He is the son of a World War I veteran who served in Russia in a
largely, forgotten conflict.
A ten year old boy whose mother died during the darkest days of the
depression. A teenager who
accidentally fractured his leg so horribly that he had to wear a brace
during a year long
recovery and was left with a permanent disability.
A young man, adjudged
by doctors to be
physically unfit for military service, who tried enlisting anyway only
to be rejected. Then
undeterred, to later reapply for enlistment and be ultimately accepted
into the US Army in
the Spring of 1943.
After basic training and because of his physical
disability he was assigned
to a AAF MP company stationed in Clearwater, Florida. Sometime
assignment he and one of his superiors had a disagreement that resulted
in him being
transferred to the a training command to be schooled as a firefighter on a
crash crew. That training
took him to the swamps of Louisiana where he learned to operate various
types of heavy,
wheeled truck type equipment in all sorts of terrain. From there he was
sent to Fresno,
California. He's never spoken much about Fresno so I'm unsure of his
next stop was Grand Island, Nebraska and, I believe, his first encounter
with the B-29. He
shipped out for Guam from Seattle, Washington in early 1945.
Separation Qualification Record
(WD AGO Form 100)
The following are indicated for Cpl Edwin G. Renner
Military Occupational Assignments included:
- 1 Month as Pvt in Basic Air Corps (521)
- 8 Months as Pvt in Military Police (677)
- 23 Months as Cpl Fire Fighter (383)
- Engineer Fire Fighter School, Camp Pontchartrain, Louisiana, 6 wks, 1944, Crash Crew work and airraft fires and methods of control.
- Military Police School, St. Petersburg, Florida, 5 weeks, Tactics of Military Police.
| Cpl Edwin G. Renner arrived on Guam 27 January 1945 and departed on 7 November 1945 according to his Enlisted Record and Report of Separation Honorable Discharge (WD AGO 53-55)
During my childhood years (I was born on Jul 1945 while he was on
Guam) I recall him
speaking about many different things both war related and otherwise
while serving on Guam.
A sampling of those include:
It seems that rats were a big problem on Guam and one of his diversions
was to try and build
a sea horse collection. This became an exercise in futility since the
rats always found a way
to eat the specimens while they were drying regardless of the safeguards
devised to defeat
On at least one occasion he was on a B-29 flight whose purpose was to
shakedown a repaired
plane and bomb the airfield on Rota. Rota was still held by the Japs and
their airstrip had to be
periodically bombed to keep them from assembling an attack threat.
On another occasion, a P-51 landed at North Field and was refueled. Upon
takeoff, one of its
two wing tanks came off. The pilot lost control before he could jettison
the other wing tank. My
father was part of the group assigned to locate the pilot's remains in
the jungle. Their first attempt
netted all but the pilots head. Returning the next day they found the
head wedged between two
One Rainy night a B-29, returning from a raid on Japan, crashed short of
the North Field runway.
The men in my father's crash crew wanted to mount a search for
survivors. From past experience
they knew that when a B-29 crashed, the tail section would usually break
away from the main
body of wreckage and the tail gunner would sometimes survive. Their
officer in charge refused
to allow a search to be conducted. Disobeying orders, my father and his
comrades descended the
cliffs at the runway's end. Arriving at the crash site, they found that
the tail section had been thrown
free of the plane and the tail gunner, although injured, was still
alive. My father never spoke of the
rest of the plane's crew so one can only assume that they met a far
worse fate than the tail gunner’s.
The rescue party, equipped with little more than axes, rigged a
stretcher from raincoats. Taking
turns carrying the injured tail gunner, the men scaled the wet and
slippery cliffs. The injured gunner
was taken to the medical aid station for treatment. I asked my father if
his crew received any sort
of commendation for their action and he replied simply, no. I have often
wondered whether the
rescued tail gunner lived and if he had, did he know the circumstances
of his rescue.