11th Airborne Division and the end of WWII / part2

Gen. Swing’s flag atop an Atsugi hanger

General Swing, Commander of the 11th A/B, brought with him on the plane a large American flag and a banner painted, “CP 11th Airborne Division” to be fastened onto the roof of airplane hangar. He was dressed in battle fatigues and “11th A/B” was stenciled on his helmet. He carried a .38 pistol and a bandoleer of .38 caliber shells draped across his chest. (As ready for combat in Japan as he was on Leyte and Luzon.) A Japanese officer approached him as he departed the plane. The officer saluted and introduced himself as Lieut-General Arisuye, the officer in control of the Atsugi sector. He then asked the general what his current orders would be and Gen. Swing lost no time in telling him.

American POWs had been left unguarded at their prisons just days before. Two hours after Gen. Swing’s arrival, two POWs walked into the CP. (command post). They had taken a train from the prison to Tokyo. No Japanese soldiers or civilians approached them along the way.

Generals Swing & Eichelberger w/ Japanese surrender detail

Later that day, Colonel Yamamoto presented himself as the chief liaison officer; both he and his aide were still wearing their swords. Gen. Swing ordered them to remove their weapons. Yamamoto arrogantly protested and insisted on explaining that the sword was his symbol of authority. Swing repeated his order, but with a more firm and commanding tone of voice and the two Japanese men complied immediately.

Yokohama

The 11th A/B then proceeded on to Yokohama where the Allied Headquarters was to be established. The fifth largest city of Japan was now little more than a shantytown after the persistent Allied bombings. In fact, most of the towns and cities resembled the crumbled remains seen in Europe. Yokohama and Tokyo would become sites for the Allied Military Tribunal trials for the Japanese war criminals, similar to those held in Nuremberg for the Germans.

The original Toonerville Trolley

The trucks waiting for the men at Atsugi airfield to be used as transportation between Tokyo and Yokohama mostly ran on charcoal and wood. Only a few vehicles still operated on gasoline. They were consistently breaking down and the fire engine that led General MacArthur’s motorcade was said to look like a Toonerville Trolley.

Below, the photograph from the New York “Daily News” show the 11th A/B in front of the New Grand Hotel and on the right, one of the many vehicles that constantly broke down. The date written on the picture is the issue  my grandmother cut them from the paper, not the dates the pictures were taken.

General Swing wanted to view his newly arriving troops farther down the runway from where he was, when he spotted a Japanese general exiting his car. Seconds later, ‘Jumpin’ Joe’ hopped into the backseat. The interpreter translated from the driver to Swing that the limo was reserved for the Chief of Staff of the Imperial Army. Swing roared in returned, “Goddamn it, we won the war. Drive me down the strip.” Once in front of his troops, Swing exited the car and the Japanese captain said, “Well sir, Generals are alike in all armies.”

Gen. Douglas MacArthur landing at Atsugi Airfield

The 11th Airborne band set up for the arrival of General Douglas MacArthur at 1400 hours. When the general’s plane the ‘Bataan’ landed, the five-star general paused at the door wearing his pleated khakis, his shirt unbuttoned at the neck and the garrison hat with the gold encrusted visor crown. (In other words – his typical attire). There were no ribbons clipped to his shirt, but the customary corncob pipe hung from his lips at an angle. He then descended, shook hands with Gen. Eichelberger and quietly said, “Bob, from Melbourne to Tokyo is a long way, but this seems to be the end of the road.  This is the payoff.”

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Curtis Becker – Warsaw, IL; US Army, Vietnam, F Co/41/101st Airborne Division, Bronze Star

August Dindia – Portland, OR; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LST navigator/signalman

Thomas W. Goodyear – Mount Holly Springs, PA, US Army Air Corps, WWII

George “Johnny” Johnson (101) – Lincolnshire, ENG; RAF, WWII, ETO, 617 Squadron (Last surviving “Dam Buster”), MBE

Clay Lair (100) – Harrison, AK; US Navy, WWII

Joseph E. Lescant – Cambridge, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Pvt. # 11024358, 16 BS/27 BG, POW, KWC (Cabanatuan Camp, Luzon)

John F. Matousek – Centennial, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO, 508th MP Battalion

Arthur L. Pierce – Malden, MA, US Army, WWII, PTO, Pfc. # 11007114, 803 Engineering Battalion, POW, KWC (Cabanatuan Camp, Luzon)

Theodore F. Scarborough – Brooklyn, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 2nd Lt. # 0-734985, B-24 bombardier, 345 BS/98BG/9th Air Force, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM)

Dale D. Thompson – Cherry County, NE; US Army, Korea, Pfc. # 17277010, Heavy Mortar Co./32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Stanley Young – Mena, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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SHOUT OUT !!!

 

I have a very early doctor appointment, so it may take me some time to get back to each of you.  

Please be patient with me.

 

 

 

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About GP

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

Posted on December 12, 2022, in Post WWII, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 129 Comments.

  1. Thank you GP. Have a Happy New Year!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you’re over the worst of the pneumonia and can celebrate the holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “The interpreter translated from the driver to Swing that the limo was reserved for the Chief of Staff of the Imperial Army. Swing roared in returned, “Goddamn it, we won the war. Drive me down the strip.” Once in front of his troops, Swing exited the car and the Japanese captain said, “Well sir, Generals are alike in all armies.” This is the best part. I love and respect Gen. Swing! He could assert his authority even with the enemy. After all, we won the war!!
    Feel better soon, GP. You need a lot of rest!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for your like of my post on Matthew 22′; you are very kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. General Swing knew how to command – whether it be his troops or the leaders of the opposition. He certainly played an important role during WWII but not a name you would normally hear. Thanks for all the stories about him and your dad.

    Like

  6. Amazing. I still get engulfed in your stories. they are truly from the heart! 🙂

    Like

  7. I hope you are fine. Together we all will grow just give look on my page.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the limo story. General Swing is a role model!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “Bob, from Melbourne to Tokyo is a long way, but this seems to be the end of the road. This is the payoff.” Indeed it was G. Thank you for all of your research and posts taking us taking us the whole way. It was a major endeavor. Much appreciated. Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wonderful photos by this blog

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Fascinating post highlighted by these great photos. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. A nice share on a high note as we approach the year’s closing and a summation for a new usa agenda.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. What did General MacArthur say when he left the Philippines?

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I must say — I’ve come to really like General Swing through your posts. Obviously, he had a good sense of humor, as well as a firm sense of who he was and how best to use his position to gain advantage for his troops! I was sorry to hear about that peumonia, too. The good news is that it can respond very well to certain drugs; I hope your recovery comes quickly!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. So the limo was reserved for the Chief of Staff of the Imperial Army, huh? I shared this on Twitter and LinkedIn. Take care of yourself, GP!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much, Joy. I really don’t understand why WP says I’m following you, but then never puts your posts on my reader page. I’m trying the no-follow and the follow again and see if it works.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks again for the history lesson. I have seen many photos regarding the end of the war in Europe, not as much from Japan. You are always interesting.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Mac really was “America’s soldier”.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Good vintage photos with amazing historical facts.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Being selected for this important mission was a prestigious honor for the 11th A/B.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Terrific story and photos, especially the one of Gen. Swing’s flag on the hangar — the perfect image for that moment of victory. Swing was one cool general.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. That caotain was right about all generals being the same….
    Hope all is well with you.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. That picture from the NY Daily News is appreciated, GP. Helps envision what some of these final “steps” looked like.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Excellent post, GP. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. My goodness. After the years of fighting and death, now newer challenges arise. Not something you can really practice for or anticipate I’d guess?

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I like Gen. Swing. Hope your appointment went well!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Lulu: “General Swing! That’s my new favorite General name ever!”
    Java Bean: “And the part about it being the end of WWII?”
    Lulu: “Well that’s good too of course.”

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Swing sounds like my kind of commander. Taking no nonsense from the defeated Japanese. McArthur’s arrival seemed to really signal the end of WW2.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Always fascinating to read this again.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. This must have been quite a scene to witness:

    “General Swing wanted to view his newly arriving troops farther down the runway from where he was, when he spotted a Japanese general exiting his car. Seconds later, ‘Jumpin’ Joe’ hopped into the backseat. The interpreter translated from the driver to Swing that the limo was reserved for the Chief of Staff of the Imperial Army. Swing roared in returned, “Goddamn it, we won the war. Drive me down the strip.” Once in front of his troops, Swing exited the car and the Japanese captain said, “Well sir, Generals are alike in all armies.”

    Liked by 3 people

  30. A great war was fought and won. It is so tragic the wars continued, and people are still waiting for peace on earth and goodwill among men.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Thank you. I really enjoyed that. It was really interesting to hear such momentous events in history described by people who were there. And there are lots of “little” details which make it come alive, such as the description of General MacArthur, and the perceptive words of the Japanese captain, “Generals are alike in all armies”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, John. I have to admit though that when I spoke to Gen. Ed Flanagan, he was so apologetic that he couldn’t help me on an item and the second time, he called me on Christmas Eve because he could he!!

      Liked by 2 people

  32. This was a great read, GP. I feel like I can hear General Swing giving those orders and making those comments. I had to chuckle when reading about wanting to be driven down the strip.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Another great post, GP. Thank you for offering the historical story.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Definitely the end of the road.
    Good luck with your dr’s appointment, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. The more you tell us about General Swing, the more I like him.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. A momentous ending for such an earth-shaking conflict. It seems to have been handled as well as it could be.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Thanks for the insights, its a lot different than “history book” history. The 2 competing emotions they must have had: Relief that it was over vs how they felt as word of the atrocities came out. I knew a man who fought in that theater that wouldn’t have owned a Japanese car if you held a gun to his head, and it was so drilled into his kid’s heads they never did either. A lot of raw emotions for a long time.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Love the Japanese quote about all generals being the same. Wonderful write-up GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. I like how General Swing firmly, asserted his leadership in no uncertain terms.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. I really like the Flag Eagle, very clever and a strong patriotic image

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Relief all round I would think.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Thank you, John.

    Like

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