Spearhead II

Bill Mauldin must have seen the same newspaper photo I put into the last post. His cartoons helped to keep moral high among the American G.I.s.

bill-mauldin-jeep

General MacArthur, seated in an old American Lincoln that started up with a bang and chugged like a Toonerville Trolley, and the rest of the 11th Airborne began their procession to Yokohama 15 miles away. The roadway was lined with Japanese troops and police who turned their backs in respect as the vehicles went by. My father, Smitty, said that this was expected to happen and was discussed in the lectures on Okinawa. The Japanese officers were at the scene to call the order of ‘about-face’ and to ensure a peaceful passing of the “conquerors.”

Yokohama

Yokohama

Each regiment was given an assigned area to cover. The 511th was given the Yokohama-Tokyo road; the 188th went from Atsugi to Fujishawa and the 187th held the perimeter of Atsugi airfield.

Each zone maintained both motorized and foot patrols. The Antitank Company was to care for the Allied POWs that continued to show up and the band would perform for the former prisoners. The 187th regimental command post was in the Japanese Naval School, but rumors had it another move was in the wind.

Japanese tunnel used for kamikazes - Atsugi

Japanese tunnel used for kamikazes – Atsugi

Generals Wainwright and Sir Arthur Percival, after being held in a POW camp in Mukden, Manchuria, were flown to Manila. MacArthur ordered them to Tokyo so they would be present at the surrender signings. They landed at Atsugi on 31 August.

tunnel found under Atsugi

tunnel found under Atsugi

It is well known how the First Calvary Division landed in their LSM crafts at Japan’s shores as they would invade a hostile beach – but – what they came upon was the 11th Airborne Division and their band playing “The Old Gray Mare She Ain’t What She Used To Be.” When they continued to march inland, they were faced with a sign that read: “Cavalrymen – Welcome to Yokohama – from the 11th Parachute Infantry.”

As you can see from the photo that newspaper pictures that sit in a scrapbook for 68 years do not always appear clearly, but I could not resist including this particular one, even though, the 11th A/B troopers were forced to eat some crow when the Calvary hoisted the United States Ensign and the band was forced to play the anthem.

Marines land in Japan

Marines land in Japan

From 31 August until 2 September, (3 Sept. in Japan), hundreds of Allied warships pulled into Tokyo Bay. Along with the Missouri, the South Dakota and the British battleship Duke of York were present.

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A FAREWELL SALUTE – Major Thomas C. Griffin (1916-2013), was a navigator for Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s raid on Japan. He and 80 other volunteers were told it was “extremely hazardous” and considered a suicide mission due to lacking enough fuel to reach a safe return. But, the 16 B-25 bombers took off from the USS Hornet 18 April 1942 to put their mission into action. Many of the men were captured, but Maj. Griffin successfully parachuted into China. This month, the four surviving veterans of the Raiders will meet for the last time and finally open their bottle of 1896 cognac, that Doolittle bought before his own death, for the men to toast the 80.

classicpins_2177_65513696

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Resources: Rakkasans and Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division, by E.M. Flanagan; Everett’s scrapbook; The Week newsmagazine; Bill Mauldin cartoons.

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Remember- you can click on a photo to enlarge and view more clearly. Thank you for reading, gpcox

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on April 5, 2013, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. I read these in reverse order, but managed to still follow the account. I’m way behind in my reading, hence the tardiness of getting to these.

    Thanks again for the general overview, and the interesting details supporting it.

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  2. Great stuff once again, gpcox!

    Bill Mauldin – I will miss him. He’s up there with Ernie Pyle and Joe Kubert as of late.

    One Kibei, who was MIS and accompanying the Army troops, reported they were ordered to take down some signs put up along MacArthur’s route from Atsugi that read something to the effect of “Courtesy US Marines”?

    And a salute, too, to Doolittle’s cognac. I hope it was delicious for these gallant survivors… I met his grandson four years ago at the Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale, CA.

    Keep up the meticulous work!

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  3. Terrific evidence of brave photo journalism.

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  4. I am continually fascinated by the details your excellent research digs up. What a tremendous addition to the general knowledge. Thank you for all your efforts.
    I’m looking forward to your next Guest Post at greatestgenerationlessons.wordpress.com

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  5. Your photos and posts are always so interesting. Glad to see a Mauldin cartoon – always looked for them as a child.
    Lillian

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  6. After concentrating for the last three years on the experiences of Far Eastern POWs, confined or trucked about and totally isolated from the world, I am finding it very comforting to read about the efforts of the liberating forces. It is also a reminder to look at the wider picture, when studying a particular set of events. Thank you.

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  7. PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR NOT MENTIONING THAT MY GUEST POST TO GREATEST GENERATION LESSONS WILL BE POSTED ON APRIL 9TH.

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  8. Pierre Lagacé

    A reblogué ceci sur Lest We Forget and commented:
    Always interesting bits of history from Pacificparatrooper

    Like

  9. Pierre Lagacé

    As always…

    Like

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