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MENU SELECTION:  The Italian Campaign At The Front Books Armies Maps 85th Division GI Biographies Websites

Dated: Oct 25,  2008
            Hooterville  Corner
             My Room  

Personal Info

Born:          Mississippi Delta in early 1950's in the little town of Minter City.
Domiciles:  Itta Bena, Cruger & Starkville, MS. (high school & college)
                     Hanscom AFB - Lexington, MA.
                     Watauga & N. Richland Hills, TX.
                     Memphis & Collierville, TN.
Education:  Small-town Mississippi schools.   Cruger-Tchula Academy, Class of '69.
                     BS in Aerospace Engineering, Mississippi State University
                     Post college & Graduate courses at USAF, Bell Helicopter,
                            Univ. of Dallas, Texas Christian Univ., Memphis State Univ.
                            Aircraft Systems Training and familiarization at FedEx.
Married  with 2 Daughters and 3 Granddaughters.
                  I gave one daughter away but she is still mine.
                  The other daughter is 21 and enjoys playing the guitar and singing.

Churches  - since 1974-  You might have heard of some of these:
                         Grace Chapel - Pastor Gordon MacDonald, Lexington, MA
                         Bellevue Baptist *-  Pastor Doug White, Hurst TX  ( *named after the church in Memphis)
                         Bethesda Community Church - Pastor Des Evans, Fort Worth, TX
                         Chirst the Rock -  Pastor Fred Bennet, Memphis, TN

Profession:  Structures Engineer  (Heavy Metal, dude)
                  US Air Force 1974-1978 - 1st Lieutenant. E-4 Airborne Command Post Program Office
                  Bell Helicopter 1978-1989 - Technical Writer, Fatigue Engineer, & Stress Engineer
                  Menasco Aerospace, 1989-1990. Fort Worth, TX.  Landing Gear Stress Engineer.
                                Taiwan's Indigenous Defense Fighter,  Navy's A-12 Stealth fighter's Nose L/G.
                  Federal Express, 1990- Present.  Aircraft Systems Engineering, Landing Gear Engineer. 
                    Responsible for landing gear for DC10, MD10 and MD11 aircraft.  Manage overhaul details,
                    repair approvals and life limit tracking program.


Past & Present Interests
         Muzzle Loading Fireams.  I began delving into Black Powder in 1973.  Have 20 years experience with BP pistols and rifles.  Where I grew up, I enjoyed taking long walks with a .22 and plinking at rabid turtles.  My bifocals have slowed me down some, now.   Click on link to see my .36 cal squirrel gun.
         Fatigue Analysis.  Fatigue testing of full scale specimens, life calculations, and modes of failure.
         Aviation.  Pays my bills.  I could spend an entire day at an airshow in the Texas summer heat.  In 4th grade, I began building plastic models and learning to identify every combat aircraft.   Work is still progressing on a collection of 1/72-scale WW1 airplanes used as playing pieces in Blue Max wargame. See my webpage on WW1 Aviation.
         Military History.  Civil War, WW1 Aviation, Napoleonic War and a little of everything, especially uniforms.
         Militaria Collection.  Interest started with Nazi relics brought home by Dad.  My small collection includes Army patches,  British cap badges(110+), Russian militaria, and a few odds and ends, such as silk escape maps.  I am always looking for a good deal on eBay Militaria Collectibles.  Check out my Reference Libraries: WW2 Italian Campaign  WW1 Aviation .
         Computers.  Since my first Fortran class using punched cards in 1970, I have been intrigued with computers for programing, flight simulation, forums and chatting.

I'd like to hear from you if you have any similar interests.  I'll write back about on anything related to these topics.
Info about the Top photo
       Photo was taken in my room in our previous house.   Behind me are some items in my collection:

   (a) 125FA, 34th Division tunic,  (b) Trieste Forces shirt,  (c) Italian Officer's uniform, &  (4) 599FA, 92nd Division "Ike" jacket.  On the wall are my Dad's medals and some WW1 British cap badges and a blue US Army Air Corps flag.
   The 3 hats on the shelf(left to right); French Foreign Legion kepi, WW1 Prussian Pickelhaulbe, and WW2 British Royal Engineer Officer's cap. The grenade is a hollow-body, one-piece practice grenade.  The figures are Napoleonic War soldiers: Russian Infantryman & French Lancer.

  Latest News

October 2002 -  Steve attended the reunion of the Polar Bear Association of the 339th Infantry Regiment in Biloxi, MS.  This was a great time to meet some of the veterans and listen to their stories.  Made friends with several sons of veterans such as John Heiser and Al McCloud.  Great opportunity to compare our notes and research material.  The veterans traveled to Camp Shelby, near Hattisburg, MS, for the dedication of a monument to the 85th Division on the grounds of the Armed Forces Museum.

My First Reunion
Steve's display booth at the veteran's reunion.  Included in his display is an American "Ike" jacket with decorations(barely visible), a GI helmet, an Italian officer's uniform tunic & visor hat, an Italian helmet.  Displayed in the frames are a variety of British patches and a samples of pins & badges from other countries, plus a 85th Division patch from WW1.  Spread on the table were several books related to the 85th Division and the Italian Campaign.  Steve is wearing his home-made cap.  The extra chair was there to rest my knee after a recent laproscopic surgery.

Dedication of Monument at Camp Shelby

During the reunion, the 85th Division's monument  was dedicated at Camp Shelby, MS, on the grounds of the Armed Forces Museum

This photo shows the back of the monument that listed each unit associated with the 85th Division.

My hand is next to the list of artillery battalions.

The lower portion lists the names of the Medal of Honor recipients.   The lower base has the emblem for the Polar Bear Association.



Library Displays

April 2002 -  Provided a display at the Collierville City Library(Shelby County Public Library) that was entitled "The Po Valley Campaign in Italy in WW2".  The display included a map of the Allied advance in April 1945.  Display included patches of the American divisions and corps, an Italian helmet, a German death card, and an Italian dog tag.  The documents included photos of my father in Verona and photo of Lt. Bob Dole and field manuals and books related to the Italian Campaign.

July 2003Below are photos of another display of British Regimental Cap Badges at the town library.  The smaller cabinet on the right contained examples of British Army hats with their respective cap badges. This includes 2 visor Dress caps, a khaki WW2 visor cap and a side cap.  The cabinet on the left was difficult to photograph because of the wood frame.  The badges were primarily displayed on the top shelf for ease of viewing.
Library Display Library Display

November 2002
-  Steve's company had a special program for Veterans that included the guest speaker Colonel Hackworth.  Steve set up his display in the lobby (similar to the display at the reunion, above) and it was viewed by at least 300 people.  Interesting coincidence; Colonel Hackworth served in post-war Italy.

Spring 2003 -  A retired Italian officer, Riccardo, contacted Steve via email while seeking help with his research of the battlefields just north of Florence, near the GOTHIC Line.  Riccardo obtained funds from local government to establish some hiking trails and erect a historical monument in the park.  He prepared a brochure about the WW2 history of the battle and the units that fought there, which included the 34th "Red Bull" Division.  Steve proof-read the English version.  The park was dedicated in July 2003.  Details can be found at the 34th Division website.


Presentation at High School
March 2003

I delivered a 30-minute presentation to Mr. Winkleman's Military History Club at the Collierville High School.   I took along two uniforms, several helmets & hats, maps, and books. 

This is a photo of Matt, who I suckered into modeling my Italian Artillery Officer's uniform. 

Quite enjoyable for me; hopefully educational for the students.

October 2004 -  Attended the reunion of the Polar Bear Association of the 339th Infantry Regiment in Washington, DC.  I carried as many books, uniforms and display items that I could get into two suitcases.  The highlight of the event was touring the WW2 Memorial with the Polar Bears. It was very moving.  Also, it was great to meet other 2nd generation "Custermen" and share information with them.

November 2004  -  Participated in another special program for Veterans at my company HQ.  This time my display was accompanied by one large display of WW2 equipment by a reenactor dressed as an airborne paratrooper.  A display of military vehicles were in the parking lot.

June 2005 -  Registered my site as Custermen.com.  This will mean some great improvements and maybe more contacts.  This will require moving all of my files over from AOL to the new site and updating all the links.  I also began to recieve some big orders for merchandise from my PX Store.

October 2006 -  Attended the reunion of the Polar Bear Association of the 339th Infantry Regiment in Branson, MO.  Since is was local, I was able to carry more items in my car.  My display included some Italian hats and uniform and several books and my "GI Joe" little men.

November 2006 & 2007-   Set-up a display in the local library for the month in recognition of Veterans Day.  The display included a variety of items and books related to WW2.  Also, loaned items to my sister for a 1-day event at her elementary school.

September 2008  -   Attended the last reunion of the Polar Bear Association that was held in Gettysburg, PA.  Spent one extra day at the National Archives.

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