Category Archives: Current News

U.S. Coast Guard disaster, the USS Serpens

USS Serpens USCG

The sinking of the ammunition ship USS Serpens in January 1945 was the single deadliest day in the history of the Coast Guard. The gigantic explosion, which killed 250 sailors and almost vaporized the ship, was blamed on an accident involving the ship’s explosive cargo. Now, new allegations push the theory that the ship was actually attacked by a Japanese submarine—and that U.S. Navy officials were covering this up as late as 2003.

On the night of January 29th, 1945 the island of Guadalcanal was wracked by a truly massive explosion. The USS Serpens, whose crew had been handling a cargo of anti-submarine depth charges, exploded with the force of 600 tons of explosives.

Serpens, a Liberty Transport Ship, 424 feet long and displacing 14,250 tons, practically disappeared in the blink of an eye. The ship, save for a section of the bow, disappeared from the face of the earth. Along with it went 193 Coast Guardsmen, 56 U.S. Army soldiers & a U.S. Public Health Service surgeon.

One sailor who responded to the explosion stated:

“…as we came into closer view of what had once been a ship, the water was filled only with floating debris, dead fish, torn life jackets, lumber and other unidentifiable objects. The smell of death, and fire, and gasoline, and oil was evident and nauseating. This was sudden death, and horror, unwanted and unasked for, but complete.”

The U.S. Navy would ultimately chalk up the incident to an accidental detonation of the ship’s cargo: 3,399 unfused bombs, each containing 350 pounds of high-explosive Torpex. That adds up to 1,189,650 pounds of high explosive, or 594 tons. As the Coast Guard states, “By 1949, the U.S. Navy officially closed the case deciding that the loss was not due to enemy action but an “accident intrinsic to the loading process.”

Now, 74 years later, a son of one of the lost crew members of the Serpens is lobbying for the Pentagon to reconsider the official explanation. Backing him up are some curious facts, allegations, and discrepancies, as reported recently by the Sarasota-Herald Tribune:

  • Amazingly, there were two survivors of the ship explosion, both of whom survived in the remaining bow section of the ship. One of them reported that a Japanese submarine had been tracking the Serpens before the explosion.
  • Two explosions were heard by nearby military personnel. The second explosion was the detonation of the million plus pounds of high explosives aboard the ship. According to the submarine theory, the first explosion was a torpedo which then set off a huge “secondary” explosion of the ship’s cargo.
  • A majority of the Court of Inquiry convened to look into the accident believed that the ship had been the victim of enemy action—yet the Navy still insisted the cause of the explosion had been an accident.
  • Japanese radio propaganda actually announced the explosion before Japan could have plausibly learned about it from the Americans, suggesting a submarine reported the attack back to Tokyo.

Veering into sinister territory: the Navy Judge Advocate General’s conclusions on the Serpens’ sinking, dated 1949, “were checked out of the National Archives Records Administration in 2003 by the Navy JAG’s office and never returned.”

USS Serpens’ caskets at Arlington Cemetery

At 76, the retired Central Intelligence Agency senior finance officer and certified fraud investigator wonders if he’s onto one of the last cover-ups of World War II.

So why would the U.S. Navy cover up the incident? By 1945 Guadalcanal was thousands of miles behind friendly lines and was part of the logistics chain supporting the Allies’ advance on Japan itself. Anti-torpedo nets were supposed to be strung along Lunga Point to protect ships like the Serpens, but were often less than 100 percent reliable.

The death of 250 military personnel far from the front line would have been a major embarrassment to the Navy.

Could the Navy reverse course and come clean? In 2001, Naval historians pieced together enough evidence to convince the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of the Navy that the USS Eagle 2, a patrol boat sunk off the coast of Maine in 1945, was the victim of a submarine attack. For decades, the Navy believed Eagle-2 had been the victim of a boiler explosion.

USS Serpens monument

Historians discovered reports by survivors that a mysterious submarine with unique symbols painted on the conning tower was sighted at the time of the attack. The symbols matched those painted on the German Navy U-boat U-583,proving it was responsible for the sinking.

The official explanation for the loss of Serpens leaves open the possibility that members of the crew were in some way incompetent and caused their own deaths. A submarine attack, on the other hand, could mean that local anti-submarine defenses were not strong enough and would fault the Navy’s leadership.

Reopening the case of the Serpens could help clear the names of the crew—and determine why the real truth didn’t come out decades sooner.

Story by:
Kyle Mizokami

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stuart Amstutz – New Orleans, LA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Jeff Bricker – Quincey, IL; US Army, Gulf War, 82nd Airborne Division

John Christopher – Roswell, GA; US navy, WWII, PTO, USS Rodman

Aubrey Downey – Morvin, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI; 375th Bomb Squadron

William Frasher – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Frederick Gerken Jr. – Denville, NJ; US Army, WWII, Pvt., cannoneer, 398th Infantry Reg., Bronze Star

Richard Lillie Sr. – Boston, MA; US Navy, WWII, USS Bunker Hill

Ceci Nelson (102) – Oklahoma City, OK; US navy, WWII

Peter Povich – Akron, OH; US Army, Cpl., 11th Airborne Division

John A. Shelemba – Hamtramck, MI; US Army, Korea, L Co./3/34/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Taejon)

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HAPPY HOLIDAY WISH FOR ALL !! Poems (2)

SANTA PARATROOPER

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to everyone out there !!   May you all find the Peace and Happiness you deserve.

 

 

A 1944 Christmas

FromPacific Paratrooper to ALL !!!

Cherish His Christmas

by Roger J. Robicheau

Dedicated to our military…

Christmas brings such a time of love
Each tender heart holds so much of

Unselfishness thrives, trust is strong
The purpose to give, send love along

A time of pleasantries, patience too
Good wishes to all, all feelings true

Thankfulness follows each fine deed
Gifts from our God, never from greed

Great the rewards that joy does bring
Like the beauty in hearing angels sing

We pray for our loved, each so dear
Especially those who can’t be near

Many leave home to bravely serve
All freedoms we have, they preserve

Do pray for our troops, as we should
And their families too, if you would

Give thanks to our Lord, His only Son
And cherish His Christmas, everyone

©2004Roger J. Robicheau

Please do me one favor and click on last year’s post – Right Here !  

From Charly Priest to Smitty – CLICK HERE!!

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Military Humor – 

Easton, MD–Dec. 22, 2011–This is a Christmas display at the home of Tom and Alice Blair, which includes an F 104 jet, staff photo/Barbara Haddock Taylor} [Sun Photographer] #9306

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Anderson – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Bill Bjorson – Canfield, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/511/11th Airborne Division

Roland Duffany – Pawtucket, RI; US Army, WWII, SSgt., Purple Heart

Robert Gibbons – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Samuel Jones – London, ENG; Royal Navy, WWII, ETO, gunner, HMS Zulu

Shuso “Shoes” Kumata – IL; US Army, WWII, PTO, Occupation interpreter

Thomas Lovell – St. George, UT; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Tetsuo Matsumoto – Lodi, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 100/442nd RCT

George A. Sakheim – Brn: GER; US Army, WWII, ETO, Military Intelligence & interpreter

Wiley Tanner – Radium, KS; US Army, WWII

 

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Christmas poems for our military (1)

Sailor Santa

“A Different Christmas Poem”

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

091202-N-5339S-693
GROTON, Conn. (Dec. 2, 2009) Santa Claus stands with Sailors aboard the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755) during the submarineÕs return to Naval Submarine Base New London after an eight-month deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Electronics Technician John Sabados/Released)

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,

I’m out here by choice. I’m here every Night.”

“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at “Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of “Nam”,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son
In more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures;
He’s sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”
“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”

“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

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Military Humor – 

Easton, MD–Dec. 22, 2011–This is a Christmas display at the home of Tom and Alice Blair, which includes an F 104 jet, staff photo/Barbara Haddock Taylor} [Sun Photographer] #9306

Aboard the USS Nimitz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Arnold Arons – Vacaville, CA; US Navy, WWII / US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 30 y.)

John Bayens – Louisville, KY; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc., Co B/1/6/2nd Marine Division, KIA (Tarawa)

Joseph Cuda – NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Glenn R, Goff III – Hardeesville, SC; US Army, Vietnam, specialist

Francis Jackson – Oak Mills, KS; USMC, WWII, PTO, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret. 30 y.)

Richard Little – Mobile, AL; US Navy, WWII, USS Henry W. Tucker / US Air Force, Korea

Maurice Mounsdon (101) – Litchfield, ENG; RAF, WWII, Lt., pilot, 56th Squadron “The Few”

Michael Soares – New Bern, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, 2nd Lt., tank commander / US Navy (Ret. 25 y.)

Gordon Whitlow – Sioux Falls, SD; Merchant Marines, WWII / US Air Force, Korea

John Voogt – Newport, RI; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam

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Current News – Japanese Librarian

TOKYO — Thousands of newspapers dating back to 1945, countless clippings of old stories and half a million priceless photographs fill a room that Norio Muroi has tended for the past 42 years.

Stars and Stripes’ library in Tokyo preserves the stories and heroics of countless service members from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars alongside records of newsworthy events on American bases in the Far East over the past 75 years.

A tailor’s son from Otawara in Tochigi prefecture, Muroi in 1977 was studying economics at Hosei University in Tokyo when he started as a Stars and Stripes copyboy, he recalled during a recent tour of the library at Hardy Barracks, the newspaper’s Pacific headquarters in the Japanese capital.

“It was rare to see American people so much in those days and to have an opportunity to talk with native speakers,” he said of his first days on the job, when he was eager to practice the English he’d learned at school.

Just steps from the nightlife hub of Roppongi, Hardy Barracks was a hive of activity. Dozens of U.S. military and civilian staff and 180 Japanese worked to publish hundreds of thousands of newspapers each day for service members on the main islands of Japan, Okinawa, Korea and other parts of the Pacific such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and Guam.

It was an era before online news or Google searches, when printed newspapers provided a vital link to home for troops stationed overseas.

“We were like tennis ball boys,” Muroi said of the copyboys, who spent mornings rushing about the newsroom carrying story drafts and messages to editors. The youngsters burned plenty of calories and looked forward to a free Coke from the sports editor at the end of each shift, he recalled.

In 1979, he started full time in the library. Known today as the Toshi Cooper Library, it holds at least 250,000 clippings that are stored in envelopes and filed so they can be searched by subject, such as notable figures, military units and campaigns.

But Muroi didn’t spend his entire career among the archives. Some of his most memorable experiences involved serving as an interpreter for journalists in the field.

In February 1982, he and the other librarians acting as temporary linguists joined reporters rushing to a fire at the Hotel New Japan that, ultimately, claimed 32 lives not far from the Sanno Hotel, a U.S. military property.

The following day, Muroi was back in the field as an interpreter after a Japan Air Lines pilot intentionally crashed a DC-8 airliner at Haneda Airport, killing 24 people, he said.

Two of the most memorable stars he met on the job were folk musician John Denver and baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio, Muroi said, proudly showing off photographs of his 1992 encounter with Joltin’ Joe. He met the Yankee legend while helping a sports reporter cover the U.S.-Japan baseball series at the now-demolished Korakuen Stadium.

The library that he’s handing off to his successor, Akiko Takamizawa, is a recently renovated, state-of-the-art facility that features constant temperature and humidity control.

It stores hundreds of large, red volumes that contain original Stars and Stripes newspapers sorted by month all the way back to 1945, and countless clippings and old photographs preserved in hundreds of white boxes on metal racks.

The library has about 500,000 photographs taken by Stars and Stripes staff or sourced from news agencies or U.S. military service branches over the years, Muroi said.

He opened a box of photographs and found black-and-white prints of images taken during the Vietnam War by Gary Cooper, an enlisted Stars and Stripes reporter who eventually married the library’s namesake, longtime librarian Toshi Cooper.

One of those photos shows a wounded soldier getting aid from a couple of buddies on the battlefield. The print, like hundreds of thousands of others in the library, is coded to allow librarians to track negatives stored at the Stars and Stripes Europe library in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The libraries are gradually digitizing those negatives for posterity.

The library isn’t just a valuable resource for working journalists. Muroi’s work also involves tracking down old stories and photographs for veterans or those whose friends or relatives have appeared in Stars and Stripes over the years.

Muroi said he’s had plenty of useful advice over the years from Toshi Cooper, who served as librarian from 1948 to 1971. Now chairwoman emeritus of the Stars and Stripes Association, which organizes reunions of former employees, Cooper described Muroi as the ideal newspaper librarian.

“He has everything it takes to be the perfect research librarian,” she said. “He is studious, calm and steady, curious, patient, selfless, a good listener, devoted and above all that, he loves Stars and Stripes.”

Preserving Stars and Stripes’ archives and other documents in the building is important, Muroi added.  “No matter how digital technology expands in the future the original is coming from here,” he said.

Muroi plans to stay in Tokyo after retirement and spend time hiking with his wife, Yoshiko. The couple’s first trip will be to a Japanese hot spring, he said.

Condensed from an article by:

robson.seth@stripes.com

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Military Humor – 

“Stars and Stripes? Never heard of it!”

“Excuse me, you’re standing in my shaving water.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

June Chorn – Boise, ID; Civilian, jeep repair @ Gowen Field

Jack Clift (100) – Decatur, GA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Captain, 11th Airborne Division, Silver Star, Bronze Star

Daniel Fraunfelter – Falmouth, MA; US Navy, WWII, radioman

Frederick Hall – Whitefish Bay, WI; USMC, Korea & Vietnam

Claude Hensley – Asheville, NC; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Wilford K. Hussey Jr. – Hilo, HI; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. K/3/31/7th Infantry Division, KIA (North Korea)

Robert W. Marshall – Portsmouth, VA; US Army, Major 11th Airborne Division

Hugh Palmer – Lakewood, OH; US Army, WWII, PTO, 25th Infantry, Medical Unit

Gerald Thummel – Tipton, KS; US Navy, Korea & Vietnam, Ret. (27 y.)

George Wallace (100) – St. Paul, MN; US Navy, WWII
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Emperor Hirohito

Emperor Hirohito, on white horse, January 1940

 

Japanese public broadcast service, NHK has obtained documents showing that former Emperor Hirohito repeatedly felt sorry about World War II and tried, unsuccessfully, to express his feelings by using the word “remorse” in a 1952 speech.

The records of conversations with Hirohito spanning several years were kept by Michiji Tajima, a top Imperial Household Agency official who took office after the war.

Although it’s not surprising that Hirohito had deep regrets about the war, the documents highlight how painfully strong such emotions had been.

Journals and notebooks kept by Michiji Tajima, a former top Imperial Household Agency, are seen in Tokyo on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019.
KYODO NEWS VIA AP

The Imperial Household Agency declined to comment on the report.

As he was preparing his 1952 speech at a ceremony to commemorate Japan’s return to independence with the end of the U.S. occupation, Hirohito insisted to Tajima that he “must include the word remorse” in his speech, according to NHK.

That wish was relayed to then-Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who advised against it, NHK said.

Yoshida’s views were that people needed to look to the future and any reference sounding like an apology would give the wrong impression.

World War II, which ended with Japan’s 1945 surrender following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was fought in the name of the emperor.  The man who had wanted nothing more out of life than to be a Marine Biologist,  was considered divine.

After the war, the U.S. occupation allowed the emperor to stay on, although without any political powers but as a symbol of the state.

In this Jan. 26, 2016, file photo, Japan’s Emperor Akihito, right, and Crown Prince Naruhito, left, walk at Haneda international airport in Tokyo. Emperor Akihito, abdicated on April 30, 2019, in the first such abdication in about 200 years. The emperor will be 85. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

The documents show that Hirohito felt that, instead of surrender, he wished he had been able to end the war earlier. He also privately expressed horror at the atrocities committed by the Japanese military, according to the documents. But he also told Tajima that the military was so powerful that he couldn’t influence it.

Hirohito died of cancer in 1989 at age 87. He was succeeded by his son Akihito, who recently abdicated, passing the Chrysanthemum Throne to his son Naruhito. Both Akihito and Naruhito have publicly expressed remorse for the war.

From: Stars and Stripes magazine, YURI KAGEYAMA | Associated Press | Published: August 20, 2019

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

K. Beltz – Villas, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./674 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Wallace Crane – Manchester, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Robert Felton – Green Bay, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Lewis Gentry – Cookeville, TN; US Army, WWII, PTO, C/O cook, medic & Chaplin’s asst.

Mohammed S. Haitham – US Navy, KIA (Pensacola, FL)

George Kessel – Fargo, ND; US Army, WWII, ETO, 26th Infantry Division, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

James Masters – Bourne, MA; US Air Force, Vietnam, SSgt., radioman, Bronze Star

Victor ‘Pat’ Tumlinson – Raymondville, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Cameron Walters – GA; US Navy, KIA (Pensacola, FL)

Joshua C. Watson – AL; US Navy, US Naval Academy graduate, KIA (Pensacola, FL)

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Pearl Harbor is remembered

Crew of the USS Arizona

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

Hickam Field

Aerial view during the attack

Battleship Row, as seen by Japanese pilot during the attack

From the Smithsonian Museum……

USS Oklahoma stamp

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

U.S. Marine Mounted Honor Guard

Korea

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

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

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

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

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

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

Otto Wilner – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

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

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Military during Thanksgiving

 

 

 

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

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

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Thanksgiving during WWII…

They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day,

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

I can see everyone, eating dinner deluxe,

Whether it be chicken, turkey or even duck;

The fellows over here won’t whimper or moan,

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

 

Truly and honestly, from way down deep,

They want you to be happy and enjoy your feast.

These holidays are remembered by one and all,

Those happy days we can always recall.

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

When we all come back from defeating the foe.

_______Poem by an Anonymous WWII Veteran

Thanksgiving

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

 

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

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Humor – 

Navy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Army

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

WWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Merredin, Australia

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

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

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

Merredin

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

Australian General Army Hospital

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

Aviation Fuel Tanks

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

RAAF WWII Supply Hangar, Merredin

RAAF No10 Stores Depot

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

HF/DF Installation

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

Ammunition Dumps

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

At the Military Museum

Military Museum

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

Vietnam Veteran’s Reflection Pond Memorial

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

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

Edward Herbert – Boonton, PA; 11th Airborne Division

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

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

Patrick Ryan – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII

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

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

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

Australians landing on Borneo

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

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

Borneo

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

Borneo map

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

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

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

Combat in Borneo

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

Borneo

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

Lt. Gen. Masao Baba at Borneo surrender

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

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

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Lt.General E.M. Flanagan

 

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

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

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

11th Airborne Division patch

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

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

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

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Veterans Day 2019

For each and every veteran – Thank You!!

For All Our Todays and Yesterdays

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

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

For their loyalty

War Dog Memorial on Guam.

 

US Military dog insignia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Things That Make a Soldier Great

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run–

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

 

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

The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,

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

Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

by: Edgar A, Guest

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

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Current News – 

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

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

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

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

William Timpner – Stamps, AR; US Army, WWII

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

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

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