Monthly Archives: March 2016

Smitty at Camp MacKall & the Knollwood Maneuvers

glider (640x409)

WACO glider at Camp MacKall – reverse side reads: “Hello Mom, Finally got some cards that can let you see what these gliders we ride around in look like. This picture was taken on our camp field. I have a few more that I’ll send to you. Regards to all. Hope to be home this Wednesday.” Everett

The type of construction used for the barracks at Camp MacKall and the above hospital is called a “theatre of operations.”  Built on pilings and constructed of green sawed pine boards which is then covered with type 4 black tar paper.  The wood was cut from trees on the camp property using 7 sawmills running 24/7.  When the boards dried out, the 2 pot-bellied stoves were incapable of keeping the men warm.  Smitty spent some time at that hospital when the army discovered he did not perspire.  The medication took 3 weeks to kick in and then he was back to marching.

Louisiana Maneuvers

Louisiana Maneuvers

The Knollwood Maneuver would not only be the deciding factor for the 11th Airborne, but also for future paratrooper divisions as a whole.  5 December 1943, Army Ground Forces test team deployed a composite combat team from the 17th A/B, plus a battalion from Col. Duke McEntee’s 541st Parachute Infantry Regiment to be situated at Knollwood Airport and other critical points to act as the ‘enemy.’

Viewer to this operation included: Under Secretary of War, Robert Patterson; General McNair; General Ridgeway (82nd A/B); BGen. Lee Donovan; Airborne Command and several teams of high-ranking inspectors from the War Dept., Army Ground Forces and Army Air Forces.

Camp MacKall, 1943, triangular runway

Camp MacKall, 1943, triangular runway

On midnight of Dec. 6, 1943, 200 C-47 Dakota transports carried the troopers and towed the 234 gliders from five separate airfields to begin the operation.  The lift-offs were timed so that each plane would join the column in its proper place.  The aircraft became a vee-of-vees, nine ships wide as the formations grew larger.  They made a rendezvous on the Atlantic coastline and took a 200 mile circular route before aiming toward the inland drop zones; most of the men would jump during evening’s darkness at 1200′.  Almost all the troopers and gliders hit the proper DZ (drop Zones) and LZs (landing zone).  However, the division chief of staff and his glider load landed in a road on the Fort Bragg artillery range.

 Everett Smith, [aka Smitty] at Camp MacKall

Everett Smith, [aka Smitty] at Camp MacKall

Weather conditions were not condusive for jumping as the rain became sleet, but still, 85% were successful.  There were 2 casualties and 48 injuries.  The 11th Airborne “captured” and “held” the Aberdeen and Knollwood Airports from the defending forces.  The exercise came to an end on Dec. 12 – Smitty’s 29th birthday.  The War Dept., after reviewing the reports, replied to Gen. Swing that they had been wrong and the training for such a specialized unit should proceed. (As it would turn out, their training had only just begun. )

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

News from home: Smitty’s friend, George Dunlop rescued two Navy pilots after their training plane crashed into Jamaica Bay.  The company of soldiers that were stationed on Broad Channel became an actual camp and decided to call it — Camp Smith!  War bond drives were going on as well as the dimming of the street lamps.

Below is the graduation class of the 187th regiment, 11th Airborne Division – Everett Smith is in the back row, fifth from the right (in front of the tree), Arthur G. Weyant (bottom row, far left)

187th, Headquarters Company

On Jan. 1, 1944, the Headquarters Building for the 11th burnt to the ground.   Jan. 2, the division began its train ride south to Camp Polk, LA.

Click on images to enlarge.

Some pictures from the Camp MacKall 1943 graduating 11th Airborne yearbook

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

#####################################################################################################################

Current News –

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE – 95TH ANNIVERSARY

RAAF Insignia Wings Brevets

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), formed March 1921, is the aerial warfare branch of the Australian Defence Force. It directly continues the traditions of the second oldest Air Force in the world, the Australian Flying Corps (AFC), formed on 22 October 1912.[2]The RAAF provides support across a spectrum of operations such as air superiority, precision strikes, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air mobility, and humanitarian support.

####################################################################################

imagesIU502WW1

Following this post, there will be another series of Intermission posts to divide 1943 and 1944.  I hope you find them interesting.____ GP Cox

####################################################################################

Military Humor – Bill Mauldin –Pilot

Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

####################################################################################

Farewell Salutes –

Gilbert Clark – Laurenburg, NC; USMC, WWII

Stephen Cutter – Palm Beach, FL; US Navy, USS IntrepidBIABoNLCEAEPa7G (599x769)

Carl Frens – Zeeland, MI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LST 863

Bart Ingenito – Larchmont, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne

William Knebel – Eugene, OR; US Army, WWII, PTO, Sgt., Medical Corps

Lucy Meeks – Montreal, CAN; RC Air Force Women’s Division, WWII

Ray Newsom – Littlefield, TX; US Army, WWII

Roy Schumacher – Long Beach, CA & FL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Kenneth Sinclair – Yass NSW, AUS; RAF, WWII, ETO, Squadron 625 & 576

Gus Winckel – Pukekohe, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, No. 18 NEI Squadron

#####################################################################################

 

Advertisements

December 1943 (2)

Cape Gloucester

Cape Gloucester

15-31 December – the US Army’s 112th Cavalry tried to surprise the enemy at Arawe, south-central New Britain in rubber boats, but the flimsy vessels were shot to pieces.  The main force did get ashore by conventional means, however.  After suffering numerous air raids, they repulsed a Japanese counterattack.  This landing was intended as a diversion for the following attack.

At Cape Gloucester, on the north side of New Britain, the 1st Marine Division, with the 11th Marine Artillery Regiment, under Gen. William Rubertus, found the same situation of mud, swamp and unbroken jungle as the 112th did, making advance to Rabaul impossible.  In retaliation, the Japanese sank the destroyer, USS Brownson and damaged 3 other vessels including a landing boat.

Cape Gloucester airdrome during pre-invasion bombing

Cape Gloucester airdrome during pre-invasion bombing

The main operation for this began 26 December with a naval barrage from both the US Navy and RAN warships.  This was followed by air attacks from the US Army Air Corps and RAAF aircraft, who also created a smoke screen for the ground troops.  The enemy they faced were the Japanese 17th Div. under MGen. Matsuda, augmented by the “Matsuda Force” consisting of the 65th Infantry Brigade and elements of the 51st Div.  (The remainder of the 51st were on New Guinea.).

soldiers moving sacks in the Ramu Valley, New Guinea, 1943

soldiers moving sacks in the Ramu Valley, New Guinea, 1943

On New Guinea, the Australian 7th Div., under Gen. Vassey, were ahead of schedule going through the Ramu Valley on the south side of the Finschhafen Mt. Range.  They took the 6,000-foot pass nicknamed “Shaggy Peak” on the 26th.  The 6th Army received orders to take Saidor, thereby cutting off the Japanese retreat.

Australian troops (center of pix) scale 'Shaggy Peak"

Australian troops (center of pix) scale ‘Shaggy Peak”

During December, Britain’s XV Corps were building up their forces to face the Japanese 15th Army on Burma, as they planned an offensive operation into eatern India.  The enemy increased their bombing of Indian Allied air bases and coastal positions.  Calcutta was hit, killing 350 people.  The airfield at Tinsukia alone was hit by 70 Japanese aircraft.

Troops of the Japanese 15th Army in Burma

Troops of the Japanese 15th Army in Burma

Air Chief Marshall, Sir Richard Peirse, became the overall commander of the Allied air unites, including the USAAF, within the South East Asia Command (SEAC).  The RAF 3rd Tactical Air Force was formed; and the SEAC’s name was changed to the Eastern Air Command.

Gen. Stilwell took command of all the Chinese troops operating in the India/Burma area on the 15th.  On the 24th, this force pushed forward into the Hukawng Valley in an offensive operation aimed for Myitkyina and the vital airfield situated nearby.

Click on images to enlarge.

#####################################################################################

Current News –

Naval Base Guam – treatment chamber for decompression sickness is good to go!  Divers, read HERE!

Eielson AFB – airmen build an ice bridge in Alaska.  Read HERE!

#####################################################################################

Envelope Art during Christmas – 

envelope art

envelope art

1942_0159

 

####################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Ken Adam – brn: Berlin, GER, London, ENG; RAF, WWII,pilot

Charles Brady – Lake Park, FL; US Navy, Koreadogtagslg

Robert Dyson – Stubenville, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO, 11th Armored Division

Walter Edwards – Deland, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Fallriver/Korea, USS Newport News

Martin T. Feeney – Broad Channel, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII

Albert Friedman – Spokane, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Victor Giusti – Memphis, TN; US Navy, WWII, Norden Bombsight

Robert Hoasley – York, UK; RAF, WWII, ETO, 617th Squadron, gunner & radioman

Robert Prout – Barrington, RI; US Army, WWII

Elwin Schott – Plantation, FL; US Army, WWII, POW

#####################################################################################

 

Frank’s panda in Burma

WW@

Steve’s uncle Frank gives us a human-interest story of the CBI Theater.

PT Boat Red

As it turns out, Red Stahley wasn’t the only member of the family who had an interesting pet experience during the war.  My uncle, Frank Morris, serving in the Army in Burma was the proud owner of a panda–at least for a few days. 

Frank relates the story thus;  “Our US Army unit may have been the first to capture a panda.  We found a young one chewing on bamboo in our area.  We fashioned a rope harness and leash for him and he was with us for several days before chewing his way to freedom.”   

As we were recently discussing this episode, Frank made the point that after the panda cub had escaped, he and the other soldiers came to a stunning realization.  Since pandas regularly dine on bamboo, a rope harness was not much of a challenge, even for a cub.  Telling the story caused Frank to erupt in…

View original post 203 more words

December 1943 (1)

Crewmen wheel bombs to aircraft during the Marshall raids.

Crewmen wheel bombs to aircraft during the Marshall raids.

1-6 December – The Big Three [or aka Second Cairo Conference], restarted with Turkish President, Ismet Inonu in attendance.  Despite his country being technically neutral, he pledged friendship to the Allies.  Gen. Eisenhower was chosen to command the Normandy invasion at this meeting.

Operation Buccaneer, a previously planned assault of Japanese targets in Burma was cancelled.  FDR reneged on a private promise to Chiang Kai shek.  The Nationalist leader, in response, attempted to demand more money and matériel in exchange for his troops’ cooperation to fight.  But – US Treasury Secretary, Morgenthau, flatly refused to take the plan to Congress.

Australian troops (center of pix) scale 'Shaggy Mountain"

Australian troops (center of pix) scale ‘Shaggy Mountain”

1-8 December – the Australian troops on New Guinea captured Huanko on the 1st of the month.  They continued forward to take Wareo on the 8th and set off to Wandokai.

4 December – In the Marshall Islands, the Kwajalein and Wotji Atolls were bombed by 6 carriers.  They destroyed 72 Japanese planes on the ground and sank 6 transport vessels.  In retaliation, the enemy damaged the carrier, USS Lexington with an aircraft torpedo.

 

11-18 December in the Chinese province of Hunan, 40 US Army Air Corps and Chinese aircraft were destroyed in a surprise nighttime attack on the airfields.  The Japanese mission was to cut off the Allied supplies to Kung-an.

14 December – Adm. Nimitz called a meeting to discuss future Pacific plans.  Operation Flintlock for the Marshall Islands would continue with Kwajalein as the next target rather than the weakly-defended smaller islands.  Adm. Halsey received approval to by-pass Kavieng, New Ireland and go on to capture the Green Islands.

001 (800x753)

15-24 December – with the US Naval base now operating in the Treasury Islands, it put air control for the Solomons within American control.  RAdm. Merrill’s Task Force of 3 cruisers and 4 destroyers conducted heavy bombardment of the Buka-Bunis region of northern Bougainville.

The Army/Navy dispute over who should control the final offensive against Japan became somewhat heated as MacArthur criticized the “Naval Cabal” for not understanding the strategy of the Pacific.  “These frontal attacks by the Navy, as at Tarawa, are tragic and unnecessary massacres of American lives.”  But, at this point, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were not yet ready to commit to a single road to Tokyo.

###################################################################################

Military Humor – 

budget cuts

budget cuts

Military Intelligence sounds better on paper.

Military Intelligence , it sounds better on paper.

 

###################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

John Buscemi – Valley Stream, NY; US Army Air Corps, Korea, Medical 187th RCT

Edward Evans – Everett, MA; US Navy, Korea, USS Newport Newsuntitled

Richard Ferguson – Pittsburgh, PA & FL; US Army, Vietnam

Oscar Jones – Flat Gap, KY; US Army, WWII, PTO

Mary Lettow -Palm Beach, FL; civilian, Lackland AFB, Cold War Russian decoder (Ret.)

George Martin – London, ENG; Royal Navy, WWII, pilot, (“Beatles’ band manager)

Ariel Olsen – Mint Creek, ID; US Navy, WWII/ Korea, USS Tarawa

Alan Rook – Waihi, NZ; RNZ Navy # P/KX765295, stoker mechanic

Carl “Bill’ Suchocki – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Bronze Star

Thomas Vettere – Patterson, NJ; US Army, WWII, SSgt., 112th Field Artillery

###################################################################################

November 1943 (4)

Matilda tank enroute to Sattelberg

Matilda tank enroute to Sattelberg

 

The battle of Sattelberg (17-25 November 1943) saw Australian troops capture a strongly defended Japanese position in the hills to the north-west of Finschhafen, and helped secure their position on the eastern tip of the Huon Peninsula, New Guinea.

The Australian 9th Division landed north of Finschhafin on 22 September 1943, at Scarlet Beach.  The Japanese retreated to Sattelberg.

23_map

After the failure of the Japanese counterattack the Australians were able to go back onto the offensive. They still held a fairly narrow coastal strip, running north from Finschhafen past Scarlet Beach and up to Bonga. They also had an isolated outpost at Jivevaneng, on the road west from the coast to Sattelberg.

The Japanese held the high ground around Sattelberg, the area north from Sattelberg to Wareo, and a ridge that ran east from Wareo to Gusika, on the coast just to the north of Bonga. They also still had a roadblock east of Jivevaneng, manned by a company from the 80th Regiment.

The Australian attack involved three brigades now in the Finschhafen area. The 24th Brigade was posted to the north, with the task of cutting the Japanese track between Wareo and Guisika. The 20th Brigade was to clear the Japanese roadblock. The 26th had the task of clearing the heights of Sattelberg. The 4th Brigade was also moved to the area to reinforce the 9th Division.

sattank

On D-Day itself the attack was supported by the Matilda tanks, and by a barrage of American rockets. The attack with a howitzer armed tank in the lead, followed by a gun tank and the infantry. The tanks were to take on the heavily fortified Japanese bunkers, while the infantry protected them against close in attackers.  About noon the lead tank was immobilized after it ran over an unexploded Australian 25pdr shell. The tank was stuck just around a corner, so the other tanks couldn’t pass it or tow it away. The infantry continued to advance without the tanks and made some progress before running into strong a Japanese position that held them up.

On 18 November the Japanese pulled out of Coconut Grove, the 2/23rd’s target. On the road the 2/48th, again supported by tanks, attacked, and this time they reached Coconut Grove where they ended the day. On 19 November the tanks ran into an anti-tank ditch which held them up for some time. After this barrier was overcome the advance resumed until the terrain finally defeated the tanks. The day ended with a successful infantry assault up a steep hill covered by the first use of a fougasse (a 5 gallon drum filled with flammable oils) on New Guinea. On 20 November the advance west along the road continued, and on 21 November the Australians broke through the Japanese lines at Steeple Tree Hill. There was then no opposition until the advancing troops reached the first hairpin bend on the road. By the end of the day the Australians were ready to attack the Sattelberg ridge itself.

Australian troops start their dawn attack on Sattelberg.

Australian troops start their dawn attack on Sattelberg.

On 23 November scouts discovered a way across the valley to the right of the road, allowing them to conduct a surprise attack up the south-eastern corner of the ridge. On 24 November the Australians finally managed to get onto the summit after a day of very confused combat.

This finally convinced the Japanese to retreat north towards Wareo, their last major inland position. On the morning of 25 November the Australians made an unopposed entry into Sattelberg, while the deadlock was also broken around Position 2200.

In the north the 24th Brigade captured Pabu, blocking the Gusika-Wareo track, on 19 November. This was the main Japanese supply route, and they responded with a week of counterattacks. They also carried out a major attack towards the coast between Scarlet Beach and Bonga. The attack began on 22 November, but made no real progress. A few days later reinforcements reached the isolated Australian troops at Pabu. This secondary assault greatly helped the attack on Sattelberg by disrupted a planned Japanese counterattack.

Sgt. Tom Derrick raises the flag over the Sattelberg mission

Sgt. Tom Derrick raises the flag over the Sattelberg mission

The capture of Sattelberg helped secure the beachhead at Finschhafen. It also caused a great deal of damage to Japanese morale on New Guinea, and saw the failure of the last major large-scale counterattacks on the Huon Peninsula.

Information derived from Lancers.org; History of War.com; Australian War Museum; Wikipedia.

Click on images to enlarge.

####################################################################################

Military Humor – 

military-humor-funny-joke-air-force-helmet-stop-screaming-im-scared-too

funnier_side_of_army_life_38

####################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Albert Agnello – Rochester, NY; US Army, WWII

Frederick Bicknell – W.AUS; Royal Engineers, WWII, ETO, 8th Army

Louis Cardin – Temecula, CA; USMC, Iraq, SSgt., 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, KIA

Clifford Cooney – W.AUS; Royal Air Force # 1750576us_and_australia_crossed_flags_sticker-r1405ba5224f9416183d3c5e1cb2c18ad_v9waf_8byvr_324

Jean Foust – Delphos, OH; US Navy WAVE, WWII, nurse

Buck Haines – Luka, MS; US Air Force, Cuban Missile Crisis

Gilbert Lesko – Port Orangem, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne

Matthew Locke – AUS; Australian Special Air Service Reg., Afghanistan, KIA

Andrew Russell – AUS; Australian Special Air Service Reg., Afghanistan, KIA

Elizabeth Strohfus – Faribault, MN; US Army Air Corps WASP, WWII, pilot

Joshua Wheeler – Roland, OK; US Army, Iraq, Delta Force, MSgt., KIA

#####################################################################################

Home Front – Dot the Welder

comp_200-28c1f8f6264396cea976fd05706fadc693fc0a52-s400-c85

The legend of “Rosie the Riveter” has inspired romantic ideas about American women doing their patriotic duty during World War II.

But for Dorothy Kelley, the motives were more personal. Recently divorced, she was raising four children on her own. And after seeing women from the shipyard cashing $600 checks, she traded a job at a Montgomery Ward department store for long nights of welding.

Kelley — called “Dot” — built ships in Portland, Me., working at the South Portland Shipyards from 1942 until it closed in 1945.

Recently, Dorothy’s daughter, Joyce Butler, visited StoryCorps to remember her mother’s life in those days. Wearing overalls and heavy clothes against the cold, Kelly and the other women wriggled into the ships, welding ship’s seams together in tight spaces.

Injuries were part of the job, Butler recalls. She says her mother’s neck and chest became “all spotted with burn marks, from the sparks.” She worked nights, so her days could be free for her children.

Joyce Butler and her daughter Stephanie, Portland, ME

Joyce Butler and her daughter Stephanie, Portland, ME

Butler says that after the war ended, her mother was forced to work two jobs, and her children were sometimes left to fend for themselves at home.  “But still, she was determined to keep us together as a family,” Butler says.

Dot Kelley lived to be 94 years old.

Produced for ‘Morning Edition’ by Michael Garofalo. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Sarah Kramer.

Some 6 million women worked in manufacturing jobs during World War II. They were known as “Rosies,” after the iconic image of a woman in work clothes, flaunting her muscles, who appeared in recruitment posters, in a popular song, and in a Norman Rockwell painting on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.

Listen to “Rosie the riveter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CQ0M0wx00s

The Four Vagabonds sing “Rosie the Riveter” by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb, from early 1943

####################################################################################

Home Front Humor – 

off the record 1942 housing shortage wwii

“Housing shortage or no housing shortage – that’s going too far!”

Sign at the Brooklyn Navy Yards

Sign at the Brooklyn Navy Yards

 

####################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Elizabeth Patterson Allner – Baltimore, MD; “Rosie” for Martin Marietta Corp and intelligence, WWII, ETO

Elisabeth Baril – Warren, MI; “Rosie” at plane assembly plant, WWII

Rebecca Barker – Nashville, TN; “Rosie” for aircraft salvage, WWIIflag04

Pearl DeMayo – Kansas City, MO; an actual riveter on B-29 bombers, WWII

Audrey Holsinger – South Bend, IN; “Rosie” on B-29 aircraft parts, WWII

Vera Baker Larson – Seattle, WA; “Rosie” on B-17s, WWII

Ruth Nave Merryfield – PA; “Rosie” at Detroit aircraft plant, inspector, WWII

Rose Tangredi Ozark – Syracuse, NY; “Rosie” made machine-gun triggers, WWII

Doris Smith – Ladysmith, WI; “Rosie” in ship building, WWII

Mary Tanberg – Great Falls, MT; “Rosie” at B-24 construction, WWII

Katherine Tabee Yates – Vallejo, CA; “Rosie”   submarine worker on Mare Island, WWII

######################################################################################

 

Flight Nurses

ScanWise34310

Before World War II, the U.S. military showed little interest in using aircraft and flight nurses to evacuate wounded soldiers to rear areas. The global war, however, forced the U.S. Army Air Forces to revolutionize military medical care through the development of air evacuation (later known as aeromedical evacuation) and flight nurses.

The rapid expansion of USAAF air transportation routes around the world made it possible to fly wounded and sick servicemen quickly to fully-equipped hospitals far from the front lines. This revolution saved the lives of many wounded men, and the introduction of flight nurses helped make it possible.

In early 1942, airlift units in Alaska, Burma and New Guinea successfully evacuated patients using the same transport aircraft that had carried men and supplies to the front. Due to a pressing need, the USAAF created medical air evacuation squadrons and started a rush training program for flight surgeons, enlisted medical technicians, and flight nurses at Bowman Field, near Louisville, Ky.

Landscape

The need for flight nurses became critical after the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, but the women at Bowman Field had not finished their training. Nevertheless, the USAAF sent these nurses to North Africa on Christmas Day.

On Feb. 18, 1943, the U.S. Army Nurse Corps’ first class of flight nurses formally graduated at Bowman Field. 2nd Lt. Geraldine Dishroon, the honor graduate, received the first wings presented to a flight nurse. In 1944, Dishroon served on the first air evacuation team to land on Omaha Beach after the D-Day invasion. 

Since the aircraft used for air evacuation also transported military supplies, they could not display the Red Cross. With no markings to indicate their non-combat status, these evacuation flights were vulnerable to enemy attacks. For this reason, flight nurses and medical technicians were volunteers.

flight nurses

flight nurses

To prepare for any emergency, flight nurses learned crash procedures, received survival training, and studied the effects of high altitude on various types of patients. In addition, flight nurses had to be in top physical condition to care for patients during these rigorous flights. 

Eventually, about 500 Army nurses served as members of 31 medical air evacuation transport squadrons operating worldwide. It is a tribute to their skill that of the 1,176,048 patients air evacuated throughout the war, only 46 died en route. Seventeen flight nurses lost their lives during the war.

Click on the following links for more information about flight nurses during WWII.

2nd Lt. Elsie S. Ott
1st Lt. Suella Bernard
1st Lt. Aleda E. Lutz
1st Lt. Mary L. Hawkins
Flight Nurse’s Creed

Click on images to enlarge.

#################################################################################

Military Nurse Humor – 

img_1097

“We’ll order the seafood. It’s probably expected of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

####################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Betty Collier Dorreen – Takapuna, NZ; NZ Women’s Auxiliary Army Core # 809171

Phyllis Himes – Bisbee, ND; US Navy WAVE; WWII

Pearl Hilliard Holmes – Clayton, NC; Military weapon repairfb7bc2ae8dc9a210e4db2cd51e5e0d25

Dorothy Howard – Knoxville, TN; US Navy WAVE, Naval Air Transport

Francis Newhouse King – Delaware, OH; US Army WAC, WWII, Sgt.

Grace Sayles – Gilbertson, PA; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Alida Simmons – Ridgewood, NJ; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Marjorie Henkle Stepp – Irvington, IN; US Army WAC, WWII, SSgt.

Kathryn Walker – Indiana, PA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Margaret Wolf – NYC, NY; US Nursing Corps, 1st LT.

####################################################################################

Tribute – WWII Army Nurses

Army nurse, July 1943, headed to the Pacific.

Army nurse, July 1943, headed to the Pacific.

NEW YORK (AP) — They were young Army nurses in World War II, sharing a room and experiences that forged an extraordinary bond.

A monsoon destroyed part of their hospital on a South Pacific island. They were swamped with the sick and wounded near the front lines. A disease outbreak killed colleagues. Yet Amelia “Mimi” Greeley and Ruth “Brownie” Girk survived, and so did a friendship that still spurs near nightly phone calls as both turn 100.

In this Tuesday, March 1, 2016 photo, a photo of Amelia Greeley, left, and Ruth Girk sits amongst other photos and notes on a bar top inside Greeley's apartment, in New York. As Greeley and Girk turn 100 this year, their World War II rapport has become the friendship of an extraordinary lifetime. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

In this Tuesday, March 1, 2016 photo, a photo of Amelia Greeley, left, and Ruth Girk sits amongst other photos and notes on a bar top inside Greeley’s apartment, in New York. As Greeley and Girk turn 100 this year, their World War II rapport has become the friendship of an extraordinary lifetime. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

“We’ve always appreciated our friendship, but as it gets later and later, we appreciate it more,” says Girk, who turns 100 in June. Greeley celebrated her birthday this week.

“We’re sort of like sisters — that get along,” says Greeley.

Then Amelia Devivo (Mimi) and Ruth Brown, (Brownie), the two women met after volunteering to serve in a war hospital being organized by what is now New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where both worked. They thought the same way about medicine and shared a readiness to laugh and enjoy life, traits they’d need after getting to Goodenough Island in early 1944.

In this Tuesday, March 1, 2016 photo, Amelia Greeley looks over old photos taken in the South Pacific during World War II as she reflects on her time spent as an Army nurse in New York. Greeley, who goes by Mimi, celebrated her 100th birthday this week and will be sharing the milestone this year with a friend she made nearly 70 years ago during the war. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Amelia Greeley (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

A monsoon on the mountainous island, part of what’s now Papua New Guinea, poured mud into the newly built Ninth General Hospital and destroyed several wards, according to histories compiled by NewYork-Presbyterian. An outbreak of scrub typhus, a mite-borne disease that causes high fevers, sickened dozens of the hospital’s personnel and killed eight.

Within months, the Ninth General moved to Biak Island, off Indonesia’s Papua province and closer to the fighting. A hospital designed for 1,500 patients sometimes cared for as many as 2,500. By the war’s end in September 1945, the hospital had cared for about 23,000 people.

“It was awful” sometimes, says Greeley, who lives in New York. “But if we saw them get well, it was worth it.”

They thought they would be stationed in Australia, but were sent to Goodenough Island.

They thought they would be stationed in Australia, but were sent to Goodenough Island.

Yet there were adventures, too, such as a 15-day leave that stretched far longer as Girk and Greeley waited to hitch flights in Australia. And there was the camaraderie preserved in a fading photo from the hospital’s archives, showing Greeley, Girk and a half-dozen colleagues with broad, carefree-looking smiles.  “When you’re in the service, you’re away from home, you become very close to people,” says Girk, of Peoria, Arizona. “They’re your alternate family.”

After both worked six postwar months at a now-closed Army hospital in New York and finished their service as captains, Girk studied industrial nursing and worked for an insurer before marriage and moves to the Midwest and elsewhere. Greeley returned to work at New York-Presbyterian until her marriage in 1966.

06CHARACTER3-articleLarge

But their friendship held fast. They spent holidays and traveled together with their husbands and later without, after both were widowed in the 1980s.

If there’s a secret to a long life and friendship, Girk thinks it’s “happiness and a pleasant outlook on life. “We couldn’t care less about being 100, believe me,” she said.

And Greeley’s opinion?

“I think, very often, that we were just two lucky gals.”

The idea for this post was contributed by Bowsprite and supplemented with an article put out by the Associated Press.

Click on images to enlarge.

##################################################################################################

Military Humor –

 

followed

"It's some game she learning in the Army."

“It’s some game she learned in the Army.”

#####################################################################################

Farewell Salutes –

 Hortense L. Chagnon – Fairfield, ME; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Mildred Kaiser – Dekalb, IL; US Navy WAVE, WWIIfb7bc2ae8dc9a210e4db2cd51e5e0d25

Georgilee “Hank” Elmore – Crane, MO; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Lillie Ricketts Fitzhugh – Farmington, NM; US Army WAC, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star

Norma Strohl Owens – Fremont, OH; US Army, WAC; WWII, Captain

Marilyn Gray Persson – Hebron, CT; US ArmyWAC, WWII

Vella Primm – Fort Wayne, IN; US Army WAC, WWII/ US Air Force, Korea

Phyllis Scott – Rockford, IL; US Army WAC, WWII, Sgt.

Emily Taylor – Sheboygan, WI; US Army WAC, WWII

Harriet Westin – Honolulu, HI; US Army, WAC, WWII, Sgt., radio operator

########################################################################################

Millie Kaiser’s story can be read HERE at her granddaughter’s blog.

##########################################################################################

Women in WWII

untitled women

In honor of Women’s History Month this week’s posts will be a dedication to them…..

As WWII unfolded around the globe, women were also affected. Some found themselves pressed into jobs and duties they would never have previously considered. Hitler derided Americans as degenerate for putting the women to work, but nearly 350,000 American females alone served in uniform voluntarily. A transformation of half the population, never seen before, that began evolving in the early ‘40’s and continues today.

For the WASPs, 1,830 female pilots volunteered for Avenger Field outside Sweetwater, Texas alone and it was the only co-ed air base in the U.S. These women would ferry aircraft coming off the assembly lines from the factories to the base. They acted as test pilots; assessing the performance of the planes. The WASPs were flight instructors and would shuttle officers around to the posts where they were needed. For artillery practice, they would tow the target. During their service, 38 of these brave women died.

Pearl Judd's poster

Pearl Judd’s poster

A wonderful story was given to me by my longtime friend, Carol Schlaepfer, about Pearl Brummett Judd, a WASP pilot she met in California. Pearl was a test pilot flying the Stearman, PT-17; North American AT-6; Vultee BT-13; Cessna UC-78 and AT-17. In an interview, she said, “The B-29 was a little touchy. The engines caught on fire.” Pearl Judd and her fellow WASP sisters (or their survivors) finally received a Congressional Gold Medal for their services in March 2010. 25,000 women in all applied for the WASPs; in Pearl’s class of 114 women, only 49 graduated. The symbol for the WASPS, shown below, uses the image of Pearl Judd. They did not receive veteran status until 1977 and did not have the right to have flag on the coffin until 2000.  Ms. Judd was honored at the Eagles Foundation HERE!

wasp_gold

WACs, (Women’s Army Corps), the nurses were on active duty around the world. But, the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service of the Navy); the SPARS (U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve) and Women’s Marines were prohibited by law from serving outside the U. S. At Cherry Point Marine Air Station in North Carolina, 80% of the control tower operations were done by the female Marines. Nearly all the SPARS and WAVES officers were college graduates and worked in finance, chemical warfare or aerological engineering. Some were assigned to install radar on the warships.

Yes, this is the chef from TV, Julia Child in WWII.

Yes, this is the chef from TV, Julia Child in WWII.

WWII enabled women to be involved in top-secret operations for the first time. These women dealt with LORAN stations, night-fighter training and watched the screens for unusual “blips.” They took in messages from the British “Enigma” intelligence about German activity. The OSS hired women as agents, as we discussed on my post at: https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/allied-spies-saboteurs/

The first WACS to arrive in the Pacific were sent to Australia, 2 ½ years after Pearl Harbor, in May 1944. In Port Moresby, New Guinea they served within barbed wire compounds (any dates with the men had be pre-approved) As the forces moved from island to island, the WACS followed after the area was secured from the enemy. Yet, despite these precautions, 68 service women were captured as POWs in the Philippines and 565 WACS in the Pacific Theater alone won combat decorations for bravery under fire and meritous service. Nurses were in Normandy on D-Day+4. In the Army Nurse Corps, 16 were killed as a result of enemy fire. A Red Cross woman was also killed during an attack on the 95th Evacuation Hospital. Also in the ETO, when their plane was forced to crash land behind enemy lines, Lt. Agnes Mangerich and 13 other nurses, male technicians and the pilot marched for 62 days before reaching safety.

radio class

radio class

Women did more than join the military…..

newsm-women-01
Alice Newcomer graduated George Washington University in 1943 and immediately began working in the Lend-Lease Program. The 400-500 people employed there easily dealt with billions of dollars in war materiel, but when it came to how much should be shipped in civilian supplies, she said no one quite knew where to draw the line. Hilda O’Brien, fresh out of Columbia Univ. Graduate School, started her career in the Justice Dept.  Kay Halle, a radio broadcaster, worked for the OSS in Morale Operations and became known as Mata Halle. (Many of these operations still remain secret.)  Sally Knox was an editor for what was a part of the Army Air Force. She was in Detroit and then Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio. (Which later became Patterson Air Force Base) She helped to prepare military publications.

Coralee Redmond of Tacoma, Washington had a husband, 9 children and several brothers who worked for the war effort or served in the military. She and one daughter worked in the shipyards while her other daughter went to work for Boeing in Seattle. [No one could doubt her contributions.] On 29 April 1943, the National Labor Board issued a report to give equal pay for women working in war industries. To see the actual report, a fellow blogger has posted it:
http://todayinlaborhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/april-29-1943-2/

In Canada, besides having their own Canadian Women’s Army Corps, the women showed their national pride, not only by entering the masculine sphere of work to release the men to serve in the military, but by using their domestic talents in volunteer work. The War Services Fund was supported in this way. Their civic and community pride provided various forms of aid to the war effort.

In New Zealand, the women of WWII were also doing their part. The Women’s War Service Auxiliary worked in the Transport Division, firefighting, canteen work, camouflage netting, ambulance work and even had an orchard and gardening section. Their WAAF (Women’s Aux Air Force) had cipher officers, pilots, mechanics and meteorologists. Noeline and Daphne Petrie, after joining the WAAF, were stationed at Woodbourne and Fiji. And, we cannot forget the nurses. Our fellow blogger, Gallivanta at: http://silkandthreads.wordpress.com gave me the link for this information and for books that are available: http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/heritage/warandconflicts/worldwar2/servicewomen/

women-work-poster

 

Australian women as early as 1939 were trained in jobs to free the men to enlist. The Women’s Emergency Signaling Corps were based in Sydney. The Woman’s Flying Club were not pilots, but trained to be mechanics and the Women’s Transport Corps passed rigorous driving tests for truck driving and ambulances.

In Britain there was a definite industrial segregation of men and women in industry, but as the war continued to rage, the barriers lessened out of necessity. They began transporting coal on the inland waterways, joining the Fire Service and Auxiliary Police Corps. They began to be “drafted” into the Women’s Royal Naval Service (“WRENS”), Auxiliary Air Force and Air Transport. The women of Britain played a vital role in all phases of the war including the French underground, Special Operations and anti-aircraft units.

Finland had the organization, Lotta Svard, where the women voluntarily took part in auxiliary work of the armed forces to help the men fighting on the front. At home, they were nurses and air raid signalers. The Lotta Svard was one of the largest voluntary groups of WWII; although they never fired guns which was a rule of their group.

A Russian sniper unit

A Russian sniper unit

The Soviet Union utilized women pretty much from the start of the war and they were NOT auxiliary.  Approximately 800,000 served in front line units. They were part of the antiaircraft units as well, firing the guns and acting as snipers. Klavdiya Kalugina was their youngest female sniper starting her military service at age 17.
Resources: University of Fraser Valley; ww2 database; “Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw; “Americans Remember the Home Front” by Roy Hoopes; ctch.binghampton.edu; Wikipedia; publicworks.qld.go; Australia.gov

I apologize ahead of time for making this such a long post, but don’t you think they deserve it?

Click on images to enlarge.

###################################################################################

Military Humor – 

"And when you go forth into the world, be it as riveters, welders, or mechanics, keep ever bright before you the slogan of Sweet Lawn Seminary—'A lady, first, a lady always!'" June 5, 1943, Saturaday Evening Post

“And when you go forth into the world,
be it as riveters, welders, or mechanics,
keep ever bright before you the slogan of
Sweet Lawn Seminary—’A lady, first, a lady always!'”
June 5, 1943, Saturday Evening Post

"So, I says to the Boss..."

“So, I says to the Boss……..” 20 November 1943, Saturday Evening Post

 

###################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Doris Brighton – Cambridge, MD; US Army Air Corps WASP, WWII, pilot

Violet Cowden – Los Angeles, CA; US Army Air Corps,WASP, WWII, pilot

Marilyn Freemet – Glenview, IL; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Martha Raye, R.I.P.

Martha Raye, R.I.P.

Mary Moebius – Hartford, CT; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Blanche Osborn – Portland, OR; US Army Air Corps WASP, WWII, pilot

Alice Piercy – Asheville, NC; WWII civilian US Navy employee, Radar Lab, FL

Irene Rusbridge – Chattanooga, TN; WWII civilian, US Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant

Laura Sudol – Pittsburgh, PA; US Navy WAVE, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

Ruth Talarico – Barrington, NH; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Gladys Whittington – Taranaki, NZ; RNZ Army # 816526, L/Cpl

###################################################################################

November 1943 (3) – CBI

Sam Spector, radio operator, with Kachin Company C.

Sam Spector, radio operator, with Kachin Company C.

During the Chinese train-up and the British reconstitution of forces, bill tribes in northern Burma who refused to be subjugated — predominantly the Kachins, but also the Karens, the Chins, the Kukis and the Nagas — had been fighting a guerrilla war against the Japanese occupation forces. Other Burmese tribes, the Burmese and the Shans, welcomed the Japanese and openly collaborated with the Japanese secret police (Kempei) against the minority hill tribes. The Allies supported the guerrillas from Fort Hertz, the only remaining Allied base in Burma that had an airfield. The three regiments of guerrillas — the Karen Rifles, the Kachin Rifles, and the Kachin Levies — were natural jungle fighting units, but they lacked the tactical training and the modern equipment that were needed to effectively battle Japan’s mechanized infantry and armor.

Gen. Stilwell & Gen. Sun at Sun's HQ. Col. Edward McNally, liason officer, seated at left.

Gen. Stilwell & Gen. Sun at Sun’s HQ. Col. Edward McNally, liason officer, seated at left.

The successes of the V-Force Kachin Rangers and the Kachin Levies, as well as Stilwell’s failure to garner support from the Chinese and from the British army for a conventional offensive against Burma, led Stilwell to expand his guerrilla operations. He directed OSS Detachment 101 to establish its headquarters m Assam, in northeastern India. Detatchment 101’s assignment was to plan and conduct operations against the roads and the railroad into Myitkyina, in order to deny the Japanese the use of the Myitkyina airfield. Det 101 would coordinate its operations directly with the British. Det. 101’s Lieutenant Colonel Carl Eifler was given a free hand in directing sabotage and guerrilla operations. All Stilwell wanted to hear was “booms from the Burmese jungle.” By November 1943, at his base in the Naga Hills of northern Assam, Eifler was preparing the first group of Allied agents for Burma.
Japanese CBI Command - L to R in front row: Generals Yanagida (33rd Div); Tanaka (18th Div); Mutaguchi (15th Army); Matsuyama (56th Div) & Sato (31st Div)

Japanese CBI Command – L to R in front row: Generals Yanagida (33rd Div); Tanaka (18th Div); Mutaguchi (15th Army); Matsuyama (56th Div) & Sato (31st Div)

By the end of 1943, Det. 101 had established six Kachin operating bases behind the lines in northern Burma: three east of the Irrawaddy River and three west of it. Each base commander recruited and trained small Kachin elements for his personal protection, for internal defense, and for conducting limited operations–principally sabotage and small ambushes. The guerrilla forces were uniformed and equipped with air-supplied M-2 .30-cal. carbines, submachine guns (.45-cal. Thompson and 9 mm Marlin), .30-cal. light machine guns, ammunition and demolitions. Japanese arms and equipment in northern Burma were a decade behind the times, and the superior firepower of the guerrilla units was key to their success. Each Kachin camp had an intelligence officer, usually an American officer, whose principal duties were to interrogate captured enemy soldiers or agents, debrief guerrilla patrols, and direct operations of the better-educated Kachins (those schooled by Christian missionaries), who acted as low-level intelligence agents reporting information by runners or via bamboo-container message drops.
Detachment 101 insignia

Detachment 101 insignia

Det 101 recruited potential agents from the Kachin and Karen guerrillas. The candidates slipped through Japanese lines to reach the airfield at Fort Hertz, from which they were flown to Assam for three to five months of intensive intelligence and communications training. The Kachins proved to be particularly adept at continuous-wave radio communications–most were able to send and receive 25-45 words per minute. While most returned to their former bases, a few parachuted into new areas to organize independent operations and to collect and report weather data to the 10th AF Weather Service. This data was critical to air resupply and daily “over the Hump” C-46 and C-47 transport missions to China.

Resouces from: The Kachin Net; Star & Stripes; US Army history records

###################################################################################

Military Humor – 

6a0105369e6edf970b0162fbd893eb970d-800wi

Watch your a*s at all times!

Watch your ass at all times!

 

###################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Vincent Celuzza – Fitchburg, MA, US Army, WWII, ETO,Surgical tech.

Luis Flores – Brownsville, TX; US Army, WWII, PTOimages

William Gattis – Tupelo, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Foster Hines – Minerva, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 408th/11th Airborne

Richard Knox – Royal Oak, MI; US Army, Korea

Victor Orchard – Northcote, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Lawrence Parker – Middleton, DE; USMC, WWII Occupation, PTO, USS Atlanta

Leonard Reinhart – Wausau, WI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Capt. (Ret.), pilot

William Tackach – Passaic, NJ; US Air Force, air traffic controller

Vernon Whitaker – Ada, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

#####################################################################################

 

%d bloggers like this: