Beyond the Books





Author: Roger Stark
Publisher: Silver Star Publishing
Pages: 333
Genre: Historical Romance / WWII / Family Saga

18-year-old Pvt Dean Sherman goes to church with a friend in Salt Lake City. He meets 16-year-old Connie that will become his wife. After Pearl Harbor Dean applies for pilot training and is accepted. Dean joins Connie’s Mormon Church and they secretly become engaged.

By the time Dean has commissioned a pilot, Connie is 18 and they marry and are together for a year and a half before he ships out as an Airplane Commander of a B-29.  Connie is pregnant with their son, Marvin.

A Japanese family is introduced, the Kyoshis. She is an important member of the Community Council he is a builder of water guns used in fighting fires and is the neighborhood fire captain.  A son Reo will go off to war and train as a fighter pilot. 12-year-old Son Riku has a reappearing role in the story concerning the B-29’s bombing of Japan. They also have 6-year-old twin sisters that are sent to Hiroshima early in the story for their safety. 

The crew of 44-69966 arrives in India after a month of flying. Letters start arriving for Connie. Discussion of the B-29s development of strategic purposes is explained.

In Japan Reo Kyoshi goes off to war and the Firebombing of Tokyo occurs. 15 Square miles burned down to the sidewalks. 100,000 casualties and a million people homeless. The Kyoshi survive the conflagration but lose their home.

Marvin is born. Dean returns to duty and his plane is transferred to the Marianna Islands in the Pacific. Some 67 love letters are exchanged between Dean and Connie.

Dean’s plane is shot down over Nagoya Japan, the crew is captured and sent to Tokai Army Headquarters. Connie keeps writing letters that cannot be delivered. She has no idea he is in a Japanese prison.

Prison conditions are horrible, beatings and interrogations constant. Connie receives the war department telegram listing Dean as MIA.

A sham trial is conducted the crew is found guilty and their sentence is carried out the next day.

Almost 50 years later, Dean comes to Connie in a dream/vision and confirms his love for her and that they will yet have a life together.

Book Information

Release Date: September 1, 2021

Publisher:  Silver Star Publishing

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-0578855288; 333 pages; $17.43; E-Book, $2.99




Barnes & Noble:

Chapter One

18 January 1941, The Story Begins

Stanley Carter started all this. 

He was just a kid, a student at South High in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

A Mormon boy, as many in the region are, and member of South’s ROTC program. In fact, the student commander of the Army ROTC at South. His duties occasionally took him to the Fort Douglas Army Base a couple of miles east of the city. 

Entry to the Base included the obligatory stop at the guard house, a box of a place parting the road at the Fort entrance. Bookended by road barriers normally open and standing at attention during the daylight hours, on foot visitors such as the bus riding Stanley Carter were invited to enter the building and make themselves known.

On this particular Saturday afternoon he presented his credentials to one Private Dean Harold Sherman, Military Policeman.

  Stan handed Dean his papers, with the greeting, “Hello Private 

Sherman how are you doing today.” 

The Army blouse complete with stark white name tags and chevrons of rank prominently displayed make such identifications easy.

Dean studied Stan’s papers and without looking up, asked, “So Stanley, are you heir to the Carter’s Little Liver Pills fortune?’

The question humored Stan, “That would be nice, but no such luck. I am just a high school kid with definitely not rich parents.”

“How about you Private Sherman?”

“Me? I am just a Montana ranch hand that came here for Basic Training and am now OJT with the Military Police.”

“Your new to these parts then?”

“Been here a couple of months.”

“Do you know anyone in Salt Lake?”

“Other than military buddies, not a soul.”

“Well you know me now.”

“Yeah, I guess I do know one person from Salt Lake now.”

Stan wandered off to fulfill his post duties but he couldn’t stop thinking about the affable Military Policeman. After completing his errands, Stan went looking for Dean and was glad to find him still on duty, shuffling papers in the guard house.

“So Dean, I have been thinking.” Stan said.

‘“You probably shouldn’t do too much of that.” kidded Dean.

 “Your right, it gets me in trouble all the time. Dean, I want to help you with your problem of not knowing any one in Salt Lake.”

“What exactly do you have in mind?”

“Tomorrow I am going to my girlfriends house, come with me, she would love to meet you and then you will know two people here.”

His Sunday, non-duty day, social calendar incredibly bare, Dean answered, “I could be talked into that.” 

“We are going to meet up at church and then go to her house.”

So there was that thing Mormon’s are known to do, veil an invitation to attend church so that it seems entirely harmless. 

By the end of church the following day, Dean would actually know three people from Salt Lake City. This because Stan’s girlfriend, Carol Woffinden, happened to be the best friend of Constance Avilla Baldwin, who also just happened to attend the same Waterloo Ward of the Mormon Church, who also didn’t have a boy friend, and who was also more than happy to make a visitor feel welcome.

Dean innocently walked into all of this. 

Mormons have a special interest in non Mormons, or Gentiles as they call them. You see, a Mormon is never far from, or without, his missionary zeal. If you’re not a Mormon and your going to hang out with a Mormon for very long, you’re going to get zealed.  For Dean Harold Sherman, it was to be a life altering dose of zealing.

The Backstory of the Main Players

12 March 1922 was back before. 

Back before he joined the Army or flew airplanes or fell in love with a girl named Constance. 

12 March 1922 was the day Dean Harold Sherman drew his first breath, kicking and screaming into consciousness as the newborn do. A man child, born to William Fred Sherman and Kathreen Williams Sherman in the city of Lewistown in the County of Fergus, in the state of Montana, USA. He was not born at home as his five siblings were, complications made the hospital a more prudent choice.

Soon enough he would see the Gilt Edge family ranch and soon enough realize his family of origin had issues and that life comes with challenges. But understand, the only misgivings he ever voiced about his start in the world was his middle name. The moniker came at the absolute insistence of his father, no discussion required, a common approach for Bill, so even though it met with healthy resistance from his mother, the name was given. 

Dean whole heartedly agreed with his mother.

Connie would tell their grandchildren, in an effort to help them understand the grandfather they never knew, that Dean often said,  “I am no more a “Harold” than I am a horse or a cow or a chicken, the “H” in Dean H. Sherman should stand for “Happy” that is a middle name I could live with.”

31 March 1925                                                                                     On this day Constance Avilla Baldwin, was born to a mother with the exact same name, Constance Avilla Baldwin who’s husband was Claude Leslie Baldwin in the City of Salt Lake, in the County of Salt Lake, in the State of Utah, USA. 

The doctor after the fact, no doubt went home from his shift thinking it was a typical delivery, but Constance was not a typical baby. She did not cry. At least she did not cry the way most babies cry.

She did make crying noises, but often they were like a gentle, haunting, tonal wail, delivered in sustained notes that approached the sound of an ancient saxophone. 

Dispersed in her wailings were occasional small musical interludes, several note melodic moments, often triads. She would start at the root of a chord and move to the third and then to the fifth, perfectly pitched. On rare occasions of extreme displeasure she would also add the seventh or the octave. 

This lead her mother to brag she was the “baby that came out singing.” Often she would add her prediction, “She is going to be an entertainer.” 

In truth, Mother was right. After coming out singing, Constance never stopped. She became a soprano in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and entertained in Community Theater venues throughout the Salt Lake Valley for much of her life.

28 June 1939

On this date, the Very Long Range (Heavy) Bomber, the B-29 Superfortress, was born in the city of Washington, in the District of Columbia, in the State of Maryland, USA. The conception was a result of intensifying world hostilities and a modest effort of the American military to be prepared for what might be coming.  

This baby was a big one. Ninety nine feet long. Wingspan 141 feet, weight (empty) 65 tons. Notably she had thousands of miles of wire, over 55,000 parts and was held together by a million rivets. She was designed to do one thing, fly over an ocean and bomb an enemy.

It was a premature birth. 

The B-29 jumped a couple of engineering generations. Design never got all that far ahead of production. So blatant were the problems that the final step in producing a brand new B-29 became sending it to a modification center, in an effort to repair the many flaws actually flying the plane revealed.

The first deployment of B-29s was in the China-Burma-India Theater, five of the early arrivals fell out of the sky while doing no more than flying. No one realized they weren’t designed to fly in India’s 120 degree heat. Hundreds of other flaws were found in this same trial and error way, causing planes to be lost, and crews to be lost. 

Engine fires were a special problem. The fire suppression systems were simply inadequate and worked less than twenty percent of the time. Quite unfortunately, wings failed quickly, folding in half soon after an engine caught fire.

In the end, the B-29 obliterated Japan’s major cities, burning them down to the sidewalks by firebombing. The 29s blocked navigation in their harbors by mining, and forced the Japanese unconditional surrender by dropping two atomic bombs on it’s citizens.

Back to January 1941

Army life isn’t like normal life.

It can take some getting used to. 

However, every buck private thrown into a barracks full of shavetails quickly understands the normal goings on. It is a gaggle of Army man-boys, not quite soldiers, not long from their mothers’ apron strings, thrown together by luck of the draw, absent of reason, as is the Army way.  

For Dean Harold Sherman, age 18, lately of Gilt Edge, Montana, newly assigned to Fort Douglas, it was indeed a new building, new barracks mates, but with his history of military service, he realized it was also the same old, same old.  

Same old two story, wooden frame barracks, complete with Army green roof. Same old Army issue bunks, barely passable for sleeping, equipped with the same old foot lockers, veterans themselves of many soldier users. Same old pungent barracks fragrance, the stench of cleanliness that hangs in the place, the residue of a thousand soldiers mopping the Army tile floor. The same cream color walls colored by paint the Army must have bought by the trainload. The same old disappearance of self, absorbed by a 48 man organism, without a face and only the name of Company B. Personal privacy replaced with a dozen porcelain toilets, arrayed in the open, perfectly aligned and fastidiously cleaned awaiting the public conduct of personal business. 

Like every US Army barracks, the building was filled with the harvest of America’s families, one half of the nations most valuable commodity, the male members of the next generation.  These American boys were rowdy, reckless, full of wonder and curiosity.  They sought adventure, with bravado, patriotism, and testosterone.  They were volunteers to a man.  They came to the army in the years before World War II. They didn’t need to wait. Some were men of oversized destiny, charter members of the “Greatest Generation.”  

At that moment, they were blind to their future greatness, to the tremendous challenges they would rise to meet.  Right now, however, they were mostly concerned with the present and if duty and time allowed, the consumption of alcohol and the meeting of girls.

Dean was well prepared for this world. 

He had come to the Army by way of the National Guard unit based in Lewistown, Montana. He joined up in November of 1938 at age 15. He participated in summer camps and week long winter tours until his high school graduation in 1940. In the fall of that year he enlisted in the Regular Army.

Dean liked the Army, but he sometimes missed Gilt Edge. Located in central Montana, it was more a ghost mining community than anything else.  Sitting like a boulder that rolled off the east edge of the Rockies and landed on the Great Plains, Gilt Edge is one of those places you don’t get to without some determined effort.

The large and bustling Sherman Ranch, run over an ex-gold mine, was at the end of a long meandering gravel road that forked off the tar road leading to Lewistown. The sprinkling of families that lived on the road were tough people. They had to be. Dean’s father was famous for stating that “the farther up the road you go the tougher people get.” Always making a point that the listener knew his ranch was the last one on the road.

Dean was born over in Lewistown, the Fergus County seat. He graduated from the County’s high school, where he was a bit of a track star, in the class of 1940. By all accounts he was handsome, as the Montana Shermans tend to be, and never very far from a grin. Slightly built at five foot ten and one hundred forty five pounds, he felt keenly eager to establish his place in the world.

He had an extraordinary maturity, no doubt in part derived from being the man of the house as his mother wandered through three marriages. He was elevated to part time confidant, parent and care giver forcing him to be “grown up” at a young age.

He held a great determination, of unknown origin, to live his life well.   A certain sense of foreordination abode in him, that he had been selected to experience an extraordinary life, that he had great “doings” inside of him.

In this assumption he was correct.  What he did not realize was that he only had 1575 days of life left. Fifty two and one half months, four years and some change.  

19 January 1941, The Meeting

Dean’s first visit to a Mormon church “left a mark.” 

Stan’s girlfriend, Carol, immediately asked her best friend Connie to join their threesome. Few men have been smitten as Dean Sherman was on that day. 

Those first few moments of introduction ventured toward the unearthly. Their initial eye contact held for them an intimacy neither had heretofore experienced. They didn’t feel like strangers, they felt an odd curiosity about one another, as if they had come upon some lost part of themselves.

Dean would later describe the moment saying it felt like time was suspended. That they busied themselves getting acquainted, conversing, laughing, celebrating their new friendship, in a very lengthy conversation that had the flavor of two old friends reuniting rather than two strangers in a chance first encounter. 

His recollection of the experience disputed the fact that there were no words spoken and the moment lasted but a few seconds.

In his days in Gilt Edge, Dean had a lot of girls that were friends. But he never had one he could describe in the one word, girlfriend. No one ever “clicked” for him. This particular Sunday, in this Church service, he felt himself “clicking” all over a girl that was a total stranger.

The church service was conducted by a gentleman who very much reminded Dean of his father and lead his mind back to Gilt Edge, wondering if Bill had gotten drunk last night. If he had, a very unpleasant day was likely in the offing.  He had quit calling William F. Sherman “Father” long ago, a few months after his mother married him for the second time. It was her third try at marriage, and none of them seemed to work out very well.  

He never could reconcile that. His mother was funny, warm, loving, all a son could hope for in a mother, but her choices in men fell to tragedy.  Her misguided loyalty and sense of duty kept her bound to relationships that did not deserve her effort. Maybe, she was just terrified of being alone, worried about how to provide for her children. It was beyond his understanding but it saddened him.

When Dean wasn’t being smitten by Connie he was being smitten by the sermon presented in the service. Delivered by a Brother Wilson, a man of unusually large stature, meticulously groomed, his penetrating eyes were near lethal even for those in the back of the chapel.

His message began, “Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.” Dean liked that idea, he didn’t know much about God but liked that God might offer his support to his eventual marriage. 

”It is our most cherished earthly relationship.” He drove the point home by saying, “Like the Lord, we have been commanded to love our spouse with all our heart.”

This message was a new perspective, loving a spouse with all of one’s “heart.”  He had seen marriage and family done another way.  His father had married four times, twice to his mother, and his mother had married and divorced three times, creating a hodgepodge family dynamic full of hurt, uncertainty, distrust and many other things that fell short of the image this Brother was presenting. Dean had determined long before to do marriage differently than his parents. 

There had to be a better way.  

Perhaps this Brother Wilson knew the secret.

*   *   *

After services the evening followed Stan’s plan to go to Carol’s house, except after gaining permission from Carol, Dean invited Connie to join them. A pleasant evening of chatter and monopoly ended with Dean walking Connie the few Salt Lake City style blocks home. Home to a house at 467 Sherman Avenue. That was the beginning of a thousand jokes about how Dean Sherman found the love of his life on Sherman Avenue. 

Dean snuck in an invitation to an upcoming dance at South High that Carol had mentioned, just in case he  wanted to see Connie again. He did want to see Connie again, absolutely, he wanted to see her again, the fact of the matter being, he didn’t want to ever stop seeing her.

Spring 1941, A Romance Blooms

That was the beginning of several months of mostly double dating with Carol and Stan, going to school dances, and to the movies, and such. There were also some church parties, and quite often Dean would ring the door bell on Mutual night (Mormon mid-week youth services) so he could go with me to Mutual. Sometime he borrowed a car and picked Carol and I up after school and drove us home. (Connie’s family history.)

Dean became a very proficient car borrower. His MP work put him in contact with lots of cars and their owners. He especially liked the guys going on tdy or temporary duty assignment. If they weren’t taking their cars Dean offered to watch after and take care of their vehicle while they were gone. Who better than an officer of the law to protect one’s motorized investment.

The new relationship was not without problems. Connie’s parents were more than concerned that their very young daughter was dating a soldier. Connie understood and would sheepishly report, in the understatement of the month, “at that time service men had a rather bad reputation.”

Dean countered with an afternoon visit to the Baldwin household, not to see Connie, but to visit with Mother Baldwin. 

He visited … to get acquainted and try to assure mother that he was a nice fellow, and not to worry that her daughter was going out with a soldier. He wanted her and my father to know that he would take good care of me. 

Dean must have done a good job, but it probably didn’t hurt that Papa Baldwin had already had a dream in which he saw himself baptizing Dean into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.  

Connie’s third person description ends with:

 After that it was alright that she went with him.

1 June 1941, Mechanics School

Their first test of separation came seven months after they had started dating. Dean had signed up for Airplane Mechanic School and was ordered to Canute Field, Rental, Illinois. Dean came in the afternoon to Connie’s house to say his goodbyes. 

I wouldn’t kiss him goodbye. After a while Dean left and as I watched him walk up the street and disappear around the corner to catch the bus, all at once I knew I loved him and wished with all my heart I had given him that kiss.

Dean was a good and vigilant letter writer during his six months at Canute, keeping Connie up to date with his progress. One of the fringe benefits of mechanics school was that there were a lot of airplanes sitting around after the work day ended. One of the instructors was also a pilot and Dean charmed him into enough lessons that he became a proficient pilot. He racked up many hours of flying time “testing” the work of the mechanics in training. 

Dean was convinced the planes needed a lot of “testing.”

9 November 1941, The Return to SLC

Upon graduation from Airplane Mechanic School Dean returned to Salt Lake City, but now assigned to the Salt Lake Air Base. 

These were wonderful months for Dean and I. We went to school dances and the Tuesday night dances at the Coconut Grove. Coconut Grove was a huge beautiful romantic dance hall in downtown Salt Lake City, every Tuesday night was waltz night. Every other dance was a waltz, it was wonderful. We went to the movies often, and again he picked me up as often as possible after school, whenever he could borrow a car. We went uptown on the bus a lot of the times too. Dean was with our family for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners that year, there was a picnic in the canyon in the spring one afternoon, too.

6 December 1941, The Proposal

Across all lives, there are days and then there are DAYS. For Connie and Dean, 6 December 1941, was such a day. Of course it was the eve of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the changes that would bring into their lives, but for this one more day, they were free of that reality. They set off on a quiet, intimate walk in Liberty Park.

This December Saturday, the weather Gods looked kindly on these young lovers. It was a windless, bright sunny day, surprisingly warm for Salt Lake. They wandered as they most often did, to the south end of the island in Liberty Park Pond, to a rock they considered their own private place to be together. 

To be together and alone.

And so it was fitting that young Dean Sherman slid down onto his right knee, took Connie’s hand and asked if she would please become his wife.

This turn of events startled Connie, it was beyond her expectations. And while she knew Dean wanted her to say yes, she could not. Not because she did not love him, she had realized that the day she refused to kiss him goodby on his way to mechanic school but because of her fear for her parents reaction. 

“Connie your much too young for such a commitment,” spoken firmly in her Mother’s voice was all that was going on in her sixteen year old brain. It was hard for her to argue with the point, love or no love, she knew she was still the age of a girl, not a woman.

Dean was persistent without being obnoxious. Over the coming weeks he continued to ask and on New Years Day, 1942 the negotiations were completed with Connie accepting a wrist watch as a secret engagement present.

December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor

The motivations for Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor were centered on gaining the resources and harbors found throughout the Pacific and Asian areas. Japan had already sent a million soldiers to invade China in 1937. They considered the British and American Navies the only deterrents to domination of the Pacific area.

They fully expected a “blue water war,” one conducted far from their homeland. A war waged by their Navy that relied heavily on their superior battleships and aircraft carriers that were weaponized with excellent pilots and planes of war. The initial goal of the attack on Pearl Harbor was to annihilate the American Navy threat. They came very close but not close enough.

Japan as a nation and as a people looked at life and war much differently than Americans. They had barely pulled themselves out of the feudal age, they disdained personal freedom and rising within the social classes. They were an obedient, compliant people. The Japanese were convinced that by way of being the Land of the Rising Sun they were blessed and favored above all other people of the earth, and that their Emperor, was blessed with communications from the Gods.

Add the development of an Army and Navy Command that was outside of civilian control, responsible only to the Emperor, a command free to make decisions based on military objectives without the input or considerations of parliament or the citizens of the nation and you get Pearl Harbor.

Ten hours after the surprise attack the Prime Minister of Japan, Tojo Hideki gave a national address carried over the radio throughout the nation:

I am resolved to dedicate myself, body and soul, to the country, and to set at ease the August mind of our sovereign. And I believe that everyone of you, my fellow countrymen, will not care for your life but gladly share in the honor to make of yourself His Majesty’s humble shield.

The key to victory lies in a “faith in victory.” For 2600 years since it was founded, our Empire has never known a defeat. This record alone is enough to produce a conviction in our ability to crush any enemy no matter how strong. Let us pledge ourselves that we will never stain our glorious history, but will go forward …

And so Japan went forward, racing towards their first defeat, blind to the destruction they were about to bring on themselves. Each citizen striving to be a home front soldier embracing their calling as a personal humble shield of the Emperor. And for those that would become soldiers, there was no greater honor, no greater achievement than giving your life honorably for this grand cause. With the contrary rule also true, there was no greater disgrace than surrender.

8 December 1941, War!

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

These famous words of President Roosevelt delivered to Congress and the American people the day after the Pearl Harbor attack are recognizable to nearly every American. They served as a preamble to the declaration of war with Japan.

If it was going to be a war of Gods, the Americans had their own ideas about just whose side Deity might be on: With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.

The Americans made a decision early on, that this war would only end with unconditional surrender, there would be no negotiations, no repeating the Armistice of World War I.

With the declaration, the Air Corp immediately needed pilots  and lowered the entrance to pilot training from college grads only to qualification by test. 

It was a test Dean passed easily.

28 December 1941, Baptism

A baptismal font is a strange place. Something like a bathing spa in a walk in closet. And when Dean descended down the tile steps wearing a baggy one piece baptismal gown that had been worn a hundred times before, by a hundred people making this commitment he reached to grab the hand of Papa Baldwin who was waiting for him in the water.

It was a simple ceremony and a straight forward commitment,  consummated by prayer and culminated by the act of being immersed in the water and brought forth a new person, raised from being buried as was the Christ.

Participation announced one’s commitment to take the name of  Christ upon themselves, there by to be numbered among His disciples, to live a life that reflected the fact that this disciple always remembered Him and earnestly strove to keep His commandments. 

It is not a one way promise. The ordinance creates a covenant with 

God. A covenant, in that if one keeps his sacred vows and lives by them, Heavenly Father promises the Holy Ghost, through, the ordinance of confirmation, as a constant companion.

It is a strange religion, these are peculiar people, but Dean began developing a belief, a personal testimony or witness, the very first Sunday when he went with Stan Carter to church and met Connie.

22 May 1942 to 6 February 1943, Becoming a Pilot

Making a pilot out of a soldier was no small thing. Lots of ground school, lots of flying, even more testing, and at the end of a training module, the regular failure of one third of the class of candidates. Instructors evaluated the surviving students and made recommendations for their next level of training.  Orders would be cut accordingly. 

  The heavily testosterone laden were herded into fighter pilot training. The cool headed tended to be “Big Plane” candidates.  It was solely at the digression of the Army.  No soldier input required.  Dean made no secret he was interested the the biggest of the big, the B-29. He could, however, only hope for that assignment.

 Dean’s training gauntlet was accomplished in a baby step tour of California. Pilot Preflight in Santa Anna, Pilot Primary in Tulare, Basic Pilot in Merced. It culminated in Douglas, Arizona with Pilot Advanced Training. The reward was his commission as an 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army Air Corp.

While at Merced, Dean had mailed Connie an engagement ring. Their intention to marry no longer needed to be kept secret, Connie was turning eighteen and coming of age. Their hope and plan was that upon his commission on 6 February, Dean would receive leave and he would hurry to Salt Lake to be married. Of course the Army Air Corp had other plans and Dean was immediately posted to Victorville Army Airbase in California.

The Army wanted him to help train bombardiers. AT-11s were the planes used in Bombardier training and Dean was assigned to be what was labelled an “approach pilot.” He flew the plane around while an instructor tried to train a new Bombardier. 

AT-11s were known as Twin Beeches in the civilian world. It was a rather long lived twin engine product of Beech Aircraft Corporation. It was a “tail dragger” and featured a unique twin tail fin configuration. The Army used them to train, navigators, bombardiers, gunners, and photo recon operators. They even served as light bombers in the China Burma India (CBI) Theater of the war.

Dean was granted leave without warning near the end of April 1943. Dean borrowed a car, called Connie to warn her to make what preparations she could and started driving up the future route of Interstate 15 to Salt Lake City.

30 April 1943, A Date in the Temple

30 April 1943, 2nd Lt Dean Harold Sherman married Constance Avilla Baldwin, who was one month older than eighteen in the Salt Lake City Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

It was the beginning of their eternal family unit.

They enjoyed a hastily arranged reception thrown together by Mother Baldwin on the 3rd of May and made their way back to California.

Dean had rented a cabin in Wrightwood, a mountain resort area in the San Bernardino Mountains for them. It was a community of summer homes that were largely being rented to service men and their wives during the war effort.

As lovely a place as Wrightwood was, we only lived there for five and one half weeks. On 14 June we moved to a motel in the small town of Adelanto, California right on the Mohave Desert. The reason for the move being that it was much closer to Victorville Air Base, and so much better for Dean. After sometimes having to fly into the wee hour of the night, it was too hard for Dean to stay awake on the long ride home through the canyon to Wrightwood, in the still borrowed car.

During the time in California Dean took me on several trips to Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Hollywood and Long Beach, to name a few of the places. He also took me to visit Uncle Paul Williams in Los Angeles (a brother to his mother.) On one of the visits to Hollywood, Dean bought a pair of swim-fins and he always had a great time swimming with them when we were at the lakes and seashore. He was an excellent swimmer.

Dean took me for a couple of rides in an AT-11 while stationed at Victorville. He frightened me to death almost when he put the airplane on automatic pilot and then walked to the back of the plane and sat down.

Dean was rather inclined to being adventurous and a bit of a dare devil at times. His Air Force buddies said he could fly so low he could go under the telephone wires, missing both them and the ground. Surely he didn’t really do that though.

About the Author

I am, by my admission, a reluctant writer. But some stories demand to be told. When we hear them, we must pick up our pen, lest we forget and the stories are lost.

Six years ago, in a quiet conversation with my friend Marvin, I learned the tragic story his father, a WW2 B-29 Airplane Commander, shot down over Nagoya, Japan just months before the end of the war.

The telling of the story that evening by this half orphan was so moving and full of emotion, it compelled me to ask if I could write the story. The result was They Called Him Marvin.

My life has been profoundly touched in so many ways by being part of documenting this sacred story. I pray that we never forget, as a people, the depth of sacrifice that was made by ordinary people like Marvin and his father and mother on our behalf.

My career as an addiction counselor (CDP) lead me to write “The Waterfall Concept; A Blueprint for Addiction Recovery,” and co-author “Reclaiming Your Addicted Brain.”

My next project is already underway, a memoir of growing in SW Washington called “Life on a Sorta Farm.” My wife of 49 years, Susan, and I still live in that area.

We raised seven children and have eleven grandchildren. We love to travel and see the sites and cultures of the world. I still get on my bicycle whenever I can.

You can visit Roger’s website at or connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.

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