Memorial Day – 2015

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Last Letters Home

These letters have not been changed or edited for spelling or punctuation.

Civil War – 

Lindsey Buckner

Lindsey Buckner

The letter was written by a Kentucky man named Lindsey Buckner, who was selected to be shot in retaliation for the death of a Union soldier killed by Confederate guerrillas in his home state. “My dear sister,” Buckner wrote in late October 1864, “I am under sentence of death and for what, I do not know. … It is a hard thing to be chained and shot in this way; and if it was not for the hope I have of meeting you all in Heaven, I would be miserable indeed.

John Ross Wallar

John Ross Wallar

John Ross Wallar, 15 year old drummer boy, while injured wrote: “Dear Sister father Mother and friends I received your letter But I don’t think I Ever shall see another that you write this is Friday night But I don’t think I will Live to See Morning But My Kind friends I am a Soldier of Christ I will Meet you all in Heaven My Leg Has Bin taking of above My nee I am Dying at this time so don’t Morn after Me fore I Have Bleed and died fore My Country May God Help you all to pray fore Me I want you all to Meet Me in Heaven…My would Dresser is writing this Letter fore Me when you get this Letter write to Alexander Nelan fore I wont Live till Morning so good by My friends May God be with you all good by God Bless My poor Soul.”

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World War I –

Sgt. David Ker

Sgt. David Ker

Sgt. David Ker wrote his mother the day before the Saint-Mihiel attack in France: “Should I go under, therefore, I want you to know that I went without any terror of death, and that my chief worry is the grief my death will bring to those dear to me.
Since having found myself and Mary, there has been much to make life sweet and glorious, but death, while distasteful, is in no way terrible.
I feel wonderfully strong to do my share well,and, for my sake, you must try to drown your sorrow in the pride and satisfaction, the knowledge that I died well in so clean a cause, as is ours, should bring you. Remember how proud I have always been of your superb pluck, keep Elizabeth’s future in mind, and don’t permit my death to bow your head.
“My personal belongings will all be sent to you. Your good taste will tell you which to send to Mary.
“May God bless and keep you, dear heart, and be kind to little Elizabeth, and those others I love so well.
“David
“The end.”

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World War II – 

Lt. Tommie Kennedy

Lt. Tommie Kennedy

Lt. Tommie Kennedy, after Corregidor, spent 3 years as a POW.  While aboard a Japanese prison ship, he wrote on the back of 2 photos which traveled from prisoner to prisoner until smuggled out in the heel of a boot and sent to his parents in late 1945.  He wrote: “Momie & Dad:  It is hard to check out this way with out a fighting chance but we can’t live forever.  I’m not afraid to die, I just hate the thought of not seeing you again.  Buy Turkey Ranch with my money and just think of me often while your there.  Make liberberal donations to both sisters.  See that Gary has a new car his first year hi-school.  I am sending Walts medals to his mother.  He gave them to me Set 42 last time I saw him & Bud.  They went to Japan.  I guess you can tell Patty that fate just didn’t want us to be together.  Hold a nice service for me in Bksfield & put head stone in new cematary.  Take care of my nieces & nephews don’t let them want anything as I want even warmth or water now.  Loving& waiting for you in the world beon.  Your son, Lt. Tommie Kennedy

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 These and other stories can found in “War Letters” by, Andrew Carroll.  If you have any letters you wish to share, including Iraq and Afghanistan, send them to Mr. Carroll @ P.O. Box 53250, Washington DC 20009 or visit http://www.WarLetters.us

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Ash – Dallas, TX; RC Air Force, WWII, 411 Squadron, ETO, POW

Michael Gillooley – Hudson, FL; US Navy (Ret.), 1st radioman to become a Craftsman

Lawrence Green – Suffield,ct; US Army, Korea, SVC/187th RCTMediumPic634249020853470000

Walter Gumula – Stuart, FL; US Navy, WWII, ETO, frogman (UDT)

Marl Hanna – Portland OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457th Artillery/11th A/B Division

Richard Lent – New Paltz, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 navigator

Taylor Marks – Independence, OR; US Army, Iraq, 2nd Btn/162nd Inf/Oregon National Guard

Charles Persson – Fanwood, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Delbert Savage – WA; US Army, WWII, Tech 5

Arthur Stickney – Lake Worth, FL; US Army, Vietnam, helicopter mechanic

Wardell Turner – Nanticoke, MD; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt.

Earl Werner –  Mondovi, WI; US Army, Iraq, Sgt. 41 SpecTroops BTN/41st Inf Brigade Combat Team, Bronze Star

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Personal Note – i275258902_89590

Smitty, my father

Smitty, my father

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Note of interest – Walter Gumula, who recently passed away and is mentioned in the Farewell Salutes has his story told by Pacific Paratrooper in Intermission Story # 21 on 11 June 2014

And, William Ash’s story can be located on Pierre Lagacé’s site HERE!

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MEMORIAL DAY

Memorial Day

GP Cox:

THIS POST IS UPDATED AND REPEATED TO INSURE THAT MEMORIAL DAY IS OBSERVED FOR THOSE TO WHOM IT WAS INTENDED.

Originally posted on Pacific Paratrooper:

never-forget

FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED…. FOR ALL YOUR SACRIFICES…. FOR YOUR COURAGE…. I CAN ONLY ATTEMPT TO EXPRESS MY UNENDING GRATITUDE….

from fellow blogger Lean Submariner @ http://theleansubmariner.com/2014/05/21/how-to-observe-memorial-day/ from fellow blogger Lean Submariner @
http://theleansubmariner.com/2014/05/21/how-to-observe-memorial-day/

Luzon cemetery Luzon cemetery

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Arlington Cemetery Arlington Cemetery

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A new memorial for South Florida. A new memorial for South Florida.

………………………………………………….. THANK YOU……………………………

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Click on photos to enlarge.

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Farewell Salute – Frederick Vreuls, 87, passed away in Delray Beach, FL. Served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Bunker Hill where he earned a Purple Heart for injuries sustained from a kamikaze attack on May 11, 1945.

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U.S. National Maritime Day, 22 May

GP Cox:

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED FOR THOSE WHO VISITED ON MARITIME DAY LAST YEAR.  THANK YOU ALL FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH.

Originally posted on Pacific Paratrooper:

obama-martime

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May 22nd is the date when the American ship Savannah set sail from Savannah, Georgia in 1819 and became the first transoceanic voyage ever made under steam power.  Hence the day was chosen for the date of tribute.

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In 2002, the Military Sealift Command held a memorial service in Washington D.C.  Rear Admiral David Brewer III and Gordon England, Secretary of the Navy, tossed a wreath into the Anacostia River at the Washington Navy Yard in honor of the fallen mariners.

Capt. Susan Dunlap & Capt. Robert Burk during ceremonial in Hawaii Capt. Susan Dunlap & Capt. Robert Burk during ceremonial in Hawaii

In 2013, National Maritime Day was celebrated with picnics and tours at the Port of San Diego; maritime career fairs in Seattle and Baltimore, as well as the traditional memorial ceremonies.

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Merchant Marine cap insignia Merchant Marine cap insignia

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For A striking story sent to us from fellow blogger, Argus, we have the story of the N.S. Savannah.

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National Maritime Day and Mariner Scouts

GP Cox:

A great post of introduction to our Mariners and Scouts.

Originally posted on Girl Scouts Make History:

Every year on May 22, The United States observes National Maritime Day, a holiday created in 1933 to recognize the maritime industry. It was May 22, 1819 that the American steamship, Savannah, set sail from Savannah, Georgia on the first ever transoceanic voyage under steam power. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Division, “The United States has always been and will always be a great maritime nation. From our origins as 13 British colonies, through every period of peace and conflict since, the Merchant Marine has been a pillar in this country’s foundation of prosperity and security. They power the world’s largest economy and strengthen our ties with trading partners around the world, all while supporting our military forces by shipping troops and supplies wherever they need to go.”

So what exactly is the Merchant Marine? The Merchant Marine is the fleet of ships which carries imports and exports…

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November 1942 (2)

One of the US battleships  destroyed off Guadalcanal

One of the US battleships destroyed off Guadalcanal

 

14 November – the Japanese convoy enroute to Guadalcanal was hit by a strike from the USS Enterprise and sank the IJN Kinugasa and set the Isuzi ablaze.  The Maya was then damaged as well as the flagship Chokai.  IJN Admiral Mikawa ordered a retreat and the US aircraft went after the fleeing vessels.  Flying Fortresses alternated their attacks with the carrier aircraft.  Upon hearing these reports, Yamamoto ordered Adm. Kondo to go in with his last battleships and 5 cruisers to destroy Henderson Field.

RAdm. Willis A. Lee

RAdm. Willis A. Lee

15 November – Halsey determined that his only hope was Adm. Willis “Ching” Lee and his battleships.  As an expert with radar, Lee chose Cape Esperance as the confrontation site.  The cruiser Sendai, 9 miles away was the first vessel spotted ahead of KOndo’s battleships.  Lee’s 16″ shells were fired and the battle began.  Two US battleships sunk and another was damaged.  The South Dakota’s turrets were disabled, but her guns were not.  Her masts were swept away and fires broke out, and the Washington went on to continue fighting.  The radar operators located the Kirishima and bombed her into a shambles; with her rudders jammed, she circled helplessly.

IJN Adm. Kondo

IJN Adm. Kondo

The Atago signaled for a withdrawal.  Kondo had lost, but Tanaka’s 4 transports were ordered to run aground and unload the troops.  As approximately 10,000 men of the 38th Japanese Division began to climb down the ropes, the Cactus Air Force Avengers arrived to strafe and bomb them.  Only about 2,000 men made it to shore as their ships, laden with supplies and equipment, burned.  The enemy soldiers nicknamed Guadalcanal “Island of Doom.”

IJN Adm. Tanaka

IJN Adm. Tanaka

From Adm. Tanaka’s view aboard ship: “…the general effect is indelible in my mind, of bombs wobbling down from high-flying B-17s, of carrier bombers roaring towards targets as though to plunge full in the water, releasing bombs and pulling out barely in time; each miss sending up towering columns of mist and spray; every hit raising clouds of smoke and fire as transports burst into flame and take the sickening list that spells their doom.  Attackers depart, smoke screen lift and reveal the tragic scene of men jumping overboard from sinking ships…”  [IMO – could anyone describe a naval battle more accurately or with such sorrow?]

Admiral Halsey

Admiral Halsey

20 November – in Halsey’s native state of New Jersey, the church bells rang out in honor of his victory.  With the ground forces on Guadalcanal, the 7th Marines and units of the 164th Infantry Division, continued to attack and fend off offenses.  The Japanese discontinued their 2-point strategy, as the US kept receiving reinforcements from the 182th Infantry, 8th Marines and 2nd Raider Battalion.

 

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Military Humor – 

Sniper sense of humor

Sniper sense of humor

 

Oops - it's a toll road!

Oops – it’s a toll road!

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joshua Barron – Spokane, WA; USMC, LCpl., 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Jonathan Falaniko – Pago Pago, Samoa; US Army, Iraqi Freedom, Pvt.blog_eagle_globe_anchor2

Jacob Hug – AZ; USMC, Nepal, Cpl., combat videographer

Ward Johnson IV – FL; USMC, Sgt., Nepal, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Dustin Lukasiewicz – NE; USMC, Nepal, Capt., 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Sara Medina – IL; USMC, Nepal, Cpl, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Eric Seaman – CA; USMC, Nepal, Sgt., 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Tapendra Rawal & Basanta Titara – Nepalese Army

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I Love This Video

GP Cox:

For ARMED FORCES DAY, I want to share this short video located by MUSTANG KOJI. This is a perfect addition for MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH..  For my previous year’s posts for Armed Forces Day click HERE and HERE.

THANK YOU!

Originally posted on Masako and Spam Musubi:

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May is Military Appreciation Month

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I sincerely hope you enjoy this pictorial post of THANKS for our Military during their month.

 

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artwork courtesy of Priorhouse.wordpress.com/

artwork courtesy of Priorhouse.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Humor – 

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courtesy of Chris at Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

courtesy of Chris at Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Patricia “Ellen” Anderson – Pocatello, ID; US Navy

Jack Coons – Rockville Centre, NY; US Army, WWIIMilitary-Appreciation2

Rudolph Domizio – WPalm Beach, FL; US Army, WWII

Charles Heard – Austin, TX; US Navy, WWII, CBI

John Loopstra – Anchorage, AK; US Navy, WWII

Chris Norgren – Wichita, KS; USMC, Nepal earthquake, helicopter pilot

George Olsen – Bourbonnais, IL; US Army, WWII

Richard Palmer – Burlington, VT; US Navy, Korea, Vietnam, USS Forrestal

Bill Speer – Benton, AR; US Army, WWII

Charles Walker – Okeechobee, FL; USMC, Pfc

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The Sullivan Brothers – A Tribute

  The Sullivan Brothers

“We stick together.”

Friday, November 13, 1942 Off the shores of Guadalcanal

The yellow-black smoke of battle had cleared from the skies as the sun set in the South Pacific on that fateful day in November.  The deep swells of the ocean, however, still bore the scars of the previous night’s battle and the early morning of death and disaster.  A thick, black layer of oil moved with the currents, and in the midst of the oil floated the debris of an American light cruiser, the last remnants of the U.S.S. Juneau.  Desperate sailors clung to the debris, most of them wounded, all of them frightened.  They were all that remained of the Juneau’s crew of 698 American boys.  It was impossible to count the survivors, probably somewhere between 90 and 140, but such a count would have been worthless anyway.   Wounds, injuries, and the unforgiving sea diminished their numbers with each passing hour. The heat of the tropical sun gave way to a bone chilling night, pierced by the moans and cries of men suffering unimaginable horrors.   The cries and moans added an eerie atmosphere to a scene already beyond human comprehension.  The sounds would haunt the dreams of survivors for the rest of their lives, assuming that any of the men should survive.  And then, across the waters, could be heard another desperate voice crying hopelessly into the darkness:   “Frank?”  “Red?”  “Matt?”   “Al?”  It was the voice of George Sullivan, the oldest of five brothers who served on the Juneau.  George had survived and now sought desperately for his younger brothers.


Born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa; the five Sullivan brothers had always stuck together.  From George, the oldest, to Al, the youngest; there was only a 7 year age difference.  They had lived together at the plain but large house at 98 Adams Street, along with one sister Genevieve, and their parents Thomas and Alleta and grandma Mae Abel.  The longest period of time the boys had ever been separated had been the four years prior to World War II when George and Francis Henry, second oldest of the quintet and usually called “Frank”, had served in the Navy.  Even then, the two brothers had served most of their hitch together, on the same ships. George Sullivan was discharged after fulfilling his four year commitment on May 16, 1941.  Eleven days later Frank received his own discharge and both boys returned to the family home.  Six months later they listened intently to reports of the attack at Pearl Harbor.  Former ship mates and friends still on active duty and serving in the Hawaiian port, not to mention two brothers from nearby Fredericksburg, were under fire and both Sullivan boys felt both a sense of helplessness and anger.  They determined that night to return to service.  This time Joseph Eugene whom they all called “Red”, Madison Abel “Matt”, and even Albert Leo “Al”, insisted on joining them.  Their resolve was further strengthened when, just prior to Christmas, they learned the fate of the Fredericksburg brothers, Bill and Masten Ball.  Masten had survived the day of infamy, but Bill, who had frequented the Sullivan house and perhaps even “been sweet” on sister Genevieve, had gone to a watery grave aboard the U.S.S. Arizona. The five brothers who had always done everything together, walked into the local Navy recruiting station together.  Though Al, just nineteen years old and married less than two years would have qualified for a deferment from combat service, he insisted on being with his brothers.  He would leave behind not only a young wife, but little Jimmy Sullivan, his ten month old son.  The Navy was desperate for men in the early days after the destruction at Pearl Harbor, and quickly welcomed the Sullivan brothers.  Until the determined young men threw a new “wrinkle” into their enlistment plans.  George had echoed the sentiment the night of December 7th when the five young men had made their decision.  “Well, I guess our minds are made up…when we go in, we want to go in together.  If the worst comes to worst, why we’ll all have gone down together.”  Now, as they stood in the recruiting office, they demanded that the Navy assure them that they would be allowed to serve together…on the same ship.  When they couldn’t get the guarantee that day, they took their demands all the way to Washington, DC.  In a letter to the Navy Department they explained their desire to defend their Country, but insisted that if the Navy wanted the Sullivan brothers, it would have to be a package deal.  “WE STICK TOGETHER!”  Finally, the Navy agreed.  The transcripts of all five Sullivan brothers reveal that each was “Enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 3 January, 1942″ and together they were “Transferred to the Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois.”  Exactly one month later the individual orders for each of the five sailors read, “Transferred to the receiving ship, New York, for duty in the USS Juneau detail and on board when commissioned.” Eleven days later, on February 14, 1942, the USS Juneau was commissioned.  The five Sullivan brothers became instant celebrities when photographers captured the photo seen in the background of this page, a photograph that symbolized not only the sense of brotherhood among those who volunteered to defend our Nation, but the commitment of an entire family from the heartland of America.  George, Frank, Red, Matt and Al enjoyed the spotlight that day.  They also shared the spotlight with four other brothers, Joseph, James, Louis and Patrick Rogers.  In time, a total of 9 sets of brothers would serve on the USS Juneau.  But no family in America could match the record of the five Sullivans.

Late in May, George, Matt and Al came home one last time.  It gave Al the opportunity to say farewell to his young wife, Katherine Mary.  For her it must have been a time of mixed emotions.  She had lost her mother at the age of seven.  Now she was losing her husband, if even for a brief few years…possibly forever.  In order to survive on Al’s small Naval salary she had moved in with Tom and Alleta.  She could have kept her husband out of harms way, used his role as husband and father to defer him from combat.  But she knew the Sullivan brothers well, loved Al enough, not to come between the brothers.“Don’t worry,” perhaps he reminded her,  “WE STICK TOGETHER!”

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Albert Sullivan with 15-month old Jimmy, Thomas and Alleta, and brother Matt.  (Photo courtesy of the Grout Museum, Waterloo, IA)

A sixth Sullivan joined the Navy that day, though he was only 15-months old.   Little Jimmy donned his uniform cap to pose with his father and uncle Matt for local media.  Then it was time for a final farewell.  On June 1st the USS Juneau sailed out of New York and into history, carrying nearly 700 sailors including:

Joseph, James, Louis, and Patrick ROGERS (James & Joseph Later transferred to another ship) William and Harold WEEKS Russell and Charles COMBS Albert and Michael KRALL George and John WALLACE Curtis and Donald DAMON Richard and Russell WHITE Harold and Charles CAULK & THE FIVE SULLIVAN BROTHERS

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From : Home of the Heroes,com

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Additional memorial photographs –

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Personal note – Please remember – the readers, along with myself, enjoy reading about the stories you have of your own, from relatives and/or friends’ lives in the service.  When you have the time, add the story into the comments.  If you would care for someone to be included in the Farewell Salutes – add that info as well.  Thank You.

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November 1942 (1)

IJN ship Kirishima and Takao enroute to Guadalcanal

IJN ship Kirishima and Takao enroute to Guadalcanal

Throughout November, the US forces put constant pressure on the Japanese.  After Adm. Halsey’s “pep talk”, the PT boats, out of Tulagi, stepped up their action against the Tokyo Express that brought reinforcements and supplies every night to the island.  On 7 November, aircraft from Henderson Field bombed and damaged 2 enemy destroyers.

11 November, the HYPO cryptanalysts uncovered the plans for yet another massive Japanese effort to reinforce Guadalcanal on the 13th.  [HYPO = He’eia, Hawaii, radio tower, Fleet Radio Unit Pacific under OP – 20 G Naval Intelligence, Washington,D.C.]

Taken during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Nov. 1942

Taken during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Nov. 1942

12 November – a Japanese convoy of transport ships carrying 1,300 men and supported by 11 destroyers were on course for the island as Adm. Tanaka’s 18 warships bombarded Henderson Field.  Enemy carriers in the Solomon area were giving support, when RAdm. Callaghan moved in by radar to intercept.  He failed to order his 8 destroyers far enough ahead of Adm. Scott [on the light cruiser Atlanta] with the Portland, Helena and Juneau.  Then, as  the two forces met between Guadalcanal and Savo Island, there were a series of maneuvering errors.  The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal became very bloody within minutes.

The Japanese had 2 cruisers sunk and the destroyer Yudachi.  The enemy destroyer Akatsuki lay dead in the water and the battleship Hiei was later crippled.  Adm. Callaghan was killed as the Kirishima crashed into the San Francisco broadside and killed everyone on the bridge.  A torpedo sliced the destroyer Barton in half, Laffey, Cushing and Aaron Ward lay crippled in the water.  The Juneau was hit by the Japanese submarine I-26 and erupted.

Aerial view for Henderson Field

Aerial view for Henderson Field

With the US loss of one cruiser and four destroyers, almost every vessel in this action was damaged.  [The Five Sullivan Brothers of Waterloo, Iowa died during this battle; a more complete story will follow.]

Japanese Adm. Abe would receive no commendations from his superiors for his tactical success due to his failure to carry out his assigned mission to destroy Henderson Field.  He was ordered to have the cruiser Kurishima tow the Hiei, but Abe had already sent the cruiser out to fend off air attacks.  By this time, aircraft from the Enterprise and B-17s from Espiritu Santo had arrived and utterly destroyed the Hiei on the 14th.  Abe abandoned ship to the Yukase and Adm. Yamamoto deemed him unworthy of any further commands.

SeaBees at Henderson Field

SeaBees at Henderson Field

No US warships were available to stop the bombardment of Henderson Field from Adm. Mikawa’s 3 heavy cruisers.  The frantic efforts of the PT boats were no match for the 1,000 8″ rounds being fired.  Had the enemy used 14″ shells, the end result might have been drastically different.  However, the SeaBees hustled throughout the night to put the field back together well enough by morning for the Marine Avengers to take off.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – via Sad Sack – 

SadSack37

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Beckman III – WRiviera Bch, FL; US Army, Vietnam, Army Intel Corps

Roy Bounds – AUS; AIF # NX69844, WWII, Australia Pioneer Battalionwpid-23e1fd117a3853c2da7c4cebcf40c6a11.jpgMending a Nation, John McNaughton

John Ellis Jr. – Frankfort, MI; US Army, WWII, PTO

Harry Gates – Palm Bch Gardens, FL; US Coast Guard, WWII

James Hitter – Post Falls, ID; US Air Force/USANG, LtCol. (Ret. 37 years)

Robert Kranich – Strasburg, VA; US Army, Colonel (Ret.)

John Rhodes – Northland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 442744, WWII

Louis Self – Salem, OR ; US Army, Sgt. (Ret. 21 years)

Franklin Smith – Lake Worth, FL; US Army, Korea

Michael Winney – Glendale, AZ; US Army, WWII

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Personal note – Sometimes it takes me a while to get back to everyone’s site, [yesterday for example, I was out of town visiting my mother-in-law – it takes time to catch up], but reading your posts is as important to me as putting in  my own.  I ask you all to be patient and I will be there.  I’ve noticed lately that I have been losing followers and I sincerely hope it is NOT because they feel neglected.

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