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1 April 1945 – Okinawa

Okinawa invasion map

Codenamed Operation Iceberg, this was a major battle of the Pacific War fought on the island of Okinawa by U. S. Marine and Army forces against the Imperial Japanese Army.

The United States created the Tenth Army, a cross-branch force consisting of the 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th infantry divisions of the US Army with the 1st, 2nd, and 6th divisions of the Marine Corps, to fight on the island. The Tenth was unique in that it had its own tactical air force (joint Army-Marine command), and was also supported by combined naval and amphibious forces.

On this day in 1945, after suffering the loss of 116 planes and damage to three aircraft carriers, 50,000 U.S. combat troops of the 10th Army, under the command of Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner Jr., land on the southwest coast of the Japanese island of Okinawa, 350 miles south of Kyushu, the southern main island of Japan.

Marine & Navy aircraft destroyed all enemy aircraft on land. Shown here is Yontan Airfield

Determined to seize Okinawa as a base of operations for the army ground and air forces for a later assault on mainland Japan, more than 1,300 ships converged on the island, finally putting ashore 50,000 combat troops on April 1. The Americans quickly seized two airfields and advanced inland to cut the island’s waist. They battled nearly 120,000 Japanese army, militia, and labor troops under the command of Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima.

See some of the action in this 4 minute video………

The naval campaign against Okinawa began in late March 1945, as the carriers of the BPF began striking Japanese airfields in the Sakishima Islands. To the east of Okinawa, Mitscher’s carrier provided cover from kamikazes approaching from Kyushu. Japanese air attacks proved light the first several days of the campaign but increased on April 6 when a force of 400 aircraft attempted to attack the fleet.

The high point of the naval campaign came on April 7 when the Japanese launched Operation Ten-Go.  It was during this operation that they attempted to drive their battleship Yamato through the Allied fleet with the goal of beaching it on Okinawa for use a shore battery.

Initial U.S. landings began on March 26 when elements of the 77th Infantry Division captured the Kerama Islands to the west of Okinawa. On March 31, Marines occupied Keise Shima. Only eight miles from Okinawa, the Marines quickly emplaced artillery on these islets to support future operations. The main assault moved forward against the Hagushi beaches on the west coast of Okinawa on April 1. This was supported by a feint against the Minatoga beaches on the southeast coast by the 2nd Marine Division. Coming ashore, Geiger and Hodge’s men quickly swept across the south-central part of the island capturing the Kadena and Yomitan airfields (Map).

US Army 77th Infantry soldiers trudge thru the mud & flooding on Okinawa

Having encountered light resistance, Buckner ordered the 6th Marine Division to begin clearing the northern part of the island. Proceeding up the Ishikawa Isthmus, they battled through rough terrain before encountering the main Japanese defenses on the Motobu Peninsula.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News –

The remains of five Australians who were murdered by the Japanese in World War II appear to have been discovered on the island of Nauru.  The five men were working as civilians on the island in 1943, not soldiers, so there is, unfortunately, no money available to repatriate them.

Frederick Royden Chalmers volunteered to remain on the island along with four other men in order to help the islanders deal with the Japanese invasion they knew was coming.  Chalmers was 62 years old when he was killed. The other four men were Bernard Quin, 48, Wilfred Shugg, 39, William Doyle, 47, and Frederick Harmer, 44. They were captured by the invading forces and eventually dragged onto the beach where they were killed on March 25, 1943.

The family of Chalmers wants his body returned to Australia. The Unrecovered War Casualties Unit of the Australian Army Defense Force and the Department of Foreign Affairs both claim to be unauthorized to bring the remains of the men back home.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Stevie Barnett – Matthews, MO; US Navy, Vietnam,Chief Petty Officer (Ret.)

Ira ‘Pete’ Chesley – North Platte, NE; US Army, WWII, ETO, 9th Armored Division

Thomas Eager – Watertown, NY; US Navy, WWII, USS Princeton

Bob Funderburke – Rock Hill, SC; US Army, Korea, Sgt., 11th Airborne Division

Jessie Gale – Tetonia, ID; US Navy, WWII, ATO

Michael Littrell Sr. – Louisville, KY; USMC, Vietnam

William Patterson – Santa Barbara, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Col. (Ret.), 42 Ordnance Div.

Lloyd Robertson – Cralk, CAN; RC Navy, WWII

John Siler – Banner, OK; Merchant Marine, WWII

Francis Weniger – Plankinton, SD; US Navy, WWII, PTO

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CHRISTMAS

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TO ALL THOSE THAT BELIEVE IN FREEDOM AND PEACEMERRY CHRISTMAS, from THE PACIFIC PARATROOPER !!

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PLEASE REMEMBER THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR US THEN….

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AND THOSE THAT PROTECT US TODAY….

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TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND NEW READERS – I WISH YOU ALL THE VERY BEST OF HOLIDAY SEASONS!!!

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MILITARY CHRISTMAS HUMOR – 

Humor from deployed Marines

Humor from deployed Marines

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OOPS !!

OOPS !!

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FAREWELL SALUTES – 

Loren Abdulla – Fox Lake, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart (Yankton Sioux)

Robert Boyd – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 136394, WWII, driveroperation-enduring-freedom-afgahanistan-wilderness-holiday-greetings1

Alfred Chew – Giddings, TX; US Army, Korea, demolition / US Air Force, TSgt. (Ret. 24 yrs.)

Steven Erceg – W.AUS; 3rd & 4th RAR, Vietnam

William Fields – Birmingham, AL; US Army, WWII, PTO

Daniel Martin – Portland, OR; US Army, WWII

Bruce R. Linzy – Gay, FL; US Army, Korea, Co. C/1st Batt./187th RCT

Toby Ortiz – Nambe, NM; US Army, WWII, PTO, 25th Infantry

Fred Persinger – Dover, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, (Ret. 28 years)

Ralph Wetmore – Lodi, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Sgt., medic

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Personal Note – Please be patient, it’s been very busy around here and it may take me a while to get back to you.  I appreciate each and every one of you!!

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Electrical Section, 127 Wing, Christmas, 1943

From Pierre Lagacé, the gentleman who works tirelessly to bring our ancestors home to us!

RCAF No. 403 Squadron

Was your father, grandfather, uncle, granduncle, or someone you know was with Electrical Section, 127 Wing around Christmas time in 1943?

Well chances are that he is on this picture.

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Lorne’s father is.

Electrician section Leonard Weston

This picture is probably not precious unless your father, grandfather, uncle, granduncle, or someone you know was with Electrical Section, 127 Wing around Christmas time in 1943.

If you find someone you know, please write a comment and I will get in touch.

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USS Alabama – Then and Now

USS Alabama

USS Alabama, Cruise book

The USS Alabama (BB-60) is a South Dakota Class Battleship, launched on April 16, 1942. It served during World War II in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

The Alabama served in British waters protecting supply convoys to the Soviet Union.

Later it joined U.S. forces fighting in the Pacific. It was involved in the Gilbert Island, Marshall Islands, and Marianas Islands campaigns, and in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Okinawa.

The Alabama was awarded nine battle stars for her service.

On January 9, 1947, the Alabama was decommissioned. Her last journey under her own power was to the United States Pacific Reserve Fleet at Bremerton, Washington. She remained there until removed from the Naval Vessel Register on June 1, 1962.

US Navy poster

US Navy poster

However, that was not the end of her life. Some citizens of the State of Alabama formed a ‘USS Alabama Battleship Commission’ with the aim of raising funds to preserve the Alabama as a memorial to the men and women who served their nation during World War II.

The money, including $100,000 raised by schoolchildren in the form of nickels and dimes, and a $1,000,000 corporate donation, was found, and the Alabama was awarded to the state on June 16, 1964. She was formally handed over at a ceremony in Seattle on July 7.

She was then towed to Mobile Bay, Alabama, where she lies in Battleship Memorial Park. It opened as a museum on January 9, 1965. She was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

The Alabama is one of the most well-known American ships of World War II. The 1992 movie Under Siege, starring Steven Seagal, featured it, though not by name.

Though the action in the film is supposed to have occurred on board the Missouri, the Alabama is actually shown in most of the battleship scenes.

 

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Carlton Blackmore – Westfield, NJ; US Army, WWII, Captain

John Cleary Jr. – Bronx, NY; US Army, Korea

Allan Dally – Hawke’s Bay NZ; RNZ Army # 056129, WWII, East Coast Mounted Riflesbiabonlceaepa7g-599x769

Harold Gordon – New Bern, NC; US Merchant Marine, WWII & Korea, radioman

Fred Johnson – Park City, UT; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Snowbell (AN-52)

Larry Jordal – Sisseton, SD; US Army, Korea

Stanley Levine – Cincinnati, OH; US Army, WWII

Richard Rose  – Battle Creek, MI; US Air Force

William J. Simon Jr. – W.Scranton, PA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Marcey Jack Wilson – Wichita Falls, TX; US Navy, WWII

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Smitty ~ Getting Close to Shore ~ Letter VI

Ships in anchor at Milne Bay, 1944

Ships in anchor at Milne Bay, 1944

Just as Smitty expected, their destination was quickly coming up over the horizon.  The fleeting glimpse of solid land, Milne Bay, New Guinea was only a short stopover for water (such a disappointment) and they continued their cruise north.  The 11th Airborne Division came upon the humming waterfront of ships manipulating to unload troops, supplies and equipment in Oro Bay.  They witnessed a paradoxal view of organized chaos.

Down the rope ladders they went to the beach taxis, DUKWs (2 ton amphibious vehicles commonly called “ducks”) and onward to the awaiting shoreline.  At latitude 8*52’60S and longitude 148*30’0E, this would become the first step for many a G.I. on foreign soil.  Once they actually hit the beach, the heat seemed to slam into the troopers and their uniforms became soaked within minutes, but they proceeded on to the Buna-Dobodura area to make their new base camp.

Oro Bay, New Guinea

Oro Bay, New Guinea

As written in the Australian newspaper, The Canberra Times, 1944: “New Guinea was a country out of the Stone Age that was whizzed through the centuries.  A country that had previously known only natives, grass huts and raw nature has been blitzed from all angles with every piece of equipment known to modern engineering and warfare … the skies are as busy as a beehive with bombers and fighters and transports.”

The 11th had entered the jungles amidst torrential rains, mud and heat.  On their first day, the meals were prepared in Australian chuck wagons and the idea of fresh food would be a distant memory from the past.  From here on out, everything would be canned, dehydrated or cured.  Having come from the fishing town of Broad Channel, Smitty was accustom to eating seafood and was even teased in boot camp for liking the creamed chipped beef on toast (more commonly known as -“shit-on-a-shingle”), but those days were long gone.  I remember him saying more than once, “It wasn’t that the powdered eggs tasted bad — they just didn’t have a taste.”

Although General Swing, commander of the 11th A/B, had contracted malaria and was hospitalized when his men shipped out of the U.S., he boarded a plane for Brisbane, Australia to attend a meeting with Gen. MacArthur.  Swing was briefed on the immediate plans for his command and was reminded that the 11th A/B was considered a “secret weapon.”  Swing managed to be in Dobodura in time to meet his men as they disembarked.

Dobodura, 1944

Dobodura, 1944

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Letter VI                                       Land Ho!  On the port side

Dear Mom,  Well, land is in sight so I’ll just hold off this letter awhile until I can find out for sure if this is what we have all been waiting for or just another island….  Yep and yes siree this is finally it and from what I have seen up to now it is going to prove not only an interesting place, but picturesque as well.  Don’t know yet if we can say where we are, so I won’t attempt it.

Everyone is standing along the railings with glasses while those less fortunate are straining their eyes trying to get a glimpse of our new and strange surroundings.  It is all very exciting and thrilling and must say one gets sort of feeling down deep that is hard to explain.  It might be that the sight of this long awaited place has sub-consciously awaked us to the fact that we are one heck of a long way from home.

Now that we are here in a port with a chance of possibly getting this letter mailed, I’ll close this letter and mail it as I know how anxious you must be about me and would like to hear from me as soon as possible.  I promise you though that I will continue to write my letters like this and would like you to save them all so that when I get back I will have something to read back on and maybe remember.

I did finally get around to  part of this was censored so don’t worry any on that account.  I know how you worry about things like that so thought it best that you know.  the next two lines were also censored  That is just about all there is for now, so with regards to all and hoping this letter is the answer to your nightly prayers, I’ll close with all my love and millions of hugs and kisses.

Your son,  Everett

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Military Humor – uniformjoke

New Guinea 10/24/44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Leonard Allen – Kawakawa, NZ; RNZ Navy # 733871, WWII/ # 12333

Herbert Dake – Monroe, WA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Peleliu Cemetery

Peleliu Cemetery

Charles Foss – Ipswich, MA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Cyril Gill – Jersey City, NJ; USMC, WWII, PTO

James Harkness – Elk Point, SD; US Army, WWII

Creed Jones – Robbinsville, NC; US Army, WWII

Sam Macri – New Rochelle, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457 Artillery/11th Airborne Div.

Brad Prince – Sante Fe, NM; US Army, WWII & Korea

Aloysius Schmitt – St. Lucas, IA; US Navy, Chaplain, USS Oklahoma, Pearl Harbor, KIA

Georgianna Schroeder – Huntington Park, CA; USO, WWII

Victor VanFleet – Kalamazoo, MI; US Navy, WWII

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Personal note – welcometofla

We are expecting quite a storm here on Thursday, Oct. 6th, [Hurricane Matthew], I suspect we will NOT have electricity for long.  So, please be patient with me as I try to keep up with my Reader page, visitors, and replies to the comments – I WILL be back sooner or later!  Thanks to you ALL !!

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Current look back at the home front

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My Years of Eating Dangerously

by: William Jeanes, former editor-in-chief of ‘Car and Driver’

Marie Osmond told me on tv that she lost 50 lbs. eating prepackaged meals sent to her home, and not too long ago, the nation’s first lady ran off the White House pastry chef.  That reminded me of childhood mealtimes and my grandmother’s nutritional malfeasance.

Until well after WWII ended, I lived on 6th Street in Corinth, MS, with my grandparents.  Two aunts also lived with us.  All the men were in the Pacific, leaving my grandfather (Pop), to provide.  My grandmother (Mom), ran the house.

Pop was a superb provider.  He worked as a carpenter for the TVA and had a green B sticker on his car’s windshield, meaning that we had income and gasoline.  He also had a green thumb and grew green vegetables in a huge backyard garden.  Pop also fished, and he put fresh bream and crappie on our big dining room table at least twice a week.  He also oversaw a backyard chicken house that delivered eggs as well as raw material for the big, black frying pan that dominated Mom’s cooking.

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Mom was a canner and preserver.  We had – in what seemed to be endless quantity – green beans, pickled beets, peaches, strawberry preserves, and goodness knows what else.

Mom supplemented this bounty by going to the tiny Kroger store once a week for meat, which was rationed, and such staples as Luzianne coffee, Domino sugar, Clabber Girl baking powder and Crisco shortening.

Many things were served fried: chicken, green tomatoes, fish and pork chops.  Steak, scarce in wartime, was “chicken-fried.”  Meatloaf was baked of course, as was macaroni and cheese.

Mom always overcooked the steak and pork chops.  In those times, the idea of a rare steak or hamburger could disgust whole neighborhoods.  A typical summer meal included fried fish, tomatoes, green beans or butter beans and turnip greens or collards.  I hated greens more than I hated Tojo or Hitler.  If we had salad, it was a wedge of iceberg lettuces doused with French dressing, an orangey liquid unknown in France.

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Modern nutritionists would hyperventilate just thinking about what we ate in the 1940’s.  On the healthy side were the vegetables and greens that were available 6 months out of the year.  From there, things went nutritionally sideways.  Nowadays my grandparents would be guilty of child abuse.

Can you imagine a germ-laden hen house in a backyard of today?  How about wringing the neck of a chicken on the back steps?  Those activities would have brought the SWAT teams from PETA and the EPA pouring through our front door.

The Dept. of Agriculture never inspected Pop’s garden, let alone the hen house, and Mom adhered to no federal guidelines when it came to canning and cooking and cake making.  As fore fried food, the only questions were, “Is it crisp enough?” and “May I have some more?”

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Out house was heated by coal, we drank non-homogenized milk and we rarely locked doors.  It’s a wonder I wasn’t overcome by fumes, poisoned or stolen by gypsies.  Yet we survived.  Pop lived to be 88 and Mom 82.  Both aunts made it well past 80 and I was 77 on my last birthday. [This was originally published in Sept/Oct. 2015].

That’s what 400 year’s worth of fried chicken and beet pickles can do for you.

Condensed from the Saturday Evening Post.

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 Military Humor – on their food – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Arthur – Louisville, KY; USMC, WWII, PTO

Charlton ‘Chuck’ Cox – Seattle, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 navigator/Korea06062012_AP120606024194-600

Edward Fuge – Otaki, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Delva Gess – Chewelah, ID; USO, WWII

Roy Hart – Saskatchewan, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, CBI & ETO

Cecil Jarmer – Portland, OR; US Navy, WWII, CBI

George Macneilage – San Bernadino, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div., artillery

Nita Rinehart – Ashtabula, OH; US Navy, WWII WAVES, WWII

Ernest Sprouse Jr. – Knoxville, TN; US Navy, WWII, USS Frost

Gene Wilder, Milwaukee, WI; US Army, (beloved actor)

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From a Layout to a Book: Behind the Scenes at IHRA

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Publishing non-fiction may not be as easy as you first imagine.

Let the IHRA historians know how you feel about their work!

 

IHRA

Last week, we gave you an idea of how we get our information, compile it, and begin to write a compelling narrative. We left off with the chapter layout process and now we’ll finish the book. Before we get to the rest of the chapters as well as the appendices, let’s focus on the color section.

The color section consists of color photos we received, aircraft profiles, nose art closeups (this is a recent addition as of Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s and Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Volume I), paintings, and patches. As for plane profiles, one plane from each squadron during each quarter of the war is chosen based on availability of photos, unique attributes (such as camouflage schemes and hardware), coverage of a plane, and elaborate nose art.

Once planes are chosen, we gather up all the photos and written information we have into what…

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Intermission (9) James Gleason, Marine Raider

Marine Raiders

Marine Raiders

Lyman and Minnie Gleason were in their 40s when the baby arrived at their doorstep in a shoebox, and James Gleason would grow up near Youngstown, Ohio.  On his 17th birthday, he enlisted in the Navy.

“Everybody was real patriotic at that particular time,” Gleason said in an interview with the Tribune two years ago at his home in Tampa.

On Aug. 3, 1942, he was called up, and after boot camp, transferred to the Marines, who didn’t have their own medics or chaplains. He volunteered for a newly formed group called the Marine Raiders.

James Gleason, 1943

James Gleason, 1943

There were four Marine Raider battalions and two Raider regiments that saw action in the Pacific between 1942 and 1944 and were formed to conduct amphibious raids and guerrilla operations behind enemy lines.

The Raiders went on to participate in campaigns across the Pacific Ocean and earned more than 700 decorations, including seven Medals of Honor, before being disbanded.

Gleason had no idea what he was getting into when he volunteered to join the Raiders.  “I didn’t even know what the heck the Raiders were,” he said. “I volunteered because I wanted a change.”

The battles of the Solomon Island chain were hell on Earth. In addition to a determined enemy, the Raiders had to contend with swarms of flies and mosquitoes, constant dampness, swamps, jungles and sharp coral that cut skin and caused infections.

By the time of the attack on Bairoko Harbor, on New Georgia Islands, the Raiders were so decimated they were able to muster up less than one full battalion of 900 to 950 men from the two full battalions they started with, Gleason said.

The battle to take the harbor began at 10 a.m., July 20, 1943, according to Gleason and continued all day.

"Real Blood, Real Guts" by: James Gleason

“Real Blood, Real Guts” by: James Gleason

“With nothing but guts and small infantry weapons, about 800 Raiders attacked the enemy force, who were well emplaced in a series of four parallel ridges with interlocking bunkers and cleverly concealed cross fire machine gun fire lanes,” Gleason wrote.

It also marked the first time the Navajo Code Talkers were used.

The enemy was driven back, but at a heavy cost, with more than 250 men killed or wounded and half the remaining men needed to take care of the survivors. Gleason was in the thick of it all, working with doctors and chaplains to save the wounded.

“We were pinned down under heavy fire at nightfall,” Gleason wrote. “At midnight, the Japanese staged one of their celebrated suicide bayonet charges, screaming like madmen.”

On July 23, the day Gleason turned 18, the Marines were ordered to retreat down a ridge even though he and others thought they were about to defeat the enemy.

“Now at age 18, the order to withdraw when we were 300 yards of victory at Bairoko was a bitter pill for everyone to swallow!” he wrote. “We Raiders contend that we would have taken Bairoko Harbor had we received the air and naval support we asked for.”

Gleason would be evacuated to Guadalcanal, but said he had few memories of what happened on his birthday.

Out of about 900 men, “I was one of about 120 or 130 to come down off the hill, with all the wounded and sick,” Gleason said in the interview.

 After getting out of the hospital, Gleason returned to duty, serving aboard several ships, and left the service, only to return during the Korean War, where he “continued to help his Marines,” according to Mark Van Trees, who runs Support the Troops, an organization providing toiletries, snacks and other items to deployed troops.

When he got out of uniform for good, Gleason had an eclectic life.

Marine Raiders on Bougainville, Jan. 1944

Marine Raiders on Bougainville, Jan. 1944

The family moved to Clearwater and later to Tampa, FL in the mid 1980s, and Gleason spent his last days in a Tampa assisted living facility.

“I met Doc Gleason and he is made of the right stuff — a true Fleet Marine,” said James Mattis, a retired Marine general and former commander of U.S. Central Command. “‘Doc,’ who represented all the character and Gung-Ho that have made our Navy Corpsmen brothers so highly respected in the macho Marine Corps. Doc was a great sailor, fine friend and a true role model for us all. We will miss him terribly.”

One of Gleason’s happiest moments seemed to be the announcement that Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, or MARSOC would be adapting the Marine Raider name.

“He broke down at the announcement with his dream coming true.”

A funeral service for Gleason was. May 5, at Oakwood Community Church, in Tampa. He will be buried later at Arlington National Cemetery.

 Condensed from an article written by: Howard Altman

©2016 the Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Fla.)

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USMC  Humor – 

 

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They still make house calls.

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USMC Bumper stickers

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Akers – Chicago, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO

Douglas Barnes – Asheboro, NC; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT Rakkasans

Standing Guard

Standing Guard

Arnold Christie – Toronto, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, HMS Sheffield, Engine Room Artificer P. Officer

Herbert Daley – E.Hartford, CT; USMC, WWII, Korea, SSgt. (Ret. 20 years)

C. Harry Domm – North Hills, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Henry Dunn – NZ; Regimental # N801680, WWII

Robert Judell – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII, ETO, destroyer escort

John Lagoulis – Newburyport, MA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, 58th SeaBee Battalion, Bronze Star

Robert Ross – IN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunner’s mate

Willie Ward Sr. – Mobile, AL; USMC, WWII, PTO, aircraft mechanic

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May 8 – V-E Day

The Queen Elizabeth returns troops to NYC

The Queen Elizabeth returns troops to NYC

On May 8, 1945, millions of people around the globe took to the streets to celebrate the World War II surrender of Germany on what came to be known as Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day. At 2:41 a.m. local time the previous day, representatives from the victorious Allied nations met with German officials in Reims, France, to sign the official surrender documents but, in accordance with an earlier agreement between leaders in the United States, Soviet Union and United Kingdom, the news of the end of hostilities on the continent was withheld for 24 hours and announced simultaneously on the 8th. In London, spotlights in the form of a “V” for victory were turned on over St. Paul’s Cathedral—although it took some time to get them working again after nearly six years of wartime blackouts. In the United States a newly sworn-in president got a very unusual birthday present. And in the Soviet Union, a powerful leader was already planning his next, post-war moves. Millions had been killed, rationing continued and there was still three months of deadly fighting ahead, but for a few hours, the world stopped to commemorate and celebrate. As we remember its 68th anniversary, here are some surprising facts you may not know about V-E Day.

V-E Day in NYC

V-E Day in NYC

Susan Hibbert, a British secretary stationed at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) in Reims, France, began working on a series of documents and cables to world leaders informing them of the impending surrender. , didn’t finish until 20 hours later. Finally, at around 2:30 am May 7, Hibbert and other staffers crowded into a conference room to witness one of the most momentous events of the 20th century. Curiously, General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander and architect of the successful war strategy, didn’t attend the ceremony, and was instead represented by his chief of staff Walter Bedell Smith. He did, however, decide how the historic news would be relayed around the world. While many on his staff pressed for a strongly worded declaration of victory, “Ike” overruled them, instead crafting a far simpler message to announce the end of six deadly years of conflict: “The mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945.”Joseph Stalin insisted on a second surrender ceremony.
When Soviet leader Joseph Stalin heard about the surrender ceremony in Reims, he was none too pleased. He declared that the U.S.S.R’s representative there, Ivan Susloparov, had not been authorized to sign the document and that the wording differed from a previous agreement Stalin had approved. Stalin, who ensured Soviet troops were the first to arrive in Berlin in an effort to secure control of the city before the Allies, also refused to accept a surrender signed on French soil, and declared the Reims document simply a preliminary surrender. Stalin’s remarks caused massive confusion; German radio announced that the Axis may have surrendered on the Western Front, but remained at war with the Soviets, and fighting continued throughout the day on May 8. Finally, just before midnight (in the early hours of the 9th, Moscow time), another hastily assembled ceremony got underway in Soviet-controlled Berlin.

Halifax, Canada - V-E Day 1945

Halifax, Canada, V-E Day

V-E Day sparked the deadly Halifax Riot. 
Unfortunately, not every V-E Day celebration ended peacefully. For six years tensions had been rising in the critical Canadian port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, as thousands of sailors flooded the city, more than doubling its population. With housing, commodities and entertainment in short supply, prices were high and tempers were extremely short. On May 7, when word reached the city of the impending surrender, business leaders, fearing an influx of servicemen in search of a celebration, decided to close all liquor stores, restaurants and stores, while the city suspended local transportation. Despite these concerns, the nearby military base’s commander gave more than 10,000 sailors temporary leave to enjoy the end of the war downtown. Angered at what they considered gross mistreatment by city residents, and with little in the way of peaceful diversions, the men eventually began to riot, looting retail stores and liquor outlets and starting dozens of fires. The Halifax Riot continued into May 8, with another 9,000 sailors teeming into town. By the time order was restored and the looting had stopped late that afternoon, three servicemen were dead, 360 had been arrested and the city had suffered more than $5 million in damages—$62 million in today’s money.

 

Reims, France - site of German surrender 1945

                                                                             Reims, France – site of German surrender 1945

The location of the surrender was known as France’s city of kings. 

050506VEDay

by: John Fewings

Information courtesy of History.com

To view previous V-E Day posts – CLICK HERE and then HERE.

ve-day-70th-anniversary

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Political Cartoons ~ from back in the day ~

szyk6

by: Arthur Szyk (1894-1951)

There you are! Don't lose it again!

There you are! Don’t lose it again!

From: The Register, Idaho Falls, ID

From: The Register, Idaho Falls, ID

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Farewell Salutes – 

Arthur Barnett – Hibiscus Coast, NZ; NZ Army # 614348, WWII, 24th Battalion Infantry, Pvt.

Morton Cominsky – Richmond Hil, NY; US Navy, WWII

Once a soldier, always a soldier.

Once a soldier, always a soldier.

Sheila Ede – brn: Darlington, ENG/Alberta, CAN; British Air Force, WWII

Cary Jarvis – Norfolk, VA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Ralph Jeffers – Ocean Township, NJ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Curtiss (Pearl Harbor)

Charles Keating – Paradise Valley, AZ; US Navy, Iraq, SEAL, KIA (despite Obama refusing to call this a combat death)

Tommy Kono – Sacramento, CA;  Tule Interment Camp, WWII/US Army, Korea, Olympic Gold medalist

Frank Livingston (110) – North LA; US Army, WWII, ETO

F. Haydn Williams – Oakland, CA; US Navy, WWII, Asst. Sec. of Defense

Peter Woznicki – Trumbull, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

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October 1943 (1)

Huon Peninsula, New Guinea, 5 Oct. 1943

Huon Peninsula, New Guinea, 5 Oct. 1943

2-4 October – on New Guinea, the Australians took control of Finschhafaen and the Allied troops were consolidated on the Huon Peninsula.  The Australians then reached Dumpu, only 30 miles (48 KM) from the northern coast.  This confined the enemy along that coastline.

4 October – the isolated Japanese post on Wake Island came under heavy naval and aerial bombardment from the US Navy Task Force 14, commanded by RAdm. Alfred Montgomery.  The B-24 Liberators dropped more than 320 tons (325 tonnes) of bombs.  Approximately 30 Japanese planes were destroyed on the ground and 31 counted downed by aerial combat.  The US lost 13.

solmap

4-6 October – the final Japanese forces were evacuated from New Georgia.  This left the enemy with no air base in the Solomons.  The final air battles cost the enemy 27 more aircraft.  The total cost for Vila airfield area: the US had 5,000 casualties, including 1,094 KIA and Japan had 2,500 KIA.  (expensive piece of property).

6 October – In Burma, Gen. Sir William Slim became the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Eastern Command and also led over the newly formed 14th Army.

12 October – at Rabaul, the crucial Japanese air and naval base was hit by a massive attack of 349 US bombers.  In all, a total of 20,540 tons (20,913 tonnes) were dropped on the heavily fortified post by the Allied strike.

 

1-22 October – final plans were made for Operation Galvanic landing on Bougainville for the next ‘hop’ through the Solomons (Operation Goodtime) meant orders for the Marines of US Task Force 311.  Aerial bombings of the island continued and the air base was severely damaged on the 18th.  The Japanese lost 123 aircraft during another air raid near Rabaul on the 22nd.

Bougainville, a 150 mile-long fiddle-shaped island is the largest of the Solomons.  It has jungle-covered mountains, 2 of which are volcanoes, and only narrow beaches to land on.  Adm. Halsey picked the code “Cherryblossom” for the 3rd Marines operation.  The 37th US Army Division to follow 1 November.  This force would be up against the 6th Imperial Division; 35,000 of the terrorists of Nanking.

Gen. Vandergrift

Gen. Vandergrift

The commander of the 3rd Marines mysteriously fell from his 3rd story window at his headquarters in Noumea.  Gen. Vandergrift was chosen to lead the men in for the initial landing.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

6a00d8341bfadb53ef00e54f2c2fcf8834-640wi

getting-to-know-your-fauna-1.pngYou've got to align your sights, private!!

You’ve got to align your sights, Private!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Pierre Bouvet – Mauritius; South African Air Force, WWII, 31st Bomber Squadron

Daniel Elloitt – Youngsville, NC; US Army, Iraq, MP command, KIA

Marcel Gagnon – San Leandro, CA; US Army, WWII, Bronze Starsalutetop

Jean-Paul Dubreuil – Port Coquitlam, CAN; RC Army, WWII, Korea, Major (Ret. 22 yrs.)

Howard Guthrie, Jr. – Vero Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 58th Bomber Sq., radar

Alfred Hargreaves – Tauranga, NZ; RNZ Navy # 9315, WWII

Wallace McTammany – Providence, RI; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Frank Peregory – Esmont, VA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 29th Division, Sgt.

Roy Rossiter – Abilene, TX; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Janet Sommerville – Payson, AZ; US State Dept. & French Underground, WWII

Gerald Walter – Owosso, MI; US Army, WWII, POW

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