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The Generals, Australians and Borneo (1)

USS Boise

From: General Kenney Reports

I joined Gen. MacArthur on board the USS Boise at Palawan on 8 June as I had promised.  The ship steamed south and the next afternoon joined the main convoy carrying the 9th Australian Division, commanded by Gen. Wooten.  We made the rendezvous between Palawan Island North Borneo.

The weather was perfect, the mountains on either side of the straits were beautiful, I had about 9 hour’s sleep the night before and there was no sign of a Jap airplane in the skies.  It was so peaceful, it didn’t seem as though there was a war on at all.

On the morning of the 10th, 6 o’clock a lone Jap bomber came over, dropped one bomb, which missed a landing craft, and then flew away under under a hail of antiaircraft fire.

We watched the Naval gunfire on the landing beach on the island of Labuan, our first objective, and after the RAAF and the 13th Air Force bombers got through a farewell blasting of the Jap positions, Generals MacArthur and Morehead, Adm. Royal and Naval commander, Bostock, and myself went ashore.

The Aussie first-wave troops had landed and pushed inland from the beach about ¼ mile.  They put out their patrols and then calmly started cooking their tea.  Nothing seemed to worry this fine-looking body of troops.  They were bronzed and healthy-looking, well equipped and there was no question about their morale.

Australian soldiers land at Labuan Island, North Borneo

The “brass-hat” party moved along the road paralleling the beach, to the accompaniment of an occasional sniper’s shot and a burst of machine-gun fire ahead of us and farther inland.  I began to feel all over again as I had at the Leyte landing,  Mac kept walking along, enjoying himself hugely, chatting with a patrol along the road every once in a while and asking the men what they were shooting at.

Moreshead and Bostock asked me where we were going, I shrugged my shoulders and pointed at MacArthur.  Just then a tank came lumbering along the road and we stood a side to let it pass.  As the tank reached the top of a little rise perhaps 50 yards ahead of us a burst of rifle and machine-gun fire broke out and then stopped.  The turret gunner looked out, said, “We got those two obscene, unmentionables so-and-so’s,” and the tank drove on.

Australian troops and tanks land at Labuan Island

Mac commented on the good clothes and well-kept equipment the two dead Japs had and remarked that they looked like first-class troops.  Just the, an Australian Army photographer came along to take pictures of the two dead lying there in the ditch.  His bulb flashed and he dropped to the ground with a sniper’s bullet in his shoulder.

I walked over to Gen. MacArthur and told him that all he had to do was to hang around that place long enough and he would collect one of those bullets too and spoil our whole trip.  It looked to me as though we had finally gotten into the Jap outpost position and if he wanted my vote, it was to allow the Australian infantry to do the job they came ashore for.

To be continued….

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

When the military has cut-backs….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eliza Blanchard – Lincoln, AL; US Army WAC, medic

Richard Devos – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Jane (Sepko) Frink – Southington, CT; US Army

Dennis Hogg – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force # 1200664, Vietnam, A Squadron

Gordon Lewis – Thornlands, AUS; Australian Army # 434815, WWII

Patrick McCormick – Toronto, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII

Ronald W. Nutt – Ocean Grove, AUS; RA Air Force # 135995

Graham Rohrsheim – Port Pirie, AUS; RA Navy, Commander (Ret.)

Alfred Tuthill – Chesapeake, VA; US Coast Guard, Master Chief Radioman (Ret. 28 y.)

William Zobel Jr. – Hollywood, FL; US Air Force

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Gen. Kenney and Charles Lindbergh

P-38 Lightning, New Guinea 1944, Col. Perry Dahl, pilot

P-38 Lightning, New Guinea 1944, Col. Perry Dahl, pilot

On 4 July 1944, a correspondent notified Gen. Kenney that Colonel Charles Lindbergh was in New Guinea.  Kenney did not know about it and neither did General HQ!  So the Colonel was flown to Brisbane to explain his presence.  He wanted to know more about fighter design, especially how well the 2-engine P-38 could hold up against the enemy one-engine models.

Kenney suggested they go to see MacArthur for Lindbergh’s official status paperwork.  When Mac asked the colonel what he could do for him, Kenney interrupted, he wrote in his reports:

“I said I wanted to look after him… If anyone could fly a little monoplane all the way from New York to Paris and have gas left over, he ought to be able to teach my P-38 pilots how to get more range out of their airplanes.  If he could do that, it would mean that we could make longer jumps and get to the Philippines that much quicker…”

Gen. George C. Kenney

Gen. George C. Kenney

Mac said: “All right Colonel.  I’ll just turn you over to General Kenney, but I warn you.  He’s a slave-driver.”

Kenney instructed Lindbergh that during these teachings, he was not to get himself into combat, he was a high-profile personality and a civilian!  For 6 weeks everything went well.  Lindbergh taught the pilots how to stretch their distance from 400 to 600 miles, spending most of his time with Col. Charles MacDonald’s 475th Fighter Group, Fifth Air Force.  The men became so enthusiastic, they began to talk about stretching their distance to 800 miles!

During a raid on the Japanese oil depot at Boela, on Ceram Island, a lone enemy aircraft suddenly aimed for Lindbergh, who fired a burst and the Japanese airplane went down.  Kenney was told about the incident, but being as no one claimed credit for the action, the General could pretend he never knew.

Lindbergh with the 5th Air Force

Lindbergh (l.) with the 5th Air Force, Thomas McGuire (r.)

Photo is by Teddy W. Hanks who was a member of the 433rd Squadron, 475th Fighter Group at that time.  The photos were taken on Biak Island in July 1944.  They had just returned from a combat mission to an unrecorded enemy area.  The P-38 obviously was assigned to the 431st Fighter Squadron because the propeller spinner is a solid color — apparently red. The spinners in Teddy’s squadron,  were blue and only the back half were painted.  Could very well have been McGuire’s plane, # 131, since he was assigned to the 431st at that time.

To prove the long-range capabilities, Lindbergh, Col. MacDonald, LtCol. Meryl Smith and Captain Danforth Miller headed for Palau, 600 miles north, in their P-38’s.  While strafing an enemy patrol boat, Japanese pilots went air-borne and Lindbergh discovered that once an enemy airplane was on his tail – he could not shake it.  Luckily, he was traveling with 3 experts who downed the Japanese before they got him.

But, there was never to be a ‘next time.’  Kenney felt the celebrity was pushing his luck and Lindbergh agreed; he also had taught the pilots all he could.  As long as the war on, he would not mention his combat experiences.  Colonel Charles Lindbergh headed back for home.

Information taken from “General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War” by George C. Kenney

Click on images to enlarge.

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Aviation Humor – 

What a hairy situation !!

What a hairy situation !!

On A WINDY Day !!

On A WINDY Day !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

aviation-humor

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ted Acker – Wooster, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Joan Carby – Bolton, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO, radio operator cemetary-flag-bench-final-2-72-res

Milton DeVries – Grandville, MI; US Army, WWII

Charles Eby Jr. – Kensington, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot / Korea

Guy Hunter Jr. – Atlanta, GA; US Army, WWII

Max Lyons – Tasmania, AUS; RA Navy # H2578

Donald Minnich – Virginia Bch., VA; US Navy (Ret. 26 yrs.), WWII, Korea & Vietnam, USS Pine Island

Phyllis Paul – New Westminister, BC, CAN; RC Medical Corps, WWII, ETO

Harold Rothbard – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, B-17 tail gunner

Herbert Sweney – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 7650, WWII

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General George Kenney

George Kenny

George Kenney

George Kenney was born in 1889 to American parents, but he was brought into the world in Nova Scotia, Canada after his family decided to take a summer trip up north to avoid the heat of Boston. Growing up in Massachusetts as the oldest of three younger siblings, Kenney succeeded through school flawlessly.

Eventually, he found himself attending college at the Massachusetts’ Institute of Technology (MIT), a very highly-regarded Ivy League school for some of the country’s brightest students. Aiming to pursue a career in civil engineering, he was well on his way to something great, even from a young age.

However, the beginning of World War I would throw his life into a tailspin again, setting him on an entirely different course – this one taking place high up in the sky.

Once the US entered WWI in April 1917, Kenney found himself ready to become a part of history. After enlisting as a flying cadet for the US Signal Corps Aviation Section in June, he attended ground school at MIT to hone his craft and learn his way around a plane.

While he was first commissioned as a first lieutenant in November, departing for France quickly thereafter, his further training overseas led to him becoming a member of the 91st Aero Squadron in 1918.

MacArthur (L) w/ Kenny

MacArthur (L) w/ Kenney

It was here that he would earn his first Silver Star for his aerial victory, taking down a German scout through his observer after his squadron was ambushed while out on a mission. Beyond that, Kenney even earned himself the Distinguished Service Cross for his ‘extraordinary heroism in action’ in a second attack by German fighters, helping protect his formation from enemy combatants.

His achievements led to him being promoted to Captain soon thereafter, and he took his new position in his stride, making great headway on reconnaissance missions during the Mexican Revolution.

During the time between the World Wars, Kenney took on various roles in the Air Force. He started as an air detachment commander in Kentucky and then moved on to becoming an air service inspector who inspected airplane machinery while test-flying them in Garden City, New York.

cover-Time-19430118-90214

It was in July 1942 that Kenney was promoted to his most important position yet: taking control of the Allied Air Forces and Fifth Air Force in General Douglas MacArthur’s Southwest Pacific Unit. The two developed a great working relationship, with MacArthur giving Kenney more freedom to make important decisions regarding his team than he’d ever been given in the past.

Promoted to Lieutenant General during his time in the South Pacific, Kenney was a part of new techniques and concepts while in league with the Allied Air Forces. They were trying new ordinances, new bombing strategies, and modifications to their aircraft.  So, when you see me writing about the 5th Air Force – Kenney is involved!

Gen. Kenny (L) wearing sunglasses.

Gen. Kenney (L) wearing sunglasses.

And in June 1944, Kenney was then appointed to commander of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF). He tried to create 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Air Task Forces to be in control of specific areas and missions themselves, but Washington officials weren’t happily complying with his plans. In fact, over his years in service, many of Kenney’s ideas would either go unheard or would ultimately be shot down completely.

Decades later, looking back, military officials have conceded that some of his innovations could have greatly changed the outcomes of some of the military’s failures during WWII. While hindsight is always 20/20, it seems inconceivable that Kenney’s expertise in the air force (and his high-ranking status) would not have given him more leeway in the decisions process.

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

After quite an accomplished career, George Kenney eventually retired from the Air Force in September 1951, living out his final years in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. He passed away on August 9th, 1977, at age 88.

Condensed from War History online.

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Military Humor – 

There's always competition, isn't there?

There’s always competition, isn’t there?

Funny-Personality-135

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Abercrombie – Lumpkin City, GA; USMC, WWII

James Cifreo – Baton Rouge, LA; US Army, WWII, ATO (Alaska)$(KGrHqJ,!q!FBZQt+)FIBQf-bW24Mw~~60_35

Edward Dennery – Gloucester City, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Allen Hersey – Jupiter, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Butner and Arkansas

Carl Laber – Randolph, MO; US Navy, WWII

Sylvia Applebaum Levy – Philadelphia, PA; USMC (Women’s Corps), WWII, Sgt.

Arlington Maxwell – Albany, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division

Francis Phillips – Windsor, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Gordon Robertson – Auskland, NZ; RAF, WWII

Anton Utz – McCook, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Signal Corps

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