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April 19, 2011     The Ortonville Independent
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April 19, 2011

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,1 William West Every story, and every book, must have a beginning. (Continued from April 12 issue) Franklin Roosevelt went before con- gress at noon the next day, Dec. 8, and delivered his 'Day of Infamy' speech, which he closed by asking Congress to declare war on the Empire of Japan. It was 7 a.m., Honolulu time. The men of Scouting Squadron 6 didn't need to be told "... a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire." They had already been in it. That night, under cover of darkness, the U.S.S. Enterprise and her task force, low on fuel and supplies, moved quietly into Pearl Harbor. The ship was greeted by calls, some of them angry, many .of them frightened. "Where the hell have you been?" "You better get the hell out of here - they'll get you, too/" In the dark, with the harbor lighted by the still burning Arizona, the Enter- prise was refueled while its crew loaded provisions and ammunition was a beginning. On Jan. 11, Enterprise and Lexing- ton left Pearl Harbor with orders to at- tack the enemy air bases and shipping facilities on the two island groups. Yorktown was sent to Wake Island with the same orders. The primary objec- tive for these raids was not to prepare a landing for American troops, but, rather, to destroy as much of the in- stallations and equipment on the is- lands as possible, in order to obstruct further enemy buildup and prepara- tions for further offensive action east- ward-especially toward the Australian continent. It had been eight weeks since the at- tack on Pearl Harbor. Manila, in the Philippines, had fallen to the Japanese on Jan. 2. This was followed by the taking of Bougainville on the 22nd and Rabaul on the 23rd. America needed, desperately, to show the Japanese that they were in for a fight. This mission would be the first of- fensive action for the Pacific Fleet. Enterprise was given the task of at- tacking shipping and land-based in- stallations at Roi and Kwajelein islands in the Marshall Islands atoll. Bill West's squadron was to first locate and attack any ships found at Roi Is- land. If none were found, Scouting Squadron 6 was to leave immediately for Kwajalein Island, there to search for enemy ships. Alternately, if no ships were found, they were to attack ground targets, especially parked air- craft, hangars, fuel tanks, or other" buildings. They were to employ a gliding attack to strafe and drop 100- pound bombs on the airfield, as well. If suitable targets were still available, a second dive-bombing attack with 500- pound bombs was to be carried out. Before dawn, 17 SBDs of Scouting Squadron 6 were launched and pre- for the attack on Roi. There was Scouting Squadron 6 - Bill West, back row, second from left shuttled from whatever storage facili- ties were not destroyed in the attack. At 6 a.m. the next morning, Enterprise and Task Force 1 slipped out of the harbor into the vast Pacific Ocean, there to remain hidden from Japanese carriers and await orders. Pearl Harbor had not been the only target on Dec. 7: That same day, Japan had launched successful attacks on Malaya, Hong Kong, the United States Territory of Guam, and the Philippine Islands. As the Enterprise was being refueled on the night of the 8th, the Japanese attacked Wake Island. The following morning of Dec. 9, Japanese forces repeated their successes by at- tacking Midway Island. The Com- mander-in-Chief of the Japanese combined Pacific fleet, Admiral Isoroko Yamamoto, could go any- where and do anything he wished. The only thing standing between his forces and America were the three carriers of its Pacific Fleet, Enterprise, Yorktown, and Lexington. For a month, Enterprise patrolled the waters around Hawaii, providing protection for Pearl Harbor, the vital harbor America would need to process the war against Japan. During this time, plans were being made for the first offensive strike against Japan. America had been badly battered on Dec. 7. The country needed something to boost moral. A successful operation against Japan would give America's forces, and its Citizens, something to hang their hat on. The Marshall Islands were taken from Germany at the end of WW I and given to Japan, which had joined the Allied side in that war. The Gilbert Is- lands were overrun by Japan two days after the Pearl Harbor attack. These tiny island groups posed a threat to American shipping lanes to Australia. It was obvious to both sides that Samoa and Fiji were within reach of the Marshall and Gilbert islands. The Pacific Fleet, or rather, what was left of it, would have to do something about the threat. The plans were laid and the ships repaired. It would be a long haul from there to Tokyo, but it a landing field there. Because of this, there was enemy fighter, as well as anti-aircraft machine gun opposition. Three planes were lost on the attack. West took hits from the ground and enemy aircraft both. The armor in the seat behind him and on the floor below saved his life, but he was still wounded by gunfire to his shoulder. West and the squadron dropped their bombs on buildings, fuel tanks, and gun emplacements on the first pass. They circled back for a second run, this time to strafe aircraft that re- mained on the ground. A Zero pulled behind one of his squadron mates in an attack. Bill, though wounded, maneu- vered his Dauntless over to help, pulling ahead of the enemy fighter so his rear gunner could drive the Zero ship reached Pearl Harbor, he was transferred to Tripler Hospital, where he spent the next 34 days giving his wounds time to heal. After being dis- charged from the hospital on March 12, he returned to duty, rejoining his squadron on the Enterprise. The day after West was discharged from Tripler Hospital, March 13, American cryptanalysts broke Japan's General Purpose Naval Code and dis- covered that Midway Island was the next target for their war machine. This was due to the concern of Japan's mil- i itary leaders to extend its defensive perimeter further east. The Doolittle \ bombing raid on Tokyo, April 18, con- vinced Japan's leaders that Midway must be taken and issued orders to ready their navy for the task. The Americans knew they were coming and when. They even knew Yamamoto's battle plan. They would * prepare, too. Each day, the pilots of the 'Big E' launched and flew out to practice the skills they would need when they con- fronted Yamamoto's fleet at Midway. Then, too, there were routine scouting missions that always needed to be flown. In the pre-dawn hour of 6 a.m. on May 20, Ensign Bill West climbed into the cockpit of his Dauntless to fly a scouting mission 150 miles out from the carrier. He had done this a 100 times before. The deck crew attached the tow bridle to the front of and the holdback to the rear of his Dauntless. Air would then be pumped into cylin- ders that drove the tow lug forward, al- lowing the aircraft to gain air speed. It was a tricky maneuver Too much pressure would cause the tow bar to rip ecuted two damaging runs over enemy .... - 1946. The last payment was made installations and, when a Japanese Sept. 11,1942. The review committee eight years later in 1954 and the Navy plane attacked his craft, succeeded in determined that West's action deserved closed the file on Ens. William Price .Tengaging and shooting down thethe Air Medal and awarded it to him West, 80479, A-VN, USNR. enemy. Noticing a hostile aircraft at- .based on the reports and recommenda- ..... tacking a friendly plane, he promptly lions following the action. The cover Napoleon Bonaparte said, "A sol- flew to his assistance and, although letter that accompanied the Air Medal dier will fight long and hard for a bit of sustaining a shoulder wound, skillfully requested that Mrs. West return the colored ribbon." drove off the enemy. By his airman- Letter of Commendation and ribbon If you ask any man or woman, who Ship,i courage and devotion to duty, En- since the Air Medal had been awarded was given an award for their service in sig~ West contributed to the success of in lieu of same. combat, we doubt that they would lhe'rnission and upheld the highest tra- Nancy Wallace received a six-month agree they did what they did for a bit ditions of the United States Naval Serv- salary lump sum payment of $1237.50, of colored ribbon. Napoleon had it ice." The letter was signed by James which the government called a "death wrong. They did it for their country, Forrestal. gratuity payment." In addition to that, their family, and, most of all, for their The commendation was upgraded toBill had signed up for military life in- buddy who stood beside them in times an Medal in 1947. The Air Medal surance. Each month $6.80 was de- of trial. For this, and, for ourselves, we did not exist at the time of the Scouting ducted from his pay to cover the cost would do well to serve those who gave : Squadron 6 mission to Kwajelein and of the insurance policy premium, their lives as well as they served us. Roi. It was created by executive order Nancy Wallace began receiving $125 from the President and approved on monthly payments on that policy in By Dan Meyer Big Stone Co. Veteran Service Officer The office hours for the Big Stone County Veterans Service 'Office are 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. My office phone number is (320) 839-6398. Two Fre- quently Asked Questions. Question: Am I eligible for emergency care at a non-VA facility? Answer: An eligible veteran may receive emergency care at a non-VA care facility at VA expense when a VA facility or other Federal health care fa- cility with which VA has an agreement is unable to furnish economical care due to the veteran's geographical inac- the airplane apart. Too little steam | pressure would Cause the catapult to do no more than toss the pilot and plane into the sea. One other critical factor was the moment of launch which, to obtain optimum conditions, required the timing of a wave crest with the bow of the ship at the moment the air- plane reached the end of the deck. The launch from the catapult was a carnival ride over rocky ground - ex- citing and dangerous. West, like all Navy pilots before and since, loved and feared the sensation all at once. He must have been fairly certain the mission would be easy. He would fly out 150 miles and find no enemy on the water or in the air. Japan had scheduled the battle at Midway for June 4. Their ships and planes would not be this far east. On May 30, an airmail gram from Enterprise arrived at Naval Headquar- Honolulu. The words were cold and-sterile. "'Pilot Ensign William Price West AVN USNR killed in air- plane crash at sea during take off on wartime scouting mission on May 20, 1942 X Remains were not recovered X Next of kin Nancy Wallace West wife care of Women's Air Raid Defense Fort Shafier and Colonel Emory Scott West Father has (sic) not been notified X. '" That same day, telegrams were sent to Nancy West and Emory Scott. They began with the words, "The Navy De- partment regrets to inform you ......... The telegram went on to say, "...due to existing conditions it was impossi- ble to recover remains." It ended by saying, "To preventpos- , sible aid to our enemy please do not divulge the name of his ship or station X The department extends to you its sincere sympathy in your great loss." Ensign Bill West died because the catapult failed. He crashed into the ocean on the starboard port side of the ship because his Dauntless had failed i!!! :!ii!i!!i!i!ii!i!ii!i~%:~i%~:iiiil f 45 Dive-bomber codenamed "Val" off. West had it just right and his gun- to gain the required air speed. The ac- net downed the attacking airplane, cident report states: "The pilot was West then joined the rest of the seen trying to get out of the cockpit. squadron and made the return flight to He was struggling because his para- the Enterprise, landing successfully chute was apparently caught on the despite his wound, windscreen. The aircraft sank and Squadron 6 had done its job well pilot was not seen again." that day. They destroyed 12 aircraft, There is more to his story. Bill West three in the air and nine on the ground, had been recommended for a corn- They sunk or severely damaged eight mendation for his mission on February ships of various sizes and leveled sev- 2 at Kwajelein. The notification of eral buildings and a radio station, pending award letter, dated May 21 America's first offensive strike in the and addressed to him, was delivered to Pacific proved to be a successful one. his wife, Nancy. After landing his Dauntless, West For his skill and bravery, West re- was removed from the cockpit and ceived a Letter of Commendation and taken to the medical ward where he re- ribbon in August 1942. The letter ceived primary medical care. When the reads, in part: "Ensign West boldly ex- "In Tribute to All Area Veterans!" d I' li Established in 1893 Contractors and Builders First St. SE Ortonville, MN 56278 Phone 320-839-2529 ill cessibility to a VA medical facility, or and the care rendered is emergent in na- when VA is unable to furnish the ture. Claims for non-VA emergency needed emergency services, care not authorized by VA in advance An emergency is defined as a con- of services being furnished must be dition of such a nature that a prudent timely filed; because timely filing re- layperson would have reasonably ex- quirements differ by type of claim, you pected that delay in seeking immediate should contact the nearest VA medical medical attention would have been haz- facility as soon as possible to avoid de- ardous to life or health. VA may di- nial for an untimely filed claim. rectly refer or authorize that veteran to Payment may not be approved for receive emergency care at a non-VA fa- any period beyond the date on which cility at VA expense, or VA may pay for the medical emergency ended, except emergency care furnished certain vet- when VA cannot accomodate transfer erans by a non-VA facility without prior of the veteran to a VA or other Federal VA approval under certain conditions, facility. An emergency is deemed to Question: Are there any payment have ended at that point when a VA limitations for non-VA emergency physician has determined that, based on care? sound medical judgment, a veteran who Answer: Emergency care must be received emergency hospital care could pre-authorized by VA. When the emer- have been transferred from the non-VA gency care is not authorized in advance facility to a VA medical center for Con- by VA, it may be considered as preau- tinuation of treatment. thorized care when the nearest VA med- Until next week, take care and "Fair ical facility is notified within 72 hours Winds and Following Seas!" of admission, the veteran is eligible, ! 1 iI I Wait for proper soil conditions pacted soil around the seed that is diffi- Keep in mind that while higher corn before planting corn, Ag News cult for seedling roots to penetrate, yield is associated with earlier planting, i: Wire, By David Nicolai, University of Minnesota Extension Corn planting is still weeks away in much of Minnesota because of wet conditions and cool soils. Long-term data from the University of Minnesota indicate that the optimum planting date for corn in Minnesota is during the last week of April and the first week of ~ay. The average yield reduction is ut a half-bushel per acre each day tii'~t planting is delayed from April 28 until May 21. In addition to higher yield, earlier planting can result in ear- tfer maturity, allowing more time for drying of grain in the field prior to har- vest and fall tillage. While timely planting is. important~ the advantages of an earlier planting date can be lost if tillage and planting Operations occur when the soil is too wet. For example, sidewall smearing can occur as planter disk openers cut ~through wet soil, resulting in com- Seed furrows can also open up after the soil dries when it is too wet at planting. In addition, soil compaction from heavy machinery on wet soil can re- duce yield this year and in the future. Planting into cool and wet soils also in- creases the potential for seedling dis- eases. Recent research by University of Minnesota Extension corn agronomist Jeff Coulter reinforces early planting as a recommended practice, but there was little yield loss when planting was de- layed until May. Coulter's research (2008-2010 at Lamberton and Waseca, Minn.) showed that a late April planting (average date the planting date is just one of many factors that determine yield. Avoid "mudding the seed in" just to get the crop planted early. Instead, wait for proper soil conditions and perform tillage operations only when necessary. To reduce the prevalence of corn seedling diseases, use high-quality, fun- gicide-treated seed, and plant when soil temperatures are above 50 degrees and soil moisture is adequate but not exces- sive. Corn seed treatments usually are most effective for only two to three weeks after planting. For more educational resources on corn production in Minnesota, visit University of Minnesota Extension's ~f April 28) produced 208 bushels per corn website : -: .~at re, while mid May (average date of ay 12) produced 204 bushels per David Nicolai is a crops educator re. A late May planting (average date with University of Minnesota Exten- May 26) produced 177 bushels per sion. acre when a 102-day hybrid corn was planted at 34,000 plants per acre. 4~ ti i amily Living 1 Frequently Asked Questions About Depression I lost my spouse more than a year ago, and I'm still withdrawn and un- happy. Is it normal to grieve over the loss of a loved one for this long? Death can precipitate depression. Grieving is a normal part of recovering f~om loss. But, experts agree that the de- pression that accompanies the loss of a loved one usually begins to lessen after several months. If an individual contin- ues to be withdrawn and disinterested in activities that used to bring pleasure pre- vious to the death, he/she may be suffer- 'ihg from depression and should be encouraged to see a physician or mental- health professional for a proper diagno- L sis. : " Are constant aches and pains that mydoctor can't attribute to any illness a sign of depression? ~,~ Aches and pains with unknown causes or those that don't respond to ;.treatment, can be a symptom of depres- sion. If unexplainable aches and pains occur in conjunction with at least four other symptoms of depression for mini- mum of two weeks, you may be suffering from depression. The best thing to do is see a physician or mental-health profes- sional for a proper diagnosis. Could a serious illness lead to de- pression? Depression is more likely to occur ~0ng with certain other illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, post stroke, Parkin- son's disease, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, diabetes and hormonal disor- ders. This is called "co-occurring" de- pression and should be treated along with the physical illness. Chronic or serious illness is the most common cause of de- pression in older adults. Certain medications taken to treat chronic ailments can actually cause clin- ical depression, so it is important that people tell their doctors about all med- ications they are taking, including over- the-counter medications and herbs. Can't I deal with the depression on my own? Depression is a serious medical ill- ness that people can not treat on their own. Many older adults think they,re "too old" to get help for depression or they are reluctant to talk about their feel- ings. Others believe that depression will go away on its own, and that they should just "tough it out." This belief is wrong. Like many other illnesses, depression re- quires professional treatment. Talking to friends, family members and clergy can often give people the sup- port needed when going through life's difficult times. However, for those with clinical depression, such support is no substitute for the care of a health profes- sional. How do I get help for depression? The first step is to discuss your symp- toms with your family doctor or another qualified health professional. He/she may recommend a physical checkup to determine if any underlying physical cause for the symptoms. If depression is diagnosed, then your physician may make referrals to a geriatric mental- health specialist. How can I assist an elderly family member or friend in getting help for de- pression? The nature of clinical depression often makes it difficult for the depressed person to find the motivation, energy or courage to seek treatment. This means that friends and family need to take an active role in helping the older adult-not only by expressing their concern, but also by guiding the depressed person to seek proper evaluation and treatment. In fact, depression can cause confusion and withdrawal, so it may also be helpful for family and friends to accompany the older adult to the initial physician's eval- uation to ask questions and note instruc- tions. If you would like more information on "Frequently Asked Questions About Depression" feel free to contact Gail Gilman-Waldner, Program Development and Coordination - Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, Inc. and Pro- fessor Emeritus - University of Min- nesota at 507-389-8869 or e-mail Gail at Additional re- sources are available by contacting the Senior LinkAge Linefi at 1-800-333- 2433 or visiting the MinnesotaHelp.Info website at www.MinnesotaHelp.Info. i Orange barrels, cones and barricades ,are beginning to appear along roadways across Minnesota, signaling the start of the highway construction season. "Safety in highway work zones is both a state and national issue," said Tom Sorel, Mn/DOT Commissioner. "We all share the responsibilities to keep highway workers and motorists safe." Mn/DOT will be working on more than 250 construction projects across the state this season. City, county and tribal governments also will begin work on multiple highway improvement projects. Work zones also include stopped emergency and highway main- tenance vehicles with flashing lights. This year's awareness theme is "Safer driving. Safer work zones. For everyone." In 2010, there were 1,915 total crashes in Minnesota work zones-I 1 in- dividuals were killed. The three-year average for work zone crashes is 1,728 crashes and 10 fatalities per year. Mn/DOT and the Minnesota State Patrol remind motorists to follow these guidelines when entering and driving through work zones: Watch for signs and work zone flaggers-expect the unexpected. ,Stay alert and avoid tailgating-traf- fic lanes are often narrow and rough and have little or no shoulder. Minimize distractions such as using cell phones, eating or drinking. Follow posted speed limits. Move over one lane, if possible, or reduce speed for stopped emergency or maintenance vehicles, including ambu- lance, fire, law enforcement or mainte- nance and construction vehicles. Promoting work zone safety is a component of the state's core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practic- ing and promoting safe and smart driv- ing behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to re- duce crashes-education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma re- sponse. Tuesday, April 19, 2011 INDEPENDENT Page 5b