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A Story of WWII from My Father

Andrew has a story from his father!!

Andrew's View of the Week

My father was a great story-teller.  He had a story for every occasion and could enthrall an audience with his wit and humor.  His memory and stories often come to my mind this time of year with memorial day just past and the anniversary of the WWII D-Day invasion just coming up this next week on the 6th.  He could take the simplest event and spin an engaging story about it – often with a punch line.  The story always had a point, either humor or something he was trying to teach.

When I was a boy I especially liked his Army stories.  Father served in WWII as a radar maintenance man in the 279th Army Coast Artillery Corp in the Aleutian Islands.  He repaired and operated the SRC-296 gun sighting radar and later the SCR-584.  He served time on different islands but most often talked about Attu. Shemya and…

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Japanese Sub on Kiska

A-type Midget submarine ( Ko-hyoteki 甲標的甲型 )

A-type Midget submarine ( Ko-hyoteki 甲標的甲型

Members of the USA Fish and Wildlife Service from their research ship called “Tiglax” visited the Aleutian island of Kiska in June 2015 to investigate the rusting hulk of a Japanese midget submarine left lying in the grass of the island since the Second World War.

The submarine left on Kiska is an A-type midget, 78 feet long. Its shape is unusual in resembling an orca or killer whale. The Japanese had transported six such subs to the island in July 1942. Similar midget submarines were used in the Pearl Harbor attack further south. The submarines moved to Kiska were actually sent there when their intended destination, the Midway Atoll, was lost to the USA.

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From time to time, scientists and archaeologists spend time on Kiska and other Aleutian islands to document the fauna, flora and historical artifacts there. One archaeologist, Debra Corbett, lived on the island for several weeks in 2014. She and Richard Galloway, another researcher on the island, described the submarine on the website of the Aleutian Island Research Group, which brings together researchers who focus on the island chain.

Corbett described how claustrophobic it must have been for the men who crewed these tiny subs. A pair of men would just manage to squeeze into the space. War historians have even likened the sub to a torpedo, so it was like a large torpedo which could fire a smaller one. It is possible for visitor to the island to squeeze into the rusty submarine to get a sense of how it must have felt to the Japanese crew.

There is a lot of other evidence left behind on Kiska by the Japanese. Where the hulk of the submarine is lying, there is a rail structure, which would have been used to help guide the submarines in and out of the water. There are some sheds which were used to conceal the subs. There is an underground hospital.  Corbett points out that the Japanese defenses were quite substantial, with anti-aircraft batteries in the valleys. There was also a seaplane base. In the end, the Japanese stayed for only fourteen months, but these structures show that they had intended to stay longer, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

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The USA re-occupied the island in August 1943. They expected resistance but discovered that the Japanese had slipped away. They had used explosive charges to render the submarines unusable before they left. Eventually all but one of the six were destroyed or sunk in the island’s small harbour. Galloway has written that the cold subarctic climate of the Aleutians has slowed corrosion of the metal objects, but eventually even this last submarine will rust entirely away.

Article from: Warhistory online and Traces of War.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

Young submariners learn quickly to heed all signs!! SIGN reads: "SECURE! Sanitation tanks under pressure!

Young submariners learn quickly to heed all signs!!
SIGN reads: “SECURED! Sanitation tanks under pressure!

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EMPTY LAUNCH TUBE? I don’t know where it went… Let’s check CNN…

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

James Crawford – E.Concord, NY; US Navy, Bahrain, Cmdr, KIA

Gavin Ferguson – Edmonton, CAN; RC Army, WWII, Signal Corps

"Tribute to Courage" by Rich Thistle

“Tribute to Courage” by Rich Thistle

David Jackman – Newcastle, AUS; RA Army, Vietnam

Lewis Jennings – Colby, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Medical/188th/11th Airborne Div.

Leonard Larsen – Beloit, WI; US Army, WWII,Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Matthew McClintock – Des Moises, WA; US Army, Afghanistan, SSgt.,  KIA

Richard Newdick – Whakatame, NZ; Z Special Force # 636815, WWII

Vernon Orr – Chandler, OK; US Army, WWII, Mechanic

Christian Rivera – Miami, FL; USMC, Afghanistan, Cpl., KIA

Kiernan Wimmer – Elizabeth City, NC; USMC, 1st Marine Special Ops Batt.

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Nisei in Alaska

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Condensed from Yankee Samurai, by Joseph D. Harrington

With Attu secured, Kiska was next in the Aleutians.  An exercise in total futility ensued.  More than 29,000 US troops and 5,000 Canadian ones were assembled, plus some Eskimos and Alaska Scouts.  Nobuo Furuiye served with the Canadians.

The invasion of Kiska was preceded by a fiasco called “The Battle of the Pips”.  A Fire Controlman who served on the battleship Mississippi during the shoot-up said, “We fired a million bucks worth of ammunition into a rainstorm!”

For the Canadians, the taking of Kiska was a biter blow.  Don Oka was with the Alaska Scouts.  He stood offshore in a ship, listening to the tremendous firing ashore.  Tad Ogawa, Ted Ishida and Shigeo Ito also participated.  All were certain, from the noise, that a battle as bloody as Attu was taking place.

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None was, the Japanese had left.  But, they did leave the Nisei a gift however, a cave full of food with a sign in Japanese that said: “Help Yourself.  This is not poisoned.”  John White’s (Nisei commander) men did not seal the food caves.  Instead, according to Shigeo Ito, “we partook voraciously.  Such things as tsukemono, Mandarin oranges, nori, bamboo shoots, and so forth.”  White said there was “lots of rice, clams, and canned meat.  The Nisei were their own chefs and our intelligence detachment became the most popular unit in the command.”

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Shigeo Ito was among those that returned to the US with some of the prisoners taken at Attu, while the more experienced  men were sent elsewhere.  Yoshio Morita was one left behind, but he didn’t mind.  Yutaka Munakata, head of the translation section at MISLS, expressed gratitude for having “huts to sleep in, warm clothes and wholesome food.”  He had a pretty good idea where Nisei who left Alaska were headed and malaria, dysentery and dengue fever did not inhabit the Arctic.

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Contributed by Pierre Lagacé – video about the Alaskan campaign!!

Excellent addition for this section!    CLICK HERE!!

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WWII female pilots now banned from burial at Arlington Cemetery ____

http://features.aol.com/video/group-heroic-wwii-pilots-are-now-banned-arlington-national-cemetery?icid=aol|carousel|dl1

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Cold Humor –

Sign reads: "TREE - only one on Attu"

Sign reads: “TREE – only one on Attu”

"Are you sure it's worth it, Joe?"

“Are you sure it’s worth it, Joe?”

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ronald Abbott – Rutland, VT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne, G-2 / CIA

Raymond Clark – Wellington, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 4211662, WWII

Thank You Veterans for walking the walk.

Thank You Veterans for walking the walk.

Raymond Delano – Lee, ME; US Army Air Corps, WWII

George Dunn – Ottawa, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, HMCS Antigonish

Calvin Lien – Edwina, MN; US Navy, WWII

Andy Morales – Longwood, FL; US Army, Iraq, Sgt., 143rd Sustainment Cmd., KIA

Frederick Robins – W. AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, Catalina pilot

Isadore Troise – Wilmington, DE; US Army, WWII, ETO, MIA/POW, 16th Cavalry Recon, Purple Heart

Ennis Warren – Mobile, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 top turret gunner

Wayne Watson – Riverside, CA; US Army, Vietnam

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August 1943 (2)

During WWII Unalaska had all its native Alaskans removed from the island and there was a great military buildup to protect its Ice free, deep water port. The island was bombed by the Japanese and had a plane crash on the island.

During WWII Unalaska had all its native Alaskans removed from the island and there was a great military buildup to protect its Ice free, deep water port. The island was bombed by the Japanese and had a plane crash on the island.

Jon Sund’s blog and further current pictures of the Alaskan WWII relics, CLICK HERE!

15 August – On the island of Kiska in the Aleutians Islands of Alaska, weeks of air and naval bombardment rained down on Japanese installations.  The 1st Special Service Force, the “Devil’s Brigade”, both American and Canadian troops, made an amphibious landing.  Neither landing site received resistance from the enemy, as the Japanese had left 28 July.  Kiska was deserted and only 2 wild dogs were found.

Vella Lavella, WWII

Vella Lavella, WWII

PT boat reconnaissance confirmed that there were few Japanese on Vella Lavella in the Solomons.  Operation Goodtime lived up to its name when the US 25th Army Division and the Fiji/New Zealand commanders (South Seas Scouts) landed.  They only found enemy survivors of the Tokyo Express convoy that had recently been in a naval battle.  So, the men proceeded to build a new airstrip.  About 390 more Japanese landed on the island, which together with the 200 stragglers would cause fighting, but this move isolated the heavily defended Kolombangara  Island, General Sasaki and his troops.

17 August – this was “Black Day” for Japan – ~ 200 US planes, from Gen. George Kenney’s command, raided the Japanese 4th Air Army base at Wewak on the northern coast of New Guinea.  The enemy was taken completely by surprise since they believed themselves to be out of range of any US aircraft.  However, the engineers had constructed an airfield west of Lae, which put them 400 miles (640 km) away.  Three-fourths of the enemy base was rendered unusable and only 38 planes operational. [another source states 24 planes remained].  MacArthur was thinking of his own aircraft in the Philippines at the start of the war when he made the remark, “Nothing so helpless as an airplane on the ground.”

19 August – 4 Australian divisions and one American division started a major offensive up through the northern coast of New Guinea.  Since the success of the air raid, enemy air attacks on the ground forces was greatly reduced.  Mount Tambu, the Japanese fortified stronghold,  was taken.

25 August – Operation Toenails was officially ended as all enemy resistance on New Georgia ceased.  The campaign had required approximately 3-times the men (~ 45,000) than first estimated to complete; 1,136 had been killed in action.

Nanumea airfield, 1943

Nanumea airfield, 1943

28 August – US forces landed on Nanumea in the Ellice Island group.  The campaign started by penetrating into the south-eastern corner of the enemy held island.

August 1943 saw a lot of action with the 5th Air Force hammering away from their new airstrip in the Trobriand Islands.  The US and Australian airmen scoured New Guinea’s Huon Peninsula, the Bismark Sea and the waters off New Britain.  They made signs of enemy reinforcements and/or supplies their major priority and over 150 barges were sunk.

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Military Humor – 

"Let us rise men and say Grace over this Thanksgiving dinner... after which, we will carve the turkey."

“Let us rise men and say Grace over this Thanksgiving dinner… after which, we will carve the turkey.”

"Did you walk in her without help? - Fine - You're  1-A.

“Did you walk in here without help? – Fine – You’re 1-A.

 

 

Actual envelopes sent home – from the Cpl. Regis Dinkel # 33421270 collection.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Trevor Andrews – Hamilton, NZ; RNZ Army # 23358, WWII, Cpl., Ordnance Corps

Sidney Booth – Rockledge, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Iowawpid-20b396344abfbc2aaf8553562b9bb75a

Jason Lee Dunham – Scio, NY; USMC, Syria/Iraq; 7th Marines, Cpl., KIA, Medal of Honor

Leon Hughes – Florence, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 221st Medical/11th Airborne

Harry Irish – Cleveland Hgts., OH; US Navy, WWII, USS Borum

Frank Johnson – Leominister, CA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Buddy Miccio – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII,

Wayne Rogers – Birmingham, AL; US Navy, [M*A*S*H* actor]

Oscar Sainz – Yuma, AZ; US Army, WWII

Herbert Young – Nashua, NH; US Army, WWII

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An Alaskan Christmas

Aleutian Christmas

Aleutian Christmas

CHIPLEY, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — A 10-inch blanket of snow covered Fort Richardson, Alaska, when Oscar “Buck” Buchanan first arrived in October 1942.

“To some of us Florida boys, this was an experience,” Buchanan wrote in an account detailing his service during World War II that he mailed to The News Herald. “The train was late [to pick us up] and we were told it was due to moose, who would use the tracks for walking through a tunnel made of snow and couldn’t get off the tracks.”

106th Engineers

106th Engineers

This is where Buchanan, a private in the National Guard, spent most of World War II with the Company D, Second Battalion, 106th Engineers.

Two years earlier, Buchanan, then 22, left West Bay with his friend Alex Hinote to enlist.

“At that time, I either had to volunteer into the service or be drafted,” he said.

After a brief honeymoon with his new wife, Juanita Sasnett, he started moving around the country, first for his own training, then to train others.

When the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, everything changed, he said. The unit was told to prepare to ship overseas for combat, their time extended for the length of the war, and they were promoted to general engineers.

Troops on Attu

Troops on Attu

“Our trucks, with a lot of equipment, were loaded onto a train and preceded us to Fort Dix, and sent directly to England. We followed later on Pullman cars — our first train ride — and were scheduled to follow our equipment to England on the Queen Mary,” Buchanan wrote. “While waiting for the boat, another decision was made for us to be sent to Alaska.”

The Japanese had occupied the Aleutian Islands, which fan out toward Asia from the southwestern tip of Alaska, and the U.S. government was worried about the possibility of a mainland invasion from the north.

So Buchanan was sent in the opposite direction of his things.

Along the way, he stopped with a few friends in Olympia, Wash., for 72 hours.

“We visited a ‘service center’ and were entertained by some of the staff. We asked the lady at the piano if she could play ‘Dixie.’ She could and we sang ‘Dixie Land, where I was born’ along with her,” Buchanan, now 95, wrote.

Later in the evening, they tried local oysters, confusing the waitress by asking for them raw instead of in stew.

“When the oysters came, they were the size of a quarter and in a bowl. They tasted like chalk. She said they came from China,” he recalled. “We took the stew.”

Muir Glacier, 1940's

Muir Glacier, 1940’s

The dining reportedly did not improve as Buchanan traveled by a freight boat through the Inside Passage to Alaska.

When they arrived north, the men were outfitted with winter clothes, a coal heater and an A-frame tent. It was an adjustment for those who were used to warmer climates.

“Sometimes the food froze on the plates before it could be eaten,” Buchanan said. “On Christmas Day 1942, the temperature was 43 degrees below freezing.”

At the start of the New Year, the men were moved farther north to an Alaskan base with Quonset huts, where the military had to build an airport capable of accommodating a B-24 bomber as well as a hospital, a railroad and roads. As part of the construction, they had to tunnel through a mountain to get to the harbor.

The men were aided by civilians, and Buchanan became a trained surveyor.

106engbat1 (428x320)

As it seemed less likely the Japanese would enter Alaska, the work slowed and the American men began to relax. They skied makeshift slopes, visited Mount McKinley, received furloughs back to the States, visited Anchorage, hunted and fished.

When the war ended, the men went home to “no fanfare,” Buchanan wrote. He returned to his wife in Chipley, continued to work as a surveyor, and raised two children. He still lives in Chipley.

To this day, he said on the phone, he feels the 106th Engineer Battalion should have received a little more credit.

“We were called to a defense duty in Alaska and did it well. Even though there were no fatalities in the unit, no credit was given to them for the casualties — civilians as well as soldiers — that were prevented by preparing the Alaskan front for the invasion of the Japanese forces,” he said. “When the Japanese got ‘cold feet’ and fled to a warmer climate, the Florida boys got cold feet but stood their ground.”

©2015 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.)
Visit The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.) at http://www.newsherald.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Sometimes you just have to keep you equipment on a leash.

Sometimes you just have to keep you equipment on a leash.

Engineer's priority....

Engineer’s priority….

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Beavers – Marion, IN; US Army, Vietnam

Vincent Capodanno – Staten Island, NY; USMC, Vietnam, Chaplain, Medal of Honor, KIA

Milton Crenshaw – Little Rock, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Tuskegee instructor0083f165f66161f63454e92890403bcd

Henry ‘Red’ Erwin – Adamsville, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Sgt., B-29 radioman, POW, Medal of Honor

Kenneth Howarth – Chester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 127th Engineers/11th Airborne

Yvonne Mole – Victor Harbor, AUS; A Army Medical Womans Service # SFX 24647, WWII

Paul Oskolkoff – Ninilchik, AK; US Navy, Vietnam

Frederick Scott – Gainsville, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 mechanic

Harry Shipman – Hamilton, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO, 48th Highlanders

Dwayne ‘Doc’ Wise – Storm Lake, IA; USMC, WWII, Korea, Lt. (Ret. 22 years)

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Alaska Films

Alaska – 1942-1943, contributed from Pierre Lagacé, 43 minutes

 

Kiska, 10 minutes

 

What remains on Alaska… 3 minutes

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Military Humor – 

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June 1943 (1)

Japanese artillery on Attu, 1943 Property of Univ. of Washington, Special Collections.

Japanese artillery on Attu, 1943
Property of Univ. of Washington, Special Collections.

5 June – On the home front of Japan, Admiral Yamamoto received a full state funeral in Tokyo.   Germany honored him by awarding the Knight’s Cross w/ Oakleaves and Swords as the island nation mourned.  The Japanese people were told that his plane crashed due to mechanical failure.

7 June – a major aerial battle around the Russell Islands occurred.  The US aircraft shot down 19 Japanese fighters out of the 40 attackers.

Solomon-H44NT-Map

7-16 June – the Japanese air sorties over the Solomon Islands became increasingly costly for the enemy in the terms of aircraft and pilots.  Over Guadalcanal, the 307th Bombardment Group cost Japan 23 planes and the US had 9 downed.  On the 12th, the kill-to-loss ratio widened as Japan lost 31 to the 6 American.  By the 16th, the total destruction of 107 Japanese aircraft was reached out of the 120 available planes in the area.

No. 14 Fighter Squadron

No. 14 Fighter Squadron

The Royal New Zealand Air Force, (RNZAF), sent No. 14 Fighter Squadron Squadron to join in the Solomon campaign and arrived just before another major Japanese raid on 12 June, claiming 8 victories.  On the 16th, over Savo Island, they downed 5 enemy planes in a dog fight.

Geoff Fisken, No. 14 Fighter Squadron

Geoff Fisken, No. 14 Fighter Squadron

8-24 June – the Japanese high command deemed Alaska irrelevant and ordered their troops to abandon Kiska Island.  The fall of Attu had brought outspoken criticism of the Imperial HQ by high-ranking Navy officers.  Now, the Kuril Islands would need to be fortified and manned.  This would divert fresh troops and supplies from the beleaguered areas in the south.

Kuril Islands stretching from Japan to

Kuril Islands stretching from Japan to the Kamchatka Peninsula

Japan feted the Pro-Axis Bengali leader Subhas Chandra Bose’s arrival (via Germany).  They hoped he would mobilize Indian resistance to the war effort.  Bose made a radio broadcast to that effect.

15 June – cholera struck the prisoners of war on the ‘Railroad of Death’ work details.

18 June – Sir Archibald Wavell was replaced by Sir Claude Auchinleck due to Prime Minister Churchill’s dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in the Burma Theatre.

Coastal Watchers on Bougainville notified Halsey that the enemy were moving to fortify New Georgia.  The observers also noticed the Japanese camouflaging the airfields at Munda.  This resulted in pushing Operation Toenails up by 4 days and Halsey began moving up The Slot.  (The Watchers at this time were kept busy being on the lookout and rescuing downed pilots.).

A post of mine for the Coast Watchers can be seen HERE.

The New Georgia Group in the central Solomons includes 12 large islands, several dozen smaller ones, barrier islands, coral reefs and countless uncharted coral heads.  Lying south of the equator, they have all the tropical problems that will be found throughout the Pacific War: high temperatures and humidity, steep ridges, mangrove swamps, diseases, insects, poisonous snakes and jungles so thick that the top canopy prevents daylight and accurate aerial photography of the ground.

To be continued….

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Current News – wwii-malaysia-remains-transfer

Malaysian returns remains of 1945 crashed plane to the U.S.

http://fox61.com/2015/11/04/malaysia-returns-remains-from-site-of-1945-us-plane-crash/

150,000 WWII aerial canisters of film to be digitized and available on-line!

http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2016/nr16-05.html

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Military Humor – (your D.I.’s continued… )

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frederick Blank – Tokirima, NZ; NZ Army # 373554, WWII, ETO, 24th Battalion

Helen Coyte – Bridgeport, CT; US Navy, WAVES, WWIIvday16

Andrew Dedick Jr. – Red Bank, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO, Capt., Battalion Surgeon

Leif Hubertz – Staten Island, NY; US Navy, USS Everglades

Keith Kappelmann – Topeka, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea, 1st Lt.

Wilton McPherson Eady – AUS; RA Army # vx15218, WWII, 2/8 Field Co., POW

Arthur Patrick – Broomall, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQS/11th Airborne

Larry Rudd – Brantford, CAN; RC Army, Afghanistan, paratrooper

Ray Shelton – Roggen, CO; US Navy, WWII

David Walker – Bayton, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188/11th A/B, paratrooper/glider

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May 1943 (3) + Japanese Diary

Australian Hospital ship, Centaur

Australian Hospital ship, Centaur

12-25 May – Churchill and FDR attended the Trident Conference of Allied war leaders in Washington D.C.  They then retreated to “Shangri-La” (now known as Camp David), while the military heads continued their heated debates.  Despite American assurance of retaining the “Germany First” policy, the British insisted that the Pacific was diverting too much away from Europe.  FDR, this time, did not bow to Churchill’s demands and the US would dictate the Pacific policy.

FDR and Churchill at 'Shangri-La' during Trident Conference

FDR and Churchill at ‘Shangri-La’ during Trident Conference

15 May – the Australian hospital ship HMAS Centaur, clearly marked as a medical vessel, was torpedoed and sank off the Brisbane coast.  More than 260 people were lost; there were only 63 survivors.

31 May – American and Chinese aviators shot down 20 Japanese fighters in a short aerial battle over Ichang, Hunan Province.

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The restoration of the American flag over Attu brought a renewed furor in the United States for MacArthur to run for president in the 1944 election.  The general backed out of the political scene, but used the homeland views to renew his call for heavier action in the Pacific.  Adm. King was in agreement.  Churchill became anxious began calling FDR once again on a regular basis.

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I have left this post shorter than most to give you time to read – Diary of a Japanese Army Doctor, who died on Attu, May 1943

Introduction by Rodney A. Smith

The following is an accurate transcription, including spelling errors, of the US Army’s
translation of a Japanese diary found on a dead Japanese doctor after the Battle of Attu, Alaska.
I found this document in my mother-in-law’s papers after she died, so I do not know how she got it,
but she lived in Alaska during WWII, and her husband was in the Army.

Additional notes are found in the right margin and at the end of this webpage along with a map of the battlefield.

Rod Smith

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Brrr – Cold Humor – winter-humor-1

wakeup

WAKE UP !!!!

funny-cold-weather-quotes

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Crossett – Washington Iowa; US Army (Ret. 26 years), WWII, ETO

Silverio D’Arco – brn: Ponza, Italy, Neshanic, NJ; US Navy, Korea, USS Essex, Fighter Sq. 73

John Estelle – Port Jefferson, NY; US Armywpid-20b396344abfbc2aaf8553562b9bb75a

Eugene Hilfiger – Troy, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 675th Artillery

John Jones – Yucaipa, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457th Artillery

Francis Lander – Macquarie Park, AUS; RA Army, Vietnam, 8 Field Ambulance

Christy Romero – Denver, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO,157th Inf. Div.

Vard Roper – Orem, UT; US Army, Korea, 187th Reg.

Charles Sharp – Whangaret, NZ; RAF # 157688, WWII, F/Lt.

Gale Tye – Griswold, IA; US Navy, WWII

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May 1943 (2)

4th Infantry, Massacre Bay

4th Infantry, Massacre Bay

11 May – the 11th Air Force flew missions to support US forces landing on Attu: 1 air-ground liaison sortie by 1 B-24; a B-24 supply sortie dropping supplies to ground forces; and 5 attack missions, flown by 11 B-24’s and 12 B-25’s. The first attack mission could not find the target and instrument-bombed targets which include the runway, radar, submarine base, and camp area. Because of the poor visibility the next two missions hit Kiska, where the runway and Main Camp were attacked. Two B-24’s then bombed the Chichagof Harbor area through fog while another dropped leaflets on Attu.

12-30 May – The submarines, Nautilius  and Narwhol, led  RAdm. Francis W, Rockwell’s 29-vessel fleet, including the battleship Idaho and the reconstructed Pennsylvania and Nevada, under concealment of a heavy mist.  Col. Yamazaki’s 2,400 men were well dug-in at their positions as the US 11,000 man 7th Infantry Division made an amphibious landing with the 17th Infantry Regiment spearheading.

5 Castner Cutthroats

5 Castner Cutthroats

The US also employed Alaskans to act as scouts; they were called Castner’s Cutthroats, after their commander.  An in-depth article on these commandos can be found here at History.net.

Poor beach equipment for the tundra territory, frostbite and some having been trained in the Mohave Desert for African combat all went to aide the enemy.  Both sides received heavy casualties and it would take 2 weeks to contain the resistance around Massacre Bay.

Attu, May 1943

Attu, May 1943

The US forces took the high ground overlooking Holtz Bay on the 17th.  Despite the Arctic weather, P-38 Lightening fighter-bombers supported the ground attack through the Sarana Pass and approached Chicagof Harbor where the remaining enemy was held up.  Attu Village was then wiped out and the P-38s shot down Japanese bombers.  On the 24th, after hand-to-hand combat, Chicagof Valley was cleared.

The last 1,000 enemy troops made a final banzai charge and initially overran 2 US command posts.  On their last charge, screaming, “Japanese drink blood wine!” the fire power proved to be too much for them.  What Japanese forces were not killed, committed suicide.  Only 28 surrendered.

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Current News – 

Remains of US soldier returned from North Korea.

Cpl. Robert V. Witt

Cpl. Robert V. Witt

BELLFLOWER, Calif. — The remains of a formerly missing U.S. soldier have been returned to California nearly 65 years after he is thought to have died, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.  Army Cpl. Robert V. Witt, a 20-year-old Bellflower man missing since the Korean War, was returned earlier this week to his sister Laverne Minnick, 82.  Witt will be buried with full military honors at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier on Friday.

 In late November 1950, Witt was assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a statement.  They were attacked by Chinese forces at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. On Dec. 1, 1950, remnants of the 31st Regimental Combat Team tried moving to a position south of the reservoir, but the next day, Witt was reported missing in action, the statement said.

In 1953, during prisoner of war exchanges, repatriated U.S. soldiers told officials that Witt had been captured during the battle and died from malnutrition. It’s believed he died on Jan. 31, 1951.  This article was retrieved from the Stars & Stripes.

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COLD Humor – 36fac507dcd06672a6b3077f8e3ec4aa

 

winter-humor

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Clarence Amos – Columbus, MT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/11th A/B

Maynard Dawson – Terre Haute, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 221st Medical

Aleutians, 1943

Aleutians, 1943

Leroy Ewing – Urice, MO; US Army, Korea, F Co/187th RCT

John France – Denver, CO; US Air Force, Vietnam, MajGen. (Ret.), 239 combat missions

Cecil ‘Gene’ Judy – Kansas City, KS; USMC, WWII

Richard Karrer – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea

Edward McGowan – Jupiter, FL; US Army

Victor Oros – Aurora, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Seminole

Bryan Rousseau – Woodsocket, RI; US Army

Taj Sareen – San Francisco, CA; USMC, Middle East, Major, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

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May 1943 (1)

2 Spitfires take off from an airfield near Darwin.

2 Spitfires take off from an airfield near Darwin.

2 May – Darwin, Australia was bombed by 20 Japanese bombers and Zero fighter aircraft.  This was the 54th airstrike on the country.  The No. 1 Wing RAAF intercepted the enemy planes after the attack and suffered heavy losses.Buildings were damaged, but there were no casualties.  Further data on Australian bombings can be located  here.

5 May – in Alaska,   an 11th Air Force weather reconnaissance airplane over Attu observed a floatplane burning on the water. Fourteen B-24’s, 17 B-25’s, 16 P-38’s, 32 P-40’s, and 5 F-5A’s flew 4 attack missions to Attu and 6 [partly with Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots] to Kiska targets that included Main Camp, a radar site, North and South Head, a runway, and Gertrude Cove installations. Bombs were dropped on Attu installations and fighters strafed and set afire one seaplane and silenced the AA guns.

Dinnertime on Kiska

Dinnertime on Kiska

Japanese forces in Central China began a massive offensive into Hunan Province in an effort to gain territories of rice production.  US commanders that would have liked to put air bases in China were disappointed by intermittent Chinese cooperation with the enemy.

7 May –  5th Air Force B-17’s and B-24’s bombed supply dumps, and other targets at Madang and Madang Airfield.  Meanwhile, Japanese fighters from Wewak were on patrol and intercepted seven B-17s and six B-24s over Madang.  The B-17s reported interception by seven Japanese fighters including two that dropped aerial bombs that missed by a considerable distance. Four B-17s were damaged, one seriously.//

Chindits behind enemy lines, Burma, May 1943.

Chindits behind enemy lines, Burma, May 1943.

7-14 May – in Burma, the British offensive into the Arakan finally collapsed and were driven north.  The Japanese retook Maundau and Buthidaung, which put the Allies back to their starting positions.nventional attacks.  A-20’s hit forces in the Green’s Hill area. On Timor, B-25’s pounded Penfoesi.  The B-17F “Reckless Mountain Boys” 41-24518 was lost.   Returning from a mission to Aru , the RAAF Hudson A-16-116 was lost.

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8 May – as part of the Operation Cartwheel, US Dauntless and Liberator aircraft bombed various enemy installations throughout the Solomon Islands.  Three Japanese destroyers were damaged; one seriously.

 Port Moresby Station Hospital

Port Moresby Station Hospital

9 May –  5th Air Force B-24’s and B-17’s bombed Manokwari, Nabire, Kaimana, Madang Airfield and the Wewak area. B-25’s hit the airfield at Gasmata.

10 May –  the 10th Air Force in Burma had 6 P-40’s bomb and strafe Kwitu, leaving several areas burning fiercely in China.  The 14th Air Force in French Indochina had eight P-40’s fly an offensive sweep against communications in the Nam Dinh and Hanoi areas. Four locomotives and 3 riverboats are destroyed, a train carrying troops and supplies was heavily damaged, and several trucks of troops were destroyed.//

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Rivalry Humor – military-humor-marines-vs-army

0ec78c9958d3d6954d74171a7e89ce4c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Marvin Alderson – Hartford, SD; US Army, ETO, 3rd Armored Division, Signal Corps, Sgt.

Albert Alderton – Tamahere, NZ; British Navy, WWIITaps

Tony Bruno – Gurnee, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-29 gunner

William Halsey III – Huntsville, AL; US Army, WWII, Engineer Amphibian, Major

Joseph Iannuzzi Jr. – Port Chester, NY; US Army, Korea, 2 Purple Hearts, Silver Star

Samuel McNeill – Southern, NJ; US Army, Vietnam, Dental Corps

Francis ‘Fritz’ Reardon, US Navy, WWII

Jordan Spears – Memphis, IN; USMC, Tiltrotor Sq. ’63/Marine Aircraft Group 16, USS Makin Island, pilot

William Tremaine – Wilmington, DE; US Army, WWII & Korea

Joshua Wheeler – Muldrow, OK; US Army, Iraq, Delta Force, Master Sgt., Bronze Stars

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