Category Archives: Book Reviews

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.

Click on images to enlarge.

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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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.)

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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Intermission Story (1) – A Castaway’s War Against the Japanese

Lt. Hugh Barr Miller w/ flag he retrieved from Arundel Island

Lt. Hugh Barr Miller w/ flag he retrieved from Arundel Island

In The Castaway’s War, Stephen Harding has fastened on one U.S. Navy officer’s amazing exploits in the South Pacific—an adventure much publicized during and immediately after World War II, but long forgotten since—and fleshed it out into a full-scale narrative not only of the episode itself, but of the moral and physical shaping of the man who accomplished it. Mining official records of the U.S. and Japanese navies, personal letters, and recollections, Harding creates a retelling that is not only gripping, but fully documented. [Harding is the editor of World War II’s sister publication, Military History.]

9780306823404

A Robinson Crusoe story set in wartime.

The feat that made a hero and news media darling of Lieutenant Hugh Barr Miller Jr. began 43 minutes after midnight on July 5, 1943, off the coast of the Solomon Islands. A Japanese torpedo struck Miller’s destroyer, the USS Strong. Miller rescued many of his men, but before he could board the rescue ship that had arrived, it fled under enemy fire. The USS Strong went down, and Miller went into the water wearing a kapok life jacket. Seriously injured from the shock wave created as the Strong’s depth charges exploded, he was pulled onto a floater net holding three other survivors. The four men washed ashore three days later at Arundel, a small Japanese-occupied island just ten miles long and six miles wide.

Lt. Hugh Barr Miller aboard the USS Strong

Born on 19 January 1910, Hugh Miller became a star quarterback for the University of Alabama in the 1930 season.  He led the team to win the Rose Bowl game played on New years Day 1931.  The Crimson Tide crushed the Washington Cougars 24-0.

Adm. Halsey, Hugh Miller & Eleanor Roosevelt when Miller received the Navy Cross & Purple Heart

Miller’s incredible tale unfolds over the 38 days he remained stranded.  After suffering from near-fatal injuries and exposure to the elements, he ordered the enlisted men who had landed with him to leave him behind and make for an American-held island. However, he miraculously recovered. Using woodsman skills learned in his adolescence and grit inspired by his collegiate football coach, Miller managed not only to evade Japanese search parties, but to kill more than a half dozen Japanese soldiers. The sojourn on Arundel finally ended when Miller signaled a low-flying American TBM Avenger and the pilot sent a seaplane to rescue the lone castaway.

USS Strong, sunk at Kula Gulf

USS Strong, sunk at Kula Gulf

Harding, contemptuous of “the chest-thumping, testosterone-fueled prose” in which Miller’s episode was so often retold in pulp publications in the immediate postwar years, recounts Miller’s story in calm, precise detail, carefully correcting the myths and inaccuracies that adhered over the years. This is Miller’s entire life, sketching in his prewar years and how they forged the man who became the hero of Arundel, chronicling the Strong’s wartime missions and maneuverings, and following Miller through his postwar career as a navy lawyer and military court judge.

So while the heart of the book—the 90 pages covering the time from the torpedoing of the destroyer to Miller’s rescue from Arundel—is certainly the most riveting, the reader is able to put Miller’s experience into the perspective of the full life of a man who, while perhaps not extraordinary, did extraordinary things.

Hugh Barr Miller passed away 21 June 1978.

The Castaway’s War will be made into a full-length movie.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Celani Jr. – Lancaster, CA; US Navy, Naval Special Warfare Command, Lt. Comdr., pilot

Matthew ‘Hattie’ Hatfield – Everleigh, ENG; British Army, Royal Tank Reg., Cpl.

Darren Neilson – Blockburn, ENG; British Army, Royal Tank Regiment, Cpl.

Fred I. Sonnenfeld – Bronx, NY; US Army, Cpl.

George P. Teel Jr. – White Haven, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 8th Army, Cpl.

Robert J. York – Tamaqua, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII & Korea, Lt. Col.

FROM THE USS FITZGERALD

Shingo A. Douglass – San Diego, CA; US Navy, Yeoman 3rd Class

Noe Hernandez – Weslaco, TX; US Navy, Gunner’s mate 2nd Class

NgocT T. Huynh – Oakville, CT; US Navy, Sonar Tech 3rd Class

Alex Martin – Halethorpe. MD; Personnel Specialist 1st Class

Gary L. Rehm Jr. – Elyria, OH; Fire Controlman 1dt Class

Dakota Kyle Rigsby – Palmyra, VA; US Navy, Gunner’s mate Seaman

Carlosvictor G. Sibayan – Chula Vista, CA; Fire Controlman 2nd Class

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Soldiers’s Stories & Kiwi Air Power

Soldier's Stories

Soldier’s Stories

One day I happened across a blog written by Myra Miller and I stopped in for a visit.  Ms. Miller and her family were compiling stories from WWII to be published soon.  I was invited to submit one of Smitty’s letters – and I most certainly took her up on her offer!

Myra Miller PhD.

Myra Miller PhD.

Smitty’s Letter X, Jungle Juice was accepted and now, appears on pages 286-288.  I received my copy right before Christmas!  The timing could not have been better.

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The volume: Soldiers stories: A Collection of WWII Memoirs is out on the stands!  This 317 page historical collection honors our Greatest Generation veterans, both male and female soldiers, from theaters of operations around the world.  They will grab and transport you into the past and once you are there – you witness the tears, the laughs, the success and the failures which created a complete transformation of this world of ours.

The design is by Myra Miller and the illustrations by Ken Miller which make up a handsome edition to anyone’s library.  My copy is a welcomed addition to mine.

If you wish a copy for yourself, please visit Myra’s site HERE!  It is also available through Barnes and Noble.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Also, I downloaded a copy of Matthew Wright’s Kiwi Air Power, that he was graciously offering to us free of charge [and will be doing so again in the future] and can be found on Amazon.  You can also download a copy from Matthew Wright’s blog by clicking on the book cover, located HERE!

Matthew Wright, author

Matthew Wright, author

Right up front, Mr. Wright informs the reader that he will show the how and the why of the New Zealand’s Air Force.  The rather rough start, their combat and now, their continuation – rather than the what.

Mr. Wright’s writing expertise together with personal remarks from the men themselves, you can visualize all they supplied in men and machines to support England in the war, some airmen serving with the RAF, and on into the Cold War.  You read about the political struggles and strength of will that prevailed.

I am enjoying my copy very much and suggest anyone interested in history – quick – get a copy for yourself!

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Holiday Humor – fb_img_1482158893635

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Anderson – Jones County, GA; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Sr. Chief (Ret.)

Robert Caplan – Knoxville, TN; US Navy, WWII

The Big Picture...

The Big Picture…

Thomas Corbett – Dorchester, MA; USMC, WWII, USS Bennington

Kenneth Fransen – Sun City, AZ; US Army, Korea

Thelburn Knepp – Peoria, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 89th Infantry Division

Bruce Linzy – Gay, FL; US Army, Company C/1st Batt./87th RCT

John Murray – Bronx, NY; US Air Force

Julian Parrish – San Diego, CA; USMC, Vietnam, 1st Force Recon, Colonel

Robert Thamm – NY & FL, US Navy

Don Witherspoon – Lamar, SC; US Army, Korea, 9th Reg./2nd Infantry Division, Silver Star

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From a Layout to a Book: Behind the Scenes at IHRA

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Publishing non-fiction may not be as easy as you first imagine.

Let the IHRA historians know how you feel about their work!

 

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Last week, we gave you an idea of how we get our information, compile it, and begin to write a compelling narrative. We left off with the chapter layout process and now we’ll finish the book. Before we get to the rest of the chapters as well as the appendices, let’s focus on the color section.

The color section consists of color photos we received, aircraft profiles, nose art closeups (this is a recent addition as of Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s and Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Volume I), paintings, and patches. As for plane profiles, one plane from each squadron during each quarter of the war is chosen based on availability of photos, unique attributes (such as camouflage schemes and hardware), coverage of a plane, and elaborate nose art.

Once planes are chosen, we gather up all the photos and written information we have into what…

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Behind the Scenes at IHRA

This helps to explain exactly why I was so excited about the research and published volumes of the IHRA !!

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From Warpath Across the Pacific to the first volume of Ken’s Men Against the Empire, our books have become the standard for World War II unit histories as well as a go-to for the history of the air war in the Pacific Theater. How did we get here? We’ll take you through part of the process of how we turn piles of photos and information into the next great installment of the Eagles Over the Pacific series.

It starts with gathering as much primary source material as possible: photos, personal diaries, letters, interviews, squadron and unit reports, medal citations, missing aircraft crew reports, and so on. Material borrowed from individual veterans was processed first, so it could be returned in a somewhat timely fashion. Before the days of scanners, photos of the photos were taken, printed out, and organized into reference binders by month. The original photos were then…

View original post 499 more words

IHRA – International Historical Research Associate’s 5th Air Force Series

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Warpath Across the Pacific

 

I am not at all certain what I expected  before my copy of Warpath Across the Pacific arrived at my doorstep, but today I find myself wholly unqualified to review IHRA’s commanding series Eagles Over the Pacific.  This tome concerning the 345th Bomb Group is the highest quality of research I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Lawrence J. Hickey has created a masterpiece account of history accompanied by the artistic talent of Art Director, Jack Fellows.  The Preface, written by Col. Maurice J. Eppstein, USAF Ret., delivers an impact of reality depicting life for the 498th,499th, 500th & 501st squadrons and so many others during the Pacific War.

Warpath Across the Pacific takes the readers from the establishment of the 345th, into their rigorous training and throughout  their deployment.  One is carried across the massive ocean to see the bases and examine each aircraft.  You will eventually realize that you have come to know each crew as they prepare, experience and carry out each mission as it is described in striking detail.  Then, with bated breath, you await each of their return.

The numerous maps and aircraft profiles, by Steve W. Ferguson, keep the reader orientated while being engulfed in the events, seeing their successes and feeling the pain of their losses.  Countless photographs from worldwide historians and private collections are included to correspond to the information at hand.  Nose-art is visible cover to cover as well as artistic illustrations of the B-25’s flown by these young, valiant men.  Each airman is mentioned, the bomb squadrons profiled and the book has a special section for those killed and missing.

I find it difficult to accurately describe how greatly impressed I am by this series as each page is turned.  I have never acquired a volume I value more or recommend so highly.  Reading Warpath Across the Pacific was not a way to learn history, but a way to experience it!

This 5th edition even includes new material concerning the Japanese side of the war.

I thank the members of the IHRA for paying such attention to detail, for their dedication, patriotism and expertise.

Therefore, it is with the utmost confidence that I recommend these other editions of the series…

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Warpath Across the Pacific

# 2 –  Revenge of the Red Raiders – 

An equal effort of historical importance concerning the 22nd Bombardment Group/5th Air Force.  The same attention to detail as they bring the reader from the airfields of America to the SW Pacific skies.

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# 3 – Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s – 

The life and wartime of the 312th Bombardment Group/5th Air Force follows in the same style and professional manner.  Read and imagine these young men in their P-40 Warhawks and later, the Douglas A-20 Havoc aircraft.

"Ken's Men Against the Empire, Vol. I"

“Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Vol. I”

# 4 – Ken’s Men Against the Empire – Vol. 1 – 

This project by the IHRA, contains the history of the 43rd Bombardment Group, generated such an abundance of material that it was necessary to create two volumes rather than omit any information.  With the early war and the B-17 era, and then re-equipping with B-24’s for this young, but growing unit.

This edition holds the detailed and accurate missions of the most highly decorated crew in U.S. history, Zeamer’s “Eager Beavers.”  You can start your journey with these squadrons as they progress through the Pacific and witness it as never before.  Should you have any doubt about their research from U.S. training bases – through New Guinea, the Netherlands Indies, the Philippines, Indochina and Japan – a reblog 0f their own post will show, (rather than tell), you how expertly each record is handled.

As Lawrence Hickey stated in his Introduction: “This, then, is the story of the ‘Air Apaches.'”

 To locate the IHRA blog – Please Click Here!

To purchase any volume from the IHRA, click HERE!

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Cather – Birmingham, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 501st “Black Panthers”/345th, Capt.

Glenn Doolittle – San Antonio, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 435th Bombardment Group, Silver Star, Col.

Lester Gurden – Owosso, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., radio technician

Land-Sea-Air Tribute

Land-Sea-Air Tribute

William Hammock – Columbus, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Bruce Hanson – Nampa, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-25 pilot

Erwin Johnson – New Orleans, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 27th Bomb Group, A-20 air mechanic, POW

Gerald Levin – Baltimore, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

William Michels – Alexandria, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Engineer Corps

Louis Mori – Ronoke Rapid, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 674th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Harold Peterson – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, radioman

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