Smitty – Letter XIII

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Back in the states, people were still dancing to the tunes of The Dorsey Brothers, Count Basie and Artie Shaw.  They listened to the songs of Doris Day, the Andrew Sisters, Lena Horne and Rosemary Clooney.  But, some others weren’t so lucky, in the army there was always latrine duty, as depicted in the following letter from Smitty.

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Letter XIII                               Latrines                        Wednesday 9/5/44

Dear Mom,

Many are the times you have heard me refer to the latrines.  Never before had I any conception or realized the amount of genius and mathematical figuring that was necessary for the building of one of these casual looking comfort stations.

Yesterday I had the dubious honor of being selected, with four other disgruntled G.I.s, to labor on a detail whose sole aim and mission was the digging and building of a latrine.  It seems that in order to get a latrine built correctly there also has to be present a lieutenant and a hard to please sergeant.  Their presence is essential due to the fact that if they weren’t around, it would never get built, no less started and to supervise the completion and finesse details of the finer points necessary for sanitation and the comfort of the men.  You can most generally find these two worthy in some far off spot, away from all the work.

slit-trench

slit-trench

To begin with, a place is chosen suitable for a latrine, generally about a half mile from the nearest inhabitant and well hidden in the brush and woods.  This is done for the very simple reason that it affords the stricken G.I. a chance to brush up on his long forgotten tracking and compass reading lessons, also the hike involved tends to make up for the many he has missed.

You wait then while the Lt., in a very business-like manner, marks out the length and width desired.  When finished, he gives you a short speech on the importance of the detail and the time limit allotted, ending with: “Good digging fellows.  I know you can do it, as you are the picked men!”

You pick up your shovels and picks and gloomily get to work.  First, the picks are put into play loosening up the stubborn ground.  Then, the shovels get to work removing the loose dirt, making sure to pile it evenly around the hole.  This procedure is followed until finally you have now a hole six feet long by five feet in width with a depth ranging anywheres from six to eight feet.  Try as you may to dig less than six feet, the sergeant always has a ruler handy which he guards with his life.  One would think that a latrine hole that size would last forever, but as I found out, in the army — they don’t.

pit latrine

pit latrine

Next step is to lower into this hole oil drums whose both ends have been removed.  This end cutting process is something foreign to us as they had another detail doing that the day before.  I understand though that it is a highly skilled job in that keeping the ax blades from chipping is quite a problem.  These drums, once lowered and set side by side, draws to a close the crude laborious end of the job.

Boards, saws, hammers and nails now appear along with some overbearing would-be carpenters.  They proceed to build a coffin-like box which looks more like anything else but a box.  This affair, when finished, is fitted over the hole, covering completely the hole and part of the piles of loose dirt spread around the outer fringe.  This type of latrine box is called the settee type.  It is very comfortable to sit on if rough boarding isn’t employed.  When the box is completed to the satisfaction and sitting height comfort of all present, holes are then cut in the top.  These holes are oval in shape, but of different width and shapes.  The rear end of a G.I.’s anatomy, I’ve found, has many varied shapes and sizes.

The next thing to put in an appearance is the latrine blind and screen.  This is very simple, although at times men have leaned back into it and got tangled up in the canvas, bringing it where the blind should be.  While the blind is being put up on a long pipe, funnel-shaped at one end comes up and demands a lot of detailed attention.  The height of this pipe, when set, is a trial and tribulation to all and never satisfies all who use it.  This funneled affair is intended for what all funnels are.  The directing of a stream of water.

The Lt. and sergeant now come out of hiding, inspect it and proclaim it a job well done and worthy of their time and supervision, strutting off gaily chatting, leaving us to find our way alone, unguided and without a compass, back to our tents.  We, in the building of this latrine were fortunate in that we only had to erect it once and it was the correct position.  Generally, you dig three or four only to find out that it is out of line somehow with the next latrine a mile away.

Army field latrine

Army field latrine

Generals, colonels and majors all visit while you are at work.  Their presence is also needed for the fact that when they are around, you stand at attention and in that way get a moment’s rest.  The captain generally comes out to see how you are doing and always tells you to hurry it up as the boys back in camp are prancing around like young colts and doing weird dance steps all the while hoping that they can hold out until its completion.

When once finished and back in camp, you are kept busy giving the boys directions as to where it is and then have to listen to them gripe about the distance away from their tent the blame thing is.  It is, I have found out, a thankless detail and one I intend missing the next time there is one to be built.There are of course different types of latrines as the illustrations show, but most of those are for troops on the move.  Now, why they should say, ‘troops on the move’ I do not know, for certainly no matter whether in the latrines or on the way to it, you are most certainly moving.

Before any G.I. finds the latrine, the flies are already there.  No latrine is a latrine until after a family or two moves in.  They too are necessary in that without them as an annoying element, some men would never leave, others would fall asleep, while others would use it as an indefinite hiding place from some hike or detail.  Latrines are also necessary for rumors.  Until a good latrine is built, rumors around the camp lay dormant.  Many new and strange acquaintances are made and the souls of many a man have been saved while sitting in this sanctuary place of appeasement.

No place in the army gets the care and attention of a latrine.  Orderlies are assigned daily to see to its cleanliness.  Medical inspections are twice a week, while on Saturdays it has to stand a general inspection.  It is the haven of good-fellowship, conversations and a relief to all men in the end.

Hoping I have portrayed for you the army’s version of a rest station, I’ll close, as the flies in here are very annoying and the fellow standing and waiting for me to leave is going into a rage and walking up and down all the while eyeing me up and down as if to kill.

Ending this in a hasty departure and on the run, I am always,  Your son, Everett

Click on images to enlarge.

[Smitty’s illustrations will appear in the following post.]

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Weston Boyd – Leesburg, FL; US Army, WWII & Korea

Dante Bulli – Cherry, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-26 pilot, SAC Col. (ret. 32 yrs), Bronze Star

painting "Take a Trip With Me" by SFC Peter G. Varisano

painting “Take a Trip With Me” by SFC Peter G. Varisano

Arthur Cain – No.Hampton, NH; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Roy Countryman – Longview, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division, 1st Lt.

Thomas Feran Sr. – Cleveland, OH; US Navy, WWII

Betty (Garber) Follander – Clinton, MA; cadet nurse, WWII

William McCurdy – Harrisburg, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star

Seth McKee – McGehee, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, pilot, General (Ret.)

Patrick Stewart – Hawkes Bay, NZ; RNZ Navy # 7563, WWII, signalman

Clarence Young Jr. – Portland, OR; US Army, WWII, Africa & CBI, Engineers

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Floating Docks of WWII

SS Artisan (ABSD-1) w/ Antelope (1X-109) & LST-120 in the dock at Espiritu Santo, 8 January 1945

SS Artisan (ABSD-1) w/ Antelope (1X-109) & LST-120 in the dock at Espiritu Santo, 8 January 1945

The United States Navy, during World War 2, decided to create a temporary forward base utilizing service stations; these stations meant the United States Navy could operate throughout the huge Pacific Ocean for more sustained amounts of time.

Creating these pretty much meant they could have a major naval base within a short distance of any operation carried out in the area. The base was able to repair; resupply and refit, meaning fewer ships had to make the journey to a facility at a major port, which allowed them to remain in the Pacific for up to a year and beyond.

This was vitally important as if ships were damaged enough (either by storms in the area or damage from the enemy) they would usually have to travel thousands of miles to get to the United States naval base that could carry out essential repairs. The distance to the San Francisco base (the nearest United States naval base) was as far from their location as it would have been to sail from London, England to San Francisco.

USS Iowa in dry dock

USS Iowa in dry dock

These temporary bases provided ships with supplies, ranging from food, fuel, ordnance and other much-needed supplies. This meant that these stations were vital in terms of practical use to the United States Navy and their operations in the area.

These stations were officially named Advance Base Sectional Docks (ABSDs) and were put together section by section. Each part was welded to the next once in their correct position.

There were two different sizes of floating docks created, the largest ones were created using ten sections and could lift 10,000 tons each – being 80 feet wide and 256 feet long. Once these sections were welded together, it became a fully assembled dock that was a whopping 133 feet wide, 827 feet long and could lift up to 90,000 tons.

Looking at an LST from inside the ASDR

Looking at an LST from inside the ASDR

This was more than enough lifting power for any ship within the Fleet.

The smaller dock was put together using eight sections and could lift 8,000 tons each – being 101 feet wide and 204 feet long. Once the sections of the smaller dock were fitted together, it was capable of lifting a ship up to 120 feet wide, 725 feet long and 8,000 tons of weight.

The sections used in the creation of these docks were given the form of a rough hull; this allowed the sections to be towed in place at a speed of 6-8 knots. The walls were capable of folding down so that they had resistance to the wind while being towed and helped to lower their center of gravity.

ABSD-2 at Manus w/ USS Mississippi (BB-41), 12 October 1944

ABSD-2 at Manus w/ USS Mississippi (BB-41), 12 October 1944

Each dock had their own generator aboard (fueled by diesel) and quarters for the crew. Once fully assembled every dock had two cranes aboard, that could lift 15 tons; these ran on specially placed rails that sat on top of the dock walls.

Enough sections were made during the War that three large and four small docks were able to be assembled. The very first one was complete within 1943 (at Noumea) and a second was being fitted by the end of the year at Espiritu Santo. The total capacity of the dry docks in the Navy by the end of 1943 was 723,000 tons.

Idea for this post was suggested by Ian, the Aussie Emu.

Information retrieved from the War History on line.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Lawrence Apel – St. Louis, MO; US Army, ATO & PTO

Frank Bobb Jr. – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Gene Cernan – Chicago, IL; US Navy, pilot, Astronaut (2 Moon voyages)

Max Duncan – Forest City, NC; US Navy, WWII, USS Barb (SS-220), Capt. (Ret. 30 yrs.), Silver Starsalute

Robert Eaves – Boston, MA; US Army, WWII

Colin Gibbard – Wanganui, NZ; RNZ Army # 105345, WWII, 27th Machine-gun Battalion

Ernest Glass – Walpole, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, KIA

James King – Temperance, MI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Savo Island (CVE-78), machinist’s mate

Roderick McIntire – Kuluin, AUS; RA Air Force # 420241, WWII, navigator

William Mohr (108) – Hatboro, PA & Port St. Lucie, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 381st/45th Infantry Div., Sgt.

John Oblinger Jr. – North Bend, OH; US Army, West Point, 11th & 82nd Airborne, Major (Ret.)

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Smitty – Letter XII

The 11th Airborne Division, still in New Guinea  and continuing to specialize their training – little do they know that they are coming closer and closer to their time for combat.  Their commander, General Swing, awaits the word from General MacArthur.

Backpacking the good ol' fashion way

Backpacking the good ol’ fashion way

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Letter XII                                                       ?? Problems ??                                           0800 Sunday 9/3/44

Dear Mom,  We will start off first with “Webster’s” definition of the word — problem.  “A question for solution, and a proposition to be demonstrated.”  This is all very true, only in the army, although it is demonstrated, it never turns out in a satisfactory solution.

For some unknown reason, the hint of a problem soon-to-be gets around long before it is ever officially announced.  When once you hear about it, you begin to wonder just how you will get out of going and wonder if going on sick call will help.  The best thing is to try to get on some detail, but generally, the details floating around loose at that time are of such a nature that going on the problem is much easier.

No one likes or cares for problems including the officers and non-coms, except maybe a few who are bucking and hope to show their leader that they have tactical and sure-fire P.F.C. abilities.

No matter how easy or simple the problem, you always have to carry around a load of unnecessary equipment.  On the day set forth for the problem they put up a list of the stuff you are to take with you.  After an hour or two spent trying to get everything into the pack, just big enough to hold a pair of socks, a tent, poles, rain gear, poncho, insect repellent and your toilet articles, you are pretty well tired out and lie down for a few minutes rest.  You no sooner do that than the sergeant will come around with a revised list of equipment and again you unpack and re-pack.  This goes on through the day until finally in utter despair you pick up your duffel bag and carry that on your back.

Finally the whistle blows.  You hurriedly put on your pack, pick up your rifle and dash to fall in the formation forming outside.  After standing there for 30 or 40 minutes, you realize that all your rushing was in vain and that you have a chance to untangle yourself from the pack harness and straighten it out.  You no sooner start to do this than the order comes to pull out and get going.

While marching out, it suddenly dawns on you that a quick visit to the latrine would have helped, but is now impossible to get to.  After walking for two hours, your pack feels like a ton and your five-pound rifle now weighs twenty.  The heat is slowly getting you down and you begin to wonder, is it all worth it?  Soon the Lt. comes prancing alongside of you and walking just as easy as falling off a log.  He says a few words to you, such as, “Close it up.” “Keep in line” or “How you doing fella?” as he passes by.  You wonder how the devil he can keep it up, until you take a good look at his pack.  Many are the times when I wondered what would happen if I stuck a pin in it.  Wonderful things these basketball bladders.

When finally you arrive at the next to last stop, the Lt. calls his men around him and proceeds to try and tell them what this problem is about and what we are supposed to do.  We are all too tired to listen in the first place and in the second place — don’t give a damn.  All this time you watch the Lt. and soon you realize that he didn’t much care for the problem and is probably just as annoyed as you.

When you finally hit the place where the problem is, confusion takes over and the problem is started.  Orders are given and not carried out, cause generally the G.I. has been told before to do something else, so that by the time order is restored, all is in a worse shape than before.  The Lt. takes out a map to try and locate himself and is only to find that the map he has is the one relating to last week’s problem.  No matter, from then on, where the C.P. and assembly area were to be, now, wherever you are at that particular moment will become the C.P. and assembly area.  If the rest of the company was fortunate enough to locate the right place — the hell with them — let them find us.

You are then assigned to different spots and told to dig in.  Now, digging in calls for some thought.  If you just dig a slit trench, it doesn’t call for much work, but you can always be seen and so you can’t sleep.  But, if you dig a larger hole, called a foxhole, you can safely sleep away the night and also — the problem.  Myself?  I go for the foxhole on the slit trench side as it affords me the opportunity of sleeping in a horizontal position.

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Soon the whistle blows announcing the end of the problem.  You awaken to find that it is the next day and that once again you slept through the whole mess.  Questions are asked as to who or what side won, did the enemy get through and a thousand and one others.  Before leaving the place, you now have to shovel the dirt back into your hole, as leaving blank open holes around are dangerous to life and limb.  When that is completed, you put your backpack back on and trudge your weary way back.

Upon arriving back in camp, critiques are held and then you find out what you were supposed to have learnt while you were out there.  I have always been of the opinion that if critiques were held before going out, it would save us all a lot of trouble and also make going on the problem — unnecessary.  Once back in your tent, you unpack and think that now you will lie down and have a little nap, only to find out that the detail you tried to get on in order to miss the problem has materialized and that you are to get up and get on it.  Oh, weary bones, will they never have any rest?

Don’t give up, for after all, the war can’t last forever.  One thing you can always count on though, problems are the pride and joy of the army and will continue on being as long as there is an army.

Hope I’ve confused you as much as we are.  I’ll leave you as that damn detail has come up and so I’ll have to carry my weary body out and hope I last out the day.

Confused as all hell,    Everett

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But training goes on …..

New Guinea, training. Notice the date on the picture – 

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

John ‘Spike’ Adochio – Miltown, NJ; US Army, WWII

Nevin Biser Jr. – Columbia, SC; US Navy, WWII

Joseph Chadwell – Tullahoma, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 101st Airborne Division

Edward Elder – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, USS Seawolf, KIA

US Army division salute for outgoing & incoming troops

US Army division salute for outgoing & incoming troops

Alan Fewer – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force  # 413053, Squadron 485 & RAF 232, WWII

Bee Jay Garrison – Bethany, OK; US Army, WWII, PTO

Clare Hollingworth – ENG; Telegraph war correspondent, WWII, ETO

John McGrath – Calgary, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO, (Ret.)

Bruce O’Brien Sr. – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, SeaBee

Joseph ‘Pip’ Paolantonio – Wayne, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Cpl., 472 Glider Field Artillery/11th Airborne Division

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Friendship After Bombing Davao

Here is a close-up personal look at what occurred during one of the countless missions I mention.

IHRA

Two 63rd Squadron B-24 Snoopers took off from Owi Island on the night of September 4, 1944 to bomb Matina Airdome at Davao, Mindinao. One of the B-24s soon turned back due to radar failure. Captain Roland T. Fisher, pilot of the other B-24, “MISS LIBERTY,” continued on alone. Fisher had flown night missions with the Royal Air Force in 1941 and would soon be needing every ounce of skill he had acquired over the last few years.

Twenty-one years after this mission, Fisher recounted his experience: “I could see again the bright moon in the clear night sky and the green shadow of Cape San Agustin below. I had entered Davao Gulf by crossing from the Pacific over the peninsula into the head of the gulf and made nearly a straight-on approach over Samal Isle to Matina air strip. I remember thinking perhaps this would allow me to enter…

View original post 664 more words

September 1944 (1)

Bonin and Volcano Islands

Bonin and Volcano Islands

31 August → 2 September – US carrier aircraft started an intense 3-day bombing on the Bonin and Volcano Islands.  The Japanese suffered heavy losses of matérial.  A US Navy communiqué lists the enemy damages as : about 50 ground and airborne planes destroyed; around 15 ships sunk and damage to installations, hangers, ammo and fuel dumps.

 

1 September – the American submarine, Narwhal landed men on the eastern coast of Luzon in efforts to become logistics-ready for the Philippine invasion.

USS Narwhal

USS Narwhal

2 September – Wake Island, the most isolated post for the Japanese Empire, received bombardments from the Task Force of one aircraft carrier, 3 cruisers and 3 destroyers.  The island would not be invaded; it would remain in Japanese hands until the end of the war.  The main Allied advance was planned for the Philippine and Ryuku Island groups.

In China, the enemy-held airfield of Hengyang was bombed along with gun positions, and areas with apparent troops in the Changning areas.  A bridge at Yangtien was also damaged.

3 September – the Japanese ‘hell ship’ Shinyo Maru left Mindinao carrying 750 American prisoners.  She was torpedoed by the USS Paddle four days later, killing 668 of the POWs on board.

 
6 → 11 September – a massive naval force of 16 aircraft carriers, numerous cruisers and destroyers attacked Yap, Ulithi and the Palau Islands in the Carolines.  The 5th Fleet became the 3rd Fleet when the Battleship USS New Jersey arrived flying Adm. Halsey’s flag.  This started the air bombings of the Philippine Islands, Mainly Mindinao and Luzon.

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In the CBI, in China, railroad yards, troop occupied areas, and trucks were hit north of Lingling.  While 45 Allied aircraft attacked troops, warehouses shipping and communication targets in the Hukow area Pengtse areas.

8 → 11 September – Adm. Mitscher’s TF-38 hit industrial, naval and aviation positions around Mindinao.  The airfields at DelMonte, Valencia, Cagayan, Buayan and Davao were the targets.  On the first day of the attack, 60 enemy aircraft were destroyed.

12 September – Halsey signaled Admiral Nimitz after the attacks on Mindinao that it appeared enemy strength had been wiped out.  There was “no shipping left to sink” and “the enemy’s non-aggressive attitude was unbelievable and fantastic.”  He recommended that Leyte be the next invasion, but Nimitz refused to call off the pre-planned invasion of Peleliu. (Operation Stalemate).

 

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard G. Adams – Newbury, ENG; Royal Army Service, WWII, ETO, (beloved author)

Frederick Campbell – Bellingham, WA; USMC, WWII, Korea & Vietnam

John Carver Jr. – Preston, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Undersecretary of the DOI, Lt. 120507-m-0000c-005

Earl Cumpiano – Santa Barbara, CA; US Navy, WWII, fireman striker

Allen Farington – Montreal, CAN; RC Navy

Luther Kimbler – Louis City, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 411th Bomber Squadron, SSgt.

Donald McEvoy – N.Platte, NE; USMC, WWII

Edward O’Soro – Wakefield, MA; USMC, WWII, 1st Marine Division

Isadore Pette – Lakewood, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 675th Medical/11th Airborne Division

Scott Sherman – Fort Wayne, IN; US Navy, USS Eisenhower, A-7 pilot

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Smitty – Letter XI

Everett 'Smitty' Smith and the 187th Regiment

Everett ‘Smitty’ Smith and the 187th Regiment

This following letter from Smitty will show how much the G.I.’s of WWII and those of today have in common.  Human nature doesn’t seem to change very much in 68 years.

11th A/B patches

11th A/B patches

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Letter XI                                      Java at 2100                                Thursday 8/10/44

 

Dear Mom,  Java at 2100 is nothing more or less than a good old-fashioned gabfest or the same as women folk back home call a “Koffee Klotch.”

There are a few differences though that need a little explaining.  At home, the girls gather and talk, generally about the one who isn’t present; including in this conversation, her husband and his family, also hers and then down the line to her most distant relatives.  Also, they will gab for hours about the gossip of the neighborhood and of course add a little more to it.  At times, arguments amongst themselves will ensue and that ends the present meeting and the next few to come.

With us there are a few differences and variations, such as: we don’t care whether the person being talked about is present or not; although his absence is preferred and appreciated.  Of course we have our little gossip circles, but they mostly run toward the rumor side and therefore no one puts much stock in them.  Invariably we always talk of home, such as what we did before the President greeted us, also what we intend to do when we get back.  This home talk most always leads into a lively debate as to whose state, city or county is the best.  Arguing that topic is just like arguing religion; no one is ever impressed or convinced.

The officers are always good for a good 20 to 30 minute razing, with no one pulling their punches.  At times though you must be careful, as there might be someone present who is bucking like the devil and the talk will go back.  Never is there a good word said in the officers’ defense and I doubt if there ever will be.

Another colorful period is spent when someone brings up non-coms.  What is said at this time is unprintable.  Surprise to say that if I was visited by the seven plagues, I wouldn’t be as bad off as the non-coms, if even half the things wished upon him should ever befall him.  I sometimes wonder if ever in their own conceited way they know just how the private feels toward them.

At home, the girls are all gathered around strictly  talking, but here again we vary.  Some may be playing cards with every now and then some player adding his say, much to the consternation and anguish of the others.  Over in another corner are the die-hards who always listen for rumors and continue on talking about the latest one long after the others have dropped it.

All this time the water is being boiled outside in a large five gallon can.  Every now and then, someone will go out to see if it is time to add the coffee.  When once the coffee is added, there comes over the tent a lull and then everyone shuffles out to get his cup, which he will dip into the can of coffee before coming back in.  Conversation for a while is a combination of talk, loud sips and the blowing of the hot Java.  We manage also to provide milk and sugar and at times, crackers.  The last is generally present only around paydays.

coffeepouringani

I don’t know whether it is the effects of the hot coffee upon the vocal chords or not, but always right after the coffee, some would-be Crosby or Sinatra starts singing some old favorite and that is when music conquers over all.  They say music has its charms, but after listening to it here — I have my doubts.

Some nights the conversations are really good and so is the coffee, on those occasions, talking lasts after taps has blown and then you are sure to hear the mournful wail of the company charge of quarters meekly saying, “Aw fellas, put out the lights.”  Never has it happened that the request was heeded and I doubt if it ever will be.  It isn’t long after though that the first sergeant comes barging in bellowing, “Get those blankety-blank lights out and get the H–l to bed!”  Lights immediately go out and good-nights can be heard throughout the company area as Koffee Klotches all over break up.

Peace and quiet prevails until all one can hear is the not too soft patter of feet heading out to the place where, at some time or another, we all must frequent.  Bits of conversation can be heard drifting through the night, but generally isn’t worth listening to, as it is only the rumor mongers at work again in their office.

Before I close this chapter, allow me to say that the evening coffee, sugar and milk are all donated cheerfully by the fellow most unfortunate enough to have had K.P. the day before.

Having nothing more to gab about and also having to pay a visit down to the end of the company street, I’ll close before I have to make a run for it.

Gabbingly yours,  Everett  (The Donator of This Evening’s Coffee)

Click on images to enlarge.

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imagesiu502ww1To the Arkansas veterans who read and listen to this site… may I send you a Happy New Year wish and hearty Thank You for all you’ve done for us !!

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frank Ables – Kirkersville, OH, US Army, WWII

Joseph Charyk – Falmouth, MA; Under Sec. of the Air Force

W.L. Doerty – Gunnison, CO; US Air Force, Korea, pilot, POW &

Broad Channel veteran's  parade

Broad Channel veteran’s parade

Vietnam, Bronze Star

Fredene Frye – Greybull, WY; US Army WAC, WWII

Billy Hooks – Lake City, TN; USMC, Vietnam, Cpl.

Darlene Koering – Shellsburg – IA; US Women’s Marines, WWII

Troy Gilbert – Litchfield Park, AZ; US Air Force, Oper. Iraqi Freedom, Major, KIA

Charlie Laine – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII

Troy Gilbert – Nazzareno Tassone – Niagara, CAN; YPG, Syria

Floyd Passmore – Bedford, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C/503rd/11th Airborne Division

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The Other Guam Story – George Ray Tweed

From:  [article] Together We Served – [photos] Guam History Project

Most everyone knows or vaguely remembers Sgt. Yokoi finally surrendering in 1972, but another soldier was hiding on that island too…..

Lt. George Ray Tweed

Lt. George Ray Tweed

 

 Lieutenant George Ray Tweed, U.S. Navy

After the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, Japanese forces soon overran Guam Island in the Pacific. Tweed, then serving as a Navy chief radioman with several other U.S. personal slipped into the jungle rather than surrender. He became the only survivor after the others were captured and killed. He managed to elude Japanese soldiers for two years seven months, providing information to American forces that recaptured Guam Island in July 1944. His survival effort is considered one of the greatest feats in war history to date. For his contributions to the Pacific War victory, he was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal, Silver Star Medal and a Presidential Citation. He retired from the Navy as a Lieutenant. His story was told in the best selling 1945 book, ”Robinson Crusoe USN” and in the Universal Studios 1962 movie, ”No Man is an Island,” starring Jeffrey Hunter as George Tweed.

Cause of death, an automobile accident at Crescent City, Del Norte County, northern California.

Tweed's cave

Tweed’s cave

Other Comments:

Legion of Merit with Combat ‘V’ 
Awarded for actions during World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” to Radio Electrician George Ray Tweed, United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States while isolated on Guam following the seizure of that island by enemy Japanese forces on 10 December 1941, until rescued by an American Destroyer during the bombardment by our surface and aerial forces on 10 July 1944. Courageous and resourceful under relentless stalking by the Japanese, Radio Electrician Tweed succeeded in escaping capture and, with the aid of friendly and loyal natives managed not only to subsist during this prolonged, grueling period but to obtain much valuable information concerning the Japanese occupation of the Island. Ingeniously attracting the attention of an American Destroyer operating two miles off shore on 10 July, he subsequently signaled messages by semaphore, revealing information of an undamaged hostile battery of six-inch guns concealed at Point Adelup. After being rescued by our warship, Radio Electrician Tweed turned over a detailed log on enemy movements, troop concentrations, the results of our bombardment on hostile objectives beginning 11 June, and Japanese preparations to repel an amphibious landing, thereby making a vital contribution to the recapture of this strategic American possession.Radio Electrician Tweed is authorized to wear the Combat “V”.

Action Date:  
December 10, 1941 – July 10, 1944
Service:  Navy
Rank:  Radio Electrician
Guam under Japanese rule.

Guam under Japanese rule.

Check out this short description of Tweed’s 3 years in hiding….

The idea for using the video was from John Howell.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Marco Alleruzzo – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, ball turret gunner

Kenneth Cringle – Kingfisher, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 nose gunnerimages-1

William Gannon – Westernport, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Lt.Col.

Harvey Hansen – Fryeburg, ME; US Army, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 154th Infantry Regiment

Miriam Jacques – brn: Tel Aviv, ISR; W.British Army, WWII, ETO

Jack Meehan – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 426895, WWII, 75th Squadron

Lewis Miner – Salt Lake City, UT; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Eddie Ott – Clarksville, TN; USMC, Vietnam, Cpl.

Jock Moffat – Swinton, UK; Royal Navy, WWII, ETO, Lt. Cmdr., HMS Ark Royal

Dee Simpson – Alamogordo, NM; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Brownson, gunner’s mate

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August 1944 (2)

Left: RM1c George Ray Tweed Right: Sergeant Soichi Yokoi

(Left) RM1c George Ray Tweed, (Right) Sergeant Soichi Yokoi

10 → 16 August – on Guam, when the resistance finally collapsed, only isolated pockets of Japanese soldiers would remain.  It was estimated that approximately 7,500 were at large.  Mopping up would go into 1945 to flush the enemy out.  The last enemy soldier finally surrendered 24 January 1972, Sgt. Soichi Yokoi.

A Japanese female nurse named, Shizuko was the sole survivor of the “Valley of Death.”  Wounded from her attempt at suicide, she was being taken care of by a US officer who told her not to move, he said, “We believe in humanity even in war.”  She didn’t believe him.  She said, “Everybody knows the Americans are devils, they tear prisoners apart with tanks.”  She added that she feared Americans, “…especially the black ones.”  The officer started laughing and told the nurse, “It was the Negroes that saved you!”

On Noemfoor Island, pointing to the enemy withdrawal.

On Noemfoor Island, pointing to the enemy withdrawal.

17-20 August – off New Guinea, the resistance on Biak and Noemfoor Islands was crushed as 2,000 paratroopers of the 503rd jumped and the land forces of the 158th RCT overtook the airfields.  Operation Cyclone was a success.

22-24 August – activity around the Philippines picked up with US torpedoes taking 3 Japanese frigates.  The USS Haddo was busy and even was able to claim the sinking of the IJN destroyer Asakaze.  On the 24th, the enemy retaliated by sinking the USS Harder off the Luzon coast with depth charges.

27 August – In northern Burma, the Chindits were evacuated after months of exhausting operations.  The last Chindit to leave was on this date.  The 10th and 14th air forces in the CBI continued bombing all points of opportunity in Burma and China, while the 7th Air Force off of Saipan continued to hit Iwo Jima.

T/5 Robert Kingston, Maj. Robert E. Pennington, Lt. E. Boyd (seated) and T/5 Joseph H. Hill operating on Chinese soldier on Salween Front.

T/5 Robert Kingston, Maj. Robert E. Pennington, Lt. E. Boyd (seated) and T/5 Joseph H. Hill operating on Chinese soldier on Salween Front. (photo from CBI Roundup)

In a radio broadcast by Pres. Roosevelt, he made clear the final decision that troops would be attacking the Philippine Islands and not Formosa.  Now the Japanese were also aware.  It was seen by White House observers that FDR had timed the invasion to make headlines for the end of his re-election campaign.

Operation Vogelkop

Operation Vogelkop

The 6th Infantry Division was slated to spearhead the operation in the Sansapor, W. Papua landing.  The 31st Infantry Div. was sent to Maffin Bay.  From mid-July till the end of August, the area was aggressively patrolled.  The landing used information from the 5th Air Force terrain experts and hydrographic equipment.

With the capture of the Marianas, Nimitz’s forces would head to the West Caroline Islands.  This operation encompassed nearly 800 vessels.

We must also give note of the PT boat service given on the coasts of New Guinea, harassing enemy barge traffic and preventing the enemy from putting reinforcements ashore.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Cary – Viking, AB, CAN; RC Navy, WWII

John Cloe – Anchorage, AK; US Army, Vietnam (Ret. 29 yrs.), WWII Alaska historian

Anthony Etrio – Fairfield, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div., Purple Heart

Gettysburg

Gettysburg

Angus ‘Jay’ Jameson – Carrollton, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Bernard Ginn Que Jee – New Orleans, LA; US Army, Korea, Cpl.

Joseph Hillman Jr. – Rock Run, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII / US AF, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret.)

Edward Lewis – Green River, WY; US Army, WWII

Gabriel Sanchez – Lincoln, NM; US Army, WWII, ETO

Joel D. Sollender – NYC, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW, 87th Inf. Div., Purple Heart

Henry Valdivia Jr. – Phoenix, AZ; US Navy, WWII

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August 1944 (1)

Cowra POW Camp, Sydney, Australia

Cowra POW Camp, Sydney, Australia

1 August – it was announced that the Japanese resistance on Tinian had ceased.  This came after costing the enemy 9,000 troops in its defense.  This island would provide the Allies with an air base for long-range bombings in Japan.

On Guam, the US troops, in the midst of heavy combat, occupied Utano, Pado, Pulan and Matte.  The aircraft bombings preceded them in the north to ease the men’s advance.  This fighting had resulted in 1,022 KIA and 4,926 WIA.  By the following day, half of the island was in US hands.

Myitkyina, Burma, mid-1944

Myitkyina, Burma, mid-1944

1-3 August – while the Nationalist Chinese territory was being reduced by the enemy in China, the Burma results were quite the opposite.  After an 11-week blockade, the Japanese withdrew from Myitkyina and the US/Chinese troops moved in to occupy it.  The Japanese commanding general of the 14th Army committed suicide as the surviving enemy soldiers retreated toward Mandalay.

This development shortened the Hump route into China and the supplies being air-lifted doubled.  Generals Wingate and Stilwell viewed this as vindication for their-range penetration operations. [Between 26 May and 1 August 1944, the US 14th Air Force had carried out 4,454 missions in support of the Chinese forces in central China.]

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Bonin and Volcano Islands’ locale

From the INCPAC communiqué No. 106 –

“Air and surface units of a fast carrier task force on 3 August (West longitude dates), virtually wiped out a Japanese convoy and raided airfield, towns and ground installations in the Bonin and Volcano Island groups.  Our planes sank 4 cargo ships of approximately 4,000 tons each, 3 escorting destroyers or escort destroyers and 4 barges.  Our surface vessels sank one large destroyer, one cargo ship, one small oiler and several barges.  One damaged vessel escaped.

“4 August our forces continued the sweep.  In the attack on ground installations, our surface craft shelled shipping and shore facilities at Chichi lima.  Omura Town on Chichi Jima was destroyed.  At Iwo Jima, 6 airborne enemy planes were shot down and 6 others were destroyed and 5 others damaged on the ground.  We lost 16 planes and 19 flight personnel to enemy antiaircraft fire.”

newspaper

5 August – Japanese POWs attempted a massive break-out from Cowra POW Camp in Sydney, Australia.  About 334 escaped and 3 Australian guards were killed.  Machine-gun fire killed 234 inmates and injured 108 others.

8 August – a US submarine sank the enemy escort carrier IJN Oraka off the coast of Luzon.  The USS Seawolf landed men on Palawan, P.I.

9-10 August – Japanese General Obata radioed Tokyo from Guam: “THE HOLDING OF GUAM HAS BECOME HOPELESS.  I WILL ENGAGE THE ENEMY IN THE LAST BATTLE TOMORROW.”  The following day, he committed suicide.

The RNZAF, despite political misunderstandings and red tape between governments, continued to be involved in the Pacific theater that was quite disproportionate to the nation’s size.  At this point in the war, they had 7 squadrons on garrison duty in the Pacific while also supporting the European theater.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Soldiers and Officers from 16 Air Assault Brigade, build snow men during their Naafi break.

Soldiers and Officers from 16 Air Assault Brigade, build snow men during their Naafi break.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas H. Armstrong – Pittsburgh, PA; UA Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div., Purple Heart, Bronze Star

Betty DeAngelo – Garza, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, teletype operator

William Foreman – Ashland, OH; US Navy, WWII. UDT (Underwater Demolition Team)06062012_AP120606024194-600

Robert Hecht Sr. Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII & Korea, Lt.Commander

Kenneth Holmes – Invercargill, NZ; Green Howards # 14217181, WWII, POW # 142987

Lucas M. Lowe – Hardin, TX; US National Guard, aircraft maintenance

Wayne Minard – Furley, KS; US Army, Korea, Co. C/1st/9th/2nd Infantry Div., Cpl

Dustin L. Morteson – League City, TX; US National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer

Lee Thompson – Des Moines, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Paul Walter – Redstone, CO; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Colonel (Ret.)

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Soldiers’s Stories & Kiwi Air Power

Soldier's Stories

Soldier’s Stories

One day I happened across a blog written by Myra Miller and I stopped in for a visit.  Ms. Miller and her family were compiling stories from WWII to be published soon.  I was invited to submit one of Smitty’s letters – and I most certainly took her up on her offer!

Myra Miller PhD.

Myra Miller PhD.

Smitty’s Letter X, Jungle Juice was accepted and now, appears on pages 286-288.  I received my copy right before Christmas!  The timing could not have been better.

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The volume: Soldiers stories: A Collection of WWII Memoirs is out on the stands!  This 317 page historical collection honors our Greatest Generation veterans, both male and female soldiers, from theaters of operations around the world.  They will grab and transport you into the past and once you are there – you witness the tears, the laughs, the success and the failures which created a complete transformation of this world of ours.

The design is by Myra Miller and the illustrations by Ken Miller which make up a handsome edition to anyone’s library.  My copy is a welcomed addition to mine.

If you wish a copy for yourself, please visit Myra’s site HERE!  It is also available through Barnes and Noble.

Click on images to enlarge.

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wright-kiwi-air-power-200-px

Also, I downloaded a copy of Matthew Wright’s Kiwi Air Power, that he was graciously offering to us free of charge [and will be doing so again in the future] and can be found on Amazon.  You can also download a copy from Matthew Wright’s blog by clicking on the book cover, located HERE!

Matthew Wright, author

Matthew Wright, author

Right up front, Mr. Wright informs the reader that he will show the how and the why of the New Zealand’s Air Force.  The rather rough start, their combat and now, their continuation – rather than the what.

Mr. Wright’s writing expertise together with personal remarks from the men themselves, you can visualize all they supplied in men and machines to support England in the war, some airmen serving with the RAF, and on into the Cold War.  You read about the political struggles and strength of will that prevailed.

I am enjoying my copy very much and suggest anyone interested in history – quick – get a copy for yourself!

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Holiday Humor – fb_img_1482158893635

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Anderson – Jones County, GA; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Sr. Chief (Ret.)

Robert Caplan – Knoxville, TN; US Navy, WWII

The Big Picture...

The Big Picture…

Thomas Corbett – Dorchester, MA; USMC, WWII, USS Bennington

Kenneth Fransen – Sun City, AZ; US Army, Korea

Thelburn Knepp – Peoria, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 89th Infantry Division

Bruce Linzy – Gay, FL; US Army, Company C/1st Batt./87th RCT

John Murray – Bronx, NY; US Air Force

Julian Parrish – San Diego, CA; USMC, Vietnam, 1st Force Recon, Colonel

Robert Thamm – NY & FL, US Navy

Don Witherspoon – Lamar, SC; US Army, Korea, 9th Reg./2nd Infantry Division, Silver Star

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