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All About Phil Silvain of Lake Lotawana
By Maisie Rodenbaugh
On January 3rd, 1929 a son was born to Frank and Eunice Moray Silvain in Kansas City, Ks. and they named him Phillip. His father was employed at the Amour Packing Co in Kansas City, Ks. At the age of three the family moved south of Belton. His father then worked at DuPont and eventually worked at Lake City. Phil attended school in the Belton school district.
On Phil’s 17th birthday, he joined the Navy and San Diego was his first stop for basic training. Four weeks after his basic, he was on board the battleship,
USS Arkansas sailing to the South Pacific. The Japanese were still fighting
the battle because they were not aware that the war had ended.
In three months he was back in California and was given no leave time. Left port on the same ship, USS Arkansas and headed for the Bikini Islands in the South Pacific again.
At this time they was testing A-bombs. There were 30 ships located there.
An A-Bomb was dropped on the Arkansas as a test and Phil and four other crew members were assigned to go aboard and put out the fires and to repair the damages. The crew lived on the ship for about a month before another A-Bomb was placed underneath the ship. The crew was evacuated and the ship was destroyed by the bomb.
Still no leave time since he had joined the Navy and he was on a ship headed to China. The trip took 33 days. He was stationed in Northern China had where he had several jobs. He was the photographer, electrician and they rebuilt LTC’s.
Back to the California coast and was discharged and finally made it home.
Now he joined the Air Force Reserves, a branch of the 10th Army Air Corp and was a flight electrician on the B-25’s out at the base in Olathe.
When he was in high school, he had met Norma Reed who was also a student. They renewed their friendship and were married in 1948.
Now the reserves needed volunteers to go to Mitchell Field in New York. No one volunteered so Phil did. He had belonged to the Air Force two years at this time He had been sent to Alaska and for some unknown reason when he returned to NY there was a puppy in his flight jacket pocket.
Norma went to NY to be with him as soon as housing became available and their first child was born while they were stationed there. When baby Rena was two months old, Phil was discharged one more time. So it was time to pack and head for the Midwest. He was warned not to come back on base to ask for anything as it was a possibility that they would keep him so he wasn’t given his discharge and it was never mailed to him, but when he visited the KCVA a few years ago, they had a copy of his discharge.
The car was packed and they pulled a trailer. The dog rode in the front seat with Phil and Norma and their two month old baby Rena, rode in the back seat and he drove straight home to Kansas City. They also have a daughter, Penny.
In 1963, the family moved to Lake Lotawana and this is still their home.
Phil has always been very involved in many community activities before and after he retired from Western Electric.
His friend Andy Anderson and he organized the Lotawana Sportsman Club
and he served as President for three years. He has been a very active member of the Prairie Township Rescue Unit, was a caller for the Square Dancer’s Club and is the Commander of the Don Avise Memorial VFW Post 6272 for the 3rd year.
One of his talents is known everywhere at the Lake is that he makes the best sausage gravy and biscuits anywhere and he’s practiced that a lot. Phil has spent many hours in the kitchen at the Sportsman’s Club, Bingo kitchen and the Pancake breakfast at the Post with his lovely wife, Norma working by his side. They are a great team and an inspiration to us all.
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