Category Archives: Home Front

This WASP Couldn’t Wait to Fly

To honor our females veterans.

Writing of Kayleen Reusser-Home

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Mary Anna (‘Marty’) Martin Wyall – WASP

One benefit of interviewing World War II veterans is the opportunity to develop friendships. My husband and I consider Marty Wyall a friend. Below is a shortened version of her story from my book, WWII Legacies: Stories of Northeast IN Veterans. You can hear Marty speak about her World War II experiences here. She’s still a spunky gal!

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Mary Anna (‘Marty’) Martin Wyall of Fort Wayne learned about the WASP program from a magazine ad while studying bacteriology at DePauw University in 1942. The idea of flying intrigued her. “There was a war on and I wanted to help my country,” she said.

Her family was not keen on the idea. “Mother thought it was morally wrong for me to join the WASP,” she said. “She came from the Victorian era. I told her she would have to accept it…

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Japanese Prime Minister Abe in Hawaii – correction

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe having a moment of silence after the laying of the wreath

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe having a moment of silence after the laying of the wreath

Once again – correcting the media……

In May, President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in 1945 and soon compelled Japan’s surrender, ending World War II. It was a historic moment: Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city.

Now, Abe is repaying the favor.  On Tuesday, he will accompany Obama to Pearl Harbor, the site of the Japanese attack 75 years ago that led the United States to join World War II.

But is Abe’s visit quite as historic? When it was announced in early December, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said Abe would be the first sitting Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor since World War II. News outlets repeated this assertion, including The Washington Post.

But quickly afterward, things began to look a little more complicated. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper soon reported that Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii, home to Pearl Harbor, in 1951 when flying back home from San Francisco. He made a public visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, which honors American war dead, and a more private visit to Pearl Harbor.

 Aug. 31, 1951, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, center right, accompanied by his daughter, Kazuko, center left, is greeted by Adm. Arthur Radford, left, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Joseph R. Farrington, a delegate of the U.S. Congress for the Territory of Hawaii, during an arrival ceremony for Yoshida in Honolulu. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii in 1951.

Aug. 31, 1951, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, center right, accompanied by his daughter, Kazuko, is greeted by Adm. Arthur Radford ( l), commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Joseph R. Farrington, a delegate of the U.S. Congress for the Territory of Hawaii, during an arrival ceremony for Yoshida in Honolulu. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii in 1951.

The Pearl Harbor visit was not noted widely by the U.S. press, but it appeared in the Japanese press.

Yoshida told a reporter from the Yomiuri Shimbun that he had been “moved” by the visit. It also turns out that the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander at the time, Adm. Arthur Radford, was present. Radford later wrote that the visit was awkward for Yoshida and that they mostly discussed his dog.

Now more developments indicate that Abe may not be the second sitting prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor, either. Last week, the Hawaii Hochi — a dual-language Japanese-English newspaper based in Hawaii — suggested that two other Japanese leaders may have visited Pearl Harbor in the 1950s.

The newspaper posted images to its Facebook account that showed two front pages from its archive. One claimed that Ichiro Hatoyama visited the harbor on Oct. 29, 1956, where he was welcomed by a 19-gun salute and a band performing Japan’s national anthem. Another headline says that Nobusuke Kishi, Abe’s grandfather, visited the harbor on June 28, 1957, where he laid a wreath at the flagpole at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The Japanese government has now been forced to change its story. After Yoshida’s visit to Pearl Harbor was made public again, the government asserted that as the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor was not constructed until 1962, Abe will still be the first to visit the most famous monument. “He will also be the first to do so with an American president,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Sheila Smith, a senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, says she was “taken aback” by the initial mistake.

“If any organization should know its history, its MOFA,” she wrote via email, using an acronym to refer to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. “I’m also surprised that Abe himself or rather his office didn’t correct the record as he is a careful student of his grandfather’s diplomacy towards the U.S.”

Article found in Stars and Stripes magazine; by Adam Taylor | The Washington Post | Published: December 27, 2016

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News Corrections Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Bossi – Medford, MA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Attilio Cardamone – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Real DeGuire – Tecumseh, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, ETO, HMCS Hunter Haida & Algonquinplaying-taps

Pat Farwell – Skagway, AK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot

John Hayes – Elyria, OH; US Navy, WWII

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

Jack Messemer – Phoenix, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW / Korea, Sr. Sgt. Major (Ret. 41 years)

Sam Patane – Kirland, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQS/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Div.

Donald Patterson – Wichita, KA; US Army, Korea

Liz Smith – Lincolnshire, ENG; Women’s Royal Naval Service, WWII, CBI, (beloved actress)

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Working Dogs honored for their service

Sgt. Wes Brown & Isky

Sgt. Wes Brown & Isky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The leg had to be amputated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From “Stars and Stripes.”

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Military Canine Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

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

    Civil War mascot memorial

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

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

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

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PLEASE REMEMBER THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR US THEN….

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AND THOSE THAT PROTECT US TODAY….

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

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MILITARY CHRISTMAS HUMOR – 

Humor from deployed Marines

Humor from deployed Marines

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OOPS !!

OOPS !!

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FAREWELL SALUTES – 

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel Martin – Portland, OR; US Army, WWII

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

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

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

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

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

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Thanksgiving

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

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

Thanksgiving during WWII…

They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day,
My thoughts are at home, though I’m far away;
I can see everyone, eating dinner deluxe,
Whether it be chicken, turkey or even duck;
The fellows over here won’t whimper or moan,
They’ll look to the next one and hope to be home.
 
Truly and honestly, from way down deep,
They want you to be happy and enjoy your feast.
These holidays are remembered by one and all,
Those happy days we can always recall.
The ones in the future, will be happier, I know
When we all come back from defeating the foe.

_______Poem by an Anonymous WWII Veteran

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

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Thanksgiving Humor – 0a4de2cfa2234de501710f319eebbb4c

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Farewell Salutes – 

Elmer Bales – Alliance, OH; USMC, Cpl.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Censorship ~ Did you ever wonder who blacked out those letters?

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There was some censoring in the Civil War because letters sometimes had to cross enemy lines. Most of the censoring came from the prisoner-of-war camps. For example, if someone was writing a letter from Andersonville [a Confederate prison camp where many Union soldiers starved] those at the camp didn’t want people to know what was happening, so the prisoners wouldn’t be allowed to say anything bad about a camp. The first heavy censorship of U.S. soldiers took place during World War I
The censors were looking out for two things in World War I and World War II. They didn’t want the soldier to say anything that would be of value to the enemy, such as where they were. They always wanted to camouflage how strong the troops were. “Loose lips sink ships” was the phrase that was very prevalent in WW II and that was the theory in WW I as well.

Officers also were looking to see any weakening of desire among the troops. It’s very important in wartime for officers to know about morale issues.
One of our researchers recently found over 500 confiscated and condemned letters at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. They included letters that used graphic language dealing with sex. Our member also found that in some cases the same writer would keep having his letters confiscated and apparently didn’t get the message. These letters were never delivered and apparently the sender was never sent a notice of the offense.

Letters that were sent in foreign languages were also intercepted. Many members of the armed forces were immigrants or the children of immigrants and they were more comfortable communicating home in their native language. A letter written in Polish or Italian usually wasn’t delivered because the typical censor didn’t know what it said.
In general, in the Revolutionary War and Civil War the letters have much more information. The writers would say, ‘We’re outside of Fredericksburg’ or ‘I’m in the 12th division,’ and that’s important information that was often cut out in World War I and World War II.

In WW II, it’s common for a soldier to write, ‘I can’t say much or the censors will cut it out.’ Early in World War II, the soldiers couldn’t say where they were. People back home didn’t know if they were in the Pacific or the Atlantic. You’ll see letters where the soldier will say where he is — it’s cut out — and how many people are in the building — and that’s cut out too. People would do very simple things to get around the censor like write on the inside of the flap but they were usually unsuccessful. So the World War letters often just include just Mom and Pop stuff.

WWII poster

WWII poster

Who did the censoring?
The enlisted soldier was censored by an officer in his unit. It was considered an unimportant job and often someone like the chaplain or the dentist would get saddled with the job. If the enlisted man did not want his officer to read his mail — if he had been giving him a hard time, let’s say — the soldier could use what was called a ‘blue envelope.’ The writer would certify that there is nothing in here that shouldn’t be and the letter would go up to the next level where it might be looked at a little more kindly.

The officers were self-censored. They didn’t have anyone looking at their mail regularly, although the higher level staff or base censors would randomly check officers’ letters to keep an eye on them. Officers seemed to say more in their letters. Whether it was because they knew better what was allowed or whether they were more brazen or whether their mail often was not censored is debatable.

If the section they wanted out was very big, they would confiscate the letter. If it was small, they cut out the words or obliterate it with ink. If they had to use special chemicals to check for invisible writing — something they did when they suspected a spy — they would confiscate the letter because they didn’t want people to know they were doing it.

The censors returned very few soldiers’ letters. They confiscated them; they didn’t send them back. They didn’t necessarily give the word back to the soldier that his or her letter was withheld. It depended where it was stopped and how fast the troops were moving.

From the soldier’s perspective, you often didn’t know if it was going to get through. The soldiers were all given guidance on what they could say, so you would think they would know how to avoid getting their mail intercepted, but not all did.

Information is from ‘The American Experience.’

 

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Military Humor – Private Sanfu

"Well, the way I figure it ____, and ___!"

“Well, the way I figure it __ _ __, and __ _!”

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Farewell Salutes –

Louis Adriano – Albertson, NY; US Navy, WWII

Jacques Cayer – Cap-de-la-Madeleine, CAN; RC Air Force, Captain (Ret. 30 years)

Margaret Dover _ New Plymouth, NZ; WRNS # 55532, WWIIth-jpg1

H.L. Hungate Jr.  – Roanoke, VA; US Navy, WWII, USS Iowa

Ward ‘Bud’ Johnson – Idaville, IN; US Army, WWII, ETO, 773rd Tank Destroyer

Ellen Keener – Evans, GA; US Army WAAC, ETO

Jack Levin – Philadelphia, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 pilot

Mark Parsons – Spokane, WA; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO

William Reinhard – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, pilot

David Woolley – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

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Veteran’s Day ~ Remembrance

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

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

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

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

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FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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9/11 Patriot and National Service Day

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Patriot Day is the annual observance for those who were injured and died due to the 9-11 terrorists attacks.  This was not only an assault on the U.S., but against every nation and individual who do not follow their fanatical ideologies.

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This is NOT to be confused with Patriot’s Day which commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord of 1775.

This speaks for itself.

This speaks for itself.

To observe the official moment of silence – the accurate time should be at 8:46 AM (EDT).

In their memory.

In their memory.

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THE HERO DOGS

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And Let’s NOT forget the passengers of Flight 93 who gallantly saved the White House and those at the Pentagon!!!

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The shadow of….

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Alkema – Belmont, MI; US Navy, WWII. / Detroit Police Dept.kroger-honor-heros

Charles Andres III – Harvey, LA; US Army, WWII, Lt.Col. (Ret.)/ Lake Hermitage Vol. Fire Dept.

Eugene ‘Shorty’ Bruns – Burketsville, OH; US Navy, / Burketsville Vol. Fire Dept.

John Bussman – Monroe, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div./ Warren Vol. Fire Dept.

John Cox – Roseland, NJ; US Navy, WWII, submarines / Newark Police Dept.

Edward Early Sr. – New Egypt, NJ; US Army, WWII / Plumsted Chief of Police

Ercole Fioravanti – Rochester, NY; US Army, WWII, / E. Rochester Fire Dept.

Gordon Healy Sr. – Green Bay, WI; US Army, WWII, / Green Bay Police Dept.

Peter Vassello – Smithtown, NY; US Army, Korea, / Smithotwn Fire Dept.

Willis ‘Bucky’ Wise – Bakerstown, PA; US Navy, Korea, USS Soley, / Richland, Fire Dept.

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Current look back at the home front

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My Years of Eating Dangerously

by: William Jeanes, former editor-in-chief of ‘Car and Driver’

Marie Osmond told me on tv that she lost 50 lbs. eating prepackaged meals sent to her home, and not too long ago, the nation’s first lady ran off the White House pastry chef.  That reminded me of childhood mealtimes and my grandmother’s nutritional malfeasance.

Until well after WWII ended, I lived on 6th Street in Corinth, MS, with my grandparents.  Two aunts also lived with us.  All the men were in the Pacific, leaving my grandfather (Pop), to provide.  My grandmother (Mom), ran the house.

Pop was a superb provider.  He worked as a carpenter for the TVA and had a green B sticker on his car’s windshield, meaning that we had income and gasoline.  He also had a green thumb and grew green vegetables in a huge backyard garden.  Pop also fished, and he put fresh bream and crappie on our big dining room table at least twice a week.  He also oversaw a backyard chicken house that delivered eggs as well as raw material for the big, black frying pan that dominated Mom’s cooking.

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Mom was a canner and preserver.  We had – in what seemed to be endless quantity – green beans, pickled beets, peaches, strawberry preserves, and goodness knows what else.

Mom supplemented this bounty by going to the tiny Kroger store once a week for meat, which was rationed, and such staples as Luzianne coffee, Domino sugar, Clabber Girl baking powder and Crisco shortening.

Many things were served fried: chicken, green tomatoes, fish and pork chops.  Steak, scarce in wartime, was “chicken-fried.”  Meatloaf was baked of course, as was macaroni and cheese.

Mom always overcooked the steak and pork chops.  In those times, the idea of a rare steak or hamburger could disgust whole neighborhoods.  A typical summer meal included fried fish, tomatoes, green beans or butter beans and turnip greens or collards.  I hated greens more than I hated Tojo or Hitler.  If we had salad, it was a wedge of iceberg lettuces doused with French dressing, an orangey liquid unknown in France.

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Modern nutritionists would hyperventilate just thinking about what we ate in the 1940’s.  On the healthy side were the vegetables and greens that were available 6 months out of the year.  From there, things went nutritionally sideways.  Nowadays my grandparents would be guilty of child abuse.

Can you imagine a germ-laden hen house in a backyard of today?  How about wringing the neck of a chicken on the back steps?  Those activities would have brought the SWAT teams from PETA and the EPA pouring through our front door.

The Dept. of Agriculture never inspected Pop’s garden, let alone the hen house, and Mom adhered to no federal guidelines when it came to canning and cooking and cake making.  As fore fried food, the only questions were, “Is it crisp enough?” and “May I have some more?”

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Out house was heated by coal, we drank non-homogenized milk and we rarely locked doors.  It’s a wonder I wasn’t overcome by fumes, poisoned or stolen by gypsies.  Yet we survived.  Pop lived to be 88 and Mom 82.  Both aunts made it well past 80 and I was 77 on my last birthday. [This was originally published in Sept/Oct. 2015].

That’s what 400 year’s worth of fried chicken and beet pickles can do for you.

Condensed from the Saturday Evening Post.

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 Military Humor – on their food – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Arthur – Louisville, KY; USMC, WWII, PTO

Charlton ‘Chuck’ Cox – Seattle, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 navigator/Korea06062012_AP120606024194-600

Edward Fuge – Otaki, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Delva Gess – Chewelah, ID; USO, WWII

Roy Hart – Saskatchewan, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, CBI & ETO

Cecil Jarmer – Portland, OR; US Navy, WWII, CBI

George Macneilage – San Bernadino, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div., artillery

Nita Rinehart – Ashtabula, OH; US Navy, WWII WAVES, WWII

Ernest Sprouse Jr. – Knoxville, TN; US Navy, WWII, USS Frost

Gene Wilder, Milwaukee, WI; US Army, (beloved actor)

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Navajo Code Talkers Day

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During WWI, the Choctaw language had been used to transmit U.S. military messages. With this thought in mind, Philip Johnston, the son of a missionary grew up on a Navajo reservation and spoke the Diné tongue fluently, brought the suggestion of a similar code to General Clayton Vogel early in 1942. The Diné language has no alphabet, uses no symbols and one sound may hold an entire concept. The idea was tested and proved to be faster and more reliable than the mechanized methods. The language has more verbs than nouns, that helps to move the sentences along and makes it far more difficult for outsiders to learn – making it the most ingenious and successful code in military history.

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The 382nd Platoon, USMC

The original class, the 382d Platoon, Navajo Communication Specialists, USMC, developed their code at Camp Pendleton. Once a unit of code talkers were trained, they were put on Marine rosters around the Pacific Theater. Even under severe combat conditions, they remained the living codes, since nothing was ever written down. During the first 48 hours of Iwo Jima, 800 transmissions were coded. These few men became warriors in their own right during some of the worst battles of the war.

Choctaw Code Talkers

Choctaw Code Talkers

Some examples of the English word/ Navajo sound/ literal translation:

Alaska………. Beh-hga……….. with winter
America……….Ne-he-mah……… our mother
Britain……….Toh-ta………… between waters
Australia……..Cha-yes-desi…….rolled hat
China…………Ceh-yehs-besi……braided hair
France………..Da-gha-hi……….beard

Navajo code talkers

The existence of the code talkers and their accomplishments would remain top secret according to the U.S. government and use their expertise in the Korean War. Unfortunately, this resulted in many of the men not receiving the recognition they deserved. I was very lucky to have grown up knowing their story thanks to Smitty, my father.

President Ronald Reagan designated 14 August as National Code Talkers Day in 1982.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rocco Addeo Sr. – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII, 7th Fleet

Daniel Bolinski – Shamokin, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea/POW

Navajo Code Talker's Monument, Window Rock, AZ

Navajo Code Talker’s Monument, Window Rock, AZ

Philip Cooke – Brisbane, AUS; RA Air Force & RAF, WWII

Edward Flora – South Bend, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

John Guardino Sr. – Boca Raton, FL; USMC, Korea

Delbert Latta – Bowling Green, OH; US Army/USMC, WWII, (US Congressman)

Charles McCaughan – Darfield, NZ; RNZ Army # 40553, WWII

Merle Sargent – Springville, UT; US Army, WWII, PTO

James Sinclair – Bosman, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO, 17th Firld Reg/Royal Reg. of Canadian Artillery

Donald Weaver – Wayne City, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO

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