Traveling Tuesday: Oklahoma During WWII
One of the last states to enter the union (46th), Oklahoma was created by merging the Oklahoma and Indian territories, and is a major producer of natural gas, oil, and agricultural products. The state’s name is derived from the Choctaw words “okla” and “humma” meaning “red people.” It is nicknamed the “Sooner State” because of the non-Native settlers who jumped the gun in staking their claims before the official opening date of land grants.
As with most of the United States, Oklahoma suffered during the Great Depression despite receiving federal assistance through President Roosevelt’s New Deal. With the advent of WWII, life changed for the state. The number of clear days made Oklahoma a prime location for flying. Even before the US entered the conflict, programs for training British Royal Air Force pilots were created. Between them, the Darr Flight School and the Spartan School of Aeronautics taught over 13,000 students how to fly.
Not long after Pearl Harbor, federal funds poured into the state establishing military installations and constructing wartime production facilities. Douglas Aircraft provided employment for nearly 50,000 who built C-47 “Gooney Bird” cargo planes, and medium and heavy bombers. At Rogers Field, personnel were trained as members of bomber crews and for photoreconnaissance. Manhattan Construction Company built hangars, barracks, aircraft plants, and other military facilities. Oklahoma Ordnance Works used hydroelectric power from a dam on the Grand River to produce gunpowder, and 10,000 Dupont employees produced explosives. Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) became the location of a WAVES training facility.
Thirty-two POW camps around the state housed approximately 20,000 German prisoners. Many earned wages on local farms, replacing the thousands of men who left the fields for the armed services.
Nearly 5,500 Oklahomans died during the war, and nineteen received Congressional Medals of Honor. A National Guard Unit drawn from Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona was called to service under Major General William Key as part of the 45th Infantry Division. As participants in the invasion of Sicily, they fought for 511 days, captured more than 120,000 prisoners, and suffered 3,650 casualties. They fought in eight campaigns and made three additional amphibious landings.
Oklahoma truly did its bit.
A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.
Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?
Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?
Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.