November 12, 2009

On the wings of a prayer

By Brenda L. Shelkey

Veterans Day might be just another day off for many people. Not so for Rose Koenig of Underwood. Several members of her family have served in the military over the years. Her husband Melvin served in World War II, and of their five children, all four sons served their country by joining the military. All four of Koenig’s brothers joined the armed services, three were in the army, one in the air corps. Melvin Koenig had two brothers, LeRoy and Doyle, who also served their country. The couple met after the war when Rose was working at the Outlaw Trading Grocery and Dry Goods Store in Underwood, once located in the parking lot of the new grocery store. The couple married in 1950. Melvin joined in 1942, becoming a patrol bomber flight engineer with the U. S. Navy Air Corps, Flight Crew 3 of Squadron VPB 44 in the South Pacific. The Black Cat Squadron got its nickname because the plane’s windows were painted black to prevent detection since the crew mostly flew night bombing missions during the war. Like many veterans of W.W. II, M. Koenig didn’t talk much about the things he saw or experienced. The few times he brought up the war, R. Koenig knew by his reaction that some things are better left unsaid. He kept most memories suppressed and rarely talked of his experiences with his family.



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