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OSS Unit 101 – American/Kachin Rangers

OSS Unit 101

After the withdrawal of the two Chinese divisions back to China, from Burma, ordered by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, this left a large void in the area in which they operated. The British were unable to fill the area with troops vacated by the Chinese and thus the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Detachment 101 was tasked the mission with its “Kachin Rangers,” numbering 10,800 indigenous soldiers at the time, at full strength, comprising four (4) battalions.

During most of the unit’s existence, it funded and coordinated various resistance groups made up of the Kachin people of northern Burma. The best known resistance force was known as the Kachin Rangers and was under the command of Carl F. Eifler, though often the term Kachin Rangers has been used to describe all Kachin Forces raised during the war by the Americans in Northern Burma.

Carl F. Eifler, (second from the left)

In July 1942, twenty OSS men moved in and set up headquarters at Nazira in the northeastern Indian province of Assam.  No operations of any significance occurred until the end of 1942. Starting in 1943, small groups or individuals were parachuted behind Japanese lines to remote Kachin villages, followed by a parachute supply drop. The Americans then began to create independent guerrilla groups of the Kachin people, calling in weapons and equipment drops. In December 1943 Stilwell issued a directive that Detachment 101 increase its strength to 3,000 guerrillas. They were recruited from within Burma, many of them “fierce Kachins”.

Once established, the groups undertook a variety of unconventional missions. They ambushed Japanese patrols, rescued downed American pilots, and cleared small landing strips in the jungle. They also screened the advances of larger Allied forces, including Merrill’s Marauders.

Unit 101, American/Kachin Rangers

The first United States unit to form an intelligence screen and organize and employ a large guerrilla army deep in enemy territory.

They pioneered the unique art of unconventional warfare, later incorporated as fundamental combat skills for our Army Special Forces (Green Berets). They have been credited with the highest “kill/loss ratio” for any infantry-type unit in American military history.

Capt. Charles Coussoule of the OSS American/Kachin Rangers was known to his men as “Col. Greek”. On his way home!

The Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation award to Department 101 says in part:  The courage and fighting spirit displayed by its officers and men in offensive action against overwhelming enemy strength reflect the highest tradition of the armed forces of the United States,” signed Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chief of Staff, January 17, 1946. He was of the opinion that Detachment 101 performed in an outstanding manner, one of the most difficult and hazardous assignments that any military unit had ever been called upon to perform.

SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS

 

Total Det. 101 personnel
Officers
Enlisted men
250
750
Highest guerrilla strength 10,800
Espionage agents with radios 162
U.S. personnel killed, all causes 27
Native personnel killed 338
Espionage agents 40
Japanese killed 5,400
Additional Japanese estimated killed or wounded 10,000
Japanese captured 78
Bridges demolished 57
Trains derailed 9
Vehicles destroyed – captured 272
Supplies destroyed – captured – tons 15,000
Allied men rescued 425
Intelligence furnished to Northern Combat Command (NCAC) 85%

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News –

  1. NATIONAL COAST GUARD DAY. National Coast Guard Day on August 4 celebrates and honors the courageous work of the service members of Coast Guard. The United States Coast Guard is one of the five US Armed Forces. It is a maritime, military and multi-missioned service. It operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime.

    2. This month of August is dedicated to paying our respects to all the brave men and women wounded or killed in combat. The official Purple Heart Day is observed on the 7th day of August each year, commemorating the historic day in 1782 that General George Washington, Commander-In-Chief of the Continental Army, commissioned the first Purple Heart Medal, originally called the Badge of Military Merit

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Military Humor – 

WWII newspaper

Reaction to V-J Day

 

Marines’ introduction to Chinese peddlers.
(By Sgt. Roland G. James USMCR.)

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jimmie Calder – Pensacola, FL; US Navy, WWII, / US Army, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret 22 y.)

Howard Davis – Bono, AR; US Army, WWII, PTO

Don Erwin – IN; US Army, WWII, SSgt.

Ivan Graves – Rose City, MI; US Navy, WWII, USS Cleveland

Florence Huntzicker – Chicago, IL; Civilian, US Army Regional Office, WWII

Chris Kraft Jr. – Phoebus, VA; NASA Houston Control Director for Moon landings

William Krysak – Forsyth, GA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Edward McCaffrey – Bronx, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO

Shirley (Miller) Niedzwiecki – AUS, Women’s RA Air Force, WWII

Patrick Simpson – Eugene, OR; US Army, Vietnam, 1st Calvary Div., Silver Star, (Ret. 26 y.)

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CBI Rescue

Vol. IV No. 1. Delhi, Thursday, Sept. 13, 1945. Reg. No. L5015

 

Troop Carrier Non-Com Survives
Epic Parachute Drop In Burma

Drops Over 7,000 Feet With Only Arm In Ring

By PVT. W. E. CHILTON   Roundup Field Correspondent

SECOND TROOP CARRIER SQ., ASSAM – From the confusion that was war came a lot of stories of rescue and survival, but none can top the recent wild parachute ride of Sgt. John Stevens of Woodstown, N.J., over the tangled North Burma terrain.
Stevens is a crew chief in the Second Troop Carrier Squadron, veteran transport outfit which has seen two and a half years service in all three nations of the CBI Theater.   He was heading in a C-46 towards the foothills of The Hump when at  7,000 feet altitude the right engine commenced sputtering. Seconds later the radio operator tore past him, grabbed a parachute and opened half the cargo door.

General Stillwell talking with members of the 2nd Troop Carrier Squadron

BAIL OUT
Making his way to the cockpit in order to offer his service to the pilot, Stevens perceived there was nothing that could be done. The pilot was yelling at the top of his lungs, “Bail out! Bail out!” Stevens retraced his steps to the rear of the plane and pulled a parachute from its rack. However, the C-46 was being buffeted about so badly by the terrific up and down drafts that he was unable to remain on his feet.
Stretched full length on the floor of the heaving aircraft, the sergeant attempted wriggling into the chute. This, likewise, proved futile. In utter despair he hooked his arm through one of the loops which emanate from the seat of the chute and pondered vaguely the next step in this grotesque nightmare.
He hadn’t long to wait. One instant he was recumbent along the floor, and then, falling figure in space. It took a while to realize the only possible means of succor was hooked in the crook of his arm. Twisting and turning he groped for the ripcord release, found it, yanked, then miraculously, the chute slowly, slowly unraveled, and the slowness of the unraveling was yet another marvel, for if the big nylon blanket had blossomed forth in one grand jerking operation, as is generally the procedure, the tremendous pressure exerted would have torn Stevens’ arm from its socket.

BLOODY GASH
In his descent he helplessly watched blood stream from a wide gash in his leg.  As the ground rushed nearer, Stevens saw in dismay the skyscraper trees, the jungle grass, and the coarse and intertwining vines.  But in that wonderful bag of luck there was plenty left, for he was finally caught up two feet from the earth.  A simple turn and he was safe on the ground.
His leg needed immediate attention. Orientation in Burmese jungles would leave an Eagle Scout cold, but began climbing, stumbling and crawling.   He had gone half-way up a knoll, when the babble of a foreign language reached his ears.

Naga tribesmen of Burma, WWII

HEAD HUNTERS
Upper Burma was and still is the home of several fierce head-hunting tribes, but these people proved friendly, particularly after an ample distribution of American cigarettes had been accomplished. American cigarettes are in fact to these Hills men what the Coca-Cola advertisements purport to be with the inhabitants of South America.
After a relaxing smoke, followed by a round table discussion through the medium of sign language, the tribesmen motioned Stevens to follow them. The party soon stumbled upon a small clearing. Here, a lean-to was constructed and while one of the natives remained behind with the stranded crew member, the rest proceeded to their village.
Two days passed in the lean-to before the first group returned with a home-made litter, on which they carried Stevens to a more permanent abode on the outskirts of their jungle hamlet. The Naga hills men fed him their native food: boiled rice, eggs, cracked corn, chicken and large, thin pancakes made of an ersatz flour. It wasn’t the Blue-Plate Special at the Waldorf Astoria, but it kept the sergeant alive.

HUMOROUS SIDE
During Stevens’ 19 days in these simple, rustic surroundings there were many incidents bordering on the humorous side. Upon first arriving, the local witch doctor showed a great desire to practice his wizardry on the sergeant’s injured leg. Stevens had to use all his diplomacy to dissuade the Naga medic and at the same time retain his friendship. Another such instance cropped up when the local chieftain brought a pipe to his bedside. One puff convinced the sergeant that the pipe contained, among other things, a good deal of opium, and he hastily put it aside. The jungles do, nevertheless, have their saloons, and the sergeant quaffed saku or as it is termed by our soldiers, bamboo juice. Saku is a concoction similar to the atomic bomb, both in content and effect.
Though skilled in the jungle, it takes even the Nagas many days to travel in their dense tropical homeland, and despite a runner being dispatched to the nearest Army outpost immediately after Stevens’ first contact with his hill friends, it was almost two weeks later that two members from the ATC Search & Rescue Unit reached him. They were Pfc. Joseph Fruge of Aberlin, La., and Pfc. Marvin C. Roberts of Mobile, Ala. They had parachuted, in the prescribed parachute method, into a clearing in a village about 14 trail miles away. A two day trek brought them to Stevens.

Stevens receives congratulations from his two rescuers, Pfc. Marvin Roberts, left, and Pfc. Joseph Fruge, prior to being evacuated successfully from the Burma jungles

SLOW EVACUATION
The leg was still in poor shape, in fact, gangrene had set in, but the original treatment had tempered the infection. With the coming of these G.I. angels of mercy, skilled in the latest medical developments, new wonders of science were hastily applied.
A short convalescent period and the patient was ready for evacuation – at best a slow and lengthy process. It was decided to build a tiny landing strip in a rice clearing not far off. This field would be large enough for an L-5 to land and take-off.
Exactly 19 days after Stevens’ unexpected appearance in the woods, two L-5’s, piloted by Capt. Jacob F. Craft of Galesburg, Ill., and Lt. Harold L. Haviland of Glendale, Calif., arrived at the small airfield. Stevens was loaded aboard Craft’s plane and flown directly to Upper Assam, where he eventually wound up in the 234th General Hospital.

NAGAS REWARDED
The Naga Hills men, by whose devotion and loyalty the life of another American had been saved, were well rewarded for their efforts. Two hundred pounds of rice were dropped from the air to the villagers and Stevens own squadron contributed another hundred pounds of rice and salt, two staples highly prized by these primitive people.
What happened to his plane is not precisely known and probably never will be. It apparently exploded, and parts of the fuselage and wings were discovered by the same rescue party which came to Stevens.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Sad Sack from “YANK” magazine

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Farewell Salutes – 

Walter Bingaman – Everett, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, navigator

Evelyn Cookson – Natick, MA; US Army, WAC, WWII, ETO, 50th Field Hospital

Tsugio Egawa – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

Joseph Fisher – Finksburg, MD; US Navy, WWII / USMC, Korea

Joseph Gallo – Corning, NY; US Army, WWII, 64/16th Armored Division, Bronze Star

Richard Halford – Pontiac, MI; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

Helen McBride – Lancaster, PA; US Army WAC, WWII

Ross Perot – Texarkana,TX; US Navy / Presidential Candidate

Nicholas Sacharewicz – Pinsk, POL; Polish 2nd Corps, WWII, ETO, Medal of Valour

Douglas Vahry – Taupo, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 391204, WWII, Flight Photo Intel Officer

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The British Unsung Hero of Burma

Major Hugh Paul Seagrim

Major Hugh Paul Seagrim

For all the heroes that became famous, there are just as many that did heroic deeds which, for them, was their duty. One of them, British Major Hugh Paul Seagrim, dedicated his life to resisting Japanese forces when they invaded Burma.

Seagrim was born in Hampshire, England in 1909. He was schooled at Norwich and then joined the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. In 1929 he obtained a commission in the British Indian army. He was sent to Burma and before long was accepted by the Karens, forming close friendships.

British in Burma

Burma, now called Myanmar, is situated west of Laos and Thailand in Southeast Asia. It was a colony of Great Britain from 1886 until 1948. The different major ethnic groups living in Myanmar are Burmans, Karen, Shan, Chinese, Mon, and Indian.

Most Indonesian countries regarded the British as haughty foreigners, who looked down on the native peoples while exploiting their land. They were pleased to find none of those traits in Seagrim.

He discarded his uniform, grew a beard and due to the sun his skin turned brown. The Major was always identifiable due to his extreme height of six feet four and earned the nickname “Grandfather Longlegs” from his men. He was a calm, grounded man who always put his men first and was kind to everyone.

Stuart tank advancing on Rangoon

In 1940, the Japanese invaded Burma, with their objective being the conquest of India. Over three hundred thousand British soldiers were forced to withdraw. Seagrim, however, stayed and fought.

The Burmans had their own Independent Army, which sided with the Japanese against the Karen, who possessed only crossbows for protection. Seagrim and his men hid in the jungle and obtained food and weapons when they could. Forced to move around to keep out of reach of the Japanese, they slept in crude bamboo huts and often had to eat rats. The Major was a man of faith and held a daily prayer service for those whose families had been converted to Christianity by missionaries in the 1800s.

After about a year of guerrilla warfare, the Japanese were aware of Seagrim and his men. Having by then lost their ability to wage war, they spied on the Japanese and relayed information to the British in India. Seagrim begged for reinforcements but to no avail.

The frustrated Japanese began attacking the Karen villages to flush the Major out of the jungle. One of their victims finally gave in after horrendous torture and revealed the location of the guerrilla army. As many as three hundred Japanese soldiers closed in on the area, but Seagrim and his men escaped.

Japanese firing squad

Rather than put the Karens in any more danger, the Major decided to surrender. He was taken to the “Rangoon Ritz,” a notoriously brutal prison. All through his captivity, the Major kept his poise, good humor and ability to walk with his head held high. He pleaded for the lives of his men, pointing out that he was the spy, not the Karens. When Seagrim refused to do what the guards told him, he did so courteously. He would not bow or show any submission but did so without animosity. Just his presence buoyed the spirits of the other prisoners.

After being sentenced to death by a Japanese tribunal, and ordered to dig their own graves, Seagrim and seven of his men were executed on September 22, 1944, as they were singing a hymn.

Seagrim posthumously received the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; the Distinguished Service Order and the George Cross.

The medals are on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military in the Movies – 

General admission – Private showing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth Adams – Cincinnati, OH; US Navy, WWII

John Bauer – Furth, BAV; US Army, WWII, ETO & Nuremberg Trials, MIS Interpreter “Richie Boys”

Harold Dawson – Bartow, FL; US Army, WWII

Allen Glenn – Great Mills, MD; US Navy, ATC, Vietnam, Desert Shield & Desert Storm

Gerard Gorsuch – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Bonnie Jackson – Edgar, AZ; US Army Air Corps,WAC, WWII

Jack Moyers – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Christina Neigel – Verendrye, ND; Civilian, Red Cross, WWII

Robert Sommer – Woodstock, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 gunner

Frederick Wheeler – Concord, MA; Civilian, WWII, ETO, ambulance driver

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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

Click on images to enlarge.

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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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Gurkha Soldier – 13 May 1945

The 4th Gurkhas at kit inspection

Never mess with a Gurkha. Not everyone knows this, but then again, many people don’t know what a Gurkha/Gorkha is. Gurkhas were a branch of troops from Nepal who historically served with the British army and now serve around the world. Gurkha troops served admirably during WWI, winning nearly 2,000 awards for bravery serving in virtually every theatre of the war.

In WWII, the Japanese Empire spread through Asia and the Pacific. Americans mostly recall the island hopping and battles over patches of turf like Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. The British fight (supported by China and some Americans) against Japan centered around Burma (Myanmar) and was a terrible slugfest in the depths of the South Asian jungles.

The Gurkhas were a major force for the British in the Burma campaign and on May 13th, 1945, five days after victory in Europe, the Gurkhas would face intense Japanese assaults. Lachhiman Gurung and his detachment manned the forward-most position on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

A little after one in the morning the Japanese led a furious assault with around 200 men. The attack was aimed at Gurung’s position as he and his comrades held a hill that would give the Japanese sweeping views and attack lanes to the rear of British positions.

Type-97 Japanese grenade

The Japanese started their assault by tossing grenades into the foxhole of Gurung. Gurung responded by calmly grabbing the grenades and tossing them back. After a couple of times doing this, Gurung’s luck ran out as a grenade exploded in his right hand as he was trying to throw it away.

The blast took off Gurung’s fingers and most of his hand. It fractured several bones in his right arm and left shrapnel wounds in his right leg and face, damaging his eye. Gurung’s comrades were completely incapacitated by the blast, and so the defense fell to Gurung.

He brought up his rifle with his left arm and gunned down the advancing Japanese, even reloading with his left hand. Try reloading a rifle with your non-dominate hand, it’s quite difficult, even without life-threatening wounds.

Bleeding profusely in the middle of the night, Gurung held off sporadic assaults for four hours. As the sun rose, the Japanese assault faded away. Of the approximately 200 Japanese attackers, 87 of them were dead, with 31 of them laying in the immediate vicinity of Gurung’s location.

garrison hill during advancement

Gurung was immediately hospitalized where he would eventually lose his right eye. His right arm was saved, but he lost most of the use of his right hand. He would be awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions.

Gurung still wanted to serve and was allowed to return to his unit, staying with them through the liberation of India in 1947. He retired shortly after to work on a farm in his native Nepal.

Gurung had five children and eventually moved to London where he would pass away from pneumonia in 2010. The Gurkhas again served in nearly every theatre of the world war, earning close to 3,000 awards for bravery.

The Gurkhas were known for outstanding bravery in battle and their use of the fearsome Kukri blade as a utility knife and in battle.

Sir Ralph Turner, a well-known British professor, had this to say about the Gurkhas: “Uncomplaining you endure hunger and thirst and wounds; and at the last, your unwavering lines disappear into the smoke and wrath of battle. Bravest of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had country more faithful friends than you.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – CBI Roundup style – 

WACs Wanted – 2 to 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Leonard Bellis – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, Captain

James Brook – OR; US Navy, WWII, pilot, / FBI

Charles H. Daman – Coeur d’Arlene, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt., nose gunner, KIA

Thaylon Hobbs – Logan, UT; US Navy, WWII

Charles “Bud” Jenkins – Fayetteville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Pfc., 307th A/B Engineers/82nd Airborne Div., KIA

Robert McCooley – Patterson, NJ; US Navy, Cuban Missile Crisis

Frank Perry – San Leandro, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Robert Rusello – Massena, NY; US Army, 221 Signal Corps

John Stormer – Altoona, PA; US Air Force, historian, / (author)

Max Tadlock – Toledo, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, pilot

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CBI Theater – May 1945

B-24 Liberator, “Black Magic”, 7th Bomb Group

Outstanding mission of the period was a record bridge-busting jaunt by B-24’s of the Seventh Bomb Group, which destroyed or damaged 37 rail and road spans on the Burma-Siam railroad east of Thanbyuzayat. The Japs have been using rail cars with special auxiliary wheels which can leave the bombed-out trackbed and use the highways, and pilots reported seeing several of these, some of them directing machine gun fire at the attackers.

B-29, WWII

HEADQUARTERS, XX BOMBER COMMAND, INDIA – (UP) – Administering treatment prescribed by a medical officer by radio at this headquarters, two crew members of a B-29 returning from a raid on Japanese-occupied Burma saved the life of a third member of the crew.
When the crew member was seriously wounded by shell fire over the target, Sgt. Patsy J. Grimaldi of Brooklyn, radioed the following message to his base:
“Wounded man on board. Shot in neck. Can’t move right arm. Think collar bone broken. Advise if possible.” The radioed pulse and respiration reports continued every ten minutes during the ship’s return trip. An ambulance met the plane at the airstrip and the injured airman was rushed to a hospital where he is now recovering.
Sgt. Grimaldi, who is a member of the Billy Mitchell Group, Twentieth Bomber Command, sent back the messages as well as rendering first aid. A tactical mission report said he “is to be commended on the manner in which he discharged his duties under a trying situation.”

A XX BOMBER BASE, INDIA – The navigator who called calmly over the interphone to ask for certain information received as an answer, “Hell, I couldn’t piece these maps together if I wanted to.”
The answer came from Lt. Harold Vicory of Greenleaf, Kans., 23-year-old radio officer aboard a B-29 Super-Fortress who fortunately was not working with his legs crossed during a mission over Jap-occupied Singapore.
“Enemy fir was very thick,” said Vicory. “The Japs were really peppering us. I was at my desk with a packet of maps and charts when gunfire pierced the belly of the plane, zipped right between my legs, up through the top of the desk, through the maps, and shot out the top of the plane. It all happened pretty fast.”
After he had collected his wits, Vicory examined his maps to discover that the Malay Peninsula had disappeared in thin air.
“They wiped themselves off the map and didn’t know it,” he exclaimed. “And just about that time, the navigator called back and wanted me to give him some information.”

WACs in the CBI

WACS IN THE CBI

The War Department announced this week that 15,546 WAC’s of the Corps’ total strength of 94,000 are serving overseas, including 334 in India and Ceylon.
Other distribution includes, European Theater – 7,030; Southwest Pacific, including Australia, New Guinea, Dutch East Indies and Philippines – 5,255; Italy – 1,612; Guam and Hawaii – 206; Africa and Egypt – 596; Alaska – 103; and Bermuda, Labrador and British Columbia – 394.

Here are two Americans rescued by the 14th Army near Pegu after having been POWs in the hands of the Japanese. At left, Lt. Allan D. DuBose, of San Antonio, Tex., finds it’s the same old Army as he “smilingly” absorbs a shot from Sgt. Orlando Roberto of the 142nd General Hospital in Calcutta. After 18 months as a prisoner in Rangoon, DuBose finds that times change, but not the Army. And at right, Maj. Wesley Werner of St. Louis, happily quaffs his first bottle of beer at the same hospital in Calcutta. Werner had been a prisoner of the Nips since November 17, 1942. A former pilot with the old Seventh Bomb Group he is remembered by old timers in the Theater as the skipper of the noted B-24 Rangoon Rambler. Werner was one of the best known airmen in the 10th Air Force.

CALCUTTA – Happiest group of American soldiers in the India-Burma Theater this week were 73 prisoners of war liberated by the British 14th Army near Pegu on their drive to Rangoon.
The first group of recaptured American prisoners, mostly Air Corps personnel, was recuperating in 142nd General Hospital in Calcutta – with American beer, cigarettes, good food, candy bars, fruit juice, newspapers, magazines and everything possible that Army authorities and Red Cross would provide comfort.

Behind them was a grim memory of starvation, filth, disease and indignities administered by the Japanese to the “special treatment” group composed of flyers captured after the bombing of the Japanese homeland began.

The rescued men will also never forget the forced march out of their prison stronghold in Rangoon to north of Pegu where their Japanese guards deserted in the face of bullets and sound of artillery of the advancing 14th Army.
Two airmen, Lt. Kenneth F. Horner, New Orleans, and Pfc. Smith W. Radcliff, Dexter, Kans., had been prisoners for nearly 35 months; many others had sweated out their return since the fall of ’43 and only two of the recaptured prisoners had been missing since this year.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – C.B.I. style – 

“IS THERE REALLY A COSTUME PARTY AT THE RED CROSS TONIGHT?!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

George Bezecny – brn: CZECH; British information Service & US Army Intelligence Div. / USMC

Donald Gillis – Cancouver, CAN; RC Navy, WWII

William Hare Jr. – Sylacauga, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Ray Jones – Chesterfield, MO; US Air Force, Sgt.

Eleanor Kruger – Pottsville, PA; civilian, War Department, decoder

Arthur Mulroy – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, Korea & Cuban Missile Crisis, USS Antietam

John Peter Jr. – Swansea, IL; US Army, 11th Airborne Division, medic

Gary Riggins – Sawyer, KS; US Army, WWII, Engineer Corps

Michael Sklarsky – Bristol, FL; US Air Force (25 y.)

Homer Waybright – Fayetteville, NC; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. Major (Ret.)

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CBI Theater – March 1945 – part two

FILL ‘ER UP !!
C-109 at Kurmitola, India

USE RUSSIAN VODKA FOR LIGHTER FLUID

HQ., CHINA WING, ATC – An officer, just arrived at one of the India-China Division’s China bases, was relaxing in bed at the close of his first day of duty.
It was then that he received lesson number one on how to get along in China. As he watched, his roommate removed the cork from a large bottle of colorless liquid and carefully filled his lighter. A few minutes later, after he had finished shaving, he rubbed his face briskly with lotion – out of the same bottle. Then he took down a pair of trousers and removed two spots – still using the same magic fluid.
Once dressed, the officer opened a can of fruit juice and poured it into two glasses, adding generous slugs out of the bottle. The newcomer looked at his drink doubtfully, but his roommate reassured him.
“It’s okay,” he said, “pretty fair vodka made by a Russian in town. Up here in China, everything does double duty.”

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MGen. Howard Davidson

HQ., 10TH AIR FORCE, BURMA – A Tactical Air Communications Squadron of Maj. Gen. Howard C. Davidson’s 10th Air Force has a simple way of letting Squadron Headquarters know when they have entered a town in Burma. They simply ship back a dog.
This Air Corps outfit, the only one of its kind in the Theater, accompanies virtually all of the Allied Ground Forces to direct 10th Air Force planes in bombing and strafing in joint co-operation with ground attacks. Since these teams accompany the forward infantry elements, they are usually among the first to enter captured towns and villages.
Their custom is to grab the first available dog after entering a town where heavy fighting has been encountered, name the dog after the place, then send it back as a mascot. Since they have been in about every major operation in North Burma, the number of dog-mascots has grown to be a major feeding problem.
The prima donna of all the dogs is one called “Commedation,” so named after the boys were given a unit commendation by the Commanding General of the 19th Air Force.

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INGENUITY

3 new crew chiefs of the XX Bomber Command display Bronze Star Medals awarded for efficiency in maintaining B-29’s operating in the CBI. M/Sgt. Kenneth Day, Waban, Mass.; M/Sgt. William Kolynych, Clifton Heights, Pa.; and M/Sgt. Bruce Mahler, Seattle, Wash.

BENGAL AIR DEPOT – “You might think my boys were all jewelers or precision instrument men before the war. Actaully, most of them are Army trained.”
The source of this quotation was T/Sgt. Jim Glynn, section chief of the Ordnance instrument repair shop at Bengal Air Depot. Glynn, who formerly worked for an electrical power house equipment firm, is convinced that Army training is capable of producing craftsmen as skilled as any in civilian life.
When he received greetings from the President, T/4 Murray Waldron was in Boston. Besides working for a BS degree in physics, Waldron was getting some time experience with the Polaroid Optical Co. Special jobs that have come his way include making color filters for movie cameras used by combat photographers and the replacing of the original plastic washers on binoculars by ribber ones. The latter job provides an air-tight seal protecting delicate parts from dust and moisture.
Lake Placid, N.Y. is the hometown of T/3 Frederick Smith, a college student before he became a G.I. Smith lends his talents to telescopes. A contribution he has collaborated on was the finding of a suitable method of cleaning fungus from prisms. Nitric acid provided the ultimate solution. A wooden clamp to hold small parts in the hand while working, modeled after the diamond setter’s ring holder, has proved to be another time saver.
Pfc. J. W. Miller hasn’t wandered far from his former job of lens grinder since slipping into the khaki. India, as far as the job goes, isn’t much different from Austin, Tex. Pressure for production has necessitated using medical soap jars for acid containers, medical atomizers for dispensing alcohol in cleaning lenses, and the manufacture of a cleaning machine that does 5 watches at once.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Humor – CBI “Strickly G.I.”  by Ehert

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eugene Chernoy- Santa Monica, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO (Borneo), 6th Army AF Combat Camera Unit (13th AF), TSgt., Purple Heart

Richard Eckert – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division, bugler

Angel Flight

Frank Fariello – Bronx, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 41st Fighter Sq., Lt.Col. (Ret. 20 y.), pilot (187 combat missions)

Robert Hair – Wainuiomata, NZ; RNZ Navy # 692000, Warrant Officer (Ret. 21 y.)

Henry LY – Brn: Canton, CHI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, corpsman

Jack McCaffrey – Lavender Bay, AUS; # NX320255, Borneo

John Parry – Atlanta, GA; US Army, WWII, CBI, TSgt.

Albert Schlitz – Paris, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Louis Tanner – Houston, TX; USMC, Pfc., 3/5/1st Marine Division, KIA (Palau)

Marlyn Wilcox – Gibbon, NE; US Navy, WWII, CBI

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CBI Theater in March – part one

Editorial staff of the CBI Roundup

These headlines and articles are from the CBI Roundup, newspapers distributed during March 1945.\

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The tanned men in unpressed khaki raised their right hands, were sworn in by Theater Adjutant General, Col. Frank Milani – and the Army of the United States had 10 new second lieutenants.  In such a simple ceremony were enlisted men of the Mars Task Force rewarded at Theater headquarters for combat duty in North Burma that culminated in the opening of the Burma Road from Lashio to Kunming.

They were from eight states of the Union and their ratings ranged from a buck to master sergeants. But after the Adjutant General had signed their commissions, they were eight lieutenants of Infantry and two of Cavalry.  The Infantrymen were with Merrill’s Marauders in the first appearance of American land forces on the continent of Asia, in the campaign that saw their objective taken with the seizure of Myitkyina. Then they joined the 475th Infantry as part of the Mars Force.

Col. Frank Milani giving the oath to 10 new Lt.’s

The Cavalrymen came over here with the 124th Cavalry, which, acting in a dismounted role, made up with the 475th Infantry the component units of the Mars Task Force. They were S/Sgt. Carl R. Hill of Hooker, Tex., and Sgt. Arnold Winkleman of Brenham, Tex.

The Infantrymen were First Sgt. Rupert E. Peters, Arlington, Neb., First Sgt. Kenneth O. LaGrange, Tucson, Ariz., T/Sgt. William McCauley, Phoenix, Ariz., M/Sgt. Hunt Dorn Crawford, Louisville, Ky., T/Sgt. Willie E. Morton, Jacksonville, N.C., First Sgt. William J. Aydt, Merchantsville, N.J., First Sgt. Bernard Block, Long Beach, Calif., and M/Sgt. Valen V. Mellin, Eugene, Ore. Mellin is the man who shot the first Jap at Myitkyina last May.

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FLYING COLUMN

The British sent a flying column out from the 19th Indian Division and these troops smashed right into Mandalay. The last reports are that the British were clearing the city, with the Nips holed up in Fort Dufferin. Combat Cargo planes are airdropping supplies to the British.

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30,000 Japanese Face Trap In Burma

As the Northern Combat Area Command troops of Lt. Gen. Dan I. Sultan drove the Japanese south, British 14th Army units virtually closed the trap on an estimated 30,000 of the enemy if the Myingyan, Meiktila, Mandalay triangle’

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CALCUTTA – Eight members of a crashed B-29 were recently “fished” from the Bay of Bengal in a strange rescue by an American colonel and two enlisted men on an Army fishing cruise in which the rescued airmen were the only “catch.”

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Home Front News

NEW YORK – (UP) – Top numbers this week on nationwide juke-boxes were Rum and Coca Cola, by the Andrews Sisters, Accentuate the Positive, as performed by Bing Crosby and the Andrews gals, and Frankie Carle’s rendition of A Little on the Lonely Side.

The Crosby-Andrews version of Don’t Fence Me In was fourth, ahead of Frank Sinatra singing Saturday Night is Loneliest, Harry James’ trumpet in I’m Beginning to See the Light and Les Brown’s orchestra playing My Dreams Are Getting Better.

I Dream of You, (T. and J. Dorsey), More ‘n’ More, (Tommy Dorsey) and Candy (Dinah Shore), filled out the leading ten.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – CBI Style

 

 

“Strictly G.I.” by Ehret

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Bachman – Wilmington, DE; US Army, WWII, CBI, Signal Corps

Patrick Callagy – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Robert DeMoss – Tulsa, OK; US Army, WWII, CBI

William Graham – Hartford, CT; US Army, WWII, CBI/PTO

Albert Hillmeyer – Elmendorf, TX; USMC, WWII, PTO/CBI, radioman

John Ingersoll – Ann Arbor, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 14th Air Force

Andrew Kowalski – Lambert, PA, US Army, WWII, PTO, Colonel (Ret.)

Miroslav Liškutin – brn: CZE; C Air Force/French Armée de l’Air/RAF, WWII, ETO, Spitfire pilot, BGen. (Ret.23 y.)

Raymond Sinowitz – Bronx, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt., POW, KIA

William Waltrip – Springfield, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO,’Edson’s Raiders’, Purple Heart/ Korea, Bronze Star, (Ret. 22 y.)

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CBI Theater – January 1945

Here are snippets of what was going on in the China-Burma-India Theater at the opening of 1945.

Happy New Year, From Over “The Hump”

EAC HQ. – The light of a full moon gave EAC planes an opportunity to hit Jap-held railways, roads, rivers and airfields and smash enemy communication lines, as decisive daylight support was given ground forces on the Burma battlefronts this week.
B-25’s of the 10th Air Force strafed motor vehicles at night in North Burma. The 10th also hit enemy fields at Lashio during daytime, setting two planes afire.
The night intruders, composed of USAAF B-25’s and RAF Mosquitos, Beaufighters and Hurribombers, carried out their operations as far south as Hninpaze, near the mouth of the Sittang River.
Well over 150 sorties were flown in support of the 15th Indian Corps in its current drive in the Arakan.
On the Irrawaddy-Chindwin front, RAF Hurribombers attacked objectives on the road to Yehuphonu. The village of Tabayin was left aflame.

*****          *****          *****

 KANDY – Maj. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, commanding the American Forces in China, and Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, commanding the Eastern Air Command, have been awarded the Order of the Bath by King George VI, it was announced this week.

*****          *****          *****

US Infantry meeting up with the Mars Task Force

The 533rd Brigade (Provisional) was activated on 26 July 1944. It soon came to be known as the MARS TASK FORCE. It was designed as a Long Range Penetration Force and training, equipment and organization were all directed toward this end.

Mars Task Force

MARS was able to profit by the experience of Wingate’s Raiders and Merrill’s Marauders in Burma jungle operations. The leaven of veteran jungle fighters was mixed with the freshness of volunteers and the assignment of the 124th Cavalry Regiment.

FAMILY TIES

 1328TH ATC BASE UNIT, ASSAM – It’s usually the father who offers guidance and advice to the son, but the combination of the Army and India has proved too much even for such a stalwart tradition.
Cpl. Kadzie Goodwin arrived here recently on a change of station and not long afterward encountered his father, S/Sgt. William A. Goodwin, who he hadn’t seen for more than a year.
Now Kadzie, a ground radio technician in the Army Airways Communication System, guides his father, an aerial radio operator flying The Hump for the ATC’s India-China Division, over the treacherous transport routes between Assam and China.

The Chan brothers.

THE WOMBAT SQUADRON – The story of how two Burmese youths walked 900 miles over some of the most treacherous terrain in the world to evade the Japanese and join the American forces was revealed recently with the appearance of two new waiters in the officers mess hall at this “Liberators of China” field.

after 2 years, Mj. Arthur Walker (R) meets up with his son, Pfc. Peter Walker of the Mars TF, in Burma

TENTH AIR FORCE HQ, BURMA – Probably the first instance of twin brothers meeting in the I-B Theater after a long separation occurred recently when Eugene and Edward Crivaro, 19, of Carnegie, Pa., met each other at a base in Burma. In most cases, twins in the Army remain in the same outfit throughout their service.

Edward and Eugene Crivero

Pvt. Eugene, bomb maintenance man for a service group in China, requested and was granted permission to fly over The Hump. Arriving in Burma, he immediately began a quest for his twin whom he had not seen for 20 months. Using an APO number as a guide, Eugene was soon directed to a 10th Air Force fighter control squadron of which Pfc. Edward was a member. Reunion… at long last.
Eugene spent seven hours in the cold Atlantic waters a year ago when the ship taking him overseas was sunk by German torpedo bombs.

Football Round-up

Rice Bowl
GROUND FORCES BEAT SOS (Services of Supply)

Rice Bowl Champs

HQ CT & CC, CHINA THEATER — Capitalizing on two pass interceptions and a safety, the Army Ground Force, touch football champions of China, fought off a strong SOS team to win the New Year’s Day Rice Bowl classic, 16-0, before a large G.I. crowd.
Ground Force grabbed a slight edge, on a safety in the first Period, adding touchdowns on pass interceptions by Wolfe for 40 yards in the third and Bruner for 60 yards in the fourth. Ben Schall booted both extra points.
SOS often penetrated enemy territory but could not muster a score. Of 20 aerials they tossed in the second half, only four were completed.
The Lineups:
GROUND FORCE: Uhlen, Meyers, Autry, Petiit, Wolfe, Chapman, Schall, Bruner and Becker.
SOS: Crowe, Demski, Harding, Roland, Snyder, Staley, Hardee, Sleteher and Heckman.

Information from CBI Theater.com and CBI Roundup.  Clark King & Gary Goldblatt also have a CBI website.

Clark King & Gary Goldblatt

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – CBI Style – 

Oh sure – they’re real.

Oops! Not enough money for this place!!

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Florence Blohm – Wooster, OH; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Peter Carrie (102) – Dundee, SCOT; RAF, WWII, ETO, Flt. Engineer / CBI, Tank Corps

Alan Dick – NZ; RNZ Air Force, Wing Commander (Ret.)

Raymond Evans – Stollings, WV; US Army, Vietnam

Harry Hanen – Alberta, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Keith Iwen – Milwaukee, WI; US Navy, WWII

Mancel King – Agra, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 pilot

William Marshall – Vine Bluff, UT; US Navy, WWII

Edward Reimuth Jr. – Poughkepsie, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 7th Infantry & 11th Airborne Div.

Harold Wilbur – New Castle, DE; US Navy, WWII / US Coast Guard, Korea

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The Elephant Company – Intermission Story (14)

(c) Cuneo Estate; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Cuneo Estate; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

James Howard “Billy” Williams went to Burma in 1920, fresh out of the service for WWI, for a position as a ‘forest man’.  It was there he became increasingly educated on the intelligence, character and welfare of elephants.

When Japan invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite British Force 136.  [a unit that today would compared to Rangers, SEALs and Delta Force].  Being older and wiser in the ways of the jungles, Williams’ tale of war and daring would become legendary.

In 1944, Lt.Colonel Williams, along with his Karen workers, uzis, elephant tenders, and the animals themselves made the stairway in Burma.  They go upward, a sheer rockface escarpment, narrowly escaping the Japanese hot on their trail, through the mountains of Imphal.

While many times the massive beasts stood on their hind legs to scale an ascent that surpassed Hannibal in the Alps.  All 53 elephants were successful and the workers and refugees alike followed close behind to the ridge and eventual safety.

Williams’ sketch of the ridge.

Years later, General Slim would say of the climb, “This is the story of how a man, over the years, by character, patience, sympathy and courage, gained the confidence of men and animals, so when the time of testing came – that mutual trust held.”

Williams and his company would continue in Burma to alter history with the 270 bridges built and erected to create the largest known Bailey bridge across the Chindurin at Kalewa in December.

Williams’ sketch for his memoir cover

James “Billy” Williams was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1945.  He would forever cherish his memories of the animals and the jungle, as shown in his memoir, “Elephant Bill” published in 1950. (originally titled, “1920-1946, Elephants in Peace, Love and War”)

Williams passed away on 30 July 1958, at the age of 60, during an emergency appendectomy operation.  His son, Treve, had gone to Australia for veterinary school a year previous.

Williams’ sketch of the Bailey Bridge

This information and pictures were derived from “Elephant Company” by Vicki C. Croke.

Click on images to enlarge.

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 CBI Roundup – Military Humor – 

“The folks at home are going to love this shot of me!”

“You can stand there all day – but you’re NOT getting a Section 8!”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kevin Bushell – MD; US Navy, USS John McCain, Electrician Tech 2nd Class, KIA

Timothy Eckels Jr. – MD; US Navy, USS John McCain, Information Systems Tech 2nd Class, KIA

Charles N. Findley – MI; US Navy, USS John McCain, Electrician Tech 1st Class; KIA

James L. Hutchinson – CA; US Army Air Corps # 1014403, WWII, PTO, POW, KIA (Bataan, Camp O’Donnell, Section # 4)

Cory G. Ingram – NY; US Navy, USS John McCain, Information Systems Tech 2nd Class, KIA

Abraham Lopez – El Paso,TX; US Navy, USS John McCain,Interior Communication Electrician 1st Class, KIA

James McMillen – Jonesboro, GA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 11th and 101st Airborne Divisions, CO for 16th Battalion, Lt.Col.

Peter Roper – London, ENG; RAF, WWII, ETO / Korea, aviation medicine

Alan Sayers (102) – NZ; RNZ Navy # 1/15/2685

Louis Vetere – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO

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