Photos: The Shipman Family Collection
Flatland Cousins Who Went to Sea
Information provided by Barbara Logsdon
Shipman & Richard Shipman
Shipman Family has a deep association with the Texas
Panhandle. The family has lived in Erick
and Texola, Oklahoma (both towns
nearly on the Texas State Line) as well as in Floydada,
Tulia and Plainview
(Floyd, Swisher and Hale Counties respectively) before moving to California. |
siren call of the sea seems to reach deep inland. Historically, it’s typical to
find large numbers of naval personnel originating from landlocked regions. Chester
Nimitz, the Admiral of the Pacific Fleet during WWII,
grew up in the Texas Hill County
and Admirals Wm. Leahy and Ernest King had childhoods in Iowa and Ohio (respectively).
Horace Dowdell in his early 20s, after he had enlisted in the Navy in March of
Oklahoma on 13 January 1921, he died in Plainview,
Texas April 6th, 1980.
Three months prior to Samuel’s enlistment,
in distant Groton, Connecticut, the keel had been laid for the submarine USS Catfish
buffs interested in submarines can go to the official webpage for the USS Catfish.
http://www.rontini.com/catfish.htm Although it arrived too late for action in
WWII, it was sold to the
Argentine Navy in 1971 and saw action (under the name Santa Fe) during the Falkland
Island War in 1982. It was taken out of battle by British helicopters while it
was surfaced. It was sunk, salvaged and then scuttled in deep South Atlantic waters
in the late 1980s.
Dowdell would be assigned to the Catfish when it was deployed for the Pacific
and would learn of the Japanese surrender aboard the boat just two days after
it arrived “on station” off Japan’s Coast.
US Naval Institute
“Horace had a very sad personal loss in his life and although I never knew him,
I am working on his family tree. I so much want every one to remember him for
being a brave young man he was and for the good he accomplished."
Dowdell, Hazel & Rufus Truit Shipman|
writes: "The father of both Richard and Raymond Shipman was Rufus Truitt
Shipman. Rufus married Hazel Crawford and it’s Hazel’s sister who is the mother
of Samuel Horace Dowdell."
ShipmanSon of Hazel
Crawford and Rufus T. Shipman
Birth - 27 Feb 1927 in Swisher County, Texas
Death - 15 Dec 2000 in California
Raymond’s story in Raymond’s own
“President Roosevelt told us how serious it was when he declared that
a State of War now existed between the United States of America and the Imperial
Japanese Government. There was a military draft in effect but I was not old enough
to be eligible. Draft age was eighteen years and although I was only sixteen,
my mind was made up to go into the Navy like my cousin Samuel Horace Dowell.
though I was an only child, I decided to lie about my age. My father was too old
to be drafted so he worked in a shipyard. I knew my mother would be mad, so I
ran off, lied about my age and was accepted into the Navy like my cousin. I was
assigned to the USS Devosa, a warship / cargo vessel that also served as a mobile
Devosa AKA 27|
US Naval Institute
"Raymond saw the horror of war when he was so young. He saw his shipmates
wounded and killed, and then, he too, was wounded in the Battle of Okinawa."
The battle of Okinawa was ferocious. Japanese survivors recalled it as being “An
Iron Rain.” It was the largest amphibious landing in the Pacific theater. Okinawa,
just 350 miles from mainland Japan was the last stand of the Imperial Forces before
the invasion of Japan proper. It was home to a civilian population estimated to
be 500, 000.
Allied submarines and the new B-29s had fewer targets in these
final days of the war. The Japanese even sent the Yamoto – the world’s biggest
battleship on a suicide mission toward Okinawa with what fuel they could fetch
(by hand) from the dregs of storage tanks. The Yamoto, which was to beach itself
and send its sailors to their death as Infantry, was hit by planes from three
different U.S. aircraft carriers whose bombs and torpedoes tore the ship apart.
The Battle of Okinawa produced the heaviest Naval casualties for the entire Pacific
Theater. Fifty thousand men were wounded with over twelve thousand killed.
continues: "He and other survivors were picked out of the ocean and Raymond
was taken to the Navy hospital in Manila where he stayed for some time. After
the war he never talked about the Navy or the war but did enjoy talking to his
brother Richard Shipman about Richard’s 20 years in the Air Force. Later in life,
Raymond fell in love with a young lady named Evelyn Louise Crain and remained
with her for the remaining 27 years of his life.
My husband, Richard Shipman
was Raymond’s half-brother and he inherited a box of Raymond’s old photos. I took
on the challenge of sorting, Identifying and sharing the photos. If any of his
family are living. I would love to hear about them.”
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and emails will be forward to Ms.
sailors Shipman and Dowdell joined the Navy “to see the world”, their half brother
and distant cousin (respectively) eclipsed their combined tours many times over
in his 20 year Air Force career.
Joining the USAF in 1973, his points
on the globe included Korea, Okinawa, Wake Island, Guam, The Philippines, Australia,
Diego Garcia, England, Iceland, Norway, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy (and Sicily),
as well as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Bahrain.
Trained in security at first,
he guarded some of the Air Forces most sensitive aircraft, including the U-2 and
the SR-71 Blackbird. After assignments on some of the most frigid bases in Alaska
and Montana, Airman Shipman became an in-flight refueling technician. He experienced
several close calls, including an engine explosion while carrying over 15,000
gallons of fuel (luckily there was no fire). His work, like that of many service
personnel, may have gone unappreciated by the general public, but to the thirsty
planes he filled, he was immediately the most popular man in the sky.
He could or did top off the tanks of B-52,B-1, C-5, C-141, C-130, A-10, F-15,
F-16, and F-117 aircraft. His most taxing time was during (and after) Desert Storm
when his group completed a forty-five day round-the-clock tour where they transported
a staggering 1,350,000 tons of cargo using C-5’s, C141’s; KC-10’s.
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