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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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Veterans Day 2018

 

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES….

https://mailchi.mp/nara/0rjknzxchj-763401?e=2018eed2da

NO MATTER WHAT COUNTRY YOU LIVE IN – IF YOU ARE LIVING FREE – THANK A VETERAN !!!

 

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Here We Go……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Daniel Buchta – Far Rockaway, NY; US Navy, USS Nimitz

Jean Danniels – ENG; WRENS, WWII

Waverly Ellsworth Jr. – Buffalo, NY; US Navy, Korea, medic

Virgil; Johnston – Grove, OK; USMC, WWII

Alma (Smith) Knesel – Lebanon, PA; Manhattan Project (TN), WWII

Samuel Mastrogiacomo – Sewell, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, MSgt., B-24 tail gunner, 2nd Air Div./8th A.F. (Ret. 33 y.)

Willis Sears Nelson – Omaha, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot

Gregory O’Neill – Fort Myers, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 787th

Orville Roeder – Hankinson, ND; US Army, Medic

Nicholas Vukson – Sault Saint Marie, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, Telegraphist, HMCS Lanark

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July 1945 from Gen. Eichelberger

Ge. Robert Eichelberger

On 7 July 1945, General Robert Eichelberger left San Jose, Mindoro, P.I. in a C-47:

Generals Griswold and Byers and a number of other officers were with me.  We came down at Bagabag in 6th Div. territory.  Gen. Hurdis met us and we jeeped to the command post of the 63rd Infantry in the mountains NW on the road to Bontoc.

Luzon airfield

Col. Everett Yon was full of fight and the situation looked good: Yon’s forward elements were withing 200 yards of the hills overlooking a Japanese stronghold at Kiangan, and he expected to take it within a few hours.

There I had my first glimpse of almost naked savages, armed only with spears, who were fighting side by side with our troops.  These were the Ifugaos.  The tribesmen had come down from their villages and thrown in their lot with us.  They were tall, broad-shouldered, splendidly muscled, and despite the cold climate, wore only G-strings.  They carried deerskin packs.

Ifugao Warrior

The first one I met indicated by sign language that he wanted a cigarette.  Since I don’t smoke I couldn’t oblige him.  Col. Yon told me that the Ifugaos were excellent fighters; they were also the best of our native scouts.

My next port of call was the HQ of the 37th Div. at Tuguegarao, where my friend Gen. Bob Beighler met me.  We proceeded to the CP of the 148th Infantry where i had a talk with Col. Delbert Schultz.  The 37th controlled the upper section of the Cagayan Valley and in conjunction with the 11th Airborne, which made a landing at the seaport of Aparri, had seized control of Hwy No. 5 shortly before the 8th Army took over.

Northern Luzon

The job of the 37th was to eliminate by-passed Japanese units, a discouraging job indeed.  This meant going into sections altogether without roads.  The enemy was incapable of offensive action, but the heavy rains aggravated the problem and made it sheer drudgery.

During the next several days, I continued to inspect the troops in the field.  The HQ of the 38th Div., which had been assigned the job of cleaning up central Luzon, was on a ridge only about an hour’s ride east of Manila.  MGen. William Chase met me at Bielson Field and we made the inspection trip to the front together.

Napalm bombing near Ipo Dam

From a high hill, Chase and Gen. Bill Spence pointed out to me the Ipo Dam area and other battlefields of the 38th.  Although the tempo of the fighting was now slowed, 259 Japanese were killed between dawn and dusk and 29 captured.

That evening I wrote gen. MacArthur that I found morale on Luzon very high.  My own morale was high.  I was convinced that the back of the Japanese opposition was broken.  (I might not have been so optimistic if I had known that when IJA Gen. Yamashita finally came out of the mountains, he brought 40,000 of his men with him.)

( This is an example of “mopping-up”)

37th Div. dug-in @ Baguio Cemetery

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

“That can’t be no combat man. HE’S looking for a fight!!”

Courtesy of Chris @ Muscleheaded

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Norman Christiansen – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Army, combat Engineer

Henry Gerhart Jr. – Reading, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Travis Houser – Hampton, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

James Lansdale – Orlando, FL; Civilian, WWII Historian

Charles McDaniel Sr. – Greenwood, IN; US Army, WWII / Korea, 1st Cavalry Div., medic-Chaplin, MSgt, KIA

Richard Murray – Kansas City, KS; US Navy, WWII

DeWitt Parsons – Battle Creek, MI; US Navy, Korea, navigator

William A. Reilly – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, WWII

Joseph Ryan – Boston, MA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Frederick Segrest (aka Eddie Hart) – Phenix City, AL; USMC, WWII, PTO

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Walt’s Pilot Log 1944-45

CBI – British receive POW’s / Vietnam in the picture

Japanese POWs in Malaya

“From May onwards, prisoners in a terrible state came in daily,” recorded a British gunner unit in Burma, “many of them armed with nothing more dangerous than bamboo spears, trembling with a mixture of malaria and humiliation.”

British soldiers in Burma

But if some proved ready to quit, others did not.  To the end, most Japanese who lost their ships at sea deliberately evaded Allied rescuers.  On the deck of HMS Saumarez, destroyer Captain Martin Power was directing rescue operations after sinking a Japanese convoy off the Nicobars, when he suddenly heard a “clang” against the ship.

Andaman and Nicobars Islands

Peering over the side, he saw a bald, heavily built Japanese man clinging to a scrambling net with one hand, while hammering the nose of a shell against the hull with the other.  Power drew his pistol, leaned over and whacked the man’s head.

“I could not think of anything else to do – I spoke no Japanese.  Blood streaming down his face, he looked up at me, the pistol 6 inches from his eyes, the shell in his hand…  I do not know how long I hung in this ridiculous position, eyeball to eyeball with a fanatical enemy, but it seemed too long at the time.  At last he dropped the shell into the sea, brought up his feet, and pushed off from the ship’s side like an Olympic swimmer, turned on his face and swam away.”

*****          *****          *****

By this time of the Pacific War, the Vietnam area of Indochina was in dispute.  DeGaulle demanded that the current Vichy government take a firm stand, but this was a disaster.  The Japanese had staged a pre-emptive coup against the Saigon administration.  Frenchmen became POW’s and their future fate would cause Anglo-American arguments.  When US planes arrived from China to carry out evacuations, the French were furious that the aircraft did not bring them cigarettes.

London’s Political Warfare Executive sent a directive to Mountbatten that highlighted the political and cultural complexities of the CBI: “Keep off Russo-Japanese, Russo-Chinese and Sino-Japanese relations except for official statements.  Show that a worse fate awaits Japan if her militarists force her to fight on… Continue to avoid the alleged Japanese peace feelers.”

The Dutch, French and British owners of the old Eastern empires were increasingly preoccupied with regaining their lost territories – and they were conscious that they could expect scant help from the Americans to achieve this.  The British Embassy in Washington told the Foreign Office:

“If we prosecute the Eastern War with might and main, we shall be told by some people that we are really fighting for our colonial possessions the better to exploit them and that American blood is being shed to no better purpose than to help ourselves and Dutch and French to perpetrate our degenerate colonial Empires; while if we are judged not to have gone all out, that is because we are letting America fight her own war with little aid, after having her pull our chestnuts out of the European fire.”

Quotes taken from “Retribution” by Max Hastings

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edward Bailey – Parma, MI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., pilot, KIA

David Cruden – Hurtsville, AUS; RA Air Force # 422443, 460 & 582nd Bomber Command Squadrons

Fred Hermes Jr. – Villas, NJ; US Coast Guard, Academy Grad., Commander (Ret.)

William A. Laux – LaCrosse, WI & Arrow Lakes, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO

John Moore – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, WWII, Captain (Ret.)

Ronald S. Richardson – Gisborne, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, ETO, Lt. Commander, pilot, KIA

Robert Stoner – Buffalo, NY; US Navy, minesweeper

Harry Thomas – Marlington, WV; US Army, WWII

Michael C. Ukaj – Johnstown, NY; USMC, Iraq (the NY limo crash on his 34th birthday)

Elwood Wells – Epsom, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Captain, 1337 A.F. Base, KIA

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Nudge In Rear Came Too Soon, So Mitchell Gunner Bombed Wrong Target In China

b25-12a

B-25, “Ormoc Bay”, by: Jack Fellows from the IHRA

By Sgt. Marion Hargrove

SOMEWHERE IN CHINA–This story has been held back for a while because the fellow was mighty sensitive about it, and he happens to be a tech sergeant, 6 feet 2 and weighing 200 pounds. He’s cooled off a little, so now it can be told.

The tech sergeant is Karl May of Yakima, Wash., an aerial engineer and gunner in one of the local Mitchell B-25 bombers. The tale goes back to the time when he was still a buck private, working as an armorer in his squadron and bucking like hell for a job on a combat crew.

They finally let him go on a few missions to try him out. He got along fine until his third trip. That was the raid on the big Jap base at Hankow, former Chinese capital, on the Yangtze.

There were two minor defects that day in the bomber to  which May was assigned: there were no racks in the ship for fragmentation bombs and the interphones were temporarily out of commission.

Well, they were working the thing out all right without fragracks or interphones. They had Pvt. May squatting by the photo hole with a stack of frag bombs and the understanding that when the turret gunner nudged him in the behind he was to cut loose with all he had.

Fragmentation bomb

It happened that the bomber had a passenger that day–maybe an observer from Washington, maybe a newspaperman, maybe just a sightseer.

This worth person grew unaccustomedly chilly, saw that the draft came from the open photo hole and decided to ask the private beside it to close it. The private – yep, it was May – had his back turned, so the passenger sought to attract his attention with a gentle nudge in the rear.

Pvt. May reacted like the eager beaver he was. He held one frag bomb over the hole and let it drop. Then he turned another loose into thin air. He was preparing to drop every bomb in the ship – until he was rudely and violently stopped. To May’s dismay he learned: 1) that the ship was nowhere near Hankow, 2) that he had been given no signal and, 3) that he had just wasted a couple hundred dollars’ worth of U.S. high explosives.

B-25 dropping frag bombs

The mission proceeded to Hankow, where May dropped the rest of  his bombs through the photo hole, an armful at a time. But his heart was heavy at the thought of having goofed previously.

When the plane returned to its base, there was an intelligence report from the Chinese Army waiting for it.  According to this report, two bombs dropped on a Japanese barge on the Yangtze had scored direct hits, sinking the barge and drowning 160 Japanese soldiers.

T/Sgt. May never tells the story himself and he gets mad when he hears anyone else tell it.  Only those who’ve seen the records will believe it.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Wayne Bauer – Las Cruces, NM; US Army, WWII, ATO

Harry Carlsen – Chicago, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, 2nd Marine Division, KIA (Tarawa)

Images is courtesy of:
https://mywarjournals.com/

James Fleischer – Detroit, MI; US Army

John Guice – Greenville, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Robert Hegel – IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 15th Air Force, navigator

Claude A. Rowe – Chuka Vista, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Tuskegee

Elizabeth Schwantes – Kaukauna, WI; US Coast Guard, WWII

Leslie Thickpenny – Pukekohe, NZ; NZ Air Force, WWII, flight engineer

Henry Wheeler (100) – Buffalo, NY; US Army, WWII, 12th Army, Intelligence, Bronze Star

Robert Zeigler Jr. – Ft Lauderdale, FL; US Army, Korea

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CBI Theater – 1945

Stilwell Road

Fish Story along the Stillwell Road

ALONG THE STILWELL ROAD – The latest man-bites-dog incident turns out to be a fish story.
S/Sgt. Charles T. Hardin, Trenton, Tenn., power shovel operator for an Engineering Battalion along the Stilwell Road, used the world’s largest fishing tackle to bring in a 100-pound catfish out of the Dihing River.

Hardin, an engineer, was scooping up gravel from the river’s bed, as it had been his custom to do over many months since he has been in ol’ I-BT. He noticed a massive, torpedo-like form wending its way up to the spot where his shovel was operating.

Charles T. Hardin

Giving the controls a quick one-two, Hardin hit the lumbering fish with the big bucket and stunned him into insensibility. Then, skillfully maneuvering the huge snorting shovel, he hauled him in as easily as dipping for a trout.

His piscatorial prize turned out to be a white bellied catfish, measuring almost six feet from tail to teeth. As Hardin put it, “I’ve scooped up a lot of gravel to help build this road, but I never caught anything bigger than a minnow before. This time I hit the jackpot.”

After the fish was hauled off to the company area, the boys began slicing off steaks for a fish fry was contemplated.
A real tribute was paid the Stilwell Road Isaac Walton by one of his buddies, who remarked, “Old Hardin can throw that bucket anywhere he wants!”

 

Poem from CBI WWII

THE DEVIL’S DILEMMA

I met the Devil yesterday beneath a shady tree;
His head within his hand was held, his elbow on his knee.
A frown he wore upon his brow; his horns were dull with dust,
And resting on his arm I saw his pitchfork red with rust.
“Well, ” I said, “what can it be that brings you up from Hell?
From all appearances it seems that things aren’t going well.”
He gazed at me with blood-shot eyes and bade me take a seat,
And so I sat and wondered why his face bore sad defeat.

“O, Mortal, know,” he spoke, “that once I ruled a proud domain;

Within the bowels of Earth I reigned o’er punishment and pains of those were sent to me who’d lived in sin and hate,

To suffer for eternity upon hot Hades grate.
My tortures were most terrible, no others could compare,
I though I had the latest thing in fire and brimstone there
But then came war upon the Earth with tanks and planes and guns,
And implements of war ne’er seen before beneath the sun.
Now all the souls that go below who’ve failed the living test,
No longer fear my kingdom, but go as if to rest!
But I must leave; I’ve dallied long and must be on my way.
I’m off to meet St. Peter and you’ll pardon me, I pray;
I have a plan we must discuss that may unscramble this,
For Earth’s no longer what it was; it’s Hell, that’s what it is.”

 

– BY S/SGT. G. W. HICKOX

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

“Okay, now we need to go to Plan B.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Howard Anglin – AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, P-61’s 426 Night Fighter Squadron

John Bushfield – Boise, ID; US Army, WWII, 10th Mountain Division

Smoke Angel

Virgil DeVine – St. Louis, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-26 tail gunner

Charles Goodwin – Haskell, TX; US Navy, Vietnam, pilot, USS Coral Sea, KIA

Charles Hayden – Vancouver, CA; RC Air Force, WWII, B-17 tail gunner

Jay Kislak – Hoboken, NJ; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Anna Newman – Sarasota, FL; Civilian, WWII,  truck driver, MacDill Air Force Base

Albert Rivoire – Pawling, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 104th Infantry Division, Bronze Star

Robert Seeber – Omaha, NE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS Isley

Geoffrey Wright – Orewa, NZ; British Army # 14418502, WWII, ETO & CBI, Captain

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