Blog Archives

Looking Back on the War – Humor

Pacific Paratrooper received a request for a humorous post, from Equipsblog, after all the tissues I caused her to use in the previous posts –  so here’s what I came up with on short notice – hope you all like the stories – I’m sure some of you have stories from your relatives too – feel free to add them!!!

 

Zuit suit craze

I’VE GOT URGES FOR SERGES
I’ve gotta passion for fashion,
I’ve gotta run on fun,
‘Cause I’m Ten million new civilian
Ex-G.I.’s in one.
I’ve got urges for serges,
I’ve gotta need for tweed;
I’ll put the smile in a world of stylin’
No War Department decreed.
I’ll be the zoot-suit-suitor,
I’ll be the rainbow beau,
I’ll be the luminous,
Most voluminous,
Viva-Truman-ous-
Leader of the Freedom Show.
Long I’ve thirsted for worsted;
Ain’t I the plaid-glad lad?
Open the haberdash!
Here comes a color-flash!Here comes the post-war fad!
– Cpl. R. CHARLES

India

scrub brush business

They’re telling the story around New Delhi about a certain G.I. building supervisor who recently had a bit of trouble with his 19 Indian employees. Seems that one evening towards closing time, the G.I. bossman discovered that someone had made off with 12 of his good scrub brushes. He promptly called his staff together. “None of you guys leaves here ’til you bring back those brushes,” he ordered. The Indians thought it over for a moment, then scattered. A few minutes later, they reported back, each carrying a brush. Only 12 brushes lost. Nineteen returned. That’s good business.

______ September 1945, C.B.I. Roundup newspaper

Marine Raider Battalion, Makin Island
“One of the many BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) men we had, damn fool, was loading his weapon and cranked off about a three-round shot, and that woke every Jap up that was in the South Pacific, and from then on, all hell broke loose … Well, the whom damn command situation broke down the minute the firing started,” says Carson. “None of the people there outside of a couple of sergeants that had fought in the civil war in Spain, none of them had any war experience, and so it kind of turned out to be everybody for himself and the devil for the hindmost and it was an unorthodox battle. And it was my first battle, so I had nothing to compare it to, and I got to thinking if this is an organized war, we’re in a hell of a shape.”

U.S. Navy, off Attu Island
David Lake was in charge of Mount Two of the 5-inch guns on USS Pennsylvania. The ship was among those sent to the waters off Alaska to aid in re-capturing islands there that had been occupied by Japanese troops.

“It was pretty darn cold up there, too. I stood my watches on Mount Two all the time … And we bombarded Attu and it got cold up there, I kid you not. The ice inside them guns mounts, you’d fire them and that ice would fly everywhere. ”

The one who served in Africa

Gen. Patton

“I was a private, a tank driver. Anyways, I was sitting by the side of my tank, reading a newspaper and just relaxing. All of a sudden I felt a horrible itch when I breathed out…and the normal human reaction? I picked my nose. Half-way through the nose picking, a shadow fell over me. I looked up with my finger stuck full up my nose. General Patton…standing over me…with a bunch of Army planners and such. I slowly started to take my finger out of my nose. “Soldier, did I give you an order to take your finger from your nose?” He asked. I, of course, gave him a full blown no sir, which sounded very high pitch. “Carry on soldier, and hunt that booger down.” He then walked off, with the group of Army people staring at me.

Battle of the Bulge

LOOK OUT BELOW!

In horror I learned that if a man was away from his unit for more than 20 days, starting that day, he would be re-positioned into another unit. I escaped the hospital, and joined up with my unit on the way to the woods. They called me “the cook” for the entire time. I had acquired a blanket, and spread it over the top of a 155mm hole, perfect size of a foxhole to! I soon employed my cooking skills to try and feed the men. But unfortunately, even 30 seconds out in the cold made the food almost frozen. I had cooked white navy beans one night, and it produced the most astonishing gastronomical outbursts anyone has heard. We thought the Germans could zero in on us just because of the noise.

 

 

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More Military Humor –

Future War Stories

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Farewell Salutes – 

Henry Amey – Kalamazoo, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Army

Carl Bengeton – Gary, IN; US Air Force, 8th Air Division

Pasquale Gugluzzi – Palm Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Solomons

John Hall – Natick, MA; US Merchant Marines / US Navy, WWII, PTO, Midshipman, USS Clay

Robert Ketterer – Pahrump, NV; US Army, WWII, APO

Kelley LaBrash – Dana, CAN; RC Army, WWII

William Murphy Jr. – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, Korea, Sgt., 101st Airborne Division

Lawrence Rohrwasser – Franklin, WI; US Army, Korea, Co. F/187th RCT (airborne)

Jack Shires – Freer, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. G/511/11th Airborne Division

George Weitner – Snellville, GA; US Army, WWII, ETO

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Additional Surrenders

Lubang Island surrender

The extraordinary reluctance of Japanese soldiers to surrender was regarded by the Allies at the time as an indication of fanatical devotion to the Emperor.  While that was doubtless a factor, particularly among the officer corps, other elements may have been at play. Inoue Hayashi, a junior Japanese Army officer, claimed that the iron rule against surrender was necessary to  prevent a total collapse of morale. (Hastings 2007):

“If we were told to defend this position or that one, we did it. To fall back without orders was a crime. It was as simple as that. We were trained to fight to the end, and nobody ever discussed doing anything else. Looking back later, we could see that the military code was unreasonable. But at that time, we regarded dying for our country as our duty. If men had been allowed to surrender honorably, everybody would have been doing it.”

“Those who know shame are weak. Always think of [preserving] the honor of your community and be a credit to yourself and your family. Redouble your efforts and respond to their expectations. Never live to experience shame as a prisoner. By dying you will avoid leaving behind the crime of a stain on your honor.”

Prince Konoye – 3 times Premier of Japan lies dead

The logical demands of the surrender were formidable. So many different ceremonies took place across Asia and the entire Pacific. Here we will look into some that proceeded peacefully and others that refused the peace. In actuality, the state of war between the U.S. and Japan did not officially end until the Treaty of San Francisco took effect 28 April, 1952.

One mass surrender did occur at Noemfoor in September 1944 when 265 Japanese enlisted men, angry at their superiors for stealing their food for their own use. And, in August 1945, another starving Japanese military unit surrendered to a lieutenant in New Guinea. On 1 December 1945, Captain Oba and 46 members of his unit were the last Japanese on Guam to surrender.

In 1946, on Lubang Island, Philippines, intense fighting developed on 22 February when American and Filipino troops met 30 Japanese soldiers. Eight of the Allied troops were killed. Then in April, 41 members of a Japanese garrison came out of the jungle, unaware that the war was over.

Ei Yamaguchi entering his old tunnel.

At the end of March 1947, a band of Japanese led by Ei Yamaguchi of 33 men renewed the fighting on Peleliu Island. There were only 150 Marines stationed on the island by that time and reinforcements were called in to assist. A Japanese Admiral also went to convince the troops that the war was indeed over. The holdouts came out of the jungle in two different groups in late April. Yamaguchi returned to his old tunnel in 1994 and Eric Mailander and Col. Joe Alexander interviewed him. To see the interview go to – http://www.pacificwrecks.com/people/visitors/mailander/ (If this link was not done correctly, please go to Pacific Wrecks. com)

In that same month, on Palawan Island, 7 Japanese troops armed with a mortar launcher emerged from the jungle and surrendered. On 27 October 1947, the last Japanese soldier surrendered carrying a water bottle, a broken Australian bayonet and a Japanese entrenching tool.

USMC base during Operation Beleaquer

Not until late 1948, did 200 well organized troops give themselves up on Mindinao, P.I.  And, in China, 10-20,000 well equipped Japanese troops who were trapped in the mountains of Manchuria between the warring Nationalist and Communist forces, finally found a chance to surrender thanks to the efforts of the USMC Operation Beleaguer.

In 1949, there was one report of two men living in the shadow of American troops finally turning themselves in.

Teruo Nakamura was one of the last known holdouts of WWII when he emerged from the jungle retreat that housed him in Indonesia, December 1974. There were rumors of men claiming to be holdouts in the 1980’s, but none were officially confirmed.

Probably the most memorable of the holdouts was Hiroo Onoda, whose story we will see in the next post.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal Note – 

Those expecting a D-Day post, simply type, ‘D-Day’, into the Search bar at the top-right of this post and you are bound to find one of interest.  A rather different view of D-Day will be forthcoming.

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Military Humor – 

This comic strip was found on the opposite page of the Japanese surrender article, N.Y. Daily News, 3 Sept. 1945, by Smitty’s mother.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eli Blumenberg – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII

William Tully Brown – Winslow, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker

Dorothy “Red” Churchill (104) – Wallingford, CT; Civilian photographer for US military

Frank DeGennaro – Canonsburg, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/188/11th Airborne Division

Edwin Glatzhofer – Pinehurst, NC; US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

H.W. Hanks – Memphis, TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, 103rd Infantry Division

John Knauer – Des Moines, IA; US Navy, WWII, steamfitter, USS Amycus

Louis Levi Oakes – Akwesasane, NY; US Army, WWII, Co. B/442nd Signal Battalion

Louis Smith – Carlisle, AR; US Navy, WWII

Burton Walrath – Cedar Key, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Sgt., Combat Engineers

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Surrenders in the Pacific

 

Okinawa

Once the Emperor gave his speech for peace, the Japanese gave their surrenders across the Pacific, but not all went as smoothly as the one held on the USS Missouri. As late as 31 August, according to U.S. Intelligence reports, the Japanese refused to believe the surrender reports and ambushed a SRD party and three of the Japanese were killed.

In the Ryukyus, things were far more simple. The senior officer in the Sakishima Gunto, Lt. General Gon Nomi, Toshiro, whose headquarters was on Miyako Shima, had been given authority to conclude a peace treaty for all Army and Navy forces in the Sakishima Gunto, Daito Islands and the islands in the Okinawa Gunto not already under American control. The official papers were signed on 7 September 1945, with General Stillwell presiding.

Gen. Hata at surrender table with the Soviets

General Shunroku Hata and his Army had taken only three weeks in April-May of 1944 to rout 300,000 Chinese soldiers in Honan to secure the Peking-Hankow railroad. He then moved south and then west to meet up with the Japanese forces in French Indochina. The 14th Air Force and the Chinese Air Force could not stop the offensive and by the end of May, General Marshall and the Joint Chiefs of Staff basically wrote off the Chinese Theater. Yet in the end, Gen. Hata signs the surrender.

Lord Louis Mountbatten with MacArthur

12 September, Lord Mountbatten accepted the surrender of all enemy forces in Southeast Asia in Singapore. Once again, the Union Jack was flying over Government House. But, due to Britain’s overstretched resources, Japanese soldiers were used to maintain law and order in the region. Europe’s colonialism was severely damaged and in 1947, Britain granted independence to India and Pakistan.

17 August, American parachutists landed near Nanking on the Wse-hsien interment camp. The Japanese were forced to protect the troopers from the unrest (actually chaos) erupting in the area between Communist and Nationalist armies. On 9 September, General Ho Chin accepted the Japanese surrender of China (except Manchuria, Formosa [now Taiwan] and Indochina north of the 16th parallel in the name of Chiang Kai. Mao’s forces stayed away even though Allied officials were present. By not being at Central Military Academy in Whampoa, he was in violation of the Potsdam accords and went on to accept his own regional surrenders.

Australian & British POWs on Borneo

The British had been slow in retaking Hong Kong and revolts broke out. The POWs were not receiving food and the Chinese population caused riots in the streets. The British civil servants eventually took over while the Japanese kept the order. 16 September, the official surrender took place, but not until November were all Japanese troops in the New Territories relieved, disarmed and repatriated.

After a meeting in Rangoon, Mountbatten arranged for the Allied forces to enter Siam and Indochina. Thirteen days later, he flew his 7th Indian Division to Bangkok to move onward to Saigon. They were to assist the French in securing the southern half of Vietnam again as a French colony. The Americans felt that the French had already bled the country dry over the past century and so here – the start of the Vietnam War that would last until 1974.

Thailand had survived by playing both sides while attempting to appear neutral. Japanese General Hamada, responsible for heinous POW atrocities, committed seppuku.

Indonesia was grateful to the Japanese for throwing out the Dutch and declared their independence. Although British and Dutch troops made attempts to return them to colonization, they resisted. The Americans moved in with orders to disarm the Japanese and then leave. It would take four years of fighting before the Hague would recognize Indonesia as a sovereign country.

Burma disliked the Japanese, but they had given them a taste of independence from the British. They took no part in the surrender proceedings. After the Japanese were shipped home and fighting resumed with the British, the independent nation nation was established 4 January 1948.

India had acquired their own army under the Japanese Co-Prosperity Sphere, but not independence. After the war, the British tried in vain to hold the country, but hostility forced them to grant India their freedom in 1947. The transition was overseen by Governor General Mountbatten.

Korea – September 1945 – being relieved of all weapons

In Korea, the Japanese were ordered to sweep Inchon harbor of mines before the American fleet arrived. The Japanese, here again, were needed to maintain order until Koreans could be trained to contain the mobs. Korea had actually been ignored as far as surrender and removal of the Japanese. The U.S. had gone there to disarm the enemy. The end result of the incompetent handling of Korea during and after WWII attributed to the Korean War.

Click on  images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Envelope Art

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Farewell Salutes – 

Michael Bach – Utica, NY; US Army, Korea, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

Donald Creedon – New Hartford, NY; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Leo Fitzpatrick – Sharon, MA; US Navy, WWII

Robert Glass – Crosby, MN; US Merchant Marines, WWII, PTO / US Air Force (Ret. 22 y.)

Lewis Holzheimer – Neihart, MT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 60th Infantry Regiment, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Russell Kelly – Seabrook, NH; US Navy, WWII

Willard Marquis – Casper, WY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Louis Orleans – Ft. Collins, CO; US Army, WWII

Martin Sander – Odenton, MD; US Army, WWII, Sgt.

Wiley Walker – Canyon, TX; US Army, 1st Calvary Division, Colonel (Ret. 27 y.)

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Canadian Hero – Leonard Birchall RCAF

Leonard Birchall

One of the things Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Air Commodore Leonard Birchall is most remembered for is being the “Savior of Ceylon.” He was the pilot who warned the Allied forces in Colombo of the Japanese surprise attack that was on its way, thus allowing them to prepare and preventing a repeat of Pearl Harbor.

However, he showed the true breadth of nobility and valor of his character in Japanese prisoner of war camps over a period of three years, in which he saved many men’s lives and took many prisoners’ beatings for them.

Leonard Birchall was born in July 1915 in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. After graduating from school he worked a number of jobs in order to pay for flying lessons.  He eventually decided to embark on a military career, and enrolled in the Royal Military College of Canada in 1933, after which he was commissioned as a RCAF pilot in 1937.

Royal Air Force mechanics at Royal Air Force Station RAF Koggala, Ceylon

It wouldn’t be too long before he saw action: the Second World War broke out in 1939.   His first duties involved flying a Supermarine Stanraer with RCAF No. 5 Squadron over Nova Scotia on anti-submarine patrols.

In 1940, he managed to virtually single-handedly capture an Italian merchant ship in the Gulf of St Lawrence by making a low pass over it, feigning an attack, which caused the captain to panic and run his ship into a sandbank. Birchall landed nearby and waited patiently for the Royal Canadian Navy to get there, whereupon they arrested the Italian seamen.

In 1942 he joined No. 413 Squadron, and shortly thereafter was transferred to Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka).  Less than 48 hours after touching down, he was flying his Catalina on a patrol mission when he caught sight of an Imperial Japanese Naval fleet which was clearly on its way to attack Ceylon.

Birchall didn’t have much time to act, for not only had he spotted the Japanese, but they had also spotted him. Despite the imminent danger, Birchall flew closer in order to gather details about how many ships and aircraft he could see.

He desperately relayed details to the Allied base even as anti-aircraft fire starting ripping past him, while Japanese fighters took off from the aircraft carriers to shoot him down.

He managed to get a few messages through to the base before anti-aircraft fire tore through his Catalina and disabled the radio. Further fire crippled the plane, and he went down, crash-landing into the ocean. He and the other surviving members of his crew were picked up by the Japanese and taken onto one of the ships. Thus began three years of imprisonment.

IJN destroyer “Isokaze”

As soon as Birchall was brought on board the Japanese destroyer Isokaza, he was singled out as the senior officer and brutally interrogated.

The Japanese eventually believed he had not radioed out, and went ahead with their attack – but they found the Allied defenders prepared for them, and their raid was a failure.

Birchall was then transferred to mainland Japan.  He was placed in an interrogation camp in Yokohama where he was subject to solitary confinement and daily beatings. In this camp – in which no speaking (except when answering questions) was allowed – Birchall spent 6 grueling months.

He was then transferred to a POW work camp that had been erected in a baseball stadium. The conditions were harsh; rations were scarce, and the prisoners were basically on a starvation diet. Beatings were commonplace, and everyone, regardless of their physical condition, was forced to work.

Birchall immediately began to earn the respect of the other prisoners by arranging a system in the camp whereby he and the officers displayed the food that had been dished out to them, and if any enlisted man thought that the officers had been given better food, or more food, he was free to exchange his rations with the officer’s.

Despite the risk of severe punishment, he also argued with the guards and demanded better treatment and rations for his men. If a guard was beating a particularly weak prisoner, Birchall and the other officers would step in and take a beating from the guards on that prisoner’s behalf.

Air Commodore Leonard Birchall Leadership Award, at Royal Military College of Canada; bas-relief bronze by Colonel (ret’d) Andre Gauthier Photo by Victoriaedwards CC BY-SA 3.0

Birchall kept detailed diaries of his time in the Japanese POW camps, and these were used as evidence in post-war trials. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in Ceylon, and made an officer of the Order of the British Empire for his actions in the POW camps.

Leonard Birchall, WWII Hero

Leonard Birchall retired from the RCAF in 1967, and then worked at York University, Ontario, until 1982. He passed away at the age of 89 in 2004.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Bullard – Stone GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./188/11th Airborne Division

John Crouchley Jr. – Providence, RI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, pilot, KIA

Carl Gloor – Bolivar, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 17th Airborne Division

Robert L. Miller Sr. – South Bend, IN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart / Korea / Judge / Veteran’s advocate

Domonica Mortellano – Tampa, FL; Civilian, MacDill Air Force Base

Alberta Nash – Saint John, CAN; Civilian, WWII, Canadian Red Cross

Alan Seidel – Montreal, CAN; RC Army, WWII, tank commander

Alan Smith – Fort William, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, Flight Sgt.

Edsel Teal – Chicopee, MA; US Navy, WWII

Doris Whitton – Ft. Simpson, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, radio/telephone

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Current News – CBI Veterans Recognized

Five Chinese-American Veterans were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal at VA’s Central Office in Washington, D.C., in a ceremony celebrating their service. The Veterans were selected to represent more than 20,000 Chinese Americans who served during World War II.

The five honorees were:

  • Elsie Chin Yuen Seetoo, who trained Chinese soldiers in India;
  • Robert M. Lee was an engineer with the famous “Flying Tigers;
  • James L. Eng served as an electronic technician in the Navy;
  • Harry Jung served as a rifleman and runner in the European Theatre; and
  • Henry Lee supervised POWs in the Pacific.

SEE THEIR FULL BIOS HERE

Co-chairs of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao delivered remarks during the event hosted by James Byrne, VA’s General Counsel, performing the duties of Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary.

The ceremony follows President Trump’s signing of the Chinese-American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act  last month, a bipartisan legislation that was passed unanimously by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

If you have a Chinese American relative who served during WWII but is not recognized, please visit www.caww2.org/preservation

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Military C.B.I. Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jean Baines – Ithaca, NY; US Army WAC, WWII

Bernard Dargols – NYC, NY; US Army, WWII, SSgt., ETO

Arthur Ellis – Ladson, SC; US Army, WWII

John Griffin – Colville, WA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Leo Johnson – Rockford, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Yorktown

Clarence Koeller – W.Milton, Ohio; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, radio operator

Autrey Mason – Atmore, AL; UA Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Division

Kathleen McNally – Essex, ENG; Women’s Land Army & Royal Engineers, WWII

Ernest Niles – Fitchburg, IN; US Army, WWII, heavy machine-gunner

Reno Santori – Sarasota, FL; US Army, WWII, Sgt., 2 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts

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Lieutenant Colonel Dick Cole, the Last of the Doolittle Raiders, Dies.

IN REMEMBRANCE…..

My Poetry That Rhymes

On this date in 1942, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle led a raid of 16 B-25 bombers on Tokyo, Japan, launched from the USS Hornet. The raid was in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor some four months earlier. It was the first time B-25s had been launched from an aircraft carrier and many thought it couldn’t be done. Japan thought they were immune to attacks from far-away America and the raid devastated Japanese moral and boosted that of the United States. (See “The Doolittle Raid 70 Years Ago Today” posted on 18 April 2012 at https://mypoetrythatrhymes.wordpress.com/2012/04/.) Lieutenant Dick Cole was Doolittle’s copilot during that raid and the last of the raiders to die on 9 April 2019. This is his story.

The Ballad of Richard “Dick” Cole

Wind was blasting the open hatch.
China was dark below.
The B-25 was out of fuel.
The lieutenant had to go
Out…

View original post 672 more words

OSS in Kunming, China

Julia Child with OSS colleagues

The OSS group that included Julia Child and her future husband Paul found themselves in a flood in mid-August 1945.  But what they were encountering was nothing compared to the civilians.  Chinese villages of mud huts were “melting like chocolate.”  Farmers drowned in their own fields.  As the flooding began to subside, Japan was hit with the second atomic bomb.

The incoming Russian soldiers only added to the Pandora’s box that was already opened in China.  The OSS HQ in Kunming went into overdrive.  Eight mercy missions were launched to protect the 20,000 American and Allied POW’s and about 15,000 civilian internees.

Elizabeth McIntosh w/ colleagues during Kunming flood

All the frantic preparations – for rescue operations, food and medical drops and evacuation – had to undertaken despite the weather conditions.  Adding to the drama was the uncertain fate of the 6-man OSS team dispatched to Mukden in Manchuria to rescue General “Skinny” Wainwright, who endured capture along with his men since Corregidor in May 1942.

There was also evidence that other high-ranking Allied officials were held in the camp, such as General Arthur E. Percival, the former commander of Singapore.

On August 28, 1945, General Jonathan Wainwright steps down from a C-47 transport in Chunking, China, after three arduous years in a Japanese prison camp.

The OSS mercy missions were treated very badly.  Officers were held up by Chinese soldiers and robbed of the arms and valuables.  The mood in China was changing very quickly.  Even in Chungking, the Chinese troops were becoming anti-foreign and uncooperative.

Word from Hanoi was that the OSS was beset with problems there as well.  Thousands of still-armed Japanese were attempting to keep order in French Indochina.  Paul Child told his brother he well expected a civil war to start there very soon.  The French refused to recognize the Republic of Vietnam and worked with the British to push for “restoration of white supremacy in the Orient”.

OSS in Ho Chi Minh, Indochina

The French were becoming more and more anti-American.  They were using agents with stolen US uniforms to provoke brawls and cause disturbances.  The British were dropping arms to French guerrilla  forces to be used to put down the independence movement.

In Kunming, the streets were littered with red paper victory signs and exploded fireworks.  Some of the signs were written in English and bore inscriptions reading, “Thank you, President Roosevelt and President Chiang!” and “Hooray for Final Glorious Victory!”  Paper dragons 60-feet long whirled through alleyways, followed by civilians with flutes, gongs and drums.

The weeks that followed would be a letdown.  Most of them were unprepared for the abrupt end to the war.  Peace had brought a sudden vacuum.  One day there was purpose and then – nothing had any meaning.  The OSS would go back to their drab civilian lives.

Click on images to enlarge.

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“Secret ?”  Military Humor – 

CIA, ‘It’s Ferguson, our ‘Master of Disguise,’ sir — he’s having an identity crisis.’

‘I don’t have any formal training, but I do own the complet boxed set of ‘Get Smart’ DVD’s.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Dalton Jr. – Charlotte, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Clinton Daniel – Anderson, SC; US Army, WWII, PTO

Richard Farden – Rochester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 95th Bomber Group/8th Air Force

Murphy Jones Sr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Colonel, ‘Hanoi Hilton’ POW

Robert Haas – Toledo, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co C/127 Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Dorothy Holmes – Colorado Springs, CO; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Chief Master Sgt. (Ret. 30 y.)

Arnold ‘Pete’ Petersen – Centerville, UT; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, Purple Heart

Alfred Rodrigues Sr. (99)  – HI; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor survivor

Tito Squeo – Molfetta, ITA; US Merchant Marines, WWII, diesel engineer

Joseph Wait – Atlanta, GA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, pilot

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Soviet Invasion – August 1945

Manchurian operation map

Stalin’s simple purpose for declaring war against Japan was for territorial gain, for which he was prepared to pay heavily.  Before launching their assault in Manchuria, the Soviets made provision for 540,000 casualties, including 160,000 dead.  This was a forecast almost certainly founded upon an assessment of Japanese strength, similar to what the US estimated for a landing at Kyushu.

Since 1941, Stalin had maintained larger forces on the Manchurian border than the Western Allies ever knew about.  In the summer of 1945, he reinforced strongly, to create a mass sufficient to bury the Japanese.  Three thousand locomotives labored along the thin Trans-Siberian railway.  Men, tanks and matérial made a month-long trek from eastern Europe.

MANCHURIA: RED ARMY, 1945.
A Soviet marine waving the ensign of the Soviet navy as Soviet airplanes fly overhead after the victory over the Japanese occupation troops in Port Arthur, South Manchuria. Picture taken August 1945 by Yevgeni Khaldei.

Moscow was determined to disguise this migration.  Soldiers were ordered to remove their medals and paint their guns with “On To Berlin” slogans.  But train stations were often lined with locals, yelling support for them to fight the Japanese.  So much for secrecy.

Some of the men thought they were returning home.  After 4 years of war, they were dismayed to be continuing on.  “Myself, I couldn’t help thinking what a pity it would be to die in a little war after surviving a big one,” said Oleg Smirnov.

After traveling 6,000 miles from Europe, some units marched the last 200 miles through the treeless Mongolian desert.  “I’d taken part in plenty of offenses, but I’d never seen a build-up like this one,” said one soldier.  “Trains arriving one after another…  Even the sky was crowded: there were always bombers, sturmoviks, transports overhead.”

MANCHURIA, AUGUST 1945. Japanese cavalry troops along the Amur River in Manchukuo.

Machine-gunner Anatoly Silov found himself at a wayside station where he was presented with 5 mechanics, 130 raw recruits and crates containing 260 Studebaker, Chevrolet and Dodge trucks he was ordered to assemble.  “As the infantry marched, the earth smelt not of sagebrush but of petrol.”  Most of the men lost their appetites for food and cigarettes, caring only about thirst.”

By early August, 136,000 railway cars had transferred eastwards of a million men, 100,000 trucks, 410 million rounds of small-arms ammo, and 3.2 million shells.  Even firewood had to be cut in forests and shipped 400 miles.  “Many of the guys rubbished the Americans for wanting other people to do their fighting,” said Oleg Smirnov.

As troops approached the frontier, their camouflage and deception schemes were used to mask their movements.  Generals traveled under false names.  These veterans of the Eastern front were up against 713,724 of the so-called Manchukuo Army of which 170,000 were local Chinese collaborators.  The Japanese weapons were totally outclassed by the Soviets’.  Many mortars were homemade, some bayonets were forged from the springs of discarded vehicles.

MANCHURIA: RED ARMY, 1945.
Soviet troops in Harbin in Manchuria, after their victory over the Japanese occupation troops, 1945.

On 8 August 1945, the Soviet troops were told, “The time has come to erase the black stain of history from out homeland….”  To achieve surprise, the Soviets denied themselves air reconnaissance.  The 15th Army crossed the Amur River with the aid of a makeshift flotilla of commercial steamships, barges and pontoons.  Gunboats dueled with the shore batteries.  One Soviet armored brigade made it 62 miles into Manchuria before the rear units made it ashore.

The Japanese Guandong Army had suffered a tactical surprise by overwhelming forces.  On the morning of 9 August, the Japanese commander, Otozo Yamada, called the Manchukuo Emperor, Pu Yi.  Yamada’s assertions of confidence in victory were somewhat discredited by the sudden scream of air raid sirens and the concussions of Russian bombs.  Pu Yi, a hypochondriac prey to superstition and prone to tears, an immature creature at 39, heartless in ruling his people, now was extremely paranoid and terrified of being killed.

Click on images to enlarge.

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(Russian ?) Military Humor – 

 

YOU get the CAR where IT needs to be!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Mason Ashby – Floyds Knoles, IN, US Army, WWII, PTO

Donald Catron – Logan, UT; US Merchant Marines, WWII / US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Arthur Dappolonio – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

William Gutmann – KY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Siboney, medic

Henry James – Rolla, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 3 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart

James Knight – Longview, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Lundberg – Erie, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII,ETO, P-47 mechanic

James Petrie – Rangiora, NZ; 2NZEF # 19483, WWII, ETO, Pvt.

Roy Theodore – Lestock, CAN; Crash Rescue Firefighter, WWII, ETO

Eugene Williams – Washington D.C.; US Navy, WWII, ETO, LST, Purple Heart

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CBI – August 1945

Jim Thorpe

AMERICA’S GREATEST ATHLETE

INDIAN JIM THORPE VISITS CALCUTTA G.I.’S

Roundup Staff Article
CALCUTTA – A legendary sports figure, remembered by the current generation through record books and faded newspaper clippings of several decades ago, Indian Jim Thorpe, often described as the all-time greatest of all athletes, made a surprise visit to Calcutta this week.
Thorpe, 57 years old, didn’t come in with a lot of fanfare, he was on no USO tour. Instead, the man who was the superman of the 1912 Olympic Games at Stockholm, quietly arrived here as a member of the Merchant Marine and when discovered in the City by the Sea he was at work on the docks.
When friends urged him to appear for the G.I.’s here, Thorpe obliged. He attended the opening night of the volleyball tourney, made a radio appearance and toured local American hospitals. The veteran athlete got a big thrill from talking with youngsters who had come to regard the early-century hero as a myth, and little expected to see him taking an active part in the war as a Merchant Mariner.
Thorpe’s visit brought to mind many exploits and tales of the famous American Indian, who entered Carlisle Institute in 1904 and under Glenn (Pop) Warner’s direction became the star all-around athlete. Thorpe’s career reached a climax in 1912 when he carved a permanent niche in sports history by becoming the first man ever to win the Pentathlon and Decathlon events.
Recently, Arthur Daley in his New York Times sports column, stated that the “almost legendary Thorpe was the greatest athlete that America, a land of great athletes, ever produced.”
Thorpe’s athletic skill was exercised in many sports. John McGraw signed him to a Giant baseball contract, he played pro football, helping to organize the National Pro League 25 years ago. He played a low handicap game of golf, bowled with the champions and knew no sport that denied him the right to be classed an expert.
But that was long ago. Life hasn’t been too kind to Jim Thorpe down through the years and his fortune never matched his skill. Some months ago Jim decided to “get in the war.” All the regular military services scoffed at this veteran hero, and only in the Merchant Marine did he find himself acceptable. So, today Thorpe is a happier man – he’s back in the game.

++++++++++          ++++++++++

MANCHURIA: RED ARMY, 1945.
Soviet troops in Harbin in Manchuria, after their victory over the Japanese occupation troops, 1945.

The Soviet Union declared war on Japan 8 August 1945

Russian Armies Push Deep Into Korea And Manchuria As Nipponese Quit

Roundup Staff Article

Acting with their usual speed and power, Soviet Armies wasted little time in pushing into Manchuria and Korea this week after Russia declared war against the tottering Japanese August 8.
Breaking through at several points along a 300-mile line from Hutou to Hunchun the Russian steamroller reported only “moderate” to “meager” opposition, despite previous stories that the Japs had their best armies in the area. The Reds attacked both the East and West borders of Manchuria and into Korea, indicating a giant pincers operation.
Within three days after the declaration of war, Soviet troops had fought their way more than 200 miles inside Jap-held territory, with the main attack down the Chinese Far Eastern Railway. The railway town of Hailon was reported captured and heavy fighting is in progress beyond the Khingan foothills, natural barrier protecting the important Nip arsenal and rail center of Harbin. Soviet columns are within 350 miles of Harbin.

1,000,000 SOVIET TROOPS
On Sakhahn Island the Red Army has penetrated Jap territory and “fierce fighting is in progress” according to the Nips. The Russians, however, have said nothing about their activity in this area.
Russian marines, protected by the Soviet Fleet, poured ashore on Korea, capturing the Nip naval base at Rashin.

 

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Military Humor – CBI Style – 

When Men Were Men

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rene Allard – Central Falls, RI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Jenks

Rudolph Carboni – Wilmington, DE; US Army, WWII

Arthur DeMattei – San Jose, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 148th Infantry

Norman Ewert Sr. – Cheektowaga, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co. A/1/345/87th Infantry

William Hess – Ocala, FL; US Army, WWII, SSgt., 928th Engineers

Jack Lyon (101) – East Sussex, ENG; RAF, WWII, ETO, navigator, POW (Great Escape)

Troy Mallory – Quincy, IL; US Army, WWII,334/84th Div. “Rail Splitters”. Purple Heart, Bronze Star

Stephen Nemec – Cleveland, OH; US Army, Korea, Cpl., KIA

Leopold Ramirez Jr. Mission, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Sam Saburo Terasaki – Denver, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., Co. A/100/442 RCT

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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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