Monthly Archives: October 2015

Halloween WWII Style

A few more tidbits added – So, take a peek inside…….

Pacific Paratrooper

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This story is condensed from: EVERY VETERAN HAS A STORY_______

The other morning I woke up and looked out the window and saw pumpkins smashed and some decorations strewn.  “Ah, good,” I said to my daughters, “someone has done their research on the history of Halloween!”
motherjones
 
They rolled their eyes and kept reading the comics over their bowls of cereal.  After 13 years of fatherhood, I’d lost the ability to shock them…or they were hoping by their indifference to ward off the inevitable history lecture to follow.  If so — it didn’t work.
Foe much of our history, Halloween wasn’t about trick-or-treating or going around in costumes – it was about vandalism.  Halloween celebrates the dark side, the side we reject and fear – all that we try to deny.  Mischief making has historically been a part of that.  If you look at newspapers 80 or 90 years ago…

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May 1943 (2)

4th Infantry, Massacre Bay

4th Infantry, Massacre Bay

11 May – the 11th Air Force flew missions to support US forces landing on Attu: 1 air-ground liaison sortie by 1 B-24; a B-24 supply sortie dropping supplies to ground forces; and 5 attack missions, flown by 11 B-24’s and 12 B-25’s. The first attack mission could not find the target and instrument-bombed targets which include the runway, radar, submarine base, and camp area. Because of the poor visibility the next two missions hit Kiska, where the runway and Main Camp were attacked. Two B-24’s then bombed the Chichagof Harbor area through fog while another dropped leaflets on Attu.

12-30 May – The submarines, Nautilius  and Narwhol, led  RAdm. Francis W, Rockwell’s 29-vessel fleet, including the battleship Idaho and the reconstructed Pennsylvania and Nevada, under concealment of a heavy mist.  Col. Yamazaki’s 2,400 men were well dug-in at their positions as the US 11,000 man 7th Infantry Division made an amphibious landing with the 17th Infantry Regiment spearheading.

5 Castner Cutthroats

5 Castner Cutthroats

The US also employed Alaskans to act as scouts; they were called Castner’s Cutthroats, after their commander.  An in-depth article on these commandos can be found here at History.net.

Poor beach equipment for the tundra territory, frostbite and some having been trained in the Mohave Desert for African combat all went to aide the enemy.  Both sides received heavy casualties and it would take 2 weeks to contain the resistance around Massacre Bay.

Attu, May 1943

Attu, May 1943

The US forces took the high ground overlooking Holtz Bay on the 17th.  Despite the Arctic weather, P-38 Lightening fighter-bombers supported the ground attack through the Sarana Pass and approached Chicagof Harbor where the remaining enemy was held up.  Attu Village was then wiped out and the P-38s shot down Japanese bombers.  On the 24th, after hand-to-hand combat, Chicagof Valley was cleared.

The last 1,000 enemy troops made a final banzai charge and initially overran 2 US command posts.  On their last charge, screaming, “Japanese drink blood wine!” the fire power proved to be too much for them.  What Japanese forces were not killed, committed suicide.  Only 28 surrendered.

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Current News – 

Remains of US soldier returned from North Korea.

Cpl. Robert V. Witt

Cpl. Robert V. Witt

BELLFLOWER, Calif. — The remains of a formerly missing U.S. soldier have been returned to California nearly 65 years after he is thought to have died, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.  Army Cpl. Robert V. Witt, a 20-year-old Bellflower man missing since the Korean War, was returned earlier this week to his sister Laverne Minnick, 82.  Witt will be buried with full military honors at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier on Friday.

 In late November 1950, Witt was assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a statement.  They were attacked by Chinese forces at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. On Dec. 1, 1950, remnants of the 31st Regimental Combat Team tried moving to a position south of the reservoir, but the next day, Witt was reported missing in action, the statement said.

In 1953, during prisoner of war exchanges, repatriated U.S. soldiers told officials that Witt had been captured during the battle and died from malnutrition. It’s believed he died on Jan. 31, 1951.  This article was retrieved from the Stars & Stripes.

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COLD Humor – 36fac507dcd06672a6b3077f8e3ec4aa

 

winter-humor

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Clarence Amos – Columbus, MT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/11th A/B

Maynard Dawson – Terre Haute, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 221st Medical

Aleutians, 1943

Aleutians, 1943

Leroy Ewing – Urice, MO; US Army, Korea, F Co/187th RCT

John France – Denver, CO; US Air Force, Vietnam, MajGen. (Ret.), 239 combat missions

Cecil ‘Gene’ Judy – Kansas City, KS; USMC, WWII

Richard Karrer – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea

Edward McGowan – Jupiter, FL; US Army

Victor Oros – Aurora, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Seminole

Bryan Rousseau – Woodsocket, RI; US Army

Taj Sareen – San Francisco, CA; USMC, Middle East, Major, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

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May 1943 (1)

2 Spitfires take off from an airfield near Darwin.

2 Spitfires take off from an airfield near Darwin.

2 May – Darwin, Australia was bombed by 20 Japanese bombers and Zero fighter aircraft.  This was the 54th airstrike on the country.  The No. 1 Wing RAAF intercepted the enemy planes after the attack and suffered heavy losses.Buildings were damaged, but there were no casualties.  Further data on Australian bombings can be located  here.

5 May – in Alaska,   an 11th Air Force weather reconnaissance airplane over Attu observed a floatplane burning on the water. Fourteen B-24’s, 17 B-25’s, 16 P-38’s, 32 P-40’s, and 5 F-5A’s flew 4 attack missions to Attu and 6 [partly with Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots] to Kiska targets that included Main Camp, a radar site, North and South Head, a runway, and Gertrude Cove installations. Bombs were dropped on Attu installations and fighters strafed and set afire one seaplane and silenced the AA guns.

Dinnertime on Kiska

Dinnertime on Kiska

Japanese forces in Central China began a massive offensive into Hunan Province in an effort to gain territories of rice production.  US commanders that would have liked to put air bases in China were disappointed by intermittent Chinese cooperation with the enemy.

7 May –  5th Air Force B-17’s and B-24’s bombed supply dumps, and other targets at Madang and Madang Airfield.  Meanwhile, Japanese fighters from Wewak were on patrol and intercepted seven B-17s and six B-24s over Madang.  The B-17s reported interception by seven Japanese fighters including two that dropped aerial bombs that missed by a considerable distance. Four B-17s were damaged, one seriously.//

Chindits behind enemy lines, Burma, May 1943.

Chindits behind enemy lines, Burma, May 1943.

7-14 May – in Burma, the British offensive into the Arakan finally collapsed and were driven north.  The Japanese retook Maundau and Buthidaung, which put the Allies back to their starting positions.nventional attacks.  A-20’s hit forces in the Green’s Hill area. On Timor, B-25’s pounded Penfoesi.  The B-17F “Reckless Mountain Boys” 41-24518 was lost.   Returning from a mission to Aru , the RAAF Hudson A-16-116 was lost.

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8 May – as part of the Operation Cartwheel, US Dauntless and Liberator aircraft bombed various enemy installations throughout the Solomon Islands.  Three Japanese destroyers were damaged; one seriously.

 Port Moresby Station Hospital

Port Moresby Station Hospital

9 May –  5th Air Force B-24’s and B-17’s bombed Manokwari, Nabire, Kaimana, Madang Airfield and the Wewak area. B-25’s hit the airfield at Gasmata.

10 May –  the 10th Air Force in Burma had 6 P-40’s bomb and strafe Kwitu, leaving several areas burning fiercely in China.  The 14th Air Force in French Indochina had eight P-40’s fly an offensive sweep against communications in the Nam Dinh and Hanoi areas. Four locomotives and 3 riverboats are destroyed, a train carrying troops and supplies was heavily damaged, and several trucks of troops were destroyed.//

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Military Rivalry Humor – military-humor-marines-vs-army

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Farewell Salutes – 

Marvin Alderson – Hartford, SD; US Army, ETO, 3rd Armored Division, Signal Corps, Sgt.

Albert Alderton – Tamahere, NZ; British Navy, WWIITaps

Tony Bruno – Gurnee, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-29 gunner

William Halsey III – Huntsville, AL; US Army, WWII, Engineer Amphibian, Major

Joseph Iannuzzi Jr. – Port Chester, NY; US Army, Korea, 2 Purple Hearts, Silver Star

Samuel McNeill – Southern, NJ; US Army, Vietnam, Dental Corps

Francis ‘Fritz’ Reardon, US Navy, WWII

Jordan Spears – Memphis, IN; USMC, Tiltrotor Sq. ’63/Marine Aircraft Group 16, USS Makin Island, pilot

William Tremaine – Wilmington, DE; US Army, WWII & Korea

Joshua Wheeler – Muldrow, OK; US Army, Iraq, Delta Force, Master Sgt., Bronze Stars

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Archivist’s Attic: The Fastest Seabees – The Forgotten Fifty-five

We can not allow any to be forgotten!!

U.S. Navy Seabee Museum

In 1943, the Navy was buzzing around the top coast of New Guinea on their way towards the Philippines. At Mios Woendi the Navy ordered a PT-boat Base to be built. Lieutenant Harold Liberty handpicked fifty-five of the best construction men who were experienced in all phases of construction and eager to work hard.

“Each man had a place in at least three operations,” Liberty explained “The cook could drop his skillet and run a winch or string a pipeline. The hospital corpsman didn’t tie his last bandage and go to bed – he manned a crane or drove a truck.” And each one of them was a potential gunner. Each man could pick up and do another man’s job and do it well.

Crew 55

Just like a swarm of bees, everyman also knew his position and what was expected of them the second they hit the ground. There was no…

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April 1943 (2)

US troops in Alaska, 1943

US troops in Alaska, 1943

13 April – 78 US aircraft of the 11th Air Force made 11 separate attacks at the Japanese airfield and military barracks at the Main Camp and strafed the beach on Kiska, Alaska.  Heavy AA fire downed 2 P-38s and one B-25

In New Guinea, the 5th Air Force’s heavy and medium bombers carried out widespread but unsuccessful attacks on individual enemy vessels. Japanese aircraft carried out a heavy attack on the Milne Bay area, severely damaging 1 vessel, beaching 1 vessel, and hitting 2 others, but doing very little damage to USAAF facilities in the area. The AA defenses and the 40+ P-40’s and P-38’s that intercepted the enemy strike claimed 14 airplanes shot down. Dick Bong became a Double Ace when he got his 10th kill, a Betty.

Port Moresby station hospital, 1943 LEAD Technologies Inc

Port Moresby station hospital, 1943
LEAD Technologies Inc

MacArthur and Halsey met for the first time.  Mac’s reaction, “I liked him [Halsey] from the moment we met.”  Halsey would later write, “Five minutes after I reported, I felt as if we were lifelong friends.  We had our arguments, but they always ended pleasantly.”  Three days later, they completed the blueprint for Operation Cartwheel.15 April – the Eleventh Air Force flew reconnaissance over Kiska, Attu, Semichis, and Agattu spoted no new enemy activities. Two bomber missions from Adak and eleven fighter missions from Amchitka, composed of 23 B-24’s, 20 B-25’s, 25 P-38’s, and 44 P-40’s, hit Kiska; 1 F-5A took photos while 85 tons of bombs are dropped. Fires resulted on North Head and Little Kiska. One B-24 is shot down in flames and four bombers receive battle damage.

Bomber crew on Adak - note pin-up girl collection courtesy of "Life"

Bomber crew on Adak – note pin-up girl collection
courtesy of “Life”

16 April – Alaska –   Seven B-24’s  bombed and scored 8 direct hits on the runway and gun emplacements at Attu. One B-24 and 2 F-5A’s needed to abort due to weather. [flying over the Aleutians was often near impossible]. Four B-25’s, thirty-one P-38’s, and fourteen P-40’s hit Kiska nine times, bombing installations and strafing gun emplacements and 3 parked airplanes.

17 April – Burma –  the 10th Air Force’s 7 B-25’s bombed the Myitnge bridge and scored 4 damaging hits. Ten others hit the Myitnge railroad works. Sixteen P-40’s damaged the bridge at Kamaing, attacked the town of Nanyaseik, and scored hits on the north approach to the bridge at Namti. Six B-24’s damage the south approach to the Pazundaung railroad bridge.

map_tarawa_atoll

20-21 April – US aircraft attacked the enemy base at Nauru.  The Japanese retaliated the next day by bombing US positions on the Ellice Islands.  In Washington, FDR declared that all war criminals will be tried after an Allied victory.

23-31 April – US bombers of the 7th Air Force attacked the Japanese airfield on Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.  By the end of the month, the Japanese forces in the Aleutians were cut off from Japan and US invasion forces were sailing from San Francisco; 11,000 of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division and 29 ships.  This included the Idaho, Pennsylvania and Nevada.  The submarines Narwhal and Nautilus would lead them in on 4 May.

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Military Humor – Aleutian style – 

Painfull Schwin Dentist - Enter on Full Flaps

Painfull Schwin Dentist – Enter on Full Flaps

TREE - only one on Attu.

TREE – only one on Attu.

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Macon ‘Bud’ Ballantine – Jacksonville, Fl; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Intrepid

Kenneth Handford – Ballarat, AUS; RA Air Force # 145108, 39th Operational Base Unit, aircraftsman

Craig Karrer – Egg Harbor, NJ; US Navy, Korea, USS Antietam

Aleutians, 1943

Aleutians, 1943

Malcolm Mathias – Blue Mound, IL; US Army, WWII, 10th Mountain Division

Cresencio Romero – Santa Ana, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 675th Artillery Reg.

Harold Ross – Stephenson, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO

Stanley Szwed – Port Read, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 711th Ordnance Reg.

Donald Tabers – Mayfield, KY; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Kenneth Tate – Austin, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/511th Reg.

Herbert Winfiele – Houston, TX; US Army, Korea, Lt.

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April 1943 (1)

Alaska, 1943

Alaska, 1943

1 April –  ALASKA – (Eleventh Air Force) A joint directive by Commander-in-Chief, Pacific and Commanding General Western Defense Command orders preparations for Operation LANDGRAB, the invasion of Attu. Sixteen B-24, 5 B-25, and 12 P-38 sorties are flown against Kiska from Adak and Amchitka. Targets include a ship in Gertrude Cove, the North Head area, the Main Camp and the beach. AA fire damages two bombers. Reconnaissance covered Kiska, Attu, Buldir, and Semichis. During April, the 73d Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 28th Composite Group with B-25’s transfers from Elmendorf Field to Umnak.

To see what remains on Alaska today from WWII, visit this site of Jon Sund where I have linked the underground hospital.

2nd Burma Rifles, Operation Longcloth, April '43

2nd Burma Rifles, Operation Longcloth, April ’43

5 April – the Japanese forces in the Arakan of Burma had now pushed the British troops half-way back up the Mayu Peninsula.  The British brigade headquarters was also captured.  Tenth Air Force) Seventeen B-25’s bomb railroad targets at Mandalay; two others hit Ngamya. Three B-24’s bombed the Prome railroad yards; 5 hit the Mahlwagon yards and roundhouse. 12 P-40’s and a B-25 supported ground forces in northern Burma.

13 April –   (Eleventh Air Force) Fifteen B-24’s, fifteen B-25’s, 28 P-38’s and 20 P-40’s fly eleven attacks to Kiska; 43 tons of bombs are dropped on the Main Camp, North Head, and runway. Fighters attack the Main Camp causing large fires, and also strafe aircraft on the beach. Heavy AA fire damages 2 P-38’s, 1 of which later crashes into the sea, and 1 B-25.

Yamamoto, one week before his death. (L) Pilot, Thomas Lanphier Jr. (R)

Yamamoto, one week before his death. (L)
Pilot, Thomas Lanphier Jr. (R)

Adm. Yamamoto, wearing a dark green uniform, boarded a Mitsubishi I-type twin-engine bomber with his secretary.  The plane took off precisely at 0600 hours, ( the admiral’s insistence of punctuality was well-known).  An hour and a half later, Mitchell yelled: “Bogeys at 11 o’clock high.”  The famed/infamous admiral, Isoroku Yamamoto, considered Japan’s greatest military leader, received a fatal bullet before his plane crashed.  Mitchell radioed back to base: “Pop goes the weasel,” the prearranged success code.

Thomas Lanphier Jr.; Besey Holmes, Rex Barber. The 4th pilot, Raymond Hine, did not return

Thomas Lanphier Jr.; Besey Holmes, Rex Barber. The 4th pilot, Raymond Hine, did not return

13 April –  Alaska’s (Eleventh Air Force) Fifteen B-24’s, fifteen B-25’s, 28 P-38’s and 20 P-40’s fly eleven attacks to Kiska; 43 tons of bombs were dropped on the Main Camp, North Head, and runway. Fighters attacked the Main Camp causing large fires, and also strafed the aircraft on the beach. Heavy AA fire damaged 2 P-38’s, 1 of which later crashed into the sea, and 1 B-25.

BURMA-INDIA (Tenth Air Force) In Burma, 9 B-25’s bomb the Myitnge bridge without inflicting further damage to the structure. Nine others hit Monywa Airfield. Six P-40’s knock out a bridge at Shaduzup.

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Military Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Christopher Ascher – Freeport, IL; US Army, WWII

Arthur Barnes – Toowoomba, AUS; RA Air Force # 7692911986973_1183822258300441_3544440820007753006_n.jpgfrom, Falling with Hale

Albert Duda – New Orleans, LA; USMC, Vietnam

Daniel Goolsby – Brundridge, AL; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, frogman

Thomas Hogarth Sr.; WPalm Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Algol

Jim Keenan – Harrison, AR; US Navy, pilot

Ronal Pollet – Bay Ridge, NY; US Army, Korea

Leslie Slade – Takanini, NZ; RNZ Army # 441184, WWII, 21st Battalion

Neil Thalaker – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, WWII

Dorothy VanWinkle (Tremaine) – Wilmington, DE; civilian US Power Squadron # 5210, WWII

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Eye Witness Account – Magic on the Burma Railroad

‘One day, the Japanese camp commandant said he had generals coming to visit and that he wanted me to do some magic. He asked what I would need for a trick. I requested an egg. He wrote out a chitty and told me to take it to the cook house. The cook asked me how many I wanted, so I asked for 50. I went straight back to the hut and we had a 49-egg omelette, saving just one for the trick.

Egg-shaped: Fergus Anckorn with the secret of his success

Gus Anckorn 7.egg-trick today

Gus Anckorn
7.egg-trick today

After the war, as a lecturer in subjects including English and economics at West Kent College, Fergus often pepped up his lessons with anecdotes about his extraordinary wartime survival. Now 92, he has decided to record everything in a new book, Captivity, Slavery And Survival As A Far East POW.

‘At the prison camp that night I did the trick for the generals and it all went very well,’ he says.

‘But the next day I was summoned to the commandant’s hut. He was glowering. The chitty was on his desk. He said, ‘You do magic one egg. Where 49 eggs?’ I thought, in ten seconds my head will be rolling across that floor.

‘Out of my mouth came the words, ‘Your trick was so important to me, I was rehearsing all day.’ He nodded and let me go. I couldn’t perform that trick again for 40 years. My knees would knock together even thinking about it.’

FERGUS ANCKORN. With the nurse he married.

FERGUS ANCKORN.
With Lucille, the nurse he married.

 

The Japanese wanted to know how the trick was done, so Fergus showed the commandant how he made a hole in the back of a second eggshell into which he dextrously stuffed the handkerchief. The hollow egg is switched for an intact egg, which is cracked on a bowl, and out plops – not a handkerchief – but yolk and albumen.

Fergus and his twin sister were born in Dunton Green, Kent, in December 1918. Fergus’s father, Wilfred, a writer on The Hotspur, and his mother, Beatrice, instilled in him the moral code of decency, honesty and kindness that helped him survive the war.

On Fergus’s fifth birthday his father gave him a box of magic tricks and he became hooked on the expressions of amazement his family would feign at his childish conjuring. But as Fergus practised, this wonder became genuine and, at the age of 18, he was admitted to the Magic Circle.  ‘For about five years I was the youngest member and now I am the oldest,’ says Fergus. ‘I have joined the Inner Circle of 150 members.’ 

When war was declared in 1939, Fergus joined the Army.

He served in the 118th Field Regiment Royal Artillery and spent the first two years in Britain, preparing to fight a Nazi invasion.  While stationed in Woolwich, South-East London, he contracted pharyngitis and met the love of his life, a pretty, bespectacled nurse called Lucille.

‘I was lying in a ward for two months,’ he recalls. ‘One day, the fellow in the next bed asked if I was engaged. I said, “Good God, no. I haven’t got time for women.” And then Lucille walked into the ward. I quickly added that if I ever did get married, it would be to her.  ‘Lucille and I hit it off straight away. I used to go and talk to her when she was in the sluice cleaning out the bedpans – very romantic.’ 

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Fergus found himself heading to the Far East instead. Just before they departed, the colonel of Fergus’s regiment gave him the then huge sum of £30 to buy magic props, declaring: ‘You’re the only man we’ve got to entertain the troops.’

POWs working on the Thailand/Burma Railroad.

POWs working on the Thailand/Burma Railroad.

 

But on arrival, it was the enemy who were full of surprises. ‘We arrived in Singapore 15 days before it fell,’ says Fergus. ‘My war lasted five days.’  On Friday, February 13, 1942, Gunner Anckorn was driving an armoured lorry just outside Singapore when 27 Japanese bombers swooped out of the sky. ‘There were so many of them, there was no escape,’ he says.

By the time the bombing stopped Fergus had taken a severe blow to the head, his right hand was hanging off and he had a bullet in the back of his left knee. He was found in a ditch and taken to a field hospital, where a surgeon told Fergus his damaged hand would have to be amputated. 

Luckily, when an orderly came round to administer ether he recognized Fergus and cried: ‘You can’t cut his hand off, Sir, he’s our conjuror and a bloody brilliant one, too!’

The next day Fergus woke up in the Alexandra Military Hospital to find he still had his hand but that the hospital had been taken over by the Japanese, who were taking away the staff and shooting them.

From the Daily Mail. co. uk

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Military Humor –

article-2169177-13EF191F000005DC-287_306x466

Well, I didn’t read it myself, but my mate knows a bloke who got a mate that’s a mess orderly and he knows a bloke on P party who says…….

 

 

buck.jpg from Muscleheaded

Courtesy of Chris, from Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charlie Aldridge – Olive Branch, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Asia-Pacific Campaign Medal

Asia-Pacific Campaign Medal

Stanley Atkins – Fort Lee, NJ; US Army, WWII, Africa & CBI, Bronze Star

William Baldwin – Stroudsburg, PA; US Navy, WWII,PTO, USS Batfish & Bass

Angelo DeRosa – Toms River, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Mary Dunne – Milford, CT; US Army WAC Nurse Corps, WWII, CBI, 159th Sta. Hosp & 181st Gen. Hosp.

Earl Hayes – San Jose, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, P-47 pilot

William Kast – San Francisco, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunnery officer

Duane Oberlin – Ft. Wayne, IN; US Army, WWII, CBI

Donald Peck – Tampa, FL; US Army, WWII, CBI, Bronze Star

Peter Zaharko Sr. – Brooklyn, NY & Delray Bch, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 68th Air Service Group, Sgt. Major

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Former U.S. POWs Visit Japan

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On 12 October 2015, 9 US former prisoners of war returned to Japan for a Memorial Service – 

View their 2 minute video Here!

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Nine former American servicemen who were held as prisoners during World War II were in Japan on Monday to revisit some of the places where they were held seven decades ago and recount their memories.

The men, all in their 90s, opened their tour with a memorial service for their fellow fallen soldiers at the Commonwealth War Graves in Yokohama, near Tokyo.

As they marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, the emphasis was on reconciliation.

George Rogers, of Lynchburg, Va., said he had no hard feelings. Now 96, he was taken captive by the Japanese after surviving the infamous Bataan Death March in April 1942 and forced to work at the Yawata steel plant in southern Japan, or today’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.

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During his nearly 3 1/2 years of captivity, Rogers was given meager food rations and sometimes beaten.

He said that he was lucky to survive, but that he harbored “no hard feelings” toward his captors.

“Just like we do what we’re told to do as far as the Army is concerned, your (Japanese) men do the same thing. They tell them to do it, they do it,” he said. “Other than that, I think we lived.”

A month after Japan’s Aug. 15, 1945, surrender, Rogers returned to the U.S. in skin-and-bone state, weighing only 85 pounds (38 kilograms) despite being 6-foot-3. His doctor told him — he was 26 then — that he would most likely not live past 45 or 50, keep his teeth or have children.

Rogers still has his teeth, and has five children. One of them, Jeffrey, accompanied him on his trip to Japan.

“They didn’t give me any food, and I didn’t get much water when I needed it, but other than that, it was a long trip, very far,” he said.

His hope to revisit the steel plant wasn’t accommodated. The Yawata plant was chosen as a World Heritage site.

William Chittenden, Carl Dyer & Joseph Demott. 3 of the 9 former Pow's at the Commonwealth War Graves, 12 Oct. 2015

William Chittenden, Carl Dyer & Joseph Demott. 3 of the 9 former Pow’s at the Commonwealth War Graves, 12 Oct. 2015

During the Bataan march, thousands of prisoners were forced to walk more than 60 miles under severe, sweltering conditions while being abused by their captors. Many died.

Historians say some 30,000 Allied force members were held as prisoners in Japan during World War II.

At Monday’s memorial service, the nine veterans, assisted by their family members and U.S. servicemembers, laid flowers for their fellow countrymen who perished while in captivity.

The participants, visiting Japan at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry under a program for reconciliation that started five years ago, are scheduled to visit some former camp sites, including Osaka, Yokohama and Kamioka, central Japan.

Japan has similar programs with Australia and Britain. Many former POWs still harbor hard feelings because of harsh treatment by the Japanese.

It took 94-year old Arthur Gruenberg, from Camano Island, Wash., 70 years to come back. The former Marine surrendered at Corregidor, Philippines, in May 1942, and was eventually shipped to a Fukuoka mine in southern Japan. By then he was blind in one eye due to vitamin A deficiency.

Gruenberg said he was simply impressed by Japan’s postwar development and hoped it remains a peace-loving nation.

“Everything is just amazing, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “I can’t say it (my feelings) has changed much, I just hope we don’t have any more wars.”

Article from “Stars and Stripes.”

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Military Humor – 

SadSack37

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alan Brecht – Canberra, AUS; RA Navy, Commodore

Thomas Campbell – Beaumont, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Don Edwards – San Jose, CA; US Navy, WWII228685_214560631902034_100000442955388_742352_2701778_n

Quin Johnson-Harris – Milwaukee, WI; US Air Force, Afghanistan

Robert McCombe – Whangamata, NZ; RNZ Army # 056196, WWII, Hawkes Bay Regiment

Sam Ozaki – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 442nd RCT

Charles Ragland – Bethesda, MD; US Army Lt., Vietnam, Siver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Josephine Stetson – NYC, NY; US Army civilian employee & USO, WWII

Steve Theobald – Goose Creek, SC; US Army, Iraq, SSgt.

Marvin Voltech – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII, PTO

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Arthur Mulroy

USS Antietam, Arthur Mulroy (second from the left, front row)

USS Antietam, Arthur Mulroy (second from the left, front row)

Arthur Mulroy, born 12 October 1935, turns 80 today.  This US Navy veteran I am very proud to call my cousin.

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Artie well remembers enlisting in the Navy in 1952 and having received orders to board the USS Antietam (CV-36).  The Essex-class aircraft carrier, the second U.S. ship to bear the name, was recommissioned for service at the outbreak of the Korean War.  She was redesignated an attack carrier (CVA), and then as an antisubmarine warfare carrier (CVS).  In 1952, she was fitted with a port sponson to make her the world’s first true angled-deck aircraft carrier.  The Antietam earned 2 battle stars during the war.

USS Antietam, while Arthur was on board

USS Antietam, while Arthur was on board

Arthur remained in the Navy until 1956.  He re-enlisted in 1959.  He married and his first daughter was born in 1960; a son and another daughter would later follow.  In May of 1962, Artie was transferred from New York to Norfolk, Virginia and worked on ViceAdmiral O’Byrne’s staff.  It was here that history records the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Arthur was part of the team that organized and deployed the ships for blockade and possible war.

Arthur Mulroy left the Navy in 1963 and pursued a career in banking while he and his wife Patricia raised their family and a grandchild.

Arthur Mulroy at his granddaughter's wedding.

Arthur Mulroy at his granddaughter’s wedding.

It seems apropos to me that tomorrow is the 240th US Navy Birthday and Friday, 16 October, is the Anniversary date for the Cuban Missile Crisis.  I hope you enjoy the links I previously posted for those days.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Navy CPO Humor – 

"And when the Captain's around, you call me Chief - not Master,. Got it?

“And when the Captain’s around, you call me Chief – not Master,. Got it?

You...ah...been Chief for very long?

You…ah…been Chief for very long?

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Farewell Salutes – 

Martin Anderson – Brentwood, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Antietam (DV-36)

Allen “Burk” Burkett – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, Korea, Vietnam, USS Los Angeles (CA-135), Antietam & Yellowstone (AD-27), Master Chief Yeoman (Ret. 21 years)

Arthur Doyle – Boston, MA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Antietam (DV-36), pilotBIABoNLCEAEPa7G (599x769)

Theron Fosdick – Winchester, NH; US Navy, Korea, Cmdr. (Ret. 25 years), USS Antietam (CV-36), pilot

Morris Gill – Waco, TX; US Navy, Korea, USS Antietam (CV-36)

Albert Grad – Milwaukee, WI; US Navy, Korea, USS Antietam (CV-36)

Thomas Long – St.Paul, MN; US Navy, Korea, USS Antietam (CV-36)

Walter Sayre – Paramus, NJ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Antietam (DV-36)

August Stornelli – Oakfield, NY; US Navy, PTO, WWII, USS Card (CVE-11) & Antietam (DV-36)

Gardner Wales – Rochester, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Antietam (DV-36)

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Current News – Chesty Puller’s Home

Chesty Puller USMC

Chesty Puller USMC

SALUDA, Va. — Some Marine veterans are on a mission to purchase the former home of one of the Marine Corps’ most revered generals.

When the group found out that Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller’s retirement home inSaluda had hit the market, they scrambled to both form a nonprofit and launch a GoFundMe site to raise the $400,000 needed to purchase it.

By contributing to help fund the purchase, former intelligence Marine Sgt. Maleesha Kovnesky, who is spearheading the effort as chair of the nonprofit, said supporters will be directly contributing to a place that will serve as a standing monument to other Marines.

“It’s the perfect place, perfect opportunity and perfect time to make sure there’s a place that fosters camaraderie (so) all Marines everywhere know they have a place to go and people who care,” she told Marine Corps Times.

Puller, who died in 1971 at the age of 73, had one of the most distinguished careers in the Marine Corps. He earned five Navy Crosses over his 37 years of service as well as many other combat decorations, campaign medals and unit commendations. He retired as a lieutenant general in 1955, but his legacy lives on, said Kovnesky, who served as an intel Marine and left the Corps in 2000.

The vets hope the 2,253 square-foot suburban house, built in the 1920s, becomes a self-funding venture over the years, with plans to hold events such as weddings, reunions and promotion or retirement ceremonies on the Puller grounds.

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“The intent of the house is to have a place for Marines to gather,” Kovnesky said. “It’s going to be a place available to Marines, kind of like a home base: If they can’t find anywhere to go, they’ll always have this.”

The group is running against the clock, however, to compete with other offers on the house. The Marine vets are also in the process of acquiring a bed and breakfast next door to the Puller family home, and the combined seven acres and nine bedrooms between the two properties could serve as a place of refuge for veterans in need, in addition to a venue for Marine events, according to the group.

“This will be a cultural point of reference for Marines to make sure something as iconic as Chesty Puller’s home does not fall by the wayside” said Anthony Pino, a former captain who worked as an air intel officer and now serves as the vice chairman of the nonprofit. “If it’s going to be saved for anything, it should be put to use for Marines.”

The drive to acquire the home is not just out of nostalgia for the general, however.

Pino recently lost a Marine friend, which prompted the group to seek practical means of reaching out and assisting fellow Marines.

In a suicide note posted on Facebook, Pino’s friend implored Marines to love and to take care of each other.

“His last line was ‘the door is unlocked,’ and so this is our attitude,” Pino said. “The idea that [Chesty’s] home would be used well before anyone ever gets to that point to take care of other Marines, I think that would make him happy.”

The group sees this as the natural continuation of Chesty Puller’s legacy.

Lewis Burwell Puller Jr., the Marine general’s less-well-known son, was severely wounded by a mine while serving as a lieutenant in Vietnam. He lost both legs and parts of his hands, and Chesty broke down sobbing when seeing him for the first time in the hospital.

On May 11, 1994, Lewis Puller Jr. died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“Chesty was a human being just like the rest of us — he’s still with us and still helping people like he always did; he was a Marine’s Marine, and always looking out for the E-3 who needed help,” said board member and retired Gunnery Sgt. Teresa Carpenter. “This is not a bunch of hair-brained Marines getting together, drinking and saying ‘Hey, let’s buy Chesty Puller’s house!’ We’ve really sat down, talked this through and really worked on it.”

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The group has been able to provide earnest money for the home, but the immediate need is to secure funding to purchase it.

This last week they achieved the status of a pending nonprofit, which Pino said allows them to legally operate in good faith. They are currently working to open an account with a local bank to facilitate the purchase.

Pino said it feels like the group has “been building the plane while flying it,” but that they are committed to realizing its vision.

“We’re at the point now where we’re running the risk of the seller pulling out and going with someone else if we can’t produce soon,” Pino said. “We want to do this the right way.”

The property is currently selling for $395,000 and previously sold in February 2007 for $315,000, according to its listing on Zillow.

This information is from USA Today.

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Chesty Puller Humor – 

chesty2

  1. During one such conflict a ROK (Republic of Korea) commander, whose unit was fighting with the Marines, called legendary Marine (then Colonel) Chesty Puller to report a major Chinese attack in his sector.

    “How many Chinese are attacking you?” asked Puller.

    “Many, many Chinese!” replied the excited Korean officer.

    Puller asked for another count and got the same answer: “Many, many Chinese!”

    “#*#&*!#%!” swore Puller, “Put my Marine liaison officer on the radio.”

    In a minute, an American voice came over the air: “Yes, sir?”
    “Lieutenant,” growled Chesty, “exactly how many Chinese you got up there?”

    “Colonel, we got a whole ****load of Chinese up here!”

    “Thank God!” exclaimed Puller, “At least there’s someone up there who knows how to count!”

    Semper Fi,

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Farewell Salutes – 

Harold Abbott – Columbia, SC; USMC, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gunnery Sgt (ret.)

Rhea Adams – South. Shores, NC; USMC, WWII, PTO

Gerard Cullen – Boston, MA; USMC, Korea

William Donovan Jr. – Quincy, MA; USMC, Afghanistan, 2 Purple Hearts

Harry Hagaman – Grand Junction, CO; USMC (Ret. 32 years), Korea, Vietnam, BrigGeneral

Susumu Ito – Wellesley, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 442 RCT, Lost Battalion Rescue, Congressional Gold Medal

John Jones – Wichita, KS; USMC, WWII

Manuel Martin Jr. – Fall River, MA; USMC, Korea, Vietnam, Purple Heart, Sgt. Major (Ret. 30 years)

Sheldon Sachs – Rochester, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO

Harold Swindell – Amarillo, TX; USMC, Korea, Vietnam, Captain (Ret. 30 years)

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