Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Traveling Tuesday: The State of Utah

Traveling Tuesday: Utah

Last month, the state of Utah welcomed home the remains of two of its World War II veterans with a Dignified Transfer. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency searches for missing U.S. servicemen and women then works with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System using DNA technology to locate the soldier’s family members. In addition to sending these young men and other citizens, the state of Utah played an important role during the war.

Near Salt Lake City, Fort Douglas (an installation since the Civil War when Col. Connor’s California Volunteers took up residence) became a processing center for recruits. Hill Field was established in 1940 supported the West Coast’s aeronautical logistics requirements being equi-distant from three major military centers: Seattle-Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles-San Diego. At its peak, Hill Field employed 15,000 civilians, 6,000 military, and house several thousand POWs. In all, Utah had fourteen military installations during the war.

Rich in natural resources, Utah contributed coal, iron, dolomite, limestone, alunite, copper, gas, and refined products to the war effort. A significant contributor was Geneva Steel Works in Orem that accounted for nearly two-thirds of the funds for Utah from the Defense Plant Corporation. GSW produced 634,010 ton of plate steel and another 144,280 ton of shaped steel.

Established since 1921, the Ogden Arsenal grew exponentially to become a manufacturing, storage,
and shipping location for the West Coast. Browning Gun Works, manufacturers of small arms since the mid-1800s expanded during the war, as did Remington Arms Company, a plant that produced 30- and 50-caliber ammunition. In Sanpete County, parachutes were produced at the Manti facility.

As with the rest of the country, men enlisted and were drafted by the thousands, and women stepped into fill the void. In addition, Utah created the Minute Women, part of the Volunteer Salvage Corps, a division under the federal War Production Board. Each woman was in charge of educating her neighbors about salvage initiatives as well as coordinating salvage operations in her area.  They collected tin cans, organized paper drives, and recruited dry cleaners to clean donated clothing. They helped with bond drives, surveys, footwear exchanges, bottle collections, and volunteer recruitment. With hunting as common pastime in the state, the Minute Women set up stations where hunters could leave deer and elk fats.

A big state with a big heart for the war effort.

Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart?

Archibald “Archie” Heron is the last survivor of the Heron dynasty, his two older brothers having been lost at Dunkirk and Trondheim and his parents in the Blitz. After his wife is killed in a bombing raid while visiting Brighton, he begins to feel like a modern-day Job. To add insult to injury, the British government requisitions his country estate, Heron Hall, for the U.S. Army to use as a hospital. The last straw is when the hospital administrator turns out to be a fiery, ginger-haired American woman. She’s got to go. Or does she?

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