Category Archives: Home Front

Home Front – Hard to keep the good times rollin’

 

[ This post was originally a guest post I wrote for Judy Guion @ Greatest Generation Lessons.  Being as times are rough these days, I thought a bit of comparison with what our parents and grandparents went through was in order. ]

Columnist Marquis Childs said after Pearl Harbor: “Nothing will ever be the same.”  Thirty-five years later he added: “It never has and never will be.”

We need to remember that in 1941 as much as 40% of U.S. families lived below the poverty level, approximately 8 million worked for less than minimum wage and another 8 million were unemployed.  The median income was about $2,000 per year.  The government, in virtually fighting two separate wars, entered into civilian lives by raising taxes, rationing, controlling prices and allotting jobs.

Once the war began, truck convoys became commonplace and train depots burst into arenas of activity.  The movement was not entirely servicemen as women began to migrate into towns and communities near the military bases and jobs when they entered the workforce.  Judy Guion’s Aunt Jean did just that by going to Florida to be near her husband Dick.  Minorities headed for higher paying positions in defense plants and shipyards.

The greatest annoyance to civilians was the fact that new automobiles were no longer being produced.  The public’s status symbol and route to financial and social activities had been curtailed and this caused boot-leg markets to spring up selling tires and taking their chances with the law.  The La Salle Motor Company in Indiana was the first firm to be cited by the government.  The Office of Price Administration would regulate everything from soup and shoes to nuts and bolts and was responsible for all domestic rationing.  J. Edgar Hoover issued warnings about car thefts; alerting owners to be wary of where they parked their cars, especially during evening hours.  In Southwest Harbor, Maine, reports of gasoline siphoning were a constant problem.

The use of taxicabs grew throughout the world in the early part of the 20th century.  In the 1940’s, the taximeter was developed and the new two-way radio was a great improvement over the old callboxes.  DeSotos, Packards and the GM “General” were the common vehicles utilized for this purpose.

Streetcars were heavily used in the 1930’s, but companies began to fail as gasoline buses (”trackless trolleys”) took their place.  The most prominent name was the Greyhound.  In 1936, they introduced their “Super Coach” for family travel and it was so well received that within four years, they opened a chain of restaurants called “Post House.”  When war began, they became a major carrier of the troops heading to the east and west coasts.  Since nearly 40% of their workforce was eventually drafted, women were offered training as bus drivers.  Local buses where often late and overcrowded, having standing room only.  A person was often unable to keep a reliable daily schedule due to the situation.

Delta Airlines’ ad, 1940’s

Air travel was certainly difficult with a war in progress and the airlines did not have the systems they have now.  Case in point:  the Hoover Airport (where the Pentagon building is now), had a major highway running smack through it.  When a plane took off or landed, the red traffic light was switched on to halt car and truck movement.

Train transport

Trains were the dominate mode of transportation since the transcontinental was completed in 1869 and up until just before the war era when cars and trucks became predominate.  The massive movement around the country pressed heavily on the antiquated railroad network.  Most of the system had been built in the decades following the Civil War.  The Office of Defense Transportation urged people to only travel on “slack days” and take one-day vacations.  The Director stated, “Needless passenger movement is getting to the point where it is embarrassing the war effort.”  One rail line that came out of Saint Louis, called the “Jeffersonian,” had only reserved seating, but people continued to line up in the aisles.

1944 Arnold Schwinn ad, Chicago, IL

In congested areas, such as N.Y.C., vendors began to spring up to rent out bicycles.  In fact, the summer of 1942, when the gas pumps went dry, drivers followed a gas truck to its delivery point, (as many as 350 would line up) so the bicycle business erupted.  When walking became more important, leather for shoes became scarce and shoe rationing went into effect February 1943.  In the U.S., three pairs per year was the quota and in England it was only one.  By 1944, the U.S. civilian ration was dropped to two pair.

Greyhound 1940’s ad

The old saying, “Let the good times roll” proved difficult and often the stories seem to be from another world rather than another decade.  Do any of our readers have stories they remember or were told?  How would any of you deal with this lifestyle?

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Home Front Humor –

Chattanooga Times, the overburdened railroads

“When you boys finish with your Civil Air Patrolling stuff, I’ll have some iced tea ready for you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul A. Avolese – USA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Major, radar/navigator, 4133 Bombardment Wing, KIA (South China Sea)

Neil Bohner – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Bernard Brown – Rutland, VT; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Kevin Dobson – NYC, NY; US Army, Military Police  /  Actor

Fred Ferry – Clarksville, TN; US Army, Co. A/544 Artillery/11th Airborne Division, (Ret. 23 y.)

Rosanna H. Gravely (102) – Camden, NJ & CO; US Navy WAVES, WWII, PTO, Yeoman 1st Class

Joseph W. Hoffman – USA; US Navy, WWII, Navy musician 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

John P. Langan – Columbus, NE; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc., Co. C/1/6/2nd Marine Division, KIA (Tarawa)

Neal ‘Lil Pa’ Stevenson – Houma, LA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Patricia Warner – Lincoln, MA; OSS, WWII, undercover agent

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Poem – “The Conversion”

From the C.B.I. Theater of operation Roundup newsletter came this poem of wisdom.  Just something to keep in mind – no matter what theater of operations OR which war the veteran emerges from….

THE CONVERSION

When bugles sound their final notes
And bombs explode no more
And we return to what we did
Before we went to war
The sudden shift of status
On the ladder of success
Will make some worthy gentlemen
Feel like an awful mess.

Just think of some poor captain
Minus all his silver bars
Standing up behind some counter
Selling peanuts and cigars
And think of all the majors
When their oak leaf’s far behind
And the uniforms they’re wearing
is the Western Union kind.

 

Shed a tear for some poor colonel
if he doesn’t feel himself
Jerking sodas isn’t easy
When the eagle’s on the shelf
‘Tis a bitter pill to swallow
‘Tis a matter for despair
Being messengers and clerks again
A mighty cross to bear.

So be kind to working people
That you meet where ‘er you go
For the guy who’s washing dishes
May have been your old CO.

Published 6 October 1944

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Daniel Barnett – Goodlettsville, TN; US Army, Korea, RHQ/187th RCT

“You Are Not Forgotten”

George W. Biggs – Nogales, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII. Tuskegee airman / Korea & Vietnam, B-47 & B-52 pilot / US Customs Service

Harold L. Dick – Tipton, MO; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Gunner’s mate 2nd Class, USS Colorado, KIA (Tinian)

Lloyd Gruse – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, WWII  /  US Army, Korea & Vietnam

Virdean (Davis) Lucas – Newton, KS; Civilian, USO, WWII

Ramon Maldonado (103) – Carriere, MS; US Army, WWII

Isaac Parker (17) – AK; US Navy, WWII, Mess Attendant, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Steve Stibbens – Dallas, TX; USMC, Vietnam, Gunnery Sgt. (Ret. 20 y.), Bronze Star, Stars & Stripes journalist

Andrew Vinchesi – Malden, MA; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Lloyd Wade – Westminster, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Division

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USS West Virginia – Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay

USS West Virginia, pre-WWII

Her wounds had been grievous that morning in 1941, when Japanese torpedo bombers  swept low over the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor and unleashed their deadly cargoes at the easy targets moored along Battleship Row.  The surface might of the U.S. Pacific Fleet was virtually helpless against the onslaught, and those ships moored outboard received the brunt of the devastating attack.

Oklahoma capsized and West Virginia took 7 torpedoes into her port side, gouging huge holes in her hull.  Two modified artillery shells, configured as

USS West Virginia (BB-48)

aerial bombs, struck aft.  The ship’s captain, Mervyn Bennion, was cut down by a steel fragment but remained in command, perishing with courage and later receiving a posthumous Medal of Honor.  Dorie Miller, a cook, manned a machine-gun and received the Navy Cross for heroism.

Alert counterflooding kept West Virginia from capsizing and the heavily damaged battleship settled to the bottom of Pearl Harbor upright and on an even keel.  A total of 106 West Virginia sailors were killed that fateful morning.

USS West Virgina @ Pearl Harbor. USCG boat in front saving sailors

At first glance, it appeared that the battleship might be a total loss.  However, salvage and recovery efforts were quickly begun.  West Virginia was refloated and pumped dry.  The bodies of sailors entombed on the ship for days were recovered.  The torpedo holes were patched, and the Colorado- class ship, first launched in November 1921, sailed for Puget Sound Navy Yard, in Bremerton, WA, for a substantial rebuild.

December 7th memories.

After 2 years of modernization,  USS West Virginia was ready for combat duty.  In October, she joined the shore bombardment group off of Leyte, P.I.  Here, her main 16-inch guns barked at the Japanese.  She gained another measure of revenge in the night Battle of Surigao Strait.  Along with the Mississippi, and other Pearl Harbor veterans Tennessee, Maryland, California and Pennsylvania they pounded an enemy surface squadron.

USS West Virginia, sinking at Pearl Harbor

West Virginia, affectionately known to her crew as, “Big Weevie”, later provided fire support for the amphibious landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, remaining to lend heavy artillery as the operations progressed.  She was struck by a Kamikaze plane off Okinawa that killed 4 sailors, but she remained on station until her mission was completed.

When the news of the Japanese surrender reached her crew, the USS West Virginia was ordered to sail for Tokyo Bay.  She arrived on 31 August, and her contingent of Marines went shore.

West Virginia was the largest ship of the U.S. Navy present at both Pearl Harbor and the  2 September surrender ceremonies.  The only other U.S. warship that were at both events was the light cruiser USS Detroit.

USS West Virginia, 1944

After lending 5 musicians from her band to play during the surrender proceedings, she only had one more task to complete: transporting 25,554 fighting men from Pearl Harbor to San Diego, CA, during Operation Magic Carpet, the mammoth undertaking to bring American personnel home from the Pacific.

West Virginia in Hawaii preparing for home, Oct. 1945

She was decommissioned in 1947, and put in the Pacific Reserve Fleet until 1959.  After a storied career spanning 4 decades, she was towed to New York harbor to be broken up for scrap.

The West Virginia’s bell sits in the state museum at Charleston, her wheel and binnacle are at the Hampton Roads Museum, her mast at West Virginia University and an antiaircraft gun in a park at Parkersburg.

WWII History Network.

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Military Humor – Navy Style – 

THE VIEW IS PRETTIEST FROM THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN.

WHY C.O.’S DON’T GET MUCH SLEEP!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frank Anthon – Cincinnati, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, Co. A/1/6/2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, KIA (Tarawa)

Warren G.H. DeVault – TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt., Co. F/2/12/4th Infantry Division, KIA (Hürtgen, GER

HONOR

Roland Fafard – Worchester, MA; US Navy, WWII, SeaBee

Bernie Lieder – Greenwood Township, MN; US Army, WWII, ETO  /  MN Representative

Douglas ‘Knute’ Nelson – Haynesville, LA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Marvin Pretzer – Bay City, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Donald Rusk – Clarks Hill, IN; US Army, Korea, Sgt.

Norma Schrader – Bridgeport, CT; US Army WAC, WWII

Donald Stouli – Robbinsdal, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot, 303 Bomb Group  /  US Air Force, Korea

Julian C. Wills (100) – Flingsville, KY; US Army, WWII, MSgt.

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Olivia de Havilland and the 11th Airborne

Olivia de Havilland in her 11th Airborne jacket

Dame Olivia Mary de Havilland, born 1 July 1916) was a British-American actress. Her career spanned from 1935 to 1988.  She appeared in 49 feature films, and was one of the leading movie stars during the golden age of Classical Hollywood.   She is best known for her early screen performances in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and  (1939), and her later award-winning performances in To Each His Own (1946), The Snake Pit (1948), and The heiress (1949).

Olivia de Havilland pin-up

Born in Tokyo to British parents, de Havilland and her younger sister, Joan Fontaine, moved with their mother to California in 1919. They were brought up by their mother Lilian, a former stage actress who taught them drama, music, and elocution.  De Havilland made her acting debut in amateur theatre in Alice in Wonderland. Later, she appeared in a local production of Shakespeare’s  A Midsummer’s Night Dream, which led to her playing Hermia in Max Reinhardt stage production of the play and a movie contract with Warner Bros.

Olivia de Havilland at Hollywood Canteen, 1943

De Havilland became a naturalized citizen of the United States on November 28, 1941, ten days before the United States entered  WWII militarily, alongside the Allied Forces.  During the war years, she actively sought out ways to express her patriotism and contribute to the war effort.

Olivia de Havilland visits the injured in Alaska

In May 1942, she joined the Hollywood Victory Caravan, a three-week train tour of the country that raised money through the sale of war bonds.  Later that year she began attending events at the Hollywood Canteen, meeting and dancing with the troops.

In December 1943 de Havilland joined a USO tour that traveled throughout the United States, Alaska, and the South Pacific, visiting wounded soldiers in military hospitals.  She earned the respect and admiration of the troops for visiting the isolated islands and battlefronts in the Pacific.  She survived flights in damaged aircraft and a bout with viral pneumonia requiring several days’ stay in one of the island barrack hospitals.   She later remembered, “I loved doing the tours because it was a way I could serve my country and contribute to the war effort.”

Olivia de Havilland in Kodiak, 1943

In 1957, in appreciation of her support of the troops during World War II and the Korean War, de Havilland was made an honorary member of the 11th Airborne Division and was presented with a United States Army jacket bearing the 11th’s patch on one sleeve and the name patch “de Havilland” across the chest

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Military Humor – ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Mildred Baum – Venetia, PA; Civilian, US Army JAG (D.C. office), WWII

Hilbert Ditters – Ferdonia, ND; US Army, WWII, PTO, Japan Occupation

Billy Joe Hash – Whitley County, KY; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Purple Heart, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Jim Honickel – Summit, NJ; US Army, Sgt., 11th Airborne Division

Harold D. Langley – Amsterdam, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO / author, military historian

Jimmy Morrison – Hazelton, IN; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam

Robert Payán – Gallup, NM; US Army Air Corps, German Occupation, medic

Ronald Rosser – Columbus, OH; US Army, Korea, Medal of Honor

Salvador Schepens – Gulfport, MS; US Merchant Marines, WWII / US Navy, Korea, USS Wasp & Hornet, (Ret.)

Donald Terry – Apollo Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Cone (DD-866)

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Pin-up Girls Helped Win WWII

America’s entrance into WWII triggered the golden age of WWII Pin-ups — pictures of smiling women in a range of clothing-challenged situations.  The racy photos adorned lonely servicemen’s lockers, the walls of barracks, and even the sides of planes.  For the first time in its history, the U.S. military unofficially sanctioned this kind of art: pin-up pictures, magazines and calendars were shipped and distributed among the troops, often at government expense.

No history of any military unit would be complete without some info on its favorite pin-ups.  Keep in mind that in the days prior to women being in every military unit, soldiers would be in the field or in combat for months on end, or years as in WWII, without seeing or hearing a female voice.

Although a little revealing at times, pin-ups were not what you would recall pornography.  No one knows for sure when this trend began, but it is known that Napoleon’s soldiers carried pin-ups with them.

Usually pin-ups were wholesome American girls – movie stars, singers, dancers or just well-known celebrities, but occasionally, some of them were a bit on the “wild side”.  Some pin-ups were not real women at all, but drawings, like the well-known ones by Vargas.

“Gravy for the Navy”, Alberto Vargas

What would become the familiar pin-up began to take shape in 1917, when Wilson’s administration created the Division of Pictorial Publicity.  The art form’s ever-growing popularity bled over into other mediums, such as Hollywood, who jumped onto the bandwagon and movie execs began using sexually-charged imagery to promote their films.

This had such a success, it came as little surprise in WWII that pin-ups were used in recruitment posters and war bomb purchasing material.  Many considered this to be the pin-up’s “Golden Age” and thousands of images were commissioned to raise soldier morale while fighting overseas.  A U.S. soldier couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a pin-up girl: in barracks, on submarine walls and carried in pockets – they were never far away from a reminder of why they were fighting.

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Nose art for US aircraft regulations were eased and through WWII and into the Korean War, aircraft artistry would be in its ‘golden age.’  This not only helped the morale of the men, but it made a plane easier to identify rather than its serial numbers.  Although the art would also be of cartoon characters (“Thumper”) or hometowns (“Memphis Belle”), the majority were of women like “Lady Eve”, Forbidden Fruit” “Miss Behavin” and “Little Gem”, for example.

Adak Island, AK pin-up collection

The woman who became the champion pin-up girl was Betty Grable and winning that that title was a tough fight as she was up against such names as Hedy Lamarr, Dorothy Lamour, Ann Sheridan, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Esther Williams and many others.

For further research on pin-ups in aviation and nose art, Pierre Lagacé’s blog ‘Preserving the Past’ click HERE!  

                                                                                     Or ‘Preserving the Past II’ article HERE!

This information was condensed from stories found in “The Voice of the Angels” 11th Airborne newspaper.

For the 11th Airborne Division, the main woman was Olivia de Havilland, whose story will be in the next post.

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Current News –

To watch the vintage WWII aircraft flyover in honor of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two, Please check here for the count down and link for you to watch!!

For my post concerning the 2 September 2020 flyover. Please click here!!

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Military Humor – 

 

blind dates

 

 

 

 

 

‘Only one man in 1,000 is a leader of men. The other 999 follow women!’

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Farewell Salutes – 

Max Abram – Carthage, MI; US Army, WWII, Lt. Colonel (Ret. 37 y.)

John Childs – Jacksonville, TX; US Army, Vietnam, 2/506/101st Airborne Division, Lt. Col. (Ret. 21 y.)

Robert Butler – Lismore, MN; US Army, WWII, ETO, decoder

David Iggo (101) – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 415697, WWII, Flt. Lt., 457th Squadron

Wayne Kellog – North Hornell, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt.

Vincent P. Marketta – Brick, NJ; US Army, SSgt., 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (A)

Edward ‘Mike’ Reuter – Tacoma, WA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Tyler M. Shelton – San Bernadino, CA; US Army, Sgt., 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (A)

Margaret Shinners (100) – Middletown, RI; Civilian, US Naval photographer

Donald F. Wright – Coffeyville, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, PT-150/Ron 12

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National Airborne Day 16 August 2020 80 years

The history of United States Airborne Forces did not begin on the training fields of Fort Benning, Georgia, as some believe. In fact, the origin of Airborne Forces in the U.S. military began with a familiar name to American military history, Brigadier General William L. “Billy” Mitchell (1879-1936).

As well as being considered the spiritual father of the United States Air Force, which he advocated for fiercely during his tenure in the military, BG Mitchell was the first to imagine airborne tactics and sought the creation of U.S. Airborne Forces.

Billy Mitchell

It is not recorded exactly when he organized a demonstration of Airborne Infantry for U.S., Russian and German observers. However, according to records at Ft. Benning, Georgia, it is confirmed that BG Mitchell held the demonstration “shortly after World War I” at Kelly Field, in San Antonio, Texas. During the demonstration, six soldiers parachuted from a Martin Bomber. After landing safely, the soldiers assembled their weapons and were ready for action in less than three minutes after they exited the aircraft.

Reprinted and broadcast countless times, High Flight is regarded as one of the world’s great war poems and the greatest anthem of aviation. It is the official poem of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. First year cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy are required to memorize it. Extracts have been quoted in a variety of occasions. The most famous example occurred on Jan. 28, 1986, when President Ronald Reagan, speaking of the Challenger, Space Shuttle disaster, closed his address with the sentence: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air . . .

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace

Where never lark nor even eagle flew –

And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

– Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

 

AIRBORNE ALL THE WAY !

These men with silver wings

Troopers from the sky above

In whom devotion springs

What spirit so unites them?

In brotherhood they say

Their answer loud and clear.

“Airborne All the WAY!”

These are the men of danger

As in open door they stand

With static line above them

And ripcord in their hand.

While earthbound they are falling

A silent prayer they say

“Lord be with us forever,

Airborne All the Way.”

One day they’ll make their final jump

Saint Mike will tap them out

The good Lord will be waiting

He knows what they’re about

And answering in unison

He’ll hear the troopers say

“We’re glad to be aboard, Sir,

Airborne All the Way!”

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Military, Airborne Humor – 

Para-Toast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Abney – Richmond, IN; US Army, Vietnam, 173rd Airborne Division, Purple Heart

Lynn Adams – Pocatello, ID; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

James Cook – OH; US Army Air Corps, Japan Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

William Farrell – Augusta, GA; US Army, WWII & Korea, 504/82nd Airborne Division, US Army War College grad, Capt. (Ret. 20 y.)

Trevor Goldyn – USA; USMC, Bahrain, Sgt., 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade

Albert Hayden – Capr Giradeau County, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Hershel Hegwoods – Forest, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 11th Airborne Division, Purple Heart

John Latham (100) – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 mechanic, TSgt. (Ret.)

Debrah Lepley – Coshocton, OH; US Army, 101st Airborne Division

Allan Stoll – Bossier City, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

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The Home Front Role of Sports

Hialeah Race Track postcard. Flamingos were imported from Cuba in 1934

The movies and newsreels of WWII provided information and diversion for many at the home
front, but none could provide the escape and release of stress for the civilian as much as sports.

South Florida maintained a carnival atmosphere with the Hialeah Race Track and West Flagler Kennel Club, which took in $100,000 nightly – just to prove my point. And, somehow, travel restrictions did not deter the action at Miami’s Tropical Park. Horse racing went on, despite the war, in every country. All in all, racing boomed as the 68th running of the Kentucky Derby went off with 100,000 in the crowd. Unfortunately, this was the same day that 68 men had been taken by the Japanese at Bataan; they were all members of D Company, 192d Tank Battalion, out of Kentucky.

Sam Snead & Ted Williams

The war did not stop the golfers either as the tournaments and professional tours continued. Sam Snead, fresh back from the Navy, played in the 1944 tourney; he came in second to Byron Nelson. (gpcox met Snead at the ‘Sail Inn’ in Delray Beach, FL when he would drop in for lunch after a game with friends.)

In boxing, Joe Louis started the idea of holding a sports event for the war effort. He announced in 1942 that his profits from the bout against Buddy Blair would go to the Naval Relief fund.  The gate was $200,000 and Louis finished off his opponent in 2 minutes and 56 seconds. Louis was drafted three days later.

Not to be outdone, a profitable pro-football contest was held between the National League AllStars and the Chicago Bears and these profits also went to the Naval Relief Fund. The National Football League was forced to reduce to a 42 game season in 1943 due to all the draftees, but
Coach George Halas brought home two championship titles for the Bears, 1940 & 1942; while Curly Lambeau’s Green Bay Packers won it in 1944.
As during most of WWII, 1943 in New Zealand had no Rugby International matches played, but the West Coast did retain the Northern Union Cup. England and Australia were unable to hold their tennis championships, such as Wimbledon, for the extent of the war.

Rose Bowl at Duke Stadium, 1942

In 1942, the Rose Bowl was moved to Duke Stadium in North Carolina to avoid having large crowds converge anywhere on the west coast. Dallas, Texas had 38,000 for the Cotton Bowl that year and 35,505 amassed in Miami for the Orange Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs 46 – Horned Frogs 40. The annual Army-Navy game brought 66,000 to Baltimore’s Municipal Stadium in 1944, when Coach “Doc” Blanchard led the Army, not only to victory, but a perfect season.

For the story of “The Game Must Go On” click here.
Professional baseball was as hot as ever when 37,815 fans watched the American League Browns, in Sportsman Park, beat the New York Yankees for the pennant 1 October 1944. This made the World Series an all-St. Louis affair against the Cardinals. Truman was there watching as the Cardinals won their fifth world crown. The Yankees won it in 1943 against the Cardinals.
As most people are aware, the baseball racial barrier was not broken until 1947 when Jackie Robinson walked out on the field, so during WWII there were two Negro leagues. (As they were called back in the day.) Out of Hometown, Pennsylvania, “Josh” Gibson and Walter Johnson dominated the games. In the Washington Griffith Stadium, he had the long-ball hitter record of 563 feet, (Babe Ruth’s record was 550’) and a .541 batting average in 1943.

And, we cannot close this section of baseball without mentioning the AAGPBL – the AllAmerican Professional Baseball League, also known as the “lipstick league.” They were the “Girls of Summer” depicted in the newspapers as “Queens of Swat” and “Belles of the Ball Game.” They referred to each other by nicknames like: ‘Jeep,’ ‘Flash,’ ‘Pepper’ and ‘Moe.” The league premiered in 1943 and would last for 12 years. There were 545 female athletes that made up the ten teams and their popularity would eventually draw a million fans. These women have been honored by the movie, “A League of Their Own” in 1992 and finally received tribute in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame in 1988.

Young adults (the word “teenager” was not really used back then), used sporting events as a gathering spot for camaraderie among friends and also to help fill the void of adult male influence that was prevalent in so many homes. In the “Corn Belt,” basketball ranked as the number one sport, but there was also tennis, golf, a tumbling club, fencing and even Ping-Pong clubs. High school games were even broadcast on the radio. The girls would join a Booster Club to be their school’s cheering squad and wearing their boyfriend’s sports jacket was a major status symbol.

Willie Mays playing stick ball

Not all sports were organized. Boys played stick ball in the city streets and in the suburbs, a basketball hoop attached to a garage door attracted neighbors. Church picnics and block parties always included a multitude of games and sports to occupy the younger set. Communities were kept closely knit that way, like Kerry Corner, the Irish working-class neighborhood not far from Harvard yard. They organized their own baseball and basketball games. John “Lefty” Caulfield formed a baseball scholarship program before he enlisted in the Navy because it had done so much for him. Those that returned from the war became part of the ROMEO Club, (Retired Old Men Eating Out), to maintain those childhood friendships.

Harry James, better known as a big band leader for the ‘Swing Era’ was also a one-time Detroit Tigers prospect. He organized his own band into a team, complete with uniforms. Louise Tobin, singer with many of the big bands, said, “The boys were hired first because they could play baseball; second for their instruments.” Fellow musicians said you had to have a .300 average to get an audition with Harry. The band’s manager added, “They carried more equipment for baseball than music… Another bus on the road would probably be a band and we’d stop and play a game.” Mr. James gave his all for baseball as captain, pitcher and the heaviest hitter.
For the home front, living during a world war was an experience no one of today’s generation has experienced.
I’m certain I have missed at least a million or so stories out there that are related to the sports of the 1940’s – so let’s hear some!

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – Stars & Stripes style – 

“TODAY IT REALLY IS”

“… and don’t try any of that funny stuff, Slim….”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James C. Broughton – Barbersville, KY; US Army, WWII, Sgt. Major (Ret.), Bronze Star

Robert Campbell – Richmond, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 navigator

Joseph DeMaria – Albany, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Distinguished Flying Cross

Warren Gale – No. Sydney,NS, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII

Albert Haimes – Boston, MA; OSS, WWII, ETO

Michael Mandzak – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, pilot, Lt. Col. (Ret. 26 y.)

Charles Queen – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, P-47 pilot, Col. (Ret.)

Frank Rees – Newfoundland, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, 409th Squadron “Night Hawks”, navigator

Joseph A. Richards (100) – Sellersburg, IN; US Army, WWII, CBI, MSgt., 691st Engineers

Louise Ullman – Miami, FL; Civilian, US Navy employee

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Current News – Lee Greenwood & the Air Force Band Singing Sergeants

 

Home Free – Greenwood & the Air Force Band Singing Sergeants

 

The traditional rendition of country music singer Lee Greenwood’s iconic “God Bless the U.S.A.,” already has a broad appeal as an uplifting song inspiring patriotism and love of country.

It’s likely you have listened to the song in recent days as Americans celebrated the 244th birthday of our nation on Independence Day.

But a stirring new version of the song that features members of the U.S. Air Force Band joining Greenwood and a cappella group Home Free has been produced that might just blow you away.

Recordings were done during the corona virus pandemic in studios in Nashville, Tenn., Los Angeles, Calif., Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, Minn. There are no guitars, drums, keyboards, but the sound is unbelievably full and strong.

If you like a cappella, and if you’re a fan of military members in uniform with a talent to sing, you will very likely love this new rendition of a song that has been a perennial favorite since 1984.

Give it a listen.  We got this article and song from “Stars & Stripes”

 

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Military Humor –  from Stars & Stripes –

“Shape up or ship out …..”

“Snap out of it Ed … other guys have received ‘Dear Johns’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Alleyne – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt.

David “Bill” Breen – Elsmere, KY; US Navy, WWII, SeaBees

Mary Cecce – Bath, NY; Civilian, WWII, Mercury Aircraft

Thomas W. Chase (100) – Warroad, MI; US Navy, WWII / Honeywell Aerospace

David Geiser – Waukon, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Richard L. Henderson Jr. – USA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., HQ Battery/57 FAB/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

William Kovaly – Bound Brook, NJ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Cabot

William H. Melville – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., P-39Q pilot, 38/8th Fighter Group, KIA (New Guinea)

Francis J. Rochon – Superior, WI; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. C/1/23/2nd Infantry Division, KIA (Changnyeong, SK)

Donald Slessler – Belchertown, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer (Ret. 36 y.)

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4. July – Rebildfest – US Independence Day

JULY 4, For those who sacrifice for the freedoms you so enjoy!

Somehow this post went backwards 8 months, so I’m reblogging it.

Pacific Paratrooper

HAPPY BIRTHDAY U.S.A.

Let’s show our support!

In Vietnam, Korea and World Wars Past

Our Men Fought Bravely so Freedom Would Last

Conditions Where Not Always Best They Could Be

Fighting a Foe You Could Not Always See:

From Mountain Highs to Valley Lows

From Jungle Drops to Desert Patrols

Our Sinewy Sons Were Sent Over Seas

Far From Their Families And Far From Their Dreams

They Never Wrote Letters Of Hardships Despair

Only Of Love, Yearning That One Day Soon:

They Would Come Home, They Would Resume

And Carry On With The Rest of Their Lives

The P.O.W.¹S Stood Steadfast

Break time for the prisoners.
by: Ben Steele, POW

Against the Indignities And Cruelties Of War

They Could Not Have Lasted as Long as They Did

If They Had Relinquished Their Hope That Some Day:

They Would Come Home, They Would Resume

And Carry On the Rest Of Their…

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