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Legendary Three C Highway sign to be at bean dinner
|Outfit members Bill Cherry, Ed Tombs, George Handley, Henry Jones, Marty Debelis, Harold Diday, Jim Turner, Cecil Marsh, and some of the Army wives at a Chicago hotel in the late 1940s posing with the Three C Highway sign
For more than 50 years Carl Black has volunteered his time at the Historic Hilltop Bean Dinner.
While for the last few years he helped to serve hot dogs, this year he plans to share something special with the Hilltop – a piece of local legend.
In 1941, a Three C Highway marker disappeared from the north Linden area, outside McCorkle’s Confectionary. The sign had been taken by a group of young Army medics training at Fort Knox.
According to Black, a member of the outfit, the stolen sign became an unofficial emblem to their group.
In fact, the sign traveled everywhere their outfit went – sometimes while strapped to the bumper of a jeep.
After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Black and his outfit were deployed to the South Pacific, traveling through the Panama Zone to Australia where they served as Army medics.
Black said the sign made every trip with them and traveled around for years to come – switching hands between members of the outfit.
After Black left the Army, it would not be until years later that he and his wife, Marianne, would see the sign again – this time on a televised history program.
Strung on the side of a hut inside New Guinea was the Three C sign. The picture was mixed together with other images to illustrate places in World War II (WWII).
Surprised at what he saw, Black said he called the television station and asked about origin of the picture. Soon, the word got out that a highway marker from Ohio had traveled the world during WWII.
From the bumper of a jeep to various American cities, to Australia, and even the Philippines – Columbus residents and local media were kept guessing and excited about where the sign would end up next.
Black said at the completion of WWII the men of the outfit kept in touch for decades. They would meet in Chicago or Columbus every five years for a reunion.
At these reunions, displayed on a tripod, would always be the famous emblem - that stolen sign, which like the men, had made it through the war in one piece.
Written neatly on the sign is a list of all the places the sign had been posted around the world.
Fittingly, at the top of that list of city names is Columbus, the first place the sign was ever posted and as it would retire here, the last.
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