In July 1945, Lieutenant Jack Voss’s B-24 was shot down while on a mission over China’s Canton Province. The Sacramento-born Voss – accompanied by nine crewmates – spent 30 days escaping the Japanese army, ultimately surviving with the help of Chinese Communists and, in part, a skill set forged in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, courtesy of Sacramento’s Troop 1
of the Boy Scouts of America. Voss’s story is told in the Sacramento Room
’s recently published book World War II Sacramento
(History Press, 2018).
Flash ahead to summer 2018 at Troop 1’s legendary Camp Cody, nestled amid the El Dorado National Forest. A taste of the book’s recent impact is picked up by Troop 1 official Peter Detwiler: “During ‘work week,’ Bob Sertich (one of the camp cooks) was reading [the] book, especially the chapter about Jack Voss. One night around the campfire with the older Scouts, Bob told them about Jack and then read them the long paragraph from Page 137. Bob wanted them to understand that what they were learning that week would last them into adulthood.”
From Page 137:
"The crew of the Ceaseless Cindy had escaped through a combination of luck, leadership, guile and toughness. Years later, Voss would come to attribute the Boy Scout experiences of his youth, and the resourcefulness incubated therein, as playing no small part in seeing the escape through… Ultimately, if either through the maintenance of dry socks to avoid foot rot or smiting the often verboten practice of an officer drinking alcohol (substituting hot chocolate for the Scouting years) with his enlisted men as a way to nurture trust and unit cohesion, Voss could look at his journey through Scouting as a rich source of inspiration."
The older boys liked it so much that they asked me to tell some Jack Voss stories to the whole camp last week during camp week…and then I read the Page 137 paragraph to them. It was a hit, so they invited me to reprise the tale for last Saturday's final campfire when all of the parents were there too. It’s pretty cool to have the attention of 150+ people around the flickering flames of a campfire ring at 9 pm. Just complete silence (rare in a Scout camp full of teenagers).”
You can experience page 137 — and so much more relating to the Capital City during World War II — by checking out World War II Sacramento
from your local library or purchasing it through the History Press
, with proceeds going back into the library system.
The book was written with source materials drawn primarily from the Sacramento Room and Central Library’s periodicals collection.