Madagascar: The British vs Japan & the Vichy French

Newspaper illustration of Madagascar campaign

When most people think of World War II and the wide array of geographical spots the war reached, they don’t generally think of Madagascar. However, this island off of the coast of Africa saw military action too.

The Battle of Madagascar took place there in 1942, and was led by the British, as they tried to capture the area from the French.  The battle heavily revolved around Antsiranana Bay. This important port lies around the northern tip of Madagascar and opens to the east with a pass.

During World War II, as Japan moved west through Asia, they sent out their submarines through the Indian Ocean. This caused British ships to move toward the eastern shore of Africa, out of Southeast Asia. However, being in Africa made the British worry that they would be subject to Japanese attacks based out of Madagascar.

At the time, the Japanese had submarines with a huge range, longer than any other Axis power. They boasted a range of up to 10,000 miles, which could affect Allies all over the Pacific, and into the South Atlantic and the Middle East.

In 1941, the Germans attempted to persuade the Japanese to increase their force in the area, using these submarines to combat Indian Ocean sea routes. They also wanted the Japanese to focus on the Seychelles and Madagascar, rather than Australia. So, the Japanese told the Germans they would send several submarines and two cruisers that way, but wouldn’t release much information regarding their plans for Madagascar.

Meanwhile, the Allies had heard word of these goings on, and the British were worried that perhaps the French government may just give Madagascar to Japan or allow the Japanese to establish navy bases on the island, which would have been very bad news for the British in eastern Africa, as well as any British forces moving through the area to get to Asia. So, the British thought it may be useful to go ahead and occupy Madagascar, just in case.

The leader of the Free French movement, the famous General Charles de Gaulle, sent a letter to Winston Churchill. He wanted to launch a joint Free French-British movement against Madagascar. Churchill did understand that if Japan controlled Madagascar, British shipping would be interrupted and it would give Japan great influence in the Indian Ocean.

Churchill, reading the letter, didn’t really think that the British had the right resources for such an endeavor. He also wasn’t terribly keen to plan a joint operation with Free French forces.

However, after the course of about three months, Churchill was convinced the operation was important. Despite this, the Free French forces weren’t going to be allowed to participate. He wanted it to commence in April; he wanted to move ships from the Mediterranean southward and he wanted 4,000 men to participate.

The British begin their landing.

The forces left Scotland in March and met up with other ships in Sierra Leone, then moved to South Africa, where they were joined by an array of three infantry brigades, a battleship, two carriers, two cruisers, 11 destroyers, six minesweepers and more.

It was hoped the large grouping would be able to succeed with their plan without too much (or any) fighting. This would be the first water assault planned by the British since Dardanelles.

It was planned to take Diego Suarez, the island’s most strategic port. Some thought that alone would not be enough, as other ports on Madagascar may become occupied by the Japanese as well, but Diego Suarez was kept as the only goal, as that’s what the British thought their manpower could handle.

British continue to disembark on Madagascar

The first amphibious landing would take place in May 1942, with troops landing just west of Diego Suarez (also called Antsiranana).  Meanwhile, another attack took place to the east, as a diversion. Air cover attacked the French ships. The French troops that were in French-controlled Madagascar at the time were made up of about 8,000 men, with up to 3,000 there in Diego Suarez.

Apart from this, the French naval and air forces there were pretty light. After some fighting, the French surrendered the port and went to the south.  At one point, the British gave the French an ultimatum to surrender or be bombarded – there was no reply.  Three minutes after the bombardment began – the white flag was spotted.

However, the Japanese arrived later, at the end of May. They sent out torpedoes, critically damaging a British battleship and also sinking an oil tanker. Japanese troops beached a submarine and began to move inward, but the British received word of their arrival and the Japanese troops were killed.

Kings African Rifles’ 25 pdr battery in action against Vichy positions near Ambositra

On a small level, fighting continued. Small clashes occurred, but Allied forces moved slowly on land, as they chased the retreating French. However, after several months, the Allies captured the capital and several important towns. It wasn’t until November that an armistice was signed. In total, the Allies experienced a little over 600 casualties.

Initially, after the British and Allies managed to take the island, a Free French general was the high commissioner over the country. However, Madagascar wanted to become independent following World War II. A revolution occurred in 1947, but was a failure. Then, in 1960, Madagascar received its independence from France.

For detailed information on this battle: http://ww2today.com/5th-may-1942-the-invasion-of-madagascar

WWII History magazine, WWII online.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Idamay Arsenault – Worchester, MA; Civilian, WWII, Red Cross & ship welder

Charles Dilbert – Deerfield Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187/11th Airborne Division, Bronze Star

Michael Gurr – Elmswell, ENG; RAF officer

Billie Joe Hash – USA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc., Co. L/3/110/28th Infantry Division, KIA (Hürtgen Forest, Germany)

Francis Hayter – North Wooton, ENG; Royal Navy, Chief Petty Officer (Ret.)

Sam Johnson – Plano, TX; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Pilot, POW / 30-year Congressman

Warren Miller – Hitchcock, SD; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star

Clive Naylor – ENG; RAF, Commander (Ret.)

John J. Sitarz – WV; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc., Co. L/3/110/28th Infantry Division, KIA (Hürtgen Forest, Germany)

Frederick Zalaznik – Waukegan, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Engineers

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The Great Depression vs Today’s Economy

circa 1937: Four men sitting on a step reading a newspaper during the Great Depression. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

What happened during the Great Depression is very different from what is happening today, but there are some lessons in that history.

We’re starting to see some devastating economic indicators related to the global pandemic. More than 3 million people filed first-time unemployment claims the third week of March. On Thursday, we’ll find out how many people filed for unemployment in the fourth week, and on Friday, we’ll get the first monthly unemployment report since large parts of the economy started shutting down.

One of the big questions on your mind is probably: Just how bad things are going to get? That’s why we asked a few historians to tell us about the economic crises of the past — and in particular, the Great Depression — and what we should be keeping an eye out for today.

“It’s important to distinguish between the stock market crash in October of 1929 that everybody knows about and the stock market itself,” said Eric Hilt, an economic historian who teaches at Wellesley College. “The economy started to contract in probably summer of 1929. But it became a great depression rather than a severe recession probably starting in 1930 when a wave of bank failure started to occur,” he said.

Day labor, Webbers Falls, OK

“The Feds didn’t act as a lender of last resort to many banks,” said Kathleen Day, a professor of finance at Johns Hopkins University and author of a book on the history of financial crises in the United States. “Ten thousand banks failed, which, of course, caused another contraction of credit and contributed greatly to the depth and breadth of the depression,” she said.

“So what we’ve learned from that is that you need to be able to inject liquidity in a moment of crisis,” said Carola Frydman, professor of finance at Northwestern University. “You need to be able to bail out banks so that banks can keep on lending and restore confidence.”

If bailing out banks to keep the economy going sounds familiar, that’s because it’s what former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke convinced Congress to do in 2008.

Depression relief checks, 1937

“One of my very first papers as a young academic argued that one of the reasons the Depression was so deep and so long was because the financial system collapsed,” Bernanke said in a 2018 interview.  “I think putting capital in the banking system and making it work again, making it viable so that it can provide credit, was essential.”

Today’s financial turmoil is not the Great Depression, and it is not the Great Recession. “But there’s no doubt that there’s some economic rough water ahead,” Day said.

“If I were concerned about something like a Great Depression recurring, I might think about different warning signs that one might watch for, and one of them is policymakers choosing not to respond to the crisis,” Hilt said.

Chair Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve have taken aggressive actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis, including cutting interest rates to basically zero, buying trillions of dollars in bonds to put more money into the financial system and lowering the rates it charges banks to borrow money.

“So that warning sign is not going off. The historical pattern does not seem to be repeated in this context,” Hilt said.

As for what to watch for to help us understand what kind of crisis this is going to be, Hilt, Day and Frydman all said it’s important to watch unemployment.

Homeless in Phoenix, AZ

“The changes in unemployment during the Great Recession were relatively short lived,” Frydman said. In the Great Depression, on the other hand, unemployment rates remained very high for about a decade. “So I think that is something [to watch] as I look forward trying to understand whether some of the shocks that we’re seeing now are going to be temporary or, or a lot more long lasting,” she said.

Hilt, Frydman and Day said other indicators to watch for include bankruptcies, the inflation rate and signs of distress in the credit markets.

From: “The Marketplace”

Books by Kathleen Day:

  • Day, Kathleen. “Broken Bargain: Banks, Bailouts, and the Struggle to Tame Wall Street,” Yale University Press, January 2019
  • Day, Kathleen. “S&L Hell: the people and politics behind the $1 trillion savings-and-loan crisis,” New York: W.W. Norton, 1993

Click on images to enlarge.

SHOULD YOU WISH MORE ON THIS SUBJECT, PLEASE MENTION THAT IN THE COMMENTS – THANK YOU.

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Military Humor – Humor in Uniform on the Home Front – 

‘I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ruth Bender – Philadelphia, PA; US Coast Guard SPAR, WWII

Kurt Christensen – Sanford, CO; US Navy, WWII

Calvin Horman – Dexter, MN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman Argus # 5

Wilson R. Jerman – Seaboard, NC; Civilian, White House butler to 11 Presidents

Frank O. Klein – Wauwatosa, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-24 photo reconnaissance & navigator

Daniel Layman – No. Augusta, SC; US Army, WWII & Korea

Charles D. Miller – Albany, IN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Co. A/1/6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Lock John Quan – brn: Toishan, China; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Louis Torrez – Pauline, KS; US Army, WWII, ETO,Pvt., 318/80th Division

David Williams (100) – Countryside, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO

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Memorial Day + “You Are Not Forgotten” book review

 

From Arlington to remote prairie shrines to foreign fields, America provides a resting place for her fallen.  Now, on this poignant 25th day of May, we revive the memory of those heroes, though we should honor them every day.  Long after the agony of Bunker Hill, Heartbreak Ridge, Normandy, the Chosin Reservoir, the Tet Offensive and Bagdad, the dead lie in peace.  They and their comrades have left us names the world should never forget.  Make certain they did not die in vain.

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“You Are Not Forgotten”

Two men, their lives separated by over 60 years, became forever intertwined.

“You Are Not Forgotten” shows the inspiration and commitment of the American military.   For this nonfiction story, it goes from the Pacific in WWII to a memory and experience of Iraq.

A USMC,  F4U Corsair pilot, Major Marion ‘Ryan’ McCown, is lost during a battle over New Guinea and the jungle swallows all trace of him on 20 January 1944.

Over 60 years later, U.S. Army Major George Eyster V, despite coming from a long ancestry of military officers, became disillusioned after serving in Iraq.  Instead of ending his career, he joined the JPAC (Joint Pow/MIA Accounting Command), a division whose sole purpose is to leave no man behind.   With the author, Bryan Bender, at the helm, he brings these two lives together with researched firsthand information.

Read how facts and clues are pieced together to locate those that have fallen and that we so wish to remember and honor today.

This book was gifted to me from Judy Guion of the Greatest Generation Lessons, who found this book not only fascinating, but educational.  Thank you very much, Judy.

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GP Cox’s Veterans

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Farewell Salutes – 

Iona Anderson – Garber, IA; Womens USMC, WWII, Sgt.

Trevarius Bowman – Spartansburg, SC; US National Guard, Afghanistan, 1st Lt., 228th Tactical Signal Brigade

Peter Clark Jr. – Menasha, WI, USMC, WWII

Henry Hoffman III – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, Japan Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

Charles Jackson – Thackerville, OK; US Coast Guard, (Ret.28 y.)

Moyne Linscott – Sumner, MO; US Army Air Corps, Japan Occupation, 1127 Airborne Engineers/11th Airborne Division

WWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

John Myers – Toledo, OH; US Coast Guard, WWII / US Army, Korea, mine sweeper

William Opalka – Chicago, IL; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Terrance Plank – Santa Cruz, CA; US Army, Vietnam, medic, 3/506/101st Airborne Division, Purple Heart, Bronze Star

Gene Vance – Garner, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO / US Army, Vietnam, 11th Airborne Div. & 10th Special Forces Group, Sgt. Major (Ret.) / FAA

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courtesy of fellow blogger, Patty B.

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The Post World War II Boom: How America Got Into Gear

Chrysler tank production

 

In the summer of 1945, as WWII drew to a close, the U.S. economy was poised on the edge of an uncertain future.

In late 1940 for the United States to serve as the “arsenal of democracy,” American industry had stepped up to meet the challenge. U.S. factories built to mass-produce automobiles had retooled to churn out airplanes, engines, guns and other supplies at unprecedented rates. At the peak of its war effort, in late 1943 and early 1944, the United States was manufacturing almost as many munitions as all of its allies and enemies combined.

On the home front, the massive mobilization effort during World War II had put Americans back to work. Unemployment, which had reached 25 percent during the Great Depression and hovered at 14.6 percent in 1939, had dropped to 1.2 % by 1944 — still a record low in the nation’s history.

Shopping with ration stamps

With the war wrapping up, and millions of men and women in uniform scheduled to return home, the nation’s military-focused economy wasn’t necessarily prepared to welcome them back. As Arthur Herman wrote in his book, Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, U.S. businesses at the time were still “geared around producing tanks and planes, not clapboard houses and refrigerators.”

Veterans had no trouble finding jobs, according to Herman. U.S. factories that had proven so essential to the war effort quickly mobilized for peacetime, rising to meet the needs of consumers who had been encouraged to save up their money in preparation for just such a post-war boom.

With the war finally over, American consumers were eager to spend their money, on everything from big-ticket items like homes, cars and furniture to appliances, clothing, shoes and everything else in between. U.S. factories answered their call, beginning with the automobile industry. New car sales quadrupled between 1945 and 1955, and by the end of the 1950s some 75 % of American households owned at least one car. In 1965, the nation’s automobile industry reached its peak, producing 11.1 million new cars, trucks and buses and accounting for one out of every six American jobs.

Studebaker 1946

Residential construction companies also mobilized to capitalize on a similar surge in housing demand, as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans and the GI Bill gave many (but not all) returning veterans the ability to buy a home. Companies like Levitt & Son, based in New York, found success applying the mass-production techniques of the auto industry to home building. Between 1946 and the early 1960s, Levitt & Son built three residential communities (including more than 17,000 homes), finishing as many as 30 houses per day.

Levittown, NY 1947

New home buyers needed appliances to fill those homes, and companies like Frigidaire (a division of General Motors) responded to that need. During the war, Frigidaire’s assembly lines had transitioned to building machine guns and B-29 propeller assemblies. After the war, the brand expanded its home appliance business, introducing revolutionary products like clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers and garbage disposals.

Bendix washing machine ad, Jan. 1947

Driven by growing consumer demand, as well as the continuing expansion of the military-industrial complex as the Cold War ramped up, the United States reached new heights of prosperity in the years after World War II.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – Home Front style

“I understand you’ve been riveting in your name and address.”

“Housing shortage or NO housing shortage – that’s going too far!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quarantine Humor – 

‘It’s an ill wind that blows,’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being as most areas are opening, I suppose this will be the last of the Quarantine Humor!  Stay safe and healthy folks!!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Harold L. Barber – McDonough, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl., Purple Heart / US Army, Korea. Major (Ret. 23 y.), Silver Star

William C. Clark – Washington D.C.; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 5th Air Force

Roy “Dan” de Rosa – New Orleans, LA; US Army, Korea, Lt., Bronze Star

Mervin D. Galland – Eveleth, MN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt., KIA (Tarawa)

Paul Lunsford Sr. – Charlotte, NC; US Army, Korea / Nato / Colonel (ret.)

Derrick Madden – Nadeau, CAN; RC Army, WWII, linesman

Margaret Montgomery – Palestine Township, IA; Civilian, WWII, ammo plant

Margaret Ryan – W. Palm Beach, FL; US Navy WAVE, WWII, Cartographer

Gaylord “Chuck” Taylor – USA; US Army, Vietnam, Ranger, Captain, Bronze Star / Author

Stanley Webb – London, ENG; British Army, ETO

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The New York Times Crossword and WWII

The WWII home front and this generation have something in common, lock-downs.  This post seemed appropriate for right about now.

There are plenty of crossword puzzles in publications across the country, but when we think of the pinnacle of puzzledom (Not officially a word, but, perhaps, it should be?), the purveyors of the most preeminent puzzles, we bow to The New York Times (NYT).

For more than 75 years, the NYT crossword puzzle has been stumping readers with its clever clues and then sending them soaring when they finally fill in all the squares.

When did the NYT Crossword begin?

When crossword puzzles first came about in the 1920s, the NYT turned up its nose at them. In 1924, the paper ran an opinion column that dubbed them, “a primitive sort of mental exercise”.

So, what absolved the crossword puzzle in the illustrious publication’s mind and made them eat their words? Reportedly, it was after the bombing of Pearl Harbor that Lester Markel, the paper’s Sunday editor at the time, decided the country could use some levity, primitive or not.

Crosswords became an American craze in the 1920s, but it took the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the urging of The New York Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger, a long-time crossword fan, to convince the features editor to run a crossword puzzle each Sunday.   In a memo dated December 18, 1941, an editor conceded that the puzzle deserved space in the paper, considering what was happening elsewhere in the world and that readers might need something to occupy themselves during blackouts.  The frivolous” feature, he admitted, would take people’s mind off the war and give them something to do while hunkered down in their bomb shelters.

Seventy-five years later, people continue to turn to crosswords for comfort and distraction. As the first editor of the crossword noted, “I don’t think I have to sell you on the increased demand for this kind of pastime in an increasingly worried world. You can’t think of your troubles while solving a crossword …” — Will Shortz

The first puzzle ran Sunday, February 15, 1942, and it was, in fact, a primitive pursuit, (Dictionary.com’s first definition for the adjective: “Being the first or earliest of the kind or in existence”), as they were the first major US paper to run a crossword puzzle. By 1950, the paper began running a crossword puzzle daily.

Since that time, there have only been four editors of the NYT Crossword puzzle, beginning with Margaret Farrar, who served as editor from the publication of the first puzzle until 1969. Will Weng and Eugene Maleska followed in her footsteps.

 

To print out a copy of the original crossword – CLICK HERE!

For the solution – CLICK HERE!

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Military Humor –

“Besides that, it ruins on only 2 flashlight batteries.”

 

 

SIGN POSTED IN THE ARMY RECRUITING OFFICE:

Marry a veteran girls!  He can cook, make beds,

sew and is already used to taking orders!

 

 

 

 

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Quarantine Humor –   THE ECONOMY IS SO BAD THAT….

 My neighbor got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.

 Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

I saw a Mormon with only one wife.

McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

A picture is now only worth 200 words.

When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.

And, finally…

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., that I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Melvin Askenase – FL; US Army, WWII & Korea

Clarence “Cubby” Bair – Troy, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO,17th & 82nd Airborne Division

Lester Cheary – Havana, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division / US Navy, Korea, USS John Pierce

Homer Dunn – Woodrow, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Thomas Falzarano – Colorado Springs, CO; US Army, Iraq, Pentagon, Air Force Academy grad, Colonel, 21st Space Wing Commander

Frank Manzi – New Haven, CT; USMC, WWII, CBI, canine handler

James Mincey – Burlington, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Communications / Western Elec. engineer for antiaircraft & missile guidance radar

Ron Shurer – Fairbanks, AK; US Army, Afghanistan, SSgt., Special Operations Task Force, Medal of Honor

John C. Taylor – Warsaw, VA; US Army, Vietnam, MSgt., 82nd Airborne Division (Ret. 27 y.)

Fred Willard – Shaker Heights, OH; US Army, KY & VA Military Institutes alum / beloved actor

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Armed Forces Day/Week

 

A 12 MINUTE HIGHLIGHT VIDEO OF THE LONGEST RUNNING ARMED FORCES DAY PARADE, FROM BREMERTON, WASHINGTON.

Armed Forces Week is celebrated in the week leading up to Armed Forces Day (the third Saturday in May). For American service members, Armed Forces Week is an occasion to remember past and present service for all branches of the service.  The week also includes “Children of Fallen Patriots Day” 13 May.

Armed Forces Day was observed for the first time on May 20, 1950, the day was created on August 31, 1949 to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches. Armed Forces Day/Week was created in the wake of the consolidation of military services under the United States Department of Defense.

Today, there are many Armed Forces Week events around the globe, but sources report the “longest continuously running Armed Forces Day Parade” for Americans is held in Bremerton, Washington. In 2018 Bremerton marked the 70th straight year of its Armed Forces Day Parade.  Unfortunately, as expected, the festivities are postponed this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Armed Forces Week is another time for Americans to reflect on the sacrifices made by those in uniform, and local communities often pay tribute to their missing or fallen loved ones and friends. There may be ceremonies in your local area (especially if a military installation is nearby) to pay respects to those missing or killed in action.

 Being as we cannot hold parades or visit military installations this year…

More ways to celebrate

  • Wear red, white and blue
  • Fly the American flag
  • Thank a man or woman who serves or has served
  • Talking with or writing to a military member
  • Donate to veteran or military-based organizations
  • Send care packages for those serving overseas
  • Volunteer through the VA or a veterans service organization

What makes Armed Forces Day different from Veterans Day and Memorial Day?

Unlike Veterans Day, which honors those who served, and unlike Memorial Day, which honors those who died serving, Armed Forces Day is a day to honor all of the men and women currently serving as well as those who have served, both active and former military.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quarantine Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Arthur W. Barstow – Hadley, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 5th Air Force

Hilton Carter – New Orleans, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, MSSgt., Tuskegee pilot-crew chief-gunner

Daniel Daube – Donora, PA; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Colonel (Ret.)

Carl Groesbeck – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, bombardier-navigator, POW

Hansford ‘Hank’ Hancock – Greenville, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Dorville Johnson – Jonesboro, AR; US Navy, WWII & Korea (Ret. 21 y.)

Paul Krogh Jr. – Old Saybrook, CT; US Navy, WWII, USS Slater

Walter Mallin – Manchester, NH; US Army, WWII, Pearl Harbor survivor

Joseph Phillips – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, radioman-navigator

Jerry Stiller – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII / Beloved actor

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Japan’s Underground

Ammunition is removed from storage cave at Takatsuki Dump, Osaka.

General Swing made General Pierson commander of the 187th and 188th joint group which became known as the Miyagi Task Force. They set up their headquarters in an insurance company building in Sendai. The principle responsibility of the Miyagi Task Force was to collect and destroy all arms, munitions and armament factories. They were also charged with seeing that General MacArthur’s edicts were all carried out. Many of the military installations had underground tunnels filled with drill presses and machine tools of all types. The entire zone needed to be demilitarized and equipment destroyed. Colonel Tipton discovered a submarine base for the two-man subs and a small group of men still guarding them. They told the colonel that they just wanted to go home.

The Japanese mainland was still potentially a colossal armed camp, and there was an obvious military gamble in landing with only two and a half divisions, then confronted by fifty-nine Japanese divisions, thirty-six brigades, and forty-five-odd regiments plus naval and air forces.

In this, June 23, 2015 photo, journalists walk underground tunnels that Japan’s Imperial Navy once used as secret headquarters underneath of Hiyoshi Campus. (Eugene Hoshiko)

On a hillside overlooking a field where students play volleyball, an inconspicuous entrance leads down a slope—and seemingly back in time—to Japan’s secret Imperial Navy headquarters in the final months of World War II. Here, Japan’s navy leaders made plans for the fiercest battles from late 1944 to the war’s end in August 1945. The navy commanders went rushing to the underground command center whenever US B-29 bombers flew over. The tunnel had ventilation ducts, a battery room, food storage with ample stock of sake, and deciphering and communications departments.

Considerable stocks of war equipment were dispersed amid the tangled masses of fire blackened girders, in thousands of caches located deep in the hills, in carefully constructed tunnels and warehouses, and over miles of Japanese landscape. Along the shores near the great ports, there remained many permanent fortresses. Japan’s frantic preparations for a last ditch stand against invasion resulted in numerous hastily built coastal defenses. (Plate No. 41) The majority of these coastal defenses were manned by brigades. The larger and more permanent installations were equipped with heavy artillery and were concentrated in strategic locations such as the peninsula which forms Tokyo Bay, the northern entrance to the Inland Sea, the southern tip of Kyushu, and the coastline around Fukuoka. Almost three hundred airfields, ranging from bomber and supply strips to “Kamikaze” strips, sheltered some 6,000 Japanese combat aircraft capable of providing air cover and close support for the ground and naval forces. (Plate No. 42) Japanese arsenals, munitions factories, steel plants, aircraft factories, and ordnance depots were widely scattered throughout the country.   Japanese naval vessels consisting of carriers, battleships, destroyers, submarines, and auxiliary and maintenance craft were anchored in all of the major ports.

June 23, 2015 photo, staff members of Keio University walk underground tunnels that Japan’s Imperial Navy once used as secret headquarters underneath of Hiyoshi Campus in Yokohama. (Eugene Hoshiko)

In the Sixth Army zone during the month of November 1945, at least ten ports were in operation, and approximately 4,500 tons of ammunition were disposed of daily.

Records later indicated that actually some 2,468,665 rifles and carbines were received by the Occupation forces and later disposed of. The Japanese reported more artillery ammunition than small arms ammunition. Ammunition for the grenade launcher, often known as the “knee mortar,” was also more plentiful; some 51,000,000 rounds were reported, or an average of 1,794 rounds for each weapon.

This Japanese underground bunker consists of many rooms and was built by Korean and Chinese forced laborers during the Second World War.

a check on the police stations in Aomori, Hirosaki, and Sambongi (all towns in Aomori Prefecture) produced some 1,880 rifles, 1,881 bayonets, 18 light machine guns, 505,260 rounds of rifle and machine gun ammunition, 46,980 rounds of blank ammunition, one case of TNT, and 150 military swords. Daily G-2 and CIC reports revealed many instances of smaller caches, sometimes in school compounds.

The Matsushiro Underground Imperial Headquarters (松代大本営跡, Matsushiro Daihon’ei Ato, “Matsushiro Imperial Headquarters Site”) was a large underground bunker complex built during WWII in the town of Matsushiro which is now a suburb of Nagano, Japan.  The facility was constructed so that the central organs of government of Imperial Japan could be transferred there. In its construction, three mountains that were symbolic of the Matsushiro municipality were damaged.

Entrance to the Matsushiro Zouzan underground shelter

Approximately seven million armed men, including those in the outlying theaters, had  laid down their weapons. In the accomplishment of the extraordinarily difficult and dangerous surrender of Japan, unique in the annals of history, not a shot was necessary, not even a drop of Allied blood was shed. 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

‘I count only four parachutes. Where’s Mr. Simms?’

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Quarantine Humor –

“I’ve found the stupidity virus.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Nancy Binetti – Roselle, NJ; Civilian, WWII, Canden Shipyards

Juan M. Covarrubias – Hanford, CA; US Army, Iraq, Spc., 1/227/1st Air Calvary Division, KIA

Robert Drake (100) – Pueblo, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO

John Hilty – MD; US Army, Iraq, Sgt. 1st Class, 1/227 Aviation Regiment/ 1/1st Calvary Division, KIA

Glenn Kraft – Cumberland, WI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, pilot

Eldon “Pounce” Musgrave – Athens, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 crewman

Marshall Roberts – OK; Oklahoma Air National Guard, Iraq, SSgt., KIA

Vera Schapps (106) – NYC, NY; Civilian, WWII, Air Raid Warden

Bob Underwood – DeWitt, AR; US Air Force, Korea, Sgt. (Airman 1st Class), Medic / Red Cross, Baptist Minister

Jennie Zito – Thompson’s Station, TN; Civilian, WWII, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft

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Letter Home, From Tokyo – conclusion

Here is the conclusion of the letter Joe Teri wrote home as he settled in during the Occupation of Japan.  Please do not be offended by any slang that was used back in the day.  The pictures are examples, none accompanied the letter.

Our airforce has done perfect precision bombing, they only wrecked just what they wanted to, the train system is perfect, the trolley line is in good condition, but the War plants are a mass of rubbish.  The Japs have had more equipt than our eyes can believe, even our General here said, we under estimated the Japs at the time of our arrival here, by 60 percent and thats an awful lot, we had planned during the War to make an invasion here, if we had to we would have never got here it would have been suicide for every man and ship.  The land out here is all Mts and islands and in those Mts the Japs have hundreds and hundreds of dual 16 inch guns, those guns are about the most powerful guns any one can have one alone is as big as the biggest one on our ships, so you can Just imagine what 2 of them together can do, they have a channel here about 50 miles long all surrounded with islands, and the ships have to travel about 2 knots an hour in order to get by the islands.  The Japs have caves, miles long with enough equiptment to have a war for at least 10 years they even have complete factories never touched yet in the caves, it must have taken 50 years to get all this accomplished we are destroying the Jap war equipt every day.  I hear a lot of exploding all day long every day.  General Eichenberger says it will take years to destroy all the Jap war equipt and he is right as no matter where you look theres thousands of tons of equipt.  My Colenel says we haven’t discovered half of the things the Japs have yet, they have everything hidden in caves, and perfectly concealed, we have to go hunting for all there things each day. so it will take months and months to find them as the Jap civilians don’t even know where all there loaded packed caves are, every day a bunch of new ones turn up.  Can you imagine these Japs having all that.  What I have been writing is no rumor, it is the actual truth, if it wasnt for the Atomic bomb, this war would have lasted for years to come, as the U.S. has underestimated the Japs by a very long margin, that Atomic bomb is a miracle sent down from heaven.  Well enough of this war talk as the war is over now.  Tokyo is about 400 miles from here, the trains run to there, I sure hope I can get to see that city before I come home, I have been looking for souveniers, but as yet, havent found anything, the japs havent any thing at all except the War equipt and thats in the U.S. Army hands now, they don’t even have enough clothes to wear, they dress in rags, the weather here is pretty cold just now, they have a big snow fall each winter so I guess Ill see a very very lonesome White Christmas.

This club I am working and living in is a very, very beautiful Jap home, a Jap General used to live here, it is in perfect condition and a pretty new home, it has 18 rooms in it with sliding panel windows and doors, over 100 of them the whole house can be opened on all sides, it has beautiful furniture in it made very low, as the the Japs sit on the straw mats on the floor, also take their shoes off when entering any home, their is a jap phone here, still working, servants quarters and a push button bell system, that shows the no of the room at the back hallway for every room here, just like we have in our hospitals, electric system, with electric heat, all marble fire place, Gas for cooling, 2 beautiful lavortories with running water, the Japs dont use stools, they squat, a real big wash room, laundry room, an extra serving kitchen next to the dining room, thats where I built my nice little service bar, only done a little fixing up as the room is almost perfect for a service bar, we have real good U.S. radio here, fire extingishers and beautiful carvings all the sliding doors in the house are made of wood lining with paper frames they sure are delicate, have of them are ripped already, a beautiful terrace, and a real beautiful entrance with a drive way to the entrance, hard wood beautiful floors, 2 real nice hall ways, with all the rooms in between them, the lawn is beautiful it has build in little hills with real old flat big stones to sit on around them, grass, and a lot of real ancient beautiful trees even a lamp post made out of a tree in the lawn, it has wooden shutters all around the house, the house is mostly made out of wood and sand cement, it could burn up in 20 minutes, they have a real nice hot steam bath room, but no running hot water, it is all to beautiful to believe and I am living here, it is my home, while out here, isnt that swell.

Well I have to close the bar now as it is 10:30 PM, so will close this letter now, I hope you have enjoyed reading this letter, I have tried to it interesting, I could write for days, but havent the time, Im praying all 3 of you are in the best of health.  I am in good health and getting along fairly well.  All my Love and best Regards to all of you, Write soon.  Kiss Don for me.

Your Brother in Law                         G.I. Joe Teri

Im sending you 5 yen, 1 yen and 50 sen.  One yen is 16-⅓ cents 100 sens make 1 yen – 15 yen make dollar

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  Military Humor –   Reader’s Digest style – 

“No Ferguson, the military does Not have Casual Fridays!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quarantine Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Bloom – Boston, MA; US Army, WWII, Africa, Meteorologist

Christopher Curry – Terra haute, IN; US Army, Iraq, Sgt., 3/21/1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team/25th Division, KIA

Richard Hunt – Pittsburgh, PA; American Field Service, WWII, India

Robert D. Jenks – Sutherland, IA; USMC, WWII, PTO, D Co./6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Frederick Kroesen – Phillipsburg, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO; Korea & Vietnam, General (Ret. 40 y.) / Army VChief of Staff

J. Howard Lucas – Dogwood, AL; US Navy, WWII

Matthew Morgan – East Islip, NY; US Navy, WWII, USS Fiske

Austin Newman – Oneida, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Don Shula – Grand River, OH; Ohio National Guard, Korea / NFL Coach

Florence Wilhelmsen – Brooklyn, NY; Civilian, USO entertainer, WWII

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Letter Home From Tokyo – part one

We have Mrs P. to thank for this letter.  It came from her neighbor, Len G. whose uncle Joe reached Japan and wanted the family to know what it was like for him.  This letter is being re-typed exactly as it originally reads.

 

Wednesday Evening

Nov. 14, 1945 – 9PM

Kure, Japan

My Dear Carters & Son:

Received your most enjoyable letter some time ago on Oct 18, I was so very busy ever since I landed here in Japan, that I really hadn’t much time to write, I still owe about 4 letters out and hope I can get them written in the very near future, believe me.  I am on duty now, while writing this letter to you, business is very slow now, so I have a good chance in getting this letter written.  I am so sorry and ask your apoligy for not writing sooner, I’ll try to answer your next letter as soon as possible.  I’m certain I’ll have more time then.  I will write to Mother & Dad, next first chance I get.  I wrote a letter to Elaine today, shall mail both of these in the morning.  I miss her and baby so very much.  I love both of them more than anything in the world.  I miss all of you terribly.  I’m praying hard for my home coming day to come, as yet, I don’t know when I’ll ever be home as nothing has been said about discharging fathers yet.  A lot of high pointers are leaving every day, the 60 pointers will start leaving next week, I only have 21 points, so I’ll never get home by the point system, my only hope is discharging fathers.  I may be home in March or April, I hope it will be much sooner.

 

I guess Elaine has been telling you most of the news about me, so you should know, just about what I have been doing.  I sure have done a lot of traveling in a short time, since I left the States I have been at the Marshalls Islands, Carolinas Islands, Leyte, Mindonao and now here in Kure, Japan.  I also have been at Okinawa, passed by Iwo Jima, that sure has been a lot of traveling.  Don’t you think so. Japan surrendered when I was near the Carolinas, coming from the States, I was on the ocean 50 days out of 60.  I’m sure tired of ships, after I get home, I don’t care if I ever see another ship, living on those ships was terrible, we lived just like rats and were packed like sardines.  I hope my trip back home won’t be that bad  The food has been terrible all the way here, until I got the luckiest break I ever got before in this rotten army, about 3 weeks ago, my C O called me in his office and told me, he looked up my records and seen I was a bartender and manager in civilian life, so the F.A. Division is opening an officers club and be the bartender.  there are 167 officers in this club, so I told him, I will gladly take that Job, and I’ll do my utmost best, so here I am at the officers club now,  I live just like a civilian now, I live here at the club and eat at the officers mess, I eat like a king now, all I want and plenty of real fresh food, steaks, chops, eggs, butter, fresh veg. and lots of other real good food, before I came here, I have been eating C and K rations ever since I have been on land since I have left the states.  I also made 2 ratings since I came to Japan, about a month ago I made Pfc and last week I made T-5 – thats the same rating as a corpal, so I am now a corporal, it means about $18.00 a month more, not that I care for anything in this lousy army, I still want to be a plain old civilian, I was given this T-5 rating because I know the bar trade and am in charge of the Bar here at the club, another fellow also lives here with me, he is the stewart, but knows nothing about the business.  As long as I have to stay out here, I am very much satisfied with this bartender job I have.  I also have to take care of the club in the daytime and see that the 4 Japs we have working here, do a good job in cleaning up and other things we need done, I don’t have any more inspections, formations, waiting on line to eat, live in a real cold rotton barrack, Gaurd Duty and any one to order me around, on different dirty details, I am now my own boss, dress in my uniform every day and do just about anything I please, except leave the club, I live just like a civilian, and am respected by the officers and there are quite a few Colenels and high officers here, even the General gets drunk here, they all say I’m doing a swell job and always thank me, I even make tips here not much, but about $5.00 a week, that isn’t so bad considering Im in the army.

Hokkaido on R&R skiing

Notice this paper I am writing on it is Japanese Naval business paper, the writing on it says Super fine Naval paper that’s what my Jap worker told me.  The Japs are behaving very nicely and do just as we tell them to.  The women do all the work and the men do nothing, these women out here do twice as much work than the average man in the states, its unbelievable the way they work, they are about 100 yrs backward, and do everything the hard way, they even carry their babies over their backs, the way I carry my pack coming over here.  They still have a lot of ancient customs and very hard to understand, they also are plenty sneaky and smart.  This city Kure, is a, or rather was a very  big industrial War plant city, it has, bus lines, trolleys, trains, electricity, Gas, steam heat, and a lot of modern things in it, the population  one time was over 300 thousand, I dont know what it is now, Hiroshima is only 15 miles from here, I visited the outskirts of it, and all I can see is dirt and more dirt, not even a house or anything for miles & miles, thats where the Atomic bomb was dropped, boy I still cant believe my eyes that one bomb can do that much damage.  Hiroshima also was a big Industrial city with a population of over 300 thousand now it looks like the wide open spaces in Texas, no one would not believe it, if he were told that Hiroshima once had big factories and homes in it, and could see nothing but dirt there now.  Kure has also been terribly bombed, but the magnificent part of it is that all the War plants, Airplane base, Submarine base and war tings were bombed to rubbish and the homes weren’t even touched.

To be continued …..

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Military Humor –

“Of course I speak your language — I can say Both takusan and sukoshi!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quarantine Humor – 

(Frankly, I’ll miss the quarantine humor when this pandemic is all over, but for ALL our sake, I hope we whip this disease soon!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Mary (Dyer) Alligood – Winter Garden, FL; US Navy WAVES, WWII

James Beggs – Bethesda, MD; US Navy, aeronautics / NASA, Administrator

William Bolinger – LaFollette, TN; US Army, WWII, PTO, TSgt., Bronze Star

John Dewey – Galva, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 10th Mountain Division

Hugh Fricks – Seattle, WA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Lt., 6th Marines, Navy Cross, KIA (Tarawa)

Philip Kahn (100) – NYC, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-29 pilot

Howard Miller – San Mateo, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Co A/1/6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Carlos Santos Sr. (101) – Ludlow, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Paul Stonehart – London, ENG; RAF, WWII, radar

Robert Wilson – Villa Rica, GA; US Army, WWII & Korea, Captain

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HELLO! Remember Me?

Tomorrow is 1 May, the start of Military Appreciation Month.  I thought it appropriate to remind some about the flag they fly under and why……

Some call me Old Glory, others call me the Star Spangled Banner, but whatever you call me, I am your Flag – the Flag of the United States of America.  There has been something that has been bothering me, so I thought that I might talk it over with you here today.

I remember some time ago, (I think it was Memorial Day, or was it Veterans’ Day?) that people were lined upon both sides of the street for a parade.  A high school band was behind me and, naturally, I was leading the parade.  When your Daddy saw me coming along, waving in the breeze, he immediately removed his hat and placed it so that his right hand was directly over his heart.

And you – I remember you.

Standing there straight as a soldier, you didn’t have a hat, but you were giving me the right salute.  Remember, they taught you in school to place your right hand over your heart, and little sister, not to be outdone, was saluting the same as you.  There were some soldiers home on leave and they were standing at attention giving the military salute.  Oh, I was very proud as I came down your street that day.

Now, I may sound as if I am a little conceited.  Well I am!

I have a right to be, because I represent you, the people of the United States of America.

But what happened?  I am still the same old flag.  Oh, I have a lot more stars added since the beginning of this country, and a lot more blood has shed since that patriotic day so long ago.

Now I don’t feel as proud as I used to.  When I come down your street, some people just stand there with their hands in their pockets and give me a small glance and then look away.  I see children running around and shouting.  They don’t seem to know who I am.

Is it a sin to be patriotic anymore?  Have some people forgotten what I stand for?  Have they forgotten all the battlefields where men have fought and died to keep this nation free?  When you salute me, you are actually saluting them!

Take a look at the memorial rolls some time.  Look at the names of those who never came back.  Some of them were friends and relatives of yours.  That’s whom you are saluting – not me!

Lt. Bud Stapleton, 11th A/B Div., raising first flag over Tokyo on 3 Sept. 1945

Well, it won’t be long until I’ll be coming down your street again.  So, when you see me, stand straight, place your hand over your heart and you’ll see me waving back – that’s my salute to you.  And then I will know you remember who I am…..

~ Author unknown ~

From: the June 2017 issue of The Voice of the Angels” 11th Airborne Division Association, JoAnne Doshier, Editor

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quarantine Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Evelyn Boyd – Norwich, CT; Civilian, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, WWII

Eugene Carlson – Brockton, MA; US Navy, WWII, engineer, USS Shangri-La

John Donaldson (100) – Pittsburgh, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LCT

William Facher (100) – San Diego, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 1st Calvary Mounted Artillery, 2 Bronze Stars

Harold Hicks – Broad Channel & East Meadow, NY/Archer, FL; US Army, 37th Armored Regiment

Bernard Lazaro – Waltham, MA; USMC, WWII

Vincent Massa – Staten Island, NY; US Navy, WWII, USS Fall River

Kent Ross – Dodge City, KS; US Army, WWII, Nuremberg, Sgt.

William Smith – Montrose, GA; US Army, WWII / Korea, POW / Vietnam, Sgt., 1/173 A/B, Purple Heart, 4 Bronze Stars, (Ret. 32 y.)

Robert Therrien – Sanford, ME; US Army, WWII

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