Category Archives: First-hand Accounts

Victory for the U.S.A. | Poem for the 11th Airborne

Yank magazine Sept. 1945 (notice the helmet stenciling)

On the cover of the 14 September 1945 issue of Yank magazine,(Vol. 4 No. 13) is S/Sgt. William Carlisle of Chalmers, Indiana

This poem was written by: Pvt. Bronnell York, Battery D, 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, 11th A/B; even if you are not a poetry enthusiast, it is worth reading.

“Victory For the U.S.A.”

We’re the boys of the 457,
Earning our major pay,
Fighting Japs and jungle life,
For three sixty cents a day.

Back home we’re soon forgotten,
By girls and friends we knew,
Here in the South Seas Islands,
Ten thousand miles from you.

All night the rains keep falling,
It’s more than we can stand,
“NO” folks, we’re not convicts,
We’re defenders of our land.

We’re the boys of many,
Holding the upper hand,
Hitting the silk and hoping,
We’re living when we land.

We’re having it pretty tough now,
You can believe what I say,
Some day we hope to live again,
Back home in the USA.

Victory’s in the making,
Our future will be serene,

We’ve got the Navy backing us,
Along with the fighting Marines.

We’re in this all together,
Fellas like you and me,
We’ll be a united people,
And our Country will be free.

There’s no two ways about it,
We’ll either do or die,
For our Country with dictation,
Is not for you or I.

When the war is over,
And we have finished what they began,
We’ll raise Old Glory high above,
The Empire of Japan.

So, to all you 4F jokers,
Who thinks there’s something you missed,
Don’t let the draft board get you,
And for God’s sake don’t enlist.

It might be a long time yet,
Then it might be any day,
When smiling faces see the Golden Gate,
And sail in Frisco Bay.

When this conflict’s over,
The boys can proudly say,
We had to fight for what was ours,
Victory for the U.S.A.

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“Down from Heaven come the 11”

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Koji of http://p47koji.wordpress.com notified me that he found a William and Norma Carlisle in Chalmers, IN.

I sent a note to inquire about the photo.  I received this reply from his widow:

Hello! So nice of you to write, Bob would have been pleased. The picture on the cover of the Yank magazine is William Robert Carlisle, my husband. I’m sure he could have told you stories of the 11th Airborne.  I’m Mrs. Norma Carlisle, Bob’s wife. I’m sorry to tell you that Bob passed away on Dec. 12 – 1997. I miss him! Hope you and yours are enjoying the Golden Years! God Bless, Norma

I was so disappointed to discover that we had lost yet another trooper’s tales of the era and a little taken back to see that he passed on what would have been my own father’s 83rd birthday.

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Military Humor – 

paratrooper humor

Air Mail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lola (Hamrick) Adams – Clay, WV; US Army WAC, Signal Corps

Respect
Courtesy of Dan Antion

Franklin H. Bennett – Glendive, MT; US Army, WWII, PTO, Cpl., 54th Signal Maintenance Co., POW, DWC (Cabanatuan Camp, Common Grave 312)

Albert Burdge – Adrena, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Panama

Alton Christie – Jasper, FL; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co B/1/21/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Osan, SK)

James Eason – Bellingham, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Norman E. Grizzle – Ducktown, TN; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Joyce McIntosh (105) – St. Anne de Bellevue, CAN; RC Army, cook

Joan Richards – Poss-Essex, ENG; British Women’s Corps, WWII

Ruhl J. Russell (104) – Shadyside, OH; US Army, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Colonel (Ret.)

Calvin L. Walker – New Haven, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Kwajalein Is. air traffic comptroller

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SURRENDER

11th Airborne Honor Guard

The above photo shows the 11th Airborne Reconnaissance Battalion Honor Guard as they presented arms to the Allied and Japanese delegations upon their arrival to the USS Missouri, 2 September 1945.

General Douglas MacArthur, despite the irate fuming of the Soviets, was to be the Supreme Commander in Japan for the Occupation and rebuilding of the country. No occupational zone was given to the Russians regardless of their protests. The Soviets were insisting that they were to receive the Kuriles and Hokkaido in Northern Honshu as their ‘spoils of war.’ Stalin sent an emissary with these plans to MacArthur, who in reply threatened to sent the messenger back to Moscow rather than allow him to remain in his observer status. Stalin also sent a telegram to Truman with the same demands. At first, the president felt he would just ignore the irrational request, but then decided to just send a negative reply. The Soviet plan for the takeover was in effect until 23 August, when the Russian leader realized that Admiral Nimitz controlled the Japanese waters and he would be risking an armed conflict.

Instrument of Surrender

At 0700 hours on Sunday morning, 2 September, guests to the Japanese surrender ceremony began arriving as destroyers pulled up to the USS Missouri and unloaded their passengers, military officers and correspondents from around the globe. At 0805 hours, Admiral Nimitz climbed on board and MacArthur at 0843. Finally, the Japanese delegation went up the starboard gangway at 0855. Foreign Minister, Mamoru Shigemitsu, using a cane and in agony because of a poorly fitted artificial leg, and General Umezu were followed by nine representatives, three each from the Army, Navy and Foreign Office. They paused, awaiting directions, each wearing a Shiran Kao (nonchalant face). The proceedings began at precisely 0908 hours with men draped from the decks and 450 aircraft from Task Force 38 roaring above in the overcast skies.

An invocation was read by the ship’s chaplain with the entire company standing at attention and a recording of the “Star-Spangled Banner” played through the speakers. Kase, the Foreign Minister’s secretary, felt his throat constrict upon seeing the number of small painted Rising Suns on the bulkhead. Each miniature flag represented a Japanese plan or submarine destroyed. Admiral Tomioka wondered why the Americans were showing no signs of contempt for them, but also, anger seared through him at the sight of the Soviet presence. The eyes of General Percival and Colonel Ichizi Sugita (interpreter) locked as they both remembered an earlier surrender and their painful memory at the Ford factory in Singapore.

MacArthur making history.

Generals Wainwright and Percival stood with MacArthur as he began to speak, “We are gathered here to conclude a solemn agreement whereby Peace may be restored…” (There was a brief interruption by an inebriated delegate [thankfully NOT American] who began making faces at the Japanese.)

When the general had finished and the U.S. and Japan had signed the documents, as if on cue, the sun broke through the clouds. The next to sign was China, Britain, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand. MacArthur announced, “These proceedings are closed.” He then leaned over to Admiral Halsey and asked, “Bill, where the hell are those planes?” As if the pilots could hear the general’s irritation – 400 B-29s and 1,500 aircraft carrier planes appeared out of the north and roared toward the mists of Mount Fujiyama.

MacArthur then went over to another microphone to broadcast back to the United States, “Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended…” Japan’s delegates, now no longer considered the enemy, were saluted as they left the quarterdeck.

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Historical note – Almost a century before these proceedings, Commodore Perry had opened the West’s door to Japan. In commemoration of this, Admiral Halsey arranged for the actual Stars & Stripes, flown by Perry’s flagship in 1853, to be flown out to Japan for the ceremonies.

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Note of Interest – Truman was very pleased that the “USS Missouri” was chosen for the momentous occasion. It was one of the four largest battleships in the world, it was named after his home state and christened by his daughter, Margaret. (I find it hard to believe that this was just a coincidence.)

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Humorous note – On 1 September, the “Missouri’s” gunnery officer, Commander Bird, held a dress rehearsal for the ceremonies with 300 of the ship’s sailors. Everything went well until the band began to play the “Admiral’s March.” The stocky chief boatswain’s mate nicknamed, Two-Gut,” froze in his steps and scratched his head saying, “I’ll be damned! Me, an admiral!”

When the real Admiral Nimitz came aboard, he nearly went unnoticed. In desperation, Commander Bird shouted, “Attention, all hands!” Everyone on the ship became so silent that you could hear the waves lapping at the ship’s hull.

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SHOUT OUT !!!

Please take a look at a current 11th Airborne story that Rosalinda Morgan was kind enough to post.  It just happened to have occurred very close to where I live…

https://rosalindarmorgan.com/2023/01/04/an-11th-airborne-division-association-angels-new-years-miracle/

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Denis Neil Boak (100) – Northcote, NZ; RNZ Air Force, # 436452,  WWII

Anthony Di Petta – USA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Ordnanceman 1st Class, USS Enterprise, Torpedo Squadron 20, KIA (Malakai, Palau Is.)

Thomas F. Green – Ramona, CA; US Army, Vietnam, Pfc., 68 Aviation Co/52 Aviation Batt./17th Aviation Group, door gunner on Chinook helicopter “Warrior 143”, KIA (Nha Trang, SV)

Loretta Hanson (100) – Detroit, MI; US Woman’s Marine Corps, WWII

Tessie Kindos – Asbury Park, NJ; Civilian, WWII, Brooklyn Army Terminal

Harold Kretzer – Odin, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 66BS/$$BG/8th Air Force, B-24 gunner-engineer, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM)

George Lewis – Cleveland County, OK; US Army, WWII, ETO

Hershey Miyamura – Gallup, NM; US Army, WWII, 100th Infantry Batt.  /  Korea, POW, Medal of Honor  (Author dis a post on Mr. Miyamura a while back.  If you care to read more of his story… https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/intermission-stories-5/

David J. Riley – Juda, WI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Harry Wickham – Floral City, FL; US Merchant Marines, WWII, Ensign, radio operator

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Smitty & the 11th Airborne in Japan

Smitty’s, Broad Channel, NY

Just as General Douglas MacArthur said to Gen. Robert Eichelberger that it was a long road to Tokyo, so it was for Smitty. Yes, the stretch from Broad Channel to Camp MacKall and finally Atsugi Airfield was a long and arduous road, but here, the 11th Airborne Division arrives in Japan to begin the Occupation and to help start the rebuilding of a country.

With the initial arrival of the division, rarely was a female between the ages of 8 and 70 seen on the streets. The Japanese had heard their government’s propaganda for years as to the American looting and raping, so they were understandably afraid of the conquering troops. But many were confused about the peaceful attitude of the soldiers and a member of the 511th regiment was stopped one day by a Japanese officer, he asked, “Why don’t you rape, loot and burn? We would.” The trooper answered that Americans just don’t do that.

11th A/B guarding the New Grand Hotel

With the New Grand Hotel surrounded by troopers, the manager and his staff bowed to Gen. MacArthur and his party and directed them to their suites. Tired and hungry from their long flight, the Americans went to the dining room and were served steak dinners. Gen. Whitney remembered wanting to take MacArthur’s plate to make certain it hadn’t been poisoned. When he told the general his concern and intentions, MacArthur laughed and said, “No one can live forever.”

The hotel would become his headquarters and later that evening, MacArthur told his staff, “Boys, this is the greatest adventure in military history. Here we sit in the enemy’s country with only a handful of troops, looking down the throats of 19 fully armed divisions and 70 million fanatics. One false move and the Alamo would look like a Sunday school picnic.” (The fact that nothing happened, I believe, said quite a bit about Japanese integrity.)

Atsugi Airfield, Japan 1945

The division Command Post was moved from the Atsugi Airfield to the Sun Oil Compound in Yokohama. This compound had about 15 American-style homes complete with furniture, dishes, silver and linens. The senior staff officers were not so fortunate. They were put up in warehouses on the docks, often without heat.

Smitty @ Sun Oil

On the reverse side of this photo, Smitty wrote: “A picture of the General’s gang taken in the living room at Yokohama. Reading left to right – baker, first cook, Mess Sergeant, me headwaiter and on the floor, second cook. Those glasses you can see were always full. You can’t beat this Japanese beer.”

Smitty (2nd from left) and rest of the crew

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In the Philippines, the Japanese emissary General Kawabe, finished their surrender talks. Kawabe’s aide, Second Lt. Sada Otake, introduced himself to a Nisei G.I. standing guard outside. The guard, in response, said his name was Takamura. Otake said he had married a Nisei by the same name and did he had a sister named Etsuyo? The guard nodded and Otake said, “I’m her husband. Look me up in Japan.” And the brothers-in-law shook hands. (Small world or fate?)

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Tokyo Rose – on the air

On 1 September, newsmen Harry Brundige and Clark Lee, with the help of a Japanese newsman, located Tokyo Rose with her husband in their hotel, the Imperial. Brundige offered her $2,000 for an exclusive interview for “Cosmopolitan” magazine. She agreed and together they typed out 17 pages of notes. The editor of the magazine was so astounded that Brundige had made a deal with a traitor that he rejected the story. The notes were handed over to Lee, who wrote his own version of the story for the International News Service.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John F. Aranyosi – Hammond, LA; US Army, WWII & Korea, Sgt. (Ret. 22 y.)

J.D. Bishop – Anniston, AL; US Army, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart

Final Mission

Try A. Charles (103) – DeLeon, LA; US Merchant Marines, WWII, ETO, radioman/medic

Lionel J. Desilets (100) – Paradise Hill, CAN; RC Army, WWII

William H. Flowers (100) – Cambridge, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-25 flight instructor

Guy J. George – Barre, VT; US Army, WWII, CBI

William F. Gusie – IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fire Controlman 3rd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Vernon Hermann – Seward, NE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Pharmacist’s Mate / Korea, Observer Corps

Marvin Krauss – Redding, CT; US Navy, WWII, Corpsman

Richard M. Marshall – Gilbert, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

A.N. Perry – Surfside, FL; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO, LST radioman

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Okinawa

From the 87th Naval Construction Battalion’s Cruise Book

THE BATAAN, emblazoned with the five impressive stars of a General of the Army, stops at Yontan Airfield late in August to refuel and be checked over. This was General MacArthur’s private plane and excited considerable interest. Having thoroughly snubbed the Jap surrender mission in Manila, the General was en route to Tokyo for the official surrender on 2 September, His visit to Okinawa was a rigid military secret, but Merlin Monroe, SCIc, happened to be there with these results.

The Bataan, decorated with Marshal’s impressive five-star star, stopped at Yomitani Airfield in late August for refueling and maintenance.

HAIL, THE CHIEF! While waiting for mechanics to apply final touches, General MacArthur discusses Jap surrender with Lt. Gen. Richardson, boss of Middle Pacific Command. This was MacArthur’s first and only visit to Okinawa.

Salute to the Commander! While waiting for the final maintenance mechanic, MacArthur told the general about the Japan’s surrender with Lieutenant General Richardson, a senior officer in the Central Pacific Command. This was MacArthur’s first and only visit to Okinawa.

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Resource: 87th Naval Construction Battalion Cruisebook (1943-1945)

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Military Humor –

Click on image to enlarge and read caption.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Betty Brandenburg – Cambridge, ENG; RW Air Force, WWII, ET

Courtesy of Dan Antion

Bessie (Elwood) Carter – Beatrice, NE; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Glenn Fritts – Butter, MI; US Army, WWII

Roy C. Harms – Grafton, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., 329BS/93BG/8th Air Force, B-24 pilot, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM)

Gerald Heggy – Girard, IL; US Navy, Korea, USS Hornet

James L. Miller – USA; US Army, Korea, Pfc., K Co/3/24/25th Division, KIA (Sangju, SK)

Ralph E. Richardson – Columbia, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 329BS/93BG/8th Air Force, B-24 radio operator, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM)

William A. Simon – USA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc., Co G/2/109/28th Infantry Division, KIA (Hürtgen, GER)

Michael Uhrin – Metuchen, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 369BS/306BG/40CW/8th Air Force, B-17F radio operator, KIA (Hessen, GER)

Donald L. Worden – West Branch, NY; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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“Voices from Vietnam” by: Kayleen Reusser / Review

‘Voices from Vietnam’ by: Kayleen Reusser

VOICES FROM VIETNAM

by:  Kayleen Reusser

 

Vietnam was the 10-year “Police Action” that developed and escalated in my generation’s  youth.  We saw casualty lists in the newspapers increasing daily.  Here in Kayleen Reusser’s book are interviews with the troops that managed to survive the horror that was the Vietnam War.

Keyleen Reusser

In this book, a background story is given for each contributor, their branch of military, method of service and then, what they experienced.  But the pains of war did not stop with their return home.  These gallant people told Kayleen of what they ran into upon returning to the United States.  The events, such as protesters, and name calling, are embarrassing, disheartening and downright disappointing to know how the people of this country were behaving toward these troops.

Despite the home front’s utter fear of the draft and disapproval of the war, these veterans carried on and we are privileged to read of their accomplishments.  There are photos of them, so that you can visualize the veteran to the story.

Vietnam veterans

This era was opposite that of WWII, but I hope “Voices from Vietnam” has the same affect on other readers as it had on me.  It brought back memories, but added an insight that can still be learned by this and future generations.  You will find yourself turning the pages and going from one story to another.

Just as Kayleen’s book, “We Gave Our Best” inspired me and gave me hope for our future and our military – I recommend this book wholeheartedly and hope many will give these men and women the time to tell their stories that no one wanted to hear in the ’60’s and ’70’s.

Through it all, they remained true and loyal.

This is an honest and straightforward depiction of that era – A MUST READ.

TO LOCATE KAYLEEN REUSSER AND HER BOOK – CLICK HERE!

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Military Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Walter Morgan Bryant – Delray Beach, FL; USMC, Vietnam, Sgt.

Leo Cummings, Jackson, MI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Jim Grewe – Edina, MN; US Army, Vietnam, 4th Infantry & 101st Airborne Division

Gilbert L. Harris – Spotsylvania, VA; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division, Green Beret

Stephen Hoke – Meadville, PA; US Army, Vietnam, 1st Calvary & 82nd Airborne Division

Jerry L. O’Nan – Lexington, KY; USMC, Vietnam, Pfc. # 2132524, E Co/4/2/3rd Marine Division, KIA (Quang Nam Province, SV)

Michael R. Paul – Williamsburg, KY; US Army, Vietnam, radio repair, 101st Airborne Division

Robert J. Reginald – Lindenhurst, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Cpl. # 52748547, B/502/2/101st Airborne Division, KIA (SV)

Timothy C. Reitmann – Valley Stream, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Spec. # 52748020, vehicle repair, A/2/5/11 Field Force, KIA (SV)

Eugene “Butch” Skoch – East Meadow, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Pfc., KIA

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USMC Birthday / Veterans Day 2022

The Marine Corps birthday has been commemorating on November 10 every year since 1775,  the year of establishment of Continental Marines. Every year the cake cutting ceremony with the conventional ball follows.

Saluting the U.S. Marine Corps

Marine Corps Birthday Cake

Sketch of the original Tun Tavern

 

 

 

 

 

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Veterans Day

On November 11th, we pause to reflect on the history of this great Nation and honor all those who fought to defend it. Originally titled “Armistice Day” and intended to celebrate the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars,” Veterans Day allows us to give thanks to veterans past and present, men and women from all walks of life and all ethnicities, who stood up and said, “Send me.” We recognize your sacrifices, your sense of duty and your love for this country.

Thank you – To ALL our veterans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 11th Airborne Division jumps again!

PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

 

For many other countries who remain free thanks to their veterans, this day is called Remembrance Day.  I thank you!!

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence “Junior” Anderson – Blanchard, MI; USMC, WWII, CBI, scout observer

Catherine Batoff – Cedar Lake, IN; US Army WAC, WWII

Jesse G. Bell – Roopsville, GA; US Navy, WWII, USS Case DD-370

Leo E. Cummings – Jackson, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Ralph Fiorio – Peekskill, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 8th Armored Division

David E. Holeman – Le Harpe, KS; US Air Force, WWII, PTO, # 646029, 17/24th Pursuit Group, POW, KWC (Cabanatuan Camp, P.I.)

Merle L. Pickup – Provo, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Cpl. # 39832953, 393 BS/308 BG, KIA (India)

Paul J. Simons Jr. (102) – Wyoming, MO; US Army, WWII

James M. Triplett – King County, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt # 39202130, B-24 radio operator, 700BS/445 BG/2/8th Air Force

Allen H. Tuttle – King County, WA; US Army, Korea, Sgt. # 19261249, field artillery cannoneer, C Batt/38/2nd Infantry Division, POW, KWC (NK Camp # 5)

Larry A. Zich – Lincoln, NE; US Army, Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer # 508603819, HQ/37/1st Signal Brigade, KIA

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Why is the only one standing the man with a wheelchair?

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General Yamashita (part one) from: Gen. Eichelberger

Gen. Eichelberger

From:  “Our Jungle Road to Tokyo” by General Robert Eichleberger

Although negotiations with Yamashita for surrender were completed after 8th Army had relinquished control of Luzon, the story should be told here.  It must be remembered that Japanese forces at this period had little or no communication with the homeland.

On 7 August – the day of the fall of the first atomic bomb – an America pilot was forced to abandon his disabled plane and parachute behind the Japanese lines in northern Luzon.  He was picked up by an enemy patrol the next morning and taken after 5 days of forced marches to Gen. Yamashita’s headquarters, then SW of Kiangan.

Gen. Yamashita

There he was subjected to vigorous and prolonged interrogation.  He was threatened with physical violence when he steadfastly refused to answer questions.

On 16 Aug – the attitude of the Japanese interrogators abruptly changed.  The pilot received medical treatment for his parachute-jump injuries and was extended many small courtesies.  The next day the American was guided toward American lines; when the Japanese soldiers had gone as far as they dared, they gave the flier a letter, written by Yamashita himself, which explained the circumstances of the pilot’s capture and commended him for his military spirit and devotion to duty.

On 24 August – the same pilot flew an L-5 liaison plane over the area in which he had been held and dropped a message of thanks to Gen. Yamashita, along with 2 signal panels.  The message, written by Gen. Gill of the 32nd Division, suggested that if Yamashita were in the mood for surrender negotiations he should display the 2 panels as evidence of his willingness to parley.

The following morning another pilot found the panels staked out according to instructions; also on the ground were many cheering, hand-waving Japanese soldiers, who beckoned the plane to land.  Instead, a second message was dropped.  It suggested that Yamashita send an envoy to the American lines to received detailed instructions for his surrender.

Late in the afternoon of 26 August, a Japanese captain, carrying Yamashita’s answer, entered the American lines under a flag of truce.  The letter, which was written in English, was as follows:

Gen. Yamashita

GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, IMPERIAL JAPANESE ARMY IN THE PHILIPPINES

August 25, 1945

TO: GENERAL W.H. GILL, COMMANDING GENERAL KIANGAN-BOYOMBONG AREA, UNITED STATES ARMY IN THE PHILIPPINES

  1. I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication addressed to me, dropped by your airplane on Aug. 24th as well as your papers dropped on Aug. 25th in response to our ground signals.
  2. I am taking this opportunity to convey to you that order from Imperial Headquarters pertaining to cessation of hostilities was duly received by me on Aug. 20th and that I have immediately issued orders to cease hostilities to all units under my command insofar as communications were possible.

I also wish to add this point the expression of my heartfelt gratitude to you, full cognizant of the sincere efforts and deep concern you have continuously shown with reference to cessation of hostilities as evidenced by various steps and measures you have taken in this connection.

To date however, I have failed to receive order from Imperial Headquarters authorizing me to enter into direct negotiations here in the Philippines with the United States Army…, but I am of the fond belief that upon receipt of this order, negotiations can be immediately entered into.  Presenting my compliments and thanking you for your courteous letter, I remain, yours respectively,

/s/Tomoyuki Yamashita, General, Imperial Japanese Army, Highest Commander of the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines

circa 1956: The samurai sword of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, ‘the Tiger of Malaya’, commander of the Japanese troops in the Philippines during World War II. It rests on the Philippine Surrender Document, signed at Baguio, Luzon on September 3rd, 1945. (Photo by Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)

This message was the first in a series exchanged between Yamashita and Gen. Gill.  The exquisite courtesy of the exchanges probably has for the average reader something of the quality of ‘Through the Looking-Glass’.

To be continued…….

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Military Humor – 

Private Wilbur

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frank Bever (101) – Lagro, IN; US Army, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 95th Infantry Division, Purple Heart

Walter G. Bonrer – Oconomowoc, WI; US Army, Korea, Co. F/187th RCT

A Tribute to them ALL

Lucille (Whitehead) Clark – USA; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Jesse “Jay” Durham Jr. – Fort Payne, AL; US Navy, WWII, USS Cleveland

Raymond Femc – Forest City, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/187/11th Airborne Division

Jay Karpin Hicksville, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 & B-24 navigator

Robert J. Lovelace – No. Roanoke, VA; US Army, WWII, Sgt. Major (Ret. 34 y.)

Dominic Rossetto – Red Lodge, MT; US Army, 101st Airborne Division

Wilbur “Curly” Siebold – Huntington, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 gunner, POW

John B. Thomas – Wayne County, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt. # 0-659415, 34 BS/98 BG/ 9th Air Force, KIA (Ploiest, ROM)

Keith W. Tipsword – Moccasin, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Machinist Mate 1st Cl. # 3369382, USS West Virginia, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

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The Emperor’s Speech

Emperor Hirohito taping his speech

 

“To our good and loyal citizens,

After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our Empire today, we have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

We have ordered our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union that our Empire accepts the provisions of their joint declaration.

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well- being of our subjects is the solemn obligation that has been handed down by our Imperial Ancestors, and we lay it close to the heart.

Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain out of our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.

The Emperor’s bunker

But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone– the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of our servants of the state and the devoted service of our 100 million people–the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, or to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers.

We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia.

The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, and those who met with death and all their bereaved families, pains our heart night and day.

The welfare of the wounded and the war sufferers, and of those who have lost their homes and livelihood is the object of our profound solicitude. The hardships and suffering to which our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great.

We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all you, our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that we have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable. Having been able to save and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, we are always with you, our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.

The Emperor’s speech

Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion that may engender needless complications, and of any fraternal contention and strife that may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.

Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishable of its divine land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibilities, and the long road before it. Unite your total strength to be devoted to the construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, nobility of spirit, and work with resolution so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.

All you, our subjects, we command you to act in accordance with our wishes.”

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Military Humor – 

On Guam, this airman wasted no time in creating this enterprise.

One of Murphy’s Laws

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

flag image curtesy of Dan Antion

Leo J. Barlosky – Carbon County, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Cpl. # 6897692, 7th Chemical Co., KWC (Luzon, P.I.)

Julius C. Brooks – SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt. # 5751632, I Co./39/9th Infantry Division, radioman, KIA (Troina, ITA)

William F. Corbett – Selma, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt., B-29 gunner

Victor Hernandez – Fresno, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 129th Infantry Regiment

Leonard Leniewski – Milwaukee, WI;US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

Irene (Crimmins) Marsh – Yonkers, NY; US Army WAC, WWII, LT. / US Air Force, Korea

James McManaway – Roanoke, VA; USMC, Vietnam, Colonel (Ret. 30 y.)

Sue Pflepsen (100) – Amsterdam, NY; US Navy WAVE, WWII, PTO, Ensign, nurse

Cecil G. Richardson – San Angelo, TX; US Navy, WWII  /  US Air Force, Korea

Frederick R. Schrader – CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO/CBI, Lt. Comdr. # 0074896,Hellcat pilot, Carrier Group 11 on the USS Hornet, Distinguished Flying Cross, KIA (Formosa)

James R. Tash – MO; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt. # 17016200, F Co/2/31st Infantry Reg., Bronze Star, POW, KWC (Cabanatuan Camp, Luzon)

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Getting Leave on Australia!

Brisbane 1945

8 June 1945, Cpl. Everett Smith found himself and four others from the division on leave in Australia and Smitty was determined to have a good time! Those that went to Brisbane on the same orders for TDY were:
Lt. Col. Francis W. Regnier MC HQ 11th A/B Div.
Major George K. Oliver INF HQ 11th A/B Div.
T Sgt. Manuel C. DeBeon Jr. 187th Glider Infantry
Tec 4 Beverly A. Ferreira HQ 11th A/B Div.
The orders were signed by Major E.W. Wyman Jr., Adjutant General

Townsville, Queensland

My father never told me very much about his R&R and probably for a good reason. (For one, my mother was always around listening.).  He did say that when he first arrived in Australia, he wanted a haircut and a shave. While the barber was working on him, he remarked that the pores in Smitty’s nose appeared enlarged. My father answered, “You spend five months in the jungles of New Guinea and see what your nose looks like.” Dad said after that, his money was no good. Everyone in the barbershop made such a fuss over him that he never got a word in edgewise. They were so extremely grateful to anyone who helped to stop the Japanese. Smitty did always tell me he wished he could make a trip back there; he thought Australia and her people were great, but sadly, he never did.

Perhaps the young lady, Joan, was the reason Smitty wouldn’t talk about his time on leave.

Joan

With his thoughts still focused on his R&R in Australia, Everett “Smitty” Smith landed back at Lipa City, P.I. only to discover that a mission was scheduled. The last remaining organized Japanese group, the Shabu Forces, were hold up in the northeast corner of Luzon and General Swing had organized the Gypsy Task Force to take them out. On his orders, this unique unit would include “all Camp MacKall veterans.” This would include men from the 187th Infantry, the 511th, the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, a platoon from the 127th Engineers and two platoons from B Company. Despite Gen. Krueger’s disapproval, Lt. Col. Henry Burgess, now 26 years old, would be the commanding officer. (Smitty was at the ancient age of 30, one of the oldest paratroopers besides one other soldier and a few of the officers.) Col. Lahti (31) would be CO for the reserve unit.

We’ll have more on Aparri, Luzon next week.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rex Allender – Cedar, IA; US Merchant Marines, WWII  /  US Army

Amador Barbosa (101) – Kansas City, KS; US Army, WWII, ETO

Farewell

Charlotte Bendure – Centralia, IL; US Navy WAVE, WWII, PTO

Ottaway B. Cornwell – Beaumont, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., pilot, 4 FS/52 FG/12th Air Force, KIA

David Curtis (104) – Salt Lake City, UT; US Navy, WWII, PTO & CBI, USS Black hawk

Joseph De Lorenzo – Pine Brook, NJ; US Army, WWII

Agnes Dion – Springfield, IL; US Navy WAVES, WWII, parachute rigger

Alfred Giumarra – Bakersfield, CA; US Navy, WWII, minesweeper, USS Mainstay

Eugene Gollin – Long Island City, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO, Captain, communications

John W. Harman (100) – Rock Hall, MD; US Army, WWII, CBI, 866th Bomb Squadron

Thomas McNeill – Elmira, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 503/11th Airborne Division

Floyd D. Simmons (102) – Hontubby, OK; US Army, WWII, ETO, medic (He had been the oldest surviving Choctaw veteran).

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Stories from Los Banos

Jerry Sams, Los Banos taken with a hidden camera

Oddly, people were allowed to volunteer for a transfer to Los Baños, which my parents did.  On April 7, 1944, our family was among 530 internees loaded into trucks for the trip South.  At first it was much better.  There was a kindly camp commandant, Lt. Col. Kimura, with one leg, who we kids called “Peg Leg”.  We got better food and he gave candy to the children.  And we could live together as a family. But unfortunately, that didn’t last long as the cruel, evil and sadistic Lieutenant Sadaaki Konishi was installed as the Camp Supply Officer. [source: “My Life as a Child Internee”, Robert A. Wheeler]

Strangely, the rescue of the 500 Santo Tomas internees on February 3rd would not be announced on the Voice of Freedom until the end of the month, leaving the Los Baños camp completely unaware of their fellow internees’ freedom.

In retribution, the Japs became even meaner. We were down to one official meal. Instead of husked rice, we were given a small portion of palay (unhusked rice) that would normally be fed to the pigs. As much as we tried to roll or pound it, the shell remained. If you didn’t hit it hard enough, the husk wouldn’t quite break and it was inedible. If you hit it too hard, you smashed the rice kernel. Conditions were desperate. People were dying so fast that the gravediggers, men who were themselves in miserable condition, could hardly keep up. [source: “My Life as a Child Internee”, Robert A. Wheeler]

S. Davis Winship

Yesterday morning, after nights and days of listening to sounds of the battle of Luzon, far and near, we awoke to the beautiful sunrise typical of late Feb. and out of the north came 18 transport planes, ours, and to our amazement, out of the planes poured parachutists; the most beautiful sight ever seen by my gray eyes.  Simultaneously firing started all over Camp.  Ridiculous as it may sound, I was indulging in my usual morning shave, a practice I have stuck to whether soap was available or not.  And I kept right on as if nothing was happening.  It was not bravery, nonchalance, coolness, or anything of the kind.  Bullets were tearing thru the bamboo walls and open windows of our barracks, – and I finished shaving, washed up, cleaned my tools and put them away.  About then the first of our troops, American and Filipino irregulars appeared, and we were ordered to prepare for immediate evacuation.  And then occurred one of the most astounding feats of military history.  2200 unprepared civilians were grabbed bodily from the midst of a hostile force, in strongly held territory, with not over a dozen wounded, military and civilian, in 3 hours time, and removed from danger. [source: Letter by S.Davis Winship, courtesy of David Record]

“My husband’s aunt was about 5 years when her family were taken as prisoners at Los Baños. Her parents were missionaries and they fled to the forest to hide. They did survive for a time hidden in what they called the “forest farm.” Soon they had to surrender as they were afraid of being killed if found. They were there for 3 years and their whole family managed to survive. Thank you for writing about this rescue. I get tears in my eyes every time I read about the rescue. It was one of military’s proudest moments!”  Blogger, Kat Lupe

Sister Beata

“Hi, thanks so much for a thorough report on this much forgotten, yet most successful rescue ever! My aunt, Sister Mary Beata Mackie, a Maryknoll missionary in the Philippines was among those rescued. She and all the other sisters returned to their Motherhouse in Ossining, New York, thank God. And Sr. Beata then went back for many many years to continue their good work with the wonderful Filipino people.

“You can read an article I wrote about my aunt, Sr. Mary Beata Mackie, and the other Maryknoll Sisters rescue. I also interviewed Sgt. John Fulton for this article. He was on the History Channel’s special about the amazing and daring operation.”  Christine Synder

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/remembering_a_world_war_ii_death_trap_and_a_miraculous_rescue

Fr. William R. McCarthy

Father McCarthy was assigned to the Maryknoll Mission in the Philippine Islands. During his first year, he worked in the Catholic Action program in Cebu City. He also served as a non-commissioned chaplain at a U.S. Army post, “Our meals became progressively worse.  During our last month of imprisonment, the struggle forced us to eat weeds, flowers, vines, salamanders, grubs and slugs.  Deaths mounted to two a day in January 1945.”

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Current News – 

Remember that 14 June 2022 is the U.S. Army’s 247th Birthday, as well as Flag Day!!! 

U.S. Army 2022

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Thomas Bryan – McKeesport, PA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Col. (Ret. 25 y.), Bronze Star, Silver Star

Nathan Carlson – Winnebago, IL; USMC, Corporal, Tiltrotor Squadron 364/MA Group 39/ 3rd Aircraft Wing

Leroy Davis – Rockford, IL; US Air Force, Vietnam, Top Gun, Lt. Col. (Ret. 20 y.)

Clifton Doucet Jr. – New Orleans, LA; US Navy, WWII, USS Philippine Sea. radarman

Donald Gebhardt Sr. – Forks Twpk, PS; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Robert E. Hutcheson – Lawrence, MA; US Army, 1/188/11th Airborne Division

Nicolas Losapio – Rockingham, NH; USMC, Captain, MV-22B pilot, Tiltrotor Sq. 364/ MA Group 39/3rd Aircraft Wing

John T. Malestein – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Seth D. Rasmuson – Johnson, WY; USMC, Corporal, Tiltrotor Sq. 364/MA Group 39/3rd Aircraft Wing

Jon Sax – Placer, CA; USMC, Captain, MV-22B pilot, Tiltrotor Sq 364/MA Group 39/3rd Aircraft Wing

Evan Strickland – Valencia, NM; USMC, Lance Cpl., Tiltrotor Sq 364/MA Group39/ 3rd Aircraft Wing

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