March 1944 (1)

Marauder Sgt. Gerald Silvey watches Sgt. Robert Passanisi repair the 60 ib. SCR 300 FM Transceiver

Marauder Sgt. Gerald Silvey watches Sgt. Robert Passanisi repair the 60 ib. SCR 300 FM Transceiver

5 March – in the CBI, the Chinese 22nd and 38th divisions captured Maingkwan in the Hukawng Valley in Burma.  On their left flank, the US troops of Merrill’s Marauders crossed the Tanai River and took Walaboum.  Despite a serious lack of food and enduring combat, including suicidal bayonet charges of the Japanese 18th Division, under Gen. Tanaka, the Allied casualties were light.

Chindit forces in north Burma launched Operation Thursday.  The 77th and 111th LRP (Long Range Patrol) Brigades, (~ 9000 men), along with their 1,300 mules were deployed by glider and transports by the recently formed American Air Commando, under Col. Phillip Cochrane.  Their mission was to establish landing strips for air supply and to cut the flow of enemy supplies and communication in the Mitkyina area.  More of the brigades would be flown in over the next 3 months.

Gen. Renya Matguchi’s plan of U-Go began in Central Burma with the 33rd, 15th and 31st divisions, with 7,000 of Bose’s Indian National Army in support.  Their goal was to halt any Allied offensive in that sector, enter India and cut off the Tiddim-Imphal Road; a major supply route.

Chindit operations map

Chindit operations map

On the 12th of March, the enemy reached Witok on the approach to Shenan Saddle.  The 17th Indian Div., under Lt.Gen. A.P. Scoones, became trapped by the Japanese 33rd Div. and the 28th Indian Div. was encircled by Matguchi’s 15th Div.  Mountbatten called in the American Hump and the RAF for assistance.  Other units of the 15th attacked “Broadway”, an Allied airfield in the Chindit area the following day.

As those Allied units fell back from the Japanese offensive, the troops in the Arakan made progress.  They recaptured Buthidawng and the enemy fortress at Razabil.

Chindits, 77th Division

Chindits, 77th Division

15-16 March – the second phase of U-Go started with the Japanese troops, east of Imphal, heading west to meet up with the other units coming up from the south.  Meanwhile, the enemy 33rd Div. began a 3-prong assault toward Kohima.  Chindit troops cut the Japanese supply railways on the 16th.

23-30 March – the 14th LRP Brigade landed at “Aberdeen” landing zone in support of the Chindits near Manhton.  On the 25th, MGen. Orde Wingate, leader of the Chindits and pioneers of Tactical innovations, was killed in an air crash over Burma.  MGen. W. Letaigne would succeed him.  By the 30th, the Chidit operations began to falter.  The 16th Brigade retreated from the Japanese 53 rd. defense at Indaw.

Click on images to enlarge.

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C.B.I.  Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charles Anderson – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Corps of Engineers

Roy Anderson – Cloquet, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 330th Troop Carrier Sq. (The Hump), C-47 pilot

John Burke – Shelley, ID; US Army, WWII, CBIimages-1

Brett Burney – Hamilton, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 403939, WWII, Africa & Burma

Llyod Diedrichsen – Scribner, NE; US Navy, WWII, CBI, Scouts & Raiders

Bruce Evans – Cold Lake, CAN; Vintage Wings of Canada pilot

Steven Harris – Huntsville, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 127th Engineers, 11th Airborne Division

Magdalena Leones – Lubuagan, PI; Philippine-American Army (USAFIP), WWII, PTO, Silver Star

Richard Reinhardt – Rochester, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 172nd Combat Engineers

Charles Smith – Winfield, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

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C.B.I. Roundup, 24 February 1944

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HELL, HIGH WATER
FAIL TO HALT BIG JOB
 

 It’s a little silly to tell United States Army Engineers that a job is impossible. It’s especially silly when they are building a road and under the command of a peripatetic old guy like Col. Lewis Pick. 

 Pick has white hair and didn’t develop his sturdy bottom sitting behind desks. He developed it travelling up and down the Ledo Road in a jeep, telling the boys with the hairy ears that they had to get so many miles done that day and damn the rain, the jungle, the mud, the mosquitoes, the mountains and the consequences. 

Lewis A. Pick

Lewis A. Pick

We are not trying to imply that Pick has gone forth like Lancelot in gilded armor, driving the lead bulldozer and challenging his boys to keep up. He probably couldn’t drive a bulldozer if he had to. What we are trying to say is that Pick is the guy who puts ants in everyone’s pants and delivered an engineering project that must equal in immensity and difficulty any that has ever been attempted by the United States Army. 

Pick doesn’t live in an ivory tower and neither do the boys whose muscles are actually building what is intended to be a new line of communication into China. These junior officers and men live along the road, on top of saw-tooth ridges, and are quite comfortable now. This, gentle readers, is the “dry” season. It only rains about four days out of five and the guys building the road only get wet on the outside. Later, when the monsoon opens, they’ll get wet from sweat and wet from rain and their clothes will never dry out, their shoes will mold, leeches will construct dugouts in their navels, mosquitoes will be as big as B-25’s, the mud will be the same only more so, but they’ll continue to build the road. 

US Corps of Engineers in the CBI.

US Corps of Engineers in the CBI.

 An officer will get an order from Pick to build five miles in 24 hours and he’ll say, “What does that damn fool think I am, a magician?” He’ll tell his sergeant, who will explain, “I’ve got four bulldozers. Two haven’t got clutches anymore. One is hitting on three cylinders. The other will be busy pushing stuck trucks that are never kept off this God-forsaken boulevard so we can build it.” 

They’ll gripe, curse, say it can’t be done, get their T/5 slips and build the five miles. They’ll never admit it was possible to build it. They’ll alibi that it was done because of some fortuitous circumstance beyond their control and say it can’t be done again. The truth is that it will be done again., and again, regardless of circumstances, and one day American trucks with Chinese and American drivers will be rumbling back up the Burma Road to China. 

When this road was started, the cynics went to work in earnest. It couldn’t be done, they said, and it did undoubtedly falter for a while. Then came reinforcements and Pick. The Americans, Chinese, Indians and assorted tribesmen have already pushed the road ahead at a faster pace than these same cynics ever believed possible. The road has been partially graveled, trucks move ahead, never stopping to permit construction to proceed unhampered. 

The first convoy down the Ledo Road, led by Gen. Pick.

The first convoy down the Ledo Road, led by Gen. Pick.

This road is not the Roosevelt Highway and 15-miles-per-hour speed limit signs make you shake your head and wonder how you can ever go that fast without telescoping your spine. It isn’t worth much for Sunday driving in your convertible coupe.  This road is a yellow scar torn through the lush, green jungle and a monument to officers and men who have imagination, who will take a chance, who are tough and who won’t be licked by the elements. 

[Under the outstanding command of General Pick, the Ledo Road was completed in only 2 ½ years.]

Click on images to enlarge.

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CBI Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Clarence Agress – Knoxville, TN; US Army WWII, CBI, 38th Evacuation Hospital, doctor

William Alloy – New Orleans, LA; US Army, Corps of Engineers (Ret. 38 yrs.)

Roy Anderson – Cloquet, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 330th Troop Carrieer Sq., C-47 pilot (The Hump)

Max Baker – Topeka, KS; US Army, WWII, PTO, Corps of Engineers bomb squad

Dominic Bonfanti – Ansonia, CT ; US Army, WWII, PTO, 277th Combat EngineersAmerican-Flag-Eagle2

Vincent Gonzalez – Camarillo, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 9th Combat Cargo Unit/10th AF

Roy Hardesty Jr. – Shelbville, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Alfred Kleeman – Brn: Stuttgart, GER; NY; US Army, WWII, CBI, 653rd Topographic Engineer Battalion, SSgt.

Hugh Purnel Jr. – Seattle, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 10th Air Force (The Hump)

Conrad Thompson – Youngstown, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Recon Photography, SSgt.

Joseph Williamson – Fort Mill, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Sgt. Major

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Los Negros – 29 February 1944 – Eye Witness Account !

Eye Witness Account of the landing at Los Negros Island, 29 February 1944

by: a Yank Magazine correspondent

The weather on 29 February 1944 was overcast with a low cloud ceiling that prevented most of the planned air strike. Only three B-24’s and nine B-25’s found the target. The naval bombardment was therefore extended for another 15 minutes.  Each APD lowered four LCPR’s (Landing Craft, Personnel, Ramped). Each LCPR carried its maximum load of 37 men, who boarded by climbing over the APDs’ sides and down cargo nets.  The unarmored LCPRs were still used because davits had not been strengthened to carry the heavier, armored LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel).

Officer in raincoat shakes hand of soldier wearing steel helmet and waterproof poncho while other similarly attired soldiers look on.

Admiralty Islands, 29 February 1944. General Douglas MacArthur decorates the first man ashore, 2nd Lieutenant Marvin J. Henshaw, with the Distinguished Service Cross.

The first wave landed without casualties at 08:17, but once the bombardment lifted the Japanese emerged from their dugouts and machine guns and shore batteries began firing. The landing craft, on returning, came under crossfire from enemy machine guns on both sides of the harbor. The fire became so heavy the second wave was forced to reverse course until the enemy fire was suppressed by destroyers. The third and fourth waves also came under fire.

As we neared the channel, the Navy men in the bow hollered to us to keep our heads down or we’d get them blown off. We crouched lower, swearing, and waited. It came with a crack; machine-gun fire over our heads. Our light landing craft shuddered as the Navy gunners hammered back and answered with the .30 calibers mounted on both sides of the barge. As we made the turn for the beach, something solid plugged into us.

“They got one of our guns or something,” one GI said. There was a splinter the size of a half dollar on the pack of the man in front of me. Up front a hole gaped in the middle of the landing ramp and there were no men where there had been four. Our barge headed back toward the destroyer that had carried us to the Admiralties. White splashes of water were plunging through the six-inch gap in the wooden gate. William Siebieda, of Wheeling, W. VA. ducked from his position at the starboard gun and slammed his hip against the hole to plug it. He was firing a tommy gun at the shore as fast as wounded soldiers could pass him loaded clips. The water sloshed around him, running down his legs and washing the blood of the wounded into a pink frappe.

Four of the twelve LCPRs had been damaged. Three were soon repaired, but they could not be risked further, for without them, the reconnaissance force could not be evacuated. Over the next four hours, the boats continued to make trips to the beach, but only when it was believed destroyers had suppressed enemy fire. Heavy rain made it safer by reducing visibility. The last destroyer was unloaded at 12:50. By this time, the navy had lost two men dead and three wounded.

Yank Magazine, March 1944

Yank Magazine, March 1944

For the moment it was safer ashore. The cavalrymen overran the airstrip. Sporadic opposition allowed them to set up the antiaircraft machine guns on the beach, unload supplies, and patrol inland. Two soldiers were killed and three wounded. At 16:00, General MacArthur and Admiral Kinkaid came ashore. The general inspected the position.  A lieutenant warned him a Japanese sniper had been killed in the vicinity just a few minutes before. “That’s the best thing to do with them,” the General replied.  He decided to stay, ordering Chase to hold his position until the follow-up force arrived, then returned to the Phoenix. Fechteler’s force departed at 17:29, the transports having unloaded and most of the bombardment force having exhausted its ammunition. Bush and Stockton remained to provide on-call naval fire support.

A Wikipedia story (condensed).

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Military Humor – (on envelopes going home) – 

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Farewell Salutes –

Clayton Alberton – Morristown, TN; US Army, WWII, Korea

David Barnes – Greerton, NZ; RNZ Navy # PJX415185, WWII, ETO  & CBI21_gun_salute

Cleveland Michaels – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII

Thomas Noojin – Roanoke, VA; US Army, Korea, 187th Regiment, (Ret. 20 years)

Robert Owensby – Springfield, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, 4th Marine Div., Purple Heart

Mildred Page – Huntington, WV; US Army WACS, WWII, TSgt.

Irving Sands – Bronx, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, CPL.

Sydney Schanberg – Clinton, MA; Vietnam correspondent (NY Times); “The Killing Fields”

Brian St.Germain – W.Warwick, RI; USMC, Iraq, KIA

Geoffrey Tallents – Kempsey, AUS; RA Air Force # 418901, 460 Squadron

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The Cumberland Clerk of Clark Field

axis-conquers-philippines-1

The Japanese overtake Clark Field in the Philippines.

Remember – despite us moving forward with the wartime information, fighting was still going on in the islands we’ve left behind and men trying to survive captivity.

The American Warrior

Confession: Part of the perils of conducting archival research far from home is that I get easily distracted. I’ll be plowing through piles of government documents looking for nuggets relevant to my next book, then I’ll stumble across an insanely cool story that I can’t help but to track down. This was the case this week while working at the MacArthur Memorial archives in search of material related to Paul “Pappy” Gunn. There I was, digging around in the collection when I came across a debriefing document related to a clerk named Corporal Joseph Boyland. So I love stories about unlikely folks who step up in moments of great turmoil and crisis to become bigger characters than their rank and role might lead you to believe. In Afghanistan in 2010, I met a quartermaster named Captain Andrew Alvord–who happened to be out commanding an air assault platoon composed of support troops like…

View original post 1,706 more words

February 1944 (3)

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The quick and massive defeats in the Marshall Islands brought alarm in Tokyo and a renewed rise in the rivalry between the Imperial Army and Navy.  Prime Minister Tojo used the loss of Truk as an excuse to oust Adm. Nagumo as Navy Chief of Staff and install the pliant Adm. Shigetaro Shimada.  He then fired Gen. Sugiyama as the Army Cmdr-in-Chief and took the position for himself.  He decided the Philippine Islands and Formosa would be the next “last line of defense.”

23 February – for Operation Forager in the Marianas, the islands of Saipan, Tinian, Rota and Guam were bombarded by the aircraft of RAdm. Mitschell’s Fast Carrier Task Force.  Saipan would be a vital necessity for the bombers who were to hit the Japanese mainland.

Admiralty islands location

Admiralty islands location

24-29 February – after eaves-dropping on Japanese radio traffic operating between their garrisons, it was confirmed that Los Negros Island, in the Admiralty island chain, was weakly defended.  Preparations for the landing were rushed to move in 4 days ahead of schedule; what MacArthur described as a “reconnaissance in force.”  The crew of the USS Phoenix were rounded up in Brisbane and given 2 hours to report.

The first wave of 4 LCPR’s (Landing Craft, Personnel, Ramped), with 37 men each went ashore without casualties.  But after the naval bombardment ceased, the enemy appeared and the scouts reported from the island, “Los Negros is lousy with Japs.”

The second wave in received so much crossfire from the dugout’s rifles, machine-guns and shore batteries that they were forced to change course until destroyer fire suppressed the enemy.

First wave in on Los Negros

First wave in on Los Negros

The third and fourth waves also came under fire as the amphibious landing proceeded.   MacArthur went ashore with the men and while disregarding his own safety, walked among the troops  congratulating the.   The fighting here would continue through March.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News –

Kwajalein Lagoon recoveries ____

http://www.stripes.com/military-life/military-history/diving-for-history-1.379190?utm_source=Stars+and+Stripes+Emails&utm_campaign=Military+History&utm_medium=email

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Norman Anderson – Tauranga, NZ; NZ Expeditionary Force # 33623, WWII

Charles Besser Jr. (100) – Sun City, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot (Ret.)

Edward Clee – Trenton, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWIIs-l1000

Robert Fenholt – Charles City, IA; US Navy, WWII, USS Libra (AKA-12)

William Hamilton – Rockhampton, AUS; RA Air Force

Ross Landesman – Plainview, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical Corps

John Mulholland – Cincinnati, OH; US Army, Korea, 187th Regiment

Jack Taylor – St Louis, MO; US Navy, WWII PTO, USS Enterprise

Frank Towers – VT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 120th/30th Infantry Division

Theodore Winters – Brule, NE; US Army, WWII, PTO, Americal Division (Ret. 29 years)

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First-Hand Account, Ebeye Island

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Action at the Pigpen

by: Lt.Col. S.L. A. Marshall

While on Ennylobegan Island, Kwajelein Atoll, Marshall Islands, Lt. Col. Albert Hartl, of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry, received orders that they were to attack Ebeye Island the following day, 2 February 1944

The mile-long 250-yard wide target island was battered throughout the day by naval gunfire and air strikes.  In the afternoon, Major Maynard Weaver reconnoitered it first from the deck of a destroyer and then from a naval observation plane.  He was over the island for 2 hours… Weaver noticed that there were heavy concrete structures and fire trenches still in good condition…

There was no sudden, sharp hail of bullets.  By squads and by little groups, they heard the warning zing-zing-zing overhead or saw something rip through the foliage above them…  Company C, when the men went to the earth, they could not see one another.  No man knew where the next man lay on his right or left.

Ebeye Iland being shelled, 1944

Ebeye Island being shelled, 1944

Along the lagoon, a half-squad advancing up the beach speeded ahead with no interruption and outdistanced the men on their right.  The other half became echeloned toward the rear as enemy machine-gun fire, came from a blockhouse… they went to the earth just inside the tree-line.  It was a fateful pause, for there the Japanese artillery found them.  These things contributed to the stretching of the line.

The tankers said they were taking orders only from the battalion commander.  The tanks remained in place while there was a hot argument.  During the debate, Privates Gerald Draughn and Edward Hodge, who were handling the bazooka, were ordered to move up to an advanced position and fire at a shelter beyond the blockhouse.  Draughn’s second [rocket] hit fair at the entrance.  He was ready to fire a third when he saw 2 Japs charging him.  He yelled, “Get ’em, Hodge!”

One BAR man, Pvt. James Gatlin, had carried on a one-man mop-up campaign during the 1st phase of fighting, working over every debris pile at close range with his weapon.  As the day wore on past noon, the fires still blazed about the island, but a strong wind from the east was whipping the smoke to the lagoon side.  They were through shooting for the day.

The 2nd Platoon advanced perhaps 125 yards when along the shoulder of the beach they saw a Jap caliber .50 air-cooled gun to the left.  The gun pointed in the direction of the morning landings…  The tank had passed on beyond the gun…  Sgt. Roger Horning crawled up to within about ten feet of the gun and fired one round from his M-1 into the magazine.  The gun blew up.

Kwajalein Atoll

Kwajalein Atoll

Some of the men covered him as he crawled up to the pit and looked in.  He was face-to-face with a live Jap who blinked at him.  It scared the living hell out of Horning.  He recoiled back into a shell hole while throwing a grenade.  It came back at him.  The grenade was a dud.

[Two BAR men finally took care of the enemy soldier, but this was the beginning of the spider holes on the island.]

That was the way it went.  The holes were everywhere.  Each one had to be searched from up close.  Every spot where a man might be hiding had to be stabbed out.

[After the 3rd Platoon moved up.]  Lt. Blue noticed the men had already started to hit and hole and then skip one.  The man ahead of him stepped across a palm frond patch and kept moving.  Blue yelled: “Godammit, what are you doing!  There may be a Jap in there.”  From underneath, a hand reached up reaching for a rifle.  Blue shot at the hand, hit the knuckles and it blew the man backwards.  Two more slugs went into him.

It was here that SSgt. Pete Deini noticed the men weren’t behaving right.  He could feel it.  He began talking and kept talking as he moved from group to group showing them how it [spider holes] had to be done.  Still, the spider holes confronted the left of the line.  Deini again led the way through them, working 4x harder as any other and talking the entire time.

[On Ennylobegan Island, Deini had accidentally shot a fellow soldier while handling a Japanese pistol.  He was told it was his job to make up for that loss in the unit.  They were to find out later that the Medical Corps was able to save him and he went on to continue fighting.]

Condensed from: Island Victory, published by The Infantry Journal.

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Military Humor – military-humor-please-tell-me-how-bad-your-day-was

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Farewell Salutes – 

Pegg Bailey London, ENG; British Women’s Army, WWII

Roscoe Brown – Riverdale, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Tuskegee Cmdr. 100th Fighter Sq/332nd Group

Edward DuBeck – Philadelphia, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO, D & A Co’s/1/24th MarinesBIABoNLCEAEPa7G (599x769)

Clark McIntire, Jr. – Portland, ME; US Navy, Cuban Missile Crisis, USS Saufley (DD-465)

Kenneth Miller – Ruskin, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th Reg/11th Airborne Division

John Moser – Whitefish Bay, WI; US Navy, WWII & Korea, Cmdr.

Ernesto Santoro Sr. – New Haven, CT; US Navy, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

Morris Turner – Aiken, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 8th AAC/ Korea, Lt.Col. (Ret. 26 years)

George Whalen – Hillsboro, IL; US Navy, WWII, Chief Metalsmith

Roldan Vigil – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

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Two Bloggers Tackle WWII – Book Reviews

"Surviving the Death Railway" by: Hilary Custance Green

“Surviving the Death Railway” by: Hilary Custance Green

About the book….

The ordeals of the POWs put to slave labour by their Japanese masters on the ‘Burma Railway’ have been well documented yet never cease to shock. It is impossible not to be horrified and moved by their stoic courage in the face of inhuman brutality, appalling hardship and ever-present death.

While Barry Custance Baker was enduring his 1000 days of captivity, his young wife Phyllis was attempting to correspond with him and the families of Barry’s unit. Fortunately these moving letters have been preserved and appear, edited by their daughter Hilary, in this book along with Barry’s graphic memoir written after the War.

Surviving the Death Railway’s combination of first-hand account, correspondence and comment provide a unique insight into the long nightmare experienced by those in the Far East and at home.

The result is a powerful and inspiring account of one of the most shameful chapters in the history of mankind which makes for compelling reading.

About the author, Hilary Custance Green…

Hilary Custance Green

Hilary Custance Green

Hilary Custance Green has BAs in Fine Arts (UEA) and Sculpture (St Martin’s School of Art) and spent twenty years sculpting. In 1993 she graduated with an Open University BSc in Psychology and spent fifteen years working in brain science, gaining a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Cambridge in 1999.
She has had three novels published and has spent six years researching this book. 
Born in Malaya in 1915, Barry Custance Baker married Phyllis, a fellow Cambridge graduate in 1939. Barry joined the Royal Corps of Signals and this book records his experiences as a POW. After gaining his freedom, they had three more children post-war. Barry stayed in the army until 1959, then took up teaching. Phyllis filled her life with voluntary work and the theatre.

Hilary Green’s blog can be located HERE!

"Pacific War" by: Matthew Wright

“Pacific War” by: Matthew Wright

In December 1941, Japan attacked the British Empire and the United States, turning the European war that had raged since 1939 into a global conflict. For a few desperate months during early 1942, the Kiwis faced a deep crisis. Australia had its own threat to face. Britain was stretched to the utmost against Germany, and the United States — with millions still unemployed — took time to turn its huge industry to war production.

Despite a heavy commitment to the European war, New Zealanders eventually fought the Japanese on land, sea and air, from Malaya to the Solomons and, finally, in Japanese home waters. Kiwis also contributed in many other ways, providing bases and recreation facilities for US forces, food for the whole campaign, even sending physicists to work on the atomic bomb project.
This was not easy. New Zealand had heavy commitments in North Africa and Europe. Even after the crisis of 1942 had passed, the country struggled to find the resources to keep air force, navy and army operating in the Pacific. New Zealand’s land component was finally withdrawn in 1944 after ongoing manpower issues reached crisis point — an issue that soon became entwined with Pacific politics and New Zealand’s role in the war. This book focuses on the army contribution and the politics that surrounded it; but we must not undervalue New Zealand’s ongoing and long-term air and naval campaigns in theatre. The navy, in particular, took a front-line role from the beginning of the Pacific struggle in December 1941 to the very last actions of the war in August 1945.

About the author..

Matthew J. Wright

Matthew J. Wright

I’m a New Zealand writer. My main interests are in the sciences – physics, particularly, though I’m deeply curious about a lot of stuff, especially the human condition. I have qualifications in writing, music and anthropology among other fields, and hold multiple post-graduate degrees in history. I’m also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society at University College, London. However, I don’t define myself as a historian and prefer not to be labelled as one.

I write a lot. I published my first short story in 1976 and since the early 1980s have worked professionally as a writer, historian, journalist, reviewer, and in media relations. My publications include more than 550 articles, academic papers, reviews and over 50 books on topics ranging from travel guides to biography, engineering, military and social history. I’ve been published principally by Penguin Random House.

Matthew Wright’s blog can be located Here!

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TWO OTHER BOOKS ON THE WAR WILL BE HIGHLIGHTED IN A FEW WEEKS.

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February 1944 (3)

person_macarthur17

The quick and massive defeats in the Marshall Islands brought alarm in Tokyo and a renewed rise in the rivalry between the Imperial Army and Navy.  Prime Minister Tojo used the loss of Truk as an excuse to oust Adm. Nagumo as Navy Chief of Staff and install the pliant Adm. Shigetaro Shimada.  He then fired Gen. Sugiyama as the Army Cmdr-in-Chief and took the position for himself.  He decided the Philippine Islands and Formosa would be the next “last line of defense.”

23 February – for Operation Forager in the Marianas, the islands of Saipan, Tinian, Rota and Guam were bombarded by the aircraft of RAdm. Mitschell’s Fast Carrier Task Force.  Saipan would be a vital necessity for the bombers who were to hit the Japanese mainland.

Admiralty islands location

Admiralty islands location

24-29 February – after eaves-dropping on Japanese radio traffic operating between their garrisons, it was confirmed that Los Negros Island, in the Admiralty island chain, was weakly defended.  Preparations for the landing were rushed to move in 4 days ahead of schedule; what MacArthur described as a “reconnaissance in force.”  The crew of the USS Phoenix were rounded up in Brisbane and given 2 hours to report.

The first wave of 4 LCPR’s (Landing Craft, Personnel, Ramped), with 37 men each went ashore without casualties.  But after the naval bombardment ceased, the enemy appeared and the scouts reported from the island, “Los Negros is lousy with Japs.”

The second wave in received so much crossfire from the dugout’s rifles, machine-guns and shore batteries that they were forced to change course until destroyer fire suppressed the enemy.

First wave in on Los Negros

First wave in on Los Negros

The third and fourth waves also came under fire as the amphibious landing proceeded.   MacArthur went ashore with the men and while disregarding his own safety, walked among the troops  congratulating the.   The fighting here would continue through March.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News –

Kwajalein Lagoon recoveries ____

http://www.stripes.com/military-life/military-history/diving-for-history-1.379190?utm_source=Stars+and+Stripes+Emails&utm_campaign=Military+History&utm_medium=email

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Norman Anderson – Tauranga, NZ; NZ Expeditionary Force # 33623, WWII

Charles Besser Jr. (100) – Sun City, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot (Ret.)

Edward Clee – Trenton, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWIIs-l1000

Robert Fenholt – Charles City, IA; US Navy, WWII, USS Libra (AKA-12)

William Hamilton – Rockhampton, AUS; RA Air Force

Ross Landesman – Plainview, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical Corps

John Mulholland – Cincinnati, OH; US Army, Korea, 187th Regiment

Jack Taylor – St Louis, MO; US Navy, WWII PTO, USS Enterprise

Frank Towers – VT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 120th/30th Infantry Division

Theodore Winters – Brule, NE; US Army, WWII, PTO, Americal Division (Ret. 29 years)

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Book Cover Introduction

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By fellow blogger: Jacqui Murray

I have to admit I do not usually publicize books, but our fellow bloggers are doing a wonderful job of keeping us in the loop with the war that should have taught this world a huge lesson.  Please read the preview of this book, due out in early August, and follow up later this week for two others!!  GP Cox

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“An unlikely team is America’s only chance

A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes in brawn, another brains, and the third is all geek. What no one realizes is this trio has a secret weapon: the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago.”
Here’s a longer one:
“The USS Hampton SSN 767 quietly floated unseen a hundred fifty-two feet below the ocean’s surface. Despite its deadly nuclear tipped arsenal of Trident missiles, its task for the past six months has been reconnaissance and surveillance. The biggest danger the crew faced was running out of olives for their pizza. That all changed one morning, four days before the end of the Hampton’s tour. Halfway through the Captain’s first morning coffee, every system on the submarine shut down. No navigation, no communication, and no defensive measures. Within minutes, the sub began a terrifying descent through the murky greys and blacks of the deep Atlantic and settled to the ocean floor five miles from Cuba and perilously close to the sub’s crush depth. When it missed its mandated contact, an emergency call went out to retired Navy intel officer, Zeke Rowe, top of his field before a botched mission left him physically crippled and psychologically shaken. Rowe quickly determined that the sub was the victim of a cybervirus secreted inside the sub’s top secret operating systems. What Rowe couldn’t figure out was who did it or how to stop it sinking every other submarine in the American fleet.
Kali Delamagente is a struggling over-the-hill grad student who entered a DARPA cybersecurity competition as a desperate last hope to fund a sophisticated artificial intelligence she called Otto. Though her presentation imploded, she caught the attention of two people: a terrorist intent on destroying America and a rapt Dr. Zeke Rowe. An anonymous blank check to finish her research is quickly followed by multiple break-ins to her lab, a hack of her computer, the disappearance of her three-legged dog, and finally the kidnapping of her only son.
By all measures, Rowe and Delamagente are an unlikely duo. Rowe believes in brawn and Delamagente brains. To save the America they both love, they find a middle ground, guided with the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago. ”
book info:
Title and author: To Hunt a Sub”  by: J. Murray
Release Date: August, 2016 by Structured Learning
Genre: Thriller
Preview: Available on Kindle Scout
Cover by: Paper and Sage Design
Author bio:
“Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Her debut novel, To Hunt a Sub, launches this summer. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.”

To find out more …. one of her blog sites can be located HERE  and another one HERE!!

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4th of July – 1940’s Style +

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A 1940’s CELEBRATION WRAPPED AROUND A 1776 WAR SONG

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!!

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Even children became involved.

HARK, hark the sound of war is heard,
And we must all attend;
Take up our arms and go with speed,
Our country to defend.

Our parent state has turned our foe,
Which fills our land with pain;
Her gallant ships, manned out for war,

Come thundering o’er the main.

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There’s Charleton, Howe and Douglas too,
And many thousand more,
May cross the sea, but all in vain,
Our rights we’ll ne’er give o’er.

Our pleasant homes they do invade,
Our property devour;
And all because we won’t submit
To their despotic power.

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Then let us go against our foe,
We’d better die than yield;
We and our sons are all undone,
If Britain wins the field.

Tories may dream of future joys,
But I am bold to say,
They’ll find themselves bound fast in chains,
If Britain wins the day.

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Husbands must leave their loving wives,
And sprightly youths attend,
Leave their sweethearts and risk their lives,
Their country to defend.

May they be heroes in the field,
Have heroes’ fame in store;
We pray the Lord to be their shield,
Where thundering cannons roar.

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Island of Broad Channel, NY - Smitty's hometown.

Island of Broad Channel, NY – Smitty’s hometown.

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Land and Flag that I love

Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance!!  Very Impressive!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZBTyTWOZCM

From Doc & CJ at I Married an Angel.

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The USN Topside Brass Band entertained the public in Port Louis, Mauritius with New Orleans rhythms.

From: Mike Sinnot

From: Mike Sinnot

i284284747_72578Please remember that fireworks can also spark PTSD reactions in some of the wounded troops.  Be considerate. Thank you. 

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FOURTH OF JULY HUMOR ? – 

maxine07

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FAREWELL SALUTES – 

Gerald Ackley – Kane, PA; US Army, WWII, 261 Infantry/65th Division, Sgt.

Thomas Bailey – Wilmington, DE; US Army, WWII, ETO, 65th Div. Chaplain

Willis McKinney – Morganton, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, piloteagle-flag

John Norkus Sr. – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO

Robert Poulin – New Bedford, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 10th Armored Division

Charles Robinson – Tulsa, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division

Paul Sandacz – Catonsville, MD; US Army, WWII, Engineer Corps

Wayne Twito – Bloomington, MN; USMC, WWII, Korea, pilot

Serina Vine – Berkley, CA; US Navy WAVE, WWII, radio intelligence

John Wilmott – Huntington, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, pilot/ US Coast Guard & Navy, Korea, Vietnam

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