BLACKFOOT — Clive Lott and Jim Lindsay are among those who are honored every Nov. 11 when the country celebrates Veterans Day.
Lott, 89, joined the U.S. Army Air Corps shortly after his 18th birthday. He spent some of World War II in England.
“I was nearly killed by a buzz bomb,” he recalled recently. A buzz bomb was the vernacular for Germany’s V-2, an unmanned aircraft packed with explosives.
“I was sitting on my bunk when my buddy said, ‘let’s go get something to eat,’” Lott said. Although he wasn’t hungry, his friend persuaded him to walk along. About a block from their barracks, they passed by a 10-foot high bunker. A buzz bomb fell from the sky on the other side of that bunker and exploded.
Fortunately for Lott and his friend, they were on the right side of the bunker to benefit from its protection.
Lott returned home in 1946.
In April 1945, and at the age of 17, Jim Lindsay dropped out of high school his junior year to join the U.S. Navy during World War II. He needed his parents’ permission to join; he didn’t want to miss the war that was just months away from being over.
The Navy had a program that allowed new recruits to attend 11 months of technical training in the fields of RADAR, SONAR, and radio communication, if the recruit could show he had the technical skills to qualify. Jim had been doing amateur radio and had a love for mathematics; he was admitted into the program.
Upon graduation from the program he was assigned to sea duty in ports in China. The Chinese Communists were fighting the Nationalists at this time. Jim served from September 1946 through March 1948.
By 1948 the Communists controlled most of China, and the U.S. Navy was forced to leave. He returned to the U.S. Naval Training Center in Olathe, Kansas, to obtain training in Ground Control Approach RADAR.
In February of 1949 he was discharged from active duty and returned home to Colorado. Having obtained his High School Equivalency Certificate and with the help of the WWII GI Bill, he went on to college, receiving his BS, MS, and Ph.D. in electrical engineering.
He spent a few years working in the space industry, and at the RCA Research Laboratory in Princeton, N.J. The then taught 35 years of at the University of Denver, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado University and the University of Wyoming. He retired to Kinnear, Wyo., where he built two 180-foot HAM radio towers to talk around the world.
In 2009 Jim and his wife Bonnie relocated to Blackfoot in the Wapello area to be closer to family and the LDS temple. At age 82 he built another tower, only 100 feet high this time, but still climbed to the top to attach the antennae. His dexterity and speed at Morse code, a must for a Navy radio man, continues to dominate any of the younger generation’s texting abilities; just ask his grandchildren.