Monthly Archives: June 2013

Mainland Attacks – West Coast

Ellwood Field, California

Ellwood Field, California

On the west coast of Canada and the United States during 1941 and 1942, more that 10 Japanese submarines operated in the area attacking ships and successfully sunk ten vessels; including the Russian Navy submarine L-16 on 11 October 1942.  Some of these were in direct sight of California.  The forgotten war of Alaska will be covered by itself in future posts.

 

23 February 1942, the Japanese submarine I-17 attacked the Ellwood Oil Field west of Goleta, California and they hit a pump-house, a catwalk and an oil well.  The captain, Nishino Kozo, radioed back to Tokyo that he left Santa Barbara in flames.  This event is what led the invasion scare on the west coast.  A 70th anniversary of “Avenge Ellwood” was held there last year.

 

7 June 1942, off the coast of Washington, the American merchant vessel SS Coast Trader was torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-26.  The ship carried a crew of 101 officers and men; 56 men were eventually saved by the fishing vessel Virginia 1 and the Canadian corvette HMCS Edmunston (K-106).

 

Estevan Point, British Columbia

Estevan Point, British Columbia

20 June 1942, Japanese submarine I-26 fired 25-30 rounds at the Estevan Point lighthouse on Vancouver Island in British Columbia – but missed.  This was the first enemy shelling of Canadian soil since the War of 1812.  There were no casualties, but shipping was severely disrupted when the lights of the outer stations were turned off.

 

Capt. Tagami Meiji

Capt. Tagami Meiji

21-22 June 1942, Japanese submarine I-25 under the command of Tagami Meiji, surfaced near Oregon and fired at Fort Stevens; the only attack of a military installation on the American mainland.  The only damage was to the baseball field’s backstop and telephone lines.  Gunners were refused permission to return fire.  A U.S. bomber out on a training exercise spotted the sub and did fire on it, but the sub escaped.

 

pilot Nobuo Fujita and his "Glen"

pilot Nobuo Fujita and his “Glen”

9 September 1942, Mount Emily in Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest, near Brookings, received the only aerial bombing on American soil by the enemy.  The Japanese Yokosuka E14Y1 “Glen” seaplane dropped two 180 pound incendiary bombs in an attempt to start a forest fire.  The pilot, 31, Nobuo Fujita, had taken off from the Japanese vessel I-25.  He repeated his attempt on the 29th, but again, no official damage was reported after the flames were quickly extinguished.

 

Mitchell Monument

Mitchell Monument


Approximately 9,000 Japanese balloon bombs were launched by the Japanese Navy from November 1944 and April 1945.  About 300 were reported to have reached America.  One incident caused the deaths of 5 children and one woman in Oregon.  A stone monument (Mitchell Monument) was raised at the site.  This subject is further covered in a previous post https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/?s=balloon+bomb

Canadian military reports indicate that the balloons reached as far inland as Manitoba.  A fire at Tillamook Burn was believed caused by a balloon and resulted in the death of a member of the 555 Parachute Infantry Battalion; there were 22 other injuries.

 

Reports, other than these mentioned, have been classified as false alarms.

 

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Farewell Salute – 

 

Ralph F. DeVito – Tequesta, FL; US Coast Guard, WWII

Dr. Joseph Pollak Jr. – native of Duquense, PA; USMC

Joseph Alper – Haverhill, MA & Boynton Beach, FL; USMC WWII Battle of Okinawa, 2 Purple Hearts; Korean War 1 Purple Heart

Linda T. Mullen – W. Palm Beach; American Red Cross, Emergency Service Case Worker for military families

Roger Kenneth Stockton D.D.S. – born in Chicago, IL; captain US Army WWII, South Pacific

Joseph Samuel Tarascio – Stuart, FL; US Navy, WWII

 

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Did you know?

Methamphetamine, or “crystal Meth,” was first mass-produced by a Berlin pharmaceutical maker in 1938 and adopted by the Third Reich’s military as a “miracle drug” to keep weary soldiers and pilots awake.  Millions of tablets were distributed to German soldiers, many of whom became addicted and debilitated – causing the Reich even further problems.

 

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Resources:  historylink.org; Wikipedia; evbdn.eventbrite.com ; Palm Beach Post; The Week magazine

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Kamikaze

USS Reno fighting the fires on the USS Princeton

USS Reno fighting the fires on the USS Princeton

1 February 1942 is the earliest mention of a Kamikaze attack, but it was more likely an opportunist rather than a planned event. The USS Enterprise was damaged by the crashed plane. Admiral Takijiro Onishi did not create the Special Attacks Groups (Tokubetsu Kogeki Tai) until 19 October 1944, and gave them the title of Kamikaze after the ‘Divine Wind’ that scattered the Mongol invasion of Kublai Khan in 1274 and 1281.

Adm. Takijiro Onishi

Adm. Takijiro Onishi

These men volunteered mainly out of a sense of duty, generally university students, in their 20’s, being taught to “transcend life and death… which will enable you to concentrate your attention on eradicating the enemy with unwavering determination…” — an excerpt from the Kamikaze manual kept in their cockpit. Three times as many men volunteered as the number of planes available and experienced pilots were rejected. They would prepare for their fate by writing letters and poems to their loved ones. Each pilot received a “thousand-stitch sash” which was a cloth belt that 1,000 women had sewn one stitch as a symbolic union with the Kamikaze. A ceremony would be held and a last drink to give him a “spiritual lifting” and the toast – “Tennoheika Banzai!” (Long live the Emperor!) before take-off would seal his destiny.

Kamikaze receiving his sortie orders

Kamikaze receiving his sortie orders

Their initial mission was to attack the Allied shipping around the Philippines. 21 October 1944, the flagship of the Royal Australian Navy, the cruiser HMAS Australia was hit by a Kamikaze carrying a 441 pound bomb – it did not explode – but it killed 30 crew members. Four days later, the ship was hit again and forced to leave for repairs.

Shinbu kamikaze, 1945

Shinbu kamikaze, 1945

During the Battle of Leyte Gulf, antiaircraft fire was unable to stop a bomber from getting in and the 1000 lb. bomb went through the flight deck of the USS Princeton. 25 October, Lt. Yukio Seki led five Zeros, with bombs on their wings, to fly below radar aimed at Admiral Sprague’s fleet. Two of the planes were shot down by the gunners on the Fanshaw Bay.

Kamikaze commander, Lt. Yukio Seki (why the life preserver?)

Kamikaze commander, Lt. Yukio Seki (why the life preserver?)

During the following months, over 2,000 planes were used in attacks and other suicide equipment was added. The Kaiten, a manned torpedo with a 3,000 lb. warhead; Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka “Cherry Blossom” rocket bombs, bakas – flying bombs and the Shinyo, which was a one-man exploding motorboat.

At Iwo Jima and Okinawa during February through May 1945, the Kamikaze wrecked havoc with the Allies and sailors did not take long to nickname them “devil divers.” Such prestigious names as USS Saratoga, Enterprise, Franklin, Bismark Sea and Hancock were hit. The destroyer, Laffey was bombarded by 20 aircraft at once.

US07Kamikaze.001

The idea of the Special Attack Groups was not a widely accepted concept back home in Japan. Just as parents in the Allied countries, they prayed their sons would return when the war ended – being a Kamikaze eliminated that hope and on 17 July, being a part of these units was no longer voluntary.

The nickname “Zero” was basically the term for every Japanese fighter, but the Kamikaze’s “flying coffin” was the Mitsubishi A6M2. It had a maximum speed of 332 mph and a range of 1,930 miles. It had a wingspan of 39 feet and was 29′ 9″ long and then modified to accommodate a heavier payload. Several thousand of these had been put in reserve in anticipation of an invasion on the Japanese mainland, which never happened.

On the eve of the Japanese surrender, Takijiro Onishi ended his own life. He left a note of apology to his dead pilots – their sacrifice had been in vain.

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Farewell Salutes –

Crissie Glendinning – born in Monticello, GA; US Marine Corps Women’s Reserves, WWII

Joseph B. Love Sr.. – Ellenwood, GA; US Army Air Corps, B-17 flight engineer, WWII

Jerome Martin Bronfman, DDS – W. Orange, NJ & Boca Raton, FL; US Army 1942-44, WWII and 1951-53 Captain in the Dental Corps, Korean War

Joseph Samuel Tarascio – Stuart, FL; US Navy, WWII

James Joseph Heaney – Salt Lake City, Utah; US Army Military Intelligence Specialist

Michael George Malinowski – Boynton Beach, Florida; Vietnam War ( gpcox met him many times)

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New Zealand Coast Watchers – update

After publishing my coast watcher’s post, I located this information – The 17 New Zealand coast watchers beheaded by the Japanese on 15 October 1942 were first located by a priest who found their bones in one grave and skulls in another; he re-buried them. The American organization, History Flight, assisted New Zealand in relocating the gravesite. Seventy years after their tragic deaths, a memorial service was held and the last surviving coast watcher, Jack Jones, placed the first wreath on his friend’s memorial in tribute to their sacrifice.

Jack Jones pays tribute

Jack Jones pays tribute

The first wreath

The first wreath

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resources: US history.org; “The Pacific War” by John Costello; “The Pacific War: Dad by Day” by John Davison; Wikipedia; the Palm Beach Post

Coastal Watchers

GuadCoastalwatchers

GuadCoastalwatchers

Coastal watchers, with their work in remote areas and behind enemy lines, tend to bridge the gap between an intelligence group and espionage. They were in the Pacific to watch for enemy activity and report back by radio. Most all of the men were Australian and part of the “Ferdinand” organization, which dated back to 1939. Those recruited had been planters, missionaries and colonial officials that were on outposts on such islands as New Guinea, the Solomons, and the Bismarks. These men often sent the Allied air forces at Guadalcanal several hours warning of an incoming raid, allowing the fighters ample time at Henderson Field to take off and gain altitude. An estimated 120 Allied airmen had been rescued by the coast watchers in the first year alone.

Capt. Martin Clemens & native aides

Capt. Martin Clemens & native aides

The commander of this unique group was Lt. Commander Eric Feldt, a graduate of Australia’s first class of naval cadets and a veteran of WWI. He personally knew his recruits and was determined to set up a solid chain between New Guinea and the Solomons. By mid-1941 he had 64 stations operating with a teleradio with a range of 400 miles for voice communication and 600 miles for radiotelegraphy. Feldt only envisioned these men to watch for enemy naval sorties, raids, etc.; hence their title “Ferdinand” named from the pacifist bull in the children’s story. But, when these islands became overrun with Japanese, spying and sabotage took place; often with the assistance of the natives.

Some engaged in guerrilla activities, the most successful was New Zealand coast watcher, Donald G. Kennedy at Segi Point on New Georgia where he ambushed over a hundred enemy soldiers and ran a small flotilla of schooners to rescue downed air men. A Japanese company was sent in to kill him, but Kennedy radioed for help and 2 companies of the 4th Marine Raider Battalion brought him out. This was the vanguard of the New Georgia invasion.

an early memorial to the coastal watchers who were beheaded

an early memorial to the coastal watchers who were beheaded

8 December 1941, on Makin in the Gilbert Islands, all Europeans had been rounded up and imprisoned by the Japanese and those coastal watchers were killed. At Bougainville, as the Europeans were being evacuated in the late part of 1941 and early ’42, Jack Read and Paul Mason remained behind and became part of the organization. They were credited with the earliest warnings of the Japanese air raids against Henderson Field.

Other notable watchers were: Donald S. MacFarland and Kenneth D. Hay at Gold Ridge on Guadalcanal; Leigh Vial operated around Salamaua and gave early warnings of the Japanese raids on Port Moresby. (His nickname was the “Golden Voice,” but unfortunately killed in an air crash in April 1943.

Sailors of injured and sunken ships also benefited from the Ferdinand operations. The most famous of which is the retrieval of the crew of PT-109 and the 165 survivors of the Helena whose lifeboats drifted ashore on Vella Lavella.

Catalina, 1945 in Australia

Catalina, 1945 in Australia

These men were supplied with food, medicine and benzine for their teleradio chargers by air drop from Australian ‘Catalinas’. Because these drops had to take place in inaccessible areas of rugged terrain to avoid Japanese interference, the flights were dangerous. One Catalina crashed on Bougainville during one such mission on 26 April 1943. Three of the crew were killed instantly and two eluded the enemy and were evacuated by submarine. In August 1944, five teams of coast watchers were landed at the base of the Gazelle Peninsula on New Britain. Four survived to give early warning of raids against New Guinea.

Other watch groups were the U.S. Naval Group ‘China’ that trained coast watchers to track down Japanese merchant shipping movements along the China coast. Their headquarters in the town of Changchow and operated in teams of two American sailors, a Chinese interpreter, a Chinese weather observer and 6 or more guerrillas.

Coast watchers were not exclusively an Allied asset. As the Allies advanced into areas formerly controlled by Japan, coastal watchers from the enemy remained behind to report activities.

90' tall lighthouse memorial where the watchers made their 1st sightings of enemy forces, Dec. 1941 Madang, Papua, New Guinea

90′ tall lighthouse memorial where the watchers made their 1st sightings of enemy forces, Dec. 1941 Madang, Papua, New Guinea

Click photos to enlarge.

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Farewell Salute –

Helen K. Persson – originally from Bethlehem, PA, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, WWII

Frank Lautenberg – Bergen County, NJ, U.S. Army Signal Corps, ETO; Last Senator to have served in WWII

Robert A. Castle, Sr. – originally Lawrence, MA; U.S. Army in Korean War, 185th Combat Engineers

Kenneth Wilford Parker – West Palm Bch, FL, U.S. Navy WWII

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Resources – “The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia;” http://www.eaglespeak.us; http://www.ww2incolor.com

Naval Intelligence

Fubuki class, Naval description

Fubuki class, Naval description

Cryptanalysis was only one facet of the Allied Intelligence system.  The Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas (JICPOA) grew to hold 1,767 specialists in each branch of service.  The Central Bureau was a joint American-Australian organization.

The Seventh Fleet’s Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne (FRUMEL) analysed Japanese codes.  When these codes changed, FRUMEL would temporarily use traffic scans from reconnaissance submarines and aircraft.

The Combat Intelligence Division (F-2), as described by Admiral King, “Combat Intelligence is the term applied to information of enemy forces, strength, disposition and probable movements…”  For the first 18 months of the war, the Fleet Intelligence Officers (F-11) in the Plans Division, would head the Chart Room and the Operational Information Section (F-35) of the Operations Division.  This complex situation was made more distinctive with a Combat Intelligence Division being established on 1 July 1943 with Rear Admiral R.E. Schuirman as Assistant Chief of Staff.

Admiral Ernest King

Admiral Ernest King

Combat Intelligence performs the following  duties:

1 – Passes current intelligence such as location of enemy submarines to U.S. Naval Forces.

2 – Maintains plot of current situation for Headquarters officers.

3 – Keeps track of location of own ships and aircraft.

4 – Maintains plot of enemy ships and aircraft.

5 – Evaluates radio intelligence.

6 – Secures intelligence reports from O.N.I. and through O.N.I. from M.I.S. and other agencies on any subject which other divisions of Headquarters need or request.

7 – Advises O.N.I. as to priorities required in the production of monograph material.

Japanese submarines did not play a major role in the Pacific War, watched by the F-22, but the need for the combat intelligence was far greater than in the Atlantic.  A daily summary was prepared for COMINCH, Naval aide to the President, Vice CNO, Director of Naval Intelligence, the Military Intelligence Service of the War Dept. and the British representative of the Combined Joint Chiefs of Staff.  A weekly report on the Japanese Fleet, aircraft and merchant shipping was made and sent to all of the above, plus the Commanders of the 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleets.  The 10th Fleet Intelligence in the Atlantic was far more active and effective.

ULTRA was the American version of the British military intelligence used to decipher high-level messages. The U.S. used the code name “Magic” for it’s decryption service. In the Pacific Theater, the Japanese cipher machine was given the designation “Purple” and that decoded the enemy’s diplomatic messages. The Japanese Navy used a system code-named JN-25.

Magic "Purple" machine

Magic “Purple” machine

Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, had received a translated message about the attack on Pearl Harbor long before the Japanese diplomats had finished typing their document notification. Hull had to pretend his surprise when he read their version.

Despite people, such as, General Marshall doing their utmost to conceal the work of MAGIC, the “Chicago Tribune” ran a series of stories that began on 7 June 1942. These articles explained how the victory at Midway Island was largely due to the United States breaking the Japanese crypto systems. The Japanese did not see to notice this breach in security. (which more and likely came from the White House itself). Gen. Marshall himself discovered that, at one time, as many as 500 people were reading the intercepted messages at the White House.

Naval Intelligence for Okinawa proved to be wrong – for the better. Where they believed the enemy guns were situated, was actually 360 shinyo, mass produced suicide boats, 20′ long. These would have destroyed the U.S. warships had they not been discovered. Intel was using a radar system developed from Japanese plans and the boats appeared to be artillery. A helpful mistake.

Click on photos to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes –

Vernon McGarity – U.S. Army, 99th Infantry Division, Battle of the Bulge, Medal of Honor

Sidney Roye Hinds – British Army WWII, originally from Jamaica, W.I.

Dwight J. Mayer – U.S. Army, WWII, Germany, originally from Stockton, CA.

Harley “Mac” McGhee – U.S. Army Signal Corps, WWII, Guam, originally from Ohio

Eugene J. Center – USMC, So. Pacific WWII, Purple Hearts for Iwo Jima and Saipan, originally from Simpsonville, SC.

Lester Allen Goldberg – U.S. Army, WWII, originally Syracuse, NY

Reynolds Beckwith – Captain USN Ret., Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam, originally from Coral Gables, FL.

Anthony Claude Cardinale, Jr. – U.S. Army, WWII ETO, Bronze Star, originally from Pittsburg, CA.

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Resources: U.S. National Archives; Administration of the Naval Dept. in WWII [Chapter 3], by Rear Admir. Julius Augustus Furer, USN (Ret.); Pacific War Online Encyclopedia; ibiblio.org; The Palm Beach Post; Wikipedia; The Week magazine.

G-2 Intelligence, Code Talkers

619px-General_douglas_macarthur_meets_american_indian_troops_wwii_military_pacific_navajo_pima_island_hopping

During WWI, the Choctaw language had been used to transmit U.S. military messages. With this thought in mind, Philip Johnston, the son of a missionary grew up on a Navajo reservation and spoke the Diné tongue fluently, brought the suggestion of a similar code to General Clayton Vogel early in 1942. The Diné language has no alphabet, uses no symbols and one sound may hold an entire concept. The idea was tested and proved to be faster and more reliable than the mechanized methods. The language has more verbs than nouns, that helps to move the sentences along and makes it far more difficult for outsiders to learn – making it the most ingenious and successful code in military history.

platoon

The original class, the 382d Platoon, Navajo Communication Specialists, USMC, developed their code at Camp Pendleton. Once a unit of code talkers were trained, they were put on Marine rosters around the Pacific Theater. Even under severe combat conditions, they remained the living codes, since nothing was ever written down. During the first 48 hours of Iwo Jima, 800 transmissions were coded. These few men became warriors in their own right during some of the worst battles of the war.

running wire during combat

running wire during combat

Some examples of the English word/ Navajo sound/ literal translation:

Alaska………. Beh-hga……….. with winter
America……….Ne-he-mah……… our mother
Britain……….Toh-ta………… between waters
Australia……..Cha-yes-desi…….rolled hat
China…………Ceh-yehs-besi……braided hair
France………..Da-gha-hi……….beard

Code Talker Seal

The existence of the code talkers and their accomplishments would remain top secret according to the U.S. government and use their expertise in the Korean War. Unfortunately, this resulted in many of the men not receiving the recognition they deserved. I was very lucky to have grown up knowing their story thanks to Smitty, my father. Congress eventually passed the Code Talkers Recognition Act on 18 June 2002.

Choctaw code talkers

Choctaw code talkers

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Farewell Salutes:

Sam D’Agostino – from Brooklyn, NY served with the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War

David Holder – from Newark, NJ, served in the U.S. Air Force during WWII as a navigator

John Angelo Viani – from Alpharetta, GA and W. Palm Bch., FL; served 20 years in the U.S. Navy in both Atlantic and Pacific

Raymond A. Borland – from Ft. Pierce, FL served the U.S. Air Force in the Korean War

Palmlee Noel Howe – from Lake Worth, FL, U.S. Navy 1948-54 aboard the USS Lake Champlain

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Resources: Codetalkers.org; Nativetelecom.org; wrscouts.com; Navajocodetalkers.org; alicestockwellegan.wordpress.com; The Palm Beach Post

Flag Day

vintage-double-american-flags-eagle1

In continuance of the American summer of remembrance, we now have Flag Day. For the readers in other countries, fly your own flag to show your fellow citizens your patriotism.

flag day vintage

The Birth of Old Glory

The Birth of Old Glory

Civil War era

Civil War era

WWII and Korean War

WWII and Korean War

225px-US_Flag_Day_poster_1917

258816309805635173_qZbaH2MY_c

flag day vintage

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE. Have a wonderful day and thank you for your support!!

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Fun notes –

One year ago, the USS Mohawk CGC, a former WWII warship, was sunk off of Sanibel Island, Florida to become a new reef – but now – it will be an underwater art gallery! Austrian photographer, Andreas Franke, has installed 12 images inside the ship encased in steel-framed Plexiglas. Tiny marine organisms are expected to invade the frames and give each display a unique aura. To enhance the project, Franke has superimposed images of models in WWII clothing onto the original photographs that will remain on display until 14 September.

In 1943, the school year was cut short at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn. due to the onset of WWII, the graduating class never had a senior prom. Anthony Pegnataro, 87, former class president, said,” They were dire days, but Americans toughed it out. A prom was the last thing on my mind.” But, 70 years was long enough to wait!! Class of 1943 finally had their prom!!

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Farewell Salutes –

John Albert Barlett – U.S. Navy

Alex “Red” Engel – U.S. Navy, WWII

John L. Mertes – U.S. Marine Corps, WWII

Noel De Cordova, Jr. – Ensign, USN, Korean War. Later, Naval Reserves, retired as captain.

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Guest Post – gpcox – Hooray for Hollywood…

This is the 6th article I have written for Greatest Generation Lessons and since I value the opinion of the readers, I would like to ask you all to tell me which one you enjoyed the most:
1- American Family Life in the 1940’s
2- Technical & Ground Force Coordination
3- When Making a Car Was Illegal
4- It was hard to keep the good times rollin’
5- There’ll Be a Hot Time…
6- Hooray For Hollywood…
Thank you all for being such loyal readers and friends.

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

gpcox has done a fantastic job of research for this Guest Post. I learned quite a bit about their participation and personal sacrifice. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Hollywood was aware of the threat of war long before Pearl Harbor.  The show biz paper “Variety” called the films

‘preparedness pix’ and by the end of 1940, there were 36 titles concerning the subject: “I Married a Nazi,” “Sergeant York” and “British Intelligence” were among them.  Non-Japanese oriental actors or Caucasians were hired to play the roles of Japanese villains, such as Peter Lorre as ‘Mr. Moto.’  War movies came out in the theatres as though popping off an assembly line.  Greer Garson seemed to save the entire British Army from Dunkirk in “Mrs. Minivier.”  Abbott and Costello continued their comedy routines in such films as “Keep’em Flying” and “Buck Privates.”  The home front…

View original post 641 more words

June 6, D-Day in art

A_Day_that_Changed_America_D-Day

HONOR A VETERAN — FLY YOUR FLAG

D-Day memorial, Beford, VA

D-Day memorial, Beford, VA

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dhm1081

The 116th on Omaha Beach by K. Sean Sullivan

The 116th on Omaha Beach by K. Sean Sullivan

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A recent new book release, something I don’t normally do in a post, caught my eye this week…

“The Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan

An intriguing tale of women who worked under top security conditions and sworn to secrecy. Now in their 80’s and 90’s finally have their story related. Under eminent domain, the government seized 60,000 acres in East Tennessee and created a massive industrial complex that would not be located on any map. The girls in this atomic city worked to create the atomic bomb without any knowledge of the drastic effects of the plutonium radiation. This is an unknown (in some cases forgotten) chapter of American history. The women of WWII, usually portrayed as ‘Rosie the Riveter’ or military nurses can now add the names of those from the cramped encampments of Oak Ridge.

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This explains why I am always asking my readers to get as many stories down for future generations…

Farewell Salutes….

Clair Glen Andersen – Navy, Combat Communications Team, Bronze Star for combat on Guam

Robert Lee Bechtel – Army Air Corps, radio operator

Irving Ritz – Navy, USS Hilo in Pacific Theater

Charles F. Anderson II – Navy, South Pacific

Quareno “Pete” Colantonio – Army Air Corps, 3 Bronze Stars for Normandy and Central Europe

Peter P. DeLucia – Army, Battle of Normandy

Alvin L. Gitlitz – Army Air Force, radio operator

Robert J. Donoghue Sr. – Navy, USS Enterprise CV-6 and CASV #2

Parker A. Gitschier – Army

Seymour J. Eisen – Air Force, B-24 pilot, shot down over Adriatic Sea & saved 3 crewmates, Purple Heart, Soldiers Medal

John G. Talcott Jr. – Army, 1st Lieutenant in Overseas Supply Division

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Good news –

When John Dodds found a WWII bomber jacket in a thrift store, the Air Force lawyer found the original owner’s name still emblazoned on the chest: “Robert G. Arand” Within little more than a day, the now 90-year-old Arand was located. He had flown more than 40 missions in New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan during WWII. The retired major will now get his jacket back that has been lost for over 60 years.

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Resources: “The Palm Beach Post;” “The Week” magazine; http://www.army.mil/d-day/; lookingglassreview.com; KSean.com; http://www.second-world-war.com; Wikipedia

G-2 Intelligence/ Nisei part 2

Ben Hazzard (mustache) w/ the 306th Language Detachment

Ben Hazzard (mustache) w/ the 306th Language Detachment

In the Solomons, a think document emerged from a grounded Japanese submarine. It contained a list of the enemy’s submarines with the code names, ship types that were unknown to the Allies and air squadrons and their bases. Three Nisei enlisted men of the Army translated all the paperwork.

MIS translations included: artillery charts, the Japanese Z Plan, mine field layouts and shipping schedules. The Nisei wrote surrender instructions and even decoded the documents that resulted in the aerial ambush that killed Admiral Yamamoto. Maps were deciphered and read mail. The Nisei donned headphones in the field and listened for that all-important “one-word” signal order directed to the enemy troops.

interrogating a Japanese general

interrogating a Japanese general

The Nisei flushed the enemy out of caves and bunkers, often while they themselves were unarmed. They fought alongside their fellow soldiers, interrogated prisoners and helped to empty munitions factories on Japan before the G.I.s went in to dismantle them. They endured the racism of the American citizens, some of the soldiers, the navy and even the taunting of the Filipino people. Yet, the Higa team went on to flush 30,000 Japanese men out of the caves and tombs on Okinawa. On 19 April, at 0640 hours, General John Hodge ordered his troops to break through the Naha-Shuri-Yonabaru line. The attack was shattered and 750 Americans died. According to Hodge himself, if the work the Nisei had done was given the attention it deserved – “it would not have happened at all!”

Nisei Soldier of WWII Bronze medal

Nisei Soldier of WWII Bronze medal

reverse side of bronze medal

reverse side of bronze medal

Outside Washington D.C. at Vint Hill Farm Station, MISers translated wires from the Japanese Ambassador, Gen. Oshima, sent to Berlin (via a station in Turkey). They were thereby reading Hitler’s mail to and from Tokyo almost before he did. The Pacific Military Intelligence Research Service (PACMIRS) was situated at Camp Richie, Maryland (later known as Camp David). At PACMIRS, Kazuo Yamane received documents ignored by the Navy and was found to be the Imperial Army Ordnance Inventory. The OWI used MISers and the Nisei proved themselves in the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (Australia) and the Southeast Asia Translator and Interrogation Center (India).

During the occupation, Nisei helped to track down many of the war criminals. Shiro Tokuno, for one, improved Japan’s agriculture in the Natural Resources Section and later in the fisheries, forestry and boat construction areas. By the end of the war, twenty million pages of documents, diaries, etc. had been examined by the linguists. MacArthur’s Chief of Staff for Military Intelligence gave credit to the MIS graduates by saying that they had shortened the war by two years, saved a possible one million lives and probably billions of dollars. With the occupation still in progress, the MISers continued to be of assistance in Korea, although most Koreans did speak Japanese.

S/Sgt, Dick Hamada, Sgt .Fumio Kido w/ Blakenship 3 Jan. 1946 for Soldier's Award

S/Sgt, Dick Hamada, Sgt .Fumio Kido w/ Blakenship 3 Jan. 1946 for Soldier’s Award

They were not without a sense of humor, as James Tsurutani showed. He would lie down on the ground for his buddies while they held a bayonet to have a picture taken to send back home with the caption, “Captured another Jap!”

Upon returning home from Japan, my father and several other troopers from the 11th A/B, including two Nisei, went to a saloon to celebrate their return to San Francisco and the good ole U.S. of A. The drinks were put up on the bar, free of charge for returning veterans, and Smitty began to distribute them. He said he stopped laughing and talking just long enough to realize that he was two drinks shy of what he ordered. He knew right off what it was all about, but he tried to control that infamous temper of his, and said something to the effect of “Hey, I think you forgot a couple over here.” The reply came back in a growl, “We don’t serve their kind in here.” Dad said he was not sorry that lost control, he told me, “I began to rant things like, ‘don’t you know what they’ve been through?’ and ‘what the hell’s wrong with you?'”

By this time, the other troopers had heard Smitty yelling and it did not take them long to figure out the scenario between my father and the bartender. No explanation was necessary. In fact, dad said the entire situation blew apart like spontaneous combustion. The drinks hit the floor and all hell broke loose. When there was not much left in the bar to destroy, they quieted down and left the established (such as it was). The men finished their celebration elsewhere. Smitty said he never knew what, if anything ever came out of the incident. He never heard of charges being filed or men reprimanded. (I’ve wondered if Norman Kihuta, who was discharged on the same date as Smitty, was there on the scene.)

back at the office...

back at the office…

There were very few pictures taken of the Nisei soldiers for two main reasons. many of them had family in Japan and some relatives fighting in the Imperial Army and Navy, therefore their picture, if recognized, could possibly cause undue harm to those families. Another reason was the greed of the press for a spectacular story, which usually meant they were covering the actions of the Marines. The fighting in the Philippines did not seem as glamorous; with the Marines they could cause much more dramatic headlines. (ergo: less print, less photos). The linguists sent to China received very little recognition because the War Department would not admit they had American troops there.

By 1977, the MIS school produced 75,000 linguists speaking fifty languages.

…………………………..Dom’ arigato gozaimashita.’…………..

(Thank you very much for what you have done.)

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Resources: “Yankee Samauri” by Joseph D. Harrington; National Archives; cia.gov; NPS.gov; nisei.hawaii.edu; niseiveterans.blogspot.

I also located a very interesting blog by CGAYLEMARIE who is researching the Japanese-Americans at Oberlin College, if this subject interests you, stop in for a look… http://cgayleguevara.wordpress.com

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