Legion to honor Mustang police, fire

By Don Kuntze, American Legion Post 353

        The American Legion Post 353 of Mustang and Auxiliary Unit 353 meet on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Mustang Community Center in the Senior Center.  We invite all veterans and their families to join us at our next meeting Feb. 13, 2014.

Legion to honor Firefighter and Police Officer of the Year  Post 353, again this year, has the distinct honor of presenting awards to the outstanding Firefighter and Police Officer in our community.  The presentation will be made at the Feb. 13 Post meeting, held at Mustang Community Center Senior Room.  The public is invited to attend.

Boy Scouts of America celebrate 104 years. The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated on Feb. 8, 1910 under the laws of the District of Columbia. The founders of the Boy Scout of America organization included William D. Boyce, Colin H. Livingstone, Daniel Carter Beard, Ernest Thompson Seton, James E. West, and honorary members former Presidents William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt.

Taps. The Post 353 Honor Guard had the privilege of rendering the final salute to US Army veterans Eugene Jordan, Homer Koch, Dana Avants, and US Air Force veteran Donald Hilbern.

Amazing World War II aircraft facts. Imagine putting all this information together in 1945 without a computer!  On average, 6,600 American servicemen died each month during WWII (about 220 per day).  There were 276,000 aircraft manufactured in the U.S., 43,000 planes lost overseas, including 23,000 in combat and 14,000 lost in the continental U.S. 

The staggering costs of aircraft in 1945 dollars were:  B-17 $204,370, P-40 $44,892, B-24 $215,516, P-47 $85,578, B-25 $142,194, P-51 $51,572, B-26 $192,426, C-47 $88,574, B-29 $605,360, PT-17 $15,052, P-38 $97,147, AT-6 $22,952.

The time from Germany’s invasion of Poland, Sept. 1, 1939, until Japan’s surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, was 2,433 days, and America lost an average of 170 planes per day.

The   B-17 carried 2,500 gallons of high octane fuel and a crew of 10 airmen.  There were 9.7 billion gallons of gasoline consumed and 108 million hours flown.  Our forces fired 460 billion rounds of aircraft ammo overseas.  There were 7.9 million bombs dropped overseas, 2.3 million combat flights, and 299,230 aircraft used 808,471 aircraft engines and 799,972 propellers.

The U.S. lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and support personnel, plus 13,873 airplanes inside the continental United States.  There were 52,651 aircraft accidents, (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months.  Average 1,170 aircraft accidents per month, nearly 40 a day.

It gets worse….almost 1,000 planes disappeared enroute from the U.S. to foreign countries.  But 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 in Europe) and 20,633 due to non-combat causes overseas.  In a single 376-plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down.  That was a 16 percent loss rate, which 600 empty bunks in England.  In 1942-43 it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete the intended 25-mission tour in Europe.  Pacific Theater losses were far less (4,530 in combat) due to smaller forces committed.  The B-29 mission against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost 26 Superfortresses. 

On average, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII, about 220 a day.  Over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat, and another 18,000 wounded.  Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including those “liberated” by the Soviets, but never returned.  More than 41,000 were captured.  Half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity, compared to about 10% in German hands.  Total combat casualties were 121,867.

The U.S forces peak strength in 1944 was 2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year’s figure.  Losses were huge, but so were production totals.  From 1941-1945, American industry delivered more than 276,000 military aircraft. That was not only for the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, but also for allies as diverse as Britain, Australia, China, and Russia.


For more information regarding meetings, activities, or events, please call Commander Paul Ray at 921-5819.

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