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Camp MacKall, Smitty and the Knollwood Maneuvers

WACO glider in take off from Camp MacKall field.

WACO glider at Camp MacKall – reverse side reads: “Hello Mom, Finally got some cards that can let you see what these gliders we ride around in look like. This picture was taken on our camp field. I have a few more that I’ll send to you. Regards to all. Hope to be home this Wednesday.” Everett

Station Hospital, Camp MacKall, NC

The type of construction used for the barracks at Camp MacKall and the above hospital is called a “theatre of operations.”  Built on pilings and constructed of green sawed pine boards which is then covered with type 4 black tar paper.  The wood was cut from trees on the camp property using 7 sawmills running 24/7.  When the boards dried out, the 2 pot-bellied stoves were incapable of keeping the men warm.  Smitty spent some time at that hospital when the army discovered he did not perspire.  The medication took 3 weeks to kick in and then he was back to marching.

Knollwood Maneuvers

The Knollwood Maneuver would not only be the deciding factor for the 11th Airborne, but also for future paratrooper divisions as a whole.  5 December 1943, Army Ground Forces test team deployed a composite combat team from the 17th A/B, plus a battalion from Col. Duke McEntee’s 541st Parachute Infantry Regiment to be situated at Knollwood Airport and other critical points to act as the ‘enemy.’

Viewer to this operation included: Under Secretary of War, Robert Patterson; General McNair; General Ridgeway (82nd A/B); BGen. Lee Donovan; Airborne Command and several teams of high-ranking inspectors from the War Dept., Army Ground Forces and Army Air Forces.

Camp MacKall, 1943, triangular runway

On midnight of Dec. 6, 1943, 200 C-47 Dakota transports carried the troopers and towed the 234 gliders from five separate airfields to begin the operation.  The lift-offs were timed so that each plane would join the column in its proper place.  The aircraft became a vee-of-vees, nine ships wide as the formations grew larger.  They made a rendezvous on the Atlantic coastline and took a 200 mile circular route before aiming toward the inland drop zones; most of the men would jump during evening’s darkness at 1200′.  Almost all the troopers and gliders hit the proper DZ (drop Zones) and LZs (landing zone).  However, the division chief of staff and his glider load landed in a road on the Fort Bragg artillery range.

Weather conditions were not conducive for jumping as the rain became sleet, but still, 85% were successful.  There were 2 casualties and 48 injuries.  The 11th Airborne “captured” and “held” the Aberdeen and Knollwood Airports from the defending forces.  The exercise came to an end on Dec. 12 – Smitty’s 29th birthday.  The War Dept., after reviewing the reports, replied to Gen. Swing that they had been wrong and the training for such a specialized unit should proceed. (As it would turn out, their training had only just begun. )

For a complete and detailed look at the Knollwood Maneuvers, a friend of mine, Eugene Piasecki, U.S. Army Historian,has his data online now…

https://arsof-history.org/articles/v4n1_knollwood_page_1.html

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News from home: Smitty’s friend, George Dunlop rescued two Navy pilots after their training plane crashed into Jamaica Bay.  The company of soldiers that were stationed on Broad Channel became an actual camp and decided to call it — Camp Smith!  War bond drives were going on as well as the dimming of the street lamps.

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Military Humor –

Learning on the job.

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Arthur R. D’Agostino – Staten Island, NY; US Army, WWII, TSgt., 8th Armored Division / post that includes Mr. D’Agostino will be published at a later date

Gordon M. Hill – CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, pilot, 416th Squadron

Courtesy of Dan Antion

Burtell M. Jefferson – Washington D.C.; US Army, WWII, PTO / Police Chief

Herbert C. Jensen – Farmington, UT; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Henry LaBonte – Brockton, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Eugene Richard Skotch – East Meadow, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Pfc., KIA (Gia Dinh Province)

Walter A. Smead – Saratoga County, NY; US Army, Korea, Cpl. Battery A/57th Field Artillery/7th Infantry Div., KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Everett R. Stewart – Anderson, CA; US Navy, WWII, Petty Officer 2nd Cl., USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Joseph E. Tinkham Jr. – South Gardiner, ME; US Army, Vietnam, !st Calvery Division, Adj. Gen. of Maine National Guard, MGeneral (Ret. 37 y.)

Bertram G. Voorhees – Pasadena, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511/11th Airborne Division

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The Army Airborne and the start to Camp MacKall

Airborne, Camp MacKall

The original idea for an American airborne came from Gen. Billy Mitchell in 1918.  His  commander, Gen. Pershing agreed, but once the WWI Armistice was signed, the plan was terminated.  In the late 1920’s, Germany began training parachute units and in the 1930’s, they led the world in gliders.  Russia created the Air Landing Corps in 1935.  Japan started in 1940 with German instructors.  The U.S. did not take note until Germany was successful on Crete in 1941.

Smitty, 187th RCT/11th Airborne Division, Camp MacKall 1943

The American tradition was born when 48 men jumped at Ft. Benning on Aug. 16, 1940, where  Private Eberhard, promised to yell to his buddies below, was the first to shout out “Geronimo”.  General William Lee is considered the “Father of the Airborne.”  My father, Everett Smith or “Smitty” (as you’ll get to know him),  did not care for heights or jumping, so I asked him – “Why volunteer?”  He shrugged and said, “They pay you more in the paratroopers.”  Smitty had a dry sense of humor which you will see more of in the letters he wrote to his mother in future posts.  He did however accept his boot camp, sharp shooting, glider & parachute training as a way  of learning new things he would otherwise have never experienced. [One of his statements driven into me – ” Like any job, always try your best.”]  Since he was 27 and much older than other recruits, he was often referred to by the nickname of “Pops.”

Camp MacKall postcard

The 11th Airborne Division was formed on Feb. 25, 1943 and their conditioning was so severe that most of the men felt combat would be a breeze.  They were the first A/B division formed from scratch, so instead of following the manuals – they were writing their own.  The camp was under construction 24/7 and they took classes sitting in folding chairs and easels were used for map reading, first-aid, weapons, foxholes, rules of land warfare, communications, field fortifications, and so on.  Between May and June one battalion at a time went to Fort Benning for jump school.

glider jumping

When the time came for Stage A of jump school, it was scratched since the men were already as fit as possible.  Stage B, was learning to tumble, equipment knowledge, sliding down a 30′ cable and packing a parachute.  In Stage C, they used a 250-foot tower, forerunner to the one at Coney Island, to simulate a jump.  Stage D, they earned their jump wings and boots.  In June, the units began training in every circumstance that might arise in combat.

The gliders used were WACO CG 4A, boxlike contraptions with wings.  The skeleton was small gauge steel covered with canvas; a wingspan of 84 feet, length of 49 feet and carried 3,700 pounds = two pilots and 13 fully loaded soldiers or a jeep and 6 men. The casualty list developing these appeared endless to the men.  Smitty could not listen to “Taps” without tearing up, even in his later years.

WACO glider in take off from Camp MacKall field.

21 June, the division entered the unit training program.  During July, all units went on 10-day bivouacs and to Fort Bragg.  Glider formal training occurred at Maxton Air Base.

In July, in Sicily, Operation Husky went terribly awry, due to the weather conditions –  3,800 paratroopers were separated from their gliders and each other.  The casualty rate was exorbitant.  This created serious doubts about the practicality of a division size airborne.  Proof would rest on the shoulders of the 11th and their commander, Gen. Joseph May Swing.  A demonstration called the “Pea Patch Show” was displayed for Sec. of War, Stimson.  He gave Swing a positive review, but it did not convince Gen. Marshall or McNair.  The fate of the Airborne Command rested on the upcoming Knollwood Maneuvers.

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Smitty’s hometown of Broad Channel sent out a free issue of their newspaper, “The Banner”, to every hometown soldier and this became another source of back front info, along with news from his mother and friends:

News that Smitty got from home at this point:  Broad Channel was getting their own air raid siren.  (Broad Channel is one-mile long and about 4-blocks wide).  His neighbors, the Hausmans, heard from their POW son in the Philippines.  And – his divorce papers were final, Smitty was single again.

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Military Humor –

‘I dropped out of Parachute School.’

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Ashby – Sun City, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Carl Bradley – USA; US Navy, WWII, Fireman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Leo Brown – Lima, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO, USS Colorado,3rd Marine Division

Benjamin Goldfarb – Toronto, CAN; US Army, WWII, PTO, Surgical tech, 54th General Hospital, Philippines

Daniel C. Helix – Concord, CA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, MGeneral, Purple Heart / Mayor

Denis H. Hiskett – USA; US Navy, WWII, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Robert L. Moore – Queens, NY; USMC, Korea & Vietnam, Gunnery Sgt.

Thomas O’Keefe – Washington D.C.; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT  /  CIA

George Semonik Jr. – Sewickley, PA; US Army, Chief Warrant Officer, 82nd Airborne Division (Ret. 20 y.)

Shelby Treadway – Manchester, KY; US Navy, WWII, Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

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A Brief Background for War

Teddy Roosevelt

For centuries Asian products were desired, but one of the most profitable trade routes operated from India to China, introducing opium into that country.  This market accounted for 20% of the British Empire’s revenue and was the basis of the Roosevelt family wealth.

Teddy Roosevelt, an aristocrat, was taught thru his youth and at Harvard, of Aryan supremacy in government and intellect.  Columbia University professor John Burgess impressed him with white American world domination.  With this ideology, he followed the European nations in absorbing colonies.  He pushed for control of the Philippines where the American behavior was deplorable, but overlooked.

The U.S. Minister to Japan, DeLong, encouraged “General” Charles LeGendre to go to Japan and instruct them on invasion tactics and instigate his “Monroe Doctrine” for Asia. (Three decades later it would be known as the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere of WWII).  When Japan invaded Manchuria, Roosevelt said, “I was thoroughly pleased with the Japanese victory for Japan is playing our game.”  Although U.S. advisors assured Korea that America was their “Elder Brother,” in 1905 Roosevelt closed the embassy and said, “I should like to see Japan have Korea.”  The Nobel prize committee did not know of his secret meetings with Japan during the Russo-Japanese War and gave him the Peace prize anyway.

Roosevelt had not only opened the door for Japan to conquer neighboring nations, he gave them the ideal instructor and plans to do it with.  For detailed information see: The Imperial Cruise, by James Bradley.

https://www.thriftbooks.com/browse/?b.search=the%20imperial%20cruise#b.s=mostPopular-desc&b.p=1&b.pp=30&b.oos&b.tile

“The Imperial Cruise” by: James Bradley

If Congress discovered he had also sent pilots to Britain, Roosevelt said, “I will be impeached.”

Being that Japan found it necessary to import food, fuel and American plane parts, here was the edge that FDR needed to coax the U.S. public into war.  When Germany failed to declare war, he froze Japan’s assets on July 26, 1941.   Relations between Japan and the ABCD countries had basically reached a point of no return.  The New York Times newspaper called this action, “…the most drastic blow short of war.”

The ABCD powers (American, British, Chinese & Dutch) followed suit and this became a choke chain around Japan’s neck which FDR jerked as he saw fit until Pearl Harbor exploded into a scene of destruction.  This action not only got the U.S. into the war, but FDR made certain that the major effort would be to assist his friend Winston Churchill – not the Pacific.

FDR campaigning in Warms Springs, GA, 4 April 1939

For a more detailed look into the world that led into WWII, I have a 3-part ‘East/West series’ that starts here…

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/east-and-west-1/

FDR cabled Philippine President, Manuel Quezon, “I can assure you that every vessel available is  bearing the strength that will eventually crush the enemy… I give to the people of the Philippines my solemn pledge that their freedom will be retained… The entire resources in men and materials of the U.S. stand behind that pledge.”

Gen. George Marshall, FDR’s Army Chief of Staff, radioed MacArthur:  ‘A stream of 4-engine bombers, previously delayed by foul weather, is enroute…Another stream of similar bombers started today from Hawaii…”

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Political Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Patricia Adams – Fitchburg, MA; Civilian, WWII, Civil Corps, plane spotter

Joseph Bange – Dayton, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO, Signal Corps

Robert Benden (101) – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, x-ray technician

Michael Glockler Sr. – Chicago, IL; US Army, Vietnam, Co. B/2/505/82nd Airborne Division, Bronze Star

Wilton Jackson (100) – Little River, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Captain, 17th Bomb Group

Emil J. Kapaun – Pilsen, KS; US Army, Korea, Chaplain, 3/8/1st Cavalry Division, POW, Medal of Honor, KIA (Chinese Camp 5)

Frank Lopez – East Lost Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, aircraft maintenance

Kenneth “Rock” Merritt – Warner, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt. Major, 82nd Airborne Division / Korea & Vietnam, Silver Star, (Ret. 35 y.)

Robert Renner – Wautoma, WI; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation / US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

John Garvis Smith – Winston-Salem, NC; US Navy, WWII, USS Southerland

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Everett (Smitty) Smith

young Everett and Mother, Anna

Everett Smith was born Dec. 12, 1914 and grew up with the gentle waves of Jamaica Bay on an island one mile long and barely four blocks wide.  This was the tight-knit community of Broad Channel, New York.  He resided with his mother, Anna at peaceful 207 East 9th Road and spent his days between school, working and helping to care for his grandmother.

Aerial view of Broad Channel

 

Smitty’s, Broad Channel, NY

Everett’s nickname had always been “Smitty” and so, the name of his fishing station came to be.  In 1939, at 24 years of age, he married a woman named Catherine and she joined the Smith household.

News of Hitler and his rise to power filtered into the newspapers and radio, but Anna still had the memories of WWI and their financial struggles in what would be become known as the Great Depression made the problems of Europe so far away.

Grassy Point, Broad Channel, where Smitty often tended bar.

The majority of the U.S. population held the ideal of isolationism in high regard and the Smith household agreed wholeheartedly.  Everett was baffled by FDR’s election as his past political and personal records indicated both amoral and often criminal behavior.  The president began to stretch his powers to the limit to assist his friend, Winston Churchill, while U.S. citizens were straining to survive.

On Oct. 30, 1940, Roosevelt spouted in Boston, “I give you one more assurance.  I have said it before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent to any foreign wars.”  My father did not believe FDR then and as we look back — he was right.

Draft card
You’re in the Army now!

Everett received his draft notice in Sept. 1942.  He would be sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey where he volunteered for the paratroopers.  He would immediately then be sent to Camp MacKall, North Carolina for the start of his vigorous training.  Smitty became part of one of the most unique army units of its day, the HQ Co./187th/ 11th Airborne Division.

Smitty, 187th RCT/11th Airborne Division, Camp MacKall 1943

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Chris Andreadakis – Youngstown, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO

Paul Brown (100) – Saginaw, MI; US navy, WWII

Arlington Cemetery

Thomas ‘Millar’ Bryce (101) – Saskatchewan, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, navigator

Robert “Cookie” Cook  (100) – Rochester, NY; US Army, WWII

Aaron M. Fish – USA; US Navy, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, Petty Officer 3rd Class

Dick Hall (100) – Murray, NE; US Army, WWII, ETO, 94th Chemical Mortars/3rd Army Tank Battalion, Lt.

E. Allan Logel (100) – Mapelwood, NJ; US Army, WWII, PTO, Captain, Strategic planning

Donald Myers – Cambria, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO & Korea

Ken P. Smith – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2/187/11th Airborne Division

Martha Watts – Charleston, NC; US Army WAC, WWII

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Pacific Paratrooper reboot…..

Smitty reclining in fron, on the far right, with the HQ Company/187th Regiment/11th Airborne

Pacific Paratrooper will now only publish one post per week.

I first started this website to honor my father and his HQ Co./187th/11th Airborne Division and that is what we intend on doing once again.  Smitty never said, “I did this” or “I did that,”  it was always – “The 11th did IT!”

From the beginning, Everett A. Smith (AKA: Smitty), will be re-introduced, his entrance into WWII, the letters he wrote home and the world that surrounded them at the time.

The Farewell Salutes will continue,  as will the Military Humor columns.  If there is someone you wish to honor in the Salutes, don’t hesitate to give me similar information as you see for others.

1943 11th Airborne yearbook

As a member of the 11th Airborne Association (Member # 4511) myself, I am privy to their newsletter, “The Voice of the Angels,”  and I will be using quotes and stories from that publication.  Matt Underwood, Editor Emeritus, JoAnn, Editor, and the officers of the Association have been of great assistance to me and I thank them very much for their help.

This website is ever changing and being updated, because further knowledge is always being learned.  Smitty told me and many others, “I try to learn something every day.  When I stop, Please, close the lid.”  I have never forgotten that motto to live by and I sincerely hope you all do the same.

Please, DO continue to share what stories you know and/or a link to data you’ve uncovered and put them in the comments.  I am afraid no emails will be opened.  If you are not a blogger, you can Follow by clicking the Follow button in the top right-hand corner of each post.

11th A/B shoulder patch

I thank you all for your contributions in the past and hope you will continue to do so.  If you are new to this site – WELCOME!!  We have a wonderful group of people participating here – join them.

Please remember that these countries, in the following posts, were in a horrendous war and NOTHING written or quoted here is with the intent to disparage any people or nations.  And, I have tried to limit the amount of gory details without shading the facts.  I hope I succeed.

As always – Click on images to enlarge them.

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Military Humor –

Some definitions you may want to keep in mind:

ARMY – a body of men assembled to rectify the mistakes of the diplomats

Critical Terrain: Terrain that if not secured, grabbed, taken or camped out on — you are screwed.

DRAFT BOARD – the world’s largest travel agency

MILITARY EXPERT – one who tells you what will happen next week – and then explains why it didn’t

NEW GUINEA SALUTE – waving the hand over the mess kit to ward off the flies

PACIFIST – a person who fights with everybody BUT the enemy

Pound The Crap Out Of: Somewhere between disrupt and destroy and slightly more than neutralize.

Technique: A noun, used in the phrase: “That’s one technique.” Translated – That’s a really screwed up way to execute this operation and you will probably kill your entire unit. But if you want to do it that way – go ahead.”

WAR – a time that starts off paying old scores and ends up by paying new debts

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Arens – Lansing, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Charles “Stu” Bachmann – Bertrand, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt., B-17 tailgunner

Rosewarne Memorial, courtesy of Destinations Journey

Alvin Cawthon – Tucumcari, NM; US Army, WWII / National Guard (Ret. 42 y.)

Elbert Edwards – Southaven, MS; US Army, WWII, 1st Lt.

Juan Gutierrez – USA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 200th Coast Artillery Regiment, Bataan March, POW, KIA (Luzon, P.I.)

Eddie Hrivnak – Lakewood, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, frogman

David Mottoli – Lawrence, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 25th Fighter Squadron / Grumman (Ret.)

Don Newman – South Bend, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 pilot instructor

George Samson – McGee’s Mills, PA; US Coast Guard, WWII

John Toppi Sr. – Providence, RI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Warwick

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WWII poster

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Aviation Trails

 

Structure of the USAAC – Airforces

The structure of the American Air Force is complex and confusing. Much of it was formed hurriedly during the Second World War, but elements can be traced back as far as the First World War. At its peak, there were almost 2.5 million people employed within its scope both within the United States and overseas in one of the many theatres of operation.

At the start of the Second World War, there were 4 air forces, (designated by district), which were then renumbered 1 – 4 in early 1941. These stayed based within the U.S. covering the West Coast and some training operations on the East Coast and in the southern U.S. The newly established forces were then formed for overseas service. The Fifth, Seventh, Tenth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Twentieth covering the Pacific / Asia campaigns; the Eighth, Ninth, Twelfth and Fifteenth, the European / African / Middle East Theatre; the Sixth covering Panama and finally the Eleventh covering Alaska. During the period 7th December 1941 to 2nd September 1945, there were 16 …..

To read the original post…….

DDT, Aerosol Cans and WWII

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Lyle D. Goodhue, 1942

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

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

From: the National WWII Museum, New Orleans

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Duct Tape and WWII

 

During the WWII, U.S. troops in the heat of battle had a strangely impractical way of reloading their weapons.

Cartridges used for grenade launchers was one example. Boxed, sealed with wax and taped over to protect them from moisture, soldiers would need to pull on a tab to peel off the paper tape and break the seal. Sure, it worked… except when it didn’t, soldiers were left scrambling to pry the boxes open.

waterproof ammo boxes

Vesta Stoudt had been working at a factory packing and inspecting these cartridges when she got to thinking that there had to be a better way. She also happened to be a mother of two sons serving in the Navy and was particularly perturbed that their lives and countless others were left to such chance.

Concerned for the welfare of sons, she discussed with her supervisors an idea she had to fabricate a tape made from strong, water-resistant cloth. And when nothing came of her efforts, she penned a letter to then-President Franklin Roosevelt detailing her proposal (which included a hand-sketched diagram) and closing by making a plea to his conscience:

“We can’t let them down by giving them a box of cartridges that takes a minute or two to open, enabling the enemy to take lives that might be saved had the box been taped with strong tape that can be opened in a split second. Please, Mr. President, do something about this at once; not tomorrow or soon, but now.”

Oddly enough, Roosevelt passed Stoudt’s recommendation on to military officials, and in two weeks time, she received notice that her suggestion is being considered and not too long after was informed that her proposal had been approved. The letter also commended her idea was of “exceptional merit.”

Before long, Johnson & Johnson, which specialized in medical supplies, was assigned and developed a sturdy cloth tape with a strong adhesive that would come to be known as “duck tape,” which garnered the company an Army/Navy “E” Award, an honor given out as a distinction of excellence in the production of war equipment.

Army/Navy E Pennant

While Johnson & Johnson was officially credited with the invention of duct tape, it’s a concerned mother who will be remembered as the mother of duct tape.

The initial iteration that Johnson & Johnson came up with isn’t much different from the version on the market today. Comprised of a piece of mesh cloth, which gives it tensile strength and rigidity to be torn by hand and waterproof polyethylene (plastic), duct tape is made by feeding the materials into a mixture that forms the rubber-based adhesive.

Unlike glue, which forms a bond once the substance hardens, duct tape is a pressure-sensitive adhesive that relies on the degree in which pressure is applied. The stronger the pressure, the stronger the bond, particularly with surfaces that are clean, smooth and hard.

Duct tape was a huge hit with soldiers due to its strength, versatility and waterproof properties. Used to make all sorts of repairs from boots to furniture, it’s also a popular fixture in the world of motorsports, where crews use strips to patch up dents.

During the war duck tape was distributed to soldier’s to use in sealing ammo cans. Industrious soldiers quickly started using it for all manner of repairs thanks to its strong adhesive and sturdy construction. When millions of soldiers returned home from the war, they brought their respect for duct tape with them, rapidly introducing the now ubiquitous tape into popular culture.

Film crews working on-set have a version called gaffer’s tape, which doesn’t leave a sticky residue. Even NASA Astronauts pack a roll when they go on space missions.

on aircraft

Besides repairs, other creative uses for duct tape include strengthening cellular reception on the Apple iPhone 4 and as a form of medical treatment for removing warts called duct tape occlusion therapy, which research hasn’t been proven to be effective.

“Duct” or “duck” tape?

In this case, either pronunciation would be correct. According to Johnson & Johnson’s website, the original green sticky cloth tape got its name during world war II when soldiers started calling it duck tape for the way liquids seem to roll off like water off a duck’s back.

Not long after the war, the company launched a metallic-silver version called duct tape after executives discovered it can also be used to seal heating ducts. Interestingly enough, however, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted field tests on heating ducts and determined that duct tape was insufficient for that purpose.

By :  Tuan C. Nguyen

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

DUCT TAPE DOESN’T FIX EVERYTHING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Steven Bailey – Houston, TX; US Army, Kuwait, 82nd Airborne Division, Bronze Star

Harry Beal – Meyersdale, PA; US Navy, 1st SEAL

Robert Collins – Rockaway, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Thomas Hard Sr. – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, POW

Reed Mattair – Williston, FL; US Army, WWII, PTO

Paul Moore Sr. – Portsmouth, VA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS West Virginia, SeaBee, Pearl Harbor survivor

Edward Sulewski – So. Milwaukee, WI; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Alexander Suprin – brn: Poland; USMC, WWII, PTO

Thomas Whitaker – Marquette, MI; US Army, WWII, Engineering Corps

Dominic Zangari (100) – Lancaster, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 34 y.)

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“Static Line” 11th Airborne newspaper

“Static Line”

Static Line staff

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

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

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

‘Static Line’ column

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

Static line, top 10 models

Static Line’s Books

Static Line’s Sports Corner

 

 

 

 

 

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

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

‘Bloody air mail!’

‘Air Mail’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Covering “The Other Side” Pictorial

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Japanese/American Unity – Today

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

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

By: Howard Brodie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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