Monthly Archives: December 2015

Home Front Memories

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When America was catapulted into World War II, life on the home front changed in ways it never had before—and probably never will again, according to people who lived through those times.

“So many people don’t know what it was like then. Everything was for the war effort,” said Shirley Compton, a vivacious 80-year-old who lives in Colonial Beach. “Everyone was close and loving and patriotic. I remember that feeling most of all.”

She grew up in Arlington, where families were encouraged to rent out rooms to workers who flocked to Washington to keep the war machine chugging.  Her childhood memories are of air-raid drills at school and blacked-out windows at home. She confesses she “did carry on a bit” when factories that made Coca–Cola and Double Bubble Bubble Gum shifted their focus to war supplies and stopped making her favorites.

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But even 6-year-old girls quickly learned to support the cause when everyone else was doing it, she said. “I never saw such a good feeling about everything, people working together,” she said. “I remember that still.”

So does Wayne Colton, a 78-year-old with an incredible memory for detail. Perhaps he paid so much attention to adults because he was an only child.  His family lived on the outskirts of Fredericksburg when it was still rural enough to be considered the country.

He was only 4 when Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, but he sensed the seriousness of the situation—and the subsequent four-year effort to defeat Japan and Germany.  “I knew it was a life-and-death struggle,” he said. “It made a profound impression on me.”

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To those in the city or country, an account of life on the home front starts and ends with one word.  Rationing.

Processed and canned goods were shipped overseas for Allied soldiers; gasoline was used to transport troops and supplies instead of food; and sugar and coffee were limited due to war-related restrictions on imports.

Because of the shortages, the government established a system to make sure the few items available were distributed fairly.  Each American got ration books with stamps for particular items, such as cooking oil, shoes or meat.

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Living in the country, Colton and his family raised chickens and got pork from relatives who had a farm. They were able to grow most of the food they needed, unlike city-dwellers who relied on the market.

The mere mention of meat brought up a subject that made Compton cringe. Spam, a spiced ham served in a can, became popular during the war to supplement the meat shortages.

“I hate it to this day,” she said. “I don’t ever want to see it again.”

Copper was needed for wiring for every piece of equipment that rolled, floated or was flown in the war, along with the millions of radios being produced.  Zinc replaced copper as the coating on pennies, Colton said.

As much as civilians felt the shortages, they were also keenly aware of the need—and “no one complained about it,” Compton said.   Radio programs, movies and school events stressed the need to support the war because the American way of life depended on it.

“You woke up every day, realizing we were in a conflict,” Colton said. “The war was the predominant theme, and you were totally aware of how much people were sacrificing for it.”

In the months after the Pearl Harbor attack, communities appointed civilians to keep an eye on the sky and water. Volunteer spotters, who learned to identify aircraft from their silhouettes, were posted around the Fredericksburg region.

Guards were placed at the Falmouth Bridge, as well as other bridges and railroad crossings. Civil defense patrols in Fredericksburg had air-raid drills—the same kind Compton experienced in Arlington—when all the lights had to be blacked out. No one wanted to give would-be bombers a target to hit.

As a boy, Colton saw these exercises and the regular troop trains that ran through Fredericksburg, headed for training at Fort A.P. Hill. He was absolutely fascinated by the war machine.

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Woman inspecting bullets…

He learned that the nylons his mother coveted were used to make parachutes, that the metal and paper he and other children saved were used in weapons, armament and posters asking people to buy war bonds and further support the effort.

Even the fat left over from cooking was saved and turned into soap.  “It was significant to see these things,” Colton said, realizing at a young age that this wasn’t normal.

Colton was so fascinated by the military, he eventually joined the Air Force and earned a Bronze Star in Vietnam—the same medal an uncle received at the Battle of the Bulge. He retired after 20 years in the military, then worked as a defense contractor.

Rev. Wayne Colton & wife, Linda.

Rev. Wayne Colton & wife, Linda.

About 25 years ago, he answered a different call of duty: to become a minister. At 78, he’s the senior pastor at Triangle Baptist Church.  Colton never forgot the wartime experiences of his childhood.

“It gave me a sense of pride in the country and the sacrifices men and women were making,” he said. “It was a life-forming orientation.”

cdyson@freelancestar.com 

©2015 The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.)
Visit The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.) at http://www.fredericksburg.com/flshome
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Click on images to enlarge.

For past detailed stories of the home front check into my category Home Front.

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Home Front & Political Humor –

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Pittsburgh Gazette

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Dorman Smith, Lynchburg News, 1943

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

William Aynes – Columbus, OH; US Army, WWII/ US Air Force, Korea, Vietnam

Paul Barnhart – Endicott, NY & AK; USMC, Korea, Purple Heart Arlington_Burial_Worl_Smit_2_t755_h8a94edf1cc6e40113d3605995d57b0e00c11f81c

Charles Booth – Guildford, AUS; RA Army # 171790, WWII, 82/13th Battery/19th Div.

Bob Falen – Ontario, OR; US Army, Vietnam, Helicopter pilot

Richard Kelly – Wilmette, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co/11th Airborne

Walter McCreary – San Antonio, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Tuskegee Airman, POW

Levon Raybon – Showlow, AZ; US Air Force, Korea

Robert Smith – Montgomery, AL; US Army, WWII, PTO

Jock Turner – NZ; RNZ Air Force # 437355, WWII

John Woods – Ottawa, CAN; RC Army, Korea, 25th Canadian Inf. Brigade Group, paratrooper

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A Korean War Christmas Story

Christmas 1950, Korea

Christmas 1950, Korea

“Home for Christmas” was the rallying cry as United Nations forces, spearheaded by American troops, were well on their way to clearing the entire Korean peninsula of Communist North Korean forces who had invaded South Korea in June, 1950. Then, in late November, in the dead of one of the coldest Korean winters on record, more than 300,000 troops from the Communist People’s Republic of China poured across the Yalu River and entered the war bent on the annihilation of U.N. forces and the installation of a Communist dictatorship for all of Korea. Within a few short days all hopes for a joyous Christmas were dashed. General Douglas MacArthur, the commander of all U.N. forces in Korea, said, “We face an entirely new war …”

Approximately 120,000 Chinese troops battered and besieged U.N. forces around the port city of Hungnam, in northeast Korea. When the U.N. command decided that the Hungnam area could not be held, a mass sea evacuation of troops, equipment and about 98,000 refugees began in mid-December.

At Taegu, South Korea, Norman Deptula, left, stands with two soldiers from the 581st Signal Radio Relay Company after they had been evacuated out of North Korea. COURTESY OF NORMAN DEPTULA

At Taegu, South Korea, Norman Deptula, left, stands with two soldiers from the 581st Signal Radio Relay Company after they had been evacuated out of North Korea.
COURTESY OF NORMAN DEPTULA

 

It was a bone-chilling, dark, dingy day, and amid the clamor, the confusion, and the dockside noises accompanying a forced evacuation, my company boarded a freighter and we began a cold, forbidding, four hundred-mile journey to South Korea’s southernmost port city of Pusan. Upon arriving in Pusan, we clambered aboard an unheated train, plunked ourselves and our gear onto hard wooden benches and tried, unsuccessfully, to cover the broken windows, through which howled icy blasts of air. Our train would take us north, to the town of Kyong-ju, a seventy mile trip.

When we finally arrived at our destination, we were a cold, tired, unkempt, dispirited group. Even though we recovered from our strep throats, our colds, and other assorted ills, the awful memories of the suffering, the violent deaths, the brutal unremitting cold, and the destruction which we had witnessed and endured left scars that would never heal.

The days flowed on, one into another, and soon Christmas would be upon us. “Home for Christmas” was a forlorn hope, but we still hoped to be able to observe, in some small way, the birth of the Prince of Peace, here, in the midst of war. Then, the tiniest of miracles occurred! Someone, possible an archangel disguised as a comrade in arms, said that the Catholic church in Kyong-ju would be holding a midnight Mass and transportation would be made available for anyone who wished to go. Our prayers were answered, and we would be privileged to help celebrate Christmas in a very special way.

Before boarding the trucks that would take us to the church on that Christmas eve, we exchanged holiday greetings with our comrades who had been assigned to guard duty patrolling the company perimeter. It was a clear, cold, starry night; someone began to quietly sing, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

The exterior walls of the small church were pockmarked and some of the windows were broken. We noted with surprise that there were separate entrances, one for men and the other for women and children. The men of the parish entered through the door on the left and we followed them to the left side of the church where we sat on tiny wooden chairs. As the women entered through their entrance on our right, they covered their heads with white shawls, took off their shoes, which they placed in neat rows at the rear of the church, and picked up straw kneeling mats from a large pile that was stacked near the door. Infants were carried on the backs of their mothers, supported there by wide bands of cloth which were tied above their mothers’ waists.

While waiting for the Mass to begin, I glanced around and saw that the ceiling had many shallow cavities, each one marking a spot where a chunk of plaster had come loose and fallen. The church was unheated, but no one really noticed. An inner warmth radiated from the few candles on the altar and also from small, colorful silk banners which were suspended from the craggy ceiling. The banners, on which were written Korean figures, carried, we assumed, Christmas greetings. However, in deference to the American guests in the congregation, one banner proclaimed, in bright letters, “Mahry Xmas!” The spelling may not have been perfect, but the sentiments of those wonderful people was obvious and I, for one, would not have wanted it any other way.

1950 Christmas, Korea

1950 Christmas, Korea

A complete Nativity scene filled the area to the left of the altar, which was draped in silk and decorated with flowers and candles; a “real” Christmas tree, completely trimmed with tinsel, ornaments, and garland, stood on the other side of the altar. The sight of that beautiful tree set off a whole train of memories of another Christmas tree occupying, at that very moment, a place of honor in a warn, loving, caring home 10,000 miles away which was “Untouched by the evil that is war …”

Schoolchildren from the parish, ably and lovingly shepherded by Korean nuns, occupied tiny chairs at the very front of the church. The large, heavily starched, snow-white headpieces of the sisters stood in sharp contrast to our wrinkled, stained, and torn trousers and parkas, but such was the love and gratitude that was showered upon us that we did not, even for a moment, feel ill at ease.

At the rear center of the church stood an old, rickety, out-of-tune organ which was played by one of the Korean nuns. She accompanied a choir of schoolgirls who sang Christmas carols. Even though the choir occasionally sang off key, we knew what carols were being sung because we could, with some difficulty, recognize the music that was played and, while the choir sang in Korean, we sang with them, but in English. It was a riot of sounds, but to our ears it was positively joyous and — almost — heavenly.

Father Kim, the celebrant, said the Mass in Korean, but when it ended, he turned to face the congregation and, in halting English, extended, to the Americans in particular, his personal holiday greetings and then, in a final emotional gesture, he gave us his blessing. “The Mass is ended; go in Peace.”

Many Christmases have come and gone, but when the approach of winter heralds the beginning of another Christmas season, my thoughts and memories traverse the many years and the thousands of miles and I recall a very special Christmas in a tiny jewel of a church in Kyong-ju, Korea, and for one brief shining moment, the war is forgotten. I’ll never know what happened to Father Kim and his devoted flock, but I sincerely hope and pray that they have a truly Blessed Christmas.

Published 24 December 2015, by Norman Deptula in Star and Stripes magazine

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Military Humor – 

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Always yield to a vehicle packing a Slammer!

Funny Military With Quotes Pics (48)

NOT always a good idea.

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Michael Beazley – Kalkohe, NZ; RNZ Army, Vietnam

Louis Bonacasa – Manorville, NY; US Air Force, Afghanistan, KIA

"Remembering Our Fallen", courtesy of: Cora Metz @ A Fresh Start

“Remembering Our Fallen”, courtesy of: Cora Metz @ A Fresh Start

Michael Cinco – Mercedes, TX; US Air Force; Afghanistan, SSgt., KIA

Dennis Condom – AUS; RAIF, Korea, POW

Willard Holmes – Dubois, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/187/11th Airborne

Scott Jamar – Sweetwater, TX; US Army, Iraq, Chief Warrant Officer, KIA

Joseph Lemm – W>Harrison, NY; US Air National Guard, Afghanistan, KIA

Meadow Lemon III – Wilmington, NC; US Army, (Harlem Globetrotter)

Chester McBride – Savannah, GA; US Air Force, Afghanistan, KIA

Peter Taub – Philadelphia, PA; US Air Force, Afghanistan, SSgt., KIA

Adrianna Vorderbruggen – Washington, D.C.; US Air Force, Major, KIA

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Military Christmas, then and now

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FOR ALL THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM AND PEACE, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!  

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PLEASE REMEMBER THOSE WHO FOUGHT FOR THOSE FREEDOMS…..

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AND ALL THOSE WHO CONTINUE EACH DAY TO PROTECT US….

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TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND NEW READERS – I WISH YOU ALL THE VERY BEST OF HOLIDAY SEASONS!!!

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Military Christmas Humor – 

christmas-soldiers-army-military-airforce-marines-deployed-overseas-holidays-photos-pictures-11.jpg HUMOR

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Farewell Salutes – 

Carlton Appleby – Ontario, CA; USMC, Korea, Lt., 7th Marines

Glenn Berlin – Wichita, KS; US Navy, WWII

Mildred Drake – DeKalb, IL; US Navy WAVEe9dd0162494da2d1aba873c634610321

William Hushing – Palm Bch Gardens, FL; US Navy, WWII, RAdmiral (Ret.)

Kenneth Just – Louisville, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 674th Artillery/11th Airborne

Walter Klock – St. Johnsonville, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LST signalman

Alfred McElroy – Greenville, KY; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT (Ret. 21 years)

Ronald “Mugs” McKeown – San Diego, CA; US Navy, Capt. (Ret.), 1st Top Gun Commander

Earl Robertson – Spokane, WA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Ennis Warren – Mobile, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 Top-turret gunner

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Rare Photos of WWII U.S. Servicemen in New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND MUSEUM NEEDS HELP IN IDENTIFYING U.S. SERVICEMEN DURING WWII, PLEASE TAKE A LOOK….

Treasured Lives

The Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand has just digitized and published an amazing collection of photographs of United States servicemen who were stationed at Warkworth in northern New Zealand during World War II. The museum is asking for help from Americans to identify the service members.

Nearly 1,100 images can be viewed on the museum’s web site. They were taken by local photographer Tudor Collins. Some of the images appear to be servicemen from other countries, but many if not most of them are of U.S. soldiers, sailors and Marines. Collins, himself a petty officer in the Royal New Zealand Navy, had a knack for putting his visitors from America at ease. It shows in the photographs.

New Zealand was a major staging and training area for U.S. forces that later attacked Guadalcanal, Tarawa and other key Japanese-held locations during the Pacific war. It also served as an exotic locale where…

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An Alaskan Christmas

Aleutian Christmas

Aleutian Christmas

CHIPLEY, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — A 10-inch blanket of snow covered Fort Richardson, Alaska, when Oscar “Buck” Buchanan first arrived in October 1942.

“To some of us Florida boys, this was an experience,” Buchanan wrote in an account detailing his service during World War II that he mailed to The News Herald. “The train was late [to pick us up] and we were told it was due to moose, who would use the tracks for walking through a tunnel made of snow and couldn’t get off the tracks.”

106th Engineers

106th Engineers

This is where Buchanan, a private in the National Guard, spent most of World War II with the Company D, Second Battalion, 106th Engineers.

Two years earlier, Buchanan, then 22, left West Bay with his friend Alex Hinote to enlist.

“At that time, I either had to volunteer into the service or be drafted,” he said.

After a brief honeymoon with his new wife, Juanita Sasnett, he started moving around the country, first for his own training, then to train others.

When the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, everything changed, he said. The unit was told to prepare to ship overseas for combat, their time extended for the length of the war, and they were promoted to general engineers.

Troops on Attu

Troops on Attu

“Our trucks, with a lot of equipment, were loaded onto a train and preceded us to Fort Dix, and sent directly to England. We followed later on Pullman cars — our first train ride — and were scheduled to follow our equipment to England on the Queen Mary,” Buchanan wrote. “While waiting for the boat, another decision was made for us to be sent to Alaska.”

The Japanese had occupied the Aleutian Islands, which fan out toward Asia from the southwestern tip of Alaska, and the U.S. government was worried about the possibility of a mainland invasion from the north.

So Buchanan was sent in the opposite direction of his things.

Along the way, he stopped with a few friends in Olympia, Wash., for 72 hours.

“We visited a ‘service center’ and were entertained by some of the staff. We asked the lady at the piano if she could play ‘Dixie.’ She could and we sang ‘Dixie Land, where I was born’ along with her,” Buchanan, now 95, wrote.

Later in the evening, they tried local oysters, confusing the waitress by asking for them raw instead of in stew.

“When the oysters came, they were the size of a quarter and in a bowl. They tasted like chalk. She said they came from China,” he recalled. “We took the stew.”

Muir Glacier, 1940's

Muir Glacier, 1940’s

The dining reportedly did not improve as Buchanan traveled by a freight boat through the Inside Passage to Alaska.

When they arrived north, the men were outfitted with winter clothes, a coal heater and an A-frame tent. It was an adjustment for those who were used to warmer climates.

“Sometimes the food froze on the plates before it could be eaten,” Buchanan said. “On Christmas Day 1942, the temperature was 43 degrees below freezing.”

At the start of the New Year, the men were moved farther north to an Alaskan base with Quonset huts, where the military had to build an airport capable of accommodating a B-24 bomber as well as a hospital, a railroad and roads. As part of the construction, they had to tunnel through a mountain to get to the harbor.

The men were aided by civilians, and Buchanan became a trained surveyor.

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As it seemed less likely the Japanese would enter Alaska, the work slowed and the American men began to relax. They skied makeshift slopes, visited Mount McKinley, received furloughs back to the States, visited Anchorage, hunted and fished.

When the war ended, the men went home to “no fanfare,” Buchanan wrote. He returned to his wife in Chipley, continued to work as a surveyor, and raised two children. He still lives in Chipley.

To this day, he said on the phone, he feels the 106th Engineer Battalion should have received a little more credit.

“We were called to a defense duty in Alaska and did it well. Even though there were no fatalities in the unit, no credit was given to them for the casualties — civilians as well as soldiers — that were prevented by preparing the Alaskan front for the invasion of the Japanese forces,” he said. “When the Japanese got ‘cold feet’ and fled to a warmer climate, the Florida boys got cold feet but stood their ground.”

©2015 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.)
Visit The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.) at http://www.newsherald.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Military Humor – 

Sometimes you just have to keep you equipment on a leash.

Sometimes you just have to keep you equipment on a leash.

Engineer's priority....

Engineer’s priority….

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Beavers – Marion, IN; US Army, Vietnam

Vincent Capodanno – Staten Island, NY; USMC, Vietnam, Chaplain, Medal of Honor, KIA

Milton Crenshaw – Little Rock, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Tuskegee instructor0083f165f66161f63454e92890403bcd

Henry ‘Red’ Erwin – Adamsville, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Sgt., B-29 radioman, POW, Medal of Honor

Kenneth Howarth – Chester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 127th Engineers/11th Airborne

Yvonne Mole – Victor Harbor, AUS; A Army Medical Womans Service # SFX 24647, WWII

Paul Oskolkoff – Ninilchik, AK; US Navy, Vietnam

Frederick Scott – Gainsville, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 mechanic

Harry Shipman – Hamilton, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO, 48th Highlanders

Dwayne ‘Doc’ Wise – Storm Lake, IA; USMC, WWII, Korea, Lt. (Ret. 22 years)

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First Christmas Home in 4 years, 1943

Adding our knowledge of the female side to the war – this site deserves attention!

The War Time Woman

I have been home with the children this week, as they are on school holidays. By the end of the day I am very glad to see my husband! I cannot imagine not seeing him for months on end, let alone years.  I have also worked on Christmas day in the past, but was always able to catch up with family and friends at some stage – Imagine not having Christmas with you family or seeing them for four years! And then most of them only got 24 hours leave. What people had to cope with during WWII is worth remembering.

This article from the Australian Women’s Weekly, December 1943

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Some men returned home to meet their new child for the first time – for some a baby, and for others a much older child. Others spent their first night together on their honey moon, having married quickly before being…

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DC-3 – Her 80th Anniversary

Douglas DC-3

Douglas DC-3

The “ubiquitous” Douglas DC-3, what can be said about this aircraft that has not already been said ?

17th December 1935 was a day that made history. It was a day when the first Airliner took its maiden flight and marked the first day that enabled operators to make a profit simply by carrying nothing but passengers from one place to another.

American Airlines were the first to use the DC-3 commercially and on June 25th 1936 the first established profit making route (New York to Chicago) was born.

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With the advent of the war lots of orders came pouring in both from the military and from commercial Airliners which had Douglas producing almost 600 DC-3/C-47’s a month. Between 1935 and 1947 Douglas had built a total of 10,654 of the type and 63 years later (today) there are still almost a 1,000 in flying condition. What is more, some of these are still workhorses for Airlines and the military in various roles that one would still find hard to believe. Because of its continuing role in aviation and still competing with the modern Jet era, the DC-3 still has no true replacement and one can now assume that it is the most immortal plane of all time.

Today, the DC-3 is still finding its greatest use in specialized roles with some third world military forces and is commercially useful in some back country and bush areas particularly because of its operating costs, its ability to perform from rough fields and with its low maintenance, these are virtues to be considered ahead of the modern designs. So long as the airframes remain strong, (the DC-3 has never been faulted for its structural integrity to this day) there is no reason why this bird will not fly forever.

There’s an old saying.. “The only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3” and as I write this today, I believe this still holds true.

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Information from: Dakota Hunter; CNN; Boeing; Douglas Corp.; WWII History on-line

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Aviation Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

James Bonadio – Vanderbilt, PA; US Army, Korea

Philip Chancey – WPalm Beach, FL; USMC0083f165f66161f63454e92890403bcd

Jamar Hicks – Little Rock, AR; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt., 101st A/B

William Klee – Camarillo, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th A/B artillery

John Lane – Chattanooga, TN; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Marguerite Moore – British Columbia, CAN; WREN, WWII

Ronald Smith – Tacoma, WA; USMC, MSgt. (Ret. 22 years)

Erston Toney Jr. – Gadseden, AL; US Army, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Green Beret, Bronze Stars, 4 Purple Hearts

Douglas Voyzey – AUS; Vietnam, Tpr # 2137680, KIA

George Whitcombe – Hastings, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 436711, WWII, Sgt., pilot

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Japanese Diary on Kolombangara

Aerial view of Kolombangara, 1943

Aerial view of Kolombangara, 1943

In New Georgia on the Soloman Islands a Japanese private soldier found himself thrown into a campaign that had already been lost. He and his companions from the 23rd Infantry Regiment were landed on Baanga Island, where the troops in occupation were already in retreat. U.S. forces were already well established on nearby islands and the seas around were patrolled by PT boats and destroyers, making it increasingly difficult for the Japanese to land reinforcements or supplies.

Little is known about Tadashi Higa apart from what was found in his diary which was found by the Americans and translated for intelligence purposes. On the 3rd August 1943 he made the following entry

Kolombangara

Kolombangara

We walked along either starving or chewing hard tack. The men in the forces that were withdrawing had pale faces; and there was one casualty in torn clothing who went along using a sword as a cane.

Being just one battalion, we are helpless. We withdrew further. We must withdraw tonight, for our number will be up when day breaks. To advance would have meant death. The situation is indescribable.

The day broke. Enemy planes came roaring toward us, and if we had been detected, it would have meant our end.

The force has spent three days and four nights hiding in the brush without eating, and soaking wet. We were unable to advance a step. We were awaiting the order for an immediate withdrawal to Kolombanga.

Everybody picked coconuts. The enemy was hurriedly constructing an airfield opposite us. We could see them so clearly that it seemed we could have touched them. It only meant that more air attacks were in store for us. Our lives were worthless, for there was no order for withdrawal after all. I have come to hate the men who cause wars. The withdrawal order didn’t come through tonight either.

Our rations have run out. I felt as though I had Malaria, and I took quinine tablets and Hinomarin to keep alive. I was merely awaiting my fate and yet I wanted to die fighting.

It isn’t merely that Japan is being defeated. I felt like crying. Being wet, and in a jungle full of mosquitoes, I thought of home. Ah! The letters from home last month. Ten letters and fourteen or fifteen postcards after a year without any word. There were also letters from my parents.

News from HARUKO, I cherish deeply. But the new was that my beloved younger sister has died, has become a cold, black corpse. Oh! When I thought of her fate, the tears came. I really cried. I felt bitter toward Providence. When I realized that fate determines our lives, my mind became calm. Although death comes sooner or later, I felt sorry for my sister who had to die so young. I prayed for the repose of her soul.

Our parents must be bereaved. Furthermore my mother, who is always thinking about me, must be going through an ordeal worse than death. War is sad.

Nature remains unaffected by such things, though. The morning sun shone, the wind blew softly, yet rain fell plentifully. The hard tack was wet and gave out a foul odor; nobody ate it. We did nothing except gnaw on coconuts.

Two large landing barges were attacked by torpedo boats while they were transporting material to this island. One squad of our CO was on them. I wonder what happened to them.

We talked about home, and we criticized war conditions. We ate no food; our life was just this and nothing else. There was talk that, even today, dead bodies floated up on the north shore. When we thought of their deaths, we were overcome with sorrow.

There was talk that the men of the Southeast Div have not yet arrived. We could not expect them, because our forces, driven hither and thither, must have been roaming about these lonely islands. I wondered what would become of them! I wondered, too, what fate had in store for us!

Despite his sadness and his despair on 13th August Tadashi made his last entry in his diary:

We are determined to resist to the last soldier, and with that intention I lay down my pen.

It was the same situation as on Attu in the northern Pacific, despite knowing that they fought without hope of victory, or even of surviving, the ordinary Japanese soldier saw no alternative but to fight on.

His diary was eventually found on 20th August, what became of Tadashi Higa is not known. The diary was translated by the Combat Intelligence Center, South Pacific Force, and is now retained by the U.S. Naval Historical Center.

From WWIIToday.com?

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Military Humor – 6a00d8341bfadb53ef00e54f2c2fcf8834-640wi

Do a brave thing today!

Do a brave thing today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Arnold – Durham, NC; US Army, Korea

William Dellraria – Chelsea, MA & FL; Merchant Marine, WWIIeagles-with-bowed-heads

Joseph Gathercoal – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Donald Johnson – Howard Beach, NY; US Army, Korea era

Percy Jarrell – Hillsboro, OH; US Merchant Marine, WWII

Davis Meyer – Spokane, WA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Charles Rollins –  Calendonia, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

George Sakato – Colton, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Nisei 442nd RCT, Medal of Honor

Edward Tutty – Hawks Bay, NZ; RNZ Army # 45053, WWII, 29th Battery

James Wylie – TX & NC; USMC; WWII, Korea, Col. (Ret.), pilot

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Capt. Charles Schild shot down 2 Zeros & a bomber at Guadalcanal in his Wildcat

So many stories we miss along the way…

War Tales

For Capt. Charles Schild (Ret.) of southwest Florida, World War II was divided into two parts — the unfun part and the fun part.

View original post 2,044 more words

Current News Update

Airdrop to Micronesia

Airdrop to Micronesia

The U.S. Air Force, Japan’s Air Defense & Royal Australian Air Force spread the joy of Christmas…

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — The U.S. Air Force is once again playing the role of Santa to people living in some of the most remote locations in the world.

Airmen from the Yokota Air Base’s 374th Airlift Wing have spent the last week in the back of their C-130s, dropping much-needed supplies to island villages and atolls scattered throughout Micronesia. In its 64th year, the holiday humanitarian mission has become known as Operation Christmas Drop.

The supplies, which benefit more than 20,000 people in the Northern Marianas Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau, are collected through donations.

“When we heard that these people needed our help, we did everything we could get some toys and food collected at our school,” said Lolaine Arriola, a ninth-grader from Okkodo High School on Guam. Even though the students only had a few days to collect items, “we still filled a few boxes of goods and got a few classmates to come to the base to help pack the bundles,” Arriola said.

This year, the Yokota crew has had help from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force, making this Christmas Drop a multinational effort.

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The New Orleans National World War II Museum took airmen for another flight…

The museum takes special care of aircraft used in the war; this year, the show has featured a B-29 Superfortress, which was used in the Pacific for long-range bombing and a B-25, a plane which saw much service in Europe.  War veterans who were able to attend the show were given the opportunity to ride in the planes again.

Victor J. Hancock, 92, flew a B-25 during the war and said he thought back to Corsica as he rode in the aircraft again during this year’s show.  He flew 22 missions in Italy and Austria, generally targeting the Brenner Pass, used by the Germans to move their troops and supplies into Italy.  During the airshow, though, Hancock was a passenger who got to look out the windows and enjoy the view for a change.

Martin Biener, 93, flew 51 war missions over Europe in a B-25 nicknamed the Yellow Rose.  On his ride during the show he sat in the middle by the gunner position, which he noticed was made differently than the original.  He and the other five veterans in the plane took photos with their phones while enjoying the ride.

Bernie Peters, 92, was another veteran who took a ride during the show.  He recalled, during the safety talk advising him of the location of emergency exits, that he knew all too well where they were.

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Navy sends new stealth destroyer out for trials…

USS Zumwalt leaves Maine

USS Zumwalt leaves Maine

WASHINGTON — The Navy’s new stealth destroyer began a week of sea trials Monday to try and prove that after years of setbacks, the next-generation warship was worth the wait.

The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is the first in a class of futuristic destroyers that will have an angular but low external profile to maximize stealth on the outside, and next-generation power systems to enable the ship to run energy-demanding future weapons and sensor systems on the inside.

The ship sailed Monday from its port in Bath, Maine for a weeklong test of its onboard systems, according to the Navy.  The Zumwalt was designed to replace the Navy’s current fleet of Arleigh-Burke destroyers but cost overruns and program delays led the Navy to cap the ship’s production to three.

Stories were found In Stars and Stripes and WWI online.

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Navy Humor – 

The Navy's version of Sad Sack

The Navy’s version of Sad Sack

sad_sack_navy_gobs_4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Harriet Behrans – Washington DC; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Matthew Dinning – Richmond Hill, CAN; RC Army, Afghanistan, 2nd Canadian Mechanized Brigade

Marion Faure Jr. – Pocatello, ID; US Army, WWII, PTO, Purple Heartplaying-taps

Harold Heffer – NZ; RNZ Navy # 1447, WWII, Petty Officer

Norman Johnson – Leominister, MA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Oliver Lewis – Ogden, UT; US Army Air Corps, 11th Airborne

Arnold McKerley – Warrior, AL; US Navy, WWII

Hifumi Okazaki – Honolulu, HI; US Army, WWII, MIS Nisei

Arthur Scarborough – Savannah, GA; Civil Air Patrol, WWII/ US Navy, Korea, photographer

William Walsh – Salem, NH; US Navy, WWII

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