Saturday, June 28, 2014

How Leo B. Leonard and His Sons met with President Eisenhower

During the summer of 1940 the Army had their most ambitious war games prior to World War II. The setting was the newly named Ford Ord, near Monterrey, California. Many of the soldiers involved in these war games used wooden rifles. There was little ammunition for the First World War cannons. Trucks were used as mock tanks. This exercise was to be the U.S. Army's first attempt at amphibious landing. As the troops came ashore from rowboats in Monterrey Bay, trucks zoomed back and forth with soldiers shouting boom boom, pretending they were tank guns firing away! Above the beach line, crowds of local citizens yelled and applauded while the 32nd Infantry regimental Band played. That band was conducted by Staff Sergeant Leo Bradford Leonard.

The Army maneuvers were partially planned by Mark W. Clark, a brilliant officer from the office of the Chiefs of Staff in Washington D.C. With Col. Clark was his friend and classmate from the West Point Class of 1915, Lt. Col. Dwight David Eisenhower. Ike (as he was called) was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, and wondered if he would ever get a regimental command. With nothing official to do but watch, Ike wandered over to the band and chatted with Staff Sergeant Leo B. Leonard. He asked Leo if he could play a song called "Abdul a bul bul a mir", Ike's favorite song. Staff Sergeant Leonard said that most of the boys knew that song from their many visits to the local bars, but they did not have the music with them since it was not scheduled for the program that day.

Leo Bradford Leonard A Short Biography

Leo Bradford Leonard was born in Price, Utah on 17 August 1905. He was the oldest son of Zoe Ellen and Leo P. Leonard. As the oldest of 9 children, he had to assume responsibility early for the care of the younger brothers and sisters and was expected to perform his share of chores around the home and property. He showed early a flair for leadership and assumed his responsibilities with great enthusiasm. He and his younger brother, Emmett, became popular among the young folk in the Carbon County area. Their popularity was equally strong between the young women and the young men. Both played in their father's band, the original Night Hawk Orchestra. This was the first band organized in that part of the state of Utah and all of the children played in it at one time.

Leo Bradford graduated from Carbon County High School and left home early after signing a professional baseball contract. He subsequently played for the professional teams in San Pedro and Los Angeles, California. In addition to playing for these minor league professional teams, he hung around the lots of a number of movie studios and played in the movie studio orchestras. He also played as an extra in several movies including, Wagon Wheels, an early talkie, where he played the part of an Indian.

(Picture 1: Leo at the POW camp in Gorica, Italy, circa 1945 where he was the commander.)

Memories of Leo Bradford Leonard by Jean Morley Leonard

It would not be difficult to fill a book with interesting and unusual facts about Leo Bradford Leonard but since that is not possible I will tell just a few tales of the wonderful times our family shared when he resided in Vienna, Austria and we lived in Wiesbaden, West Germany.

It is no exaggeration to say that in those days, 1959 to 1975, if Leo Bradford Leonard was not planning a trip to see us, we were planning a trip to see him for my husband Max G. Leonard backed by our two adventurous boys loved to speed off down the autobahn and what better excuse than having another Leonard living in Europe.

What a paradox it was, enjoying hour after hour of serious study and often living like a hermit yet having such a love of people. Leo was a man who listened to others, he was genuinely interested in others and loved to mingle with the masses. He was as happy passing time with the poorest peasant as he was meeting with the wise and famous. And meet them he did. During his years at the Jung Institute he was a part of a group who met regularly with Dr. Jung to discuss the latest findings on the brain. Others included Pauli (the Nobel Prize winner).

Picture 1: Captain Leo B. Leonard 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Some Highlights of My Life by Florence Leonard as told to Leo D. Leonard

I was born March 15, 1912 in a house between G and H Streets in Salt Lake City, Utah- the youngest of five children.  In a way, my parents had almost two distinct families.  My brother, Phil and I were a year apart, while my brother Don was twenty years older and my sister Daff was eighteen years older.  Our brother Marcus was even older.  My parents were in their forties when I was born, and we profited from the financial success my father had long ago acquired.  My father owned Robbins Electric, later called Central Electric.  Primarily a commercial electrical construction firm (Logan street lights, the Boston building.), he also did some residential work.

Both my mother Florence May Phillips, and my father, Le Grand B.  Robbins came from pioneer stock. My father’s mother was Jane Adeline Young, the daughter of Joseph Young, brother to the prophet Brigham Young, and himself the President of the Seven Presidents of the Seventy.  He was called to that position by the prophet and President, Joseph Smith Jr. My mother and especially my father were strong temple goers, father working in the temple for many years.

Graduating from LDS High School several years behind President Hinckley, I stayed and attended LDS College, later transferring to the University of Utah.  I’m afraid I was too young to take school seriously.  I pledged to Tri Delta Sorority, joined Wasatch Mountain Club and gave very little attention to class work.  I was also dividing my time between work and school.

Picture 1: Leo with his trumpet at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Remembering Max Leonard by Dr. Leo D. Leonard

                One of my earliest memories is of my Uncle Max. We were living at 1773 Michigan Avenue in Salt Lake City. I remember my father, Leo Bradford Leonard, throwing me up in the air and then catching me.  I remember this was not the first time my father had played that game of throwing me above his head then catching me on the way down.  Each time he threw me, I was terrified and filled with rage.  Oh, how I hated that game!

                This particular day, Grandmother and Grandfather Leonard were visiting from Price, Utah.  They came into the front room, followed by Uncle Max.  Zoe Ellen told my father to stop throwing me.  Max walked over and caught me on the way down from one of my father’s tosses, held me in his arms and settled me down.  I think that must have been the time when Max became my favorite Uncle.

                Max’s big hug and soft words were most comforting.  During my visit with Max in December of 2002 in Palm Desert, he confirmed that the event had indeed happened, so it wasn’t my imagination.  We left our home in Michigan Avenue in 1940 to move to Fort Ord, CA; so it was either in 1940 or late 1939 that this event had taken place.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Recollections of Max Leonard Traveling in Europe in 1950

Finally it dawned on me what Lee had said about returning the same way from Vienna to Salzburg. However, by that time I was deep into the Russian Sector. As I traveled through the countryside I saw Russian air field and tanks on maneuvers with my new Leica camera and telephoto lenses. I couldn't resist taking pictures. (Max had acquired a Leica with a telephoto lens during the trip) About the time I was just putting my camera back in the car a carload of Russian soldiers came along and waved me to stop. I knew what they wanted so I got in my car and sped down the road. They turned around and took after me. They had a Volkswagen Beetle that couldn't go more than 60 MPH without passengers and with four of them in the car about 50 MPH. My car (a 1949 Ford Anglia) was much faster so eventually I left them, especially when I started climbing the Simmering Pass.

Blocked at the Russian Check Point
I got to the top of the pass an there were the Russian guards checking cars going into the British Sector. The bar across the road was up to let the car in front of me go on. I followed close behind this car hoping to accelerate past the gate before it dropped and get over the hill and down the other side before the Russian guard could get off a shot with his machine gun. Unfortunately he quickly dropped the bar before I could get to it. I stopped and he asked me for my papers in German. After looking at them he asked me where I was going. I told him to Italy because it was the tourist route. He told me I was to go back to Vienna and proceed west to Salzburg in the American zone. I argued with him and he pointed his machine gun at my head and he told me to go back to Vienna. With the threat of being shot, I did what he said. It was getting dark and I was worried about running into the Russian soldiers in the Volkswagen or maybe having a flat tire. Nevertheless, I headed for Vienna as fast as I could go.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Recollections of Max Leonard From His First Job to Going to Europe in 1950

After finishing my two years at Carbon Jr. College I moved to Salt Lake City and attended the University of Utah. My brother Stanley gave me a place to live in his home even thought it meant that his two girls would have to sleep in one bed. He helped me obtain employment at a gas station on weekends and after school so I could have enough money to eventually get a room near the university. Stanley was a very kind hearted person who helped his parents before getting married by allowing them to buy groceries at his expense in the grocery store where he worked. I'll never forget how he and Beth helped me. The years I attended the University of Utah will always be etched in my memory. It was years of hard work to finish my degrees and years of memorable experiences outside the classroom.

Getting the First Job as a Teacher
After completing my years of education at the University of Utah I got a job teaching at the Helper Jr. High School. I enjoyed my years at this school. It was a good teaching experience. It provided me with the opportunity to get to know my older sister Birdie who often invited me to lunch at her home in Helper. Birdie got married when I was about four years old and moved from Peerless where we lived, to Helper so I never got to know her as well as my brothers and sister who were younger. Gerry, one of Birdie's daughters was one of my students at the Helper Jr. High School. She was a straight A student who was a great asset to my classroom.