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.
Ernie K. Shuey
Date of birth: July 31, 1917
Dates of service: October 1941 to August 1945
Hometown: Muskingum County, Ohio
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: China-Burma-India (CBI)
Branch: Army Air corps
Rank: 1st lieutenant
Unit and specialty: 491 Bomb Squadron, 341 Group, B-25 pilot
Veterans organizations: VFW Post 3280, Daedalions
In his words: Based 110 miles west of Calcutta, Shuey flew 57 bombing missions out of an air field in Chakulia, India. Piloting a B-25, he said they not only flew bombing missions, they also carried supplies and fuel over what was referred to as “the Hump,” an area he described as “a God forsaken stretch of area they didn’t even show on the map between Burma and China.”
Cruising at 12,000 feet, he remembers at times “the smoke (from anti-aircraft fire) was so thick it looked like you could get out and walk on it. We were lucky the Japanese weren’t as good shots as the Germans.”
He did, however, nearly run out of fuel on one mission over south China. As luck would have it, he found a dirt strip on the ground that had been set up for emergencies and brought the plane in.
“Thank the Lord we had enough gas to get on the ground. I turned around to taxi and both engines quit.”
Safe on the ground, the Chinese refueled their plane and put them up for the night he said.
Shuey received an Air Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster and a Distinguished Flying Cross.
Charles “Ed” Edward Kirksey
Date of birth: Aug. 25, 1919
Dates of service: June 1944 to April 1946
Lives in: Clovis
Location of service: South Pacific
Rank: Water-tender, 3rd class
Unit: Destroyer USS Robert K. Huntington, DD781 and Troop Transport USS Telifair APA 210
Veterans organizations: American Legion
In his words: Kirksey worked as a “fireman” for the railroad, tending the fire in steam engines. In the Navy, he worked in the boiler room onboard ship.
“It wasn’t strange to me. The type of boiler was different and it went from 300 to 600 pounds of steam.” He said working in the boiler room with no air conditioning and only vents to blow in air from above was hot. “I didn’t gain much weight.”
He said his ship was preparing for an invasion in Japan when the bomb was dropped. Instead, his unit was sent in as part of the occupation forces.
In Manilla, Kirksey’s ship began picking up troops and ferrying them back to the United States. “It was called the Magic Carpet.”
After making a couple of round trips, Kirksey was discharged.
World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail: