[SCCC] Fwd: [sddxcnews] Edwin A. Andress; backyard party will celebrate the life of a 'great, great patriot'

Dennis Vernacchia n6ki73 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 4 23:51:55 PDT 2009

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From: arnie lewin <w7bia at cox.net>
Date: Sat, Jul 4, 2009 at 6:20 AM
Subject: [sddxcnews] Edwin A. Andress; backyard party will celebrate the
life of a 'great, great patriot'
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Edwin A. Andress; backyard party will celebrate the life of a ‘great, great
By Jeff Ristine
Union-Tribune Staff Writer

2:00 a.m. July 4, 2009

If Edwin A. Andress were alive today, he would be throwing his traditional
backyard Fourth of July party with his family and friends: a huge gathering
with a barbecue, horseshoes, marching with flags to music by John Philip
Sousa and an inflatable jumper for the kids.

Mr. Andress developed his patriotism as an electronics wiz sent to England
during World War II to help it develop the emerging technology of radar as a
defense against German air attacks. One of his decorations for service is
from the Royal Air Force.

The expertise nearly cost him his life one night over Germany but he
survived to participate in the invasion at Omaha Beach, returned to active
duty in the Korean War and was a merchant marine in Operation Desert Storm.

“He loved this country; he was a great, great patriot,” said his daughter
Anna Catherine Brennan.

This year, the Fourth of July party at Mr. Andress' Poway home instead will
be a celebration of his life, which ended June 9 at age 90. An honor guard
was scheduled to join a group of about 140 people in recognition of his
military service.

Mr. Andress was a lifelong amateur radio enthusiast. His call sign was W6KUT
and he spent time on the radio up until the last few weeks of his life.

Mr. Andress was born in the Kern County town Isabella (now called Lake
Isabella) and graduated from Fresno State University in 1941 with a
bachelor's in physics.

But it was in high school in the 1930s that he first got hooked on ham radio
after spotting a friend in Spanish class who already had his radio license.
Mr. Andress got his own license in May 1934.

“He was just one of these guys who was attracted by the magic of radio, and
in those days it was magic,” said Glenn Rattmann, a friend who met Mr.
Andress in the 1970s.

“Amateur radio guys back then tended to be real hands-on tinkerers,” said
Rattmann, a retired radar engineer. “They enjoyed building the stuff and
tinkering with the stuff as much as they did actually talking to people.”

Mr. Andress was in the Army Signal Corps before the United States entered
World War II and was being sent to Fort Monmouth, N.J., when Pearl Harbor
was attacked in 1941. Mr. Andress heard of the assault during a stop in
Chicago when a friend was talking to a ham operator in Hawaii.

He was part of a group later sent to Scotland to help engineers from MIT
further develop radar. Closer to the end of the war, he was among a crew
deployed in the Allied invasion of Normandy, using radar to detect enemy
movements and identify locations for air strikes.

“We knew everything about the invasion because we had to coordinate with all
the service branches about where to store ammo, food, etc., on the
beachhead,” Mr. Andress wrote in letter to a family member a few years ago,
recounting highlights of his life. “Some of us would wake up from sleep
screaming, having dreamed that we leaked information. I never want to know
that much classified information again.

“Just prior to the invasion we received a shipment of prototype radar
equipment shipped in from MIT. We mounted everything into vehicles,
waterproofed them to get through the surf on arrival and drove the entire
station onto landing crafts for our June trip to the coasts of France. . . .
I was in command of this company through the Battle of the Bulge.”

He received the Legion of Merit from the Department of Defense and Great
Britain's Order of the British Empire.

He was recalled to the Air Force for two years during the Korean War and was
discharged as a major. He was a partner in a radio station in Bakersfield,
KERO, and later helped build a television station and transmitter there.

Mr. Andress moved to San Diego County in 1971 for a job with Spectral
Dynamics, where he was involved with its work on vibration testing. After
leaving the company in 1986, he became a merchant marine radio officer for
Chevron Oil, and in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm — the
1990 response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait — he was a civilian contractor on
a U.S. Navy cargo transport.

Until later in life, family and friends say Mr. Andress was modest about his
military service and only rarely went into detail.

His son, Kurt, said it was not until about 20 years ago that his father told
him about being with a bomber crew over Germany that was shot up on its way
back to England. Only the pilot and Mr. Andress made it back to base. It
came up during a conversation about God, Kurt Andress said, and struck him
as one of the reasons his father felt he had a purpose in life.

Survivors include two daughters, Anna Catherine Brennan, of Poway, and Kim
Winfrey, of Escondido; a son, Kurt Andress, of Nevada; seven grandchildren;
and five great-grandsons. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years,
Betty Jean (“Liz”).


In the Union-Tribune on Page B5

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