Tribute to Lt. Jack E. Shively From Saratoga, WY
Air Force Pilot shot down over Chinon, France and killed in 1944
I’m 78 and was 6 yrs. old when he was killed. Let’s set the stage and step back in time. What was Saratoga like in 1944?
I grew up in Saratoga, WY population probably about 900 when I was 6. Saratoga is located in the boondocks of Wyoming. The town’ business district was maybe 2 square blocks. My dad owned a little garage called Stan’s Garage. It used to be a blacksmith shop to sharpen plow shares for the ranchers. The Shively family owned a hardware store called, not surprisingly Shively Hardware.
Saratoga is located in a valley along the North Platte River. There’s lots of open spaces in all directions, mainly populated with lots of sagebrush and antelope. The ranching was tough business, and ranchers worked hard sunup to sundown.
The only memory I have of WWII was a big cardboard box located in a softball field where we took our empty toothpaste tubes to be re-cycled for the war effort. Back then the toothpaste tubes were made of soft lead or tin. The Donelan Drug Store also had a box for re-cycling.
My Dad’s garage was in the center of the business district and just like blacksmith shops of old, was a convenient place for people to stop by and chat.
I think Ray and Ralph Mitwalsky, known as the Milwalsky Brothers worked on a ranch close to Saratoga. The ranch was on a wide open prairie that always needed fence work.
OK, so much for setting the stage. Here is what a 76 yr. old remembers when he was 6.
Jack E. Shively was a Lieutenant in the 8th Air Force. As the talk in my Dad’s garage recounted, Jack was ferrying his fighter aircraft across country and decided to make a stop in his hometown. Yes we did have an airport, but was probably all dirt. At any rate as I remember, they all talked about how proud they were of Jack and recounted that he was a real “hot dog”. If you were going to be a fighter pilot those traits were good to have.
After a short visit (his last) , it was time for Jack to leave. Everyone watched as he fired up the fighter plane and gunned the engine to take off. Once in the air he made a pass over the town and gave a wing-waggle to show off for the town folk.
About this time the Mitwalsky brothers were out on their ranch working on repairing their fence out in the wide-open prairie. They heard a plane overhead and looked up to see a fighter plane making a dive right at them. Jack Shively made a pass over their heads so close that they had to duck below a fence post. Jack pulled out of the dive, did another wing waggle and was on the way to the war, never to be seen alive again.
This story survived for many years as I was growing up. It was a favorite topic of conversation.
Thank You Jack Shively for your service and ultimate sacrifice. It’s heroes like you that have given the rest of us the freedom to enjoy living in these United States of America. We should NEVER FORGET.
- WWII Memorial Chinon,France for Lt. Jack E. Shively
Stan is the Senior Editor for StanHjerleid.com. He is a Tea Party Conservative and very concerned about the future of America. He is a Navy Veteran having served aboard the destroyer USS Laffey for 4 years. For the last 12 years he co-owns with his wife, Happy Cat Retreat, a cat boarding facility. He has owned 2 photography studios for 12 years and worked as an IT Specialist for 14 years. He loves animals and raises parrots in his spare time. He is also an avid road bicyclist and motorcyclist.