Monthly Archives: May 2016

Memorial Day 2016

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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.

by: Edgar A, Guest

31 May 1886, soldiers from John A. Andrew Post 15 of MA & the George G. Meade Post 38 of NY @ the Soldiers & Sailors Monument on Boston Common - pix by: Elmer Chickering, courtesy of Boston Public Library

31 May 1886, soldiers from John A. Andrew Post 15 of MA & the George G. Meade Post 38 of NY @ the Soldiers & Sailors Monument on Boston Common – pix by: Elmer Chickering, courtesy of Boston Public Library

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Memorial Day Image

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Following is the estimate of the total number of Americans KIA since the Civil War:

  • In the Civil War 620,000 Americans died
  • The First World War cost the lives of 116,516 U.S soldiers
  • In the Second World War 405,399 Americans died
  • In the Korean War 36,574 Americans died
  • 58,220 American soldiers were killed in Vietnam War
  • In Operation Desert Storm 383 Americans died.
  • 4,424 Americans died in the Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • In Operation New Dawn 73 U.S Army personnel were killed
  • 2,349 Americans perished in the Operation Enduring Freedom.

For Remembrances Days in other countries…

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Farewell Salutes – 

KIA on Tarawa and buried in grave “D” of the East Division Cemetery.  Almost all were from A and B companies and are still listed as missing.  Located through Missing Marines.com

Athon, Frank L; # 27 shrapnel wound head
Baumbach, Elden; bayonet wound chest
Bayens, John Richard; #3 shrapnel head and chest$(KGrHqJ,!q!FBZQt+)FIBQf-bW24Mw~~60_35
Cruz, Jacob; #29 gun shot wounds head
Dekker, Howard R; #1 gunshot wounds head and chest
Fahy, John M; # 28 gunshot wounds, head
Fricks, Hugh D; #20 gunshot wounds head and chest
Galland, Mervin D; # 25 gunshot wound, chest
Gillen, John E; #6 gunshot wound right chest, shrapnel
Hancock, J.L.: #15 shrapnel, head
Hatch, Robert J; #10 gunshot wound, groin
Hayden, Harold W; #22 gun shot wounds, head
Hill, Jack; #30 shrapnel, chest, groin
Hoffman, John W; #19 gunshot wound chest
Jenks, Robert D; #23 shrapnel head and chest
Johnson, Thomas F; #17 shrapnel, chest
Likens, Kenneth W; #12 shrapnel, head, chest buried 11-23-43
Livermore, Joseph R; #9 bayonet wound, throat, buried 11-23-43
Mccall, Quentin; #5 gunshot wound, head
Miller, Charles D; #11 gunshot wound, head, chest
Morris, Jerome B; #7 shrapnel, chest, buried 11-23-43
Resser, George R; #2 gunshot wounds, head
Stambaugh, Jack R; #14 gunshot wounds, chest, groin, saber wound throat
Stoddard, Donald D; #18 shrapnel, head
Summers, Arthur B; #21 gunshot wounds, head, chest
Tuhey, Raymond J; #24 gunshot wound head
VanZandt, Jack Bensen; #4 gunshot wound, head
Wallace, Charles E; #16 gunshot wound, head, chest, buried grid location: KN-283072-D-2
White, Glenn F; #26 shrapnel, head, chest buried 11-23-43
Whitaker, Channing

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CAPTAIN REG SAUNDERS OF THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY

An article by Lloyd Marken about a remarkable man. The Maori say it almost musically…
Kia kaha, kia maia, me te aroha.
(Be strong, be courageous and compassionate.)

lloydmarken

Two decades before he was recognised as a citizen of his country he fought for it in two wars. He couldn’t vote in his own country where his people had been for thousands of years. This was nothing new. His father Walter (Chris) Saunders and uncle William Reginald Rawlings MM had done so before him in the Great War, the uncle not returning home. His family would continue to pay a cost for serving the nation. His brother Harry Saunders would die at Kokoda and his first marriage would not withstand his time away in Korea. What did change was that he became the first Aboriginal to be commissioned into the Australian Army going on to command 100 men in combat.

He was born in Victoria of the Gunditjmara people and worked in a sawmill from a young age. In 1940 he joined the Australian Imperial Force immediately displaying natural leadership skill, in…

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General George Kenney

George Kenny

George Kenney

George Kenney was born in 1889 to American parents, but he was brought into the world in Nova Scotia, Canada after his family decided to take a summer trip up north to avoid the heat of Boston. Growing up in Massachusetts as the oldest of three younger siblings, Kenney succeeded through school flawlessly.

Eventually, he found himself attending college at the Massachusetts’ Institute of Technology (MIT), a very highly-regarded Ivy League school for some of the country’s brightest students. Aiming to pursue a career in civil engineering, he was well on his way to something great, even from a young age.

However, the beginning of World War I would throw his life into a tailspin again, setting him on an entirely different course – this one taking place high up in the sky.

Once the US entered WWI in April 1917, Kenney found himself ready to become a part of history. After enlisting as a flying cadet for the US Signal Corps Aviation Section in June, he attended ground school at MIT to hone his craft and learn his way around a plane.

While he was first commissioned as a first lieutenant in November, departing for France quickly thereafter, his further training overseas led to him becoming a member of the 91st Aero Squadron in 1918.

MacArthur (L) w/ Kenny

MacArthur (L) w/ Kenney

It was here that he would earn his first Silver Star for his aerial victory, taking down a German scout through his observer after his squadron was ambushed while out on a mission. Beyond that, Kenney even earned himself the Distinguished Service Cross for his ‘extraordinary heroism in action’ in a second attack by German fighters, helping protect his formation from enemy combatants.

His achievements led to him being promoted to Captain soon thereafter, and he took his new position in his stride, making great headway on reconnaissance missions during the Mexican Revolution.

During the time between the World Wars, Kenney took on various roles in the Air Force. He started as an air detachment commander in Kentucky and then moved on to becoming an air service inspector who inspected airplane machinery while test-flying them in Garden City, New York.

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It was in July 1942 that Kenney was promoted to his most important position yet: taking control of the Allied Air Forces and Fifth Air Force in General Douglas MacArthur’s Southwest Pacific Unit. The two developed a great working relationship, with MacArthur giving Kenney more freedom to make important decisions regarding his team than he’d ever been given in the past.

Promoted to Lieutenant General during his time in the South Pacific, Kenney was a part of new techniques and concepts while in league with the Allied Air Forces. They were trying new ordinances, new bombing strategies, and modifications to their aircraft.  So, when you see me writing about the 5th Air Force – Kenney is involved!

Gen. Kenny (L) wearing sunglasses.

Gen. Kenney (L) wearing sunglasses.

And in June 1944, Kenney was then appointed to commander of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF). He tried to create 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Air Task Forces to be in control of specific areas and missions themselves, but Washington officials weren’t happily complying with his plans. In fact, over his years in service, many of Kenney’s ideas would either go unheard or would ultimately be shot down completely.

Decades later, looking back, military officials have conceded that some of his innovations could have greatly changed the outcomes of some of the military’s failures during WWII. While hindsight is always 20/20, it seems inconceivable that Kenney’s expertise in the air force (and his high-ranking status) would not have given him more leeway in the decisions process.

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

After quite an accomplished career, George Kenney eventually retired from the Air Force in September 1951, living out his final years in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. He passed away on August 9th, 1977, at age 88.

Condensed from War History online.

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Military Humor – 

There's always competition, isn't there?

There’s always competition, isn’t there?

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Abercrombie – Lumpkin City, GA; USMC, WWII

James Cifreo – Baton Rouge, LA; US Army, WWII, ATO (Alaska)$(KGrHqJ,!q!FBZQt+)FIBQf-bW24Mw~~60_35

Edward Dennery – Gloucester City, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Allen Hersey – Jupiter, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Butner and Arkansas

Carl Laber – Randolph, MO; US Navy, WWII

Sylvia Applebaum Levy – Philadelphia, PA; USMC (Women’s Corps), WWII, Sgt.

Arlington Maxwell – Albany, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division

Francis Phillips – Windsor, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Gordon Robertson – Auskland, NZ; RAF, WWII

Anton Utz – McCook, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Signal Corps

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Intermission (12) – Veterans of Tuskegee

Tuskegee-Airmen

Charles McGee was an accomplished World War II fighter pilot and Army Captain, was one of the most decorated pilots in the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first all-black aviation unit. Their record during the war was one of the reasons Harry Truman decided to desegregate the U.S. military in 1948. McGee’s wartime record, however, did little to change his treatment when he returned home.

Aircraft engine lessons

Aircraft engine lessons

“Segregation still existed across the country,” he recalls. When he couldn’t get a job as a civilian, he decided to remain in the military. He ended up flying a record 409 combat missions in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Today, he’s not concerned about his personal legacy. “It’s not the personal recognition that I seek,” he says. “I want to pass on to the young people of today that you can’t let your circumstances be an excuse for not achieving.”

Tuskegee pilots

Tuskegee pilots

 McGee and fellow Airman George Hardy attended the unveiling of a P-51D Mustang – a plane many Tuskegee Airmen flew – that has been restored at the National World War II Museum. They will join Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts to discuss the legacy of the Airmen. “What we accomplished flying the P51 was an important step in bringing about a change in the bias and generalizations that had been part of military policy,” George Hardy, 90, says.
WWII poster

WWII poster

Hardy enlisted in the Army when he was 17, in 1943. He graduated from training as a pilot and lieutenant in 1944. “We were segregated wherever we went,” he recalls. “Even on the ship, we took overseas.” Despite the negatives, the men set aside frustration and worked hard to prove themselves as airmen. “It wasn’t pleasant, but we didn’t look at the negative,” McGee says. “We looked at the positive, and that was we were given the chance to prove that that thinking was wrong.”

George Hardy

George Hardy

“It was a way of life as far as we were concerned,” adds Hardy. “It was not our job to fight segregation, it was our job to fly.” They became so respected as pilots that all-white bomber squadrons requested them as escorts during raids over Germany. “There had been a policy that said that black people could hold service positions but nothing technical,” McGee says. “We proved that to be erroneous.”

"Red Tails" movie

“Red Tails” movie

Despite their accomplishments, the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen was not well known until they formed a national group in 1970. “At that time a lot of people in this country, even in the black community, didn’t know that black people had flown in World War II,” Hardy says. Hardy, McGee, and the other living airmen now travel the country to share their history and legacy and inspire the next generation. “I talk to a lot of groups around the country, especially kids, and let them know that even though you have obstacles you can work to overcome them,” Hardy says.

Tuskegee pilots

Tuskegee pilots

Information is mainly from WarHistoryOnline.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Joe Albarran – Capitola, CA; Merchant Marines, WWII

Glendale Betz – Bartlesville, OK; US Army, WWII, PTO, Captain, Field Artillerytribute

William Casey, Boston, MA; US Navy, WWII, 119th SeaBees, PTO

Donal Goniu – Mequon, WI, US Army, WWII, MSgt.

Frederick Gerow – Vernon, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO USS Bennington

Robert Hollibaugh – Arkansas City, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Jacob Kalfs – Waverly, OH; US Navy, WWII

Desmond Le Pard – Dorsett, ENG; RAF, WWII, ETO, 17th Battalion/Parachute Regiment

Henry Mandela Sr. – Derby, CT; US Army, WWII, SSgt.

Allen Noel O’Brien – Brisbane, AUS; AIF, WWII, PTO, 2/31st Battalion/7th Division, Sgt.

Alan Young – W.Vancouver, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, (actor)

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Armed Forces Day

For ARMED FORCES DAY and MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH, Jacqui Murray has done an outstanding job.
For my previous posts honoring the Armed Forces, click here and here.
For the British Armed Forces Day, click here.

USNA or Bust!

Many Americans celebrate Armed Forces Day annually on the third Saturday of May  (May 21st in 2016). It is a day to pay tribute to men and women who serve the United States’ armed forces. Armed Forces Day is also part of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May.



Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into education, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, adjunct professor in technology-in-education, a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

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Intermission (11) – Swamp Ghost

B-17 Flying Fortress - Swamp Ghost

B-17 Flying Fortress – Swamp Ghost

On February 23rd, 1942, a B-17E Flying Fortress bomber crashed in one of the most remote and wild places on Earth: the impenetrable Agaimbo swamp located in the island nation of Papua New Guinea.

 The plane, piloted by young U.S. Army Air Corps Captain Fred Eaton, had flown a long and dangerous mission from Australia against the Japanese Fortress at Rabaul in New Britain. This was the first long-range Allied bombing mission of World War II following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor that included the U.S.

The crew survived their ordeal and, after a six-week trek to safety, returned to combat. Their B-17E, however, remained forgotten in the swamp until it was rediscovered in 1972 by an Australian Air Force crew.

In the mid-1980s, the late World War II pilot, restaurant industry pioneer and antique aircraft collector David Tallichet initiated efforts to recover and return the plane to U.S. soil. His dream was fulfilled in 2010 through the joint efforts of his family and aircraft salvage enthusiast Alfred Hagen.

Nicknamed Swamp Ghost, the B-17E has become an icon of military aviation. In tribute to its intact state, romantic isolation and the extreme challenges involved in its salvage, it is known among historians as military aviation’s Holy Grail.

Coincidentally, the B-17E was assigned to the Kangaroo Squadron, which flew into Pearl Harbor from San Francisco during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. This occurrence contributed to the disaster because U.S. Oahu radar personnel assumed the incoming Japanese attack wave represented the squadron’s expected arrival. Swamp Ghost was not with the squadron on that fateful day, instead flying in shortly after the attack.
Before its salvage, Swamp Ghost was considered the best-preserved unrecovered B-17E in the world. With its return to the Port of Long Beach, Swamp Ghost completed its final mission 68 years after take-off. Only four aircraft models of its type have ever been recovered. The aircraft will be restored, possibly to flying condition, for display at an aviation museum as a symbol of America’s military aviation heritage.
From Warhistoryonline.
Video is only 2½ minutes long!!
*****
Swamp-Ghost

B-17 Flying Fortress – Swamp Ghost

Disney and the Pacific Aviation Museum collaborate….

From: General Aviation News

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 Military Humor – 

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 Farewell Salutes – 

Ray Anderson – Cynthiana, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO, TSgt.

Remo Belli – Mishawaka, IN; US Navy

Missing Man formation

Missing Man formation

Joseph Coffey – Philadelphia, PA; US Army & US Air Force

Albrecht Hering – Jamaica Hgts., NY; US Army,1st Lt, A/B Ranger, 3rd Infantry Division

Gerard Lanouette – Montreal, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Korea

Thomas McCullough – Albequerque, NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 187th/11th Airborne

Hector Preston (100) – Auckland, NZ; Expeditionary Navy Force # 60671, WWII, Warrant Officer

James Rooney – Toledo, OH; US Army, WWII/ US Air Force, Korea

James Schwartz – Mobile, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot

David Walls – Phoenix, AZ; US Army, WWII

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Tribute to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels of New Guinea

Papuan natives, known affectionately to the Australians as 'Fuzzy-Wuzzy angels', carry supplies during the fighting near Wau in New Guinea. The Australian forces owed much to native carriers who kept the forward troops supplied and helped to evacuate the wounded. AUS 1726 Part of AUSTRALIAN SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION

Papuan natives, known affectionately to the Australians as ‘Fuzzy-Wuzzy angels’, carry supplies during the fighting near Wau in New Guinea. The Australian forces owed much to native carriers who kept the forward troops supplied and helped to evacuate the wounded.
AUS 1726
Part of
AUSTRALIAN SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION

THE “FUZZY WUZZY” ANGELS

Many a mother in Australia
When the busy day is done
Sends a Prayer to the Almighty
For the keeping of her Son.

Asking that an Angel guide him
And bring him safely back
Now we see those prayers are
Answered on the Owen Stanley track.

Tho’ they haven’t any halos
Only holes slashed through the ear
Their faces marked with tattoo’s
And scratch pins in their hair.

Bringing back the badly wounded
Just as steady as a hearse
Using leaves to keep the rain off
And as gentle as a Nurse.

Slow and careful in bad places
On that awful mountain track
And the look upon their faces
Made us think that Christ was black.

Not a move to hurt the carried
As they treat him like a Saint
It’s a picture worth recording
That an Artist’s yet to paint.

Many a lad will see his mother
and the husbands, weans and wives
Just because the Fuzzy Wuzzies
Carried them to save their lives.

From Mortar or Machine gun fire
Or a chance surprise attack
To safety and the care of Doctors
At the bottom of the track.

May the Mothers of Australia
When they offer up a prayer
Mention these impromptu Angels
With the “Fuzzy Wuzzy ” hair.

by NX6925 Sapper H “Bert” Beros of the 7th
Division, 2nd AIF; it was actually written on the Kokoda Track/Trail !!!!

A MOTHER’ S REPLY

We, the Mother’s of Australia
As we kneel each night in prayer
Will be sure to ask God’s blessings
On the men with fuzzy hair.

And may the Great Creator
Who made us both black and white
Help us to remember how they
Helped us to win the fight .

For surely He, has used these
Men with fuzzy wuzzy hair
To guard and watch our wounded
With tender and loving care.

And perhaps when they are tired
With blistered and aching back
He’ll take the Yoke On himself
And help them down the track.

And God will be the Artist
And this picture He will paint
Of a Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel
With the Halo of a Saint.

And His presence shall go with them
In tropic heat and rain
And he’ll help them to tend our wounded
In sickness and in pain.

So we thank you Fuzzy Wuzzies
For all that you have done
Not only for Australians
But for Every Mother’s Son.

And we are glad to call you friends
Though your faces may be black
For we know that Christ walked
With you – on the Owen Stanley track.

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Military Island Humor – booby-601x800

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Believed to be the last “Fuzzy Wuzzy” Angel recently passed away>>>

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Faole Bokoi – Papua, New Guinea, WWII

Click on link above to read his story.

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alfonso Carrasco – Phoenix, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/187/11th Airborne Division

Charles Hart – W.AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, PTO

Coastwatcher's  Memorial; Papua, New Guinea

Coastwatcher’s Memorial; Papua, New Guinea

Thomas Hayes – Sydney, AUS; 3 RAR, Korea

James Lang – Newcastle, AUS; RA Army, Vietnam

James Miller – Dayton, OH; US Army, WWII, PTO

Ernest Patterson – W.AUS; RA Army, WWII

Pat Rogers – NYC, NY; USMC, Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer

Frank Streather – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, 452 Squadron

Hugh Thomson – AUS; RA Army, WWII

Warren Warchus Sr. – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-29 bombardier

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Building The Steak and Egg Special

Another well researched and interesting post from the IHRA.

IHRA

For the men stationed in New Guinea during 1942 and 1943, a variety of fresh food was not easy to come by. There were plenty of coconuts, although the men grew tired of eating them, and the occasional banana, but no other fresh fruits or vegetables. Whatever came through was canned. By the end of 1942, they decided that they had had enough of the canned fruits and vegetables and began working on their own plane that would ferry fresh food from Australia.

This plane, an A-20, was being built from scrapped pieces by T/Sgt. Kip Hawkins and a few other mechanics from the 89th Bomb Squadron. The fuselage was taken from LITTLE HELLION, which belly-landed on November 1, 1942, and the wing sections from THE COMET, which was scrapped after the nose wheel collapsed while the plane was being towed on December 15, 1942.

Wings for THE "STEAK & EGG" SPECIAL An A-20 named…

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Intermission (10) – Buddies in war

GI Jenny, the burro mascot of the Army in North Africa, with Cpl. William Wende & Pito, 1943

GI Jenny, the burro mascot of the Army in North Africa, with Cpl. William Wende & Pito, 1943

We couldn’t allow the Intermission period to pass without a post about the animals.  Many have already seen my post about Marine Dog Lucca and the 9/11 work dogs, so here is another……

When waging war against each other, human armies often enlist the aid of the animal kingdom. In past conflicts, horses, elephants, and camels hauled men and supplies; pigeons carried messages; dogs tracked enemies and protected troops. Their efforts helped to turn battles—and the fortunes of many a combat soldier.

Tim - was the mascot of the Australian Army 2/2nd Battalion

Tim – was the mascot of the Australian Army 2/2nd Battalion

Carrying on this tradition, U.S. forces employed thousands of animals during World War II. They could be found in every theater of the war: They were workers and warriors; they were soldiers’ comrades-in-arms and companions in battle. Their widespread presence on the battlefields was documented by government photographers covering the war.

Horses, mules, and dogs were regularly employed by American forces to work on the battlefields of World War II. Horses carried soldiers on patrol missions in Europe and into battle in the Philippines. Mules, trained in the United States and shipped by the thousands into war zones, contributed their strength and sweat to the fight. Their backs bore the food, weapons, and sometimes the men of entire infantry units.

Pvt. Hunt the parakeet was a mascot in the Solomon Islands, here w/ Pvt. Currie

Pvt. Hunt the parakeet was a mascot in the Solomon Islands, here w/ Pvt. Currie

Some twenty thousand dogs served the U.S. Army, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. They guarded posts and supplies, carried messages, and rescued downed pilots. Scout dogs led troops through enemy territory, exposing ambushes and saving the lives of platoons of men. In the throes of combat, war dogs proved their intelligence, courage, and steadfast loyalty time and time again. Many photographs in National Archives holdings document the exploits—and the sacrifice—of America’s animal warriors.

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Information was condensed from the U.S. National Archives, also most of the photos, others from Waronline and AOL Images.

Click on images to enlarge.   Some are not available larger.

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Military Dog Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Merlin Bishop – Delta, UT; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Robert Casey – Terre Haute, IN; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Army

Charles Dixon – Augusta, GA; US Army, WWII, CBI + Africa, Majorhalfstaffflag

Cliff Hall – WY & CO; US Navy, WWII

James Lindly – Lubbock, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188/11th Airborne

Alan Mason – Feilding, NZ; RNZ Navy # 6075, WWII

Herbert Nesbitt Sr. – Ontario, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, Sgt., pilot

Edward Richards – Victoria, AUS; RA Army # 3156502, Vietnam, 4th Battalion

Biagio Tedesco – brn: St. Agata, ITA/Milwaukee, WI; US Army, WWII, PTO

John Wagner – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII

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Intermission (9) James Gleason, Marine Raider

Marine Raiders

Marine Raiders

Lyman and Minnie Gleason were in their 40s when the baby arrived at their doorstep in a shoebox, and James Gleason would grow up near Youngstown, Ohio.  On his 17th birthday, he enlisted in the Navy.

“Everybody was real patriotic at that particular time,” Gleason said in an interview with the Tribune two years ago at his home in Tampa.

On Aug. 3, 1942, he was called up, and after boot camp, transferred to the Marines, who didn’t have their own medics or chaplains. He volunteered for a newly formed group called the Marine Raiders.

James Gleason, 1943

James Gleason, 1943

There were four Marine Raider battalions and two Raider regiments that saw action in the Pacific between 1942 and 1944 and were formed to conduct amphibious raids and guerrilla operations behind enemy lines.

The Raiders went on to participate in campaigns across the Pacific Ocean and earned more than 700 decorations, including seven Medals of Honor, before being disbanded.

Gleason had no idea what he was getting into when he volunteered to join the Raiders.  “I didn’t even know what the heck the Raiders were,” he said. “I volunteered because I wanted a change.”

The battles of the Solomon Island chain were hell on Earth. In addition to a determined enemy, the Raiders had to contend with swarms of flies and mosquitoes, constant dampness, swamps, jungles and sharp coral that cut skin and caused infections.

By the time of the attack on Bairoko Harbor, on New Georgia Islands, the Raiders were so decimated they were able to muster up less than one full battalion of 900 to 950 men from the two full battalions they started with, Gleason said.

The battle to take the harbor began at 10 a.m., July 20, 1943, according to Gleason and continued all day.

"Real Blood, Real Guts" by: James Gleason

“Real Blood, Real Guts” by: James Gleason

“With nothing but guts and small infantry weapons, about 800 Raiders attacked the enemy force, who were well emplaced in a series of four parallel ridges with interlocking bunkers and cleverly concealed cross fire machine gun fire lanes,” Gleason wrote.

It also marked the first time the Navajo Code Talkers were used.

The enemy was driven back, but at a heavy cost, with more than 250 men killed or wounded and half the remaining men needed to take care of the survivors. Gleason was in the thick of it all, working with doctors and chaplains to save the wounded.

“We were pinned down under heavy fire at nightfall,” Gleason wrote. “At midnight, the Japanese staged one of their celebrated suicide bayonet charges, screaming like madmen.”

On July 23, the day Gleason turned 18, the Marines were ordered to retreat down a ridge even though he and others thought they were about to defeat the enemy.

“Now at age 18, the order to withdraw when we were 300 yards of victory at Bairoko was a bitter pill for everyone to swallow!” he wrote. “We Raiders contend that we would have taken Bairoko Harbor had we received the air and naval support we asked for.”

Gleason would be evacuated to Guadalcanal, but said he had few memories of what happened on his birthday.

Out of about 900 men, “I was one of about 120 or 130 to come down off the hill, with all the wounded and sick,” Gleason said in the interview.

 After getting out of the hospital, Gleason returned to duty, serving aboard several ships, and left the service, only to return during the Korean War, where he “continued to help his Marines,” according to Mark Van Trees, who runs Support the Troops, an organization providing toiletries, snacks and other items to deployed troops.

When he got out of uniform for good, Gleason had an eclectic life.

Marine Raiders on Bougainville, Jan. 1944

Marine Raiders on Bougainville, Jan. 1944

The family moved to Clearwater and later to Tampa, FL in the mid 1980s, and Gleason spent his last days in a Tampa assisted living facility.

“I met Doc Gleason and he is made of the right stuff — a true Fleet Marine,” said James Mattis, a retired Marine general and former commander of U.S. Central Command. “‘Doc,’ who represented all the character and Gung-Ho that have made our Navy Corpsmen brothers so highly respected in the macho Marine Corps. Doc was a great sailor, fine friend and a true role model for us all. We will miss him terribly.”

One of Gleason’s happiest moments seemed to be the announcement that Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, or MARSOC would be adapting the Marine Raider name.

“He broke down at the announcement with his dream coming true.”

A funeral service for Gleason was. May 5, at Oakwood Community Church, in Tampa. He will be buried later at Arlington National Cemetery.

 Condensed from an article written by: Howard Altman

©2016 the Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Fla.)

Click on images to enlarge.

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USMC  Humor – 

 

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They still make house calls.

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USMC Bumper stickers

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Akers – Chicago, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO

Douglas Barnes – Asheboro, NC; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT Rakkasans

Standing Guard

Standing Guard

Arnold Christie – Toronto, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, HMS Sheffield, Engine Room Artificer P. Officer

Herbert Daley – E.Hartford, CT; USMC, WWII, Korea, SSgt. (Ret. 20 years)

C. Harry Domm – North Hills, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Henry Dunn – NZ; Regimental # N801680, WWII

Robert Judell – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII, ETO, destroyer escort

John Lagoulis – Newburyport, MA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, 58th SeaBee Battalion, Bronze Star

Robert Ross – IN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunner’s mate

Willie Ward Sr. – Mobile, AL; USMC, WWII, PTO, aircraft mechanic

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