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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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A Korean War Christmas Story

Christmas 1950, Korea

Christmas 1950, Korea

“Home for Christmas” was the rallying cry as United Nations forces, spearheaded by American troops, were well on their way to clearing the entire Korean peninsula of Communist North Korean forces who had invaded South Korea in June, 1950. Then, in late November, in the dead of one of the coldest Korean winters on record, more than 300,000 troops from the Communist People’s Republic of China poured across the Yalu River and entered the war bent on the annihilation of U.N. forces and the installation of a Communist dictatorship for all of Korea. Within a few short days all hopes for a joyous Christmas were dashed. General Douglas MacArthur, the commander of all U.N. forces in Korea, said, “We face an entirely new war …”

Approximately 120,000 Chinese troops battered and besieged U.N. forces around the port city of Hungnam, in northeast Korea. When the U.N. command decided that the Hungnam area could not be held, a mass sea evacuation of troops, equipment and about 98,000 refugees began in mid-December.

At Taegu, South Korea, Norman Deptula, left, stands with two soldiers from the 581st Signal Radio Relay Company after they had been evacuated out of North Korea. COURTESY OF NORMAN DEPTULA

At Taegu, South Korea, Norman Deptula, left, stands with two soldiers from the 581st Signal Radio Relay Company after they had been evacuated out of North Korea.
COURTESY OF NORMAN DEPTULA

 

It was a bone-chilling, dark, dingy day, and amid the clamor, the confusion, and the dockside noises accompanying a forced evacuation, my company boarded a freighter and we began a cold, forbidding, four hundred-mile journey to South Korea’s southernmost port city of Pusan. Upon arriving in Pusan, we clambered aboard an unheated train, plunked ourselves and our gear onto hard wooden benches and tried, unsuccessfully, to cover the broken windows, through which howled icy blasts of air. Our train would take us north, to the town of Kyong-ju, a seventy mile trip.

When we finally arrived at our destination, we were a cold, tired, unkempt, dispirited group. Even though we recovered from our strep throats, our colds, and other assorted ills, the awful memories of the suffering, the violent deaths, the brutal unremitting cold, and the destruction which we had witnessed and endured left scars that would never heal.

The days flowed on, one into another, and soon Christmas would be upon us. “Home for Christmas” was a forlorn hope, but we still hoped to be able to observe, in some small way, the birth of the Prince of Peace, here, in the midst of war. Then, the tiniest of miracles occurred! Someone, possible an archangel disguised as a comrade in arms, said that the Catholic church in Kyong-ju would be holding a midnight Mass and transportation would be made available for anyone who wished to go. Our prayers were answered, and we would be privileged to help celebrate Christmas in a very special way.

Before boarding the trucks that would take us to the church on that Christmas eve, we exchanged holiday greetings with our comrades who had been assigned to guard duty patrolling the company perimeter. It was a clear, cold, starry night; someone began to quietly sing, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

The exterior walls of the small church were pockmarked and some of the windows were broken. We noted with surprise that there were separate entrances, one for men and the other for women and children. The men of the parish entered through the door on the left and we followed them to the left side of the church where we sat on tiny wooden chairs. As the women entered through their entrance on our right, they covered their heads with white shawls, took off their shoes, which they placed in neat rows at the rear of the church, and picked up straw kneeling mats from a large pile that was stacked near the door. Infants were carried on the backs of their mothers, supported there by wide bands of cloth which were tied above their mothers’ waists.

While waiting for the Mass to begin, I glanced around and saw that the ceiling had many shallow cavities, each one marking a spot where a chunk of plaster had come loose and fallen. The church was unheated, but no one really noticed. An inner warmth radiated from the few candles on the altar and also from small, colorful silk banners which were suspended from the craggy ceiling. The banners, on which were written Korean figures, carried, we assumed, Christmas greetings. However, in deference to the American guests in the congregation, one banner proclaimed, in bright letters, “Mahry Xmas!” The spelling may not have been perfect, but the sentiments of those wonderful people was obvious and I, for one, would not have wanted it any other way.

1950 Christmas, Korea

1950 Christmas, Korea

A complete Nativity scene filled the area to the left of the altar, which was draped in silk and decorated with flowers and candles; a “real” Christmas tree, completely trimmed with tinsel, ornaments, and garland, stood on the other side of the altar. The sight of that beautiful tree set off a whole train of memories of another Christmas tree occupying, at that very moment, a place of honor in a warn, loving, caring home 10,000 miles away which was “Untouched by the evil that is war …”

Schoolchildren from the parish, ably and lovingly shepherded by Korean nuns, occupied tiny chairs at the very front of the church. The large, heavily starched, snow-white headpieces of the sisters stood in sharp contrast to our wrinkled, stained, and torn trousers and parkas, but such was the love and gratitude that was showered upon us that we did not, even for a moment, feel ill at ease.

At the rear center of the church stood an old, rickety, out-of-tune organ which was played by one of the Korean nuns. She accompanied a choir of schoolgirls who sang Christmas carols. Even though the choir occasionally sang off key, we knew what carols were being sung because we could, with some difficulty, recognize the music that was played and, while the choir sang in Korean, we sang with them, but in English. It was a riot of sounds, but to our ears it was positively joyous and — almost — heavenly.

Father Kim, the celebrant, said the Mass in Korean, but when it ended, he turned to face the congregation and, in halting English, extended, to the Americans in particular, his personal holiday greetings and then, in a final emotional gesture, he gave us his blessing. “The Mass is ended; go in Peace.”

Many Christmases have come and gone, but when the approach of winter heralds the beginning of another Christmas season, my thoughts and memories traverse the many years and the thousands of miles and I recall a very special Christmas in a tiny jewel of a church in Kyong-ju, Korea, and for one brief shining moment, the war is forgotten. I’ll never know what happened to Father Kim and his devoted flock, but I sincerely hope and pray that they have a truly Blessed Christmas.

Published 24 December 2015, by Norman Deptula in Star and Stripes magazine

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Military Humor – 

6a00d8341bfadb53ef0120a4d8ae67970b-500wi

Always yield to a vehicle packing a Slammer!

Funny Military With Quotes Pics (48)

NOT always a good idea.

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Michael Beazley – Kalkohe, NZ; RNZ Army, Vietnam

Louis Bonacasa – Manorville, NY; US Air Force, Afghanistan, KIA

"Remembering Our Fallen", courtesy of: Cora Metz @ A Fresh Start

“Remembering Our Fallen”, courtesy of: Cora Metz @ A Fresh Start

Michael Cinco – Mercedes, TX; US Air Force; Afghanistan, SSgt., KIA

Dennis Condom – AUS; RAIF, Korea, POW

Willard Holmes – Dubois, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/187/11th Airborne

Scott Jamar – Sweetwater, TX; US Army, Iraq, Chief Warrant Officer, KIA

Joseph Lemm – W>Harrison, NY; US Air National Guard, Afghanistan, KIA

Meadow Lemon III – Wilmington, NC; US Army, (Harlem Globetrotter)

Chester McBride – Savannah, GA; US Air Force, Afghanistan, KIA

Peter Taub – Philadelphia, PA; US Air Force, Afghanistan, SSgt., KIA

Adrianna Vorderbruggen – Washington, D.C.; US Air Force, Major, KIA

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Remembering Korea

The Wall - Washington D.C.

The Wall – Washington D.C.

On this anniversary of the Korean War cease-fire I offer you these 2 poems.  Let these two men represent the people lost in this war.  Within this site are over 40 posts dedicated to the Korean War.

MY FRIEND

By: Shorty Estabrook
In tribute to Ralph Henderson McKinley (1932-1951) POW
21st Infantry Regiment/24th Infantry Division

*

I lost my friend along the way
To this place that I call now.
I didn’t want to lose my friend,
But I did and don’t know how.

I remember how he looked at me
As I laid him down to rest,
When he said, “I can’t go on, old pal;
You’ve seen my very best.”

“So, leave me now and go your way
And when your journey ends,
Remember me beside this road,
Your buddy and your friend.”

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REMEMBERING THE “FORGOTTEN WAR”

By: Shirley Jones Whanger
In honor of: Thomas Dale Jones (DOD 1 January 1951) POW
A Battery/52nd FAB/ 24th Infantry Division
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If you were asked, “What happened on June 25, 1950,” what would you say?
Do you know what event took place on this historic day?

It was the start of the Korean War, the “Forgotten War,” as it is referred;
When the Communist North Korean invasion of South Korea occurred.

Our brave soldiers, who were shipped out to defend freedom to this foreign land,
Didn’t realize that it would become a three-year stand.

They fought their best and many a supreme sacrifice was made.
How can it be called the “Forgotten War” when a toll like this was paid?

Memories of Osan, Pusan, Inchon, the ‘Death March’ and POW camps,
haunt veterans who fought in that living hell.
To them it’s not a ‘Forgotten War,’ for they remember it well!

The 19 stainless steel statues were sculpted by Frank Gaylord of Barre, VT and cast by Tallix Foundries of Beacon, NY. They are approximately seven feet tall and represent an ethnic cross section of America. The advance party has 14 Army, 3 Marine, 1 Navy and 1 Air Force members. The statues stand in patches of Juniper bushes and are separated by polished granite strips, which give a semblance of order and symbolize the rice paddies of Korea. The troops wear ponchos covering their weapons and equipment. The ponchos seem to blow in the cold winds of Korea.

The 19 stainless steel statues were sculpted by Frank Gaylord of Barre, VT and cast by Tallix Foundries of Beacon, NY. They are approximately seven feet tall and represent an ethnic cross section of America. The advance party has 14 Army, 3 Marine, 1 Navy and 1 Air Force members. The statues stand in patches of Juniper bushes and are separated by polished granite strips, which give a semblance of order and symbolize the rice paddies of Korea. The troops wear ponchos covering their weapons and equipment. The ponchos seem to blow in the cold winds of Korea.

 

Below are some  links to my prior posts on the subject…

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/national-korean-war-veterans-armistice-day/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/korean-war-final-day/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/korean-war-statistics/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/intermission-stories-16/

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Farewell Salutes – 

Milan Ademek – Gardiner, ME; US Army (ret.), WWII, Korea

Kenneth Adams – Seminole, OK; US Air Force, Korea

The Final Farewell

The Final Farewell

Richard Bennett – Milwaukee, WI; US Army, Korea , Vietnam

James Carr – Perrysville, OH; US Navy, Korea

Robert Decker Sr. – Asheville, NC; US Navy, Korea, USS Hank

Richard Francis – Upperco, MD; US Army, Korea

Bob Hernandez – Plant City, FL; US Army (Ret.), WWII, Korea, Vietnam

Walter Nicolson – Apple Valley, CA; US Army (Ret. 21 years), Korea, Vietnam

Bob Panehal – Fairview Park, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO, Medic, 3 Bronze Stars

Harry Wachof – Sodus, NY; US Army, Korea

Thad White – Columbia, SC; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Korea

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Easter 1950’s Style

A child's Easter card from the '50s

A child’s Easter card from the ’50s

 

I wish ALL who pass by here to have a wonderful weekend, no matter what your religious belief – we are ALL one.  I hope this site enhances your memories or knowledge of the eras I speak of and you will try to Remember.  I sincerely Thank each and everyone of you for your past and hopefully future cooperation.  HAPPY EASTER, FOLKS!!!

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Typical ads in the '50s

Typical ads in the ’50s

Ready to take that Easter picture '50s style?

Ready to take that Easter picture ’50s style?

 

 

 

 

Fancy baking in the '50s!!

Fancy baking in the ’50s!!

Have a 1950's Doris Day kind of Easter?

Have a 1950’s Doris Day kind of Easter

 

Observe a Passover seder.

Observe a Passover seder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUT, NEVER FORGET WHAT THOUSANDS OF OTHERS WENT THROUGH SO THAT YOU COULD HAVE ONE TODAY!!

 

Captain Emil Kapaun, Chaplain, POW, Hero; Korean War

Captain Emil Kapaun, Chaplain, POW, Hero; Korean War

Men from many countries fought for you.

Men from many countries fought for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further information on Father Kapaun can be located at my site which will lead you to Wiki.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bernie Alwill – Bullard, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, E Co/187th Reg/11th A/B, PTO

George “Bill” Bullock – Little Compton, RI & Juno, FL; US Navy, WWII, signalman16292

Walter “Jim” Hillyer – Christchurch, NZ; Serv.# 275956, 23rd Battalion, WWII

Lathrop Hoffman – South Bend, IN; US Army, WWII, 1stLt., Burma-China Theater

Frank Nowobilski – Tinley Park, IL; US Army, Korea

Gerry Presley – Palm Beach Gardens, FL; US Army, Vietnam

Mark Schindler – Addison, PA; US Army; Korea, Cpl.

Kenneth Toy – Montreal, Can.; Royal Canadian Army, WWII

Katherine Vorel – Downers Grove, IL; WAVES, WWII

Sir Owen (Arthur) Woodhouse – Auckland, NZ; RNZNVR

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1950’s Christmas

Rockwell's Christmas

Rockwell’s Christmas

 

TO ALL –

NO MATTER WHAT RELIGION YOU HOLD DEAR, THE VERY BEST WISHES OF THIS HOLIDAY SEASON GO OUT TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.  AND, I RAISE A TOAST THAT WE ENJOY A CONTINUED FRIENDSHIP THROUGHOUT THE COMING YEAR.

il_570xN.311804514

 

 

finish that last-minute shopping; Chicago 1950

finish that last-minute shopping; Chicago 1950

Sing the carols

Sing the carols

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smitty made this set-up full size and it sat on our front lawn my entire childhood

Smitty made this set-up life- size and it sat on our front lawn my entire childhood

 

 

 

memories of the ole' days

memories of the ole’ days

 

 

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 TO THE MILITARY OF EVERY PEACEFUL NATION, THANK YOU!   MAY YOU RECEIVE A MAGICAL CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR!

 

SC386864

 

A Soldiers Night Before Christmas 

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
And to see just who in this house did live.
 
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stockings by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
 
With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, so dark, so dreary,
I knew I had found the home of a soldier, once I saw clearly.
 
I heard stories about them, I had to see more,
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping silent alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one bedroom home.
 
His face so gentle, his room in disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
 
His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
I soon understood this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
Owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.
 
 
1950 Australian notice

1950 Australian notice

 

Soon ’round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of soldiers like this one lying here.
 
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
 
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.
 
With that he rolled over and drifted back into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
 
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And I covered this Soldier from his toes to his head.
And I put on his T-shirt of gray and black,
With an eagle and an Army patch embroidered on back.
 
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment, I was U.S. Army deep inside.
I didn’t want to leave him on that cold, dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
 
Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice clean and pure,
“Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all is secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas, my friend, and to all a good night!
 
a soldier's Christmas tree

a soldier’s Christmas tree

making a cake in an ammo can

making a cake in an ammo can

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Farewell Salutes –

William Archibald – Park Ridge, IL; US Navy, WWIIVeterans_Day-thanks

Robert Baker – Fairfax, VA; US Air Force, Colonel

Dominick Busceti – Uniondale, NY; US Army, Korea

Frederick King – Washington D.C.; US Air Force, Colonel (Retired)

Billy Laurie – Redding, CA; US Navy, SeeBees

Hector Pina – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, 42nd Rainbow Division

David Regner – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea

Louis Unti – Burr Ridge, IL; US Navy, WWII PTO, USS LST 596

John Wilkin – Paris, Ontario, Canada; RCOC & RCEME,  WWII

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PERSONAL NOTE –

I usually post on the holiday’s actual date, but wanted to send this out around the world so that I might reach everyone in EVERY time zone.  My warmest wishes and heartiest thank you’s go along with it.

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National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

korean-war-ends-3a217bbf554bf103

“…the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.” _______ General Omar Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Armistice signing

Armistice signing

No single incident caused the catastrophic events that became WWII and the wars that sprang out of those six years also had their seeds dropped many decades before. Those of you that read my post “Setting the stage for war” at https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/setting-the-stage-for-war/ or have read the book, The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley, have an idea of which I speak. I could go back into history as far as Marco Polo, but I’ll spare you my rambling.

koreanwar02

Teddy Roosevelt declared, “Our future history will be more determined by our position on the Pacific facing China than our position on the Atlantic facing Europe.” He was eager to see American strength spread across Asia just as it had gone across the North American continent. He also stated, “I wish to see the United States as the dominant power on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.” Though he knew very little of the Orient or its culture, he favorite motto – “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” – would cause a ripple that would grow into the tidal wave of conflicts still felt today.

korean war memorial

I realize it is unusual to begin a section on Korea with the date that the war came to a close, but the calender of events is unavoidable.

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A look at the “high-life” in the 1950’s ____

 

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It may not look like much – but WE had fun!!

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes –

Stephen Voss – Boca Raton, FL; U.S. Navy Medic, WWII, 6th Naval Beach Battalion, wounded on Omaha Easy Red II section of Normandy invasion. One year later, invasion of Okinawa.

Sylvia Yelverton – Fitchburg, MA & W.Palm Beach, FL; U.S. Air Force during Korean and Vietnam WarsSparkling-Flag-398x224

John Bretherton – Charleston, SC; U.S. Navy, WWII, on USS Jensen (Atlantic) and Hospital ship, USS Haven (Pacific)

Ernest Bates – Canton, OH; PA & Greenacres, FL; Sgt. U.S. Army Air Corps, WWII

Michael Diesel – Brooklyn, NY & Lake Worth, FL; U.S. Navy, WWII

Samuel Grundfast – Boynton Beach, FL; U.S. Navy, WWII

Robert LaCasse – Millinocket & Skowhegan, ME; US Army, WWII

Ethel Moore – Kamloops, Can. & Los Angeles, CA; RC Army, nurse, WWII, chosen to represent Canada at the coronation of King George VI

Bernard Wallach – Bronx, NY & Lake Worth, FL; U.S. Navy, WWII

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