Steepstakes champion, World War II week by week

Posted by David Middlecamp on March 17, 2014 

The San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune from March 13, 1944.


Stories published 70 years ago in the Telegram-Tribune:

Pfc. John Quirlin, 20, won the Steepstakes climb at Camp San Luis Obispo with a time of 27 minutes, 28 seconds. The climb up and down Cerro Romauldo was called "phenomenal" by the paper. He bested a field of 23 contestants and won a $50 savings bond.

Second Lt. Edwin A Smith, a former Obispan, was listed as missing in action after the bombardier/navigator failed to return after a mission over the Dodecanese Islands on Feb. 1. He had volunteered after Pearl Harbor.

President Roosevelt issued a special commendation for bravery to Orville Beecher Hendrix of Morro Bay for his work salvaging a crashed PBY aircraft. He dove with makeshift gear working 18 hours under water, recovering a major part of the plane and the body of one crew member. Hazards included sharks, torn metal and poor visibility.

Cadet Maurice G. Righetti, son of Guido, graduated from basic flight school at Tucson, Ariz., and was headed to advanced flying school. His older brother Elwyn was a flight instructor in Texas.

50 blood donors from Arroyo Grande traveled to San Francisco to contribute.

March 18, 1944

The Coast Guard moved their base from Cambria to Morro Bay. It had been established on the North Coast in October 1942. Another article outlined House action on a bill to authorize $1 million for construction of naval shore facilities in Morro Bay including completing the unfinished breakwater.

Fierce air attacks continued from the Allies in an attempt to wear down the Luftwaffe prior to the anticipated D-Day invasion. Air superiority would be required for the cross-Channel invasion to succeed.

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