May > June for Smitty and the 11th Airborne

117th Engineer Battalion, Luzon

The 11th Airborne continued their patrols, mopping up details and training at Lipa, Luzon, P.I.  General Swing had another jump school built that created 1,000 newly qualified paratroopers out of their latest replacements.

The new glider school concentrated on the “snatch pickup” method, whereby a CG-4A Glider on the ground with a towrope and a C-47 with a hook. As the plane goes overhead at an altitude of 15 feet, it snatches up the glider and brings it to 120 mph in a matter of a few seconds. (The noise from the plane, shock and whiplash must have been overwhelming.)

With May drawing to a close and the Japanese Army being pushed to the northeast, the 11th Airborne knew something was brewing, but then Smitty got a surprise.

Brisbane 1945

8 June 1945, Cpl. Everett Smith found himself and four others from the division on leave in Australia and Smitty was determined to have a good time! Those that went to Brisbane on the same orders for TDY were:
Lt. Col. Francis W. Regnier MC HQ 11th A/B Div.
Major George K. Oliver INF HQ 11th A/B Div.
T Sgt. Manuel C. DeBeon Jr. 187th Glider Infantry
Tec 4 Beverly A. Ferreira HQ 11th A/B Div.
The orders were signed by Major E.W. Wyman Jr., Adjutant General of Luzon

Townsville, Queensland, WWII

My father never told me very much about his R&R and probably for a good reason. (For one, my mother was always around listening.) He did say that when he first arrived in Australia, he wanted a haircut and a shave. While the barber was working on him, he remarked that the pores in Smitty’s nose appeared enlarged. My father answered, “You spend five months in the jungles of New Guinea and see what your nose looks like.” Dad said after that, his money was no good. Everyone in the barbershop made such a fuss over him that he never got a word in edgewise. They were so extremely grateful to anyone who served in New Guinea. Smitty did always tell me he wished he could make a trip back there; he thought Australia and her people were great, but sadly, he never did.

Perhaps this young lady, Joan, was the reason Smitty wouldn’t talk about his time on leave.

“Happy Landing, Joan”

In another part of the war….

The Sixth Australian Division attacked and occupied Wewak, New Guinea. This is relevant because it housed the headquarters of the Japanese Eighteenth Army. A major boon for the PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations).

23 May, at least 65 square miles of Tokyo had been incinerated by bombs and napalm. Later, the same action was taken over Yokohama, Osaka and Kobe. This left over 100 square miles of the principle Japanese cities devastated and one-third of the country’s construction destroyed. Japan’s factories were demolished.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News – U.S. Coast Guard – 228 years old this 4 August 2018

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charles Burnett – Lexington, KY; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Duane Caitlin – Waverly, NY; US Coast Guard

Walter Geer – New Oxford, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Thomas Horn – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII

Alfred Johnson Jr. – Washington D.C.; US Coast Guard, WWII

Roy Meyer – Tucson, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 449th Bombardment Group, B-24 waist-gunner

Edward Patapanian – Boston, MA; US Coast Guard, WWII

Brady Spillane – Great Falls, MT; US Army, 82 Airborne Division

William Thomure – Columbus, OH; US Coast Guard, WWII

James Watt – Whangamata, NZ; RNZ Army # 811867, WWII, PTO, 22nd/9th Brigade

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on August 2, 2018, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 98 Comments.

  1. Weer zo’n origineel verhaal dat je alleen hier kan lezen.Bedankt

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice reflections and great photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you seen this GP? It gives a great overview of R&R on the Gold Coast of Australia. It was well-organized, and must have been greatly appreciated by the US troops, especially the interaction with Australian families. Please note the photo of Joan Mason on page 9 http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/documents/bf/americans-wwii-gold-coast.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad to hear that Smitty had a chance for some R&R in Australia. Wish he could have taken your whole family back there. That’s one of the places on my bucket list…but not during wartime.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The glider getting hooked and pulled to 120mph is amazing! I’ve never heard of that one. I find studying the events of the war always reveal something astonishing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That video of the glider pickup is really something. I was interested to hear that they used nylon rope. I found that nylon was patented in 1935, and both the military and women made good use of it: the military because of its strength and ability to reduce shock, and women because those nylon stocking were stronger than silk, and less expensive.

    In fact, there are more than a few sailors I’ve known who’ve kept a stash of nylons stockings on their boat. They’re so strong they can serve a number of purposes, including temporary engine or generator belts. Of course it’s always best to have spares of the real thing, but when that little detail hasn’t been attended to, the stockings will do. I once saw them in action.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That ‘tug-tow’ snatch … ye gods, I’d have expected the plane to carry blissfully on, towing just a hook and a glider-nose … bods in the glider on the ground admiring the nice new view and enjoying the breezes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sir, this is a great article, I enjoyed the history lesson. I am going to reblog this article for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The snatch up sounds awesome (and deafening w whiplash too) but how cool!
    And could imagine Smitty in that barbershop with chemistry friends

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Glad to hear that Smitty still could find ways of having fun in the midst of all that horror.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Dear GP, my apologies for this comment, but it just poured out of me once I read this post and the comments. So ‘m going to let it ride and you can decide whether it is best deleted . . .

    One of our neighbours grew up in Townsville during WWII. He has a few stories to tell, you can be sure. Even now Townsville could be considered a northern tropical outpost, so you can imagine how it was from 1942 onward.

    The phrase “Oversexed, overpaid and over here” in reference to American soldiers may have originated in Europe, but certainly gained currency in the Australian sector 🙂
    Australian soldiers, who had seen service as early as 1939, and were now returning from the deserts of North Africa, the over-run of Greece, other European battles, and even German POW camps (as in my relative), – in order to be re-allocated to the Pacific Theatre, were alarmed at the American charm offensive on their Australian “sheilas”.
    And who had the nylon stockings and chocolate??? -The Americans with their uniquely buttoned dress uniforms which showed their “attributes” to perfection 🙂

    Oh! I’m sure in an environment where no-one knew what tomorrow might bring, any number of interesting encounters took place on leave 🙂

    Another thing that is not often referenced is the huge number of African-American soldiers who came to Australia, and especially Townsville, during this time. Considering Australia, under its colonial heritage, still did not recognise Aboriginal rights (but allowed them to enlist and fight in the front lines), the embracement of this sector of the American Army is amazing. One book of interest in relation to this is “The Inconvenient Child” by Sharon Killens and Lindsay Lewis (Sharon has since died).

    So, moving on to Vietnam. I was a teenager during this time. My brother’s “marble” did not come out. But in any case, there was a system that those who had signed on to the CMF (Citizen’s Military Force) were not sent to Vietnam but stayed to be our first line of defence if Australia was over-run by the VietCong. My brother’s mate, who didn’t join the CMF, served in Vietnam. His surname was Loo. He was a Gunner (Private) in the artillery. Which I always found amusing as that meant his title was Gunner Loo. You need to understand Australian slang to get the joke, but “Gunna” means going to, and “Loo” means a toilet/washroom.

    I left home at a young age, and went to work as a motel receptionist in the city. Often-times on the weekend I would go to a dance-hall in Kings Cross, which had once been a bohemian area, but under the onslaught of the Vietnam R&R became a baudy area of nightclubs, strip clubs and dens of iniquity; and hard drugs were introduced at this time.
    I still had two eight hour shifts on the weekend to work, and between working and dancing, there were plenty of weekends I didn’t sleep for 48 hours straight. This era may have happy memories for some of those who have commented (and all mine are that), and I met plenty of great people, but it was also a sad time watching so many young men trash themselves.
    I can’t begin to think how they settled back into home-life, much as many Australian Vietnam Vets I met have never been the same. They were kids when they went. There is an Aussie song, “God help me, I was only 19” . . . see . . .
    https://genius.com/Redgum-i-was-only-19-lyrics

    Today, you only have to say, “they went to Vietnam,” and one can excuse all sorts of introversion and other weird behaviour.

    Again, apologies that I have taken the discussion of onto this tangent . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • There is no reason to apologize, Gwen. I’m sure there were many bar brawls and unhappy experiences as the Americans and other servicemen “invaded” your country. Men (or boys mostly) coming out of a combat situation to ‘party-time’ would go a bit nuts-o. Can’t say whether or not Smitty was one of them, he only mentioned Brisbane to me and how much he loved your country and wanted to return.
      As far as Vietnam goes – that is about all you have to say. I would be a very happy camper to never hear the name of that hell-hole for the rest of my life. (and I didn’t serve in it, I only observed it).

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Joan looks nice!

    An old saying in the navy—

    “When not with the one you love …
    … Love the one you’re with”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Did not know that about the Coast Guard

    Liked by 1 person

  14. There was a wartime song about being picked for airborne service where the CO says to those chosen ‘take lots and lots of underpants, you’ll need them I surmise’…
    You certainly would have done with that snatch pickup!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. GP, nice to recognize the Coast Guard. Right, I don’t think of them as in combat. Now, the photo of Joan? That would make a great story never told. Thank you, GP! Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I take it your mom’s name is not Joan. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Here’s an RAF demo of that technique. Whew!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. That snatch pickup must have been something for both those in the aircraft and those in the glider! I don’t know which would be worse!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow thankful for your father’s service in the War

    Liked by 2 people

  20. My nephew went on leave to Australia from Viet Nam. The Aussies treated him like family. He was overcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Good as usual. And love the salute to the Coast Guard!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Uf, those glider operations sound kind of terrifying! Glad Smitty got some R and R, though, and that Australia was so welcoming :D. Happy Birthday, Coast Guard!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. We’re a great mob to hang out with, but back then the gratitude would have been overflowing as the nation came back from the brink. Ah, sweet, a love story, perhaps a novel in the making?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Australia must have felt like paradise for your dad after all the hardship in the jungles of New Guinea.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Good to hear that your Dad had a great time in Australia. Seems they gave him a warm welcome.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Marvelous photos to go with the narrative, GP. Great post. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. That snatch pickup method was not for the faint hearted. Courageous men those 11th Airborne!
    Your father had good reason not to talk about his R&R. Most of them did not want to in front of their wives but had that faint smile on their faces when they said they had a good time. Salute to the US Coast Guard!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. While I was on a five-man team, I went to Hong Kong and enjoyed it, but the other lieutenant went to Australia; I still remember how happy he was.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Happy birthday to the Coast Guard….too many forget their service and their honor….kudos chuq

    Liked by 1 person

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