Category Archives: Home Front

June, 1944 “Nothing of historical significance has happened.”

A rare glimpse into the life of sailors on the home front and how we know….

Sailors Attic

Have you heard the popular retort from the 1940s, “Don’t you know there’s a war going on?”

During the Second World War, naval commandants wrote diary entries about major events in their commands.  The subordinate officers submitted reports to their commandants who typed up “war diaries” for the Vice-Chief of Naval Operations.  The War Diaries were official U.S. Navy records, to be examined post-war as a source for histories of the various Navy commands.

But whose decided what was important enough to write down?

The answer, of course, was everybody.  And everybody had a different view of the same experience.  So the entries in War Diaries varied from one commanding officer to the next, and from one command to the next.  A hand-written desk diary kept by the Commandants of the U.S. Naval Training Station at Great Lakes shows how different people viewed the exact same place and experience in vastly…

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Fourth of July

 Red Skelton is amazing here – Please watch and have a happy and safe 4th of July!!

God Bless Our Troops

THE SOLDIER’S POEM

When this is over
And we come home again,
Forget the band
And cheers from the stand;
Just have the things
Well in hand –
The things we fought for.
UNDERSTAND?

                                                                                 _____Pfc C.G. Tiggas

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ONLY A SAILOR

He’s only a sailor on the boundless deep,
Under foreign skies and tropical heat.
Only a sailor on the rolling deep,
In summer rain and winter sleet.

____Unknown

Remember when it was popular to be patriotic?  We had fun back then!!

Parades and picnics!!

Even the kids got involved!

 

 

Please remember that fireworks can cause PTSD reactions.  Please be considerate.  Thank you.

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Fourth of July – Humor or Truth ?

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth Alsdurf – Syracuse, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Phyllis Cox Birney – Floral City, FL; Civilian US Army & Air Force employee (Ret.)

Ray Flow – Broadway, NC; US Army

Dick Hickman – Louisville, KY; US Air Force, Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret), Bronze Star

Paul Hubble (103) – W.Palm Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII

Jack Jennings – Bronx, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Lt.Col. (Ret. 30 yr.), fighter pilot

Cyril Maceyka – Waltham, MA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Oiva Pakka – Butte, MT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 1st LT., B-29 navigator

Kenneth Steele – Kansas City, MI; US Navy, WWII, ETO

Franklin Trapkin – Ramsey, NJ; US Army, WWII

Robert Uhlman – Des Moines, IA; USMC, WWII, PTO

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Intermission (2) – Home Front – The Blitz Kids of Palm Beach, FL

The Elliot Children

Three young siblings sit at a fountain.  Two girls in matching dresses and white, floppy bonnets; a lad in a schoolboy’s jacket and shorts.  Their smiles are subdued.  The children are long-term guests at the compound of one of Palm Beach’s more famed denizens, Charles Merrill.

Across the sea, their mother pines for her son and two daughters.  But she knows they are safer in America than they would be in England.  Night after night, the full fury of the Nazi war machine bombs their homeland.  “This photo shows Alistair, Anne and Jean Eliot one Sunday at a church in Palm Beach called Bethesda,” poet and writer Alistair Eliot, now 84, recalled. [Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.  Anne on the left; Jean in the middle.]

Charles Merrill

Their emergency host being Charles Merrill, founder of the world’s largest brokerage firm.   Alistair knows little about his family’s connections to the Merrills.  “I am unaware as to how or why these three were chosen, but I met them during the summer months when they accompanied my grandfather to Southampton, NY,” said Merrill Lynch Magowan.

What brought these children to Palm Beach, Florida was the Blitz.

Even before the raids started, British parents started thinking about getting their children out.  The Elliots first planned to move theirs to Australia, Canada or South Africa.  Starting in June 1940, a board that coordinated children’s passage was swamped with applications.

Late in the evening of 17 September 1940, the City of Benares  was 4 days out from Liverpool when a torpedo slammed into it.  The attacked killed 131 of the 200 crewmembers, 131 of the 197 of the passenger – including 70 of the 90 children – this would end the government program.

The British National Archives shows that privately sponsored programs continued and that’s how the Elliots got to the U.S.  In late November 1940, Mrs. Elliot and her 3 children crossed the Atlantic, bad weather and German U-boats and all.  Mrs. Elliot returned to England after she gave the children their Christmas presents.   Alistair said that other ships in their convoy were sunk, “We were attacked at night and I saw ships burning and heard the destroyers whooping rushing past us like Marine ambulances.”

In Palm Beach, the 3 were among many who saw the war come right to them.  In their case, for the second time.  “I saw ships burning on the horizon, in the Gulf Stream, as we were swimming – one time we got covered with oil that had floated in from a sunk tanker,” he said.

Alistair Elliot

Charles Merrill’s biographer, Langdon Hammer, said, Charles Merrill was moved by the heroism of the British… and was eager to do something for the war effort.  He welcomed the Elliot siblings as foster children, seeing not only to their safety, but to their upbringing and education.  He even hired them a governess, and a  British nurse named Jessie Love.”

Charles Merrill died at 70 on 7 October 1956, he would not be remembered for his generous hosting of the children, but as for creating a brokerage empire.  He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in W.Palm Beach, Florida.  Alistair Elliot wrote to honor his mother, “My mother was a heroine in her own unspoken way.  It had to be done, and she did it, was all she had to say.”

Charles Edward Merrill, 1885-1956

Condensed from an article by Eliot Kleinberg, Palm Beach Post, staff writer, but it can also be located in Stars and Stripes.

Click on images to enlarge and read captions.

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Home Front Humor – 

“THE NEIGHBORS SAY SHE SOUNDS TOO MUCH LIKE AN AIR-RAID SIREN”

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Dean Armstrong – Hutchinson, KS; US Navy, WWII, CBI, Lt., pilot

Charles Bell III – Mt. Pleasant, SC; US Army, Korea, 11th Airborne Division, West Point Class of 1950

Daniel Doyle – Sarasota, FL; US Army, Afghanistan, Major

Norman Fraser – North York, CAN; RC Navy, WWII

Don Hill – Troy, MI; US Army, WWII

Grant Iverson – Washington, UT; US Navy, WWII

Ray James – Sylvarina, MS; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, F/2/8th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Philip LaForce – Oxford, MA; US Army, WWII, SSgt., POW, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Archie Newell – Lemmon, SD; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt., 2nd Tank Battalion, KIA (Tarawa)

Calvin Wilhite Jr. – Memphis, TN; US Army, WWII, Sgt.

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U.S. Army’s 242nd Birthday / Flag Day

THE U.S. ARMY

AMERICA’S FIRST NATIONAL INSTITUTION

U.S. Army uniforms through the years

**********                    **********

FLAG DAY 

Today is Flag Day, an annual observance of the Second Continental Congress’ official adoption of the stars and stripes in 1777. At the time, they “resolved that the flag of the 13 United States” be represented by 13 alternating red and white stripes and the union by 13 white stars in a blue field, “representing a new constellation.” Now, more than 200 years later and with an updated design, the flag is an American icon.  Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is the only state to recognize it as a legal holiday.

U.S. Army Sergeant Joey Odoms’ audition to sing the National Anthem from Afghanistan. On  10 November 2016, he performed in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Dillion Baldridge – Youngsville, NC; US Army, Afghanistan, 101st Airborne Division, Cpl., KIA

William Bays- Barstow, CA; US Army, Afghanistan, 101st Airborne Division, Sgt., KIA

Eric Houck – Baltimore, MD; US Army, Afghanistan, 101st Airborne Division, Sgt., KIA

R. Patrick McGinley – Plainville, CT; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Robert ‘Allen’ O’Berry – Kissimmee, FL; US Army, Sgt. (Ret. 20 yrs.)

Marcella Remery – W.Palm Beach, FL; US Army WAC

Harold Roland Jr. – Atlanta, GA; US Army, Korea, 82nd Airborne Division

Richard Stackhouse – Indianapolis, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Lt., B-24 bombardier

Robert Wilke Sr. – Owens Cross Roads, AL; US Army, Vietnam, Lt.Colonel, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Samuel Wilson – Rice, VA; WWII & Vietnam, ‘Merrill’s Marauders, Lt. General (Ret. 37 yrs.), Silver Star (2), Bronze Star (2)

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Memorial Day 2017

MEMORIAL DAY.

WHO DO YOU SAY THANK YOU TO?

Should you care to see Memorial Day posts from past years ____

Michael’s Tree – planted by Lavinia & Rick Ross in honor of my son, Michael USMC.

2016

2015(1) and 2015 (2)

2014

2013

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Farewell Salutes –

Jacob Baboian – Watertown, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Thomas Coughlin – Portland, OR; US Army, WWII, Corps of Engineers

Lamar Day – Salt Lake City, UT; US Navy, WWWII, PTO, USS John Pope

Edward Flora – Mishawaka, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, A/674th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Earle Garlinger – Roswell, NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, (Ret. 21 years)

Harold Kline – Charlotte, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 737th/454/15th Air Force

James O’Leary – Manchester, NH; USMC, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Cuban Missile Crisis

Michael Sadlo – Hollywood, FL; USMC, Pfc

Everett Smith – Broad Channel, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/187th/11th Airborne Division

Vartan Torosian – Pleasant Hill, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Division

Albert Washington Jr. – Midland, TX; USMC, WWII, PTO

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WWII – in memorial

Memorial Day is to honor those that have left us after they served to guarantee us the freedoms we too often take for granted. I do not have the words – so I present Jay who wrote a poem that expresses what I feel.

jaybluepoems

Once upon a battlefield
I stood where heroes fell,
where brothers, sons and lovers paused
to hear death’s tolling knell.

Once upon an open sea
I sailed where deep remain
the bodies of courageous men
who, by war were sadly slain.

Once upon the azure blue
I drifted through the crimson cloud
where valiant fighters dealt with death
to die alone in sullen shroud.

I’ve felt the moments summoned.
I’ve seen the grave despair.
I’ve witnessed every breath so gained
and every soul laid bare.

I’ve shed a tear not meant for me,
but for the uncaressed
that ne’er again felt warmth of love
before their final rest.

To their souls my prayer,
my honor and my truth,
that they be blessed eternal,
and blessed in memory’s youth!

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Armed Forces Day 2017

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20 May 2017

The longest parade in the U.S. for Armed Forces Day is Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Here’s what’s planned for this year’s extravaganza…….

Hamilton County and the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council will sponsor the 68th annual Armed Forces Day parade and luncheon on Friday, May 5, at 10:30 a.m. in downtown Chattanooga.

The parade highlights a different branch of service every year, with the Air Force featured on Friday. The parade will begin with a flyover of two F-16s piloted by Lt. Col. Dave Snodgrass and Maj. Gen. Richard Scobee.

A small peek at 2016

Scobee, son of Chattanooga resident June Scobee Rodgers, is a command pilot with more than 3,800 flight hours, including 248 combat hours. He is the 10th Air Force commander, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base.

His command includes all fighter, bomber, special operations, rescue, airborne warning and control, fighter and bomber flying-training missions, combat air operations battle staff, remotely piloted aircraft, space and cyber units in the Air Force Reserve CommaTwo Air Force veterans will serve as parade marshals: Jack Rolfson, a WWII B-17 pilot, and Eugene Parrott, a fighter pilot in the Korean War.

Another special guest will be Lt. General Arnold W. Bunch Jr., military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Air Force Secretary for Acquisition at the Defense Department.

Gen. Richard Scobee June 10, 2014.

Lt. General Bunch

For more information, visit the parade’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/chattafparade/ or the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council at http://chattareaveterans.com.

Do you or your area have plans for the day?

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Personal Note # 1 –

Branden Charters needs help with having flowers put on every veteran’s gravesite for Memorial Day.  Find ways to help HERE.

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Personal Note # 2 –

Our fellow blogger, Jacqui Murray, writer, teacher and mother of two currently active serving children in the military has now published her second novel, Twenty Four Days.  Check it out HERE with a sample chapter!

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Adams – Lincoln, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 332nd Fighter Group, pilot (Ret.)

Robert Atwater – Elmira, NY; US Navy, WWII, SeaBees

Marino DiChiara – brn: ITL; US Army, WWII

Barbara Grooters – Grand Rapids, MI; US Navy WAVES, WWII

David Herrington – Baxley, GA; US Army, WWII

Kermit Miller – Lehighton, PA; US Navy, WWII, Radarman 3rd Class

Bob Price Sr. – St Louis, MO; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Dewey Stephenson – Waterboro, ME; US Navy, WWII / US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Daniel Stewart – Fort Wayne, IN; US Army, WWII

John Zilar – Denver, CO; US Air Force, machinist

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for the Veterans – Military Appreciation Month

Martha Cothren with her class

This is a contribution from my brother for the veterans!  There is a lesson here that the students of Little Rock High School will never forget.  I would presume also that most students would never have given this a thought……

In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a History teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock , did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.

‘Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?’

 She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’ 

 They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’ ‘No,’ she said.

 ‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’ She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’

Martha Cothren

 And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom. Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

 The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom. Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.’

 At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began

Martha Cothren with veterans

placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

 Martha said, ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.’ 

 

By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006. She is the daughter of a WWII POW.

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Military Humor – 

INCOMING !!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Verdun Affleck – Timaru, NZ; RNZ Army # 8383, WWII, 20th NZ Btn., driver

Tommy Haynes – Abanda, AL; US Navy, WWII, Sea Bees

Joseph Hillman Jr. – Rock Run, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Engineers (Ret. 30 Years)

Ralph Iossa – Madison, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Sgt., 11th Airborne Division

Adolph Kiefer – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, [Olympian swimmer]

Ralph Pierman – Shawnee, OK; US Navy, WWII, Carpenter 1st Mate, LST-471, 3 Bronze Stars

Wilburn Ross – Whitley City, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO, MSgt. (Ret.), Purple Heart, Medal of Honor

Kenji Tashiro – CA; US Army, WWII, ETO,  MSgt., 442 RCT / Korea & Vietnam

Leo Thorsness – Walnut Grove, MN; US Air Force, Vietnam, POW, Medal of Honor

Julius Younger – NYC, NY; US Army, WWII, Manhattan Project

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Current News – Military Appreciation Month

There is no need to wait until Memorial Day to put out your flag!!  May is Military appreciation Month and I take a break in our Pacific War story to have each and every one of you have this information.  I hope you enjoy this THANK YOU today for those that have served in the U.S. military, past and present, and to those of you who served in nations that have stood shoulder to shoulder with America

May is a special month for both those in and out of the military. For service members and veterans, it’s a chance to pay tribute to supportive families and spouses on Military Spouse Appreciation Day, and honor the memory of those who have sacrificed for this nation on Memorial Day. For the general public, the entire month provides an opportunity to say thanks to all those, past and present, who have contributed to the U.S. military.

What is Military Appreciation Month?

Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month in 1999 to ensure the nation was given the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their appreciation for the sacrifices and successes made by our service members — past and present. Each year the president makes a proclamation, reminding Americans of the important role the U.S. Armed Forces have played in the history and development of our country. May was selected because it has the most days set aside for celebrating and commemorating our military’s achievements. In addition to the special days already mentioned, important dates for the military in May include Loyalty Day, which was established in 1921, Victory in Europe (VE) Day commemorating the end of WWII in Europe in 1945 and Armed Forces Day.

Military Appreciation Day

Many locations also celebrate a specific Military Appreciation Day. Although not a nationally recognized holiday, areas use the day to hold parties and picnics in honor of their local active duty, Guard, Reserve and military veteran communities. Local businesses may offer discounts, while local sports teams may give free entrance to military families and veterans.

We honor you

Join Military.com this month in honoring, remembering, recognizing and appreciating those who have served and those now serving — read special features, and learn the history behind Military Appreciation Month. If you’re a service member, military family member and veteran, you can find out about major events taking place throughout the month, as well as important discounts being offered by companies in thanks for your military service

For more information please contact Military.com

Everett Smith; artwork courtesy of https://priorhouse,wordpress.com/

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Military Humor – 

Enlarge to read!

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Farewell Salutes – 

David Altop – Salt Lake City, UT; USMC, WWII, PTO, radio operator

Louis Contos – San Pedro, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Robert Fraser – Toronto, CAN; RC Army, WWII, 48th Highlanders

Weston Lee – Bluffton, GA; US Army, Iraq, 1st Lt., 82nd Airborne Division, KIA

Michael Mantenuto – Holliston, MA; US Army, 1st Special Forces Group

Clifford Oberlander – Bismark, ND; US Navy, Flight Officer

Joshua Rodgers – Bloomington, IL; US Army, Afghanistan, 3/75th Ranger Regiment, Sgt., KIA

Frank Streather – Sydney AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, 452nd Squadron

Cameron Thomas – Kettering, OH; US Army, Afghanistan, 3/75th Ranger Regiment, Sgt., KIA

Russell Turner – Houston, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Joseph Ventresca Sr. – Buffalo, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO

 

This WASP Couldn’t Wait to Fly

To honor our females veterans.

Writing of Kayleen Reusser-Home

marty-wyall-in-googles

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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