The Tener Family

This is a journal kept by Dennis Holmes and friends concerning the Tener Family.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Robert O. Tener - son

It is interesting how some material 'resurfaces' and has more meaning once it is examined under a microscope.

Some time ago I received papers from a Tener descendant, and I have had some difficulty getting it all togedther.

My two prior posts were on a Robert Tener who died in January 1943 in New Jersey. More papers are falling together. In a news article in the New Jersey Press, dated October 21, 1943 - and submitted to a family historian Hampden E Tener Jr at about that time by the named person's sister - Mrs. Wm. McKellin of New Jersey, we see the following:

Fort Monmouth - The Distinguished Flying Cross was presented Tuesday afternoon at Fort Monmouth to Lt. Robert O. Tener, 27, Miami Florida, by Brig. Gen. George L. Van Deusen, commanding general of the erastern signal corps training center.

The medal was awarded "for extraordinary achievement while participating, during the period from Aug. 16 to Dec. 21, 1942, in 22 operational air flights, totaling over 203 hours, during which exposure to enemy fire was probable and expected." At that time he was a corporal. Since then he has returned to the offic er candidatge school at Fort Monmouth, where he was greaduated last August.

Tener enlisted in the air corps at Cam,p Blanding, Fla. Nov. 25, 1941, 12 days before Pearl Harbor, and received his training at four different airfields in the United States. His training was climaxed by a flight in a new bomber from Hamilton field, CAlifornia to Hickam Field, Hawaii, and he went into action against the Japanese almost immediately.

On one bombing mission, Tener and another radio operator - later killed in action - were left exposed to a score of Zero fighters for about twenty minutes as the bomb bay doors of their B-17 jammed open. Tener's companion blasted the corners of the doors off with a pistol to obtain a better view for shooting back.

In recalling the indicent, Tener explained: "We were operating out of Guadalcanal and on the previous evening one wheel of the bomber dropped into a hole in the rough field we were using. The mishap bent a wing, wrecked a propeller and messed up the bomb racks. Hurriedly patching up the damage, we took off to destroy Japanese shipping which was aiding the big Nipponese push on Guadalcanal. Not until we tried to drop the bombs did we realize the plane's belly was open and the bombs were stuck. Finally we pried the bombs loose, shot off the doors and fought our way to safety."

Bombing every night was the routine around Henderson Field, with the "Tokyo Express" or "Washing Machine Charlie" as the Americans named the nusiance planes, coming over practically on schedule, Tener said. The American fliers returned the compl;iment by dropping bottles oa beer bottles on Japenese installations. :"Nobody slept much", Tener said.

Spotting of mat runways being built by the Japanese in coconut groves was one job of the bomber crews. "The Japanese built the mats around trees, then cut them down to make an iumprovised courduroy field," Lieutenant Tener said. "Whenever we spotted too much white showing thru the trees, we dropped a few bombs just for good measure. The mats were built of coral, which incidentally, is plenty hard to dig foxholes in."

This article was sent to Hampden E. Tener Jr. by his cousin, Mrs William H. McKellin - nee Tener of the Ireland Clan. However, this Tener noted above, is from the Ohio Teners - and to date has NOT been connected to the Irish