Category Archives: Home Front

MEMORIAL DAY 2021

Our nation marks Memorial Day to honor and pay tribute to brave Americans who gave their life for this country. Many generations have sacrificed in defense of our nation, our liberty, and our desire to improve our country. On Memorial Day, we humbly honor these incredible patriots and have a solemn duty to uphold their legacy.

At its core, Memorial Day speaks of personal sacrifice for a greater good. It resonates in the stories of ordinary Americans, who fought for a better world and were willing to lay down their lives. Our way of life is shaped by those who have served and those who were lost. We have benefited from their positive influence on our world. It is our solemn duty to honor for our fallen brothers and sisters in arms and their families. This day reflects on heroes from historically distant wars passed and current operations. We honor their legacy and work toward a peaceful future, in which wars are a faded memory.

I encourage you all to keep the legacy of our fallen brothers and sisters in arms alive within your communities. Take time to reflect together with your friends, neighbors, groups, and communities, so those stories and sacrifices are never forgotten.

Respectfully, Colonel Christopher K. Lacouture 913th Airlift Group Commander

The image of the poppy is from: Marylou at natuurfreak3 click on image to enlarge.

I know that many are looking forward to their bar-b-ques and celebrations, especially after a year and a half of lockdowns, and quarantines, but Please take a moment to remember why we have this commemorative weekend.

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Also from Marylou is this wonderful Memorial Day ecard…

https://www.jacquielawson.com/ecard/pickup/r84d51b776ded4f769f2bacd6c8e9f2b4?source=jl999&utm_medium=pickup&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=receivercontent

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NOT YOUR USUAL MILITARY HUMOR    –    PLEASE click on each to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Wayne L. Adams Sr. (102) – Dolton, IL; US Army, WWII

Carl D. Berry Jr. – Hinsdale, IL; US Army, WWII  /  US Air Force, Korea

Carl M. Bradley – Shelly, ID; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fireman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Wayne M. Evans – Hamilton, MT; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Battery G/59th Coast Artillery Reg., POW/KIA (Cabanatuan Camp, Luzon, P.I.)

Charlton H. Ferguson – Kosciusko, MS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Musician 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Nicholas H. Hamilton – Las Vegas, NE; US Air Force, pilot

Brenda McDaniel – Springfield, VA; US Army, Nurse Corps

Edward McDaniel Jr. – US Army, Colonel, Medical Corps (MD)

Joseph R. Mooradian – Union Grove, WI; US Merchant Marines, WWII  /  US Army, Korea

Burl Mullins – Dorton, KY; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Heavy Mortar Co/ 3/31/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

William D. Tucker – Bedford, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

John Warner – Alexandria, VA; US Navy / USMC, Korea / Secretary of the Navy / 30 y. US Senator

Camp Stoneman part 1

POE/POD Camp Stoneman

Pvt. Smith was as cocky and proud as the next trooper, but he also thought of the Army as a learning experience and considered his new adventure as a chance to experience things he would not otherwise have the opportunity and on April 23, 1944, he stepped off a train near Camp Stoneman, California.  It was here the troopers would learn how to live aboard ship, operate life boats, raft kits and climb up and down rope ladders.  Censorship of the soldier’s letters began here.

Camp Stoneman

The Inspector General’s men discovered the ruse of the 11th A/B Division hiding behind the paperwork of Shipment #1855 and the troopers began to accumulate AW104’s in record amounts. (Under the Article of War #104 – a commanding officer may give punishment, as is necessary, without the threat of court-martial.)  May 2, the 11th A/B moved to Pittsburg, CA by way of inland boats to their actual POE/POD (Point of Entry/Point of Departure), and the letters from Smitty began …

Letter I                                                                                                                        Tuesday 5/2/44

Dear Mom,

I sure am a fine one after calling you Sunday especially to wish you a Happy Birthday and I go and forget to, but I assure you it wasn’t intentional, but just excitement of the conversation.  I tried yesterday to buy a card, but to no avail.  No doubt by the time you receive this letter you will be wondering why I didn’t call you this week as I promised I would.  It just so happened that we were confined to our company area starting yesterday morning, so it was an impossibility to get to either a telephone or telegraph office.     From now on all my letters to you will be numbered as this one is in the upper left hand corner.  In that way, you can read my letters in sequence and can tell whether or not you are receiving all my letters.  I would also advise sending all letters to me from now on by airmail as that will be the quickest way.  We heard that not all the mail so far from here has yet been sent out, but when it does go out, why you will no doubt get them all at once.  Tell everyone at home to be patient and they will no doubt hear from me as I sit down Saturday and either write a letter or card to everyone I know.  You had better check up on them all and see that they have my correct address, as the army will notify only you of any new changes.  I sure don’t want to lose out on my letters of anyone just because they have an incorrect address.     Yesterday we didn’t do much of anything, but Sunday was really quite an entertaining day.  We went bowling, then to a free USO show and from there to a movie.  The entertainment is so full and alive that sometimes it still persists in your dreams.  Therefore, you can really say they even take care of you while you are slumbering.     Well mom, that is all for now, so once more I want to wish you a “Happy Birthday” and the best of everything.  Don’t worry and keep your chin up.   

Love,                 Everett

PS – Be on the lookout for a new Class E allotment I made out and also a B allotment.  Your allotments now will come to 22 dollars cash and a $18.75 war bond a month.  I’m getting pretty good, aren’t I?

Camp Stoneman souvenir

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Current News – Everyone helps out when it comes to finding the MIA.

 

Austrian Raimund Riedmann, pilot with the Flying Bulls, flies a restored P-38 Lightning

Austrian, Raimund Riedmann, a pilot with the Flying Bulls, flies a restored P-38 Lightning during a fly over event for a recovery team attached to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), Austria, April 25, 2021. DPAA personnel arrived to conduct excavation operations in an effort to find a U.S. service member lost from a P-38 lightning that crashed during World War II. DPAA’s Mission is to achieve the fullest possible accounting for missing and unaccounted-for US personnel to their families and our nation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Melanye Martinez)

 

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Military Humor –

‘Lord, what have they done to him? He made his own bed!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert R. Arrowsmith – Livermore, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Pfc., rifleman, Co E/511 PIR/11th Airborne Division

Carmen DePaulo III – Jacksonville, FL; US Army, Africa, Green Beret, Medical Sgt., 3rd Special Forces

John Foye Jr. – Lowell, MA; US Navy, Japanese Occupation

William Halliday – Scarborough, CAN; Queen’s Own Rifles, WWII, ETO

Sherman Hoffenberg – Delray Beach, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Military Police

Clifford S. Johnson – Valatie, NY; US Army, Korea, Cpl., HQ Co./57 FA/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Joseph Kuba (100) – Struthers, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Major (Ret.), 1264th Engineer Combat Battalion

Lindbergh Lopez – Niagara Falls, NY; USMC; WWII, Korea / US Army, Vietnam (Ret. 23 y.)

Ian N. Morosoff – Saquamish, WA; US Army, Pfc., Co. B/1/503/173rd Airborne Division

Robert Parker – Lansing, MI; US Army, WWII, PTO, pilot, 1st Lt.,35th FS/8th Fighter Group, KIA (New Guinea)

Lloyd Price – New Orleans, LA; US Army, Korea  /  singer

G. Clark Shaffer – Bloomsburg, PA; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation, 5th Air Force

Bobby Unser – Albuquerque, NM; US Air Force, sharp shooter  /  auto racing champion

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“SOLDIERS’ STORIES” VOL. 2, by the Miller Family, REVIEW

Soldiers’ Stories, Vol. II

After reading the Miller Family’s first volume OF SOLDIERS’ STORIES, I was excited to receive Volume # 2.  I was not disappointed.

Not only was I, as usual, proud to see 4 pages of my own Father’s stories in print, but even discovered another member of the 11th Airborne Division represented among the other memoirs.

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Most of my readers tell me that they find the personal stories and letters from my father and other veterans to be their favorite posts.  In this book, readers are privileged to have over 300 pages of such tales.

The many photographs give you a personal perspective, both humorous and educational, of a time that dramatically altered the entire world.  Men and women alike are included in this well constructed journal for the generation we are so quickly losing.

Every branch of service, in each theater of operation, is represented along with the invaluable contributions of the home front military, women, civilians and our British Allies.

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Modern day honoring of those buried in foreign lands and innumerable photos of the people who fought for us and the treasures they left behind.  Even fellow blogger and author, Joy Neal Kidney, has the Wilson Family included.

You can hear in their words the eagerness to serve their country, their laughter and the camaraderie of close unit ties.  You might even feel their pain.

Inspired by the Miller Family’s, SSgt. Myron Miller, of the 83rd Infantry, I can unquestionably recommend both Volume  # 1 and # 2 of SOLDIERS’ STORIES!

For Myra Miller’s blog, click HERE!

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Military Humor –

“I’ve given you th’ best years of my life.”

“What’s your job, steady K.P.?”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Evo Aspreli – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII

Michael Collins – Washington, D.C.; US Air Force, pilot  /  NASA, Astronaut, MGeneral

111024-N-WD757-029
SAN DIEGO (Oct. 24, 2011) Ceremonial honor guard await to render honors for retired Vice Adm. Paul F. McCarthy. McCarthy (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Carlos M. Vazquez II/Released)

Carl Dalrymple – Jamestown, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

James Edgar (100) – brn: Pietersburg, So. Afr.; Gordon Highlanders, WWII, ETO & CBI, Intelligence SOE

Philip T. Hoogacker – USA; US Army, Korea, Pfc., Co. D/1/29th Infantry Regiment, KIA (Anui, So. Korea)

George Humphrey – Onslow County, NC; US Army, Medic, 11th Airborne Division

Theodore Q. Jensen – Delta, UT; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

James ‘Sonny’ Melhus – Eau Claire, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, HQ Co./506/101st Airborne Division

William H. Melville – Minneapolis, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., pilot, 36th FS/8th FG, KIA (Papua, New Guinea)

Christopher F. Pantos – Richmond, VA; US Army, Kuwait, SSgt., 55th Sustainment Brigade

John Shoemaker – Mont Clare, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 87th Infantry, Purple Heart

Michael Sierra – San Antonio, TX; Texas National Guard / US Army, Vietnam, platoon leader, 327/101st Airborne Division

The Army Airborne and the start to Camp MacKall

Airborne, Camp MacKall

The original idea for an American airborne came from Gen. Billy Mitchell in 1918.  His  commander, Gen. Pershing agreed, but once the WWI Armistice was signed, the plan was terminated.  In the late 1920’s, Germany began training parachute units and in the 1930’s, they led the world in gliders.  Russia created the Air Landing Corps in 1935.  Japan started in 1940 with German instructors.  The U.S. did not take note until Germany was successful on Crete in 1941.

Smitty, 187th RCT/11th Airborne Division, Camp MacKall 1943

The American tradition was born when 48 men jumped at Ft. Benning on Aug. 16, 1940, where  Private Eberhard, promised to yell to his buddies below, was the first to shout out “Geronimo”.  General William Lee is considered the “Father of the Airborne.”  My father, Everett Smith or “Smitty” (as you’ll get to know him),  did not care for heights or jumping, so I asked him – “Why volunteer?”  He shrugged and said, “They pay you more in the paratroopers.”  Smitty had a dry sense of humor which you will see more of in the letters he wrote to his mother in future posts.  He did however accept his boot camp, sharp shooting, glider & parachute training as a way  of learning new things he would otherwise have never experienced. [One of his statements driven into me – ” Like any job, always try your best.”]  Since he was 27 and much older than other recruits, he was often referred to by the nickname of “Pops.”

Camp MacKall postcard

The 11th Airborne Division was formed on Feb. 25, 1943 and their conditioning was so severe that most of the men felt combat would be a breeze.  They were the first A/B division formed from scratch, so instead of following the manuals – they were writing their own.  The camp was under construction 24/7 and they took classes sitting in folding chairs and easels were used for map reading, first-aid, weapons, foxholes, rules of land warfare, communications, field fortifications, and so on.  Between May and June one battalion at a time went to Fort Benning for jump school.

glider jumping

When the time came for Stage A of jump school, it was scratched since the men were already as fit as possible.  Stage B, was learning to tumble, equipment knowledge, sliding down a 30′ cable and packing a parachute.  In Stage C, they used a 250-foot tower, forerunner to the one at Coney Island, to simulate a jump.  Stage D, they earned their jump wings and boots.  In June, the units began training in every circumstance that might arise in combat.

The gliders used were WACO CG 4A, boxlike contraptions with wings.  The skeleton was small gauge steel covered with canvas; a wingspan of 84 feet, length of 49 feet and carried 3,700 pounds = two pilots and 13 fully loaded soldiers or a jeep and 6 men. The casualty list developing these appeared endless to the men.  Smitty could not listen to “Taps” without tearing up, even in his later years.

WACO glider in take off from Camp MacKall field.

21 June, the division entered the unit training program.  During July, all units went on 10-day bivouacs and to Fort Bragg.  Glider formal training occurred at Maxton Air Base.

In July, in Sicily, Operation Husky went terribly awry, due to the weather conditions –  3,800 paratroopers were separated from their gliders and each other.  The casualty rate was exorbitant.  This created serious doubts about the practicality of a division size airborne.  Proof would rest on the shoulders of the 11th and their commander, Gen. Joseph May Swing.  A demonstration called the “Pea Patch Show” was displayed for Sec. of War, Stimson.  He gave Swing a positive review, but it did not convince Gen. Marshall or McNair.  The fate of the Airborne Command rested on the upcoming Knollwood Maneuvers.

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Smitty’s hometown of Broad Channel sent out a free issue of their newspaper, “The Banner”, to every hometown soldier and this became another source of back front info, along with news from his mother and friends:

News that Smitty got from home at this point:  Broad Channel was getting their own air raid siren.  (Broad Channel is one-mile long and about 4-blocks wide).  His neighbors, the Hausmans, heard from their POW son in the Philippines.  And – his divorce papers were final, Smitty was single again.

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Military Humor –

‘I dropped out of Parachute School.’

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Ashby – Sun City, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Carl Bradley – USA; US Navy, WWII, Fireman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Leo Brown – Lima, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO, USS Colorado,3rd Marine Division

Benjamin Goldfarb – Toronto, CAN; US Army, WWII, PTO, Surgical tech, 54th General Hospital, Philippines

Daniel C. Helix – Concord, CA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, MGeneral, Purple Heart / Mayor

Denis H. Hiskett – USA; US Navy, WWII, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Robert L. Moore – Queens, NY; USMC, Korea & Vietnam, Gunnery Sgt.

Thomas O’Keefe – Washington D.C.; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT  /  CIA

George Semonik Jr. – Sewickley, PA; US Army, Chief Warrant Officer, 82nd Airborne Division (Ret. 20 y.)

Shelby Treadway – Manchester, KY; US Navy, WWII, Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

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The U.S.O.’s 80th Anniversary

“Until everyone comes home” is the motto of the U.S.O., the nonprofit organization has stuck to that motto, doing its best to bring support and entertainment to American military personnel around the world.

To connect to the organization, please click HERE!

Over the course of the USO’s 80-year history, the organization has seen it all: the beaches of France, the jungles of Vietnam, the deserts of Saudi Arabia and the mountains of AfghanistanBut most importantly, the USO has witnessed several generations of service members, military spouses and military families pass through its doors – and has provided them with crucial support by boosting their morale and keeping them connected to one another throughout their time in the military.

Boxing match w/ Sugar Ray Leonard & Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney as referee.

Starting in 1941 and in the eight decades since, the USO has remained committed to always standing by the military’s side, no matter where their service takes them.

Eleven months before the United States’ official entry into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was already creating a support system for the nation’s Armed Forces. Bringing together the Salvation Army, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the National Catholic Community Service, the National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board, these six organizations formed the United Service Organizations (USO) on 4 February 1941. The USO was created specifically to provide morale and recreation services to the troops.

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“Until everyone comes home” is the motto of the U.S.O., the nonprofit organization has stuck to that motto, doing its best to bring support and entertainment to American military personnel around the world.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jesse Anderson – Boise, ID; National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer 4, instructor pilot

Dale F. Bruhs – Milford, MD; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Millie Hughes-Fulford –  Mineral Wells, TX; US Army Reserve, Medical Corps / NASA, 1st female astronaut-

Michael Gastrich – Cincinnati, OH; US Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class, air crew mechanic/flight engineer

Roland Horn – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII, Chief Warrant Officer (Ret.)

George Laubhan – Boise, ID; National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer 3, instructor pilot

Charlotte MacDonough – Boston, MA; Civilian, WWII, made B-17 fuel bladders

Ryan Mason – Carthage, NY & TX; US Army, Middle East, Sgt.

Matthew Peltzer – Napa, ID; National Guard, Chief Petty Officer 3, pilot

George P. Shultz (100) – Englewood, NJ; USMC, WWII, PTO / Secretary of Labor, Treasury and State

Julian Vargas – Silver City, NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187/11th Airborne Division

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Duct Tape and WWII

 

During the WWII, U.S. troops in the heat of battle had a strangely impractical way of reloading their weapons.

Cartridges used for grenade launchers was one example. Boxed, sealed with wax and taped over to protect them from moisture, soldiers would need to pull on a tab to peel off the paper tape and break the seal. Sure, it worked… except when it didn’t, soldiers were left scrambling to pry the boxes open.

waterproof ammo boxes

Vesta Stoudt had been working at a factory packing and inspecting these cartridges when she got to thinking that there had to be a better way. She also happened to be a mother of two sons serving in the Navy and was particularly perturbed that their lives and countless others were left to such chance.

Concerned for the welfare of sons, she discussed with her supervisors an idea she had to fabricate a tape made from strong, water-resistant cloth. And when nothing came of her efforts, she penned a letter to then-President Franklin Roosevelt detailing her proposal (which included a hand-sketched diagram) and closing by making a plea to his conscience:

“We can’t let them down by giving them a box of cartridges that takes a minute or two to open, enabling the enemy to take lives that might be saved had the box been taped with strong tape that can be opened in a split second. Please, Mr. President, do something about this at once; not tomorrow or soon, but now.”

Oddly enough, Roosevelt passed Stoudt’s recommendation on to military officials, and in two weeks time, she received notice that her suggestion is being considered and not too long after was informed that her proposal had been approved. The letter also commended her idea was of “exceptional merit.”

Before long, Johnson & Johnson, which specialized in medical supplies, was assigned and developed a sturdy cloth tape with a strong adhesive that would come to be known as “duck tape,” which garnered the company an Army/Navy “E” Award, an honor given out as a distinction of excellence in the production of war equipment.

Army/Navy E Pennant

While Johnson & Johnson was officially credited with the invention of duct tape, it’s a concerned mother who will be remembered as the mother of duct tape.

The initial iteration that Johnson & Johnson came up with isn’t much different from the version on the market today. Comprised of a piece of mesh cloth, which gives it tensile strength and rigidity to be torn by hand and waterproof polyethylene (plastic), duct tape is made by feeding the materials into a mixture that forms the rubber-based adhesive.

Unlike glue, which forms a bond once the substance hardens, duct tape is a pressure-sensitive adhesive that relies on the degree in which pressure is applied. The stronger the pressure, the stronger the bond, particularly with surfaces that are clean, smooth and hard.

Duct tape was a huge hit with soldiers due to its strength, versatility and waterproof properties. Used to make all sorts of repairs from boots to furniture, it’s also a popular fixture in the world of motorsports, where crews use strips to patch up dents.

During the war duck tape was distributed to soldier’s to use in sealing ammo cans. Industrious soldiers quickly started using it for all manner of repairs thanks to its strong adhesive and sturdy construction. When millions of soldiers returned home from the war, they brought their respect for duct tape with them, rapidly introducing the now ubiquitous tape into popular culture.

Film crews working on-set have a version called gaffer’s tape, which doesn’t leave a sticky residue. Even NASA Astronauts pack a roll when they go on space missions.

on aircraft

Besides repairs, other creative uses for duct tape include strengthening cellular reception on the Apple iPhone 4 and as a form of medical treatment for removing warts called duct tape occlusion therapy, which research hasn’t been proven to be effective.

“Duct” or “duck” tape?

In this case, either pronunciation would be correct. According to Johnson & Johnson’s website, the original green sticky cloth tape got its name during world war II when soldiers started calling it duck tape for the way liquids seem to roll off like water off a duck’s back.

Not long after the war, the company launched a metallic-silver version called duct tape after executives discovered it can also be used to seal heating ducts. Interestingly enough, however, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted field tests on heating ducts and determined that duct tape was insufficient for that purpose.

By :  Tuan C. Nguyen

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Military Humor – 

DUCT TAPE DOESN’T FIX EVERYTHING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Steven Bailey – Houston, TX; US Army, Kuwait, 82nd Airborne Division, Bronze Star

Harry Beal – Meyersdale, PA; US Navy, 1st SEAL

Robert Collins – Rockaway, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Thomas Hard Sr. – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, POW

Reed Mattair – Williston, FL; US Army, WWII, PTO

Paul Moore Sr. – Portsmouth, VA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS West Virginia, SeaBee, Pearl Harbor survivor

Edward Sulewski – So. Milwaukee, WI; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Alexander Suprin – brn: Poland; USMC, WWII, PTO

Thomas Whitaker – Marquette, MI; US Army, WWII, Engineering Corps

Dominic Zangari (100) – Lancaster, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 34 y.)

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Military Radio – Armed Forces Network

1943 ‘G.I. Jive’ sheet music by Johnny Mercer

ARMED FORCES NETWORK

Although American Forces Network Radio has officially been on the air for 60 years, listeners began tuning in at the end of World War I.

A Navy lieutenant in France broadcasted information and live entertainment to troops accompanying President Wilson to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.  Radio was a novelty then, and little equipment was given to overseas military broadcasting until the United States started gearing up for World War II.

playing music for the troops

Bored soldiers in Panama and Alaska created makeshift transmitters and aired records, according to an Armed Forces Radio pamphlet. The U.S. military was unaware of the broadcasts until celebrities wrote asking how to send the stations recordings.

During the first days of the U.S. entry into World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff members set up military radio stations in the Philippines. Their success paved the way for the Armed Forces Radio Service.

In May 1942, the Army commissioned broadcasting executive Tom Lewis as a major and assigned him to create a viable military radio network.

Its primary goal was to keep morale high, a daunting task when the enemy already was broadcasting to Allied troops, in the personas of the infamous “Axis Sally” and “Tokyo Rose.” Playing popular American music, they tried to demoralize troops with talk about missing home.

On July 4, 1943, the Armed Forces Network went on the air, using the BBC’s London studios. With British and Canadian radio stations, it formed the Allied Expeditionary Forces Program. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower wanted to ensure the stations worked together and all allies were getting the same message.

“G.I. Jive” disc, 1943

To boost morale, AFRS headquarters in Los Angeles produced shows such as “G.I. Jive,” shipping them to stations on special “V-Discs.” By early 1945, about 300 Armed Forces Radio Stations worldwide were broadcasting. (There are some V-discs available on e-bay)

Then came peacetime.

By 1949, just 60 stations were operating. But broadcasters who remained in Europe with the occupying forces took on a new role. Music and information were broadcast from Bremen to Berlin — giving many Europeans their first exposure to American culture and music.

AFN brought jazz, blues, rock ’n’ roll and country and western to audiences starved for music. The shows were so popular that when the leftist Greens Party urged Germany to quit NATO in the 1980s and called for U.S. troops to leave, it made one exception.

“The U.S. military should go home, but leave AFN behind,” a Greens leader demanded.

When the Korean War started in 1950, AFRS leased several portable trailers and followed the troops as “Radio Vagabond.” The American Forces Korea Network was established in Seoul later that year.

While the organization changed its name to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service in 1954, the focus remained on radio.

The American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) was established in 1962, during the Vietnam War, mostly for numerous military advisers there. It served as the backdrop for the 1988 movie, “Good Morning, Vietnam!”

But broadcasting to the troops as the war heated up was no day on a Hollywood set.

During the Tet Offensive, AFVN studios in Hue City were attacked. The staff fought off the Viet Cong for five days before the station manager and several others were captured. They spent five years in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp.

Recently, Armed Forces Radio quickly mobilized for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

A mobile broadcasting van deployed to Saudi Arabia, where the American Forces Desert Network was established in 1991 and broadcast for the first time from Kuwait shortly after the Iraqi occupation ended. Since then, it has become a fixture throughout the region.

Tech. Sgt. Mark Hatfield, 36, was “out in the middle of nowhere … at a secret base detached from civilization” as a structural maintainer on F-15s, with the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) during Desert Storm.

About a month after he arrived, AFDN went into operation.

“I remember when they came on line … I had my little transistor radio, and sure enough, there it was,” he said.

Someone also bought a radio for the hangar. “We cranked it because news was coming out left and right about the war,” Hatfield added.

“It was good because that was our only source of real information. You get out in the middle of nowhere, you don’t really hear it from the U.S side of things … uncensored, coming in from the U.S.”

“Good Morning, Vietnam!”

Today, American Forces Radio and Television Service operates about 300 radio and television outlets, serving an audience of 1.3 million listeners and viewers on every continent and U.S. Navy ship at sea.

“As long as there’s military there, we’re going to be there.”

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Military Humor –

Marines from Los Angeles

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Bermudez – Dallas, TX; US Army, Kuwait, SSgt.

Edward R. Burka – Washington D.C.; US Army Medical Corps (airborne), BGeneral

Dorothy (Schmidt) Cole (107) – OH; USMC Women’s 1st Battalion, WWII

Hyman Coran – Sharon, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, flight instructor

Michael Domico – Westville, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt., radio/gunner

Veronica Federici – Fulton, NY; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Michael Morris – Cass Lake, MN; US Air Force, TSgt., 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (Europe)

Vincent Pale – Philadelphia, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW

Claude Spicer – McComas, WV; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 30 y.)

Robert Wendler – Newport, RI; US Navy, WWII, Navy band

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A Christmas Tradition from the Pacific

Soldier in Japan delivers presents as ‘Father Christmas’

After 71 years, a yearly tradition continued with the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and 25th Infantry Division all joining forces on December 4 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, to wrap presents to ship to the Holy Family Home in Japan.

The 25th Infantry Division shared photos of soldiers taking part in the annual tradition, tweeting, “It’s a long standing tradition, and it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what nation you’re from, in the bigger picture, people help people.”

4 Dec. 2020, presents for orphans, (pic by: SSgt. Thomas Calvert

On Christmas Day in 1949, the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” were overwhelmed by the sight of tiny, barefoot children living in the decaying Holy Family orphanage in Osaka, Japan. The soldiers accompanied a Red Cross representative to the crumbling home that was brimming with underfed children in ragged clothes.

Sgt. Hugh Francis Xavior O’Reilly was still raw from the battlefield in those cold winter months following the end of World War II, but the site of those Japanese orphans provided the soldier with a new, gentler perspective.

The following payday, O’Reilly led the Wolfhounds in collecting donations for the struggling orphanage and donated what they could on New Year’s morning.

But for the Wolfhounds, that just wasn’t enough.

Soldiers and their families wrapping presents

Over the next year, the 27th continued to collect funds for the orphaned Japanese children, and by the time Christmas 1950

Soldiers writing out cards to send to Japan

rolled around, the Wolfhounds dragged a sleigh filled with supplies and toys, along with “Father Christmas.”

Now 71 years later, the 27th is still at it.

While the coronavirus pandemic did prevent the soldiers from hand-delivering the gifts to the children at the orphanage, over 600 gifts were wrapped and shipped the roughly 4,000 miles from the soldiers’ base in Hawaii to the Holy Family home in Osaka.

MARINES ALSO DELIVER AN EARLY CHRISTMAS TO AN ORPHANAGE IN SOUTH KOREA!

A couple of children happily receive toys at Jacob’s House orphanage, Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Dec. 22, 2013. Over 300 toys were donated by U.S. military personnel stationed in South Korea.
ARMANDO R. LIMON/STARS AND STRIPES

Pacific Paratrooper has also had their own tradition during Christmas…

TO ALL THOSE THAT BELIEVE IN FREEDOM AND PEACE: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!  FROM: PACIFIC PARATROOPER!!

PLEASE… REMEMBER THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR US IN THE PAST…

[To see the pictures that accompany the past and present – CLICK HERE!]

AND THOSE WHO CONTINUE TO PROTECT US TODAY!!!

AND FOR THOSE SPECIAL PEOPLE WHO WAIT PATIENTLY AT HOME…

 

TO ALL THOSE WHO DO NOT CELEBRATE THIS HOLIDAY … I WISH YOU THE WARMTH AND PEACEFUL CONTENTMENT THAT ARE REPRESENTED BY THIS SEASON !!!

Click on still images to enlarge.

Military Christmas Humor –

Easton, MD–Dec. 22, 2011–This is a Christmas display at the home of Tom and Alice Blair, which includes an F 104 jet, Santa and his sleigh, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, etc. staff photo/Barbara Haddock Taylor} [Sun Photographer] #9306

 

Aboard the USS Nimitz

 

Yank mag. 24 Dec. 1943

 

 

 

Farewell Salutes – 

Francis Borgstrom – Forsythe, MT; USMC, WWII, PTO

Mamie (Weber) Cook – Deerfield, MO; Civilian, WWII, B-29 riveter

Robert Dutton – Niagara Falls, NY; US Army, WWII

 

Raymond Erickson – Orton Flat, SD; US Navy,   WWII, PBY communications crewman

Alfred T. Farrar (100) – Lynchburg, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII / FAA engineer

Wesley Grace – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, mine clearing

Paul T. Ichiuji – Pacific Grove, CA; US Army, WWII, MISer (Intelligence)

James Mackey – Windsor, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, aircraft mechanic

Alfred Shehab – Cape May, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO, 102nd Calvary, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Lt. Col. (Ret. 21 y.) / NASA

Lloyd Zett – Loretta, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ATO, aircraft mechanic (Nome)

Veterans Day 2020 Remembrance and Gratitude

My post for this Veterans Day is dedicated to Sgt. Walter Morgan Bryant Jr., USMC; R.I.P my dear friend!

… there is an old Marine poem… it says: ‘When I get to heaven, To St. Peter I will tell, Another Marine reporting sir, I’ve served my time in hell.”         ______ Eugene Sledge, USMC veteran of Peleliu & Okinawa

For the U.S. Marine Birthday, 10 November – CLICK HERE!!

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.

I 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.

I thought, how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?

How many Pilots’ planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ 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 sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant “Amen”
When a flag had 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
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, Freedom isn’t free!!

by: Kelly Strong, posted at vietvet.org

For Remembrance of the Pacific War, from: “The Voice of the Angels” newspaper of the 11th Airborne Association

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For All Those In Free Countries Celebrating Remembrance 0r Poppy Day

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For The Military Today – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Avrutik – Yonkers, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, radioman

Grover “Spook” Browning – Newdale, ID; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Anthony Colavito – West Calwell, NJ; US Army, WWII, PTO, demolition

James Dunn – Lubbock, TX; US Navy, WWII, Purser, USS Franklin

Morris Horton – Sidney, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. F/187/11th Airborne Division

Adrian Miller – Winamac, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 101st Airborne Division

Albert Sakey – Boston, MA; US Navy, WWII, ATO & PTO, PT-boat radioman

Ottis Stout (101) – TX & CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-17 tail gunner

James Thomas – Dry Ridge, KY; US Army, 188/11th Airborne Division

Paul W. Wilkins – USA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., B Co./1/21/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Choch’iwan, SK)

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I have a list of parades and celebrations, if anyone is interested, tell me where you’ll be 11 November 2020 and I will see if I can locate one near you!!

 

No Veteran Should Be Without a Place to Call Home

Free Help for Homeless Veterans Dial 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838) for 24/7 access to VA services for homeless and at-risk Veterans

Homeless Veteran Chat Confidential, 24/7 online support for homeless Veterans and friends

https://www.va.gov/homeless for more information

Are You a Veteran in Crisis or Concerned About One? 

Did you know that VA offers same day services in Primary Care and Mental Health at 172 VA Medical Centers across the country? Make the Connection Resource Locator

Contact the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and press 1, Chat, or Text 838255.)

Don’t know what number to call?

1-800-MyVA411 (800-698-2411) is never the wrong number

Have a concern, compliment, or recommendation for VA?

Call the White House VA Hotline at 1-855-948-2311

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Halloween 2020

Halloween this year has many comparisons to that which went on during WWII, but there were no episodes of mass destruction in the cities as I have seen in Philadelphia.

WWII put quite the damper on any activity as chaotic as Halloween was back in those days, people weren’t making heroes out of criminals … according to history, war shortages made everyone edgy, and towns clamped down on Halloween pranking with both curfews and notices sent home from principals and police. There was a national plea for conservation: any piece of property damaged during Halloween pranking was a direct affront to the war effort.

In 1942 the Chicago City Council voted to abolish Halloween and institute instead “Conservation Day” on October 31st. (This wasn’t the only attempt to reshape Halloween: President Truman tried to declare it “Youth Honor Day” in 1950 but the House of Representatives, sidetracked by the Korean War, neglected to act on the motion. In 1941 the last week of October was declared “National Donut Week,” and then years later, “National Popcorn Week.”)

A day for dressing up.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when it was believed the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead become blurred. It has since evolved into a holiday when spooky legends, myths and folklore take center stage—each with their own dark history.

The first Halloween during WWII was in 1942, when the nation was in full-tilt war production mode and millions of men were in uniform.  Children and teenagers were suddenly set free from adult supervision, as mothers and fathers spent more time working or away from home altogether.  There were widespread fears of juvenile delinquency and criminal behavior.  Fear was a dominant emotion during the war years and the vandalism one might expect on Halloween now seemed to portend greater crimes.  Many communities did, in fact, cancel Halloween that year.

Some folks saw the opportunity to co-opt, rather than ban, the holiday by hosting costume  parties, dances, etc. to lure the would-be delinquents off the streets and into safer environments. (Still not much candy available though, due to the rationing of sugar.)  It worked.  Halloween vandalism feel off in 1942 and after the war, neighborhoods began hosting a kind of roving festival for kids – trick-or-treating.

For templates to create your own military pumpkins ___ CLICK HERE!!

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Military HALLOWEEN Humor ~

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Blaney – Milwaukee, WI; US National Guard, Major General (Ret.)

Eric Bunger – Sioux Falls, SD; US Army, Afghanistan & Iraq, Sgt., 82nd Airborne Division

Christopher Crossett – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Silver Star, Purple Heart

Alpha Farrow – Lindsay, OK; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt., 10th Mt. Division / Vietnam & Korea, Chaplain, Col. (Ret.)

Morgan Garrett – Weddington, NC; US Coast Guard, Ensign

William Hinchey – Middletown, RI; USMC, WWII, CBI

Duane T. Kyser – Muskogee, OK; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)Rhiannon Ross – Waxom, MI; US Navy, Lt.

David Mansfield (100) – Thorold, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Carlisle Trost – Valmeyer, IL; US Navy, Naval Academy grad ’53, 23rd Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral (Ret. 37 y.)

Walter S. Wojtczak (105) – Newbury, NH; US Army, WWII, Major, Corps of Engineers

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