Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.
Steve P. Owen
Date of birth: Jan 10, 1918
Dates of Service: July 8, 1942 through Dec. 21, 1945
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: Southwest Pacific; Australia and Biak Island
Branch: Army Air Corps
Unit and specialty: Aircraft engine mechanic
Veteran organizations: VFW, Post #3280
In his own words: Owen found himself in the South Pacific, overhauling airplane engines that had been used or worn out.
“We had individual jobs to do. I was in the inspection division, I inspected the parts after the engines had been disassembled and cleaned. After inspecting the parts I would oil them, put them on a cart and they would go on down the line to be assembled.”
Owen recalls that at one point they were putting out 300 overhauled engines a month, working seven days a week for around $50 per month pay. Eventually the men were given Sundays off but Owen recalls “we weren’t allowed to get very far away from the base — maybe 50 miles at the most.”
Owens said he wasn’t involved in combat, though he said “there would‘ve been some combat if I’d a caught that old boy that tripped me in the chow line.”
The fall on the corral-cover ground left his hands and knees so badly gashed it was two weeks before he was able to return to duty.
While serving in the Pacific, Owen’s girl waited for him back home “she says she did anyway,” he joked. They had met while he was in Weatherford, Oklahoma, training for the Army. Owen returned home at midnight, Dec. 21, 1945 and they were married on Jan 22, 1946.
“Thank the Lord for Word War II. If it was necessary to win the peace, I’d go through it again.”
World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org