Originally published on December 7, 2011. Republished here in honor of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
70 years ago today a young man from Greenfield, OH survived and suffered from a tragedy that would forever mark his life and end the lives of so many of his friends ans shipmates. James Louis Wise, Seaman First Class, of Greenfield, was serving aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when the air forces of the Japanese Empire began their early Sunday morning bomb runs on the just arising soldiers and sailors of America’s military establishment in the Pacific. It would mark the beginning of America’s entry into the Second World War and a personal war Wise would deal with the rest of his life.
No one of my generation doesn’t know the significance of December 7, 1941. I hope such is true of today’s generation. Have a discussion with your kids today.
Originally published on December 9, 2011. Republished here in honor of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
I saw your article on the USS Arizona and seaman James Wise and thought you might like some additional information from what was handed down to me. I’m his son, James L. Wise Jr., and grew up in Greenfield.
I always stop and reflect on December 7th about what all the men and women went through that horrible day. He was 19-years old and thought the US Navy was invincible, as they all did.
Usually at 12:55 pm our time, 7:55 am Hawaiian time, I try to stop what I’m doing and remember that solemn hour the attack started. By 1:10 pm our time, 8:10 am their time, it was all over for the USS Arizona. The battle only lasted 15-minutes for them.
Eddie Montgomery is always asking me whatever became of the stories I put together about Greenfield’s hot rod history? The answer is, they still exists but they’re just harder to find.
Digging around in various former websites I finally came across the link to the collection. Some of these I wrote but the majority were submitted by other locals with an interest in street rods and cars in general.
I don’t know how much is still valid but if you got any age on you you’ll probably get a memory scratched with these stories and photos.
To members of the Greenfield School Board and Community,
Our names are Madison Foltz, Rachel Onusko, Ryan Kline, and Makenzie Olaker, and we are proud alumni of McClain High School. Currently, we attend Ohio University as Cutler Scholars thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Will and Ann Lee Konneker and the continuous support of the Greenfield community.
With recent events that have happened in our beloved hometown, we feel that not sharing this letter would do an injustice to the values instilled in us by the town of Greenfield. These values include integrity, community, grit, and growth. While it would be much easier to stay silent, we have learned that staying silent also means staying apathetic. If we are apathetic and do not share our voices, then the investment that Will Konneker and the Greenfield Community has made in us becomes worthless and wasteful.
Since it’s been a long time since I knew for sure what was being taught by McClain’s Social Studies Department so I made some enquiries. To my pleasure I discovered that both US History (10th grade) and US Government (11th grade) are still being taught on a two-semester basis. World History is also being taught at the 9th grade level for two-semesters. Two electives, Psychology and Ancient History, are offered for a full year during the 11th and 12th years.
Just spoke with Karnes Orchard today and it won’t be long before their new crop of apples will be ready for market. The first day of sales will be on Friday, September 2 and continue into December.
Check out their website for mail orders and wholesale purchases. Below is a chart showing when various varieties will become available. Karnes is located at 8200 Worley Mill Rd., Hillsboro, OH.
I’d suggest you make your day special by picking up some freshly squeezed Karnes apple cider and then driving a mile over to Liz’s Bake Shop at 7960 Overman Rd. for a few freshly baked glazed yeast doughnuts. What says fall more than cider and doughnuts?
Somebody on Facebook posted a photo of a dung beetle rolling a ball of manure. It reminded me of something that we did back in the 1970s at Yankee Peddler Bicycles. Here’s the picture…
I responded with the following…
“Back in the Yankee Peddler days I read an article about the dung beetle being threatened in the Eastern US because of the dwindling supply of horse manure, it’s shit of choice. Norman Gingerich decided something should be done to save the beetle so he founded a movement to raise monies to buy Western horse turds and ship them east. Our trademark was a hand drawn image based on this photo. One change was the ball had the continents drawn on it so the ball of poop was the earth. We had a board of directors that included myself, Dave Allen and Bill Ingle of Ingle’s Greenhouse in Bainbridge. We also had brochures, flyers, and possibly t-shirts. Obviously it was a farce but Norman loved to have fun with things like this.”
Today Bobby Everhart emailed me a photo he took of the button we had made to promote the effort. Bob knows what is important in life and doesn’t throw it away. I thank him for that. Here’s the button…
Several months ago a number of area residents chipped in to help purchase a grave marker to honor the life of Mr. Wert Ash. I received word from Jay Hardy of Hardy Memorials in Greenfield, OH that the marker was installed on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. There has been speculation that possibly Mr. Ash was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. If so this was a great date to honor both his life and his service to America.
Thought is being given to hold a small memorial service in the spring of next year.
NOTE: Some time ago I wrote a story about Mr. Wert Ash. Click HEREto read and obtain some background.
On June 8, 2004 a group of five Greenfield veterans of World War II met at the Greenfield Library to mark and tell of their experiences during the war. Most, if not all, have passed on but on this Veteran’s Day I’d like to reprise a story told by one, James Mossbarger.
“As part of the 60th anniversary of D-Day, Jim Mossbarger spoke to an assembled group of interested people at the Greenfield Library. Here’s a little of what he had to say.
Following graduation from McClain High School, Jim Mossbarger entered the Army Air Corp and was trained as a waist gunner on a B-24 bomber. He left the US, headed for England, in early 1944, prior to D-Day.
For reasons he didn’t divulge, the trip took almost 2 weeks and took his group into the Caribbean, Brazil, the Azores Islands, the Western Sahara desert of North Africa and finally to England; very much the long way around.
As a member of the 8th Air Force, Jim, and his crewmates, flew 35 missions into occupied Europe. Most missions were against targets in Germany and France with side trips into Belgium, Holland, Norway and Denmark.
By the time his unit arrived in the European Theatre, American bombers were receiving long-range fighter support from planes such as the P-38 and the P-51. This meant he and his buddies rarely had to face the threat of German fighters but did have to contend with enemy anti-aircraft flak wherever they flew. Jim offered that except for testing his guns, he never had occasion to fire his waist gun in combat.
He also mentioned that Bill Collins, another of Greenfield’s WWII veterans, was serving with a fighter group in England that was involved in flying cover for the 8th Air Force. After D-Day, Collins’ group was detailed to providing air support for American ground forces trying to establish a foothold in France.
Jim and Bill had an occasion before D-Day to meet in London and spend an evening in an English dance hall. They inferred that the ladies were friendly and all had a good time. Also, as they wiled away the evening and without their knowledge, the city was under a major bombing from the Nazi’s.
Mossbarger related a story in which his B-24 was part of a much larger force flying a mission to Munich, Germany. The tail gunner of his plane, observing bombs falling out of their bomb bay doors, announced over the radio, “bombs away.” This was the signal for the other planes in the group to begin dropping their payloads. Turned out they had released their bombs 12 miles short of the intended target. An electrical malfunction had caused the initial bombs to be dropped prematurely.
Another episode “Mossy” told about was an experience where his plane had taken off from a small English airfield headed for a mission in France. At 11,000 feet and still over English soil, the tail gunner reported that he was witnessing hot metal flying past his gun position. The pilot immediately reported that one of the left engines was on fire and someone, probably the co-pilot, prematurely sounded the abandon plane alarm. Jim and the other waist gunner hiked up their courage and exited the plane via the escape hatch.
Meanwhile, the pilot, maintaining his cool, sent the turret gunner to shut off the fuel to the burning engine, thus extinguishing the blaze. So, as the B-24 shakily turned about and returned to base, Mossy and his crewmate found themselves quietly floating downwards into a small English community named Florida.
The town’s folks took them in and tended to their needs while they waited for the Air Corp to pick them up. Jim said that one of the ladies asked him if he needed something to settle his nerves. He replied that he was okay but could stand a cup of coffee. Not having coffee, the lady offered him a cup of hot tea served on a saucer. When he reached for the saucer the cup went flying in to the air spilling its contents. It was then that he realized just how, “shook up,” he was.
He offered an accounting of the losses his group experienced and, though they were bad, they were not near as bad as those suffered by earlier fliers who ventured into Nazi held Europe before the advent of fighter support and a weakened German air force.”
Just in from CGS’s senior downtown correspondent, Phoenix Hartsworth, Parker’s Pizza will soon close its doors and a few weeks later reopen under new management and with a new name. The restaurant will be known as 4545 Bistro and Pizzeria.
Labor Day Weekend in Greenfield will be extra special in 2015 as the crown jewel of the Highland County community — Edward Lee McClain High School — observes its centennial. McClain High School is an impressive brick edifice on a campus that resembles a small college. Inside this unique public school, visitors marvel at the paintings, sculptures, friezes, ornate tile and other works of art that have inspired generations of students and established the McClain family’s legacy of paying forward.
McClain High School was a gift to the community, designed to do “the most good for the greatest number for the longest time” in the words of Edward Lee McClain, an industrialist who made a fortune in the late 19th and early 20th centuries manufacturing horse collar pads and building an impressive business empire.
McClain added to his success by purchasing other companies and demonstrating a real talent for bringing products to market that were needed by a growing nation. McClain and his wife Lulu decided to give Greenfield the beautiful art-filled high school that continues to inspire students, faculty and visitors alike. The new school was dedicated during Labor Day Weekend of 1915 with many dignitaries present for the ceremony.
For more than a year, a committee of school officials and many community members has been planning the centennial celebration that will take place Friday through Sunday, September 4-6. “The result should be an enjoyable and meaningful weekend as local graduates and visitors reflect on the generosity of the McClain family while considering how each of us might be able to ‘pay forward’ for the enrichment of future generations,” said Greenfield City Manager Ron Coffey, a proud McClain alumnus.
An added bonus to the festivities is the belief that the cornerstone of McClain High School contains a time capsule. Superintendent of Schools Joe Wills announced Monday that plans are in motion to remove the 1914 cornerstone of McClain High School and extract the time capsule that was placed there 101 years ago. Plans are to open the capsule prior to Saturday’s Centennial Dinner (scheduled at 5 p.m.) and examine the contents. A new time capsule will be placed in the cornerstone, to be opened in the year 2115.
For several years now the Greenfield Historical Society has put time and money into restoring, as best possible the town’s original cemetery that lies along McArthur Way adjacent to the society’s Travellers Rest.
Besides enclosing a portion of the frontage with a stone wall the group has also been attempting to repair and clean the weather worn grave markers.
Here is a link to a story about the effort that includes a collection of photographs. Click HERE.
A friend of Greenfield posted this link on Facebook and it is exactly one of the major things our community needs. Some person or group with the mentality to see what we have and turn it into jobs. Read this piece and consider the impact of just a few jobs had on Greensboro, AL.
A factory would be nice but it’s not the only path to jobs and economic betterment.
Pam Dorr made use of Greensboro, Alabama’s bamboo problem and turned it into a venture that has helped revive the town’s economy