Category Archives: Current News

Living in the Past?

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Back in December 2016, researcher, historian and hobbyist, Pierre Lagacé offered to construct a model of the P-61 Black Widow from WWII for me. The Northrop aircraft had operated around the SW Pacific during Smitty’s tour on the ground, which only increased my interest. To read a first-hand account of a P-61 in action:
https://forgottenhobby.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/on-december-29th-1944/

My Forgotten Hobby

I am not living in the past. I am just remembering the past.

Remembering is something I just can’t over with just like writing about the past.

This is an update about my P-61 Black Widow I built which someone will always remember.

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It all started when I asked my readers to choose the next project. The Black Widow won hands down.

It was GP’s favorite plane…

Then I had this plan about GP’s favorite plane.

Packing the Black Widow and shipping it to GP in a box within a box.

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I did not have time to take pictures on how I packed it so I asked GP to take pictures.

This is the end result.

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The box

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The box within the box

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The Black Widow arrived safety except for a broken strut which GP repaired gingerly.

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Next time on this blog…

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Working Dogs honored for their service

Sgt. Wes Brown & Isky

Sgt. Wes Brown & Isky

WASHINGTON — During a routine perimeter check in the desert of Afghanistan, Isky found a roadside bomb. He had come to a complete stop, sitting near the explosive device, patiently waiting for orders from his best friend, Army Sgt. Wess Brown.

The IED – buried two feet deep – was a 120-pound bomb. Isky, a German shepherd military working dog, had just saved countless lives.

For his service, he was honored on Capitol Hill – along with three other dogs – with the first-ever K-9 Medal of Courage. It is the nation’s highest honor for military dogs, acknowledging their extraordinary valor and service, awarded by the American Humane Association.

Isky found at least five deadly IEDs and 10 weapon caches as an explosive-detection dog deployed with Brown in July 2013. The two spent a year protecting U.S. political leaders, including President Barack Obama.

Isky and Brown were with 100th Military Working Dog Detachment and have been together since October 2011.

“After he came out of training from Lackland – he was about 18 months old – I was his first handler to certify with him,” Brown, now 27, said.

While most military working dogs can have two to seven handlers, Isky has only had one: Brown.

“I didn’t PCS,” Brown said. If he had, the dog would have gone to a new handler.

In May 2014, Isky’s military career came to an end.

“We were on a combat mission, one of many,” Brown said. “To avoid an ambush we had to get into the vehicles fairly quickly. While Isky was running up the stairs, I had a hold of him, but he fell off the side and broke his leg in six different spots.”

The leg had to be amputated.

“Once I knew he got injured and knew what was happening, as soon as his amputation was scheduled and his future with the Army was done,” Brown put in the paperwork to adopt him, he said.

Brown has been separated from Isky for only two weeks, and that was while Isky recovered. Even when Isky isn’t with him, Brown carries his picture.

These days, instead of searching for bombs, Isky suns himself on a porch in Virginia with Brown. He has become Brown’s PTSD service dog, and the two comfort each other.

“I have nightmares, I get night terrors stuff like that,” Brown said. “I’ll wake up, and he’s jumped up in bed with me. He kind of does the same thing. I’ll hear him have bad dreams and I’ll wake him up. For all I know he’s chasing a ball, but it sounds to me like he’s having a pretty rough time in some of these dreams. I’ll wake him up and he jumps right up in bed with me. And we both calm down.”

Brown has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, and has three crushed discs in his neck. He is currently waiting to be medically retired from the Army.

Isky hasn’t been trained as a PTSD dog. But his bond with Brown is strong enough that when Brown has an anxiety attack, Isky knows.

“When I look at him, I feel safe because of everything we did together in Afghanistan. If it wasn’t for him and doing what we did, there would be a lot more people unable to go home,” Brown said.

More than 200 Congressional staffers and 19 members of Congress attended the event to honor military working dogs. The other dogs who earned the Medal of Courage:

  • Matty, a Czech German shepherd, was a bomb-detection dog in Afghanistan. Now retired Army Spc. Brent Grommet, his handler, says that Matty saved his life and the lives of everyone in his unit more than once. The two were wounded together, including being in a truck that was hit by two roadside bombs. They were flown back to the U.S. for treatment, and while Grommet was in surgery, Matty was wrongly given to someone else. The Humane Association helped reunite the two, and now Matty serves as a support dog for Grommet.
  • Fieldy, a black Labrador retriever, served four combat tours in Afghanistan, where he worked to detect explosives. Handler Marine Cpl. Nick Caceres spent seven months deployed with Fieldy in 2011 and adopted him three years later when the lab was discharged.
  • Bond, a Belgian Malinois, worked 50 combat missions and deployed to Afghanistan three times. He was a multipurpose dog with a special operations unit before he retired. Bond suffers from combat trauma and will be reunited with his handler, who will leave active duty in a few months.

From “Stars and Stripes.”

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Military Canine Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

  • Cairo, a Belgian Malinois used by U.S. Navy Seals in Operation Neptune Spear, in which Osama bin Laden was killed.
  • Gander –  a Newfoundland, was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medall for his feats during the Battle of Hong Kong in WWII.
    Civil War mascot memorial

    Civil War mascot memorial

    Gunner –  Canine air-raid early warning system during the bombing of Darwin in World War II.

  • Rags –  a Signal Corps mascot during World War I.
  • Rifleman Khan –  a German Shepherd that won the Dickin Medal for bravery.
  • Rip –  a Second World War search and rescue dog.
  • Sarbi –  an Australian special forces explosives detection dog, that spent almost 14 months missing in action (MIA) in Afghanistan before being recovered in 2009.
  • Sasha – bomb sniffing dog, posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal
  • Smoky –  hero war dog of World War II, was a Yorkshire Terrier that served with the 5th Air Force in the Pacific after she was adopted by Corporal William Wynne.  Smoky was credited with twelve combat missions and awarded eight battle stars.
    .Sgt. Stubby –  a Boston bull terrier, the most decorated war dog of WWI and the only dog to be nominated for rank and then promoted to sergeant through combat.
  • Tich –  Dickin Medal winner of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, WWII
  • Treo –  awarded Dickin Medal for work as a Arms and Explosives Search dog in Helmand Province, Afghanistan
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CHRISTMAS

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TO ALL THOSE THAT BELIEVE IN FREEDOM AND PEACEMERRY CHRISTMAS, from THE PACIFIC PARATROOPER !!

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PLEASE REMEMBER THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR US THEN….

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AND THOSE THAT PROTECT US TODAY….

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TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND NEW READERS – I WISH YOU ALL THE VERY BEST OF HOLIDAY SEASONS!!!

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MILITARY CHRISTMAS HUMOR – 

Humor from deployed Marines

Humor from deployed Marines

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OOPS !!

OOPS !!

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FAREWELL SALUTES – 

Loren Abdulla – Fox Lake, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart (Yankton Sioux)

Robert Boyd – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 136394, WWII, driveroperation-enduring-freedom-afgahanistan-wilderness-holiday-greetings1

Alfred Chew – Giddings, TX; US Army, Korea, demolition / US Air Force, TSgt. (Ret. 24 yrs.)

Steven Erceg – W.AUS; 3rd & 4th RAR, Vietnam

William Fields – Birmingham, AL; US Army, WWII, PTO

Daniel Martin – Portland, OR; US Army, WWII

Bruce R. Linzy – Gay, FL; US Army, Korea, Co. C/1st Batt./187th RCT

Toby Ortiz – Nambe, NM; US Army, WWII, PTO, 25th Infantry

Fred Persinger – Dover, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, (Ret. 28 years)

Ralph Wetmore – Lodi, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Sgt., medic

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Personal Note – Please be patient, it’s been very busy around here and it may take me a while to get back to you.  I appreciate each and every one of you!!

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USS Alabama – Then and Now

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USS Alabama, Cruise book

The USS Alabama (BB-60) is a South Dakota Class Battleship, launched on April 16, 1942. It served during World War II in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

The Alabama served in British waters protecting supply convoys to the Soviet Union.

Later it joined U.S. forces fighting in the Pacific. It was involved in the Gilbert Island, Marshall Islands, and Marianas Islands campaigns, and in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Okinawa.

The Alabama was awarded nine battle stars for her service.

On January 9, 1947, the Alabama was decommissioned. Her last journey under her own power was to the United States Pacific Reserve Fleet at Bremerton, Washington. She remained there until removed from the Naval Vessel Register on June 1, 1962.

US Navy poster

US Navy poster

However, that was not the end of her life. Some citizens of the State of Alabama formed a ‘USS Alabama Battleship Commission’ with the aim of raising funds to preserve the Alabama as a memorial to the men and women who served their nation during World War II.

The money, including $100,000 raised by schoolchildren in the form of nickels and dimes, and a $1,000,000 corporate donation, was found, and the Alabama was awarded to the state on June 16, 1964. She was formally handed over at a ceremony in Seattle on July 7.

She was then towed to Mobile Bay, Alabama, where she lies in Battleship Memorial Park. It opened as a museum on January 9, 1965. She was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

The Alabama is one of the most well-known American ships of World War II. The 1992 movie Under Siege, starring Steven Seagal, featured it, though not by name.

Though the action in the film is supposed to have occurred on board the Missouri, the Alabama is actually shown in most of the battleship scenes.

 

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Carlton Blackmore – Westfield, NJ; US Army, WWII, Captain

John Cleary Jr. – Bronx, NY; US Army, Korea

Allan Dally – Hawke’s Bay NZ; RNZ Army # 056129, WWII, East Coast Mounted Riflesbiabonlceaepa7g-599x769

Harold Gordon – New Bern, NC; US Merchant Marine, WWII & Korea, radioman

Fred Johnson – Park City, UT; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Snowbell (AN-52)

Larry Jordal – Sisseton, SD; US Army, Korea

Stanley Levine – Cincinnati, OH; US Army, WWII

Richard Rose  – Battle Creek, MI; US Air Force

William J. Simon Jr. – W.Scranton, PA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Marcey Jack Wilson – Wichita Falls, TX; US Navy, WWII

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Canadian-Chinese in the C.B.I. 1944-45

 

Force 136

Force 136

Rumble in the Jungle: The Story of Force 136 is on at the Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver Canada until the end of 2016.  More information at: www.ccmms.ca

Ironically, while these men were agents for the Allies, back home in Canada they were not considered citizens. Although born in Canada, these soldiers could not vote, nor could they become engineers, doctors or lawyers. Many were forced to live in segregated neighborhoods. In some cities, they were forbidden to swim in public pools and were forced to sit in the back of theaters.

In late 1941, Japan entered the war. It quickly invaded large swathes of Southeast Asia. Many of these areas had been British, French and Dutch colonies.

Britain was desperate to infiltrate the region. They had had some success in occupied Europe when Special Operations Executive (SOE.) trained and dropped secret agents into France, Belgium, and Holland. These agents organized and supported local resistance fighters, and helped with espionage and sabotage of infrastructure and German supply lines and equipment.

Training camp near Poona, India. (another camp was in Australia).

Training camp near Poona, India. (another camp was in Australia).

However, Southeast Asia presented unique challenges to SOE. It was a vast area with many islands, challenging physical terrain and diverse populations and languages. As well, most of the residents of the region resented their former colonizers.

SOE realized that Caucasian agents would stand out too much and would struggle to gain local trust. The British needed an alternative.

There was one glimmer of hope. Scattered throughout the region was a sizeable population of Chinese who were vehemently opposed to Japanese occupation and angry about Japanese aggression in China. The question was how to contact and organize them?

Training by British Intelligence.

Training by British Intelligence.

That’s when the British discovered Chinese Canadians. They could easily blend into the population. They could speak Cantonese. They were loyal to the Allies. And there were lots of these young men waiting for an assignment.

Between 1944 and 1945, Chinese Canadians were recruited and quietly seconded to SOE in Southeast Asia (Force 136). They were told they had a 50-50 chance of surviving. They also were sworn to secrecy.

To do this kind of work would require much more than basic army training. The men would need to learn commando warfare techniques. Over the course of several months they learned skills such as: stalking; silent killing; demolition; jungle travel and survival; wireless operations; espionage; and parachuting.

Originally unsure that Chinese Canadians could pass muster, SOE recruited in waves. The first team consisted of only 13 hand-picked men. Eventually, about 150 were seconded for Southeast Asia with the majority based out of India.

Force 136

Force 136

Some men had been assigned to do short trips into occupied Burma. But 14 Chinese Canadians found themselves operating behind Japanese lines for several months in Borneo, Malay, and Singapore. They endured primitive conditions as well as suffocating heat and humidity. They befriended headhunters and other guerrilla groups in the jungles. To survive, some men were forced to eat monkey and crocodile meat, and even insects.

Fortunately, all the Chinese Canadians in Force 136 survived the war although some came back sick with tropical diseases.

With the war over and the Allies victorious, Chinese Canadians now wanted a second victory – the right to vote. Armed with their war wounds and service records, veterans became part of a chorus that demanded full citizenship for the community.  Their loyalty won out. Two years after the guns fell silent, Chinese Canadians were finally granted citizenship. By 1957, the country elected their first Chinese Canadian Member of Parliament: Douglas Jung, who had served with Force 136.

Veterans from Force 136; Hank Lowe, Gordon Quan, Tommy Wong, Charlie Lee & Ronald Lee, cut their cake, 14 May 2016

Veterans from Force 136; Hank Lowe, Gordon Quan, Tommy Wong, Charlie Lee & Ronald Lee, cut their cake, 14 May 2016

Today, through the Museum’s special exhibition, a new generation is learning how the blood, sweat, and tears of a small group of men, in a secret jungle war, helped change the destiny of an entire community. And how their service helped secure a coveted title: the right to be called a “Chinese Canadian.”

Condensed from information found with the Chinese-Canadian Military Museum, Vancouver, Canada.

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CBI Roundup Humor  – Private Louie by Somerville

 

"I guess it's safe to say - he DOESN'T like snakes !"

“I guess it’s safe to say – he DOESN’T like snakes !”

Louie leaving for a change & rest - the bearers have all his change and the railroad got the rest !

Louie leaving for a change & rest – the bearers have all his change and the railroad got the rest !

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edward Albert – Milwaukee, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Kenneth Bailey – Ames, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 pilot, Major (Ret.)

Passing the Colors

Passing the Colors

Joseph Clancy – Durand, MI; US Army, WWII & Korea, Captain

Kenneth Eastlick – Osoyoos, BC, CAN; RC Army, WWII

Beryl Head – Hawke’s Bay, NZ; WR Air Force, WWII, LACW R-T operator

George Keyser – Redington Bch., FL; US Army, WWII/USAF, Korean War

Keith Meredith – Launceston, AUS; RA Army # TX6408, WWII, 6th & 2nd Regiments

Garrett ‘Ray’ Myers – Hemet, CA; US Navy, WWII, signalman

Allen Pellegrin – Houma, LA; US Army, WWII, 109th Engineers/”Red Bull” Division

Karl Zerfoss – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, 397th/100th Infantry Div., T-5 radio operator

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Thanksgiving

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I wish to express my thanks to each and every one of you !!

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

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

Please remember the troops that gave you freedom and those that protect it each day !!

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Thanksgiving Humor – 0a4de2cfa2234de501710f319eebbb4c

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Farewell Salutes – 

Elmer Bales – Alliance, OH; USMC, Cpl.

Ray Clontz Jr. – Corvallis, OR; US Army, 11th & 82nd Airborne

Edgar Johnson Jr. – Grand Bayou, LA; US Navy, WWII, CBImediumpic634249020853470000

Harold Irwin – Argos, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII

William Legault – Coventry, RI; US Navy, WWII, USS Arkansas

Isaiah McGrue – Boligee, AL; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, 1st Sgt. (Ret.)

John Osika – Port Vue, PA; US Army, WWII

Willie Rogers (101) – St. Petersburg, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 100the Air Engineer Sq., Tuskegee airman

Frank Royal (101) – Colorado Springs, CO; US Army Air Corps; WWII, PTO, P-38 pilot, Colonel

Melvin Smith – Walwick, NJ; US Navy, WWII, sub SSR272 Red Fin

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Veteran’s Day ~ Remembrance

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“FOR TOO LONG, TOO MANY OF US HAVE PAID SCANT ATTENTION TO THE SACRIFICE OF A BRAVE FEW IN OUR MIDST.  IT IS UNHEALTHY FOR A NATION TO BECOME DETACHED FROM THOSE WHO SECURE IT.”_______Howard Schultz, author of For Love of Country

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I first want to give my personal THANK YOU to each and every veteran that fights for peace and freedom!!!  I tear up and become speechless at the mere sight of any one of you!!

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 Here in the United States of America we do our best to convey our gratitude to these men and women for giving so much of themselves for our safety on this day.  In such nations as: Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, India, Mauritius, South Africa and many in Europe, a day set aside is called Remembrance Day and was recently observed.

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Our fellow blogger @ Parent Rap led me to this –  100 Ways to Honor a Veteran – if you care to view it – CLICK HERE.

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FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

by: Cadet Major Kelly Strong, Air Force Junior ROTC, Homestead Senior High, Homestead, FL 1988

watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.
 
looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
 
thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mother’s tears?
 
How many pilot’s planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldier’s graves?
No, freedom is not free.
 
I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a certain chill.
 
I wondered how many times
that Taps meant “Amen,”
When a flag draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
 
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
 
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
O unmarked graves in Arlington
No, freedom is not free.
 
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Farewell Salutes –

Andrew Byers – Rolesville, NC; US Army, Afghanistan, 10th Special Forces Group, Capt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

Jason Finan – Anaheim, CA; US Navy, Iraq, Chief Petty Officer, KIA veterans_day

Ryan Gloyer – Denton, PA; US Army, Afghanistan, 10th Special Forces Group, Sgt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

William Hobbs – Marietta, GA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 187th Reg/11th Airborne & later 82nd difference-memorial-veterans-day-640x480Airborne (Ret.)

Matthew Lewellen – Kirksville, MI; US Army, Jordan, Special Forces, SSgt., KIA

Kevin McEnroe – Tucson, AZ; US Army, Afghanistan, Jordan, KIA

James Moriarty – Kerrville TX, US Army, Jordan, KIA

Dakota Stump – Avon, IN; US Army, 1st Cavalry Division, Ft. Hood

Adam Thomas – Lyon County, MN; US Army, Afghanistan, !0th Special Forces A/B, SSgt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

David Whitcher – Bradford, NH; US Army, SSgt., 1st Special Warfare Training Group

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US Marine Corps Birthday ~ 10 November 1775

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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.

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To see 29 facts you may not know about Marines – check out the USO blog HERE!!!

Illustration of the first successful amphibious operation by the Continental Marines. WWII USMC combat artist, Col. Don Dickson

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.

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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!!

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. (R) w/ Capt. Greg Youngberg, of Boynton Bch, FL; Aviator of the Year for USMC

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US Marine Corps [USMC] [Emblem][1_5]

Recruitment poster from early 1900's

Thank You

No words necessary.

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Leatherneck Humor – 01b89b817f7687eadf45c7e60e0252f8

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Farewell Salutes –

Marvin Jackson – Speedway, IN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl.

Robert Juergens – Cleveland, OH; USMC, Korea120507-m-0000c-005

Harry Lord – Jacksonville, NC; USMC, GySgt. (Ret.)

Austin Maloney – Jersey City, NJ; USMC, Korea

Eugene May – Scranton, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO

John O’Leary – Flushing, NY; USMC, Korea, Purple Heart

Leon “Red” Rickman – Wichita, KS; USMC, WWII, PTO

James Sheehan – Framingham, MA; USMC, Lt.Col. (Ret.)

Sandra Shepard – Cincinnati, OH; USMC, Vietnam

Donald Shockey – Savannah, GA; USMC, Lt.Col. (Ret.)

Jerry Vovcsko – Springfield Center, NY; USMC

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Japanese WWII Vet Sees Trouble on the Horizon

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Kaname Harada, 98, holding a picture of himself when he was a fighter pilot

NAGANO, Japan — Kaname Harada was once a feared samurai of the sky, shooting down 19 Allied aircraft as a pilot of Japan’s legendary Zero fighter plane during World War II. Now 98 years old and in failing health, the former ace is on what he calls his final mission: using his wartime experiences to warn Japan against ever going to war again.
This has become a timely issue in Japan, as the conservative Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has called for revising Japan’s pacifist Constitution. On a recent afternoon in this alpine city near his home, Mr. Harada was invited to address a ballroom filled with some 200 tax accountants and their business clients.
After slowly ascending the stage with the help of his daughter, he stopped to hang up hand-drawn war maps and a sepia-toned photo of himself as a young pilot in a leather flight suit glaring fearlessly into the camera.  It was the same face that now turned to look at the audience, creased by age, and somehow softer and wiser. His body was so frail that his suit hung loose like a sail, but he spoke with a loud voice of surprising vigor.
“Nothing is as terrifying as war,” he began, before spending the next 90 minutes recounting his role in battles, from Japan’s early triumph at Pearl Harbor to its disastrous reversals at Midway and Guadalcanal. “I want to tell you my experiences in war so that younger generations don’t have to go through the same horrors that I did.”

model aircraft Mr. Harada uses while he describes his experiences.

model aircraft Mr. Harada uses while he describes his experiences.

It is a warning that Mr. Harada fears his countrymen may soon no longer be able to hear. There are only a dwindling number of Japanese left who fought in the war, which in Asia began when Imperial Japan invaded northeastern China in 1931, and claimed tens of millions of lives over the following 14 years.
In an interview after his speech, Mr. Harada described himself as “the last Zero fighter,” or at least the last pilot still alive who flew during that aircraft’s glory days early in the war with the United States. He recounted how in dogfights, he flew close enough to his opponents to see the terror on their faces as he sent them crashing to their deaths.
“I am 54, and I have never heard what happened in the war,” said Takashi Katsuyama, a hair salon owner, who like many in the audience said he was not taught about the war in school. “Japan needs to hear these real-life experiences now more than ever.”
Mr. Harada’s talk was filled with vivid descriptions of an era when Imperial Japan briefly ruled the skies over the Pacific. During the Battle of Midway in 1942, he said, he shot down five United States torpedo planes in a single morning while defending the Japanese fleet. He described how he was able to throw off the aim of the American tail gunners by tilting his aircraft to make it drift almost imperceptibly to one side as he closed in for the kill.

Mr. Harada during one of his talks.

Mr. Harada during one of his talks.

He also described his defeats. He said he had to ditch his plane in the sea after Japan lost all four aircraft carriers it sent to Midway, the battle that turned the tide of the war in favor of the United States. Four months later, he was shot down over the island of Guadalcanal. He survived when his plane crashed upside down in the jungle, but his arm was so badly mangled that he never fought again. He spent the rest of the war training pilots back in Japan.
After Japan surrendered, he said, he hid from what he feared would be vengeful American occupiers. He worked for a time on a dairy farm, but found himself plagued by nightmares that made it tough to sleep. In his dreams, he said, he kept seeing the faces of the terrified American pilots he had shot down.  “I realized the war had turned me into a killer of men,” he said, “and that was not the kind of person I wanted to be.”
He said the nightmares finally ended when he found a new calling by opening a kindergarten in Nagano in 1965. He said he was able to alleviate the pangs of guilt by dedicating himself to teaching young children the value of peace. While he has now retired, he said he still visits the school every day he can to see the children’s smiling faces.

Harada in days gone by.

Kaname Harada in days gone by.

He said it took many more years before he could finally talk about the war itself. The turning point came during the Persian Gulf war in 1991, when he was appalled to overhear young Japanese describe the bombing as if it were a harmless video game. He said he resolved to speak out. – He has been talking about his war experiences ever since.
“Until I die, I will tell about what I saw,” Mr. Harada concluded his speech to the accountants’ group. “Never forgetting is the best way to protect our children and our children’s children from the horrors of war.”
From a “New York Times” article, written by, Martin Fackler, and submitted to Pacific Paratrooper by Christina @ http://bowsprite.wordpress.com/

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Doyle Baker – Cherokee, OK; USMC, Vietnam, 3rd Marine Air Wing, Lt.

Jack Bryce – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 429941, WWII0083f165f66161f63454e92890403bcd

Lawrence Ericksen – Vernal, UT; US Coast Guard, WWII, Merchant seaman

Frederic Gilbert – El Paso, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Bronze Star

Riley Hammond – Lexington, SC; US Navy, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, (Ret. 30 years)

Paul Ladd – Miami, FL; US Navy, Dental Corps, Capt.

David Manwarring – Covina, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457 Ordnance/11th Airborne Div.

Mel Martin – NY; US Army, Capt., Commander of West Point Medical Corps

Dempsey Syvet – Gaspe, CAN; RC Army, WWII, CBI, Royal Rifles of Canada

Edward Tice Jr. – Allentown, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO

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Personal Note –  

I attempted to condense this post for the readers, but I just could not see where anything could be taken out.

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WWII Veteran Travels To Teach History

Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot

Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot

I discovered this article and simply felt the day after 9/11 was perfect for repeating it.

Retired Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin is a man on a mission, and that mission is to speak to young people across America about World War II and the futility of war. His life’s motto is, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and he firmly believes that the young people of today do not appreciate the reality of war and what it was like to fight in one.

Jerry Yellin climbing into a trainer aircraft

Jerry Yellin climbing into a trainer aircraft

Yellin was an Army pilot during WWII [the 78th Fighter Squadron, “The Bushmasters”], with 19 missions over Japan to his credit, but now he is a worried man. In an interview with Channel 12 News, he said, “It’s 2016. I’m 92 years old. I’m reading the same headlines in the newspaper about race, religion, terrorism and killing people for (beliefs) that I read when I was 12 years old in 1936. It’s no different.”

He fears that young people do not understand how the fueling of hatred over differences plays into the hands of warmongers, “We’re an angry nation,” said Yellin. “We’re a divided nation: Culturally, monetarily, racially and religious-wise we’re divided.”

Yellin has a simple message that he is trying to get across to the leaders of tomorrow. No matter how naive he may sound, he simply wants people to draw closer together, “We all need three meals a day,” he said. “We all need a bed to lie down on. We all need something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to for happiness.”

Retired U.S. Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin attends the 71st Commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima at Iwo To, Japan, March 19, 2016. The Iwo Jima Reunion of Honor is an opportunity for Japanese and U.S. veterans and their families, dignitaries, leaders and service members from both nations to honor the battle while recognizing 71 years of peace and prosperity in the U.S. – Japanese alliance. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by MCIPAC Combat Camera Lance Cpl. Juan Esqueda / Released)

Ret. Capt. Jerry Yellin attends the 71st Commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima, March 19, 2016.

This aging pilot and humanitarian has already spoken to the students at the University of Washington, and he has several other speaking engagements set up. This weekend he will be at the Sioux Airshow, in the Sheehan Mack Sales & Equipment’s tent where he will be very happy to chat to you.

Hopefully, many young people will heed the important message that this veteran carries. All nations need someone to unite them instead of serving up reasons to divide the population against one another.   Yellin said, “I just want (people) to know what the 16 million (veterans) did in World War II and why we did it. There were 16 million of us, now there’s maybe 300,000 of us. Most of us can’t walk and talk, but I can, so I’m doing it.”

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“Telling them the story of World War II — why we fought, and why we can’t fight any more wars.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –11133852_544721869000280_6531901680391445584_n

How else can we expect to pay for this war?

How else are we going to to pay for this war?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Richard Alkema – Belmont, MI; US Navy, WWII

Donald Blakely – Woodbury, MN; US Navy, WWII11986973_1183822258300441_3544440820007753006_n.jpgfrom, Falling with Hale

Dorothy Clapshaw – Waihi, NZ; JP # 810166, WWII, Medical ship, Oranje, ETO to PTO

Peter Collins – UK; RAF, test pilot

Arthur Marshall – No.Vancouver, CAN; WWII, ETO, Calgary Highlanders

Thomas Parkhurst – Prague, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division

Robert Schaeffer – Allentown, PA; US Army, WWII, MSgt. (Ret. 31 yrs.), Bronze Star

Thomas Wickline Sr. – Hillsboro, WVA; US Army, Korea

Melvin Witt – Muskegon, IL; US Army, Korea

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