Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Squadron Artist by Clarence Simonsen

A poignant and humorous view of WWII from fellow blogger [and my friend], Pierre Lagacé.

Lest We Forget

Hi Pierre, 

Spring is here and I am getting busy. Here is a change of pace story, that proved to be very important in saving RAF and RCAF lives during WWII. The power of cartoons is sometimes forgotten, but their image remains forever in the mind and helped prevent stupid flying accidents. It’s amazing that stunting for a girlfriend, cost a number of pilot lives !

Cheers – Clarence

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The Squadron Artist

The Squadron Artist - Copy

There is usually an airman in a Squadron who possesses some measure of cleverness with a brush. It is his job to paint the emblems and mascots of various pilots on the side of their planes. Sometimes the pilot suggests one himself, sometimes the artist suggests one: if he does and it doesn’t prove so lucky he better not be around when the “pilo” gets home. No doubt this strange trade has its opposite number in…

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November 1942 (3)

Australian servicemen raise their flag after capturing Kokoda from the enemy

Australian servicemen raise their flag after capturing Kokoda from the enemy

 

2 November – this date marks the point where the Australian forces on New Guinea retook Kokoda as they pushed the Japanese approximately half-way back across the Track.

8-13 November – MacArthur moved his advance headquarters to Port Moresby, [far from any evidence of the harsh conditions under which the men were fighting], and he became impatient with the lack of speed in succeeding against the enemy.  MGen. “Bloody George” Vassey was sent to the 7th Australian Division.  Two days later, Vassey used the enemy’s favorite tactic against them – a flanking movement on the town of Oivi.  This forced 1,200 battered Japanese to cross the raging Kumusi River.  The safety of Port Moresby was now secured.

Impressive and dramatic actual films of the Kokoda Track caught the realties of war….

Gen. Horii, the Japanese commander drowned as his makeshift boat overturned while attempting to cross the river.  A Japanese newsman reported, “The soldiers had eaten anything to appease hunger – young shoots of trees, roots of grass, even cakes of earth… they could no longer digest food.  Many vomited and died.”

14 November – to speed up the Papuan operation, MacArthur flew in the 126th and 128th regiments of the US 32nd Infantry Div., under Gen. E.F. Harding, to assist at Buna.  The Australians concentrated on Gona and the 5th Air Force controlled the skies along the coast for supplies to enter Cape Nelson.  Imperial Gen. Hitoshi Imamura [conqueror of the Dutch East Indies], sent 2,000 troops to Buna to support the 5,000 at the New Guinea ports.

Gen. Sir Thomas Blamey & LtGen. Robert Eichelberger in front of a captured enemy bunker in New Guinea

Gen. Sir Thomas Blamey & LtGen. Robert Eichelberger in front of a captured enemy bunker in New Guinea

General Harding would later regret ever stating that Buna would be “easy pickings.”  Neither the Australians or the Americans had the artillery necessary to break through the enemy fortifications.  For their bunkers and tunnels, the enemy used tree trunks, steel and concrete to reinforce their positions.

The 3rd New Zealand Division was on Fiji and the 2nd Div. remained fighting in the Middle East.  The Royal New Zealand Air Force did however send a squadron of Hudsons to Guadalcanal during this month.

Through the periscope, the USS Wahoo views their Japanese target submerge.

Through the periscope, the USS Wahoo views their Japanese target submerge.

17-19 November – the Japanese on the Kokoda Track were forced back to the Buna/Gona area and received reinforcements.  The American attack on Buna was not successful.

24-30 November –  the enemy landed troops at Munda Point, New Georgia.  These 5 islands were originally by-passed by the Japanese in favor of Guadalcanal, 100 miles south.  US Intelligence was aware of the enemy convoy on the 28th, but thought little of the landing.

Col. Edward V. Rickenbacker rescued after being lost at sea since 2 Oct.

Col. Edward V. Rickenbacker rescued after being lost at sea since 2 Oct.

Despite any failures on the part of the Japanese during this month, the expertise of the enemy night-flying groups was expertly demonstrated.  This started the US into a serious look into furthering their own techniques and technology.

28 November – the US Army 22nd Construction Battalion reached Sitka, Alaska to begin work on over 155 projects.  They would remain there until 1 May 1943.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Shelva Abbott – Highland Hts., KY; US Army, WWII

Joseph Buzbee – WPalm Beach, FL; US Navy, WWIIBFC at sunset (800x543)

Patrick Kelliher – Whangaparaoa, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 452487, WWII, gunner

John Jones – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

Ernest Legge – Jamaica, VT; US Navy, Korea, SeaBee

Richard Murphy Jr. – Washington DC; USMC, WWII, CBI, SSgt.

Walter Oetting – Fort Wayne, IN; US Army, WWII, Korea, Sgt., chief mechanic

Robert Satterthwaite – Lake Worth, FL; USMC, Vietnam, Cpl E-3

John Vicary – AUS; 26 AIF, WWII, Merauke Force, Pvt.

George Williams Jr. – Wilmington, NC; US Navy, Vietnam, sub USS Skipjack

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Memorial Day – 2015

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Last Letters Home

These letters have not been changed or edited for spelling or punctuation.

Civil War – 

Lindsey Buckner

Lindsey Buckner

The letter was written by a Kentucky man named Lindsey Buckner, who was selected to be shot in retaliation for the death of a Union soldier killed by Confederate guerrillas in his home state. “My dear sister,” Buckner wrote in late October 1864, “I am under sentence of death and for what, I do not know. … It is a hard thing to be chained and shot in this way; and if it was not for the hope I have of meeting you all in Heaven, I would be miserable indeed.

John Ross Wallar

John Ross Wallar

John Ross Wallar, 15 year old drummer boy, while injured wrote: “Dear Sister father Mother and friends I received your letter But I don’t think I Ever shall see another that you write this is Friday night But I don’t think I will Live to See Morning But My Kind friends I am a Soldier of Christ I will Meet you all in Heaven My Leg Has Bin taking of above My nee I am Dying at this time so don’t Morn after Me fore I Have Bleed and died fore My Country May God Help you all to pray fore Me I want you all to Meet Me in Heaven…My would Dresser is writing this Letter fore Me when you get this Letter write to Alexander Nelan fore I wont Live till Morning so good by My friends May God be with you all good by God Bless My poor Soul.”

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World War I –

Sgt. David Ker

Sgt. David Ker

Sgt. David Ker wrote his mother the day before the Saint-Mihiel attack in France: “Should I go under, therefore, I want you to know that I went without any terror of death, and that my chief worry is the grief my death will bring to those dear to me.
Since having found myself and Mary, there has been much to make life sweet and glorious, but death, while distasteful, is in no way terrible.
I feel wonderfully strong to do my share well,and, for my sake, you must try to drown your sorrow in the pride and satisfaction, the knowledge that I died well in so clean a cause, as is ours, should bring you. Remember how proud I have always been of your superb pluck, keep Elizabeth’s future in mind, and don’t permit my death to bow your head.
“My personal belongings will all be sent to you. Your good taste will tell you which to send to Mary.
“May God bless and keep you, dear heart, and be kind to little Elizabeth, and those others I love so well.
“David
“The end.”

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World War II – 

Lt. Tommie Kennedy

Lt. Tommie Kennedy

Lt. Tommie Kennedy, after Corregidor, spent 3 years as a POW.  While aboard a Japanese prison ship, he wrote on the back of 2 photos which traveled from prisoner to prisoner until smuggled out in the heel of a boot and sent to his parents in late 1945.  He wrote: “Momie & Dad:  It is hard to check out this way with out a fighting chance but we can’t live forever.  I’m not afraid to die, I just hate the thought of not seeing you again.  Buy Turkey Ranch with my money and just think of me often while your there.  Make liberberal donations to both sisters.  See that Gary has a new car his first year hi-school.  I am sending Walts medals to his mother.  He gave them to me Set 42 last time I saw him & Bud.  They went to Japan.  I guess you can tell Patty that fate just didn’t want us to be together.  Hold a nice service for me in Bksfield & put head stone in new cematary.  Take care of my nieces & nephews don’t let them want anything as I want even warmth or water now.  Loving& waiting for you in the world beon.  Your son, Lt. Tommie Kennedy

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 These and other stories can found in “War Letters” by, Andrew Carroll.  If you have any letters you wish to share, including Iraq and Afghanistan, send them to Mr. Carroll @ P.O. Box 53250, Washington DC 20009 or visit http://www.WarLetters.us

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Ash – Dallas, TX; RC Air Force, WWII, 411 Squadron, ETO, POW

Michael Gillooley – Hudson, FL; US Navy (Ret.), 1st radioman to become a Craftsman

Lawrence Green – Suffield,ct; US Army, Korea, SVC/187th RCTMediumPic634249020853470000

Walter Gumula – Stuart, FL; US Navy, WWII, ETO, frogman (UDT)

Marl Hanna – Portland OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457th Artillery/11th A/B Division

Richard Lent – New Paltz, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 navigator

Taylor Marks – Independence, OR; US Army, Iraq, 2nd Btn/162nd Inf/Oregon National Guard

Charles Persson – Fanwood, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Delbert Savage – WA; US Army, WWII, Tech 5

Arthur Stickney – Lake Worth, FL; US Army, Vietnam, helicopter mechanic

Wardell Turner – Nanticoke, MD; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt.

Earl Werner –  Mondovi, WI; US Army, Iraq, Sgt. 41 SpecTroops BTN/41st Inf Brigade Combat Team, Bronze Star

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Personal Note – i275258902_89590

Smitty, my father

Smitty, my father

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Note of interest – Walter Gumula, who recently passed away and is mentioned in the Farewell Salutes has his story told by Pacific Paratrooper in Intermission Story # 21 on 11 June 2014

And, William Ash’s story can be located on Pierre Lagacé’s site HERE!

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MEMORIAL DAY

Memorial Day

THIS POST IS UPDATED AND REPEATED TO INSURE THAT MEMORIAL DAY IS OBSERVED FOR THOSE TO WHOM IT WAS INTENDED.

Pacific Paratrooper

never-forget

FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED…. FOR ALL YOUR SACRIFICES…. FOR YOUR COURAGE…. I CAN ONLY ATTEMPT TO EXPRESS MY UNENDING GRATITUDE….

from fellow blogger Lean Submariner @ http://theleansubmariner.com/2014/05/21/how-to-observe-memorial-day/ from fellow blogger Lean Submariner @
http://theleansubmariner.com/2014/05/21/how-to-observe-memorial-day/

Luzon cemetery Luzon cemetery

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Arlington Cemetery Arlington Cemetery

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A new memorial for South Florida. A new memorial for South Florida.

………………………………………………….. THANK YOU……………………………

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Farewell Salute – Frederick Vreuls, 87, passed away in Delray Beach, FL. Served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Bunker Hill where he earned a Purple Heart for injuries sustained from a kamikaze attack on May 11, 1945.

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U.S. National Maritime Day, 22 May

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED FOR THOSE WHO VISITED ON MARITIME DAY LAST YEAR.  THANK YOU ALL FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH.

Pacific Paratrooper

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May 22nd is the date when the American ship Savannah set sail from Savannah, Georgia in 1819 and became the first transoceanic voyage ever made under steam power.  Hence the day was chosen for the date of tribute.

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In 2002, the Military Sealift Command held a memorial service in Washington D.C.  Rear Admiral David Brewer III and Gordon England, Secretary of the Navy, tossed a wreath into the Anacostia River at the Washington Navy Yard in honor of the fallen mariners.

Capt. Susan Dunlap & Capt. Robert Burk during ceremonial in Hawaii Capt. Susan Dunlap & Capt. Robert Burk during ceremonial in Hawaii

In 2013, National Maritime Day was celebrated with picnics and tours at the Port of San Diego; maritime career fairs in Seattle and Baltimore, as well as the traditional memorial ceremonies.

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Merchant Marine cap insignia Merchant Marine cap insignia

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For A striking story sent to us from fellow blogger, Argus, we have the story of the N.S. Savannah.

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National Maritime Day and Mariner Scouts

A great post of introduction to our Mariners and Scouts.

Girl Scouts Make History

Every year on May 22, The United States observes National Maritime Day, a holiday created in 1933 to recognize the maritime industry. It was May 22, 1819 that the American steamship, Savannah, set sail from Savannah, Georgia on the first ever transoceanic voyage under steam power. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Division, “The United States has always been and will always be a great maritime nation. From our origins as 13 British colonies, through every period of peace and conflict since, the Merchant Marine has been a pillar in this country’s foundation of prosperity and security. They power the world’s largest economy and strengthen our ties with trading partners around the world, all while supporting our military forces by shipping troops and supplies wherever they need to go.”

So what exactly is the Merchant Marine? The Merchant Marine is the fleet of ships which carries imports and exports…

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November 1942 (2)

One of the US battleships  destroyed off Guadalcanal

One of the US battleships destroyed off Guadalcanal

 

14 November – the Japanese convoy enroute to Guadalcanal was hit by a strike from the USS Enterprise and sank the IJN Kinugasa and set the Isuzi ablaze.  The Maya was then damaged as well as the flagship Chokai.  IJN Admiral Mikawa ordered a retreat and the US aircraft went after the fleeing vessels.  Flying Fortresses alternated their attacks with the carrier aircraft.  Upon hearing these reports, Yamamoto ordered Adm. Kondo to go in with his last battleships and 5 cruisers to destroy Henderson Field.

RAdm. Willis A. Lee

RAdm. Willis A. Lee

15 November – Halsey determined that his only hope was Adm. Willis “Ching” Lee and his battleships.  As an expert with radar, Lee chose Cape Esperance as the confrontation site.  The cruiser Sendai, 9 miles away was the first vessel spotted ahead of KOndo’s battleships.  Lee’s 16″ shells were fired and the battle began.  Two US battleships sunk and another was damaged.  The South Dakota’s turrets were disabled, but her guns were not.  Her masts were swept away and fires broke out, and the Washington went on to continue fighting.  The radar operators located the Kirishima and bombed her into a shambles; with her rudders jammed, she circled helplessly.

IJN Adm. Kondo

IJN Adm. Kondo

The Atago signaled for a withdrawal.  Kondo had lost, but Tanaka’s 4 transports were ordered to run aground and unload the troops.  As approximately 10,000 men of the 38th Japanese Division began to climb down the ropes, the Cactus Air Force Avengers arrived to strafe and bomb them.  Only about 2,000 men made it to shore as their ships, laden with supplies and equipment, burned.  The enemy soldiers nicknamed Guadalcanal “Island of Doom.”

IJN Adm. Tanaka

IJN Adm. Tanaka

From Adm. Tanaka’s view aboard ship: “…the general effect is indelible in my mind, of bombs wobbling down from high-flying B-17s, of carrier bombers roaring towards targets as though to plunge full in the water, releasing bombs and pulling out barely in time; each miss sending up towering columns of mist and spray; every hit raising clouds of smoke and fire as transports burst into flame and take the sickening list that spells their doom.  Attackers depart, smoke screen lift and reveal the tragic scene of men jumping overboard from sinking ships…”  [IMO – could anyone describe a naval battle more accurately or with such sorrow?]

Admiral Halsey

Admiral Halsey

20 November – in Halsey’s native state of New Jersey, the church bells rang out in honor of his victory.  With the ground forces on Guadalcanal, the 7th Marines and units of the 164th Infantry Division, continued to attack and fend off offenses.  The Japanese discontinued their 2-point strategy, as the US kept receiving reinforcements from the 182th Infantry, 8th Marines and 2nd Raider Battalion.

 

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Military Humor – 

Sniper sense of humor

Sniper sense of humor

 

Oops - it's a toll road!

Oops – it’s a toll road!

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joshua Barron – Spokane, WA; USMC, LCpl., 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Jonathan Falaniko – Pago Pago, Samoa; US Army, Iraqi Freedom, Pvt.blog_eagle_globe_anchor2

Jacob Hug – AZ; USMC, Nepal, Cpl., combat videographer

Ward Johnson IV – FL; USMC, Sgt., Nepal, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Dustin Lukasiewicz – NE; USMC, Nepal, Capt., 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Sara Medina – IL; USMC, Nepal, Cpl, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Eric Seaman – CA; USMC, Nepal, Sgt., 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Tapendra Rawal & Basanta Titara – Nepalese Army

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I Love This Video

For ARMED FORCES DAY, I want to share this short video located by MUSTANG KOJI. This is a perfect addition for MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH..  For my previous year’s posts for Armed Forces Day click HERE and HERE.

THANK YOU!

Masako and Spam Musubi

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May is Military Appreciation Month

NMAM

I sincerely hope you enjoy this pictorial post of THANKS for our Military during their month.

 

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artwork courtesy of Priorhouse.wordpress.com/

artwork courtesy of Priorhouse.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Humor – 

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courtesy of Chris at Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

courtesy of Chris at Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Patricia “Ellen” Anderson – Pocatello, ID; US Navy

Jack Coons – Rockville Centre, NY; US Army, WWIIMilitary-Appreciation2

Rudolph Domizio – WPalm Beach, FL; US Army, WWII

Charles Heard – Austin, TX; US Navy, WWII, CBI

John Loopstra – Anchorage, AK; US Navy, WWII

Chris Norgren – Wichita, KS; USMC, Nepal earthquake, helicopter pilot

George Olsen – Bourbonnais, IL; US Army, WWII

Richard Palmer – Burlington, VT; US Navy, Korea, Vietnam, USS Forrestal

Bill Speer – Benton, AR; US Army, WWII

Charles Walker – Okeechobee, FL; USMC, Pfc

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