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Maori aircrew serving with 75 (NZ) Squadron, 1939-45

This post holds information that many people are unaware of. I’m certain you’ll enjoy this.  For further information, you can enter the 28 Maori Battalion HERE___

75(nz)squadron

Many thanks once again to Chris for his contribution of this post. Whilst the blog has presented information about the Maori airmen that flew with 75(NZ) Squadron, specifically to certain crews, I think it’s fitting tribute to them as a group that we should recognise these individuals and their contribution to the Squadron and Bomber Command – as Chris observes, It’s fascinating, and quite ironic that these young boys, often from isolated rural backgrounds, travelled to the other side of the world in Britain’s defence, when it’s quite feasible that their great-grandfathers could have fought against the British in defence of their own lands and political independence………

MUS050651-1600 Photo from The Weekly News,17 March 1943, with caption, “A Maori team at a British air station – R. W. Raharuhi (Takara), M. T. Parata (Waikanae), M. T. T. Manawaiti and E. H. Gray (Otaki).” Thought to have been taken at Mildenhall.
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From D-Day, to the Rhine, to Korea: Roy Rushton

A great war post from Dan Bjarnason.

KapyongKorea

Seventy years ago, Roy Rushton peered through a hole in the floor of his vibrating aircraft as it swept over the Normandy coast. Just below, he saw German flak ripping the sky apart.

It didn’t look good; and Roy’s day was just beginning.

Rushton was heading into his first battle, in his first war. There would be more of each. Wherever Roy Rushton turned up, exciting, noisy, dangerous things always seemed to happen.

tmpC172 Roy Rushton, as a sniper in Holland, January 1945 © Roy Rushton

It’s tough to imagine a soldier who’s been through more perilous moments than Roy Rushton. But he is neither a brooder; nor a gasbag. He’s a level-headed, laid-back fellow, with a wry sense of humour, but with no sense at all of self-importance. Quite the guy.

At 11 p.m. on the 5th of June, 1944, Rushton and ten other Paratroopers in that plane, watched England…

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Intermission Stories (20)

2. Robert Rader

Cpl. Robert Rader

Easy Company/506th PIR/101st A/B

Robert Rader was mentioned in the book, “Band of Brothers,” by Stephen Ambrose, but was not part of the HBO miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.  This story was condensed from the book, “A Company of Heroes: by Marcus Brotherton.

It was Rader’s idea to volunteer for the 101st Airborne, along with his hometown friends, Don Hoobler and William Howell, and the buddies were sent off to Camp Toccoa.  The three young men together with their Appalachian accents inspired them to call themselves “The Three Hillbillies.”

On the plane to Normandy, a shell went through the plane and between Rader and Johnny Martin, so close they could feel the burn.  Later, the troopers discovered that their plane had been hit 250 times.   Once on the ground, their first encounter with the enemy was with Russian and Polish troops fighting for the Germans.   As they advanced, their next engagement turned out to be a group of Hitler Youth who screamed, “I will die for the Führer,” as they attacked the men.  Seeing those young faces lie dead in the dirt made a serious impact on Rader.

Burr Smith (L) & Bob Rader (R) , 1982 just prior to Smith's passing.

Burr Smith (L) & Bob Rader (R) , 1982 just prior to Smith’s passing.

The next big jump was Market-Garden in Holland on Sunday, 17 September 1944.  They had 79 constant days of combat.  Rader was hit in the elbow as another soldier cleaned his gun, but with the enemy everywhere, sending the wounded back was impossible.  They bandaged Robert’s arm and he went back to the front line.  Soon afterward, Rader was in the midst of a bayonet charge.

 In Bastogne, Rader’s eyelids froze open twice.  His extremities were so cold he couldn’t feel them.  During this battle, the trooper took a bullet to the hip, but he was so cold, he never felt it.  The shell was located during a CAT scan in 1987!

The 101st went onward to Hitler’s Nest and then Austria, as those of you who read the book are aware.  Robert Rader from the company of heroes went on to become a school teacher.  He had sworn to himself, the day he saw the dead Hitler Youth Group, that he would devote his life to helping children and he carried out his promise.  His hometown buddies did not come back with him.

Robert Rader had left the Army Air Corps as a Staff Sergeant.  As he kept in touch with his war buddies, he signed his letters, “Robert F. Rader, here.  Be good. Be careful. Sleep warm.”

SSgt. Robert F. Rader passed away 7 April 1997.

“In thinking back on the days of Easy Company, I am treasuring my remark to a grandson who asked, “Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?’  No, I answered, but I served with a company of heroes.”
_______Major Richard Winters
Easy Company Commander

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“Band of Brothers” correction –

Sgt. Albert Blithe

Sgt. Albert Blithe

The book “A Company of Heroes” rectifies two mistakes made about Albert Blithe:  (1) – Blithe was depicted as shot in the neck & (2) – that he never recovered from his wounds and later died in 1948.  The truth, as attested by Blithe’s wife and son – he was wounded in the right shoulder and lived to jump with the 82nd Airborne in the ’50s.  After many attempts to contact Hanks and Spielberg, they eventually managed to have the correction made.

An example of persistence in research as done by Mr. Brotherson.

Click on any image to enlarge.

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WWII current news – 

The rising sea levels are being blamed for having washed, what is believed to be, the remains of 26 Japanese soldiers from WWII on Santo Island in the Marshall Island group.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joan Prudence Boyd – Devonport, NZ; RNZANC # 827640, WWII

Andrew Hanish – Boise, ID; USMC, (Ret. 24 years), Vietnam

Bronze Star

Bronze Star

Joe Hart – Pea Ridge, AR; US Army Air Corps, Colonel, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot

Eugene Montandon – Danbury, WI; US Army, Sgt.

Johnny Newell – Hewett, OH; US Army, Korea

Jack Oliver Sr. – Topeka, KS; US Army Air Corps (10 yrs.) WWII; US Air Force (16 yrs.)

Curtis Peterson – Copperas Cove, TX; US Army, MSgt., Bronze Star

Howard Pulleyblank – Ottawa, Can.; RC Navy, WWII, ETO, HMCS Rimouski

Janus Sweat – Columbia, SC; US Army, Korea

James Tapp – Fort Collins, CO; US Air Force, Colonel (Ret.), WWII, PTO, fighter pilot, 78th Fighter Squadron, P-51D, Bronze Star

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“Wings of Freedom Tour”

 

P-51 Mustang "Betty Jane"

P-51 Mustang “Betty Jane”

On 12 February 2014, I had the utmost pleasure to travel a short route south to the Boca Raton Airport to witness the “Wings of Freedom Tour” sponsored by the Collings Foundation.  At the Signature Flight Support area there were 3 WWII aircraft waiting for us to explore.

The Mustang, the world’s only full dual control P-51C fighter, with the pilot sitting on its wing was an outstanding sight to say the least.  You can almost envision the plane on its daily route in the skies above Europe.

B-24 Liberator

B-24 Liberator

The B-24 Liberator begins to tower over you as you near her.  It puts you in awe knowing they flew their gallant missions over 70 years ago.  And today they continue to fly on a mission to educate and pay tribute.  The aircraft that sat before me was the very last flying Liberator in the world today!

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17 Flying Fortress

The B-17 Flying Fortress was open for a tour inside.  This made it quite understandable as to the reason they used young men at the time.  I climbed the few steps on the tiny ladder and immediately felt way too large to clear the doorway, but others bigger than I had already done it         – so …  Obviously, I did not enter the aircraft properly, I tripped, pulled a leg muscle and nearly went head first into the opposite wall – the plane’s interior was skinnier than I had anticipated – but I made it.

Flying Fortress "gunner"

Flying Fortress “gunner”

One could almost imagine flying and peering down at enemy territory as I looked out from the gun.  This thought brought on an even stronger respect for the men who had done this so long ago.  Tip-toeing around the belly turret on the way toward the cramped cockpit was another unique experience, but I’ll let you use your imagination.

Pilot Ed Kaminski, still at work

Pilot Ed Kaminski, still at work

I had the privilege to meet WWII pilot Ed Kaminski beneath the wing of his Fortress eagerly showing his book of photos and explaining the workings of the aircraft.  I listened as he explained to the gentleman in the photo and then put forth my own queries.  Ed had been with the 452nd Bomber Group and flew out of Deopham Green, England until he was wounded on his 32nd mission.  He is now a member of the “Gathering of Eagles.”  (The 452nd Bomber Group’s outstanding record can be found in Wikipedia.)

Memorial in England

Memorial in England

 

 

The Wings of Freedom Tour for the Collings Foundation  can be found on line  (I believe in May they are on the west coast of the U.S.) and what they charge to take you up for a ½ hour flight.  I’m afraid I had to forgo the experience, due to being way out of my budget.  For future reference you can locate it HERE>

 

 

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11th Airborne Update – 

It was stated in our last “Voice of the Angels” newspaper for the 11th A/B Association, by Matt Underwood our Editor, that we now have a new Chaplain.  Some of you might recall that Rev. Charles A. Bailey, our previous chaplain and his wife both passed away last October 2013.  We are now proud to have his son, Brigadier General C. Ray Bailey; currently serving out of the Pentagon, to step into his father’s shoes for us.  Welcome Deputy Chief of Chaplains, and Thank you!

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A Special Shout Out –flag04

A HUGE HELLO AND THANK YOU TO A GREAT BUNCH OF VETERANS AT THE ARKANSAS VA HOSPITAL!!   ALL OF US OWE OUR FREEDOMS AND PRIVILEGES TO MILITARY SUCH AS YOURSELVES!! GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!

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Cpl Rudy Hernandez

Cpl Rudy Hernandez

Hernandez w/m the 187th RCT

Hernandez w/m the 187th RCT

 

The 187th RCT has lost Cpl. Rodofo Perez Hernandez, Korean War Medal of Honor recipient.  He was 82 years old.  He entered the service at Fowler, California and won his medal near Wontong-ni, Korea, 31 May 1951.  There is an exhibit at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum dedicated to Corporal Hernandez.  Three Black Hawk helicopters flew over the cemetery during his funeral service.  Rudy, Thank you and Farewell.

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Christan J. Chandler – Trenton, TX; US Army, Pfc, Afghanistan, 2nd Battion/87th Infantry Regiment/3rd Brigade Combat Team/10th Mountain Division

Troy Harp – Berryville, AR; US Army, WWII

Bronze Star

Bronze Star

Paul Hennessey –  Boston, MA; USMC, Sgt. Major, 27 years

Richard Isaacson – Lyons, IL; US Army

Wally McCoy – Kent, WA; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Bruce Oxley – Montreal, CAN; Royal Canadian Army, WWII

George Richardson – Palmerston North, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 71261, LAC No. 14(F) Squadron, WWII

Arthur Richter – Seattle, WA; US Army, WWII, 1st Lt., Purple Heart & Bronze Star

Nicholas Scodari – Berlin, MD; US Army, WWII, 26th Infantry Div., Bronze Star

Victor Streit – Levittown, NY & Jupiter, FL; USMC (1937-1949), WWII, 1st Marine Div., PTO

Fred Teed – Palm Bch. County, FL; 2nd A/B Division/45th Infantry, Korea, Bronze Star

Josephine White – London & Annapolis, MD; British Army/Aux. Terr. Service

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. – Solvang, CA; US Army, WWII, 5 years, Purple Heart (beloved actor of stage, screen and TV)

Click on images to enlarge.

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