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Text Box:  President
Marion Goble
(239) 768-1449
president@usswhetstone.net
 
 
1st Vice President
Jim Dunn
1stvpres@usswhetstone.net
(858) 566-1745
 
2nd Vice President 
L. E (Rusty) Draper
2ndvpres@usswhetstone.net
(361) 364-1917
 
Secretary/Treasurer
Kay Goble
sectreas@usswhetstone.net
(239) 768-1449
 
Membership Chairman
Tom Britt
membership@usswhetstone.net
(858) 578-8926
 
Chaplain
Marvin Watson
chaplin@usswhetstone.net
(402) 421-8957
 
Parliamentarian
Bill Martin
parliamtn@usswhetstone.net
(281) 427-6828
 
Newsletter Editor 
John Worman
newsletter@usswhetstone.net
(505) 437-9872
 
The Rolling Stone is a Quarterly publication of the USS Whetstone LSD-27 
Association, INC. The 
Association is a non profit, historical and educational    organization dedicated to promoting fraternal, civic, patriotic and historical memories of those who served aboard.
USS WHETSTONE
LSD-27
GATOR NAVYText Box: March 2004
Text Box: 26th  Edition
Text Box: I saw this obituary in the Albuquerque Journal, and although it isn’t a Navy story, I just had to share it with you.
 
Alan Magee of Angle Fire ranked among the luckiest of those who served in the Army-Air Force during World War II.
A B-17 ball turret gunner, Magee had no choice but to jump out of a disabled, spinning-out-of-control bomber from about 22,000 feet.
A drop of more  than four miles. Without a parachute. And Magee miraculously lived.
His incredible story was featured in a 1981 Smithsonian Magazine on the 10 most amazing survivals during World War II.
Magee seldom spoke of that death defying drop.
He died nearly 61 years later on Dec. 20 of complications from a stroke and kidney failure in San Angelo, Texas, said a niece, Jill Greene of Albuquerque. Magee was 84. ”He didn’t like to talk about it, and he wouldn’t dwell on it,” Greene said.  “One of the guys who saw him come through the roof of the railroad station tracked Alan down (in 1978).
Before that, Alan wasn’t interested in discussing this.”
However, Green recalled him saying, “God was certainly looking out (for me.)”
Alan E. Magee, who retired to northern New Mexico in 1979, was born in Plainfield, N.J.  
The youngest of six children, he enlisted after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  
Green described her uncle as “just a regular guy.”
He was 5-foot 7, barely small enough to fit in the B-17;s ball turret – a cramped donut-shaped plastic glass and metal turret on the bomber’s underside.   It was such a tight fit – a gunner’s knees were practically against his chest – that Magee had to leave his chute on the deck of the four engine Flying Fortress.
Text Box: The ball turret offered a panoramic view and also a precarious target for German fighter planes. B-17 gunners had a high casualty rate, said Don Jenkins of Albuquerque, Magee’s friend of 38 years and a World War II Navy veteran.
“He was very easy to get along with – very cheerful, very talkative and a very, very sweet guy” Jenkins said.
But, he said, Magee only spoke to him three times about the events on Jan 3, 1943.
Sgt. Magee, 24 was one of the oldest of the 10-man crew who flew out of Molesworth, England, on a bomber nicknamed “Snap! Crackle! Pop!”  The pilot was only 19.
His seventh mission was a daylight bombing run on St. Nazaire, France, called “Flack City” because of the anti-aircraft guns defending the German submarine port.
The 360th Bomb ‘Squadron of the 303rd Bomb Group sent 85 B-17s with a fighter escort.
Over the target area, flack damaged Magee’s plane, and then German fighters shot off a section of the right wing..  
Magee, who was wounded, scrambled back into the cabin, but his parachute was ruined.
“He saw a gap in the spinning plane and jumped out,” said Jenkins, who explained that in the confusion Magee forgot he wasn’t wearing a chute.
“He remembered tumbling,” Jenkins said. But at that altitude, Magee quickly lost consciousness.
Eyewitnesses saw Magee crash through the Nazaire train station’s glass skylight, breaking his fall. When he regained consciousness, Magee said to his captors:
“Thank God I’m alive.”
Magee’s injuries included 28 shrapnel wounds. A lung and kidney were hit. His nose and an eye were ripped open. His broken bones included his right leg and ankle. A right arm was nearly severed.
Jenkins said the Germans decided that anyone 
(Continued on page 4)
Text Box: Man Survived 22,000 Foot Fall
 out of WW II Bomber
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