The Earl E. Myers Story
Chapter 14 Coming Home
|After returning from Saipan, Thanksgiving day 1945, to Hawaii, we stood down two days and enjoyed fresh vegetables and also the taste of meat, other than Australian Mutton. We delivered our B-29 to Mather A.B. Calif. after a 10 hr 50 min flight from Hickam, Hawaii. We were all very happy to be back on U.S. soil and we lined up by the nose and did an Islamic bend down on our knees and we all kissed the ground. I had 30 days leave and was to report to Santa Anna, Calif. for classification after the leave. We were put on a troop train and off we headed to Ft. Levenworth, Kansas. Not the Federal Prison, but the Fort.
In western Kansas we were sidetracked waiting for a passenger train to pass. We had been sidetracked so many times prior to arrival at that point that I had lost count. It seemed like the civilians who stayed home had more important things to do than a Troop Train loaded with returning Vet's from the Pacific. They had priority. A passenger train pulled up along side of us, also heading East, that had to stop for the West bound traffic, as did we. The Big 4 x 12 x 6, “Big Guy” engine stopped right by the landing where I was enjoying fresh Kansas air. I waved to the engineer and he waved back and we got to talking. He asked where we were headed for and I told him Ft. Levenworth. I asked him where he was going and he replied “Kansas City”. Jokingly, I asked him if I could come on board and ride with him to K.C. I told him I would help the fireman and he said, "sure hop on over". I cleared it with the train commander and tossed my bag out and put it on board and away we went. I shoveled coal like it was going out of style. I got to blow the horn at RR crossings and put my hand on the throttle. The engineer said if I could handle 4 throttles on a B-29 I could do this ONE. Of course it was on a straight-away. About 8.5 hours later I was getting off the freighter under the Independence Ave. Bridge in Kansas City, where I went up the stairs and caught a bus for Independence about 8 miles to the East. I had coal soot all over me and, being in uniform, I thought the bus driver might give me a hard time. He smiled and did not say anything.
I was too tired to walk home carrying my bag, so I called my Grandfather and he answered the phone. He said “stay where you are. I'll pick you up.” which he did in just a few minutes. Independence was only about 14,000 population then. Now it's 186,000.
When he saw me he started laughing his boots off and asked what kind of a troop train I had been on. I told him what I did and said, “It wasn't much cleaner than the troop train.” I spent my 30 days home leave in about what seemed like only three or four days.
End of Chapter 14 Go to Chapter 15