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The Final Combat Mission – 15 August 1945

Captain Jerry Yellin flew the last combat mission of WWII on the morning of August 15, 1945, out of Iwo Jima.

Cruising above the Pacific under the morning sun, the Americans had approached the Japanese coastline without incident. Jerry wondered how many more missions like this he would have to fly. They’d all thought the war was over, but now, here he was again, heading to strike a stubbornly resistant enemy.

But down below, in the nation they were about to attack, a philosophical battle was raging on whether to surrender or fight on. The “Big Six”—the six military officers running Japan—had been split by a vote of 3-3 on when and how to end the war with honor. In general, hard, passionate divisions of opinion existed among the Japanese military: some of the older officers wanted to surrender to prevent the destruction of Japan, while others wanted to fight on to the death and kill as many Americans as possible.

The previous night, while another 300 American B-29s strafed Japan again, a group of rogue Japanese officers had started a coup against Prime Minister Suzuki and Emperor Hirohito. The officers burned the prime minister’s office and surrounded the Imperial Palace, hoping to kidnap the emperor, all in an effort to prevent Japan’s leadership from thinking about surrendering. For these officers, and for so many of the Japanese people, surrender was not an option. There was glory in death, but only shame in surrender; Japan, for its part, had never been invaded or lost a war in its history.

Capt. Jerry Yellin, 78th FG

Fortunately for the rest of the world, the coup did not succeed. A group of senior Japanese officers talked the insurgents off the ledge, convincing them that there was nowhere to go. But while the revolt ended, the war did not, and so, with the shoreline of the enemy territory coming into view and Phil Schlamberg, his dear friend and fellow pilot, on his wing, Jerry knew it was time to go back to work.

On Jerry’s order, all the planes in his squadron dropped their eternal fuel tanks over the ocean, then started familiar aerial trek over the great, snow-capped peak of Mount Fuji. As of yet, there had been no radio signal with the word “UTAH,” signaling the end of the war.

As the Americans approached the Japanese capital, they began to identify targets. Within minutes, they swooped down over airfields and attacked despite heavy ground fire. Tracer bullets flew up from the Japanese guns as the 78th made multiple passes at each target.

After strafing the last airfield, Jerry checked his fuel gauge and saw he was still in good shape. But when one of the pilots radioed that his tank had reached the ninety-gallon mark—the amount a Mustang needed for the return flight—it was time to pull up and begin plotting the course back to Iwo Jima.

78th Fighter Group

Jerry looked over at Phil, who was still on his wing, and give him a thumbs up.  Phil looked back and returned the gesture.

With the battle of Tokyo complete, Jerry set his course back out to the ocean and banked to the south. The three other Mustangs in Jerry’s squadron returned with him. A few moments later, as they approached the coast where they would rendezvous with the navigational B-29s, they neared a cloud cover in front of them, often the case when approaching the atmospheric temperature inversions near the coast. With Phil still tight on his wing, Jerry led the four Mustangs into the cloud bank. Flying at an altitude of about 7,000 feet, Jerry focused his eyes on his navigation instruments, as the interior of the white, puffy clouds blocking his view of everything else.

But when the Mustangs emerged on the other side of the clouds, a devastating reality soon surfaced. Phil was gone. Most likely, he had been brought down by antiaircraft bullets fired into the clouds. There was no sign of him.

Jerry was devastated. When he landed at Iwo Jima, meanwhile, he learned something else: the war was over. The emperor had announced Japan’s surrender three hours earlier.  The code word UTAH had been broadcast to U.S. aircraft over the country, but the word had not reached the planes of the 78th until they landed.

Capt. Jerry Yellin

It was a surreal feeling as Jerry climbed out of his plane and jumped down to the airfield, standing on a once-bloody Pacific island. Now, suddenly, it was a world at peace. The men of the 78th had a saying, “Alive in ’45.” That had been their goal, and now it was their reality.

As Jerry walked away from his plane, another realization hit him: he had just flown the final combat mission of the war, and Phil was the final combat death of the great war. One day, after Jerry had time to collect his emotions and his thoughts, the great historical significance of the mission he’d just flown would sink in. But for now, one thought consumed his mind.

At last, it was time to go home.

I previously did an article about Captain Yellin when he was still helping to teach us about WWII.

Captain Jerome Yellin – 15 February 1924 – 21 December 2017

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Zach Brown – Chehalis, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/457th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Allan Carson – Nelson, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 421317, WWII, pilot

From, Anna, Maiden On The Midway

Robert DeBusschere – Detroit, MI; US Army, WWII, A/B

Marvin ‘Curly’ East – Denver, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO, 110th Antiaircraft Artillery

Joseph Goodman – New Boston, PA; US Navy, WWII, USS Benson

Elizabeth (Meadows) Huey – Homer, LA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Jesse James – AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Willard Lantz – Mapleton, MN; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class, USS Elkart

Wayne Pomeroy – Mesa, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-24 tail gunner

Doris Ward – ENG; British Army ATS, WWII, ETO

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Reporting From the Front

The Writing 69th

After writing one too many stories about troops who had taken off to bomb Germany never to come back, Andy Rooney, along with seven other World War II correspondents, wanted to see the action.

After weeks of begging, the reporters finally got their wish and were sent to gunnery school for a week of intensive training to prepare for the assignment. Despite their noncombatant status as journalists, the military insisted the reporters, who dubbed themselves the “Writing 69th,” needed to have enough combat knowledge to be helpful in case something went wrong during the flight.

Andy Rooney

“We were shot at,” Rooney told On Patrol in 2011. “I was at mid-side gunner. I operated a gun even though I was a correspondent. We weren’t supposed to, but I mean I was up there, and all the other guys were shooting so I had to pay my way.”

“I fired at every German fighter that came into the neighborhood,” Walter Cronkite wrote in his 1996 book, “A Reporter’s Life.” “I don’t think I hit any, but I’d like to think I scared a couple of those German pilots.”

Their planes were damaged, but Rooney and Cronkite made it back alive. One of their colleagues wasn’t as lucky. New York Times reporter Bob Post and the B-24 bomber he was flying in were never found.

Over 1,600 war correspondents flocked to the European and Pacific theaters during WWII to report back to millions of Americans back home.

Some correspondents, like Associated Press reporter Daniel De Luce, were newly minted storytellers with little experience. He worked at the AP for a decade before the war, first on and off as a copyboy and later as a reporter in Europe in 1939.

Dan DeLuce and his wife Alma

Dan De Luce and his wife, Alma pose for a photo during a farewell gathering in March 1939. A few days later they were in New York waiting to travel to Normandy, France. | Photo credit Photo courtesy of Richard De Luce

De Luce wrote stories from the European, African and Russian fronts, including a 1944 Pulitzer Prize-winning story about partisans in Yugoslavia.

“Gee, I was thrilled to death, it seemed so romantic,” De Luce said in Karen Rothmyer’s book, “Winning Pulitzers: The Stories Behind Some of the Best News Coverage of our Time.” “I had this idea that I wanted to go over and see what was happening.”

Walter Cronkite’s War

Other correspondents, like the United Press’ Cronkite, were experienced but relatively unknown journalists at the beginning of the war. They hoped reporting overseas would help them make a name in the business. Cronkite, who dropped out of the University of Texas for a reporting job at the Houston Post, worked a series of print and radio gigs before joining the UP in 1939. After years of begging to be sent to cover the war in Europe, he got his wish in 1942.

Far from a veteran reporter, Cronkite still started the war off with considerably more experience than Rooney, a Stars and Stripes scribe who edited his college newspaper

Though journalists battled both technology and censors, they were mostly free to report anything they dared to get out and see.

“They let those guys do what they needed to do,” said Brian Rooney, who covered the Gulf War. “There was some censorship [in WWII], but they allowed them to be reporters.”

Brian Rooney

From the beginning, Stars and Stripes gave Andy Rooney his own jeep, which allowed him to roam and write poignant profiles on officers, GIs and everyday people at war.

“My father did a story about this touching scene about a popular officer dying,” Brian Rooney said. “And [the military] would allow that kind of stuff to be published because they had free access.”

From Correspondents to Legends

After the war, a few of the correspondents who gained fame at war went on to become journalism icons.

Cronkite worked for years at CBS as an anchor and editor, earning the reputation as the “most trusted man in America.” Rooney also made a name for himself on CBS and hosted the “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” segment on “60 Minutes” from 1964 to 2011.

De Luce, never transitioned into the broadcast world, but he reported for AP as a foreign correspondent for 17 years before ending his career with the organization as an executive in New York.

They all said their time as WWII correspondents were some of the most formative years of their lives.

“It was an exciting time,” Rooney told On Patrol. “It was a great experience and I was lucky to come through it alive.”

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War Correspondent Humor – 

 

Political cartoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Carragher – Newark, NJ; US Navy, WWII, ETO, SeaBee signalman

Margery Deluco (100) – OH; US Army WAC, WWII, ETO, nurse

Burt C. Frank – Ravenna, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, pilot

Owen Garriott – Enid, OK; US Navy, / NASA, pilot, Astronaut

David Hart (101) – Montreal, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII,Sgt. / Lt. Colonel (Ret. 24 y.)

Robert Oakley – Long Island, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511/11th Airborne Division

Salvatore Privitera – Hartford, CT; US Army, WWII, combat engineer

Robert ‘Bruce’ Strick – Portland, OR; US Army, WWII

Richard Thomson – League City, TX; US Navy, Pearl Harbor, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA

Robert Wallace – Pensacola, FL; US Navy, WWII, ETO, PBY pilot

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Poems

I think we are all in need of a more light-hearted post by now …..

 

A FRIEND, YOUR AMERICAN M.P.

 

 When soldiers go out and have some fun,

 They always forget about some other one.

 That someone’s on duty every day,

 To see that these soldiers are safe at play.

 They call him names that we can’t print,

 But they should sit down and try to think.

 These men are detailed for this tough job,

 So why go around and call him a snob?

 When a guy’s in trouble, and things look bad,

 They call on this fellow, and then he’s not bad.

 At the end they will say, “this fellow took up for me.”

 And the fellow that did it was your American M.P.

 One thing to remember fellows when you’re down and out,

 There’s a fellow that will help you if he hears you shout.

 He will stand beside you and fight like hell.

 So do the right thing, and treat him well.

 Just remember fellows on your holiday,

 One of your buddies can’t go out and play.

 You call him an outcast, and other names,

 But he’s your buddy, just the same.

 We envy no one, try never to do harm.

 We’re here to keep you safe, in every form.

 So if you see us on duty, please don’t get mad.

 Remember we’re here for you, and that M.P.’s aren’t bad.

     – S/Sgt. GODFREY J. DARBY

 

WAR AND HELL

 

 When reception is poor and the signal stinks

  And you think of bed and your forty winks

  And the PE coughs and pulls high jinks

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When your grease is cold and your rear guns fails

  With a Zero riding each of your tails

  And you curse your luck and bite your nails

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When you’ve hiked all night and your feet are sore

  And your throat’s all parched and your clothes are tore

  And the C.O. says just ten miles more

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When you’re climbing a hill and the motor’s hot

  And the left read blows like a pistol shot

  You hope its a back fire but you know it’s not

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When the whistle blows for the day’s mail call

  And you’re sweating a letter from your butter-ball

  And Jones gets a card and they say that’s all

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When the chow bell rings and you hope for ham

  But the guy who cooks don’t give a damn

  So all you get is a slab of Spam

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 But when the war’s been won by your nation

  And you dream of home with anticipation

  But the order says Army of Occupation

  Brother that will be hell.

     – Sgt. CARL BROOKMAN

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More Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bennie Adams Jr. – Barnwell, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, SM Sgt., Bronze Star

H. Carl Boone – Atlantic City, NJ; US Navy, WWII, ETO, LST, Purple Heart

Andrew Curtis Jr. – Yakima, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII,B-24 pilot, 15th Air Force

John Eilerman – Fort Laramie, OH; US Navy, WWII

George Fuchs – Pinehurst, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 152nd Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Allan Goodwin – Houston, TX; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Michael Hession III – Harwich, MA; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO

Eileen “Gertie” Joyner – NYC, NY; US Army WAC; WWII, nurse

Ernest Reid – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Flight Sgt.

Shirley Zumstag – Bradenton, FL; US Navy WAVE, WWII

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General Yamashita – conclusion

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General Tomoyuki Yamashita as he led his staff officers of the 14th Area Army to surrender, 2 Sept. 1945. He did not believe in hara-kiri. He said, “If I kill myself, someone else will have to take the blame.”

One of the most monumental surrenders in the Pacific War was General Tomoyuki Yamashita. He had joined the Japanese Army in 1906 and fought the Germans in China in 1914, graduated Staff College in 1916 and began a military attaché in Switzerland as an expert on Germany, where he was to meet Tojo Hideki.

Tojo soon became very envious of the success and advancements Yamashita was achieving. This was especially true after the campaign in Malaya and bluffing the British into surrendering to his inferior forces in Singapore. Tojo used his influence to have Yamashita transferred to Manchuria before he could even announce his win to the Emperor. The general was sent to the Philippine Islands in 1944. A man who believed in the Samurai traditions and was highly devoted to the Emperor.

Many times, my friend Mustang Koji has given me information on this war, his site,  http://p47koji.wordpress.com and he supplied much of the data included here in today’s post. A visit to Koji’s website will give you stories about having relatives on both sides of the Pacific too.  Very interesting!

Initial American contact with Gen. Yamashita

30 August – negotiations with the general were drawing to a close, but he remained in his mountain headquarters sending word with thanks to the American Commanders for their “sincere efforts and concerns,” and his regrets that he was unable to contact his forces in Cagayan Valley, Balete Pass and the Clark Field areas.

Small groups were beginning to turn themselves in and Major General Yuguchi, of the 103d Division in the Cagayan Valley had already agreed to the surrender terms, but was awaiting word from Yamashita. The 37th Infantry Division was expecting 3,000 to surrender on 2 September. Throughout the Philippine Islands, capitulations were being delivered from Japanese officers.

Some Japanese soldiers refused to believe that the Emperor had aired a demand for peace and skirmishes were reported on various islands. No American troops were listed as casualties. Those killed during that action with unfriendly combatants were Japanese, Filipino, Korean.  General Yamashita arrived for his surrender and behaved as a gentleman officer would, then was led away to Baguio City for confinement, surrender and trial.

Yamashita testifies

In Time magazine, the writer ranted about Yamashita’s brutality during the Bataan Death March. The truth of the matter was – Yamashita was in Manchuria at the time. All in all, 5,600 Japanese were prosecuted during 2,200 trials. More than 4,400 men and women were convicted and about 1,000 were executed and approximately the same number of acquittals.

Yamashita trial

Gen. Yamashita at defense table. His longtime translator, Masakatsu Hamamoto accompanied him.

General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s case was the most famous of the American trials and was presided over by a military commission of 5 American general officers (none of which had any legal training) and held in the ballroom of the U.S. high commissioner’s residence. The charge was “responsibility for the death and murders tolerated – knowingly or not.” The general’s defense council, Col. Harry Clark, argued that no one would even suggest that the Commanding General of an American occupational force would become a criminal every time an American soldier committed a crime – but, Yamashita was just so accused.

correspondents

The American Military Court in Manila sentenced Gen. Yamashita on 7 December 1945 and he was hanged on 23 February 1946.

The above is a modern photo of the Home Economics building of the Kiangan Central School where General Yamashita was first contacted. Later, he was sent to Baguio City for the formal surrender.
Photo is credited to, Dr. Walter Johnson

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal Note – May we all say a prayer for Derrick and Jackie Knight, who lost their son, Michael, yesterday.

One I Never Thought I Would Need To Write

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edna Barnett – Telford, ENG; British Aux. Air Force; WWII

Victor Barnett (101) – Telford, ENG; RAF, WWII, radar

Robert Coccari – Monesson, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical/188/11th Airborne Division

Arthur Gould – Killara, AUS; RA Navy, Commander

Marcelite Harris – Houston, TX; US Air Force, MGeneral (Ret. 32 y.)

Richard Isawa – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, Signal Corps, instructor

Yukio Kawamoto (99) – Springfield, VA; US Army, WWII, PTO, combat intelligence

Albert Levy – Brookline, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, medic

John ‘Fred’ Martin – Watertown, NY; US Army, WWII, Major (Ret. 22 y.)

Joseph Slater – TN; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Master Chief Petty Officer (Ret. 30 y.)

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The 11th Airborne on Okinawa

C-47’s of the 54th Troop Carrier Group

Saturday, 11 August 1945, top secret orders were delivered to General Swing for the division to be prepared to move to Okinawa at any time. The division G-3, Colonel Quandt, called Colonel Pearson, “This is an Alert. Have your regiment [187th] ready to move out by air forty-eight hours from now.” Commanders throughout the 11th A/B had their men reassembled, even those on weekend passes had been found and brought back to camp.

11th Airborne

The lead elements left Luzon immediately. At 0630 hours on the 13th, trucks brought the 187th to Nichols and Nielson Fields for transport and they landed at 1645 hours that afternoon at Naha, Kadena and Yotan Fields on Okinawa. They would remain on the island for two weeks.

It would take the 54th Troop Carrier Wing two days to transport the 11th Airborne using 351 C-46s, 151 C-47s and 99 B-24s; with their bombs removed and crammed with troopers. The planes had carted 11,100 men; 1,161,000 pounds of equipment and 120 special-purpose jeeps for communication and supply. Eighty-six men remained on Luzon long enough to bring the 187th’s organizational equipment to Okinawa by ship.

Jeeps being stored

Okinawa, as one of the islands being “beefed-up” with supplies, men and materiel, quickly became significantly congested; it is only 877 square miles. One day would be unbearably hot and the next would bring the heavy rains that created small rivers running passed their pup tents. The troopers were back to cooking their 10-in-1, ‘C’ or ‘K’ rations on squad cookers or eaten cold.

Okinawa cave (in good weather)

A typhoon crossed the island and the men were forced to live on the sides of hills with their pup tents ballooning like parachutes and taking off in the wind. In the hills were numerous old Okinawan tombs that the Japanese troops had adapted into pillboxes and these helped to protect the men from the storms.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Bickel – Madison, TN; US Army, WWII, 85th Infantry

Douglas Clark – Portland, OR; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Roy Dillon – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII

Jonathan R. Farmer – Boynton Beach, FL; US Army, Syria, Chief Warrant Officer, 3/5th Special Forces Group, 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, KIA

Shannon M. Kent – NY; US Navy, Syria, Chief Cryptologic Technician, KIA

Wilsey Lloyd – Florence, CO; US Navy, WWII

Margaret Psaila – Louisville, GA; US Army WAC, WWII

William Schmitt – Anchorage, AK; USMC, WWII & Korea

Arthur Taylor – Mortlake, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO, Dunkirk

Scott A. Wirtz – St. Louis, MO; Civilian, Dept. of Defense, Syria, former US Navy SEAL, KIA

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CHRISTMAS DAY

TO ALL THOSE THAT BELIEVE IN FREEDOM AND PEACEMERRY CHRISTMAS!!  FROM: PACIFIC PARATROOPER!!

PLEASE… REMEMBER THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR US IN THE PAST

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AND THOSE WHO CONTINUE TO PROTECT US TODAY!!!

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AND FOR THOSE SPECIAL PEOPLE WHO WAIT PATIENTLY AT HOME

 

TO ALL THOSE WHO DO NOT CELEBRATE THIS HOLIDAY … I WISH YOU THE WARMTH AND PEACEFUL CONTENTMENT THAT IS REPRESENTED BY THIS SEASON !!!

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Military Humor –

Humor from deployed Marines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gerard Azemar – Lafayette, LA; US Army, WWII

Dick Bowersox – Tiffan, OH; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Darrell Dilks – Temple, OK; US Army, WWII, 2 Bronze Stars

Merlin Hicks – Iron Mountain, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Dwight “Bud” Hudson – Berry, AL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunner’s mate, USS Charrette

J.B. Jones Sr. – Miami, FL; US Army, Korea, Purple Heart

Albert Kane – Dallas, TX; US Navy, WWII, Fireman 1st Class, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Margaret McKillop – Port Austin, MI; US Army WAC, WWII

Karl Peterson – Warren, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 461st Antiaircraft Batt./69th Infantry Division, Communications Tech.

Jack Schultz – Laguna Hills, CA; USMC,Korea & Vietnam, Major (Ret. 21 y.)

John T. Williams – Windsor, VT; US Army, Korea

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Eye Witness Account – Edward Dager

“We Gave Our Best” by: Kayleen Reusser

From : “WE GAVE OUR BEST” by Kayleen Reusser

In December 1944, SSgt. Edward Dager, crew chief for P-38 and p-39 planes was riding in LST-738, a landing ship designed for tanks, near the island of Mindoro.  LST-738 was one of a group of 30 LST’s landing at the island carrying tanks and vehicles.

Suddenly, Dager’s LST was fired on by Japanese kamikazes.  “They came in fast,” he said.  Dager’s LST returned anti-aircraft fire, hitting several of the planes.  When one kamikaze slammed into Dager’s vessel, the 130 crew members aboard were unable to control the fires.  “The captain ordered us to abandon ship,” he said.

Ed Dager, SSgt, US Army Air Corps

Oil from the damaged ship spread on the water.  Frantic seamen scrambled to swim away as more fires sprang up.  Allied ships in the area worked together to fire on the kamikazes and rescue the LST-738’s crew.

Thankfully, no crew member died from the assault, though several were injured.  Dager was burned on his face and right arm.  he and the other wounded were taken by PT boat to a hospital, where they received morphine injections and other care-giving ministrations.

Everything happened so fast and was so chaotic that Dager’s whereabouts became unknown to military officials.  The results were catastrophic.  “My parents received a telegram stating I had been killed in action,” he said.  The War Department soon discovered the error and tried to remedy the misinformation.  “The next day they sent another telegram to my parents saying I was okay.”

Born in 1921, the youngest child in a family of ten, Dager grew up on a farm outside of Monroeville, Indiana.  He quit school to find work, but in 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army.  After completing basic training at Camp Perry, Ohio, Dager was assigned to airplane mechanic school with the Army Air Corps.

As part of the 80th Fighter Squadron, “The Headhunter”. 8th Fighter Group, 5th Air force, Dager sailed from San Francisco to Brisbane, Australia, then New Guinea where he was assigned to an Allied air base.   “It was hard not to stare at the natives at New Guinea,” he said.  The walked around with bones in their noses.”

SSgt, Dager was assigned as crew chief in charge of 8 P-39s and P-38s.  The had four 50-caliber machine-guns and a 20 mm cannon.” he said.  Dager took his job seriously.  “A pilot from Boston told me I was the best crew chief because I kept the cockpits clean.”  Dager was aided by an assistant.

As missions often required 5 and 6 hours of flight time, crews were awakened during the dark, early hours of the morning.   “At 0200 hours someone blew a whistle to wake us up,” said Dager.  “We always did a final check of each aircraft before it took off.”

Being on the flight line in the middle of the night with a bunch of sleepy crews would be hazardous.  Dager witnessed one serviceman who drove his jeep into the wash of a plane’s propellers (current of air created by the action of a propeller),  “That was a sad sight,” he said.

Ed Dager

While Dager was friendly with flight crews, but he kept an emotional distance.  “We were there to fight a war.  We learned not to get too attached to people.”

It was not easy.  Many years after one pilot whom Dager had known was declared MIA, due to his plane’s crash, his daughter called Dager.  “She asked for details about her father and his last flight.” Dager provided what little information he knew.  “It was hard losing people.”

In summer 1945, he was helping to launch P-38s from Okinawa when President Truman ordered bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  Those actions subsequently ended the war with the surrender of the Emperor in September.  By November, Dager had enough points to be discharged.

He returned to Fort Wayne, IN where he farmed and worked at ITT, retiring in 1985.  Dager married in 1946 and he and his wife, Mavis, were parents to 2 daughters.  “I was in the war to do a job,” he said.  “I was young and thought if I made it home, that was okay.”

Ed and Mavis Dager, R.I.P.

Sadly, the Purple Heart recipient, Sgt. Dager left us on 23 February 2018

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Anderson – Rockton, IL; US Air Force (Ret. 23 y.), 11th Airborne Division

Jerry Cain – Painter, WY; US Army, Vietnam, 320 Artillery/101st Airborne Div., Purple Heart, Distinguish Service Medal

Michael Dippolito – Norristown, PA; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division

Kenneth Ebi Jr. – Moline, IL; US Army, WWII, PTO, 1st Lt., 7th Infantry Division Engineers

James Heldman – San Francisco, CA; US Army, Vietnam, Battalion Comdr., 2/4 FA/9th Infantry Division

Cyril Knight – Invercargill, NZ; 2NZEF J Force # 634897, WWII, Pvt.

Perry Owen – Houston, TX; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Carmine Picarello – Bayonne, NJ; US Army, MSgt. (Ret. 24 y.) / US Navy, Intelligence

Roy Scott Jr. – Columbus, OH; US Army, Vietnam & Desert Storm, 173rd Airborne Division, Bronze Star

Mary Zinn – London, ENG; Civilian, Red Cross

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North Luzon – July 1945

Kiangan Valley

XIV Corps plans for operations against the remainder of the Shobu Group differed only in detail from those I Corps had previously employed.37 Reduced to their simplest terms, both sets of plans called for the exertion of unremitting pressure against the Shobu Group wherever Shobu Group troops were to be found.

East of the Cagayan River the 37th Division, and for a time a regiment of the 6th Division, hampered by supply problems and torrential rains, patrolled vigorously, forcing Japanese troops ever farther into the Sierra Madre. From 1 July through 15 August the 37th Division and attached units killed about 1,000 Japanese east of the Cagayan, itself losing approximately 50 men killed and 125 wounded.

On the northwest and west, opposition was stronger and better organized. Here the 15th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), finally secured the Sabangan junction of Routes 4 and 11 on 9 July, and on the next day the 11th Infantry occupied Bontoc. The 19th Division’s defenses in the Lepanto Mines-Mankayan area began to fall apart before attacks of the 66th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), on 10 July; Mankayan fell on the 20th.

The 66th Infantry secured the junction of Routes 11 and 393 at KP 90 on 25 July, making contact the same day with troops of the 15th Infantry coming down Route 11 from Sabangan. The 19th Division now began withdrawing into the upper Agno Valley to block the northern, western, and southern approaches to Toccucan, at the western end of Yamashita’s last-stand area in the Asin Valley.

The 15th and 121st Regiments, USAFIP(NL), immediately began attacks toward Toccucan, but found the 19th Division remnants still capable of effective resistance. By 15 August the USAFIP(NL)’s leading units were four miles short of Toccucan on the northwest and a mile and a half short on the west.

Meanwhile, the 66th Infantry , USAFIP(NL), had struck south from KP 90 along Route 11 to make contact with troops of the 32d Division, coming north from KP 21. The clearing of Route 11 north from Baguio had become a matter of pressing urgency because the heavy summer rains were making it nearly impossible to supply the USAFIP(NL) either by airdrop or over tortuous Route 4 from the west coast. Mixed forces of the 58th IMB and the 19th Division held along Route 11, their principal defenses located in the vicinity of Gambang, about five miles south of KP 90. Here, on 29 July, the 66th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), and the 127th Infantry, 32nd Division, finally made contact.

The two regiments next swung eastward into the Agno Valley near Buguias and initiated a drive south along the valley to gain contact with the 126th Infantry, 32nd Division, coming north up the valley from Ambuclao and Bokod. Starting off on 1 August, the 126th Infantry found few signs of the 23rd Division, which had melted away eastward into the inhospitable Cordillera Central.

On the east side of the Shobu Group’s last-stand area, while the 6th Division was making its strongest effort an attack toward Kiangan, elements of the division struck north up Route 4 and reached Banaue on 20 July. Meanwhile, troops of the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), had started south along Route 4 from Bontoc and on 21 July made contact with the 1st Infantry, 6th Division, at Polis Pass, five miles north of Banaue. This contact, coupled with that between USAFIP(NL) and 32d Division units on Route 11 eight days later, marked the complete encirclement of the Shobu Group last-stand area.

The 1st Infantry, 6th Division, and the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), turned east from Banaue along Route 389, on which about 2,500 Japanese of the 103d Division and the 4th Air Division had concentrated in mid-July. The 11th Infantry ultimately made its main effort from the north and east, and, with the 1st Infantry in support, cleared Route 389 by 9 August. The Japanese forced off Route 389 hid in mountains north of that road and east of Route 4 until the end of the war.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Dan Alion – Rock Hill, SC; US Navy, WWII, radio-morse code operator

Gerard Bradley – Richmond, VA; US Navy / USMC, Korea

George Danscak – Munhall, PA; US Coast Guard, WWII

Marion Greene – Atlanta, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 Gunner, 466th Bomb Group

Charles Kaitlin – Boca Raton, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Darrence Lewis – Hazel Park, MI; US Army, WWII, Commander, 738th Tank Battalion

Maika – NETH & USA; US Army, Sgt., 6 Afghanistan tours, 75th Ranger Reg./2nd Batt., Canine Explosive Detection Unit, KIA

Robert McDevitt Jr. – Dayton, OH; USMC, Vietnam

George Parmenter – Great Falls, MT; US Army, WWII, Co. I/163/41st Division

Walter Tokarski – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, WWII

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Current News – The New/Old Army Uniform

New/retro Army uniform

By COREY DICKSTEIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 19, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Army is finalizing its new green throwback uniforms inspired by soldiers’ World War II attire, but only recruiters should expect to don the new duds for the time being.

The service was making final tweaks to the design of the new uniform, to be officially called Army Greens, which will see an initial run of some 200 prototypes that will be fielded primarily by recruiters, Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey, the service’s top enlisted soldier, said Monday. It could be another three months before that initial batch of uniforms is ready. But the vast majority of soldiers will not have an opportunity to purchase or receive the Greens until the summer of 2020.

Dailey received positive feedback from soldiers he spoke to about the new uniforms during a visit in recent days with troops in Asia, the Army’s top enlisted soldier told reporters at the Pentagon.

Sgt. Major Daniel Dailey

“This is something I think is very positive for the United States Army,” he said. “This is a great day to be a soldier, as I’ve gone around and talked to soldiers in the last few days overseas … an overwhelming majority are truly excited about this new uniform.”

Despite the ongoing tweaks – the Army has made changes in recent weeks to the jacket’s collar and the shirt’s material, for example – the service has made some important decisions about the uniform, Dailey said. Standard headgear to be worn with the Greens will be the Army’s Garrison Cap, which is an olive green, straight sided, foldable hat. Berets and the Service Cap will be optional to wear with the uniform.

Sgt. Major Dailey at Army/Navy Game 2017

Three new, optional jackets will be authorized to wear with the Army Greens – a green tanker jacket, essentially a zip-front, water-resistant windbreaker; a brown leather bomber jacket, and the popular green “Ike” jacket, modeled after the cropped jacket made famous by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower during World War II. All soldiers will be issued a green all-weather, trench coat-style jacket with the new uniforms.

Additionally, the Army is planning to allow soldiers assigned to airborne units to wear jump boots with the new Army Greens, Dailey said. The service has yet to make a decision, but it could switch to brown jump boots for the new uniform.

The new uniforms, which had been colloquially referred to as Pinks and Greens – a reference to a slightly different version of the World War II-era uniforms, have been a pet project of Dailey’s. The service has spent more than a year considering and developing them.

On Nov. 11, which was Veterans Day, the Army quietly announced its decision to adopt the new uniforms. However, the service has yet to conduct a high-profile, public rollout of the gear. Dailey said he expects official photographs detailing the uniform to be released in the near future.

Recruiters and some high-profile soldiers will begin receiving prototypes of the new uniform early in 2019, said Army Col. Steve Thomas, a project manager who led the Army’s development of the uniforms for Program Executive Officer Soldier. The uniforms will then start to be phased into the rest of the force in the summer of 2020 and will not be required until the summer of 2028.

That should give enlisted soldiers plenty of time to purchase the new gear with their uniform allowances, keeping them from having to pay out of pocket, he said.

Nonetheless, Dailey said the Army does not yet have an estimate for the cost of the new uniforms that he could announce publicly. The Army has pledged the Greens would not put additional costs on either enlisted soldiers nor on American taxpayers.

The Army is not ditching its blue service uniform. That uniform will become the service’s dress uniform that soldiers don for more formal occasions, whereas the Greens will be worn in day-to-day settings, Dailey said. Commanders will set soldiers’ duty uniforms, so troops who currently wear combat uniforms most days are likely to continue to do so, he said. The blues will be renamed, possibly to Army Dress Blues, Dailey added.

The sergeant major of the Army said he plans to wear his unofficial version of Army Greens at the Army-Navy football game Dec. 8 in Philadelphia.

“I’m excited about this,” Dailey said. “And soldiers are too.”

dickstein.corey@stripes.com

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Military Uniform Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Francis Brown – Media, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Silver Star

Ray Chavez (106) – San Diego, CA; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor

Robert Davenport – Sioux City, IA; US Army, WWII, Sgt., 383rd Infantry

Ellen Fritz – IL; US Navy WAVE, WWII / US Army Corps of Engineers

George Gillespie – Rome City, IN; US Army, WWII, ETO

Leandro Jasso – WA; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt. 75th Ranger regiment, KIA

Howard Lockwood – Sydney, AUS; Australian Reg. Army # 57095, WWII

Ernest Murphy – Norwalk, CT; US Navy, WWII, submarine service

Ulysses Pinell – Maringouin, LA; US Army, WWII / US Navy, Korea

Robert Sirois – Pittsfield, ME; US Navy, WWII

Irene Zuckermann – Manhassett, NY; US Army WAC, WWII, Nurse Corps

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11th Airborne Paratrooper – Melvin Garten

Col. Melvin Garten

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Media’s self-importance never dies

An Associated Press photographer died. He was the fellow who took the picture of a fully armed paramilitary immigration enforcement officer taking a screaming child of six by force who was hiding with an adult in a closet, as the Clinton administration had no compunction about separating a Legal Immigrant from his family on American soil.

The Associated Press ran a 749-word obituary on the photographer, Alan Diaz. It was an interesting story — AP hired him after he took the SWAT team-crying kid photo.

But the story was a bit much, and a reminder of the media’s overblown sense of importance. The word iconic appeared four times.

Which brings me to a story I read about Melvin Garten, a real hero. His death brought no AP obituary because he never got a byline:

Toby Harnden, the Times of London reporter who has covered war with the troops and United States politics with equanimity, tweeted on May 6, 2015: “Trumpeter, food blogger, actress, golfer get New York Times obits today, but this man has his death notice paid for by family.”

The man whose family had to pay for his obituary was Melvin Garten, the most decorated and forgotten soldier at the time of his death.

Heroes are born and made. Melvin Garten was born May 20, 1921 in New York City, where he became another smart Jewish boy attending City College of New York.  Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, greatly altered his immediate plans. Upon graduation from CCNY, he joined the Army and became a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne Division.  He then married his girlfriend, Ruth Engelman of the Bronx, in November 1942. She was a war bride. Everyone said the marriage wouldn’t last, and they were right because the marriage ended on January 9, 2013 — the day she died.

Melvin and Ruth Garten

Melvin went off to the Pacific Theater of the war, where he participated in what can only be described as an audacious airborne raid of Los Banos in 1945, rescuing more than 2,000 U.S. and Allied civilians from a Japanese prison camp. He was a highly decorated soldier, earning the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, a Presidential Unit Citation and the Purple Heart with three Oak Leak Clusters for his wounds in battle. He was tough and handsome and courageous.

As would war. At dawn on Sunday, June 25, 1950, with the permission of Stalin, the North Koreans crossed the 38th parallel behind artillery fire. Melvin was back in combat. Captain Garten proved his mettle again as commander of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.  President Eisenhower awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross.

The citation reads: “Captain Garten distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Surang-ni, Korea, on 30 October 1952. On that date, observing that assault elements of Companies F and G were pinned down by withering fire on a dominant hill feature, Captain Garten voluntarily proceeded alone up the rugged slope and, reaching the besieged troops, found that key personnel had been wounded and the unit was without command. Dominating the critical situation through sheer force of his heroic example, he rallied approximately eight men, assigned four light machine guns, distributed grenades and, employing the principle of fire and maneuver, stormed enemy trenches and bunkers with such tenacity that the foe was completely routed and the objective secured. Quickly readying defensive positions against imminent counterattack he directed and coordinated a holding action until reinforcements arrived. His inspirational leadership, unflinching courage under fire and valorous actions reflect the highest credit upon himself and are in keeping with the cherished traditions of the military service.”

Pork Chop Hill

Having served at Luzon and Pork Chop Hill, Captain Garten came home and the family moved around. Ruth took care of her men.

“I never even bought my own clothes,” Melvin told Mike Francis of the Oregonian a few months before her death. “I never went shopping. It was not a part of my life. As an Army wife, she took care of those things.”

Their sons were in their teens when the Vietnam War erupted. Melvin earned his Combat Infantry Badge for the third time — perfect attendance as those men with that distinction of serving in those three wars called their service. The Army put him in command of the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry in 1968 and he reinvigorated the unit, calling it the No Slack battalion.

Just as he almost completed the turnaround, his jeep ran over a Vietcong mine, sending shrapnel to his leg and to his head. Another war, another Purple Heart, only this time it cost him his leg. The military sent him to Walter Reed to recuperate.

Ruth went alone, shielding her sons from the news, as they were in college. She wanted to see how he was. Melvin was in horrible condition. His head wound was more serious than their sons realized. For nearly a year, he worked to recover from the explosion. Melvin wanted to stay on active duty as a one-legged paratrooper. She supported his decision. They had to appear before a medical board. Ruth told the Oregonian, “When I got there, they wanted to know only one thing. ‘Was he as difficult a man before was wounded as he is now?’ one board member asked. ‘No difference,’ I answered. And he passed.”

His assignment was as post commander of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home of the Airborne and Special Operational Forces, a nod to his sterling and exemplary service under fire.

Gen. Eichelberger (C) w/ Gen. Swing (R) planning the raid of Los Banos

Melvin retired as the most decorated man in the Army at the time with the Distinguished Service Cross, four Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, five Purple Hearts, two Legion of Merits, two Joint Service Commendations, a Combat Infantry Badge for each of three wars, and a Master Parachutist Badge with two combat jump stars. Melvin paid dearly for those awards, but so did Ruth. She was one of the few women to receive five telegrams over the years informing her that her husband was wounded in combat. And by few, I mean I do not know of another.

But his retirement in Florida began three wonderful decades for them. In 2000, Ruth and Melvin moved to Oregon to live near their son,  Allan. Doctors diagnosed her as having Parkinson’s. Mike Francis interviewed Melvin and their sons 11 months before her death. Melvin said, “All these things she put up with. All the things she did for the family. She kept our lives going for 70 years. ”

Following her death on January 9, 2013, the family buried her in Arlington, where all our military heroes belong. He joined her there following his death on May 2, 2015.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Para-Toast.

‘I count only four parachutes. Where’s Mr. Simms?’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Bettinson – Pelly, CAN; RC Air Force/RAF, WWII, ETO

John Carberg – New London, CT; USMC

Robert Daughtery – Clinton, IN; US Army, WWII, PTO, 3rd Signal Battalion

Paul Fournier – Cleveland, OH; US Navy, WWII

John Graziano – Elkridge, MD; US Air Force, Captain, 87th Flying Training Squadron, KIA

Hank Kriha – Oshkosh, WI; US Army, WWII, PTO, 32nd Red Arrow Division

George McClary – Pueblo, CO; US Coast Guard, WWII, USS El Paso

James Ruff – Summitt, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division

Harold Sullivan – Morriston, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO / Korea, Purple Heart

John Yordan – Detroit, MI; US Army

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