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“Voices from Vietnam” by: Kayleen Reusser / Review

‘Voices from Vietnam’ by: Kayleen Reusser

VOICES FROM VIETNAM

by:  Kayleen Reusser

 

Vietnam was the 10-year “Police Action” that developed and escalated in my generation’s  youth.  We saw casualty lists in the newspapers increasing daily.  Here in Kayleen Reusser’s book are interviews with the troops that managed to survive the horror that was the Vietnam War.

Keyleen Reusser

In this book, a background story is given for each contributor, their branch of military, method of service and then, what they experienced.  But the pains of war did not stop with their return home.  These gallant people told Kayleen of what they ran into upon returning to the United States.  The events, such as protesters, and name calling, are embarrassing, disheartening and downright disappointing to know how the people of this country were behaving toward these troops.

Despite the home front’s utter fear of the draft and disapproval of the war, these veterans carried on and we are privileged to read of their accomplishments.  There are photos of them, so that you can visualize the veteran to the story.

Vietnam veterans

This era was opposite that of WWII, but I hope “Voices from Vietnam” has the same affect on other readers as it had on me.  It brought back memories, but added an insight that can still be learned by this and future generations.  You will find yourself turning the pages and going from one story to another.

Just as Kayleen’s book, “We Gave Our Best” inspired me and gave me hope for our future and our military – I recommend this book wholeheartedly and hope many will give these men and women the time to tell their stories that no one wanted to hear in the ’60’s and ’70’s.

Through it all, they remained true and loyal.

This is an honest and straightforward depiction of that era – A MUST READ.

TO LOCATE KAYLEEN REUSSER AND HER BOOK – CLICK HERE!

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Military Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Walter Morgan Bryant – Delray Beach, FL; USMC, Vietnam, Sgt.

Leo Cummings, Jackson, MI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Jim Grewe – Edina, MN; US Army, Vietnam, 4th Infantry & 101st Airborne Division

Gilbert L. Harris – Spotsylvania, VA; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division, Green Beret

Stephen Hoke – Meadville, PA; US Army, Vietnam, 1st Calvary & 82nd Airborne Division

Jerry L. O’Nan – Lexington, KY; USMC, Vietnam, Pfc. # 2132524, E Co/4/2/3rd Marine Division, KIA (Quang Nam Province, SV)

Michael R. Paul – Williamsburg, KY; US Army, Vietnam, radio repair, 101st Airborne Division

Robert J. Reginald – Lindenhurst, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Cpl. # 52748547, B/502/2/101st Airborne Division, KIA (SV)

Timothy C. Reitmann – Valley Stream, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Spec. # 52748020, vehicle repair, A/2/5/11 Field Force, KIA (SV)

Eugene “Butch” Skoch – East Meadow, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Pfc., KIA

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USMC Birthday / Veterans Day 2022

The Marine Corps birthday has been commemorating on November 10 every year since 1775,  the year of establishment of Continental Marines. Every year the cake cutting ceremony with the conventional ball follows.

Saluting the U.S. Marine Corps

Marine Corps Birthday Cake

Sketch of the original Tun Tavern

 

 

 

 

 

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Veterans Day

On November 11th, we pause to reflect on the history of this great Nation and honor all those who fought to defend it. Originally titled “Armistice Day” and intended to celebrate the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars,” Veterans Day allows us to give thanks to veterans past and present, men and women from all walks of life and all ethnicities, who stood up and said, “Send me.” We recognize your sacrifices, your sense of duty and your love for this country.

Thank you – To ALL our veterans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 11th Airborne Division jumps again!

PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

 

For many other countries who remain free thanks to their veterans, this day is called Remembrance Day.  I thank you!!

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence “Junior” Anderson – Blanchard, MI; USMC, WWII, CBI, scout observer

Catherine Batoff – Cedar Lake, IN; US Army WAC, WWII

Jesse G. Bell – Roopsville, GA; US Navy, WWII, USS Case DD-370

Leo E. Cummings – Jackson, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Ralph Fiorio – Peekskill, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 8th Armored Division

David E. Holeman – Le Harpe, KS; US Air Force, WWII, PTO, # 646029, 17/24th Pursuit Group, POW, KWC (Cabanatuan Camp, P.I.)

Merle L. Pickup – Provo, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Cpl. # 39832953, 393 BS/308 BG, KIA (India)

Paul J. Simons Jr. (102) – Wyoming, MO; US Army, WWII

James M. Triplett – King County, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt # 39202130, B-24 radio operator, 700BS/445 BG/2/8th Air Force

Allen H. Tuttle – King County, WA; US Army, Korea, Sgt. # 19261249, field artillery cannoneer, C Batt/38/2nd Infantry Division, POW, KWC (NK Camp # 5)

Larry A. Zich – Lincoln, NE; US Army, Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer # 508603819, HQ/37/1st Signal Brigade, KIA

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Why is the only one standing the man with a wheelchair?

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Poems

I think it’s time we had a lighthearted break….

Cletus O’Toole’s Navy Career

Cletus joined the Navy on a fool whim

And was told he needed to learn to swim

He was launched off the dock

And he sank like a rock

The Navy straightaway got rid of him!

A FRIEND, YOUR AMERICAN M.P.

 When soldiers go out and have some fun,

 They always forget about some other one.

 That someone’s on duty every day,

 To see that these soldiers are safe at play.

 They call him names that we can’t print,

 But they should sit down and try to think.

 These men are detailed for this tough job,

 So why go around and call him a snob?

 When a guy’s in trouble, and things look bad,

 They call on this fellow, and then he’s not bad.

 At the end they will say, “this fellow took up for me.”

 And the fellow that did it was your American M.P.

 One thing to remember fellows when you’re down and out,

 There’s a fellow that will help you if he hears you shout.

 He will stand beside you and fight like hell.

 So do the right thing, and treat him well.

 Just remember fellows on your holiday,

 One of your buddies can’t go out and play.

 You call him an outcast, and other names,

 But he’s your buddy, just the same.

 We envy no one, try never to do harm.

 We’re here to keep you safe, in every form.

 So if you see us on duty, please don’t get mad.

 Remember we’re here for you, and that M.P.’s aren’t bad.

     – S/Sgt. GODFREY J. DARBY

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Military Humor – 

Sometimes all you need are a few words of encouragement!

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert R. Auer – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea, company clerk

Erwin H. Boyer – Edmonds, WA; USMC, Korea  /  US Army, Korea, 101st Airborne Division (Ret. 26 y.)

Russell F. Chapman – Milford, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Sanford I. Finger – NYC, NY; US Army, Vietnam, SSgt. # 261646170, HQ Area Command, KIA (offshore Nha Trang, SK)

John H. Givens – Oelwein, IA; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division

Steve Magro – Rochester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Hubert Pensinger – Fort Wayne, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Purple Heart

Roger W. Schmitz Sr. – Raymore, MO; US Army, WWII

Larry J. Tillman – Drumright, OK; Vietnam, 173rd Airborne Division

James Vandiver Jr. – Gainsville, GA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt., 42nd Rainbow Division

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General Yamashita (part one) from: Gen. Eichelberger

Gen. Eichelberger

From:  “Our Jungle Road to Tokyo” by General Robert Eichleberger

Although negotiations with Yamashita for surrender were completed after 8th Army had relinquished control of Luzon, the story should be told here.  It must be remembered that Japanese forces at this period had little or no communication with the homeland.

On 7 August – the day of the fall of the first atomic bomb – an America pilot was forced to abandon his disabled plane and parachute behind the Japanese lines in northern Luzon.  He was picked up by an enemy patrol the next morning and taken after 5 days of forced marches to Gen. Yamashita’s headquarters, then SW of Kiangan.

Gen. Yamashita

There he was subjected to vigorous and prolonged interrogation.  He was threatened with physical violence when he steadfastly refused to answer questions.

On 16 Aug – the attitude of the Japanese interrogators abruptly changed.  The pilot received medical treatment for his parachute-jump injuries and was extended many small courtesies.  The next day the American was guided toward American lines; when the Japanese soldiers had gone as far as they dared, they gave the flier a letter, written by Yamashita himself, which explained the circumstances of the pilot’s capture and commended him for his military spirit and devotion to duty.

On 24 August – the same pilot flew an L-5 liaison plane over the area in which he had been held and dropped a message of thanks to Gen. Yamashita, along with 2 signal panels.  The message, written by Gen. Gill of the 32nd Division, suggested that if Yamashita were in the mood for surrender negotiations he should display the 2 panels as evidence of his willingness to parley.

The following morning another pilot found the panels staked out according to instructions; also on the ground were many cheering, hand-waving Japanese soldiers, who beckoned the plane to land.  Instead, a second message was dropped.  It suggested that Yamashita send an envoy to the American lines to received detailed instructions for his surrender.

Late in the afternoon of 26 August, a Japanese captain, carrying Yamashita’s answer, entered the American lines under a flag of truce.  The letter, which was written in English, was as follows:

Gen. Yamashita

GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, IMPERIAL JAPANESE ARMY IN THE PHILIPPINES

August 25, 1945

TO: GENERAL W.H. GILL, COMMANDING GENERAL KIANGAN-BOYOMBONG AREA, UNITED STATES ARMY IN THE PHILIPPINES

  1. I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication addressed to me, dropped by your airplane on Aug. 24th as well as your papers dropped on Aug. 25th in response to our ground signals.
  2. I am taking this opportunity to convey to you that order from Imperial Headquarters pertaining to cessation of hostilities was duly received by me on Aug. 20th and that I have immediately issued orders to cease hostilities to all units under my command insofar as communications were possible.

I also wish to add this point the expression of my heartfelt gratitude to you, full cognizant of the sincere efforts and deep concern you have continuously shown with reference to cessation of hostilities as evidenced by various steps and measures you have taken in this connection.

To date however, I have failed to receive order from Imperial Headquarters authorizing me to enter into direct negotiations here in the Philippines with the United States Army…, but I am of the fond belief that upon receipt of this order, negotiations can be immediately entered into.  Presenting my compliments and thanking you for your courteous letter, I remain, yours respectively,

/s/Tomoyuki Yamashita, General, Imperial Japanese Army, Highest Commander of the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines

circa 1956: The samurai sword of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, ‘the Tiger of Malaya’, commander of the Japanese troops in the Philippines during World War II. It rests on the Philippine Surrender Document, signed at Baguio, Luzon on September 3rd, 1945. (Photo by Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)

This message was the first in a series exchanged between Yamashita and Gen. Gill.  The exquisite courtesy of the exchanges probably has for the average reader something of the quality of ‘Through the Looking-Glass’.

To be continued…….

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Military Humor – 

Private Wilbur

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frank Bever (101) – Lagro, IN; US Army, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 95th Infantry Division, Purple Heart

Walter G. Bonrer – Oconomowoc, WI; US Army, Korea, Co. F/187th RCT

A Tribute to them ALL

Lucille (Whitehead) Clark – USA; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Jesse “Jay” Durham Jr. – Fort Payne, AL; US Navy, WWII, USS Cleveland

Raymond Femc – Forest City, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/187/11th Airborne Division

Jay Karpin Hicksville, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 & B-24 navigator

Robert J. Lovelace – No. Roanoke, VA; US Army, WWII, Sgt. Major (Ret. 34 y.)

Dominic Rossetto – Red Lodge, MT; US Army, 101st Airborne Division

Wilbur “Curly” Siebold – Huntington, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 gunner, POW

John B. Thomas – Wayne County, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt. # 0-659415, 34 BS/98 BG/ 9th Air Force, KIA (Ploiest, ROM)

Keith W. Tipsword – Moccasin, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Machinist Mate 1st Cl. # 3369382, USS West Virginia, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

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The Emperor’s Speech

Emperor Hirohito taping his speech

 

“To our good and loyal citizens,

After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our Empire today, we have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

We have ordered our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union that our Empire accepts the provisions of their joint declaration.

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well- being of our subjects is the solemn obligation that has been handed down by our Imperial Ancestors, and we lay it close to the heart.

Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain out of our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.

The Emperor’s bunker

But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone– the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of our servants of the state and the devoted service of our 100 million people–the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, or to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers.

We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia.

The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, and those who met with death and all their bereaved families, pains our heart night and day.

The welfare of the wounded and the war sufferers, and of those who have lost their homes and livelihood is the object of our profound solicitude. The hardships and suffering to which our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great.

We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all you, our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that we have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable. Having been able to save and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, we are always with you, our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.

The Emperor’s speech

Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion that may engender needless complications, and of any fraternal contention and strife that may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.

Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishable of its divine land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibilities, and the long road before it. Unite your total strength to be devoted to the construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, nobility of spirit, and work with resolution so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.

All you, our subjects, we command you to act in accordance with our wishes.”

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Military Humor – 

On Guam, this airman wasted no time in creating this enterprise.

One of Murphy’s Laws

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

flag image curtesy of Dan Antion

Leo J. Barlosky – Carbon County, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Cpl. # 6897692, 7th Chemical Co., KWC (Luzon, P.I.)

Julius C. Brooks – SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt. # 5751632, I Co./39/9th Infantry Division, radioman, KIA (Troina, ITA)

William F. Corbett – Selma, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt., B-29 gunner

Victor Hernandez – Fresno, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 129th Infantry Regiment

Leonard Leniewski – Milwaukee, WI;US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

Irene (Crimmins) Marsh – Yonkers, NY; US Army WAC, WWII, LT. / US Air Force, Korea

James McManaway – Roanoke, VA; USMC, Vietnam, Colonel (Ret. 30 y.)

Sue Pflepsen (100) – Amsterdam, NY; US Navy WAVE, WWII, PTO, Ensign, nurse

Cecil G. Richardson – San Angelo, TX; US Navy, WWII  /  US Air Force, Korea

Frederick R. Schrader – CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO/CBI, Lt. Comdr. # 0074896,Hellcat pilot, Carrier Group 11 on the USS Hornet, Distinguished Flying Cross, KIA (Formosa)

James R. Tash – MO; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt. # 17016200, F Co/2/31st Infantry Reg., Bronze Star, POW, KWC (Cabanatuan Camp, Luzon)

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Ready – Set – Okinawa

B-32 on Okinawa, 12 Aug. 1945

Saturday, 11 August 1945, top secret orders were delivered to General Swing for the division to be prepared to move to Okinawa at any time. The division G-3, Colonel Quandt, called Colonel Pearson, “This is an Alert. Have your regiment [187th] ready to move out by air forty-eight hours from now.” Commanders throughout the 11th A/B had their men reassembled, even those on weekend passes had been found and brought back to camp. The lead elements left Luzon immediately. At 0630 hours on the 13th, trucks brought the 187th to Nichols and Nielson Fields for transport and they landed at 1645 hours that afternoon at Naha, Kadena and Yotan Fields on Okinawa. They would remain on the island for two weeks.

C-47’s of the 54th Troop Carrier Wing

It would take the 54th Troop Carrier Wing two days to transport the 11th Airborne using 351 C-46s, 151 C-47s and 99 B-24s; with their bombs removed and crammed with troopers. The planes had carted 11,100 men; 1,161,000 pounds of equipment and 120 special-purpose jeeps for communication and supply. Eighty-six men remained on Luzon long enough to bring the 187ths organizational equipment to Okinawa by ship.

Jeeps on Okinawa

Jeep trailers on Okinawa

Okinawa, as one of the islands being “beefed-up” with supplies, men and materiel, quickly became significantly congested; it is only 877 square miles. One day would be unbearably hot and the next would bring the heavy rains that created small rivers running passed their pup tents. The troopers were back to cooking their 10-in-1, ‘C’ or ‘K’ rations on squad cookers or eaten cold. A typhoon crossed the island and the men were forced to live on the sides of hills with their pup tents ballooning like parachutes and taking off in the wind. In the hills were numerous old Okinawa tombs that the Japanese troops had adapted into pillboxes and these helped to protect the men from the storms.

Swing was not certain how the enemy would take to him and the 187th regiment landing in Japan, so the men were ordered to be combat ready. Besides staying in shape, they spent many an hour listing to numerous lectures on the Japanese culture. The 187th regiment of the 11th Airborne Division would be the first troops to enter Japan, as conquerors, in 2000 years.

Okinawa Cemetery, Never Forget

Also, on 13 August, two ships, the Pennsylvania and the La Grange were hit by kamikaze carrier planes. All ships in Okinawa harbors were shipped out to ensure their safety. Although the Emperor was at this point demanding peace, the complicated arrangement of their government (Emperor, Premier, Cabinet, Privy Seal, etc. etc.) made it difficult for them to answer the Allies immediately. As Soviet forces, hovering at the 1.5 million mark, launched across Manchuria.

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Military Humor-

“Now that ya mention it, it does sound like patter of rain on a tin roof.”


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Farewell Salutes – 

Raymond Ackerman – Brooklyn, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII  /  US Merchant Marines

Thomas H. Barber – Glencoe, IL; USMC, WWII

Roy Carney – Electra, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt. # 19114586, 345 BS/98 BG/ 9th Air Force, B-24 gunner, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM)

Eugene De Filippo – East Haven, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO,B-24 pilot  /  US Coast Guard, Korea, LT. Comdr.

Curtis L. Eaves – Oxford, AL; US Army, WWII, PTO, POW / Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. (Ret.)

Benjamin Houden (100) – Belvidere, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Independence, Hellcat pilot

Robert M. Mintz – Cuba City, WI; US Navy, Purple Heart  /  Howard Hughes Aircraft (jet radar design)

Nils Oldberg – Kansas City, MO; US Navy, WWII, SS Guavina – 362, submarine service

Lucy (Shaw) Richmond – Fort Smith, AR; Civilian, WWII, Liberty Ship welder

Fred T. Smith – Palestine, WV; USMC, WWII, PTO

Ithiel E. Whatley – Escambia County, FL; US Army, Korea, Pfc # 14270848, M Co./3/21/24th Infantry Reg., KIA (Chochi’won, SK)

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Potsdam Conference conclusion

Potsdam Conference, July-August 1945. President Harry S. Truman introducing his driver, Private First Class Warren E. Baker to Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, both from the same home town. President Truman had been inspecting the 3Rd Armored Division near Frankfurt, Germany. Photographed by CPhoM William Belknap Jr., released July 26, 1945. Official U.S. Navy Photograph,

26 July, the same day that Clement Attlee defeated Winston Churchill in the election for Prime Minister, the Potsdam Declaration was sent to the enemy. The exact wording of this document made it unthinkable for Japan to accept. Once again, the lack of understanding for a foreign culture would hinder the road to peace.

Keep in mind, while still at sea on the ‘Augusta,’ Byrnes had received a message from Sweden stating that Japanese Major Gen. Makoto Onodera, having authorization from the Emperor, wished to enter into peace negotiations. The only stipulation being that the Emperor remain in power.

By this time, Prince Konoye had spent two years laboring to uncover a route to peace. The prince had had the correct procedure all along, but mistakenly had chosen the Soviet Union as the go-between. Stalin had his own agenda in mind for the Japanese and their territories and therefore he deceitfully strung the envoys along with various delaying tactics. OSS Allen Dulles, who assisted in negotiations when Italy fell, was working on the same premise in Switzerland.

Nevertheless, as spring turned to summer, militarists in Japan continued to plan for Operation Decision (Ketsu-Go) and ignored their government’s attempts for peace. Disregarding Japan’s concern for their Emperor, the Potsdam Declaration was considered by Premier Suzuki and the military to be a re-hashing of the Cairo Declaration which deemed it to be marked as “mokusatsu” (‘ignore entirely’ or ‘regard as unworthy of notice’)

In regards to the A-bomb, Secretary of War, Stimson and his assistant, John McCloy, told Truman, “We should all have our heads examined if we don’t try to find a political solution.” Truman laughed.

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So many maneuvers, conversations and secrets go on behind the main headlines, but here is one story I hope you take the time to click and read. This obituary was in “The Week” news-magazine and I could not resist including it here. Could any of us do this job today?

Bomb babysitter

Resources: U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian; “The Week” magazine; “The Last Great Victory” by Stanley Weintraub; University of Virginia, Miller Center.

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Note of interest – 17 July 1945, kamikaze units were no longer voluntary.

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United States Air Force celebrates 75 years !!!  18 September 1947

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Military Humor (actually political, haha) – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Geraldine (Ingold) Able – Mogadore, OH; Civilian, WWII, Akron Tire life belts

Duane E. Acker – Rittman, OH; US Army, 3rd Armored/11th Airborne Division

Code Talker’s monument

Robert P. Bixby (101) – Apache Junction, AZ; US Army, WWII

Ben Carpenter – Waco, NC; US Navy, WWII

James B. Gallinatti – Lakewood, WA; US Army, Lt., 11th Airborne Division

David E. Grange Jr. – Lake Ronkonkoma, NY; US Army Air Corps; WWII, ETO, 517/82nd A/B Div. / Korea, US Army, 2nd Lt. 187th RCT / Vietnam, 506th Infantry Reg & 101st A/B Division, Lt. General (Ret. 41 Years)

Fred Hedges – Atlanta, GA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 20th Armored Division

Eli Johnson – Jetts Creek, KY; USMC, WWII

Paul J. Manning – Rochester, VT; USMC, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart

George Nashen (100) – brn: Kishinev, ROM; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, Sgt.

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Potsdam Conference, part one

Potsdam Conference table

“Operation Iceberg,” the invasion of Okinawa began on 1 April 1945 and would basically end on 22 June. Many are unaware that small skirmishes continued even after the 11th Airborne Division landed on that island. But … as we enter into July, others matters begin to develop.

Harry S. Truman did not have the outstanding record that most people look for in a president. He had poor eyesight and was unable to complete a 4-year college. Later, he failed as the owner/operator of a small mining and oil business, as a farmer and then as a haberdasher. (In my opinion, that only left politics as an option.) HST was elected to the Senate with the assistance of the corrupt Thomas J. Pendergast and proved to be an unimportant legislator. His only military achievement was in successfully tightening up the discipline of the rag-tag outfit he was given. He was chosen as the Vice-Presidential candidate because southern democrats liked him and FDR needed those votes. (I’m afraid these facts were located during research, they are not my own thoughts – unless specified.)

Potsdam page

This was the man sent to Germany, sailing on the “Augusta” with Secretary of State, James Byrnes and Admiral Leahy to attend the Potsdam Conference to begin on 17 July 1945. The primary agenda for the massive meeting dealt with the revision of the German-Soviet-Polish borders and the expulsion of several million Germans from the disputed territories. The code name for this conference was “Terminal,” with Stalin, Churchill and Truman representing the three major powers.

16 July was significant in that the Atomic bomb was successfully tested, exploding the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT and a blast point of 750 degrees F. Oppenheimer would then prepare the test results for his report to Henry Stimson in Potsdam. Truman confided the news to Churchill and the two rulers instantly decided that at least two bobs would be dropped on Japan. This decision was made despite the arguments of Adm. Leahy, General “Hap” Arnold and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower who strongly spoke against it’s use, calling it completely unnecessary. Many of the scientists that worked on the Manhattan Project felt that such a dramatic scientific discovery should not be used. The petition, “…the liberated forces of nature for the purpose of destruction … open the door to an era of devastation …,” was signed by 57 scientists. They had the foresight to visualize the nuclear problems that we face today, but their qualms went unheeded.

Potsdam, continued

The Potsdam Proclamation demanded the unconditional surrender of Japan, but did not make mention of two clearly important issues – (1) that the atomic bomb was is existence and (2) whether or not the Emperor would retain his seat in the palace. Both of these provisions would have clarified the true situation for the Japanese Army. Many, on-site at Potsdam, believe that the Japanese were purposely and maliciously misguided.

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Military Humor – WWI Style – 

“A BOLT FROM THE BLUE – WITH LOVE FROM YOURS TRULY”

“SAY WHEN !”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Aubry – Saratoga Springs, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, radar repair

Thomas Austin Sr. – Greenville, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, 12th Armored Division

Ellery Engell – Erie, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Sea Bees

William W. Fitz – Dedham, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

David A. Gockowski Sr. – Bellevue, NE; US Air Force, CMSgt. (Ret.), WWII, Korea, Vietnam

Hilda (Morrison) Harned – Hodgenville, KY; US Navy, WWII, nurse

Gordon Kemp – Peterborough, NH; US Navy, WWII, PTO radar repair

William Nichols – Lima, OH; US Navy, WWII, ETO & PTO

Robert H. Reilly – NYC, NY; USMC, WWII & Korea, 1st Lt.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (Windsor) – Mayfair, London; Auxiliary Territorial Service, WWII  / 70 year British Monarch

Thaddeus Zawilinski – Amsterdam, NY; US Army, West Point Academy

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Operation Downfall, part two

Operation Downfall/Olympic

In a memo from the Undersecretary of the Navy, a project named “Dagwood” was mentioned, but I am unable to locate any details. MacArthur sent out a deceptive message (with slip-shot secrecy) to be intercepted by the Japanese called “Pastel Two.” This showed a detailed “plan” about Allied landings on the China coast. The Panama Canal had a steady stream of ships loaded with men, equipment and supplies. Seven more atomic bombs were on order for “Operation Olympic” British, Canadian and Australian divisions were to be re-equipped with American weapons and logistical support to standardize the entire operation. The Allied planners felt they would ultimately involve 5 million men. (Operation Overlord in Europe totaled 150,000 men and 1,500 tanks.) They expected opposition from 5,000 kamikazes, which proved later to be correct. The main objective for “Olympic” would be to secure Kagoshima Wan; a great landlocked bay for which men and supplies would flow through for the post-invasion buildup.

Operation Coronet would follow Olympic on 1 March 1946 and would be a more massive invasion. The main objective then would be Tokyo Bay on Honshu.

The Naval plans were also far too complex for me to completely list here, but to give you an idea – Halsey’s Third Fleet was assigned eastern Honshu and the Fifth Fleet would take western Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. The Seventh Fleet would be at Korea (south of the 38th parallel) and Admiral Fletcher’s North Pacific Force would cover Hokkaido.

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Saipan

After the fall of Saipan, Japan knew they were forced to strengthen their homeland defenses. Yet this progress was moving slowly; labor was scarce, with the lack of fuel their mobilization was slow, production, food and weapons were decreasing rapidly. The country was becoming very tired of war. Covering the Japanese islands were four ground armies of eight divisions and 14 cadre divisions; plus three air defense divisions. Immense manpower groups were expected to bring this to 56 divisions, 38 brigades, somewhere in the vicinity of 2 million new men. War materiel was to be brought in from Manchuria. The Japanese plan of defense was called “Ketsu-Go.”

Japanese defenses

I realize the map is difficult to view even after you click on it, but try to see the black squares which represent Japanese defenses with artillery.

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The 11th Airborne, training the reinforcements and handling the “mopping-up” details on Luzon were beginning to set odds on whether or not the war would end before “Olympic” went into play. The combined “Operation Downfall” was a “go” up until the ink on the surrender papers dried.
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From Paul Putnam for his father Robert, a veteran of the 11th Airborne Division.

Robert Putnam

Robert Putnam

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Military Humor –  WW I  Style – 

“I’m HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME.”🙄

Not much different than WWII, eh?

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Farewell Salutes – 

Warren “Bill” Allen – Spofford, NH; USMC, WWII, air traffic comptroller

Margaret “Marty” Bartholomew (102) – Toledo, OH; US Army WAC, WWII, PTO, 1st Lt.

Courtesy of: Dan Antion

H. John Davis Jr. (103) – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt.

Kenneth Ellsworth – Elkhorn, WI; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Nathan Isaacs – Winnipeg, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, navigator

Betty (Hale) Johnson – Wichita, KS; Civilian, WWII, Beech Aircraft

Victor Kester (102) – Revere, MA; US Navy, WWII

Richard J. Lewis – Burlington, MD; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Walter Minick – Elmhurst, IL; USMC, WWII

Hiroshi “Johnny” Okura (100) – HI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bat A/522/442nd Division

Robert Weaver Sr. – Philadelphia, PA; US Navy, WWII & Korea

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Happy Labor Day!

Getting ready for the next mission – Aparri

Luzon

With his thoughts still focused on his R&R in Australia, Everett “Smitty” Smith landed back at Lipa City, P.I. only to discover that a mission was scheduled. The last remaining organized Japanese group, the Shabu Forces, were holed up in the northeast corner of Luzon and General Swing had organized the Gypsy Task Force to take them out. On his orders, this unique unit would include “all Camp MacKall veterans.” This would include men from the 187th Infantry, the 511th, the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, a platoon from the 127th Engineers and two platoons from B Company. Despite Gen. Krueger’s disapproval, Lt. Col. Henry Burgess, now 26 years old, would be the commanding officer. (Smitty was at the ancient age of 30, one of the oldest paratroopers besides one other soldier and a few of the officers.) Col. Lahti (31) would be CO for the reserve unit.

LTC Henry Burgess

Col. John Lackey, CO of the 317th Troop Carrier Group/5th Air Force, with very little notice, began loading 54 C-47s and 13 C-46s at 0430 hours, 23 June 1945. His plane was the first to leave Lipa airstrip and the constant rumbling of the planes soon became “Vs” in the open skies. Within the transports, every man appeared as a clone to the next. Individuality was lost among the uniforms, bundled parachutes and rucksacks filled to capacity with ammunition, first-aid, water and C-rations.

Each man stood and checked the chute of the man beside him when the “Gooney Birds” lurched at 0900 hours; the smoke flares from the forward Pathfinders were spotted and green lights flashed for the paratroopers. The stick of men hooked up to the static lines and proceeded to jump into vertical development. With mandatory, disciplined silence, the traditional battle cry, “Geronimo,” is only heard within the imaginative faculty of 1,030 men. All these diverse personalities would react separately to the same experience.

C-47 Skytrain ‘Gooney Bird’

Each man, for his own reasons, volunteered for the perilous duty that might end his life. Each man went through various stages of development and arrived at the same destination. Each man had been chosen for their good health, general toughness and honor. A jump into combat is reality in its most crystalline form.

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Military Humor –

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Current News – U.S. Airborne Day, 16 August 1940 – Present

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Farewell Salutes – 

Nelson Bartlett – No. Smithfield, RI; US Navy, USS Tarawa

Peter G. Byrd Jr. (104) – Beaumont, TX; US Navy, WWII

For Freedom

Alexander Carlyle (100) – Grand Forks, CAN; RC Air Force, navigator

Frank Deppe – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO

Peter J. Girardi – Mount Vernon, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 385th Infantry

Hal Hatch – Portland, OR; Civilian, WWII, welder, Navy Shipyard

John Hutchinson – Wallaceburg, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Robert M. Kelliher (100) – Riverdale, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-24 pilot, 461st Bomb Group

Homer Lester – Pulaski, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co/2/187/11th Airborne Division

Whitney Newcomb Jr. – Jonesport, ME, US Navy, WWII

Beuford Webb – Ft. Worth, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511/11th Airborne Division

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This is here… Just because…

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