Intermission Stories (8)

I have been attempting to show different facets of the military and how each one connects to complete a single mission at hand  Jobs that  are not spoken of very often.  This following story is from the U.S. Navy, and a man who operated the little-talked about LSTs.

Wayne Curtis, 1952 Painted by a Japanese artist

Wayne Curtis, 1952
Painted by a Japanese artist

George Wayne Curtis

George Curtis was born in Champaign, Illinois in 1931 and went into the Navy in 1951.  When he got to San Diego, he received more training and then was assigned to the USS Andromeda to ship to Japan.  Once in Yokasuka, Curtis was ordered to the LST 1090, that would become his main ship.  He made Quartermaster 3rd Class and did navigation chart work and learned how to use the semaphore flags, flash lights, etc.  He said he was a cross between that and a signalman.

LST 1090, Korea

LST 1090, Korea

Curtis received more training at Pusan, Korea on loading, off loading, tanks and the LCVPs. (Landing Craft, Vehicle Personnel), for going ashore on leave.  During his enlistment, he served in the Naval Amphibious Forces on: USS Andromeda AKA 15, USS LST 1090, USS Washburn AKA 108 and the USS LST 772.  The 1090 was in the follow-up behind the initial landings in Inchon.  One of his duties was navigation and assist in trying to get into the channel.  “It is treacherous particularly because you could only get into that channel at certain times because of the high tide, and that tide is very high.”

Curtis (left) in the radio shack aboard LST 1090

Curtis (left) in the radio shack aboard LST 1090

“We did have some Marines that were cut off at Inchon.  They directed us to come in with the LST and beach it to get them.  We had to get them out because the Koreans were coming down on them.  We picked them up, backed off and went on down the river.”  Later on during the war, Curtis remembered picking up prisoners of war at Inchon and taking them to Koje-do Island.  There were several hundred prisoners on board, each trip and they had to be fed due to the distance. (A day or two sailing.)  “We also carried some war criminals.  We brought them back separately.  They were actually separated from the other prisoners.  They were criminals that had decapitated 6 Americans.”

Prisoners aboard the LST 1090

Prisoners aboard the LST 1090

After the Armistice, the prisoners were brought to Pusan.  “Some did not want to be repatriated.  They refused to come out of the compounds and that became a problem.  We had to drag them out.”  Shortly after this, Curtis was transferred to the USS Washburn AKA 108 (Auxiliary Cargo Attack ship) shipping fuel oil to Point Barrow, Alaska.

French paratroopers evacuated from North Vietnam

French paratroopers evacuated from North Vietnam

From there, Curtis went to the LST 772 and headed back to Korea and then Indochina where he participated in evacuating French paratroopers, French Foreign Legion troops and civilians out of what would become North Vietnam.  On one trip, a refugee woman went into labor.  The sailors built a birthing room behind a curtain and the child was born aboard the LST.

Curtis in Japan (unknown carrier in background)

Curtis in Japan (unknown carrier in background)

George Curtis flew back to the States in November 1953 and entered the University of Illinois for spring semester 1954.  The last line of his memoir, also found at Korean War Educator, was: “It has been a good life.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Vietnam Memorial – 

Texas Vietnam Memorial

Texas Vietnam Memorial

On 29 March 2014 in Austin, Texas, a new 14′ monument was unveiled on the Texas Capital grounds to represent the appreciation for the sacrifices made by Vietnam Veterans.   Gov. Rick Perry’s dedication coincided with an event celebrating the 41st anniversary of the last US troops leaving South Vietnam.  Approximately a half-million Texans served in that war, with more than 3,400 KIA and 105 still missing in action to this day.

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Royal Australian Air Force badge

Royal Australian Air Force badge

 

Royal Australian Air Force – 

The RAAF celebrated their 93rd birthday on 31 March 2014!  I would like to wish them all a very happy belated birthday wish and sincere THANK YOU for their service.  They have a fantastic history behind them.

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Farewell Salutes – 

US Marine Corps emblem

US Marine Corps emblem

Donald Buckius – Lorton, VA; US Navy (Ret. 30 years) USS Wisconsin & Dehaven

Douglas R. Coutts – Toronto, Canada; Royal Canadian Navy, WWII

Cecil A. Edge – Hamilton, NZ; Royal New Zealand Air Force # 428360, Cpl., WWII

Ronald “Red” Gunderson – Everett, MA; US Army, Korea

Michael Ryan Kennedy – Boston, MA; USMC, Sgt., Iraq Campaign (Boston FD Engine 33 – 9 alarm fire)

David S. Light – Brooklyn, NY & Delray Bch, FL; US Army, WWII

Walter Maes – Spokane, WA; US Coast Guard, WWII

Edmond Maurice Murphy – Oklahoma City, OK; US Army, WWII, 189th Infantry, 45th Thunderbird Div, ETO

Laura T. Vogt – Winchester, VA; US Navy (WAVE), Chief Yeoman, WWII

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About gpcox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on April 3, 2014, in Korean War, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 46 Comments.

  1. Thanks for a great interesting informative post as usual.
    The story of the war criminals would be an interesting follow up
    to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the actual deaths of the six Americans.
    Ian

    Like

  2. Always enjoy your posts – entertaining and informative! Thanks for all the good reads.

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  3. Another awesome piece of history! What a treasure! – Thank you also for highlighting our Royal Australian Air Force :)

    ML

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    • No problem, they fought – they share in the recognition! Even India, who refused to fight, played a role behind the scenes that many forget about.

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  4. Glad you are including the “minor roles,” GP. I’m not sure there is any such thing. No matter what the task, everyone who participates has an important role to play. –Curt

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    • It is all a big network that firmly fits together – what would one section be without the other? A regular domino effect would develop. People don’t always find the support jobs as “glamorous”, but they are necessary for the network to exist – I’m very glad you are enjoying it, Curt.

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  5. Love that line–‘it has been a good life’. There’s not much that compares to the military world, especially when we’re at war. Every other job pales. I’m glad he saw it that way.

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    • I’m glad you noticed that. As I read the complete article on him, I felt the same thing and hoped I hadn’t lost it by condensing the story. Thank you.

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  6. Your posts are always so respectful and informative. I especially appreciate the Farewell Salutes. I try to take a moment to read each name and offer silent thanks.

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    • THAT is very much appreciated. I hope one day if a descendant of theirs googles the name, they will know that some one was thinking of their uncle, father, or whatever. I try to keep my posts free of my own opinion (unless otherwise specified) and at ALL times try to show respect to all. Thanks, Cindi, I appreciate your comment.

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  7. Thanks for telling these personal stories. Interesting to see the role different people played in the war and how it affected their lives.

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    • No body usually hears about the support people or what some consider “minor” roles in a war, but it takes a lot of different jobs to get the work done.

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  8. Another less spectacular but most interesting service record.

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  9. Glad that you are posting stories of the lesser know vocations.

    I wonder whether you have any stories on logistics operations – battles are won or lost mostly on getting men and material to the right spot on time AND keeping them adequately supplied.

    I would love particularly to read detailed (well, at least in some depth) logistics plans and execution of these plans.

    Don’t go out on a limb – but only if you have these stories readily available.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the portrait at the top, so fresh. SD

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  11. Reading the post, a thought came to my mind: “What a good life – filled with direction and purpose” and then I read “i has been a good life” – funny how perception works :) By the way I think there’s a spelling mistake in text at second line under “radio shack” photo: should that be “the Koreans were coming” instead of “the Koreans wee coming” :D

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  12. A personal story such as this brings the bigger picture alive. Fine, fine post.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. An amazing story. Decapitation seems like the way of that part of the world. In America we rarely hear of such a thing.

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    • Interesting point, Pierre. I wonder how that practice came about (the guillotine?)

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      • That was basically the French who thought it was less cruel because it was fast. To my knowledge no one ever survived. The French Revolution decapitated men, women and children. Pathetic.

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      • The ancient Irish used to decapitate fallen enemies as a rule and keep the heads to present as trophies . I suppose decapitation was a common ancient practice . Good question . During the Middle Ages , heads were stuck on city gates as warnings to behave yourself while in town .

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  14. Another great post. And the RAAF continue to do a great job, this time searching for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane.

    Liked by 1 person

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