Category Archives: Book Reviews

C/O Postmaster – Book Review

Thomas “Ozzie” St. George, a student in the School of Journalism, University of Minnesota, and an athlete, would find himself soon in the U.S. Army as his country entered WWII.  BUT – This is not a war, combat blood ‘n’ guts diary.

St. George sent excerpts of his training, his not-so-glamorous voyage across the Pacific and the year he spent in Australia discovering a new culture, to the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’.

Cpl. St. George numbered his pieces, knowing full-well the difficult route they would travel to get back to the U.S.  These pieces would arrive at the newspaper, with his sketches completely out of order, but the Chronicle printed them and the readers loved them.  One does not even need to “read between the lines” to visualize what this G.I. was trying to say as he learned about fish & chips, unusual pub hours, Australian slang and living a military life.

Dancing with Americans

“Ozzie” and his fellow G.I.s needed to learn the odd hours of the local pubs.  The Australian women were friendly, but not “easy”, as they used to say back then.  Families often invited the soldiers to dinner.  This was an entirely different world than the Americans were accustom – and learn quickly they would have to do!

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As seen with the Army cooks on page 55:

“…we went to breakfast.  Most of us, I’m afraid, were looking forward to large helpings of ham and eggs, our usual reward for a night’s activity.  Instead we had coffee made with chicory (a course kind of gravel) and our first lesson in the anatomy of the sheep, as found in mutton stew.  Thick was this stew, like cold glue, full of unidentifiable vegetables and with all the delicious appeal of a soggy snowbank.”

American G.I.’s w/ koalas

 Should be lucky enough to locate a copy of this book, I know there are chapters you will nod your head in agreement with St. George and you’ll laugh at others.  The sketches will amuse you – no matter what the content.

 

In the words of Corporal Thomas St. George ….

“With most of us, this army career is by far the greatest experience we will ever have.  I only hope that in reading about a few of these experiences you get half the kick out of it that we got when they were happening to us…”

Thomas ‘Ozzie’ St. George

From his obituary:

Thomas Richard “Ozzie” St. George left this earth on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, at the age of 94.  Originally with the 32nd Infantry, he soon joined the staff of Yank Magazine and covered the war from Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines. While serving in the army, he met his future wife, Staff Sgt. Amelia “Mimi” Vitali of Philadelphia. They married while in the Philippines.

He spent the next 50 years at newspapers in San Diego, Philadelphia, Rochester and St. Paul. He was a reporter, sports editor, cartoonist, copy editor and columnist (“Slice of Wry” – St. Paul Pioneer Press). Ozzie retired from the Pioneer Press in 1994. Two books were written by Ozzie while he was in the Army: “C/O Postmaster,” a Book of the Month Club selection, and “Proceed Without Delay.” Following his retirement, he also self-published the Eddie Devlin Compendium: “Old Tim’s Estate,” “Wildcat Strike,” “The Bloody Wet,” “Bringing Chesty Home,” “Replevy for a Flute,” “Clyde Strikes Back,” “Flacks,” “Deadlines” and “The Survivors.”

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Military Political Cartoons – 

“HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE?”

“GET YOUR DIRTY PAWS OFFA THERE!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth “Kage” Allen – UT; US Air Force, 1st Lt., Air Academy graduate, F-15C pilot, 493rd Fighter Squadron/48th Fighter Wing

Wilton Brown – Avant, MS; US Navy, USS Princeton, / US Air Force, Korea, MSgt. (Ret.)

Wallace Harrelson (100) – Galloway, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Eva Lyons – Scottsdale, AZ; Civilian, WWII, P-38 assembler

Angus McRonald – Petercutter, SCOT, RAF, WWII

Russell Mericle Jr. – Lima, OH; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, Colonel, West Point graduate

William “Bill” Okamoto (100) – Torrance, CA; US Army, WWII

William Ostrosky – Uniondale, NY; US Navy, WWII

Joseph Pauro – Audubon, NJ; US Navy, WWII, ETO/PTO, Purple Heart

Thomas D. Siefke (100) – Indianapolis, IN; USMC, WWII, Sgt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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Memorial Day + “You Are Not Forgotten” book review

 

From Arlington to remote prairie shrines to foreign fields, America provides a resting place for her fallen.  Now, on this poignant 25th day of May, we revive the memory of those heroes, though we should honor them every day.  Long after the agony of Bunker Hill, Heartbreak Ridge, Normandy, the Chosin Reservoir, the Tet Offensive and Bagdad, the dead lie in peace.  They and their comrades have left us names the world should never forget.  Make certain they did not die in vain.

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“You Are Not Forgotten”

Two men, their lives separated by over 60 years, became forever intertwined.

“You Are Not Forgotten” shows the inspiration and commitment of the American military.   For this nonfiction story, it goes from the Pacific in WWII to a memory and experience of Iraq.

A USMC,  F4U Corsair pilot, Major Marion ‘Ryan’ McCown, is lost during a battle over New Guinea and the jungle swallows all trace of him on 20 January 1944.

Over 60 years later, U.S. Army Major George Eyster V, despite coming from a long ancestry of military officers, became disillusioned after serving in Iraq.  Instead of ending his career, he joined the JPAC (Joint Pow/MIA Accounting Command), a division whose sole purpose is to leave no man behind.   With the author, Bryan Bender, at the helm, he brings these two lives together with researched firsthand information.

Read how facts and clues are pieced together to locate those that have fallen and that we so wish to remember and honor today.

This book was gifted to me from Judy Guion of the Greatest Generation Lessons, who found this book not only fascinating, but educational.  Thank you very much, Judy.

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GP Cox’s Veterans

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Farewell Salutes – 

Iona Anderson – Garber, IA; Womens USMC, WWII, Sgt.

Trevarius Bowman – Spartansburg, SC; US National Guard, Afghanistan, 1st Lt., 228th Tactical Signal Brigade

Peter Clark Jr. – Menasha, WI, USMC, WWII

Henry Hoffman III – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, Japan Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

Charles Jackson – Thackerville, OK; US Coast Guard, (Ret.28 y.)

Moyne Linscott – Sumner, MO; US Army Air Corps, Japan Occupation, 1127 Airborne Engineers/11th Airborne Division

WWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

John Myers – Toledo, OH; US Coast Guard, WWII / US Army, Korea, mine sweeper

William Opalka – Chicago, IL; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Terrance Plank – Santa Cruz, CA; US Army, Vietnam, medic, 3/506/101st Airborne Division, Purple Heart, Bronze Star

Gene Vance – Garner, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO / US Army, Vietnam, 11th Airborne Div. & 10th Special Forces Group, Sgt. Major (Ret.) / FAA

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courtesy of fellow blogger, Patty B.

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Francis the Talking Mule

Francis and Pvt. Stirling

Thanks to Curt Mekemson for jogging my memory about Francis the Talking Mule!!

This 2 minute trailer for Francis explains far more than I can in words – watch and enjoy!!

 

Francis the Talking Mule was a  character who became a celebrity during the 1950s as the star of seven popular film comedies. The character originated in the 1946 novel Francis by former U.S. Army Captain David Stern III (1909–2003), son of newspaper publisher J. David Stern.

After another studio turned down the property, Universal bought the rights for a film series, with Stern adapting his own script for the first entry, simply titled Francis. Sammy McKee, a common sole, was the inspiration for Francis. A layman from Cincinnati, his wit and demeanor were only duplicated. It could not be replicated.

Francis the Talking Mule

 “Francis ” is produced by Robert Arthur, directed by Arthur Lubin, and stars Donald O’Connor and Patricia Medina. The distinctive voice of Francis is a voice-over by actor Chills Wills.

Six Francis sequels from Universal-International followed this first effort.

During World War II, a junior American Army officer, Lt. Peter Stirling, gets sent to the psychiatric ward whenever he insists that an Army mule named Francis speaks to him.

When a bank manager discovers Peter Stirling, one of his tellers, is attracting public attention he calls the young man in who relates his story in flashback.

Then 2nd Lieutenant, Peter Stirling (Donald O’Connor), is caught behind Japanese lines in Burma during WWII.   Francis, a talking Army mule, carries him to safety. When Stirling insists that the animal rescued him, he is placed in a psychiatric ward. Each time Stirling is released, he accomplishes something noteworthy (at the instigation of Francis), and each time he is sent back to the psych ward when he insists on crediting the talking mule.

Francis and John McIntire

Finally, Stirling is able to convince three-star General Stevens (John McIntire) that he is not crazy, and he and the general become the only ones aware of Francis’ secret. In an effort to get himself released from the psych ward, Stirling asks Stevens to order Francis to speak, but the mule will not obey until it becomes clear that Stirling will be arrested for treason if he remains silent.

During one of his enforced hospital stays, he is befriended by Maureen Gelder (Patricia Medina), a beautiful French refugee. He grows to trust her and tells her about Francis. Later, a propaganda radio broadcast from Tokyo Rose  mocks the Allies for being advised by a mule. This leads to the suspicion of Stirling or Maureen being a Japanese agent. The press is later informed that the absurd mule story was concocted in order to flush out the spy, and with Francis’ help, the real culprit is identified.

Francis is shipped back to the U. S. for further study, but his military transport crashes in the wilds of Kentucky.  After the war, convinced that Francis survived the crash, Peter searches for and finally finds the mule still alive and well and talking!

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Animals in the Military Humor – 

Military Animal humor

Squirrel Soldier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canine Humor Squad

 

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Quarantine Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Howard Aab – Windsor, CO; US Navy / US Air Force, Korea (Ret. 20 y.)

Elden R. Baumbach – Stockton, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc., B Co./6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

NEVER FORGET

Brian Dennehy – Mineola, NY; USMC / beloved actor

Melvin Eggergluss – Buffalo, MN; USMC, Korea, SSgt., 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart

Marjorie Lord – New Orleans, LA; FBI, WWII

Elizabeth Martin – Hamilton, CAN; Civilian, RCMO secretary, WWII

Franklin Patterson – Houston, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, Signal Corps, 2 Bronze Stars

Scott Pearce – Woodbury, NZ; RNZ Army # 447461, WWII

Anthony Troiano – Mont Pleasant, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII

Mildred Wheeler – Oakley, TN; Civilian, Pentagon secretary, WWII

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Pearl Harbor – your opinion? / “Leora’s Letters” review

This subject is still a topic of debate, even to this day.   Please watch these 2 videos before giving me your opinion.  Thank You.

 

 

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Book Review – Leora’s Letters”  by:  Joy Neal Kidney

No one warned me that when you read this book – you must be prepared to join the family.

Reading Leora’s Letters, you do not merely become acquainted with this close-knit, hard-working family – you become one of them.  In this tumultuous period of our history, you are transported into the  heartland’s home front and the different areas of combat of that age.  You can understand their dreams and hopes; feel their anguish, trepidation and heartaches and you pull for each member of that family to succeed just as you do for your own loved ones.

One need not be a WWII buff or knowledgeable of military operations to comprehend the Wilson brothers’ correspondences.  You need not be familiar with Iowa in the 1940’s to grasp the emotions and hardships they endured.

This non-fiction experience will not disappoint – and don’t take MY word for that!!  After reading it, I researched the opinion of other readers and it has a solid 5-Star rating!!  Click HERE or the link above to purchase this treasure or click on Joy’s name above to reach her website.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Barbara Barnett – Chappaqua, NY; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Calvin Beazley – Chesterfield, VA; US Army, WWII, SSgt.,1151st Engineer Combat Group ? Korea

Cecil Crookshanks – Rainelle, WV; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret.)

Theodore Fibison (100) – Syracuse, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, pilot, Flight Instructor

Don Howison – Bradenton, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, The last officer of the USS Indianapolis to take his final voyage.

Margaret Madden – Berlin, MD; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Colin G. Parry – Hamilton, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 432370, WWII

Wallace Ramos Jr. – Honey Grove, TX; US Navy, WWII / Korea, Chief Petty Officer (Ret.)

Arthur B. Summers – Poplar, MT; USMC, WWII, PTO, Gunnery Sgt., KIA (Tarawa)

LLoyd R. Timm – Kellogg, MN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

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Ted Nelson – Stud Welder / Anne Clare, Book Review

Ted Nelson

Eighty years ago, many rural homes weren’t electrified, nor did they have indoor plumbing.  Glenn Miller and Billie Holiday were at the top of the charts. A brand-spanking-new car could be yours for well under $1,000. And the state-of-the-art battleships — whole floating cities unto themselves — were that era’s equivalent of the Space Shuttle. While working at Mare Island Naval Shipyard Ted Nelson had his big idea. And what an idea! Ultimately, Nelson’s advancement helped save the Navy so many man-hours that he earned top-of-the-line commendations and set in motion a legacy of excellence that remains on the leading edge of the industry to this very day.

Mare Island Shipyard, WWII

The Mare Island Naval Shipyard, where Nelson worked in the years leading up to and during World War II, was the Navy’s first base on the Pacific Coast, located just north of San Francisco and now a California Historical Landmark. In its day it was the United States’ controlling force in the area’s shipbuilding efforts – at least 89 seagoing vessels were constructed onsite before its closure. During its World War II years, the Mare yard specialized in submarines, making it something of a hotbed of innovation, and young Ted Nelson, working on both repairs and new construction, fit right in.

“Prior to World War II, the Navy was attaching wood decking on many vessels using through-bolting,’” says John von der Lieth, Senior Nelson Stud Welding Field Sales Representative at Stanley Engineered Fastening. “This often required many levels of scaffolding underneath the wood deck just to install nuts onto threaded bolts attaching the wood to the steel frame below. The nuts were often also then tack-welded to prevent them from vibrating loose.”

“Well, Ted was a real inventor type, and he devised a handheld arc welding gun that looked kind of like a drill press. He would insert a threaded stud into the gun and place that down into a pre-drilled hole in the wood decking, making contact with the steel frame of the vessel below. The stud gun was connected to an arc-welding power source and a timing control device. When triggered, the stud gun coil would energize, lifting the stud off the steel frame just enough to establish an electric arc. Within a split second, the stud was melted (along with the steel base metal) and then was plunged home into the molten pool, establishing a complete joint penetration weld, and all of this was taking place from the topside of the wood decking.”

“The ‘Nelson Stud Welding Process thus eliminated the need for the vast scaffolding below the wood decks, dramatically reducing the time involved to install the decking, and producing a superior quality, full penetration welded connection. Ted also produced a special flanged nut to securely fasten the top side of the wood planks onto the studs, filling the pre-drilled, countersunk holes that were created to install the threaded studs. This also allowed for much easier replacement of any future damaged wood decking,” explained von der Lieth. “It changed the face of the war effort.”

Ted nelson ‘E’ citation

So, with his ingenuity and strong desire to solve a problem, Ted Nelson saved the Navy an estimated 50 million man-hours and the Nelson Specialty Welding Equipment Corp. was awarded two Navy “E” Citations, presented only to companies who met outstanding production criteria during the war effort. Not only did production numbers climb, the stud welding process also saved an unparalleled amount of money with respect to the foregone need for scaffolding, as well as labor and materials cost.

Ted Nelson’s invention was right on time. “The Nelson welding guns, studs, and nuts were used to install wood decking on submarines, battleships, and aircraft carriers. The patent for the decking gun was filed May 31, 1941,” says Clark Champney, Nelson Stud Welding Application Development Manager, and resident Nelson historian at Stanley Engineered Fastening. “Six months and one week later on December 8, 1941, the United Stated entered World War II.”

After the war, Nelson took his invention private, setting up shop in a coastal California garage in Nelson Stud Welding’s first incarnation. “Ted Nelson had the mind-set early on that his invention could be used in a wide variety of industries – he had a real vision,” says von der Lieth. “Although he hadn’t been a part of the company for many years at the time of his death in the 1990s, he was still a very active inventor into his 80s – he’d invented a hospital bed that rotated 360 degrees for hip replacement patients. He invented a glider that had an emergency engine in it – they called it the Hummingbird. He had countless minor inventions, and that’s why he ultimately sold the stud welding business – because he was an inventor type; problem-solving was his first love.”

Story idea from: Koji Kanemoto

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Book Review – “Whom Shall I Fear?”  by: Anne Clare, our Naptime Author

“Whom Shall I Fear?, by Anne Clare

Without giving readers too much insight and being the cause of stumbling into a spoiler, I shall begin this review by applauding Anne Clare, who has researched her way into creating a lovely romantic tale intertwined with the struggles and pains of war.
Amid the years of WWII bombings, the loss, deprivations and combat, two very different people are seemingly thrown together. Their worries, dreams and realities are shown to you through their correspondence. BUT – behind it all lurks the sinister aspirations of a narcissistic coward and his cohorts.
I found myself thinking about the story long after putting the book down – and to me, that is one major characteristic of an excellent novel.
Thank you, Anne, for granting me the privilege of owning a copy of your creation and for giving me the lingering question in my mind of – who should they have feared the most?
I highly recommend “Whom Shall I Fear?” to all.

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Military Humor – 

“These aren’t barnacles. Someone stuck their gum down here.”

Shipbuilding Safety Award – or – Why women live longer than men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charles Atkinson – Arvada, CO; US Army, Vietnam, Military Police

Eugene Barbezat – St. Johns. AZ; US Army / US Air Force, Vietnam, Lt. Col. (Ret.), Intelligence

Tom Curtsinger – KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Warren Eginton – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO, 716th Tank Battalion

Donald Love – Hamilton, NZ; British Merchant Navy, # R258982. WWII

Lynn McDonald – Rochester, NH; US Army Air Corps, glider pilot

Leon “Jack” Persac Jr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 ball turret gunner

Robert D. Sullivan – Fairbury, NE; US Army, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lt. Colonel (Ret. 27 y.)

Homer Terry – Tahoka, TX; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, pilot/logistics, Colonel (Ret. 32 y.)

Channing R. Whitaker – Granger, IA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Co. A/1/6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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How a Combat Unit Passes the Time While Standing Down

RRR-cover

Keeping the troops focused and in shape while not in combat….

IHRA

After approximately nine months of combat missions, the 22nd Bomb Group’s B-26s had reached the age of being designated war-weary. Due to the “Europe First” mentality, those fighting in the Pacific Theater had been receiving far fewer replacement aircraft than they desperately needed. In the case of the 22nd, this was a breaking point for the Group. Headquarters did not feel that men could safely fly in their B-26s any longer and ordered the Group to stand down on January 11, 1943.

Not long after the orders were received, the 19th and 33rd Bomb Squadrons were told that they were moving from Iron Range back to their old camp at Woodstock. The 500+ mile trip was filled with torrential downpours, delays and crowded conditions aboard the S.S. Paine Wingate. Once the men made it back to Woodstock, though, they happily found that their camp had been improved since their…

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Paul Tibbets and Duty

Paul Tibbets

After receiving basic flight training at Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas in 1937, Tibbets quickly rose through the ranks to become commanding officer of the 340th Bombardment Squadron of the 97th Bombardment Group. After leading the first American daylight heavy bomber mission in Occupied France in August 1942, Tibbets was selected to fly Major General Mark W. Clark from Polebook to Gibraltar in preparation for Operation Torch, the allied invasion of North Africa. A few weeks later, Tibbets flew the Supreme Allied Commander, Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower, to Gibraltar. Tibbets quickly earned a reputation as one of the best pilots in the Army Air Force.

Paul Tibbets in New Mexico

Tibbets returned to the United States to help with the development of the B-29 Superfortress bomber. On September 1, 1944, Tibbets met with Lt. Col. John Lansdale, Captain William S. Parsons, and Norman F. Ramsey, who briefed him about the Manhattan Project. Tibbets, who had accumulated more flying time on the B-29 than any other pilot in the Air Force, was selected to lead the 509th Composite Group, a fully self-contained organization of about 1,800 hand-picked men that would be responsible for dropping the first atomic bomb on Japan.

Paul Tibbets

From September 1944 until May 1945, Tibbets and the 509th Composite Group trained extensively at Wendover Air Force Base in Wendover, Utah. Flight crews practiced dropping large “dummy” bombs modeled after the shape and size of the atomic bombs in order to prepare for their ultimate mission in Japan.

In late May 1945, the 509th was transferred to Tinian Island in the South Pacific to await final orders. On August 5, 1945 Tibbets formally named his B-29 Enola Gay after his mother. At 02:45 the next day, Tibbets and his flight crew aboard the Enola Gay departed North Field for Hiroshima. At 08:15 local time, they dropped the atomic bomb, code-named “Little Boy,” over Hiroshima.

The crew of the “Enola Gay”

Tibbets was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by Major General Carl Spaatz immediately after landing on Tinian. When news of the successful mission appeared in American newspapers the next day, Tibbets and his family became instant celebrities. To supporters, Tibbets became known as a national hero who ended the war with Japan; to his detractors, he was a war criminal responsible for the deaths of many thousands of Japanese civilians. Tibbets remains a polarizing figure to this day.

The book, “Duty”, by Bob Green, is a must read  Duty is the story of three lives connected by history, proximity, and blood; indeed, it is many stories, intimate and achingly personal as well as deeply historic. In one soldier’s memory of a mission that transformed the world—and in a son’s last attempt to grasp his father’s ingrained sense of honor and duty—lies a powerful tribute to the ordinary heroes of an extraordinary time in American life.

No regrets … Colonel Paul Tibbets, standing.

What Greene came away with is found history and found poetry—a profoundly moving work that offers a vividly new perspective on responsibility, empathy, and love. It is an exploration of and response to the concept of duty as it once was and always should be: quiet and from the heart. On every page you can hear the whisper of a generation and its children bidding each other farewell.

Warning leaflet dropped on 14 Japanese cities

“TO THE JAPANESE PEOPLE: America asks that you take immediate heed of what we say on this leaflet. We are in possession of the most destructive explosive ever devised by man. A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29s can carry on a single mission. This awful fact is one for you to ponder and we solemnly assure you it is grimly accurate.” (American leaflet warning Japan to surrender)

With the end of the war in 1945, Tibbets’ organization was transferred to what is now Walker Air Force Base, Roswell, N.M., and remained there until August 1946. It was during this period that the Operation Crossroads took place, with Tibbets participating as technical adviser to the Air Force commander. He was then assigned to the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., from which he graduated in 1947. His next assignment was to the Directorate of Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, where he subsequently served as director of the Strategic Air Division.

BG Paul Tibbets

Brigadier General Paul W. Tibbets Jr. retired from the United States Air Force in 1966. He died in 2007, his ashes were scattered at sea. For more on Tibbets, see Manhattan Project Spotlight: Paul Tibbets. To watch his first-person account of the Hiroshima mission, click here.

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Leaflet dropped on Nagasaki

9 August, ‘Bock’s Car’ dropped the next atomic bomb, “Fat Man,” which was nicknamed after Churchill or Sidney Greenstreet’s character in “The Maltese Falcon,” there are two conflicting stories. The bomb killed 80,000 people. This second bomb was different in that it was a spherical plutonium missile, ten feet long and five feet in diameter. The plane made three unsuccessful runs over the city of Kokura, but due to the lack of visibility, they went on to Nagasaki.  Jake Beser, an electronics specialist, was the only crew member to make both atomic bomb runs.

From the collection of images taken by Yosuke Yamahata, a Japanese military photographer.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stellla Bender – Steubenville, OH; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Ian Cowan – Christchurch, NZ; NZ Army # 635101, WWII, J Force

Raymond Evans – Naashville, TN; US Army, WWII

Wilbur Grippen Jr. (99) – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII

Albert Hill – Nampa, ID; US Army, WWII, CBI

Floyd Kennedy – Tonasket, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 674/11th Airborne Division, Medical Corps (Ret. 21 y.)

Louis Mueller – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, WWII

Clinton Phalen Sr. – Foster City, MI; US Navy, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

Raymond Shannon – Worchester, MA; US Air Force, Korea

Max Thomas – Calhoun, GA; US Army, WWII

 

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Personal Note – 

GP Cox had the pleasure – or should I say ‘best experience ever’ yesterday as I boarded a B-17 Flying Fortress.  If anyone has a chance to take a flight – DO IT!!

The Wings of Freedom Tour of the Collins Foundation is coming to a city near you!!  Tell them Pacific Paratrooper sent you!

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I was unable to download any of my videos, Pierre Lagace did this for me!  Actually for 6 years he has been helping me out – m Mentor!

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Eye Witness Account – Edward Dager

“We Gave Our Best” by: Kayleen Reusser

From : “WE GAVE OUR BEST” by Kayleen Reusser

In December 1944, SSgt. Edward Dager, crew chief for P-38 and p-39 planes was riding in LST-738, a landing ship designed for tanks, near the island of Mindoro.  LST-738 was one of a group of 30 LST’s landing at the island carrying tanks and vehicles.

Suddenly, Dager’s LST was fired on by Japanese kamikazes.  “They came in fast,” he said.  Dager’s LST returned anti-aircraft fire, hitting several of the planes.  When one kamikaze slammed into Dager’s vessel, the 130 crew members aboard were unable to control the fires.  “The captain ordered us to abandon ship,” he said.

Ed Dager, SSgt, US Army Air Corps

Oil from the damaged ship spread on the water.  Frantic seamen scrambled to swim away as more fires sprang up.  Allied ships in the area worked together to fire on the kamikazes and rescue the LST-738’s crew.

Thankfully, no crew member died from the assault, though several were injured.  Dager was burned on his face and right arm.  he and the other wounded were taken by PT boat to a hospital, where they received morphine injections and other care-giving ministrations.

Everything happened so fast and was so chaotic that Dager’s whereabouts became unknown to military officials.  The results were catastrophic.  “My parents received a telegram stating I had been killed in action,” he said.  The War Department soon discovered the error and tried to remedy the misinformation.  “The next day they sent another telegram to my parents saying I was okay.”

Born in 1921, the youngest child in a family of ten, Dager grew up on a farm outside of Monroeville, Indiana.  He quit school to find work, but in 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army.  After completing basic training at Camp Perry, Ohio, Dager was assigned to airplane mechanic school with the Army Air Corps.

As part of the 80th Fighter Squadron, “The Headhunter”. 8th Fighter Group, 5th Air force, Dager sailed from San Francisco to Brisbane, Australia, then New Guinea where he was assigned to an Allied air base.   “It was hard not to stare at the natives at New Guinea,” he said.  The walked around with bones in their noses.”

SSgt, Dager was assigned as crew chief in charge of 8 P-39s and P-38s.  The had four 50-caliber machine-guns and a 20 mm cannon.” he said.  Dager took his job seriously.  “A pilot from Boston told me I was the best crew chief because I kept the cockpits clean.”  Dager was aided by an assistant.

As missions often required 5 and 6 hours of flight time, crews were awakened during the dark, early hours of the morning.   “At 0200 hours someone blew a whistle to wake us up,” said Dager.  “We always did a final check of each aircraft before it took off.”

Being on the flight line in the middle of the night with a bunch of sleepy crews would be hazardous.  Dager witnessed one serviceman who drove his jeep into the wash of a plane’s propellers (current of air created by the action of a propeller),  “That was a sad sight,” he said.

Ed Dager

While Dager was friendly with flight crews, but he kept an emotional distance.  “We were there to fight a war.  We learned not to get too attached to people.”

It was not easy.  Many years after one pilot whom Dager had known was declared MIA, due to his plane’s crash, his daughter called Dager.  “She asked for details about her father and his last flight.” Dager provided what little information he knew.  “It was hard losing people.”

In summer 1945, he was helping to launch P-38s from Okinawa when President Truman ordered bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  Those actions subsequently ended the war with the surrender of the Emperor in September.  By November, Dager had enough points to be discharged.

He returned to Fort Wayne, IN where he farmed and worked at ITT, retiring in 1985.  Dager married in 1946 and he and his wife, Mavis, were parents to 2 daughters.  “I was in the war to do a job,” he said.  “I was young and thought if I made it home, that was okay.”

Ed and Mavis Dager, R.I.P.

Sadly, the Purple Heart recipient, Sgt. Dager left us on 23 February 2018

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Anderson – Rockton, IL; US Air Force (Ret. 23 y.), 11th Airborne Division

Jerry Cain – Painter, WY; US Army, Vietnam, 320 Artillery/101st Airborne Div., Purple Heart, Distinguish Service Medal

Michael Dippolito – Norristown, PA; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division

Kenneth Ebi Jr. – Moline, IL; US Army, WWII, PTO, 1st Lt., 7th Infantry Division Engineers

James Heldman – San Francisco, CA; US Army, Vietnam, Battalion Comdr., 2/4 FA/9th Infantry Division

Cyril Knight – Invercargill, NZ; 2NZEF J Force # 634897, WWII, Pvt.

Perry Owen – Houston, TX; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Carmine Picarello – Bayonne, NJ; US Army, MSgt. (Ret. 24 y.) / US Navy, Intelligence

Roy Scott Jr. – Columbus, OH; US Army, Vietnam & Desert Storm, 173rd Airborne Division, Bronze Star

Mary Zinn – London, ENG; Civilian, Red Cross

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The Elephant Company – Intermission Story (14)

(c) Cuneo Estate; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Cuneo Estate; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

James Howard “Billy” Williams went to Burma in 1920, fresh out of the service for WWI, for a position as a ‘forest man’.  It was there he became increasingly educated on the intelligence, character and welfare of elephants.

When Japan invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite British Force 136.  [a unit that today would compared to Rangers, SEALs and Delta Force].  Being older and wiser in the ways of the jungles, Williams’ tale of war and daring would become legendary.

In 1944, Lt.Colonel Williams, along with his Karen workers, uzis, elephant tenders, and the animals themselves made the stairway in Burma.  They go upward, a sheer rockface escarpment, narrowly escaping the Japanese hot on their trail, through the mountains of Imphal.

While many times the massive beasts stood on their hind legs to scale an ascent that surpassed Hannibal in the Alps.  All 53 elephants were successful and the workers and refugees alike followed close behind to the ridge and eventual safety.

Williams’ sketch of the ridge.

Years later, General Slim would say of the climb, “This is the story of how a man, over the years, by character, patience, sympathy and courage, gained the confidence of men and animals, so when the time of testing came – that mutual trust held.”

Williams and his company would continue in Burma to alter history with the 270 bridges built and erected to create the largest known Bailey bridge across the Chindurin at Kalewa in December.

Williams’ sketch for his memoir cover

James “Billy” Williams was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1945.  He would forever cherish his memories of the animals and the jungle, as shown in his memoir, “Elephant Bill” published in 1950. (originally titled, “1920-1946, Elephants in Peace, Love and War”)

Williams passed away on 30 July 1958, at the age of 60, during an emergency appendectomy operation.  His son, Treve, had gone to Australia for veterinary school a year previous.

Williams’ sketch of the Bailey Bridge

This information and pictures were derived from “Elephant Company” by Vicki C. Croke.

Click on images to enlarge.

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 CBI Roundup – Military Humor – 

“The folks at home are going to love this shot of me!”

“You can stand there all day – but you’re NOT getting a Section 8!”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kevin Bushell – MD; US Navy, USS John McCain, Electrician Tech 2nd Class, KIA

Timothy Eckels Jr. – MD; US Navy, USS John McCain, Information Systems Tech 2nd Class, KIA

Charles N. Findley – MI; US Navy, USS John McCain, Electrician Tech 1st Class; KIA

James L. Hutchinson – CA; US Army Air Corps # 1014403, WWII, PTO, POW, KIA (Bataan, Camp O’Donnell, Section # 4)

Cory G. Ingram – NY; US Navy, USS John McCain, Information Systems Tech 2nd Class, KIA

Abraham Lopez – El Paso,TX; US Navy, USS John McCain,Interior Communication Electrician 1st Class, KIA

James McMillen – Jonesboro, GA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 11th and 101st Airborne Divisions, CO for 16th Battalion, Lt.Col.

Peter Roper – London, ENG; RAF, WWII, ETO / Korea, aviation medicine

Alan Sayers (102) – NZ; RNZ Navy # 1/15/2685

Louis Vetere – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO

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Pacific Paratrooper Book Library – YTD

I was originally planning to include this bibliography of sorts at the end of this blog, but I did ask what books, Gabrielle, over at gehistorian had, so that site now wants to see mine.  My library is always growing, so I’m certain there will be more added to this along the way.

First shelf

WWII: A Tribute in Art and Literature – Time/Life
Return to the Philippines – Time/Life Books
The Pacific War Remembered – John Mason Jr.
Veterans of the VFW Pictorial History – Volumes 2 & 4
Movie Lot to Beachhead – Look
US Army Paratroopers 1943-45 – Gordon Rottman
Five Came Back – Mark Harris
Surviving the Sword – Brian MacArthur
Going Home to Glory – David Eisenhower
Combat Pacific – Don Cogdon
The Last Great Victory – Stanley Weintraub
The Rising Sun – John Toland
Rakassans – Gen. E.M. Flanagan
The Pacific War – Saburo Ienaga
The Great Betrayal – David Day
Yankee Samurai – Joseph Harrington
Quartered Safe Out There – George Fraser
The Pacific War Companion – Daniel Marston
The Pacific – Hugh Ambrose
With the Old Breed – E.B. Sledge
Ghost Soldiers – Hampton Sides
For Crew and Country – John Wukovits
Southern Philippines – US Government Press
Luzon – US Gov’t Press

Second Shelf

The Angels: History of the 11th Airborne Division – General E.M. Flanagan
Their Finest Hour – Winston Churchill
Churchill By Himself – Richard Landsworth
The War Lovers – Evan Thomas
The Somme – Martin Gilbert
A Sea of Words – Henry Holt
The Greatest Generation – Tom Brokaw
The Greatest Generation Speaks – Tom Brokaw
A Company of Heroes – Marcus Brotherton
More Lives Than One – Charles Hood
Recondo – Larry Chambers
American Guerrilla in the Philippines – Ira Wolfert
Band of Brothers – Stephen Ambrose
Three Came Come – Agnes Keith
***OYS OF POINTE HOC – Douglas Brinkel
Utmost Savagery – Col. Joseph Alexander USMC
Drop Zone – Michael Salazar
Section 60 – Arlington National Cemetery – Robert Poole
Vanished – Wil S. Hylton
Rifleman Dodd – C.S. FOrester
The Battle of Britain – Richard Overy
Killing Rommel – Steven Pressfield
The Imperial Cruise – James Bradley
A Treasury of Military Humor – James Myers
True Stories of D-Day – Henry Brook
WWII Heroes – Allan Zullo
Occupation – John Toland
The Los Baños Raid – Gen. E.M. Flanagan
Airborne – Edwin Hoyt
Submarines of the World

Third Shelf

The Great World Atlas
The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics
Top Gun – Andy Lightbody & Joe Poyer
Semper Fi (History of the US Marines) – Col. H.Avery Chenoweth, USMC
(Envelope) 2 Volumes of Veritas – US Army Historian, Eugene Piasecki
The Swing Era 1940-44 – Time/Life Books
The World’sGreat Military Helicopters – Gallery Brooks
Webster’s Dictionary

Fourth Shelf

Okinawa – Jim Boan
Goodbye Darkness – William Manchester
FUBAR – Gordon Rottman
Melville Goodwin USA – John Marquand
Overdue and Presumed Lost – Martin Sheridan
Reader’s Digest Illustrated Story of WWII
Hey Mac, Where Ya Been? – Henry Berry
My Detachment – Tracy Kidder
The Victory Era in Color – Jeff Ethell
Island Fighting – WWII – Time/Life Books
Warfare of the 20th Century – Christopher Chant
The Coldest Winter – David Halbertson
Unless Victory Comes – Gene Garrison & Patrick Gilbert
Flyboys – James Bradley
Gun at Last Light – Rick Atkinson

Fifth Shelf

A Covert Affair – Jennet Conant
Warpath Across the Pacific – Lawrence J. Hickle
Soldiers Stories – The Miller Family
General Kenny Reports – Gen. George Kenny
The Last Stand of the Tin Can Soldiers – James Hornfischer
US Army Combat Skills Handbook – Dept. of the US Army
Intrepid Aviators – Gregory Fletcher
Eisenhower – Stephen Ambrose
Through These Portals – Wayne MacGregor Jr.
Flags of Our Fathers – James Bradley
The Pacific War – John Costello
Dwellers in Time and Space – Phillip Oakes
The Airmen and the Headhunters – Judith Heimann
Reaping the Whirlwind – Nigel Cawthorne
Sensö – Frank Gibney, editor
Up Front – Bill Mauldin
Elephant Company – Vicki Constantine Croke
Infamy – John Toland
Mask of Treachery – John Costello
Arrogant Armies – James Perry
The Long Way Home – David Laskin
The Collapse of the Third Republic – William Shirer
Captured By History – John Toland
The Samauri Sourcebook – Stephen Turnbull
75 Years – Time Books

Sixth Shelf (L)

America At War – Maurice Isserman
Defending Baltimore Against Enemy Attack – Charles Osgood
MacArthur’s War – Stanley Weintraub
An Army At Dawn – Rick Atkinson
The Day of Battle – Rick Atkinson
I’m Staying With My Boys – Jim Proser

Sixth Shelf (R)

Island of Hope, Island of Tears – David Brownstone
Apache – Ed Macy
Wartime Writings – Marhurite Duras
You Are Not Forgotten – Brian Bender
The Pacific War Papers – Goldstein & Dillon

On a research table

Real Blood! Real Guts! – James Gleason
The Pacific War, Day By Day – John Davison
The Army – The Army Historical Foundation

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We Gave Our Best – Kayleen Reusser

Our Jungle Road To Tokyo – General Robert Eichelberger

In E-Book form

The Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division 1943-1946 – General E.M. Flanagan (Ret.)

Helmet For My Pillow – Robert Leckie

Bahala Na (Come What May) – Rosalinda Morgan

Sink Them All – Charles Lockwood

Carrier Pilot – Norman Hanson

Kiwi Air Power – Matthew Wright
Rescue At Los Baños – Bruce Henderson
Our Jungle Road to Tokyo – Gen. Robert Eichelberger
More To the Story: A Reappraisal of US Intelligence Prior to the Pacific War – LCDR James R. Stobie
Dreadnoughts Unleashed – Matthew Wright
Blue Water Kiwis – Matthew Wright

Rescue At Los Banos – Bruce Henderson

Intrepidity, Iron Will and Intellect – Gen. Robert Eichelberger

More To The Story: A Reappraisal of US Intelligence Prior to the Pacific War – LCDR James R. Stobie

Condition Red: Destroyer Action in the South Pacific – Frederick J. Bell

The Things Our Fathers Saw – Matthew A. Rozell

Check Six: A Thunderbolt Pilot’s War Across the Pacific – Jim Curran

At Close Quarters – Robert J. Bulkey

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And one can not forget, Smitty’s Scrapbook, compiled by his mother, Anna Smith.

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Ed Ramsey’s War – Stephen J. Rivele

In For A Penny In For A Pound – Howard Hewer

Too Young To Die – Bryan Cox

C-47/R4D Skytrain Units of the Pacific & CBI – David Isby

US Navy PBY Catalina Units of the Atlantic War – Ragnar J. Ragnarsson

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Those Devils In Baggy Pants –

Not Going Home Alone – James J. Kirsckle

Japanese Destroyer Captain – Capt. Tameichi Hara

Pacific War Diary – James J. Fahey

Soldiers First – Joe Drape

The Home Front Hearth – Museum of the American Military Family

No Hero – Mark Owen

Wild Bill Donovan – Douglas Waller

Rescue At Los Baños – Bruce Henderson

Asia’s Cauldron – Robert D. Kaplan

When You Hear The Bugle Call – Peter S. Griffin

Graveyards of the Pacific – Robert D. Ballard

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Surviving the Death Railway – Hilary Custance Green Polio To Paratrooper – Anne Archer Hogshead Tullidge Here Is Your War – Ernie Pyle Brave Men – Ernie Pyle

 

 

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Lost In Shangri-La – Mitchell Zuckoff

Escape From The Deep – Alex Krenshaw

Duty – Bob Greene

Overlord – Max Hastings

Armageddon – Max Hastings

Retribution – Max Hastings

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My Father’s Son – Farley Mowat

Women Aviators – Karen Bush Gibson

War In The Pacific – Jerome T. Hagen, BGeneral, USMC, (Ret.)

Pack Up Your Troubles – James Taylor

Letters To The Lost – Iona Grey

Whom Shall I Fear? – Anne Clare

Across The Dark Islands – Floyd W. Radike, BGeneral, US Army (Ret.)

008

War In The Pacific, Vol. III – Jerome T. Hagen

War In The Pacific, America At War – Jerome T. Hagen

Humor Through Hell – Robert Ehrhart

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Clear The Decks – RAdm. Daniel V. Gallery

The Brink – RAdm. Daniel V. Gallery

U-505 – RAdm. Daniel V. Gallery

Voice of the Angels newspaper since 2012

War in the Pacific, Vol. II – Jerome T. Hagen

Leora’s Letters – Joy Neal Kidney

C/O Postmaster – Cpl. Thomas R. St.George

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Winged Victory – Geoffrey Perret

War Poems – Brian Busby

Humor in Uniform – Reader’s Digest

Pacific War Stories: In the words of those who survived – Rex Alan Smith & Gerald A. Meehl

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Warriors – Max Hastings

Death and Honor – W.E.B. Griffth

In My Hands – Irene Gut Opdyke

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We Band of Angels – Elizabeth M. Norman

Deliverance at Los Baños – Anthony Arthur

Death March: The Survivors of Bataan – Donald Knox

This post was last updated on 19 June 2020

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Historian Humor – 

The NEW Ones.

The OLD Ones….

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –  

Kathryn Bailey – Hope Mills, NC; US Army, Hawaii, 25th Infantry Division, 1st Lt., KIA

Stephen Cantrell – Wichita Falls, TX; US Army, Hawaii, 25th Infantry Division, Chief Warrant Officer, KIA

Reynold Darnell – NE; US Navy, WWII, USS Sante Fe

Charles Fritz – Indianapolis, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Richard Giannotti – New Haven, CT; US Army, FBI

Alfred Harmon – W.Palm Beach, FL; US Army, Korea

William Lane Jr. – Sioux City, IA; US Army, WWII, engineer

Michael Nelson – Antioch, TN; US Army, Hawaii, 25th Infantry Division, Sgt., KIA

M.David Rosenberg – NY; US Army, WWII & Korea, Chemical Corps

Ben Villarreal Jr. – Cotulla, TX; US Army, Vietnam, Ranger, Sgt. Major (Ret. 35 years)

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From the USS John McCain

Jacob Drake – No.Lewisburg, OH; US Navy, Electronics Technician 2nd Class, MIA

Dustin Doyon – Suffield, CT; US Navy, Petty Officer 3rd Class, MIA

John “CJ” Hoagland – TX, US Navy, MIA

Logan Palmer – Decatur,IL; US Navy, 3rd Class Petty Officer. MIA

Kenneth Smith – Novi, MI; US Navy, 3rd Class Petty Officer, radarman, MIA

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