Current News

Mike Day - Navy Seal

Mike Day – Navy Seal

A former US Navy Seal, Mike Day is currently still fighting for his fellow soldiers.  Day was shot 27 times by al Qaida gunmen in Iraq in 2007, but the Silver Star recipient didn’t quit.  After a long recovery, he will soon compete in his first triathlon – a 1.2 mile swim, 56-mile bike run and 13.1-mile run – later this month, and he has used his training to raise nearly $80,000 for Carrick Brain Centers, a Dallas hospital specializing in treating veterans suffering from PTSD. (“The Week” magazine)

Mike Day

Mike Day

“My life’s mission is now not about me,” Day said.  “It is to care for and lead my wounded brothers and sisters.”

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USS Oklahoma, in finer days

USS Oklahoma, in finer days

Honolulu (FOX News) – The Pentagon said Tuesday it would exhume and try to identify the remains of nearly 400 sailors and Marines killed when the USS Oklahoma capsized after being hit by 9 torpedoes at the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Hundreds were buried as unknowns at cemeteries in Hawaii.  In 1950, they were re-interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific inside a volcanic crater in Honolulu.

USS Oklahoma capsizing

USS Oklahoma capsizing

The military is acting now, more than 70 years later, because of the advances in forensic science and technology and genealogical help from family members.  Officials plan to begin work in 3-6 weeks.  They aim to identify the remains of up to 388 servicemen within 5 years.  In 2003, one casket was disinterred based on information provided by Ray Emory, a Pearl Harbor survivor.

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USS Gary (FFG-51)

USS Gary (FFG-51)

San Diego – The USS Gary (FFG-51), a Navy frigate, has returned to the San Diego Naval Base from her final deployment; Operation Martillo.  Her final final mission targeted the illicit trafficking routes along the Central American coastline.

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Alan Turing and the enigma machine

Alan Turing and the enigma machine

NYC – Alan Turing’s 56-page handwritten cryptology notebook from WWII sold at auction in NYC, NY for $1 million.  Turing was the British codebreaker who worked at Bletchley Park on the enigma machine.  In later years, Turing was arrested for breaking the UK’s homosexuality laws.  He died 7 June 1954 of an apparent suicide.

Turing's notebook at auction

Turing’s notebook at auction

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(top-row) Capt. Marvin Watkins, William Fredericks (died in medical experiments), Howard Shingledecker (fate unknown), Charles Kearns (died at crash site), Dale Plambeck (medical experiments), Front-row - Robert Johnson (died at crash site), Teddy Ponczka (medical experiments), Robert Williams (medical experiments), Leon Czarnecki (medical experiments), Leo Oeinck (crash site), John Colehower (medical experiments), 2 others, names unknown, died from medical experiments.

(top-row) Capt. Marvin Watkins, William Fredericks (died in medical experiments), Howard Shingledecker (fate unknown), Charles Kearns (died at crash site), Dale Plambeck (medical experiments), Front-row – Robert Johnson (died at crash site), Teddy Ponczka (medical experiments), Robert Williams (medical experiments), Leon Czarnecki (medical experiments), Leo Oeinck (crash site), John Colehower (medical experiments), 2 others, names unknown, died from medical experiments.

Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan – The Kyushu University has opened a museum acknowledging that its staff had taken 8 U.S. POWs, captured after their B-29 was shot down, taken to the center’s medical school and dissected alive for medical experiments.  The 12 men in Captain Marvin Watkin’s crew took off from Guam to bomb the Fukuoka airfield and bailed out when a Japanese fighter rammed their plane.

War Crime Trial

War Crime Trial

Local residents converged on the surviving airmen.  One emptied his pistol at the crowd before shooting himself dead, and another was stabbed to death by the civilians.  Capt. Watkins was interrogated and survived the war.  Todoshi Tono, one of the doctors involved, later spent his life exposing the atrocities.  He told the ‘Baltimore Sun’ that one of the flyers, stabbed by locals, presumed he was going to be treated for his wounds when he arrived at the operating theatre, but was dissected instead.  A memorial has been erected honoring the airmen.

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Current humor – 

Palm Beach Post, Sunday comics

Palm Beach Post, Sunday comics

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Personal Note – This was by far the hardest post I have ever put together.  I apologize for not including the Farewell Salutes, they will continue in Monday’s post.  And, a sincere Thank you to YOU out there – my Readers and Friends for helping to make this blog a part of your own family histories and yourselves.  Your story and link contributions do more to make Pacific Paratrooper what it is than I ever could. I don’t believe I show my appreciation often enough for your time and effort to keep our veteran’s services to us alive in our memories and our hearts.  Thank you___ GP Cox

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August 1942 (3)

USMC-III-I

While I chose to keep the activities in the Solomon Islands area in August intact, action was going on around the rest of Asia and the Pacific as well ____

12 August – Japanese forces in Shantung Province, China took advantage of hostilities between the Communist and Nationalist Forces.  The Japanese launched a huge new offensive against the Nationalist troops.

Nautilus, Argonaut & Narwhal

Nautilus, Argonaut & Narwhal

17-25 August – US submarines Nautilus and Argonaut delivered the USMC 2nd Raider Battalion to Makin Island [now known as Butaritari], in the Gilberts.  Their mission was to attack enemy installations, gail intelligence and divert attention away from Guadalcanal.  They went ashore on 2 beaches in high surf and headed inland.  The Japanese garrison was wiped out, but the retrieval of all of the Marines went awry due to high seas, seaplane strafing.  As a result, 11 Marines were captured. Koso Abe was later tried and executed for the murder of 9 of the men.  The operation was considered a failure.

Papuan carriers toted the huge quantities of supplies and medical equipment.

Papuan carriers toted the huge quantities of supplies and medical equipment.

18-19 August – while the main pass across the Owen Stanley Mountains in New Guinea was in the hands of the Japanese, the Australian 7th Division started their amphibious landings at Port Moresby.

26 August – the Australian 39th Battalion and 2/14th, with support of the 2/16th and 53rd Batt. were able to temporarily hold the Japanese at Isurava, on the Kokoda Track.  This was an intense 5-day battle.  High in the remote jungles, trudging in ankle-deep mud, the enemy outnumbered the Australians 5 to 1.

Pvt. Bruce Steel Kingsbury

Pvt. Bruce Steel Kingsbury

On the 29th, the enemy attacked in such force that they broke through the right flank.  Pvt. Bruce Kingsbury, who was one of the few survivors of a platoon which had been over-run, immediately volunteered to join a different platoon for a counter-attack.  He rushed forward firing his Bren gun from the hip through machine-gun fire and succeeded in clearing a path through the enemy.  After continuing to sweep the enemy positions with his fire and inflicting a high number of casualties, Pvt. Kingsbury was then seen to fall to the ground shot dead by a sniper.  The first Victoria Cross granted in the New Guinea campaigns was awarded posthumously.

Kingsbury family receive the Victoria Cross

Kingsbury family receive the Victoria Cross

30 August – the 807th Engineer Aviation Battalion landed at Kuhlak Bay, Alaska.  US Army and Navy troops occupied Adak in the Aleutians with the intent to use it as an airfield and naval base for the North Pacific sector, codenamed ‘Longfellow.’  This would become the home of for parts of the 36th Bomb Squadron, 54th Fighter Squadron, 21st and 404th Bombardment Squadron and P-39D Airacobras of the 42nd Fighter Squadron providing defense for Kodiak.

Once the Solomons were made the priority of the Imperial General Headquarters, their 17th Army’s drive in New Guinea to capture Port Moresby would pay the price due to cutbacks in supplies and reinforcements.  The Japanese Operation RE became stalled, which allowed the 18th Australian Infantry and 1,300 US troops to be rushed in.  The enemy only landed  about 1,300 of the Special Force Imperial Marines, underestimating the Allies, who also had support from 2 RAAF Squadrons to protect Milne Bay.  Hyakutaki continued to request assistance, but Tokyo refused.  The enemy were now outnumbered 10 to 1 and tried suicidal tactics to put a dent in the Australian defense and failed.

 

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Aussie Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Abbott Sr. – Yankton, SD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, SSgt., B-24 gunner, PTO

Austin Bagby – Jackson, MO; US Army, WWII, PTOBaby on tombstone.jpg Those left behind.

Arthur Deacan – New Auckland Place, AUS; RA Air Force # 171525

Joel Forest – Sun City, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 305th Bomb Group, ETO

Gene Kreidt – Augusta, GA; US Army, Vietnam, Bronze Star

James McIntyre – Little River, NZ; RNZ Army, WWII, Captain,/RA Army, 3rd Batt/Royal Australian Reg., Korea/RNZA, Vietnam

Clemente Pacheco Sr. – Grants Pass, OR; US Army, Vietnam, 723 Maint. Batt./23rd Infantry Division

Thomas Robinson – WPalm Beach, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Mario “Tank” Sauceda – Tracy, CA; US Army, Iraq, 82nd Airborne

Jefferson Yeiling – Birmingham, AL; USMC, WWII, 306th Airdrome Squadron, PTO

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August 1942 (2)

LVT-1 Alligator hits Guadalcanal

LVT-1 Alligator hits Guadalcanal

With the American and Japanese troops dug in at their present locations on Guadalcanal, the New York Times described the situation: “It is as if the Marines held Jones Beach and the rest of Long Island [N.Y.] were loosely dominated by the enemy.”  Japanese bombers arrived daily at 1300 hours, which due to their regularity, became known as “Tojo Time,” but they were a minor problem compared to the torrential rains.

The enemy ground troops attacked so fiercely on 19 August that the Marines had to pull back.  One of Coastwatcher Clemens’ scouts, captured, tortured and trussed-up, Jacob Vouga, chewed through his bonds and escaped (despite his bayonet wounds) trekking through copra plantations, to report the enemy’s advancements.  The next day, cheers went up as the Dauntless dive bombers went to work.

1st Marines us a M1918 155mm howitzer, based on a WWI French design.

1st Marines us a M1918 155mm howitzer, based on a WWI French design.

18-24 August – a regiment of 900 men under Col. Ichiki Landed at Taivu, 20 miles east of Henderson Field and headed west.  After several attacks, the enemy was decimated by the strong perimeter defense and the colonel committed suicide.  The 1st contingent of land-based aircraft, 31 fighters, arrived at the airfield.  The Japanese made and aerial attack and lost 21 planes versus 3 for the U.S.

21-22 August – 15 fighters, fondly called the “Cactus Air Force” from the USS Long Island, battled with the Japanese.  The next day, the US Army’s 67th Fighter Squadron arrived as reinforcements.  By this time, both sides were well aware of the major operation they were in to control the Solomons.  The USS Blue had to be scuttled after a torpedo hit.  Yamamoto ordered Nagumo to put his strike force into the mix for the new Operation KA.  This would provide air cover for the 1,500 Imperial Marines about to go ashore.

Part of the Cactus Air Force

Part of the Cactus Air Force

23 August – the Japanese resupply convoy for Guadalcanal, protected by the carriers, Ryujo, Zuizaku and Shokaku was intercepted by Admiral Fletcher’s Task Force – 61, with 3 carriers: the Saratoga, Wasp and Enterprise.  The Ryujo was caught while refueling her planes and sank within four hours.  The Enterprise and North Carolina were hit by aircraft from the other 2 enemy vessels.  The smoke rising from the “Big E” convinced the Japanese that she was mortally damaged.

The USS Saratoga‘s puny 7-plane group served well by finding and attacking Admiral Kondo’s Advance Force. During battle, the seaplane tender, Chitose was put out of action.

Admiral Fletcher

Admiral Fletcher

25 August – land-based Marine dive bombers sank 2 enemy transports, the Jintsu and Kinryu Maru and the destroyer, Mutsuki.  Afterward, Japanese supply runs were made at night.

27-28 August – Yamamoto called off the operation and the Japanese detachments commenced landings by the 30th when 1,00 men went ashore.  The US Army Air Corps aircraft attacked one reinforcement convoy and the destroyer Asagiri was sunk and two others were damaged.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

aairwarden

afanny

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cartoons are courtesy of Chris at the Muscleheaded site.

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Artaz – Grand Junction, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Alexander Ashby – Worrigee, AUS; RA Air Force # 424012, WWIIimg_96953714425802

John Dawson – Whitinsville, MA; US Army, Afghanistan, 1st Squadron, 33 Cavalry Reg/3rd Brigade/101st A/B Div.

Richard Dysart – Santa Monica, CA; US Air Force, Korea (beloved actor)

Patrick Gould – Palmerston No., NZ; RNZ Army # 614404/ RNZ Air Force # 452742, WWII

Milton Hertzberg – NY, ME & FL; US Army, WWII

Joseph Lodoly – St. Louis, MO & Tampa, FL; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

William Mahn Jr. – Jupiter, FL; US Army, Vietnam

Anthony Panehal – Lakewood, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 351 Bomb Group/8th Air Force

Eldon Tanner – Anchorage, AK; US Air Force, Korea

Ernest Travolo – Sherbrooke, CAN; Canadian Forces, Algonquin Regiment, WWII

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World War II from #AtoZChallenge #NaPoWriMo – I is for Ironbottom Sound – Naval Graveyard

August 1942 (1)

USS Gregory carries the 1st Raiders to Tulagi, 8 August 1942

USS Gregory carries the 1st Raiders to Tulagi, 8 August 1942

7-8 August – the 1st Marine Division (19,000 men) landed on Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, unopposed.  The Japanese intelligence had failed to release an advance warning.  The enemy lookouts at Tulagi radioed: “LARGE FORCE OF SHIPS UNKNOWN NUMBER OR TYPES ENTERING SOUND WHAT COULD THEY BE?”  Seconds later, at 0613 hours, the 8″ guns of the cruiser, USS Quincy thundered.  The Tulagi enemy commander radioed at 0630, “ENEMY FORCE OVERWHELMING.  WE WILL DEFEND OUR POSTS TO THE DEATH.”  That was the final message as the warships bombed the transmitting station.

Tanambogo Island, enemy stronghold, bombed before Solomons landings, 7 Aug. 1942

Tanambogo Island, enemy stronghold, bombed before Solomons landings, 7 Aug. 1942

On the slopes of Guadalcanal, Australian Coastwatcher, Captain Martin Clemens wrote in his diary: “Wizard!!!  Caloo, Callay, Oh!  What a Day!”  He also noted down that the morale of his native scouts went up 500% as he tuned in his shortwave radio to listen to the American pilots.

The first wave of troops went ashore on Red Beach, Tulagi and signaled for the next wave to come ahead and hit Blue Beach.  The town was taken by late morning, but farther inland they were met by scattered snipers and the enemy in dugouts.  Fierce hand-to-hand combat ensued.  Even further, they encountered 2,000 defenders who fought the attack and refused to surrender.  The Americans were encountering their indoctrination to the Japanese belief of bushido, the warrior way; only 23 of the enemy were taken alive.  The Marines had lost 100 men.

Death on the battlefield and by suicide.

Death on the battlefield and by suicide.

On Red Beach at Lunga Point, with its ¾-finished airfield (later called Henderson Field), was found deserted.  The Japanese construction crews were without weapons and had abandoned everything.  The Marines found hundreds of cases of Japanese beer and the refrigeration plant, which they aptly signed as: “TOJO ICE FACTORY – UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.”

The enemy had been taken by surprise.  Admiral Mikawa’s bombers were taking off to support their troops on New Guinea and the cruisers were scattered.  On Yamamoto’s orders, Mikawa’s plans were changed.  He boarded the Chokai and led 5 heavy cruisers and 2 light cruisers to retake Guadalcanal.  The Coastwatchers and air patrols notified the US of the advancing force, but air reconnaissance failed to locate the ships. During the moonless night, the enemy aircraft made their way over Savo Island.

Guadalcanal

Guadalcanal

HMAS Canberra received 24 hits and a torpedo found the USS Chicago.  The USS Astoria, hit and ablaze, did manage to get her gun crews into action.  Still, 2 torpedoes hit the Quincy and the USS Vincennes was blasted out of the water.

Mikawa’s decision to withdraw after winning the Battle of Savo saved Guadalcanal from being a total disaster and Operation Watchtower from collapsing.  This was the worst naval defeat in US history with 4 cruisers [in 90 minutes] and over 1,000 Allied seamen on the bottom of what would come to be known as “Ironbottom Sound.”  A US submarine had gotten the enemy cruiser Kako.

Guadalcanal

Guadalcanal

In view of impending air attacks, Admiral Turner withdrew his surviving warships.  Vandergrift’s 6,000 men on Tulagi and the 10,000 on Guadalcanal were left with less than a month’s rations.  Japanese and US troops alike dug in at their positions.

— Eventually, the Allies would have a total of 32 ships at the bottom of Ironbottom Sound and Japan had 14.  For those of you interested, Wikipedia has both a list of the names and a map indicating the locations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironbottom_Sound

TO BE CONTINUED….

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Military Humor – 

AviationHumor-0091

Army+humor_59d2e2_5229801

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Best – Powderly, KY; US Army, WWII, (beloved actor)

Samuel Charters – Sacramento, CA; US Army, Korea21_gun_salute

Joseph Dionisi – Mountain Home, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Arthur Evans – AUS; RA Air Force, Signals, WWII

Robert Hite – Texas; US Army Air Corps, WWII, LtCol., co-pilot, Doolittle Raider, POW

Mary Knox – Anchorage, AK; US Air Force

Carl Lovendale – MA & ME; US Navy, WWII, minesweeper, 2 Bronze Stars

Norman McLeod – Sunnynook, NZ; RNZ Army # 204440, K Force

Richard Murphy – Wadsworth, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO, 75th Inf/289 Div., Bronze Star/ Korea, 2nd Inf. Div.

Bill Romano – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea

Gene Saks – Hackensack, NJ; US Navy, WWII, ETO, (Broadway director)

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Eye Witness Account

1stmardiv_marine_carbine.jpgM1, Guad.

“Operation Shoestring”

For more than a week, 82 ships of Task Force-61 steamed toward Guadalcanal.  Radio transmitters were silent.  Planes from 3 aircraft carriers scouted the seas for Japanese submarines.  Admirals and generals expressed satisfaction over the lucky weather: low-scudding clouds and tropical downpours to shield their movements.

blog_eagle_globe_anchor2

Aboard the transports, 19,000 members of the 1st Marine Division, reinforced, played poker and got together for songfests featuring back-home favorites like: Blues in the Night and Chattanooga Choo-Choo.  They listened to the ‘know-your-enemy lectures [from officers who by and large had seen as much combat as their men – meaning, none at all.].

The Marines sharpened their bayonets, blackened the sights on their rifles and worked their machine-gun belts to prevent jamming.  And – they griped about the food, the heat, their mission…  On the eve of their D-Day, the loud speakers on board the USS George F. Eliot sounded: “ALL TROOPS BELOW DECK!”

Robert Leckie

Robert Leckie

Pvt. Robert Leckie, USMC, a machine-gunner and scout wrote:

“The men filed below deck with little of the accustomed horseplay, without the usual ineffectual insults hurled at the bullhorn that had ordered them down. Packs were checked for the last time, filled with mess gear, clean socks and underwear, shaving gear, rations – here a bible, there a crumpled photo of a pin-up girl… Now the men were banging the chained bunks down from the bulkheads, crawling into them fully dressed – no one removed their clothing that night.

Famous_WWII_Vintage_PinUp_Girl_Artist_MacPherson_Earl-1_jpg

“‘LAND THE LANDING FORCE!’ and the Marines started clambering down rope nets to the landing craft below. Ant-like they went over the side. They stepped on the fingers of the men below them and felt their own hands squashed by the men above. Rifles clanged against helmet. Men carrying heavy machine-guns or mortar parts ground their teeth in the agony of descending to the waiting boats with 30 or 40 pounds of steel boring into their shoulders.

“…the boats rose and fell in the swells, now close into the ship’s side, now 3 or 4 feet away. The men jumped, landing in clanking heaps, then crouched beneath the gunwales while the loaded boats churned to the assembly areas forming rings and circling, finally fanning out in a broad line and speeding with hulls down and frothing wake straight for the shores of the enemy.”
leckie1

The date was 7 August 1942 and the planners of the assault could not foresee that Guadalcanal would prove to be the first of the island stepping stones on the road to Tokyo.

Pvt. Leckie would later write the book, “Helmet for my Pillow” and be portrayed by actor James Badge Dale in the HBO serie, “Pacific.”

James Badge Dale, as Robert Leckie

James Badge Dale, as Robert Leckie

Click on images to enlarge.

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Navy Humor ~

7c08b894d5f581fa5127e8bbc7c3b2b2 SSMB

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Anderson – Coroneagh Park, AUS, RAAF # 5873, WWII

Ralph Clark – Everett, MA; US Navy, WWII, coxswainBIABoNLCEAEPa7G (599x769)

Robert Gewinner – Jupiter, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunner, Purple Heart, USS Porterfield

Noel Havelock-Green – New Zealand; RNZ Army # 461463

Carroll Horn – Nashville, AR; US Army, Lt., Korea

James McMillen – Locust Valley, NY; US Navy, Korea

Carson Shafer – Powder Springs, GA; USMC, WWII

Richard Souza – Hanoverm MA; USMC, Captain, Vietnam, Bronze Star

George Wilshire – Indianapolis, IN; US Navy, WWII

John Yuille – Flint, MI; US Navy, Vietnam

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The ’40s – Springtime & Easter

gpcox:

UPDATED, EDITED, REDESIGNED, “NEW AND IMPROVED” [HOPEFULLY] FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT!!

Originally posted on pacificparatrooper:

With spring comes new beginnings for Nature and my renewed best wishes for all of my readers and guests. I sincerely hope these cards and advertisements from the 1940’s bring a fond memory or two or just a smile. (For those of you in the southern hemisphere – I hope you enjoy a pleasant autumn and peaceful winter.) Thank you for your continued readership.

Texas Easter bonnets, 1942 Texas Easter bonnets, 1942

1940's Easter fashion 1940’s Easter fashion

Smitty's hometown memories Smitty’s hometown memories

myaxpJp6jzc2hBs0COPXEeQ8597201160_4b6cd7456b_z

free-vintage-easter-clip-art-pink-egg-three-tabby-kittens

1940's seder dinner 1940’s seder dinner

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In other areas –wwii-sidney-kotler-easter-card

Polish 2nd Corps, Quastina, Palestine, Easter 1942 Polish 2nd Corps, Quastina, Palestine, Easter 1942

Sgt. George A. Crist, 1st cook, US 8th AF/96th Bombardment Group, teaches British lads the art of Easter egg decorating. Sgt. George A. Crist, 1st cook, US 8th AF/96th Bombardment Group, teaches British lads the art of Easter egg decorating.

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EASTER HUMOR – 

Easter_06

Easter_07

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Farewell Salutes – 

Abelardo Alinaya – Born:Cavite, P.I./Oxnard, CA; US Navy (ret. 20 years), Vietnam, Bronze Star, Silver Star

Thomas Anderson – Matamata, NZ; LAC Air Force # 3021698AS YOU SLEEP

John Fuller Jr. – Wasilla, AK…

View original 143 more words

New Guinea Camp Life

gpcox:

The International Historical Research Associates have supplied an excellent video for our beginning the journey through New Guinea! Please click on the National Archive link – I seem to have reblogged the video incorrectly – Thank you for your patience.

http://blogs.archives.gov/unwritten-record/2014/11/03/home-movies-from-the-war-front-the-first-fighters-in-new-guinea/

Originally posted on IHRA:

This week, the US National Archives posted a rare video that was shot and later put together by Lt. Col. Ken Gerrish of his time in New Guinea from 1942-1944. Head over to the National Archives blog for the back story and watch the video either here or on their blog.

View original

July 1942 (2)

1st Marine Division, Wellington docks, New Zealand, 1942

1st Marine Division, Wellington docks, New Zealand, 1942

 

In New Zealand, MGeneral Alexander Vandergrift was attempting to assemble his scattered 1st Marine Division while organizing the shipping and equipment that would be needed to prepare for Guadalcanal.  Being as most people were quite unfamiliar with the Solomon Islands, “National Geographic” and German WWI maps and charts were being used.  Teams began combing Australia to locate missionaries, sea captains and copra planters for more data on the region.

1st Marine Div. at Camp Paekakariki, outside Wellington, New Zealand, 1942

1st Marine Div. at Camp Paekakariki, outside Wellington, New Zealand, 1942

Detailed reconnaissance photos were needed to be taken of the Japanese airfield and Lunga Point before Operation Watchtower could be executed.  This plan also became known as “Operation Shoestring” by the men – simply because of the hastily way the ‘dress rehearsal’ of their amphibious landing was put together.  26 July – the practice run was a “complete bust.”

Henry J. Kaiser

Henry J. Kaiser

30 July – Industrial magnate, Henry J. Kaiser, who revolutionized production of the US Liberty Cargo vessels, (nicknamed “Ugly Ducklings”), by using assembly line construction, was ‘enlisted’ by the American government to produce aircraft, armored vehicles and warships.  With the troops in training still using WWI equipment, replacement matériel was required immediately.

SS Joseph Teal, Liberty ship, built in 10 days at Kaiser's Oregon Shipyard 1942

SS Joseph Teal, Liberty ship, built in 10 days at Kaiser’s Oregon Shipyard 1942, Kaiser is below on right.

31 July – with Japan beginning to reinforce their already acquired territories, they started work on an airfield on Guadalcanal; later known as Henderson Field by the US.  The Americans began attacking on this date to obstruct the enemy’s “Tokyo Express” – a chain of naval supply ships and the airfield.  The airfield on Tulagi was also bombed as part of this operation.

Gen. Vandergrift (L) w/ staff on USS McCawley: LtCol Gerald Thomas, LtCol Randolph McPate, LtCol Frank Goettge, Col William James

Gen. Vandergrift (L) w/ staff on USS McCawley: LtCol Gerald Thomas, LtCol Randolph McPate, LtCol Frank Goettge, Col William James

Click on images to enlarge.

Marine Corps photos courtesy of the 1st Marine Division website.

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Military Humor – 

With budget cuts, we now have Army Ducks - we start 'em out young!

With budget cuts, we now have Army Ducks – we start ’em out young!

courtesy of Patrick @ The Linden Chronicles (link below)

courtesy of Patrick @ The Linden Chronicles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick @ The Linden Chronicles

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jerry Akes – Big Lake, AK; US Navy, Vietnam

Chuck Bednarik – Bethlehem, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, gunner on B-24, (famed NFL player)

David Dinwiddie – Motueka, NZ; RNZ Navy # 19515

George Finison – Macon, GA; US Army, Korea, Signal CorpsEagles with bowed heads

Bert Hansen – Elgin, IL; US Army, WWII

Dean Lupkey – McKinney, TX; US Army, LtCol (Ret.), WWII, ETO,/Korea

Charles McVicker – Silverdale, WA; US Coast Guard, WWII

Alvin Potter – Rockford, MI; US Navy, WWII, USS Cocopa (tug)

John Rodgers – No. Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, 78th Squadron “Kittyhawks”

Edwin Stone – Piedmont, AL; US Army, Vietnam, Purple Heart, Bronze Star

Arthur Willing Jr. – Wellington, FL; US Army, Korea, Purple Heart

Spencer Wurst – Hamot, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 82nd Airborne

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July 1942 (1)

Kokoda Trail, Papua, New Guinea

Kokoda Trail, Papua, New Guinea

 

2 July – MacArthur decided to secure the Papuan Peninsula and land 3,000 additional Australian troops, but the enemy had moved faster.  Operation Providence for New Guinea could not now be rushed.  Only a few hundred native militia and one company (500) of the 29th Australian Infantry stood in defense from a powerful enemy.

Kokoda, only airstrip for a hundred miles

Kokoda, only airstrip for a hundred miles

4 July – American submarines torpedoes 4 enemy destroyers around the Aleutian Island in Alaska; 3 at Kiska and one at Agatter.  Three of the Japanese vessels sank.

7-12 July – Australian troops made a five-day march across the Owen Stanley Mountains in southern Papua, New Guinea.  They set up defensive positions along the Kokoda Trail which snaked from coast to coast.

21-29 July – the Japanese 18th Army landed at Buna, New Guinea on the northern coast of Papua in a renewed attempt to move across the Owen Stanley Mts. and take Port Moresby.  Under MGen. Tomitaro Horii, 13,000 troops and 1,000 bearers, in his South Seas Force, marched in for a surprise attack.  Should this operation be successful, Port Moresby would become the launching  site for the bombing and invasion of Queensland.  The impossible conditions of this territory would be the site of some of the bloodiest and most desperate fighting of the entire war.

William Owen

William Owen

Australian commander, Lt.Colonel William Taylor Owen, 39th Battalion, of Leongatha, Victoria, lost his life during this battle in the mountainous, rain-soaked jungles along with many of his men.  Owen was taking part in close fighting with the enemy in the most forward position in Seekamp’s sector, on the very lip of the plateau.  He was throwing grenades when a bullet struck him and he died on 29 July 1942, aged 37 years.  Owen was the first Australian to receive the American Distinguished Service Cross.

Horii’s specially jungle-trained troops by-passed a few Australian positions to take the town.  One of the Japanese diaries found, read: “The sun is fierce here.  We make our way through the jungle where there are no roads.  The jungle is beyond description.  Thirst for water, stomach empty.”  The north African combat experienced 7th Australian Division were in the process of being shipped to Papua as MacArthur spoke at a press conference, “We’ll defend Australia in New Guinea.  We must attack, attack, attack!”

Australian 7th Division, New Guinea

Australian 7th Division, New Guinea

MGen. George C. Kenney arrived to take over the Southwest Pacific Forces Air Command of 245 planes of which only 50 were serviceable.  He too would share in the discomfort of the territory where the poor diet of MVs (canned meat and Vegetables) would cause his flyers to lose about 30 lbs. in a single tour of duty.  Malaria began to break out.  But the men still had a sense of humor and joked about the “New Guinea salute,” the constant act of swatting away the swarms of black flies.

The 80 Australians, now without their commander, and up against 400 of the enemy, were forced to retreat.  A local planter recalled the scene: “The thick white mist dimming the moonlight, the mysterious veiling of trees, houses and men, the drip of moisture from the foliage, and at the last, the almost complete silence, as if the rubber groves of Kokoda were sleeping as usual in the depths of the night and the men had not brought the disturbance.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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31 March – RAAF – 94th Birthday

AFlogo

No. 4 Squadron in front of their Boomerang, Nadzab, New Guinea

No. 4 Squadron in front of their Boomerang, Nadzab, New Guinea

Animated-Happy-Birthday-banner-spinning

Cropped Lancaster

Cropped Lancaster

h-4

Air Marshall Sir Richard Williams, “Father of the RAAF”

 

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 Humor – 

Somebody catch that guy and give him a piece of cake!!

Somebody catch that guy and give him a piece of cake!!

air-force-funny

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ronald Allan – Toowoomba, AUS; RA Air Force # 43610, WWII

Geoffrey Byrne – Victoria, AUS; RAAF, WWII

courtesy of Stockresearch521

courtesy of Stockresearch52 [link below]

John Credlin – Bundoora, AUS; RAAF & 2nd AIF, WWII

Bernard Dwyer – Torquay, AUS; RSSF # A15841

Glen Farrow – Cameron Park, AUS; RAAF, 77th Squadron

Harold Johnson – England; British Army, WWII, CBI, The Royal Artillery, bombardier, POW

William “Bud” Merrill III – Delray, FL; US Army, Korea, 2nd Armored Division

Denis Phillips – Toowong, AUS; RAAF, GP Captain (Ret. 25 years)

Rowley Richards – No. Sydney, AUS; RA Army, Medical Officer 2/15 Field Regiment, WWII, CBI, POW

Thomas Richie (100) – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 29441, WWII

Duane Vasicek – Kenai, AK; US Navy, shipfitter, USS Sarsfield (DD 837)

George Wood Jr. – Lake Worth, FL; US Army, 508th Airborne RTC

Link for Stockresearch52

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I'm just checking! Click to read...

I’m just checking!
Click to read…

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