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Smitty’s Guard Duty – Letter XVI – conclusion

In the event that you missed the previous post, Cpl. Smith serving in the 11th Airborne during WWII, was attempting to visualize his first experience at standing guard duty in a combat zone to his mother in a letter.

At one point, the situation appears critical and the next – a comedy of errors.  Nevertheless, this half of the letter describes his four-hour rest period and the following two hours of standing guard.  Hope you stick around to see how he does.

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Guard Duty (con’t)

As soon as your relief man comes along, you strut back to your tent feeling as proud as all hell knowing that you are a conqueror of the night and a tried and true veteran of the guard.  You are supposed to get four hours of rest or sleep before going on for your second shift, but for some reason or another the time just flits away and just as you close your eyes in deep slumber — in walks the sergeant of the guard and out you go sleepily rubbing your eyes wondering how in the devil you are ever going to keep awake for the next two hours.

As you sit on the stump of a tree surveying what you have just four hours ago mentally overcame, you begin to think of home.  Now, thinking of home is alright in the daytime with a load of griping G.I.s around, but at night on a lonesome post, it is strictly out.  Not only do you think of things you shouldn’t, but soon you are feeling sad and more lonely than ever knowing that no one cares and that the whole world is against you.  Not only is this bad for you, it doesn’t even help to pass the time.

 You turn your thoughts elsewhere trying next to figure out what the cooks will try to feed you tomorrow.  Here again is a very poor time-passing thought as you know damn well they’ll feed you bully-beef in its most gruesome form.  Soon your eyes feel heavy again and seem like they’re going to close and you wonder if it would be okay to light up a cigarette. 

 Here again the book says what to do, but heck, as I said before, the guy who wrote it isn’t out here, so what does he know?  You daringly light one up, trying desperately to shield the light and take a big, deep drag.  I found that it isn’t the inhaling of the cigarette that keeps you awake, but the ever constant threat of being caught in the act.  You look at your watch and find to your dismay that you still have an hour and forty-five minutes left to go.

Damn but the time sure does drag along.  Wonder why it doesn’t speed up and pass on just as it does when you are off.  Oh!  Well, sit down again and hum a tune or two, maybe that will help.  Gosh, sure wish someone would come along to talk.  Ho-hum, lets see now.  What will I do tomorrow on my time off?  This last thought is sure to pass away in 15 to 20 minutes, but why it should, I don’t know.  You know damn well that no matter what you may plan for tomorrow’s off-time, it will only be discarded and you will spend that time in bed asleep. 

 Light up another cigarette, sweat it out, swear a little at the dragging time, hum another tune, think more about home, think of you and the army, swear good and plenty and after that thought — look at your watch.

Hey — what goes on here? — that damn relief is over a half-minute late — who does he think he is anyway?  Swear.  Brother how you are swearing and cursing now.  Oh!  Oh!  There’s a light coming your way — the relief.  “Oh boy, sleep ahead.”

“So long bud, the whole damn post is yours.  Take it easy, it ain’t too bad.  Goodnite.”  —  And so ends your first night of guard duty as you wearily drag yourself to your bunk too damn tired to even undress.

Hey Mom, hope you enjoyed this as much as some of the others here did.  Meant to send this off before now, but you know me.

Love,  Everett

 

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Military Humor – 

WWI soldiers had their brand of humor too for guard duty.

Soldiers and Officers from 16 Air Assault Brigade, build snow men during their break to stand guard.

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Bond – Virginia Beach, VA; US Army, 187th RCT, Colonel (Ret.)

Cornelius Cunningham – Bronx, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO, Sgt. 27th Division

Teddy Drapper Sr. – Chinle, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker, 5th Marine Div.

Stuart Haw Jr. – St. Louis, MO; US Army, 11th Airborne Div., Military Police

Charles Quarles – Hockessin, DE; US Navy, WWII, electronic tech’s mate

Edward Rowny (100) – Baltimore, MD; US Army, WWII, ETO/Korea & Vietnam, West Point grad., Lt.General (Ret.), Presidential adviser

Nola ‘Paddy’ Scott – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 621, WWII

Wilburn Timmons – Jonesboro, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Douglas Voyzey – AUS; RA Army # 2137680, Vietnam, KIA

George B Willis Sr. – Leupp, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker, 2nd Marine Division

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Smitty ~ Letter X

11th Airborne preparing to jump. (soldier turned around appears to be Smitty)

11th Airborne preparing to jump. (soldier turned around appears to be Smitty)

In Dobodura, New Guinea, the 457th began to notice severe shortages in their sugar supply.  As it turned out, there was a major boot-legging operation in progress.  With the absence of alcohol, the men felt ‘necessity would be the mother of invention’, but they were caught with their stills in production.  The makeshift liquor companies were immediately put out of business.

My father had other ideas.  Smitty’s ingenuity was unfailing.  He used to tell me, “If you think hard enough, there’s a solution to every problem.”  After years of having tended bar, this was going to  be right up Smitty’s alley.

Letter # 10 has been previously published by “Whistling Shade” magazine in 2007.  I submitted it during their war story inquiry.

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Letter X                                          “Jungle Juice”                                  Monday 7/17/44

Dear Mom,  The title of this letter, at first glance, will no doubt puzzle you, but I suspect at the end you will know more than you do now.  Before going any farther with this, allow me to explain the whys and wherefores of its origin and purpose.

The Army has been telling us, for some time now, that any day (they mean year), they are going to issue us hot, dry soldiers some beer.  They haven’t told us the percentages yet, but never fear, it will be 3.2.  In the meantime, we’re here in New Guinea patiently awaiting the day.  We know, because our eyes and nostrils do not lie, that there is good whiskey slyly floating about.  Try as we may to lay hold of some, as yet, none have succeeded. 

There is an old saying, told to me by a much older and wiser veteran of this man’s army that goes: “Take something away from a soldier and he will, in time, make or find a better substitute.”  Hence and forever after – Jungle Juice.

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To begin the making of this liquor substitute, one must first overcome a few minor details in order to secure the necessary equipment and ingredients.  First:  You may try to cultivate the friendship of the mess sergeant.  This is easily accomplished if one is well endowed with currency.  Second:  You may try getting on guard duty and taking a chance of getting the job of protecting the mess hall. (The odds against this working out is ten to one against you.)  This is the hard way of acquiring the friendship of the mess sergeant and we will continue.  With your new buddy’s help, you now have in your proud and cherished possession a quantity of raisins, dried prunes or apricots and some sugar.  (Very rarely will one come up with any yeast, so we will forget it.)

Now, we need something to put all this stuff into.  To make matters worse, it cannot be metal and it must be waterproof.  A nail barrel will do the trick, if we soak it in water, thereby allowing the wood to swell.  You could go to the supply sergeant and get a saw, hammer, nails and boards, but in taking this route, you risk your supplier discovering your idea and you will have to pay him off with the promise that, when finished, he will receive a share.  Not only is this undesirable, but now you will have to sit out in the hot sun and build a cask.  My first suggestion of a nail barrel will not only save you labor, but also add an extra drink of this wonderful alcoholic beverage.

Now, we are ready to begin.  Into the empty cask, put your fruit and sugar, making certain to add water.  With your hands, (clean ones are advisable) stir everything around while crushing some of the fruit with your fists.  This is what’s called the “rapid juice extraction process.”  When finished, cover the cask with a clean piece of linen long enough to drape over the side.  Here, you can also use a G.I. handkerchief or undershirt.  (This is just a sanitary precaution and it in no way affects the product.)

Now, dig yourself a hole (under your bunk preferably) large enough to receive the cask and conceal it.  This is a necessary precaution as the manufacture of Jungle Juice is frowned upon by the Army and especially you C.O. or Inspection Officer.  The finding of such might cause embarrassment.  This way it will only be found if someone should trip you C.O. and he inadvertently falls face down on the spot.

All you have to do at this point is use some self-control and patiently wait out the next two or three weeks as the fruit, sugar and water do their stuff.  We all know from experience that you will only sit out two weeks, so let’s get on with the last step.  Surely you have kept busy locating empty bottles and cleaning them, so dig up the cask.hootch-2bbottles-640x560

To accomplish the final phase, it is wise to get your mattress cover and put it over a clean, steel helmet.  You will find that the Army had supplied you with a damn good filter.  The whole parts stay on top and the liquid freely pours through, without blemish to the helmet.  Pour the juice into the bottles and seal with candle wax, making them air tight.  Here is the most difficult step because by this time, not only your curiosity, but your craving for a taste is so high — you’re almost completely out of control.  But, you must put your contraband away for one more week.

As the expected day approaches, I want to warn you to be on the lookout for newly acquired friends who start calling on you, regardless of the fact that they never came near you before.  Yes, you are suddenly becoming the most popular guy in camp.  When the hour approaches, marked as the time of reckoning, I would advise you to make up your mind that you are not going to finish it all in one sitting.  Actually, this precaution is really unnecessary, as the Jungle Juice will decide that for you.

I won’t describe the taste.  For some it is bitter and others say sweet.  No two batches are alike and in fact the Juice has no opposition.  Even its most adamant foes agree that for variety, the Juice has no equal.

This recipe is given free of charge.

I hope to hear your hiccupping in your next letter soon.  Your brewmeister son & never to be dry again,     Everett

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General Swing decided, after the stills were destroyed, to bring in ice cream machines and set up sports competitions.  Teams were made up for volleyball, softball and tackle football.  This proved not only to lift their spirits, but the activities kept them in top physical shape.

It always amazed me that such a letter as “Jungle Juice” made it through the censors without Smitty ever getting into trouble.  His little operation was never discovered.

Click on images to enlarge.

jumping school

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Military Humor –demotivational-poster-beer

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gilbert Berry – Northwood, OH; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Gerald Boutilier – St. Margaret’s Bay, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO, POW

Standing Guard

Standing Guard

Joseph Cox – Charlotte, NC; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. (Ret.28 years), Silver Star, Bronze Star

Alfred Doktor – Riverton, KS; US Army, Korea, E/187th RCT

Maurice Eatwell (102) – Greymouth, NZ; RNZ Army # 80776, WWII, 35th & 37th Field Batt.

Guy Luck – Cajun, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 457th Artillery/11th A/B Div.

Warren Mitchell – London, ENG; RAF, (beloved actor)

Thomas O’Grady – Newport News, VA; US Army, 503rd/11th Airborne Division

Melvin Smith – Waldwick, NJ; US Navy, WWII, submarine SSR 272 Red Fin

Leonard Sousa – Manchester, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div.

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Postcards & other pictures of Camp MacKall

Smitty had acquired additional postcards to show the people back home what Camp MacKall looked like.  They were in the scrapbook his mother put together and was saved for all these years…..

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A history of Camp MacKall is on Youtube.com in 3 parts.  Part 1 includes some of  these postcards and other photos as well.

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Military Training Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Arnold – Edmonton, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, CBI, B-24 pilot

Norman Eckert – NY; US Army, Korea, Sgt.0083f165f66161f63454e92890403bcd

Howard Feldman – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Bill Hinson Jr. – W.Palm Bch., FL; US Navy, Cuban Missile Crisis, USS Saratoga, Shangri-la & Enterprise

Jim Keslar – Ligonier, PA; USMC & Army (Ret. 22 years)

Mardo ‘Lou’ Lucero – Alamosa, CO; US Navy, WWII/Vietnam, Corpsman

Stewart Alexander Marken – Brisbane, AUS; RA Army # Q266312, WWII, PTO, 472 Heavy Antiaircraft Troop, craftsman

Alan Penn – Skokie, IL; US Army, WWII

Herbert Sayles – W.Palm Bch, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, P-47 pilot

James Sumrall – Covington, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division

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Going Home

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Gradually, the men of the 11th Airborne Division would earn their points to be shipped back home and they would allow the fresh, green G.I.’s to take their place in the occupation of Japan.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Everett (Smitty) Smith would return to Broad Channel, New York to restart his civilian life in February 1946. He gradually got to know Lillian Barrow during his morning rides on the bus, going to his job and he would chuckle whenever he related that story. Despite my mother’s protests, he would relate that he knew why Lillian was always on the same bus with him, but she was being coy. “I was just going to work myself,” my mother argued. Smitty would reply, “Then how do you explain that your job was in the opposite direction than the bus was going? You didn’t know that I was aware of that, did you?” No matter what the reason, they were married 20 September 1947 and I showed up nearly three years later.

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With many thanks to Matt Underwood, Editor of the “Voice” 11th Airborne Association, the ribbons were identified and an explanation of Smitty’s qualifications were explained:
Yellow-orange ribbon with the red, white and blue stripe is the Asian-Pacific Campaign
The PTO ribbon on the ribbon bar shows 3 stars, while the Philippine Liberation ribbon (all red with 2 even-width white and blue stripes in the center) show 2 stars and arrowheads with a slightly non-regulation preference and flair.
What is missing, but is in his records, is the ribbon for the Occupation of Japan. Mr. Underwood explained that many did not receive these as they had been shipped home before the ribbon supply arrived at the base.

The qualification and badges say that he was a primary front line combat infantryman, but his specialist rating (the “T” in the “T-5” rank) was probably because he was rated an Expert in the 37mm Tank Destroyer cannon.

Discharge

Discharge

Smitty’s discharge papers list four campaign stars for the PTO ribbon when most of the 187th Regiment only received three. The Bronze Arrowhead was for the invasion of Luzon, specifically for the 11th Airborne’s joint airborne and amphibious assault landings at Nasugbu Beach and Tagatay Ridge; both south of Manila on 31 January and 3 February 1945 respectfully.

I can honestly say that, as far as I am aware, my father had only one regret in his life and that would be leaving the service. Although my mother would have protested adamantly, he often told me that he should have stayed in the army.

Letter from Pres. Reagan

Letter from Pres. Reagan

Everett (Smitty) Smith passed away 14 May 1988, he was 73 years old. He left behind many who cared for and respected him, but very few who knew this story.

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Smitty and his mother, Anna

Smitty and his mother, Anna

Smitty is seen here at the corner of 9th Road and Cross Bay Blvd. in Broad Channel after returning home.

Researching

Researching

And, here we are in the present, trying to piece everything together. This is not the end of Smitty’s stories… we have yet to talk about the intelligence part in the war, the spies, and still more on the enemy.

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December 1945 – The story of the sword

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This was the Christmas card sent from Japan to Broad Channel, New York in December 1945. Anna Smith had been waiting to hear this news from her son Everett (Smitty) for over three years. On the back, it reads:

“Dear Mom:
This is the best Xmas card I’ve sent to you since getting in the army. I figured this would be what you have always been waiting to see, here it goes.

“I’m finally on my way, so don’t send any more mail.
Love, Everett
“P.S. I’ll keep you posted on my various stops.”

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Even though Smitty had earned his points to go home, he was still an NCO on General Swing’s staff and was required to finish out his duties as such. After going through combat in the South Pacific, it would be in peaceful occupational Japan where Smitty’s temper would get the better of him.

Non-nonchalantly going about his business at the headquarters of Camp Schimmelpfennig, Smitty just happened to glance through the glass partition that sealed off Gen. Swing’s office. Inside was an officer holding and admiring the Japanese sword that his commander intended to keep and bring home as a souvenir. Smitty didn’t think much of it at the time; he was busy and many people commented on the weapon. so he continued down the hallway. A short while later, the entire office could hear the general demanding to know what had become of his sword. It was gone.

My father didn’t think twice, this was his general. He went into the room and told Swing what he had witnessed. Without a second thought, the two men went to the other officer’s office, but neither the man or sword was there. The officer in question showed a few moments later. When the general explained why they were waiting for him, the officer became indignant and professed his innocence (just a tad too much). My father said the air of tension in the room became thick enough to use a machete on. This was when Smitty’s temper went out of control and with one right cross – sent the officer through his own glass partition.

Of course, this action made it necessary to bust Smitty back down to private, but he didn’t care about that. He was still furious that the sword was never returned. It all could have gone worse if the general had not been there or if he did not believe Smitty’s word. Smitty said it was worth being busted just to wipe the smirky grin off the officer’s face. The officer, I believe, was a replacement and had not seen much (if any) combat, just a blow-heart. Smitty later offered his two Japanese swords to General Swing, but he refused. My father didn’t believe the general would have taken the Emperor’s own sword as a replacement. I can clearly see my father’s face contort when he thought of the thief and he would say, “That know-nothing mattress salesman from Texas!” I’m sure it was for the best that the two men never met again stateside as civilians.

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Unfortunately, a similar incident occurred to my father. As he happily began packing to go home, Smitty noticed that an expensive set of carved ivory chop sticks he had purchased somehow had disappeared. They also were never recovered. (I had often wondered if the two incidents had been related, but I suppose we’ll never know.)

Everett A. Smith - aka "Pops" or "Smitty"

Everett A. Smith – aka “Pops” or “Smitty”

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Much can be said about General Joseph May Swing that I am very surprised no one had written his biography. He stood tall and lean with prematurely white hair and arresting blue eyes. The man had an instinct for command and left an impressive and formidable impression on all he met.

Swing was born on 28 February 1894 and graduated in the star-studded West Point class of 1915. His fellow classmates included Dwight D. Eisenhower and Generals Bradley, Beukema, Ryder, Irwin, McNarney and Van Fleet. Van Fleet had relieved General Ridgeway as commander of the Eighth Army, which included the 187th RCT during the Korean War.

Gen. Swing

Gen. Swing

Still in Japan

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No matter where he is or what he’s doing, Smitty will be seen touring the sights. In Japan, he also did his best to absorb the culture that surrounded him.

One of many brochures Smitty brought home

One of many brochures Smitty brought home

Inside the above brochure, Smitty wrote, “Right after we left this place, it burnt down. This was really a million dollar joint! Wow! The girls here, by the way, are very nice. I like these people much better than the Filipinos.” (Just to remind the reader, and in all fairness, Smitty had lost his best friend to a Filipino Japanese sympathizer (makipilli) with a grenade booby-trap in his cot)

In October 1945, General Pierson was transferred back home. He was replaced by General Shorty Soule who had commanded the 188th regiment in both training and combat. He was later promoted to assistant division commander of the 38th Division and at this point he began to head the Miyagi Task Force.

Postcards from Japan

Postcards from Japan

Hereafter, the troopers began to return to the States as they collected their “points” and the replacements that were arriving were not jump qualified. Gen. Swing established yet another jump school, the fourth one in the history of the 11th Airborne. This one was established at the former Japanese Air Corps base near Yanome; about 15 miles from Sendai.

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Following through with his own requirements that all men in the division be both paratroopers and glidermen, Swing started a glider school in the summer of 1946 at Yamoto Air Base. [renamed Carolus Field, in honor of Cpl. Charles Carolus, killed in a glider crash near Manila 22 July 1945]

In Japan

In Japan

On the reverse side of the picture above, Smitty wrote, “a beauty of a flock of ducks were going by just as the jerk snapped the camera.”

The 187th Regiment, was by this time, now being called “Rakkasans” (umbrella men) by the Japanese, a name which stayed with them through four wars: WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm.

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A Farewell Salute – This obituary is about the European Theatre, but I felt it deserved to be shown…

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Click photos to enlarge.

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Resources: “The Angel” and “Rakkasans” by Gen. E.M. Flanagan; The Week magazine and Everett’s scrapbook

Moving Day

Sprucing up the troops

Sprucing up the troops

This photograph was signed by two of my father’s buddies, John S. Lodero and Phil Martorano, both of Brooklyn, New York. Smitty (Everett Smith) is circled, but which two men are John and Phil is unknown.

When the SCAP Headquarters was set up in Tokyo, MacArthur was determined to create a “Peaceful and responsible government…” He also had to administer to a nation with nearly 70 million near-starving civilians and a constantly growing population of soldiers. The Japanese made the transition of being under one totalitarian rule to another quite easily and the general proceeded to supervise the writing and implementation of a new constitution. This was adopted in 1947, retaining the Emperor as a constitutional monarch and reestablished the primacy of the Diet. The zaibatu industrial combines were broken up and women were given rights. [This explains the obituary pictured at the bottom of this post that recently appeared in The Week magazine.]

resort pamphlet Smitty brought home from Japan

resort pamphlet Smitty brought home from Japan

The 11th Airborne was amazed by the change of attitude of the populace; without ever having actually been invaded, the Americans were being accepted. It made their future missions so much easier to accomplish. The Americal Division relieved the 11 A/B 14 September at their present locations and the following day, they began moving out by truck and railroad to their newly assigned zones in northern Honshu. Gen. Swing requested Gen. Dorn, who had served with Gen. Stilwell in China, to head the convoy.In the Sendai area and billeted at the Japanese arsenal [name to be changed to Camp Schimmelpfennig, after the chief of staff who was killed in combat] were the – Division Headquarters, 127th Engineers, 408th Quartermaster, 711th Ordnance, 511th Signal, 221st Medical, Parachute Maintenance and the 187th and 188th regiments. The 511th went to Morioka [ name would be changed to Camp Haugen, for their leader killed in combat], the 457th and the 152d moved to Akita, the 472d went to Yamagata, the 674th was divided and sent to Jimmachi and Camp Younghans and the 675th went to Yonezawa.

In the Sendai area, Japanese authorities turned over hotels in the Matsushima area for officer’s quarters and their staff, which explains how Smitty came home with these beautiful brochures you will see pictured here. If you click on and enlarge the photo, you can see where Smitty pointed to the sort of room he was given.

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At one point while moving supplies, Eli Bernheim (S-4 Section of the 187th reg.), remembered the convoy of 40 Japanese charcoal burning trucks always breaking down and they became lost. The interpreter and Eli took out their map and became surrounded by curious townspeople. Eli slung his rifle over his shoulder and they scattered. The interpreter suggested laying the weapon down and the civilians regrouped and began touching his hair – turns out they had never seen an American before. I suppose the word must have spread, because after that incident, the convoy was warmly greeted in every town they passed through. Once in their respective areas, the first priority was living conditions and the Japanese barracks were primitive with ancient plumbing and sewage deposited in reservoirs to be picked up later by farmers and used as fertilizer. The division historian recorded that of all the traffic accidents within the 11th A/B’s zone, NO trooper was ever guilty of hitting one of those “honey carts.”

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General Swing made General Pierson commander of the 187th and 188th joint group which became known as the Miyagi Task Force. They set up their headquarters in an insurance company building in Sendai. The principle responsibility of the Miyagi Task Force was to collect and destroy all arms, munitions and armament factories. They were also charged with seeing that General MacArthur’s edicts were all carried out. Many of the military installations had underground tunnels filled with drill presses and machine tools of all types. The entire zone needed to be demilitarized and equipment destroyed. Colonel Tipton discovered a submarine base for the two-man subs and a small group of men still guarding them. They told the colonel that they just wanted to go home.

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Inside this brochure my father wrote, “No liquor here so didn’t have to go behind the bar, we drank our own. This is where I had my first real hot bath since coming overseas.”

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Personal request – If anyone reads Japanese, please feel free to translate any writing you see. I requested the assistance of several universities that carried Oriental studies, but never received replies. Thank you.

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Farewell Salute – Alan Wood of the U.S. Navy, provided the flag which was used for the iconic photograph of our men raising the flag on Iwo Jima. He had brought the flag with him on the Naval vessel LST – 779 from a salvage depot at Pearl Harbor. He has recalled to reporters – “a Marine coming toward me, only about 19, but he looked so old, and he asked for my flag. I asked why and the marine said – you won’t regret it.”

Alan Wood

Alan Wood

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Resources: “The Angels” and “Rakkasans” by Gen. E.M. Flanagan; Everett’s scrapbook; The Week magazine; Foxnews.com

Missed photos – YTD

As the 11th Airborne Division plans to move on to Okinawa, I am posting additional photos that I previously omitted to avoid clutter and distract from the stories. I hope you enjoy them.

Luzon cemetery

Luzon cemetery

Smitty wrote on the reverse side of this picture that it was the first cemetery on the island that they built. The shadowy figure on the bottom has always been a mystery. My father said no one was there when it was taken, but to me it does appear to be a man.

Graves of the fallen, Manila U.S. cemetery today

Graves of the fallen, Manila U.S. cemetery today

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Major William C. Lee, Father of the Airborne

Major William C. Lee, Father of the Airborne

plaque in front of Luzon Memorial

plaque in front of Luzon Memorial

Luzon Memorial

Luzon Memorial

Memorial in Manila

Memorial in Manila

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Smitty must not have always been on patrol or training recruits, the photograph on the left was addressed to Mr. Everett Smith, from Dheadora D. Bella, Imus, Cavite, P.I. and on the front it is signed – With Love, Doriny. On the right is signed – Adorable ___ Med, Paulit & Lila. (Should any descendents recognize these photos, please give me more information on who they were. Thank you)

Women of Cavite

Women of Cavite

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Yank magazine, bartender from Brooklyn, New York

Yank magazine, bartender from Brooklyn, New York

Below, General Pierson (right) examines the bullet holes in a Japanese glider downed near Manila with Frank Smith (left), the war correspondent from the Chicago Sun Times that traveled with the 11th Airborne.

Japanese glider

Japanese glider

Japanese A6M Zero fighters near Lae, New Guinea 1943

Japanese A6M Zero fighters near Lae, New Guinea 1943

A cartoon from Camp Polk

A cartoon from Camp Polk

1 April 1945, Okinawa

1 April 1945, Okinawa

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Remember to click on any photo you need to see more clearly. I hope you have enjoyed this blog thus far and will continue to view as the 11th Airborne Division moves on to Okinawa.
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Australia and June 1945 updates

Brisbane 1945

Brisbane 1945

8 June 945, Cpl. Everett Smith found himself and four others from the division on leave in Australia and Smitty was determined to have a good time! Those that went to Brisbane on the same orders for TDY were:
Lt. Col. Francis W. Regnier MC HQ 11th A/B Div.
Major George K. Oliver INF HQ 11th A/B Div.
T Sgt. Manuel C. DeBeon Jr. 187th Glider Infantry
Tec 4 Beverly A. Ferreira HQ 11th A/B Div.
The orders were signed by Major E.W. Wyman Jr., Adjutant General

Townsville Queensland WWII

Townsville Queensland WWII

My father never told me very much about his R&R and probably for a good reason. (For one, my mother was always around listening.) He did say that when he first arrived in Australia, he wanted a haircut and a shave. While the barber was working on him, he remarked that the pores in Smitty’s nose appeared enlarged. My father answered, “You spend five months in the jungles of New Guinea and see what your nose looks like.” Dad said after that, his money was no good. Everyone in the barbershop made such a fuss over him that henever got a word in edgewise. They were so extreely grateful to anyone who helped to stop the Japanese. Smitty did always tell me he wished he could make a trip back there; he thought Australia and her people were great, but sadly, he never did.

Perhaps the young lady, Joan, was the reason Smitty wouldn’t talk about his time on leave.

Happy Flying, Love, Joan

Happy Flying, Love, Joan

WWII postcard

WWII postcard

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June events –

9 June – U.S. Marines land on Aguni Shima in the Ryukyu island chain and Japanese defenses crumble on Mindanao, Philippines.

Australian soldiers at Wewak

Australian soldiers at Wewak

10 June – Australian troops land at Brunei Bay, Borneo and by the 25th, they capture major oil fields and the island of Tarakan.

21 June – As Japan commanders commit suicide and 7,500 soldiers surrender, Okinawa falls. The devastating figures:
approximately 100,000 Japanese soldiers dead and a loss of 8,000 aircraft (4,000 shot down by combat missions)
7,613 U.S. Marines and Army infantry killed
31,807 U.S. wounded
U.S. Navy lost 4,900 seaman, 36 vessels sunk and 368 damaged
U.S. lost 763 aircraft

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More current news –

Recently I discovered that a WWII Marine veteran was living nearby. Joseph Dryer Jr. landed on Iwo Jima 68 years ago as a lieutenant. A Japanese hollow point bullet (dum-dum) came directly at his chest 26 days later. It hit his dog tags, cut off his locker box keys and drove everything into his chest. But, he was too tough for one bullet – at 91 years young, he lives in his Palm Beach home today surrounded with emorabilia of his amazing life. Let’s give a salute.

Lt. Joseph Dryer Jr. (in circle) Iwo Jima

Lt. Joseph Dryer Jr. (in circle) Iwo Jima

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References: The Palm Beach Post, Everett’s scrapbook, Angels: History of the 11th A/B, by Gen. Flanagan; The Pacific by John Davison

Personal not – I believe my next post will be a flashback to the Battle of Leyte Gulf. I will do my utmost to do it justice.

Tagatay Ridge, Luzon

Manila Hotel Annex, Dec. 1945
G. Mountz collection

Manila Hotel Annex, Dec. 1945
G. Mountz collection


By 1300 hours on 3 February 1945, General Swing had most of his division back together and he made the Manila Hotel Annex his CP (Command Post). The beautiful hotel seen in the picture above (10 months later) had been looted and ransacked long before the Americans got there, but it would suit their purposes. Frank Smith, a reporter for the Chicago Times reported that Gen. Eichelberger stated at the Annex, “The 11th Airborne Division is the fightingest goddamn troops I ever saw.”

Highway 17 would now begin to turn into a two lane concrete road. This seemed like a good sign for beating Gen. Krueger to Manila, but the 11th was short on trucks and the fuel to move them. Gasoline arrived on the 4th, delivered by ten C-47s. Forward scouts reported that the road was fairly safe as far as Imus and the 511th regiment moved out.

The 188th and the 1st of the 187th finished clearing out Shorty Ridge of the enemy and then they too moved toward Manila. It was here that Swing altered the missions of some of his units. General Hildebrand of the 187th was told to secure the main supply route (MSR) and was given control of the thousands of guerrillas of Batangas and Cavite provinces. Controlling and organizing the guerrillas was a difficult operation as they would remain loyal to whoever ran what section of which province. Coordinating their missions and tracking them and getting them supplies was extremely tedious in comparison to an Army unit. The guerrilla reports were not always reliable either. Eichelberger, in one, was told that Manila was burning to the ground. The general looked out his window and could see for himself that there was one small trail of smoke. Active patrols of the 187th, though shorthanded, drove the Japanese farther back into the mountains as they continued to move to an area south of the capital city.

On the 4th, the calvary, under Brig. Gen. Chase, arrived to release the 510 prisoners of Santo Tomas and Bilibid prison. Also on this date, General MacArthur released a communique that Manila was free and in our hands, BUT as was his nature, he was a bit hasty in his reports. The Sixth Army coming down from the north and the Eighth Army (which was actually the 11th A/B) approaching from the south, had much work to do ahead of them. The 187th set their sights on the airfields and the areas where the Japanese manned the AA (anti-aircraft – also known as ack-ack) guns.

the old Bilibid Prison 1945

the old Bilibid Prison 1945

U.S. POWs behind Santo Tomas

U.S. POWs behind Santo Tomas

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