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Shelton Mason County Journal
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May 28, 2015     Shelton Mason County Journal
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May 28, 2015

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Thursday, May 28, 2015 - Mason County Journal - Page A-9 HISTORY AT A GLANCE n August 28, 1966, Shel- ton,s airport officially became Sanderson Field, in honor of Shelton native Maj. Gen. Lawson H. "Woody" Sanderson. Dedi- By JAN cation ceremonies"PARKER included displays of a variety of aircraft, the 13th Naval District Band, a preci- sion rifle drill performed by the Navy drill team from Sand Point Naval Air Station, and speeches by a number of dignitaries including Sanderson himself. Sanderson was born in Shelton in 1893. As a student at Shelton High School he excelled in high school athlet- ics. While attending the University of Montana he was named All-Northwest halfback. After enlisting with the Marine Corps in 1917, Sanderson con- tinued playing football with the Leath- ernecks, and was in at least one Rose Bowl game. After earning his wings as a naval aviator, Sanderson flew submarine pa- trol missions in World War I. Following the war, he was transferred to Port-au- Prince, Haiti, where he is credited with conceiving the idea of dive bombing. A Marine Corps news release from the early 1940s gave Sanderson's version of the idea: %Ve figured that if we pointed the ship in the direction of the target, the bomb would have to keep traveling the same direction and we would get better accuracy." Sanderson fastened the dosed end of an ordinary flour sack to the undercarriage of his plane, slipped a bomb into the bag and secured the open end. A simple form of release was contrived that opened the sack and allowed the bomb to slip forward. When it appeared that the plane was well di- rected toward the target, the sack was opened and the bomb fell out, traveling in the direction of the plane. As a Navy aviator, Sanderson par- ticipated in air races and exhibitions throughout the 1920s. He received his first Distinguished Flying Cross after Photos courtesy of Mason County Historical Society ABOVE: Maj. Gen. Lawson H. "Woody" Sanderson stands next to a World War I plane. RIGHT: Sanderson poses in front of a plane. making the first over-water flight in a land plane from Washington, D. C., to the Virgin Islands and back in June 1921. In 1923, he set a world's speed record of 287 miles per hour. In a stunt flying contest between Sanderson and James Doolittle at an aerial exhibition in 1927, the judges decided that the two fliers were so evenly matched that the prize was divided between them. Sanderson didn't forget his home- town roots. He returned to Shelton on numerous occasions. In September 1927, while taking part in the Spokane to Portland Air Derby, Lt. Sanderson and a Capt. Rogers flew their planes to Shelten and stayed oveiTdght at Sand- erson's family home. Before flying on to Portland the next day, Sanderson put on a show for Shelton in his Curtis- Hawk pursuit plane, performing nose dives and other stunts. According to the Journal, while passing over Olym- pia, Sanderson "gave folks an exciting few minutes when, from an altitude of 5,000 feet, he put his plane into a sharp nose dive in the direction of the new Capitol building and maintained his terrific speed until it seemed to the breathless watchers as though he would never right the plane." In July 1931, while vacationing at his parents' home in Shelton, he couldn't resist the urge to be in the air again, so he went to the naval station in Seattle and came back with a plane, making a spectacular dive from thousands of feet in the air over his parents' house, then continuing on to the Shelton air field. In April 1943, he made a quick two-day visit to see his mother for the first time in two years. During World War II, Sanderson served as operations officer of the First Marine Aircraft Wing on Guadalcanal in 1942, and commanding general of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing in the Marshalls-Gilberts area in 1945- 46. He was designated to take the un- conditional surrender of the Japanese on Wake Island on Sept. 4, 1945. In 1944, he received the Legion of Merit for his services as operations officer on Guadalcanal. The citation read in part, "Charged with the coordination, supervision and tactical employment of all Army, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft based at Guadalcanal, Colonel Sanderson performed these important duties efficiently, courageously and with complete disregard for his own personal safety." A March 29,1962, Journal article suggested that "maybe one of the rea- sons Lt.-Col. John Glenn rose to the role of America's No. 1 astronaut can be attributed to the Mason County background of one of his early instruc- tors .... the astronaut hero received much of his early training in the U.S. Marine Corps under Lawson "Woody" Sanderson, one of Shelton High School's most famous alumni." Sanderson served as deputy com- mander of Air, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic and Second Marine Air- craft Wing prior to his retirement in 1951. In September 1952, old friends staged a surprise dinner party for Sanderson and his wife Louise at the Shelton Hotel, where he was pre- sented with a certificate making him honorary mayor, fire chief, police chief, head of the various civic orga- nizations, and Heap Big Eagle of the Skokomish Indian Tribe. Included in the guest list of 60 people were six of Sanderson's classmates from the Shelton High School class of 1914. Maj. Gen. Lawson Sanderson died on July 11, 1983, in Coronado, California. After a military funeral, his ashes were sent to Arlington Na- tional Cemetery in Virginia. Jan Parker can be reached at THAT'S OLD NEWS May 28, 1915 Stump Saves Man Life J. D. Sloane, a workman on the state highway in Piedmont, had a remarkable escape from death last Sat- urday morning, when a tree fell and rolled over him. Mr. Sloane, who is about 55 years of age, was busy working on the read contract and evidently did not figure the tree falling his way. The tree, which was on a side hill, rolled after it fell going completely over his body, breaking his right leg. The fact that a small stump, which was near his head and shoulders, li~d the tree sufficiently te al- low it to pass over his head, saved his life. His body was bruised slightly. Sloane was brought into the city by Mr. Wolverten and placed in the Port Angeles General Hospi- tal Saturday morning and is doing nicely. 000 May 23, 1940 Mail Route Opens June 1 Mail delivery to the Angleside, Arcadia and part of Hillcrest districts will be started under a new R.F.D route out of the Shelton pest office beginning June 1, Miss Jes- sie Knight, postmaster, announced yesterday. Just how the new route is to be identified is not cer- tain yet, although the original plans were to label it as Route 3, Shelton. However, a large group of the Arcadia and Hillcrest residents who have been on Route 1 for many years don't want to change their address identifica- tion and have petitioned the post office department to that effect, Miss Knight said. The new route, whatever it is eventually called, will be a fraction over 29 miles in length and will give the Angleside residential district its first direct mail delivery. The route will cover the Angleside area first, then take in that part of Hillcrest which is not now served by city mail delivery, then will take in the Arcadia loop area. The new route will cut 18 miles off the present Route 1, carried by Harold Carr and known as the longest rural marl route in the state. Cart's daily travels will be re- duced from approximately 73 miles to about 55 miles by the addition of the new route, Miss Knight said. eel) June 10, 1965 Family Selected for Student House The Clyde Coots family, 2203 Adams St., has been selected as the recipient for the student carpentry class home for the 1965-66 school year. The announcement of the selection of the Coots fam- ily came from Jack Gray, head of the se|ection commit- tee for the VFW which sponsors the program. Gray said the selection was made by a committee of six local citizens. Mr. and Mrs. Coots have three sons, ages 13, 10 and 8. Coots is employed as boom man by the Simpson Tim- ber Co. He has been with Simpson the past 14 years. The new home will be built in the Mt. View area. This will be the 17th house to be built by the Shelten High School carpentry class under the program. The home owner furnishes the property on which to build, the material and all labor other than the carpen- try work. The carpentry class furnishes the carpentry work for the home, working on a project each afternoon during the school year. Construction is started in the fall after school begins and is usually completed about the time that school is out. O May 31, 1990 Hood Canal Board Taking Heat Angry community members pressed the Hood Canal School Board for information about district finances and pleaded against hiring a full-time principal for several hours May 23 before asking all but one board member .to resign. think the school board should resign," Jack Janda said, near the close of the marathon meet- ing. "You folks must be under at least as much stress as I am or you must have a lot of stamina," he said starting his resignation-demand speech. "I know this is a hard job. I know we have been go- ing though a lot of problems. Some may be related to the fire, but a lot of it isn't. "I'm really unhappy with what happened to Dan Bolender," Janda continued, referring to the principal's recent resignation. "I really feel like he was muscled out of here by the superintendent. "I would rather see the school board resign, except for the newest member (.George Reis was elected last fall)," he said. These excerpts originally appeared in the Journal.