Charlie Fields




Charlie Fields’ Lineage and History


David Fields (born 1/28/1768, died 1825) married Mary Jarman (born 8/18/1767, died 1845).  Their son Richard Fields (born 10/31/1794, died 8/25/1881, served during the War of 1812) married Mary (Polly) Edwards (born 10/31/1797, died 6/6/1879) on 10/8/1815.  Their son John Henry Fields (born 9/10/1831, died 9/10/1905, served during the Civil War 1863-65 with Co. H, 12th Cavalry under GEN N. B. Forrest) married Francis Rebecca Senter (Fannie S. Fields, born 2/22/1839, died 10/3/1938) on 9/7/1861.  Their son was George Malcom Fields.


Fields History


Richard Fields, 1794 to1881 (served during the War of 1812 and Creek Indian War in 1814 under Gen. Andrew Jackson)

Mary (Polly) Edwards Fields, 1797 to 1879



Richard and Polly Fields


John Henry Fields, 1831 to 1905 (joined the Confederate Army in 1863 and served in H Co., 12th Cavalry under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.  He was honorably discharged in 1865)

Rebecca Frances Senter Fields, 2-22-1839 to 10-3-1938


john henry pistol            John Henry and Fannie Fields

                        Pistol of John H. Fields, Navy Colt 9-10-1851 Patent                                John Henry and Fannie Fields


George Malcolm Fields, 7-28-1862 to 1892

Elizabeth (Bettie) Adams Fields, 7-25-1865


George Malcolm Fields                      Elizabeth Adams Fields

George Malcolm Fields                                       Elizabeth (Bettie) Adams Fields


Charles Adams Fields, 11-12-1887 to 9-3-1968

Mary Mozelle McCrory Fields, 3-17-1892 to 4-26-1972


Charles Adams Fields          Mary Mozelle McCrory Fields    

Charles Adams Fields                            Mary Mozelle McCrory               


Grandma's Family:


John Jefferson Burrow, 11-22-1806 to 12-24-1887

Eliza Snell Burrow, 11-5-1808 to 3-25-1891


            e  burrow                   john burrow

                                                                        Eliza Snell Burrow                                  John Jefferson Burrow


James Willis McKelvy, 10-23-1828 to 12-13-1910

Harriett Elizabeth Burrow McKelvy, 2-17-1838 to 6-19-1906


William H. McKelvy (grandfather of James W. McKelvy) served in Capt. Baldwin's Company, Col. Andrew Pickens SC Regiment of Infantry between 1776-1777.  He marched into Georgia against the Indians, and served under Capt. William Wilson as a mounted militiaman. He was in the battle at Stono.


j mckelvy                        Harriet Elizabeth Burrow McKelvy

James Willis McKelvy                                        Harriett Elizabeth Burrow McKelvy


Morgan Forrest McCrory, 10-3-1862 to 7-22-1951

Mary Hinton McKelvy McCrory, 10-1865 to 11-1924



Mary Hinton McKelvy McCrory and Morgan Forrest McCrory


Charlie:  "George Malcom Fields, Milan, TN, born July 28, 1862.  He was my Dad's Father.  Someone told me, and I don't remember who, that he died of scarlet fever when Daddy was five years old.  I don't remember ever asking Daddy a question about him.  I suppose the only question I could ask is do you remember him?  I did meet and know slightly Daddy's uncles and aunts--the brothers and sisters of his Father.  Will Fields was postmaster of Milan for may years.  Virgil Fields had a funeral home in Milan.  O'Dell Fields was a dentist in Milan.  Two sisters, Aunt Claude Denny and Aunt Lil Flippin also lived in Milan.  Betty met those two in Milan.  The mother of all these, Mrs. Fannie Fields died on Oct. 6 1938. She was 99 years old.  She was Daddy's Grandmother and my Great Grandmother."


"Morgan Forrest McCrory, Lewisburg, TN, born Sept. 3, 1863 (Mother’s father; first use of name, Morgan).  Born at Lewisburg, Tn."  Vicki:  This picture of the McCrorys "was made around 1892.  Grandma Fields is the baby, and the other two children are Aunt Hallie and Uncle Forrest.  Of course the parents are Morgan Forrest and Mary Hinton McCrory."  I traced "our ancestors through the McKelvy line back to Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland where James McKelvy was born in 1725.  His wife was Margaret, and Margaret and James McKelvy will bring you up to James Willis McKelvy and wife Harriet E. (our great, great grandparents). They have her last name as unknown, but it is Burrow.  I have also received a full line of our ancesters on the McCrory side from a Tom McCrory in Arlington, Tennessee dating back to 1733 in Antrim, Ireland.  The McCrorys settled in North Carolina originally and the McKelvys landed on June 22, 1767 on the ship Nancy in Charles Towne, SC from Ireland."



The McCrorys


Vicki:  “Morgan Forrest was born September 3, 1862, and died at the age of 89 on July 22, 1951.  I was twelve at the time and remember it as being the first time to see someone after they had died.  Visitation was at his daughter Hallie Bradbury's in Medina where he was living at the time.  He was buried in Lavinia, Tennessee.  The obituary said he was a retired farmer and stockman.  It also stated he was born near Lewisburg and moved to Kenton as a young boy.  He was a Cumberland Presbyterian.  His daughter Elsie once told me she remembered going to the fair with him to show his horses and also remembered framed ribbons in their family dining room.  She told of tomatoes, strawberries and wonderful peaches in their orchards.  He had tenant farmers and provided well for them and never had any trouble getting workers.  He loved to waltz and would put on a waltz record and waltz across the room by himself.  ‘No’ meant ‘No,’ no questions asked and the children would work in the field. According to Elsie, he was handsome and popular as a young man and could have had any girl, but he chose Mary (May) Hinton McKelvy.”  James McCrory, who was Morgan's Great Uncle, was the body guard to George Washington.


Charlie:  "Betty [Bettie] (Adams) Fields, Lavinia, TN, born Aug. 20, 1865.  She was Daddy's mother.  After Daddy's father died she remarried to a Mr. Robinson [Robeson].  I met him but was very young and do not remember much about him.  I think that he must have been good as he offered to send Daddy to Europe to study music but Daddy wanted to get married.  He is the one who left daddy the farm.  I have her wedding ring.  It is a plain gold band, looks about 8mm.  I put a tag on it to identify it."


Vicki:  Bettie Adams was married first to George Malcolm Fields in 1886.  They were Grandpa Fields' parents.  Grandpa was born in 1887 and his father died in 1892 when Grandpa was 5 years old.  I believe he died from Scarlet Fever.  I don't know when Bettie married Millon B. Robeson, but she died in 1907 when Grandpa was 20, so he did not have parents for very long.  I was told when I made this trip that since George Malcolm was the oldest of 8 children, the surviving 7 included Grandpa as if he were their brother rather than a nephew.  M.B. Robeson died in 1918 and was buried next to Bettie with George Malcolm Fields on the other side of her in the Adams family cemetery along with Bettie's parents, Howell and Dorcas E. Adams and siblings.  I know you have all the information about Mr. Robeson working for the Post Office and leaving his farm to Grandpa.”


According to Adams Cemetery, Carroll County, TN (W of Lavinia Road, SW of the lake), G.M. Fields' gravemarker reads 28 July 1862 to 28 Nov. 1892, and M.B Robeson's reads 1855 to 1918; married Bettie:  20 Aug. 1865 to 13 Nov. 1907


Charlie:  "Mary Hinton (McKelvey) McCrory, Lavinia, TN, born Oct. 5, 1865:  She was Mama's Mama and my Mammy.  I remember her as a very sweet lady.  She died, I believe, in 1924 of locked bowels. I think that is a simple thing to correct now, but not then.  We still had the car then so when we were notified that Mammy was seriously ill we took off to go to Lavinia.  Meantime she had been taken to the hospital in Jackson, Tn.  Some relatives stood on the street in Jackson to try and catch us as we went thru.  They missed us and we went on to Medina and stopped at Aunt Hallies where someone told us Mammy was in the hospital in Jackson.  We hurried back to Jackson but by the time we got to the room she was unconscious and died shortly thereafter.  Had they been able to stop us as we passed thru Jackson she was conscious then.  I was eleven and my first experience with death."


"Charlie Adams Fields, Lavinia, TN, born Nov. 12, 1887, died Sept. 3, 1968.  My Daddy.  There are many things I wished I had asked him.  One, I wonder why he was named Charlie.  You would thought it may be George or Malcom.  Where did Charlie come from?  Adams is his Mother's maiden name."  He was an only-son.


"Mary Mozelle (McCrory) Fields, Milan, TN, born Mar. 17, 1892, died Apr. 26, 1972.  My Mama.  Mama was one of eight children.  In order, Hallie, Forest, Mozelle, Lottie, Charlie, Eugene, O'Dell, and Elsie."  PFC John F. McCrory (1,309,470), Tennessee; Enlisted 9-19-17; Co. H, 327 INF to 10-14-17; Co. L, 117 INF (AEF; the unit distinguished itself in the battle of the Somme, Le Selle, Ypres, Saint Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne) to 4-24-19 (Honorable Discharge); Overseas 5-11-18 to 4-2-19.  PFC Eugene McCrory (4,614,256), Tennessee; Enlisted, Parris Island, SC, 6-1-18; HQ OS Dept. Quantico, VA, 7-30-18; Co. A, OS Dept. 8-26-18; Co. G, 11th Regiment, U.S. Marines, Quantico,VA, 9-18; Co. G, 11th Regiment, U.S. Marines, AEF France, 9-17-18; Co. F, 11th Regiment, U.S. Marines, Montierchaume, France, 10-26-18; Hampton Roads, VA, 8-6-19 (Honorable Discharge 8-11-19); Overseas 10-26-18 to 7-29-19.  PVT Charlie M. McCrory (4,251,204), Tennessee; Enlisted 9-6-18; Co. D, 57 Pion INF to 12-5-18; Co. I, 311 INF (St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne) to 6-4-19 (Honorable Discharge); Overseas 9-29-28 to 5-22-19.  Vicki:  “Uncle Charlie said [Eugene] lied about his age in order to enlist.”  Below is a picture Eugene (l) and John Forrest McCrory during WW1.


Eugene McCrory    


birth home

Charlie Morgan Fields was born here in Lavinia, TN on 20 January 1913


Charlie:  "We had moved from Lavinia to Memphis when I was two years old.  Daddy's stepfather, a Mr. Robinson [Robeson], left daddy a farm when he died--this was after we had moved to Memphis, and since Dad did not want to go back to farming he sold the farm.  I do not know how much he got for the farm but I seem to recollect for some reason that it was $4000.  This was circa 1921 and I do remember what he did with the money.  He paid around $2000 of it for a brand new Buick automobile and that's how I got into this little discourse, to tell you about driving back to Lavinia.  It is only 100 miles from Memphis to Lavinia but in those days it was an all day trip.  The roads were mostly dirt, with deep ruts.  It was quite a maneuver to meet someone and pull to the side to pass.  Many stops had to be made to ask directions--there were no road signs.  And it seemed that it always rained!  And boy, did that give you trouble.  Chains were a must back then but even with them on you would slip and slide all over the place.  I remember one time it was pouring down rain and we came to a little hill.  We almost made it to the top when the wheels started spinning and sliding back.  Daddy got out on the side of the road and cut branches and laid them all the way up that hill.  We almost made it to the top again but started spinning and sliding only this time we slid into a ditch and Dad had to go to the nearest farm house and get the farmer with a team to come pull the car out.  I seem to remember that he paid the farmer two dollars.  I remember one trip we made before we got the car.  We rode the train to Milan and took a horse and buggy for the ten miles to Lavinia.  It was late at nite and very, very cold.  I must have been 5 or 6 and Sister was 3 or 4.  Sister and I were on the floor of the buggy and we got so cold that Daddy stopped at a farm house and borrowed a blanket to wrap us in.  I sure was glad that he did."


"I'm sorry to have made such a long paragraph but I got started and didn't know where to stop.  There are things that I remember about Lavinia and Grandpa McCrory.  Like when I visited there in the summer and would go to school in Lavinia.  We would walk 2 miles to school, barefooted in the mud.  Country kids go to school in the summer as they must work the crops in the fall.  One time a boy and I were going to steal one of Grandpa's watermelons.  We were going down the row thumping the mellons to find a ripe one when we looked up there was Grandpa squatting down at the end of the row watching us.  Another time he caught me smoking corn silk.  I don't remember if he told Mama or not.  He had several horses and would let me ride a gently one--but he did not want me to run the horse.  I of course wanted to run.  I remember one time running the horse and going to a walk when I got in sight of the house--only thing, the horse had worked up a little lather.  I don't remember how that was explained.  The house was two story, and I can remember just about every nook and corner of it.  It was built up off the ground and that made for a game that Sister and I used to play.  We start out in opposite directions walking around the house.  It was ok to run but if you were caught you lost the game, so we could look under the house to catch the other running.  We had fun playing that game."  Once, Dad relieved himself in the woods and wiped with some leaves nearby.  The leaves happened to be poison ivy and Dad was laid up on his tummy for a while afterwards.


"As you can tell, that place has many memories for me.  I hated it when the Army took over all that land.  They took all the land between Milan and Lavinia, 10 miles, to build a shell loading plant.  Mama worked there during the war."  Dad remembered his parents talking about WW1 when he was four (1917).  They were afraid his Dad would have to leave the family and fight.


"I wish that you two had had the opportunity to experience some farm life.  But then it was different in your time what with electricity, running water, indoor plumbing.  I am glad you were able to see Uncle TS farm.  Do you remember the time we walked around it with him and his dog?  The dog was so old he could hardly make it.  Then when we got back to the house I made pictures of you on his tractor."


"I can't leave thinking about that place without mentioning the good food they always had.  Grandpa had a smoke house he kept country ham, sausage and meat in.  That country ham and sausage just could not be beat.  Did I ever tell you about the biscuits with ham hanging out the sides that I used to take to school?"


"I almost forgot to tell you what Dad did with the other $2000.  He bought a grocery store, sold groceries on credit and went broke.  So much for the $4000.  (He should have invested it in Coca Cola and we would be rich).  Also, Chip, that is where we got the name Morgan.  Mama did not say when any of these people died.  I think that Grandpa died in 1946."


Fields grocery store, Charlie on right

Fields' Grocery Store, Charlie (r)


"We lived on Beal St.--in the 1800 block--just east of Dunlop.  I am sure that must be the first place we lived in Memphis.  We had moved there from Lavinia, TN when I was two years old.  That would have been in 1915.  Sister was a baby, having been born in Lavinia in 1915.  I remember very little about that time, but three things do stand out.  We lived next door to a policeman, named Coyle.  The Coyles must have been older than Mama and Daddy as they had a daughter named Mona and she and Mama seemed to be about the same age and were friends.  We did not have indoor plumbing but had an outhouse.  My Dad worked for the Memphis Streetcar Co. and sometime before he left for work he would leave a nickel on the mantle for Sister and me."



Charles Adams Fields, Memphis Streetcar Company


dad 8a (ph40)                            Charlie, Dorris Bowden, Tommye


"We later moved to 177 S. Dunlop.  The picture of me and my dog Trixie was made when we lived on Dunlap in Memphis.  Remember when you were in the Marines and stationed at Millington, Mom and I came to see you and drove around and I showed you some places I had lived.  We stopped in front of the place but the house was no longer there.  While we were there a squad car came by and I explained to the officer that I had lived there 60 or so years ago.  Notice that my face is swelled.  I had the mumps.  Picture made circa1919 - 1920."  Dad’s favorite hymn is “In The Garden.”  “That is a song that I used to hear my Mama sing when I was a little fellow "and he walks with me ----" I think of Mama when i hear it.”  Dad also liked “Amazing Grace,” and “How Great Thou Art.”  The other picture was made around 1921.  Vicki:  “The girl in the middle is Dorris Bowden.  She and Mom were friends through high school.  In fact, she was dating Daddy and introduced him to Mother.  Dorris ended up marrying the movie director, Nunnally Johnson, and appeared in his movie, ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’”


"At this place on Dunlop across the street from us was a steam laundry.  Cresent Laundry, I think the name was.  I had a Coca Cola stand in our front yard and used to take cokes in the laundry to sell.  They were a good seller as a laundry is a hot place.  Some other things remembered--I had a dog named Trixie.  One time Trixie ran off or was taken.  Daddy later found her and brought her home.  Sister and I were in bed when he brought her in.  She jumped all over the bed and was very happy as were we.  She was later run over and killed at the corner of Union & Dunlop.  We had some good Christmas while there.  Some things I received:  a pedal car, an air rifle, a bicycle.  I shot a street light out with my air rifle.  I was told the cops were coming after me--I was really scared.  I had learned to ride a bicycle when Bob Bowden and I played hookey from school and I learned to ride on his bicycle on East Parkway.  Parkway went all the way around the city of Memphis at that time--North, East & South.  The Mississippi River was on the West.  There was so little traffic at that time that we hid in the bushes when a car would come.  Later that day I walked by Bob’s house and heard him getting a whipping for playing hookey.  I knew my time was coming."  Dad greased streetcar tracks on Halloween during the 20s and 30s just to watch them slide back down inclines.


dad car (ph50)


"I'm sure that is Mama, Me, Sister and a friend in there.  Picture made circa 1921."


"He went broke in the store as he let everyone have credit.  I have some kodak pictures of some of those events.  Bob and his bicycle & me on a skate truck, Sister & me and the pedal car, with my dog Trixie.  To go back a little, I remember Mama & Daddy being worried about him being drafted into the army.  This was about 1917 or 1918.  They never did draft husbands with children."  Dad remembers WW1 vets selling apples on the street corner for a nickel.


"His dad was an only child, his grandfather died when he was five (malaria).  Grandmother remarried, his Dad inherited a farm from him, sold it and bought a grocery store, went broke (1921) by giving credit."


Country kids worked fall (for the harvest), schooled summer.  City kids vacationed summer.  Charlie walked two miles barefooted in mud to go to school when visiting family in the summer.  Took biscuits and salted country ham for lunch.  His desk was near the school opening.  He would put a stick in the ground and could tell when it was time to eat by the shadow.  Teacher let him ring the bell once.  When he pulled on the rope, the frame fell down on him and scarred his foot.


dad 1922 (ph60)


"The story with the school picture is the 4th grade at Bruce School where I started and went to the 6th grade as I recall and then we moved.  The picture was made circa 1924 and you probably recognize me in the lower left.  Note there are 38 students but I don't think that teachers had trouble with that large class as discipline was better then.  I still recognize and remember names of some."


Failed 5th grade in English.  Went to work at 15 (1929) after the eighth grade, and lived at 22 ˝ S. Cooper St. in Memphis.  Worked as errand boy at Memphis Engraving Company for five years.  Heard sister was taking two baths per day and he asked her, "You don't use soap every time, do you?"  He would get 14c to deliver goods using public transportation.  He would run back to save 7c.  Photographer used him as assistant.  While running errands on his bike, a Jewish man ran a red light, pinned him between two cars breaking his leg in three places (Sept. 13, 1929).  He was in a cast from his chest to his toes on his left leg and to his knee on his right leg with a cross-bar between to keep them steady.  He dreamed he had jumped from a building (after one week in cast) and jerked.  They had to reset the break and start the cast over again.  Collected $2000 insurance.  Lawyer ($450) got more than doctor ($350), which upset the doctor.  They put $1000 in bank for Dad to collect when he was 21.  His family could get at the interest, so they collected the $50 interest every year.  "Shortly after I returned to work in Jan 1930 I again was riding my bike on Main st having gotten to work early and was just killing time.  I didn't know the street car was behind me and I pulled out in front of it.  The motorman rang his bell like mad.  I looked back but it was too late.  He tried to stop but he hit me and I ended up under the front of the street car.  I was caught by the 'cow catcher' and was not hurt.  But I was scared to death!  It scared the motorman too.  He got out and looked up under the car and there I was, unhurt."  Tommye taught Dad how to dance to "Shine on Harvest Moon."  Dad and her used to ride a streetcar on Saturdays to the picture show and stay for more than one show.  The theatre would cut the corner out of the popcorn bags so that the kids wouldn't pop them.


When Dad turned 21 in 1934, Louis was going to teach Dad to fly.  His Mom and Dad told Louis not to teach him or he could not marry Tommye (Dad's sister).  Dad got mad and bought a two-year-old (‘32) Chev. for $450 and blew the rest of the $1000 going to Chicago to visit the World’s Fair and look for a job with the photographer he worked for in Memphis (Jan. 1935).  Found no work, had no car, so he went to 12th street station and cased the place.  There was no real security there.  He found a train going south (Cairo, Ill.).  Dad climbed underneath the train and sat on a cross-bar.  He had to suspend himself (for 60 miles) because of the shaking.  The train stopped at Kankakee.  They would shake the coals out and Dad almost stopped over the coals.  He took advantage of the stop and climbed on the coal car where he met another transient.  There were lots of bums traveling (because of the depression), so railroads had "Bulls" to keep bums off the train.  At another stop, Dad went in a train station where a guy gave him a sandwich and put him on a box car going south.  It was a cold night and the moon was shining through the open door on the car.  He got off at Cairo, Ill., and stopped at fire station where someone asked him if he wanted to wash up (his face was black).  He got to northern Tenn. and was sitting on a curb by a stoplight.  A guy drove by that Dad knew from Memphis and gave him a ride to Memphis.


Dad got a job with a photo outfit.  He was playing golf in Memphis where he messed up his second shot and decided to join the Army (June 1941).  He had a high number (would have never been drafted).  "I got off some good shots, but then messed up.  I got so disgusted I said, `to heck with it,' and joined. My friends couldn't understand why I enlisted when I wasn't going to be drafted. I wanted to fly."


dad boot2


"Enlisted in Army Air Corps 13 June 1941 in Memphis, Tn.  Was sworn in the next day in Jackson, Miss. and sent to Moffitt Field, Calif. for basic training.  One thing I remember about the trip--we entered Texas and after riding 24 hours on the train we were still in Texas.  I didn't know anything could be so big.  The thing I remember about basic training is that we were kept on base for about 6 weeks and Jimmy Stewart was a jaw-bone Corporal and gave us exercise every day.  He had his airplane up there and would fly down to Hollywood every week-end."  One day he entered the mess hall and sat at one of the long tables where Stewart was eating.  "He was at one end near the wall and I was up at the other end.  I asked him to pass the ketchup and he did."


"I had put in when I enlisted to be put in a photographic outfit, since I was a commercial photographer (was told by the recruing Sgt. that no sweat- thats where I would go into a photo outfit).  But you know the military--they saw that I had some radio experience on my enlistment papers and sent me to a basic training flight school at Wasco, Calif. near Bakersfield.  We kept the radios up on the BT 13 trainer the Cadets were flying.  Made $21 per month."  Went to get paid and Dad owed $2 for laundry and PX tickets (Oct. 41).  He worked off the $2 at the O' club Halloween party washing dishes.


"I still wanted to get in a photo outfit so would go to see the 1st Sgt for permission to see the CO, a Cpt.  The 1sgt would not give permission so could not request the move.  Somewhere along that time in one of my letters to Sister & Louis I must have told them of my frustration in not being able to see the CO and request a transfer.  I received a letter from Louis one day and he told me of having a Col. Olds on board his flight and he took him up in the cockpit and let him fly the airplane some.  It was a DC 3.  He also told Col. Olds about my experience as a photographer but was not able to transfer into a photo outfit.  He said Col. Olds told him to tell me to try one more time and if not able to transfer let him know.  So I went to see the 1st Sgt again and again was denied permission to see the CO.  I wrote Louis and told him that I had tried.  It must have been 10 days - maybe two weeks later the CO sent for me to come to his office.  He asked me if I had been trying to get a transfer.  I said 'yes sir.'  He showed me a letter from the Chief of The Air Corps in Washington, DC suggesting that they transfer one-each Pvt.Charles M. Fields to the 4th Photo at Moffitt Field, Calif for the betterment of the service and of the individual.  The CO asked if that was what I wanted.  I said 'yes sir.'  We shook hands, took a step back and saluted, and that afternoon I was on the train to Moffitt, Field, Calif. and the 4th Photo.  I don't think the 4th was all that happy to get me.  The first thing they did was give me an 8-by-10 view camera to take a picture of the front and back of the headquarters building, develop the film and make prints.  I stayed with them the rest of my time in the service.  That was in Nov 1941 - just shortly before Dec 7, 1941, as FDR said 'a date that will live in infamy.'  Many of us were gathered around a radio the next day, the 8 Dec, and heard Roosevelt make that speech in which that statement was made and war was declared.  I still get goose bumps remembering it."  Dad’s commander told his troops to burn their civilian clothes or send them home.


dad coffee (ph80)


This "pic is one made in our coffee room at March Field, Calif. in 1942 or 43.  From L to R Don Stoddard, Bob Biggers (he later went to pilot training and was killed in a B-17 mid-air fire), Bill Stewart (later killed in a crash in South America), me, Charlie Fields and Tom Peet.  Tom later went to OCS and I ran into him in New Guenia sp when we were in the Pacfic.  We were all aerial photographers at the time the pic was made in 4th photo mapping sqd.  The people of San Francisco area were so gracious and kind to soldiers.  There was always a list on the bulletin board of people inviting soldiers to visit on the weekend for dinner. You could stand out on the highway and have a ride in no time."


Charlie served in Central and South America, Canada, and the States during the first part of the war (San Jose airport in 43).  "We flew from Churchill on Hudson Bay to below Rio de Janeiro on the East Coast of South America to below Santiago, Chile, on the West Coast."  The maps of Central and South America and Canada were not accurate and the military needed accurate maps in case the war spread to the Americas. German submarines were spotted up and down the coasts of North and South America and Dad remembered blackouts while in Rio in 1943.  Quickly, the crew learned not to trust the old maps.  "We were going into Panama from Brazil and going through Colombia.  I heard the navigator tell the pilot the map shows 3,000-foot mountains there and to fly at 5,000 feet to be safe. I sat back with my camera.  All at once we broke out in the clear and there were trees and green stuff on the sides of mountains.  We started climbing. When we landed we found out the peaks were 7,000 feet.  We lost one airplane down there because it flew into a mountain because the maps weren't good.  They didn't have the correct information on them."  All the countries were cooperating with the U.S. military.  "They were glad to accommodate us and get maps of their countries."




This "pic is L to R Ralph Bauer, M/SGT crew chief of our aircraft, the Gopher, a B-34 Lockheed Vega Ventura, me S/Sgt aerial photographer, George Geary. S/sgt radio operater and 1Lt Don Cooper, the pilot.  Our navigator 1Lt Ardis is not in the pic.  Picture was made in Central America or South America.  Notice the flags of the countries we had been in."


While flying out of a U.S. military base in Brazil, Dad suffered appendicitis. An appendectomy was performed at the 200th Station Hospital in Brazil.  "I was amazed at the landing strip in Caracas, Venezuela.  It was on the coast, the only level ground. Twenty miles up the mountainside was Caracas, with a modern hotel Rockefeller had built."  Flying over Angel Falls in Venezuela, Dad saw the airplane of American pilot Jimmy Angel, for whom the falls was named.  "And we flew over a volcano still puffing out smoke."


During the summer of 1944 Charlie went to the South Pacific for one year.  "I forgot to tell you the aircraft we used in the Pacific.  It was a B24 with a crew of 10.  The pilot, co-pilot and navigator were commissioned.  The crew chief (engineer) was usually a master sgt, assistant engineer, radio operator, two gunners, photographer and assistant photographer.  These were all enlisted.  I was the photographer but all the enlisted crew could operate the guns having been to gunnery school at Harlinger, Tx.  I remember one thing we had to do at school was take apart and put back together a 50 cal machine gun while blindfolded.  For the aerial gunnery practice we did out over the Gulf of Mexico shooting at a sleeve target being pulled by another aircraft.  We used colored rounds so could tell how many hits."


"En route to our destination of Hollandia, New Guinea, one incident made an everlasting impression on me.  We landed at Tarawa. It had earlier been secured by the Marines. I visited the beach and looking out from the beach to where the Marines had to wade in because of low tide and the Japanese mowing them down with machine gun fire, it just made you want to cry."


"We never had to use our guns.  We never did see an enemy aircraft. The only time we were shot at was when flying out of Darwin, Australia. Over Timor, Bali and those islands, we got some fire popping around us, but we were never hit."


"The closest to an accident was when we lost an engine one time and were unable to maintain altitude.  We threw out all the guns, cameras and other equipment and were able to get back to base. Nose gear collapsed on landing, but there were no injuries."


On one base in New Guinea, an engineer had gone up into the mountains, made a dam in a stream and piped the water back to the airfield.  "They built showers and they were running 24/7.  That was the coldest water coming out of those mountains."


From New Guinea and Australia, the crew began moving up the island chain secured by the Marines and Army. They flew out of bases in the Philippines after the islands were retaken from the Japanese. Finally, the crew ended up on Okinawa.  "One morning on Okinawa we were waiting to take off and a plane in front of us started to take off and rolled.  He crashed and burned. They pushed the plane off the runway so the rest of us could take off. Those guys burned. They were just gone."


"I was in a phot outfit (4th Photo Mapping Sqd) and on the occasion of Tokyo we were photographing the fire bomb damage. There were vast areas of destruction in Tokyo.  There were just a few standing brick chimneys. The firebombs simply destroyed Tokyo. The houses were so flimsily built they easily burned. The destruction in Tokyo seemed much greater than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but not as far-reaching.  In the case of Hiroshima I am sure the damage was greater at ground zero but not as larger of area as the fire bomb.  The same with Nagasaki.  These three missions were flown from Okinawa and dated from 25 Aug 45 to 8 Sep 45.  When you come remind me to show you the log book I kept.  I think that you may want it sometime."  Today, the 4th Photo Mapping Squadron is known as the 4th Space Operations Squadron, based at Falcon AFB, CO.


Dad was discharged Nov. 45.  "After I had been discharged and was home in Memphis I was notified that an award ceremony would be held at a local military installation and that I had an award due.  I was due the Air Medal so was not surprised at the notice.  My name was called and I went up and the man started reading the citation for the medal.  The citation was for a Purple Heart!  I stopped him and told him I did not have a Purple Heart coming.  This caused a little confusion--but I did get the Air Medal."


Plough Inc. gave Dad $25 per month while he was in the service (more than he made as a private).  Louis and some other AA pilots formed Dixie Air Associates.  Dad was part owner using the money he saved.  Louis arranged for Dad to get pilot training in 1946 from Kenneth Starns in Conway, AK.  Then he instructed at Dixie.  He and others began a flight school, rented planes and did charter flying at a municipal airport in Memphis, Tenn. They were the distributors for Cessna airplanes in the area.  Flew a man who was injured in a motorcycle accident to the Mayo clinic.  Dad has the press report and picture on that incident.  Dad was ferrying a Cessna to Memphis and got lost (thought his instruments were off).  He was caught in low clouds and eventually lost directional awareness--vertigo.  He went spiraling toward the ground and knew he had bought it, but out of the corner of his eye caught glimpse of a light on the ground.  The light happened to be coming from an abandoned airfield.  Dad never let that light out of his sight.  He circled the airfield a couple of times and two cars drove up, shining their headlights on the runway.  He landed without incident.


Air Force opened up nine flight training schools in 1951.  They opened one in Bainbridge.  Southern Airways came to Memphis.  Someone there told Dad they were looking for instructors at Bainbridge.  Dad flew down there and was hired.  Dad went to PIS (Pilot Instructor School) at Selma, AL.  Dad was the first one to get a flight check and pass (on a Friday).  He was popular that weekend.  Instructor said he was putting Dad up for a check.  Dad thought he was being washed out.  But they knew he had put his heart into it.




This "picture is of me and my four students in front of a T-6 at Bainbridge Air Base, Bainbridge, Ga.  Probably made in 1952 or 1953.  The picture I received is dark but it appears that one of the students has on a foreign cap - we trained a lot of foreign students (they were foreigners but we referred to them as Allied students. I guess we had political correctness even then).  Bainbridge was one of nine civilian contract schools to train Air Force students.  The schools were mostly civilian but with the military having final control."


"A note of interest:  In WW 2 The Army Air Force (there was no such thing as the Army Air Force - it is, or was, the Army Air Corps.  Remember the song 'Off we go....nothing can stop the Army Air Corps') used three phases of training for the training.  Primary (PT-19) Basic (BT-13) and Advanced (AT-6).  I don't know how much time they received in each but that was the progression.  But what is of interest that a few years later the students are being started out in the aircraft they used to finish in.  The PT-19 had a fixed prop and gear - the BT-13 had a vairable pitch prop but still had the fixed gear.  The AT-6 had vairable pitch prop and retractable gear."




"The story behind the instructors kneeling and Air Force students standing in front of the T-6 is a class I had circa 1954.  I was the flight commander and you probably recognize me in the center.  This must have been one of the last classes in the T-6 as we got the T-34 - T-28 in 1954 and then the T-37 (jet) in 1957.  Chip, I was just noticeing that the picture above was made in 1924 and the one below in 1954 - just 30 years and look how much had changed and happened.  I remember 1969 (you were 9 years old) and now 1999 - 30 years and it dosen't seem so much has happened.  But to you I'm sure it seems a lot has happened.  Just a bit of additional info.  Along about 1957 the Air Force reduced the number of students being trained and so had less classes.  I was put back to Ass't Flight Commander for awhile and then back to Flight Commander.  Here is why I think that I was promoted to Flight Commander in the first place.  When the first group of us not in the original Southern Airways group went to the Air Force PIS (pilot instructor school) I was the first one to pass the check ride.  It happened on a Friday and I was the only one put up for a check.  I was the center of attention that weekend as everyone wanted to know what I had to do on the check ride.  The PIS was at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Al.  When we started student classes in Sept 1951 I was a buck instructor with 4 students just like all of the buck instructors.  But then I may have been noticed again when around 1953 or early 1954 the Ass't Director of Flying came down to our Flt bldg one day as we were getting ready to go home - we had flown the morning flight that day - and told Ira Gray, the Flt Co that the school commander had sent back an allied student who had been washed out because he could not solo at night.  He had had several instructors who had put him up for elimination and check rides and the board eliminated him.  He told Ira to 'give him to Charlie' I was the Ass't Flt Co.  Ira told me before he left 'Charlie don't let that boy hurt you tonight' I took him out on a short flight that afternoon to see if he could fly.  He could as well as supposed to at that level of training.  We went out that night and on the first landing it was easy to see why he had not soloed.  With a T-6 you have to establish directional control as soon as you touchdown or you groundloop.  He didn't.  I pulled off the side of the runway and had a talk with him.  I don't remember what I said but I don't think he needed the intercom to hear me.  We went back up and he never wavered again.  After a few landings I soloed him.  I asked him if he had had his dual night navagation - he had.  So we got his airplane refueled and I got one and chased him on the night navagation course.  No one ever said anything to me about that night but not long after that one of the orginal flight commanders was fired and to the surprise of a lot of people I was given the job.  I have always felt that the two above incidents were noticed and were responsible.  Hope the story did not bore you."


Dad taught this guy how to fly in 1953 (fixed wing) and later in 1975 (safety course):  MICHAEL J. NOVOSEL.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor.  This is the citation:

Rank and organization: Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army, 82d Medical Detachment, 45th Medical Company, 68th Medical Group. Place and date: Kien Tuong Province, Republic of Vietnam, 2 October 1969. Entered service at: Kenner, La. Born: 3 September 1922, Etna, Pa. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. CWO Novosel, 82d Medical Detachment, distinguished himself while serving as commander of a medical evacuation helicopter. He unhesitatingly maneuvered his helicopter into a heavily fortified and defended enemy training area where a group of wounded Vietnamese soldiers were pinned down by a large enemy force. Flying without gunship or other cover and exposed to intense machinegun fire, CWO Novosel was able to locate and rescue a wounded soldier. Since all communications with the beleaguered troops had been lost, he repeatedly circled the battle area, flying at low level under continuous heavy fire, to attract the attention of the scattered friendly troops. This display of courage visibly raised their morale, as they recognized this as a signal to assemble for evacuation. On 6 occasions he and his crew were forced out of the battle area by the intense enemy fire, only to circle and return from another direction to land and extract additional troops. Near the end of the mission, a wounded soldier was spotted close to an enemy bunker. Fully realizing that he would attract a hail of enemy fire, CWO Novosel nevertheless attempted the extraction by hovering the helicopter backward. As the man was pulled on aboard, enemy automatic weapons opened fire at close range, damaged the aircraft and wounded CWO Novosel. He momentarily lost control of the aircraft, but quickly recovered and departed under the withering enemy fire. In all, 15 extremely hazardous extractions were performed in order to remove wounded personnel. As a direct result of his selfless conduct, the lives of 29 soldiers were saved. The extraordinary heroism displayed by CWO Novosel was an inspiration to his comrades in arms and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.


dad ira (ph120)


"This is a picture made in flt room and shows Hercial Andy Anderson, an instructor, me, and Ira Gray, the flight co.  I was ass't flt co then.  Andy is dead, drowned while fishing with heavy winter clothes on.  Ira is also dead.  Picture probably made circa 1954."


"The T-6 was used until 1954 when the T-34 and the T-28 were brought in.  Students were given a few hours in the T-34 to start (I don't remember how many) and then into the T-28.  They had tricycle gear and were much easier to control on landing than the T-6.  In 1957 the T-37 (Jet) came in we were the first to start the students in that.  The Air Force later whittled the 9 schools to 5 and Bainbridge was one of the 5.  The Air Force closed all the schools at the end of 1960."


t37    t33


Dad was usually the first one to solo a student.  Oct. 1951, final on runway 5, Bobbie Thompson hit the home run for the Giants.  Dad was listening to the ball game.  A student broke in with a question and Dad shut him up.  Dad loved instructing so much he hated seeing the weekends.



Charlie’s Award Case


Betty Fields


Charlie and Betty Married


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