Author Archives: GP Cox

Pearl Harbor is remembered

Crew of the USS Arizona

When diplomacy failed and power and greed survived – the Pacific skies went dark….

Hickam Field

Aerial view during the attack

Battleship Row, as seen by Japanese pilot during the attack

From the Smithsonian Museum……

USS Oklahoma stamp

This relic marks the movements before the U.S. was launched into WWII….To record when a piece of mail was processed aboard ship, the Navy used wooden postmark stamps.  This one bears an ominous date: 6 December 1941 PM.  It was recovered from the battleship Oklahoma after it was hit by several torpedoes, listed to a 45-degree angle, capsized and sank in the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The ship lost 429 sailors and Marines; one-third of its crew.

 

For a different view on the Pearl Harbor “surprise”……..

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/the-other-pearl-harbor-story-kimmel-and-short/

For a wonderful Pearl Harbor poem, by Lee…..

https://mypoetrythatrhymes.wordpress.com/2018/08/

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Barnes – Brookston, IN ,& Lake Worth, FL; First Cavalry Division, Korea

John B. Coffey – Johnstown, PA & Miami, FL; Lt. Colonel (Ret.), US Army Air Corps, WWII ETO, 35 B-17 missions; B-52 crews in

U.S. Marine Mounted Honor Guard

Korea

James “Harp: Gerrity – Milford, CT; US Army Staff Sgt., WWII ETO, Bronze Star & 8th Army African Star

Leo Keninger – Ackley, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Robert Frank Rolls – Napier, New Zealand; 4th Field Regiment, WWII Sgt.

Oscar J. Tenores – Lemoore, CA; US Navy, Master-at-Arms

Orval Tranbarger – Chapel, MO; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Robert Wade – Van Nuys, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII ETO, (Ret. 22 yrs. Major)

Otto Wilner – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

James Wilson Jr. – Decatur, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt., radioman

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Wartime Football

One of the Sports Facts newspaper of April 25, 1950 with photos of Bronko Nagurski.

What many people today don’t know is that professional football went through many of the same trials and tribulations that baseball did during the war years. Making matters even worse for the owners and fans of the sport was the fact that even in the 1940s, professional football was not as popular as its college counterpart.

Adding to the wartime troubles for football was the fact that college football remained somewhat unaffected, as the players were mostly younger or exempt (at least temporarily) from the military draft. That meant that star college players kept playing, but star professional players found themselves in uniform.

American footballer Tuffy Leemans

To keep people interested in the game, the National Football League (NFL) came up with sort of a gimmick, much like their baseball counterparts – they re-signed older, retired stars. The most famous of the returning players was Bronko Nagurski, who had played for the Chicago Bears and had retired in 1937. Nagurski, who became famous in college and the pros as a fullback, returned to football as a tackle.

Other (future) Hall of Famers included Green Bay quarterback Arnie Herber, who had retired in 1940, and halfback Ken Strong. Herber signed with the New York Giants and Strong returned to that team.

Steagles starting line-up

Teams as a whole went through hard times because of the war. The Cleveland Browns suspended play for 1943. Many people would be surprised to hear that the two Pennsylvania teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, actually merged for 1943, and played in both cities. People dubbed the team “the Steagles.”

The “Steagles” only lasted one year, but in 1944 Pittsburgh combined with another struggling team, the Chicago Cardinals. The official name of this team was the catchy “Card-Pitt Combine” and they were so bad they went winless that year. Opposing teams ran over them so much that sportswriters and fans began calling the team “the Carpets.”

The year 1945 saw the end of the “Combine,” but two teams that do not exist anymore, the Boston Yanks and the Brooklyn Dodgers (yes, football “Dodgers”) merged at that time and played as the “Yanks,” but left a city tag off the name.

During the war, a surprisingly large number of NFL players were killed overseas. Many of the players went into combat roles – their athletic prowess and toughness made it almost inevitable, and the death toll reflected that. Nineteen active or former players were killed in action, as was an ex-head coach and a team executive.

Al Blozis, Giants tackle, died in World War II. According to Mel Hein, “If he hadn’t been killed, he could have been the greatest tackle who ever played football

Of those NFL players killed in action, probably the best-known was Al Blozis, who played tackle for the New York Giants and had been “All-League” (the early NFL’s “All-Pro”). Blozis was 6’6” tall and weighed 250 lbs. Blozis was in the Army, and actually could have claimed exemption from front-line infantry duty because of his size and instead put into the artillery or a support branch, but he would not take the exemption.

During basic training, he set the Army record for a grenade throw – he had been a varsity shot-putter at Georgetown University. In the winter of 1944, just six weeks after playing in the 1944 NFL Championship Game, Blozis was killed by German machine-gun fire as he helped look for some missing men in the snow-covered Vosges Mountains of eastern France.

Three men who had played in the NFL or pro football or later had connections to it were awarded the Medal of Honor during the war, one of them posthumously.

Joseph Jacob Foss wearing the highly prized Medal of Honor bestowed upon him by President Roosevelt for outstanding gallantry against the Japanese in the Solomons.

The most famous of the three was fighter pilot Joe Foss, who was the leading Marine ace of WWII with 26 victories. He later was commissioner of the AFL from 1960-66 as well as being governor of South Dakota.

Maurice Britt briefly played end for the Detroit Lions before the war. He fought in North Africa and Italy and was the first man in WWII to be awarded all four of the top medals of valor: the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star. He also received four Purple Hearts. Football was easy compared to all that.

Jack Lummus, USMC, Medal of Honor recipient; Battle of Iwo Jima

Andrew Jackson “Jack” Lummus played with the 1941 New York Giants and received the Medal of Honor for actions taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. He destroyed many Japanese positions single-handedly, despite being wounded multiple times, before being killed by a land-mine.

Tom Landry, USArmy Air Corps / Coach Landry

Perhaps the most famous of them all, at least in regard to football, was legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry. At 19, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and flew 30 missions in a B-17 over occupied Europe, surviving a crash in Belgium on his way back from bombing a German armaments plant in Czechoslovakia. He was on the real “America’s Team” long before he coached the other one.

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Military Humor – 

‘These military teams really take their defence seriously…!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stephen F. Ambrose – Trumbull, CT; US Army, WWII

Francis Behrendt – Charleroi, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Co. E/188/11th Airborne Division

V. Herbert Brady Jr. – Macon, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Peter Corchero – Mayfirled, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Michael Howard – South Kensington, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO, Lt., Coldstream Guards. Military Cross / Military Historian

Evelyn Owens – Harlan, KY; Civilian, “Rosie” @ Willow Run, B-24 riveter & crane operator

Thomas Parnell – Somerset, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, gunner

David Ridley – Brockville, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, 514th Squadron, Lancaster navigator

Jerome Thomas – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LST # 991

John Weatherly – Grand Island, NE; US Army, WWII, ETO, 349th Infantry Regiment “Blue Devils”

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How Capitalism helped to win the war

The Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Baltimore, MD – cargo vessels in 24/7 production

“We won because we smothered the enemy in an avalanche of production, the like of which he had never seen, nor dreamed possible.”  ___ William Knudsen, Pres. of G.M.

William ‘Bill’ Knudsen’s story is detailed in the video Capitalism in World War II: The Arsenal of Democracy.

Capitalism in WWII: Andrew Higgins “The Man Who Won WWII” covers Andrew Higgins, whose landing craft designs, based on his own experiences building shallow-water boats in New Orleans, dramatically shaped the way the U.S. military fought World War II. With its enemies oceans away, the U.S. military relied on these small, purpose-built crafts to put boots on the ground.

Rob Citino

Rob Citino:

Well first of all, what America was able to do as a result of individuals like Bill Knudsen and Andrew Higgins, and also as a result of our social economic system and as a result of our fantastic material wealth (much of which was lying fallow during the depression) was to mass produce and employ an economy of scale on a way that was just unheard of to the other countries, with the possible exception of the Soviet Union. If you look at others, another name that has to be mentioned up top is Henry Kaiser. He was the master builder of the war. Kaiser was an energetic and hard driving guy, he was always going in all directions at once. Kaiser would help build the Hoover Dam and the Grand Coulee Dam.

One of many Rosie the Riveters

Kaiser went from construction to shipbuilding, having never built a ship before in his life, during World War II in Richmond, California and Portland, Oregon. They were Liberty Ships, a kind of a floating train car, the most ungainly think you could ever imagine, and he banged them out with abandon.

It used to take months to build a ship. Kaiser’s company could bang them out in 10 days. A ship is a funny thing to build because for most construction projects you speed up at the end. You’ve done all of the heavy lifting in the beginning and at the end it really goes quickly. Shipbuilding goes slowly at the end because you have to put the deckhouses on, but you can clamp together the hull fairly quickly. Kaiser was the one who hit on the notion that you can prefab these things, preassemble the deckhouses and then use a crane to put them on top of an already full constructed ship. I think that was a real breakthrough in shipbuilding.

tank mass production

If we were going to come to grips with our enemy in the Pacific, Japan, an island nation all the way across the Pacific, or in Europe, Germany, we had to get across the Atlantic to get there. We had to form and deploy gigantic forces in a short amount of time, and the only way to get them there is by sea. You can air transport light forces into a theater, like paratroopers and light vehicles perhaps, but in order to bring the heavy metal (the way the United States fights wars is with a lot of materiel, a lot of ammunition, and a lot of heavy artillery) if you’re going to get these things to theater, the only way you can do it is by sea.

The real peak of that achievement is June 1944: spearheading an alliance, the United States landed a massive force in Europe, tens of thousands on the first day and millions of follow-on forces, and literally within weeks launched a gigantic landing on the island of Saipan in the Marianas. There has never been a military power before, and maybe there never will be again, with that kind of global reach. And it’s things like being able to build a Liberty Ship faster than the Germans could torpedo them in 1942 that enabled this. It’s nothing romantic, it’s a battle of attrition.

Higgins boats at Saipan

You have to produce more than you’re losing. And, by and large, that is the margin of victory across all fronts for the Americans in World War II. So it is someone like Knudsen, an expert on production and the assembly line, someone like Higgins, building a little shallow draft boat for river traffic down here in the New Orleans swamps and bayous, someone like Kaiser, figuring out a way to build a big transport ship in an ungodly short amount of time, that allows America to fight the war of the rich man.

There’s a famous book, Arthur Herman’s Freedom’s Forge, which attributes the entire success of the World War II economy onto a handful of these Knudsens and Higgins’ and Kaisers that you and I have been talking about. They brought their patriotism forward, the innovation, the entrepreneurial skills that U.S. workers on all levels enabled.

aircraft mass production

I don’t deny any of that, but the portrait has been overdrawn. Cost-plus contract gave every World War II contractor a guaranteed 8 percent profit, more or less. A guaranteed 8 percent profit is a lot of money for a $10 billion industry. Things like Cost-plus contract, a five-year amortization rather than 16, and letters of intent that could be used for borrowing [also impacted the success of the World War II economy]. Henry Stimson who was Secretary of War at the time said “you have to let business make money, otherwise business won’t work.”

Robert M. Citino (born June 19, 1958) is an American military historian and the Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian at the National WWII Museum. He is a leading authority on modern German military history, with an emphasis upon World War II and the German influence upon modern operational doctrine.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Daryle E. Artley – Maywood, NE; US Navy, WWII, Quartermaster 2nd Cl., USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Riley Burchfield – Cleveland, OH; US Army, Korea, Sgt. 1st Cl., Co. D/1/24/25th Infantry Division, POW, KIA

Roy Christopher – Fort Lawn, SC; US Army, WWII, POW

James Dunn – Larkhall, SCOT; RAF, WWII, ETO

Harold Graver – Victoria, CAN; Royal Canadian Engineers, WWII

George Kimberly – Blunt, SD; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Tom Luey – Oakland, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 14th Air Service Group

Steve Nagy – Lorain, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., pilot, 407/92/40/1st Air Division, KIA (Germany)

Louis Schultz – Ottawa, IL; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Frank Williams – Dumas, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, communications

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Military during Thanksgiving

 

 

 

The Thanksgiving Day card GP Cox received from the National WWII Museum in New Orleans

I WISH TO EXPRESS MY THANKS TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU !!!  AND MAY WE ALL THANK THOSE VETERANS WHO FIGHT FOR US !!!

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Thanksgiving during WWII…

They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day,

My thoughts are at home, though I’m far away;

I can see everyone, eating dinner deluxe,

Whether it be chicken, turkey or even duck;

The fellows over here won’t whimper or moan,

They’ll look to the next one and hope to be home.

 

Truly and honestly, from way down deep,

They want you to be happy and enjoy your feast.

These holidays are remembered by one and all,

Those happy days we can always recall.

The ones in the future, will be happier, I know

When we all come back from defeating the foe.

_______Poem by an Anonymous WWII Veteran

Thanksgiving

For those of you living where there is no official Thanksgiving Day on this date – look around – family, friends, Freedom and life itself – all enough to give thanks for each day !

 

FROM: PACIFIC PARATROOPER – May you all have a happy and healthy Holiday Season !!

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Please be considerate to those who may not be celebrating…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Humor – 

Navy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Army

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Archer – Omaha, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-25 navigator

John Boone – Summerville, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, light mortar, Co. I/319/80th Division

Juan Borjon Jr. – Morenci, AZ; US Army, Spc., 11th Airborne Division

WWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

Don Dyne – Kelseyville, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO / Korea, radio tech.

Adolph J. Loebach – Peru, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Oklahoma, KIA, (Pearl Harbor)

Donald McElwain – Holyoke, MA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Ensign, LST

Frank Merritt – Broxton, GA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Charles G. Ruble – Parker City, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 441st Troop Carrier Group, KIA (Germany)

Elmo Sepulvado – Zwolle, LA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Gerald N. Wilson – Camden, MI; US Army, Korea, Cpl., 1st Calvary Division, KIA

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Strategy Page’s Military Humor and more….

 

Military Common Sense Rules

A lot of life’s problems can be explained by the U.S. Military and its applications of common sense …

  1. “Sometimes I think war is God’s way of teaching us geography.”
    (Paul Rodriguez)
  2. “A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what’s left of your unit.”
    (Army’s magazine of preventive maintenance ).
  3. “Aim towards the Enemy.”
    (Instruction printed on US M79 Rocket Launcher)
  4. When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.
    (U.S. Marine Corps)
  5. Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs always hit the ground.
    (U.S. Air Force)
  6. If the enemy is in range, so are you.
    (Infantry Journal)
  7. It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.
    (US Air Force Manual)
  8. Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.
    (Gen. MacArthur)
  9. Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo.
    (Infantry Journal)
  10. You, you, and you . . . Panic. The rest of you, come with me.
    (Marine Gunnery Sergeant)
  11. Tracers work both ways.
    (US Army Ordnance)
  12. Five second fuses only last three seconds.
    (Infantry Journal)
  13. Don’t ever be the first, don’t ever be the last, and don’t ever volunteer to do anything.
    (US Navy Seaman)
  14. Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.
    (David Hackworth)
  15. If your attack is going too well, you have walked into an ambush.
    (Infantry Journal)
  16. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
    (Joe Gay)
  17. Any ship can be a minesweeper… once.
    (Admiral Hornblower)
  18. Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.
    (Unknown Marine Recruit)
  19. Don’t draw fire; it irritates the people around you.
    (Your Buddies)
  20. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
    (Army Platoon Sergeant)
  21. If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission properly.
    (David Hackworth)
  22. Your job is to kill the other person before they kill you so that your national leaders can negotiate a peace that will last as long as it takes the ink to dry.
    (Drill Instructor)

23. In the Navy, the Chief is always right.

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More Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joe T. Avant – Greenwood, MS; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Heavy Mortar Co./31st RCT, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Why Bliley – Richmond, VA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 77th Division

Last Flight

Josephine Boyd – Ochiltree City, TX; Civilian, Amarillo Air Force Base, weapons instructor

Egbert Crossett – Corona, NM; US Navy, WWII, CBI, Medical unit

Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr. – Keaau, HI; US Army, Afghanistan, Warrant Officer, 1/227/1/1st Calvary Div., Apache pilot, KIA

David C. Knadle – Tarrant, TX; US Army, Afghanistan, Warrant Officer, 1/227/1/1st Calvary Div., Apache pilot, KIA

James P. McMahon – Rockford, IL; US Army, Somalia, Sgt. Major (Ret. 30 y.), Delta Force, Silver Star, Purple Heart

Thomas Parnell – Somerset, WI; US Army, WWII, gunner

Rex Ruwoldt – Darwin, AUS; Australian Army, WWII, 19th Machine-Gun Battalion

Dean Weber – Hot Springs, SD; US Navy, WWII

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Merredin, Australia

This is more and likely an area that not many know of or would even consider as concerned with WWII, but the World War II Sites in Merredin provide a fascinating insight into the role the Central Wheatbelt played in Australia’s preparation for World War II.

Military history enthusiasts will be captivated by the RAAF No 10 Store Depot which comprises of igloo shaped tin hangars.  They were originally built in 1943 to store American aircraft for the war. From the sky the hangars were camouflaged to look like a salt lake.

Take a drive to the High Frequency Direction Finding Installation, also known as the Radar Hut. It was built to give advance warning of an impending invasion.

Merredin

The country town of Merredin is a three hour drive northeast of Perth. A visit to the Australian General Army Hospital and the nearby Military Museum will complete your World War II tour of Merredin.

Australian General Army Hospital

Located off Benson Rd, The remains of the former field Hospital that was relocated to Merredin from Gaza Ridge, Palestine in 1942 can be viewed in native bushland adjacent to Merredin Peak. Extensive interpretation on site, but only the foundation of the hospital are visible.

Aviation Fuel Tanks

These tanks can be viewed from the car park of the BP Roadhouse on the Great Eastern Highway. Part of a home has been built on top of the aviation fuel tanks which sit partly above and partly below ground. The tanks held six million litres of fuel used at the Cunderdin Airfield.

RAAF WWII Supply Hangar, Merredin

RAAF No10 Stores Depot

Located on the Nungarin-Merredin Road / Railway Ave. These igloo shaped hangars were part of the RAAF No10 Stores Depot commenced in 1943. The Depot held bulk and technical stores, especially radar and radio spares. Sheets of tin placed on the ground helped camouflage the site as a salt lake. RAAF personnel lived in nearby houses with vegetable gardens and flowers beds rather than barracks, also as a camouflage technique. On Private property, can be viewed from the roadside.

HF/DF Installation

Located on the Merredin-Chandler road. In the paddock just past Hunts Dam is the High Frequency Direction Finding Installation, locally known as the Radar Hut. It’s role was to give advance warning of an impending invasion. It is believed to have been completed in February 1945. On Private property, can be viewed from the roadside.

Ammunition Dumps

Nokaning East Road (gravel road). Scattered rows of rounded concrete buildings set in the paddocks. The 46 concrete igloos were constructed to house a wide range of munitions. You can still make out the numbers on some doors. The area would have been guarded by personnel who lived in approximately 40 timber framed buildings hidden amongst the trees.  On Private property, can be viewed from the roadside.

At the Military Museum

Military Museum

This museum located on the Great Eastern Highway contains memorabilia from all major conflicts since World War 1 and is a great place from which to start your exploration of the Military history of the Wheatbelt.

Vietnam Veteran’s Reflection Pond Memorial

Located in Roy Little Park , Merredin this monument constructed by Wheatbelt Vietnam Veterans was dedicated on Long Tan Day, August 18th 2006, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jackey D. Blosser – WV; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. D/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Glenn Crocker – Maize, KS; US Navy, WWII, pilot

James Dennis – Sussex, ENG; 28th Batt./Royal Essex Regiment/5th Army, WWII

Jack Garwood – Villages, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Edward Herbert – Boonton, PA; 11th Airborne Division

Max W. Lower – Lewiston, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 345/98/9th Air Force, KIA (Romania)

James McCauley – Tucson, AZ; USMC, WWII, pilot

Patrick Ryan – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII

Gerald Smith – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO / US Army, Korea, 7th Infantry Division

Frederick Willman Jr. – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

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Borneo – a world forgotten / Lt. Gen. E.M. Flanagan Jr.

Australians landing on Borneo

Part of the wider Borneo campaign of the Pacific War, was fought between 10 June and 15 August 1945 in North Borneo (later known as Sabah). The battle involved a series of amphibious landings by Australian forces on various points on the mainland around Brunei Bay and upon islands situated around the bay. Japanese opposition to the landings was sporadic initially, although as the campaign progressed a number of considerable clashes occurred and both sides suffered relatively significant casualties. Ultimately, however, the Australians were successful in seizing control of the region.

Codenamed Operation Oboe Six, the battle was part of the second phase of the Allied operations to capture the island of Borneo. Previously in May a brigade-sized force had been put ashore on Tarakan. A total of 29,000–30,000 men were committed to the operation by the Allies, with the majority of the ground forces being provided by the Australian 9th Division, under the command of Major General George Wootten and consisting of the 20th and 24th Brigades, along with naval support from the United States Navy and Royal Australian Navy and aerial support from the United States Army Air Forces, the United States Marine Corps and elements of the Royal Australian Air Force’s 1st Tactical Air Force.

Borneo

Two United States Army units, the 727th Amphibian Tractor Battalion who manned the LVTs and the 593rd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment’s Boat Battalion, were also attached to the Australians. Having been planned by General Douglas MacArthur to take place in three stages—preparatory bombardment, forced landings, advance—the objective of the operation was to enable the Allies to establish “an advanced fleet base” in order to enable subsequent naval operations, to capture the vast oil and rubber supplies available in the area and to re-establish British civil administration.  Intelligence estimated that there were approximately 31,000 Japanese troops on Borneo.

Borneo map

Despite the progress that had been made on the southern mainland,  the fighting intensified as the Japanese defenders retreated inland to a heavily fortified position known as “the Pocket.” After the battle 180 Japanese dead were counted, bringing the total killed during the fighting on Labuan to 389. Against this the Australians suffered 34 killed and 93 wounded.

The second main landing came on 16 June on the mainland at Weston, in the north-eastern part of Brunei Bay. Many times the fighting came down to hand-to-hand combat.

In early August 1945, two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and on 15 August the Japanese Emperor, Hirohito, effectively announced an end to hostilities, with the formal surrender being signed on 2 September 1945. As a result of the ceasefire, the planned Allied invasion of Japan was no longer required and as a result, the strategic gains provided by the capture of North Borneo were arguably negated.

Combat in Borneo

Throughout the course of the fighting on North Borneo, the Australians lost 114 men killed or died of wounds while another 221 men were wounded. Against this, the Japanese lost at least 1,234 men, while 130 had been captured. On top of this, a further 1,800 Japanese were estimated to have been killed by guerrilla forces operating as part of the clandestine Services Reconnaissance Department.

Borneo

After the fighting was over, the Australians began the task for establishing British civil administration, rebuilding the infrastructure that had been damaged and providing for the civilians that had been displaced in the fighting. Following the ceasefire, there were still a large number of Japanese troops in North Borneo—by October 1945 it was estimated that there was over 21,000 Japanese soldiers and civilians still in North Borneo—and the 9th Division was made responsible for organizing the surrender, provisioning and protection of these personnel.

Lt. Gen. Masao Baba at Borneo surrender

They were also tasked with liberating the Allied civilian internees and prisoners of war that were being held at Batu Lintang camp in Kuching, Sarawak. As civil administration was slowly restored, in October 1945, the Australian demobilization process began. Initially this process was slow as there were few troops able to relieve the Australian forces in Borneo and as such only long service personnel were released for return to Australia. The 9th Division remained in North Borneo performing garrison duties until January 1946, when it was relieved by the 32nd Indian Brigade, and subsequently disbanded.

This situation remained until 1963, when the region was subsumed by the Malaysian state of Sabah.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

“Did you hear about the cruise ship that got stranded for 5 days? Must have been tough.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salute to Lt. General Edward M. Flanagan Jr. –

Lt.General E.M. Flanagan

 

Edward Flanagan Jr. Beaufort, SC – Lt. General (retired) Edward M. (Fly) Flanagan, 98, made his final jump on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at his home on Lady’s Island. He spent his life in daily acts of adoration of his wife and devotion to God. A three-star Army General, accomplished author and military historian.

Born and raised in Saugerties, NY, the son of Edward and Marie (Sinnot) Flanagan, he was a career military officer stationed at home and abroad including Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Germany. After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1943 he became a paratrooper and fought in the Pacific during World War II. He had a combat jump into the Philippines with the 11th Airborne Division and participated in the occupation of Japan at the end of the war.

He met his wife, Marguerite Farrell while on leave from West Point and they were married in 1945 when he returned from the war. He had a distinguished military career, rising to the rank of Lt. General and his commands included the 25th Infantry Division (Assistant Division Commander), 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Army center for Special Warfare and U.S. Army Special Warfare School (Green Berets), Eighth United States Army and Sixth United States Army. He retired from active duty in 1978.

11th Airborne Division patch

During his retirement he did extensive research and wrote a number of military history books including Angels at Dawn; The History of the 11th Airborne Division; Rakkasans; The Los Banos Raid; Airborne A Combat History of American Airborne Forces; and Lighting: The 101st in the Gulf War.

The General was kind enough to call me twice when he heard my father had served with the 11th Airborne and that I was using many of his well-researched books as a resource of my information.  He was only too eager to help.

The General will be buried with fellow graduates at the West Point Military Academy.

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The Caterpillar Club

Portraits of Henry Wacker and John Boettner frame an illustration of their July 21, 1919, jump from a Goodyear airship, qualifying them as the first two members of the Caterpillar Club. NASM-00152652

A hundred years ago, tragedy struck the skies of Chicago just before five in the afternoon on July 21, 1919.  The Goodyear airship, Wingfoot Air Express, more commonly known as the Wingfoot Express, took off from Grant Park, destined for the White City Amusement Park balloon hangar. The Wingfoot Express had successfully made its maiden flight that morning and another later in the afternoon. As the airship passed over the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, it turned into a “mammoth red ball of fire.” Four tiny parachutes became visible over the financial district. Only two survived—Henry Wacker, the chief mechanic, and John Boettner, the pilot. They became known as members one and two of the Caterpillar Club, an organization formed in November 1922 consisting of people who had used parachutes to make an emergency jump.

The wreckage of the Goodyear Airship Wingfoot Express falling onto a bank building in Chicago, Illinois, July 21, 1919, people and cars can be seen in the foreground. The photograph is signed, “To B.E. Walls, From First Caterpillar [sic] Club Member, July 21, 1919, Henry Wacker”, Wacker’s parachute can be seen below the falling wreckage. NASM-2007-72

United States Air Force 1st Lieutenant Harold R. Harris, served as the inspiration for the creation of the Caterpillar Club.  On October 20, 1922, Harris was testing experimental ailerons on a Loening pursuit monoplane at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio.  As he banked in tandem with Lieutenant Muir Fairchild, Harris lost control of the plane. He slid out of his aircraft and attempted to open his parachute several times. It is estimated that he had fallen from 2,500 feet to 500 feet before successfully deploying his chute—marking what is thought to be the first successful use of a parachute in an emergency situation from an airplane.

At a 1943 dinner at the Wings Club, Colonel Harold R. Harris, commanding officer of the Air Transport Command (center), is presented the Switlik Trophy commemorating the first jump from an aircraft via parachute by Stanley Switlik (right) donor of the plaque and leading proponent of safety parachutes. Capt. Harold L. Foster (left) President of the Caterpillar Club looks on. NASM-00143229

Milton H. St. Clair, a parachute engineer at McCook Field, and Verne Timmerman and Maurice Hutton, journalists for the Dayton Daily Herald, figured that Harris was just the first of many future emergency parachute jumps. St. Clair suggested the term “caterpillar” from a description on the composition of a parachute: “mainsail and lines…are woven from the finest silk. The lowly worm spins a cocoon, crawls out and flies away from certain death.”  Thus was born the Caterpillar Club.

Irene McFarland

Irene McFarland became the first female member of the Caterpillar Club on July 4, 1925. A stunt jumper, McFarland was scheduled to test a parachute of her own design in a 3,500 foot jump. Government regulations required that she wear a backup Irving chute. Despite her protests, McFarland wore the emergency chute and used it when her original failed. The Club accepted her as a member even though she intended a parachute jump because she did not intend to use the emergency pack, which saved her life.

The parachute companies quickly got in on the marketing game, presenting pins to the latest emergency parachutists who could confirm which brand of chute they had used. While Robert Fitzgerald of Wright Field maintained the “official” records of the self-proclaimed “mythical organization.”

 

Leslie Irvin of  Irving Air Chute Co., Stanley Switlik of Switlik Parachute Co. and others kept their own lists. Members could be eligible for special deals. For example, on February 25, 1932, Keith’s Theater in Washington, DC, reserved a box for the estimated 17 local members to view the movie The Lost Squadron, advertised as having “more crashes than Wall Street.”

Milton H. St. Clair, parachute engineer and co-founder of the Caterpillar Club, points to a sign for Caterpillar farm tractors.

With the dawning of WW II, it appeared the ranks of the Caterpillar Club would grow exponentially. The Club decided to take its status beyond “mythical” to “organized” and officially incorporated on April 6, 1943.  Stanley Switlik provided office space and assistance with applications and credentials.

Today the ranks of Caterpillar Club members number in the tens of thousands. Both Irving (as Airborne Systems) and Switlik continue to register members. Famous members include John Glenn, Jimmy Doolittle and George H.W. Bush.  With four jumps to his credit, Charles Lindbergh is probably the member with the most pins.

Lt. Charles Lindbergh parachuting from his disabled airplane, circa 1926.

Maurice Hutton, co-founder of the Caterpillar Club and aviation editor for the Dayton Daily Herald, poses for a photo wearing flight gear and standing next to his plane

And how are Wacker and Boettner members one and two, if the Club was founded three years later with Harris as the first member? The Caterpillar Club was willing to add back-dated members. William O’Connor was the first to be added with a 1920 exhibition jump requiring an emergency chute, making him number one, then number three when Wacker and Boettner were added about nine years after the fact.

 

John Boettner continued to pilot airships for Goodyear and rose to the rank of Commander in the US Navy, flying in World War II. Henry Wacker went on to work for B.F. Goodrich and the WPA. He proudly autographed photos of his jump as “the first Caterpillar Club member.” And every year on July 21, the anniversary of his jump, he took his parachute out of storage and aired it out, in honor of the day it saved his life.

 

Story derived from a Smithsonian Museum article.

Please click on images to enlarge.

 

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jack P. Ancker – NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 17th Airborne Division / Korea & Vietnam, Col. (Ret.)

Carl Bell – Gresham, OR; US Navy, WWII, USS Pickens

‘Last Flight’, by Rhads

William B. Clarke – Smyrna, DE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Vincennes / Korea, USS Worchester

Joseph Damico – Poughkeepsie, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 76/3rd Army

Kenneth E. Ford – Albia, IA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. C/1/32, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Louis Kulma – Parisville, MI; US Merchant Marines, WWII, chief radio operator

Isabelle Messenger (100) – Peru, MA; Civilian, Red Cross, WWII, ETO, Medal of Freedom

Nicholas Panipinto – Bradenton, FL; US Army, Korea, Spc., 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team/1st Calvary, KIA

Lonnie Ware – Marrero, LA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Waring – Fredericksburg, VA; US Army, Korea, 101 Airborne Division / US Coast Guard Res., Cmdr. (Ret. 40 y.)

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Veterans Day 2019

For each and every veteran – Thank You!!

For All Our Todays and Yesterdays

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.  Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

For their loyalty

War Dog Memorial on Guam.

 

US Military dog insignia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Things That Make a Soldier Great

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,

To face the flaming cannon’s mouth, nor ever question why,

Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,

The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,

The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:

‘Tis these that make a soldier great. He’s fighting for them all.

‘Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;

‘Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;

For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam

As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.

Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run–

You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.

 

What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees?

The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,

The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,

Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.

The golden thread of courage isn’t linked to castle dome

But to the spot, where’er it be–the humble spot called home.

 

And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there,

And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;

The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,

And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.

He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,

And only death can stop him now–he’s fighting for them all.

by: Edgar A, Guest

For All Those In Free Countries Celebrating Remembrance 0r Poppy Day

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Current News – 

In honor the Veterans who are in hospice, there is a drive for Christmas cards, and if possible, small gifts for those who are about to go on their final mission.  Please do your best for them – they did it for you!

https://equipsblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/reblog-from-national-anthem-girl-send-christmas-cards-to-lonely-vets-in-hospice-care/

Veteran’s Last Patrol; attn: Holiday Drive, P.O. Box 6111, Spartanburg, SC 29304

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Willard R. Best – Staunton, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 40th/1st Air Div./8th Air Force, gunner, KIA (Germany)

Leon E. Clevenger – Durham, NC; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. K/3/21/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Kalgo-ri, South Korea)

Harry Dexter – Davenport, IA; US Army, MSgt., 11th Airborne Division

Herbert B. Jacobson – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor, KIA, USS Oklahoma

Servando Lopez – Alice, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart

Ralph Nichols – Dawson, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 551/82nd Airborne Division

Robert Register – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, minesweeper USS Notable # 267

William Timpner – Stamps, AR; US Army, WWII

Frank Wills – Columbus, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, submarine service

Peter Zemanick – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, 504/82nd Airborne Division

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U.S. Marine Corps Birthday – 10 November 2019

What does the celebration mean to Marines across the globe?  To General John Lejeune it meant a great deal.  On 1 November 1921, he issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, which provided a summary of the history, mission and traditions of the Corps and directed that the order be read to every command each subsequent year on 10 November.

The reading of Order 47, Series 1921

 

To read Order 47 please click HERE!

 

 

USMC Birthday Cake

 

 

At the Marine Corps Ball, one key piece of the ceremony is to present the first piece of cake to the oldest Marine in the room, who in turn gives the next to the junior Marine.  This symbolic gesture is the passing of experience and knowledge from the veteran to the recruit.  We should all emulate their example and take part in history.

 

To all those who are able – Enjoy the fruits of your labor and revel in the spectacle and unabashed camaraderie that is the U.S. Marine Corps!!

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News – Charly Priest Review

As I explained to Charly Priest, I am the farthest thing from a poet that anyone could meet, but I am attempting a review of his Kindle/Paperback book.  I hope everyone bears with me.

Priest is an unusual sort, and his poetry bears witness to this statement, but he’s humorous, serious and down-right confusing at times.  There is no clearer explanation of him than that which is written at the end of the book by himself.

There are some that make you think, such as his poem “The Priest”, but I think he hunkers down and shows more of his true self in Chapter 4, and I was impressed.  Such as “Land of the Killers” you can hear his own experiences in the Spanish Legion during deployment.  “In Warfare”, that with all said and done, boils down to the last line, “where it’s a day-to-day reality of the insane.”

“Invisible People”, we’ve either known one of these or were one ourselves;  “Seven Sins”, he expresses the human condition as he sees it and “After the End” with great advice to all.

To find his book, Click Here!

To locate his blog, Click Here!!

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Marine Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Somebody stop that guy and give him a piece of cake!!!”

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rudy Boesch – Virginia Beach, VA; US Navy, Vietnam, Master Chief SEAL (Ret. 46 y.), Bronze Star

Larry Brown – Columbus, OH; USMC, Vietnam

Thomas H. Cooper – Chattanooga, TN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl. # 295826, 2nd Amtrac Battalion, KIA (Tarawa)

Glen “Bud” Daniel – Belleville, KS; USMC, WWII, 2ndLt., pilot, Purple Heart

Darryly Fleming – Orange Park, FL; USMC, Chief Warrant Officer-5 (Ret.)

Harry C. Morrissey – Everett, MA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Co. B/1/7/1st Marines, KIA (Guadalcanal)

Paul Plasse – Waterville, ME; US Navy, WWII, ETO

Kenneth Ross – Mosinee, WI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Thomas Walker III – Gadsen, AL; USMC, WWII, Sgt.

Jack Van Zandt – Danville, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, Co. A/1/6/2nd Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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