit by a bomb. Fortunately, the last two bombers passed, both dumping their loads away from town without incident.
By the time the bombing of Boise City was done, six bombs had been accidentally dropped on the town. A navigational mistake had been made during blackout conditions, and instead of dropping ordnance at the practice range, it was accidentally dropped on the small town.
If there could be good news in such a situation, it turns out the bombs were practice rounds. Instead of being packed with one hundred pounds of high explosives, each bomb contained only four pounds of dynamite. While it was enough to kill people, amazingly nobody was hurt. The damage was limited to the garage and church in Boise City.
Although the bombing was a huge mistake on the part of the bomber crew, they later proved themselves. The exact same B-17 crew that accidentally bombed Boise City ended up leading an 800-plane daylight bombing run over Berlin just a year later. According to locals, all ten men survived the war, becoming one of the highest decorated Air Corp crews during WW ll.
Here's something a bit different from me. Along with writing fiction, I've also created this fun word search focusing on U.S. topics. It makes a great birthday or Christmas gift.
Enjoy hours of mentally stimulating word search fun! USA Word Find contains 75 easy-to-read large print word search puzzles. These engaging puzzles feature United States topics such as state capitals, state nicknames, animals and birds found in the U.S., actors born in the U.S., and much more. Educational benefits for all ages. Test your knowledge of the United States while enjoying hours of word-find fun.
Vickie McDonough is an award-winning author of over 50 books and novellas. Vickie’s books have won the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, Texas Gold, and the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and she has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s BOTY/Carol Award contest. Vickie series include the Texas Boardinghouse Brides, Land Rush Dreams, and Pioneer Promises. Vickie and her husband live in Oklahoma. She is a wife of forty-eight years, mother of four grown sons, and grandma to a smart and pretty high school senior. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, traveling, and card-making. To learn more about Vickie’s books, visit her website: www.vickiemcdonough.com