Simon D. Bouknight, Jr.
Technical Sergeant
U. S. Army Air Forces
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 11/13/1942 - 10/25/1945
Supply Technician, 38th Bomb Grp, 822 Bmb Sq

Simon, whose nickname was "Dusty," was born in Lexington, South Carolina, the son of Simon and Annie Belle Culbertson Bouknight. Simon had two half brothers, sons of his father's second wife. He says his grandparents, Charles Van Buren Bouknight and Emma Jean Bouknight, raised him. The elder Simon ran an automobile dealership in nearby Batesburg. Living with his grandmother in his hometown, young Simon hunted, fished, and played baseball. He graduated from Lexington High School in 1938, then went to work for the Lexington Dispatch News as a printer and linotype operator. Simon enlisted in November of 1942, along with a friend, Preston Callison. Assigned to the US Army Air Forces, he was sent to Fresno, California, for basic training, then to Fort Logan near Denver, Colorado, for supply school. He took overseas basic training at a facility in Atlantic City, New Jersey, then left Camp Shanks in New York aboard USAT Thomas H. Barry for Brisbane, Australia. On the forty-two day voyage, he says, he lost twenty pounds to poor food and seasickness. From Australia he was sent on to Port Moresby, New Guinea with the 38th Bombardment Group and its squadrons of B-25s. Working in supply and support for the airplanes, and living in six-man pyramidal tents, Simon served in an isolated jungle location, then at Nadzab, Finschhafen, and Hollandia. He was sent on to Biak, an island above New Guinea he describes as "the hottest spot we ever were. The Japs really didn't want us there." They frequently came under Japanese bombardment, jumping into a foxhole that were covered with coconut trees and logs during aerial attacks. From Biak he was sent on to Lingayen, a city in the Philippines, for about six months. He was stationed in Okinawa when the war ended. Simon came home on a Liberty ship, arriving in Tacoma, Washington, in October of 1945. He was discharged at Camp Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. After visiting a girl friend in Shreveport, Simon later returned to live. He was hired at the Shreveport Times, where he remained for thirty-eight-and-a-half years. In September of 1946 he married Laverne Greer. They would have three children, six grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.