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U.S. Navy Birthday

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The US Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775, by authorizing procurement, fitting out, manning and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America.  The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work.  All together, the Continental Navy numbered some 50 ships over the course of the war, with approximately 20 warships active at its maximum strength.

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In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwait, authorized recognition of 13 October as the Navy’s birthday.  Not to be confused with Navy Day (the founding of the Navy Department), the Navy Birthday is intended as an internal activity for members of the active forces and reserves, as well as retirees and dependents.  Since 1972, each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion “to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service.”

Although written by a Royal Navy Admiral in 1896, “The Laws of the Navy” began to appear in the US Naval Academy’s “Reef Points” Plebe Handbook and is still there today.  The sketches were added by Lt. Rowland Langmaid R.N. during WWI.

Beginning of "The Laws of the Navy"

Beginning of “The Laws of the Navy”

Part 2

Part 2

Part 3

Part 3

End of "The Laws of the Navy"

End of “The Laws of the Navy

Click on images to enlarge!

 

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Navy Humor – 

FC

HAVE A BALL - BUT DON'T ROCK THE BOAT!!

HAVE A BALL – BUT DON’T ROCK THE BOAT!!

Lady Popeye

                                                                      Lady Popeye

for you submariners

for you submariners

for you surface-vessel types...

for you surface-vessel types.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Russell Allen – Lovell, ME; US Navy, Vietnam

Francis Currey – Selkirk, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, TSgt., Medal of Honor

Joseph Gildea – Hollidaysburg, PA; US Army, Occupation, 593rd Ordnance / US Navy, Vietnam, Capt., USS Rush & Hancock, US Naval Graduate

Everett Grabau – Spring Valley, MN; US Navy, WWII

K.Wayne Hays – Van Buren, AR; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Joe Irwin – St. Shelbyville, TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Rocco Lombardi – Ivoryton, CT; US Navy, WWII, LST-616

Richard McConville – Teaneck, NJ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Missouri

Robert L. “Cajun Bob” Thoms – Baton Rouge, LA; USMC, Vietnam, SSgt., Silver Star

Alex Wolffenden – New Smyrna Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII

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The New Boom in the Food Industry

Food has often been an important part of warfare. What is less known is how food developed for warfare changed people’s lives after the war. The most important development happened after World War II, though the canning process has been around for a long time.

Canned food started by using tin cans to preserve various items in the early 19th century. British sailors and explorers found that canned food was a relatively easy way to supplement their rations. For example, the Arctic explorer William Parry took canned beef and pea soup on his voyage. By the middle of the 19th century many of the middle class in Europe bought canned food as novelty items.

The American Civil War, Crimean War, and Franco Prussian War introduced hundreds of thousands of soldiers to the novelty and enjoyment of canned foods, which expanded their consumption even more. Yet at this time they still remained relatively fringe items used by explorers and military.

It was the millions of men fighting in World War I and II that created an explosion in demand for canned food. The American government in particular faced problems connected to supplying troops in multiple theaters of combat around the world. They had to supply and feed millions of men with items that transported safely, survived trench conditions, and didn’t spoil in transport.

Canned foods thus became a pivotal part of the wartime experience. The C rations in particular were pre-made meals that could be eaten either warm or cold, so they often became the main staple of the war weary troops.

Sometimes they got lucky in being able to supplement their canned rations with local foods, and in World War II the rations of Allied servicemen often included M&Ms and Coca-Cola. The M&M candies were particularly liked because their hard outer shell prevented the chocolate interior from melting during transport to hot and humid locations in southeast Asia.

“Coke” became the preferred drink of the troops due to a marketing campaign in the States: any American in uniform could buy a Coke for a nickel regardless of its listed price. But there were few sources of the drink for Americans serving in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Accordingly, General Eisenhower requested 3 million bottles of Coke be shipped to his current location in North Africa, along with the equipment and supplies to refill them as needed so they could maintain a permanent supply of Coke.

Coke machine worked by the refrigeration crew of the 64th Seabees [Naval Construction Battalion] inTubabao, Samar, Philippines. Gift of Joseph Cohen, The National WWII Museum Inc., 2003.083.071

Coca-Cola did one better and sent 148 personnel to install and manage the overseas bottling plants. The specialists were given uniforms and a rank of “technical adviser.” They were often called “Cola Colonels” by the soldiers, and they were often treated very well because they were a great boost to morale.

Both Coca-Cola and canned goods remained popular after the war. Coke products inspired a worldwide thirst, and the canned food companies sold their surplus goods on the civilian market. They also developed a marketing campaign to relate the convenience of canned foods to the demands of busy modern life.

WWII Coca Cola ad

Mass production of instant meals in factories extensively lowered their cost and expanded their use across the lower and middle classes. Some of these items included powdered cheeses, instant drinks, and cured meats, which were all developed during World War II but later became staples in the civilian world. These developments in turn changed the palate of the American consumer and much of the world they had touched.

 

So the next time you don’t feel like cooking and open up a can of soup, or grab some M&Ms and wash them down with a Coke, you’ll appreciate the fascinating history of how your tastes for such foods resulted from developments during wars, and how some of those foods were first experienced by soldiers that were often thousands of miles away.

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Current News –

TF – 102 at award ceremony

The Green Berets of the U.S. Army 10th Special Forces Group received 48 combat awards for the action in Afghanistan.  Task Force 102 were awarded:

5   Silver Stars

7   Bronze Stars w/ Valor devices

15  Army Commendation Medals w/ Valor

21  Purple Hearts

Unfortunately it cost them 3 KIA and 1 non-combat death.

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Blog News – 

Unfortunately, we have lost a wonderful fellow blogger who has been a friend to many of us.  Brian Edward Smith, also know as Beari, ElBob or Lord Beari of Bow, of Australia, passed away on 24 September 2019.  He will be greatly missed.

A note from his daughter, Sarah reads:

If you fancy taking some time to remember dad I know he would love you to listen to Beethoven’s Missa solemnis. He’d be thrilled to think that was being played around the world for him. He also loved Beethoven s Ninth Symphony or Mozart’s Coronation March. If classical music is not your thing – he loved ol blues eyes – Frank Sinatra!

Sarah’s email is – suzziqqt@hotmail.com

 

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gerald Abel – London, CAN; Merchant Navy / RC Army, WWII

John R. Bayens – Louisville, KY; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Co. B/1/6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Norman A. Buan – Long Prairie, MN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Co. C/2nd Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

George Clark – Rome, MS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Astoria

Bill Etherton – Buffalo, IL; US Army, Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

George Flint – Lima, OH; US Army, WWII, 87th Infantry

Morris Maxwell – Gentry, AR; US Army, WWII, PTO

David Pershing (101) – Houston, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, pilot, USS Belleau Wood / USNR, Capt. (Ret.)

Clyde Sheffield – Daytona, FL; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, Major (Ret. 22 y.), Bronze Star

Louis Wieseham – Richmond, IN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, E Co./2/8th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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Nisei – part 1

Nisei soldiers

Smitty held the Nisei in very high regard and I would be remiss in neglecting to tell their story. Beside, one of these men might have been directly responsible for the safe return of my father. In reality, it would be near impossible to relate a story of the Pacific War without mentioning their service. Some of this unique intelligence force worked ‘behind the scene’ stateside U.S.A. or Australia, but many were up front and fighting at and behind enemy lines.

Smitty always had extreme appreciation for the courage, resilience and down-right crazy stunts they pulled off. They were capable of going behind the lines to acquire information or cut into the radio lines and all the while they remained quite aware that their own units might mistake them for the enemy when they returned. This did happen more than once.

Most everyone is aware of whom the Nisei are, but for clarification purposes, here are some of the terms that might be used in this section or if you continue with your own research:

AJA – Americans of Japanese Ancestry
MISers – the name used for students and graduates of the Military Intelligence Service Language School
Issei – first generation Japanese-American
Nisei – second generation Japanese-American, (this term is for definition only – Nisei prefer to state that they are American)
Kibei – Japanese-American who received education in Japan

At the language school, the students were crammed with courses and put on a strict schedule. Some courses included:

Kanji – a Japanese method of writing based on Chinese logographic characters
Kaisho – the printed form of Kanji and can only be read by someone who has memorized a great number of ideographs
Gyosho – hand written Japanese, very similar to the Palmer Method of Penmanship and is very difficult for Americans
Sosho – the shorthand version of Kanji and almost impossible for an American to learn. Most Japanese field orders were taken down by this method.

Kai Rasmussen (center)

It must be noted that many of these men had family incarcerated in detainment camps and serving in the Imperial Army & Navy, but in school, on the job and in combat they loyally worked to do their level best. The language school began 1 November 1941 at Crissy Field, with Lt. Colonel John Wickerling in charge. His right hand man, educator and recruiter, Kai Rasmussen, was a primary force in the success of the school. He was a West Point grad who spoke Japanese with a Danish accent and would eventually earn the Legion of Merit for his efforts.

 

 

A move was necessary from San Francisco to Camp Savage, Minnesota. The change in location was largely due to the bigotry that had overwhelmed California at the time. The most influential white supremacists included: Earl Warren; The Natives Sons and Daughters of the Golden West; William Randolph Hearst and his newspapers and Congressman Leland Ford. Eventually, the school needed to expand and moved to Fort Snelling, St. Paul.

Rasmussen’s right hand man was John Fujio Aiso, an attorney out of Brown and Harvard and had studied at Chuo University in Tokyo. (He was originally assigned to a motor pool because the Army felt they had no need for additional lawyers.) Rasmussen traveled across the country in attempts to find candidates for the school. The Pentagon had kept the paperwork for the operations of the Nisei secret for three decades, but Smitty began talking about them once I was old enough to ask questions.

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Military Humor – 

“AIM FOR THE CAT!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Malcolm Armstrong – Ardmore, OK; US Army, WWII, Purple Heart

John Bagwell – Arab, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511/11th Airborne Division

Milo Durant – Manawatu, NZ; NZEF #453408, WWII, Pvte.

Virginia Fallon – New Haven, CT; Civilian, WWII, Winchester Repeating Arms, ammo inspector

Raymond Goulet – New Bedford, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 85th Infantry Division

Ralph Hatcher – Indianapolis, IN; US Army, Vietnam,101st Airborne Division, medic

T. Chester McKeon – Prairie Grove, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-25 crew chief, MSgt.

Harvey Nichols – Braxton, MS; US Army, WWII, PTO, POW, KIA

Charles Peck – Hansville, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, gunner

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Higgins Boats

Higgins boat

President Eisenhower said: “If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs (Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel), we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different.” And as Colonel Joseph H. Alexander, USMC (Ret) said, “The Higgins boats broke the gridlock on the ship-to-shore movement.  It is impossible to overstate the tactical advantages this craft gave U.S. amphibious commanders in World War II.”

Clearly, the half-wood half-steel “smallboat” meant a lot to the War. These assault or LCVP boats would land troops and material on invasion beachheads. Their designer, Andrew Higgins, was positive there would be a need among the U.S. Navy for thousands of small boats—and was also sure that steel would be in short supply. In an common moment of eccentricity, Higgins bought the entire 1939 crop of mahogany from the Philippines and stored it on his own.

Higgins boat diagram

Higgins’ expectations were right, and as the war progressed he applied for a position in Naval design. Insisting that the Navy “doesn’t know one damn thing about small boats,” Higgins struggled for years to convince them of the need for small wooden boats. Finally he signed the contract to develop his LCVP.

Employing more than 30,000 for an integrated workforce in New Orleans. Higgins employed blacks and women among them, which was uncommon practice at the time. This force eagerly began mass-producing the “Higgins boats,” which were 36’3” in length and had a beam of 10’10”. Their displacement when unloaded was 18,000 lbs., and they could maintain a speed of 9 knots. They were defended by 2 .30 caliber machine guns, and could carry 36 combat-equipped infantrymen or 8,000 pounds of cargo. For a detailed picture of a Higgins boat’s anatomy, see the image below. Along with the help of other American factories, Higgins produced 23,398 LCVPs during the War.

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In the United States,  Andrew Higgins evaluated the Fox boat and felt it was too weak to survive mishap in emergency operations. In November 1943, Higgins assigned engineers from his company to make a sturdier version with two engines.  Higgins Industries, known for making landing craft (LCVPs)  and PT boats,  produced the A-1 lifeboat, a 1½-ton (1400 kg), 27-foot (8 m) airborne lifeboat with waterproof internal compartments so that it would not sink if swamped or overturned. Intended to be dropped by modified Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress it was ready for production in early 1944.

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Military History – Navy Style – 

The Navy’s version of Sad Sack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Adams – Rockingham, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. B/675 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Howard Blanchard – DE; US Navy, WWII, destroyer escort / Korea

William Cason Sr. – Charlotsville, VA; US Merchant Marines

Steven Donofrio – Middlebury, CT; US Navy, WWII

Barbara Bower Johnson – Pleasant Hills, PA; US Navy WAVE, WWII, telegrapher

Albert Moon – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Hamlin

Robert Oelwang – Hornell, NY; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class

William Robertson – MI; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO

John Sutton – Pittsburgh, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Signalman

Richard Wynn – New Britain, CT; US Navy, WWII

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U.S. Air Force 72nd Birthday

The official birthday for the US Air Force is 18 September 1947 as enacted under the National Security Act of 1947.

 

 

 

HIGH FLIGHT

by: John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed

and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of – 

Wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence.

Hovering there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flug

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delicious burning blue

I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or even eagle flew.

And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untresspassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

 

 

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Military Humor – Air Force Style – 

They won’t be singing “Love Shack”!

Maybe “What ya gonna do, send me to McMurdo?” wasn’t the best comeback to the Colonel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Akika A. Abe – Oakland, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, G-2, 11th Airborne Division

Charles Brannan (103) – Meade, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-24 pilot / Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Col. (Ret. 31 y.)

Michael Dux – Denver, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-25 flight engineer / State Dept.

‘Last Flight’, by Rhads

Jeremy Griffin – Cristobal, PAN; US Army, Afghanistan, 3/1st Special Forces Group, KIA

Carl Kalwaitis – Elkton, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Robert McClelland – Gilmer, TX; US Air Force, surgeon

Auburn Smith – Picayune, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, paratrooper

Robert Werschey – Licoln, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Charles Whisenant – Washington D.C.; US Navy, WWII, aircraft mechanic

John Yaeger (100) – White Sulphur Springs, WV; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Captain

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Andrew Jackson Higgins – A Legacy

Andrew Jackson Higgins

Andrew Jackson Higgins, the man Dwight D. Eisenhower once credited with winning World War II, was a wild and wily genius.

At the New Orleans plant where his company built the boats that brought troops ashore at Normandy on June 6, 1944, Higgins hung a sign that said, “Anybody caught stealing tools out of this yard won’t get fired — he’ll go to the hospital.”

Whatever Higgins did, he did it a lot. “His profanity,” Life magazine said, was “famous for its opulence and volume.” So was his thirst for Old Taylor bourbon, though he curtailed his intake by limiting his sips to a specific location.

I only drink,” he told Life magazine, “while I’m working.”

It is Higgins himself who takes your breath away,” Raymond Moley, a former FDR adviser,  wrote in Newsweek in 1943. “Higgins is an authentic master builder, with the kind of will power, brains, drive and daring that characterized the American empire builders of an earlier generation.”

USNS Andrew J. Higgins, Sept. 1987

Higgins was not native to the South, despite his love of bourbon. He grew up in Nebraska, where, at various ages, he was expelled from school for fighting. Higgins’ temperament improved around boats. He built his first vessel in the basement when he was 12. It was so large that a wall had to be torn down to get it out.

He moved South in his early 20s, working in the lumber industry. He hadn’t thought much about boats again until a tract of timber in shallow waters required him to build a special vessel so he could remove the wood. Higgins signed up for a correspondence course in naval architecture, shifting his work from timber to boats.

In the late 1930s, he owned a small shipyard in New Orleans. By then, his special shallow-craft boat had become popular with loggers and oil drillers. They were “tunnel stern boats,” whose magic was in the way the “hull incorporated a recessed tunnel used to protect the propeller from grounding,” according to the Louisiana Historical Association.

Higgins ‘Eureka’ boat

Higgins called it the “Eureka” boat. The war brought interest by U.S. forces in a similar style vessel to attack unguarded beaches and avoid coming ashore at heavily defended ports. The Marines settled on the Higgins boat, transforming what had been a 50-employee company into one of the world’s largest manufacturers.

“To put Higgins’s accomplishment in perspective,” historian Douglas Brinkley wrote in a 2000 article in American Heritage magazine, consider this: “By September 1943, 12,964 of the American Navy’s 14,072 vessels had been designed by Higgins Industries. Put another way, 92 percent of the U.S. Navy was a Higgins navy.”

Though Eisenhower and even Hitler acknowledged the importance of the Higgins boat — military leaders came to call it “the bridge to the beach” — its builder went mostly unmentioned in histories of the war. That is, until 17 years ago, when the World War II Museum opened in New Orleans and recognized Higgins’ life, displaying a reproduction of his boat.

Still, there’s been just one biography written: “Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats that Won World War II” by historian Jerry Strahan.

“Without Higgins’s uniquely designed craft, there could not have been a mass landing of troops and matériel on European shores or the beaches of the Pacific islands, at least not without a tremendously higher rate of Allied casualties,” Strahan wrote.

Higgins Hotel, New Orleans

The WWII Museum in New Orleans officially broke ground on the Higgins Hotel directly across the street from the museum in 2017.

The one man in the South I want especially to see is Andrew Jackson Higgins.  I want to tell him, face to face, that Higgins’ landing boats such as we had at Guadalcanal are the best in the world.  They do everything but talk; honest they do.”  ___ Warrant Officer Machinist, James D. Fox, quoted in the Shreveport Times, 6 March 1943

AJ Higgins held 30 patents, mostly covering amphibious landing craft and vehicles.

Higgins died in New Orleans on 1 August 1952, and was buried in Metairie Cemetery.  He had been hospitalized for a week to treat stomach ulcers when he suffered a fatal stroke.

Article resources: The World War II Museum in New Orleans (2018 Annual Report), The Marine Corps & the Washington Post.

There will be more information on the boats in the upcoming post.

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Military Humor – Navy Style ……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bill Balser – Anderson, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Thomas Carney – Naples, FL; US Army, Vietnam, 173rd A/B Brigade / Cmdr. of 5th Infantry Div., Lt. Gen. (Ret. 35 y.)

Donald Davis – Orangeville, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Bill Hardin – Wheat Ridge, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO, 72nd Sea Bees

John Johnson – Sanford, NC; US Army, WWII, 9th Infantry Medical Detachment, medic

Garry Massa – Pickney, MI; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Roger Patrick – Tabor, IA; US Army, WWII, Sgt.

Paul “Ken” Rash – Indianapolis, IN; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Roy Schwabe (100) – Park Ridge, IL; US Army, WWII

Carl Wheaton – Bar Harbor, ME; USMC, WWII, PTO, Lt. Colonel, pilot

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Occupation – Sub Clean-up

In a dry-dock at Kure Naval Base, Japan, 19 October 1945. There are at least four different types of midget submarines in this group of about eighty-four boats, though the great majority are of the standard “Koryu” type. The two boats at right in the second row appear to have an enlarged conning tower and shortened hull superstructure. The two boats at left in that row are of the earlier Type A or Type C design, as are a few others further back in the group

By definition, a midget submarine is less than 150 tons, has a crew of no more than eight, has no on-board living accommodation, and operates in conjunction with a mother ship to provide the living accommodations and other support. The Japanese Navy built at least 800 midgets in 7 classes, but only a fraction had any noticeable impact on the war. Their intended purpose initially was to be deployed in front of enemy fleets, but their actual use would be in harbor attacks and coastal defense.

The Japanese midget subs were not named but were numbered with “Ha” numbers (e.g., Ha-19). These numbers were not displayed on the exterior and operationally the midgets were referred to according to the numbers of their mother ships. Thus, when I-24 launched Ha-19, the midget was known as “I-24tou” (designated “M24” in some texts). The “Ha” numbers were not unique either; some Type D’s were numbered Ha-101 through Ha-109.

US officials overlooking captured Japanese submarines in Kure, Japan.

In mid-1944, with coastal defense requirements becoming urgent, the Japanese Navy developed the Koryu Tei Gata Type D. More than just another improved version of the Type A, this was a new design. They were the largest of Japan’s midgets, displacing about 60 tons, 86 feet (26 meters) in length, with a five-man crew, featuring a more powerful diesel engine, and had improved operating endurance. Koryu’s armament consisted of two muzzle-loaded 17.7-inch torpedoes. As with the earlier types, individual boats had alpha-numeric names in the “Ha” series beginning with Ha-101.

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Some 115 units had been completed when Japan capitulated in August 1945. At the end of the war, Allied Occupation forces found hundreds of midget submarines built and building in Japan, including large numbers of the “Koryu” type; nearly 500 more were under construction. Some of these submarines intended for training pilots for Kaiten type manned torpedoes, had an enlarged conning tower and two periscopes.

Kaiten aboard surface vessel

Kaiten submarines were designed to be launched from the deck of a submarine or surface ship, or from coastal installations as a coastal defence weapon. The cruiser, IJN Kitakami, was equipped to launch Kaiten and took part in sea launch trials of Type 1s. In addition, several destroyers of the Matsu class were also adapted to launch the weapon.
In practice, only the Type 1 craft, using the submarine delivery method, were ever used in combat. Specially equipped submarines carried two to six Kaiten, depending on their class.

Partially from: Rare Historical Photos.com

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Adams – Jena, LA; US Air Force, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, Col. (Ret. 22 y.)

Gordon Bashaw (100) – Gardner, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Thomas Carney – Cleveland, OH; US Army, Vietnam, Lt. General (Ret.)

Joseph Giles – Louisville, KY; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Charles Hickman (101) – Leola, SD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

James Loveall – Rockville, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/ 188/11th Airborne Division

Marshall Minton – Kouts, IN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 44/157th Field Artillery

Weston Norman – TX; US Army, WWII, PTO

James Shanahan Jr. – Cedar Rapids, MI; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor, KIA

Albert Zieg – Portland, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII

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Feeding and Occupying Japan

MacArthur’s first priority was to set up a food distribution network; following the collapse of the ruling government and the wholesale destruction of most major cities, virtually everyone was starving. Even with these measures, millions of people were still on the brink of starvation for several years after the surrender.  As expressed by Kawai Kazuo, “Democracy cannot be taught to a starving people”.  The US government encouraged democratic reform in Japan, and while it sent billions of dollars in food aid, this was dwarfed by the occupation costs it imposed on the struggling Japanese administration.

Initially, the US government provided emergency food relief through Government and Relief in Occupied Areas  (GARIOA) funds. In fiscal year 1946, this aid amounted to US $92 million in loans. From April 1946, in the guise Licensed Agencies for Relief,  private relief organizations were also permitted to provide relief.

MacArthur and Hirohito, first meeting

Once the food network was in place MacArthur set out to win the support of Hirohito. The two men met for the first time on September 27; the photograph of the two together is one of the most famous in Japanese history. Some were shocked that MacArthur wore his standard duty uniform with no tie instead of his dress uniform when meeting the emperor. With the sanction of Japan’s reigning monarch, MacArthur had the political ammunition he needed to begin the real work of the occupation.

While other Allied political and military leaders pushed for Hirohito to be tried as a war criminal, MacArthur resisted such calls, arguing that any such prosecution would be overwhelmingly unpopular with the Japanese people. He also rejected the claims of members of the imperial family such as Prince Mikasa and Prince Higashikuni and demands of intellectuals like Tatsuji Miyoshi, who sought the emperor’s abdication.

By the end of 1945, more than 350,000 U.S. personnel were stationed throughout Japan. By the beginning of 1946, replacement troops began to arrive in the country in large numbers and were assigned to MacArthur’s  8th Army, headquartered in Tokyo’s Dai-Ichi building.

Of the main Japanese islands, Kyushu was occupied by the 24th Infantry Division, with some responsibility for Shikoku.  Honshu was occupied by the 1st Calvary Division.  Hokkaido was occupied by the 11th Airborne Division.

By June 1950, all these army units had suffered extensive troop reductions and their combat effectiveness was seriously weakened. When North Korea invaded South Korea in the Korean War, elements of the 24th Division were flown into South Korea to try to fight the invasion force there, but the inexperienced occupation troops, while acquitting themselves well when suddenly thrown into combat almost overnight, suffered heavy casualties and were forced into retreat until other Japan occupation troops could be sent to assist.

Groups involved and running parallel to SCAP (MacArthur),

two women in Sasebo, Japan, Sept-Oct. 1945

The official British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF), composed of  Australian,  British, Indian, and New Zealand personnel, was deployed on February 21, 1946.  While U.S. forces were responsible for the overall occupation, BCOF was responsible for supervising demilitarization and the disposal of Japan’s war industries.  BCOF was also responsible for occupation of several western prefectures and had its headquarters at Kure.  At its peak, the force numbered about 40,000 personnel. During 1947, BCOF began to decrease its activities in Japan, and officially wound up in 1951.

The Far Eastern Commission and Allied Council for Japan were also established to supervise the occupation of Japan.  The establishment of a multilateral Allied council for Japan was proposed by the Soviet government as early as September 1945, and was supported partially by the British, French and Chinese governments.

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Personal Shoutout – Hurricane Dorian appears to have his eyes on hitting here.  So, if I suddenly disappear, please understand that I might be out of power.

Thank you for understanding.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jeffrey Aylward – Plymouth, MA; 176th Ordnance/82nd Airborne Division

Harold Bakken – Kent, WA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, SeaBee

Robert Coleman – Nashua, NH; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Robert Fraley – Flora, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. B/187/11th Airborne Division

John Isbell – Birmingham, AL; US Navy, WWII

Jerry Koerner – Paducah, KY; US Army, Vietnam

Leslie May – NZ; RNZ Navy # MX117905, WWII, ETO

Thomas Rice – Columbia, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt.

Robert Steiner – St. Paul, MN; US Army, 81mm gunner, 86th Infantry Division

Timothy Woos – Salem, VA; US Army, SSgt., 2nd Infantry Division

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How Donald Duck & Dumbo Helped to Win the War

Just one day after Pearl Harbor, Walt Disney received his first military contract and began creating promotional reels, war bond advertisements, short training and instructional films, and other WWII materials.  Also at this time, he received requests from military units all over the world requesting Disney-designed insignia’s and mascots.

David Lesjak, a former employee and Disney historian says, “Insignia helped build morale.  Having a cartoon character you grew up with on your plane or shoulder patch helped remind you of home.  In my mind it was a happy diversion from the horrors of war.”

Hank Porter @ Disney

One of the purest expressions of Walt Disney’s genuine patriotism during the war years was his decision to establish a unit devoted to producing customized military unit insignia free of charge for U.S. armed forces and their allies.  Headed by the talented draftsman, Hank Porter, whom Walt referred to as a “one-man department,” a unit of 5 full-time artists worked steadily throughout the war, turning out 1,300 insignia.

By far, the single most requested and used Disney character was Donald Duck, who was featured in at least 146 designs.  The numerous requests for Donald’s likeness resulted in a wealth of drawings that successfully channeled his irascibilty as patriotism and military zeal, often with a comedic flourish.

Next, the character that appeared most was Pluto in about 35.  Pluto was popular and his trademark facial expressions made it easy for the artists to incorporate him into a variety of insignia.  Goofy followed in popularity at 25 insignia and Jiminy Cricket appeared in 24.

B-29 Thumper nose-art

Sometimes a unit had a special design in mind and was seeking a Disney artist’s skill to bring it to life, attaching a rough sketch to their request letter for reference.

The bulk of insignia were designed for Army units and Navy vessels, but occasionally individuals requested their own personal design.  These requested were accommodated and executed with the same level of care as an insignia for an entire ship, bombardment group or battalion.

Mickey nose-art

The requested letters were often addressed simply: Walt Disney, Hollywood, California.  Once a letter was received in was placed in the queue of pending requests, and the turnaround time was usually 3-4 weeks, though a wait of several months was possible when the insignia unit was particularly swamped.

The procedure for the creation of the insignia design varied, but it typically involved a preliminary pencil drawing in which the image was established, then a full-color pencil version and finally a full-color gouache on art board that would then be forwarded to the requesting unit or party.  This would often hang in the unit headquarters and serve as a template for reproducing the emblem on aircraft, tanks, and other military equipment – as well as uniforms and letterheads.

War Bond by Disney

It is difficult today to fully appreciate how it felt for a serviceman to have his unit represented by a Disney-designed insignia.  For the generation that fought WWII, Disney character images possessed and iconic heft that has no analog in contemporary animation.

A Donald Duck insignia boosted morale, not just because it reminded soldiers of home, but also because it signified that the job they were doing was important enough to be acknowledged by Walt Disney.

The 127th Airborne Engineers/11th Airborne Division’s first insignia was Donald Duck with combat engineer equipment and aviation goggles.

This article and information was printed in the “Voice of the Angels” 11th Airborne Division Association newspaper.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Tracking Guide

Disney Humor

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Bradshaw III – E. Greenwich, RI; US Army, WWII & Korea. Major (Ret. 45 y.)

Jimmie Calder – Pensacola, FL; US Navy, WWII / US Air Force, MSgt. (Ret. 22 y.)

Charles Graybeal – W. Jefferson, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO

Charles Hankammer – San Francisco, CA; US Navy, WWII, CSG2 cook

Clayton J. Horne – Atlanta, LA; Saudi Arabia, Specialist, 351/160th Military Police Battalion, KIA

Meredith Keirn – Niagara Falls, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO, Spl. / Korea, Sgt., Co F/2/7/1st Marine Division, KIA

Ralph Mayville – Windsor, CAN; RC Forces, WWII, ETO, 1st Special Forces (Black Devils)

Horace Ogle – Whangarei, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 44071, WWII

George Rash – Pulaski County, VA; US Army, WWII, POW / Korea

Martin J. Wurth –  Paducah, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

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79th U.S. Airborne Birthday

16 August,  National Airborne Day

The history of United States Airborne Forces did not begin on the training fields of Fort Benning, Georgia, as some believe. In fact, the origin of Airborne Forces in the U.S. military began with a familiar name to American military history, Brigadier General William L. “Billy” Mitchel (1879-1936).

As well as being considered the spiritual father of the United States Air Force, which he advocated for fiercely during his tenure in the military, BG Mitchell was the first to imagine airborne tactics and sought the creation of U.S. Airborne Forces.

BGeneral Billy Mitchell, the father of the U.S. Airborne


It is not recorded exactly when he organized a demonstration of Airborne Infantry for U.S., Russian and German observers. However, according to records
 at Ft. Benning, Georgia, it is confirmed that BG Mitchell held the demonstration “shortly after World War I” at Kelly Field, in San Antonio, Texas. During the demonstration, six soldiers parachuted from a Martin Bomber. After landing safely, the soldiers assembled their weapons and were ready for action in less than three minutes after they exited the aircraft.

11th Airborne Division, 1943 Yearbook

Reprinted and broadcast countless times, High Flight is regarded as one of the world’s great war poems and the greatest anthem of aviation. It is the official poem of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. First year cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy are required to memorize it. Extracts have been quoted in a variety of occasions. The most famous example occurred on Jan. 28, 1986, when President Ronald Reagan, speaking of the Challenger, Space Shuttle disaster, closed his address with the sentence: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”

11th A/B trooper Wiiliam Carlisle on the cover of “Yank”

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air . . .

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace

Where never lark nor even eagle flew –

And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

                                     – Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

11th Airborne Division Chapel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military (Airborne) Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATTA BOY!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Astin – Mise, MS; US Army, MSgt. # 39111 (Ret. 21 y.), 82nd & 101st Airborne, 187th RCT Airborne

Ronald Boyd Sr. – Massillon, OH; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division, Green Beret

Booby Frier – Lubbock, TX; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

James Glidewell – Springfield, MO; US Army, Korea, MSgt. 187th Regimental Combat Team Airborne

William Herring  – Woodville, FL; US Army, 173rd Airborne Division

Scott A. Koppenhafer – Mancos, CO; USMC, Iraq, GySgt., Force Recon Marines, KIA

Frank Krhovsky – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511/11th Airborne Division

Archie McInnes (100) – UK; RAF, WWII, ETO, 601 & 238 Squadrons, pilot

Michael Wood – ID; US Army, MSgt., 7th Special Forces, Afghanistan / FBI

Thomas Yarborough – Jacksonville, FL; US Army, Korea, 187th Regimental Combat Team Airborne

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