Joe Connaughton, contributing author to The 319th in Action, gives lecture on WWII experiences at the Huntsville Museum of Art.
On September 22 Joe Connaughton, contributing author to Harold Oyster and Esther Oyster Queneau’s excellent compilation, The 319th in Action, conducted a lecture at the Huntsville Museum of Art, during the museum’s Memories of World War II exhibition. The 319th in Action is published in reprint by The Ardent Writer Press.
To a wall-filling crowd of over 200, Joe explained the many facets of the daily life and missions of his WWII experiences. Joe, a bombardier with the 319th Bomb Group, conducted missions in both Italy and Southern France in 1944 and ’45. His discussion was both thought-provoking and at times funny as he painted the canvas of everyday life in the theater of WWII. Afterwards, he conducted a question and answer that had to end too early for most folks. He received questions from young and old, but the most poignant were those from fellow soldiers that also lived a life in that momentous era.
He was introduced by Laura Smith, Director of Education and the Museum Academy, daughter of fellow Ardent Writer author, Annie Laura Smith. Annie attended also. Further comments and introductions were made by Jamie Dodson, a former U.S. Army intelligence and special ops officer, who is a writer in his own right, author of the Nick Grant Series of Adventures.
After the lecture the audience attended a reception in Joe’s honor and were able to attend the Museum’s inspiring exhibition, Memories of World War II: Photographs from the Archives of The Associated Press.
Dale “Steve” Gierhart is a retired business manager for the United States Army. Based in Huntsville, Alabama on Redstone Arsenal, his career lasted from 1975 to 2010 in which he managed contracts, finances/accounting, and cost estimating for several missile defense systems, among which were Stinger, Avenger, Chaparral, Sentinel, JLENS, SLAMRAAM, and Non-Line of Sight. The author wishes to thank the many co-workers, peers, and contractors who made these programs successful. It is their tireless work that brought these systems to the soldier that needed them. While budget constraints made it difficult for some of their work to see its full potential, they never blinked, they adjusted. They persevered.
Steve hails from Shawnee, Oklahoma; but most of his adult life has been spent in the beautiful hills of North Alabama where he lives with his wife, Bonny, who raises Tennessee Walking Horses.
Between them, Steve and Bonny have 5 children and 7 grandchildren, and another grandbaby is on the way.
Steve enjoys writing now that he is retired and plans more excursions of the imagination.
He and Bonny, a retired engineer who worked as a contractor on several NASA and Army programs, will travel in their retirement though 15 horses, 4 dogs and 3 cats can crimp the best of plans.