One more time -- tell me about the 352nd's Chaplain

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One more time -- tell me about the 352nd's Chaplain

Postby Parson » Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:53 pm

I only wish I could have met him. I have the odd feeling that we would have been, um, "of a feather" -- if that makes sense.
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Postby PunchyPowell » Sun Apr 03, 2005 2:00 pm

George W. Cameron was, in my opinion, the Chaplain of Chaplains. He had been a "China Marine" prior to becoming a minister and then an Air Corps Chaplain and if you have any idea of what a China Marine was you will have an idea of the kind of man George Cameron was.He had the personality to calm you, joke and laugh with you and listen to you. Many of his actions were not by the book and, I'm sure, sometimes violated Army regulations.. For example, he would start the crap and poker games with his own money (British pound notes) or from the church coffers on paydays (the military only paid once a month) and then require the winners of each pot or successful crap shoot to ante-up a portion of his winnings. One of the outstanding things he did was to start a campaign to raise money for a $1000 War Bond for each of to the widows whose child was born after their fathers were killed in action and never got to see their babies, having been shipped overseas. I think there were seven or eight War Bonds purchased for these "war babies" and sent back to the States to be presented to these widows by their local ministers, all arranged by George. Some of these "war babies" have been located and have attended our 352nd reunions. Another of his unorthodox methods for raising the War Bond money was using his trumpet. Since he played "Taps" every night over our Tannoy system on his trumpet, he would take requests for musical numbers the guys wanted to hear and play those tunes, but each request cost the guys a pound (about $4 in those days) to hear a favorite tune. And, he would even charge a pound to NOT play certain tunes. On Easter Sunday, 1944 George held an outdoor sunrise service for the 352nd personnel using a number of our big 108 wing tanks (long cylinder-shaped tanks) arranged as pews for the troops. This was about the time we switched from the P-47s to the P-51s, and George's podium stood just in front of and between one of each. Immediately after the service we were briefed and flew an escort mission over Europe. George met every mission, sat in on debriefings and gave comfort to those of us who had lost good friends on a mission, always upbeat. And, he wrote letters to the loved ones of our pilots missing or killed.His imagination knew no bounds. He even printed up T.S. tickets for use with the troops, and later, a VTS ticket for those who came to him with the most outrageousgripes. I still have one of those among my memorabilia.One of my personal experiences with George had to do with D-Day. When I realized that D-Day would find us flying out early the next morning, I went back to my Nissen hut and wrote a letter to my parents. I took it to George and told him I wanted it mailed to my parents only if I didn't return from a mission. I flew many missions after that and when my two combat tours ended, I went to him and asked for the letter I had given him. His answer was, "I mailed it to your parents because I decided that it was too full of love and appreciation for them not to see it--even if you did survive your tours." Years later I found that letter among my Mother's things after she died and I still have it. George's imagination knew no bounds and he was loved by all because he was such a regular guy. He had been there, done that. He knew your pain.George remained in the military and later received the honor of being the first Chaplain of the Air Force Academy and contributed greatly to the design and construction of the multi-chapels for the various religions which would worship there. He was, indeed, a man of the cloth and the cloth was G.I. He died in Florida on January 6, 1983 after being retired and, if I make it there, I expect to see his great smile again at the Pearly Gates someday.
Robert H. "Punchy" Powell328th Fighter Squadron352nd Fighter Group"West 'by gawd' Virginian"
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Postby Dduck » Mon Apr 04, 2005 7:50 pm

Here is a photo of Chaplin George Cameron provided to us by THE Sam Sox.Image
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Postby whwk » Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:15 pm

Great post and thank you.
His imagination knew no bounds. He even printed up T.S. tickets for use with the troops, and later, a VTS ticket for those who came to him with the most outrageous gripes. I still have one of those among my memorabilia.
I can only imagine what TS and VTS stand for :lol: -whwk-
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