Lt. Jack Shively

Lt. Jack Shively

On June 22, 1944, it was reported by the Saratoga Sun that Lt. Jack E. Shively, son of Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Shively, had been reported missing in action over France. The article, which appeared on the front page of the publication, stated that the message gave few details, “only that he failed to return from a mission over that country on June 13.”

“The hosts of friends of Lt. Shively here are hoping for further news that he may have made his way into neutral territory, or that at the worse he may be held as a prisoner of war,” ended the front page article.

For nearly two months, the family and friends of Lt. Shively held out hope that he would be found alive. Unfortunately, the Aug. 17, 1944 Saratoga Sun reported that the Shively family had received a telegram earlier that week confirming his death.

“The message received this week gave few details, stating only that a report ‘received from the German government through the International Red Cross states your son, Lt. Jack E. Shively, who was previously reported missing in action, died 14 June as a result of wounds received in action over France,'” reported the Sun.

Shively was not a native son to the Valley, having been born in Custer City, Okla. April 4, 1918. When he was barely a year old, however, his parents moved to Saratoga so that his father could begin working for the Tilton & Son hardware store. Jack attended school in Saratoga and graduated high school with the class of 1935-36.

From there, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Shively enrolled at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. and graduated with honors in 1940. While attending Creighton, he was involved with the military division of the university and, upon graduation, was commissioned a reserve officer and awarded a second lieutenancy.

Following graduation, Shively returned to Saratoga where he helped his father operate the family hardware store. His homecoming, however, would not last long as he was called to service to “brush-up” on his training. Shively reported to Ft. Warren in Cheyenne on Sept. 8, 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the young lieutenant requested a transfer to the air corp of the army.

In 1942, nearly a year after his transfer, Shively received his wings following training at Santa Ana, Calif. and a transfer to Luke Field, Ariz. While he was stationed in Luke Field, Lt. Shively’s younger sister, Jane, was married to John Glode. Shively made the flight from Arizona to Saratoga for the occasion.

Shively was later transferred to Tampa, Fla. before being sent to England in May 1944. A month later, Lt. Shively was involved in a mission to disrupt the withdrawal of the German occupation of Chinon, France. According to an October article in the French publication la Nouvelle République, Shively attempted a closer pass of the bridge leading out of Chinon and was shot down by the German Air Force.

Shively Field, Saratoga, Wyoming is named in his honor

Saratoga Sun file photo

This photo of Jack Shively was published in the June 22, 1944 edition of the Saratoga Sun following the original report that he was in missing in action over France.

I never knew Jack Shively, but he was one of my first bonafide heroes. I remember being at the dedication renaming Saratoga’s airport Shively Field.

The monument still stands with the small cannon Don Donelan donated for the event.

I knew the Shively family well. Ed and Pearl Shively, Jack’s parents, ran Shively Hardware with their daughter’s husband, John Glode. The Glode boys run the store now. I’ve always wished I had known Jack Shively.

I bought my first bicycle from Johnny Glode using the proceeds from the sale of my pet pig, Kilroy! More on this story lies herein….