Monthly Archives: September 2020

Poem – “The Conversion”

From the C.B.I. Theater of operation Roundup newsletter came this poem of wisdom.  Just something to keep in mind – no matter what theater of operations OR which war the veteran emerges from….

THE CONVERSION

When bugles sound their final notes
And bombs explode no more
And we return to what we did
Before we went to war
The sudden shift of status
On the ladder of success
Will make some worthy gentlemen
Feel like an awful mess.

Just think of some poor captain
Minus all his silver bars
Standing up behind some counter
Selling peanuts and cigars
And think of all the majors
When their oak leaf’s far behind
And the uniforms they’re wearing
is the Western Union kind.

 

Shed a tear for some poor colonel
if he doesn’t feel himself
Jerking sodas isn’t easy
When the eagle’s on the shelf
‘Tis a bitter pill to swallow
‘Tis a matter for despair
Being messengers and clerks again
A mighty cross to bear.

So be kind to working people
That you meet where ‘er you go
For the guy who’s washing dishes
May have been your old CO.

Published 6 October 1944

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Daniel Barnett – Goodlettsville, TN; US Army, Korea, RHQ/187th RCT

“You Are Not Forgotten”

George W. Biggs – Nogales, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII. Tuskegee airman / Korea & Vietnam, B-47 & B-52 pilot / US Customs Service

Harold L. Dick – Tipton, MO; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Gunner’s mate 2nd Class, USS Colorado, KIA (Tinian)

Lloyd Gruse – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, WWII  /  US Army, Korea & Vietnam

Virdean (Davis) Lucas – Newton, KS; Civilian, USO, WWII

Ramon Maldonado (103) – Carriere, MS; US Army, WWII

Isaac Parker (17) – AK; US Navy, WWII, Mess Attendant, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Steve Stibbens – Dallas, TX; USMC, Vietnam, Gunnery Sgt. (Ret. 20 y.), Bronze Star, Stars & Stripes journalist

Andrew Vinchesi – Malden, MA; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Lloyd Wade – Westminster, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Division

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USS West Virginia – Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay

USS West Virginia, pre-WWII

Her wounds had been grievous that morning in 1941, when Japanese torpedo bombers  swept low over the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor and unleashed their deadly cargoes at the easy targets moored along Battleship Row.  The surface might of the U.S. Pacific Fleet was virtually helpless against the onslaught, and those ships moored outboard received the brunt of the devastating attack.

Oklahoma capsized and West Virginia took 7 torpedoes into her port side, gouging huge holes in her hull.  Two modified artillery shells, configured as

USS West Virginia (BB-48)

aerial bombs, struck aft.  The ship’s captain, Mervyn Bennion, was cut down by a steel fragment but remained in command, perishing with courage and later receiving a posthumous Medal of Honor.  Dorie Miller, a cook, manned a machine-gun and received the Navy Cross for heroism.

Alert counterflooding kept West Virginia from capsizing and the heavily damaged battleship settled to the bottom of Pearl Harbor upright and on an even keel.  A total of 106 West Virginia sailors were killed that fateful morning.

USS West Virgina @ Pearl Harbor. USCG boat in front saving sailors

At first glance, it appeared that the battleship might be a total loss.  However, salvage and recovery efforts were quickly begun.  West Virginia was refloated and pumped dry.  The bodies of sailors entombed on the ship for days were recovered.  The torpedo holes were patched, and the Colorado- class ship, first launched in November 1921, sailed for Puget Sound Navy Yard, in Bremerton, WA, for a substantial rebuild.

December 7th memories.

After 2 years of modernization,  USS West Virginia was ready for combat duty.  In October, she joined the shore bombardment group off of Leyte, P.I.  Here, her main 16-inch guns barked at the Japanese.  She gained another measure of revenge in the night Battle of Surigao Strait.  Along with the Mississippi, and other Pearl Harbor veterans Tennessee, Maryland, California and Pennsylvania they pounded an enemy surface squadron.

USS West Virginia, sinking at Pearl Harbor

West Virginia, affectionately known to her crew as, “Big Weevie”, later provided fire support for the amphibious landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, remaining to lend heavy artillery as the operations progressed.  She was struck by a Kamikaze plane off Okinawa that killed 4 sailors, but she remained on station until her mission was completed.

When the news of the Japanese surrender reached her crew, the USS West Virginia was ordered to sail for Tokyo Bay.  She arrived on 31 August, and her contingent of Marines went shore.

West Virginia was the largest ship of the U.S. Navy present at both Pearl Harbor and the  2 September surrender ceremonies.  The only other U.S. warship that were at both events was the light cruiser USS Detroit.

USS West Virginia, 1944

After lending 5 musicians from her band to play during the surrender proceedings, she only had one more task to complete: transporting 25,554 fighting men from Pearl Harbor to San Diego, CA, during Operation Magic Carpet, the mammoth undertaking to bring American personnel home from the Pacific.

West Virginia in Hawaii preparing for home, Oct. 1945

She was decommissioned in 1947, and put in the Pacific Reserve Fleet until 1959.  After a storied career spanning 4 decades, she was towed to New York harbor to be broken up for scrap.

The West Virginia’s bell sits in the state museum at Charleston, her wheel and binnacle are at the Hampton Roads Museum, her mast at West Virginia University and an antiaircraft gun in a park at Parkersburg.

WWII History Network.

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Military Humor – Navy Style – 

THE VIEW IS PRETTIEST FROM THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN.

WHY C.O.’S DON’T GET MUCH SLEEP!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frank Anthon – Cincinnati, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, Co. A/1/6/2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, KIA (Tarawa)

Warren G.H. DeVault – TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt., Co. F/2/12/4th Infantry Division, KIA (Hürtgen, GER

HONOR

Roland Fafard – Worchester, MA; US Navy, WWII, SeaBee

Bernie Lieder – Greenwood Township, MN; US Army, WWII, ETO  /  MN Representative

Douglas ‘Knute’ Nelson – Haynesville, LA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Marvin Pretzer – Bay City, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Donald Rusk – Clarks Hill, IN; US Army, Korea, Sgt.

Norma Schrader – Bridgeport, CT; US Army WAC, WWII

Donald Stouli – Robbinsdal, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot, 303 Bomb Group  /  US Air Force, Korea

Julian C. Wills (100) – Flingsville, KY; US Army, WWII, MSgt.

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Army Corps of Engineers in Japan after WWII

Osaka, Japan, 1945, canvas tanks of water purification station run by the 323rd Engineers/98th Division

Under the terms of surrender that ended World War II, Japan fell under Allied occupation. U.S. Army engineers faced a daunting challenge in constructing facilities for the occupation forces and rebuilding the vanquished nation’s infrastructure. The immediate postwar standard of living in Japan had sunk to subsistence levels and U.S. Army Air Force bombing raids destroyed much of the nation’s industrial base. Roadways originally were designed for light vehicle traffic and frequently were unsurfaced, and railroads often were of differing gauges. Unskilled labor was plentiful but craftsmen were scarce. Sewage systems were nonexistent. To complicate matters, at the occupation’s outset, Japanese construction firms were not considered financially sound nor did they operate with bonding or insurance.

Under the Far East Command—the ruling authority in occupied Japan—the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers created an engineer district equivalent, the Army Construction Agency, Japan, to accomplish all project work, with project review performed by the Army Forces Pacific theater engineer. However, the engineering support for the occupation was the responsibility of engineers from the U.S. Eighth Army, the Sixth Army Engineers out of Kyushu, and elements of the 5th Air Force Engineers. Additionally, to overcome a shortage of engineer troops, indigenous labor gangs were organized.

872nd Airborne Engineers repair Atsugi Airdome runway.

The intact Japanese civil government bore the financial responsibility for infrastructure reconstruction, including military programs. American area commanders funded projects by levying requisitions known as procurement demands on local Japanese administrations. After some abuses arose, the commanders lost their ability to make such requisitions. Instead all requirements were processed through General Headquarters. Eventually, the Japanese government, using Termination of War funds, was able to procure its own construction contractors. All were Japanese companies either created or expanded in response to the building requirements.

The centerpiece of the U.S. reconstruction effort in Japan was the base-building program to construct facilities supporting the occupation forces that at the same time would have joint-use applications. While in the early part of the occupation the U.S. military engaged in or supervised the Japanese in humanitarian and related civilian activities, the bulk of the engineering projects it performed involved converting existing facilities for the Eighth Army and other military units. Housing, hospitals, airfields, and administrative and operational structures were provided for American garrison divisions by rehabilitating former Imperial Army military camps. Many Japanese housing units were converted to house Americans and their dependents.

Quonset hut originally barracks for the 736th Engineers reused as office space for the 598th Engineer base, 1947

Other than some prefabricated buildings and petroleum tanks, building materials came from the local economy. In all, 15,000 dependent housing units were built or converted. Furthermore, former Japanese military ports and industrial plants became not only U.S. Army depots and logistics staging areas but also dual-use facilities. Repair and utilities support to all installations was funneled through regional post engineers, under whom utilities detachments and technicians resided. Because of the lack of civilian-operated heavy earth-moving equipment, engineer units performed all earthworks. By 1950, Army engineers had carried out total construction valued at more than $400 million.

With the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, a new and extensive construction support program had a direct effect on Japan’s rehabilitation. Procurement totaled nearly $1 billion annually by 1953 and involved contracts with 3,000 Japanese firms. By the end of 1951 the Japanese were able to negotiate an end to Allied occupation.

598th Engineers Supply Div. at Yokohama base, 1948

The peace treaty that went into effect in 1952 allowed for a mutual defense pact under which U.S. forces remained in Japan. This agreement began the permanent base construction that has continued with the establishment of the Far East District in 1957 and the Japan Engineer District in 1972. The work of Army engineers, although begun in the wake of a war with such terrible devastation, in large measure contributed to the rise of a former enemy as both an advanced, democratic nation and a stable bulwark for American interests in the wider region. This effort lives on in the continued cooperation among uniformed and civilian employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, its contractors, other U.S. agencies abroad, local nationals, and the host government.

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Happy 73rd Birthday –  U.S. Air Force

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Military Humor –

Army Engineers

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Berry – Kilgore, TX; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Master Electrician

Robert L. Davisson – Savanna, IL; US Air Force, Korea, Sgt., radio operator

Charles Hill – Madison, TN; US Army, Co. C/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Albert Jenkins – Billings, MT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, aircraft mechanic

Jason K. Phan – Anaheim, CA; US Air Force, Kuwait, Senior Airman, 386th Expeditionary Security Force

Richard Fox – Racine, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, P-47 pilot, 368/396/9th Air Force

Robert Libby – Hiram, ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Palmer Mart – Elkhart, IN; US Navy,WWII, radioman

Terry R. Santos – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Recon/11th Airborne Division

Arthur Smith (100) – Kendaia, NY; US Army, WWII, ATO, Corps of Engineers

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Sea Bees in Japan after the WWII

Signal Tower at Misarazu Air Station, built by the 136th NCB, 15 Oct. 1945

On V-J Day, thirteen Naval Construction Battalions (NCB), three Special Naval Construction Battalions (stevedores), and one Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) awaited assignment to Japan, where they were to aid naval forces at Hiroshima, Kabayana, Yokosuka, Omura, Nagasaki, Sasebo, and Kure. Their tasks included constructing, repairing, and maintaining Naval and Marine Corps bases throughout Japan to support US armed forces in occupying the country.

On 15 August 1945, Seabees with the 136th NCB embarked in 12 LSM’s at Guam headed for Iwo Jima and onto Yokosuka, Japan. They arrived at the badly damaged Yokosuka navy yard on 30 August 1945, where they established their camp at the Japanese navigation school. In preparation for the arrival of additional forces, the Seabees repaired housing, electric and telephone systems, and roads at the naval base; graded fields and remodeled buildings for the fleet recreation area; repaired housing and surfaced an airstrip at Kisarazu airfield.

Meanwhile, the 602nd CBMU arrived at Yokosuka to maintain runways and roads at the Marine Corps air base. They constructed a 2000-man galley, restored barracks and facilities for personnel, constructed a chapel and recreation facilities, completed a sawmill, public works shops, a cold-storage plant, and a chlorination plant for water treatment, and installed hot water showers in all barracks.

Galleys & mess hall built by 136th NCB for the Naval HQ, 14 Nov. 1945

During the month of September, the 41st Regiment, consisting of the 9th, 28th, 62nd, and 90th NCB, and the 28th Special Battalion, joined the 136th NCB at Yokosuka. Among the major projects included repairing and maintaining the naval base at Kisarazu naval air station, which included overhauling the gasoline system and providing housing facilities for air station personnel and repairing and maintaining the airstrip. They also repaired buildings and erected Quonset huts for housing and messing facilities for port director activities at both Yokosuka and Tokyo, and loaded gravel from the Atsugi River for use in repairing roads and runways.

Sasebo on the island of Kyushu, not far from Nagasaki, was the other big center of Seabees activity in Japan. For some time, the 7th Naval Construction Regiment, consisting of 4 NCBs and the 31st   Special, were working simultaneously at Sasebo to construct the naval base, clear the dock area in the navy yard and provide space for roadways and facilitating the unloading of ships. This required removal of large quantities of scrap metal, heavy marine equipment, and other debris. The Seabees used a Japanese floating crane and Japanese barges, together with some Japanese laborers, were used on the task.

Port camp for 31st NCB at Sasebo, Japan, Jan. 1946

In addition to repairing and maintaining the Marine Corps camp at Ainoura, the 116th NCB rehabilitated and constructed 5 miles of road from Ainoura to Sasebo, together with an alternate 5-mile stretch and operated two quarries to support road work construction. The Seabees also constructed a Quonset hut camp to house 400 men at the former aircraft factory at Sasebo. Seabees with the 72nd NCB constructed a 2000-man camp, two 200-bed hospitals, and recreational facilities in Sasebo to support naval forces.

Naval forces camp at Omora, Japan, built by 31st NCB, Jan. 1946

Upon its arrival in Japan, the 31st NCB had been sent to Omura, about 28 miles from Sasebo. At Omura, the battalion was given a former Japanese hangar for temporary barracks, messing, and work space, and assigned a former Japanese garrison force compound for permanent barracks and work space. The area was deliberately destroyed in an attempt to inconvenience occupation troops; all the latrines were in disreputable condition, lighting fixtures had been torn out, and the general litter and debris throughout the area was so extensive that a 40-man cleaning crew worked for more than a fortnight removing debris and trash.

One of the most unique duties the Seabees undertook in Japan after the war ended was working on the Bureau of Yards and Docks Technical Mission to Japan to survey damage wrought by the atomic bombs and other aerial bombing attacks. This group consisted of structural engineers and Seabees sent to Japan to survey the damage inflicted by atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as damage caused by high explosive and incendiary bombs.

31st NCB with Japanese aircraft set for destruction.

Unknowingly, these men exposed themselves to radiation and many died young of cancer, leukemia, and unknown illnesses all in an effort to assist the US in understanding the devastation atomic bombs leveled on a major city and industrial areas, and how to build facilities in the future to withstand atomic warfare.

By mid-1946, all Seabee units stationed in Japan were disestablished and the men were discharged from active duty. The Seabees were part of the demobilization plan, and by June 1946 their number had fallen from a peak strength of more than 250,000 men to approximately 20,000. The Seabees that served in Japan, during this time, played a key role in the construction of bases, roads, facilities, and infrastructure necessary to assist Japan in rebuilding their economy and country in the post-war years.

From the SeaBee Museum.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Scott Bumpers – TN; Tennessee National Guard, MSgt., 118th Wing/118th Intel Surveillance & Recon Group

Clayton Eldridge – Williamsville, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Dayton

11th Airborne Memorial

Betty Gill – Madison, WI; US Woman’s Marine Corps, WWII

Shelli Huether – TN; Tennessee National Guard, Lt. Colonel, 118/118th Intel Surveillance & Recon Group

Russell McCauley (101) – Altoona, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Casey A. Popenoe – USA; US Army, Iraq, Chief Warrant Officer 3, 2/8/1/25th Infantry Division

William Rouch – Bangor, PA; US Army  / WWII historian

Robert Salgado – Palm Springs, CA; US Army, WWII, 82nd Airborne Division

David Smith Jr. – East Walpole, MA; US Navy, WWII

Jessica Wright – TN; Tennessee National Guard, Captain, 118/118th Intel Surveillance & Recon Group

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Conscientious Objector and the Medal of Honor

Desmond Doss

The President of the United States, in the name of Congress, awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to the Nation’s bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard personnel, since the decoration’s creation in 1861!

This article was compiled from a variety of resources to honor one such person…

Desmond T. Doss:

Desmond T. Doss was born on February 7, 1919 in Lynchburg, Virginia, USA as Desmond Thomas Doss. He was married to Frances Duman and Dorothy Schutte. He died on March 23, 2006 in Piedmont, Alabama, USA.

Doss receives Medal of Honor from Pres. Truman

Rank & Unit: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division
Place & Date: Near Urasoe Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 29 April-21 May 1945

He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion, 77th Infantry Division assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As the troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machine gun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within 8 yards of enemy forces in a cave’s mouth, where he dressed his comrades’ wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety.

On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire.

On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers’ return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of 1 arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station.

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While serving with his platoon in 1944 on Guam and the Philippines, he was awarded two Bronze Stars with a “V” device,  for exceptional valor in aiding wounded soldiers under fire. During the Battle of Okinawa, he saved the lives of 50–100 wounded infantrymen atop the area known by the 96th Division as the Maeda Escarpment or Hacksaw Ridge.   Doss was wounded four times in Okinawa and was evacuated on May 21, 1945, aboard the USS Mercy.   Doss suffered a left arm fracture from a sniper’s bullet and at one point had seventeen pieces of shrapnel embedded in his body. 

His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.  The movie, “Hacksaw Ridge” was made to honor this man and his actions.

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Current News – Honoring 9/11

9/11 Tribute

My past posts to give tribute to those affected by 9/11 …

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/911-patriot-and-national-service-day/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/benghazi-9112012/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/patriot-day-9112001/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/national-service-patriot-day-911/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/patriot-national-service-remembrance-day-911/

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Myrwin ‘Red’ Anderson – Madison, IN; US Navy, WWII

Gladys Blum – Philadelphia, PA; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Joseph S. Forzley – Lemont, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 5th Air Force

Charles Herrmann – Cincinnati, OH; USMC, WWII

Joseph Kurata – Acampo, CA; US Army, Japanese Occupation & Korea, Counter Intelligence Corps, Col. (Ret. 32 y.)

Ian McKnight – NC; US Navy, USS Nimitz, 5th Fleet, Information Tech 2nd Class, MIA (Arabian Gulf)

Kathryn Phillips – Columbus, GA; Civilian, US Red Cross, WWII

Amy Ponech – Lethbridge, CAN; WRC Air Force, WWII

Philip Savage Jr. – Buffalo, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 505/82nd Airborne Division

Michael Wadeck – Bradenton, FL; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 27 y.)

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American, John Birch, First Casualty of the Cold War

John Birch in China

 

On August 25, 1945, John Birch, an American missionary to China before the war and a captain in the Army during the war, is killed by Chinese communists days after the surrender of Japan, for no apparent reason.

When 22-year-old Birch, graduate of Mercer University and a Baptist seminary in Macon, Georgia, arrived in Shanghai in Japanese-occupied China in 1940, he’d come to be a missionary to the Chinese people and began by learning the world’s most difficult language in record time—no surprise to his family back in Georgia who always saw Birch as the smartest guy in any room.

The Chinese recognized his charitable heart as he preached the love of Christ, a message many had never heard except from the lips of an interpreter. And preach he did, as he covered much of occupied and unoccupied China—dodging Japanese patrols, dressing in native clothes, eating the same food, and taking the same risks as the people he quickly came to love.

Gen. Chennault honors John Birch

From missionary to guide to spy…

As financial support from the World Fundamental Baptist Missionary Fellowship dried up, Birch realized he’d have to find some other source of income. He was sitting in a restaurant in Zhejiang province, eating the cheapest fare on the menu, when a man approached. “Are you American?”

Birch nodded. “Follow me,” the man said and led him to a sampan (flat-bottomed boat) on a nearby river where he could hear English being spoken inside. Birch called out, “Are there Americans in there?”

“Jesus Christ!” came a voice from inside. “No Jap could have that southern drawl.”

Birch answered, “Jesus Christ is a very good name, but I’m not he.” He stepped inside the sampan and looked directly into the eyes of Colonel James Doolittle. After bombing Tokyo, Doolittle and his men had bailed out over what they erroneously thought was free China. They needed help.

As things turned out, it became a question of who helped whom the most. Birch and many Chinese citizens risked their lives guiding Doolittle and his raiders to the safety of Chungking and Chiang Kai-shek; while Doolittle, impressed with Birch’s intelligence and knowing that the young man wanted to join the army, preferably as a chaplain, plugged him through military channels.

And so Birch became a second lieutenant in the famed Flying Tigers, commanded by General Claire Chennault, but not as a chaplain. Because of his command of the Chinese language, thorough knowledge of the countryside, mastery of disguise, mutual love for the Chinese nationals he worked with, and genius for gathering intelligence, Birch became … a spy.

But he had one request of Chennault—“Whenever I can, without neglecting my duties, can I preach?” General Chennault assented. Years later, the war over and Birch dead, this rough military man would remark with tears in his eyes, “John Birch was like the son I never had.”

In a last letter home to his mother who had asked him if he’d be getting a furlough, Birch answered that he would love to, but could not leave until the last Japanese had left. And indeed he stayed past Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945. On August 25 Birch, along with some American, Chinese, and Korean comrades, went on one last mission in a small town near Xuzhou. There Chinese Communists shot and killed Birch when he refused to surrender his revolver. After his death both the American and Chinese governments awarded him military honors.

This article is from Christian History magazine #121 Faith in the Foxholes.

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Military Humor –

“Honest, it’s real food, only it’s in camouflage.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Henry Baker (102) – Brooksville, FL; US Navy, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

Corlton L. Chee – Pinehill, NM; Pvt., 2/12/1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, tank crewman

Paul DiCiero Cincinnati, OH; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Johnny Kai – Honolulu, HI; US Army, 11th Airborne Div.  /  Vietnam, Major (Ret.), 5th Special Forces

John Langran – Columbo, Ceylon; Royal Navy, WWII, Lt. Commander (Ret.)

Warren O’Sullivan – Narberth, PA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, West Point grad, Corps of Engineers

John Pfeffer – Lebanon, IL; USMC, WWII

Albert Roe – Detroit, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division

Tom Seaver – Fresno, CA; USMC  /  MLB pitcher

Eugene, Smith – Norwood, MA; US Army Air Corps, 505/ 82nd Airborne Division

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Olivia de Havilland and the 11th Airborne

Olivia de Havilland in her 11th Airborne jacket

Dame Olivia Mary de Havilland, born 1 July 1916) was a British-American actress. Her career spanned from 1935 to 1988.  She appeared in 49 feature films, and was one of the leading movie stars during the golden age of Classical Hollywood.   She is best known for her early screen performances in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and  (1939), and her later award-winning performances in To Each His Own (1946), The Snake Pit (1948), and The heiress (1949).

Olivia de Havilland pin-up

Born in Tokyo to British parents, de Havilland and her younger sister, Joan Fontaine, moved with their mother to California in 1919. They were brought up by their mother Lilian, a former stage actress who taught them drama, music, and elocution.  De Havilland made her acting debut in amateur theatre in Alice in Wonderland. Later, she appeared in a local production of Shakespeare’s  A Midsummer’s Night Dream, which led to her playing Hermia in Max Reinhardt stage production of the play and a movie contract with Warner Bros.

Olivia de Havilland at Hollywood Canteen, 1943

De Havilland became a naturalized citizen of the United States on November 28, 1941, ten days before the United States entered  WWII militarily, alongside the Allied Forces.  During the war years, she actively sought out ways to express her patriotism and contribute to the war effort.

Olivia de Havilland visits the injured in Alaska

In May 1942, she joined the Hollywood Victory Caravan, a three-week train tour of the country that raised money through the sale of war bonds.  Later that year she began attending events at the Hollywood Canteen, meeting and dancing with the troops.

In December 1943 de Havilland joined a USO tour that traveled throughout the United States, Alaska, and the South Pacific, visiting wounded soldiers in military hospitals.  She earned the respect and admiration of the troops for visiting the isolated islands and battlefronts in the Pacific.  She survived flights in damaged aircraft and a bout with viral pneumonia requiring several days’ stay in one of the island barrack hospitals.   She later remembered, “I loved doing the tours because it was a way I could serve my country and contribute to the war effort.”

Olivia de Havilland in Kodiak, 1943

In 1957, in appreciation of her support of the troops during World War II and the Korean War, de Havilland was made an honorary member of the 11th Airborne Division and was presented with a United States Army jacket bearing the 11th’s patch on one sleeve and the name patch “de Havilland” across the chest

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Military Humor – ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Mildred Baum – Venetia, PA; Civilian, US Army JAG (D.C. office), WWII

Hilbert Ditters – Ferdonia, ND; US Army, WWII, PTO, Japan Occupation

Billy Joe Hash – Whitley County, KY; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Purple Heart, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Jim Honickel – Summit, NJ; US Army, Sgt., 11th Airborne Division

Harold D. Langley – Amsterdam, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO / author, military historian

Jimmy Morrison – Hazelton, IN; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam

Robert Payán – Gallup, NM; US Army Air Corps, German Occupation, medic

Ronald Rosser – Columbus, OH; US Army, Korea, Medal of Honor

Salvador Schepens – Gulfport, MS; US Merchant Marines, WWII / US Navy, Korea, USS Wasp & Hornet, (Ret.)

Donald Terry – Apollo Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Cone (DD-866)

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