1. Kolombangara Island where Capt. Cecil and others were rescued July 7, 1943 2. Kula Gulf were the CL 50 was sunk July 6, 1943 3. Vella Lavella were 165 officers and men were stranded be be rescued July 16, 1943 4. Ranongga Island were the remains of General Preston Douglas S1c USS Helena CL 50 were found in 2006. 5. Blackett Stright were John F. Kennedy’s PT 109 was sunk August 2, 1943. 6. Randova Island PT 109’s base.
The information and map above provided by Shipmate Charlie McClellend, USS Helena CL-50.
For the landing on New Georgia, Admiral Turner’s attack force (Task Force 31) consisted of ships and landing craft from the South Pacific or III Amphibious Force (Task Force 32), plus the ground troops. These troops, designated the New Georgia Occupation Force, initially included the following units:
9th Marine Defense Battalion
1st Marine Raider Regiment (less two battalions)
136th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm. howitzers), 37th Division
Elements of the 70th Coast Artillery Battalion (Antiaircraft)
One and one-half naval construction battalions
Elements of the 1st Commando, Fiji Guerrillas
Naval base detachments
A boat pool
Helena CL-50 (Foreground); St. Louis CL-40 (Middle); Honolulu CL-48 (Background) – Kula Gulf
5-6 July – The first run by the Japanese, with 2,400 troops was intercepted by RAdm. Ainsworth with 3 light cruisers ; the USS Helena, St. Louis and Honolulu, and 4 destroyers of TF-18, the Nicholas, O’Bannon, Radford and Jenkins. This was labeled the Battle of Kula Gulf. (link for further detailed info)
As visibility was down to 7,000 yards, the IJN destroyer and flagship Niizuki sank with Adm. Akiyama on board. The Suzukaze and Tanikase received damaged, but remained in the battle. Three torpedoes hit the USS Helena and also the destroyer, Strong. The Japanese ships, Satsuki and Nagatsuki, raced to Vila to unload their men and cargo; the Nagatsuki was later sunk. After the battle, other enemy ships unloaded their cargo while rescue missions commenced on both sides.
13 July – The second Japanese supply convoy came at night off Kolombangara Island. The enemy skill of night flying and detecting radar signals was made apparent. TF-18 sank the flagship cruiser of RAdm. Tanaka, the Jintsu, but lost the destroyer Gwyn and the New Zealand cruiser Leander was heavily damaged. About 2,000 additional Japanese were put ashore on New Guinea, while the Australian troops took the Mumbo enemy stronghold.
How Marines saw Rendover
15 July – The Japanese had 45 aircraft downed over Rendover at New Georgia. The Americans lost 3 planes.
17 July – in the Solomon Islands, more than 200 Allied aircraft, including B-17s made a 12 hour attack on Japanese shipping and military positions in and around Bougainville. This successful action downed 49 enemy planes in the air and destroyed many more on land at Kahili airfield. Dauntless dive-bombers and Avenger torpedo bombers took out 7 vessels in Buin-Faisi Harbour, including a light cruiser and a destroyer at a cost of 6 aircraft.
New Georgia, 1943
25-31 July – US forces at New Georgia began an offensive attack. Enemy troops, in camouflaged pillboxes needed to be pried out with tanks and flamethrowers. Such areas as Horseshoe Hill were taken and then lost after bloody hand-to-hand combat. On the 29th, MGen. Hester was replaced by MGen. John Hodge as commander of the US 43rd Division and there would 10 more days of close combat.
German U-boat 168 located off Jakarta (Once known as Batavia, Dutch West Indies) – The Daily Mail, reported that divers off the Indonesian coast had discovered a Nazi U-boat wreckage of WWII with at least 17 skeletons of its lost crew aboard. According to the initial findings, it is the U-168, the German type IX C/40 U-boat commissioned on 10thSeptember 1942 and was commanded by Captain Helmuth Pich.
The 42nd Bomb Group served as the only B-25 Mitchell outfit in the Thirteenth Air Force during World War II. Going into combat in the Solomon Islands in the summer of 1943, the Crusaders took part in the drive to Bougainville and the isolation of Rabaul. After that campaign, the Thirteenth Air Force moved to New Guinea and became part of FEAF. The 42nd finished the war operating in the Southern Philippines and supporting not only the ground effort there, but also the invasion of Borneo in the Dutch East Indies.
Check out A. Gray’s page: http://waynes-journal.com/about/ for a look into the the day-to-day life of a 42nd Bomb Group tail gunner. It is a terrific site that gives you remarkable insight into the experiences of our American aviators in the SWPA during the war.
In honor of A. Gray and his remarkable website, I’ve posted some photos of the group…
Originally posted on Pacific Paratrooper: TO SHOW MY THANKS TO ONE AND ALL… For my previous Thanksgiving posts – CLICK HERE and HERE! What was seen on the home front 1941-42… Thanksgiving during WWII… They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day, My thoughts are at home, though I’m far away; I can see everyone, eating dinner…
Martha Raye was a Vaudeville born actress, comedian, and movie star that was known for bold comedy. She was named “The Big Mouth”, not only because of her comedy, but for the physical trait.
Politically, Raye was conservative, affirming her political views by informing an interviewer, “I am a Republican because I believe in the constitution, strength in national defense, limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility as the concrete foundation for American government. They reinforce the resolve that the United States is the greatest country in the world and we can all be eternally grateful to our founding fathers for the beautiful legacy they left us today.”
Beginning in WWII, Raye started a lifelong commitment to entertaining and assisting the troops overseas. She worked with them during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Some nights she would do shows, but other nights, she’d skip the show because she’d been assisting the soldiers all day and wanted to continue into the night. A former nurse, she worked with Medivac units and in field hospitals. She often served in remote areas with Special Forces.
Raye wore fatigues and the troops called her “Colonel Maggie”.
Raye was an honorary Colonel in the Marines, and President Lyndon B. Johnson made her an honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Special Forces as well. The Green Berets have a special place in their hearts for her.
Miss Raye in Vietnam, from the Robert Boyd Jr. collection
In 1993, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The text included reads:
A talented performer whose career spans the better part of a century, Martha Raye has delighted audiences and uplifted spirits around the globe. She brought her tremendous comedic and musical skills to her work in film, stage, and television, helping to shape American entertainment. the great courage, kindness, and patriotism she showed in her many tours during World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam Conflict earned her the nickname ‘Colonel Maggie.’ The American people honor Martha Raye, a woman who has tirelessly used her gifts to benefit the lives of her fellow Americans.
Raye was offered a place at Arlington National Cemetery upon her death, which is a high honor, but Raye wanted to be with her beloved Green Berets. A very special exception was made for her and she was buried at Ft. Bragg, home of the Green Berets, with full military honors. She is the only civilian buried on post that receives full recognition of military honors on Veteran’s Day.
On New Georgia there were no trails or roads. When a passage was cut, a company-size unit of men would turn the footing into a sea of mud. The only large, flat area was a former copra plantation around the Munda airfield. Charts were another problem. They were pre-WWII and some dated back to the German Admiralty of the 1890’s.
21-30 June – Operation Toenails began with air and naval bombardments on Japanese land positions. The waters were mined to prevent the enemy from bringing in reinforcements. Col. Michael Currin’s Raiders of the 4th Marines landed first and then were relieved by 2 other infantry companies. Sergi Point was taken and they began heading toward Viru Harbor, going through the thick Kunai grass filled with enemy snipers. Sgt. Anthony Coulis, of P Company, remembered hacking at the grass for 12 exhausting hours to go 7 miles, “How I lived through that day, I’ll never know.”
More US troops landed at Viru and pushed the enemy back from their defensive positions. As they headed into the jungle, they moved going in the exact direction of the Raiders. By the 30th, the US 43rd Division took the island of Rendova, within artillery range of New Georgia, making it a valuable step on the drive to Bougainville.
Minorou (Noboru) Sasaki
The US Naval site said this campaign was needlessly complex and often led by Army officers who had little or no knowledge of the terrain and whose troops were woefully inexperienced and physically unprepared. These Americans also had the misfortune of facing one of the most wily and resolute Japanese generals of the CBI and Pacific War, Minorou Sasaki.
23-30 June – the Troubriand Islands off the Papuan Peninsula of New Guinea were invaded by the 41st Division at Nassau Bay unopposed. A battalion of the US 32nd Division landed 20 miles (32 km) south of the Japanese positions at Salamaua. These troops were to meet up with the Australian 3rd Division, who were still holding the airfield at Wau. General Imamura had fallen for MacArthur’s ploy and split his defenses at Lae by sending troops south to hold Salamaua. This would lead to his ultimate defeat.
30 June – was the D-Day for Operation Chronicle. The Woodlark Force – units of the 112th Cavalry, the 134th Field Artillery Battalion and the 12th Marine Defense Battalion – 2,600 troops, landed at 2100 hours and began unloading the LST’s. Nearly simultaneously, 2,250 of the Kiriwina Force were landing. Unfortunately, the water was extremely shallow and the LCT’s became grounded about 200-300 yards from the beach. This made unloading extremely difficult and slow.
Japanese artillery on Attu, 1943 Property of Univ. of Washington, Special Collections.
5 June – On the home front of Japan, Admiral Yamamoto received a full state funeral in Tokyo. Germany honored him by awarding the Knight’s Cross w/ Oakleaves and Swords as the island nation mourned. The Japanese people were told that his plane crashed due to mechanical failure.
7 June – a major aerial battle around the Russell Islands occurred. The US aircraft shot down 19 Japanese fighters out of the 40 attackers.
7-16 June – the Japanese air sorties over the Solomon Islands became increasingly costly for the enemy in the terms of aircraft and pilots. Over Guadalcanal, the 307th Bombardment Group cost Japan 23 planes and the US had 9 downed. On the 12th, the kill-to-loss ratio widened as Japan lost 31 to the 6 American. By the 16th, the total destruction of 107 Japanese aircraft was reached out of the 120 available planes in the area.
No. 14 Fighter Squadron
The Royal New Zealand Air Force, (RNZAF), sent No. 14 Fighter Squadron Squadron to join in the Solomon campaign and arrived just before another major Japanese raid on 12 June, claiming 8 victories. On the 16th, over Savo Island, they downed 5 enemy planes in a dog fight.
Geoff Fisken, No. 14 Fighter Squadron
8-24 June – the Japanese high command deemed Alaska irrelevant and ordered their troops to abandon Kiska Island. The fall of Attu had brought outspoken criticism of the Imperial HQ by high-ranking Navy officers. Now, the Kuril Islands would need to be fortified and manned. This would divert fresh troops and supplies from the beleaguered areas in the south.
Kuril Islands stretching from Japan to the Kamchatka Peninsula
Japan feted the Pro-Axis Bengali leader Subhas Chandra Bose’s arrival (via Germany). They hoped he would mobilize Indian resistance to the war effort. Bose made a radio broadcast to that effect.
15 June – cholera struck the prisoners of war on the ‘Railroad of Death’ work details.
18 June – Sir Archibald Wavell was replaced by Sir Claude Auchinleck due to Prime Minister Churchill’s dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in the Burma Theatre.
Coastal Watchers on Bougainville notified Halsey that the enemy were moving to fortify New Georgia. The observers also noticed the Japanese camouflaging the airfields at Munda. This resulted in pushing Operation Toenails up by 4 days and Halsey began moving up The Slot. (The Watchers at this time were kept busy being on the lookout and rescuing downed pilots.).
A post of mine for the Coast Watchers can be seen HERE.
The New Georgia Group in the central Solomons includes 12 large islands, several dozen smaller ones, barrier islands, coral reefs and countless uncharted coral heads. Lying south of the equator, they have all the tropical problems that will be found throughout the Pacific War: high temperatures and humidity, steep ridges, mangrove swamps, diseases, insects, poisonous snakes and jungles so thick that the top canopy prevents daylight and accurate aerial photography of the ground.
When we last left off, Capt. Byron L. Heichel and his seven surviving crewmembers had reached the shore near their B-17’s crash site. They noticed a crowd of natives had come to see what all the commotion was about, and the crew attempted to communicate with them in Pidgin English to get help moving three of the crewmen who had been severely injured: James E. Etheridge, Kenneth P. Vetter, and 2/Lt. Marcus L. Mangett, Jr. Heichel and his co-pilot, 1/Lt. Berry T. Rucks, Jr. were also injured in the landing (both had been thrown face-first into the instrument panel), although they were able to move on their own two feet.
They had landed near a plantation called Komalu, which was owned by a German named Rudolf Diercke. That day, he and the Japanese overseer, Tadashi Imamura, were inspecting some construction on the plantation when Diercke was told that an American…
World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.
A military parade with crowds of excited spectators along 5th Avenue, in celebration of Armistice day and peace in Europe following World War One, New York, 1918. (Photo by Paul Thompson/FPG/Getty Images)
In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.
The Things That Make a Soldier Great
The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,
To face the flaming cannon's mouth, nor ever question why,
Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,
The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,
The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:
'Tis these that make a soldier great. He's fighting for them all.
'Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;
'Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;
For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam
As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.
Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run--
You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.
What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees?
The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,
The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,
Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.
The golden thread of courage isn't linked to castle dome
But to the spot, where'er it be--the humble spot called home.
And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there,
And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;
The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,
And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.
He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,
And only death can stop him now--he's fighting for them all.
It has been a while since my last Shout Out to the Veterans and Volunteers of Arkansas – my apologies! I think of you all quite often and Sheri DeGrom keeps me up-to-date on your activities. Enjoy your day!!!!!!!!!
What does the celebration mean to Marines across the globe? To General John Lejeune it meant a great deal. On 1 November 1921, he issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, which provided a summary of the history, mission and traditions of the Corps and directed that the order be read to every command each subsequent year on 10 November.
To see 29 facts you may not know about Marines – check out the USO blogHERE!!!
Illustration of the first successful amphibious operation by the Continental Marines. WWII USMC combat artist, Col. Don Dickson
At the Marine Corps Ball, one key piece of the ceremony is to present the first piece of cake to the oldest Marine in the room, who in turn gives the next to the junior Marine. This symbolic gesture is the passing of experience and knowledge from the veteran to the recruit. We should all emulate their example and take part in history.
To all those who are able – Enjoy the fruits of your labor and revel in the spectacle and unabashed camaraderie that is the U.S. Marine Corps!!
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. W/ Capt. Greg Youngberg of Boynton Beach, FL; 2014 Marine of the Year