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January 25, 1944 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1944-01-25

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Harmon Escaped from Enem


Chutes to Safety
From 4,000 Feet
Avoids Enemy Fire by Playing Dead;
Hid by Chinese Guerillas for 32 Days
- Special to The Daily -
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24.-First Lt. Tom Harmon of the Army
Air Forces, looking a little older and a lot wiser, came to Washington
today to tell how he narrowly escaped being machine gunned by Japanese
pilots after parachuting out of his Lightning fighter over China's Yangtze
River. Harmon said he'll never know why the Japs held their fire, as
he drifted slowly to earth.
Today must have seemed like old times for the famed Michigan
All-American. For more than an hour he withstood a barrage of
questions from newspaper and radio men. And then he sweltered under
the hot lights while the newsreels put him through his paces.
Basically, Harmon hasn't changed much. After 11 months of
combat duty in North Africa and China, he still retains the same calm-
ness and poise he displayed on the gridiron. He's deeply tanned, has
lost about 10 pounds and some of his hair, and wears six campaign
ribbons, one of them the Purple Heart.°
He told of being lost twice in the past year-once in the jungles of
Dutch Guinea, where he wandered for seven days-later in Jap-held China,
where, aided by friendly Chinese, he got back to his base in 31 days.
Harmon is on a 20-day furlough now and his only ambition is to get
back to Ann Arbor as quickly as possible. He hopes to arrive home Friday.
Harmon related how a routine, every-day dive-bombing attack on
Japanese docks and warehouses at Kiukiang on the Yangtze became a
fierce dogfight, during which he shot down two Zeros, and then, when
trapped from behind, was himself
shot down.
9 That was Oct. 30, 1943-a year to
° the day after he had received his
f .> 2< "'wings at Williams Field Ariz. Eight
fi . fir,..: , f. ..,. P-38's were assigned to bomb the Jap
, installations at Kiukiang. Four were
to do the actual dive bombing, while
Harmon and three others served as
"top cover" escorts.
To Harmon, an old safety man, fell
the job of "Tail End Charlie. He
. r.was the last man in the formation,
behind and above the dive-bombers.
They were almost over the target
when things began to buzz. The top
cover leader shopted "six Zeros at 3
o'clock" into the interphones. Har-
mon says he turned around and saw
six more enemy ships at 6 o'clock.
-Assoc ated Press Photo "It was plain," he says, "that we
TOM HARMON were in a beautiful trap. The Japs
December photo. had been tipped off before we came
He says hecounted 20 Zeros in the sky.From then' on, it was "every
man for himself.
To tell the story in Tom's own words: "I turned into the six Zeros
behind me and busted right in between them. I got one in my sights,
let go a burst of tracers that went into the cock-pit. Then I let go with
my cannon. The Jap exploded and plunged straight into the ground."
At the time, Harmon says, he was diving at a speed of more than 400
miles an hour.
"I turned back into the fight," he continues, "and came up underneath
another Zero. My guns tore a chunk out -of his wing. Then I closed in at
50 yards and let everything go. The plane went up like a matchbox."
Harmon says he looked around for his comrades then. His squadron
leader had been shot down. In that foray, four American planes were to be
lost,including Harmon's.
"Suddenly," he says, "two shells hit into the armorplate behind me.
A third shell went right between my legs."
Apparently that third shell was an incendiary for it started a gas-
oline fire in his cockpit. He turned the ship over and tried to beat out
the flames with his hands.
He still bears the scars of that blaze on his hands and legs.
"I saw it was impossible," Harmon declared. He unfastened his cockpit
cover and the suction tore him out of the cockpit, ripping off his trousers
below the knees.
Harmon says he didn't know his altitude at the time he bailed out, so
he pulled the ripcord immediately. Later he was to learn he jumped from
4,000 feet. That almost proved fatal.
Two Zeros started circling him as he swayed helplessly in mid-air.

"The Japs are notorious for machine-gunning our fliers," he asserts.
"I'll never know why they didn't machine-gun me."
He played dead, hanging there in his chute. "I came down in a lake,"
Tom goes on, 'but I didn't dare swim. The Japs continued circling. Every
time they came over I ducked underneath my chute. They left after a while."
That was all he could- tell. All we know is that Harmon was back at
his base a month later. Presumably he was guided and fed by Chinese
guerillas behind the Jap lines. "I can't say anything more," Harmon ex-
plained, "because reprisals on the Chinese people would be very heavy."
Harmon doesn't show much wear and tear for all his experiences.
He says he flew about 20 missions in China. He's not sure of the exact
number. Many pilots, he pointed out, keep an accurate count of their
missions, in the hope of' going home after the 50th. But for a lot of
the boys number 50 turns out to be a jinx.
Michigan's "Old. 98" doesn't know what his next assignment will be.
When he arrived in Miami, he hoped to surprise his parents, but, he says
iolefully, "Somebody tipped them off."
Harmon says that being lost in China couldn't be compared with his
previous adventure in the jungles of South America. "China," he says,
"is mountainous, but in Dutch Guinea, you couldn't walk 10 yards without
using a knife." He was in those jungles for a week-after his B-25 bomber
crashed. He was the only man in the crew to turn up alive.
A reporter asked Harmon whether he had lost his way today in Wash-
ington's gigantic Pentagon Building, the super-duper headquarters of the
War Department here.
Harmon wisecracked, "I did almost as much walking in the Penta-
gon as I did in that jungle."
Tom said he had received a letter recently from Forest-Evashevski, who
as a Wolverine quarterback,cleared the way for many Harmon touchdowns.
Evashevski, now a lieutenant in the Navy, wrote: "I don't know how you
got those Zeros without me."


U.S. Steps-


Pacific Air Offensive

Army Attacks
Allies in Italy
German Blows Strive
To Fix Epic Blunder;
Troops Take Nettuno
Associated Press Correspondent
giers, Jan. 24.-Small but determined
German tank, artillery, and infantry
forces were disclosed tonight to have
opened counterattacks against the
Allied beachheads south of Rome,
where another Salerno-type battle
may be in the making.
Even while the main divisions of
the most powerful Nazi army ever
massed in Italy lashed savagely at
Allied positions along the old Fifth
Army front to the southeast, some of
Field Marshal Gen. Albert Kessel-
ring's combat teams opened a series
6f hot fights for canal bridges in the
flatlands where British and Ameri-
can troops landed Saturday virtually
The Germans battled all-out in an
effort to repair the epic staff blunder
that permitted American and British
troops to land between their cross-
Italy defense line and Rome.
Stowe To. Talk '
On Experiences
In Russia Today
His exerienees 'as a war" corres-
pondent in Russia will be described
by Leland Stowe in a lecture, "What
I Saw in Russia," to be held at 8:30
p.m. today in Hill Auditorium.
The author of "They Shall Not
Sleep," a book which was published
last week, Mr. Stowe has covered al-
most every political and diplomatic
event in Europe and South America.
Since 1941 he has been in the Far
East sending news over the wire from
such remote places as Burma, Ran-
goon, Chungking, India and Russia.
His ability to forecast the trend of
international events won him the
Pulitzer Prize in 1930 for his stories
and articles about the Young Repar-
ations Conference.
Engine School
Petitions Due
Any freshman or scholastically el-
igible sophomore, junior or senior is
eligible for a class position on the
Engineering Council.
Petitions to be placed on the ballot
must be in the dean's office of the
College of Engineering by noon Wed-
nesday, Feb. 9. Petitions must in-
clude signatures of 15 classmates,
candidate's qualifications for office,
and address and telephone number.

Infantile Paralysis Yictim Joins 'March of.Dimes' Drive

Petitions for V-Ball Posts
Due Tomorrow at Union

<j !

All petitions for Michigan's second
edition of V-Ball which will be held
Friday, March 3, in the Sports Build-
ing must be turned into the Union
Student Offices by 5 p.m. tomorrow.
Sophomore, junior, and senior stu-
dents are eligible to take out petitions
which may be obtained in the Union
Student Offices. Petitions must have
25 student signatures.
The committee will consist of nine
students and four service"representa-
tives, two each for the Army and
Navy units here.
The literary college and the engin-
eering school will each be entitled to
three members while the remaining
schools and colleges will elect an ad-
ditional three members.
Students can sign petitions for
candidates in their respective schools
and Army and Navy men will not be
permitted to vote or sign petitions,
the Judiciary Council stated.
Voting will take place from 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m. Friday at campus booths,

the locations of which will be an-
nouinced before voting day.
All committee candidates who file
petitions were asked by the Judiciary
Council to make appointments for
interviews beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday in the Union.
* * *
Senior Petitions
Are Due Tomorrow
Petitions for senior class office in
every school and college in the Uni-
versity must be filed by 5 p.m. to-
morrow in the Student Offices of the
Union, the Men's Judiciary Council
said yesterday.
Only those seniors who will grad-
uate at -the end of this semester are
eligible to petition, the announce-
ment said.
Class officers to be filled include
president, vice-president, secretary
and treasurer for each school. Each
petition must have 15 signatures.

World News
In .Brief .. .
Soldier Vote Considered
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24.-()-
Over-riding some Republican ob-
jection, Senate Democrats forced
consideration today of a revised
federal absentee ballot proposal for
armed service voters, obviously
seeking to undo an earlier decision
leaving the job up to the states.
Reds Slash Railway
LONDON, Jan. 24.-(/P)--Gen. Le-
onid A. Govorov's victorious army
slashed the Krasnogvardeisk-Narva
railway today, blocking the only east-
west escape line for perhaps 250,000
Germans imperiled southeast of Len-
ingrad, a Moscow bulletin disclosed
to night.
Russian troops also drove to within
two miles of Krasnogvardeisk (Gat-
china) itself and, 28 miles to the
ea't, were less than five miles from
Tosno, the railway's junction with
the Leningrad-Moscow trunk line.

Yanks Shoot
Down 51-65
Enemy Planes
Marshalls Bombed
9 Times; Americans
Hit 5 Ships, Raid Atolls
Associated Press Correspondent
Between 51 and 65 Japanese planes
were shot down in two Southwest
Pacific air battles and the stepped-
up mid-Pacific air offensive on the
Marshall Islands reached a new high,
American commanders reported to-
In nine attacks on the Marshalls
over the week-end five Japanese
ships were damaged and between six
and ten planes shot down, Admiral,
Chester W. Nimitz announced at
Pearl Harbor last night. Six atolls
were raided on Saturday alone-the
biggest day of more than two months
of softening up these mandated is-
Thirty - three Japanese fighters
were definitely shot down and 12
probably in a massive dogfight over
Wewak, strong northeast 'New Gui-
nea base where Japanese opposition
has been infrequent. This time 50
enemy fighters were waiting for the
raiders. The bombers dropped 105
tons of explosives silencing 18 Japa-
nese guns. Five Allied planes were
Eighteen other Japanese intercep-
tors ,were destroyed out of'a flight of
70 trying to protect Lakuna air-
drome at Rabaul.
le .Women
Women are dynamite!
In fact the Helen Newberry resi-
dents exploded all over the dorm yes-
terday when they learned that ,at
the Friday night League dance, Bill
Sawyer had dedicated "No Love, No
Nothin'" to the "girls at Helen New-
berry who are sitting home alone."
The indignant girls dashed out
yesterday and bought 87 service flags
and hung them proudly in every win-
dow of the dorm.
But that isn't all.
The girls proceeded to express
their sentiments via verse:
"Instead of making
nasty cracks,
Better Sawyer should join
the WACs."
Yes, women are dynamite!
Arabian Expert
To Speak Here
First hand information about the
life, customs and political situation
in Arabia will be revealed in a lec-
tare, "A Journey from Yemen in
1940," which will be given at 7:30
p.m. Wednesday in the Rackhiam
Amphitheatre by Miss Freya Stark,
British traveler and writer.
The lecturer who is being pre-
sented under the auspices of the.
Institute of Fine Arts will be intro-,
duced by Prof. Richard Ettinghau-
Poor Police Pale
At Bit of Profanity
Pity the plight of the poor police-
man who listens to tales of woe from
morn to night, and has to take it

sitting down!
It's not bad enough he hears com-
plaints about barking dogs and un-
claimed bikes but nowv it's profanity
yet. And when an irate city resident
calls up about "the man downstairs
who's using awful language-and in
front of children too"-well, what's
a copper supposed to do?
We have to hand it to the local
gendarmes for courtesy, though.
Amid the storm and fury of protest-
ing womanhood, one policeman got
down to facts. "What did the man
say, ma'am?" he asked politely. "Oh,
I couldn't tell you," was the reply,

Committee Created To Solve Nisei Problems

Realizing that the 400 American-
Japanese located in Ann Arbor are
facing serious difficulties in readjust-
ment, a committee of townspeople,
ministers, University officials, facul-
ty members, and representatives of
the newspapers met yesterday to for-
mulate definite plans for united ac-
tion on social, recreational, housing
and educational problems.
The Rev. Shigeo Tanabe, director
of the United' Ministers to Resettlers
in Detroit, pointed out that in cer-
tain respects the problems faced by
the Ann Arbor American-Japanese
are more difficult to solve than those
confronting the relocated people in
Local Problem Complicated
While all of the Nisei here have
had a high school education, and
some have had college training, Dr.
Tanabe pointed out that most of
them are doing menial work, whereas

in Detroit the living situation is more
normal since the American-Japanese
are scattered throughout the city in
their own homes, while in Ann Arbor
they live in dormitories.
The Rev. Tanabe was brought here
last year by the Ann Arbor Minister-
ial Association to work with the Am-
erican Japanese, the University and
the community in straightening out
some of the more serious problems.
Age Group Ranges from 19-25
Most of the relocated people are
between the ages of 19 to 25, with on-
ly 50 of the 400 being women. They
live at the East and West Quad-
rangles, the Hospital and in separate
houses supervised by the University.
Members of the committee acting
on social, educational, recreational,
religious and housing problems in-
clude the Rev. H. L. Pickerill, pastor
of the Memorial Christian Church,
the Rev. Robert Muir, student direct-j

instructor in Japanese for the Uni-
versity, Dr. Edward W. Blakeman,
counselor in religious education, Ed-
ward Couper, prominent real-estate
salesman in Ann Arbor.
Group Forms Committee
Also on the committee are Cath-
erine Davis of the First Methodist
Church, Mrs. Peter Stair of the First
Methodist Church, Francis Shiel,
business manager of the residence
halls for the University, the Rev.
Tanabe, Lewis Reimann, Howard
Leibee, assistant in the physical edu-
cation department, George Liechty,
credit manager at the University
Hospital, Mrs. Lee Gildar of the Ann
Arbor News, and Virginia Rock of
The Michigan Daily.
Although definite steps have been
taken to solve some of the problems
-particularly the social and recre-
ational, there is still a lot to be done,
the Rev. Pickerill, chairman of the

real attempt to meet some of the
social problems. Planned as an or-
ganization which would bring to-
gether the relocated American-Jap-
anese and other University students,
the Club has held weekly meetings
during the past term at Lane Hall.
Various student church groups have
also invited the American-Japanese
to attend their meetings as well as
their social programs.
Education Problem Discussed
In the field of education, the com-
mittee discussed plans for cooperat-
ing with the extension department of
the University and the adult educa-
tion program of the Ann Arbor high
schools. It was also decided that an
effort should be made to determine
the attitude of the community and
the students toward the American-
This representative committee,
which will serve as a policy-forming,






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