The Hutchings Museum Veterans Hall houses many artifacts from World War II that belonged to these two soldier, George C. Leany and Paul J. Price. This exhibit includes those items along with their stories of their service to America during its time of need.
Numerous men from Lehi, Utah left their homes to serve the United States in its time of need during World War II. In 1947, the local newspaper, The Lehi Free Press, payed tribute to some of those men. This exhibit includes their stories.
TSgt. George C. Leany
George "Cleon" Leany grew up in Utah and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in July of 1939. After graduating from radio communications school in Panama, TSgt. Leany began working at David Airfield in Panama as the chief radio operator for the Pan-American Airways Radio Station and the Army Air Corp, keeping the Panama Canal safe from bombings. He graduated from the Officer Candidate School on April 8th, 1943 and then served as a Radio Communications Officer in the Pacific Rim. Leany also served as an operator and repairman in the Army Airways Communication System. He was honorably discharged in April of 1953.
TSgt. Leany would have used dog tags like these as a form of identification. Leany came to Tinian Island as a Combat Radio Engineer to set up telephone and radio communications. He came ashore with the Marine Corps and was the first Army officer to land on the island.
Compared to the dog tag, identification cards like these were a more extensive form of ID. They included fingerprints, weight, height, hair and eye color, birthday, rank, and a photograph in addition to the army serial number and name that is seen on dog tags.
Telegraph Key in Panama
TSgt. Leany used this telegraph key to provide clearance to U.S. Aircraft at an airfield in Panama, where all aircraft were required to land.
TSgt. Leany spent six months at Albrook Airfield in the Panama Canal Zone. He was in radio communications school were he trained as a radio technician and high speed morse code telegrapher. This case belongs to the Vibroplex telegraph key used by TSgt. Leany.
Field Service Postcard
An easy way to facilitate censorship, postcards like these were often sent home by soldiers. Soldiers could not write anything on the card and were only allowed to cross out phrases that were not applicable to them. The reason for this was twofold. By not exposing the reality of the battlefront, they were able to keep moral at home high and they wanted to keep secret information away from the enemy. This card is addressed to George C. Leany's mother, Mrs. G. W. Leany.
On August 6th, 1945, Col. Paul W. Tibbets flew the Enola Gay and dropped the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. The Enola Gay is a Boeing B-29 named after Col. Tibbets' mother, Enola Gay Tibbets. This is TSgt. Laney's personal copy.
The atomic bombs used on the Enola Gay were delivered by the USS Indianapolis to Tinian, where TSgt. Leany was stationed. The base at Tinian was where the Enola Gay took off.
This copy was personally inscribed to Radio Officer Leany by the crew of the Enola Gay: Paul W. Tibbets, Pilot; Thomas Ferebee, Bombardier; and Theodore Van Kirk, Navigator. Signed September 9th, 1990. Inscribed as "To George C. Leany--Radio Construction Officer for Tinian--with best wishes"
After the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and surrender of Japan, 300 Japanese soldiers, unwilling to surrender, were left near Tinian on a nearby island about five miles away. To convince these soldier to surrender, General Von Kimble enlisted TSgt. Leany's help. Leany set up a radio receiver and antenna that would receive messages from Japan. American boats circled the island with loudspeakers telling the soldiers the war was over. The next day, two Japanese soldiers came to Tinian. Leany was left alone in a room with these two soldiers and played the frequencies Emperor Hirohito was broadcasting from. Unable to understand Japanese, Leany watched the faces of the two soldiers until their expressions recognized their emperors voice. They conversed in Japanese for two hours deciding what they should do and eventually got up to leave. A few hours later, 300 Japanese soldiers surrendered to General Von Kimble and were brought to Tinian.
Col. Paul J. Price
Was born in Lehi on November 8th, 1924. He entered active service training in August of 1943 as an airplane mechanic in the Army branch.
When a solider dies in war, their dog tags become the most valuable form of identification. Especially if their bodies had been severely damaged, their dog tags help to identify them easily so the next of kin can be notified. One tag would stay with the solider and the other was collected for documentation.
Prior to departure overseas and during final training, Col. Price was killed in an aircraft accident in Pyote, Texas in August of 1945, two years after his enlistment in the United States Military. This telegram is written to his father, George P. Price to inform him of his sons death.
Col. Price was at Rattlesnake Bomber Base for 22 days before he was involved in an aircraft crash and died from the injuries he sustained. He was transferred to AAF Regional Hospital on the air field. Medical records say he died from "traumatic destruction of vital organs."
When a solider enlisted, their family was given a Blue Star Service Flag. They were to be hung in a window while the family member was serving. When the solider died, it was appropriate to replace the blue star with a gold star. As seen here, this is a Gold Star Service Flag, which means the solider died during the war. Col. Paul J. Price's family would have been given a similar flag to hang in their window when their son died.