November 8, 2018

Makoti couple recollects their service in WWII

It has been 73 years since President Harry S. Truman ended WWII, and as time pushes forward, the number of WWII veterans dwindles. Sadly, then too will their stories.
Makoti’s Wm. Hanson Legion Post No. 239 is fortunate to still have a handful of WWII veterans — two of them happen to be man and wife: Elmer and Virginia (Schenfisch) Wolff.
Elmer Sigismund Wolff
Elmer Sigismund Wolff grew up in Chicago, and was the first in his family to be born in America. Wolff served his country in the U.S. Air Force from 1942 to 1946 and was a U.S. Air Corps P-38 Fighter Pilot in the 339th Fighter Squadron.
“I enlisted in the U.S. Air Corps on Dec. 7, 1942 when I was 21 years-old,” Wolff said. “I signed up for aviation as my first choice, but that doesn’t get you there. You have to prove the aptitude for it. Preflight testing found me in California for three days. Then, they sent me back to South Dakota.”
“Pilot E.S. Wolff” flew 64 missions providing long range escort to bomber formations over the South Pacific, flying a P-38 Lighting named the “Thweet Thue.”
These locations included Middleburg and Morotai in Indonesia and Palawan, Sanga Sanga, Tauri Tauri, and Leyte in the Philippines.
“A normal mission would involve attacking ground troops and installations with machine gun fire from my P-38 Lighting,” Wolff said. “Opposing forces nicknamed them the ‘Fork Tailed Devil.’ You got shot at a lot, but we did some shooting, too. We did a lot of strafing and that sort of thing.”

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