Vesta Johnson at Tomb of Unknown Soldier
(photographed by Glen R. Johnson)
Original photo owned by Wendy Littrell (Address for Private Use)
Archive for the ‘wordless wednesday’ Category
Vesta Johnson at Tomb of Unknown Soldier
This past week I shared this photo of the Caquot Observation Balloon that is on exhibit in the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. I’ve taken many pictures of this balloon over the years. Rarely do I visit this exhibit and not just stand gazing at it for a long time. Why? It’s a connection to my grandfather, Col. Glen R. Johnson.
When my grandfather enlisted in the Army Signal Corps on February 5, 1918, he was sent to Fort Omaha, Nebraska for training on Caquot Balloons. I wrote about his service in this post. Taken from his obituary is the following, “In the 1950s and ’60s, he was active as national commander and newspaper editor of the National Association of Balloon Corps Veterans (NABCV) (WWI), and had contributed many artifacts to the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”
The official website of the Air Force Museum says of the balloon on display: Manufactured in 1944, the balloon displayed at the museum is believed to be the only survivor. The British used it for parachute testing and noncombat aerial observation and photography until 1960. The British Ministry of Defense, Royal Aircraft Establishment, presented the Caquot to the museum after it was located with the aid of American and British WWI balloon veterans in 1975. Assisted by the Goodyear Aerospace Corp. of Akron, Ohio, which had produced these balloons during WWI, museum personnel mended and sealed the balloon fabric and prepared it for inflation. It was placed on display in May 1979.
My grandfather was one of the American WWI balloon veterans who helped locate this balloon. I remember his excitement especially when it was finally ready for display. He also contributed many other artifacts to the museum including this:
Piece of WW I balloon fabric manufactured in the U.S.
Donated by Col. Glen R. Johnson, USAF (Ret) Dayton, Ohio
U.S. Insignia removed from the last observation balloon
flown by American Forces in Europe. The balloon was
assigned to the 14th Balloon Company during occupation
duty in Germany, 1919. (This was donated by Evert Wolff, N.Y.)
(Grandson in front)
Ft. Omaha Squadron 2 Flag (donor unknown)
So the next time (or the first time) you visit the Air Force museum, take a look at the Balloon that dwarfs one of the areas and take the time to check out the displays that talk about the Balloon years. I guarantee that you will learn something that you probably didn’t know before your visit.
USAF Museum, Dayton, Ohio
Original photograph owned by Wendy Littrell (address for private use)
Memorial card for Katie (Blazer) Johnson
Owned by Wendy Littrell (Address for private use)
This photograph was taken in Coshocton, Ohio in the early 1940s. Those in the picture include:
Back Standing: Norman, Gail, Bervil, Paul, & my dad, Gene; Front row: Gertrude, my grandfather – Lloyd, my grandmother – Ella (House), and Marie. All seven children of my grandparents were together. I don’t know the reason for this ocassion.
This photograph was taken in the Summer of 1967 in St. Claire Shores, Michigan at my Uncle Pauls’ home during the very first Amore Sibling (Descendents of Lloyd and Ella Amore) reunion. This reunion was actually recorded on reel-to-reel tape, and I know have the CD of this recording. I hope to get it transcribed at some point. Left to right: my dad – Gene, Paul, Marie, Gertrude, Gail, and Norman. My Uncle Bervil didn’t come to this reunion or to any of the subsequent reunions. He also never went to the Amore-Baker reunion held for the Descendents of Henry and Annie Amore except maybe once.
This one shows Norman, Paul, Marie, Gail, and Gertrude. My dad was taking the picture so he’s not in it. This was taken at a Sibling reunion in the 1970s.
What I find interesting is how close the brothers and sisters remained most of their lives. Besides getting together once a year for their own reunion (held at each others’ homes), most of them traveled to the Amore-Baker reunion that was also held every year in Coshocton. They also visited with each other quite a bit. Unfortunately as age and health concerns creeped up on each of them, the visits grew further and further apart. My Uncle Norman moved closer to my dad in the 90s. My Uncle Paul moved from his home in Michigan to Las Vegas to live with his surviving son after my aunt passed away. Luckily my dad lived out West for a good number of years and was able to visit him at least once a year. My Uncle Gail passed away in the early 1980s. My Aunt Gertrude became more reclusive and stopped communicating with her siblings in the 90s. Today only Aunt Marie and my dad are the only ones left. I feel quite lucky that I saw my uncles and aunts a lot while I was growing up since they seemed to be spread out from Illinois to Michigan to Pennsylvania to Ohio. The last time I saw all of them together (minus Uncle Bervil) was in the early 1970s at the last Sibling reunion I was able to attend. Someday I hope that all of us that are left – descendents of Lloyd and Ella – now spread out even further than before – can make an effort to come together to remember those who came before us and catch up on family ties. There are 11 of us first cousins left – many of us haven’t seen each other or spoken to each other in over 30 years.
Center: Amore Siblings minus one brother, Bervil
Bottom: Amore Siblings minus two brothers (one was taking the picture & the other was absent)
All photographs owned by: Wendy Littrell [address for private use]
Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore home
photo owned by Wendy Littrell
Disneyland, Anaheim, California. September 1966.
Mickey and Me.
Photo taken by Gene Amore and is now in my sister’s possession.