Category Archives: First-hand Accounts

On VJ Day 74: Letters between the generations

RFHG

On the 74th anniversary of VJ Day, Ashley Prime writes for RFHG about his father, Lance Corporal Ashley Prime – a former prisoner of war in Singapore and Thailand – whose moving post-war letters have been published open access for all to read.

Ashley Prime Lance Corporal Ashley Prime. Courtesy of Ashley Prime

I had of course always known that my father had been a Japanese Prisoner of War. I grew up with that always in our minds in our home, but it was never really seen as a negative. It was just there, and from my childhood, I recall kindly former colleagues of his visiting our home. They were always kind and I never felt any anger in the way they were. At least to me as a small child. 

Later in life, I was living in West Germany in my early twenties, and whilst back in London on holiday, I…

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C/O Postmaster – Book Review

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

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

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

Dancing with Americans

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

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As seen with the Army cooks on page 55:

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

American G.I.’s w/ koalas

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

 

In the words of Corporal Thomas St. George ….

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

Thomas ‘Ozzie’ St. George

From his obituary:

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

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

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Military Political Cartoons – 

“HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE?”

“GET YOUR DIRTY PAWS OFFA THERE!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

Angus McRonald – Petercutter, SCOT, RAF, WWII

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

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

William Ostrosky – Uniondale, NY; US Navy, WWII

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

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

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Memorial Day + “You Are Not Forgotten” book review

 

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

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“You Are Not Forgotten”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GP Cox’s Veterans

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

WWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

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

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

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

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

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courtesy of fellow blogger, Patty B.

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Letter Home, From Tokyo – conclusion

Here is the conclusion of the letter Joe Teri wrote home as he settled in during the Occupation of Japan.  Please do not be offended by any slang that was used back in the day.  The pictures are examples, none accompanied the letter.

Our airforce has done perfect precision bombing, they only wrecked just what they wanted to, the train system is perfect, the trolley line is in good condition, but the War plants are a mass of rubbish.  The Japs have had more equipt than our eyes can believe, even our General here said, we under estimated the Japs at the time of our arrival here, by 60 percent and thats an awful lot, we had planned during the War to make an invasion here, if we had to we would have never got here it would have been suicide for every man and ship.  The land out here is all Mts and islands and in those Mts the Japs have hundreds and hundreds of dual 16 inch guns, those guns are about the most powerful guns any one can have one alone is as big as the biggest one on our ships, so you can Just imagine what 2 of them together can do, they have a channel here about 50 miles long all surrounded with islands, and the ships have to travel about 2 knots an hour in order to get by the islands.  The Japs have caves, miles long with enough equiptment to have a war for at least 10 years they even have complete factories never touched yet in the caves, it must have taken 50 years to get all this accomplished we are destroying the Jap war equipt every day.  I hear a lot of exploding all day long every day.  General Eichenberger says it will take years to destroy all the Jap war equipt and he is right as no matter where you look theres thousands of tons of equipt.  My Colenel says we haven’t discovered half of the things the Japs have yet, they have everything hidden in caves, and perfectly concealed, we have to go hunting for all there things each day. so it will take months and months to find them as the Jap civilians don’t even know where all there loaded packed caves are, every day a bunch of new ones turn up.  Can you imagine these Japs having all that.  What I have been writing is no rumor, it is the actual truth, if it wasnt for the Atomic bomb, this war would have lasted for years to come, as the U.S. has underestimated the Japs by a very long margin, that Atomic bomb is a miracle sent down from heaven.  Well enough of this war talk as the war is over now.  Tokyo is about 400 miles from here, the trains run to there, I sure hope I can get to see that city before I come home, I have been looking for souveniers, but as yet, havent found anything, the japs havent any thing at all except the War equipt and thats in the U.S. Army hands now, they don’t even have enough clothes to wear, they dress in rags, the weather here is pretty cold just now, they have a big snow fall each winter so I guess Ill see a very very lonesome White Christmas.

This club I am working and living in is a very, very beautiful Jap home, a Jap General used to live here, it is in perfect condition and a pretty new home, it has 18 rooms in it with sliding panel windows and doors, over 100 of them the whole house can be opened on all sides, it has beautiful furniture in it made very low, as the the Japs sit on the straw mats on the floor, also take their shoes off when entering any home, their is a jap phone here, still working, servants quarters and a push button bell system, that shows the no of the room at the back hallway for every room here, just like we have in our hospitals, electric system, with electric heat, all marble fire place, Gas for cooling, 2 beautiful lavortories with running water, the Japs dont use stools, they squat, a real big wash room, laundry room, an extra serving kitchen next to the dining room, thats where I built my nice little service bar, only done a little fixing up as the room is almost perfect for a service bar, we have real good U.S. radio here, fire extingishers and beautiful carvings all the sliding doors in the house are made of wood lining with paper frames they sure are delicate, have of them are ripped already, a beautiful terrace, and a real beautiful entrance with a drive way to the entrance, hard wood beautiful floors, 2 real nice hall ways, with all the rooms in between them, the lawn is beautiful it has build in little hills with real old flat big stones to sit on around them, grass, and a lot of real ancient beautiful trees even a lamp post made out of a tree in the lawn, it has wooden shutters all around the house, the house is mostly made out of wood and sand cement, it could burn up in 20 minutes, they have a real nice hot steam bath room, but no running hot water, it is all to beautiful to believe and I am living here, it is my home, while out here, isnt that swell.

Well I have to close the bar now as it is 10:30 PM, so will close this letter now, I hope you have enjoyed reading this letter, I have tried to it interesting, I could write for days, but havent the time, Im praying all 3 of you are in the best of health.  I am in good health and getting along fairly well.  All my Love and best Regards to all of you, Write soon.  Kiss Don for me.

Your Brother in Law                         G.I. Joe Teri

Im sending you 5 yen, 1 yen and 50 sen.  One yen is 16-⅓ cents 100 sens make 1 yen – 15 yen make dollar

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  Military Humor –   Reader’s Digest style – 

“No Ferguson, the military does Not have Casual Fridays!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quarantine Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Bloom – Boston, MA; US Army, WWII, Africa, Meteorologist

Christopher Curry – Terra haute, IN; US Army, Iraq, Sgt., 3/21/1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team/25th Division, KIA

Richard Hunt – Pittsburgh, PA; American Field Service, WWII, India

Robert D. Jenks – Sutherland, IA; USMC, WWII, PTO, D Co./6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Frederick Kroesen – Phillipsburg, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO; Korea & Vietnam, General (Ret. 40 y.) / Army VChief of Staff

J. Howard Lucas – Dogwood, AL; US Navy, WWII

Matthew Morgan – East Islip, NY; US Navy, WWII, USS Fiske

Austin Newman – Oneida, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Don Shula – Grand River, OH; Ohio National Guard, Korea / NFL Coach

Florence Wilhelmsen – Brooklyn, NY; Civilian, USO entertainer, WWII

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11th Airborne Medic (2)

11th A/B medics

Being as the world situation hasn’t changed much and the previous post was so well received, I decided all of you must be glad I haven’t gotten back to any sad or depressing posts on the Pacific side of the war.

So, here is another story told to us by Ray Sweet of the Medical Detachment/152nd Airborne Anti Aircraft Battalion/11th Airborne Division.

During WWII, aluminum was a fairly precious metal , so iron was used to manufacture beer containers for use overseas.  (A beer post will follow this one).

Into the dispensary one day came this small patient accompanied by her frantic mother, who spoke no English.  The little one, while playing, had found an empty beer can.  For some reason or another, she chose to insert her tongue only to find the can now firmly stuck to the end of her tongue and impossible to remove.

The medics on duty, seeing her big, brown eyes full of fear and a tear upon her tiny cheek, were beside themselves as what to do.  After a hurried conference,it was decided to call the motor pool to come with some tin snips and assist.  Upon seeing the huge automotive sheers, both mother and child became even more frightened.

Airborne Medic, even in antiaircraft units

After an hour of very careful and painstaking work on the part of the motor pool, all but a jagged, star-shaped piece of metal surrounding the tongue had been removed.  Then it was the medics’ turn to address the problem.

Using two pair of forceps, the metal ring around the tongue was slowly bent backwards and forwards.  It seemed like a thousand times before it broke and fell free, without a trace of blood.  The little one ran to her mother crying and it was over.

The ambulance driver and the big, gruff guy from the motor pool that everyone called “Sarge” were both in tears, but it was over.

There were definitely advantages to being a medic, that made up for all the bloody and boring bits!

 

This story was originally published in “The Voice of the Angels”, 11th A/B Division newspaper.

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Military Humor –

CPR exhibited by one who knows…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Corona virus – on the lighter side – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edward Bloch – Philadelphia, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Milik J. Craig – USA; US Army, Spec., 1/501st Infantry Regiment

Andy Frasieur (101) – Yoncalla, OR; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Chirf Warrant Officer, Purple Heart

Titus Hagy – Harpers Ferry, WV; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Arlyn V. Mathewson – Bailey, OH; US Army, Korea, 11th Airborne Division

John Prine – Chicago, IL; US Army / singer

Lloyd Puett – Etowah, TN; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class

Cody L. Randall – Wasilla, AK; US Army, Sgt., Co. C/307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion

Donald D. Stoddard – Boulder, CO; USMC, WWII, ETO & PTO, 2nd, 6th & 8th Marines, Sgt., KIA (Tarawa)

Jason A. Thomas – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, Spec., 1st Squadron/40th Cavalry Regiment

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11th Airborne Medic

Combat Medic pin

Leaving out all the bloody and boring bits, being an 11th Airborne Medic wasn’t all that bad ___ by: Ray Sweet, Medical Detachment/ 152nd Airborne Anti Aircraft Battalion/ 11th Airborne Division

Starting late 1945 and leaving out the bloody and boring bits, being and 11th Airborne Medic wasn’t all that bad.  The officers handled medics with silk gloves because they knew from who cometh their future immune booster injections as ordered by the higher command.

Medics ate better than most.  The cooks all knew who had the 190-proof alcohol to put in that lousy canned grapefruit juice.

Airborne Medic

They never had bed checks, curfews and all that other crap (like standing guard over a useless pile of junk that no one in their right mind would ever dream of stealing.)  They had a good life.

Sergeants were never a bother.  They all knew their battery could always stand for a short arm inspection.  It was actually quite nice to be a medic.  If the captain said trooper Jones must do something yucky and a medic said he was not able, trooper Jones didn’t do it.

Playing cards with the geishas while on pro station duty was rather pleasant.  It was a fun way for them to meet a lot of friendly girls.

When, as a courier transporting drugs from base hospitals to battalion, they had a rail care just like a general.

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Military Medic Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Corona Shortages – 

Contrary to popular belief, duct tape does NOT fix ALL problems !!!!

 

Duct tape toilet paper

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bob Bechtold – Martinsville, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt. # 194GIF/ Medical Tech, 1/17th Airborne, Bronze Star

Thomas G. Delaney – Hartford, CT; US Army, Vietnam, 173rd A/B, 10th Special Forces A/B Group, Major (Ret. 20 y.)

THANK YOU

William Frankland (108) – Battle, England; Royal Army Medical Corps, WWII, CBI, POW, doctor/researcher

Richard Griffin – Franklin, NH; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Douglas L. Hickok – Norman Air Force Base, OK; US Army, Captain, Medical Corps

Donald D. Johnson – Clarkston, MI; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, (Ret. 21 y.)

James B. Morrison – San Antonio, TX; US Army, Korea, Medical Corps/187th RCT

Edmound M. Parker – Ahoskie, NC; US Army, Medical Corps/188/11th Airborne Division

Don Schweitzer – Los Angeles, CA; US Merchant Marines, WWII / US Army, Japan Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

Bill Withers – Beckley, WV; US Navy / Douglas Aircraft / singer

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Clemson U. honors Ben Skardon (102)

‘Ben’ Skardon

Clemson University will award its highest honor, the Clemson Medallion, to two distinguished alumni — Professor Emeritus Beverly “Ben” Skardon and Trustee Emeritus Allen Price Wood. Skardon and Wood will be honored at a presentation ceremony in February 2020. Skardon, who lives in Clemson, is a native of Walterboro. His brother, Jimmy Skardon, still lives here.

Clemson University President James P. Clements said he is proud that the university is honoring Skardon and Wood for their leadership and contributions to the university. “Both of these men have helped shaped the university in important ways,” said Clements. “Col. Skardon made a lasting impact by teaching countless students during his career on the faculty, and students are being educated every day in buildings that Allen Wood designed. It is safe to say that our university would not be what it is today without these two outstanding leaders.”

Ben Skardon in Army dress greens, formal photo in 1938 Clemson University TAPS yearbook.

Skardon, 102, is a 1938 Clemson graduate and veteran of the U.S. Army. He fought in the Philippines in World War II, earning two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star for valor before becoming a prisoner of war when American troops were forced to surrender to the Japanese April 9, 1942. Skardon lived through one of the most infamous ordeals of World War II, the Bataan Death March, and survived for more than three years in Japanese prison camps despite becoming deathly ill.

Two fellow Clemson alumni, Henry Leitner and Otis Morgan, kept him alive by spoon-feeding him and eventually trading his gold Clemson ring — which he had managed to keep hidden — for food. It is a story now told at every Clemson ring ceremony, when Clemson seniors receive their class rings. Leitner and Morgan did not survive the war. Skardon honors them every year by walking in the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Ben Skardon, at 99, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, walks in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, accompanied by two Army medics, March 19, 2017. This was the tenth time Skardon walked in the march, and he is the only survivor of the real Bataan Death March who walks in the memorial march. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)

He is the only survivor of the real march who walks in the memorial march. Last year, at 101, he walked more than three miles through the desert to honor his friends. Skardon went on to serve in Korea in 1951-52 and retired from the Army at the rank of colonel in 1962. He joined the Clemson faculty in the department of English in 1964 and was named Alumni Master Teacher in 1977. He taught at Clemson until his retirement in 1983.

Skardon has received several honors from the university, including the Alumni Distinguished Service Award. In 2013 the university established the Skardon Clemson Ring Endowment, which helps fund the ring ceremony, and in 2016 the Memorial Stadium flagpole was dedicated in his honor.

On Skardon’s 100th birthday on August 11, 2017, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster presented him with the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest honor. In March 2018 Skardon received the Congressional Gold Medal honoring Filipino and American Veterans of World War II, which is one of the highest civilian awards in the United States.

 

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Blythe – Long Beach, CA; US Navy, WWII, ETO, minesweeper / PTO, USS Ticonderoga

Bruce Brigham – Fort Knox, KY; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Colonel, Quartermaster Corps

Alive Ferguson (99) – Williamsburg, VA; US Navy WAVES, nurse

Ruth (Baker) Gilbert – White Plains, NY; Civilian, aircraft riveter

Lyle Norquist – Thief River Falls, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Monroe Ozment – Rome, GA; USMC, PTO, Purple Heart

Nathan Rawson – Thompson, VA; US Army, WWII

Fred Reed – Gardendal, AL; US Army, WWII, Purple Heart

Mary White – Perryville, MD; Civilian nurse’s aide

Al Worden – Jackson, MI; US Air Force / NASA astronaut, West Point Alum 1955

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Veterans Stories – The Atomic Marine

An eye-witness story concerning Desert Rock!

William R. Ablan, pen name of Richard L. Muniz

“They put us out in the middle of nowhere.” Sheriff Toby Madrid had his hands wrapped around a cup of black coffee, his feet up on the desk. The casual laid back attitude belied the tension in his jaw. He also wasn’t looking at JR or me as he spoke, but at the wall. It was almost that if he looked at us, he’d never finish talking about what he had to say.

“They told us we were there to be part of an atomic bomb test.”

welcometodesertrockThe test the Sheriff was talking about was part of what we know today as the Desert Rock Exercises.  My research seems to single him out for what was called Desert Rock IV, or a series of tests called Operation Tumbler-Snapper.

From 1951 to 1957, at the Nevada Proving Grounds, a small camp called Camp Desert Rock was built. Its job was…

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The Last Living Paratrooper from MacArthur’s return …..

Gen. Douglas MacArthur (l.) and Richard “Dick” Adams (r.)

Richard Adams describes General MacArthur as “quite a guy.”

In commemoration of the 75th year of World War II in the Philippines, one of its heroes returned. Richard “Dick” Adams visited Corregidor once again, but this time, he did not parachute out of a C-47 plane to land on the towering trees of the Rock. The 98-year-old understandably opted to ride a ferry.

He was recently, poignantly, at the MacArthur Suite of the Manila Hotel, in a room dedicated to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who led the American and Filipino troops in liberating the country from Japanese occupation. MacArthur actually stayed in that suite for six years, as Manila Hotel’s honorary general manager.

It was a time of fear across the country as Japanese forces ravaged Manila and the countryside. People clung to MacArthur’s words, “I shall return,” which he said after he was forced to abandon the Philippine island fortress of Corregidor under orders from U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt in March 1942. Left behind at Corregidor and the Bataan Peninsula were 90,000 American and Filipino soldiers, who, lacking food, supplies, and support, would soon succumb to the Japanese offensive.

‘Dick’ Adams

It was at this battered battleground that Adams, as a young paratrooper assigned to the HQ Company 3rd Bn in an 81 mm mortar platoon, arrived on February 16, 1945. He is the last surviving paratrooper of the group and he shares his memories of the wartime experience.

What he remembers the most about his Corregidor landing is the wind. “It was a beautiful day when we came in at about a thousand feet above the water and then the island came up 500 feet so we jumped in about four to five hundred feet,” he says. “And the wind was a little too hard so they dropped it down and once they came after us we were pretty close to the ground.”

The landing itself was over pretty quickly, but the wind blew him toward a cliff and not the golf course that he was aiming for. Luckily, he says, he landed on a tree and that kept him from going down further.

He thinks something else saved him that day. “I wear a Miraculous Medal that my mother gave me. The second day after my jump, I noticed that the medal was gone, it was torn off,” he says. “About a week after we went to Corregidor, we went up to the hill and there were so many flies. You couldn’t open a can and put it in your mouth. The flies were terrible because the battlefield was kind of a mess that encourages the flies. I went back down to the jump field to get a parachute to protect me from the flies and came back towards the hill. It came out of my hands and when I picked it up, I saw it.  There was my medal, in the middle of the field. So that was kind of a Miraculous Medal.”

PT-32, one of 4 boats used in the escape.

Adams spent a good part of the first day getting injured troopers to the first aid station. He was in Corregidor until early March, when General MacArthur returned. He was part of the border patrol, spending most of his time on the hills and further down, he recalls.

Although a young recruit at the time, having joined the troops only a few months prior to his assignment, he understood the significance of that tiny island.  “It was kind of a guard in Manila Bay. It has a kind of control on any ship that came in through there. It was mainly a field with a fortress where they control it,” he shares. “Also, it was the last place where the phrase ‘I shall return’ became significant because that’s where General MacArthur left from going to Australia and then he came back. It was important in a sense that it controls the Manila Bay, but it is also significant just because it was the last place that the Americans surrendered from.”

“It was a pretty scary place,” he says of wartime Philippines. “I joined a few months earlier, so I was kind of new in the game at that time. We were in Mindoro and I ended up in the hospital. After Corregidor, we ran in Negros, so we got around a little bit. We spent most of our time up in the woods.”

He has vivid memories of MacArthur. “We did meet once in a while. I was at the dock when he came in and, as a matter of fact, the first time I was back in Corregidor I was in the museum and I found a picture of myself that was standing on the dock where he and I met. So, I welcomed him, but I don’t think he knows. He was quite a guy.”

After the Negros campaign and occupation duty in Japan, Adams returned home and joined the National Guard as operations sergeant in the 165th Infantry and left 20 years after as a master sergeant. He obtained a law degree from St. John University and is retired from General Motors. He has two daughters, one of whom is an Air Force Captain.

Pictures are courtesy of Manila Hotel

 

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His first trip back to Corregidor was in 2012 and he described it as an emotional trip. “I like going back to Corregidor. It’s really an honor to be here. It’s a little embarrassing when there are people standing around taking pictures—the people you should be taking pictures of, they are not here. Some might be still in Corregidor. My whole climb to fame is that I was there and I’m still here,” he says.

Of his visit, he shares, “I’m doing these to honor those people, the Filipinos and Americans that defended the island and also those who on the 16th came back to Corregidor. I think we are honoring those not only who came back on the 16th but everyone who was left.”

By : esqiremag.com   |   Feb 18, 2020

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Military Humor – 

“Yes, sailor, we docked 2 days ago!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Margaret Adamchak – Bridgeport, CT; Civilian, WWII, Naval Dept. employee

John Dennis – Tucson, AZ; US Navy, WWII, radar, USS Rochambeau

Paul H. Gebser – San Diego, CA; US Navy, WWII, Machinist’s Mate 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

John Henry – Lugarno, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, pilot instructor

Benjamin Meo – Haddon Heights, NJ; USMC, WWII

Carl Overcash – Rowan County, NC; US Army, WWII, PTO

Augustin Polasek – MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, bomber pilot, Colonel (Ret.)

Andrew Schmitz – Richmond, VA; US Navy, WWII, fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Donald Stratton – Red Cloud, NE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Arizona survivor / USS Stack / author, “All the Gallant Men”

Charles Wion – La Junta, CO; US Navy, WWII, Signalman

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One Woman’s Contribution – Elaine Ooley

 

Happy birthday, Elaine! Weldon Spring woman turns 106

“I don’t want to grow old. So I don’t act like I’m old. I refuse to do that,” Elaine Ooely said

 

 

WELDON SPRING, Mo. — We want to wish a happy birthday to Elaine Ooley from Weldon Spring. She recently turned 106 !!

Elaine Ooley is the definition of resilient. Here’s a short version of her amazing life story. She weighed just one pound when she was born and wasn’t expected to survive.

When she was just 4 years old, she survived the 1918 influenza pandemic in America. She went on to graduate high school during the Great Depression. And after that, she served as an aircraft dispatcher in the women’s Army Corps.

Air Force veteran Elaine Ooley, looks up toward a bomb addressed to Hitler, and asked for a picture of it, inside of the World War II B-17 bomber on display at the Greater Kankakee Airport during the Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom tour. Ooley, was an aircraft dispatcher for B-17 planes stationed at the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1944.

She said living long is thanks to good genes and an even better attitude.

“My long life is due to the fact that I’m positive in my attitude,” she said. “I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to grow old. So, I don’t act like I’m old. I refuse to do that. And I keep up with all the news so I can converse and am a people person. So, I believe in keeping busy, not feeling sorry for yourself, not worrying about your condition, cope with it, do what you can, and go.”

She didn’t have children but has tons of friends who all lined up to wish her happy birthday at the Breeze Park Senior Living Community in Weldon Spring. She calls the people at Breeze Park her family.

Ms. Ooley takes shelter in a B-25 to get out of the rain on her 103rd Birthday.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – HOME FRONT “Saturday Evening Post” style

“WHAT THE HECK DID WE DO EVERY NIGHT BEFORE THE WAR?”

 

“Why so polite all of a sudden? Are you hearing Peace rumors?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ena Andrews – Richamond, CA; Civilian, WWII, Shipyard welder

Robert Griffith – Berwyn, IL; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Wilma Gregory – MN; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

James “Hollie” Hollingsworth – Hephzibah, GA; USMC, Vietnam, !st Sgt. (Ret.)

Mary Horne – Fall River, MA; Civilian, Newport Naval Base, WWII

Katherine Johnson (101) – Civilian, NASA, Mathematician rocket trajectory expert

Betty Romesberg – Columbus, OH; US Army WAC; WWII, PTO, nurse

Peggy Simmons – Jonesville, NC; FBI, WWII

Morella Staggs – Gardenea, CA; US Coast Guard SPARS, WWII, radio

Edmund Torry – NYC, NY; USMC, 2nd Marine Division

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