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“Voices from Vietnam” by: Kayleen Reusser / Review

‘Voices from Vietnam’ by: Kayleen Reusser

VOICES FROM VIETNAM

by:  Kayleen Reusser

 

Vietnam was the 10-year “Police Action” that developed and escalated in my generation’s  youth.  We saw casualty lists in the newspapers increasing daily.  Here in Kayleen Reusser’s book are interviews with the troops that managed to survive the horror that was the Vietnam War.

Keyleen Reusser

In this book, a background story is given for each contributor, their branch of military, method of service and then, what they experienced.  But the pains of war did not stop with their return home.  These gallant people told Kayleen of what they ran into upon returning to the United States.  The events, such as protesters, and name calling, are embarrassing, disheartening and downright disappointing to know how the people of this country were behaving toward these troops.

Despite the home front’s utter fear of the draft and disapproval of the war, these veterans carried on and we are privileged to read of their accomplishments.  There are photos of them, so that you can visualize the veteran to the story.

Vietnam veterans

This era was opposite that of WWII, but I hope “Voices from Vietnam” has the same affect on other readers as it had on me.  It brought back memories, but added an insight that can still be learned by this and future generations.  You will find yourself turning the pages and going from one story to another.

Just as Kayleen’s book, “We Gave Our Best” inspired me and gave me hope for our future and our military – I recommend this book wholeheartedly and hope many will give these men and women the time to tell their stories that no one wanted to hear in the ’60’s and ’70’s.

Through it all, they remained true and loyal.

This is an honest and straightforward depiction of that era – A MUST READ.

TO LOCATE KAYLEEN REUSSER AND HER BOOK – CLICK HERE!

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Military Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Walter Morgan Bryant – Delray Beach, FL; USMC, Vietnam, Sgt.

Leo Cummings, Jackson, MI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Jim Grewe – Edina, MN; US Army, Vietnam, 4th Infantry & 101st Airborne Division

Gilbert L. Harris – Spotsylvania, VA; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division, Green Beret

Stephen Hoke – Meadville, PA; US Army, Vietnam, 1st Calvary & 82nd Airborne Division

Jerry L. O’Nan – Lexington, KY; USMC, Vietnam, Pfc. # 2132524, E Co/4/2/3rd Marine Division, KIA (Quang Nam Province, SV)

Michael R. Paul – Williamsburg, KY; US Army, Vietnam, radio repair, 101st Airborne Division

Robert J. Reginald – Lindenhurst, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Cpl. # 52748547, B/502/2/101st Airborne Division, KIA (SV)

Timothy C. Reitmann – Valley Stream, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Spec. # 52748020, vehicle repair, A/2/5/11 Field Force, KIA (SV)

Eugene “Butch” Skoch – East Meadow, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Pfc., KIA

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USMC Birthday / Veterans Day 2022

The Marine Corps birthday has been commemorating on November 10 every year since 1775,  the year of establishment of Continental Marines. Every year the cake cutting ceremony with the conventional ball follows.

Saluting the U.S. Marine Corps

Marine Corps Birthday Cake

Sketch of the original Tun Tavern

 

 

 

 

 

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Veterans Day

On November 11th, we pause to reflect on the history of this great Nation and honor all those who fought to defend it. Originally titled “Armistice Day” and intended to celebrate the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars,” Veterans Day allows us to give thanks to veterans past and present, men and women from all walks of life and all ethnicities, who stood up and said, “Send me.” We recognize your sacrifices, your sense of duty and your love for this country.

Thank you – To ALL our veterans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 11th Airborne Division jumps again!

PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

 

For many other countries who remain free thanks to their veterans, this day is called Remembrance Day.  I thank you!!

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence “Junior” Anderson – Blanchard, MI; USMC, WWII, CBI, scout observer

Catherine Batoff – Cedar Lake, IN; US Army WAC, WWII

Jesse G. Bell – Roopsville, GA; US Navy, WWII, USS Case DD-370

Leo E. Cummings – Jackson, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Ralph Fiorio – Peekskill, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 8th Armored Division

David E. Holeman – Le Harpe, KS; US Air Force, WWII, PTO, # 646029, 17/24th Pursuit Group, POW, KWC (Cabanatuan Camp, P.I.)

Merle L. Pickup – Provo, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Cpl. # 39832953, 393 BS/308 BG, KIA (India)

Paul J. Simons Jr. (102) – Wyoming, MO; US Army, WWII

James M. Triplett – King County, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt # 39202130, B-24 radio operator, 700BS/445 BG/2/8th Air Force

Allen H. Tuttle – King County, WA; US Army, Korea, Sgt. # 19261249, field artillery cannoneer, C Batt/38/2nd Infantry Division, POW, KWC (NK Camp # 5)

Larry A. Zich – Lincoln, NE; US Army, Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer # 508603819, HQ/37/1st Signal Brigade, KIA

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Why is the only one standing the man with a wheelchair?

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General Yamashita, conclusion

General Yamashita – click to enlarge

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!

The initial 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.

correspondents at the trials.

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.

Gen. Yamashita testifying.

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.

Translator, Masaksu Hamamoto,.

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.

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

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From:  GP    To:  ALL WHO DARE TO ENTER

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Raymond J. Border – W. Lafayette, OH; US Navy, Iraq & Afghanistan, Chief Petty Officer, SeaBee, Bronze Star, KIA (Yahya Khel, AFG)

Loy E. Boyd – Wesley, AR; US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

“You Are Not Forgotten”

Ash Carter – Philadelphia, PA; US Government, Former Defense Secretary

Floyd F. Clifford – Douglass, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 2nd Class # 3423274, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

David N. Defibaugh – Duncansville, PA; US Army, Korea, Cpl. # 13308573, C Co/3rd Combat Engineers/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Taejon, SK)

Robert Garza – Eagle Pass, TX; US Army, Vietnam, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Purple Heart

Zelwood A. Gravlin – New Britain, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt. # 31125292, gunner, 343 BS/98 BG/9th Air Force, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM), DFC

Howard G. Malcolm – Jefferson County, IL; US Army, Korea, Sgt. # 16307893, Speed Radio Operator, HQ Co/9/2nd Infantry Division, POW, KWC (Chosin, NK)

David Norcross – Shreveport, LA; USMC, Korea, Cpl., Charlie Company/1st Marine Division, wounded 3 times, one of the Chosin Few

Gregory Schall – Buffalo, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

William T. Wall – Marion, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co G/187/11th Airborne Division

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General Yamashita (part one) from: Gen. Eichelberger

Gen. Eichelberger

From:  “Our Jungle Road to Tokyo” by General Robert Eichleberger

Although negotiations with Yamashita for surrender were completed after 8th Army had relinquished control of Luzon, the story should be told here.  It must be remembered that Japanese forces at this period had little or no communication with the homeland.

On 7 August – the day of the fall of the first atomic bomb – an America pilot was forced to abandon his disabled plane and parachute behind the Japanese lines in northern Luzon.  He was picked up by an enemy patrol the next morning and taken after 5 days of forced marches to Gen. Yamashita’s headquarters, then SW of Kiangan.

Gen. Yamashita

There he was subjected to vigorous and prolonged interrogation.  He was threatened with physical violence when he steadfastly refused to answer questions.

On 16 Aug – the attitude of the Japanese interrogators abruptly changed.  The pilot received medical treatment for his parachute-jump injuries and was extended many small courtesies.  The next day the American was guided toward American lines; when the Japanese soldiers had gone as far as they dared, they gave the flier a letter, written by Yamashita himself, which explained the circumstances of the pilot’s capture and commended him for his military spirit and devotion to duty.

On 24 August – the same pilot flew an L-5 liaison plane over the area in which he had been held and dropped a message of thanks to Gen. Yamashita, along with 2 signal panels.  The message, written by Gen. Gill of the 32nd Division, suggested that if Yamashita were in the mood for surrender negotiations he should display the 2 panels as evidence of his willingness to parley.

The following morning another pilot found the panels staked out according to instructions; also on the ground were many cheering, hand-waving Japanese soldiers, who beckoned the plane to land.  Instead, a second message was dropped.  It suggested that Yamashita send an envoy to the American lines to received detailed instructions for his surrender.

Late in the afternoon of 26 August, a Japanese captain, carrying Yamashita’s answer, entered the American lines under a flag of truce.  The letter, which was written in English, was as follows:

Gen. Yamashita

GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, IMPERIAL JAPANESE ARMY IN THE PHILIPPINES

August 25, 1945

TO: GENERAL W.H. GILL, COMMANDING GENERAL KIANGAN-BOYOMBONG AREA, UNITED STATES ARMY IN THE PHILIPPINES

  1. I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication addressed to me, dropped by your airplane on Aug. 24th as well as your papers dropped on Aug. 25th in response to our ground signals.
  2. I am taking this opportunity to convey to you that order from Imperial Headquarters pertaining to cessation of hostilities was duly received by me on Aug. 20th and that I have immediately issued orders to cease hostilities to all units under my command insofar as communications were possible.

I also wish to add this point the expression of my heartfelt gratitude to you, full cognizant of the sincere efforts and deep concern you have continuously shown with reference to cessation of hostilities as evidenced by various steps and measures you have taken in this connection.

To date however, I have failed to receive order from Imperial Headquarters authorizing me to enter into direct negotiations here in the Philippines with the United States Army…, but I am of the fond belief that upon receipt of this order, negotiations can be immediately entered into.  Presenting my compliments and thanking you for your courteous letter, I remain, yours respectively,

/s/Tomoyuki Yamashita, General, Imperial Japanese Army, Highest Commander of the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines

circa 1956: The samurai sword of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, ‘the Tiger of Malaya’, commander of the Japanese troops in the Philippines during World War II. It rests on the Philippine Surrender Document, signed at Baguio, Luzon on September 3rd, 1945. (Photo by Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)

This message was the first in a series exchanged between Yamashita and Gen. Gill.  The exquisite courtesy of the exchanges probably has for the average reader something of the quality of ‘Through the Looking-Glass’.

To be continued…….

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Military Humor – 

Private Wilbur

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frank Bever (101) – Lagro, IN; US Army, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 95th Infantry Division, Purple Heart

Walter G. Bonrer – Oconomowoc, WI; US Army, Korea, Co. F/187th RCT

A Tribute to them ALL

Lucille (Whitehead) Clark – USA; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Jesse “Jay” Durham Jr. – Fort Payne, AL; US Navy, WWII, USS Cleveland

Raymond Femc – Forest City, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/187/11th Airborne Division

Jay Karpin Hicksville, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 & B-24 navigator

Robert J. Lovelace – No. Roanoke, VA; US Army, WWII, Sgt. Major (Ret. 34 y.)

Dominic Rossetto – Red Lodge, MT; US Army, 101st Airborne Division

Wilbur “Curly” Siebold – Huntington, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 gunner, POW

John B. Thomas – Wayne County, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt. # 0-659415, 34 BS/98 BG/ 9th Air Force, KIA (Ploiest, ROM)

Keith W. Tipsword – Moccasin, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Machinist Mate 1st Cl. # 3369382, USS West Virginia, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

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Okinawa’s Typhoon + The Emperor’s plans

Okinawa typhoon damage

14 August, the Emperor made a recording to be played over the Japanese radio stating that their government had surrendered to the Allied powers and to request that his people cooperate with the conquerors. The fanatics, mainly Army officers and also known as die-hards or ultras, attempted to confiscate the prepared discs and claim that the Emperor had been coerced into accepting the Potsdam Declaration. People died in this mini revolution and others committed hara-kiri when it failed. Some enemy pilots continue to fly their Zeros as American planes went over Japan.

typhoon damage

“To our good and loyal citizens,

After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our Empire today, we have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

We have ordered our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union that our Empire accepts the provisions of their joint declaration…”    (The complete speech will appear next week)

 

15 August, Washington D.C. received Japan’s acceptance of the terms of surrender. Similar to the Western Electric advertisement pictured, phones and telegraphs buzzed around the world with the news that WWII was over, but reactions varied. Among the men on Okinawa, there was jubilation mixed in with ‘let’s wait and see.”

In Japan, most felt relieved, but others committed suicide to fulfill their duty. Russian troops continued to push into Manchuria to get as far into the area as possible before the Allies could stop them. Troops in Europe were elated to hear that they were no longer being transferred to the Pacific. South America began to see the arrival of Nazi escapees and the United States went wild with gratitude.

Okinawa, typhoon damage

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Military Humor – 

Tee Time

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Marilyn Benson – Orion, IL; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Garland W. Collier – Coleman, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, HQ Co./3/506/101st Airborne Division, Sgt. # 39849456, KIA (Opheusden, NETH)

Francis Duval – Amherst, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Michael Fusco – Syracuse, NY; US Army, WWII, Iceland

Elmore Herold (100) – Cresco, IA; US Army, WWII, Purple Heart

Norbert J. Logan (101) – Delta, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Cornelia O. Moore – Conyers, GA; US Army, Korea, HQ Co./ 187th RCT

Joseph J. Puopolo – E. Boston, MA; US Army, Korea, Cpl. # 11193248, Field Wireman, C Batt/38/2nd Infantry Division, POW, KWC (Camp # 5)

Clarence Smoyer – Allentown, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, gunner, 3rd Armored Division

Adelaido M. Solis – Inez, TX; US Army, Korea, Pfc # 18355862, B Co./1/9/2nd Infantry Division, POW, KWC (Camp # 5)

Charles W. Woodruff – Mocksville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, HQ Co./188th/11th Airborne Division

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Current News –

Today is Canada’s Thanksgiving Day, I send my very best to our Canadian neighbors!!

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U.S. Navy’s Birthday – Thursday,  13 October 2022

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Ready – Set – Okinawa

B-32 on Okinawa, 12 Aug. 1945

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. 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.

C-47’s of the 54th Troop Carrier Wing

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 187ths organizational equipment to Okinawa by ship.

Jeeps on Okinawa

Jeep trailers on Okinawa

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. 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 Okinawa tombs that the Japanese troops had adapted into pillboxes and these helped to protect the men from the storms.

Swing was not certain how the enemy would take to him and the 187th regiment landing in Japan, so the men were ordered to be combat ready. Besides staying in shape, they spent many an hour listing to numerous lectures on the Japanese culture. The 187th regiment of the 11th Airborne Division would be the first troops to enter Japan, as conquerors, in 2000 years.

Okinawa Cemetery, Never Forget

Also, on 13 August, two ships, the Pennsylvania and the La Grange were hit by kamikaze carrier planes. All ships in Okinawa harbors were shipped out to ensure their safety. Although the Emperor was at this point demanding peace, the complicated arrangement of their government (Emperor, Premier, Cabinet, Privy Seal, etc. etc.) made it difficult for them to answer the Allies immediately. As Soviet forces, hovering at the 1.5 million mark, launched across Manchuria.

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Military Humor-

“Now that ya mention it, it does sound like patter of rain on a tin roof.”


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Farewell Salutes – 

Raymond Ackerman – Brooklyn, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII  /  US Merchant Marines

Thomas H. Barber – Glencoe, IL; USMC, WWII

Roy Carney – Electra, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt. # 19114586, 345 BS/98 BG/ 9th Air Force, B-24 gunner, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM)

Eugene De Filippo – East Haven, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO,B-24 pilot  /  US Coast Guard, Korea, LT. Comdr.

Curtis L. Eaves – Oxford, AL; US Army, WWII, PTO, POW / Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. (Ret.)

Benjamin Houden (100) – Belvidere, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Independence, Hellcat pilot

Robert M. Mintz – Cuba City, WI; US Navy, Purple Heart  /  Howard Hughes Aircraft (jet radar design)

Nils Oldberg – Kansas City, MO; US Navy, WWII, SS Guavina – 362, submarine service

Lucy (Shaw) Richmond – Fort Smith, AR; Civilian, WWII, Liberty Ship welder

Fred T. Smith – Palestine, WV; USMC, WWII, PTO

Ithiel E. Whatley – Escambia County, FL; US Army, Korea, Pfc # 14270848, M Co./3/21/24th Infantry Reg., KIA (Chochi’won, SK)

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The Bomb and the 509th

Pres. Truman

In a 1958 interview, Truman was asked about the soul-searching decision he went through to decide on dropping the bomb. He replied, “Hell no, I made it like _ (snapped his fingers) _ that!” One year later at Columbia University, he said, “The atom bomb was no great decision.” He likened it to a larger gun.

The components for the 20-kiloton weapon were being shipped to Tinian Island, in the Marianas, aboard the USS Indianapolis.   The top-secret package arrived at its destination a mere 24 hours after the official operational order for the bomb was sent to General Carl (“Tooey”) Spaatz.

Prince Konoye

Prince Konoye, after laboring two years for a route to peace, swallowed poison and died the day before he was to turn himself in as a war criminal.

Sadly, four days later, the Indianapolis was hit by three torpedoes and sunk within twelve minutes. The ship was without a sufficient number of lifeboats, her disappearance went unnoticed for almost four days and the navy search team was called off early. Therefore, only 316 men of her 1,196-man crew were rescued. This has been considered the most controversial sea disaster in American history.

USS Indianapolis

The bomb, when it arrived, was a metal cylinder approximately 18 inches in diameter and two feet high, but when fully assembled, it measured ten feet long and 28 inches in diameter. It had originally been nicknamed “Thin Man” after the movie and the expected shape, but when it was completed, they changed it to “Little Boy” and gave the small bundle its own hiding place. The secrecy involving the bomb storage area was so secure that a general was required to have a pass to enter.

The other members of the 509th Bomber Group, not included in the mission, knew something was brewing, but they also were unaware of the exact plans. Hence, an anonymous writer was inspired:
Into the air the secret rose,
Where they’re going, nobody knows.
Tomorrow they’ll return again,
But we’ll never know where they’ve been.
Don’t ask about results or such,
Unless you want to get in Dutch.
But take it from one who is sure of the score,
The 509th is winning the war.

The crew of the ‘Enola Gay’ even received a humorous menu as they entered the mess hall for breakfast:
Look! Real eggs (How do you want them?)
Rolled oats (Why?)
Milk (No fishing)
Sausage (We think it’s pork)
Apple butter (Looks like axle grease)
Butter (Yep, it’s out again)
Coffee (Saniflush)
Bread (Someone get a toaster)

After takeoff, they met up with their two escort planes, ‘The Great Artiste,’ which carried scientific equipment and Number 91 (never named) carrying photographic gear.

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Military Humor – 

“Whoever is humming the ‘Jaws’ theme is gonna get slapped!”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edwin Askins – Calhoun, MO; US Army, WWII, ETO, 240th Medical Battalion

Norman Baylis – Rotorua, NZ; NZ Expeditionary Force # 455856, WWII

Final Mission

Bobby L. Dew – Norfolk, VA; US Army, 101st Airborne  /  Korea, 7th Division, Bronze Star, 2 Purple Hearts

Alfred Fergen – Parkston, SD; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Sea Bees, 109th Construction Battalion

Frank Gaughan (101) – Cleveland, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO

Robert Haney – Columbia City, IN; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

William G. James – Boynton Beach, FL; US Army, 508th RCT

Edward Kirwan Jr. – Newburgh, NY, USMC, WWII, PTO

Dennis C. Lansing – Richland, WA; US Army, Vietnam, Green Beret, Major (Ret. 22 y.)

George McLean – New Orleans, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, GSgt., 93 BG/8th Air Force

Brian Reichert – Andover, ND; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division, Sgt. (Ret.)

Bruce Sauder – Highspire, PA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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I’m no quitter!

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Potsdam Conference, part one

Potsdam Conference table

“Operation Iceberg,” the invasion of Okinawa began on 1 April 1945 and would basically end on 22 June. Many are unaware that small skirmishes continued even after the 11th Airborne Division landed on that island. But … as we enter into July, others matters begin to develop.

Harry S. Truman did not have the outstanding record that most people look for in a president. He had poor eyesight and was unable to complete a 4-year college. Later, he failed as the owner/operator of a small mining and oil business, as a farmer and then as a haberdasher. (In my opinion, that only left politics as an option.) HST was elected to the Senate with the assistance of the corrupt Thomas J. Pendergast and proved to be an unimportant legislator. His only military achievement was in successfully tightening up the discipline of the rag-tag outfit he was given. He was chosen as the Vice-Presidential candidate because southern democrats liked him and FDR needed those votes. (I’m afraid these facts were located during research, they are not my own thoughts – unless specified.)

Potsdam page

This was the man sent to Germany, sailing on the “Augusta” with Secretary of State, James Byrnes and Admiral Leahy to attend the Potsdam Conference to begin on 17 July 1945. The primary agenda for the massive meeting dealt with the revision of the German-Soviet-Polish borders and the expulsion of several million Germans from the disputed territories. The code name for this conference was “Terminal,” with Stalin, Churchill and Truman representing the three major powers.

16 July was significant in that the Atomic bomb was successfully tested, exploding the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT and a blast point of 750 degrees F. Oppenheimer would then prepare the test results for his report to Henry Stimson in Potsdam. Truman confided the news to Churchill and the two rulers instantly decided that at least two bobs would be dropped on Japan. This decision was made despite the arguments of Adm. Leahy, General “Hap” Arnold and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower who strongly spoke against it’s use, calling it completely unnecessary. Many of the scientists that worked on the Manhattan Project felt that such a dramatic scientific discovery should not be used. The petition, “…the liberated forces of nature for the purpose of destruction … open the door to an era of devastation …,” was signed by 57 scientists. They had the foresight to visualize the nuclear problems that we face today, but their qualms went unheeded.

Potsdam, continued

The Potsdam Proclamation demanded the unconditional surrender of Japan, but did not make mention of two clearly important issues – (1) that the atomic bomb was is existence and (2) whether or not the Emperor would retain his seat in the palace. Both of these provisions would have clarified the true situation for the Japanese Army. Many, on-site at Potsdam, believe that the Japanese were purposely and maliciously misguided.

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Military Humor – WWI Style – 

“A BOLT FROM THE BLUE – WITH LOVE FROM YOURS TRULY”

“SAY WHEN !”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Aubry – Saratoga Springs, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, radar repair

Thomas Austin Sr. – Greenville, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, 12th Armored Division

Ellery Engell – Erie, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Sea Bees

William W. Fitz – Dedham, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

David A. Gockowski Sr. – Bellevue, NE; US Air Force, CMSgt. (Ret.), WWII, Korea, Vietnam

Hilda (Morrison) Harned – Hodgenville, KY; US Navy, WWII, nurse

Gordon Kemp – Peterborough, NH; US Navy, WWII, PTO radar repair

William Nichols – Lima, OH; US Navy, WWII, ETO & PTO

Robert H. Reilly – NYC, NY; USMC, WWII & Korea, 1st Lt.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (Windsor) – Mayfair, London; Auxiliary Territorial Service, WWII  / 70 year British Monarch

Thaddeus Zawilinski – Amsterdam, NY; US Army, West Point Academy

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Operation Downfall, part two

Operation Downfall/Olympic

In a memo from the Undersecretary of the Navy, a project named “Dagwood” was mentioned, but I am unable to locate any details. MacArthur sent out a deceptive message (with slip-shot secrecy) to be intercepted by the Japanese called “Pastel Two.” This showed a detailed “plan” about Allied landings on the China coast. The Panama Canal had a steady stream of ships loaded with men, equipment and supplies. Seven more atomic bombs were on order for “Operation Olympic” British, Canadian and Australian divisions were to be re-equipped with American weapons and logistical support to standardize the entire operation. The Allied planners felt they would ultimately involve 5 million men. (Operation Overlord in Europe totaled 150,000 men and 1,500 tanks.) They expected opposition from 5,000 kamikazes, which proved later to be correct. The main objective for “Olympic” would be to secure Kagoshima Wan; a great landlocked bay for which men and supplies would flow through for the post-invasion buildup.

Operation Coronet would follow Olympic on 1 March 1946 and would be a more massive invasion. The main objective then would be Tokyo Bay on Honshu.

The Naval plans were also far too complex for me to completely list here, but to give you an idea – Halsey’s Third Fleet was assigned eastern Honshu and the Fifth Fleet would take western Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. The Seventh Fleet would be at Korea (south of the 38th parallel) and Admiral Fletcher’s North Pacific Force would cover Hokkaido.

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Saipan

After the fall of Saipan, Japan knew they were forced to strengthen their homeland defenses. Yet this progress was moving slowly; labor was scarce, with the lack of fuel their mobilization was slow, production, food and weapons were decreasing rapidly. The country was becoming very tired of war. Covering the Japanese islands were four ground armies of eight divisions and 14 cadre divisions; plus three air defense divisions. Immense manpower groups were expected to bring this to 56 divisions, 38 brigades, somewhere in the vicinity of 2 million new men. War materiel was to be brought in from Manchuria. The Japanese plan of defense was called “Ketsu-Go.”

Japanese defenses

I realize the map is difficult to view even after you click on it, but try to see the black squares which represent Japanese defenses with artillery.

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The 11th Airborne, training the reinforcements and handling the “mopping-up” details on Luzon were beginning to set odds on whether or not the war would end before “Olympic” went into play. The combined “Operation Downfall” was a “go” up until the ink on the surrender papers dried.
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From Paul Putnam for his father Robert, a veteran of the 11th Airborne Division.

Robert Putnam

Robert Putnam

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Military Humor –  WW I  Style – 

“I’m HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME.”🙄

Not much different than WWII, eh?

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Farewell Salutes – 

Warren “Bill” Allen – Spofford, NH; USMC, WWII, air traffic comptroller

Margaret “Marty” Bartholomew (102) – Toledo, OH; US Army WAC, WWII, PTO, 1st Lt.

Courtesy of: Dan Antion

H. John Davis Jr. (103) – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt.

Kenneth Ellsworth – Elkhorn, WI; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Nathan Isaacs – Winnipeg, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, navigator

Betty (Hale) Johnson – Wichita, KS; Civilian, WWII, Beech Aircraft

Victor Kester (102) – Revere, MA; US Navy, WWII

Richard J. Lewis – Burlington, MD; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Walter Minick – Elmhurst, IL; USMC, WWII

Hiroshi “Johnny” Okura (100) – HI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bat A/522/442nd Division

Robert Weaver Sr. – Philadelphia, PA; US Navy, WWII & Korea

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Happy Labor Day!

Operation Downfall – part one

Plans for Japan – click to enlarge

The original idea for the invasion of Japan was approved in July 1944 and received constant, precise detailing up until the actual signing of the surrender. Operation Downfall was broken into two separate plans, Operation Olympic which would be followed by Operation Coronet.

With all the devastation already incurred on Japan, a forceful occupation would still be very costly. The Japanese Army controlled the government and their wish was a fight down to the last man, woman and child. Later on, members of that army stated that it would have been an all out suicide effort of every person in Japan to fight to the death.

Women pose for propaganda poster as “beachfront kamikazes”

Operation Olympic, which included 750,000 troops were to land on Southern Kyushi 1 November 1945. In the first wave, Army, Navy and Marine personnel – 436,486; the second wave to hold 356,902. (How they managed to be so specific is way over my head.) The air support would total 22,160. The D-Day Operation Overlord would have paled in comparison and this led the Joint Chiefs of Staff to agree that this rendered Russia’s involvement unnecessary.

MacArthur’s estimations of casualties and wounded that he sent to Washington were judged by the invasion of Luzon. Gen. “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell sent his report based on the Okinawa battles; these were much higher.

While Europe’s “Overlord” had beach codes such as: Omaha, Utah, Sword and Gold, “Olympic” had a variety of automobiles for the beaches that were then grouped by type. Gen. Krueger’s Sixth Army, that included the 11th Airborne Division, was scheduled to land at Miyazaki, the eastern prefecture of Kyushu, the third largest island of Japan. The forty-mile long shallow beach areas were coded as ‘Chevrolet’, ‘Chrysler’ and ‘Cord.’ (Highlighted sections on map above.) At the time, there were approximately 126,000 Japanese troops in that zone. Even after both atomic bombs were dropped, the Sixth Army was expected to have 15,000 casualties.

MacArthur had wanted to keep Gen. Eichelberger close to him and direct the operations since his record with the 11th A/B on Luzon was so efficient. As had been mentioned previously, the five-star general felt that Gen. Krueger had led a rather undistinguished campaign thus far.

Jeep stockpile

The itemized tons of materiel listed in the plans grew beyond comprehension. P-51 Mustang fighters were shipped to Guam still in their crates. Stocking grew on Tinian, Saipan, Samar, Luzon, Hawaii, the Marianas, the Carolines and the west coast of the U.S. (just to name a few). The logistics could only be explained by experts.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence D, Adkisson – Wichita, KS; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Maude Bourassa – Durand, IL; Civilian, WWII, Chevrolet Tank Plant

John Collier (102) – Newberry, SC; USMC, WWII, PTO, Sgt, Major, POW / Korea (Chosin Few)

Richard Friday – Washington DC; US Army, WWII, ETO,Co. H/398/100th Division, Silver Star, Purple Heart

Robert Harrell – Morristown, TN; US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

Louis Iauco (101) – Syracuse, NY; US Army, WWII

John Karakiozis – Clarksburg, WV; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

John Caldwell McLean – Port Elgin, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, gunner, Halifax bomber “Willie the Wolf”, Swordfish Sq. 415

John Pluhacek – Omaha, NE; US Army, WWII

Eunice Salmon (102) – Clinton, MA; US Navy WAVE, WWII, nurse

Jane Winstone – Whanganui, NZ; British ATA, WWII, pilot, KIA (1944)

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