An LP, mistaken as a disco record, survives a house fire and lost for 73 years returns to family in California
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, December 3, 2018— On March 30, 1945, Sgt. Earl W. Garrison was with the 99th Bombardment Squadron, 9th Bomb Group en route to Japan when his crew experienced mechanical trouble. The B-29 jettisoned their mines and made it back to Tinian Island but crashed on the shore. Garrison was one of eleven crew members who were killed that day, with only one survivor. For Sgt. Garrison, his time during WWII with the Second Air Force ended terribly leaving a mother, father, brothers, sisters, and wife Irene, distraught
However, Sgt. Garrison did leave something behind, his voice.
While deployed to the staging field at Herington Army Airfield in Herington, Kansas, Sgt. Garrison waited with his crew members for their departure on overseas assignments. During one of these waiting periods and prior to taking off for the Pacific Theater, Garrison encountered a mobile recording studio on base who recorded messages to loved ones from soldiers. He sat down and spoke into the microphone to record side “A” which opens with a greeting, “From Herington Army Airfield, we have the voice of Earl Garrison…” and then continues with a message from Earl to his mother and father. Garrison assures them he is fine and will see them soon. The flip side of the record “B” is to Irene, his wife. He tells her she has made him “the happiest man in the world” and will be home soon.
Unfortunately, Sgt. Garrison did not make it home.
Fast forward to the year 2010 when a “disco” record was given to Jerry and Jill Adlon (St. Louis, Missouri) in a box of other records from his mother. The story went that his mother had received the record from her mother. Jill listened to the record in 2013 and realized it wasn’t a disco record and made a an effort to try to find Garrison’s family with little success. Then in 2014, their house was destroyed by fire. Several items were saved, including the antique hifi, and stored until they rebuilt in 2016. When the hifi was moved into their new home, Jill realized that the record with Garrison’s voice was still on the turntable, undamaged by the fire.
Then in May 2018, Sara Collins, a friend of the family and a member of Footsteps Researchers, was at the Adlon’s home and listened to the record. At the first sounds of Garrison’s voice, she said her jaw dropped and knew that her team of WWII researchers should find his family. Through the nonprofit arm of the research group named LEGACY: Lost and Found, Sara found the family of Garrison in San Francisco.
What was the connection with Earl W. Garrison and how did the record end up in the Midwest? Further research by the group found that Irene Garrison moved to St. Louis after her husband’s untimely death. She remarried and worked as a nurse. It is still a mystery how the Adlon’s relatives ended up with the record in the first place.
The voice of Earl W. Garrison returns to his family 73 years later.
Two members of Footsteps Researchers, Myra Miller and Sara Collins, are flying from Missouri to present the record to Earl W. Garrison’s family on Wednesday, December 5th, at 6:30 pm in Petaluma, California at a private residence. Nieces and nephews will be present to receive the record and information about Sgt. Earl W. Garrison’s WWII service. The family has secured a record player so as to play the recording immediately upon return. The media is welcome to interview the family members and researchers after the presentation. Media must contact Myra Miller in order to acquire directions to the address.
Above: Jill Adlon with Myra Miller, Earl W. Garrison military photo
Footsteps Researchers LLC:
Myra Miller, PhD, (St. Louis, Missouri) and Sara Collins (Berryton, Kansas) are two members of the research group who worked on the return of the record. The group is typically paid to find records and reports from the National Records and Personnel Center in St. Louis in addition to creating Footsteps Research Packages and leading WWII Battlefield Tours in Europe. However, they do provide a nonprofit service called LEGACY: Lost and Found. They offer their expertise for free to help those who might have a relic from WWII with a name or initials scratched on it and try to help return the item to the rightful owners. More information can be found at www.footstepsresearchers.com.