Last Crew Member of Enola Gay Dies in Georgia

gpcox:

As this site begins to retell the story of WWII – A part of history passes….

Originally posted on TIME:

(ATLANTA) — The last surviving member of the crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, hastening the end of World War II and forcing the world into the atomic age, has died in Georgia.

Theodore VanKirk, also known as “Dutch,” died Monday of natural causes at the retirement home where he lived in Stone Mountain, Georgia, his son Tom VanKirk said. He was 93.

VanKirk flew nearly 60 bombing missions, but it was a single mission in the Pacific that secured him a place in history. He was 24 years old when he served as navigator on the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb deployed in wartime over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

He was teamed with pilot Paul Tibbets and bombardier Tom Ferebee in Tibbets’ fledgling 509th Composite Bomb Group for Special Mission No. 13.

The mission went perfectly…

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War Warnings (1)

 
HMAS Sydney

HMAS Sydney

 
7 November 1941 –  the dress rehearsal of Operation Z is staged by 350 aircraft from 6 carriers of Japan’s Strike Force and 8 December is set as Y Day (7 Dec. US time)
10 November – Ambassador Nomura arrived at the White House with a proposal.  Cordell Hull stalled him since FDR refused to answer.
14 November –  Secretary of State rejected the proposal.
15 November – Bishop Walsh’s efforts to mediate was rejected by the US State Dept.  Washington’s “Magic” intelligence sees the report of a message to Consul Kita, in Honolulu, to report twice weekly on “ships in harbor<” and decodes the message, but does not pass it on the Pearl Harbor.
16 November – Japanese carriers moved out from the Kuril Islands.  Washington sees the intercept from Tokyo to Nomura, “Fate of the Empire hangs by a sheer thread…please fight harder!”

Cordell Hull

Cordell Hull

19 November – the German cruiser, the “Korman,” met the HMAS “Sydney”, under Captain Joseph Burnett, off Dirk Hartog Island (Western Australia).  After an hour and a half battle, both ships were destroyed.  Searches for the missing did not begin until 24 November; 399 “Korman” survivors were located, but none from the “Sydney.
20 November – Nomura presented a new proposal that Hull regarded as an ultimatum and FDR said to give it “sympathetic study.”
21 November – the British Joint Intelligence Committee told its Far Eastern Command that Japan, in the event of all-out war, will only invade Thailand.

Ambassador Nomura

Ambassador Nomura

22 November – Magic intercepted Tokyo’s message to Nomura that the deadline for negotiations had been extended 4 days to 29 Nov., “After that, things are automatically going to happen.”
 
23 November – Secretary Hull presented Nomura with the Hull Note.  On the 26th, Japan viewed it as an ultimatum.
24 November – Magic intercepted Tokyo’s message to Nomura that the US must agree to cease aid to Chiang Kai-shek and lift the oil embargo.  FDR informed his Cabinet: “We are likely to be attacked Monday (8 Dec.), for the Japs are notorious for attacking without warning”
25 November –  the President’s War Council approved the “modus vivendi” despite Roosevelt’s concern about “how to maneuver Japan into firing the first shot.”
Japanese Carriers of the Pearl Harbor Force

Japanese Carriers of the Pearl Harbor Force

 
26 November – at dawn, the Japanese Pearl Harbor Strike Force set sail.  Adm. Nagumo’s final instructions from Yamamoto were: “In case negotiations with the US reach a successful conclusion, the task force will immediately put about and return to the homeland.”  In Washington D.C., intel reported Japanese convoys were headed for Indochina.  FDR took this as “evidence of bad faith  on the part of the Japanese.”  Hull rejected the new proposal from Nomura.  Tokyo received the strong rejection and viewed the US demands as “No glimmer of hope.”

To be continued…..

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A cartoon from the times….

Courtesy of Chris @ Muscleheaded

Courtesy of Chris @ Muscleheaded

This and so many others can be found at by visiting Chris, RIGHT HERE!

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A joke that was played on the Nazis – comes to light______

Hessy Tafter at 6 mos and 80.

Hessy Taft at 6 mos and 80.

Please click on to read....

Please click on to read…..

Geobbels w/ his troops

Geobbels w/ his troops

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Armstrong – Brazil, IN; US Army, WWII & Korea, Comapany A/187th RCT

Ivan (Hutch) Billcliff – Whangaparaoa, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 457333, Squadron Leader, Airforce Cross

Morris (Gene) Field – Rancho Mirage, CA; US Army Air Corps, Sgt., WWII, top turret gunnerthankyou

Merton Green Sr. – Eastford, CT; US navy, WWII, SeaBees, PTO

David Haughee – Bossier City, LA; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam

Lauren (Bud) Lampert – Springfield, VA; US Army, WWII, Silver Star

Bertha Richards – Montreal, Can & W.Palm Bch, FL; Canadian Navy, WREN, WWII

Arthur Waite – Newark, DE; US Air Force, Korea

Douglas Wilburn – Roscoe, IL; US Army, Vietnam

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National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

LT Bill Porter, June 8, 1941

gpcox:

A young man’s letter home gives us a rare look at the Philippines before the Japanese invasion.

Originally posted on Letters Home:

Walter Hines, author of Aggies of the Pacific War, shares a series of letters written by LT Bill Porter from New Mexico, and one of the Bataan Death March survivors. In his book, Hines states:

Among the many [New Mexico A&M] Aggies frequenting the Army-Navy Club was Lieutenant Bill Porter, newly commissioned ROTC officer and fresh off the family farm in the Mesilla Valley. Assigned by the Scouts to the 91st Infantry Division, he was thrown into the frantic effort to train the green Filipino troops in modern warfare.  Porter wrote to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Asa Porter, on June 8, 1941.

Dear Folks:

 

At last I have an opportunity to write … . I hope you got my first letter and amateur wire.  The wire costs only 20 centavos (10 cents).  You can send me 30 words for a dime if you can locate an amateur…

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East and West (5)

Men of Burma who signed up.

Men of Burma who signed up.

Up until 1937, the 20 Burma Rifles were a regiment within the Indian Army.  It was then later made part of a separate Burma Army.  Being as the country was considered by most to be “backwater” and unlikely to be included in any war, this army was still in its infancy as 1941 evolved.

Royal Netherland East Indies forces

Royal Netherland East Indies forces

On the Netherland East Indies (NEI), known today as Indonesia, had the Royal Netherland East Indies forces for defense, but they were literally cut off from their government due to the actions of Hitler in Europe.  This military was no match for the highly trained Japanese invaders and after being under the thumb of the Dutch for so long, the civilians welcomed a change.  Their minds were quickly snapped into reality as the Japanese proceeded to drain their resources and dissolve any personal freedoms they had.  The oil and metal ores of Marai, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Celebes were the ultimate goals for Japan.

The Automedon

The Automedon

December 1940, the Japanese obtained top secret British documents, by way of Germany, when the Axis raider, the Atlantis captured the British Blue Funnel cargo liner, the Automedon on 11 November as it sailed for Singapore.  These papers were minutes from the British War Cabinet meeting which showed a blueprint of their Far East strategy and that Britain would not declare war on Japan if Thailand and Hong Kong were invaded – they were considered indefensible.  For further information and/or clarification, please visit Martin’s site at War and Security to be found HERE!!

The US considered increasing Guam’s defenses during and after WWI, but no action was taken due to the 1922 Washington Naval Conference between the US and Japan.  In 1941, Guam had about 85 miles of roadways and Apra Harbor was considered the best in the Marianas, but there was no airfield.  Japanese plans for invasion were completed for Guam in September and their 144th Infantry Regiment and some other units (approx. 4,886 men) were kept in Korea until November.

Guam postcard, 1940's

Guam postcard, 1940’s

The Guam Insular Force Guard, a locally-manned militia were assigned for the naval base and on 17 October 1941, dependents of US military personnel and 100 construction workers began to evacuate. (IMO – it appeared someone was aware of something brewing.)

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Political cartoon of the times – 

Dr. Seuss' attack on prejudice.

Dr. Seuss’ attack on prejudice.

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Current tidbits of news – 

Courtesy of "The Week" magazine

Courtesy of “The Week” magazine

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Farewell Salutes – 

Howard Bock – Newark, DE; US Air Force, MSgt.(Ret. 30 years), Air Weather Service

Carol Chivala – Sedona, AZ; Flight Nurse for the Flying Tigers, Koreaflag04

William Eslin – Urbana, MD; US Air Force, Korea

Leonard Charles Griffiths – NZ; RNZ Army # 443224, WWII, 23rd Battalion, Pvt.

Donald James – Coventry, CT & Lake Park, FL; US Navy (22years), WWII, PTO

Mary Hutton – Ontario, Can; RC Army nurse, WWII

John MacDonald – Syracuse & Massapequa, NY; US Navy, Vietnam

Joseph Nachreiner – Cheekstowaga, NY; US Army Air Corps, 457th Artillery, 11th A/B, WWII, PTO

Ronald Wishart – NY &FL; American Field Service, WWII, drove an ambulance in Burma for the Indian Army

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East and West (4)

Germans amass on Norway coast, 9 April 1940

Germans amass on Norway coast, 9 April 1940

Although the April 1940 fiasco in Norway was Churchill’s responsibility as the First Lord of the Admiralty, Chamberlain paid the political price.  Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister of Great Britain and her Empire, yet he remained dismissive of Japan, her own power, and wanted nothing less than an all-out war with Germany.

Norwegian village burned during a battle, April 1940

Norwegian village burned during a battle, April 1940

The book, The Great Betrayal: Britain, Australia & the Onset of the Pacific War 1939-42, by David Day, explains the problems in detail that faced Australia, the ambitions of Menzies and the danger both New Zealand and Australia teetered on during this period far better than I can in my limited space.

Wirraway

Wirraway

As the date for Japan’s ‘Operation Z’ to commence crept ever closer, Australia’s obligation of compliance with British imperatives, left the country with no aircraft capable of meeting Japanese fighters.  The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) had 170 aircraft (on paper), including 53 Hudsons (20 in the Netherland East Indies); 57 Wirraways and assorted training planes. The RAAF was commanded by British Air Chief, Marshall Burnett, whose main objective was to produce more trained men for Europe and the Middle East.  When New Zealand sent her 3rd Division overseas, Australia followed suit by deploying her 6th Division.  The RAN was basically taken over by the British Admiralty.

Lockheed-Hudson

Lockheed-Hudson

August 1941, after the Newfoundland meeting of Allied powers, General Pownall, Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff was quoted as saying, “Roosevelt was all for coming into the war and as soon as possible…but he said he would never declare war, he wishes to provoke it.  He wants to create an incident that brings war about, being no doubt sure that he would be fully supported by his people.”

As Pan-American Airways inaugurated its flights to New Zealand, Australia continued to deny access to Sydney.  (This was on orders from Churchill.)  Churchill was still asserting his rash promise of support for New Zealand, Australia and Singapore – a vow he now stated with the stipulation    – “should they be invaded.”

In New Zealand, preparations were published for her people, in the event of such an invasion and this is covered by fellow blogger and avid historian, Lemuel @ History Geek and can be found HERE!!

Despite the constitutional fall-out of Britain’s declaration of war on behalf of India (and without representation), the British could indeed rely on India’s support in the war.  An expeditionary force of mule transport companies provided back up in France and 24 pilots were immediately sent to the RAF in 1940.

To be continued…

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Political cartoon of the times…

Scripps-Howard

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Farewell Salutes -

Floyd Brittain – Sacramento, CA; US Army, WWII, ETOMarine-Bugler

Mary Branum – Scammon, KS; Aux. Military Police, WWII

Carl Carrick – Warner Robbins, GA; US Air Force, MSgt. (Ret. 29 years)

Bruce Davis – Ottawa, Can.; Cameron Highlanders, WWII

James Garner – Brentwood, CA; US 5th Regimental Combat Team, Korea, 2 Purple Hearts, [beloved actor for 50 years]

Robert Hindle – N.Z.; RNZ Air Force # 433203 LAC RL

Robert Jacoby – Park Ridge, NJ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, “Nautilus” submarine

Joe Lanear – Phoenix, AZ; US Air Force, Korea

Leland Newell – Melbourne, FL; US Air Force, Flight Surgeon

Walter Reilly – W>Palm Bch, FL; US Navy, submarine service

Timothy Sloan – Lafayette, LA; US Army, Korea, A CO/188th RCT

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Warbirds Over Geneseo: Part I

gpcox:

Everyone seems to enjoy the aviation posts, so…..

Originally posted on BARREL DISTORTION:

The National Warplane Museum’s annual airshow in Geneseo, New York, is billed as “The Greatest Show On Turf,” owing to its grass field and the numerous vintage airplanes that fly during one weekend a year in July. Just south of Rochester and on the Western edge of the famed Finger Lakes region in upstate New York, the small airport sits in a valley below the quaint town of Geneseo; its short, solitary grass runway flanked by farm fields. The bucolic surrounds mirror the rural ease of the airshow itself. Unlike the loud, crowded air shows on military bases, Geneseo has a laid-back, pastoral feel that permits visitors to contemplate the history on display in front of them.

The 2014 edition of the show had at least three crown jewels on display: a P-38 Lightning from the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum in Granite Falls, Minnesota beautifully flown by Rob Ator; The

View original 597 more words

East and West (3)

FDR & Cordell Hull, 1940

FDR & Cordell Hull, 1940

If Manchuria was controlled, the Japanese felt they would have the advantage over Russia.  Since the Chiang Nationalist government did wish to spend the money or the energy to combat Japan – but – still have communism squelched in the country, Manchuria was given up.

When the US started economic sanctions in 1939, Japan required new territories to supply their resources.  They issued a request to the French  for permission to enter Indo-China.  In September 1940, the Vichy government agreed.  The southeast portion of Asia was occupied, without incident, by the Japanese on 27-29 July 1941.

Vichy government, 1939

Vichy government, 1939

The US was incensed and proceeded to convince other countries to freeze Japan’s assets; the ABCD, (American, British, Canada, Dutch), power’s economic blockade began.  By mid-1941, relations between Japan and the ABCD countries had basically reached a point of no return.  The New York Times newspaper called this action, “…the most drastic blow short of war.”

The Japanese newspaper's transport aircraft "Asagumo", a MC-20-I, 1940's

The Japanese newspaper’s transport aircraft “Asagumo”, a MC-20-I, 1940’s

FDR knew he had stretched the Lend Lease Program far beyond what was even known to Congress, and he was becoming nervous with the secrecy.  When the embargo was extended, the Tokyo newspaper, A Saki Shimbun (Morning Sun Newspaper), predicted: “It seems inevitable that a collision should occur between Japan, determined to establish a sphere of influence in East Asia including the southwest Pacific, and the US which is determined to meddle in the affairs on the other side of a vast ocean by every means short of war.”

Chiang Kai-shek, 1940

Chiang Kai-shek, 1940

Making the world situation much worse, FDR did not give the Australians the defense commitment it needed.  Yet, he did promise Chiang Kai-shek 50 pursuit planes and $100 million in financial assistance. (This was despite Madame Chiang’s insistence that the money was being siphoned by the government officials and military leaders.)  With all of Washington’s plans in play by the spring of 1941, Admiral Stark told Admiral Kimmel: “The question of our entry into the war now seems to be when, not whether.”  In Japan – Operation Z was a sure plan.

Prime Minister Konoye, 1939

Prime Minister Konoye, 1939

By this time, Cordell Hull was following the specific instructions of FDR.  Konoye in Tokyo agreed to abnegate the Tripartite Pact in his quest for peace, but Washington adamantly insisted there was “no meeting of the minds.”  Konoye, despite an attempt on his life, sent a last desperate plea to meet and talk with Roosevelt before his 15 October deadline — there was no response from D.C. and he was forced to resign as Prime Minister.

By Novemeber 1941, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff were investigating which Japanese cities were strategically most important to bomb.

 

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Current news – 

The Olympian who had his obituary written 70 years ago!

001 (800x585)

Please click on image to read the amazing story recently in “The Week” magazine.

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Bogan – Ocala, FL; US Navy, Korea

Lawrence Brown – Morton, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C-47 engineer

Lloyd Doody – Windsor, MR; US Army (Ret. 33 years), Vietnamroseglitterdivider_thumb

Philippe Grignon – Keswick, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Flight Lt.

Thomas Kenny – Cradell, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th RCT, 11th A/B

Carl “Dal” Maas – Davenport, IA; US Marine Corps, WWII, PTO, 6th Marines

Alexander Morton – Detroit, MI & Palm Bch, FL; US Air Force, Vietnam

Kenneth Reynolds – Stuart, FL; US Navy, WWII, ETO, Naval Combat Demolition Team, 2 Bronze Stars

Christopher Scarrott – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Army # 768057

Stanley Walega – Manchester, NH; US Army, Korea

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East and West (2)

 

The caption should read, "Tenno HEIKA banzai"

The caption should read, “Tenno HEIKA banzai”

Caption correction of the shout is courtesy of Mustang Koji who can be found HERE!!

Click photo to read caption.

On 18 February 1931, the League of Nations, with America in the lead, issued the “Nonrecognition Doctrine” which pushed Japan’s anger even further.  [ to read what is also known as the Stimson Doctrine – click HERE!!   US Ambassador Joseph Grew in Tokyo persisted in his warnings against this action.  But, even the in-coming president [FDR] and Secretary of State, Cornell Hull argued for the status quo.

Ambassador Joseph Grew, 1939

Ambassador Joseph Grew, 1939

Stimson w/ the Doctrine, 1939

Stimson w/ the Doctrine, 1939

In 1936, FDR and his drive for naval appropriations caused 50,000 veterans to stage a March for Peace in front of the White House.  Children were organized under a banner of “Money for schools, not battleships.”  Privately, FDR raged about isolationists and pacifists as early as 1937 when he held a rally in Chicago in the attempt to gain support to “quarantine” Japan.  The Japanese quest to become a major world power became their primary goal.

In 1939, FDR sent $25 million to the Chunking government to carry on their war with Japan; while Britain told Australia and New Zealand not to worry – the US would not remain indifferent to the Japanese threat in the Far East.  The Australian Prime Minister told the Canberra Parliament, “What Great Britain calls the Far East is to us the Near North.”  Richard Casey met with the British Foreign Office and was told, “the defense of the territories in the Pacific would be determined by the needs in Europe” – they were virtually being abandoned.

FDR campaigning in Warms Springs, GA, 4 April 1939

FDR campaigning in Warms Springs, GA, 4 April 1939

By January 1940, Churchill was cabling FDR daily for more aircraft and supplies to help Britain keep good its promise, “We shall never surrender;” under the Lend Lease Program, [which was being stretched beyond its legal limits more and more each day].  Japan’s growing power was being ignored.  What was commonly misunderstood by Western cultures was that the Japanese Army and Navy Ministries were part of the governmental structure and the military was gaining power each day.

The British interwar plans for a conflict with Japan as early as 1940 depended entirely on the US.  The American plans named “Orange” envisioned a trans-Pacific projection of US power, with Manila serving as a base of operations in the Far East.  But, by 1941, “Plan Dog” foresaw the Atlantic as the offensive and the Pacific in a defensive state.

Japan's Second Cabinet, early 1940

Japan’s Second Cabinet, early 1940

By 1941, the regular cabinet members of the Japanese gov’t were on a need-to-know basis and entire civilian cabinets were forced to resign as the war drew closer.  Japan’s signing of the Tripartite Pact on 27 September 1940 with Germany and Italy, [was to Japan], a trade agreement, plus a way to keep Russia busy and unable to hinder her while she invaded Indochina.  This was not the view of the West and caused further deterioration of Us/Japanese relations.

In his campaign for an unprecedented third term in office, FDR spouted in Boston, MA, “I give you one more assurance.  I have said it before, but I shall say it again and again and again:  Your boys are NOT going to be sent to any foreign war.”  (As we all know now – that was merely a hollow political promise.).

To be continued…..

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A View of the homefront – 1939 

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 Political Cartoon of the times – 

Neutrality%20Act

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert “Eggs” Avington – St. Petersburg, FL; US Army (Ret.), Korea, Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart

Thomas Cushing – Hopkinton, NH; US Army, WWII, PTOimg_96953714425802

Marjorie Effinger – Atwater, CA; US Army, nurse, PTO

Thomas Groom – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Army# 19274, WWII

Patrick Holland – Halifax, Can; RC Navy, RC Army, RC Air Force, Major (Ret. 42 years) 3rd Clasp to the Canadian Decoration

William McFatter – Vernon, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Robert McCurley – Springfield, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW

Melvin Shubert – NY & Lake Worth, FL; US Navy, WWII, Medical Corps

Tedrowe Watkins – Big Fork, Montana; US Marine Corps, WWII

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Nakajima Ki-27 Ko: Celestial Elegance.

gpcox:

An added insight into the build up of events in the Pacific.

Originally posted on The Dreamy Dodo:

Nakajima Ki-27 Ko: Celestial Elegance.

If the Japanese fighters had a thing in spades that’s for sure was style and this Nakajima’s is not an exception.The Ki-27 was the first modern monoplane fighter to enter service in the Imperial Japanese Army AF in the late 30’s.
Blooded in combat by the very belligerent Japanese,this neat plane proved to be an efficient fighter,not very fast but with the well-loved Japanese taste for maneuverability.The Ki-27 remained in front line service long after the start of WW2.

Very pretty pic of one a 84th Dokuritsu Hiko-Chutai’s Ki-27 flying over Canton,1939.The image gives clear testimony of its pleasantly fluent lines.

Photo: Hiroshi Sekiguchi.

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