Traveling Tuesday: Kentucky
Known as the “Bluegrass State, Kentucky was admitted in 1792 as the 15th state. Louisville and Lexington, Kentukcy’s largest cities are home to over twenty percent of the population. Located in the south, Kentucky is one of four commonwealths of the United States; the other three being Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Massachusetts. Bordered by Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, and Missouri, Kentucky is part of the southern region of the U.S.
Kentucky was heavily involved in World War II. The Army Air Force established numerous airfield for training pilots and crews of fighters and bombers. The First Airforce operated Godman/Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. Air Technical Service command operated Louisville Aircraft Modification Center, and Troop Carrier Command operated Bowman Field and Lexington Air Field. Many of the bases were converted to municipal airports and some were returned to agriculture. Several remained Air Force installations.
The commonwealth was home to eleven prisoner-of-war camps with the largest being at Campbell, Knox, and Breckinridge County. The bulk of the prisoners were German. Many of the prisoners were used to fill the labor void in construction projects and the agricultural industry. Farmers would contract with the government to use the POWs.
Fort Knox was also the temporary home to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
As with the rest of the country, Kentucky was the location of manufacturing plants that converted their facilities to war materiel production. The Louisville Slugger factory switched its production from baseball bats to rifle stocks. One of only five percent of businesses to do so, they were award the Army Navy E Award for their contributions. In Lexington, factories produced parachutes. Ford switched from cars to Jeeps and produced more than 100,000 vehicles by the end of the war. Distillers stopped making bourbon to produce industrial alcohol.
More than three hundred thousand Kentuckians served in the armed forces, with nearly 4,000 wounded and 8,000 giving their lives. One Kentuckian, Franklin Sowsley was one of six Marines who raised the second flag on Iwo Jima. He would be killed weeks later by a sniper.
Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war?
Barely married before she’s widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart?
A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?
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