Before the Journey Begins

A well researched blog, I know you all will be interested!

Stanley Hall's Diary

This is a most precious page in Flight Sergeant W.S. Hall’s log book. There is everything I need on it to find out when and where some photos were taken.W S Hall Service Record
Rongotai N.Z. 24-8-1940 to 2-9-1942 (2 years and 9 days)

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W S Hall black album page 19 group picture 1942

ITW Rotorua N.Z. 3-9-1942 to 15-10-1942 (I.T.W. is Initial Training Wing) (42 days)

EFTS Harewood N.Z 16-10-1942 to 1-1-1943 (E.F.T.S. is Elementary Flying Training School) (77 days)

SFTS Woodbourne N.Z 2-1-1943 to 7-5-1943 (S.F.T.S. is Special Flying Training School) (125 days)

No. 12 P.R.C. Brighton, England 8-7-1943 to 14-9-1943 (P.R.C. is Personnel Reception Centre) (69 days)

Flats Brighton City

Residential District Brighton

No. 6 PAFU Little Rissington, Glos 15-9-1943 to 7-2-1944 (P.A.F.U. is Pilots Advanced Flying Unit) (145 days)

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No. 5 PDC Blackpool, Lancs 8-2-1944 to 19-2-1944 (No. 5 Personnel Despatch Centre) (11 days)

No. 1 ME. A.P. C. Jerusalem 8-3-1944 to 14-4-1944 (A.P.C. – Armament Practice Camp) (37 days)

76 O.T.U. Aqir 15-4-1944 to 16-7-1944…

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A Brief War History of the USS Dyson (DD572) was written.

Historian at Saratoga - Town of Saratoga

ruff#onthisday in 1945, A Brief War History of the USS Dyson (DD572) was written. Schuylerville-native, US Navy Commander Lawrence Ruff was in command of the boat from September 1944 to October 1945.

history.jpgReturning to a nation which is testing the sweetness of a newly-won peace, the USS Dyson (DD572) and the men who fought on her feel proud of the record which they bring home with them. As a member of the “Little Beaver Squadron”, she has participated in the following campaigns: New Georgia, New Guinea, Treasury-Bougainville, Bismarch Archipelago, Marianas, Philippines, and Okinawa. The veteran sailors who have served on board this destroyer since she left the States in May, 1943, have earned nine battle stars in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre as well as the Presdential Unit Citation.”

Lawrence E. Ruff was a career Naval officer that served as navigator of the battleship USS Nevada during the Japanese attack on…

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USS Cod (SS 224)

U.S.S. Cod (SS 224), was launched on March 21, 1943. under the command of CDR James C. Dempsey, USN. Dempsey had already won fame by sinking the first Japanese destroyer lost in the war while in command of a tiny, World War I-era submarine.

It was on Cod‘s third patrol, Dempsey’s last in command, that Cod fought her biggest battle. Tracking a massive Japanese convoy heading for Subic Bay in the Philippines on the night of May 10, 1944, Cod maneuvered into firing position just after sunrise. Cod fired three of her four stern tubes at the Japanese destroyer, IJN Karukaya, before unloading all six of her bow tubes at two columns of cargo ships and troop transports. Dempsey watched as the first torpedo exploded under the destroyer’s bridge after a short, 26 second run. Both smoke stacks collapsed and dozens of enemy sailors (watching for submarines) were tossed high into the air. The enemy ship started to sag in the middle, with both bow and stern rising, just as the second torpedo hit near the main mast causing the whole rear half of the Karukaya to disintegrate.

A minute later, all six of Cod‘s bow shots hit targets among the columns of enemy ships. Cod submerged to her 300-foot test depth and ran at her top underwater speed of 8.5 knots for 10 minutes to clear the firing point, which was clearly marked by the white wakes of Cod‘s steam-powered torpedoes. The high-speed run had to be kept to 10 minutes to preserve as much of the submarine’s electric battery as possible for later evasive maneuvers.

The firing point was quickly saturated with aircraft bombs and depth charges dropped by enemy escort ships. Between the explosions of enemy depth charges, Cod‘s sonar operators could hear the sounds of several Japanese ships breaking up and the distinct firecracker sound of an ammunition ship’s cargo exploding. Cod‘s own firecracker show soon followed: a barrage of more than 70 Japanese depth charges shook Cod in less than 15 minutes. After 12 hours submerged Cod surfaced 25 miles away from the attack area in the midst of a heavy night thunderstorm.

It was on Cod‘s seventh and final war patrol that she would carve a unique niche for herself, not for destroying enemy ships, but for performing the only international submarine-to-submarine rescue in history. On the morning of July 8, 1945 Cod arrived at Ladd Reef in the South China Sea to aid the Dutch Submarine O-19 which had grounded on the coral outcropping. After two days of attempts at pulling O-19 free, the captains of both vessels agreed that there was no hope of freeing the Dutch sub from the grip of the reef. After removing the 56 Dutch sailors to safety, Cod destroyed the O-19 with two scuttling charges, two torpedoes, and 16 rounds from Cod‘s 5-inch deck gun. The Cod was home to 153 men for the two and a half-day run to the recently liberated Subic Bay naval base.

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After delivering the O-19 crew, Cod returned to her patrol area off the coast of Vietnam where she resumed boarding and sinking Junks carrying enemy supplies. During one of these “pirate-like” operations, a five-man boarding party was stranded on a junk after Cod was strafed by a Japanese plane and forced to crash dive. It was several hours before Cod could surface to retrieve her boarding party. When she did, the horizon was littered with Junks.

After a two-day search involving several U.S. submarines, the lost crewmen were recovered by the submarine Blenny. Highlights of the patrol, including the O-19 rescue and return of the lost boarding party, were recorded in color movies made by Norman Jensen, a Navy photographer, who was assigned to film Cod‘s war patrol. The films were discovered in the National Archives in 1992.

Start to a series on warships – USS Cod

Today, Cod is one of the finest restored submarines on display and is the only U.S. submarine that has not had stairways and doors cut into her pressure hull for public access. Visitors to this proud ship use the same vertical ladders and hatches that were used by her crew. Cleveland can claim partial credit as Cod‘s birthplace, since the submarine’s five massive diesel engines were built by General Motors’ Cleveland Diesel plant on Cleveland’s west side.

Cod is credited with sinking more than 12 enemy vessels totaling more than 37,000 tons, and damaging another 36,000 tons of enemy shipping. All seven of her war patrols were considered successful and Cod was awarded seven battle stars. Patrols 1, 2, and 3 were under the command of CDR James C. Dempsey, USN; patrols 4, 5, and 6 were under the command of CDR James “Caddy” Adkins, USN; and patrol 7 was under the command of LCDR Edwin M. Westbrook, Jr., USN.

Cod is now docked in Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio and is maintained and operated as a memorial to the more than 3900 submariners who lost their lives during the 100 year history of the United States Navy Submarine Force.

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1940’s Naval Humor –

Navy Humor – courtesy of Chris @ Muscleheaded.wordpress.com

Navy training…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Appelbaum – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, submarine service

Demetrius, Babiak – brn: Lug, POL; US navy, WWII, medic

Frank Eckert – Bridgeport, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, tail gunner

Paul Green – Bay County, FL; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 25 y.)

Jack Harris Sr. – Quebec, CAN; US Navy, WWII, PTO / US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 28 y.)

Donald MacDonald – Elizabeth, NJ; USMC, WWII, PTO, 4th Marine Division

James May – East Aurora, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. B/457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Wesley Nutt – Davison, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188/11th Airborne Division

Leon Spinks – St. Louis, MO; USMC  /  Olympic + pro boxer

Theodore Weygandt – New Eagle, PA; US Navy  /  US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, MP (Ret. 20 y.)

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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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DDT, Aerosol Cans and WWII

With millions of troops moving into tropical and subtropical campaigns, WWII military leaders and planners sought ways to fight diseases endemic to these regions. Two WWII era innovations were combined to save the lives of many combatants during the war years. Malaria was the primary concern at the time.

Malaria was commonly avoided by prophylactic treatments with quinine. Larger doses could be given to those known to be infected. Quinine came from the bark of a South American shrub that came to be grown on commercial plantations in the South Pacific. The Japanese occupied these plantations early in the war, and substitutes for it were less effective.

In 1939, Paul Hermann Muller discovered that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) effectively killed insects.. In 1943 tests showed it to be effective against the mosquitoes that carried malaria, and the US Military started using it. At first they used hand pumps that pressurized a canister, and applying DDT this way replaced spraying fuel oil in streams and ditches. In 1948 Muller received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery.

USDA researchers Lyle Goodhue and William Sullivan developed the first effective aerosol spray can in 1941. There were earlier patents for aerosol spray, but no one had yet made an effective disposable canister. Goodhue and Sullivan were looking for ways to spray insecticides, and found a way to compress chlorofluorocarbon gases in a can with the chemical to be dispersed. With a valve at the top that controlled emission of the contents, the active chemical was carried by the expanding carrier gas

Combining DDT with a working disposable aerosol can, the US military was able to give its troops a way to spray inside tents, nets and clothes to kill mosquitoes (and just about all the other insects that came in contact).

Dr. Lyle D. Goodhue, 1942

In the 1970s scientists showed that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in aerosol cans and refrigeration, were causing a degradation of the ozone layer in the atmosphere. Ozone is a toxic pollutant at ground levels, but a concentrated layer of ozone high in the atmosphere shields the Earth’s surface from a large amount of ultra-violet radiation from the sun. Regulations in the US and around the world phased out the use of CFCs as propellants first, and then as refrigerants, by the late 1980s. Metal spray cans are more rare now, but they dominated the shelves of stores for many decades of the 20th century.

Both products have since been removed from sale due to side effects.

From: the National WWII Museum, New Orleans

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Military Humor –

How’s this for recycling? We get some heavily polluted air, put it an aerosol can, and use it as an insecticide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Ashcroft – Wilmington, DE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS LCI – 688 / Korea

Russell Bishop – Wickenburg, AZ; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Frank M. Fonte – Northport, NY; US Navy, WWII

Russell Harvey (105) – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, WWII

Hal Holbrook – Cleveland, OH; US Army, WWII, SSgt. / beloved actor

Bruce Mock – Dodge City, KS; US Army, Japanese Occupation, Sgt. Major, 808, 836th Engineering Battalion

Eugene Reilly (100) – Boston, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 2nd Lt., 3rd Infantry Division

Robert Skyles – Hill City, ID;US Navy, WWII, PTO

Irwin Stahl – Delray Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/ 187/11th Airborne Division

Robert Max Willocks – Maryville, TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO

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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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“Static Line” 11th Airborne newspaper

“Static Line”

Static Line staff

On 7 January 2021, I ran a post about the L-4 Grasshopper, the plane that most think of as a Piper Cub.  This note was included…

“While some of the men were confined to fighting up in the mountains, the division’s newspaper called the Static Line, used a piper cub plane to drop bundles of the publication down to the men.  This was the only news of the outside world that the troopers could receive.  One day, a roll of the papers was dropped with a note attached addressing it: “To the girls, with the compliments of Art Mosley and Jack Keil, Phone Glider 3.”  It was discovered later that the WAC camp received the roll meant for the 11th airborne.”

I located an issue of “Static Line” on the internet and wanted to share it.  News included kept the men up to date on the war around the globe, home front news, Hollywood, Books, Sports, a cooking corner, Humor and even obituaries.

‘Static Line’ column

Here is the list of top 10 models.  (Do you remember these names?)

Static line, top 10 models

Static Line’s Books

Static Line’s Sports Corner

 

 

 

 

 

“Hard time ahead if we don’t find a post-war place for the pin-up girl.”

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Military Humor – 

‘Bloody air mail!’

‘Air Mail’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Born – New Haven, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 9th Air Force, B-26 pilot

William Denlinger – Gentry, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW

William Johns – Roeland Park, KS; US Army, WWII, PTO

Christian Koch – Honeoye Falls, NY; National Guard, Middle East, Chief Warrant Officer 4, pilot

Timothy Manchester – Austin, TX; USMC / National Guard, Kuwait, SSgt., 36th Infantry Division

Louis Monaco – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunner’s mate 2nd Class, USS San Francisco

Walter Pasiak – Scranton, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO, MSgt., Pearl Harbor survivor, Bronze Star, Purple Heart / Korea, Silver Star, (Ret. 22 y.)

Daniel Prial – Rochester, NY; National Guard, Afghanistan, Chief Warrant Officer 2, pilot

Steven Skoda – Rochester, NY; National Guard, Afghanistan, Chief Warrant Officer 5, pilot

Eleanor Wadsworth (103) – Bury St. Edmonds, ENG; Air Transport Auxiliary, WWII, pilot

 

Honor in War

Take another look at the ‘other side’ supplied by an excellent blogger, Caroline!

A Song of Joy by Caroline Furlong

Details of the fighting in the Pacific Theater during World War II are not well recalled in public memory, especially these days. The most recent films to deal with the subject are Midway*, Unbroken*, and Hacksaw Ridge*. But even these excellent films do not necessarily capture the entirety of events which occurred in the Pacific.

Click the link below to learn about a very interesting incident involving stranded British sailors and an Imperial Japanese destroyer, readers:

Japanese destroyer Ikazuchi (1931) - Wikipedia

Chivalry in War and Peace

POSTED ON DECEMBER 11, 2008

BY GUEST AUTHOR

Scott Farrell comments:

Even in the most fearsome times of warfare and battle, like the naval fighting that occurred between Japan and its enemies at the height of World War II, the spirit of chivalry has a crucial function — not, as some might claim, to provide any sense of comfort or courtesy to the enemy, but rather…

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Covering “The Other Side” Pictorial

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Japanese/American Unity – Today

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Japanese Military Humor – from:  Kunihiko Hisa cartoon album “Zero Fighter 1940-1945”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Marvin L. Anderson – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, infantry

John D.S. Bailey – Haiku, HI; US Army, SSgt., fire direction chief, HQ Co./4/70/1st Armored Brigade Combat Team

By: Howard Brodie

Scott W. Blais – East Longmeadow, MA; US Air Force, MSgt., flight engineer, 337th Airlift Squadron

Henry Daubert Jr. – New Orleans, LA; US Navy, WWII, Ensign, navigator /  USNR, Lt. Cmdr.

Carl Johnson – AZ; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class, USS West Virginia, Purple Heart, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Charles Joo – Riverside, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 waist-gunner

Clinton Lindseth – Silva, ND; US Army Air Corps  /  US Navy, radio engineer, PTO

Walter Paczkowski – Windsor, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Roy R. Suisted – Cambridge, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 431080, WWII, Medical Section

Harry Servos – Sewell, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. F/187/11th Airborne Division

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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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