Lewis D. Whipple
WWII Civilian
Dates of Service: 01/28/1948 - 01/29/1952
Civil Defense/Air Force Supply, Civil Defense

Born in Conneaut, Ohio, Lewis traces his family's origin in America to 1638. As a teenager he worked as a theater usher, at a creamery making ice cream, and in a mortuary. An eleven-year-old when Pearl Harbor was attacked, he grew up during World War II. He joined the Civil Defense Corps as a messenger, and recalls weekly meetings and air raid and black out drills. A Boy Scout, he participated in drives for scrap iron and aluminum foil, which he peeled from chewing gum wrappers. He recalls rationing of foods, gasoline, and tires, growing a victory garden, and sampling oleo, a butter substitute. Lewis enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in January of 1948. He was shipped to Tachikawa Air Force Base in Japan for occupation duty as a member of the 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion. He was later transferred to the 317th Troop Carrier Wing. During the Soviets' blockade of West Berlin, the 317th sailed to Europe, a forty-day journey. He arrived on January 9, 1949, and was stationed near Hanover, Germany at Celle Station, a British air base, where he worked in Wing Headquarters Supply. Lewis returned to the states in August of 1949. He was assigned to Barksdale Air Force Base and attached to the Ninety-First Strategic Reconnaissance Wing where he again worked in supply. Lewis was discharged as a sergeant, and then served in the reserves for six years. He spent much of his career at Caterpillar Tractor Company, and retired in 1985. Lewis has served as president of the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association, volunteers at the Veterans Administration Hospital, and stays active in Veterans of Foreign Wars.