June 9 – Happy Birthday Robert Denton

CplDentonToday’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant is yet another local young man who made the supreme sacrifice during WWII not in battle but as a result of a tragic accident. Corporal  Robert E. Denton graduated from Wilbur Lynch High School in 1939, five years after Kirk Douglas did. Like Douglas, Denton got the bug for acting in high school and like Douglas again, he attended St. Lawrence University. But unlike the Hollywood star, Denton left the college after his second year and got a job at  American Locomotive Company in Schenectady. He also married his wife Eleanor, a girl from Schenectady and in March of 1942, just four months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Denton enlisted in the Army Air Force.

He had already done some flying with the Schenectady County Airport’s Aeronautical Patrol group before enlisting and he graduated from the Army’s Aerial Gunnery School at Tyndall Field in Alabama. He did so well there that he was retained as an aerial gunner instructor instead of being immediately sent overseas. Initially, he did that instructing at Tyndall Field but in September of 1944, he was reassigned to Westover Field near Springfield, Massachusetts. By then he and his wife had become parents of a baby girl and its easy to imagine how happy the couple was when mom and daughter were able to relocate to Springfield to be near dad…

You can read the rest of my story about this Amsterdam native in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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