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C/O Postmaster – Book Review

Thomas “Ozzie” St. George, a student in the School of Journalism, University of Minnesota, and an athlete, would find himself soon in the U.S. Army as his country entered WWII.  BUT – This is not a war, combat blood ‘n’ guts diary.

St. George sent excerpts of his training, his not-so-glamorous voyage across the Pacific and the year he spent in Australia discovering a new culture, to the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’.

Cpl. St. George numbered his pieces, knowing full-well the difficult route they would travel to get back to the U.S.  These pieces would arrive at the newspaper, with his sketches completely out of order, but the Chronicle printed them and the readers loved them.  One does not even need to “read between the lines” to visualize what this G.I. was trying to say as he learned about fish & chips, unusual pub hours, Australian slang and living a military life.

Dancing with Americans

“Ozzie” and his fellow G.I.s needed to learn the odd hours of the local pubs.  The Australian women were friendly, but not “easy”, as they used to say back then.  Families often invited the soldiers to dinner.  This was an entirely different world than the Americans were accustom – and learn quickly they would have to do!

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As seen with the Army cooks on page 55:

“…we went to breakfast.  Most of us, I’m afraid, were looking forward to large helpings of ham and eggs, our usual reward for a night’s activity.  Instead we had coffee made with chicory (a course kind of gravel) and our first lesson in the anatomy of the sheep, as found in mutton stew.  Thick was this stew, like cold glue, full of unidentifiable vegetables and with all the delicious appeal of a soggy snowbank.”

American G.I.’s w/ koalas

 Should be lucky enough to locate a copy of this book, I know there are chapters you will nod your head in agreement with St. George and you’ll laugh at others.  The sketches will amuse you – no matter what the content.

 

In the words of Corporal Thomas St. George ….

“With most of us, this army career is by far the greatest experience we will ever have.  I only hope that in reading about a few of these experiences you get half the kick out of it that we got when they were happening to us…”

Thomas ‘Ozzie’ St. George

From his obituary:

Thomas Richard “Ozzie” St. George left this earth on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, at the age of 94.  Originally with the 32nd Infantry, he soon joined the staff of Yank Magazine and covered the war from Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines. While serving in the army, he met his future wife, Staff Sgt. Amelia “Mimi” Vitali of Philadelphia. They married while in the Philippines.

He spent the next 50 years at newspapers in San Diego, Philadelphia, Rochester and St. Paul. He was a reporter, sports editor, cartoonist, copy editor and columnist (“Slice of Wry” – St. Paul Pioneer Press). Ozzie retired from the Pioneer Press in 1994. Two books were written by Ozzie while he was in the Army: “C/O Postmaster,” a Book of the Month Club selection, and “Proceed Without Delay.” Following his retirement, he also self-published the Eddie Devlin Compendium: “Old Tim’s Estate,” “Wildcat Strike,” “The Bloody Wet,” “Bringing Chesty Home,” “Replevy for a Flute,” “Clyde Strikes Back,” “Flacks,” “Deadlines” and “The Survivors.”

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Military Political Cartoons – 

“HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE?”

“GET YOUR DIRTY PAWS OFFA THERE!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth “Kage” Allen – UT; US Air Force, 1st Lt., Air Academy graduate, F-15C pilot, 493rd Fighter Squadron/48th Fighter Wing

Wilton Brown – Avant, MS; US Navy, USS Princeton, / US Air Force, Korea, MSgt. (Ret.)

Wallace Harrelson (100) – Galloway, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Eva Lyons – Scottsdale, AZ; Civilian, WWII, P-38 assembler

Angus McRonald – Petercutter, SCOT, RAF, WWII

Russell Mericle Jr. – Lima, OH; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, Colonel, West Point graduate

William “Bill” Okamoto (100) – Torrance, CA; US Army, WWII

William Ostrosky – Uniondale, NY; US Navy, WWII

Joseph Pauro – Audubon, NJ; US Navy, WWII, ETO/PTO, Purple Heart

Thomas D. Siefke (100) – Indianapolis, IN; USMC, WWII, Sgt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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IHRA – International Historical Research Associate’s 5th Air Force Series

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Warpath Across the Pacific

 

I am not at all certain what I expected  before my copy of Warpath Across the Pacific arrived at my doorstep, but today I find myself wholly unqualified to review IHRA’s commanding series Eagles Over the Pacific.  This tome concerning the 345th Bomb Group is the highest quality of research I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Lawrence J. Hickey has created a masterpiece account of history accompanied by the artistic talent of Art Director, Jack Fellows.  The Preface, written by Col. Maurice J. Eppstein, USAF Ret., delivers an impact of reality depicting life for the 498th,499th, 500th & 501st squadrons and so many others during the Pacific War.

Warpath Across the Pacific takes the readers from the establishment of the 345th, into their rigorous training and throughout  their deployment.  One is carried across the massive ocean to see the bases and examine each aircraft.  You will eventually realize that you have come to know each crew as they prepare, experience and carry out each mission as it is described in striking detail.  Then, with bated breath, you await each of their return.

The numerous maps and aircraft profiles, by Steve W. Ferguson, keep the reader orientated while being engulfed in the events, seeing their successes and feeling the pain of their losses.  Countless photographs from worldwide historians and private collections are included to correspond to the information at hand.  Nose-art is visible cover to cover as well as artistic illustrations of the B-25’s flown by these young, valiant men.  Each airman is mentioned, the bomb squadrons profiled and the book has a special section for those killed and missing.

I find it difficult to accurately describe how greatly impressed I am by this series as each page is turned.  I have never acquired a volume I value more or recommend so highly.  Reading Warpath Across the Pacific was not a way to learn history, but a way to experience it!

This 5th edition even includes new material concerning the Japanese side of the war.

I thank the members of the IHRA for paying such attention to detail, for their dedication, patriotism and expertise.

Therefore, it is with the utmost confidence that I recommend these other editions of the series…

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Warpath Across the Pacific

# 2 –  Revenge of the Red Raiders – 

An equal effort of historical importance concerning the 22nd Bombardment Group/5th Air Force.  The same attention to detail as they bring the reader from the airfields of America to the SW Pacific skies.

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# 3 – Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s – 

The life and wartime of the 312th Bombardment Group/5th Air Force follows in the same style and professional manner.  Read and imagine these young men in their P-40 Warhawks and later, the Douglas A-20 Havoc aircraft.

"Ken's Men Against the Empire, Vol. I"

“Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Vol. I”

# 4 – Ken’s Men Against the Empire – Vol. 1 – 

This project by the IHRA, contains the history of the 43rd Bombardment Group, generated such an abundance of material that it was necessary to create two volumes rather than omit any information.  With the early war and the B-17 era, and then re-equipping with B-24’s for this young, but growing unit.

This edition holds the detailed and accurate missions of the most highly decorated crew in U.S. history, Zeamer’s “Eager Beavers.”  You can start your journey with these squadrons as they progress through the Pacific and witness it as never before.  Should you have any doubt about their research from U.S. training bases – through New Guinea, the Netherlands Indies, the Philippines, Indochina and Japan – a reblog 0f their own post will show, (rather than tell), you how expertly each record is handled.

As Lawrence Hickey stated in his Introduction: “This, then, is the story of the ‘Air Apaches.'”

 To locate the IHRA blog – Please Click Here!

To purchase any volume from the IHRA, click HERE!

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Cather – Birmingham, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 501st “Black Panthers”/345th, Capt.

Glenn Doolittle – San Antonio, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 435th Bombardment Group, Silver Star, Col.

Lester Gurden – Owosso, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., radio technician

Land-Sea-Air Tribute

Land-Sea-Air Tribute

William Hammock – Columbus, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Bruce Hanson – Nampa, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-25 pilot

Erwin Johnson – New Orleans, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 27th Bomb Group, A-20 air mechanic, POW

Gerald Levin – Baltimore, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

William Michels – Alexandria, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Engineer Corps

Louis Mori – Ronoke Rapid, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 674th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Harold Peterson – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, radioman

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