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Veterans Day – 2017 – Thank You

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National Veterans Day Ceremony

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

National Veterans and Military Families Month – November 2017

For 98 years, Americans have remembered those who served our country in uniform on 11 November – first as Armistice Day, and then, since 1954 as Veterans Day. In this 99th year of commemoration, the Department of Veterans Affairs is broadening that tradition of observance and appreciation to include both Veterans and Military Families for the entire month of November.

Veterans and Family Month Calendar 2017

Veterans Month Calendar 2017. Decorative only

For more information on Veterans Month acitivtes in your area – check out the calendar below or visit your local VA facility.

 

 

Remembrance Day around the world!

Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V in 1919,[1] the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November in most countries to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”, in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. (“At the 11th hour” refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am.) 

Information here today is from the US Veteran’s Administration and Wikipedia.

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Military Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Albert Cheese – Hampstead, NC; USMC, 1st Sgt. (Ret. 20 y.)

Stephen Cribben – Rawlins, WY; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt., 10th Special Forces Group, KIA

Norman Dyke – Warwickshire, ENG; RAF, WWII

Adrien Einertson – Camas, WA; US Navy, WWII

Jack Gustafson – Athabasca, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO

Edward Keane – Warwick, RI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Louis Manci – Scranton, PA; US Army, Korea, 187th ‘Rakkasans’

Charles O’Neill Jr. – Cleveland, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO

John Trudden – Broad Channel, NY; US Air Force, Korea

Tony Victor – Huntsville, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 gunner/radioman

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Douglas Munro, Coast Guard Hero – Intermission Story (24)

Painting of Doug Munro providing support from his LCP, by Bernard D’Andrea

The United States Coast Guard was founded on a tradition of taking small boats into dangerous conditions to save lives. This skill made Coast Guard coxswains an indispensable part of the Pacific Theater  and Smitty would whole-heartedly agree.  Coast Guardsmen proved their worth time and time again as they expertly handled small landing craft in and out of almost any situation. No man better exemplifies this prowess than Douglas A. Munro.

Signalman 1st Class, Douglas Munro

Born in Vancouver in 1919, Douglas Munro attended Cle Elum High School in Washington state.  He attended the Central Washington College of Education for a year before enlisting in the Coast Guard in 1939. He spent his first two years on board the Cutter Spencer,  a 327-foot Treasury-class cutter which patrolled out of New York, and later Boston.

While on the Spencer, Munro advanced quickly, making Signalman 2nd Class by the end of 1941. After the Spencer, he transferred to the Hunter Ligget, a Coast Guard-crewed landing craft patrolling in the Pacific. In 1942 he was made a part of Transport Division 17, helping to coordinate, direct, and train other troops for amphibious assaults.

The United States’ first taste of this warfare was at Guadalcanal.  After the initial Marine landings, a base was established at Lunga Point. Munro was assigned here along with other Coast Guard and Navy personnel to operate the small boats and assist with communications.  This base served as a staging point for further troop movements, consisted of little more than a house, a signal tower and a number of small craft and supplies

Lunga Point, Guadalcanal

After the Marines had moved west of Lunga point, they encountered an entrenched Japanese position on the far side of the Manatikau river. It was clear that an attack across the river would be fruitless, and a plan was devised to bring men down the coast, to land west of the Japanese position, allowing it to be attacked from both sides. To achieve this goal Marine Lieutenant Colonel Lewis “Chesty” Puller placed men from the 7th Marine Division onto landing craft and began an assault on September 27th.

These landing craft were led by Douglas Munro, who took the men into a small bay just west of Point Cruz and delivered the entire 500 man force unopposed. Meanwhile, the destroyer USS Monssen laid down supporting fire and protected the Marines’ advance.

Meanwhile, Munro and his crews returned to Lunga point to refit and refuel, leaving a single LCP(L) (a 36-foot landing craft, lightly armed and made mostly of plywood) to provide evacuation for any immediate casualties.

Marines landing on the beach from their LCP’s.

But less than an hour after the initial landing the operation began to deteriorate. First, a flight of Japanese bombers attacked the Monssen, forcing her to leave the Marines without fire support.   Then the Japanese launched an infantry attack on the Marines. The Japanese had stayed to the north of the Marine landing force, near a rocky cliff known as Point Cruz. Their attack to the southwest was designed to cut the Marines off from their escape route.

There the single LCP(L) still sat, manned by Navy Coxswain Samuel Roberts and Coast Guard Petty Officer Ray Evans. The men had gotten close into shore for a speedy evacuation. A sudden burst of Japanese machine gun fire  damaged their controls.  Roberts managed to jury rig the rudder but was fatally wounded in the process, Evans jammed the throttle forward, speeding back to Lunga Point.

The trapped Marines hadn’t brought their cumbersome radios with them, and couldn’t signal back to their support. In desperation, they spelled out “HELP” by laying out their undershirts on a hillside. Luckily this was noticed by a Navy dive bomber pilot who reported it back to the sailors at Lunga. Because of this, by the time Evans’ LCP(L) made it back Munro and his men were already aware that something wasn’t going right.

Marines on Guadalcanal

Thanks to Evans they now had the detailed information needed to make a plan of action. It was determined that a group of small boats and troop transports would have to return, under fire, to get the men out of the combat zone. Munro immediately volunteered to lead the operation and got ten boats readied and underway as soon as possible.

This small flotilla came into the bay under fire.  USS Monssen, which had returned , gave support.  Munro directed his landing craft to begin ferrying the men back to the Monssen, while he and the other LCP(L)s provided fire support.

USS Monssen

By this time the Japanese had taken up positions on all three sides of the bay, and were able to coordinate a devastating barrage of fire on the retreating men. Seeing this, Munro positioned his own craft between the enemy and the landing crafts to provide support by fire.

After the last men were coming off the beach, a landing craft became grounded.  Munro ordered another craft to tow it free while he provided support, again putting his own boat in harm’s way to help save as many men as possible. While Munro’s boat was taking position to do this, a Japanese machine gun crew was setting up on the beach.

Petty Officer Evans, saw this and called out for him to get down, but Munro couldn’t hear him and he was fatally wounded.  Evans pulled away, and along with the rest of landing craft, headed back to Lunga Point; with all of the Marines saved.

Marines crossing Matanikau River.

Thanks to Munro’s heroism, 500 Marines made it off the beach that day, and for this, Signalman 1st Class Douglas A. Munro was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor.  The 500 men he saved went on to help capture the Matanikau River early in October, which meant the beginning of the end for Japanese forces on Guadalcanal.

The engraving on the back of Munro’s medal.

Munro’s body is interred in his hometown of Cle Elum, Washington, and his Medal of Honor is on display at United States Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, New Jersey, where it serves an everlasting example to new recruits about what it means to truly be a United States Coast Guardsmen.

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 Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Donald Bender – Machesney Park, IL; US Navy, WWII

Catherine Brown – San Diego, CA; US Coast Guard SPARS, WWII

Edward Delaney – Boston, MA; US Coast Guard, WWII, LST 170

Raymond Edinger – Liberty, NJ; US Coast Guard/Navy, WWII, Meteorology officer

James Evans Jr. – Seattle, WA; US Coast Guard, WWII, Korea

Daniel Fite – Fort Worth, TX; US Coast Guard, WWII

Arthur Janov – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII

Arthur Peeples – Springhill, MS; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Alexander Strachan – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 4210193, WWII, Sgt.

Robert Unzueta – Avalon, CA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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April 1944 (1)

Task Force-58, carrier crews cheers as enemy aircraft goes down.

Task Force-58, carrier crews cheers as enemy aircraft goes down.

1 April – US carrier aircraft groups under Adm. Spruance launched a series of massive strikes throughout the western Caroline Islands.  Despite the US loss of 20 planes during these raids, the Japanese suffered 150 aircraft destroyed and over 100,000 tons of merchant shipping sunk.

CINCPAC reported that the 7th Air Force Liberators bombed Dublon in Truk Atoll.  Mitchell bombers of the 7th, plus Corsair fighters of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing bombed Ponape, starting fires at the enemy base.  All aircraft returned safely.

USS 'Guarvina, April 1944, sank a trawler & cargo ships, "Tetsuyo Maru" & "Noshiro Maru"

USS ‘Guarvina, April 1944, sank a trawler & cargo ships, “Tetsuyo Maru” & “Noshiro Maru”

4 April – a Navy Dept. communiqué, No. 516, reported US submarines suck 14 vessels in the Pacific and Far East: 2 medium tankers, 11 medical cargo vessels, and 1 small cargo vessel.  The CINCPAC report stated a Liberator search plane of Fleet Air Wing-2 bombed a tanker near Moen Island.

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16 April – in the SW Pacific area, the 5th Air Force would refer to this date as “Black Sunday.”  While over 200 aircraft bombed Hollandia, serious weather moved in and blocked the bombers from returning to base.  Over 30 were lost or crashed and 32 men perished.  For a detailed account – click here.

19 April – in order to divert enemy attention from the US operations on the Huon Peninsula, New Guinea, the US Task Force-58, under Adm. Mitscher, bombarded enemy positions at Sarmi, Sewar, Wadke Island and Hollandia.  At Aitape and Hollandia, the enemy was caught by surprise and about half of the men were non-combat troops.  MacArthur said, “No withering fire met us at the beach.  Instead, there was only disorder, rice still boiling in pots, weapons and personal equipment of every kind abandoned.  No more than token resistance…”

Gen. Jo Iimura, Japanese Army

Gen. Jo Iimura, Japanese Army

[In post-war interrogations, Jo Iimura, a Japanese defender in the region at the time, said, “The Allied invasion of Hollandia and Aitape was a complete surprise to us.  After considering the past operational tactics of the enemy, we believed they would attempt to acquire an important position somewhere east of Aitape… Because we misjudged, we were neither able to reinforce nor send was supplies to the defending units.”]

22 April – by this date, the Marshall Islands were now under complete control of the US.  This would enable the Allied forces in the central Pacific to swing north through the Mariana Islands.

29-30 April – the Japanese base at Truk was bombed by the aircraft from 12 carriers.  They destroyed enemy ships, oil stores, ammunition dumps and 93 enemy aircraft.

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U.S. Coast Guard Birthday – established: 4 August 1790coast-guard

 

Last year’s post for the Coast Guard was a fun one to do – Take a look!!

 

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Coast Guard Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Carl ‘Bill’ Amos Jr. – Portland, OR; US Coast Guard, WWII

Jeremiah Bowen – Bergenfield, NJ; US Coast Guard, WWII, ETO, USS Leopold, Purple Heart

Land-Sea-Air Tribute

Land-Sea-Air Tribute

Gordon Cameron – Fort William, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO

Arthur Kitagawa – San Francisco, CA/Topaz Utah Internment Camp; WWII, ETO, 442nd RCT

Theodore Lusink – Netherlands/Australia; WWII escaped POW/2nd AIF, 7th Division/RAAF

Russell Miller III – Philadelphia, PA; US Coast Guard, WWII

Leicester Orange – Burnside, NZ; RNZ Army # 442065, WWII, PTO, Sgt.

Clifford Roberts –  Miami, FL; US Coast Guard, WWII

Harmon Shoda – Loon Lake, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Sgt., Honor Guard at surrender

Ronald Wehner – Toledo, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Sage/US Coast Guard, Korea, Vietnam, (Ret. 21 years)

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Tribute

Lt. James Crotty

Lt. James Crotty

Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty, USCG

This tribute to Lt. Crotty was condensed from an article written by William H. Thiesen, Ph.D., Atlantic Area Historian, USCG.  Courtesy of the MacArthur Memorial Library, Norfolk, Virginia.

Lt. Thomas James Eugene Cotty

Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty

Lt. ‘Jimmy’ Crotty graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1934 and for 6 years he served on board cutters, including the Tampa during its famous rescue of passengers from the burning liner Morro Castle.  In April 1941, Jimmy received training at the Navy’s Mine Warfare School and Mine Recovery Unit.  He then received orders for the Philippine Islands in October.

On 10 December, the American Navy Yard at Cavite was bombed by the Japanese.  Crotty supervised the demolition of strategic facilities to prevent them from falling into enemy hands as ground troops made their way to Corregidor.  This included the ammunition magazine and the fleet submarine, USS Sea Lion, which had been damaged during the air attacks.

USS Quail

USS Quail

During February and March 1942, Crotty served as executive officer of the Navy minesweeper USS Quail which shot down enemy aircraft and swept the minefields so US subs could deliver supplies and evacuate personnel.  They also provided shore bombardment against Japanese beach landings.

Crews on board Navy vessels cannibalized deck guns and moved them onto the island to mount a final stand against the encircling enemy forces.  Crotty served to the bitter end.  Eye witnesses reported seeing him commanding a force of Marine and Army personnel manning the 75-mm beach guns until Japanese bombardment put the guns out of commission.

Marines fire a 75-mm gun, 1942

Marines fire a 75-mm gun, 1942

With Corregidor’s capitulation on 6 May, Lt. Crotty became the first Coast Guard POW since the War of 1812.  His fellow prisoners at Cabanatuan knew him for his love of sports as well as his sense of humor and optimism.  One person later recounted: “The one striking thing I remember was his continued optimism and cheerfulness under the most adverse circumstances.  He was outstanding at a time when such an attitude was so necessary for general welfare.”

Lt. Crotty

Lt. Crotty

Crotty received little recognition for his heroic efforts during those desperate days due in part to the destruction of records and the death of so many eye witnesses.  To this day, no one knows the precise day he died, from the diphtheria epidemic that killed 40 prisoners a day, or the exact location of his final resting place.

Crotty's shadow-box

Crotty’s shadow-box

In the words of one of his shipmates, intelligence officer, Lt.Cmdr. Denys W. Knoll:
“Lieutenant Crotty impressed us all with his fine qualities of naval leadership which were combined with a very pleasant personality and a willingness to assist everyone to the limit of his ability. He continued to remain very cheerful and retained a high morale until my departure from Fort Mills the evening of 3 May. Lt. Crotty is worthy of commendation for the energetic and industrious manner in which he performed all his tasks. He continued to be an outstanding example of an officer and a gentleman to all hands and was a source of encouragement to many who did not posses his high qualities of courage and perseverance that he displayed.”

Lt.Cmdr. John Morrel also, along with 17 others escaped 2,000 miles to Darwin Australia in a 36′ motor launch and wrote the book, “South From Corregidor.”

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Military Humor –  now they’re into ‘planking’

military planking

military planking

military-planking-500-0

military-planking-500-17

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Caporale – CT & FL; US Navy (Ret. 20 years)

Gert Dalby – Santa Ynez, CA; Danish Military

William Foster – Goshen, IN; USMCplaying-taps

Richard Hottelet – Brooklyn, NY; WWII journalist, last of the “Edward R. Murrow Boys,” ETO, POW

Norman Lucas – Knox, ID; USMC, WWII, PTO, Company C/1/24th Div.

Douglas MacLean – Calgary, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, HMCS Oakville

Donald Moore – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corp, WWII, PTO, Med/457 Artillery

Betty Quilan – Oklahoma City, OK; Military Intelligence, WWII

Marion Stults – Tucson, AZ , US Army, 511th/Signal

Jack Walsh – Portland , ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Perry & Shenandoah

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