Being born in the Roaring 20’s might have a touch of romance in it, except for the fact that a few years later America would find itself in another World War and this generation gave their all for it.

Robert Rantz (aka Mike Rantz) was born April 9th, 1923. His childhood was a bit challenging, as were the childhoods’ of many others of his generation. He was born a Northwest kid and lived in Seattle the rest of his life after WWII, not far in fact, from his father’s mill on Lake Washington in the shadows of the municipality of Lake Forest Park.

At the age of 17, in 1940, he joined the US Army 41st Division and was stationed at Fort Lewis, WA. This group was then sent to Alaska to build the Alaska/Canadian (ALCAN) Highway. This is also where he used his knowledge of mechanics to maintain vehicles for the US Army.

My father used to tell me a few stories of his time in the Army – although more from his ALCAN experience than the war effort, which was typical for this group. I asked him what Alaska was like, he noted that, on more than one occasion the Army Core of Engineers would empty 50 gallons of diesel fuel into the wings of a mosquito before realizing it wasn’t an airplane! It seems the bugs were quite large compared to the insects around Seattle!

Fortunately, there are several great YouTube videos on the construction of the ALCAN Highway. I’m simply going to supply a few links for your perusal… imagine being the first guys on site and building this highway in the middle of winter.

Enjoy the videos.