Memory Lane



Oakdale in the 1940s

Our conversation with Dick Wolfe took us back to the World War II era, when local roads, such as Brook Street in Oakdale, were paved with oyster shells and U.S. paratroopers landed on the nearby fields. In April and June of 1944, paratroopers dropped from the sky as part of a military practice maneuver in and around the area of Oakdale and Sayville. In the April 28, 1944 edition of Suffolk County News, those watching were quoted as saying that the sight of a hundred or more red, green, yellow, and white parachutes floating in the sky was “beautiful and impressive.” Military personnel jumped from 20 planes or more and landed within an area of about one-quarter of mile square, to which the electric power was cut for the time the paratroopers were jumping. During at least one of these events, many pieces of light artillery were dropped and assembled before a simulated attack was made upon McArthur Airport. Both navy and army planes and personnel took part in these maneuvers. Listen to Dick’s account of when he was a child and watched in awe the paratroopers landing in his Oakdale and Sayville neighborhood.

Mac Arthur Field is Scene of Maneuvers. (1944, June 30). The Suffolk County News, p. 1. Retrieved October 29, 2015, from

Paratroopers Make Surprise Landing Here. (1944, April 28). The Suffolk County News, p. 1. Retrieved October 29, 2015, from

Drapal Among Paratroopers in Local War Maneuvers. (1944, July 6). The Patchogue Advance, p. 3. Retrieved October 29, 2015, from

Richard Wolfe Interview