February 1943 (1)

Tulagi PT base

Tulagi PT base

PT Report:

1/2 February – This was the last fight between the Tokyo Express and the PT’s at Guadalcanal and it was the most violent.  Three boats were sunk – the 37, 111 and 123, with a total of 6 enlisted men killed, 3 officers killed, 6 enlisted missing and 6 others wounded.  Five PTs fired 19 torpedoes, claiming 2 destroyers sunk and 2 damaged.

The Makigumo was either damaged by the PTs or by one of the 300 mines laid that day.  Two more Japanese evacuation trips were made on 4/5 and 7/8, but the boats did not attempt to intercept.  During this time, Japanese Gen. Hyakutake and his remaining troops were ferried off Guadalcanal 6 months after the US troops arrived on the island.

IJN Makigumo

IJN Makigumo

In the Bismark Sea, the 5th Air Force spotted a convoy and performed the first “skip-bombing” technique.  Mitchell bombers went at the enemy transports mast-high and the bombs skimmed like stones on a pond with the accuracy of torpedoes.  Eight transports and 4 destroyers were sunk.  During aerial combat, 60 Japanese aircraft were downed at the cost of 4 US fighters.  As the sun set, the enemy lifeboats were attacked by PT boats.  Gen. Hatazo Aidichi and only 2,000 of his men made it to shore on New Guinea.

example of skip-bombing

example of skip-bombing

MacArthur used the Bismark victory to request 5 more divisions; 1,800 aircraft and more naval forces including carriers for his “Elkton” plan.  But due to the decisions made at Casablanca, Gen. Marshall could not comply.  Rather than cable his response, Gen. Wedemeyer was sent to the Pacific to render an explanation to Mac.

A furious MacArthur cabled Washington D.C. that the New Guinea campaign would be cancelled due to the lack of resources.  In turn, Mac, Nimitz and Halsey were ordered to send representatives to Washington for a “Pacific Military Conference” to be held in March.

Two weary Chindits with their mule

Two weary Chindits with their mule

1-15 February – the British offensive in the Arakan peninsula in Burma ended without success.  The Japanese continued to hold on to their strong defensive positions.  Gen. Orde Wingate and his newly formed 3,000-man 77th Indian Brigade (aka “Chindits”) entered Burma to go behind enemy lines.  Their mission was to disrupt the Japanese communications and tactical deployments.

6 February – the Allies began to show their superiority in the skies of New Guinea when 37 fighters shot down 26 Japanese aircraft out of their raiding party of 70 planes.

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Military Humor – the Navy’s answer to Sad Sack…..2162288699_642f660297_o

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Merchant Navy Day – New Zealand – 3 September

Capt. Inkster

The men and boys of the New Zealand Merchant Navy had one of the most perilous wartime occupations as they carried supplies to the troops and wounded to safety.  Their virtually unarmed ships were sitting ducks for the enemy.  Hundreds of mines were laid by German raiders in the early years of the war and several vessels were sunk, including the minesweeper, Puriri, May 1941 off Whangarei, NZ.

Around 130 New Zealand seafarers lost their lives and around 140 were taken prisoner.  Captain Inkster, pictured above, served for 60 years, including all six years of WWII.  Let’s join them this today in honoring these civilians who put their lives on the line for the Allied troops!

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Bradley Jr. – Fairfield, AL; USMC, WWII

Graham Carkeek – NZ; RNZ Navy # NZ6315, WWII

Ernest Fox – CAN & TX; RC Air Force, WWII228685_214560631902034_100000442955388_742352_2701778_n

Roy Griffin – Sacramento, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 20th Army Air Force

Charles Hill – Stanley, NC; US Army, WWII, Sgt.

Martin Johnson – Boise, ID; US Army, Vietnam

Matthew Leggett – Ruskin, FL; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt.

Franklin Slack – Seattle, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO,b CO/188th/11th Airborne

Peter Veltmeijer – Caloundra, AUS; RA Army, Vietnam

Richard Votava – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

R. Eugen Wolford – US Army, WWII, 10th Mountain Division

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National Dog Day(s)

OUR MILITARY WORKING DOGS

'Scoop' - Stars & Stripes mascot in Korea Sept. 1950

‘Scoop’ – Stars & Stripes mascot in Korea Sept. 1950

Whether battle-trained or just loyal, man’s best friend has been photographed following troops into battle since the Civil War. And just like the changes in tactics through the years, the relationship between servicemembers and canine companions has evolved through training, on the battlefield, and how they’re used back home.

With wagging tales and slobbering kisses, dogs now help assimilate servicemembers to life away after returning home — something Stars and Stripes has documented several times in the twilight of the United States’ most recent conflicts.

Smedley Butler - USMC, San Diego facing his Drill Sgt.

Smedley Butler – USMC, San Diego facing his Drill Sgt.

In celebration of National Dog Day, here’s a look back at the dogs that have greeted, helped and stayed by their best friends during the most trying times.

 tibbetts.meredith@stripes.com
For a video about working dog, trained by veterans – for veterans______
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Military Dog Humor – eb41315790d1b4cd9f364661285535e5

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Farewell Salutes – 

Albert Boverio – San Jose, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 95th Field Artillery Battalion

Chester Carter – NY & NC; US Army, WWII, ETOBaby on tombstone.jpg Those left behind.

Milton Frederick – W> AUS; RA Army, WWII

Desmond Knauf – Rotorua, NZ; RNZ Navy #NZ3354, WWII

Henry Lee – Wichita, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Frank Peterson Jr. – Stevensville, MD; USMC, Korea & Vietnam [1st Black Marine pilot]

Matthew Roland – Lexington, KY; US Air Force, Afghanistan, 21/23 Special Tactics Squadron, Captain

Forest Sibley – Pensacola, FL; US Air Force, Afghanistan, Special Operations, SSgt.

William Owen Young – Burma & CAN; Royal Bombay Sappers & Miners, WWII, 411 Parachute Squadron

Frank Zimmerman Jr. – Gresham, OR; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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The Packard Merlin Rolls-Royce Engine and Avro [Canadian] Lancaster Bomber

GP Cox:

Added information from Canada!!

Originally posted on Lest We Forget:

Research and article by Clarence Simonsen

Packard Merlin Rolls-Royce Engine - image 1

This classic 1939 British poster celebrates fifty years of British aviation design and aircraft production, as the topless English lady looks to the beginning of her dark war-torn future. The next five war years will bring together the development of British and American aircraft and aero-engines which will effect combatant air forces until the end of the hostilities in May 1945. My story will be told by poster ads used in that time period, also demonstrating how the Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X bomber idea was created and constructed using North American engines and parts.

Packard Merlin Rolls-Royce Engine - image 2

This pre-war British ad possibly appeared in 1938, when the first production Spitfire Mk. I fighters were delivered to No. 19 and 66 RAF Squadrons. The prototype Spitfire was fitted with the first Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and flew in March 1936, setting a world record of 342 mph [547.2…

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Christmas in January 1943

Cabanatuan Prison Camp

Cabanatuan Prison Camp

Commander Melvin H.McCoy of the U.S.Navy had survived the Bataan death march on the Philippines and was now in the notorious Davao Prison camp on Mindanao. Like most prisoners of the Japanese they were on starvation rations and men were dying on a daily basis.

On 29th January 1943 they got a lucky break. For whatever reason the Japanese had for once decided to hand over the Red Cross parcels that had been sent from the States. This was a very irregular event. Many prisoners of the Japanese never saw any of them.

Red Cross parcel

Red Cross parcel

The importance of such support from home could never be underestimated:

“It’s Christmas, Commander McCoy!” he shouted. “It’s Christmas!”

I was well aware that Christmas had already passed, practically without notice, so I asked him to explain his excitement.

“Stuff from home,” he babbled. “Boxes from the States. Red Cross boxes.”

I had quickened my pace, and by now I was trotting along beside him. Then I must confess that both of us broke into a run, a headlong dash for the barracks.

The news was true. There were, indeed, Red Cross boxes, and two for each prisoner. More than that, they meant to each of us … home. As each prisoner ripped open a box, I suspect that there were many besides myself who worked with a catch in the throat.

I will make no attempt to describe the joy with which those Red Cross boxes were received. Just as there is no word for “truth” in the Japanese language, neither are there any words known to me which could describe the feelings with which we greeted this first communication from our homeland. And what a welcome message those boxes contained!

First of all, there was coffee – a concentrate which tasted better than any steaming cup I had ever drunk to cheer an icy night on the bridge of a ship at sea. It was the first I had tasted since a smuggled sip in Old Bilibid Prison, back in Manila. There were chocolate bars, there was cheese, there were tinned meats and sardines, there were cigarettes, and there was a portion each of tea, cocoa, salt, pepper and sugar. Best of all, there were sulfa drugs and precious quinine!

Red Cross packages

Red Cross packages

Since I did not smoke, I very quickly made an advantageous trade for my cigarettes – the only tobacco available for those who used it was a coarse native leaf which grew within the prison confines. Often this was not available, and the prisoners resorted to corn silk and dried leaves. In my trading, however, I could find nobody who would give up a crumb of his cheese: we had known no butter, milk or any kind of dairy product since our capture….Our Christmas had been delayed, but it was one of the most enjoyable many of us will ever remember.

In addition, to the two boxes received by each prisoner, each of us also received fifteen cans of corned beef or meat-and-vegetable stew. This was rationed to us by the Japanese at the rate of two cans a week, and it therefore lasted us approximately eight weeks. The food during those eight weeks was the best and most nourishing I received in all the eleven months of my imprisonment by the Japanese.

But our belated Christmas rejoicings had a dark side, too. In the first place, we learned that our precious Red Cross supplies had been received aboard a diplomatic ship back in June of 1942, in Japan. We never learned why it took them some seven months to reach us in Davao. More catastrophic was the fact that, as soon as our boxes were received, the Japanese promptly discontinued the meager supply of vegetables which we had been rationed in the past. And when each man had eaten the last of his fifteen cans of meat, the vegetables still were withheld from us.

In short, we were back on the same rations we had received at Cabanatuan – lugao in the morning, and rice with a half-canteen cupful of watery camote-top soup for the other two meals.

At first the diet was fair, consisting mainly of rice, salt, sugar, and vegetables. Some of the comments made by the prisoners on the food in those days run as follows: “We grown our own food, including rice in paddies. Still living well on farm.” “Working on poultry farm for our own consumption.” “We eat lots of rice three times a day, banana buds and green papaya, mongo beans, camotes, and jack fruit [which] makes good soup. Native jungle food good.”

On 29 January 1943 each prisoner received one and one-half Red Cross packages, which helped somewhat, but at the same time the Japanese stopped issuing any food, and did not restore the original issue, even after the Red Cross supplies had been exhausted.

Cabantuan POW camp

Cabantuan POW camp

In April of this year the rice ration was cut one-third, after ten prisoners had escaped, and in August it was cut a second time. For a time the Japanese set up a canteen where they sold dried bananas, but this did not last long. Later they put some moldy tobacco leaves on sale, which the prisoners bought eagerly, in spite of their moldy condition.

Reports from returned prisoners show that in the later days of the camp the Japanese took more and more of the food the prisoners raised on the farm for themselves, leaving only a very little for the men. They also forbade the prisoners to eat the wild food that grew in the vicinity of the camp.

OFFICE OF THE PROVOST MARSHAL GENERAL: REPORT ON AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR INTERNED BY THE JAPANESE IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS

http://ww2today.com/

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Current News – 

ta-plane-art

Dive team explores the wreckage of a WWII Tuskegee aircraft – 

http://www.stripes.com/news/us/dive-team-explores-wreckage-of-tuskegee-airman-s-wwii-plane-1.363937

$1. bill with a message

$1. bill with a message

Heart-warming story of returning a 1942 $1. bill – 

http://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/longshot-hunch-brings-veteran-s-63-year-old-war-dollar-home-to-grandson-in-maine-1.364407?utm_source=Stars+and+Stripes+Emails&utm_campaign=Military+History&utm_medium=email

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Military Humor – nurse

uso

Courtesy of Chris @ Muscleheaded

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gino Ascani – Chicago Heights, IL; US Army, WWII, Purple Heart

Elario Banuelos – Boyle Heights, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 7th Air Force

Frank Funk – Tucson, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 463rd Bomb Group/15th Air Corps, POW

Ira Kelly – Boston, PA; US Army, Vietnam, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, POW

Harold Konvalinka – Clarksville, TN; US Air Force (Ret.), WWII, POW

Glenn Maddy Sr. – Helena, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO, 65th Division, Purple Heart, POW

Joseph Ondrejka – Rockford, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 460th/15 Air Force, Purple Heart, POW

James Pappas – Bradenton, FL; US Army, WWII, POW

Armond Provencher – South Berwick, ME; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, POW

David “Pops” Reed – Virginia Beach, VA; US Army, Korea, POW

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January 1943 (3)

New Guinea

New Guinea

16-18 January – the Indian 14th Division in Burma suffered heavy casualties during their offensive action into the Arakan peninsula.  A strong Japanese resistance beat off the Allied attacks at Rathedaung and Donbaik.

This site contains an animated map to show the defeat and progress in India and Burma from 1941 through 1945 – Click Here!

21-30 January – the Allies advanced toward Salamaua and Lae in the Huon Gulf on New Guinea.  This drove the enemy towards the west coast.  When the troops continued and captured Sanananda, this completed the Papua operation.  The southern portion of the island had cost Australia and America more than 7,000 casualties and the Japanese approximately 13,00 KIA.

Vessels enroute to the Battle of Rennell Island

Vessels enroute to the Battle of Rennell Island

In northern New Guinea, 3,000 Japanese troops attacked Wau airfield in a 3-prong attack.  The 700 Australians were forced to retreat, but heavy rains and airlifting of reinforcements halted the enemy advance 400 yards from the end of the runway.  Gen. Imamura at Rabaul Headquarters saw this defeat as a serious threat and ordered another 6,000 men and 8 transports with 8 destroyers to Lae and Salamaua.

24 January – the other Japanese airfield on New Georgia was Vila Field on the southern tip of Kolombangara.  Adm. Ainsworth brought his bombardment force in and sent 3,500 shells into the area.  The enemy’s return fire was ineffective.  At dawn, 59 aircraft left Henderson Field and dropped 23 tons of bombs on Vila.  But just as the construction crews did on Guadalcanal, the enemy repaired the damage quickly.

RAdm. Robert C. Giffen

RAdm. Robert C. Giffen

23-27 January – on Guadalacanal, US forces took the Japanese base at Kokumbona after 3 days of naval bombardment and an assault as the enemy moved northwest to be evacuated.  Four days later, the American troops went westward and captured a command post; 37 Japanese were KIA and 3 taken prisoner.  A large stash of arms, ammunition and supplies were also taken.

USS Chicago sitting low in the water.

USS Chicago sitting low in the water.

29-30 January – 50 miles (80 km) north of Rennell Island in the Solomons, RAdm. Giffen’s Task Force-18 came under attack in waves.  The destroyer, USS DeHaven, was sunk and the heavy cruiser, Chicago was crippled by the aerial torpedoes of the 31 Japanese G4M bombers.  With a course change and under the cover of darkness, the enemy lost sight of the Task Force.  The Japanese lost 12 pilots KIA; at least one bomber was downed by the newly equipped Mark-32 antiaircraft shells.  Adm. Giffen, who had only transferred from Casablanca days before, was blamed for the loss due to his inexperience by Adm. Halsey in his post-battle report.

As the tugboat Navajo towed the Chicago at a speed of 4 knots, 12 “Betty-type torpedo bombers attacked.  Capt. Ralph Davis ordered an ‘abandon ship’ [accomplished in 20 minutes] and as the last of the 1,049 survivors left her, the Chicago sank stern first.

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Military Humor – S.N.A.F.U. style –    

viewer discretion advised!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Atkins – Attala, AL; US Navy, WWII

Christos Condos – So.Burlington, VT; US Navy, WWII,

Cesar ‘Tony’ Lazo – Baltimore, MD, US Navy, Vietnam, USS Plymouth Rocklone-sailor-aug-18-2-8005450

David Hall – Arkandelphia, AR; US Navy, WWII, USS Lake Champlain, gunners mate

Grace Handy – Longmeadow, MA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

John Lovell – AUS; RA Navy, Captain (Ret.)

Frederick ‘Fritz’ Payne – Rancho Mirage, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, BGeneral (Ret.), Pilot, Silver Star

Virgil Shelton – Clinton, TN, US Army, 7th Calvary Armored Division

James Wilgis Sr. – Smith’s Station, AL; US Army, CW3 (ret. 25 years)

William Wright – Mangere Bridge, NZ; RNZA # 629020, WWII, SSgt., Signals J Force

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Making Angie Cry – For V.J. Day

GP Cox:

I felt this a good time between Japan’s surrender and the official signing on 2 September for Toritto’s post.
For my past V-J Day posts – Click Here!
And HERE!

Originally posted on toritto:

R34LSZWR_big

Everyone was so happy that day,  I didn’t know why they were happy but I was happy too.  I rode on daddy’s shoulders down 13th avenue, passed the Endicott theater, the waving and happy people kissing in the street.

Grandma bought me a Mello-Roll and now I was getting to play horsey. Giddiup horsey! Smacking daddy’s head.  I could see everyone from Daddy’s shoulders; Everybody waved at me and I waved back!  I was blowing kisses and everyone blew kisses at me!

Daddy gave me a little stick with a funny cloth attached.  He said it was a flag and I should wave it.  So wave it I did!

Fat Tony came out of his candy store, Angie in her apron and house dress
Daddy shook Fat Tony’s hand and gave Angie a big hug
,
“Frankie boy!”  That was me. “Have a Charlotte Russe!” I love Charlotte Russe. Fat…

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January 1943 (2)

"Action in The Slot" by Tom Freeman

“Action in The Slot” by Tom Freeman

PT boat report for 10/11 January – The Slot action at Guadalcanal:  The Japanese ships came in under the cover of a rain squall and the 2 US scout groups missed them.  The first contact was made by strike group-1, spotting 3 destroyers off the Guadalcanal coast.  The 3 boats attacked the enemy ships but the enemy sank PT-112 and damaged PT-43 so badly, it was abandoned.  IJN destroyer Hatasukaze was hit by a torpedo, killing 8 and wounding 23, and retired to Shortland Island.  PT-43 was later sighted on the Japanese-held portion of the island and was destroyed by gunfire from a New Zealand corvette.

P-38 Lightning in Alaska

P-38 Lightning in Alaska

12-19 January – 2,000 American troops, in an amphibious landing on Amchitka Island in the Aleutians, started their operations to take back the enemy held areas in Alaska.  The USS Worden was sunk and 14 men were killed.  Six US warships began bombardment of Attu Island.

14 January – the Japanese Special Navy Landing Force went ashore at Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal to act as a rear guard for the evacuation of troops.  US radio intelligence failed to pick up the reason for Tanaka’s 19 destroyers speeding down The Slot.  Halsey feared a new offensive was about to begin.  The US motor torpedo boats went up against a supply convoy, fired 17 torpedoes and hit 3 destroyers and then withdrew.  The admiral ordered aircraft from 3 escort carriers to support the Cactus Air Force.

Cactus Air Force, Guadalcanal

Cactus Air Force, Guadalcanal

The Symbol Conference at Anfa, overlooking Casablanca, began with all sides in conflict.  Churchill worked on FDR to maintain the “Europe First” plans while the US Joint Chiefs of Staff reminded the Imperial General Staff that the Allies “could not give the Japanese any pause.”  Over cigars and cognac both sides reached an “agreement in principle.”  The British would allow an extension of the Pacific offensive if in return America accepted the invasion of Sicily.  The Casablanca Conference left many of the key strategic issues unresolved.

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A look at how we saw them and they saw us…..

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Navy Humor – military-humor-funny-joke-navy-submarine-ships-designed-to-sink-others-require-assistance

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stanley Asksamit Jr. – Goodyear, AZ; US Army, Korea, 1st Cavalry

Robert Conquest – UK & US; British Foreign Office, WWII, Intelligence

Phillip Goedeke – Harriman, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO,  152nd Infantry/11th A/Bplaying-taps

James Kelly – Piedmont, AL; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Ray Lindner – Winfield, IL; USMC, WWII & Korea

Arnold Messacar – Pointe-Claire, CAN; RCL Br66, WWII

Merritt ‘Bill’ Sheldon – Granville, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, ocean tug

Peter Tanswell – New Plymouth, NZ; RNZ Navy # 8438, WWII, PTO

James Tinnel – Seattle, WA; US Navy, WWII, salvage diver

Lee Wintersteen – Sioux Falls, SD; US Army, WWII

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JANUARY 1943 (1)

MT_AUSTEN_info_2

1 – 5 January 1943 – The US troops, totaling approximately 50,000 on Guadalcanal at this point had massive amounts of air, artillery and naval support at their disposal.  The Japanese, who were struggling with about half the amount of men and no hope of new supplies, now faced Gen. Patch’s XIV Corps as they pushed outward from the Lunga perimeter.  Despite the odds, as the American troops (Army & Marine assisted by Solomon islanders) hit Mount Austen (a high ground between the Lunga and Matanikau Rivers), they were beaten back by the exhausted enemy.  It was on the 5th that Mt. Austen was captured and the men fought off 6 enemy counterattacks to keep it.

“Calvertville”, PT boat base at Tulagi

2/3 January – The PT boat report for this date in the Tulagi/Guadalcanal area states: RAdm. Tanaka, injured as a result of a PT boat sinking his flagship, was replaced by RAdm. Koyanagi.  TheMBT Flotilla One attacked enemy ships for 2 hours, firing 18 torpedoes.  The boats sustained enemy shelling, strafing and searchlights plus air cover from the 3 new Japanese floatplanes that spotted the PT wake easily, even in the darkness.  PT-45 put a claim in for a hit, but it was unconfirmed, and the Japanese reported receiving 5 days worth of supplies.

Japanese coconut palm bunker at Buna

Japanese coconut palm bunker at Buna

2 – 13 January – the Japanese still refused to leave Buna, New Guinea and the US troops received vast amounts of resistance before it was taken; the final cost totaled 2,870 casualties.  From the 6th to the 9th, waves of US aircraft attacked the enemy supply convoys headed for Papua.  They sank 3 transports and downed 80 Japanese planes with few losses of their own.  The troops from the Australian 17th Brigade were air-lifted into Wau under enemy fire.  This prevented the enemy from taking over the airfield.  But heavy fighting continued in the surrounding jungles.

a Japanese work map for the New Guinea operations

a Japanese work map for the New Guinea operations

4-6  January – Adm. Halsey sent a bombardment force of 3 light cruisers and 2 destroyers, under RAdm. Walden Ainsworth, to hit Munda Field on the island of New Georgia.  Behind them were 3 light cruisers, 1 heavy cruiser and 3 destroyers, under RAdm. Mahlon Tisdale, for support.  Their orders were to divert any enemy aerial reinforcement that might disrupt the actions on Guadalcanal.

USMC-M-CSol-1

Within 50 minutes, 3,000 rounds of 6″ shells and 1,400 5″ shells hit the airfield.  As the ships left the area, the Japanese sent their planes out on a retaliatory strike; but they only managed to do minor damage to a turret on the New Zealand light cruiser, Achilles.  The USS Grayback, acting as the beacon ship for the bombardment later picked up 6 downed airmen; CO Edward Stephan would received the Navy Cross for his actions during the operation.

9 January – the Japanese-established government of China declared war on the United States and Britain.  To show good faith, Japan reduced their claims on some Chinese territories and hostilities toward the sovereignty.

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Navy Humor – wwii

jokes

courtesy of Chris @ Muscleheaded……

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stephen Byus – Columbus, OH; US Navy, Afghanistan, Lt.

Robert Dombrowski – Salisbury, MD; US Air Force (Ret. 26 years), Colonel, Bronze Star

Vivian Given – Toronto, CAN; RC Women’s Air Force, WWIIFUNERALPICKET-610x406

Corey Hood – Cincinnati, OH; US Army, Iraq & Afghanistan (5 tours), Golden Knights

Robert McCarroll – Waikato, NZ; RNZ Army # 421836, WWII, 35th Battery

Concetta Monda – Bridgeport, CT; US Navy, WAVE, WWII

William Rundell – Orion, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Harold Smith – Kokomo, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 221st Medical/11th Airborne

Joshua Stevens – Dagsbord, DE; US Air Force, Korea, 187th RCT

William Whitman – Fairbanks, AK; US Army, Korea

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75th National Airborne Day

patch

16 August 2015 is the 75th Anniversary of the United States Airborne, of which my father Smitty belonged when he volunteered for the 11th Airborne Division.  My best wishes go out to ALL the paratroopers both past and present!!

Pvt. Smith Camp MacKall

Pvt. Smith Camp MacKall

The Army will honor the 75th anniversary of the American paratrooper with — what else? — a large jump into Fort Benning, Georgia.

The commemoration, led by the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, will mark 75 years since the War Department approved the formation of a test platoon of airborne infantry from Fort Benning’s 29th Infantry Regiment. Less than 45 days after it was formed, on Aug. 16, 1940, members of the test platoon made their first jump from a Douglas B-18 over Lawson Army Airfield.

On Aug. 15, today’s paratroopers, along with the Liberty Jump Team, a group of civilian World War II airborne reenactors, will jump into that very same airfield.

“This entire year, we’ve been very cognizant of the 75th anniversary,” said Lt. Col. Korey Brown, commander of 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Battalion, and commander of the U.S. Army Airborne School. “It’s a very key year for the airborne community.”

The United States was a little late to the game when it came to airborne operations, but today the Army is “the leading force in the world because of the soldiers who volunteer to be airborne,” Brown said.

“Being an airborne soldier is all volunteer,” he said. “The spirit that the paratrooper brings to a unit or to a fight is second to none.”

The concept of airborne soldiers originated with founding father Benjamin Franklin, who envisioned a time when soldiers would be delivered to the battlefield from the air, Brown said.

a-paratroopers-faith

From the booklet, A Paratrooper’s Faith.  The superb story of this booklet and the man who inspired it can be found at Anne Tullidge Bell’s site, Tales Along the Way:

Heroism is simple, and yet it is rare.  Everyone who does the best he can is a hero.___ Josh Billings

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My previous post for this day, of which I am very proud, can be found HERE!!

Information found at the U.S. Army website.  My gratitude also goes to the great friends and visitors who drop by to help honor the troops that fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.

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Military Humor – Donald Duck’s attempt at being a paratrooper!!!

Donald-Duck-Paratrooper

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Boudreau – Weymouth, ME; US Army, WWII

John Crawford – Ft. Worth, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 675th Artillery/11th Airborne

John DiNucci – Alexandria, VA; US Navy, WWII, ETO, Destroyer escortLargeUSFlag

Gabriel Fonseca – Eurgene, OR; US army, WWII, PTO, Signal Corps

William Gnadt – Spokane, WA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Llyod LaRue – Mantuna, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 503rd/11th Airborne

Frank Mooney – Angola, NY; US Navy, WWII, UD crew

William Rhodeas – Woodburn, OR; US Army, WWII, PTO, Amphibious Engineers

James Rush – Stottville, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511th/11th Airborne

Thomas Tunney – Surfside Bch., SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne

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The Big Band Era

“You ain’t got a thing, if you ain’t got that swing…”

Hi-do-ho all you hep-cats out there!!

Vincent Lopez

Vincent Lopez

Swing was a verb that musicians used long before press agents turned it into a noun or adjective to describe both an attitude toward music and a special way of performing it. “Swing” suggests rhythm and a regular propulsive oscillation, a form of jazz that is still influencing music today. There are many instruments reinforcing the others, then other times, playing against each other and a solo instrument playing against a background. The jazz form traveled north out of New Orleans in the 1890’s and slammed into the Chicago scene in the 1920’s.

Fletcher Henderson

Fletcher Henderson

The beginnings can be traced back to Fletcher Henderson in New York and Bernie Moten in Kansas City. Fletcher and his brother Horace created the pattern for swing arrangements and was the first to train a big band to play jazz. “Sweet” bands, like Guy Lombardo, Vincent Lopez and Wayne King had ample audiences. (Lombardo’s band was still playing under the direction of his son-in-law out on Long Island and I was priviledged to see twice. My grandmother had dated Lopez years ago. Smitty, my father, took me to the Hotel Taft in Manhattan and had me tell the conductor that I was her grandchild. Lopez sat me on stage while the band played a song for me.)

Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa

In Denver 1935, things didn’t go so well. Even Goodman’s band was not well received, despite featuring trumpeter Bunny Beregan, drummer Gene Krupa and pianist Jess Stacy. When the tour hit Los Angeles, the Palomar Ballroom did not respond until Goodman let the musicians go wild with the Henderson arrangements – the crowd exploded. Jazz turned into swing and the press described it as a new form of music and Benny as the King of Swing. Bands sprung up everywhere. Bob Crosby’s “Bob-Cats” as well as Artie Shaw and Woody Herman wowed the crowds by 1939, including Igor Stravinsky.

Count Basie, his band and singer Jimmy Rushing

Count Basie, his band and singer Jimmy Rushing

In the late 1930’s, people tried to ease their depression by dancing and ballrooms became the rage, so for a large room – one needs a large band. Ellington’s and Basie’s were two of the largest and Ella Fitzgerald’s voice resounded over the crowds with her upbeat skat singing.A “big band” usually had 10 musicians or more. Jazz, which was mostly for listening, developed slowly into the swing music for dancing. Louis Armstrong started in the ’20s to help this transition along. Count Basie’s band stressed improvisation and his “One O’Clock Jump” sold over a million copies; for the era – this was unheard of.

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

The best thing at the time for a teenager was to see a Big Band in person. In New York, it was a status symbol to be present at the Paramount [opened in 1926] seeing the Benny Goodman band strike out with “Let’s Dance.” Lines formed to get in and school rooms would be half empty for the priviledge. N.Y. and Chicago weren’t the only places to go. Lakeside Park in Dayton, Ohio saw Herbie Kaye, featuring Dorothy Lamour and Phil Harris had his singer, Leah Ray. Jimmy Dorsey brought Helen O’Connell and Alvino Rey had his electric guitar; the first amplified instrument for many.

Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman

Playing in a dance band was one way a student in college during the ’30s could help finance their education; some continued afterwards. The Blue Devils of Duke U. had Les Brown, an undergraduate to lead them. (Better known to many as Dean Martin’s house band on TV.) The Univ. of North Carolina produced Hal Kemp and later on, Kay Keyer’s student band. The music of Alton Glen Miller, out of Clarinda, Iowa, is still considered today as the anthem of this musical age, had put himself through two years at Columbia Univ. by playing in a student band. Though he never took a musical course, he later studied with Prof. Joseph Schillinger and “Moonlight Serenade” was born out of an arrangement exercise. When Ben Pollack hired him in 1925, the shy star and the ‘Miller Sound’ were born.

Glen Miller

Glen Miller

Whether listening to the radio broadcast from the Grand Terrace Cafe in Chicago, the “society” bands at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto or Mark Hopkins in San Fransico, the swing fad became more popular than rock is today. Saturday nights supplied listeners with “Your Hit Parade” reviewing the top ten smashes of the week, such as: “String of Pearls,” “Begin the Bequin,” and “Green Eyes.” Spike Jones had the kids moving to the beat and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” shook the rafters. The music and the bands entered the movie business and the jukebox became the best sound system when concerts weren’t available.

Ella Fitzgerald at Roseland Ballroom

Ella Fitzgerald at Roseland Ballroom

The Big Band Era basically ran from 1935 to 1946 (according to historians) and is a major part of cultural history in many countries. But, Shep Fields and his ‘Rippling Rhythm’ played the famous Roseland Ballroom in 1931 and Grosssinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel in ’33. By 1941, he removed the brass section, making it an all-reed group as ‘Fields and His New Music’, featuring Ken Curtis. Curtis was better known as one of the ‘Sons of the Pioneers,’ replacing Sinatra in the Dorsey band and for playing Festus Hagen on TV’s “Gunsmoke.”

Coming out of the ’30’s, the name Harry Haag James can not be avoided. Even as Warner Bros. made the movie “Young Man With a Horn,” based on the life of Bex Beiderbecke, James played the trumpet solos while Kirk Douglas mimed on the screen. The hot trumpeter became the most imaginative and sought after musician in modern history, but Lawrence Welk thought he was too loud for his band when James tried-out. By writing a novelty number called “Peckin'” he started a new dance craze. With WWII, his sentimental phase started and “You Made Me Love You” became his first hit record. The ever-famous closing song for so many bands, “Goodnight Sweetheart” was written by the British bandleader Ray Noble, and ironically, so was the tune “Cherokee” recorded by Count Basie and Charlie Barnett.

Peggy Gilbert 1930s

Peggy Gilbert 1930s

The female vocalists with the bands were called “canaries”, but unknown to many, there quite a few all-girl bands during this era as well. A prime example was ‘The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.’ They emerged out of the south with such popularity that they toured Europe after completing the U.S. route. Bandleader Peggy Gilbert continued playing into 1995 at the age of 90. Prairie View College in Texas started all-girl bands to make up for the shortage of men during the war years. The military, with the USO, featured female swing band tours to entertain the troops. The ‘Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band’ went to the Philippines, Korea and Japan.

Peggy at her 100th birthday, 2005

Peggy at her 100th birthday, 2005

In 1941, Stan Kenton came along, but so did WWII and a strike called in 1942 by the American Federation of Musicians. Les Brown suddenly became more popular with his creamy but lively style. Ballads emerged with lyrics and solo singers; music as a whole was moving on. In 1946, within just a few weeks, eight of the greatest swing bands broke up; Goodman and Dorsey included. A progressive hard-edged version of jazz took over with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the lead.

No one truly ever recorded the greatest arrangements of the age because the old microphones could not transmit sound with the complete amplitude and fidelity. Modern engineers have been able to rediscover some of the sounds that went into the mikes and transmitted on the master discs, but not onto the vinyl records for distribution.

Resources: “An Introduction to the Swing Era” and “The Swing Era” by Time-Life Records; All that Jazz.history; “When Swing Was King” by John R. Tumpak; “Swing Shift” by Sherrie Tucker; FSU World Music; Big Bands.com; youtube.com; Wikipedia.

Original written for Judy Hardy at Greatest Generation Lessons, this has been updated.

Who are your favorites?

Click on images to enlarge.

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Home Front Humor – navy

ajeep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Chris from Muscleheaded – his site is well-worth the visit!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rebecca Brandon – Anchorage, AK; US Army, Vietnam, 2nd Lt., nurse, 3rd Field Hospital

Warren Deppe – W.Salem, OR; US Navy, WWII, PTOWWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

George Fletcher – Victoria, CAN; RC Air Force & RAF, WWII, US Air Force, Lt. Colonel (Ret.)

Fred Glasser – Omaha, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th A/B

Keith Light – Sydney, AUS; Royal Marines (Ret. 28 years), WWII

Damocles Lopez – Pensecola, FL; Merchant Marine, WWII

Morganne McBeth – Fredericksburg, VA; US Army, Iraq, 82nd A/B

Margaret Napier – Manawautu, NZ; RNZ Air Force # W4911, WWII

Ernest ‘Ray’ Olson – Tracy, MN; US Navy, WWII

William Shaffer – Broomall, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 472nd Artillery

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