Blog Archives

Hurricane Irma

THANK YOU !!!

Hello everyone.  Hurricane Irma has said goodbye and I have only just had power restored.  I greatly appreciate everyone’s concern and hopefully I will get caught up on each of your sites within a decent period of time.  Poor Houston was hit far worse than we were.  Have a great day!!

WE WERE PREPARED !!!

Advertisements

Intermission (6) – Fort MacDill, Tampa/St. Pete, FL

image

(Tribune News Service) — John Murphy was shocked by his first glimpse of MacDill Field.

It was in late 1940, about four months before MacDill, formally known as Southeast Airbase, officially was activated on April 16, 1941. It was named in honor of Col. Leslie MacDill, a World War I veteran and aviation pioneer who died in a plane crash.

“When I got into the area the runway was still under construction, and so was the housing,” Murphy says. “My first quarters was in a tent in a place called Boomtown, where I slept in an Army cot. The tent was surrounded by palmetto branches, and when the wind blew, it sounded like rattlesnakes.”

Marching at MacDill

Marching at MacDill

Murphy, now 95 and living in Biloxi, Mississippi, was among the first to arrive at the base as it was carved from the scrub in the days before the U.S. entered World War II. Today, MacDill Air Force Base is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

A lot has changed over the years. MacDill went from training crews to fly B-17 Flying Fortress and B-26 Marauder bombers to B-29 Superfortresses, B-47 Stratojets and F-84, F-4 and F-16 fighters. It now is home to two wings that fly KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling jets.

MacDill, aerial view

MacDill, aerial view

The base has played a key role in U.S. military actions from World War II, the Korean War, the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the ongoing fight against jihadis in the Middle East and elsewhere.

In 1961, MacDill became home of U.S. Strike Command, which became U.S. Readiness Command and later, in 1987, U.S. Special Operations Command. Socom provides trained and equipped commandos and synchronizes the global war on terrorism.

*********************************

WWII bomb on St. Pete's beach

WWII bomb on St. Pete’s beach

ST. PETERSBURG (Tribune News Service) — A World War II era bomb that washed up on St. Pete Beach over the weekend could have been lurking beneath shallow coastal sand for years, a local military expert said.

At about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, a 4-foot cylinder M122 Photoflash Bomb, which appeared to have been submerged for some time, was found on the beach near the 22nd Avenue access point. The beach and 20 nearby homes were evacuated as Pinellas County deputies worked with a MacDill Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team to destroy the device.

Frank Correa, the historian for Largo’s Armed Forces History Museum, said finds like this are to be expected given the Tampa Bay region’s history with the war. Combat pilots trained at Drew Army Airfield, known today as Tampa International Airport, and MacDill Air Force Base, conducting training missions over the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida was home to several training sites during the war, in fact, and Correa said the photoflash bomb was likely dropped over the gulf and during the seven decades since then made its way inland.

“There’s no telling, that piece might have been here in the beach here for years,” he said.

WWII bomb

WWII bomb

A lot of duds were dropped, likely without the pilots even realizing it, Correa said. Hurricanes and other storms could have carried the unexploded bombs closer to shore over the years.

“Back then they didn’t recover any of that stuff,” he said.

Military aircraft came to MacDill in 1940 and pilots began dropping dummy bombs filled with sand for target practice, said Denny Cole, a history buff and a retired Air Force master sergeant. Soon afterward, though, they began using lethal weapons for practice in areas including today’s Fort DeSoto Park.

The photoflash bomb is just the latest aging explosive to turn up on Pinellas County shores recently. In October, an inert grenade was found by a man walking with a metal detector about 20 feet from the shore near the Sirata Beach Resort, 5300 Gulf Blvd.

Bomb exploded on site.

Bomb exploded on site.

Handling these explosives requires a joint effort among local law enforcement agencies, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said. The Sheriff’s Office received the initial call Sunday and contacted the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office for help from its bomb squad.

A berm was fashioned to protect the closest of three nearby sea turtle nests.

Barreda said the sheriff’s office gets calls from time to time about old military ordnance kept as souvenirs that turns up in basements, attics and garages.

“If there’s any question about what the nature of the device might be, the recommendation is to contact law enforcement,” Barreda said.

———

©2015 the Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Fla.)

Click on images to enlarge.

###################################################################################

Military Training Humor – My army drill instructors license plate is HUP-2-3-4.

 

 

 

###################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Bohrer – Detroit, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 navigator

James Bradford – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, pilot

11986973_1183822258300441_3544440820007753006_n.jpgfrom, Falling with Hale

For them all! !! Click to enlarge

Walter “Ed” Dial – Aztec, NM; US Army Air Corps, PTO

Edward Gardner – Pompano, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Niblack

Walter Hanson – Lauderdale-By-the-Sea, FL; US Merchant Marine, WWII

Edward Martini – Pompano, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Div.

John Munn – St. Augustine, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea, Captain, pilot

John Newlan – Palm Beach, FL; USMC, Korea, demolitions

George Ory – Baker, LA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Quartermaster Corps

Edward Shaw – Stoneboro, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea

Michael Visconti – Coconut Creek, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Wisconsin

####################################################################################

Florida’s East Coast in WWII

Navy bombers fly over Miami

Navy bombers fly over Miami

When WWII came to the east coast of Florida, it wasn’t in the form of grainy newsreel footage – instead, smoke and flames polluted the sea and filled the horizon.  Beaches were strewn with oil, boat parts and drowned and charred bodies.  The residents watched and wondered if the German U-boats would turn toward them.  And then later in the war, see the German POWs working in the sugar fields not far from unnerved homemakers.

rc10679.jpgUSS Gulfland off Hobe Sound

In the first weeks after Pearl, the enemy subs began their deadly missions.  A US Navy report read: “Nowhere else in the world could Germany find such a concentration of ships in such a small area.”  Within 4 months, 24 ships, 16 from Cape Canaveral to Boca Raton, were sunk, sometimes hours apart.

d48598a7b0be04b8a2a01e9b4515d492

The number of military bases jumped from 8 to 172, seemingly overnight.  Hotels and other facilities were turned into hospitals, training centers and barracks where waves of men and women were sent to prepare for war.  Anyone who crossed the bridges between West Palm Beach and the island of Palm Beach were met by an armed sentry who demanded identification.

US Navy honored in Lake Worth, FL

US Navy honored in Lake Worth, FL

The Gulf Stream Polo Grounds held barracks for 280 armed Coast Guard beach watchers.  Observation towers had been set up every 3 miles and the men rode the horses that had been shipped in from Riley, Kansas.  Since horses were unable to maneuver the treacherous rocks near Briny Breezes, 30 dogs were brought in to patrol.  Local teenagers were drafted to ride 10 hours a night being as they were familiar with the area.

Boca Raton Army Airfield, 1942

Boca Raton Army Airfield, 1942

In Palm Beach County, the ‘Coastal Picket Patrol’, the nation’s 3rd Civil Air Patrol, was formed at Morrison Field (now known as Palm Beach International Airport).  ‘The Mosquito Fleet’, a flotilla of pleasure and charter boats looked for subs and survivors of torpedoed ships.  The worse stretch was in May, when 10 ships sank in 10 days between Fort Pierce and Boca Raton.  Morrison Field became a center of takeoff point for planes destined for battle lines throughout the world.

Aerial of Breakers' west facade out to County Road ca late 1940s

Aerial of Breakers’ west facade out to County Road.

At the beginning of WWII, Boca Raton Mayor, JC Mitchell convinced officers of the Army Air Corps to move its technical school for radar training from Scott Field, IL to Boca.  [“Radar” was a top secret technology.]  The land was relatively high and dry, yet close to the ocean and shipping lanes with an excellent climate for flying.  BRAAF began classes for electronics and radar officers among other specializations for enlisted men.  [Singer, Tony Martin, some of the Tuskegee Airmen, the crew of the Enola Gay and future astronaut Gus Grissom all served for a time at Boca Raton.]

part of the Morikami farm before the war

part of the Morikami farm before the war

Local Japanese-Americans suffered.  George Morikami had the assets of his farm frozen and servicemen lodged in his home. (Today it is the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens of Delray Beach).  The Yamato colony family of Hideo Kobayashi’s land was confiscated for the Boca Raton Army Airfield; part of which eventually went to Florida Atlantic University where the wide parking lots were former runways.

Biltmore Hotel, SPAR training

Biltmore Hotel, SPAR training

In Martin County, the Southern Signal Corps received their radar training at Camp Murphy; today is known as Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  Further north, both Stuart and Fort Pierce airports went military and Hutchinson Island – a Naval and Amphibious Training base.  The Biltmore Hotel turned into the first school for the Women’s Coast Guard SPARS and the Breakers Hotel became Ream General Hospital.

Soldiers exercise in Miami

Soldiers exercise in Miami

The isolated airstrip of Biscayne Bay became Homestead Air Force Base; the stopover for the route bringing matériel to the Caribbean and North Africa.  The 2nd Operational Training Unit which was advanced training for future crews of C-54s, C-87s and C-46s.

I’m sure your area did its part – let’s hear about it!!

Click on images to enlarge.

################################################################################

Military Humor – 

Ya think he needs more training?

Ya think he needs more training? – Check the sign!!

3e01e6fac68e4a0ca8d4b775cd14ec1d

################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Julius Bacote – New haven, CT; US Army, WWII

Raymond Boothe Jr. – Hebron, KY; US Navy, WWIIKXAC000A

Kee Etsicitty – Chichiltah, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, 3rd Marines/7th Division, Navajo Codetalker

Harry Fink – Plentywood, MY; US Army, Korea

Louis Galloway – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 454799, WWII, gunner

Bruce Mahan – NJ; US Army, Korea, Captain

John McQuaide – Hendersonville, NC; US Navy, Korea, Vietnam, Chief Petty Officer

Werner ‘Wes’ Seidel – b. Berlin; d. Greensboro, NC; US Army, WWII, PTO

Robert Smyth – Ottawa, CAN;  RC Horse Artillery, 1st Regiment (Ret.), Korea

Mel Weitz – Brooklyn, NY & FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Quincy, Purple Heart

#################################################################################

21-31 December 1941

Non-military objectives of the Philippines. (top) Pasay and (bottom) Cavite

Non-military objectives of the Philippines. (top) Pasay and (bottom) Cavite

 

21-30 December, the 11th Indian Division retreated into southern Malaya and the Japanese were freed to push back the Australian troops.  The following link comes with a WARNING!  I located a video of Indian action in the war but there is Graphic Violence____HERE!

 

The big guns of Corregidor respond.

The big guns of Corregidor respond.

23 December, the American and Filipino units on Luzon, Philippines, began moving into the Bataan Peninsula.  MacArthur was commanding from Corregidor and declared Manila an ‘open-city.’  The next day, 7,000 Japanese troops landed at Lamon Bay on the island and entrap the Allied soldiers on the peninsula.

24 December, after 2 weeks of steady bombardment and the landing of Japanese troops, Wake Island succumbed and US forces surrendered.  /  The vital British naval and air base at Rangoon, Burma received a major air bombardment.

 

24-31 December, along 400 miles of Borneo’s coast, the Japanese made amphibious landings at Kuching.  By the end of the year, the British troops were in general retreat throughout the Dutch East Indies as German-trained Japanese paratroopers were dropped on Sumatra.  On the 25th, Hong Kong officially surrendered.  /  And, on the 31st, Admiral Nimitz officially took command of the US Pacific Fleet.

PM John Curtin

PM John Curtin

Churchill and FDR had their first meeting, during which a message arrived from V.G. Bowden, Australia’s representative in Singapore, saying that the deterioration in the “defense of Malaya was assuming landslide proportions.”  Churchill denied the truth of the message despite South Africa’s Prime Minister Smuts argument, “that unless Japanese moves are countered by a very large scale action, they [Japan] may overrun the Pacific.”

Australia’s PM, John Curtin, challenged Churchill and his strategies, this dispute brought public the conflicts between the two men.  Churchill remained defiant by saying:  “…countries of the Far East simply have to accept a greater degree of threat…”  As Australia’s forces were scattered around the globe, Japan continued to sweep south and the plans for “Germany First” only allowed 2 inferior naval fleets to cover the Indian Ocean and the vast Pacific.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On 26 December, at the “Arcadia” meeting, FDR discussed the possibility of a unified command in the Far East. (Actually an idea of Gen.Marshall’s, relayed by the pres.).  Churchill violently disagreed  until he discovered that they wanted General Archibald Wavell as the commander.  The British Chiefs of Staff felt it was somehow a “a Roosevelt trick,” the Far East was crumbling and Wavell would be blamed.  They answered, “Let some American take the post.”  Churchill did not want to surrender responsibility for Singapore to the US, “Think what the Australians would make of that!”  FDR was insulted – but a unified command was formed at the meeting.

Adm. Nimitz replaces Adm. Kimmell (left) and Knox visits Nimitz in Hawaii.

Adm. Nimitz replaces Adm. Kimmell (left) and Knox visits Nimitz in Hawaii.

While complaining about the humidity during his 6 days in Palm Springs, Florida, Churchill displayed “a wild and childish temper” at the Australians and their concerns over their own defense.  Although he considered Singapore to be a total loss, the Prime Minister told the Australians that there was strength at the ‘Fortress’ and the men would “hold out to the last.”  He then diverted his attention to Burma.  New Zealand on the other hand continued to receive his praise for their loyalty.

The proud Roosevelt's Christmas card for 1941.

The proud Roosevelt’s Christmas card for 1941.

Click on images for a larger view.

Most photos are from “The Veterans of Foreign Wars Pictorial History of the Second World War” vol. 2; the last two photos are from John Tolands, “Infamy and the Aftermath.”

####################################################################################################

Humor –  political cartoons of the times____

20 David Low cartoon

41-A

 

 

 

####################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Howard Abisch – Tamarac, FL; US Army, WWII, 44th Infantry Division, ETO

passing of the colors

passing of the colors

Lawrence Bradley – Wowan, AUS.; RAAF # 25047, WWII

Gordon Cates – Vancouver, CAN.; RC Army, WWII

Charles Bandelier – New Haven, IN; USMC, WWII

Vito Ernest – New Haven, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Anthony Hobbs – Hamilton, NZ; RNZ Navy # 2027, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

Robert Pavlik – Boca Raton, FL; US Army, Korea

Harvey Stewart – Huntsville, AL; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, Chaplain, Colonel, (Ret. 31 years)

Patricia Wentz – born: Edinburgh, SCOT, McLean, VA; British Military SOE (cryptographer for European resistance), ETO

#####################################################################################################

 

Intermission Stories (17)

Woody Gorback in Italy.

Woody Gorback in Italy.

Woody Gorbach

A local story

Woody Gorbach, a current resident of South Palm Beach County, had served with the 135th Battalion/34th Infantry Division/5th Army during WWII in the European Theater of Operations.  He was raised in Westport, Connecticut and enlisted at the age of 19.  “I felt I had to fight for the country.  I wanted to end the war.”

Woody sailed from Newport News, VA on a trip that would take 30 days and drew the attention from German bombers who tried their best to end the voyage.  Gorbach recalls, “…being sick and scared and excited.”  His first real fighting was at Monte Cassino, a hilltop abbey on the German defense line.  Multiple battles cost the Allies about 55,000 casualties.  Woody developed trench foot and was sent to a base in Africa.  When he returned to Italy, he discovered his unit had been wiped out.

Woody, photographed in April 2014 w/ his medals.

Woody, photographed in April 2014 w/ his medals.

He would later fight at Anzio beach where the German fought with the advantage of the high ground.  “A lot of casualties there,” he said.  “I thought my time was up.  After that I knew each day was a gift.”  He felt lucky and guilty and devastated to have lost so many friends.  “But when you’re 19, you didn’t think too much about it, you just did your job.”

Gorbach said he was one of the first to enter Rome, greeted joyfully by the Italians.  He slept that night at the foot of the Colosseum.  When asked if that meant on the ground, he replied, :Always on the ground.  We carried a blanket.  It’s not like there were hotels.”  As he looks back, he calls the years “Interesting.  They weren’t altogether bad because I met a lot of good people and brave soldiers.”

Woody in front of his real estate office.

Woody in front of his real estate office.

Retirement for Woody wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and at 90 years of age, he continues to work as a real estate broker in Manalapan, Florida.  His wife of 60 years, Lori, put his name in for the Honor Flight, which he recently took to Washington D.C.

Hats off to you, Woody Gorbach!

The facts and quotes were taken from an article written in the Palm Beach Post, by Kimberly Miller, Staff Writer.

#############################################################################################

Current veteran’s story….

001

Please click on image ##############################################################################################

ALERT  – 

Sheri deGrom

Sheri deGrom

Our fellow blogger and good friend, Sheri deGrom, could use our support right now.  Her husband Tom has been rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery and I hope each and every one of you will show her that we are behind her with our thoughts and prayers!  Thank you!

##############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Please click on to read.

Please click on to read. From ANZAC

Joel “Shelly” Bienstock – Phoenix, AZ; US Army, Korea, Purple Heart

Thomas Carton – Hicksville, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Miami

Jack Dowdall – Pompano, FL; US Army, WWII

Steven A. Farris, Jr. – Alexandria, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Colonel, fighter pilot, West Point grad, 48th Combat Support Group, ETO

Herschel Ingram – Anchorage, AK; US Army, Sgt. (Ret.)

Clyde E. Keller – Berryville, AR; US Army, WWII, ETO, 742nd Field Artillery Battalion

Carl Moses – Sand Point, AK; US Army, Korea, artillery

Thomas O’Brien – Forestville, MD; US Army, Korea

Madison Post – Fond du Lac, WI; US Army, Lt. Col.(Ret.), ETO

James Roberts, Sr. – Fairfax, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 379th Bomber Group

Allan Sawyer (90) – Auckland, NZ ; Flt Sgt., RNZAF, RCAF & RAF #636536 & #435581

Norman Sooter – Berryville, AR; US Army, WWII

#############################################################################################

%d bloggers like this: