Autobiography of Jesse Stay

 

BEGINNINGS

 

I was born on July 20, 1921 in our small brick farm house on the family's eighty acre farm, just west of the Denver Rio Grande and Western rail road tracks, on the Draper-Riverton cross road in Draper, Utah.  I was the youngest of twelve children.  Mother had four boys, seven girls and then me.  I have always been grateful that she didn't stop at eleven.

When I was a year old I moved with my family to a big house on Seventh East in the town of Draper.  My earliest memories are about our life in this home.  We lived there until I was six years old.  I remember herding our cow,"GB," on the side of the road while she grazed.  I had a mean billy goat that I had to lead down the road to a patch of willows to graze and I had a horrible time trying to make the goat go where I wanted it to go.  I was also given a black lamb to raise.  I learned to love the lamb and it would follow-me everywhere.  It broke my heart when we sold it to be butchered after it was grown.  I got twenty dollars from the lamb, which my parents put in the bank for me.  I bought my first suit with this money when I was fourteen years old.

I entered the first grade in the Draper elementary school but only attended this school for a few months before we moved to Salt Lake City to be near my father's work.

 

We moved to Salt Lake in the winter of 1927 and lived in a house my dad bought from his uncle Thomas Woodbury at 1858 South Fourth East.  It was also a big brick house which we needed for our big family.  Myla and I were enrolled in the Whittier grade school.  Lois and Nina were in high school.  Doris was going to the LDS Business College and Mary was in training as a nurse at the LDS Hospital.  We lived in Salt Lake City for three years and during this time Carroll came home from his mission and Lorna's Husband, Henry Vandenberg was badly hurt in an automobile accident and they came to live with us with their two little children, Harry and Joyce.  They lived with us for eighteen months.  Henry was in bed and needed constant ,care.  He had a broken back and was paralyzed from the waist down.  He also had a broken arm, and crushed kidneys.  Lorna took him back to Michigan to see his father and he died in Michigan.

 

For many years my father was the Salt Lake County horticulturist.  It was his responsibility to control noxious weeds and to promote good agriculture in the county.  One of the major activities of our summers was to help him prepare the Salt Lake County agricultural exhibit at the Utah State Fair.

Ivan and Hobert were working in Huntington Park, California and when Mary finished her nurse's training she and Lorna moved to California where they both went to work for the Mission Hospital in Huntington Park.,, Mary as a nurse and Lorna in the Laundry.  They rented a house near the hospital and Lorna kept house for Ivan and Mary.  Hobert was married and lived a few blocks away.  Within a few months, Doris completed her training at the LDS Business

College and also went to California where she found work in the same paint company with Ivan.  The depression hit in 1929 and Carroll soon joined the rest of the brothers and sisters in California to look for work

 

            In 1930 Dad had a difference of opinion with his boss over the need to destroy some noxious weeds on his boss's property and Dad lost his job.  We then sold our home in Salt Lake City.  Lois and Nina stayed with relatives for the school year and in March of 1931, Mom, Dad, Myla and I traveled to California in a Model T Ford.  It took us three days to make the trip.  The roads were dirt or under construction for many miles and even on good roads our fastest speed was about twenty-five miles an hour.

 

When we arrived in Huntington Park we all moved in together in the small house with my older brothers and sisters.  I entered the fourth grade at the Miles Avenue School where I went until the end of the school year.

 

Dad had found and bought a house for the family at 3329 East Flower Street in Huntington.Park. During the summer of 1931 we left part of the family in the little house by the Mission Hospital and the rest of us moved into the Flower Street home.  During that summer and the next winter, Dad built another house in the back yard of the Flower Street home.  This house had four bedrooms and a bath room.  When it was completed we all moved in together.  There were thirteen of us including Lorna and her two children.  In addition there were almost always visiting relatives from Utah or Idaho staying with us, looking for work.  It was not unusual for there to be eighteen or twenty for the evening meal.

 

These were very difficult times for us financially.  Ivan, Doris and Mary were working regularly and Lorna worked most of the time but the salaries were small and there were a lot of mouths to feed.  They kept the family going until Dad was able to find work as a custodian in the Huntington Park City Hall.  Mom, Dad and I would clean the church house each week for a small amount of money and Mom would work at the Salvation Army occasionally for groceries.

 

In the middle and late thirties all of my older brothers and sisters except Myla and Lois got married and moved away.  We then rented our front house to a family for $25 per month and Dad, Mom, Myla, Lois and I moved into the house Dad had built in the rear.  We made one of the bed rooms into a living room and another into a kitchen.  Dad and I built two more bed rooms and for the first time in my life I had my own bedroom behind our garage.

 

After we moved to the Flower Street home, I went to the State Street Grade School for the fifth and sixth grades and to the Gage Avenue Junior High School for the seventh and eighth grades.  In March of 1933 we had a severe earthquake which destroyed many of the buildings in our area.  The schools were badly damaged and had to be condemned.  The Huntington Park High School burned down and had to be rebuilt.  For this reason we went to school in tents for the remainder of the fifth and sixth grades and in temporary wooden classrooms during Junior High school.  The high school was almost rebuilt by the time I entered in the fall of 1936, though there were still a number of temporary wooden classrooms.

 

It seems that we were always short of money.  I cut two or three lawns each week, sold Saturday Evening Post magazines to a regular route of customers and also on the side walk in front of a neighborhood market.  I cut the lawn for Dad around the City Hall and in the park next to it.  I also worked as a lab assistant for the Chemistry teacher during my last two years in high school.  Myla was two years ahead of me in school and was a good student.  She set the standard for me and we were both life members of the California Scholarship Society.

 

Our family attended church regularly.  Dad was an active High Priest and taught the High Priest Class for a number of years.  All of my brothers and sisters remained active in the Church except Ivan and Doris.  They were both in the paint business and stopped going to church in their adult life.                      


Mother and Dad were both very loving to me.  We were never a very demonstrative family but I knew I was loved.  My tenderest memories of my childhood are memories of my mother rocking me in her big rocking chair when I was six or seven years old and singing to me.  I remember the songs; "I Don't Know Why I Love You But I Do,," "My Sweet Little Alice Blue Gown," "After The Ball Was Over." Mother had a wonderful sense of humor and could always look on the bright side of things.  She had a saying for every occasion, many of them picked up from her English mother and father.  I will always be grateful for her influence and love.

 

When I was a Deacon and Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood in Huntington Park, there were many other boys in my quorums.  When I was a Priest in Huntington Park Ward and later when the ward was divided and we were in the Walnut Park Ward, I was often the only one in attendance at Priesthood and MIA meetings.

 

During two summers between high school and college and after my first year at UCLA I worked in the California Furniture Factory in Bell, tailing lumber off of a rip saw.  I earned enough money at this job to buy a 1934 Chevy sedan.

 

In the fall of 1939 I entered UCLA as a Pre-Med student.  Each day for two years I would take Myla and three or four other students twenty-five miles each way to UCLA and back.  The other students would pay enough for their transportation for me to buy gas.  The car often went without needed repairs, however, and we drove many times through the middle of Los Angeles traffic with hardly any brakes.  While I was going to UCLA I worked at two National Youth Administration funded jobs.  I worked in the reserve book room in the university library and also took care of the animals being used for experimental work in the Zoology department.  These jobs gave me enough money to stay in school.  Since UCLA is a state university tuition was only $25 per semester which made it possible for almost anyone to get a college education if he wanted it.

 

During these first two years at UCLA our social life centered around the Church club, Lambda Delta Sigma.  We met once a week at 5:00 p.m. in the religious conference building just off campus.  We were given religious instruction by Dr. G. Byron Done.  We had some social activity almost every week-end and each summer.

 

         After I had finished my second year of Pre-Med school, I decided I didn't want to dedicate my life to medicine but didn't know what I did want to do, so I was at loose ends.  In June 1941 some US Army Air Corps recruiters came to the UCLA campus to recruit students for the Army Flying Cadet program. I had always wanted to learn to fly and I knew that I would be drafted in a couple of years, so I signed up.  I had to drive out to March Field in Riverside, California to take my physical examination.  I drove out with a long time friend, Howard Hopper because my eye exam required that my eyes be dilated and I wouldn't be able to drive home.  I passed my flying physical except for my weight.  I had always been skinny and at six foot two inches and 125 pounds the doctor told me that I was sixteen pounds under the minimum allowable for a waiver.  He told me to come back in six weeks with my sixteen pounds and he would pass me.

 

        I went back home and began to stuff myself for six weeks.  I drank malted milks every day, ate huge meals and snacked all day long.  Someone told me that if I would drink a glass of milk every hour for twenty-four hours I would gain five pounds.  So I set my alarm and woke up every hour all night for my glass of milk. Needless to say I couldn't stand to look at a glass of milk at the end of the twenty-four hours.

 


          On the day I was supposed to go back to March Field, I got up early and had a huge breakfast, took three pounds of bananas to eat on the way and Howard and I started for March Field.  When we arrived, full of bananas, we went to the base exchange and had a big malted milk.  I could hardly waddle when I arrived at the hospital for a weight check.  To my dismay, hen I stepped on the scales, I was still six pounds short of my minimum weight.  I guess, with the war threatening, they wanted pilots pretty badly because the flight surgeon told me to come back at one o'clock with my six pounds.

 

            I knew that if I could drink a gallon of water I would gain seven pounds so I went out and started to drink.  I got so that I could feel the weight of my stomach on my esophagus and every time I took a drink of water I would have to go to the bathroom.  I felt as if I were losing ground.  In any event at one o'clock I went back in and stepped on the scales and I was still one pound short.  I told the doctor that I could go out and drink another pound of water so he added a pound to my weight and let me pass.  On the way home from March Field after that experience, we had to stop at every service station, tree and fire hydrant between Riverside and Los Angeles.

 

HELEN LELA VALANTINE

 

In the July of 1941 the whole Lambda Delta Sigma club from all of the campuses in the Los Angeles area went camping, with proper chaperons, of course, at Barton Flats, near Lake Arrowhead.  It was here that I first became acquainted with Helen.  She was a student at Los Angeles City College and the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.  I had noticed her at some of the inter- school activities previously but didn't think there was any chance that she would be interested in me.  She seemed to be going steady with another fellow.  This other guy was not at this particular camp-out and Helen and I and two of our friends went for a hike together.  That was the start of an eternal love affair.

 

I had also been going rather exclusively with another girl who happened to be back east on vacation with her family at this time.  I broke up with her and Helen broke up with the boy she had been going with and we both knew we were in love with each other.

 

By the time I met Helen in July I had received my orders to report to Lackland Army Air Base in San Antonio, Texas on 7 November 1941.  I didn't have much time with her before I had to leave.  We had a wonderful time together for the rest of the summer and I knew that she was the one for me, even though she was still making up her mind.

 

Although I had lived almost twenty years before, my life really began when I met Helen.  Our love for each other has been constant and unwavering from the first day we got to know each other, though it took some time for Helen to realize this.  Through more than fifty years of marriage, long separations, seven children, a gaggle of grand children and  great grand children, I have always known that she loved me as I love her.  We went together for four months in the summer of 1941 and when I left for aviation cadet flight training in November, she cried at the railroad station.

 

ARMY AIR CORPS TRAINING

 

I was to be gone for eight months and we had made no promises.  I occasionally went out with girls while I was in training but found no real pleasure in their company.  Helen began dating a defense worker and he convinced her that they should become engaged.

 


 I still felt she loved me, though, and when other cadets would ask me if I was planning to get married when I graduated I would say "no but my girl friend is."

 

I enlisted as an Army Air Corps Flying Cadet on November 7,1941.  One month before Pearl Harbor.

 

I received my commission as a Second Lieutenant and my pilot's wings in the Army Air Corps at Lubbock Texas Air Base on 3 July 1942 and went home for a ten-day leave.  Helen and I were married in the Huntington Park chapel on July 13.  I have always marveled that such a beautiful and wonderful girl would marry me.  She has been my greatest blessing.

 

We were assigned to the Salt Lake City Replacement Depot for three weeks while my orders were being processed for a permanent assignment.  We were planning to be sealed in the Salt Lake Temple at the time but it was closed for the summer vacation and I had used up my leave.  When my orders came, I was assigned to the air base at Walla Walla, Washington with the 91st Heavy Bombardment Group where I became a co-pilot on B-17 Flying Fortresses.  The group was undergoing combat crew training in preparation for an overseas assignment. One of the B-17s in our group was the now famous "Memphis Belle".

 

We were very happy for a month and a half in our tiny basement apartment across from Whitman college.  We spent much of our free time with a former classmate of mine in flying school and his wife, Bob and Pat Shaw.  They were also newly married and being natives of Walla Walla, they knew all of the favorite picnic spots in the beautiful mountains near the town.

 

At the end of August the group was ready for combat.  Bob Shaw was put on a combat crew and I with a number of other co­pilots was reassigned to Ephrata Washington for B-24 Liberator training.  The 91st group was sent to England where they participated in the first daylight bombing raids over Germany with great losses.  Bob eventually became a squadron commander and came through the war safely.

 

     I joined the 307th Bombardment Group in Ephrata and was immediately assigned as a co-pilot on a B-24 combat crew.  This group was also getting ready for an overseas assignment and our training, was very rigorous.  We flew night and day.  Ephrata was a very small town of less than six hundred inhabitants.  There were more than six thousand of us stationed at the air base, so married housing was a bit limited.

     

I had left Helen in Walla Walla until I could find a place for her to live.  I had been in Ephrata for about a week without success when I received a telegram from Helen saying she would arrive on the afternoon train.  I was scheduled for Link instrument training that afternoon but I went AWOL to meet Helen.  I had no place for her to stay and she had to spend the first night on a bed in the hall of the small hotel.  When I returned to the base after getting her settled, my squadron commander confined me to the base for a week for missing my training schedule.  Helen found a house where she could sleep on the davenport for $65 per month and spent the rest of the week there.  She would come out to the base to be with me during my free time and then take the bus back to town in the evening.  After a week of this torture, I was finally able to get off the base and look for a decent place to live.

 

 


 One afternoon I was walking down the street asking every one I passed if they knew of a room we could rent.  A man mowing his lawn suggested that I ask a lady who lived a few blocks out of town.  I found that the lady's husband had just been sent overseas and she rented us her five room house for only $25 per month.  She worked during the day, took supper with us and lived in one of the bedrooms.  We had the rest of the house to ourselves and it was wonderful, even though we didn't get to spend much time together because of my weird flying and training schedule.

 

                       

In September of 1942, our group was considered to be combat ready and we received orders to Sioux City Iowa to pick up new airplanes prior to going over seas.  The group traveled to Sioux City by troop train and Helen went home to Los Angeles to visit her folks before joining me in Sioux City about a week later.

 

Again we were flying all hours of the night and day so it was difficult to be together.  I found a room in a hotel for a few days but when I came back to the hotel after flying one afternoon, Helen had checked out and I didn't know where to find her.  I knew she didn't know when I would be in town, so I could think of nothing to do but tear my hair in the hotel lobby.  About an hour later she showed up.  She had found and rented a third floor, walk up apartment in a residential section of town.  We bought a huge Big Ben alarm clock to wake me up at the odd hours I needed to get up for flying and moved in.  By this time Helen was a couple of months pregnant with our first child and all of the cooking odors from the first two floors would find their way into our apartment.  Consequently, she was uncomfortable much of the time.    

 

 

TWENTY-NINE MONTHS IN THE PACIFIC WWII

 

 

Early in October of 1942 the 307th Bomb Group received orders to fly to McClellan Army Air Base in Sacramento, California to receive final modifications on our airplanes before departing for Hickam AAB in Hawaii.  Helen took the train back to Los Angeles from Sioux City, Iowa.  This was the beginning of a twenty-nine month separation.  During this difficult time, we were sustained by our love for each other, our letters, our faith in the Lord and His love for us.

 

I was assigned as a co-pilot on a B-24 Liberator, four engine bomber.  All of our pilots and crew members were very inexperienced and unprepared for the rigorous flying and combat experience that was ahead of us.  Most of the pilots in our 307th Bombardment Group had less than eighty hours of multi-engine experience since graduating from flying school.  This inexperience proved very costly.  Shortly after arriving in Hawaii, I was assigned to quarters in a barracks with fifteen other officers who were also crew members in our squadron.  Of these sixteen officers, there were only four of us alive when the war ended and two of these four,  Russell Alan Phillips and Louis Zamparini, crash landed in the Pacific and spent two years in a Japanese prison camp.

 

We arrived at Hickam Field on the island of Oahu on October 15, 1942 and we were immediately assigned to fly sea search missions for 800 miles north of the Hawaiian Islands looking for Japanese ships.  This was part of the Hawaiian defense posture.  On these missions we would fly under the clouds, usually less that 1000 feet above the water and often only a few hundred feet high.  We would fly on an assigned course north for 800 miles then west for 100 miles then south back to Hawaii.  In this manner we would cover a pie shaped sector of the Pacific in about ten and a half hours.  We had no radar at that time and we depended on visual coverage of our sectors.  Our normal schedule was to fly a search mission every other day.  I flew more than fifty of these missions while I was in Hawaii.

 

In December of 1942, we began training for an attack on Wake Island and on Christmas Eve the 307th Heavy Bombardment Group, with 24 airplanes, launched an air attack against Wake Island.  This was the second land based air attack against Wake Island of the war.  We took off from Midway Island at dusk.

 

          The plan was to assemble above the clouds and fly to Wake Island in a night formation and to attack Wake in a coordinated formation approach.

 

The instructions for the penetration of the overcast over Midway were confusing and the formation never got together.  We all arrived over the target within a few minutes of each other, just before mid-night.  With our lights out we couldn't get together so we bombed the island individually.  This probably confused the Japanese gunners more than if the attack had gone according to plan.  We were fascinated by the tracers coming up at us.  It was the first time we had been shot at and it all seemed unreal.  We were more afraid of running into another B-24 than we were of the Japanese gunners so we dropped down from our assigned bombing altitude of 8000 feet and dropped our bombs at 2000 feet.  In spite of the confusion, none of our planes were lost on this attack, though a reconnaissance flight that went out the next day to assess the damage never came back.  I flew as co-pilot with Les Scholar on this mission.

 


I also flew as co-pilot with Les Scholar on two fifteen and a half hour missions from Canton Island to photograph and bomb the Japanese installations on Tarawa.   There were no other planes on these missions.  We crossed the equator and the international date line on these two long flights.

 

In April of 1943,  I was checked out as a first pilot and given a crew.  All of the combat crews from the 307th Bomb Group were transferred to the 11th Bomb Group which had just returned from Guadalcanal where they had been flying B-17s.

 

On April 20, 1943, the 11th  Bombardment Group flew to Funafuti, in the Ellis Islands and that night launched an attack against the Japanese phosphate plant on Nauru Island.  Two days later we launched a night attack against the Japanese air base on Tarawa. On this mission, I was flying as co-pilot to the Squadron Operations officer, a Captain Ernest Carey. He became confused on our flight to Tarawa and we never found the island so we dropped our bombs in the ocean and flew back to Funafuti. 

 

We were scheduled to remain at Funafuti for several days and continue bombing Japanese bases in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands, but the night after we bombed Tarawa, we were all asleep in our tents on this tiny atoll when the air-raid alarm sounded.  Captain Carey asked "What do we do now?" I said,, "I don't know what you're going to do but I'm going to find me a hole." We were all in our underwear dashing about in confusion between the coconut palms in the moon light as the bombs began to fall.  We were bivouacked around a white church and the Japanese bombers obviously were using the church as an aiming point.  They criss­crossed the island several times, dropping five or six bombs on each pass.  They knocked out our anti-aircraft guns on an early pass, hit our ammunition and bomb dump, and destroyed a couple of B-24s in bunkers near the runway.

 

I found a small depression which the natives had dug around a seedling coconut tree and started digging with my hands and helmet.  By morning, I was in the bottom of this hole and there were four others in the hole with me.  The sticks of bombs would be dropped at about one hundred foot intervals, starting on one side of our bivouac area and ending on the other.  After

counting the explosions as they approached our area, it was always a relief to hear the next one burst on the other side of our hole. One bomb hit about twenty yards from where I was dug in.  It hit an ammunition truck and killed the two men on the truck.  Shrapnel from the bomb and parts of the truck, including body parts, flew over our heads through the palm trees and landed on the other side of our hole.

 

There was a brief pause in the bombing and our Squadron commander called a meeting near the church to assess the damages.  Before he had a chance to say a word we could hear another wave approaching and the meeting broke up by common consent as we all dove for cover.

 

Our crew chief, Master Sgt.  James Deardon, spent the night on the beach of the lagoon, digging and cursing the generals for getting us into this mess.  When morning came, he found that the two generals in command were in the next fox hole and had been digging along side of him during the bombing.

 

This was a terrifying experience and I often thought of this night as we dropped bombs on the Japanese islands of the Central Pacific.

 

This raid was a complete success from the Japanese point of view.  They completely destroyed our capability to attack.  Our bombs and much of our support equipment were destroyed. The next day we re-fueled our airplanes and flew back to our bases in Hawaii.

 


On 28 June 1943, we were to bomb the Japanese phosphate plant on Nauru from Funafuti.  I was scheduled to be the number three plane in the lead element of a six plane flight.  We were taking off at night with a maximum load of bombs and fuel.  The first plane took off and crashed back in the ocean and exploded.  We quickly reorganized the formation with the number two plane, flown by Lt Holland of the 26th Sq., scheduled to lead.  He took off then I took off and four other planes  followed. The next plane  also crashed into the ocean immediately after take off.  After the second crash, they canceled the mission.  Four airborne planes returned and landed but Lt Holland and I didnt receive the cancellation message and we continued on course to Nauru.   We tried to stay together but flying night formation through weather in a four engine bomber is almost impossible so we became separated and arrived over Nauru just after dawn and bombed individually.

 

We had been having trouble with our bomb bay doors creeping part way closed which would open a limit switch and not let the bombs fall.  Since it was no fun to go over the target the second time in order to drop the bombs, we had wired around the limit switches so that the bombs would drop even if the bomb bay doors were part way closed. On this particular mission the bomb bay doors crept part way closed on the bomb run and we dropped a load of fragmentation bombs through the partially closed doors, tearing the doors part way loose from the plane.

 

 We were attacked by five Zeros and the bottom turret gunner was only partially effective, because every time he would turn around to the front the gun barrel would hit the flapping bomb bay doors.

 

          In order to protect our underside from the Zeros we dropped down to a few feet above the ocean and flew at this altitude until the Zeros broke off.  When we got back to Funafuti, Brigadier General Truman H. Landon, Commander of the Seventh Bomber Command, was there to great us as we got off the airplane.

     

We bombed Wake Island a second time  on July 24, 1943.  On this mission I was scheduled to lead the second element of three planes in a squadron formation of six B-24s.  The first element was to be in a "V" formation of three airplanes and the second element of three planes in echelon tucked in close behind.  The lead airplane of the second element was to fly in the center of the "V" of the first element.  The night before the mission, our Squadron Commander, Major Earl J. Cooper, asked me to lead the squadron and  Lt. Cason, flying Cabin in the Sky, who was previously scheduled to lead would take my place as the lead of the second element in the formation.

 

Our plan was to take off from Midway in the early morning, circle the other island of the Midway atoll and join up with two other squadrons from the Group and all fly together to bomb Wake.  We took off on time and circled the other island but the other squadrons were delayed and because of fuel considerations, we couldn't wait for them. Lt Schmidt, flying as wing man in the second element, had to turn back because of engine trouble.  We took off on course for Wake Island with our squadron formation of five B-24s.  As it turned out, we were the only ones to reach the target that day.  The other squadrons were turned back by weather which we had been able to penetrate.

 


When we arrived over Wake Island and started our bomb run, we could see a swarm of Japanese Zero fighter planes climbing to intercept us.  We penetrated the anti-aircraft fire without any damage and dropped our bombs on the runway and aircraft bunkers.  As soon as we cleared the island we were jumped by twenty-five or thirty Zeros.  We had a running battle with the fighters for about thirty minutes.  During that time, a Zero coming up from below rammed Cabin in the Sky, the lead plane of the second element, and it crashed in the sea.  The plane on my right wing flown by Lt. Thompson, had a twenty- millimeter explosive shell explode in the instrument panel, severely wounding the pilot and knocking out all the planes engine instruments.   The co-pilot pushed the wounded pilot out of the way of the flight controls with one hand and flew the plane with the other.  He had no instruments so he pushed the throttles forward and got ahead of the formation.

 

About the same time, the plane on my left wing had an engine shot out and because he was flying on three engines he fell behind the formation.  The pilot on this plane was Joseph Gall.  We later learned that one man had been killed and two others badly wounded.  One of the wounded men later died in a hospital on Midway.

 

 The remaining wing man, Lt. Dwyer of the 98th Sq., in the second element was in good shape and two good airplanes, his and mine, tried to protect the planes that had been hit.  After the Zeros broke off, we gathered our formation back together and flew for seven hours back to Midway.  Three of the four planes landed without incident but the plane with the one dead and two wounded men aboard couldn't get his landing gear down and landed on it's belly.  No one else was injured but the plane was destroyed.  This plane was the "Daisy Mae," The plane in which I had flown to the Pacific from Hamilton Field in San Francisco in October, 1942.

 

During forty combat missions, I lost five airplanes who were flying on my wing and the only damage to my airplane during all of these forty missions was one small 7.7mm hole in the bottom of our plane on this raid on Wake Island.

When we returned to Hawaii after this raid, I was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, with a  personal citation from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander of the Pacific Fleet.

 

Another mission out of Funafuti is worth remembering.  It was on Dec. 20, 1943.  We were bombing Maloelap Island in the Marshall group.  This was shortly after we had taken Tarawa and the Japanese were able to bomb Tarawa from Maloelap.  Our squadron was scheduled to bomb the target in three flights of three planes each.  I was leading the second flight.  We were to bomb from about twelve thousand feet at approximately noon.  My right wing man was scheduled to be Les Scholar, my former pilot.  After eating dehydrated rations for several weeks.  The Navy had unloaded a hundred or so cases of fresh eggs on our beach.  Since we had no refrigeration, we were encouraged to eat as many fresh eggs as we could before they went bad in the heat.  We were all hungry for fresh eggs so we didn't need much encouragement.  Dehydrated anything tasted horrible in those early days of dehydrated food but dehydrated eggs were the worst tasting of all dehydrated foods.  In any event, Les Scholar had eaten several dozen fresh eggs in the few days before this particular mission and he began to swell up with an allergic reaction.  The flight surgeon did not know he had eaten so many eggs and did not know what he was allergic to so he grounded him and eventually sent him back to the States where they found that he was allergic to fresh eggs.  That ended the war for Les.  We all should be so lucky.

 


Now to get back to the mission over Maloelap.  With Les out of the formation, that left only two planes in my flight.  The pilot of the second plane had also eaten a number of the fresh eggs and he got sick and began to throw up right after take-off.  He had a capable co-pilot, however so they decided to continue the mission.

 

When we reached Maloelap, the first flight went over the target and dropped their bombs without too much difficulty.  We learned later that a ninety millimeter shell had come up through the open bomb bay doors of one of the planes in the first flight, through another open door into the back of the airplane and out through the roof of the plane, directly over the heads of the two waist gunners and exploded harmlessly several hundred feet above  the  plane.

 

I then led my flight of two planes across the target and we dropped our bombs.  As we cleared the target, we were picked up by a dozen or so Zeros so we tried to close up with the first flight for our mutual protection. our tail gunner then told us that one of the planes in the third flight, The Dogpatch Express  flown by Lt.George Smith, had been badly hit by anti-aircraft fire and was falling behind the formation.  The Zeros were on him like a pack of wolves on a wounded deer.

 

 I made a three sixty degree turn with my flight and got in formation with the stricken airplane to try to give him some protection.  At the same time, the leader of the first flight, Lt. Warren Sands, made a turn in the other direction and brought his formation of three planes up on the other wing of the plane that had been hit.  Apparently an anti-aircraft shell had exploded inside the cockpit, killing the co-pilot and the top turret gunner.  There was blood all over the cockpit.  Two engines on the right side were out, one of which was on fire.  We fought Zeros and tried to encourage the stricken pilot at the same time.  His crew men were throwing out all extra weight in the hopes that the plane could fly on the two left engines.  I had practiced flying on two engines on one side and knew that it could be done but with all the panic and no help from his co-pilot or engineer, it was too much for the pilot to handle and he finally ditched the plane about ninety miles south of Maloelap.  The plane sank in about thirty seconds.  It appeared to us that some of the crew were in the water so we dropped our life rafts as close as we could to the crash site.

 

         The Zeros were machine gunning the debris from the crash and any survivors.  We were trying to discourage this with the few guns we had on our two planes.  We were still under attack by the Zeros and there were times on this mission when I could see a hail of tracers coming between my airplane and the plane on my wing.

 

The other flights had left by this time because of lack of fuel.  I stayed around for a few more minutes circling below the clouds at low level, until the Zeros left to return to Maloelap.

 

Finally my wing man, 1st lt. Charles Pratte, had to leave also and headed for Tarawa to re-fuel.  He had over three hundred holes in his airplane but didn't have one man wounded. On one pass the Japanese machine guns had stitched holes the length of his fuselage and had blown up the oxygen tanks which had knocked down the two waist gunners in time for the machine gun bullets to pass through the fuselage where they had been standing.  I later found out that his hydraulic system was also shot out and he landed at the new strip at Tarawa with parachutes tied to the waist and tail guns and which the crew men deployed as they touched down to slow the airplane because they had no brakes.  We had talked about this possibility before but the crew of the Belle of Texas received a commendation from General Hap Arnold, Chief of Staff of the Army Air Corps for making the first recorded parachute landing.

 


 This technique is now used for many of our high speed aircraft and on the space shuttle to slow down on landing.                                  

This crew was later lost in late 1944 on a low level mine laying mission out of Guam over Chichi Jima in the Bonins.  The best information I have is that they were hit over Chichi Jima and bailed out over the Island where they were taken prisoners and were the victims of ritual cannibalism by a Japanese Major who was convicted of war crimes after the war.

 

I landed on Tarawa on the old, bomb pocked strip a little later and after taking on 1000 gallons of fuel from five gallon cans, we took off for Funafuti, a small atoll about six hundred miles to the South., We didn't want to waste fuel climbing to altitude, so we decided to stay below the clouds.  For this reason we couldn't get a fix on the stars and by this time it was so dark that we couldn't measure our wind drift from the waves below us.  We navigated by dead reckoning for what we estimated to be six hundred miles.

 

We then started an expanding square search for our little island. On our second right angle turn of our square search we saw some faint lights a few miles away and we were soon back on the ground after being gone for nineteen hours with seventeen hours in the air.  We didn't have a single hole in our airplane when we examined it after landing.

 

This was our last mission from Funafuti and our group was ordered back to Hawaii.  During the month we had been in Funafuti we had lost four crews of eleven men each and five of the eleven airplanes in our squadron.  The Tarawa campaign was over and the landings on Guam and Saipan were next on the schedule.  Two of the three squadrons in our group ( the llth Heavy Bombardment Group) were sent to Kwajalein to bomb the Japanese naval base at Truk Island and to keep the Japanese in the Marshall islands neutralized.  My squadron (42nd Bomb Squadron) was kept in Hawaii to train replacement crews for the other two squadrons.

 

My squadron Commander, Captain John J. Deasy, soon came down with Tuberculosis and was sent back to the States for hospitalization.  I was made the, Squadron Commander on 12 April 1944.  I had been serving as the Squadron operations officer for a few months.

 

The 42nd Bombardment Squadron history, The Panther written by our squadron historian, Kenneth Crothers reported: One item of importance during the month (of April 1944) was the assumption of command by Capt. Jesse E. Stay.  Capt. John J. Deasy had been hospitalized for observation, and was later returned the States for further treatment.  Capt. Stay, being senior pilot of the squadron, was well equipped to become commander, in as much as he had participated in almost every strike carried out by the organization since May 1943.(p.24)

 

We trained crews and flew sea search missions from January, 1944 until October, 1944, at which time I was told to build up my own squadron and get it ready for combat again.

 

We had taken Guam by this time and we landed on Agana Air Base in late October, 1944, two years after I had left Helen to go over seas.  Sharon had been born in May, 1943 and was now fifteen months old.  Helen's letters and pictures were the most precious things in my hectic world.  How I longed to go home.

 

The Agana air strip was built into the base of a hill and was built for much smaller airplanes than the B-24.  We had to take off and climb a hill before we could level off and pick up normal flying speed. our B-24s were also designed to fly with a maximum gross weight of 56,000 pounds but we had been flying them with over 66,000 pounds, gross weight.  We didn't know how much weight we could safely take off with from this air base so the three Squadron Commanders made a test.

 

One loaded his plane with 64,000 pounds the next with 65,000 pounds and I loaded mine with 66,000 pounds.

 

 The first two planes got off the ground and over the hill okay, so I took off behind them.  As I lifted the plane off the ground and started to bring my landing gear up, it stuck half way momentarily and created extra drag.

                            

There were three radio men in a tent about a hundred yards off the end of the runway.  I knocked their ten foot high antenna down as I flew over their tent.  As I was struggling up the hill, just above stalling speed, I also knocked the top out of a palm tree with one of my wheels and later found out that I had also knocked the brake line off so that I lost most of my hydraulic fluid and had only enough brake pressure for one application of the brakes.

 

We continued our mission and dropped our bombs over Yap Island.  When we returned to Guam, we filled up our hydraulic system with all the liquid we could find or generate, including soup, water from our canteens and all the urine we could manage.  We cranked the landing gear down by hand and landed. I applied the brakes as soon as we were on the ground and held them on without pumping until we had stopped short of the end of the runway.  Then we had to be towed in to the ramp because we had no brake pressure or hydraulic fluid left.

 

    We were getting ready for the campaign against Iwo Jima at this time and our mission was to bomb Iwo and prevent resupply of Iwo by landing craft from the harbors of Chicha Jima and Haha Jima in the Bonin Islands. Our squadron had been equipped with a few sets of airborne radar so we were assigned to work with the Navy and lay torpex mines from low altitude in the harbors of the Bonins.

 

We would fly from Guam to Saipan, load our five hundred or thousand pound  mines and proceed to our targets.  We were fairly successful in closing these harbors and received a commendation for this work.  We only lost the "Belle of Texas" in this operation which lasted over a month.

 

My last eleven missions were over Iwo Jima and because we now had  radar we could bomb at night and over the overcast.  I finished my forty missions on January 26, 1945 and by the time a new commander was named and arrangements could be made to turn over my duties and get a flight home another month had gone by.  I arrived home in early March 1945.

 

The Squadron History reports: The greatest loss to the squadron was that of the Commanding Officer, Captain Jesse E. Stay.  Captain Stay was with the squadron for nearly two years, beginning in April 1943, and was C.O. longer than any other man in the squadrons history.  He took part in practically every mission flown by the squadron since its arrival in Guam, either actually or in their preparation.  He received the D.F.C. from Admiral Nimitz for his leadership in the highly successful but disastrous Wake raid in July 1943.

As flight leader, he flew against the Marshalls, Gilberts, and Nauru, from the Ellice Islands.  In his capacity as commander he accepted the mining project, which others had turned down, and led the unit to a superb record in its execution.

Capt. Stay was missed by the members of the squadron who remained behind to carry on.(p.35)                             

 

 


I arrived at McClellan Air Base in Sacramento on a Friday night.  I only had my tropical uniforms with me and they told us we couldn't leave the base until we got some new uniforms when the PX opened on Monday morning.  I called Helen in Los Angeles as soon as I landed and within the hour I was off the base in my leather flight jacket and summer uniform and headed for San Francisco by bus to catch a commercial flight to Los Angeles.  I wonder if they are still looking for me at McClellan.  I had been promoted to Major in Hawaii on the way home.

 

 My plane landed at Burbank Airport and I took a taxi to Highland Park.  Taxis were cheaper in those days.  When we came to the house where Helen was living with some other war widows I could see her through the front window ironing.  I gave the taxi driver ten dollars and told him to leave my bag on the front porch.  I then rang the bell and when Helen answered the door the last two and a half years were forgotten as if they had never happened.  Except for getting acquainted with an almost two year old daughter whom I had never seen we took up our life again as before, more deeply in love than ever.

 

I know that there were men who were much more righteous than I who were killed in the war but I also know that I was greatly blessed and protected.  Before I entered flying school my dad advised me never to take off in an airplane without saying a prayer for my safe return.  I always did this. and found great comfort in it.  Though I dreaded the combat missions and felt great fear on the way to the target, I was blessed that I never felt panic.  I was always able to think clearly over the target and make the right decisions.  When I consider the other crews who were lost out of my same formations and the men who were killed, I know that I was being looked after and protected.  I hope I can be worthy of this protecting care.

 

A record of my forty combat missions is included at the end of this chapter.  In all, I was involved in World War Two for almost two and a half years during which time I flew over eleven hundred combat hours on bombing and sea search missions.   I received two Distinguished Flying Crosses and eight Air Medals for my World War Two service.                 

 

          My father died in November 1943 while I was overseas and I was not able to come home for his funeral.  My mother lived until July 1960 and died while we were stationed in Spain.

 

          I received word of her death through the Red Cross on the day she was buried so I couldn't attend her funeral either.

 

POST OVER SEAS AIR FORCE

                                                          

 

Our first assignment after returning from the war zone was to a B-24 combat crew training group at Tonopah, Nevada.  I was assigned as the Base Operations officer but I also flew as an instructor on occasion and was able to pass on some of my experience to the new crews.  Tonopah was in the middle of the Nevada desert and there was practically no family housing We were advised not to take our families with us but after a 29 month separation we were not about to live apart unless it was absolutely necessary.  Helen, Sharon and I moved into the Mizpah hotel for a few weeks until we found a converted coal shack which we rented for forty dollars a month.  It had a bed, a toilet and a wash basin and had been lived in by a hired man.  Helen and Sharon had to go to the hotel and pay to take a bath.  I could shower on the Base.  We ate all of our meals in the restaurant or in the officers' club on the base.  It was really tough on a  two year old, who was trying to learn to accept her strange father, to live under such unsettled circumstances.

 

In June 1945 we were sent to Command and Staff School in Fort Leavenworth Kansas.  This was a ten week course and proved to be an important part of my military education.

 

Needless to say, there was no housing in Leavenworth either so we felt fortunate to find a bedroom with kitchen privileges in a home with a very nice family by the name of Teets.  This was our first chance to really be together in any degree of comfort.  We were treated like members of the family and really enjoyed this period.  We also met a number of wonderful Church members in Leavenworth.  We met in the Odd Fellows hall above a store in down town Leavenworth.  It was at this course that I had my first exposure to military science and tactics and where I learned about the important role the military forces play as instruments of national power in containing the world­wide expansion of Communism.

 

At the conclusion of this ten week course, Helen and Sharon took the train back to Los Angeles and I drove back to Tonopah in our car.  While I was driving back they announced that the atom bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima.  A few days later the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and World War II was over.

 

Prior to leaving Tonopah for Fort Leavenworth the war had ended in Europe and a point system was established to provide for the first release of members of the armed forces.  The point system was based on total time in the service and time in combat.  I was told that I had enough points to be released immediately.  I sought the advice of my bishop and stake president and they both advised me to stay in the Air Force.  A few days later I

received orders to attend Command and General Staff School.  I had always intended to go back to college and at least get my bachelors degree but I thought I would attend Command and Staff School and make my decision about getting out later.                              

 

    When I arrived back in Tonopah I was fortunate to be assigned to live in a duplex on the base.  This base housing was of temporary wooden construction covered with tar paper but it was so much better than anything else in Tonopah that we were delighted to get it. I fixed it all up on the inside and was going to drive to Las Vegas the next day to pick up Helen and Sharon who would come that far from Los Angeles.  That night I received a telephone call from Helen informing me that Sharon had contracted Polio and was in the Los Angeles County Hospital.

 

I went to the Base Commander the next morning and asked for a leave of absence to be with Helen and Sharon.  I will always be grateful to the officers over me for their kindness in this instance.  I was told to take off and the paper work would follow.  I cleaned our things out of our house and was on my way to Los Angeles by noon.  I was given a three week leave and transferred to Ontario Air Base so that I could be near home.  Sharon was in the hospital for two weeks receiving the treatments devised by Sister Kenney.  Then she came home to my mother's house and we had to continue the treatments.  Every couple of hours we would get a woolen blanket steaming hot in a pan then we would put it on her back and legs and cover it with oiled silk to keep in the heat.

 

When Sharon had first become sick with a fever and a head ache, Helen had to wait several hours for a doctor to see her.  As soon as the doctor saw her he sent them to the County Hospital to be tested for Polio.  On the way to the hospital Helen stopped by the Bishop's house and asked him to give Sharon a blessing.  Though Sharon had some muscle weakness in her legs while she was growing up and had to wear corrective shoes for a while, she has had no trace of the disease in her adult life for which we are very grateful.  The disease was virulent and the doctors expected that there would be some crippling effects.

 

I was assigned to a-fighter-interceptor squadron at Ontario Air Base and learned to fly  P-38's.  I was only there for a few months, however when I was sent out to Kingman, Arizona to receive thousands of World War II surplus airplanes and turn them over to the civilian run Reconstruction Finance Corporation for disposal.

 

All of the B-24's from my group on Guam were flown into Kingman for disposal, along with hundreds of others as well as many different types of airplanes.  These were either sold on the international market or sold by the pound for scrap.  Several B-26's were sold to a contractor who sold them to Cuba.  I expect that these were the same B-26's which bombed the invasion forces during the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

 

While I was at Kingman on temporary duty, the base at Ontario was turned over to the civilians and I was transferred to March Air Force Base in Riverside, California.  Helen and Sharon were living in Los Angeles at her mother's home and I would fly home for the week ends whenever possible.

 

I was at Kingman for about six weeks and then was assigned to the Organization and Manpower office at March Air Force Base.  In this capacity I was sent to Personnel Management School for three weeks at Orlando Florida.  

 

When I returned I was assigned to the Organization and Manpower office on the General Staff of Twelfth Air Force at March Air Base.  Helen was still living in Los Angeles, with me commuting by bus on the week-end.  I got a call at about one a.m. on a Monday morning from Helen's mother telling me that Helen had gone to the hospital to have our second child.  I had just left Helen the evening before to return to the air base and I had to wait until morning to catch the next bus back to Los Angeles.  I got to the hospital in time and Randy was born in the early afternoon on June 17, 1946.

 

In the meantime I had been given the opportunity to apply for a regular commission in the Army Air Corps and I was in the first group of reserve officers integrated into the Regular Army after World War II.

 

When Helen came home from the hospital we bought a home in Riverside, California which we lived in for a couple of months.  We had an Ice box which would run all over the floor when we forgot to empty the water tray, a dining room set which we bought used, an old rocking chair and a set of box springs and a mattress which we put on the floor.  We also had a crib mattress for Sharon and a bassinet for Randy.  This was our first home after four years of marriage.  We had been married for four years and had lived together less than six months but we loved each other more than ever.

 

UCLA

 

Since I had decided to accept a regular commission and make a career in the military I didn't know how I would be able to go back to school and finish my formal education.  Then one Saturday in July 1946 while I was serving as duty officer for Twelfth Air Force Headquarters, I saw on the Adjutant's desk some papers offering those officers who had recently been integrated into the Regular Army an opportunity to go back to college for up to two years to complete a degree.

 

 That very day was the last day applications would be accepted for the coming school year.  The Adjutant had not told us about the program.  I immediately went to the Western Union office and sent a 115-word telegram to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel US Army Air Corps applying for the schooling.  A week later I received my orders to go to UCLA for two years to obtain a degree in Industrial Management.  In August we sold our home in Riverside, moved to Los Angeles and bought a home on Airline Avenue in Westchester, near the Los Angeles Airport.  The Lord blessed us and had given us the opportunity we wanted.  We spent two wonderful years there going to school.

 

While going to school at UCLA I had the first opportunity to serve in the Church since I joined the Army.  I was called to serve in the Elder's Quorum Presidency as second counselor to President Ralph Chalker in the Westchester Ward.  I enjoyed this service very much and learned a great deal.

 

One morning in February 1948 I got up at 5:30 am to stand in line to register Sharon for Kindergarten.  They only had so many spaces and they allowed the children to register on a first-come first-serve basis.  When I got home about 9:30 a.m. Helen's mother was there.  She often came over to visit so I didn't think much of it.  I then went-to school and had two three-hour finals.  When I got home at 7:00 p.m. my mother was there and she informed me that Helen had been having pains since the middle of the night and had gone to the hospital and had a baby girl at about 4:30 that afternoon.  Helen didn't tell me because she didn't want to worry me when I had finals to take.


 

I rushed over to the hospital (From Westchester to Pasadena) and found Helen sitting on the edge of the bed chuckling to herself.  Our new baby was Linda and she hasn't been a moment's bother to us since.  Helen came home from the hospital in four days and we stopped at a carnival on the way home and took Sharon and Randy on some of the Kiddy rides.

 

I graduated from UCLA in June 1948.  General of the Army Omar Bradley was our commencement speaker.  He was one of the great generals of World War II and a fine gentleman.  He said we have not learned to live with the power we now have.  "We know more about killing than we do about living.  Our greatest challenges are social and economic, not military."

                       

PENTAGON

 

After graduation I was assigned to the office of the Secretary of the Air Force, office of Information, in the Pentagon.  In 1947 the military services were integrated under a Secretary of Defense and the United States Air Force was formed from the old U.S. Army Air Corps.  Secretary James Forrestal was the first Secretary of Defense and Secretary Stuart Symington, later a Senator from Missouri was the first Secretary of the Air Force.

 

I had served as a press officer in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force for about six months when Secretary Forrestal organized a joint news room in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in order to get control of the Services who were fighting their battles in the press.  I was placed in charge of the Air Force desk in the Joint press room.  For about six months there were two officers from each service serving in the joint operation.  Then the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs was formed and the whole press operation from each of the services was brought into this office.  I was left in charge of the Air Force Press Desk but now I had ten other Air Force officers under me.  The Army and Navy had similar groups in the Joint Press room.

 

    I served there until May of 1951.  During this time we were concerned with the formation of NATO and General Eisenhower was appointed Commander of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers (SHAPE).  I attended the ceremonies in the Pentagon where this appointment was announced.  Someone said this headquarters was like Venus De Milo--lots of SHAPE but no arms.  We were concerned with the demilitarization after World War II, and also with flying saucers.  I wrote the press release saying that the Air Force was discontinuing the investigation of Flying Saucers because we had found no evidence that there was any substance to the reports.  The public wouldn't let us quit and even today, years later, the Air Force is still plagued with this nonsense.

 

I was assigned to cover the White House press conference each week and was present when President Truman announced that following an attack on South Korea by North Korea, the United States would support the South Koreans.  This was the beginning of the Korean War.

 

General Douglas MacArthur was relieved of his command because he had publicly disagreed with President Truman concerning the conduct of the Korean War.  President Truman was committed to a limited war and General MacArthur said "There is no substitute for victory."

 


 

While I was working in the Pentagon, we were living in Arlington, Virginia at 1402 No. Adams St. We were part of the Arlington Ward, Washington D.C. Stake.   The Arlington ward was meeting in the basement of the woman's club in Alexandria, Virginia for the first year we were there.  During this time we were building the Arlington Ward Chapel, which we moved  into and enjoyed for the last two years of our stay.  For the next twenty years or so,  we contributed every month to the building funds of every place we lived, and were happy to do so.  Helen and I both worked in the MIA presidency for awhile and for the last year I was the Scoutmaster.  We made many wonderful friends in Arlington and we are still in touch with some of them.

 

One day in May, 1951, while I was at work at the Air Force press desk in the Pentagon, I received a telephone call from our Bishop, Miller Shurtliff, asking me if I would be interested in spending the next four years at BYU in Provo, Utah.  An Air Force Reserve officers' Training Corps had just been authorized at BYU and President Ernest L. Wilkinson had called Bishop Shurtliff to see if he knew of an Air Force Colonel or Lieutenant Colonel whom he could recommend as a good Latter-day Saint, who would like to be the Professor of Air Science in charge of the AFROTC program at the "Y".  I had been promoted to the grade of Lieutenant Colonel a few months previously and was therefore eligible for the job.  After talking to Helen on the telephone, I called President Wilkinson on the phone and was selected to come to Provo.

 

Judy had been born on December 15, 1950.  We had to cross two draw-bridges to get from our home in Arlington to the hospital at Bolling Air Force Base.  Fortunately they were both open because Judy was born within fifteen minutes after we arrived at the hospital.  She has always been full of life and energy, always exploring to the limit.  She is intelligent and capable and has always been a joy to us.

 

We had to leave Arlington in two weeks after we first heard of the assignment to BYU.  During that time I took the Scouts on a two-day camping trip and worked at the Pentagon, while Helen bore the major burden of getting ready to move and take care of four children including a new baby.

 

We moved to Provo in May, 1951 in time to attend the commencement exercises and to prepare for the first ROTC classes in summer school in June.  I was thrilled to meet some of the General Authorities at a reception in President Wilkinson's home.  President McKay and Elder John Widstoe were there.  President Wilkinson and I got on well together and he was a

good friend until his death in the late 1970,s.

 

The next four years were like an Air Force assignment 'in the Church.  The ROTC experience probably did not do much for my Air Force career but it proved to be a great blessing for me and my family.

 

AIR FORCE ROTC-BYU

 

These were happy years for us.  The ROTC program at the "Y" was successful.  We started the program in the summer school of 1951 with 100 cadets and three instructors.  That fall we enrolled over 1000 cadets and for the next two years we had approximately 1800 cadets enrolled each year, The "Y" supplied hundreds of officers to the Air Force during the next four years and graduates from this program have continued to be a leavening influence in the Air Force to the present time.

                   


I tried to teach the cadets that they would make better officers and serve their country better if they lived in accordance with the principles of the Gospel than if they did not.  Jay Ballif, who served as Provost and Academic Vice President of BYU,.was the top cadet Colonel one year.  Joe Christensen, former President of the Missionary Training Center and now a member of the Seventy was a Wing Commander.  Many of our graduates are now retired from the Air Force after more that twenty years of service.  I had on my staff a very capable Staff Sergeant by the name of John Lassiter.  He applied for the Aviation Cadet flight training program and I signed his letter of ecommendation.  He has since become a Brigadier General in the Air Force and after retirement from the Air Force, he was called by the Brethren to serve as a member of the Seventy.

 

During our stay in Provo, we lived in a home which we rented from Stanley Cox, at 945 North 50th East in Provo.  I served as explorer advisor in the Fourth Ward, Utah Stake.  Then when the ward was divided, I served as Second Counselor to Bishop Reuben Law and Wayne B. Hales in the University Ward, Utah Stake.  Before being called to the Bishopric, I was ordained a Seventy by Elder Milton R. Hunter of the First Council of the Seventy on March 16, 1952. I was then ordained a ' High Priest at the same time I was set apart as a counselor in the bishopric by Elder Stayner Richards, an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, on February 8, 1953.

 

Our second son, Larry was born on June 10, 1953 in the Tooele Army Hospital in Toole, Utah.  Since Judy had come so quickly, we were afraid of the sixty mile drive from Provo to Tooele, so a few days before Larry was due  I took Helen to Tooele and put her in a hotel.  She would only stay there for three days and insisted on coming home.  Larry was his usual cooperative self and gave us plenty of time.  We got Helen to the hospital in the morning and Larry was born a little after noon.  He was smiling when I saw him a few minutes later and has been smiling ever since.

 

    Gregory was born on May 15, 1955 in the Utah Valley hospital.  He was born about 2:30 in the morning and the doctor had invited me to witness the birth.

 

    This was before the days when this was common and he had failed to clear this with the hospital.  A big red headed nurse kicked me out of the delivery room and made me wait outside in the waiting room.  I am sorry that I have never been able to witness the birth of any of our children.  We love Greg with all of our hearts, as we do all of our children.  We have been greatly blessed with good children and we are proud of each one.

                     

    In June of 1955 we completed four years of duty at BYU and were assigned to the  Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.  This was a nine-month course for Majors and Lieutenant Colonels. 

 

While we were in Alabama. we lived in an Old house about a block from the only chapel the Church had in Montgomery.  It was a tiny chapel with a baptismal font  under the podium and only two small classrooms in the back. 

 

 


Our Southern neighbors were very friendly and kind and we also made a number of close friends in the Branch.  For a while, I served as the teacher of the investigators' class.  This was the first time I had ever been asked to teach and it was here that I learned the principles of the Gospel.  I taught out of Elder LeGrand Richards book, "A Marvelous Work and a Wonder" and a small book called "The Essentials of the-Gospel.'

 

Greg had Pneumonia when he was about six months old and had a fever of 103 degrees.  They cured him with penicillin for which we were very thankful.  Larry was a very active two year old in Alabama.  He used to stand up in his crib when he was supposed to be taking a nap and walk the crib across the floor screaming, "Let me out of this trap!" In one week he fell on the scissors and stabbed his forehead just above his eye, fell from the top of the slide and had a few stitches in his head, had the rear wheel of his tricycle run over by the neighbor lady as she was backing out of her driveway with him on the tricycle and ran out into a lake over his head making me run in after him to keep him from drowning.  We figured that if he lived through that week, he would live to a ripe-old age.

 

STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND

 

Upon completion of this course, we were assigned to the 307th Bomb Wing of the Strategic Air Command in Lincoln, Nebraska.

 

In Nebraska, I was assigned as the Wing Executive officer.  We bought a nice house on East Manor Drive in a suburb on the East end of town.  We arrived while the flying echelon of the wing was on temporary duty, standing alert, at Lakenheath, England. our wing was equipped with six jet B-47 bombers.  These were essentially the same airplane as the Boeing 707.  Boeing developed the 707 as the first U.S. commercial jet airliner after the Air Force had ordered the B-47s.  The 707s used the same wings and engines as the B-47.

 

While the Air Echelon was in England, I was assigned as the commander of the rear echelon at Lincoln.  They had left all of the odd-balls and trouble makers behind and I had an interesting two months.  In addition to the normal drinking and driving problems with the local police, I had an airman put his head in an oven and commit suicide, and a sergeant and his wife who got drunk and ran into a train, killing the wife and smashing the sergeant's brain so that he was nothing but a-vegetable.  They had six kids and no close relatives so I had to arrange for their care.

 

On the way home from England, a C-54 transport plane with fifty of our ground crew on board was lost in the Atlantic and we had all of their families to notify.  Then a few weeks later, a National Guard T-33 jet trainer ran into two B-47s parked on the ramp refueling.  All three aircraft were destroyed.  The pilot of the T-33 and two crew chiefs were killed and the re-fueling pits caught on fire.  I wondered what kind of an outfit I had joined.

 

After things settled down I was assigned as wing executive officer for a couple of months before I was sent to Topeka Kansas for B-47 flight training.

 

Topeka was about ninety miles from Lincoln and for the next three months I would drive my old 1949 Chrysler from Lincoln to Topeka Sunday night and drive back to Lincoln on Friday night after each week of flight training.  Helen and the kids stayed in our home in Lincoln.  This was in the middle of winter and it was a very difficult period for both of us.  My week-ends at home kept me sane.

 


    Upon completion of flight training I returned to the base at Lincoln and was assigned as commander of the 371st Bombardment Squadron, 307th group.  This was the same squadron I was in when I flew overseas in World War II.  I was squadron commander for about a year and the wing was reorganized.  We got a new Wing Commander and I was made Deputy Wing Commander for Supply and Maintenance.  I had three maintenance squadrons under me and was responsible for the supply and maintenance of all the B-47s and KC-97 tankers in the wing.

 

During the last year at Lincoln, with the leadership of an outstanding Wing Commander we set an all time record for getting SAC bombers in the air for scheduled flights.  When I left we had completed over a thousand scheduled training and simulated combat flights in B-47 without missing a single scheduled flight.  I received the Air Force Commendation medal for this service.

 

While we were in Lincoln, Helen served in the Winter Quarter's District Primary presidency and I served as scout master, then as a member of the District Council and as President of the District YMMIA.  We made many dear friends in Lincoln, in and out of the Church.  We met in a nice Branch chapel in Lincoln and there were enough members in the branch for a fair sized ward.  There are four universities in Lincoln and with the Air Base people we had a very active group with programs for all of our children for a change.

 

I kept this job until I received orders to go to the Air War College at the Air University at Maxwell AFB in Alabama again in the summer of 1959.

 

We arrived at Maxwell Air Force Base in August, 1959 and were given quarters an the base.  These were old permanent barracks which had been converted into duplex apartments.  We had all of the facilities of the base available to us.  This was the only time in our Air Force career that we lived in government quarters.  It was good to meet some of our old Montgomery friends from four years before and to make new friends on the base and in the Branch.  I was again called to serve on the District Council and had to drive to Birmingham for District meetings.

 

War College was an interesting and exciting experience.  We had world authorities come to talk to us on matters of international affairs, new technology, military strategy in support of national policies, and many other interesting and exciting subjects.  We took a cruise on the nuclear carrier Enterprise and watched anti-submarine exercises.  I wrote a thesis on "The Lack of Centralized Military Control in the Armed Forces of the United States".  This was a historical review of the events which lead to the then impotent organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  This thesis was later accepted by the George Washington University as my masters thesis in International Affairs in 1963.

 

As we neared the completion of Air War College in May of 1960 we were anxious to know what our next assignment would be. The class had a graduation party where all of the assignments were read.  We received orders to Ankara, Turkey.  We still had a couple of weeks before the end of the end of school, so we started to learn a few words of Turkish.  We had left much of our house hold goods in storage in Lincoln, Nebraska, so I made arrangements to have them shipped to Ankara.

 


About a week later our orders were changed.  I was promoted to Colonel and we received orders to the Sixteenth Air Force Headquarters at Torrejon Air Base, near Madrid, Spain.

We were very happy about the promotion and the change of assignment.  We thought our furniture was on the way from Lincoln to Ankara and that we would probably never see it again.  Fortunately, the transportation office at Maxwell Air Force Base could not keep up with their work load and had not ordered the shipment so they were able to make the change in destinations.

 

SPAIN

 

We spent three very happy years in Spain.  I was assigned as the Director of Information for Sixteenth Air Force.  This was a Strategic Air Command Air Force, with three B-47 bases in Spain, three in Morocco and a KC-97 tanker base in the Azores.  B-47s and KC-97 tankers would come to these bases for three months temporary duty, from their permanent bases in the United states and stand alert, loaded with bombs and fuel, ready to take off in fifteen

minutes in the case of a Russian attack.

I am convinced that these bombers on continuous alert and those on alert in the UK and in the United States, were a strong deterrent to Russian adventurism during the fifties and early sixties.  In the late sixties the B-47s were replaced by inter­continental B-52s and the overseas alert bases were no longer needed.

 

We had an active Church group in Madrid made up, of American servicemen and civilian employees of the U.S. Government and their families We made many dear friends in Spain, in and out of the Church.  We still treasure these friendships after all the years have passed.

 

 While in Spain, I served as a counselor in the branch presidency of the Madrid Servicemen's Branch ' and after we had been there a few months, I was called to serve simultaneously as the President of the Spain Morocco District of the French Mission.  We had servicemen's groups at each of the three bases in Spain, the three bases in Morocco and the base in the Azores.

 

During the summers of 1961 and 1962 we took three weeks off each year to tour Europe with our family.  The second year Helen's Mother joined us, We pulled a travel trailer loaded with food and a tent.  We camped wherever we went.  During the two trips we were able to see most of the great sights of continental Europe.  It was a fantastic family experience and we felt closer as a family than ever before.

 

Timo traveled with us on our first trip because he was only one month old and still nursing but we left him in Madrid with our two maids on the second trip.  We were able to show him Europe twenty years later when we picked him up at the completion of his mission in Portugal and re-visited most of the sites we had seen before and also visited England for five days.

Timo was born on June 3, 1961 in the Torrejon Air Base hospital.  We named him Timothy.Val in memory of his grandfather Valantine.  He has always been a special source of joy in our lives.

 


While we were in Spain we had the special privilege of serving as hosts to Elders Spencer W. Kimball and Sister Kimball, Eldon Tanner and Sister Tanner and Elder and Sister Mark E. Peterson.

 

President and Sister Kimball stopped in Spain for a couple of days on their way from a visit to the Holy Land.  He had his throat operation a short time before and he could barely talk in a whisper.  He met with our servicemen's group in Madrid and Helen and I took them for a visit to Toledo the next day.  He bought us a perdiz lunch (Spanish partridge) and we had a day together that I will never forget.

 

Elder and Sister Tanner visited Spain because he was the Supervisor of the West European Missions at the time.  We had a very special visit with them and we were privileged to have them for dinner in our home.  Judy danced for them in a flamenco dress.

 

    Elder Peterson visited with his wife on assignment for a District Conference.  He brought the film "Windows of Heaven" but we talked him out of showing it and asked him just talk to us.  People had come to conference from the three bases in Morocco and from the Azores as well as the bases in Spain.  We could watch a film anytime but we could only hear an Apostle on very rare occasions.

 

While President Tanner was in Spain he and I approached the Spanish government to see what they would let the Church do legally in Spain.  Generalisimo Francisco Franco was the dictator of Spain at the time.  He had come to power at the end of the revolution in 1939 after defeating the Communist controlled republican army.  He was committed to the restoration of the monarchy and the re-establishment of the Catholic Church as the official church of Spain.' Priests were paid out of tax money and the Catholics were very much in control.  There were about twenty thousand Protestants in Spain but they could not own property, publish literature or proselyte in any way.

 

President Tanner and I visited the North American desk of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The official in charge had been stationed in Canada and knew of President Tanner who had been in the government and was president of the company that built the Trans-Canadian pipe line.  We told him that the Church didn't want to break any Spanish laws but would like to do all that we could legally-do in Spain.  We were asked to put our request in writing so that we could get an official reply.  I wrote a letter for President Tanner to sign and we submitted it through the American Embassy in Madrid to the Spanish government.  A few weeks later I was transferred back to the Pentagon and a week or two later President Tanner sent me a copy of the reply from the Spanish Government to the effect that there was absolutely nothing the Mormon Church could legally do in Spain.  They said the Government had a concordat with the "Holy See" not to allow error into Spain.  President Tanner had written on the bottom of the letter, "What do we do now?". It is a special thrill for us now to see the growth of the Church in Spain since Franco's death and the liberalization of the government under the King Juan Carlos.  We now have a temple in Madrid and several stakes and missions in Spain.

 

 


PENTAGON-AGAIN

 

We left Madrid in July 1963 on a commercial 707, hoping for a fast trip home with our six youngest children, including two year old Timo.  Sharon had left Spain the year before to attend BYU.  We wound up with a two hour lay-over in Lisbon, a five hour flight to the States and when we arrived over New York there were thunder storms so we were diverted to Boston.  We spent a half hour on the ground in Boston before returning at low level through terrible air sick inducing turbulence to New York.  After disembarking and working our way through customs with eight people and all of our luggage, we took two taxis to the New York Port Authority where we caught a bus for McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, where we had reservations to spend the night.  It was a long day.

 

The next day I took a bus to New York City and went to the dock to pick up our car which we had shipped ahead.  Then I met a representative of the Winnebago Company at a Service Station in New Jersey and took delivery of a fourteen foot house trailer which we had ordered from Spain.  Then I went back to McGuire AFB, picked up the family and we drove to Washington D.C.

 

We lived in a trailer camp for a week or so while we looked for a house to buy.  We finally settled on an unfinished new home in Woodbridge where we lived for the next five years.

 

Sharon was attending the BYU in Provo, Utah and had become engaged to an ex-missionary, Keith Holbrook Brown.  They were planning to be married the first week in September.  We drove the family with the trailer to Provo, picked up Sharon and drove to Grandma Valantine's house in the Highland-Park section of Los Angeles.  Then I hitched a ride on an Air Force plane out of March AFB back to Washington D.C., leaving the family in Los Angeles to prepare for the wedding and to visit cousins etc.

 

My assignment in Washington was Chief of Information Planning and Evaluation in the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Information.  My office was at Bolling AFB, across the Potomac River from the Pentagon.  We would go back and forth to the Pentagon by water taxi.  My deputy was our dear friend, Lt..Col. Arthur Paul who had been my deputy in Spain.  While the family was in Los Angeles and while they were finishing our house in Woodbridge I lived in the Visiting officers Quarters at Bolling.

 

Near the end of August I flew back to Los Angeles for Sharon's wedding in the Los Angeles Temple and her reception in the beautiful home of one of Keith's relatives in Pasadena, California.  She was married on September 3rd, 1963, then they went back to school.  Sharon graduated from the BYU and when Keith graduated they went to the University of Illinois for graduate work and finally back to BYU where Keith got his Ph.D in Physics.  He is a scientist of national note and they have raised a-wonderful family.  We love them all.

 

The task of our office at Bolling was to make information plans and set informational goals for the Air Force's external and internal information programs and then to evaluate their effectiveness.  I was working in the office one day when we heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas.  We were all saddened and shocked by this

terrible news.

 

 


After Sharon's wedding we drove with the family and trailer back to Woodbridge expecting to move into our house which had been promised to us.  Unfortunately the house was not ready so the real estate company put us in a motel for a week.  During this week the kids started school and I had to work each day.  It was rather hectic.  Finally we settled into our home and I commuted twenty-five miles to and from work each day for the next five years.

 

After returning from Spain in July 1963  I was assigned for three years in the Directorate of Information, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, where I served as Chief of the Communications Studies Group (1963-1964), Chief of the Public Information Division (1964-1965).  This included supervision of Press, Radio and Television and Books and Magazines Branches.  I also served as Chief of the Plans and Programs Division (1965-1966).

 

During this period we were involved in the war in Vietnam and we worked closely with the White House and the State Department public affairs offices.

 

I had the opportunity to visit Vietnam for a week to observe the Air Force public affairs operations.  I also took advantage of the opportunity to fly as a passenger on a low level flight in a C-23 spray plane over the Ashaw Valley, trying to defoliate the trees where the Viet Cong were hiding.

 

In November of 1966 I was assigned to the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) where I served as Deputy Director of Defense Information.  In this capacity I shared in the responsibility for directing the Department of Defense organization concerned with relations with national news media representatives, magazine and book publishers and authors, and entertainment television and motion picture producers.  I served as Acting Director of Defense Information for six months without a Deputy.

 

I retired from the United States Air Force August 31,1968.  I received the Legion of Merit for my service in the office of the Secretary of Defense.

 

While I was working in the Pentagon from 1963 to 1968, we lived in Woodbridge, Virginia in a new colonial style, split level house with five bedrooms and three bathrooms.

 

We were happy there.  Randy, Linda and Judy graduated from Woodbridge High School.  Linda was chosen as Miss Congeniality and Judi was Home Coming Queen when they graduated.

 

I was called to serve as Scout Master in the Woodbridge Branch for two years and then was called as Branch President where I served until we left Woodbridge in September of 1968.

 

While I was in the Pentagon I took classes after hours from the George Washington University for two years and received a Master's degree in International Affairs.  I  had received partial credit for my course in the Air War College and the university accepted the thesis I wrote for War College for my Master's thesis.

 

In September 1968  I retired from the Air Force as a Colonel after 26 years and 10 months of service.  We sold our house in Woodbridge and accepted a position as Assistant for Public Affairs  to the President of the Church College of Hawaii, in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii.

 

 

 


CHURCH COLLEGE OF HAWAII AND BYU

 

On our way to Hawaii we stopped in Provo, Utah for a few days to see Linda married to Darrel Danielson.

 

Then we drove to Sacramento and shipped our car and took an Air Force flight to Honolulu.

 

In Laie we lived on Naniloa Loop across the street from the Polynesian Cultural Center.  I worked for President Owen Cook for one year.  During this time I served as Scout Master and for eight months as an ordinance worker in the Hawaii temple.

 

While we were there Judge Whitaker who founded the motion picture studio at BYU, came to Laie with a production crew to produce the Church film "Johnny Lingo".  Judge had been my Deacons' advisor in Huntington Park Ward and he asked me to come back to BYU and work as his Assistant Director of Motion Picture Production.  We had three children attending the Y at that time so we decided to accept his offer.

 

We left Hawaii in August of 1969 and moved into a home at 411 East 3050 North in Provo, Utah where we lived for the next fourteen years.

 

     I worked as Judge whitaker's assistant until he retired in 1974.  At that time I was appointed Director of the Department of Media Production where I served for the next nine years. Our task was to produce films, film strips and video productions for the Church and the university.  To augment the studio income and help pay our overhead we also produced a number of prize-winning educational and motivational films which we sold to businesses, schools and other universities.

 

Some of the films which were produced at the studio while I was Director were: "The First Vision", "Where Jesus Walked", "The Restoration of the Priesthood and the Organization of the Church", "Morality for Youth", a series of biographical interviews with Church leaders including Ezra Taft Benson, N. Eldon Tanner, Mark E. Peterson, Le Grand Richards and Joseph Anderson.

 

Some of the educational and motivational films were: "Uncle Ben", "The Gift", "The Mail Box, "John Bakers Last Race" and others.

 

This was a rewarding and exciting time.  We worked closely with the General Authorities on the Church productions and had many spiritual and faith promoting experiences.

 

During our years in Provo I served as Explorer Advisor in the Edgemont Third Ward for a year.  Then I was called by the Stake President of the BYU Sixth Stake, Wayne B. Hales, to be the Bishop of the 44th married ward in his stake.  I served as Bishop during the years 1970-1972.  Then I was called by Elder Thomas Monson to be President of the BYU Sixth Stake (married).  I served as Stake President from 1972 to 1976.  I was then called to serve as a member of the Sunday School General Board where I served until the Sunday School General President, Elder Russel Nelson, was called to the Council of the Twelve in 1978 and the members of the General Board were all released.  I was then called to be High Priest Group Leader in the Edgemont Third Ward where I served until I retired from BYU in September 1983 and we moved to Huntington Beach, California at the end of the year .

 

COMMENTS WRITTEN IN THE SEVENTIES

6 Dec. 1970

     The last eight month period has been the most richly rewarding period of my life.  Having been ordained a Bishop and called to preside over the BYU 44th Ward in May 1970, my life has been filled with experiences of a spiritual nature which have brought me closer to my Father in Heaven and convinced me that He takes a hand in our lives and blesses us when we do his will.

 

     Even though I am now able to spend less time with my family, the Lord has strengthened us and there is a stronger spirit of unity and a greater knowledge of the love our Heavenly Father has for us in our home than ever before.

 

     Our boys go to church in our home ward while I preside over a married campus ward.  Judy attends church in a campus ward for single students living in this area.  As the result of this division, I seldom have the opportunity to go to church with my family.  This has bothered me because I greatly miss going to priesthood meetings with my sons and to sacrament meetings with my wife and children.  I was afraid that the boys would lose interest and, to some degree at least, cease being diligent in the performance of their church duties.  The Lord has blessed us, however, and in fact just the opposite has taken place.  The testimonies of our children have been strengthened, and without me to rely on they are, on their own initiative, performing their duties faithfully and diligently.  I am very proud of them.

 

      We have had some wonderful experiences as we have tried to follow the guidance of the Prophet and hold our family home evenings.  Recently Larry was leading the discussion and he suggested that we take stock of our family readiness to enter the Celestial Kingdom.  After considering our weaknesses such as pride, anger, selfishness etc., we decided to list our strengths and we came up with the following list of things we have going for us as we strive for family exaltation:

 

§         We all love each other.

§         We all have a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.

§         We all love our Heavenly Father and want to please him.

§         We all have a desire to live righteous lives and to be worthy of the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

We concluded that with all the big pluses we have, it would be foolishness to let the minor negative things keep us from our goal.

 

We have been blessed with good children who are not rebellious and who love the Lord. our family unity has improved and our love for each other has greatly increased.  The relationship between husband and wife and father and mother in our home has become more loving and tender.  We are working more with a singleness of purpose than ever before.  My greatest blessing in life is the sweetheart who has become as much a part of me as my very own heart or mind.

 


Another blessing in my life is the opportunity I have to work in the production of motion pictures and film strips for the Church.  Besides the great satisfaction that comes from seeing our productions affect the lives of people for good, I have the opportunity to meet, on almost a weekly basis, with some of the General Authorities of the Church.  During this past week, for example, we presented a proposed film strip on the law of the fast to the Presiding Bishopric and Elder Romney of the Council of the Twelve.  Later that afternoon, we showed a new movie on family home evening to Elders Romney and Monson.  Elder Monson chatted with Judge Whitaker and me for several minutes after the showing and gave us suggestions for improving the picture.

 

Later in the week I was called into the office of Elder Monson, where he was meeting with Elder Bruce McKonkie and a Brother Rose, Executive Secretary of the Church Missionary Committee.  Elder Monson talked about the requirement for missionary films and asked for suggestions on a film showing pre-baptism fellowshipping, conversion and post-baptism fellowshipping.  We expect that we will be asked to make this film or film strip during the coming year.

 

A few months ago Scott Whitaker and I were invited to spend the morning in Elder Boyd K. Packer's home in Midvale, to discuss his ideas for a motion picture to teach the members of the Church about family home evenings and to motivate them to hold family home evenings regularly.  Elder Packer suggested that when I account to the Lord for my stewardship, He will likely be less concerned with how well I have done as Bishop than He will about how well I have performed my duties as a husband and father.  He stressed the urgency of the requirement for the fathers in the Church to put their houses in order and be ready to meet our Savior.  He mentioned that the family is the fundamental unit of the Church and the only unit of the Church which will go with us into the eternities.  In these threatening times, he pointed out that if all the families were organized and functioning as units of the Church under righteous patriarchal priesthood authority, the rest of the Church could be destroyed or made ineffective and the work of the Lord would continue to go on in the homes of the Church.

 

After three hours of counsel, we all knelt in Elder Packer's family room and this member of the Council of the Twelve prayed for divine assistance in the production of this,film so that it might help to strengthen and unify the families of the Church in righteousness.

 

In the BYU 44th ward, where I serve as Bishop, live some of the choice spirits children of our Heavenly Father.  Every meeting is a  rich spiritual experience.  I am gaining much spiritual strength from my association with these fine young married people.  My own testimony is increased as I counsel with them and receive their confessions and learn of their great desire to do good.

                       

This afternoon, in Fast and Testimony meeting, we had 194 present.  A few of these were not members of our ward but were the family and friends of a couple in the ward who blessed their new baby.  Still, with a ward population of 204, the attendance today is indicative of the spirituality of the ward.

 

We always have 100% of our home teaching and visiting teaching done and our attendance at Relief Society and Sunday School is regularly 70%-80% our goal for this school year is to have one hundred per-cent of the families in the ward receiving the blessings of holding family home evenings regularly.

 


As they stood there, this afternoon, bearing their testimonies and expressing their love for one another, I thought how applicable verse 19 of the second chapter of Ephesians is to the members of this ward:

 

"Therefore ye are no more foreigners and strangers but fellow citizens with the Saints and of the household of God."

 

The unity and fellowship in the ward is wonderful The great challenge will be to strengthen the individual members of the ward so that they will be able to stand on their own, when they leave this cloistered environment, and be towers of strength in their own right.

 

1972

 

On the afternoon of Saturday, April 29, 1972, just prior to the evening leadership meeting of stake conference, Helen and I were called to be interviewed by Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve.  Elder Monson began the interview by saying "Brother Stay, the Lord wants you to be the President of the BYU Sixth Stake."

 

It was a thrilling spiritual experience to spend the evening with Elder Monson as we determined who my counselors should be and Elder Monson issued their calls.  He took time out of our deliberations to speak to the Stake leadership meeting.  We finally called Bishop Monte S. Nyman of Edgemont II Ward to be my First Counselor and Dr. Harvey J. Fletcher of the BYU Mathematics faculty as my Second Counselor.

 

On Sunday April 30, we were sustained at the general session of stake conference and set apart after the session by Elder Monson.  The power of the Priesthood was evident in the manner of Elder Monson's actions in the reorganization of the Stake.  He also set apart, as Stake Patriarch, the former Stake President, Wayne B. Hales.  The Spirit of the Lord was evident in his blessing.

 

I was not released as Bishop of the BYU 44th Ward when I was called to be the Stake President.  The Brethren were considering making the campus wards into branches so that young counselors would not have to be ordained High Priests.  Because of this consideration, my replacement as Bishop was not approved for three months.  I had the privilege of serving as Bishop and Stake President for that three month period.  It happened that my temple recommend expired during this time and I couldn't resist the unique opportunity to interview myself and sign my recommend in all three places, as recipient, Bishop and Stake President.

 

1975

 

I have had many rich and rewarding experiences as the President of the BYU Sixth Stake, though I miss the close association with the members that a Bishop enjoys.  I felt very close to my counselors and the members of the stake high council and the other stake officers.

 

While serving as Stake President I was privileged to work with five different counselors.  Harvey J. Fletcher was released after a few months of service for personal reasons and Robert C, Seamons was called to serve in his place.  President Seamons had served as a stake president in La Canada, California for more than nine years and he was a perfect counselor.

 

I had the privilege of assisting Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then Acting President of the Council of the Twelve, in setting Brother Seamons apart.     


 We had an appointment with President Kimball at 11:45 a.m. President Kimball was delayed in another meeting and came to his office a few minutes after noon.  We suggested that he not miss his lunch and that we could come back another time.  He would not hear of it.  After setting President Seamons apart, President Kimball talked to us for about thirty minutes.  At that time he told us that in addition to the previous operation on his throat where some of his vocal chords were removed because of cancer, the doctors were now advising that he have the rest of his voice box removed.  The malignancy was re-occurring He knew that this would be the end of his public ministry and he told us that after much fasting and prayer and consultation with President Harold B. Lee, he had decided not to have the operation.  He would leave the matter in the hands of the Lord and continue in the ministry as long as the lord would spare him.  A few months later President Lee died suddenly and President Kimball was set apart as the President of the Church.

 

I feel that my life is just beginning, that all that has gone before is prelude and preparation for the work the Lord has yet for me to do.  I pray that I will find favor in His sight and be spiritually and intellectually ready for each new day, that my character will be strengthened so that I can overcome my weaknesses and be worthy of the blessings which the Lord gives me in richer abundance each day.

 

In 1975 Brother Monte Nyman was released as a counselor in the stake presidency and called to be chairman of the committee preparing the course material for the study of the Book of Mormon in the Gospel Doctrine classes of the Sunday School.  He is one of the most competent scriptorians I have known.  He is on the religious instruction faculty at BYU.

 

At the same time, Brother Robert C. Seamons was released as a counselor in the stake presidency and called to be the President of the Oregon Mission.

 

To replace these brethren, I was given the authority by the First Presidency of the Church to call and set apart Col.  Bartley Day, formerly a member of the BYU Sixth Stake High Council, as my First Counselor and Gersheron S. Gill as my Second Counselor.

 

3 Sept. 1978

 

Last Friday, September lst, we celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Motion Picture Production Department at BYU.  President Dalin Oakes conducted the program and Elder Gordon B. Hinkley of the Council of the Twelve was the main speaker.  I participated in the program with Dave-Jacobs by narrating a film presentation, looking back over the twenty-five year history of the Department.

 

 During the ceremony we honored Judge Whitaker, Frank Wise, Scott Whitaker and Robert Stum as the early pioneers in Church film making.

 

Following the program we had an open house at the studio.

 

Elder Hinkley was very gracious and spoke of the great value to the Church of the films produced at the studio, past and present.  He invoked the Lord's blessings on all of us who are engaged in this work.  Elder Hinkley has been closely associated with us in the production of the Temple Endowment films.  He is very supportive and kind.

 

August 30.1978

 

This morning I was called up to Salt Lake City to show the film "Where Jesus Walked" to President Kimball for his approval.  The showing was to be in the fifth floor auditorium of the Church Administration Building.  This is the room where the Council of the Twelve hold their regular meetings. I arrived early and had the film ready on the projector and was sitting alone in the room.  President Kimball and Arthur Haycock, his secretary, arrived a few minutes before the scheduled time for the showing.  President Kimball came over to me and took my hand in both of his.  He looked up at me and smiled and told me how happy he was to see me.  He then put both of his arms around me in a warm embrace and told me that he loved me.  I was thrilled and touched and told him that I loved him and sustained him with all of my heart.  This was no maudlin moment but the sincere expression of love between two bearers of the Priesthood.  The Lord has surely preserved him for his holy calling as President of the Church and His Prophet on the earth.  I am blessed to be associated with him.  I know that I am nothing special to him above other men but he has the ability to make each person he meets feel that he loves him more than anyone else in the world.  I felt this was a special moment worth recording.

 

After my retirement from BYU we bought Linda's and Darrel's house at 8882 Bainford Drive in Huntington Beach, California and began our preparations to move.

 

We had planned to move on the first of the year 1984.  Just before Christmas I received a call from Elder Asay of the Seventy.  He asked me if we would be able to serve a mission if I were called and if we could leave in two weeks.  We, of course, agreed to go if called and he hung up.

 

MISSION TO DATE

 

We were packing to move to California and after a week of no further word from Salt Lake I called the Missionary Department to find out if we should pack to move or pack to go on a mission.  Elder Monson called me back the next day and asked to see me and Helen in his office.  He explained that a mission president in Minnesota had had a heart attack and they had found another replacement for him.  He then interviewed us to serve as a Mission President and companion to leave in July 1984.  The next night at approximately ten p.m. President Gordon Hinckley, counselor to President Kimball, called to issue the official call. 

            

We moved to California on January 1, 1984 and a few weeks later we received a letter from President Spencer W. Kimball calling us to serve as Mission President and companion in either an English or a Spanish speaking mission.  We had lived in Madrid, Spain twenty one years earlier but we hadn't learned much Spanish because I had worked on an American air base, we had American Church services and the kids had gone to an American school.  After more than twenty years the little Spanish we had learned was almost forgotten.  We tried to brush up and re-learn what we had forgotten.  In April I went to Salt Lake and visited the Missionary Department.  They informed me that the Brethern had decided to call us to serve as President of the Rosario, Argentina Mission.

 

We arrived in Rosairo on a Wednesday and there was a Stake Conference program on my desk for the following Sunday with me as one of the speakers.  We struggled with our Spanish for the three years we were in Argentina but the Lord blessed us and the missionaries and members were very kind and helpful.  Approximately half of our missionaries didn't speak English but I was able to communicate with them in my interviews with no problems.

 


Our mission experience was very special.  Tim went to Argentina with us for our first two months when he returned to Provo to attend BYU.  It was wonderful to spend full time in missionary service together with Helen as my companion.  It was a great unifying and strengthening experience for our marriage.  I came to love her more than ever before as well as to depend on her for counsel and support.  Her contribution to the mission and the missionaries was tremendous.

 

During our three years we had about four hundred and fifty missionaries and we learned to love them all.  It is still a joy to receive news of their accomplishments, their temple marriages and their children.  At one time almost half of our missionaries were Spanish speaking.  We had missionaries from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Puerto Rico.  We had a large group of lovely sister missionaries, as many as sixty at one time.

 

The Rosario Argentina mission included the provinces of Santa Fe, Entre Rios, Corrientes, Formosa and Misiones, with a couple of small branches in the northern edge of the Province of Buenas Aries.  This included the north east section of Argentina and was about six hundred miles wide and over a thousand miles long.  The mission included the area of the Iguazu Falls which were spectacular.

 

We didnt break any records for baptisms but our missionaries worked hard.  At the direction of the Area Presidency we concentrated our efforts in strengthening the established stakes, trying to increase membership with emphasis on families.  Most of our converts were humble working class people and most were of Indian descent.  There was a popular evangelist movement throughout the country but the wealthy and influential people were generally content in the Catholic Church which was the official church of the government of Argentina.

 

We had a very special experience in April of 1985 when all of the mission presidents and their wives from all over the world were called back to Salt Lake and Provo for a special conference.  We were instructed for four days by the General Authorities of the Church in a new method of preaching the Gospel and had the privilege of attending the April General Conference of the Church.

 

  It was a thrill to hear Elder Bruce R. McKonkie, who had set us apart for our mission, give his last address to the Church just a few days before he died of Cancer.  He knew he was dying and his sermon was an affirmation of his faith in the Savior.   

             

On Monday after the General Conference, We all gathered in the Assembly Hall for a final message from Elder Boyd K. Packer.  Following his message about a hundred missionaries from the MTC marched in from the back of the Assembly Hall singing "Called to Serve" under the direction of Janie Thompspon.  Janie had accompanied our ROTC chorus in the early fifties so it was a special thrill to hear this stirring song sung under her direction by this very special chorus of young missionaries.

 

Following this meeting we all went to the upper assembly room of the Salt Lake Temple where we received final instructions and blessings from the First Presidency.  Then the First Presidency blessed the emblems of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve passed the bread and water to the rest of us.  The whole conference was a great spiritual experience and we went back to our mission, strengthened and challenged with a much clearer understanding of our responsibilities and the direction we should take.

 

During our mission were blessed to be associated with a number of our wonderful general authorities.  Elders Theodore Tuttle and J. Thomas Fyans were our Area Presidents and their counselors included Elders Osborne, de Jager, Call and Brewerton.

 


 In addition we had an Area Conference in Rosario and Elders Oakes and Maxwell, of the Council of the Twelve,, came and stayed in the mission home for a couple of nights with their wives.  Elder James Foust of the Council of the Twelve also visited the Mission Home.

 

We also had the opportunity to participate in the dedication of the Buenos Aries Temple.  We were enjoying the talks and the beautiful music seated in the Celestial Room when unexpectedly President Monson announced that I would be the next speaker.  Helen said that I turned pale and that I sounded like someone else speaking.

 

I don't know what I said but the Temple office in Salt Lake sent me a transcript to correct for the record and after some editing of my Spanish it seemed to make some sense.

 

We finished our mission on the First of July 1987 and left Rosario and our missionaries and friends who had come to the airport to say good by, with very tender feelings.  We flew to Buenos Aries where we were to change airports and planes to fly to Miami.

 

     While we were in the airport waiting for transportation, Helen's purse was stolen with our airline tickets to the United States, our passports and a Visa credit card.  Sadly, our trip home was delayed.  After a number of phone calls we took a taxi to the mission home in Buenos Aries where the mission president and his wife graciously took us to dinner and gave us a bed for the night.  The next day he made his two assistants and a car available and with much help we were able to obtain new passports and new airline reservations and arrived at the International Airport in time to catch our flight out that evening.

 

     We arrived in Miami the next morning and were met by Larry who took us to his lovely home where we spent the Fourth of July and a few more wonderful days swimming on the beach and in his pool and getting acquainted with our grand children.  Then we flew to Los Angeles where we were met by a dozen or more children and grand children with balloons and signs,welcoming us home.  Our hearts were full.

 

While we were on our mission we had rented our home in Huntington Beach unfurnished.  We had disposed of most of our furniture before leaving so when we returned after our mission we returned to an almost empty house.  About the only things in the house were our bed, the stove and a card table with a couple of folding chairs.  We also had an ice chest and a freezer.  We quickly bought a new refrigerator, and washer and dryer and during the next few weeks we also bought a dining room set and a sofa and love seat and a TV and VCR.  We also installed a new carpet in the living room, hall and upper main bedroom, bought new drapes and a new living room set.  We got our piano back from Judi and bought some new beds for the upstairs.  We also bought a new Taurus station wagon and we were back in business.

 

I have really enjoyed being free from going to work every day.  We have been kept busy with church work and family.  We have enjoyed being close to Sharon and Judi and also to Linda while she was living in Torrance.  Since returning from our mission I have served on the stake high council for three years and as an early morning seminary teacher for the same three years.  My assignment on the high council was with the single adults,(thirty and over).  Helen was also called to this work so we were able to work together which was a joy.  I loved being a seminary teacher and it is a real pleasure to now receive invitations to the temple marriages and mission farewells of my former seminary students.

 

In the fall of 1990 Helen and I were called to serve as stake missionaries working with the Spanish speaking group of the Seventh ward in our stake.  Our assignment was to help administer and strengthen the group and to support the full time missionaries.

 


In April of 1991 a Spanish speaking branch was organized and I was called to be First Counselor in the Branch Presidency.  The Stake Presidency wisely called a young, Spanish speaking brother as Branch President.  Helen was also called to work in the Spanish Branch as a counselor in the Primary presidency.  She has taught the eleven year olds, lead the singing and conducted the sharing time and generally blessed the lives of these young children.  They all love her, naturally.

                   .

In September of 1990 we were also called to be ordinance workers in the Los Angeles Temple.  We worked the third week of each month and stay in the temple apartments during that week.  Helen's sister, Lora and her husband, Conrad Hawkins traveled with us to the temple each month and live in the apartment just below us.  It was the first time in our married life that we have been together with Lora and Conrad and we relish their association and friendship.

 

On May 25, 1991 Helen and I were called into the Temple President's office where I was interviewed and set apart as a Sealer by Elder David Haight of the Council of the Twelve.  This has been one of the choice experiences of my life.  I was especially grateful to be able to continue serving on the third week when Helen was serving as an ordinance worker.  As I contemplate the words of the sealing ordinance I am able to get a small glimpse of the love our Heavenly Father has for us as his children and the wondrous plans He has for us.

 

On February 29, 1992, Helen and I were invited to an interview with Elder John Groberg, our Area President in the Airport Marriot Hotel.  There he showed us a letter from President Howard Hunter of the Twelve calling me to be a Regional Representative.  President Groberg then gave me another letter from the Area Presidency, assigning me to the Los Angeles Region effective April 1, 1992.

 

 This region includes the Huntington Park West Stake (Spanish Speaking), The Los Angeles Stake, The Santa Monica Stake, The Inglewood Stake, The Lawndale Stake, and The Torrance North Stake where Darrel Danielson was stake president before moving to Tennessee.  I was also assigned to work with the Los Angeles Temple, The Los Angeles Visitors Center, The Los Angeles Multi-Stake Family History Center and the Los Angeles Data Entry Center.  The Brethren are also permitting me to continue as a Sealer in the Temple.  This is very unusual because I am the only Regional Representative who has been allowed to continue as a sealer after being called as a Regional Representative from this temple.President Groberg then set me apart for the work.

 

  I have been greatly blessed by our Father with a sure knowledge that He lives and loves me.  This has been manifest to me, not only by the way He has guided and blessed my life in so many ways that should be evidence enough for any man, but more surely even than this, by the quiet, certain assurance of the Holy Spirit.  I have always believed the Gospel to be true and have tried to live accordingly.  Nevertheless, I have had many weaknesses and have made many mistakes.  I am grateful that the Lord has let me live now for over seventy   years.  I believe I am making progress but I can still see the need for many improvements.  With the knowledge I now have, my main goal is to sanctify my life and put my house in order so that I, with my beloved Helen, our dear children and grand and great grand children, will all stand approved in the eyes of the Lord and be worthy to return again to the presence of our Father and with him partake of eternal life.  I pray that not one of our family will be lost to His kingdom.

 


As we enter this month of July 1992 and look forward to our family reunion and to the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of our wedding and the great honor of being able to perform the sacred sealing ordinance for our dear granddaughter, Jenny, my heart is full of happiness, love and thankfulness.

 

This not the end but a new beginning.  "The past is prologue."

To be continued!

 

                                                                2002 Up-date

 

It is now January 20, 2002 the second year of a new millennium and time for an up-date of my history covering the last ten years.

 

During this time I have had a number of health problems but thanks to the miracle of modern medicine the doctors have been able to fix my problems and I have been able to continue to be active and have been able to serve in a number of Church callings with only brief interruptions.

  

After serving as a Regional Representative for almost two years I was released in January 1994 because of health.  I had been suffering with arrhythmia for a number of years but in 1993 it was diagnosed as atrial fibrillation and I was hospitalized for a few days four different times that year.  Elder John Groberg, our Area President, felt that I should be released.  We had begun serving as ordinance workers in the Los Angeles Temple in 1990 and I had been serving as a sealer since May 1991.  I was not released as a sealer and Helen continued as an ordinance worker after my release as a Regional Representative.  I was also called again as a member of the Huntington Beach Stake High Council.

 

 My service as a sealer has been a particularly rewarding and fulfilling calling.  What a joy it is to officiate in these sacred ordinances and to see the happiness of couples and families being joined together for eternity. I guess I have performed the sealing ordinance for the living and the dead several thousand times in the last ten years and I am still awed by the love of our Father in Heaven as evidenced in the blessings sealed on His children in these ordinances.  My greatest joy has come, however,  by the great honor and privilege I have had to seal sixteen of my own grand children in the bonds of eternal marriage during the past decade.  How grateful I am that I have been able to continue in this calling up to now.

 

After I had been in the hospital four times in 1993 for arrhythmia I suffered a small stroke on January 5th of 1994.  Helen and I had been shopping in our local Mervyn’s department store.  We had purchased a couple of pillows and I was carrying them in a plastic bag which I dropped on our way out of the store.   Helen picked them up and gave them back to me to carry and I immediately dropped them again, without noticing.  She carried them out to the car and I tried to unlock the car by putting the keys in the window.  Then I dropped the keys.  Helen knew something was wrong so she picked up the keys,  put me in the passenger seat and drove home.

 

I felt very tired and confused  but otherwise untroubled.  Helen called the emergency room of our local hospital and they told her to bring me in immediately.  Because of her concern and quick action, I was in the emergency room and under treatment within a half hour after I dropped the pillows for the first time.

 


           After all of the examinations and the diagnosis of a stroke they kept me in the hospital for five days, put me on Coumadin to thin my blood and a beta blocker drug to control the fibrillation.   My cardiologist knew that the stroke could have been caused by a small blood clot caused by the atrial fibrillation but he suspected it could have been caused by some other condition so he scheduled further tests.

 

On February 16, I had an angiogram which showed that my left carotid artery was ninety percent blocked with plaque.  It was very possible that some of this plaque had sloughed off and been carried to my brain, causing the stroke.  On March 4, They sliced open my carotid artery and scraped out the plaque.  I went home three days later with a four inch incision on my neck stapled together, like Frankenstein, with metal staples.

 

The beta blocker caused me to have low blood pressure and a slow pulse so I often felt weak and faint.  On April 24, 1994  Helen and I were asked to speak in Sacrament meeting in our home ward.  Helen gave a great talk and I was about five minutes into my talk when I began to feel light headed.  I mentioned something about my heart not doing its job.  Helen wanted me to sit down but I was determined to finish my talk on repentance.  The next thing I knew,  I woke up.  I was flat on my back behind the podium with a whole sea of faces surrounding me.  Someone had called the para-medics.  The Bishop dismissed the congregation.  And the para-medics put me in the ambulance and took me to a strange hospital.  My blood pressure was so low that they kept me in that hospital over night and then sent me to my hospital where all of my records were.  Two days later the doctors installed a pace maker with leads to both the atrium and the ventricle.  This pace maker was set to keep my pulse to at least sixty beats per minutes.  Which it did faithfully for seven years when the battery ran out and it was replaced by a new one last year.  They expect the new one to last for another ten years.

 

I now feel great, and with the exception of a couple of days between pace makers when I felt weak, and a couple of bouts with carcinoma on my nose, (once treated with radiation which left me unable to smell and later removed by plastic surgery with a half inch diameter patch taken from my neck to cover the hole), and a couple of polyps zapped by laser in my colon, and the fact that sometimes I can’t remember my own name, I almost feel like a kid again.  I enjoy working in the yard and around the house and riding my bike four miles on most days.

 

 So far I have been able to continue serving in my Church callings.  On May 25, 1995 President Faust called me, by phone from Salt Lake City, to serve as Second Counselor to President Glen Walker in the presidency of the Los Angeles Temple.  I was released from my calling as a member of the High Council and was set apart in my new calling on August 31, 1995.  Prior to being set apart we had moved into a small 1930s house owned by the Church just through the fence from the temple grounds. Laurie (Danielson) Skipper and her husband, Rommyn and their baby daughter, Kaisey, moved from Texas into our Huntington Beach home.  We came home on Saturday afternoon, after the temple closed and returned to the temple on Monday evening to be ready to be in the temple on Tuesday.  The Skippers took good care of our house in our absence and we loved having them here.

 

We spent three wonderful years in the Temple Presidency.  We became very close friends with President and Sister Glen and Willa Rae Walker and with the First Counselor, Brent Richards and his wife, Rita as well as with other staff members and temple workers.  While we men served in the Presidency, Willa Rae Walker served as the Matron of the Temple and Rita Richards and Helen served as Assistant Matrons.

         


Our work consisted of managing the work of the temple which included calling and training and supervising the work of a staff of over eleven hundred ordinance workers, receptionists, veil workers and thirty or more  sealers.

 

In addition the members of the presidency were usually invited to speak at the Sunday stake conference sessions of the seventy six stakes in our temple district.  We were away on speaking  assignments two or three Sundays of each month.

 

Five of the stakes in our temple district were Spanish speaking.  Helen and I had the major responsibility for training a  group of Spanish speaking ordinance workers, receptionists and sealers to serve the members of these five stakes.  We also had to give the instructions in Spanish to members receiving their own endowments.  In addition,  I was usually called on to speak in the chapel services for these stakes.   We made many close friends among the Spanish speaking temple workers and in these five stakes.

 

Our calling in the temple presidency was for three years.  We were released after three years and two months on October 31, 1998.

 

I was soon called back to serve on the Stake High Council with assignments as advisor for Public Affairs and advisor for the single adult ward in the Huntington Beach California Stake.  I was Stake Director of Public Affairs for two years when we called Sister Sharon Klecker to that position and I continued serving as advisor

.

  The Huntington Beach Eighth ward was one of the few single adult wards left in the Church outside of the university campus wards.  The Eighth ward served both the Huntington Beach and the Huntington Beach North stakes.  The membership grew to almost four hundred members with another hundred young adults from outside the two stake boundaries attending each Sunday.  About two years ago the ward was divided into the Pierside Ward and the Sea Cliff Ward, both under the Huntington Beach Stake.

 

After the division, the two wards continued to grow and each ward now has over three hundred members.  Young adults have moved into our two stake boundaries from other areas in order to be members of these wards.  The members of these wards must be active in the Church  so the members are, for the most part, the cream of the crop.  There are social activities every week and there are many temple marriages resulting.  It is a joy to work with these fine young people.

 

I am also grateful to still be able to fill weekly sealing assignments in the Los Angeles temple.  I serve every  Wednesday evening and the second and fourth Saturday afternoon when the Spanish stakes have their endowment and sealing sessions in Spanish.  We now have four native Spanish speaking sealers but I still get the opportunity to perform the sealing ordinances in Spanish on a fairly regular basis.  This is a very rewarding and fulfilling calling.  I dread the day when I will have to be released.

 

On November 19, 2001, during Home coming week, the BYU AFROTC invited us to an open house celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the AFROTC on campus. I was recognized as the first commander of the program in May 1951.  I was honored to be at the side of Col.(Ret) Bernard Fisher, a Medal of Honor recipient from the war in Viet Nam.  There was an open house in the afternoon with a display of historic pictures and artifacts with a dinner in the evening.  There were about two hundred former AFROTC cadets and faculty and staff members in attendance including three emeritus members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

                                                                            


 Retired Brigadier General Lassiter, one of the emeritus members of the Seventy was the speaker.  He was a Staff Seargent in the AFROTC in the early fifties.  We encouraged him to apply for officer training and he was accepted in the Air Force Flying Cadet program.  He had an illustrious Air Force career and retired as a Brigadier General at the request of the brethren to accept a calling as a Seventy.

 

The next morning, Bernie Fisher and I accompanied the current commander of the AFROTC in a convertible in the Home Coming Parade.  Following the parade we attended a tail gate party prior to the football game with the BYU and the Air Force Academy. 

 

At the game Helen was escorted to the President’s box and Bernie Fisher and I were introduced to the crowd during the opening ceremonies which included the BYU band playing the “Star Spangled Banner” and a two jet fly-over.   We then joined Helen in the President’s box and wathced BYU beat the Air Force Academy 34 to 20.

 

As we approach our sixtieth wedding anniversary I want all of you who read this to know that true love grows stronger with the years.  I love dear Helen more each day.  I pray to be worthy of her and to be worthy of the eternal blessings which have been sealed upon us together.  I don’t have to wait for Eternal Life and   “never- ending happiness.”   This life is part of Eternal Life and I can’t  imagine being happier in the eternities than I am now with Helen at my side.  I will include with this history some of my expressions of love for her which I have written from my heart over the years and which are truer now than ever before.

 

I also don’t have to wait for the eternities to have “joy and rejoicing” in my posterity.  I have learned a lot about our Heavenly Father’s unconditional and never- ending love for his children through my love for my own children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I pray for you.  I love each one of you and nothing you will ever do will make me love you less.

 

I pray that we will be a unified, strong and righteous family and that we will all be together forever  in our Eternal Father’s kingdom.  I have great faith that this will be.

 

THE CHILDREN

 

                                  As of 2002

 

My history would not be complete without some serious comments about our children, our major and most important accomplishment.  I am tremendously proud of.each one of these dear souls placed in our care by a loving and generous Father in Heaven.  I love them more than life and would sacrifice anything for their welfare.  I have honored my ancestors and have tried to be a worthy descendent but more important than this I want to be a worthy ancestor and patriarch of a righteous posterity.  The Lord has guided me to my beloved companion, to whom I give all of the credit for raising our children to be good and to live in accordance with gospel principles.

 

We have also been blessed that our children have married good and righteous people who have added greatly to the stature of our family.

 

Sharon married Keith Brown during our move from Spain to Washington D.C. Dear Sharon, who has suffered much, did not have to suffer to learn compassion.  She has always sacrificed for the sick, lonely and forlorn and the needy.  Keith has been the perfect companion, intelligent, patient and a man of integrity.  We love them and our nine dear grand children and twelve (as of now) great grand children in their family. 

 

Keith is a world class physicist working in high tech national defense areas .He has served faithfully in his Church callings, including being a Bishop and a Counselor in the Stake Presidency.

                         -39-


 Sharon is now doing volunteer research for a company that makes artificial joints.  She also has served faithfully in her ward and stake callings in addition to her compassionate service to many 

 

Randy is a paragon of generosity, goodness and virtue.  I am certain that he is much loved by our Heavenly Father as he is by us.  He is always reaching out to the poor and down trodden of his world.  Every other person is his neighbor and he is their good Samaritan.   He married Becky Holt and brought her great intelligence and abilities into our family.  They have been outstanding parents of six exceptional children.  So far they have one grand child. We love and honor each one.  Randy is now serving his sixth year as a Bishop.

 

 He has worked for Ford Motor Company since graduating from BYU with a degree in mechanical engineering.  He is now a Resident Engineer, supervising a group of other engineers in solving   warranty problems.

 

Linda married Darrel Danielson during our move to Hawaii  from Washington D.C.   Linda has always been a sweet and faithful daughter.  Always doing her best to do things right.  She has always been well organized and tidy.  She has a loving heart and is greatly loved by all who know her.

 

She could not have chosen a  more perfect companion than Darrel.  They are truly one in their goals, desires and in the conduct of their lives.  We love and honor them and their eight outstanding children and ( to date) twenty grand children.

 

Darrel has always worked hard to provide for his family.  He graduated from BYU after they were married and got his MBA in night school while working full time as an accountant for Western Airlines.  He worked for Federal Express in Memphis, Tenn. For several years.  He is now working as CFO for a telemarketing company and has his own Personnel Services business.

 

 He has served as a Bishop three times, as a Counselor to two Stake Presidents, and as a Stake President twice.  Linda has served as a Stake and Ward Young Womens President among other callings.

 

Judi has always been an outstanding achiever.  She is exceptionally intelligent and has put her intelligence to good use to bless  the lives of others.  She married  Douglas Moore while we were in Provo.

 

Doug has been a patient and able husband and father.  After they were married, he worked in a law office while going to law school.  After receiving his law degree and passing the California bar exams, he worked for a few years in the law office of another lawyer.  He then set up his own successful law office with a partner sacrificing much for his family and to make it possible for Judi to go back to school and achieve their goals for her.

 

 After they had six children Judi enroled in medical school and recieved her degree as a DO.  She had her private practice in Alta Loma for a few years and then joined in a partnership with an MD in Provo, Utah. Doug gave up his profitable law practice to support Judi in the move to Provo.

 

 They are both loving and kind and their six children have learned to love from their parents. As of this writing they have seven grand children.  We love them all and we feel their love for us.

 


Larry also married Joyce Cutler while we were in Provo and together they have sacrificed to prepare for a successful future.

 

 Larry has always been pleasant and personable.  He is intelligent and capable and is a good and righteous husband and father.  Joyce has a matching personality and abilities.  They are outstanding parents of seven children and are raising an outstanding family.  They now have three grand children. We love them all.

 

After graduating from BYU Larry got his MBA from Columbia University.  He worked nights in a copy place.

 

         Marcie, their first child was born in New York   Joyce walked to the hospital to save taxi fare.  After receiving his MBA Larry went to work for City Bank in Bogata, Columbia for a  few years.  He then was transferred to Puerto Rico for a couple of years and then to Miami, Florida and finally as a Vice President in the main office in New York City.

 

 Larry served as Bishop of a ward in Miami and a a Counselor to the Stake President in New Jersey.  Larry has worked for the last several years in the Financial Department of the Church in Salt Lake City.  He works in an office which invests the Church funds.  He is currently serving as a Counselor in the Bishopric of his ward.

 

Greg has been a very special son who is striving earnestly and successfully to be an all around good person, husband and father.  He is a good provider for his family and always puts their interest first in his life.  He truly loves his family.

 

 He also  married in Provo and brought into our family the sweet influence of Jennifer Haines, a loving, patient, kind and generous wife, mother and daughter-in-law.  We love and are proud of them and their six dear children and  one grand child.

 

Greg graduated from BYU and then got his MBA from the University of Utah.  They had two children while he was still in school.  Greg worked for the Marathon Oil Company in Ohio for a few years and spent three years in Jakarta, Indonesia.  When he returned he was sent to Houston, Texas.  He left Marathon and went to work for AMACO, working out tax problems with their foreign suppliers, including Russia and South American countries.  A few years ago he left AMACO for a better job with Aiere Liquido, a French company which supplies liquid Oxigen, Nitrogen etc. to many countries.  About a year ago he was recruited by a huge holding company in Virginia which owns a number of  big grocery chains on the East Coast.  He is in charge of their Tax Department and living in Virginia near Dulles, Int. Airport.

 

Greg has been a Counselor in a Bishopric, working with the Aaronic Priesthood and the Scouts.  He has spent many years working with the young men of the Church and is currently Ward Young Mens President in Virginia.

 

When Timo left on his mission, from Provo, Helen and I were alone for the first time in thirty-eight years of married life.  It was wonderful but we missed the loving influence of Tim in our home.  Tim has always been the calm, gentle peacemaker.  He has never said a bad word against anyone, to my knowledge.  He is respected and loved by all who know him.

 

  He married  Dalita  Romrel while we were on our mission in Argentina.  Together they are raising five lovely daughters and a son.  Dalita and Tim make a perfect team, complimenting each others strengths and abilities.  We love them and their children and know that they love us.

 


 Tim graduated from BYU with a degree in Civil Engineering and then an MBA from BYU while Dalita worked for her Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.  When their first child was born Dalita made the decision that the greatest work that she could do was to devote her time to the raising of their children.

 

While he was in school, Tim worked with computers in the Engineering Department at BYU.

                                  

After BYU they moved to Guam where Tim worked as a civil engineer in the construction of a Holliday Inn Motel near Agana.  The hotel was being financed by Japanese money which was withdrawn before the motel was finished.  Tim and Dalita then returned to Provo and with financial backing by Ron Lindorf, Tims cousin, Tim started a  telemarketing business.  After about a year Tem went out on his own with his own company , Marketing Ally which still provides employment for several hundred BYU students.  At the same time Tim started an internet company which was purchased by About.Com for a handsome profit.  He and Dalita have been actively and generously engaged in programs to alleviate poverty in Africa and Latin America. Tim has spent much time working with the young men of the Church and Dalita  has served in many capacities in the Relief Society and with the young Women.

     

On Sunday, 24 February, 2002 Helen and I were called into the office of our stake president and I was called to be the Stake Partiarch.  This is the most humbling of any calling I have received in the Church.  I will begin giving blessings the first of April and I am scared to death.  We plan to visit Salt Lake City the last week of March so that I can read some examples of patriarchal blessings in the Church Office Building.  I will be sustained in the ward sacrament meetings and set apart on Sunday, March 24.  Helen will be called to transcribe the blessings.

 

 

Again “Past is Prologue”

To be continued

 

 

We are very happy with our family.  We have truly been blessed to have "joy and rejoicing in our posterity." We love and are proud of each one.  All of our children have been sealed to their spouse  in the temple.  Eighteen of our children and grand children have served missions in fifteen countries.  All of our sons are Eagle Scouts and are striving to live by the Scout Oath and Laws.

 

We are also proud of our parents and brothers and sisters, and we have been greatly blessed by our worthy ancesters  who were true to the faith and who sacrificed so much and raised us, our parents and grand parents in righteousness.

 

We are looking forward to the day when we can all be together in never ending happiness in our Heavenly Fathers Kingdom.  Our daily prayer is that not one will be lost.

 

 We have just an inkling of the marvelous and unconditional love our Father has for each of us, His children.  We thank  Him for our children, grand children and great grand children which we now have, and for all of the posterity which will come through them.