There was an announcement in the Dec. 18, 1941, Marietta High School "Original" which stated: "All U.S. amateur radio stations were closed by order of the Federal Communications Commissions at 11 p.m. Sunday Dec. 7. This order effects the high school radio station, WSVSV, and the station WSTRV, owned and operated by Dudley Nye. It is expected that this order will remain in effect until the end of the present war. (This was the start of World War II)
Despite hundreds of boys and men who have made amateur radio their hobby or work are no longer allowed to operate, the FCC has advised them not to tear down their stations as they may later be organized into a Civilian Defense Unit. Without doubt many amateur radio men will receive further government training in the use of the Ultra High Frequency portable equipment which has become so popular with the armed forces and with various fire fighting groups. These small emergency sets are used to broadcast orders or information across short distances of 3 or 4 miles, such as across a city from one fire fighting unit to another in time of air raid. These units operate on such high frequencies that beyond such a short distance it would be impossible for an enemy to intercept the messages.
One amateur station which evidently did not hear the order closing the stations, came on the air on Monday night. Following a few seconds operation it was immediately cut off by an army radio station which was patrolling the air.
The government has called all amateurs to enlist in the government radio service, thus making all amateur stations immediately available to the government.
The above article showed the importance of secrecy and that World War II had definitely started, even though it had begun with a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. If this country didn't learn anything from this attack, it certainly should keep us alert and aware that such a thing could happen to us today. As several knowing men have warned us, this is a reason to keep our services up to date and strong. We can't trust any country nor can we make friends by doling out millions of dollars, hoping to buy their friendship. We have certainly gone down the tubes in showing power to the outside world. We have to make America strong once again, or we'll be dead pigeons - in more ways than one.
Marietta was very involved in World War II. The brick building at Sixth and Putnam streets manufactured triggers for bombs, but do you think anyone in Marietta knew what they were making? For a time I worked at this plant, and all we did was put wires together. How in the heck would that make anyone aware they were bomb triggers. They certainly were cautious about our entering the building, because we had special name tags, and they did everything but weigh us. I never knew what we were making until a few years ago when one of my plant buddies informed me. It's just as well it was kept a secret.
The most excitement I had at this plant was the day my brother Bob flew his Corsair over Marietta. He got into a little problem when he flew so close to the courthouse the American flag was sucked into the air. Somebody in town complained and his boss in Columbus gave him a warning. Bob was stationed in Columbus, but flew new planes out of a plant in northern Ohio and tested them for transfer to other airfields. He didn't mind being a test pilot, but he sure wanted to get into the war.
It was tough to see so many of my male classmates head out to join the various services. We lost a number during the war, as well as having them return injured.
Marietta College was saved when the Air Force sent 3,000 cadets to the college to receive an education and learn to fly piper cubs at the small airport out on the Pike. Of course, the girls in town were happy, because most of these young men were looking for week-end dates. Many homes in town were opened for week-end gatherings, and they not only met the towns females, but had home cooking. It's amazing how many cadets ended up marrying Marietta girls.
It seems as though there's always a war on the horizon. If we could get our politicians to get along and work together without laying blame on each other for their failures, things might get resolved. However, even U.S. citizens seems to be angry about something, and families fight, and in this town large amounts of drugs pass through. Whatever happened to the thing called Faith
Sara Armor called me this past week to inform me that the name of the director of the MHS girls band was D.M. Whetstone. The misspelled name of the band member should have read, Charlene Tebay. She mentioned the band's first presentation which was in Parkersburg, and she said people threw all kinds of things at the band members, but they all survived. The next year R.G. Rittenour took over when Whetstone retired, and he insisted the girls band should join the regular band. The uniforms were given to the school, and it was not a happy event when things suddenly changed. There is a great picture of the band in the 1942 Orian. Sara, whose maiden name was Carmichael played a trumpet in the band.
Joan Pritchard is a longtime columnist for The Parkersburg News & Sentinel.