#ASMSG Journalist Eric Sevareid’s career nearly ended in the Burmese jungle of the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II.

Eric Sevareid was one of the most prominent journalists of the 20th century. He was born Arnold Eric Sevareid in Velda, North Dakota on November 26, 1912. He began working as a reporter for the Minnesota Star while a student at The University of Minnesota in 1931 and ended his career with CBS in 1977. He received many honors during his career including 3 Peabody Awards and 2 Emmy Awards. In 2008, he was one of five journalists honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a first class postage stamp.


After graduating from college, Mr. Sevareid continued his studies in Europe and became a reporter for the Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune in 1938. In 1939 he was recruited by Edward R. Murrow to join CBS radio. He was the last correspondent to broadcast from Paris before the city fell to the Nazis.  He returned to the CBS Washington Bureau in 1940 where he remained until 1943. Mr. Sevareid wanted to cover the war up close and this desire led him to the CBI Theater where his career nearly ended.

In August of 1943, Mr. Sevareid and 19 other passengers departed from India aboard an army C-46 for a flight over the Hump to China. Among the passengers were high-ranking Chinese army officers and John Paton Davies, an American diplomat with intimate knowledge of Allied plans for war in northern Burma. Somewhere over Burma the C-46 developed engine troubles and the pilot ordered everyone aboard to bail out before it crashed.  None of the passengers had ever used a parachute before, and there was a great deal of hesitation about jumping out of the airplane.  As the senior official aboard, Mr. Davies jumped first with his attaché case stuffed inside his shirt. The crew and passengers soon found themselves in the jungle behind Japanese lines. It was common knowledge that many downed fliers died in the Burmese jungle. Bodies were often found covered by crawling ants. Those that were lucky enough to survive were sometimes captured by the enemy.

Sevareid and the other men found themselves in a very hostile environment and it wasn’t long before they were discovered by a tribe of Naga headhunters.  The Naga tribesmen were not always friendly toward downed Allied airmen, and often turned them over to the Japanese in exchange for a bounty. Because of his diplomatic training, Mr. Davies was chosen to negotiate with the Nagas. With the help of the tribesmen, the group began a long and torturous hike that lasted nearly a month. During their ordeal, they suffered from the heat and rain and were never sure they would get out of the jungle mountains. They were plagued by thirst and hunger as they climbed the steep mountain slopes and trudged through thick jungle. Fear of Japanese patrols was their constant companion, and at one point, they were informed by the Nagas that an enemy patrol was not far away. They prepared to fight, but to their great relief, went undetected by the patrol.

Search aircraft eventually located the struggling group, and a mission was mounted to rescue them. Medical supplies, food equipment were assembled and a group of volunteers were recruited to parachute into the jungle to aid the downed men. The rescue mission was a great success and the men were led safely out of the jungle. The Air Force Air Rescue Service was later founded and modeled after this mission.

On a later flight to China, Eric Sevareid encountered trouble again. The C-87 he was riding in encountered dense fog over their intended airport in China and circled for an hour and a half. During this time, another aircraft circling with them ran out of gas and the crew had to bail out. A Lt. Colonel sitting next to Sevareid joked that if he had to bail out again, Eric’s reputation would be ruined because CBS would think he was in a rut.

Eric Sevareid survived his experiences in World War II and went on to a successful career. He died on July 9, 1992 of stomach cancer. He was 79 years old.

Additional stories of men who survived the jungles of Burma can be read in my book Kicker which can be found at the links below.

Amazon http://amzn.to/W7XiUd

Barnes and Nobel  http://bit.ly/WHvcVO

BURMA – 20 venerable WWII Spitfire fighter planes may soon return to the skies

The British press has recently reported the discovery in Myanmar (Burma) of 20 buried Spitfire fighter planes. An agreement has supposedly been reached for the recovery and return of the aircraft to the UK.

This is a significant event in the history of the Spitfire which played a pivotal role in the Second World War and especially the Battle of Britain. Of the 20,351 Spitfires that were produced during the war, only about 40 are now operational anywhere in the world. The addition of 20 more of these splendid planes will be a boon to collectors and ensure the legacy of the Spitfire will not be lost.

Read more about this evolving story at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic…

More information about the aircraft used in Burma during World War II and the men and women who fought there can be found in my book Kicker. Amazon http://amzn.to/W7XiUd

Barnes and Nobel  http://bit.ly/WHvcVO


#ASMSG Read the true story of the connection between famous cartoonist Milton Caniff’s comic strip Terry and the Pirates and an Army Air Force hero who fought in the China Burma India theater of World War II and proposed to the indomitable actress Betty White.

Milton Caniff was called “The Rembrandt of Comics”.  He was born in Ohio in 1907 and became famous for his comic strips Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon. Starting in 1932, Milt drew the comic strips Dickie Dare, The Gay Thirties, and Mister Gilfeather  for the Associated Press. Then  in 1934, he was hired by the New York Daily News and started producing Terry and the Pirates, the strip which made him  famous.

Terry and the Pirates told the story of the adventures of a teenager, Terry Lee, as he grew to manhood seeking a lost gold mine in China. During World War II, Terry matures and joins the U.S. Army Air Force to become a pilot, and this is where the strips connection with a true war hero begins. Terry’s Air Force flight instructor was Major Flip Corkin who Americans came to know as a dashing but modest hero. Milt Caniff based his Flip Corkin character on the real life Army Air Force pilot Colonel Phil Cochran.

Colonel Cochran was born in Pennsylvania and had an interest in aviation at an early age. He attended Ohio State University where he met Milt Caniff and joined the ROTC. When war broke out he joined the Army Air Force and trained as a fighter pilot. Because of his leadership and organizational abilities, Cochran became the leader of a P-40 squadron that became legendary in the fighting in North Africa. Colonel Cochran went on to become the commander of the 1st Air Commando Group in India and Burma. As described in one of my previous blogs, Jackie Coogan was a glider pilot with this group. Under Colonel Cochran’s command, 1st Air Commando aircraft towed the gliders of Operation Broadway during the invasion of Burma by General Wingate’s Chindit forces.  Colonel Cochran’s men also perfected the tactic of extracting gliders from small jungle clearings by snatching them from the ground using nylon ropes attached to the gliders and stretched between two poles. News of the evacuation of wounded men using this technique greatly increased the morale of the soldiers fighting in the jungles of Burma.

After an illustrious military career, Colonel Cochran retired from the Air Force and returned home to Erie, Pennsylvania where he joined his brother’s company, Lyons Transportation Lines where he eventually became Chairman of the Board. Another interesting note about the Colonel was that he dated Betty White during the early 1960s and proposed to her. Betty declined his marriage proposal and eventually married Allen Ludden.

Phil Cochran died August 26, 1979, but he will not be forgotten by those of us who remember the comic strip Terry and the Pirates.

More information about the men and women who fought in Burma and India during World War II can be found in my book Kicker which can be found at the links below.

Amazon http://amzn.to/W7XiUd

Barnes and Nobel  http://bit.ly/WHvcVO

#ASMSG What does a Hollywood star, Jackie Coogan, have to do with a place called Broadway in the jungles of Burma during World War II?

Those of you who are old enough will remember Jackie Coogan as the character Uncle Fester in the 1960s sitcom The Addams Family. Those of you even older will remember Jackie as a Hollywood child star who played with Charlie Chaplin in the movie Sidekick. Few of you will remember Jackie as a pilot who flew gliders in the CBI Theater of World War II.

John Leslie Coogan was born in 1914 in Los Angeles, California and was the first major Hollywood child star. He began performing as an infant in both Vaudeville and film and continued his illustrious career until the 1970s.

Jackie enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 1941. Because of his experience as a civilian pilot, he requested a transfer to the Army Air Force after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was made a flight officer after graduating from glider school and volunteered for hazardous duty with the 1st Air Commando Group.  His unit was sent to India in the CBI Theater in December 1943 where he was to participate in a very dangerous mission.

During World War II, a specially trained group of commandos known as Chindits were ordered to infiltrate behind Japanese lines in Burma. They were to be flown into Burma aboard gliders and land at a site named Broadway, 150 miles behind Japanese lines. The operation became known as Operation Broadway and Jackie Coogan was one of the glider pilots.

Operation Broadway took place on the night of March 5, 1944 and was by no means an easy mission. C47 Dakota transport planes, each towing two gliders, took off into the night. A total of 67 gliders were lifted from airfields in India and began their journey into Burma. Soon after the operation began some C47s began reporting the loss of their towed gliders. For one reason or another, the tow lines had snapped and around 18 gliders crashed before reaching Broadway. Some of the soldiers from the crashed gliders were killed, others were captured, and the remainder harassed the Japanese and escaped. The remaining gliders carrying more than 500 men and 33 tons of equipment arrived at Broadway where they began to land in the darkness. Almost all the gliders were damaged or destroyed as they hit obstacles or crashed into each other. The glider pilots were mystified because their landing speed was a third faster than normal.  It wasn’t until the next day that they learned the commandos had overloaded the aircraft by bringing along unauthorized supplies.

In the end, glider pilot Jackie Coogan and the other men of Operation Broadway were successful in establishing a foothold behind enemy lines. They were a thorn in the enemy’s side and harassed the Japanese for months, so the next time you watch a rerun of The Addams Family, remember Uncle Fester wasn’t just a pretty face. He was also a certified war hero.

If you would like to learn more about how the troops at Broadway were supplied, you can find the answers in my book “Kicker” available at the sites listed below.







#ASMSG Super Chef Julia Child in the CBI Theater

Julia Child was a TV chef and author who is recognized for bringing French cuisine to America with her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her television program The French Chef, but did you know she also she served her country during World War II.

Julia was born Julia McWilliams in Pasadena, California in 1912. She was the eldest of three children and had a brother John and a sister Dorothy. Her father was a prominent land manager and her mother was a paper-company heiress. Julia grew up in California and graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1934. At six feet, two inches tall, she enjoyed sports and played while she attended college.

At the onset of World War II, Julia found she was too tall to enlist in the Army or Navy, so she moved to Washington D.C. In Washington she joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a newly formed government intelligence agency. The OSS was formed to coordinate armed forces espionage activities behind enemy lines and became the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Julia began her career with the OSS as a typist, but was soon given a position as a top secret researcher working directly for the head of OSS. In 1944 she was sent to the CBI Theater and stationed at Kandy, Ceylon. Her duties included cataloging and channeling great volumes of highly classified communications for the OSS’s clandestine stations in Asia. She later served in China and received the Emblem of Meritorious Civilian Service as head of the Registry of the OSS Secretariat. In 1945, while serving in Ceylon, she fell in love with fellow OSS employee Paul Child. They were married in 1946 after the end of World War II. Paul had once lived in Paris as an artist and poet and was known for his sophisticated palate. He introduced Julia to fine cuisine and the rest is history.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from Julia Child: “The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit. ” 

You may remember Julia Child for the French cuisine she served, but now you can also remember her for her exemplary service to her country.

If you would like to read more about the brave people who served  in the CBI Theater, you can find their stories in my book “Kicker” which can be found at the following sites:




#ASMSG Cowboy Superstar Gene Autry in the CBI Theater

Most people remember Gene Autry as the singing cowboy who became famous for his work on the radio, television and in the movies. However, few people know he piloted C47 cargo planes during World War II and flew over the hump in the CBI Theater.

Gene Autry was born Orvon Grover Autry near Tioga, Texas in 1907. It’s hard to believe the outlaws in his western movies would have taken anyone with the name Orvon seriously, so it’s understandable that he changed his name. Gene started his entertainment career in 1928 and became known as the Singing Cowboy. He attained superstar status in a career that included  records, radio, television, live stage and the movies. By the time he retired from show business 1964, he had starred in almost 100 films and made over 640 records. His records sold more than 100 million copies, including the first record ever certified gold. Gene Autry is the only person to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one in each of the five categories maintained by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. He was also a Freemason and became a 33rd degree Master Mason.

In response to the many young people aspiring to emulate him, Mr. Autry created the Cowboy Code, or Ten Cowboy Commandments. The code consisted of the following tenets:

1.   The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.

2.   He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.

3.   He must always tell the truth.

4.   He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.

5.   He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.

6.   He must help people in distress.

7.   He must be a good worker.

8.   He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.

9.   He must respect women, parents, and his nation’s laws.

10. The Cowboy is a patriot.

The code reflected his personal philosophies and he proved his patriotism during WWII. He interrupted his flourishing career in 1942 and joined the Army Air Corps. He was sworn into the Army on the air during a broadcast of “Melody Ranch”. Gene entered the army as a tech sergeant and was accepted for flight training. On completion of his training, he was promoted to Flight Officer and was assigned to the Air Transport Command. He was on flight status from June, 1944 until June 1945 and flew C47s carrying fuel, ammunition and arms over the hump in the China-Burma-India theater of war. The hump was a hazardous air route over the Himalayan mountains that became known as the Aluminum Trail due to the scattered wreckage of the numerous planes that went down due to extreme weather and enemy action. Gene Autry served his country as a beloved superstar and a brave pilot during WWII.

If you would like to read more about the brave men who fought in the CBI Theater, you can find their stories in my book “Kicker” which can be found at the following sites:



#ASMSG Book Signing and Launch Party




SEPTEMBER 22, 2012  10:00A.M. to 2:00P.M.




Historical Novel Showcases the Bravery of a local soldier in WWII

Author Ron Hoover brings to life the untold stories of his highly decorated father who fought in WWII

OSCEOLA MILLS, PA. – Based on the actual experiences of a local soldier during World War II, KICKER features the stories of those who fought in the China, Burma and India Theatre, also known as CBI. This book showcases one of the most unheard of forces that fought in conjunction with British and Chinese Allied air and land forces during the Second World War.

Compelling, insightful and moving, this book tells the story of an Osceola Mills family caught in the throes of war. It pays tribute to the bravery of a family with a 165 year tradition of service to their country. It reenacts the understated heroism of valiant men who were sent fourteen thousand miles from their homeland to battle the harsh elements of nature and the life-threatening attacks of hostile enemy forces. In the hopes of reminiscing his family’s life in WWII, Ron writes this historical novel to bring to light the significant efforts of veterans and families whose struggles may not have been recognized. The author’s father was one of those veterans. In his effort to bring life to his father’s accomplishments not only as a soldier, but also as a family man, his story is told in this powerful work that will inevitably stir readers.

KICKER inspires readers to appreciate and honor the courage, strength and endurance of war veterans who risked their lives and the welfare of their families in order to fight for the very freedom that is now being enjoyed by millions.

About the Author

Ron Hoover is an Air Force veteran who was born and raised in Osceola Mills where this historical novel begins and ends. The novel is based on the actual experiences of his father and other veterans in the CBI theater of World War II.

Contact the author at  WWW.rgreyhoover@gmail.com