Smitty in December 1945 w/ the Sword Story

Christmas card

This was the Christmas card sent from Japan to Broad Channel, New York in December 1945. Anna Smith had been waiting to hear this news from her son Everett (Smitty) for over three years. On the back, it reads:

“Dear Mom:
This is the best Xmas card I’ve sent to you since getting in the army. I figured this would be what you have always been waiting to see, here it goes.

“I’m finally on my way, so don’t send any more mail.
Love, Everett
“P.S. I’ll keep you posted on my various stops.”

Smitty in Japan, at far right

Even though Smitty had earned his points to go home, he was still an NCO on General Swing’s staff and was required to finish out his duties as such. After going through combat in the South Pacific, it would be in peaceful occupational Japan where Smitty’s temper would get the better of him.

Non-nonchalantly going about his business at the headquarters of Camp Schimmelpfennig, Smitty just happened to glance through the glass partition that sealed off Gen. Swing’s office. Inside was an officer holding and admiring the Japanese sword that his commander intended to keep and bring home as a souvenir. Smitty didn’t think much of it at the time; he was busy and many people commented on the weapon. so he continued down the hallway. A short while later, the entire office could hear the general demanding to know what had become of his sword. It was gone.

Gen. Swing accepts Japanese sword at Atsugi Airfield

Major General Joseph Swing

My father didn’t think twice, this was his general. He went into the room and told Swing what he had witnessed. Without a second thought, the two men went to the other man’s office, but neither the man or sword was there. The officer in question showed a few moments later. When the general explained why they were waiting for him, the officer became indignant and professed his innocence (just a tad too much). My father said the air of tension in the room became thick enough to use a

Postcards received from a Cavite, P.I. woman

machete on. This was when Smitty’s temper went out of control and with one right cross – sent the officer through his own glass partition.

Of course, this action made it necessary to bust Smitty back down to private, but he didn’t care about that. He was still furious that the sword was never returned. It all could have gone worse if the general had not been there or if he did not believe Smitty’s word. Smitty said it was worth being busted just to wipe the smirky grin off the officer’s face. The officer, I believe, was a replacement and had not seen much (if any) combat, just a blow-heart. Smitty later offered his two Japanese swords to General Swing, but he refused. My father didn’t believe the general would have taken the Emperor’s own sword as a replacement. I can clearly see my father’s face contort when he thought of the thief and he would say, “That know-nothing mattress salesman from Texas!” I’m sure it was for the best that the two men never met again stateside as civilians.

Unfortunately, a similar incident occurred to my father. As he happily began packing to go home, Smitty noticed that an expensive set of carved ivory chop sticks he had purchased somehow had disappeared. They also were never recovered. (I had often wondered if the two incidents had been related, but I suppose we’ll never know.)

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Daniel Aiello – NYC, NY; US Army / Actor

Vernon Bartley – brn: Meerut, India/ENG; Punjab Army, WWII, CBI

John Cameron – Waipukurau, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII, minesweeper

Frank Crane – Toledo, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Joseph Haratani – Florin, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 442nd RCT

Clarence Katwyk – Salt Lake City, UT; US Merchant Marines / US Army, WWII, PTO

Dominic Moschetti – Victor, CO; US Army, WWII, TSgt., 354th Infantry

Raymond Plassmann – CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 navigator

Arthur Schaefer – Tucson, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Lt., B-17 navigator

Orland Webb – Harrodsburg, KY; US Army, WWII

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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 December 16, 2019, in Broad Channel, First-hand Accounts, Letters home, SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 120 Comments.

  1. Great story GP. I have my father’s sword that he took from a Japanese officer in Borneo. There was a campaign here in Australia, from memory during the sixties, to return swords to Japanese families, but my father said some rather strong words at the time to the effect that he was keeping his.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sorry Smitty suffered not once, but twice due to some thief. On a lighter note, that must have been a wonderful card his mother received, he was coming home!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No matter their rank or station in life, some people can’t seem to resist taking things that don’t belong to them. Will it always be part of our world?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have firmly believed that the officer felt he needed a souvenir to help bolster stories when he got home to Texas. Remember – those who did their part , rarely talk about it. Those that did nothing – talk all the time.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very interesting story. Too bad Smitty didn’t recover those items and make that officer regret his arrogance and audacity. I’m glad you have these cool stories to share. Too many stories have been lost along with the brave men and women who lived through those tough times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thank you for reading them, Toni. More and more books are being published with soldiers’ memories and letters, plus the veterans’ project with the government. I feel they are important to keep these people and their principles alive for each generation!

      Like

  6. As I’m new to your blog, I enjoyed this glimpse into your father’s war service and character.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That card brought tears to my eyes, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post… Gets my five-star vote! 🙂

    Like

  9. This is a most interesting story. Such a pity that people get away with such bad behaviour.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thieves exist everywhere, though stories like these are often left untold to the average civilian like myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great story Thank you for sharing it with us

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I guess that ‘stealing’ of these ‘souvenirs’ may well have been more common than we think!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What an appalling person! I cannot begin to understand the morality of this officer-thief. He fully deserved his punch and he should have been forced to pay the cost of his glass partition and busted down to private himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I really enjoyed that story, GP. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Welcome back, Smitty. Always so good to hear from or about you. That thief/liar was lucky he got off that easy.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great story . Your dad knew the consequences of punching an officer but he did what he thought was the right thing nevertheless. That’s an extra sort of courage not so common . He could have got a dishonorable discharge as well .

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you, US Veterans! You Rock! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. My son is deployed. I anxiously await his return. He is a Specialist 19D. He is my hero. My other son is my hero, too. He is a fire engineer and drives fire trucks. But, he doesn’t just drive the truck, he also puts out dangerous fires.

    Both of my sons are my heroes, but not just because of what they do, but because of their Golden Hearts. They both have great integrity and character.

    All military are my heroes, as well as all Fire Fighters, and Airborne, and those who sacrifice their lives, daily, for others.

    Your blog is The Best and very dear to me. You help us to remember our heroes, and those who give their lives for our safety and freedom. Thank The Good Lord!

    Thank you, GP, for your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh dear … that Santa just cracked me up!

    (I now have to sponge coffee off my screen … you’ll keep …”

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Incredible that the mattress salesman lied about the sword. Smitty did the right thing. Thanks for sharing his story.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Very unexpected, but a very good sign, and a great remembrance too. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Great story GP and good for Smitty to punch the guy even if it meant being demoted. What is right is right and I admire him for that. Regarding the sword and the chopsticks, they might come up on the Antique Roadshow. There is a Military Item section in it and if the location is in Texas, go watch it.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Thanks for the story of your dad, GP. Hard to believe someone would take a General’s sword. Smitty had every right for being outraged.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh-oh! That was unexpected. But just because someone is good at controling their temper, doesn’t mean they don’t have one. (I’ve had to explain that myself, as a caution, when being told “What? You don’t even have a temper.”) Watching decades of unqualified people advance, I can understand Smitty’s reaction all too well.
    LOL, I got a kick out of the “mattress salesman” remark. I loved seeing the photos of the card. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Doing the right thing often comes with consequences, doesn’t it. I remember my husband once, the GM at a plant, when payroll didn’t arrive, he paid the workers out of a plant account. Everyone loved him for that except his bosses. It didn’t take long before they let him go. I never regretted that.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. He did the right thing, GP. But then as far as i can tell, he always did. 🙂
    (A pity that after all they had gone through, petty theft should spoil things so close to the end.)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Merry Christmas GP.
    Leslie

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Funny cartoons. I hate thieves who steal from comrades. I have some compassion for people who need essentials like food and water. When the people in New Orleans were looting food and water, it still wasn’t right but it was understandable. When they started looting electronics and there was no electricity, it didn’t pass the commonsense test.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. ‘Had to ‘magnify’ to get a close look of the post cards from Imus. The recipient must be a heart throb 👍

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Nice GP. Those little details of a life well lived are the makings of memories. Also glad to see Danny Aiello on your list today. Best for Christmas and 2020. Regards

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Well worth being busted!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. I believe that Smitty was entitled to show his wrath to the thieving officer. Did he ever get his former rank back after being demoted?

    Liked by 2 people

  33. It’s because of men like your father and his general that wars are won. The right way. That ‘officer’ got his at some point, I am certain of that!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Now this is a story! Hurray for Smitty and I know his mom was beyond thrilled to get that card.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Too bad Smitty knocked him through the window. Without the physical damage to explain, the General might “not have seen a thing”.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. The sword and the chopsticks are most likely in Texas now. Merry Christmas, Sir!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve thought of that so often! What outrageous story did he tell his kids and grandchildren about securing that sword!!!? Unless someone were to read this and recognize the circumstances, the mystery will never be solved.

      Like

  37. They should have ransacked his room! Good for Smitty for putting him in his place 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Amazing secrets that leave us wondering.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. I’ve been wondering what was going on with your father through all this. What a story! I was a little afraid it would delay his return home.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Those little details mean so much. I wish I could have had a chat with your Dad. My step-dad who served in Korea was busted down a couple of times because of his temper. What a shame the thieves weren’t apprehended. I bet Smitty would have made them regret it…

    Liked by 2 people

  41. I suspect that’s what my father would have done. Some people only cared about doing the right thing. Some only cared about themselves. I hope the guy choked every time he told the story of how he “captured” that sword.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Interesting post….the craftsmanship of those swords is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. A good man, your father – but then we knew that. I like the group photo.

    Liked by 3 people

  44. Good for Smitty! My guess is the disappearance of the chopsticks is very closely akin to the disappearance of the sword.

    Liked by 4 people

  45. I remember reading this one GP…

    Liked by 3 people

    • haha, I imagine you would, Pierre!! You’ve read my entire blog – I believe you’re the only one to do so!! Why do you think I still hand out your blog addresses to readers?!!! You’re the best bundle of info around – and a great researcher!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Featured Report: Smitty in December 1945 w/ the Sword Story // Pacific Paratrooper #AceHistoryDesk reports | ' Ace Worldwide History '

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