“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham
The Legion meeting was great last Thursday at the Hut. Steve Swinford did a great job running the show. I always get a kick out of fellowshipping with my fellow veterans. Though I enjoy everyone’s stories and poking fun with each other, invariably it is the more “seasoned” among our ranks and file that catch me off guard. I really appreciate Dick Pope, Rex Mantooh, John Field, and Babe Long.
While on this topic, you have heard that Rex was selected at the State Capitol to be recognized as Veteran of the Day in April. I had the privilege of working up a little biography for our still serving Post Chaplin. William Rex Mantooth was born January 7th 1918. Most of his life has been here in Hominy, I have heard a few great stories about him back in the day, and a few from him (ask him about his home made cane sometime). He never ceases to amaze me. Just last Thursday evening at our meeting, he pulled out of nowhere two horse shoes linked with chain with a small ring in the center and asks me if I can get the small metal ring out of the center. I could not, but he did in quick time!
He joined the Army in 1941, taking his basic training at Camp Roberts, California and continued on to Ft Lewis, WA for further training as a Radar Operator. As a Private First Class, he was stationed in Panama; assigned to the 6th Wing Army Air Corps (USAF later) scouring the skies and managing air traffic. On one occasion, he noticed a cluster on the radar scope and noted the size of one. He calculated based on the size there were twenty aircraft approaching. He reported this and to everyone’s amazement…he hit it on the nose! No one had ever done that before.
As things in the war calmed down in the Pacific, volunteers were sought to deploy to Japan. All his buddies were selected, but he was turned down. He was told “you are the best radar man we have ever had, we can’t lose you”. He exited service in 1946, returning home. He will be recognized at the State Capitol, thanks to our local hero House Representative Sean Roberts. Way to go Rex!
If you enjoyed that little scuttlebutt just wait, Rex served at the same time as many of our heroes did. I hope in the coming months to share their stories as well.
I would like to also mention that on this day in history, another Okie was recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor. Space will restrict me this week so I will expand on the exploits of one of our honored sons in my next offering. As a teaser, here is the basic information. Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 45th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near, Padiglione, Italy, 22 February 1944. Entered service at: Sallisaw, Okla. Birth: Long, Okla. G.O. No.: 5, 15 January 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 22 February 1944, near Padiglione, Italy. It is a great story, stay tuned.
The weather needs to be watched, so we will use the “common sense” rule. It continues to snow as I type this. Our fearless commander continues on his journeys, while he and Nancy travel to Arizona for the Ira Hayes/Iwo Jima Memorial Parade and Ceremony at Sacaton, AZ on the Pima Indian Reservation and then on to Wyoming.
We still have our Chicken Noodle dinner fundraiser on February the 28th. From 1100 to 1300. Everyone is invited. Please attend! It will be fun and entertaining, and all funds received goes back to supporting patriotism in our community.
Our regular meetings are usually the first and third Thursdays at 7:00 PM (March 5th and 19th). If Chef Jerry serves up a feast, that will drop back an hour. I will update you if and when that happens. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in March are still planned (if weather permits) and run starting around 0700 till about 0900. Much thanks to the crew for providing biscuits and gravy, and maybe a waffle or two, and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story, it may end up in print! Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.