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Sig Christenson
Worked at San Antonio Express-News
Attended University of Houston
Lives in San Antonio
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Sig Christenson

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I watched 'The Great Raid' last night after covering Justo Dumlao's burial. It was a somber reminder of Japan's brutal treatment of their prisoners and the courage the American and Filipino soldiers displayed in saving more than 500 POWs who had endured beatings, executions and starvation for 31/2 years. Dumlao was part of a Filipino team that took on 800 Japanese soldiers, killing 300 of them in a critical part of the operation.
[...] the invading Japanese had trapped most Allied forces there, and with their surrender on April 9, 1942, he and 75,000 other American and Filipino prisoners of war endured the Bataan Death March in April 1942, one of the great horror stories of World War II. Beating the odds as a POW was part of the story, as was his role in scouting a Japanese prison camp liberated in a daring U.S.-led raid. [...] Dumlao’s rise through the ranks, making it...
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Sig Christenson

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It's almost over for the warriors of World War II. As they pass, so, too, do their tales of courage, duty, fear, hope, joy and loss. Preserving and sharing some of those tales has been a privilege, and it was a joy talking this week with the men who are in this story. They were ordinary folks who didn't flinch when given the seemingly impossible task of defeating Germany and Japan. But when the end of the war came, they were relieved because so many had died. How they must have savored the slogan, 'Home Alive in '45.'
V-J Day is often recalled by the iconic photo of a sailor believed to be George Mendonsa kissing a stranger, reported to be dental assistant Greta Friedman, on a street in New York City as crowds wildly celebrated the end of World War II on Aug. 15, 1945. A little-publicized ceremony Friday led by Veterans of Greater San Antonio Area and a group called “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive,” did draw 60 people to Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery to ma...
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Sig Christenson

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When the  Air Force started studying the effects of flight on pilots, its baby steps were primitive but critical. One simulated journey to the moon occurred while Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House and saw an airmen spend seven days in a tiny cabin. Brooks AFB took the lead in 'human effects' research that was critical to NASA's success.
Airman 1st Class Donald Farrell was called the 'first' space traveler after a seven-day mission to the moon. It was a simulation, but the cramped pressurized cabin he was in some ways closely resembled what would come in space.
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Test pilot Gerhard Shriever broke the sound barrier once with Chuck Yeager, but he did something just as cool yesterday.
Retired Air Force test pilot Gerhard Schriever took a long time to close the loop on an aviation career that began in 1938 at Randolph Field and took him through the sound barrier. Schriever climbed into the open cockpit of a vintage Boeing PT-17 Stearman on Thursday at Stinson Municipal Airport, where he first flew as a teenager. The flight was a gift for veterans living at Independence Hill and Blue Skies of Texas, two San Antonio retirement ...
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One by one, we're losing the voices of a generation that gave us the country we have today. This is the way of things, of course, but I'm glad the San Antonio Express-News cares as much as it does about telling their stories, and it was great that President Obama met with Emma 'Big Mama' Didlake and another fellow WAC, Lucy Coffey. Both of them were thrilled, but I'm betting Obama and Joe Biden, who met Coffey, were, too.
Didlake, an African-American housewife who joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1943, talked of feeling tired over the past few days and was failing as the weekend began, family members said. “I think she felt she had accomplished everything and could take her rest,” her granddaughter Marilyn Horne, 62, of Farmington Hills, a Detroit suburb, said Monday. Lucy Coffey, a 108-year-old San Antonio veteran of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, ...
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Sig Christenson

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We have a lot of 'at-risk' kids, as any teacher will tell you. Bob Owen and I met some of them at the Texas ChalleNGe Academy in Sheffield, a dusty desert town south of I-10, and quickly saw why they were troubled. But we could also see their potential, and during a picnic on a hot summer day it was easy to realize they were still teens who wanted to have fun and be successful, and were getting what they needed - a little tough love.
The youths who enter a quasi-military school run by the Texas National Guard have fallen off the tracks back home, skipping classes, abusing drugs and even committing petty crimes. Coming here is no guarantee of success. Many, in fact, fail. But for some, there's hope, and a new shot at a fresh start.
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Sig Christenson

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Oath Keepers is fanning out to recruiting centers across the nation. Will they help protect our troops, or endanger them?
 
McALLEN — Civilians armed with semi-automatic rifles positioned themselves outside a military recruiting center in McAllen and at storefronts like it around the nation Wednesday, prompting the Pentagon to tell its troops to keep their distance and call the police. The sudden appearance of citizens such as Weaver and Orlando Perez, a naturalized citizen from Cuba who slung an AR-15 military-style rifle over his camouflage shirt outside the McAlle...
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As the Air Force prepared to salute him one last time, Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot, Dick Cole, talked of the great Tokyo raid and lost lessons of war.
There’s the barn to organize, kitchen chairs to be reglued, a couple of storage cabinets to build and a tractor he rides to mow the grass on his spread in rural Comfort. A lot of old memories are bound to flood back, when he and Dave Thatcher, the last of 80 Doolittle Raiders, receive one final award Saturday night for a mission that ranks among the most spectacular of World War II. A top-secret, volunteer mission, it required the bombers to fl...
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    Military and veterans affairs writer
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