old 98 highlights
Tom Harmon's Erroneously-Named Plane
The inbox delights today with a couple of emails from readers who are devotees of other schools but are offering up items to the Michigan fanbase. The first is from a Purdue fan who's run across old 98's plane in the midst of organizing a family history:
Although I’m from a died in the metal (not wool) Boilermaker family, I have something that might be of interest for your blog.
My family moved from South Carolina and lived in the Caribbean for almost 100 years. I have recently taken upon the task of organizing and writing the family history, which includes an archive of over 5000 pictures from 1860 to this day.
During WW2, one of my relatives joined the AAF and apparently served in a unit attached or even within the 98th Bomb group. It wasn’t until recently that I found out they had flown B-25’s in the Caribbean.
Attached you’ll find photos I have scanned of that fateful time where Lt. Harmon crashed in the jungles of then French Guyana (now Surinam). They operated out of Atkinson Field in adjacent British Guiana (now Guyana) which coincidentally was the same airfield where the infamous Jonestown massacre was initiated that killed a California Congressman.
Hope you Michiganders accept this token gift from an old Boilermaker!
Richard H. LeSesne
Harmon survived "Little Butch's" crash, wandered through the South American jungle until he found civilization, and then made NCIS possible by fathering son Mark.
that guy diving had a chance at the 17 second mark.
Wow, that's the most ridiculously awesome dive I've ever seen. He was a solid 5 yards away from making contact.
face down in the turf, thinking how he was the only one who messed up. Nevermind the fact the other 10 guys all had chances at making the tackle. He just looks ompletely defeated, like, "How can we beat this guy?"
What I like best is that this video is perpetually slowed down. It gives off a feeling of "Hey, let's try, but not too hard! Don't want to get sweaty before we hit the town."
The guy was a bull. A very highly skilled bull.
Ol' Tommy could really fling it, too. He threaded a needle on a few of those rows. To this day, best performance ever against OSU, better even than or Woodson.
Winning a Heisman seems pretty tame compared to surviving a jungle plane crash. Is it just me or do most guys think anybody from that generation is ten times the badass they could ever hope to be? (disregarding that little weasel who lets his friend die in Saving Private Ryan, of course)
If anyone wants a really good book, there's one called "The All-Americans" by Lars Anderson. It's about several players from Army and Navy who played in the Army-Navy game on November 29, 1941. Eight days later Pearl Harbor was bombed and they all went off to war.
The book covers the history of the Army-Navy series up until that point with an in-depth look at each program in the few years prior to the '41 contest. It then follows the players (now officers) through their service in World War II, from one former Army cadet who flew air cover over the Normandy landings to the former Navy midshipman who survived in the ocean for several days after his destroyer was sunk. Pretty incredible reading about the rivalry, the lives of the midshipmen and cadets of the era and their subsequent service. It's also a great snapshot of late-30s through early '40s football strategy in the era before two-platoon football.
Wow, sweet photos. Tom Harmon, and all of the football war heroes must have had some crazy stories.
Puts a lot of things in perspective. Thanks to the old Boilermaker!
very cool. and those are almost 70 years old ...
IIRC, it wasn't the massacre itself that killed Leo Ryan, it was his attempt to report what he'd seen prior to the massacre (and Jones' response to his "escape" attempt). See, I did read Penthouse for the articles! (no, srsly. They actually did write about Jonestown back in the day ... see, Dad, I need more sources for my history paper.)
Grrrrr baby, grrrrr.
That's Cracker Jack! Look at the gams on that broad!
I always love to look at WW2 photos and videos and to see some photos of Tom Harmon's time in the service make them even cooler. I bet that guy had a few stories to tell having lived a pretty interesting life.
Somewhat off topic, but if anyone gets the chance to read the book "Unbroken" it's got a picture of a B-24 copilot that looks like RichRod's 1942 twin. Page 69. :)
Edit: here you go
don't post a link to that site again. Thanks.
Pretty cool! I'm glad Shakey Jake was able to entertain the troops.
He also fathered Kelly. Hot!
LB photoshop waitng to happen!
a butterfly collector?
Is it just me or do most guys think anybody from that generation is ten times the badass they could ever hope to be?
Go back and read some of the bios of Heisman Trophy winners from back in the day and they are all renaissance men. They're all accomplished athletes and scholars. Today, athletes are required to put so much effort into being a finely-tuned, singular machine that pretty much everything else gets left by the wayside. Great athletes today are more like savants.
I was reading a profile on some basketball player the other day and his coach was praising him for all the time he spent in the gym. Apparently, the kid had his own key to the practice facility and could be found in there day and night working on his game.
OK...but you're in college. Kiss a girl. Read a book. Go live your life. Oh, and if you're going to read a book, check out John McPhee's profile of Bill Bradley called, "A Sense Of Where You Are." Bradley could have gone anywhere to play basketball and he chose Princeton. When asked why, he said that no matter how great a player he became, he knew that his time as an athlete would come to a close and that hopefully, there would be a lot of time to be spent after he retired and he wanted to be prepared for it.
Iowa's Nile Kinnick comes to mind. I hope see a Michigan game in each the B1g Ten stadia, but I especially want to visit Nile Kinnick Stadium, and see the statue of its namesake.
Kinnick won the Heisman in 1939 (Harmon won his in 1940) and, like Harmon, also served in the Caribbean in the military, in Kinnick's case the Navy (via the Naval reserve).
And like Harmon, he also suffered a plane crash there. In 1943 his plane, a Wildcat, developed an oil leak, and he had to crash-land in the Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. Apparently he died on impact and his body was never recovered. Sadly, he was the first Heisman trophy winner to die.
Amazing the similarities between Kinnick and Harmon lives up till that point.
It got me reading Tom Harmon's wiki page. To my delight, I just found out that Harmon was born in a house 4 blocks from my grandparent's house. Too bad there was a 50 year separation between when the Harmon's moved to Gary and when my Grandparents moved to Rensselaer.
It's still pretty cool to know I've been right by the spot where Ol' 98 was born!
How 'bout this Harmon offspring?
Attached you’ll find photos I have scanned of that fateful time where Lt. Harmon crashed in the jungles of then French Guyana (now Surinam).
French Guiana is actually still French Guiana. (Florent Malouda, the great French soccer player, is from there.) It was actually Dutch Guiana that is now the country of Surinam.
Anyway, my OCD tendencies aside - awesome story.
I'll repeat the thanks, and also note my obviously non-pilot admiration for the pilots - I'm constantly amazed at how close those formations are...
Harmon was great (and he could kick, too) but get a look at the blocking. Holy cow.
Lehman/Stanzi is great and all... but in a "Matchup of the Century" Presidential Election, wouldn't you take Ford/Harmon over... well... anyone?
(damned m-vowel-n name endings)
I just joined this site and in searching came across a blog of Tom Harmons B-25. There were photos posted by Richard LeSesne and I wonder if he is still out there on nthe blog. My grandfather flew B-25s in the same area for awhile and I have his logbooks with the serial numbers of the B-25s he flew and I was wondering if I could get a larger scan of the photo of the three flying B-25s to see if I could read the tail serial numbers to see if any of them were aircraft my grandfather flew. A long shot but I might as well ask. Thanks.