Museum Notes 6-1-2021

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If you missed the Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, I have condensed my speech for this week’s museum notes.

This coming December 7th, it will be 80 years since the United States entered World War II. The war actually began on September 1st, 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. The United Kingdom and France quickly declared war with Germany. At the time, the United States felt that this was Europe’s problem to tend to, not ours, so we officially remained neutral, though we did send military supplies to England and other countries at war with Germany.

Hitler quickly created the Axis Alliance with Benito Mussolini from Italy and Hideki Tojo from Japan. Between late 1939 to early 1941, through a series of campaigns and treaties, Hitler conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, including France.

At the same time, Japan aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific islands. Japan had declared war on China in 1937 and the United States responded with economic sanctions and trade embargos. Subsequent negotiations between Japan and America stalled. The Japanese felt they had no other options than to attack America in order to prevent the United States from interfering with its planned attacks in Southeast Asia to control the Pacific Islands.

On December 7, 1941, a Sunday morning at 7:48am, the Japanese attacked the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, and damaged almost all of the US Navy ships and air craft. Causalities included 1,143 Americans wounded and 2,335 Americans killed. Of those killed, 78 were from Texas. One of those was Anderson G. Tennison.

Anderson, known by his nickname Buddy, the youngest son of Bessie Marie Hance and W.G. Bill Tennison, was born in April 1919 in Electric City, Texas. The Tennisons moved to Canadian in the 1920s and lived here for several years. The family briefly moved to Amarillo before 1930, but left soon after when Bessie and Bill divorced. Bessie and Buddy moved to Glazier and then back to Canadian. Bill moved to Higgins. Buddy traveled back and forth from Canadian and Higgins splitting his time between his parents. Bessie and Buddy left Canadian in the mid to late 1930s and moved back to Amarillo where Buddy graduated High School.

Buddy enlisted into the US Army Air Corps in November 1939. He was first stationed at Fort McDowell on Angel Island, near San Francisco for several months before transferring to Headquarters Squadron, 18th Bombing Wing, at Hickam Field in April 1940 at Honolulu, Hawaii. Hickam Field is located adjacent to Pearl Harbor. In November 1941, one month before the attack, Buddy sent a letter to his good friend, Hubert Lovett, stating that he had a new job working for a 2nd Lieutenant and was handling the flying cadet and enlisted pilot boards. They had an office to themselves and Buddy had an electric typewriter, which was definitely something to write home about back in those days.

During the attack, almost half of the airplanes at Hickam Field had been destroyed or severally damaged as well as several buildings and barracks. The casualties at Hickam Field totaled 121 killed, 274 wounded, and 37 missing. Through my research, I could not locate were Buddy was when he died. I do not know if he was eating breakfast, preparing for duty, getting ready for church, or maybe he was sleeping in. I do know that Buddy’s final resting place is at The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

The attack on Pearl Harbor officially pushed the United States into World War II, fighting Germany and Italy in Europe and the Japanese in the Pacific.

The following young men from Hemphill County died during World War II:

Von R. Anderson – Died in a Japanese Prison Camp
Harold Jack Brace – Drowned while on leave
Willie Earl Callaway, Jr. – Lost at sea when the Lipscomb Bay Aircraft Carrier was sunk
Jack Q. Callaway – Killed in action on the island of Shikoku
Willie Curry – Killed in Action in England
Victor L. Fort – Shot down during an air strike in Germany
Carl Nig Freeman – Died from injuries sustain in a car crash while on leave
William General Gilstrap – Died at port in San
Diego Lloyd Doyle Hanna – Killed in action in Guam
James Melvin Hardage – Killed in flight crash in Florida
Billy D. Harrell – Killed in Action
Lawrence Nathan Hensley – Killed during the invasion of Sicily
Edward L. Hodge – Lost at sea after B-24H Liberator went down near Puerto Rico
Pascal King – Lost in the South Pacific seas
William Grant Lindley – Died from plane crash after hitting enemy flak in Germany
Burrell Hill May – Killed in action in Germany
Perry Douglas McElreath – Killed in action in Saipan
Kenneth Densel Parker – Killed in flight crash in Florida
George Eugene Parks – Killed in action at Mariana Island
Garrett Columbus Parnell, Jr. – Killed in action in Germany
Charles Malcom Ragsdale – Killed in accident in Europe
Howard Merrill Sanders – Lost at sea in Negros Island region
Stephen Eugene Spurlin – Killed in flight crash in Washington state
J.B. Tandy – Killed in Action in Romania
Anderson G. “Buddy” Tennison – Killed at Hickam Field during the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor
James E. Wilson – Shot down over Holland and Missing in Action
James Q. Worley – Shot down over Bonin Islands
Perry Ezekiel Young – Died of wounds sustained during the Battle of Normandy 



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