11th Airborne Division in Japan

Smitty’s, Broad Channel, NY

Atsugi Airfield, Japan

 

Just as General Douglas MacArthur said to Gen. Robert Eichelberger that it was a long road to Tokyo, so it was for Smitty. Yes, the stretch from Broad Channel to Camp MacKall and finally Atsugi Airfield was a long and arduous road, but here, the 11th Airborne Division arrives in Japan to begin the Occupation and to help start the rebuilding of a country.

Aerial view, Atsugi Airfield

With the initial arrival of the division, rarely was a female between the ages of 8 and 70 seen on the streets. The Japanese had heard their government’s propaganda for years as to the American looting and raping, so they were understandably afraid of the conquering troops. But many were confused about the peaceful attitude of the soldiers and a member of the 511th regiment was stopped one day by a Japanese officer, he asked, “Why don’t you rape, loot and burn? We would.” The trooper answered that Americans just don’t do that.

Yokohama, 1945

With the New Grand Hotel surrounded by troopers, the manager and his staff bowed to Gen. MacArthur and his party and directed them to their suites. Tired and hungry from their long flight, the Americans went to the dining room and were served steak dinners. Gen. Whitney remembered wanting to take MacArthur’s plate to make certain it hadn’t been poisoned. When he told the general his concern and intentions, MacArthur laughed and said, “No one can live forever.”

The hotel would become his headquarters and later that evening, MacArthur told his staff, “Boys, this is the greatest adventure in military history. Here we sit in the enemy’s country with only a handful of troops, looking down the throats of 19 fully armed divisions and 70 million fanatics. One false move and the Alamo would look like a Sunday school picnic.” (The fact that nothing happened, I believe, said quite a bit about Japanese integrity.)

The division Command Post was moved from the Atsugi Airfield to the Sun Oil Compound in Yokohama. This compound had about 15 American-style homes complete with furniture, dishes, silver and linens. The senior staff officers were not so fortunate. They were put up in warehouses on the docks, often without heat.

In the Philippines, the Japanese emissary General Kawabe, finished their surrender talks. Kawabe’s aide, Second Lt. Sada Otake, introduced himself to a Nisei G.I. standing guard outside. The guard, in response, said his name was Takamura. Otake said he had married a Nisei by the same name and did he had a sister named Etsuyo? The guard nodded and Otake said, “I’m her husband. Look me up in Japan.” And the brothers-in-law shook hands. (Small world or fate?)

Smitty @ Sun Oil

On the reverse side of this photo, Smitty wrote: “A picture of the General”s gang taken in the

Smitty (2nd from left) and rest of the crew

living room at Yokohama. Reading left to right – baker, first cook, Mess Sergeant, me headwaiter and on the floor, second cook. Those glasses you can see were always full. You can’t beat this Japanese beer.

Tokyo Rose – on the air

On 1 September, newsmen Harry Brundige and Clark Lee, with the help of a Japanese newsman, located Tokyo Rose with her husband in their hotel, the Imperial. Brundige offered her $2,000 for an exclusive interview for “Cosmopolitan” magazine. She agreed and together they typed out 17 pages of notes. The editor of the magazine was so astounded that Brundige had made a deal with a traitor that he rejected the story. The notes were handed over to Lee, who wrote his own version of the story for the International News Service.

Click on images to enlarge.

#############################################################################################

Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Archer – Coffeyville, KS; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Ronald Best (100) – Whangarei, NZ; RNZ Army # 280763, WWII

Robert Carman – Wheeling, WV; US Army, WWII, field artillery

Andrew Hooker – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, Vietnam, helicopter crew chief

Emil Kamp – St. Louis, MO; US Army, WWII, Sgt.

Raymond Lane Sr. – Ashland, VA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Tech. Sgt. (Ret. 20 y.)

Roy Markon – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 88th Division, Purple Heart

Edward Salazar – Colton, CA; US Army, Vietnam, 1st Cavalry Division

Lawrence Taylor – Stevensville, MT; US Navy,WWII, PTO, corpsman

Leo Zmuda – Somerset, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511/11th Airborne Division

############################################################################################

Advertisements

Armed Forces Day – 18 May 2019

18 MAY, 2019, BEING ANOTHER PART OF MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH, IS CALLED ARMED FORCES DAY.

THE FIRST ARMED FORCES DAY WAS CELEBRATED 29 MAY 1950 (one month before the start of the Korean War).  ARMED FORCES WEEK BEGINS ON THE 2ND SATURDAY OF MAY AND ENDS THRU THE 3RD SATURDAY.  Due to their unique schedules, the NATIONAL GUARD & THE RESERVE units may celebrate this at any time during the month.

18 May 2019

PRESIDENT DWIGHT DAVID EISENHOWER, 1953 –  “Today let us, as Americans, honor the American fighting man.  For it is he or she – the soldier, the sailor, the Airman, the Marine – who has fought to preserve freedom.”

If you do NOT normally fly your flag everyday, make this day one that you do!  Even a small one sitting in your window shows your heartfelt feelings toward our troops.

If you are not from the U.S., tell us about the days you honor your military in the fight for freedom – help us to learn by sharing.

 

 

#############################################################################################

Military Humor –

‘Every war game scenario I’ve run has you picking up the check.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes-

Michael Andrews – Altoona, PA; US Navy, WWII

Charles Drapp – Piqua, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co/511/11th Airborne Division

William Dunn – Dunning, NE; US Army, Korea

Gerald Golden – Graceville, FL; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

Orville Levengood – Lewiston, MO; US Navy, WWII

Sam Mitsui – Sky Komish, WA; Tule Lake internee / US Army, 4th Infantry Division

Mary Olson – OH; US Navy WAVES, WWII, Instrument Flight Instructor

Frank Perkins – Farmer’s Branch, TX; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd & 101st A/B divisions, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, 1st Sgt. (Ret. 20 y.)

William Schmatz – Bronx, NY; US Army, Korea, 82nd Airborne Division

Russell Tetrick – Redwood Falls, MN; USMC, WWII, PTO

Wibert Woolard – Gastonia, NC; US Army, WWII

############################################################################################

11th Airborne Division’s End of WWII Honor – part (2)

11th Airborne’s flag atop Atsugi hanger

General Swing, Commander of the 11th A/B, brought with him on the plane a large American flag and a banner painted, “CP 11th Airborne Division” to be fastened onto the roof of airplane hangar. He was dressed in battle fatigues and “11th A/B” was stenciled on his helmet. He carried a .38 pistol and a bandoleer of .38 caliber shells draped across his chest. (As ready for combat in Japan as he was on Leyte and Luzon.) A Japanese officer approached him as he departed the plane. The officer saluted and introduced himself as Lieut-General Arisuye, the officer in control of the Atsugi sector. He then asked the general what his current orders would be and Gen. Swing lost no time in telling him.

Gen. Swing (l) & Gen. Eichelberger (r) with Japanese detail

American POWs had been left unguarded at their prisons just days before. Two hours after Gen. Swing’s arrival, two POWs walked into the CP. (command post). They had taken a train from the prison to Tokyo. No Japanese soldiers or civilians approached them along the way.

Later that day, Colonel Yamamoto presented himself as the chief liaison officer; both he and his aide were still wearing their swords. Gen. Swing ordered them to remove their weapons. Yamamoto arrogantly protested and insisted on explaining that the sword was his symbol of authority. Swing repeated his order, but with a more firm and commanding tone of voice and the two Japanese men complied immediately.

Yokohama

The 11th A/B then proceeded on to Yokohama where the Allied Headquarters was to be established. The fifth largest city of Japan was now little more than a shantytown after the persistent Allied bombings. In fact, most of the towns and cities resembled the crumbled remains seen in Europe. Yokohama and Tokyo would become sites for the Allied Military Tribunal trials for the Japanese war criminals, similar to those held in Nuremberg for the Germans.

The trucks waiting for the men at Atsugi airfield to be used as transportation between Tokyo and Yokohama mostly ran on charcoal and wood. Only a few vehicles still operated on gasoline. They were consistently breaking down and the fire engine that led General MacArthur’s motorcade was said to look like a Toonerville Trolley.

Toonerville Trolley

Below, the photograph from the New York “Daily News” show the 11th A/B in front of the New Grand Hotel and on the right, one of the many vehicles that constantly broke down. The date written on the picture is the issue  my grandmother cut them from the paper, not the dates the pictures were taken.

11th Airborne guarding MacArthur’s hotel CP

General Swing wanted to view his newly arriving troops farther down the runway from where he was, when he spotted a Japanese general exiting his car. Seconds later, ‘Jumpin’ Joe’ hopped into the backseat. The interpreter translated from the driver to Swing that the limo was reserved for the Chief of Staff of the Imperial Army. Swing roared in returned, “Goddamn it, we won the war. Drive me down the strip.” Once in front of his troops, Swing exited the car and the Japanese captain said, “Well sir, Generals are alike in all armies.”

The 11th Airborne band set up for the arrival of General Douglas MacArthur at 1400 hours. When the general’s plane the ‘Bataan’ landed, the five-star general paused at the door wearing his pleated khakis, his shirt unbuttoned at the neck and the garrison hat with the gold encrusted visor crown. (In other words – his typical attire). There were no ribbons clipped to his shirt, but the customary corncob pipe hung from his lips at an angle. He then descended, shook hands with Gen. Eichelberger and quietly said, “Bob, from Melbourne to Tokyo is a long way, but this seems to be the end of the road.  This is the payoff.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click on still images to enlarge.

#############################################################################################

Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Fleming Begaye Sr. – Chinle, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker

James Bramble – Los Alamos, NM; US Army, WWII, Manhattan Project

Bernard Dargols – FRA & NY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Melvin Gibbs – Sylva, NC; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret. 21 y.)

Estella Jensen – Arlington, WA; Civilian, WWII, Boeing machinist & welder

Frank Manchel – San Diego, CA; US Army, Sgt., WWII

Bob Maxwell – Bend, OR; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Silver Stars, Medal of Honor

Edd Penner – Springfield, MO; US Army, WWII

Carmine Stellaci – Morristown, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/188/11th Airborne Division

Spencer Wilkerson – Lancaster, PA; US Army, WWII, 28th/2nd Cabalry

11th Airborne Division’s End of WWII Honor – part (1)

Jeep stockpile

Okinawa, as one of the islands being “beefed-up” with supplies, men and materiel, quickly became significantly congested; it is only 877 square miles, but soon they would be minus the 11th Airborne Division.  MacArthur had decided the 11th would be the first to land in Japan, with the 187th Regiment leading off.

General Swing was not certain how the enemy would take to him and the 187th regiment landing in Japan as the first conquerors in 2000 years, so the men were ordered to be combat ready. Besides staying in shape, they spent many an hour listing to numerous lectures on the Japanese culture.

Western Electric ad 1945

15 August, Washington D.C. received Japan’s acceptance of the terms of surrender. Similar to the Western Electric advertisement pictured, phones and telegraphs buzzed around the world with the news that WWII was over, but reactions varied. Among the men on Okinawa, there was jubilation mixed in with ‘let’s wait and see.”

In Japan, most felt relieved, but others committed suicide to fulfill their duty.  Russian troops continued to push into Manchuria to get as far into the area as possible before the Allies could stop them.

Troops in Europe were elated to hear that they were no longer being transferred to the Pacific and South America began to see the arrival of Nazi escapees and the United States went wild with gratitude.

General Joseph Swing
[On the back of this photo. Smitty wrote, “My General”]

During the initial meeting, the Japanese were instructed to have 400 trucks and 100 sedans at Atsugi Airfield in readiness to receive the 11th Airborne. This caused much concern with the dignitaries. Atsugi had been a training base for kamikaze pilots and many of them were refusing to surrender. There were also 300,000 well-trained troops on the Kanto Plain of Tokyo, so MacArthur moved the landing for the 11th A/B to the 28th of August; five days later than originally planned.

There was much discussion as to whether or not the 11th Airborne would fly into Japan or parachute down. Troopers tried jumping from the B-24s on the island, but it proved to be an awkward plane for that purpose. To carry the men to Japan and then return was impossible for the C-46, therefore C-54s were brought in from around the world and crammed onto the island.

11th Airborne Honor Guard, 9/2/1945

GHQ ordered General Swing to form an honor guard company for General MacArthur. Captain Glen Carter of the 187th regiment became the company commander. Every man was required to be 5′ 11″ or taller.

18-20 August, the Soviet army overran the Kwantung Army in central Manchuria, taking three cities in three days. They continued south in the quickest campaign of Soviet history, killing 80,000 Japanese.

28 August was to be the intended date for U.S. arrival in Japan, but two typhoons put a snafu on the trooper’s strategies. My father recalled, during their prolonged stay on the island, meeting some of the 509th Bomber Group. They did not wish to be known in Japan as those that dropped the A-bomb.  What they had witnessed through their goggles seemed to be a nightmare straight out of “Buck Rogers. The airmen requested an 11th A/B patch to sew over their own before entering Japan.  Smitty said he gave away a lot of patches;  he felt they were just men who carried out their orders.

Asugi Airfield 1945

The Emperor was wary of any fanatical emotions that might still be lingering within the kamikaze pilots. Therefore, he sent his brother, Prince Takamatsu, with a team to dismantle the propellers from their planes to prevent any “heroics” from occurring before MacArthur’s plane, the Bataan, was scheduled to land. The previously all-powerful Japanese Army had had such control over the country for so long that these precautions had to be fulfilled to ensure a peaceful occupation. This was all carried out while the Emperor still believed he would be executed as a war criminal.

28 August 1945, Japanese officers signed the surrender documents in Rangoon to finalize Japan’s defeat in Burma. On islands throughout the Pacific, enemy troops surrendered in droves to American and British authorities in the following days. Most of the men were malnourished and ill.

THE JAPANESE SURRENDER IN BURMA, 1945 (SE 4821) Brigadier E F E Armstrong of British 12th Army staff signs the surrender document at Rangoon on behalf of the Allies. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208318

30 August, due to the latest typhoon, the first plane carrying the 11th A/B does not leave Okinawa until this date. Colonel John Lackey lifted off Kadena Airfield at 0100 hours with General Swing on board. The 187th regiment, upon arriving at Atsugi Airfield (just outside Tokyo), after their seven hour flight, immediately surrounded the area and the Emperor’s Summer Palace to form a perimeter. The 3d battalion of the 188th regiment, the honor guard and the band showed up to prepare for MacArthur’s arrival.

Click on images to enlarge.

############################################################################################

Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Joshua Braica – Sacramento, CA; USMC, SSgt., 1st Marine Raider Battalion, KIA

Keith Cousins – New South Wales, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, 212 RAF, 458,43 & 34th Squadrons

William Dyer – Westbrook, ME; US Army, WWII

Hans Kappel – Sunnyside, NY; US Army, Korea, 3rd Infantry Division

Francis Lynch – Appleton, WI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division & 25th Infantry Division

Hug C. McDowell – Washington D.C. – USMC, Lt., 1st Light Armored Recon Battalion/1st Marine Division, KIA

Norman Nolan – Boston, MA; US Navy, WWII, ETO & PTO, gunner/Korea, USS Incredible, (Ret. 20 y.)

Robert Ramsey – Falling Rock, WV; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Purple Heart

Herman Smith – MS; US Army, WWII, ETO

Samuel Zambori – Mount Sterling, OH; US Navy, WWII

############################################################################################

Classified British Life-savers in D-Day Landings

From a woman who always advocates for our military… an insight into those clickers you see and hear in the movies!!

Tribute to Veterans

Acme 470 clicker used during 1944 D-Day landings as a means of communicating with allied troops
Photo – Evening Standard

In approaching the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, perhaps there is still history, unbeknownst to many, on safeguards instilled prior to 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landing upon five beaches of France’s Normandy region, June 6, 1944 – along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified coast.  This particular defense was secretly crafted and classified by the British.

———————

Desperate bid to track down life-saving ‘clickers’ British soldiers used in D-Day landings

The Evening Standard (UK)
Olivia Tobin

Manufacturers from ACME Whistles are attempting to trace the “lost clickers” of the Normandy Landings, a life-saving tool of the invasion, to mark the 75th anniversary.  The small metal device was used by troops abroad to try to determine if among friends or foes in pitch black conditions.  Every paratrooper was issued a clicker and…

View original post 677 more words

Canadian Hero – Leonard Birchall RCAF

Leonard Birchall

One of the things Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Air Commodore Leonard Birchall is most remembered for is being the “Savior of Ceylon.” He was the pilot who warned the Allied forces in Colombo of the Japanese surprise attack that was on its way, thus allowing them to prepare and preventing a repeat of Pearl Harbor.

However, he showed the true breadth of nobility and valor of his character in Japanese prisoner of war camps over a period of three years, in which he saved many men’s lives and took many prisoners’ beatings for them.

Leonard Birchall was born in July 1915 in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. After graduating from school he worked a number of jobs in order to pay for flying lessons.  He eventually decided to embark on a military career, and enrolled in the Royal Military College of Canada in 1933, after which he was commissioned as a RCAF pilot in 1937.

Royal Air Force mechanics at Royal Air Force Station RAF Koggala, Ceylon

It wouldn’t be too long before he saw action: the Second World War broke out in 1939.   His first duties involved flying a Supermarine Stanraer with RCAF No. 5 Squadron over Nova Scotia on anti-submarine patrols.

In 1940, he managed to virtually single-handedly capture an Italian merchant ship in the Gulf of St Lawrence by making a low pass over it, feigning an attack, which caused the captain to panic and run his ship into a sandbank. Birchall landed nearby and waited patiently for the Royal Canadian Navy to get there, whereupon they arrested the Italian seamen.

In 1942 he joined No. 413 Squadron, and shortly thereafter was transferred to Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka).  Less than 48 hours after touching down, he was flying his Catalina on a patrol mission when he caught sight of an Imperial Japanese Naval fleet which was clearly on its way to attack Ceylon.

Birchall didn’t have much time to act, for not only had he spotted the Japanese, but they had also spotted him. Despite the imminent danger, Birchall flew closer in order to gather details about how many ships and aircraft he could see.

He desperately relayed details to the Allied base even as anti-aircraft fire starting ripping past him, while Japanese fighters took off from the aircraft carriers to shoot him down.

He managed to get a few messages through to the base before anti-aircraft fire tore through his Catalina and disabled the radio. Further fire crippled the plane, and he went down, crash-landing into the ocean. He and the other surviving members of his crew were picked up by the Japanese and taken onto one of the ships. Thus began three years of imprisonment.

IJN destroyer “Isokaze”

As soon as Birchall was brought on board the Japanese destroyer Isokaza, he was singled out as the senior officer and brutally interrogated.

The Japanese eventually believed he had not radioed out, and went ahead with their attack – but they found the Allied defenders prepared for them, and their raid was a failure.

Birchall was then transferred to mainland Japan.  He was placed in an interrogation camp in Yokohama where he was subject to solitary confinement and daily beatings. In this camp – in which no speaking (except when answering questions) was allowed – Birchall spent 6 grueling months.

He was then transferred to a POW work camp that had been erected in a baseball stadium. The conditions were harsh; rations were scarce, and the prisoners were basically on a starvation diet. Beatings were commonplace, and everyone, regardless of their physical condition, was forced to work.

Birchall immediately began to earn the respect of the other prisoners by arranging a system in the camp whereby he and the officers displayed the food that had been dished out to them, and if any enlisted man thought that the officers had been given better food, or more food, he was free to exchange his rations with the officer’s.

Despite the risk of severe punishment, he also argued with the guards and demanded better treatment and rations for his men. If a guard was beating a particularly weak prisoner, Birchall and the other officers would step in and take a beating from the guards on that prisoner’s behalf.

Air Commodore Leonard Birchall Leadership Award, at Royal Military College of Canada; bas-relief bronze by Colonel (ret’d) Andre Gauthier Photo by Victoriaedwards CC BY-SA 3.0

Birchall kept detailed diaries of his time in the Japanese POW camps, and these were used as evidence in post-war trials. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in Ceylon, and made an officer of the Order of the British Empire for his actions in the POW camps.

Leonard Birchall, WWII Hero

Leonard Birchall retired from the RCAF in 1967, and then worked at York University, Ontario, until 1982. He passed away at the age of 89 in 2004.

Click on images to enlarge.

############################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

John Bullard – Stone GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./188/11th Airborne Division

John Crouchley Jr. – Providence, RI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, pilot, KIA

Carl Gloor – Bolivar, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 17th Airborne Division

Robert L. Miller Sr. – South Bend, IN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart / Korea / Judge / Veteran’s advocate

Domonica Mortellano – Tampa, FL; Civilian, MacDill Air Force Base

Alberta Nash – Saint John, CAN; Civilian, WWII, Canadian Red Cross

Alan Seidel – Montreal, CAN; RC Army, WWII, tank commander

Alan Smith – Fort William, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, Flight Sgt.

Edsel Teal – Chicopee, MA; US Navy, WWII

Doris Whitton – Ft. Simpson, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, radio/telephone

############################################################################################

May – Military Appreciation Month 2019

Most of my readers have see this post or one similar here on Pacific Paratrooper, but due to the arrival of new readers, I have chosen to remind every one again.  I thank you all for taking the time to visit this site and I hope you are enjoying the freedoms that these troops fought so hard to insure for us.

May, marked officially as Military Appreciation Month, is a special month for both those in and out of the military.

Not only do we pause on Memorial Day to remember the sacrifice and service of those who gave all, but the month also holds several other military anniversaries and events, including Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Armed Forces day.

USMC Silent Drill Platoon w/ the Blue Angels

MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH

Brigade Combat Team

The Origins of Army Day    

National Military Appreciation Month

A month to recognize and show appreciation to the Armed Forces of the United States of America.

 

May 1, 2019 – Loyalty Day

A day set aside for American citizens to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States

and to recognize the heritage of American freedom.  Learn more…

May 1, 2019 – Silver Star Service Banner Day

A day set aside to honor our wounded, ill, and dying military personnel by

participating in flying a Silver Star Banner.  Learn more…

May 2, 2019 – National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of

May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. Learn more…

How can you pray for the military community? Learn more…

 

May 8, 2019 – VE (Victory in Europe) Day

(Celebrated May 7 in commonwealth countries)

A day which marks the anniversary of the Allies’ victory in Europe during World War II

on May 8, 1945. Learn more…

May 10, 2019 – Military Spouse Appreciation Day

A day set aside to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of the spouses of

the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn more…

​LINK – Practical insights in caring for a military home front family

May 12, 2018 – Mother’s Day

LINK – Organizations that support deployed military personnel on Mother’s Day

LINK – Coloring page for military children

May 13, 2019 – Children of Fallen Patriots Day

A day to honor the families our Fallen Heroes have left behind – especially their children. It’s a reminder to the community that we have an obligation to support the families of our Fallen Patriots. Learn more…

May 18, 2019 – Armed Forces Day

A day set aside to pay tribute to men and women who serve in the United States’

Armed Forces. Learn more…

May 27, 2019 – Memorial Day (Decoration Day)

A day set aside to commemorate all who have died in military service for the UnitedStates. Typically recognized by parades, visiting memorials and cemeteries. Learn more…

LINK – Coloring page for military children

Edward Byers

###########################################################################################

Military Humor – 

contributed by: Garfieldhug’s blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

########################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Henry Bloch – Kansas City, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 navigator / H&R Block

Daniel B. Bonner – Villages, FL; US Army, Vietnam, 3rd Infantry Regiment/199th Light Infantry Brigade

Mel Caragan – Malasiqui, P.I.; US Navy, Vietnam, 1st Class Petty Officer (Ret. 23 y.)

Robert Graham – Shrub Oak, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star, Silver Star

Robert Inger – St. Louis, MO; US Army, WWII, ground map maker

Richard Luger – Indianapolis, IN; US Navy, Intelligence /  U.S. Senator

Rosco Miesner – Syracuse, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Akutan

Howard Nelms – Charleston, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Vicksburg

Bjorn Rafoss – NOR & NY; US Army, Korea, Signal Corps

Janet Shawn – Springfield, MA; Civilian, Civil Air Patrol, WWII

#########################################################################################################

Current News – CBI Veterans Recognized

Five Chinese-American Veterans were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal at VA’s Central Office in Washington, D.C., in a ceremony celebrating their service. The Veterans were selected to represent more than 20,000 Chinese Americans who served during World War II.

The five honorees were:

  • Elsie Chin Yuen Seetoo, who trained Chinese soldiers in India;
  • Robert M. Lee was an engineer with the famous “Flying Tigers;
  • James L. Eng served as an electronic technician in the Navy;
  • Harry Jung served as a rifleman and runner in the European Theatre; and
  • Henry Lee supervised POWs in the Pacific.

SEE THEIR FULL BIOS HERE

Co-chairs of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao delivered remarks during the event hosted by James Byrne, VA’s General Counsel, performing the duties of Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary.

The ceremony follows President Trump’s signing of the Chinese-American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act  last month, a bipartisan legislation that was passed unanimously by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

If you have a Chinese American relative who served during WWII but is not recognized, please visit www.caww2.org/preservation

###########################################################################################

Military C.B.I. Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

###########################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Jean Baines – Ithaca, NY; US Army WAC, WWII

Bernard Dargols – NYC, NY; US Army, WWII, SSgt., ETO

Arthur Ellis – Ladson, SC; US Army, WWII

John Griffin – Colville, WA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Leo Johnson – Rockford, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Yorktown

Clarence Koeller – W.Milton, Ohio; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, radio operator

Autrey Mason – Atmore, AL; UA Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Division

Kathleen McNally – Essex, ENG; Women’s Land Army & Royal Engineers, WWII

Ernest Niles – Fitchburg, IN; US Army, WWII, heavy machine-gunner

Reno Santori – Sarasota, FL; US Army, WWII, Sgt., 2 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts

###########################################################################################

How Japan Helped the Allies Spy on Hitler

Baron Oshima & Adolph Hitler

Throughout the Second World War, the Allies tried to spy on Hitler and his generals. They went to extraordinary lengths to understand what the Führer was thinking, using intercepted messages, intelligence from inside Germany, and the advanced decryption facilities at Bletchley Park.

Ironically, some of their best intelligence on Hitler’s thinking came not from spying on the Germans but on their allies, the Japanese.

The groundwork for Baron Hiroshi Oshima’s role as an intelligence source was laid in 1934 when he arrived in Berlin to act as Japanese Military Attaché. An officer and a diplomat, Oshima quickly established good relationships with German officers and members of the Nazi party, who had risen to power in Germany the year before.

Oshima’s political philosophy was a good fit with that of the Nazis. He soon gained the ear of Hitler, becoming the Führer’s favored representative of Japan.

The alliance of Germany, Japan, and Italy put Oshima in a powerful position. He was withdrawn to Tokyo in 1939 but returned to Berlin a year later, this time as ambassador.

Baron Oshima

Almost immediately, Oshima began sending reports back to Japan about the German leader’s plans.

As the war progressed and the Japanese impressed Hitler with successes in Asia and the Pacific, Oshima gained ever greater trust and access to the inner workings of the Nazi war machine. He was central to discussions about how German and Japanese forces could link up through the Middle East.

Oshima was committed to the Axis cause and never betrayed it. Yet he became one of the Allies’ best sources of intelligence on the Germans.

This intelligence came through Magic, the U.S. military’s cryptanalysis program.

Remnant of the Japanese Purple cipher recovered from their
bombed-out embassy in Berlin

Even before they entered the war, the Americans were working on intercepting and decoding the signals of the Axis powers. They broke the Japanese diplomatic codes in 1940, while Oshima was still in Tokyo. By the time he returned to Berlin late that year, they were in a position to read his messages.

Oshima’s diligence and intelligence now became tools of his nation’s enemies. When he became interested in an issue, whether it was jet fighter technology or the defenses of France, he took the time to properly research it, gathering pages of detailed information and sending them home.

Little did he realize that these reports were being read in the United States.

Oshima’s reports covered a wide range of military issues. Though other Japanese signals were more useful for fighting the Japanese themselves, his insights proved of value to the Allies.
One of the first examples of this came in the summer of 1941. Reading Oshima’s messages, American intelligence officers discovered that Germany was planning an extraordinary action – attacking its ally, the Soviet Union.

Operation Barbarossa. Soviet border

The U.S. had not yet joined the war, but that didn’t stop the American government using the information. Together with other intercepts, it provided the British with evidence they could present to the Soviets, trying to bring them into the war on the Allied side.

Despite the evidence, Stalin refused to believe that Hitler was turning against him. He ignored the warnings the Oshima intelligence provided and was caught by surprise when Germany invaded in June.

By the spring of 1944, Germany was developing its first jet fighters. This was a topic of particular interest to the Japanese government, who wanted to unlock the secrets of jet flight for themselves.

Oshima investigated the German research. Thanks to his many contacts in the military and Nazi party, he was able to learn incredible details, including the speeds, altitudes, and rates of climb of the most advanced aircraft being developed in the world.

And thanks to his messages, the Allies knew exactly what their own jet engineers were competing with.

Though Oshima’s intelligence was good, its use by the Allies was mixed. As they launched increasingly heavy bomber raids to cripple German industry, Oshima reported on the results. This gave the Allies their most unbiased intelligence on the effect of the bombing raids.

But when Oshima said in 1943 that the raids were having little effect, and when he said the following year that German armaments production was in fact increasing, the Allies refused to believe him. First-hand evidence was no match for the biases of Bomber Command.

Oshima’s intelligence became particularly critical in the buildup to D-Day. He took an interest in German defenses along the coast of northern France and sent repeated reports home about this. They covered a huge range of topics – the design of defenses, the number of divisions stationed there, the German command structure, depths of defensive zones, and even the siting of individual guns. It was all incredibly useful for the commanders planning the invasion.

Reports of Oshima’s conversations with Hitler revealed that the Führer had bought into Allied counter-intelligence operations. He did not suspect the real location of the planned Allied landings.

On September 4, 1944, Oshima had his last meeting with Hitler. In it, the German leader revealed that he was planning a large counter-attack in the west. His troops would gather in October and November when poor weather would interfere with Allied aerial reconnaissance. The attack would be launched in late November at the earliest.

Hitler had revealed his plans for the Battle of the Bulge.

Battle of the Bulge

What the Allies did with this intelligence is a matter of debate. But whatever happened that December, Oshima’s messages had hugely helped the Allies to win the war.

Oshima himself would never learn this. Though he did not die until 1975, he still did not live long enough to see Allied intelligence evidence revealed to a horde of excited historians, and through the historians to the public.

From the far side of the world, Japan had unwittingly helped the Allies to win the war in Europe.

Click on images to enlarge.

#############################################################################################

Military Humor –

SSgt. David Harp prepares paratroopers photo by: Sgt. Michael MacLeod, US Army

GLIDERS: as seen by…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Bailey – Decatur, AL; US Navy, WWII, (Ret. 30 y.)

Geraldyne ‘Jerrie’ Cobb – Norman, OK & FL; NASA, pilot, first female to qualify as an astronaut

Mack Fitzgerald – GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-24 Flight Engineer, 93rd Bomb Group

Elsie House – Coalmont, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Division

William Hunter – Buffalo Grove, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, SeaBee

Thomas Kellahan – SC; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Senior Chief

John Lee – CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, fighter pilot

Michael Malbasa – No. Ridgeville, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, WWII, Sgt.,437th Fighter Squadron, Bronze Star

Wayne Pomeroy – Mesa, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-24 tail gunner

Robert Wood – Naples, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/187th/11th Airborne Division

############################################################################################

Home Front – WWII Sweetheart Jewelry

 

Anne Clare, The Naptime Author, was kind enough to allow me to steal this article off her site, so Pacific Paratrooper could deliver a sweetheart of a post!  Please go visit her and enjoy her other historical posts!

Does your family own any jewelry from World War II? Curator Kathleen Golden shares a few sweet pieces from our collection.

In honor of Valentine’s Day and the giving of trinkets and baubles, I thought it would be fun to share a collection of objects in the Division of Armed Forces History called “sweetheart jewelry.” Sweetheart jewelry first became popular during World War I, as a means of connection between wives, mothers and sweethearts back home and the men fighting overseas. It was one of many things that soldiers either made or purchased, along with pillowcase covers, handkerchiefs, compacts, and the like. But while the practice began back then, the concept really took off during the Second World War.

Sweetheart jewelry of World War II vintage was made of a variety of materials. Due to the rationing placed on metals during the war, many of the items were made from alternate materials such as wood and plastic. Sterling silver was not rationed, so it was used to produce better quality jewelry.

Why was this type of jewelry so popular?

It was fashionable: rationing of material resulted in clothing with little embellishment. Pinning a brooch on a lapel or wearing a locket gave the wearer a little bit of glitz.

It was patriotic: many of the pieces were produced in the shape of patriotic symbols; the flag and the American eagle were most often depicted. The slogan “Remember Pearl Harbor” found its way onto many pins, often accented with a pearl. Several of the costume jewelry manufacturers of the time, including Trifari and Coro, made patriotic-themed pieces.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

It reflected a sense of service: many women proudly wore the pin version of a “man-in-service” flag, the blue star in the center, on a white background, with a red border, to indicate a son or husband in service. The service pins, more rarely, could have two or three stars, and rarer yet, could contain a gold star to indicate a death in service.

The collection in the Division of Armed Forces History contains numerous examples of the types of jewelry I’ve outlined. Here are a few favorite examples:

The production of sweetheart jewelry pretty much ended after World War II. In recent years, collecting the vintage pieces has been on the upswing. But during the war, it seemed that everybody had a piece or two.

While rummaging through my grandmother’s jewelry box a number of years ago, I found this patriotic pin:

The “Uncle Sam” hat is embellished with rhinestones, and on the brim is written “In Service For His Country”. I don’t know the particulars of how it came to be in her possession; my grandfather didn’t serve in World War II, but family members and friends did. I’ve worn it from time to time, usually on a patriotic holiday, or if I just feel like giving a shout out to our soldiers serving overseas. One day, in memory of my grandmother, it will become part of the museum’s collections.

Kathleen Golden is an Associate Curator in the Division of Armed Forces History. 

############################################################################################

Click on images to enlarge.

 Home Front Humor –

“When you boys finish with your Civil Air Patrolling, I’ll have some iced tea ready for you.”

“But Ida, do you think you’ll be HAPPY polishing shell casing?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Jude ‘Frank’ Babineau – Toronto, CAN; No. 2 Forward Observation/Royal Artillery. WWII

Ceaser Cellini – Cliftin, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/11th Airborne Division

MAY WE ALL REMEMBER ANZAC DAY, 25 April 2019

Peter Fitanides – Natick, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 406/102nd Ozark Infantry Division, medic

Frank Gonzalez – Tampa, FL; US Army, WWII, Sgt., 738th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion

Marshall Heffner – Ocean Springs, MS; US Merchant Marine, WWII, ETO

Elmer Janka – Wautoma, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Infantry Division, Signal Corps

Frank Keller – Murray, KY; USMC, WWII

Ivan Miles – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Army, WWII

Charles Parker – Slagle, LA; US Army, WWII, medic

Olen Shockey – Lexington, OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LCS Machinist Mate 1st Class

############################################################################################

%d bloggers like this: