“Saluting Another True “Veteran of Character”
The Boy Scouts of America and the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative are partnering to present an elegant celebration at the Reagan Library on Veteran’s Day 2017, (Saturday, November 11). Last month’s edition of The Magazine of Santa Clarita featured a story on Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Bennie Adkins, and this month it’s Lee Shulman’s turn in the spotlight.
If you’re a resident of the Santa Clarita area you certainly have seen Lee Shulman, either dancing with his wife of 50 years, Joyce, to the local street music on Friday nights in July, or have watched him serve as a board member of several local non-profit organizations including the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative.
What you may not know is very much about his impressive history. Born December 12, 1923 in Detroit, Michigan, he is now almost 94 years of age, and still going strong…after having just renewed his pilot’s license.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Lee was an engineering student at the University of Michigan. His parents pleaded with him to finish school, but after just one semester, he enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps September 1942, to become a pilot.
The Air Corps had other ideas, and after basic training he was sent to Pawling, N.Y. to train as a cryptographer. Lee was then deployed to the CBI, (China, Burma India) theater where he became part of a nine-member cryptography team with a cadre of American-born Japanese Nisei, who taught the team to read Japanese. Lee learned to recognize the symbols, but never learned to speak Japanese.
In the CBI Theater until the end of the war, Lee was honorably discharged in November, 1945 at Shepard AFB in Texas. On his way to the CBI there was a stop in Africa, where he contracted Malaria. After recovering he was sent to an interceptor station at an air base located at Sookrating, India. Not knowing where to assign cryptographers, the commander assigned Lee and his team to man the Air Control Tower for planes that were flying “the hump” and flying combat duty.
After a brief stint as a control tower operator he began his work as a cryptographer, deciphering the Japanese coded messages, and encoding messages for our troops. Lee frequently flew to nearby air bases of captured territory and raided the Code Shacks to pick up the current version of codes the Japanese were using.
In May of 1943 Lee was flown in a B25 to an airfield in Myitkyna, Burma, that had just been captured by the U.S. Army. After gathering needed information, his crew was asked to spot a machine gun nest on the other side of the river, which was still Japanese occupied. They were hit many times by machine gun fire, and crashed into the jungle, where Lee was carried out with a ruptured spine and a severely injured right eye. After three months in traction at a U. S. Army hospital in Lido, Burma, Lee was sent to Srinagar, Kashmir to recuperate.
Needed by the Army, Lee served another one and a half years after his serious injury.
Lee Shulman served his country well, and his memories are still vivid. After being shot down by machine gun fire he feared flying, but overcame that fear by learning to fly as a civilian. In December 2012 he was awarded the Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” award by the FAA for 50 years of flight safety.
So, there you have it! We salute a true Veteran of Character.
We also invite you to join the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative and guests on Saturday, November 11 for a special afternoon/evening at The Ronald Reagan Library. Co-chaired by Elliot Wolfe and Ransom Boynton, this unique event will feature a special tour of the Library as well as the special exhibit of Titanic Relics, a tour of Air Force One, along with pictures during the cocktail hour, followed by a grand dinner and program.
For tickets to this grand event, or to inquire about available sponsorships, please contact Ransom Boynton at the Boy Scouts of America 661-645-0368 or Elliott Wolfe for the Collaborative 661-260-1790.
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