World War II began in Europe in September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. The United States was not involved until December 7, 1941 when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. That day, our president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the statement that this was “a date that will live in infamy”. The following day, December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan and Germany.
In order to give you a better understanding of the impact this war had on my families, I will tell you that my great-grandfather, Benjamin Noel Bain, and his sister Sara Bain Stout, my great grand-aunt, both moved to Ida, Louisiana in the early 1880s. They were pillars of the community and raised their families there. During the 1940’s times were difficult. Jobs were scarce and many young men went into the Civilian Conservation Corp that operated from 1933-1942. The CCC was for unemployed single men, ages 18-25, to relieve families who had difficulties finding jobs during the Great Depression. They were provided shelter, clothing, food and wages of $30.00 per month of which $25.00 had to be sent home to their families. There was gas rationing and no tires. Many products that could be used in the war were difficult to find much less afford. Families took care of each other. Women worked as never before and became Rosie the Riveters. My aunt, Anna Martin Dodd worked at the Army Ammunition Depot. Some men were either drafted or enlisted, not only to support The United States, but their families as well. All Gave Some. All were forced to give or give up something.
I do not know the population of Ida during the 1940s; however I do know that there were 150 young men and women that served in World War II. Of those 150, at least 18, (or 12%), were direct descendants of these two individuals. Some parents had four or five family members involved in the conflict. I can’t even begin to imagine the worry, love and concern these parents felt. I would like to share some of my Martin and Bain heroes that were involved in that conflict, which was supposedly “the war to end all wars”. The one where Some Gave All.
Children of JOHN HENRY AND MAMIE ALMEDIA WYNN BAIN:
Mina Chrystal Bain Bond served as a Pvt. in the WAC as a photographer and worked at the Navy Hospital in Hot Springs, AR.
Rex was a 1C Petty Officer in the Navy Stationed in the Hawaiian Islands where Admiral Chester Nimitz was the Commander of the Pacific Ocean Areas. He was stationed on the northern side of Oahu at Makalapa when he received a call from his brother, Max (see below). Rex went to see him at Pearl Harbor, however Max was in Honolulu. Through some sweet talking, pulling strings and knowing higher officers, he was able to get Max transferred from the boat to shore duty; therefore Max was not in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. Max was able to finish his enlistment in the Navy on shore on Oahu. A brother takes care of a brother!!
Max was a Seaman 2 C in the Navy and served in the Pacific and was at Pearl Harbor.
Roy enlisted in the Navy. From the book Ida 2000 by James Allison of Ida: “Roy in 1944 was a pipefitter at the plant in Oak Ridge, TN., that built the first nuclear reactor later used to build the first atomic bomb. After Roy left Oak Ridge, he joined the Navy and had basic training at San Diego. He was on a ship headed for the war zone in the Pacific when word came that the Japanese had surrendered.
Charles Jackie Westbrook was also in the Navy and was married to Ludie, daughter of John Henry and Mamie.
T Sgt. William Hinkle Stroud, Jr. was in the Army and was married to Ludie.
Children of ED BAIN AND BUENA MARTIN BAIN:
Laurice was with the Ordinance Ammunition Company in Okinawa and served as a Sgt. in the Army.
J. T. was a Master Sgt. in the Air Force serving in India as a mechanic with a P38 fighter squadron.
Marvin was a Staff Sgt. who served in England as a shipping and receiving clerk with the 8th Air Force.
Justine became a 2nd Lt. in the Army Nurse Corp and was stationed at Camp Robinson, AR.
James Houston was stationed in Germany with a tank destroyer unit. He was a Tec 5 in the Army.
CHILDREN OF WALTER HOUSTON MARTIN AND EMMA PEARL BAIN MARTIN:
Ray Houston served in the Army’s 60th Infantry whose commander was Gen. George Patton. He was a Pvt. and served in Tunisia. He had also been in the CCC prior to his enlistment. Ray was killed in Tunisia on March 29, 1943 however his body was not returned and buried until July 7, 1948. As a child I remember the family gathering at my grandmother’s home place where Ray’s flag draped casket was placed in the dining room until the day of the burial. Family members sat up all night with it until burial the next day. Children were allowed in the room but must be quiet at all times. At the time of his death, he was engaged to Mary Craft of Leesville, LA. In my genealogy research I have written for his service records only to find out the repository had burned and the only record I was able to attain was his last pay record from Tunisia.
Roy Ernest served in the CCC prior to his enlistment in the Army.
Claude Gingles, married to Gladys Martin, daughter of Walter and Pearl, served in both the Army in the infantry and the Air Force as a fireman. He retired as a Staff Sgt. and had served in Germany, Panama, and the Philippines.
James Hanson, son of Gladys, enlisted under aged in the Navy and was returned home.
GRANDSON OF SARA BAIN STOUT:
Fletcher Adams served as an AF Captain. He was an Ace P51 Mustang Fighter Pilot of the airplane “The Southern Belle.” In Europe in the 357th Fighter Group, also known as “The Yoxford Boys”. He had married Mary Yancey and when he left for Europe, she was expecting their first child. The Southern Belle was shot down over Germany on May 30, 1944. Fletcher was able to bail out safely however he was found and killed by Nazis. Fletcher never saw his son Jerry but did receive a cablegram announcing his birth as shown in this photo.
Another announcement regarding Fletcher’s son’s birth is listed below.
On July 24, 2010 the former one room post office that serviced Ida for many years was renamed and dedicated as the Fletcher E. Adams, USAF 357th Fighter Group Museum. The dedication included the following dignitaries: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jendal, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, as well as some pilots of the 357th Fighter Group. Those in attendance included pilots Gen. Frank Gailer, Jesse Frey, Joe Shea and General Chuck Yeager, crew chief Pasquale Buzzes and widows of pilots Lt. Arval “Robie” Roberson and John Sublet. Joey Maddox, son of Ida’s Mayor “Smokie” Maddox has written a book entitled Bleeding Sky, the Story of Capt. Fletcher E. Adams and the 357th Fighter Group. Much of the content of the book is based on Fletcher’s personal diary.
A lot has changed through the years since Benjamin Noel Bain and his sister moved to Ida. The drug store has long been gone as well as the dance hall, saloons, train depot, sawmill, grocery stores, plantations, hotel and the iceman. Much remains the same like the community that is dedicated to each other, the preservation of the history of its first settlers and the American Spirit.
In conclusion I would say should your travels take you through Ida, be sure to turn at the red light and visit the Fletcher E. Adams USAF 357th Fighter Group Museum. Cross the street and see the beautiful marker that lists the thirteen (13) service men out of the 150 from Ida who died in World War II. The Ida Community Center also serves as a repository for documents and miscellany of all Ida soldiers who have fought in various wars.
All Gave Some
Some Gave All