Smitty, Still in Japan

Japan 1945

No matter where he is or what he’s doing, Smitty will be seen touring the sights. In Japan, he also did his best to absorb the culture that surrounded him.

Smitty’s travels

Inside the above brochure, Smitty wrote, “Right after we left this place, it burnt down. This was really a million dollar joint! Wow! The girls here, by the way, are very nice. I like these people much better than the Filipinos.” (Just to remind the reader, and in all fairness, Smitty had lost his best friend to a Filipino Japanese sympathizer (makipilli) with a grenade booby-trap in his cot)

In October 1945, General Pierson was transferred back home. He was replaced by General Shorty Soule who had commanded the 188th regiment in both training and combat. He was later promoted to assistant division commander of the 38th Division and at this point he began to head the Miyagi Task Force.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hereafter, the troopers began to return to the States as they collected their “points” and the replacements that were arriving were not jump qualified. Gen. Swing established yet another jump school, the fourth one in the history of the 11th Airborne. This one was established at the former Japanese Air Corps base near Yanome; about 15 miles from Sendai.

Following through with his own requirements that all men in the division be both paratroopers and glidermen, Swing started a glider school in the summer of 1946 at Yamoto Air Base. [renamed Carolus Field, in honor of Cpl. Charles Carolus, killed in a glider crash near Manila 22 July 1945]

Smitty in Japan

On the reverse side of the picture above, Smitty wrote, “a beauty of a flock of ducks were going by just as the jerk snapped the camera.”

The 187th Regiment, was by this time, now being called “Rakkasans” (umbrella men) by the Japanese, a name which stayed with them through four wars: WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the Operations of today.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Erwin Bentlage – Oneida, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LCI-968

James Cooper – Lexington, KY; US Navy, WWII, Korea

Alex Dzialo – South Glastonburg, CT; US Army, WWII & Korea (Ret.)

Vasil Fisanick – North Cambria, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Robert Klein – NE; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt., German interpreter

Tommy Land Jr. – Chesapeake, VA; US Army, WWII, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Warren McLain – Colorado Springs, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO, Infantry scout

George Parquette – Luverne, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 76th Tank Reg/11th Airborne Division

Harold Sears – Cabot, AR; US Army, Korea

Arthur Susi – Dublin, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO

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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 July 1, 2019, in First-hand Accounts, SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 78 Comments.

  1. The things Smitty got to see, both good and bad, from that time period. I am sorry he lost his best friend that way. He was lucky to be on patrol that day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ll take Smitty over Forrest GP any ol’ day! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The designer/architect of the Matsushima New Park Hotel was an European. By coincidence, he was the architect for now well-known Atomic Dome in Hiroshima… I am still so amazed Smitty (and now you) have taken so good care of these memorabilia…

    Liked by 3 people

    • I wish that photo had come out clearer, but who ever took it must not have been in focus. That is great info you’ve included, I had no idea. It was an era we will never see again and I think Smitty knew that. He used to shrug things off, but I think those 3 1/2 years in the USAAC meant a great deal to him.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Must of missed the post regarding Smitty losing his mate to a Japanese sympathizer.
    enjoyed the post mate, and the cartoons.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was a long time ago, Ian. I had forgotten that I left that statement in, but it is true. They all had a ‘mamma-san’ who was making extra money, food, etc. for their families by cleaning up the tents. One day a man showed up and said his wife wasn’t feeling well and he would do her job …. the rest you know. Smitty, thank God, was out on patrol when the grenade in the cot booby trap went off.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You are very lucky to have inherited your father’s memorabilia, GP. Photos, postcards, and brochures make your posts real and your tribute to your father and other war heroes all the more vivid. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I have written up some of my dad’s WWII experiences and am doing more as I can, but your blog inspired me to do a full time line of the Pacific War and where he was on his ship on various dates. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Well written! This actually reads like fiction until the photo of Smitty reminds one, this really happened. But that’s what makes it all the more memorable. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Smitty really got around. Great post, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Looking only at the images someone could think Smitty was on vacation there. 😉 I think the flock of ducks crossing the foto scene origins in their wish to get hired by USArmy. Lol Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can understand Smitty’s Filipino antipathy

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Smitty must have enjoyed his stay in Japan. Touring another country is the best way to abosorb their culture and see how other people lives. It is the best education. Love the photos. I like “umbrella men”, aptly name for the paratroopers.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I enjoyed the slide show….your father was one to make the most of any situation, by the look of things. Put him anywhere and he would be out and about exploring.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thanks for the wonderful Smitty recollections, and tanks for the military humor!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. It’s good that he took the time to travel around Japan while he was there. Do you know how much of the country he was able to see?

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Super post, GP. Great to get Smitty’s comments too.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. As usual, fascinating images and stories, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Wonderful, GP. You might want to obtain a copy of NISEI – The Quiet Americans, it is a humbling read.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have it on my reading list. Smitty thought the world of the Nisei. He couldn’t believe what they would pull off during the war!! Thanks for reminding me, I need to check my list again!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. LOL at the Toll Booth and Camouflage memes!
    Great photo of your dad! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Great slide show. Thanks, and thanks for ansother peek at the stuff we don’t read about in the history books.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Scrapbooks, letters and photos are valuable. It doesn’t matter how many years have past, you can still collect enough to create a post that cherishes people and places

    Liked by 2 people

  21. A man who can embrace the culture of his former enemy can only be described as an open-minded and tolerant individual. We need more people like your dad, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He sure seemed like one of a kind. When i try to describe him, there ends up being so many facets of his personality!! Thank you for saying so, Peter!! You are doing such a terrific job with your own family history – quite unique!!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Some of the images are beautiful. I’m glad to see that some beautiful historic (I guess) sites survived. I wonder what it was like to get to know the people you had been fighting with. Do you think it changed his perspective?

    Liked by 2 people

    • He used to always remind me that they were soldiers following orders just like he was. Dad had a very logical mind, he could play devil’s advocate for anyone, especially trying to calm down an argument.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Wonderful remembrances of what must have been both an exciting but also exhausting time in post-war Japan.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Great post, GP. Your Dad was a fine looking man. I love how you interweave backstories through Smitty’s narratives. The cartoons are funny too.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I admire his willingness to seek out Japanese culture at that point, but I’ll bet he was ever conscious of how many “points” he had to get before he went home.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Umbrella Men is a great nickname for paratroops. 🙂
    Nice to hear that Smitty embraced the culture. Given the hardships of war, that was a sign of his kind and generous nature.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Love the slide show GP. It sounds like he really enjoyed Japan.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Thank you, Ian!!

    Like

  1. Pingback: Smitty, Still in Japan // Pacific Paratrooper | ' Ace Worldwide History '

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