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1st Lt Daniel B. Clendening
Radar Observer

I was born on August 3, 1925 in Aransas Pass, Texas to Frank L. and Mary Grace Clendening. My father was a small town merchant. After graduating from High School in May, 1942, I immediately entered Texas A. & M. at College Station, Texas. After one year of studies, I was called into the Air Force in August of 1943.

My basic training took place at Wichita Fails, Texas and from there I went to Denver, Colorado for college training and check out in a piper cub. Next was Classification at Santa Ana, California, where I was selected to attend Navigation training at Hondo, Texas. After graduating from Navigation school; I went to Boca Raton, Florida in late 1944 for training as a radar navigator and bombardier. I then went to Clovis, New Mexico for crew assignment and further training for assignment in a B-29 flight crew. It developed that a captain from the training command was assigned to my crew as Navigator, and I was reassigned as Radar Observer. It was while I was at Clovis that I met my future wife, miss Jeanie Rush. I left Clovis in March of 1945 and spent the next six months flying B-29 missions to Japan from the island of Guam. I returned to the U. S. in November of that year, and Jeanie and I were married on December 29th at her parent’s home in Clovis.

In January of 1946 Jeanie and I went to Texas A. & M., where I resumed my studies in Mechanical Engineering, and completed my degree in June of 1948. My first job was in the Plant Engineering Department of the Celanese plant in Bishop, Texas. It was there that our first child, Nancy Jean, was born on November 12, 1948 and our first son, Daniel Brett, was born on March 24, 1950. We moved with Celanese to Pampa, Texas in 1952 for the opening of a new plant, but I got itchy feet, and in September of that year took a job in construction with Southern Industrial Piping Co. for an assignment at a Pure Oil refinery in

Port Arthur, Texas. I later went to work for Texaco in their plant-engineering department at the same location. But I wanted to get back out in the field, so I took a job as construction engineer on a space project at the space center at Huntsville, Alabama.

In 1954 I began a thirteen-year period with the Chemstrand Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Chemical Co., working on major new expansion projects at locations in Pensacola, Florida, where daughter, Kate Elizabeth, and youngest son, Frank Leslie, were born. Next was Coleraine, North Ireland for the construction of a new Acrilan fiber plant, then Athens, Alabama as Project Engineer in Chemstrand’s central engineering department, then came another foreign assignment in Zurich, Switzerland as Design Manager for the construction of a new nylon plant in Echternach, Luxemberg. We went from there to Brussels, Belgium for an assignment as Design Manager for Monsanto’s European engineering office; and back to Athens, Alabama for a few months as a project engineer in the plant engineering department; and finally, as an engineer in Monsanto’s Central Engineering in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1968 I took a position as Vice President for Engineering with Roberts Company, a small textile machinery manufacturer located in Sanford, North Carolina. This turned out to be a bad move for me professionally, as this company went bankrupt a year later. But I was fortunate to have friends in high places in Daniel Construction Company, a large construction company with main offices in Greenville, S. C. My first assignment was as Construction Engineer on Daniel’s first nuclear power project in Dothan, Alabama. I moved there with my family in August 1970, and we had a very pleasant three years on this demanding project. In 1973, as a result of my recent European experience, I was selected to be Manager of Projects for the construction of Michelin Tire Company’s first projects in the U. S., a rubber manufacturing plant in Anderson, S. C. and a tire plant in Greenville, S.C. We took this opportunity to satisfy our yen to live in the country and bought a small farm about thirty miles from Greenville. The two projects with the Michelin engineers were very successful and came to a completion in the summer of 1975. At that time I moved into Central Engineering in Greenville as Director of International Engineering, with responsibility of engineering offices located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Brussels, Belgium. In the fall of 1976 I assumed prime responsibility for engineering related to the design of all utilities and infrastructure for a huge new airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This work demanded that I make regular trips from Greenville to engineering offices in California and New York City and to the airport site in Jeddah. In 1978 I took an assignment in Central Engineering in Greenville as Engineering Director, and supervised the design of new plants for Merck of Germany for manufacture of synthetics near Savannah, Ga. and for Eli Lilly Co. for the manufacture of drugs in Kinsale, Republic of Ireland.

In 1979 I was appointed Division Manager for Daniel’s business in the United Kingdom, from an office located near Glasgow, Scotland. As our children were all away from home at that time, Jeanie and I rented a home in a very pleasant old subdivision near Glasgow. We had a very pleasant association with a small church there and have maintained ties with these people ever since. But the British economy was in a nosedive, and we had to close the U. K. office and operation in December of 1980. I spent the entire year of 1981 in Daniel’s Greenville office pursuing a contract in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for the construction of a new Health Science Center associated with King Saud University. While Daniel did eventually win this contract, in the summer of 1982 I was asked to be Project Director for the design and construction of a new industrial city to be located near Kuwait to support development of the oil well fields in the Persian Gulf So Jeanie and I took off again, and located near the Arabian American Oil Company offices in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. It was a very demanding job and likely precipitated my first open heart surgery near the end of 1983. At this time Daniel offered me a position as Project Director for the construction of a major commercial center in Jeddah, and Jeanie and I moved there in November for what turned out to be a five and one half year stay. The project consisted of a seven story shopping center with adjacent seven story parking garage, an exquisite mosque, and a twenty four story office tower. This was a very pleasant time for Jeanie and I and we made numerous trips to Europe, as well as taking a tour of India.

I was ready to retire, but didn’t want to do so from overseas, so we returned to Greenville in 1989 where I asked for the next assignment. To my surprise, Daniel asked me to take over a project for Panda Motor Co. for the construction of a new automobile assembly plant in southern China. I quickly assembled a staff for managing this work and set up office in Daniel’s existing office in Hong Kong. I spent a most interesting year getting the construction of the manufacturing building underway, but realized almost from the beginning that this project would not come to a successful completion. The project was being funded by the Unification Church and they intended to buy an assembly auto kit from Yugo. When this didn’t work out, they attempted to get an auto design from Fiat, Peugeot, Volvo, and other European auto companies without success, and eventually had to abandon the project with the loss of millions of dollars.

After a brief stay in Hong Kong, Jeanie and I came back to Greenville for my retirement from Daniel Construction Company (which had been bought out by Fluor Corp.) in May of 1991. We decided to locate in Gainesville, Georgia and enjoyed a very pleasant life in this small town in northern Georgia. I did have to undergo open-heart surgery for a second time in 1996, but recovered completely and have been able to continue playing tennis twice a week. However, due to Jeanie’s battle with memory problems, we have built an apartment on the back of our oldest daughter’s house in Cumming, Ga. We have been here nearly three months at this writing, and it has worked out very well for us. My son-in-law, Brownlee Reaves is a preacher for a local church of Christ, so Jeanie and I are able to worship with he and Nancy, as well as having Nancy’s help for her mother when we need it. Youngest daughter, Kate, lives nearby, so we see she and her family often as well. Oldest son, Brett, lives with his wife in Waco, Texas and our youngest son, Frank, lives with his family in Pickens, S. C. As of January 2004 Jeanie and I have thirteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

1st Lt Danel B. Clendening took his Final Flight on Jan 21, 2019

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Source: Dan Clendeningm Radar