The Loop Antenna was used for navigating by radio, which was a common practice in WWII, just as it is today. Obviously, modern radio navigation antennas look much different! Antennas like this would be attached to the top or bottom of an airplane’s fuselage. The Loop Antenna was part of a system known as a radio compass. Instead of having a flight deck indicator needle pointing toward the north pole, the needle with a radio compass would point toward a broadcasting radio station at a known location on a map. The antenna would pick up the station’s signals.
As shown in one of the attached pictures, the strength of the received signal depended upon the position of the antenna relative to the station. An air crew would tune in the frequency of the radio station, and based on the strength of the received signal, the direction of the station relative to the airplane could be determined.
Picture four shows three ways the Loop Antenna was used on airplanes. On Miss Mitchell, the loop antenna is enclosed by a black teardrop shaped structure, as shown in picture two.
On June 6, 1944, a young man from South St. Paul, Minnesota was among the thousands of US Troops that made history and defended our freedom with the invasion of Normandy. That young man was my dad, George Alex, Jr. During the Normandy Invasion he served on board LCI (L) 414.
George Alex Jr. was born on September 2nd 1925 and entered the U.S. Navy after his 18th birthday on November 12th, 1943. He was assigned to the LCI (L) 414 on March 17th, 1944, and by March 24th, he departed Norfolk, Virginia on board the LCI (L) 414, bound for England. His ship reached Falmouth, England on April 12th. At 12:00 AM on June 6th, the ship departed England for Omaha Beach in Normandy, France to land Army troops for the invasion.
George Alex Jr. continued to serve in the Navy until January 3rd, 1946, when he was discharged and returned home to South St. Paul. He married, raised a family, and continued to live there for the rest of his life. He passed away on July 8th, 2012 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in South St. Paul.
The history of the local museum, its former use as a Naval training base during the war, and the location in South St. Paul make this a perfect place to display the uniform of a South St. Paul man that served his country. My family and I are honored at the opportunity to display the uniform and share the story of his service. This display is how I got involved with the Commemorative Air Force and I am proud to be a new member.
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