Life History of Ralph Julius Lauper

Chapter 6f

Stan Dwyer and Notables

Stan Dwyer

Born and reared in Kansas and even educated at Kansas University in Manhattan, Kansas, certainly qualified this guy to be a Midwestern Jayhawk, which he was. We met at Pre-flight School in Santa Ana, CA. Stan was a man about a year younger than I and having been born of goodly parents, was possessed of many strong moral and spiritual convictions, much like my own. Although I was never able to convert him we still had much in common and he became my closest friend in the Army. He went to Blythe, CA for Primary Training and I to King City, CA. We hooked up again at Basic Training and went through the rest of our training and into combat together, but always in different squadrons.

Stan and I liked the same kind of women. There were always plenty of them around and we double-dated a lot. There were lots of places to go, especially around Los Angeles. We'd even go back to LA by bus and use a taxi on our dates. I can remember Lawrence Welk at the Aragon on the Venice Pier in Santa Monica, Woody Herman and his Woodchoppers Ball at the Palladium in Hollywood, and Count Basie and his Big Band at the Trianon Ballroom on Firestone Blvd. out in Southgate. I recall us even going by boat to Catalina Island, 22 miles off the coast, and dancing to the music of Jan Garber in the Avalon Ballroom there. We had fun times, and spent lots of time just talking. May 10th, 1944 ended all of that.

I wrote a letter to his folks. His mother was in frail health and didn't last many years after that. Harold Dwyer and I were in touch with each other for over 20 years. He was a fluent writer and salesman. Harold represented a Milling and Livestock Supply Co. in Topeka, Kansas. Each month he sent out a newsletter to all of his customers, from the Dakotas, down to Texas. I have an autographed copy of his book telling of his experiences, "Uphill and Against the Wind", makes for interesting reading. It's easy to see why Stan studied Journalism at the University. He would have been successful in life as his dad was.

When I was stationed at Sioux City, Iowa, Harold dropped by and took me to dinner at the Warrior Hotel. Stan looked like him, talked like him, and acted like him. Harold remained inconsolable over the loss of his son for the rest of his life. He wanted to bring his son home and bury him in the Kansas Heartland of America. He was never successful in his search for Stan's remains or even the exact circumstances of his death. I couldn't help him much except that Stan had often written of our friendship, and that dinner provided for him both a welcome and sad link to the past.

Harold later wrote of meeting with the Co-pilot, Pete Dale. Pete told him that Stan was wounded and with ship afire had ordered everybody out on the double. Pete said he resisted but Dwyer insisted. So he jumped and became a POW. Harold told also of a still later visit with the Flight Engineer Boros, who also became a POW. Boros felt certain that a couple or three were dead and the others were out when he, himself, wounded and weak from loss of blood and lack of oxygen, tried to jump. He couldn't make it and was in a semi-conscious state and lying near the open bomb bay. Boros swore to a dim recollection of someone dragging him to the opening and pushing him out. The cold air revived him long enough to get his chute open. He said no one else jumped as far as he knew. He added his conviction that whoever it was that saved his life most surely paid for it with his own.

Good old Stan! Just like him!!

Experiences with Notables

During World War II it became a popular thing for people to fawn upon and make over the servicemen. Notables liked to talk to and be seen with them. I have never been much of a hero-worshipper and never asked for an autograph in my life. I do, however, have a sense of history and in the hope that some posterity might share that feeling I did on occasion go out of my way to provide a little of it for them.

Some with whom I did more than shake hands with in a receiving line but actually chatted with are listed below. I was on an Honor Guard for Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt when he visited the West Coast while I was in the infantry, I didn't get to speak to him. My company had been the Honor Guard for Vice President Henry A. Wallace, when he had made his visit west a few weeks earlier. He ate mess with us after the review. I secured a seat across from him at the same table and chatted at length with him.

As a side note I was also on the 35th Division Firing Squad. With that 10 man unit I worked Military Burials at Forest Lawn and other cemeteries in the Los Angeles area.

I met and talked with two great funny men: Jack Benny at Santa Ana, and Eddie Cantor in Hollywood.

I sat at a table by the bandstand with friends of both Henry Busse in Sioux City, Iowa (he of the shuffle rhythm) and Count Basie at the Trianon Ballroom in Southgate, CA and visited with them off and on all night.

While on the golf course in Sioux City, Iowa with our good friends Ted and Ann Peterson, Jane and Ann who were having difficulty getting off the tee and were given a personal 15 minute driving instruction lesson voluntarily by Walter Hagen, one of the top five golfers who ever played the game. He was the Club Pro and a swell guy.

One of my P.E. Instructors at Santa Ana was the great and immortal Wimbledon Champion, tennis star, Fred Perry of England.

I ate lunch and chatted with on separate occasions movie star Linda Darnell and near-star Lynn Barrie. In Italy the movie actress Madeline Carroll, who was then with the Red Cross, was always good for a doughnut and chat as I returned from a mission. Back at Santa Ana at the base Hollywood stars were often present.

On separate occasions I danced with three of the top draws in Hollywood: Rita Hayworth, Myrna Loy and Claudette Colbert. All three were genuinely warm, courteous and friendly. They were all excellent dancers. Rita was about 10 times better than the other two, after all Fred Astaire was her dancing partner.

I should mention Carl Hoff, my cadet buddy at King City, CA and his wife, who became Anita O'Day, the #1 Female Vocalist of her time singing with the Gene Krupa band. They were good friends and I ate dinner many times at their apartment. Anita was a good cook.

As head of an Infantry Detail guarding a ship loading at San Pedro I came in contact with a movie crew who were scheduled to come aboard and film segments of "Murmansk Convoy" a big production, built around our supply line to Russia. Raymond Massey was the ships Captain, Alan Hale was the Bosun, and Humphrey Bogart was the star. They neglected to furnish proper papers to the crew up at the studio, I couldn't and wouldn't let them board. The Director (I can't remember his name) tried cajolery, then tried throwing his weight around, and resorted to threats. I laughed at him and he finally sent a couple of the 50 or so which he had with him back to the studio to prepare the proper papers. It all took a half day. I spent most of it visiting with the three stars. Massey was not overly concerned about it one way or the other. Both Hale and Bogie were tickled and solidly behind me. "Don't give in kid" they encouraged. I couldn't had I wanted to.

Finally, a nice visit in the mess hall at Stockton, CA Air Base with California Governor Earl Warren, who later became Chief Justice of the U.S. supreme Court. He told me all about duck hunting.


I was given direct command of a plane worth one million 1940 dollars and 10 American Airmen worth more than dollars, but who cost $50,000 each to train. Cost and value increased at a rate proportionate to the numbers I led into battle. I will draw an analogy one more time in the hope that it will drive home a point which needs to, and should, be remembered by all peoples everywhere.

One fighter plane of today costing about one billion of 1991 dollars and 3 men (the cost of whose training is unknown to me) and one single Hydrogen-Neutron Bomb with it's Plutonium additives, costing uncounted billions to develop. This one unit can deliver a payload infinitely farther and faster to its intended target, and when dropped and exploded, get this, will deliver a wallop far more powerful than the combined total of every single device from pistol shot to Atom Bomb which was detonated by all nations involved in World War Two. And we were going to assure that a peaceful world could be built above the ashes of the greatest conflagration in history as measured in lives lost and destruction wreaked! My final question, "Who needs war!" The answer should be obvious to everyone.

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