George Chevalier's Photo Album


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In 1933 as a little boy I made a trip up the Hudson River On the "De Witt Clinton" and 10 years later I was to sail again on this ship in time of war.  Looking at the De Witt follow the hull line just below the name for this is where they cut her down to and then built her back as something different. Below that line she was riveted and the new hull above was all welded. She was fast for we cruised at 21 knots. Shown here she is in NYC awaiting installation of her guns in 1942. After all the verbal abuse over military service I thought this would be interesting to a few.

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"The Swooze", a Boeing B-17D Flying Fortress, never dropped an atomic bomb nor sunk a battleship.  Its fame lay in its ability to fly at all after the rigors of Philippine sky battles immediately after Pearl Harbor, the Macassar Straight, Java,  and hundreds of hours over the East Indies and Australia.  It averaged 150 combat hours per month, a wartime record.   "The Swooze" was one of the 21 B-17D's which broke speed records to the Philippines from the United States two months before Pearl Harbor. Eight months later, after the Japanese tide had been slowed valuable weeks, while the Allies rushed men and materiel to the Southwest Pacific, it was the only known survivor of its squadron.   It was chosen by Lt.Gen. George H.Brett, Commanding Officer of the Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific, as his personal plane almost immediately and it continued to fly 4,000 hours, the equivalent of more than 15 times around the world.  Its name came from the popular song of the day but became more appropriate as years went on and it was patched and repatched to become as much of a crossbreed as the lyrics "half swan, half goose".

With it's combat days over the Swooze arrived at Albrook Field with it's "Owner" Lt/Gen. George Brett in late 1943 and was used by him for many of his travels around his command. I had the honor of serving the general on this aircraft on numerous occations. The Swooze is at present stored at the Smithsonian in Wash. D.C. awaiting eventual restoration and then public display at the Institute. I had hoped before I die to show it to my grandchildren for I confess to a bit of pride in having been a part of something in those hallowed halls.

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The Swooze Crew

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This was taken at the Crab Hole just outside of Arraijan in 1938. From L to R is Larry Jones, GC, Ralph Ridge, Chester Bunker, Bob Erbe and my sister Ruth. Those were great days with little to worry us.

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Taken in 1942 at BHS. L to R, Dick Boyer, Charles Leaver, Marshal Hughes, Bud Pierce, Gordon Davis, Ralph Ridge, Chester Love, Milo Alexander. Kneeling from the top is Paul Debenke, Bob Chapman and GC giving a left handed Chinese Victory Salute.

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The Officers Club at Roberts Field in Liberia during Xmas 1946. We were blazing PAA's first flight into Africa down to Johanesburg, South Africa. We may have drank in the "O" Club but we were bunked in a thatched hut. Those were primitive days.

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Easter Sunday at St. Lukes Cathedral in Ancon in 1970. My youngest son chooses this great family moment to pick a winner.

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Gold Toothpick of Rodrigo De Rebolledo who served as Alguacil Mayor under Pedrarias and Los Rios.  Found in ruins on Madden Lake. He is proudly stating he is from Santa Maria La Antigua which was settled in 1510 and abandoned in 1524. He then took his Office to Nata.

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Summer 1943, The sailor suit is me and I confess to being a bit stoned at that point. In the middle is another CZ Boy, Paul Calvit, The tall man is not from the Zone.

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To allay the doubters of my service years I am posting some sample photos. This one was taken in 1965 and it is hard to believe I was once so young.

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1968 -Just before shipping to Panama I reenlist for the last time.

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Exploring Madden Lake with my sister Ruth Stuhl holding a large Bushmaster that had been following them when it was shot by the late Frank Robinson. Apparently Bushmasters resent you plodding through their territory.

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Madden Lake in 1974. My some what overloaded exploration and treasure hunting boat. It appears we did a bit of fishing also.

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In 1975 GC as President of the Isthmian Numismatic Society presents the book on Panama coins along with a Panama Proof Set to Governor Parker with Joseph Maravilla the Bureau Safety Chief looking on.

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The Los Angeles Takes Off From France Field, CZ

CZBrats
December 7, 2003