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Send In The Old Guys!

Please remember throughout this post, it is meant to be humorous – don’t anyone be offended – have fun with it!

I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I’m too old to track down terrorists.  You can’t be older than 42 to join the military – but they’ve got the whole thing backwards.

Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, They ought to take us old guys.  You shouldn’t be able to join the military until you’re at least 35.  For starters, researchers say 18-year olds think about sex every ten seconds.  Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a month, leaving us more than 280,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven’t lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier.  “My back hurts!  I can’t sleep!  I’m tired and hungry!”  We’re bad-tempered and impatient, and maybe letting us kill some terrorist a**hole that desperately wants to go to ‘Paradise’ anyway will make us feel better and shut us up for a while.

An 18-year old doesn’t even like to get up before 10 a.m.  Old guys always get up early to pee, so what the hell.  Beside, like I said, I’m tired and can’t sleep and since I’m up already, I may as well be up killing some fanatical SOB.

If captured, we couldn’t spill the beans because we’d forget where we put them.  In fact, name, rank and serial number would a real brain-teaser!

Boot camp would be easier for old guys… We’re used to getting screamed and yelled at and we’re used to soft food.  We’ve also developed an appreciation for guns.  We’ve been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house and away from all the screaming and yelling!

They could lighten up the obstacle course however…. I’ve been in combat and never saw a single 20-foot wall with a rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do push-ups after completing basic training.

Actually – The running part is kind of a waste of energy too…. I’ve never seen anyone outrun a bullet!

An 18-year old has the whole world ahead of him.  He’s still learning to shave or start a conversation with a pretty girl.  He still hasn’t figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head.

These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm’s way.

Let us old guys track down those terrorists…. The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple million hacked-off old farts with bad attitudes and automatic weapons, who know that their best years are already behind them!

Old sailor on the hunt.

HEY!!!  How about recruiting women over 50 …. in menopause?!  You think men have attitudes?  If nothing else, put them on Border Patrol.  They’ll have it secured the first night!!

Send this to all your senior friends – make sure it’s in big enough type so they can read it!

Contributed by Trooper Gilbert Wells and published in “The Voice of the Angels” newspaper of the 11th Airborne Division Assoc.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Buchanan – VA; USMC; WWII

Miguel M. Covarriebias – Hanford, CT; US Army, Iraq, Spc., 1/227/1/1st Cavalry Division, KIA

Leo Croce – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot, 398 BG/8th Air Force, Bronze Star

Brodie Gillon – UK; Royal Army Medical Corps/Irish Guards Battle Group, Iraq, Cpl., KIA

John Mastrianni – New Britain, CT; US Air Force, Korea, SAC & NSA Intelligence

Glen Ogden – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Marshal D. Roberts – Owasso, OK; US National Guard, Iraq, SSgt., 219th Engineering/138th Fighter Wing, KIA

Richard J. Smith Jr. – Mobile, AL; US Navy, WWII, PTO & ATO, USS Pennsylvania

Herbert Stettler – Oskloosa, IA; US Army, Korea

Eloiza Zavala – Sacramento, CA; USMC, United Arab Emirates, Combat Logistics Battalion 13, driver, KIA

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Jump Boots – the Airborne trademark

508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team

Distinctive as Airborne itself, so are the dark, glistening jump boots of a paratrooper.  Troopers glory in their significance and only they know the secret pride when they glance down at their boots, polished like glass, and see in them the reflected valorous traditions of AIRBORNE _____ By: Cpl. Jim Ethridge

Jump boots belong to the paratroopers!  They are as distinctive as the airborne itself.  Others in the armed forces may wear them, but the dark glistening boots are the original trademark of the swaggering soldiers-of-the-sky.

At Fort Campbell, as with other installations were paratroopers are stationed, it is the jumpers’ delight to “fall out” each morning with starched fatigues, blocked hat and the mirrored footwear.

Corcoran Paratrooper boots

This is true of the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat team.  The doughty Red Devils flash all the dash and verve that marked the paratroopers of yesterday.  Very early paratroopers wore ordinary army shoes and some even used tennis shoes.

Then somebody devised a leather ankle-top boot with a big metal buckle across the top of the arch.  but this proven impractical after several paratroopers came down looking like spiders trying to get the suspension line unhooked from the buckle.

Next came the boot called the Corcoran.  The most beloved of the several brands of jump boots on the market.  These are still the main choice of the airborne warriors.

the boots of a “Flying Tiger”

Another popular, well-appearing boot is the Skymaster, which has the same thick sole and slash heel as the Corcoran, but it doesn’t quite have the snub, upturned hard toe of today’s famed boot.

An early fad was to replace the manufacturer’s eyelets with huge brass grommets.  The grommets called for the nightly ritual of removing the 72-inch leather laces and running a blitz cloth through the big eyelets – all 48 of them!

Red Devils and other paratroopers alike take pride in this hallmark of distinction.  They glory in its significance.  They are proud soldiers when they glance down at their boots, polished like glass, and see reflected the valorous traditions of the Airborne!

This article and pictures below are from: “The Voice of the Angels” newspaper of the 11th Airborne Division Association, Matt Underwood, Editor

paratrooper gear of the Pacific Theater

paratrooper 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Bettin – Milwaukee, WI; US Navy, corpsman, USS Jason

Walter Grisevich – Hartford, CT; USMC, WWII, PTO

Katheryn Hatch Klaveano – Woods Cross, UT; US Navy WAVE, WWII, flight orderly

Fernand “Bucko” Lambert – Artic Village, RI; US Army, Korea

Moises A, Navas – Germantown, MD; USMC, Iraq, Captain, 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Purple Heart, KIA

John E. Nichols – Springfield, VA; USMC; Cuba, Vietnam, Major (Ret. 44 y.)

Diego D. Pongo – Simi Valley, CA; USMC, Iraq, GSgt., 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

Wayne Smith Jr. – Fort Benning, GA; US Army, Korea, 11th Airborne Div. / Vietnam, adviser, Bronze Star, West Point alum ’49

Max von Sydow – Lund, SWE; Swedish Army, Quartermaster Corps / beloved actor

Ken Wright – Avalon Beach, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, ETO, Flight Lt., Spitfire pilot

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188th at Desert Rock, Nevada / Manzanar Relocation Center

 

One last mention of the 188th Regiment/11th Airborne Division at Desert Rock – at least for now….   🙂

 

I located this newsletter from the National Association of Atomic Veterans, Inc., published in 2013.  It might better answer many of the questions some of the readers had from the previous posts.

Click to access 2013_03_NAAV_Newsletter.pdf

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Manzanar Relocation Center  – east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Manzanar covered an impressive 540 acres of land in Owens Valley. Yet the desert was not a welcome home for most of the camp’s internees. The arid landscape made for blistering hot summers and harsh, cold winters.

While some large-scale farming helped keep the concentration camp self-sufficient, most of the internees were forced to hold industrial jobs at the camp’s garment and mattress factories. Wages for their work often topped out at less than 20 dollars a month.

Though it was surrounded by barbed wire and a series of guard towers, Manzanar comprised a variety of buildings, including churches, shops, a hospital, a post office, and an auditorium for schooling. Men and women shared bathrooms and bathing facilities, and living assignments were frequently random, meaning that a woman might be assigned to live with a man other than her husband. All in all, mess halls and residences were crowded and sparse.

Manzanar and the other internment camps closed after World War II, but many of the internees had nowhere to go. While the economic impact of their imprisonment was devastating, the social and cultural implications were likewise detrimental.

It wasn’t until 1988 that the U.S. federal government provided redress to these citizens, and offered each survivor $20,000. In 1992, Manzanar Relocation Center was declared a National Historic Site. President Bush offered a formal apology the following year.

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During the camp’s four years of existence, photographers were invited there to capture what daily life was like for the relocated citizens. Famed photographer Ansel Adams was one of just a few individuals to photograph the internees, though censorship no-doubt shaped his photos. Still, the images above provide a small glimpse at what life was like in the concentration camps.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Emery Arsenault – Dennisport, CT; US Army, WWII, PTO

James Ayala (100) – Ellsworth, KS; US Army, WWII, ETO, tank gunner, 2 Bronze Stars

Lawrence Bunts – Nampa, ID; USMC, WWII, PTO

James J. Cansler – Bolivar, MO; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co. C/1/28/8th Infantry Division, KIA (Germany)

Gordon Duggan Sr. – Enfield, CT; US Coast Guard, WWII, USS Glendale

John “Red” Gartner – Omaha, NE; US Navy, WWII, CBI, submarine tender USS Beaver

William Myers – Munday, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO,23rd HQ “Ghost Army”

Joseph Pelliccio – Bayonne, NJ; US Navy, WWII, USS Iowa / Korea, USS New Jersey

Charles “John Boy” Smith – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force & Navy, # 4312868

Rosalind P. Walter – NYC, NY; Civilian, Corsair aircraft riveter.

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Restoring WWII with accuracy

TSF BP 382P HQ
Jeep of the Military Police, Theater Service Forces with complete unit markings. This photograph is most likely a post-war photograph taken during occupation duty.

I’ve created this post to help out a reader now restoring an authentic WWII 1942 Ford GPW.  I needed help myself – Matt Underwood, past Editor of  “The Voice of the Angels” newspaper of the 11th Airborne Division Association – and I’m proud to say –  my friend, came to my rescue. 

 

The only drawback to the Army Manual was that Airborne Divisions had not really developed at the time the text of this book was written, and therefore, the examples of actual vehicle markings on jeeps, etc., of Airborne Divisions are not among the samples/examples in the manual itself.  Armies, Corps, and Infantry Divisions, Armored Divisions, and Cavalry Divisions are covered, and all smaller units, but no Airborne Divisions.  Everything else about Airborne jeeps are the same as the rest of the Army, with the exception of distinguishing between, say, the 11th Armored Division and 11th Airborne Division.  Other than being in two different theaters of war, they are almost the same.

The world of military vehicles, especially American WWII stuff, is a growing field, as old junkers are discovered in barns, landfills, junkyards, and out in the woods, and collectors are buying them and restoring them.  When they get their special treasure all completed, they want total accuracy in these unique unit markings to add the final tough of authenticity.  So the number of websites featuring vehicle markings has grown rapidly over the past 10 years.

28-103E HQ-4
A jeep from the 103rd Engineer Combat Battalion, 28th Infantry Division photographed on a bridge somewhere in Europe. The unit bumper markings are applied according to regulations and designate the 4th vehicle of the Headquarters of 103rd Engineers, 28th Infantry Division. The windshield carries the addition marking “T4 Cole” in white.

http://www.classicjeeps.co.uk/american-vehicle-markings/

 

https://blog.kaiserwillys.com/military-jeep-markings

 

http://www.lonesentry.com/panzer/jeep-markings.html

 

http://jeepdraw.com/

 

https://g503.com/

 

http://www.kingtigerebooks.co.uk/p/world-war-ii.html

 

Now back to the last part of the problem.  The 11th Airborne Division, like other Airborne Divisions from 1942 to 1944, followed the Army’s Table of Organization & Equipment No. 71, dated 17 Feb 1942.  The A/B units in Europe and the States updated this TO&E in Dec 44, but not the 11th or 503rd…not till the early summer of ’45.  So almost all of the time the 11th was in combat, it had the same set-up for everything that it always had—at least on paper.    I do have a substitute source for part of the data, however, and here’s what I believe your reader will need to know.

11th A/B Div. repairs a truck in Japan

I think that for most of the War, MOST of the 11th Airborne’s jeeps and trucks bore vehicle markings like your sepia-colored photo of the jeep from the 188th.  Its bumper markings are important in solving this puzzle:

 

11AB..188-I…………SV8 = 11th Airborne, 188th Infantry, Service Company, 8th Vehicle

No one unit in a WWII airborne division would have such a high number of jeeps unless they were all numbered in a regiment-wide motor pool.

I have some proof that the 511th—being a Parachute Infantry Regiment—had probably all of its vehicles marked for its Service Company, as the motor pool for the whole regiment, which had 3 Parachute Inf. Battalions.  It is probable that the 187th and 188th, being Glider Infantry Regiments with only 2 Glider Inf. Battalions each, probably also had all its vehicles marked for its respective Service Cos., which had charge of the motor pool for the whole regiment.

The vehicle allowance for the motor pool of the 511th PIR, seems to TOTAL out as follows:  (1) Sedan; (2) Ambulances; (13) 1/4-ton Trucks (which are what Jeeps were usually referred to in official tables); (15) 3/4-ton Trucks; (16) 2-1/2 ton Trucks; and (14) 1-ton Trailers.  These totals are for the whole Regiment, but are internally divided between the Service Company’s “HQ Co. Squad”, its “1st Bn. Squad” and 2nd & 3rd Bn. Squads as well, and its own “Transportation Platoon”—-which would be maybe what we would think of as a vehicle “reserve”, or were the vehicles under current repair.  It probably allowed a flexibility that couldn’t be had otherwise.  What this tells me is that when Col. Haugen needed his staff car, his adjutant called the “motor pool” (the Service Company’s Transportation Platoon) and said “Bring around the Colonel’s staff car.”  Then the Colonel’s driver, a NCO from the Transportation Platoon’s “HQ Co. Squad” pulled his staff car up to the Colonel’s CP (command post) and waited.  Same with the Colonel’s jeep, etc.  When Lt.Col. John Strong, CO of 3rd Bn., needed his jeep, he or his adjutant called up the motor pool and ordered his jeep—-then a driver from the Transp. Platoon’s “3rd Bn. Squad” brought his jeep to Lt.Col. Strong’s CP and waited.  When I say “his jeep” it was likely the same one every time, but could be a substitute on any given occasion if the main jeep was getting repaired or cleaned, etc.  The pooling of all vehicles into the Service Company may have simply been the best idea to allow flexibility whenever a vehicle was needed on short notice.

From late 1940 to February 1945, markings were to be made in blue-drab. This type of color scheme would prevent enemy intelligence from gathering and identifying military markings as the two colors were hard to distinguish from one another when viewed in black and white photographs. The official color of these markings was changed to flat white in February 1945, but the reserves of blue-drab paint were used until exhausted.

In other words, ALL the jeeps and other vehicles would have Service Co. marks on the bumpers, regardless of who in the Regiment was using them.  Therefore, the 511th would have a fleet of jeeps marked SV1 through SV13.  I am GUESSING (for now) that the 187th and 188th had similar systems, which would explain your photo of a 188th jeep marked SV8.  I am guessing that if the system holds, the 188th was only allotted 9 jeeps total.

Anyway, I will get back to you on that.

As to 11th Division HQ, I’m not sure yet as to its markings.  Probably they had their own vehicles, but unsure as yet.  If so, Gen. Swing’s jeep would probably have been bumper marked like this:

11ABX………………..HQ1 = 11th Airborne Division, HQ Company, 1st Vehicle

As always, these are 3″ tall letters, and the center of the bumper may or may not have a star painted on—it is the US star for all vehicles, found all over most other big surfaces.  The bumpers often had them to start with, and as paint wore off and was repainted, sometimes the bumper stars were skipped, leading to the frequent blank space in the center where a star once was.

MATTHEW UNDERWOOD

Bookbinder/Conservator, Boyce Centennial Library,

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary;

Editor Emeritus, Voice of the Angels,

11th Airborne Division Association

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The 11th Airborne  uniform examples

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Military Humor –

Uuh… guys…?

 

 

11th A/B Div. repairs a truck in Japan

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Dominic “Mickey” Bria – Smithers, SC; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT ‘Rakkasans’

William Conklin – Stony Point, NY; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

George D’Arcy – Liverpool, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO, CBI & Africa, 2/South Lancashire Regiment

Homer Godair – Griffithville, AR; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Scott Humbird – Brentwood, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Malaria Control Unit

Charles Pittman Sr. – Pensacola, FL; USMC, Vietnam, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Lt.General (Ret. 40 y.)

William Sartain – Mineral Wells, TX; US Merchant Marines, WWII, PTO

Mary Sweeney – Nanticoke, PA; US Army Air Corps WAC; WWII, Medical/Surgical Tech.

William Taylor – Grant, AL; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT “Rakkasans’

William Whiteman – Hood River, OR; US Navy, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lt. Commander (Ret. 27 y.)

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Home Front / Bomb Testing / conclusion

Later improvements consisted of a 5,000-foot airstrip, an upgraded sewer system, dozens of semi-permanent buildings, including Quonset-and Butler-type steel buildings, over 500 concrete tent pads, and trailers for housing, administration, storage, and other uses. There were chapels, an open-air-theater with wooden bleachers and an elevated stage, a barber shop, and a beer tent. The open-air theater hosted entertainers from Las Vegas who came to Camp Desert Rock to perform for the troops. The camp had its own telephone system nicknamed the “Camp Desert Rock Telephone Company.” By the time Exercise Desert Rock VI had started in 1954, the camp had grown to 133 semi-permanent buildings and more than 500 framed squad tents. Large prefabricated buildings were built to serve as Signal and Quartermaster warehouses. The ordnance yard gained a pair of prefabricated storage buildings.

A helicopter landing area next to the airstrip was added for storing, maintaining, and refueling helicopters prior to exercises. Many of these later improvements to Camp Desert Rock were carried out by the Shore Battalion, 369th Engineer Amphibious Support Regiment, 95th Engineer Construction, 412th Engineer Construction, and 314th Signal Construction Battalions.

In October 1951, as part of Operation Buster-Jangle, the Army and the AEC prepared to test the ability of men and machines to move through ground zero within minutes after the detonation of an atomic bomb. The first shot did not involve live troops. Instead, various types of military equipment including Jeeps, trucks, tanks, personnel carriers, and half-tracks were to be used. Some were buried to various depths at distances ranging from two hundred yards to three miles from ground zero, while others were completely exposed. Heat, blast, and radiation sensors monitored the effects on each vehicle.

Soldiers from the 11th Airborne Division’s 188th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 127th Engineer Battalion, and the 546th Field Artillery Battalion observe a nuclear detonation called Buster Dog during Operation Buster- Jangle, six miles from ground zero at NTS, October 1951

In addition to observing nuclear detonations, troops received training in radiation and nuclear weapons effects. Personnel assigned to the camp were provided booklets that explained the importance of secrecy. They were prohibited from discussing nuclear tests, military maneuvers, or any effects they felt from the tests. They were also warned about the dangers of poisonous snakes and insects found in the Nevada desert, but the more deadly danger of radiation was rarely discussed. One training film said that radiation was “the least important effect” and that it was fatal only within a mile of a nuclear detonation. The men were taught that they could “live through an atomic attack and live to fight another day” and that a nuclear explosion “is one of the most beautiful sights ever seen by man.”

Exercise Desert Rock operations were staffed and administered by the Sixth Army’s III Corps. Exercise troops were assigned to Camp Desert Rock for periods lasting several weeks to participate in a particular military training program. Operation Buster-Jangle, comprised of seven nuclear detonations in late 1951, was the first nuclear test series during which a large number of troops assigned to Camp Desert Rock received realistic training in the tactical aspects of nuclear warfare. Over 6,500 troops, including those from the Army’s Atomic Maneuver Battalion, took part in the operation. Additional tests that took place over the years measured the blast and radiation effects on buildings, vehicles, various weapon systems, and animals.

188th/11th Airborne Division patch

Original plans called for the Army to dismantle Camp Desert Rock following Buster-Jangle and return all support units to their home stations. Instead, the Army ultimately chose to keep the camp open as a permanent installation to support additional nuclear tests. Immediately after Operation Plumbbob’s Galileo shot on 7 October 1957, the camp reverted to standby status, with a small caretaker staff remaining at the post. After the suspension of above-ground testing in 1957, the camp ceased operation as an Army sub installation effective 18 June 1964. Many of the camp’s structures were moved to other parts of the NTS.

The AEC resurfaced and enlarged the Desert Rock airstrip in 1969, extending the runway to a length of 7,500 feet. Although this airstrip was originally built to serve the NTS, it is currently an emergency landing site for any aircraft. Later additions included a National Weather Service facility and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Surface Radiation (SURFRAD) station.

A number of troops assigned to Camp Desert Rock received realistic training in the tactical aspects of nuclear warfare. Over 6,500 troops, including those from the Army’s Atomic Maneuver Battalion, took part in the operation. Additional tests that took place over the years measured the blast and radiation effects on buildings, vehicles, various weapon systems, and animals.

In August 2010, the NTS was renamed the Nevada National Security Site. Most of the remaining Camp Desert Rock facilities except the airstrip were dismantled and salvaged for scrap. Today, the camp’s remains are located on Department of Energy property.

National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, NV

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Shout Out >>>>>

I think it is wonderful so many readers responded to our last Shout Out.  Isn’t it great to show one the Greatest Generation how much we think of them?  We now have a veteran who served in the US Navy, Pacific Theater turning 99-years old on 23 March 2020.  How about a birthday card folks?!!!

Arthur Hashagen

211 Persimmon Circle West

Dover, DE   19901

World War II vet’s family asks for cards for 99th birthday

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Murlen Berry – Weatherford, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/187/11th Airborne Division

Ray Catan – brn: ITA; US Navy, WWII, ETO

Frederick Dempsey – Lexington, KY; US Army, WWII & Korea

Claude Horne – Bleckley County, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, fighter pilot / West Point flight instructor

Gordon Jenke – Murray Valley, AUS; RAAF # 48753

John McDonald – Hollister, CA; USMC, WWII, CBI, 2nd Lt., & Korea

Joseph Pallotto – Wallingsford, CT; US Navy, WWII, USS Lake Champlain

Elwood Scheib – Berrysberg, PA; US Army, 188/11th Airborne Division, atomic test witness

Samuel Shields – Meridian, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 874th Airborne Engineers

Royce R. Wood – Gadsden, AL; US Army, Vietnam, helicopter gunner, 1st Cavalry

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Home Front / Bomb Testing / part two

On 18 December 1950, President Harry S. Truman gave his approval to use a portion of the U.S. Air Force’s Las Vegas Bombing and Gunnery Range in southeastern Nevada for atomic tests. Construction of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), originally known as the Nevada Proving Ground (NPG), began in January 1951. Construction of what became known as Camp Desert Rock did not start until September 1951. The camp was named for Exercise Desert Rock, a series of atmospheric nuclear tests first conducted at NTS in 1951. This site included Yucca and Frenchman Flats, Paiute and Rainer Mesas, and the Camp Desert Rock area, which was used by the Sixth Army in the 1950’s to house troops participating in atmospheric tests at the site.

Designed as a military support facility for NTS, Camp Desert Rock began as a temporary camp originally part of NPG. It was located twenty-three miles west of Indian Springs, Nevada, in Nye County on Highway 95 and assigned to Sixth Army effective 12 September 1951. Headquarters, III Corps, Sixth Army, chose an area just outside NTS about two miles southwest of the Atomic Energy Commission’s (AEC) Camp Mercury. The site, in the center of Mercury Valley, was bordered by the Spring Mountains and the Spotted Range towards the north and east and the Specter Range to the west. The Army acquired 23,058 acres for Camp Desert Rock from the Department of the Interior on 5 September 1951.

The Army established Camp Desert Rock to stage and house troops involved in training exercises associated with nuclear weapons testing by the AEC. Personnel from all four services were deployed to observe the detonations from trenches, tanks, and armored personnel carriers. After the completion of exercises, the camp adhered to radiological safety measures throughout its use. In 1951, the Army, working closely with the AEC, carried out the Desert Rock exercises to “dispel much of the fear and uncertainty surrounding atomic radiation and the effects of gamma and x-rays.”

188th/11th Airborne Division at Desert Rock

The initial construction for Camp Desert Rock was accomplished by the 231st Engineer Combat Battalion, a North Dakota Army National Guard unit mobilized in September 1950 for the Korean War and based out of Fort Lewis, Washington. The battalion’s mission was to establish, build, and maintain the camp, and construct field fortifications at the atomic test sites. The 90th Engineer Water Supply Company handled the camp’s water supply, to include running water from a 190,000 gallon water tank, and several permanent type latrines with showers, flush toilets, and wash bowls. Temporary sumps for garbage disposal were built by the 597th Engineer Light Equipment Company.

Within the first six months of existence, Camp Desert Rock had grown from a few tents to a relatively comfortable, semi-permanent tent camp with many modern amenities. It had two permanent buildings for mess halls, each of which could accommodate 500 soldiers, electricity to all parts of the camp from nearby AEC Camp Mercury, and telephone, telegraph, and teletype facilities. A sewage system ran throughout the permanent part of the camp. In addition, the camp featured a permanent training auditorium with seating for 400, a post exchange housed in a Quonset hut, and framed and floored tents to house soldiers.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Shout Out >>>>

Major White walks passed some of the 140,000 Valentine cards he received.

Those of you who were kind enough to send Major White, 104-year old veteran and oldest living U.S. Marine, a Valentines card – here is the story and end result!!

https://www.kcra.com/article/feeling-the-love-stockton-vet-gets-140k-valentines-day-cards/30936477#

 

 

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Military Humor – 

“Now is when we need a Plan B”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Cox Jr. – Guston, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Armando Groccia – Providence, RI; US Army, WWII

Last Flight

Ned Johnson – Vincennes, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Brandon T. Kimball – Central Point, OR; US Army, Afghanistan, Spc., 3/10/10/10th mountain Division, KIA

Frank Losonsky – Detroit, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 23rd Fighter Group/14th Air Force “Flying Tigers”, pilot

Matthew Morgan – Paladine, IL; US Army, SSgt., dive instructor

Glenn Neal – Konawa, OK; US Army, WWII, PTO

John “Donnie” Pullo Jr. – Boston, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO,Sgt., 82nd Airborne Division

Winsbury “Jim” Robinson – Kohimarama, NZ; RNZ Air Force / RAF # 413125, WWII, 485th Squadron, Spitfire pilot

Irvin Sullivan – Wichita, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Lt. Commander, PBY Squadron VP 12 “Black Cat Raiders”, pilot-navigator

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The Songs We Sang

Have fun with this post and please remember these anniversaries:

30 January – 75th anniversary of the 6th Ranger Battalion at Cabanatuan, P.I.

AND:

30-31 January – 75th anniversary of the 188th Regiment + elements/ 11th Airborne Division amphibious assault on Nasugbu Beach, P.I. in 1945

Thanks for the reminder of the proud anniversaries from my friend Matt Underwood, past Editor of “The Voice of the Angels”, 11th Airborne Division Association.

"To the Warrior his Arms"

Released in 1959 and based on his book The songs we sang,  musician Les Cleveland accompanied by his group the D Day Dodgers released this collection of often very irreverent songs that were sung by New Zealand Servicemen during the Second World War.

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In World War Two, New Zealand sent two infantry divisions overseas and supplied a great many sailors and airmen for the Allied Forces. Though the war has been over for fifteen years, the songs are still with us.  Many of us have half-forgotten them; others will have heard only a few of them and these in a variety of versions – but all will listen to them with new interest, conscious that the songs speak with unfading humour and sentiment of difficult days, conscious too that they occupy a unique place in New Zealand music and folk-lore. they are sings that deserve to live again.

One of the…

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Occupation – Olympiad and Comfort !

11th Airborne troopers attempting to start a coal-burning vehicle.

 

While some of the troopers continued to await the arrival of the good ole’ American jeeps to replace the coal-burning vehicles in Japan, General Swing was striving to make the occupation as bearable as possible. They had endured some horrendous hardships and accomplished more than anyone expected from them and he felt they deserved whatever he could provide. On his orders, a Japanese auditorium was transformed into the 11th Airborne Coliseum. The complex was large enough to hold a theater that would seat 2,500, four basketball courts, a poolroom with 100 tables, a boxing arena that held 4,000 spectators, six bowling alleys and a training room.

Front gate of HQ Camp Schimmelpfennig

Aside from the sports theme, the coliseum contained a Special Services office, a snack bar, a Red Cross office and a library. I can just picture my father spending some off-duty time in the poolroom or bowling alley. When I was growing up, we had a pool table in the basement and Smitty would teach me how every shot was related to angles and geometry. My aim improved – once I figured it out.

NCO Club

In the fall of 1945, an Olympian was held in Tokyo for all the troops stationed in Japan and Korea. Football became the highlighted game. The 11th A/B Division coach, Lt. Eugene Bruce brought them to winning the Japan-Korea championship. They then went on to take the Hawaiian All-Stars in Mejii Stadium with a score of 18-0. This meant that the 11th Airborne Division held the All-Pacific Championship. The troopers went on to win in so many other sports that by the time the finals were held for the boxing tournament at Sendai, the headlines read in the Stars and Stripes sports section:
Ho-Hum, It’s the Angels Again”

Matsushima Park Hotel

On the reverse side of the photo seen above, Smitty wrote, “This is the hotel where we are now staying. That dot in the driveway is me.” The 11th A/B commander had made his home here on 16 September. After the occupation, it re-opened for business as a hotel, but unfortunately was destroyed by fire on 2 March 1969.

Smitty on far right

Smitty on far right

The division had a reputation for mission accomplishment despite being nearly half the size of other divisions. This was often attributed to their somewhat unorthodox methods. This carried over into their occupation of Japan. General Swing converted an old Japanese factory and had it turning out American-style furniture for the troops. General Headquarters wasn’t very happy about the project because they wanted the Japanese to build furniture for the entire command. But Swing was not one to wait for all the red tape. After General Eichelberger inspected the better-than-GHQ- standard brick barracks under construction, he said to Swing, “Joe, I don’t know whether to court-martial you or commend you.” (Later on, he was commending Swing.)

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

TO GO BEFORE WE LEFT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Verne Budahn – Mankato, MN; US Air Force, Korea, Airman 2nd Class, KIA

Harvey Dumsday – Toronto, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, ETO

Edward Fischer – Park Forest, IL; US Navy, WWII, LST Quartermaster

Lyman Hale Jr. – Syracuse, NY; US Army, Korea, Medical Corps

Leo Latlip – Hallowell, ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Missouri

Walter McGill Jr. – Norwich, CT; US Navy, WWII, PTO / Korea

Ray Rigby – Rexburg, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-29 Flight Engineer

Clarence Roberts – Brownwood, TX; US Navy, WWII, USS Wisconsin

Philip Schwhitzer – York, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical/221/11th Airborne Division

Ebert VanBuren – Monroe, LA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 96th Infantry Division

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Japanese Surrender

11th Airborne Recon Battalion Honor Guard, Missouri 9/2/45

The above photo shows the 11th Airborne Reconnaissance Battalion Honor Guard as they presented arms to the Allied and Japanese delegations upon their arrival.

General Douglas MacArthur, despite the irate fuming of the Soviets, was to be the Supreme Commander in Japan for the Occupation and rebuilding of the country. No occupational zone was given to the Russians irregardless of their protests. The Soviets were insisting that they were to receive the Kuriles and Hokkaido in Northern Honshu as their ‘spoils of war.’ Stalin sent an emissary with these plans to MacArthur, who in reply threatened to sent the messenger back to Moscow rather than allow him to remain in his observer status. Stalin also sent a telegram to Truman with the same demands. At first, the president felt he would just ignore the irrational request, but then decided to just send a negative reply. The Soviet plan for the takeover was in effect until 23 August, when the Russian leader realized that Admiral Nimitz controlled the Japanese waters and he would be risking an armed conflict.

Men crammed the USS Missouri for the surrender.

At 0700 hours on Sunday morning, 2 September, guests to the Japanese surrender ceremony began arriving as destroyers pulled up to the USS Missouri and unloaded their passengers, military officers and correspondents from around the globe. At 0805 hours, Admiral Nimitz climbed on board and MacArthur at 0843. Finally, the Japanese delegation went up the starboard gangway at 0855. Foreign Minister, Mamoru Shigemitsu, using a cane and in agony because of a poorly fitted artificial leg, and General Umezu were followed by nine representatives, three each from the Army, Navy and Foreign Office. They paused, awaiting directions, each wearing a Shiran Kao (nonchalant face). The proceedings began at precisely 0908 hours with men draped from the decks and 450 aircraft from Task Force 38 roaring above in the overcast skies.

An invocation was read by the ship’s chaplain with the entire company standing at attention and a recording of the “Star-Spangled Banner” played through the speakers. Kase, the Foreign Minister’s secretary, felt his throat constrict upon seeing the number of small painted Rising Suns on the bulkhead. Each miniature flag represented a Japanese plan or submarine destroyed. Admiral Tomioka wondered why the Americans were showing no signs of contempt for them, but also, anger seared through him at the sight of the Soviet presence. The eyes of General Percival and Colonel Ichizi Sugita (interpreter) locked as they both remembered an earlier surrender and their painful memory at the Ford factory in Singapore.

Generals Wainwright and Percival stood with MacArthur as he began to speak, “We are gathered here to conclude a solemn agreement whereby Peace may be restored…” (There was a brief interruption by an inebriated delegate [thankfully NOT American] who began making faces at the Japanese.)

When the general had finished and the U.S. and Japan had signed the documents, as if on cue, the sun broke through the clouds. The next to sign was China, Britain, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand. MacArthur announced, “These proceedings are closed.” He then leaned over to Admiral Halsey and asked, “Bill, where the hell are those planes?” As if the pilots could hear the general’s irritation – 400 B-29s and 1,500 aircraft carrier planes appeared out of the north and roared toward the mists of Mount Fujiyama.

Aircraft flyover for surrender proceedings.

MacArthur then went over to another microphone to broadcast back to the United States, “Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended…” Japan’s delegates, now no longer considered the enemy, were saluted as they left the quarterdeck.

MacArthur making history

Resources: “The Last Great Victory” by Stanley Weintraub; “The Rising Sun” by John Toland; Wikicommons.org; ibilio.org; USS Missouri.com; Everett’s scrapbook; “The Pacific War” by John Costello

Remember to click photo if larger view is required.   Thank you for stopping by.

 

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Historical note – Almost a century before these proceedings, Commodore Perry had opened the West’s door to Japan. In commemoration of this, Admiral Halsey arranged for the actual Stars & Stripes, flown by Perry’s flagship in 1853, to be flown out to Japan for the ceremonies.

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Note of Interest – Truman was very pleased that the “USS Missouri” was chosen for the momentous occasion. It was one of the four largest battleships in the world, it was named after his home state and christened by his daughter, Margaret. (I find it hard to believe that this was just a coincidence.)

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Humorous note – On 1 September, the “Missouri’s” gunnery officer, Commander Bird, held a dress rehearsal for the ceremonies with 300 of the ship’s sailors. Everything went well until the band began to play the “Admiral’s March.” The stocky chief boatswain’s mate nicknamed, Two-Gut,” froze in his steps and scratched his head saying, “I’ll be damned! Me, an admiral!”

When the real Admiral Nimitz came aboard, he nearly went unnoticed. In desperation, Commander Bird shouted, “Attention, all hands!” Everyone on the ship became so silent that you could hear the waves lapping at the ship’s hull.

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Military Humor – 

“INCOMING”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Burnette Jr. – Atlanta, GA; US Army, Vietnam, Lt.Gen. (Ret.), West Point grad. 1968 / Pentagon

Frank Fogg Jr. (100) – Carney’s Point, NJ; US Navy, WWII & Korea, Chief Petty Officer (Ret. 22 y.)

Lee Gustafson – Cleburne, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/127 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Eleanor Harpring – MYC, NY; Civilian, USO, WWII, ETO

Frak Klobchar – MT; US Army, WWII

John Leak – Hickory Creek, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Marlin Marcum – Daytona, FL; USMC, WWII, PTO

James Owens – Phoenix, AR; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Sea Bee

Vernon Skoglund – Seattle,m WA; US Army, Vietnam, 508th Infantry Airborne, fireman

Donald Wagner – Fort Thomas, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 82nd Airborne Division

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11th Airborne Division in Japan

Smitty’s, Broad Channel, NY

Atsugi Airfield, Japan

 

Just as General Douglas MacArthur said to Gen. Robert Eichelberger that it was a long road to Tokyo, so it was for Smitty. Yes, the stretch from Broad Channel to Camp MacKall and finally Atsugi Airfield was a long and arduous road, but here, the 11th Airborne Division arrives in Japan to begin the Occupation and to help start the rebuilding of a country.

Aerial view, Atsugi Airfield

With the initial arrival of the division, rarely was a female between the ages of 8 and 70 seen on the streets. The Japanese had heard their government’s propaganda for years as to the American looting and raping, so they were understandably afraid of the conquering troops. But many were confused about the peaceful attitude of the soldiers and a member of the 511th regiment was stopped one day by a Japanese officer, he asked, “Why don’t you rape, loot and burn? We would.” The trooper answered that Americans just don’t do that.

Yokohama, 1945

With the New Grand Hotel surrounded by troopers, the manager and his staff bowed to Gen. MacArthur and his party and directed them to their suites. Tired and hungry from their long flight, the Americans went to the dining room and were served steak dinners. Gen. Whitney remembered wanting to take MacArthur’s plate to make certain it hadn’t been poisoned. When he told the general his concern and intentions, MacArthur laughed and said, “No one can live forever.”

The hotel would become his headquarters and later that evening, MacArthur told his staff, “Boys, this is the greatest adventure in military history. Here we sit in the enemy’s country with only a handful of troops, looking down the throats of 19 fully armed divisions and 70 million fanatics. One false move and the Alamo would look like a Sunday school picnic.” (The fact that nothing happened, I believe, said quite a bit about Japanese integrity.)

The division Command Post was moved from the Atsugi Airfield to the Sun Oil Compound in Yokohama. This compound had about 15 American-style homes complete with furniture, dishes, silver and linens. The senior staff officers were not so fortunate. They were put up in warehouses on the docks, often without heat.

In the Philippines, the Japanese emissary General Kawabe, finished their surrender talks. Kawabe’s aide, Second Lt. Sada Otake, introduced himself to a Nisei G.I. standing guard outside. The guard, in response, said his name was Takamura. Otake said he had married a Nisei by the same name and did he had a sister named Etsuyo? The guard nodded and Otake said, “I’m her husband. Look me up in Japan.” And the brothers-in-law shook hands. (Small world or fate?)

Smitty @ Sun Oil

On the reverse side of this photo, Smitty wrote: “A picture of the General”s gang taken in the

Smitty (2nd from left) and rest of the crew

living room at Yokohama. Reading left to right – baker, first cook, Mess Sergeant, me headwaiter and on the floor, second cook. Those glasses you can see were always full. You can’t beat this Japanese beer.

Tokyo Rose – on the air

On 1 September, newsmen Harry Brundige and Clark Lee, with the help of a Japanese newsman, located Tokyo Rose with her husband in their hotel, the Imperial. Brundige offered her $2,000 for an exclusive interview for “Cosmopolitan” magazine. She agreed and together they typed out 17 pages of notes. The editor of the magazine was so astounded that Brundige had made a deal with a traitor that he rejected the story. The notes were handed over to Lee, who wrote his own version of the story for the International News Service.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Archer – Coffeyville, KS; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Ronald Best (100) – Whangarei, NZ; RNZ Army # 280763, WWII

Robert Carman – Wheeling, WV; US Army, WWII, field artillery

Andrew Hooker – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, Vietnam, helicopter crew chief

Emil Kamp – St. Louis, MO; US Army, WWII, Sgt.

Raymond Lane Sr. – Ashland, VA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Tech. Sgt. (Ret. 20 y.)

Roy Markon – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 88th Division, Purple Heart

Edward Salazar – Colton, CA; US Army, Vietnam, 1st Cavalry Division

Lawrence Taylor – Stevensville, MT; US Navy,WWII, PTO, corpsman

Leo Zmuda – Somerset, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511/11th Airborne Division

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