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October 1944 (2)

October 20, 1944: U.S. troops head toward the beaches of Leyte island during the amphibious assault to reconquest the Philippines. (AP Photo)

October 20, 1944: U.S. troops head toward the beaches of Leyte island during the amphibious assault to reconquest the Philippines. (AP Photo)

15→16 October – Carrier aircraft again set off to bomb shipping and installations at the Manila Bay, Luzon area on both days.  The Japanese lost: 20 aircraft shot down and 30-40 destroyed on the ground.

17→18 October – Northern Luzon and again the Manila Bay area were attacked by the carrier aircraft and the enemy this time lost 56 aircraft; four ships were sunk, with 23 others damaged.  The US lost 7 aircraft.

19 October – Carrier aircraft bombed, rocketed and strafed select targets in the Visayas Group of the Philippines.  The US 6th Army , under Gen. MacArthur began landings on Leyte which pushed the Japanese Navy to act.

22→23 October – Three enemy task forces converged for battle.  The Japanese Combined Fleet were underway for Operation Sho, (Sho  = Victory) and they would meet with their first casualties from the US submarines Darter and Dace in the Palawan Passage.

Just after 0500 hours, LtComdr. Benitez said to his men, “It looks like the 4th of July out there!”  Adm. Kurita’s cruisers IJN Atago & Maya of  the 1st Strike Force were ht and sinking.  The enemy’s position was passed on to command and the US Task Force 38/3rd Fleet sailed to the Sibuyan Sea to intercept.  The Second Battle of the Philippine Sea was underway and it would continue through 27 October.

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[It will take the next few posts to try and encapsulate all that transpired in this short period of time – Please bear with me.]

Japanese losses would include: 2 battleships, 4 carriers, 6 heavy cruisers, 3 light cruisers, 3 small cruisers or destroyers, and 6 destroyers.  Severely damaged were: 1 battleship, 5 cruisers, 7 destroyers.  Others with damage: 6 battleships,4 heavy destroyers, 1 light cruiser and 10 destroyers.

US losses: the light carrier Princeton and 2 escort carriers, the Saint ‘Lo and Gambier Bay were sunk.  Two destroyers, Johnston and Hoel went under, along with 1 destroyer escort, the Samuel B. Roberts and a few smaller craft.

[The story of the USS Samuel B. Roberts can be read in the book “For Crew and Country,” by John Wukovits.  It is an inspiring book to read.]

24 October – Adm. Mitscher’s aircraft assaulted Adm. Kurita’s Center Force and the Nishimura/Shima Sounthern Force while their planes  were out hitting US concerns around the Philippines.  The Princeton was hit by a kamikaze carrying a 100-pound bomb that went through her deck.  The Birmingham was damaged by later explosions as she assisted the damaged carrier; this killed 200 seamen.

The following 10 minute video shows both Allied and Japanese photography.


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Military Humor – Navy style

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“I have a funny feeling about those blind dates of ours.”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Millard Ball – Clarksville, TN; US Merchant Marine, WWII / US Army, Korea, 187th RCT / Vietnam, 101st Airborne, CSgtM (Ret. 45 years)

Victor Carty – San Jose, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, aircraft mechanicsalute

Edward Cooke – Fonda, IA; US Navy (USNA graduate), WWII, CBI, minesweeper, VAdmiral

Warren Ferguson – Seattle, WA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3167th Signal Corps

Teresa Gies – Wellington, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII

Harry Hamilton Sr. – St. Petersburg, FL; US Navy, WWII

Matuszewski Klemens – Taragowa, POL; Polish Army, WWII, ETO, POW

Paul Martin – Croghan, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 318 Fighter Sq./7th Air Force, Cpl.

Richard Ramsey – Bloomington, IN; US Navy, WWII, LST-947

Frank Yates – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 502/101st Airborne, Sgt.

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This WASP Couldn’t Wait to Fly

To honor our females veterans.

Writing of Kayleen Reusser-Home

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Mary Anna (‘Marty’) Martin Wyall – WASP

One benefit of interviewing World War II veterans is the opportunity to develop friendships. My husband and I consider Marty Wyall a friend. Below is a shortened version of her story from my book, WWII Legacies: Stories of Northeast IN Veterans. You can hear Marty speak about her World War II experiences here. She’s still a spunky gal!

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Mary Anna (‘Marty’) Martin Wyall of Fort Wayne learned about the WASP program from a magazine ad while studying bacteriology at DePauw University in 1942. The idea of flying intrigued her. “There was a war on and I wanted to help my country,” she said.

Her family was not keen on the idea. “Mother thought it was morally wrong for me to join the WASP,” she said. “She came from the Victorian era. I told her she would have to accept it…

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Friendship After Bombing Davao

Here is a close-up personal look at what occurred during one of the countless missions I mention.

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Two 63rd Squadron B-24 Snoopers took off from Owi Island on the night of September 4, 1944 to bomb Matina Airdome at Davao, Mindinao. One of the B-24s soon turned back due to radar failure. Captain Roland T. Fisher, pilot of the other B-24, “MISS LIBERTY,” continued on alone. Fisher had flown night missions with the Royal Air Force in 1941 and would soon be needing every ounce of skill he had acquired over the last few years.

Twenty-one years after this mission, Fisher recounted his experience: “I could see again the bright moon in the clear night sky and the green shadow of Cape San Agustin below. I had entered Davao Gulf by crossing from the Pacific over the peninsula into the head of the gulf and made nearly a straight-on approach over Samal Isle to Matina air strip. I remember thinking perhaps this would allow me to enter…

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Why Japan’s Air Force failed

 

Aircraft carrier IJN Kasagi, 1945

Aircraft carrier IJN Kasagi, 1945

From an article written by Shahan Russell

According to Osamu Tagaya, Japan was doomed to lose WWII.  A writer for the Smithsonian, Tagaya’s father was an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), so he should know.

Like the other Axis powers, Japan wasn’t prepared for a long war. But just as Germany became overconfident because of the Spanish Civil War, so Japan felt the same because of victories against Russia and China.

What both lacked, however, was the superior manpower, greater industrial capacities, and vast resources that the US and Britain had. The Japanese government knew this, but had gambled on a short war and had badly underestimated the Allied response to their aggression.

Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero

Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero

Tagaya takes it a step further by pointing out the tactical and political weaknesses that doomed Japan. The government didn’t control the Armed Forces, so couldn’t effectively unite them.  The result was a schism that drained the country’s limited resources and overly-extended industrial capacities.

The Army saw the Soviet Union as its enemy, while the Navy looked to the US.  So while Japan was among the first to develop combat aircraft, they were mostly designed for a land war against the Soviets, not for long range operations in the South Pacific.

Not that it stopped them from occupying parts of Southeast Asia. But it made them overconfident, which was why they were slow to develop aerial technologies. Their occupation of the Pacific was another drain since the region was under-developed – forcing them to build landing fields and communications equipment.

Though Japan had contributed to radar technology, they failed to maximize its potential. Their weakness in detecting enemy craft, combined with cramped airfields where planes parked close together, made it easier for the Allies to take more out in a single raid.

And while Japan was the first to develop aircraft carriers, their focus was on combat missions. They therefore failed to understand the strategic value of taking out supply lines, giving the Allies an edge.

Finally, they didn’t have an effective training program for pilots. As more experienced ones died out, that left inexperienced ones who were forced to do kamikaze missions.

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Military Humor – From: Kunihiko Hisa’s cartoon album “Zero Fighter 1940-1945

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Farewell Salutes – 

In memorandum, today would have been Smitty’s 102nd Birthday – Everett Smith – Broad Channel, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/187/11th Airborne Division

Carson Grady Bird – Newnan, GA; US Air Force, Captain (Ret.), Afghanistan, communications

David Coates – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Lancaster bomber navigator

Daniel Davenport – Dayton, OH; US Army, WWIIth-jpg1

Maurice Hanson – TX & FL; US Air Force, Medical Corps, Captain

Michael Irish – brn: Lancaster, ENG; R Air Force, pilot

Robert Jones – Albany, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Ronald McLennan – Wallsend, AUS; RA Army, Vietnam

Merrill D. Pack – Louisa, KY; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Frederick Schroeder – Newark, NJ; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 5/1st Cavalry, (Ret.), Purple Heart

Vivian Alda Williams – Alpharetta, GA; US Army WAAC, WWII

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Gen. Kenney and Charles Lindbergh

P-38 Lightning, New Guinea 1944, Col. Perry Dahl, pilot

P-38 Lightning, New Guinea 1944, Col. Perry Dahl, pilot

On 4 July 1944, a correspondent notified Gen. Kenney that Colonel Charles Lindbergh was in New Guinea.  Kenney did not know about it and neither did General HQ!  So the Colonel was flown to Brisbane to explain his presence.  He wanted to know more about fighter design, especially how well the 2-engine P-38 could hold up against the enemy one-engine models.

Kenney suggested they go to see MacArthur for Lindbergh’s official status paperwork.  When Mac asked the colonel what he could do for him, Kenney interrupted, he wrote in his reports:

“I said I wanted to look after him… If anyone could fly a little monoplane all the way from New York to Paris and have gas left over, he ought to be able to teach my P-38 pilots how to get more range out of their airplanes.  If he could do that, it would mean that we could make longer jumps and get to the Philippines that much quicker…”

Gen. George C. Kenney

Gen. George C. Kenney

Mac said: “All right Colonel.  I’ll just turn you over to General Kenney, but I warn you.  He’s a slave-driver.”

Kenney instructed Lindbergh that during these teachings, he was not to get himself into combat, he was a high-profile personality and a civilian!  For 6 weeks everything went well.  Lindbergh taught the pilots how to stretch their distance from 400 to 600 miles, spending most of his time with Col. Charles MacDonald’s 475th Fighter Group, Fifth Air Force.  The men became so enthusiastic, they began to talk about stretching their distance to 800 miles!

During a raid on the Japanese oil depot at Boela, on Ceram Island, a lone enemy aircraft suddenly aimed for Lindbergh, who fired a burst and the Japanese airplane went down.  Kenney was told about the incident, but being as no one claimed credit for the action, the General could pretend he never knew.

Lindbergh with the 5th Air Force

Lindbergh (l.) with the 5th Air Force, Thomas McGuire (r.)

Photo is by Teddy W. Hanks who was a member of the 433rd Squadron, 475th Fighter Group at that time.  The photos were taken on Biak Island in July 1944.  They had just returned from a combat mission to an unrecorded enemy area.  The P-38 obviously was assigned to the 431st Fighter Squadron because the propeller spinner is a solid color — apparently red. The spinners in Teddy’s squadron,  were blue and only the back half were painted.  Could very well have been McGuire’s plane, # 131, since he was assigned to the 431st at that time.

To prove the long-range capabilities, Lindbergh, Col. MacDonald, LtCol. Meryl Smith and Captain Danforth Miller headed for Palau, 600 miles north, in their P-38’s.  While strafing an enemy patrol boat, Japanese pilots went air-borne and Lindbergh discovered that once an enemy airplane was on his tail – he could not shake it.  Luckily, he was traveling with 3 experts who downed the Japanese before they got him.

But, there was never to be a ‘next time.’  Kenney felt the celebrity was pushing his luck and Lindbergh agreed; he also had taught the pilots all he could.  As long as the war on, he would not mention his combat experiences.  Colonel Charles Lindbergh headed back for home.

Information taken from “General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War” by George C. Kenney

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Aviation Humor – 

What a hairy situation !!

What a hairy situation !!

On A WINDY Day !!

On A WINDY Day !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ted Acker – Wooster, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Joan Carby – Bolton, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO, radio operator cemetary-flag-bench-final-2-72-res

Milton DeVries – Grandville, MI; US Army, WWII

Charles Eby Jr. – Kensington, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot / Korea

Guy Hunter Jr. – Atlanta, GA; US Army, WWII

Max Lyons – Tasmania, AUS; RA Navy # H2578

Donald Minnich – Virginia Bch., VA; US Navy (Ret. 26 yrs.), WWII, Korea & Vietnam, USS Pine Island

Phyllis Paul – New Westminister, BC, CAN; RC Medical Corps, WWII, ETO

Harold Rothbard – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, B-17 tail gunner

Herbert Sweney – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 7650, WWII

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What’s in a Name?

From the researchers who not only know and understand the fighting in the southwest Pacific area, but the men involved!

Please read in honor of Sr. Chief Petty Officer Scott Dayton – Woodbridge, VA; US Navy, Iraq & Syria, Bronze Star, KIA on Thanksgiving

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From Ken’s Men to the Air Apaches, units of Fifth Air Force had thought of a wide variety of nicknames for themselves. This week, we thought we’d cover the origins of the sobriquets for the 312th, 22nd, 43rd, 38th and 345th Bomb Groups.

The Roarin’ 20’s: The 312th Bomb Group gave themselves this nickname in late March or early April 1944. For the most part, their insignia of a lion jumping through the zero in 20’s wasn’t added as nose art. The men usually used their group logo for signage and patches.

Ken’s Men: Over their years of service during WWII, the 43rd Bomb Group looked up to three men in particular: Gen. George C. Kenney, Brig. Gen. Kenneth Walker and Maj. Kenneth McCullar. Walker and McCullar were killed in action, but the stories of their leadership stuck with the Group for the rest of their war. To honor…

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Smitty ~ Letter VIII

Troopers of the 11th Airborne heading out for a jump

Troopers of the 11th Airborne heading out for a jump

At this point in time, the jungle war training for the 11th Airborne Division had live firing and everything was becoming a bit clearer, a bit more realistic.  Yet, Smitty still does not mention any of this in his letters home.

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the Pyramidal tent

the Pyramidal tent

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Letter VIII                                G.I. Labor                                         6/17/44

Dear Mom,

Work!  Work!  And more work.  After a week here, we still can’t figure when it is all going to end.  We put tents up, then take them down.  That is our biggest problem — tents.

The War Department in Washington has its offices in a large air-conditioned building costing hundreds of thousands of the taxpayer’s money.  In this building, they have all the inventing geniuses of the land.  All they do is design equipment and little what-nots for us.  After that, it is submitted to the boards of Strategy, Health, Welfare, etc.

Now, some poor weak underfed inventor designed in a moment of frenzy and excitement, the Pyramidal Tent number M.6606.  It passed everything and every board with flying colors — until finally — we got hold of it.  We put them up with the loss of tons of perspiration and energy, only to find out later that someone, someplace around here didn’t like the way they looked.  That job of putting the tents up was simple and much too easy.  They sent down a set of blue prints that reminded me of the Empire State Building with the Holland Tunnel thrown in.

Well, next day, bright and early we arose wearily to find that we were to be split up into different sections such as log cutters, tent putter-uppers, log setters and log finders.  We, the pole setter-uppers, sat down and pondered over the blue prints.  We had to raise the center pole 16 inches, while on the four corners erect eight-foot poles.  Then, connecting these  poles at the top of 16-foot logs.

Sounds very easy, but for some reason or other, the trees grew in the jungle across a stream which all in all made log cutting and finding an exasperating business.  Undaunted though, the men went in laden down with axes, saws and prismatic and soon logs were being cut — also fingers, arms and legs.  It wasn’t long before we had the amount of lumber necessary to start work on the first domicile, house or tent.  We were all set and ready, four men were holding up the corner poles and one man steadied the center pole.  The whistle blows for us to fall in and be counted.  We fall in, the corners fall out and the blame tent fell down.  Oh Well!!  What the heck, tomorrow’s another day and after all, the boys that belonged in that tent can sleep out.

This routine kept up for days until finally all our tents were erected and set.  “Looks good,” we all said and good it was, but not to some of the higher-ups who again decided the tents were now too high and would we please, under threat of court-martial, lower the 4 corner posts to 5 feet.  (Oh death, where is thy sting?)  Upon completing this last detail, they then decided the tents should all be moved and then lined up on a new line.  This has been going on for so long that each morning we have to stop, think and hold ourselves in check, for a few times we caught men automatically tearing down tents or putting up poles where there wasn’t anything to put up.

“The heat!” they said, and then gave us half a day off, only to try to squeeze it out of us the next afternoon.  Well, maybe they can get blood out of a stone.

“Well, that’s all for that in this letter as I don’t want to tire you out completely listening to some of our other minor details that are stuck in here and there, such as digging latrine holes, building officer’s tents and officer knickknacks, polishing up, which we are experts at, K.P. duty, inspections, washing clothes and at night making little things for ourselves such as tables, desks, clothes racks, rings out of coins, wristwatch bands and loads of other do-dads.  I guess though the hardest thing is trying all day not to do all this work and go on the gold-bricking standard.  That last line would be understood by any buck private or G.I. as absolute fact and truth.

Wearily I end this letter and sleepily say regards to all. 

With love and kisses,  Everett

 

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Military Humor –

JOIN THE ARMY THEY SAID... SEE THE WORLD, THEY SAID...

JOIN THE ARMY THEY SAID… SEE THE WORLD, THEY SAID…

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Farewell Salutes –

Missing Man formation

Missing Man formation

Clinton Anderson – Portland, OR; US Army, WWII, ETO

Mariano Berona – Santa Ilocos Sur, PI; Philippine Scouts US Army, WWII, Sgt. (Ret. 22 years), POW, Bronze Star

Gideon “Indian” Checote – Okmulgee, OK; US Navy, WWII & Korea, Navy Chief (Ret.)

Bobby Davis – Dallas, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, pharmacist’s mate

Milton ‘Snow’ Fairclough – Perth, AUS, RA Army, WWII, ETO & CBI, 2/3 Machine Gun Batt., POW, Death Railroad survivor

Albin Hammond – Polson, MT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B/457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

George Kahan – Fort William, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, HMCS Oakville

Earl ‘Bud’ Moore – Springfield, MA; US Army, Vietnam, LT

Milford Ort – N.Tonawanda, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Wayne Williams – Nashville, TN; US Army, WWII & Korea, Purple Heart

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June 1944 (2)

USS California damaged at Pearl Harbor

USS California damaged at Pearl Harbor

12-13 June – the US TF-58 intercepted a Japanese convoy of 20 ships fleeing the Mariana Islands.  Most of the ships were sunk or heavily damaged  The USS California and Braine were damaged by enemy coastal guns.  Another Japanese convoy of 6 vessels was also attacked west of Guam.  The Marianas continued to be bombed by air, battleships and destroyers.

The same was done at Matsuwa in the Kuriles by the 20th Air Force.  B-29’s carried out the first air raid  against Japan since Doolittle’s attack in April of ’42.  They bombed the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Yawata.

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The Marianas campaign expanded United States Army operations in a theater commanded by the U.S. Navy. Admiral Nimitz assigned overall campaign responsibility to Vice Adm. Raymond A. Spruance’s Fifth Fleet. Vice Adm. Richmond Kelly Turner would command the Joint Expeditionary Force charged with the amphibious assault. Turner himself would also command directly a Northern Attack Force against Saipan and Tinian, while a Southern Attack Force under Rear Adm. Richard L. Conolly would assault Guam. Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher’s Fast Carrier Task Force and Vice Adm. Charles A. Lockwood’s Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, would cover all landings.

Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith, USMC, Commanding General, V Amphibious Corps, would control the Marianas amphibious forces as each left U.S. Navy control at the water’s edge. Three Marine Corps general officers would command the landing forces on the targeted islands: Holland Smith on Saipan, Harry Schmidt on Tinian, and Roy S. Geiger on Guam. Amphibious units assigned to the Marianas included the 2d’ 3d’ and 4th Marine Divisions and a separate Marine brigade. Three major Army units-the 27th and 77th Infantry Divisions and XXIV Corps Artillery-were assigned from U.S. Army Forces in the Central Pacific Area, commanded by Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr. Army and Marine Corps units totaled 106,000 men. Naval support for this huge force included 110 transport vessels and auxiliaries and 88 fire support ships, from rocket gunboats to aircraft carriers.

14 June – Adm. Mitscher’s carriers, after a 200-bomber strike, left the Japanese airfields in ruins and over 100 of their aircraft destroyed.  As the huge armada readied for their D-Day on Saipan, Gen. Holland Smith, aboard the USS Rocky Mount, said, “We are through with the flat atolls now.  We learned how to pulverize the atolls, but now we are up against mountains and caves where the Japanese can dig in.  A week from now there will be a lot of dead Marines.”

Japanese bunkers on Biak

Japanese bunkers on Biak

Ground fighting continued on Biak as the enemy aircraft also attacked the Allied troops and the offshore shipping.  A squadron from the 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group moved from Saidor to Biak with their P-39’s.  Over 100 aircraft of the 5th Air Force hit Wewak.

During the 3-day bombardment of Saipan, it was a bitter irony for Japanese Adm. Nagumo, relegated to command his tiny flotilla, to be on the receiving end of shells fired from 3 of the battleships his pilots had hit at Pearl Harbor.  The US Navy UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) went in to Saipan, but found no mines or obstacles.

The broadcast from Tokyo Rose: “I’ve got some swell recordings for you, just in from the States.  You’d better enjoy them while you can, because tomorrow at oh-six-hundred you’re hitting Saipan… and we’re ready for you.  So, while you’re still alive, let’s listen to…”

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Military Humor – 

Why the Services can't work together...

Why the Services can’t work together…

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ben Barnes – Miller, SD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st LT., pilot

John Groh – Knoxville, TN; US Army, LT., Transportation Unitth-jpg1

Victor Hickox – Paragould, AR; US Army, Company A/674th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

William Korn Sr. – Newark, NJ; US Army, WWII

Francis Macri – Rome, NY; US Army, WWII

Nevin Roth – Ormond, PA; US Navy, WWII

Gerrit Scholten – Boyden, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-29 pilot

Victor VanFleet – Kalamazoo, MI; US Navy, WWII

Andrzej Wajda – Suwalki, POL; Polish Army, WWII

Edmond Zawalich – Dorchester, MA; US Army, WWII

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Japanese WWII Vet Sees Trouble on the Horizon

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Kaname Harada, 98, holding a picture of himself when he was a fighter pilot

NAGANO, Japan — Kaname Harada was once a feared samurai of the sky, shooting down 19 Allied aircraft as a pilot of Japan’s legendary Zero fighter plane during World War II. Now 98 years old and in failing health, the former ace is on what he calls his final mission: using his wartime experiences to warn Japan against ever going to war again.
This has become a timely issue in Japan, as the conservative Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has called for revising Japan’s pacifist Constitution. On a recent afternoon in this alpine city near his home, Mr. Harada was invited to address a ballroom filled with some 200 tax accountants and their business clients.
After slowly ascending the stage with the help of his daughter, he stopped to hang up hand-drawn war maps and a sepia-toned photo of himself as a young pilot in a leather flight suit glaring fearlessly into the camera.  It was the same face that now turned to look at the audience, creased by age, and somehow softer and wiser. His body was so frail that his suit hung loose like a sail, but he spoke with a loud voice of surprising vigor.
“Nothing is as terrifying as war,” he began, before spending the next 90 minutes recounting his role in battles, from Japan’s early triumph at Pearl Harbor to its disastrous reversals at Midway and Guadalcanal. “I want to tell you my experiences in war so that younger generations don’t have to go through the same horrors that I did.”

model aircraft Mr. Harada uses while he describes his experiences.

model aircraft Mr. Harada uses while he describes his experiences.

It is a warning that Mr. Harada fears his countrymen may soon no longer be able to hear. There are only a dwindling number of Japanese left who fought in the war, which in Asia began when Imperial Japan invaded northeastern China in 1931, and claimed tens of millions of lives over the following 14 years.
In an interview after his speech, Mr. Harada described himself as “the last Zero fighter,” or at least the last pilot still alive who flew during that aircraft’s glory days early in the war with the United States. He recounted how in dogfights, he flew close enough to his opponents to see the terror on their faces as he sent them crashing to their deaths.
“I am 54, and I have never heard what happened in the war,” said Takashi Katsuyama, a hair salon owner, who like many in the audience said he was not taught about the war in school. “Japan needs to hear these real-life experiences now more than ever.”
Mr. Harada’s talk was filled with vivid descriptions of an era when Imperial Japan briefly ruled the skies over the Pacific. During the Battle of Midway in 1942, he said, he shot down five United States torpedo planes in a single morning while defending the Japanese fleet. He described how he was able to throw off the aim of the American tail gunners by tilting his aircraft to make it drift almost imperceptibly to one side as he closed in for the kill.

Mr. Harada during one of his talks.

Mr. Harada during one of his talks.

He also described his defeats. He said he had to ditch his plane in the sea after Japan lost all four aircraft carriers it sent to Midway, the battle that turned the tide of the war in favor of the United States. Four months later, he was shot down over the island of Guadalcanal. He survived when his plane crashed upside down in the jungle, but his arm was so badly mangled that he never fought again. He spent the rest of the war training pilots back in Japan.
After Japan surrendered, he said, he hid from what he feared would be vengeful American occupiers. He worked for a time on a dairy farm, but found himself plagued by nightmares that made it tough to sleep. In his dreams, he said, he kept seeing the faces of the terrified American pilots he had shot down.  “I realized the war had turned me into a killer of men,” he said, “and that was not the kind of person I wanted to be.”
He said the nightmares finally ended when he found a new calling by opening a kindergarten in Nagano in 1965. He said he was able to alleviate the pangs of guilt by dedicating himself to teaching young children the value of peace. While he has now retired, he said he still visits the school every day he can to see the children’s smiling faces.

Harada in days gone by.

Kaname Harada in days gone by.

He said it took many more years before he could finally talk about the war itself. The turning point came during the Persian Gulf war in 1991, when he was appalled to overhear young Japanese describe the bombing as if it were a harmless video game. He said he resolved to speak out. – He has been talking about his war experiences ever since.
“Until I die, I will tell about what I saw,” Mr. Harada concluded his speech to the accountants’ group. “Never forgetting is the best way to protect our children and our children’s children from the horrors of war.”
From a “New York Times” article, written by, Martin Fackler, and submitted to Pacific Paratrooper by Christina @ http://bowsprite.wordpress.com/

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Farewell Salutes – 

Doyle Baker – Cherokee, OK; USMC, Vietnam, 3rd Marine Air Wing, Lt.

Jack Bryce – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 429941, WWII0083f165f66161f63454e92890403bcd

Lawrence Ericksen – Vernal, UT; US Coast Guard, WWII, Merchant seaman

Frederic Gilbert – El Paso, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Bronze Star

Riley Hammond – Lexington, SC; US Navy, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, (Ret. 30 years)

Paul Ladd – Miami, FL; US Navy, Dental Corps, Capt.

David Manwarring – Covina, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457 Ordnance/11th Airborne Div.

Mel Martin – NY; US Army, Capt., Commander of West Point Medical Corps

Dempsey Syvet – Gaspe, CAN; RC Army, WWII, CBI, Royal Rifles of Canada

Edward Tice Jr. – Allentown, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO

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Personal Note –  

I attempted to condense this post for the readers, but I just could not see where anything could be taken out.

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WWII Veteran Travels To Teach History

Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot

Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot

I discovered this article and simply felt the day after 9/11 was perfect for repeating it.

Retired Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin is a man on a mission, and that mission is to speak to young people across America about World War II and the futility of war. His life’s motto is, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and he firmly believes that the young people of today do not appreciate the reality of war and what it was like to fight in one.

Jerry Yellin climbing into a trainer aircraft

Jerry Yellin climbing into a trainer aircraft

Yellin was an Army pilot during WWII [the 78th Fighter Squadron, “The Bushmasters”], with 19 missions over Japan to his credit, but now he is a worried man. In an interview with Channel 12 News, he said, “It’s 2016. I’m 92 years old. I’m reading the same headlines in the newspaper about race, religion, terrorism and killing people for (beliefs) that I read when I was 12 years old in 1936. It’s no different.”

He fears that young people do not understand how the fueling of hatred over differences plays into the hands of warmongers, “We’re an angry nation,” said Yellin. “We’re a divided nation: Culturally, monetarily, racially and religious-wise we’re divided.”

Yellin has a simple message that he is trying to get across to the leaders of tomorrow. No matter how naive he may sound, he simply wants people to draw closer together, “We all need three meals a day,” he said. “We all need a bed to lie down on. We all need something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to for happiness.”

Retired U.S. Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin attends the 71st Commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima at Iwo To, Japan, March 19, 2016. The Iwo Jima Reunion of Honor is an opportunity for Japanese and U.S. veterans and their families, dignitaries, leaders and service members from both nations to honor the battle while recognizing 71 years of peace and prosperity in the U.S. – Japanese alliance. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by MCIPAC Combat Camera Lance Cpl. Juan Esqueda / Released)

Ret. Capt. Jerry Yellin attends the 71st Commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima, March 19, 2016.

This aging pilot and humanitarian has already spoken to the students at the University of Washington, and he has several other speaking engagements set up. This weekend he will be at the Sioux Airshow, in the Sheehan Mack Sales & Equipment’s tent where he will be very happy to chat to you.

Hopefully, many young people will heed the important message that this veteran carries. All nations need someone to unite them instead of serving up reasons to divide the population against one another.   Yellin said, “I just want (people) to know what the 16 million (veterans) did in World War II and why we did it. There were 16 million of us, now there’s maybe 300,000 of us. Most of us can’t walk and talk, but I can, so I’m doing it.”

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“Telling them the story of World War II — why we fought, and why we can’t fight any more wars.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –11133852_544721869000280_6531901680391445584_n

How else can we expect to pay for this war?

How else are we going to to pay for this war?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Richard Alkema – Belmont, MI; US Navy, WWII

Donald Blakely – Woodbury, MN; US Navy, WWII11986973_1183822258300441_3544440820007753006_n.jpgfrom, Falling with Hale

Dorothy Clapshaw – Waihi, NZ; JP # 810166, WWII, Medical ship, Oranje, ETO to PTO

Peter Collins – UK; RAF, test pilot

Arthur Marshall – No.Vancouver, CAN; WWII, ETO, Calgary Highlanders

Thomas Parkhurst – Prague, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division

Robert Schaeffer – Allentown, PA; US Army, WWII, MSgt. (Ret. 31 yrs.), Bronze Star

Thomas Wickline Sr. – Hillsboro, WVA; US Army, Korea

Melvin Witt – Muskegon, IL; US Army, Korea

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