Virginia Fights: World War Two
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Choose one:  Virginia's Coastal Defense | Art Mack Story

Virginia's Atlantic coast extends for hundreds of miles and includes dozens of barrier islands, as well as the opening to the Chesapeake Bay. All of it needed protection in the war. The most likely threat to Virginia's coast and its shipping were German U-Boats. In early 1942 German U-Boats crept along the Virginia coast and targeted Allied ships. Civilians patrolled beaches and manned watch towers to spot U-Boats. They watched the skies for German aircraft and worked to achieve total blackouts in the major cities. Blackouts made Allied ships more difficult for German U-Boats to find-without shore lights on the horizon to silhouette them. This exhibit features the many elements of coastal defense in World War II Virginia.
Coast Guardsman on horseback on beach
German U-boat prisoners march down street as Navy Bluejackets look on
SPARS poster: "Your duty ashore...his afloat"
Coast Guardsman on beach using binoculars
A civilian defense poster warns for Americans to be prepared for blackouts
Aircraft spotter tower--dedication at Emporia, Va.
Sub nets at Willoughby Spit
Aerial view of Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, Newport News...Headquarters, Administrative area, Chesapeake and Ohio railroad yards, and Pier Area w/ ten ships loading
German U-boat being attcked by Allied aircraft off Atlantic coast
Sinking merchant marine ship
Navy "Helldiver" planes fly over False Cape, Va. with Creeds Air Field in top right corner
Coast Guardsman on watch in lookout structure on beach
Coast Guardsman with dog
Men in 246th coastal artillery at Fort Story
A young boy does his part to defend the homefront by pulling down a blackout shade
Burying dead German U-Boat casualties, Hampton
Virginia National Guard manning anti-aircraft gun
Poster: Volunteer Now--Ground Observer Corps
Coast Guardsman on horseback on beach


Arthur W. Mack was born in New York in 1920. He enlisted in the National Guard, and was taken into federal service in the Army in 1941 and was sent to Norfolk. He met a civilian Army typist from North Carolina named Tess and courted her while they were both stationed in Norfolk. They married on June 20, 1942. In 1942 he applied at Langley to be taken into pilot training, and was accepted.

Mack ended up as a captain of a B-17 (with a crew of ten) in the 306th Bomber Group, and flew 25 missions from England over Germany. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944 for safely bringing a heavily damaged B-17 back from a bombing run over Germany. Mack's heroic safe return was widely covered in the newspapers. This exhibit features the personal collection of Art Mack's photographs from the war.

Art and Tess Mack on front porch
Art and Tess Mack in 1998, at pilot grad class of 4/43 reunion
Art Mack in Four Leaf Clover, just back from Berlin, May 8, 1944
Portrait of Tess Mack sent to parents, 1943
Art Mack in aviation cadet uniform
7 sheets of bombing mission lists
V-Mail from Art Mack to Tess Mack
The Mack brothers, Art on right
"The New York Times" headline: "3 Reich Plane Plants Wrecked, 64 U.S. Craft Lost in Air Attack; Russians Open Gap in New Push"
Group shot of plane crew
Crew on Berlin Raid 3/9/44 in Four Leaf Clover
Aerial shot of bombs dropping
Bombardier aiming, side view
Art Mack posing with mother and father at Camp Smith, 1936
To view the entire collection of Art Mack images, click here.

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