Note to readers: Barry Schraders DeKalb
County Life column will appear every other Tuesday.
Replica of the "Barcus Carcuss" in the General
Barcus Day parade in Genoa in 1953.General Barcus riding in the Genoa parade in 1953.
Genoa Mayor Bill Lankton is in front passenger side seat. (Photos
taken by Barry Schrader)
Air Force Gen. Glenn Barcus, a Genoa native, with his
wife, Corinne Van Sant.
Second photo of David Johnson in uniform in 1952 (Barry Schrader
photo)David Johnson in uniform in 1952
David Johnson may be an octogenarian, but he has a great memory
when it comes to the Korean War era and even before that.
Johnson, a Genoa native who now resides in Cortland, met
me for coffee recently and we talked about our childhoods in
Genoa. I even knew his father, Alfred, who was the hired man
on Doc Corsons farm on Baseline Road where I grew up. Doc
had the only farm in the county that still relied on horses to
do all the field work and hauling. Alfred would invite me to
ride on the hay rack and wagons when driving the team up and
down our road, a real treat for a young kid who loved animals.
But getting back to Johnsons childhood, he recalled
seeing the Genoa pilot Glenn Barcus buzzing the town in an open-cockpit
Curtiss Jenny. Later Barcus became a three-star general,
probably the highest-ranking Air Force officer from DeKalb County
up to that time.
While stationed in South Korea, Johnson had a chance meeting
with Gen. Barcus as he was visiting the base where Johnson was
stationed at the time. They exchanged greetings after the young
soldier mustered the courage to speak to a general, and talked
about both being Genoa natives. The conversation was cut short,
however, when Johnsons commanding officer noticed one of
his men out of line in conversing with a general.
Later, Johnson became a corporal while in Korea with the 45th
Infantry from 1950 to 1952.
I recalled joining a crowd of admirers along Main Street
in Genoa the summer of 1953 when the city had declared a General
Barcus Dayand he was chauffeured through town in a convertible
with another famous area native who became a TV and movie celebrity,
Barbara Hale (most famous for her role as legal secretary Della
Street on the Perry Mason TV series).
I never did find out why Hale was included in the parade,
but Genoa Mayor Bill Lankton was in the front passenger seat.
I know all this because even in junior high I had the photo bug
and carried my Argus box camera to events like that. I took the
generals photo and a second one of his personal plane,
the Barcus Carcuss, which was just a replica on a
float that day. I will post these two photos on my website at
www.dekalbcountylife.com for those interested in a fond memory
of a parade 61 years ago.
I asked Johnson about that legendary plane the general
flew himself during his tour of duty in Korea. It seems Barcus
loved flying and did not want a larger plane and pilot to transport
him around the country. So he used one dubbed the Barcus
Carcuss by painting the slogan on the side. Johnson said
this did not set well with higher-ups in the military chain of
command and his humorous nickname was later removed. But someone
in Genoa remembered this little planes name and built a
float that followed the general along the parade route featuring
a replica of the single-engine prop-driven model with the name
painted on it.
I never had the opportunity to talk to the general, but
Kathy Vance Siebrasse did an extensive telephone interview with
him in the July 1, 1987 special anniversary edition of The MidWeek
and had some great quotes, plus a few photos that came from his
nephew Dale Barcus. Born in 1903 in Genoa, General Barcus died
at age 87 in 1990 while living in California.
An unrelated anecdote from Johnson: He worked at the Northern
Illinois University physical plant and in Transportation the
last 33 years of his career. And he recalled a young student
driving around campus early in the mornings delivering bundles
of Northern Stars out of an old Mercedes Benz 180 diesel car
that was me when I moonlighted as circulation manager
for the student newspaper while at the same time serving as its
Features Editor. I hope I still have Johnsons memory 10
years from now when I reach his age.