Category Archives: Home Front

The postcard read: “Your boy is alive!”

James MacMannis and his wife listen to their ham radio

James ‘Dad Mac’ MacMannis is believed to have sent as many as 33,000 postcards during World War II.

WEST PALM BEACH — Dad Mac sat in his living room and furiously scribbled the names the German propaganda machine rattled off. Names of GIs whose moms and dads and siblings and sweethearts in Florida and Iowa and Oregon. Loved ones who for weeks or months had wondered and worried and wrung their hands. Mac would fill out and address a postcard. It would say: Your boy is alive.

As World War II raged, and before and after D-Day, James L. MacMannis wrote as many as 33,000 postcards to families across America. After a while, people called him Dad.

At first, he said, he sent out just a few cards, and he got few responses.

“I was discouraged,” he told Palm Beach Evening Times Editor Tom Penick for a June 1944 column. “It was weeks before I heard from any of the folks I had written. Then they started.”

One parent wrote, “You are doing marvelous work. May God bless you.”

The date of Penick’s column was June 2, 1944. Neither he nor most of the country knew at the time that in four days, on June 6, the world would change

‘Keeping faith’

James L. MacMannis was a veteran of both the Army and Navy and both world wars. He’d been a barnstorming pilot in those first days of flight — a relative claimed he got America’s fourth-ever pilot’s license, something that couldn’t be independently verified — and taught pilots in World War I, when military aviation was in its infancy

He was a parachute jumper who later became an airplane inspector. He joined World War II via the Coast Guard in the Baltimore area.  Around 1943, he moved to West Palm Beach, believed to be about a block south of what’s now the Norton Museum of Art.

MacMannis did have a hobby: shortwave radio.

In August 1943, he tuned in to a Berlin station. Naturally, it was a propaganda broadcast by the Third Reich. Night after night, the feminine voice would rattle off each soldier’s name and serial number, along with messages the GI hoped would get back to their families in the U.S. The Berlin fräulein even gave the GI’s home address so that anyone listening could drop a line to the family that he was OK, at least relatively.

Whether the idea was to show how humane the Germans were or was a ploy to get parents to pressure the U.S. government to push for peace, only the Nazis could say.

But for Dad Mac, a light went on.

Ray Sherman

Every night at 7, Dad would settle into his rocking chair. He listened even when the static made broadcasts pretty much undecipherable. Some nights he would listen until dawn.

“He doesn’t dare leave because he fears he may miss some of the broadcast with the prisoners’ list,” Mary MacMannis said, “And he tries to get all.”

Some nights it was 20 names, some nights 60 or 80. One night he heard 157 names. Some nights, there was no list.

Dad Mac didn’t tell families everything. Sometimes the broadcast would impart that a boy had had both legs blown off or had bullets still lodged in his body.

“It’s enough to let them know that Berlin says they (soldiers) are alive and a POW,” MacMannis said.

He also worried at times if he was a dupe, forwarding details to desperate families about which the Nazi propaganda machine might be lying. He said he felt better when the War Department began verifying to him what he was hearing.

Once word got out about “Dad’s Listening Post,” others stepped up to help; fellow radio enthusiasts, the West Palm Beach fire chief, an assistant chief and a printing firm donated everything from radio parts to postcards. Dad Mac graduated from a small radio to a big receiver.

By January 1945, MacMannis estimated he’d heard 20,000 messages about American POWs and mailed out about 15,000 cards.

Life magazine got wind of him and ran a photo of Dad and Mary in their living room in front of a giant radio. That story quoted a total of 33,000 messages from POWs, including Canadians.

“War Prisoner Information,” Dad Mac’s cards said. “A free humanitarian service given by ‘Dad MacMannis’ Listening Post.′ ” And, “A veteran of both wars keeping faith with his buddies.”

“Howdy, folks,” one postcard quoted G.I. Ray Sherman. “I won’t be long. These Germans treat us mighty well. I will write you soon. Don’t worry. Love Ray.” The form was dated July 22; no year.

A search of databases shows a Ray J. Sherman, born in 1923, had enlisted in Milwaukee and served in the infantry in both the North African and Italian theaters before the Germans captured him at Anzio on Feb. 16, 1944.

Article located in the Palm Beach Post.

We spoke once before about the ham radio operators during WWII and the great job they did, read HERE!

Click on images to enlarge.

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Home Front Ham Radio Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anne Bertola – Rockland County, NY; US Army WAC, WWII

Arnold Fleischmann – Brn: GER/ MD; US Army, WWII, ETO, Eisenhower’s interpreter, POW, Col. (Ret.)

Roy Harsh – Lancaster, PA; US Navy, WWII, USS St. Paul

Joseph Murphy – Dedham, MA; US Navy, WWII, ETO

James Newmark – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, Carrier pilot

Robert Parks – New Smyrna, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./2/187/11th Airborne Division

Louis Reeg – Galveston, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 82nd Airborne Division

Peter Shymske – Seville, OH; US Army, WWII & Korea, 43/103 Infantry Division

Albert Vnencak – Whippany, NJ; USMC, WWII

Ernest Webb – Neodesha, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, medic

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Personal Note –  This is my 1000th post.  Yikes, I never would have believed it!!

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The Timelessness of July 4th

SEEMS WE DON’T SAY IT ENOUGH – SO, I’M TRYING TO FIX THAT RIGHT HERE – GOD BLESS THE USA!!!

A 1940’s CELEBRATION WRAPPED AROUND A 1776 WAR SONG

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!!

HARK, hark the sound of war is heard,
And we must all attend;
Take up our arms and go with speed,
Our country to defend.

Our parent state has turned our foe,
Which fills our land with pain;
Her gallant ships, manned out for war,
Come thundering o’er the main.

There’s Charleton, Howe and Clinton too,
And many thousand more,
May cross the sea, but all in vain,
Our rights we’ll ne’er give o’er.

Our pleasant homes they do invade,
Our property devour;
And all because we won’t submit
To their despotic power.

Then let us go against our foe,
We’d better die than yield

We and our sons are all undone,
If Britain wins the field.

Tories may dream of future joys,
But I am bold to say,
They’ll find themselves bound fast in chains,
If Britain wins the day.

Husbands must leave their loving wives,
And sprightly youths attend,

Leave their sweethearts and risk their lives,
Their country to defend.

May they be heroes in the field,
Have heroes’ fame in store;
We pray the Lord to be their shield,
Where thundering cannons roar.

We can rant, we can complain and we can thank the troops for giving us the right to do so!  Today we celebrate our country’s birthday, traditional BBQ’s, fireworks, family and friends, we have a day off and have a ball!  – and to whom do we owe it all?  You guessed it_____

 

                                    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

 

 

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.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE!

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4th of July Humor – 

Most Americans will celebrate and enjoy a day off work – some NOT all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Bryant – Canton, OH; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Anthony Debasio – Newburgh, NY; US Army, WWII, CBI

Alice Fellows (102) – Durham, ME; US Army WAC, WWII

Thomas Garvin – Burlington, KY; US Navy, WWII, PTO

James Hoke – Huntsville, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt.

Charles Lapr – Rumford, RI; US Merchant Marines, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

John Roberts – Baltimore, MD; USMC, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart / US Army, Korea

Shane Shanem – UT & NV; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Louis Vetere – Flushing, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/675th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

William Woolfolk – Los Angeles, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Colonel (Ret.)

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TAKE A MOMENT FOR YOUR NATIONAL ANTHEM – in its entirety!!!

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Looking Back on the War – Humor

Pacific Paratrooper received a request for a humorous post, from Equipsblog, after all the tissues I caused her to use in the previous posts –  so here’s what I came up with on short notice – hope you all like the stories – I’m sure some of you have stories from your relatives too – feel free to add them!!!

 

Zuit suit craze

I’VE GOT URGES FOR SERGES
I’ve gotta passion for fashion,
I’ve gotta run on fun,
‘Cause I’m Ten million new civilian
Ex-G.I.’s in one.
I’ve got urges for serges,
I’ve gotta need for tweed;
I’ll put the smile in a world of stylin’
No War Department decreed.
I’ll be the zoot-suit-suitor,
I’ll be the rainbow beau,
I’ll be the luminous,
Most voluminous,
Viva-Truman-ous-
Leader of the Freedom Show.
Long I’ve thirsted for worsted;
Ain’t I the plaid-glad lad?
Open the haberdash!
Here comes a color-flash!Here comes the post-war fad!
– Cpl. R. CHARLES

India

scrub brush business

They’re telling the story around New Delhi about a certain G.I. building supervisor who recently had a bit of trouble with his 19 Indian employees. Seems that one evening towards closing time, the G.I. bossman discovered that someone had made off with 12 of his good scrub brushes. He promptly called his staff together. “None of you guys leaves here ’til you bring back those brushes,” he ordered. The Indians thought it over for a moment, then scattered. A few minutes later, they reported back, each carrying a brush. Only 12 brushes lost. Nineteen returned. That’s good business.

______ September 1945, C.B.I. Roundup newspaper

Marine Raider Battalion, Makin Island
“One of the many BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) men we had, damn fool, was loading his weapon and cranked off about a three-round shot, and that woke every Jap up that was in the South Pacific, and from then on, all hell broke loose … Well, the whom damn command situation broke down the minute the firing started,” says Carson. “None of the people there outside of a couple of sergeants that had fought in the civil war in Spain, none of them had any war experience, and so it kind of turned out to be everybody for himself and the devil for the hindmost and it was an unorthodox battle. And it was my first battle, so I had nothing to compare it to, and I got to thinking if this is an organized war, we’re in a hell of a shape.”

U.S. Navy, off Attu Island
David Lake was in charge of Mount Two of the 5-inch guns on USS Pennsylvania. The ship was among those sent to the waters off Alaska to aid in re-capturing islands there that had been occupied by Japanese troops.

“It was pretty darn cold up there, too. I stood my watches on Mount Two all the time … And we bombarded Attu and it got cold up there, I kid you not. The ice inside them guns mounts, you’d fire them and that ice would fly everywhere. ”

The one who served in Africa

Gen. Patton

“I was a private, a tank driver. Anyways, I was sitting by the side of my tank, reading a newspaper and just relaxing. All of a sudden I felt a horrible itch when I breathed out…and the normal human reaction? I picked my nose. Half-way through the nose picking, a shadow fell over me. I looked up with my finger stuck full up my nose. General Patton…standing over me…with a bunch of Army planners and such. I slowly started to take my finger out of my nose. “Soldier, did I give you an order to take your finger from your nose?” He asked. I, of course, gave him a full blown no sir, which sounded very high pitch. “Carry on soldier, and hunt that booger down.” He then walked off, with the group of Army people staring at me.

Battle of the Bulge

LOOK OUT BELOW!

In horror I learned that if a man was away from his unit for more than 20 days, starting that day, he would be re-positioned into another unit. I escaped the hospital, and joined up with my unit on the way to the woods. They called me “the cook” for the entire time. I had acquired a blanket, and spread it over the top of a 155mm hole, perfect size of a foxhole to! I soon employed my cooking skills to try and feed the men. But unfortunately, even 30 seconds out in the cold made the food almost frozen. I had cooked white navy beans one night, and it produced the most astonishing gastronomical outbursts anyone has heard. We thought the Germans could zero in on us just because of the noise.

 

 

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More Military Humor –

Future War Stories

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Farewell Salutes – 

Henry Amey – Kalamazoo, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Army

Carl Bengeton – Gary, IN; US Air Force, 8th Air Division

Pasquale Gugluzzi – Palm Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Solomons

John Hall – Natick, MA; US Merchant Marines / US Navy, WWII, PTO, Midshipman, USS Clay

Robert Ketterer – Pahrump, NV; US Army, WWII, APO

Kelley LaBrash – Dana, CAN; RC Army, WWII

William Murphy Jr. – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, Korea, Sgt., 101st Airborne Division

Lawrence Rohrwasser – Franklin, WI; US Army, Korea, Co. F/187th RCT (airborne)

Jack Shires – Freer, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. G/511/11th Airborne Division

George Weitner – Snellville, GA; US Army, WWII, ETO

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U.S. Army 244th Birthday / Flag Day

 

244 Years Strong

THE U.S. ARMY

AMERICA’S FIRST NATIONAL INSTITUTION

 

Since its official establishment, June 14, 1775 — more than a year before the Declaration of Independence — the U.S. Army has played a vital role in the growth and development of the American nation. Drawing on both long-standing militia traditions and recently introduced professional standards, it won the new republic’s independence in an arduous eight-year struggle against Great Britain. At times, the Army provided the lone symbol of nationhood around which patriots rallied.

 

PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO VIEW THESE TWO (2) VERY SHORT VIDEOS.  THANK YOU

 

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Tomorrow is also 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.

As national treasures go, it was a bargain: $405.90 was paid to Mary Pickersgill of Baltimore, who fashioned it from red, blue and undyed wool, plus cotton for the 15 stars to fly at the fortress guarding the city’s harbor. An enormous flag, 30 by 42 feet, it was intended as a bold statement to the British warships that were certain to come.  And, when in September 1814, the young United States turned back the invaders in a spectacular battle witnessed by Francis Scott Key, he put his joy into a verse published first as “Defense of Fort M’Henry,” and then, set to the tune of a British drinking song – immortalized as “The Star Spangled Banner.”

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Harold Amstutz – Deerfield, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 8/4th Infantry Division

Donald Buckley – Herkimer, NY; US Army, Korea, HQ Co./187th RCT

Thurman Childress – Stamford, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/188/11th Airborne Division

Valentine Ellis – Bothell, WA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Clyde Holcomb – Mobile, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 566th Anti-Aircraft Division, 3 Bronze Stars

Robert Mackey – North Bennington, VT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Chief Warrant Officer (Ret.)

Sam Ostrow – Cincinnati, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Milton Persin – Oak Brook, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Harold Sanders – Hayesville, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Walter Shamp – NY; US National Guard / US Army, WWII, 109/28th Division

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MEMORIAL DAY 2019

Luxembourg American Cemetery

Just a Common Soldier (A Soldier Died Today)

by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,

Michael, my son.

For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land

Smitty, my father

A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

James J. O’Leary, my uncle

It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,

Arthur Mulroy, my cousin, now deceased

But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.

© 1987 A. Lawrence Vaincourt

 

THESE TROOPS TOOK THE TIME TO FIGHT FOR YOU AND ME.  PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO HONOR THEM.

Posted here courtesy of : Partnering With Eagles

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Not your usual Military Humor today….     

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Vernon Bishop – Santa Rosa, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Army Group

David Bond – Tampa, FL; USMC, Major (Ret.22 y.)

Tim Conway – Cleveland, OH; US Army / comedian

Eugene Galella – Memphis, TN; US Navy, WWII, ETO/ETO, pilot / USNR, Lt. Commander (Ret.)

Charles Holland – Aberdeen, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/187/11th Airborne Division

Don Jesperson – Idaho Falls, ID; US Army, Korea, Co. B/187th RCT

Kaylie Ludwig – IL; US Navy, Lt., Medical Corps, 6th Fleet, USS Arlington

Ralph Manley – Springfield, MO; US Army, WWII, ETO, 101st Airborne Division, demolitions

I.M. Pei – brn. Canton, CHI; Civilian, WWII, bomb fuse creator / architect

Herman Wouk – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII, destroyer minesweeper / author

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May – Military Appreciation Month 2019

Most of my readers have see this post or one similar here on Pacific Paratrooper, but due to the arrival of new readers, I have chosen to remind every one again.  I thank you all for taking the time to visit this site and I hope you are enjoying the freedoms that these troops fought so hard to insure for us.

May, marked officially as Military Appreciation Month, is a special month for both those in and out of the military.

Not only do we pause on Memorial Day to remember the sacrifice and service of those who gave all, but the month also holds several other military anniversaries and events, including Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Armed Forces day.

USMC Silent Drill Platoon w/ the Blue Angels

MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH

Brigade Combat Team

The Origins of Army Day    

National Military Appreciation Month

A month to recognize and show appreciation to the Armed Forces of the United States of America.

 

May 1, 2019 – Loyalty Day

A day set aside for American citizens to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States

and to recognize the heritage of American freedom.  Learn more…

May 1, 2019 – Silver Star Service Banner Day

A day set aside to honor our wounded, ill, and dying military personnel by

participating in flying a Silver Star Banner.  Learn more…

May 2, 2019 – National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of

May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. Learn more…

How can you pray for the military community? Learn more…

 

May 8, 2019 – VE (Victory in Europe) Day

(Celebrated May 7 in commonwealth countries)

A day which marks the anniversary of the Allies’ victory in Europe during World War II

on May 8, 1945. Learn more…

May 10, 2019 – Military Spouse Appreciation Day

A day set aside to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of the spouses of

the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn more…

​LINK – Practical insights in caring for a military home front family

May 12, 2018 – Mother’s Day

LINK – Organizations that support deployed military personnel on Mother’s Day

LINK – Coloring page for military children

May 13, 2019 – Children of Fallen Patriots Day

A day to honor the families our Fallen Heroes have left behind – especially their children. It’s a reminder to the community that we have an obligation to support the families of our Fallen Patriots. Learn more…

May 18, 2019 – Armed Forces Day

A day set aside to pay tribute to men and women who serve in the United States’

Armed Forces. Learn more…

May 27, 2019 – Memorial Day (Decoration Day)

A day set aside to commemorate all who have died in military service for the UnitedStates. Typically recognized by parades, visiting memorials and cemeteries. Learn more…

LINK – Coloring page for military children

Edward Byers

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Military Humor – 

contributed by: Garfieldhug’s blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Henry Bloch – Kansas City, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 navigator / H&R Block

Daniel B. Bonner – Villages, FL; US Army, Vietnam, 3rd Infantry Regiment/199th Light Infantry Brigade

Mel Caragan – Malasiqui, P.I.; US Navy, Vietnam, 1st Class Petty Officer (Ret. 23 y.)

Robert Graham – Shrub Oak, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star, Silver Star

Robert Inger – St. Louis, MO; US Army, WWII, ground map maker

Richard Luger – Indianapolis, IN; US Navy, Intelligence /  U.S. Senator

Rosco Miesner – Syracuse, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Akutan

Howard Nelms – Charleston, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Vicksburg

Bjorn Rafoss – NOR & NY; US Army, Korea, Signal Corps

Janet Shawn – Springfield, MA; Civilian, Civil Air Patrol, WWII

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Home Front – WWII Sweetheart Jewelry

 

Anne Clare, The Naptime Author, was kind enough to allow me to steal this article off her site, so Pacific Paratrooper could deliver a sweetheart of a post!  Please go visit her and enjoy her other historical posts!

Does your family own any jewelry from World War II? Curator Kathleen Golden shares a few sweet pieces from our collection.

In honor of Valentine’s Day and the giving of trinkets and baubles, I thought it would be fun to share a collection of objects in the Division of Armed Forces History called “sweetheart jewelry.” Sweetheart jewelry first became popular during World War I, as a means of connection between wives, mothers and sweethearts back home and the men fighting overseas. It was one of many things that soldiers either made or purchased, along with pillowcase covers, handkerchiefs, compacts, and the like. But while the practice began back then, the concept really took off during the Second World War.

Sweetheart jewelry of World War II vintage was made of a variety of materials. Due to the rationing placed on metals during the war, many of the items were made from alternate materials such as wood and plastic. Sterling silver was not rationed, so it was used to produce better quality jewelry.

Why was this type of jewelry so popular?

It was fashionable: rationing of material resulted in clothing with little embellishment. Pinning a brooch on a lapel or wearing a locket gave the wearer a little bit of glitz.

It was patriotic: many of the pieces were produced in the shape of patriotic symbols; the flag and the American eagle were most often depicted. The slogan “Remember Pearl Harbor” found its way onto many pins, often accented with a pearl. Several of the costume jewelry manufacturers of the time, including Trifari and Coro, made patriotic-themed pieces.

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It reflected a sense of service: many women proudly wore the pin version of a “man-in-service” flag, the blue star in the center, on a white background, with a red border, to indicate a son or husband in service. The service pins, more rarely, could have two or three stars, and rarer yet, could contain a gold star to indicate a death in service.

The collection in the Division of Armed Forces History contains numerous examples of the types of jewelry I’ve outlined. Here are a few favorite examples:

The production of sweetheart jewelry pretty much ended after World War II. In recent years, collecting the vintage pieces has been on the upswing. But during the war, it seemed that everybody had a piece or two.

While rummaging through my grandmother’s jewelry box a number of years ago, I found this patriotic pin:

The “Uncle Sam” hat is embellished with rhinestones, and on the brim is written “In Service For His Country”. I don’t know the particulars of how it came to be in her possession; my grandfather didn’t serve in World War II, but family members and friends did. I’ve worn it from time to time, usually on a patriotic holiday, or if I just feel like giving a shout out to our soldiers serving overseas. One day, in memory of my grandmother, it will become part of the museum’s collections.

Kathleen Golden is an Associate Curator in the Division of Armed Forces History. 

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Click on images to enlarge.

 Home Front Humor –

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

“But Ida, do you think you’ll be HAPPY polishing shell casing?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jude ‘Frank’ Babineau – Toronto, CAN; No. 2 Forward Observation/Royal Artillery. WWII

Ceaser Cellini – Cliftin, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/11th Airborne Division

MAY WE ALL REMEMBER ANZAC DAY, 25 April 2019

Peter Fitanides – Natick, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 406/102nd Ozark Infantry Division, medic

Frank Gonzalez – Tampa, FL; US Army, WWII, Sgt., 738th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion

Marshall Heffner – Ocean Springs, MS; US Merchant Marine, WWII, ETO

Elmer Janka – Wautoma, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Infantry Division, Signal Corps

Frank Keller – Murray, KY; USMC, WWII

Ivan Miles – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Army, WWII

Charles Parker – Slagle, LA; US Army, WWII, medic

Olen Shockey – Lexington, OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LCS Machinist Mate 1st Class

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Arms Race

 

Tesla’s Death Ray

The arms race during World War Two resulted in an entire gallery of new weapons. Some of them opened completely new perspectives of conventional warfare, while others came from the edge of human imagination.

These were so-called weapons of the “New Age:” unconventional arms imagined to be so powerful that they could single-handedly win the war.

Even though the world leaders based their power on conventional arsenals, all of them still had one eye on possible weapons of the future. In the years before — as well as during — the war, these powers had been developing such weapons.

Tesla complex

With visions of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon and so many other sci-fi characters, imaginations soared!

Some of these weapons were brought to life, as was the case with the atomic bomb, but some have never seen the light of the day. The Japanese Ku-Go “Death Ray” weapon falls into the latter category.

One of the most brilliant scientists of all times, Nikola Tesla, was one of the first to claim to have built a “death ray” weapon. He called his weapon “Teleforce” and it wasn’t designed to use any kind of rays but to project microscopic, electrically-charged particles.

Tesla’s weapon was rather complex, including several mechanisms to produce electricity of enormous force, somewhere around 60 million volts. This force required large, static power plants, estimating the cost of one such weapon station to be $2 million in 1940.

For that reason, he presented his plans first to the League of Nations and then to the leading powers of Western Democracy.

The United States Bureau of Standards rejected Tesla’s proposal as they believed it was not possible to produce such an enormous amount of energy.

British Death Ray

The British attempted to make a “death ray” weapon, which resulted in the development of radar.

The Soviet Union made some effort in obtaining Tesla’s plans, but the actual weapon was never made.

However, that which was not of interest to Allies was of interest to the Axis Nations. The article about Tesla’s “Peace Ray” published in the New York Sun and the New York Times on July 11, 1934, caught the attention of Japanese news correspondents in the United States.

When the article was presented in Japan, Tesla’s death ray received a lot of public attention.

In the late 1930s, as Japan was preparing for the war, General Yamamoto was looking for a weapon that could give him an advantage over the United States. For this purpose, he sought out one of the most prominent Japanese physicists, Yoji Ito, from the Naval Technology Research Institute.

Ito had spent several years in Germany studying the development of the atomic bomb and magnetrons, giving him the required knowledge to build such a weapon.

German Death Ray

After studying Tesla’s design, Ito and two other physicists, Maso Kotani and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, came to the same conclusion as their American counterparts: it was impossible to create a station that could produce so much energy.

For that reason, Ito and his team turned to what they already had. Microwaves!

In 1940, the Japanese had already been working on magnetrons as part of their radar research. Ito decided that they should make a bigger, much more powerful magnetron.

This magnetron would emit a high-power beam of very short radio waves that could cause either psychological or physiological problems to enemy soldiers and even death. Ito also believed that the same principle could cause internal combustion engines to stop.

Japanese officials thought that the project could be promising. They invested 2 million yen into it which, in 1940, was around half a million US dollars.

The whole project was put under the control of General Sueyoshi Kusaba. A brand new laboratory was established at Shimada, Shiyuoka Prefecture. The weapon was codenamed Ku-Go.

Gen. Kusaba Sueyoshi, commander of Ku-Go. (his brother Tatsumi graduated West Point in 1920)

However, experiments with internal combustion engines were far less successful. Ito believed that microwaves could cause the pre-ignition of engines, but his experiments came across many obstacles.

In 1943, Ito and his team managed to stop an exposed car engine but failed to do so when the engine was protected by a hub. Experiments on an airplane engine from 1944 showed that microwaves were even weaker against well-protected engines.

Megetron, sliced open to show interior.

The largest experiment was conducted in 1944 when the first prototype of Ku-Go was built by the Japanese Radio Company.  This was an 80-centimeter magetron powered by 30 kilowatts feeding a di-pole antenna placed at the bottom of a 1-meter ellipsoid reflector.  In 1944, 80 cm magnetrons were the shortest wavelength oscillators that the Japanese were able to make.

Plans were made in 1945 to build a new weapon consisting of 4 magetrons with the output of 250 – 300 kilowatts with a di-pole antenna and 10-meter reflector.  Japanese physicists calculated that such a weapon would take ten minutes to kill a rabbit at a distance of 62 miles ( ~ 100 kilometers ).

However, the situation in the Pacific and the capitulation of Imperial Japan stopped all further research.

Click on images to enlarge.

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RAAF 98th Anniversary – 31 March

Pacific Paratrooper gives a sincere THANK YOU to the Royal Australian Air Force for being there!

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Bacco – Grant Town, WV; US Navy, WWII

Violet (Bambi) Carrington, IL; US Army WAC, WWII

Veterans Memorial

Ronald Helson – Cleveland, OH; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT, USAR, Lt.Col. (Ret. 30 y.)

Fred Lynn – Anderson, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, D/511/11th Airborne Division

James Mumme – Phoenix, AZ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS Nassau

Robert T. McDaniel – Fort Worth, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Tuskegee

Joseph Piccirillo – No. Charleston, SC; US Navy, WWII

Harold Steinmetz (101) – Mt. Clemens, IL; US Army, WWII, PTO, Capt., 38/149th Infantry, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Muriel Seale Toole – Washington D.C.; Civilian, US Army Quartermaster Corps

Rodney Wicox – Arnot, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Sgt., 11th Airborne Division

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Home Front – Wartime Recipes (3)

From: The 1940’s Experiment .

We discussed rationing and we’ve discussed just how well our parents and grandparents ate – despite the rationing and time of war when all the “good” stuff was going overseas to the troops!  So …. as promised, here are some more of the wonderful recipes from the 1940’s.

Please thank Carolyn on her website for putting these delicious meals on-line!

Recipe 61: Chocolate biscuits & chocolate spread

Recipe 62: Curried potatoes 

Recipe 63: Vegetable pasties

Recipe 64: Wheatmeal pastry

Recipe 65: Homemade croutons

Recipe 66: Quick vegetable soup

Recipe 67: Fruit Shortcake

Recipe 68: Cheese potatoes

Recipe 69: Lentil sausages

Recipe 70: Root vegetable soup

Recipe 71: Sausage rolls

Recipe 72: Eggless ginger cake

Bubble n’ squeak #78

Recipe 73: Mock duck

Recipe 74: Cheese sauce

Recipe 75: Duke pudding

Recipe 76: Potato scones

Recipe 77: Cheese, tomato and potato loaf/pie

Recipe 78: Bubble and squeak

Recipe 79: Belted leeks

Recipe 80: Lord Woolton Pie- Version 2

Recipe 81: Beef and prune hotpot

Recipe 82: Prune flan

Recipe 83: Butter making him-front style

Recipe 84: Mock apricot flan

Recipe 85: Corned beef with cabbage

Recipe 86: Oatmeal pastry

Apple brown Betty # 90

Recipe 87: Gingerbread men

Recipe 88: Carolyn’s mushroom gravy

Recipe 89: Jam sauce

Recipe 90: Brown Betty

Recipe 91: Middleton medley

Recipe 92: Rolled oat macaroons

Recipe 93: Anzac biscuits

Recipe 94: Beef or whalemeat hamburgers

Recipe 95: Lentil soup

Recipe 96: Welsh claypot loaves

Recipe 97: Chocolate oat cakes

Recipe 98: Wartime berry shortbread

Recipe 99: Oatmeal soup

Recipe 100: Mock marzipan

Click on images to enlarge.

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Home Front Humor –

“I understand you’ve been riveting in your name and address.”

“Father, would not the best way to conduct the war be to let the editors of the newspaper take charge of it?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Albert – So. Greensburg, PA; US Navy, WWII, air patrol

Phillip Baker – San Marcos, TX; US Army Pvt., 101st Airborne Division

The Old Guard

George Carter – Crete, IL; US Navy, WWII & Korea, SeaBee

George Ebersohl – Madison, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, medic

Hugh Ferris – Muncie, IN; US Army, WWII, ETO, 99th Infantry

Ambrose Lopez – CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Wake Island

Robert Parnell – Hampshire, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO, 6th Airborne Division

James Swafford – Glencoe, AL; US Army, WWII, Purple Heart

Floyd Totten – Umatilla, FL; US Army, Korea, Co. B/187th RCT

Louis Ventura – Turlock, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Division

 

Home Front – Big Timber, Montana

Welcome to Big Timber

These two articles are from The Big Timber Pioneer newspaper, Thursday, August 30, 1945

Prisoners Hanged

Ft. Leavenworth Prison Cemetery; By Gorsedwa, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Aug. 25 – The Army Saturday hanged 7 German prisoners-of-war in the Fort Leavenworth disciplinary barracks for the murder of a fellow prisoner whom they had accused of being a traitor to the Reich.

All 7 went to the gallows after receiving last rites of the Roman Catholic Church.  They were executed for killing Werner Dreschler at the Papago Park, Arizona prisoner of war camp, March 13, 1944.

The hangings took less than three hours.  The executions brought to 14 the total number of Nazi POW’s executed at Ft. Leavenworth during the last few weeks.

The 7 went to the gallows without showing any signs of emotion.  They had signed statements admitting their guilt.  Their defense was that they had read in German newspapers that they should put to death any German who was a traitor.  At their trial they said Dreschler had admitted giving information of military value to their captures.

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Sgt. Nat Clark was on Pioneer Mining Mission

313th Wing B-29 Base, Tinian – One of the 6th Bomb Group fliers who participated in the pioneer mining mission to northern Korean waters on 11 July was SSgt. Nathaniel B. Clark, son of Mr. & Mrs. J.F. Clark, Big Timber, MT. it was revealed here today with the lifting of censorship rules.  He is a left blister gunner and by war’s end had flown 29 combat missions in the war against Japan.

On the longest mission of the war, to deny the use of the eastern Korean ports to the already partially blockaded Japanese, Sgt. Clark explained that the crews were briefed to fly 3,500 statute miles to their mine fields just south of Russia, and back to Iwo Jima where they would have to land for fuel.  Then it was still 725 miles back to the Tinian base.

The flight was planned to take 16½ hours which in itself was not out of the ordinary, but the length of time the full mine load would be carried was a record 10 hours and 35 minutes.

Loading an aerial mine layer

The job called for hair-splitting navigation, Midas-like use of the available gas, penetration of weather about which little is known and finally a precision radar mine-laying run over a port whose defenses and very contours were not too well known.

“We sweated that one out from our briefing one morning until we landed back on Tinian almost 24 hours later.” Sgt. Clark recalled.

radar mine

One crew was forced to return to Okinawa because of engine trouble, but the other 5 on the pioneer flight landed within a few minutes of the briefed time.  One landed at the exact briefed time.  The closest call on gas was reported by the crew which landed with only 24 gallons left, scarcely enough to circle the field.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Herman Brown – Virginia Beach, VA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 385/76th Division/ 3rd Army

Lester Burks – Willis, TX; US Army, Co. B/513/17th Airborne Division

Pedro ‘Pete’ Contreras – Breckenridge, OK; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Lt.Col. (Ret. 30 y.)

Paul Jarret – Phoenix, AZ; US Army, WWII, ETO, Medical Corps, Bronze Star / US Air Force

John ‘Nick’ Kindred – Scarsdale, NY; US Navy, Lt.

James Lemmons – Portland, TN; US Army; Korea, HQ/187th RCT

Charles McCarry – Plainfield, MA; CIA, Cold War, undercover agent

Howard Rein Jr. – Philadelphia, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Morton Siegel – Rye, NY; US Navy, WWII

Eldon Weehler – Loup City, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII / US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Col. (Ret. 30 y.)

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