Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.
Lloyd W. Hinderliter
Date of birth: Aug. 25,1922
Dates of Service: Jan. 19, 1943, to Nov. 13, 1945
Hometown: Waynok, Okla.
Lives in: Clovis
Theater or location of service: Yuma, Ariz.
Branch: Army-Air Force
Specialty: Flight maintenance, B-17 gunner instructor
After discharge: Waynok, Okla.
Gunner Ho: Hinderliter trained to be a gunner on B-17s. After training he had been told he would be joining a unit in Montana that was shipping out to join the war overseas. While preparing to leave, he was stopped at the last minute by a commander and told to grab his bags, he was being sent to Yuma to be an instructor.
Hinderliter spent his two-year service tour training others to do the job he had fully expected he would be doing. He believed he would eventually be sent to join the fighting. He was also being trained on B-29s, still fully expecting to be deployed.
Although his training of countless soldiers was an necessary contribution, Hinderliter, even now, expresses some disappointment at never having had a chance to implement his knowledge in the field.
Date of Birth: Jan. 12, 1919
Dates of Service: May 15, 1942, to Dec. 30, 1945
Lives in: Portales
Theater or location of service: Oakland Airport, Oakland, Calif.
Unit and specialty: Oakland Airport, Calif. — anti-aircraft guns
After discharge: Causey
Guarding the coast: During the war, heightened fears of attack on American soil led to the implementation of coastal anti-aircraft guns. Jones was stationed at one of the coastal gun stations. Round-the-clock manning was required for the gun stations, which meant long shifts for the men at the guns.
Because he was stationed in the United States, Jones’ wife moved to California in an effort to remain close to him.
With military pay being low at the time ($21 per month), Juanita Jones took a job for the Army Core of Engineers so that she could meet expenses.
Having 12 to 24 hours off per week, many of the men would meet their wives and girlfriends at the “Southern Cross,” a small restaurant located near their gun stations because they had to stay close if an alert was activated. Jones and his wife spent much of their time there, glad that they could at least be close, even if it was limited and far from home.
Since draftees were discharged based on a points system and service overseas garnered more points, Jones ending up serving three years, seven months and 17 days as he recalls.
“I just felt like I pretty much wasted those three years,” Jones said, “but we were always on the ready, it wasn’t a question to me. I felt like I had to do what I needed to do.”
Date of Birth: March 17, 1924
Dates of Service: April 1944 to April 1946
Hometown: Motley County, near Matador, Texas
Lives in: Clovis
Theater or location of service: Europe, Italy
Rank: Pvt. 1st class
Unit and Specialty: 10th Mountain Division, Mule Packer
After discharge: Motley County
To the mountains: As a farm boy going into the Army, the last thing Vinson expected to find himself doing was working with mules, albeit, on the other side of the world.
As he describes it, the 10th Mountain Division began as a group of well -to-do sportsmen, skiers, mountain climbers and the like. It was an elite bunch primarily because their experience was drawn from a position of privilege but also because their skills in the mountains gave them an advantage — the ability to go into areas that the enemy did not anticipate.
Mules turned out to be something he adapted to well. It was his job to guide the mules carrying supplies through the mountains of northern Italy. His division was the last to go into combat and on Christmas Day 1944, they led the final drive into northern Italy through the Poe Valley.
Vinson, who said he broke the shooting range record highest at Camp Swift in Texas, breaking the range record, was awarded for meritorious achievement in ground combat and was also a recipient of the Bronze Star.
World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org