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General “Vinegar” Joe Stilwell, Sr. – Intermission Story (25)

He is probably best remembered for his military service in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II. His nickname “Vinegar Joe” was attributed to his caustic personality. Born in Palatka, Florida, then moved with his family to New York.

After high school he received an appointment to attend the US Military Academy at West Point, New York and graduated in 1904 with a commission as a second lieutenant. During World War I, he was assigned to the US 4th Corps as an intelligence officer and helped plan the St. Mihiel offensive. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his service in France.

After World War I he served three tours in China, where he became fluent in Chinese, and was the military attaché at the U.S. Legation in Beijing from 1935 to 1939.  In 1939 he returned to the US and became the assistant commander of the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and from 1940 to 1941 he was assigned to organize and train the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California.

In 1941 he was sent back to China by President Franklin Roosevelt and Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall where he performed duties as the Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, and also served as the commander of the China-Burma-India Theater responsible for all Lend-Lease supplies going to China, and later was Deputy Commander of the South East Asia Command. Unfortunately, despite his status and position in China, he soon became embroiled in conflicts over U.S. Lend-Lease aid and Chinese political sectarianism.

Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell wasn’t around, so caricaturist Don Barclay, did the next best thing – captured him from a photograph. Here’s the result. Barclay is making a tour of hospitals and small units in CBI-land. CBI Roundup

When he arrived in China, he immediately began the task of reforming the Chinese Army, over the concerns of Chiang Kai-Shek that the American-led forces would become another independent force outside of his control.  The Chinese leader was far more concerned with fighting the Red Chinese Army, while also keeping a majority of the Lend-Lease benefits for himself and his cohorts.

In Burma, his initial military operation, to keep open the Burma Road between India and China and to repel Japanese incursions into Burma, failed. The operation in Burma was so disastrous that Chinese forces under his command stopped taking orders. He personally led his 117-member staff to safety in India on foot as the Allied forces capitulated to the Japanese invasion.

In India, he became well known for his no-nonsense demeanor and disregard for military pomp and ceremony. His trademarks were a battered Army campaign hat, GI shoes, and a plain service uniform with no insignia of rank, and frequently carried a .30 Springfield rifle rather than a sidearm. His derogatory remarks castigating the ineffectiveness of what he termed “Limey” forces, a viewpoint often repeated by his staff, did not sit well with British and Commonwealth commanders. However, it was well known among the troops that his disdain for the British was aimed toward those high command officers that he saw as overly stuffy and pompous.

He managed to lead Chinese divisions to retake Myitakyina and its airfield on August 4, 1944, from Japanese control, rebuilding the Ledo Road, a military highway in India that led into Burma. However, conflicts with Chiang Kai-Shek led to his ultimate removal in October 1944. He then served as Commander of Army Ground Forces, US Tenth Army Commander in the last few days of the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, and as US Sixth Army Commander.

In November 1945 he was appointed to lead a “War Department Equipment Board” in an investigation of the Army’s modernization in light of its recent experiences. Among his recommendations was the establishment of a combined arms force to conduct extended service tests of new weapons and equipment and then formulate doctrine for its use, and the abolition of specialized anti-tank units. His most notable recommendation was for a vast improvement of the Army’s defenses against all airborne threats, including ballistic missiles.

He died of stomach cancer at the age of 63 at the Presidio of San Francisco, while still on active duty. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Among his military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Philippine Campaign Medal, the World War I Victory Medal, the China Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Order of the Legion of Honour (France), and the Combat Infantryman Badge, only one of three general officers to be given this award normally reserved for those in the rank of colonel or below. The General Joseph W. Stilwell Award for the Outstanding Overall Cadet, Senior Division, in the California Cadet Corps is named in his honor.

So much more could be written for this soldier and his standards.  You can stand down now, General.

This information was obtained from a bio written by: William Bjornstad; CBI Roundup; History on-line.

This post was done on a recommendation by 56 Packardman 56packardman.wordpress.comx

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Military Humor – CBI Roundup style & Cpl. Gee Eye

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Addington – No. Canton, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

John Beitia – Shoshone, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, radio & co-pilot

Alfred Dresner – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

William J. Ely (105) – Claysville, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Lt.Gen., Corps of Engineers (Ret. 33 y.), West Point grad 1933

Frank Gilchrist – Centersville, MA; US Coast Guard, WWII & Korea

Bud Hindsley – Union City, IN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl.

Georgina Leland – Ossipee, NH; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Anthony Malizia – Nutley NJ; USMC, Korea

William Packard – Locust Grove, Ga; US Army, WWII

George Sims – Papakura, NZ; 2nd NZEF # 641719, Sgt., 5th Engineers

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Personal Request –    click to enlarge

I have been shown this photo and asked if I or any of my readers could give a clue as to where this WWII picture was taken.

Thank you for taking the time to look…..

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Douglas Munro, Coast Guard Hero – Intermission Story (24)

Painting of Doug Munro providing support from his LCP, by Bernard D’Andrea

The United States Coast Guard was founded on a tradition of taking small boats into dangerous conditions to save lives. This skill made Coast Guard coxswains an indispensable part of the Pacific Theater  and Smitty would whole-heartedly agree.  Coast Guardsmen proved their worth time and time again as they expertly handled small landing craft in and out of almost any situation. No man better exemplifies this prowess than Douglas A. Munro.

Signalman 1st Class, Douglas Munro

Born in Vancouver in 1919, Douglas Munro attended Cle Elum High School in Washington state.  He attended the Central Washington College of Education for a year before enlisting in the Coast Guard in 1939. He spent his first two years on board the Cutter Spencer,  a 327-foot Treasury-class cutter which patrolled out of New York, and later Boston.

While on the Spencer, Munro advanced quickly, making Signalman 2nd Class by the end of 1941. After the Spencer, he transferred to the Hunter Ligget, a Coast Guard-crewed landing craft patrolling in the Pacific. In 1942 he was made a part of Transport Division 17, helping to coordinate, direct, and train other troops for amphibious assaults.

The United States’ first taste of this warfare was at Guadalcanal.  After the initial Marine landings, a base was established at Lunga Point. Munro was assigned here along with other Coast Guard and Navy personnel to operate the small boats and assist with communications.  This base served as a staging point for further troop movements, consisted of little more than a house, a signal tower and a number of small craft and supplies

Lunga Point, Guadalcanal

After the Marines had moved west of Lunga point, they encountered an entrenched Japanese position on the far side of the Manatikau river. It was clear that an attack across the river would be fruitless, and a plan was devised to bring men down the coast, to land west of the Japanese position, allowing it to be attacked from both sides. To achieve this goal Marine Lieutenant Colonel Lewis “Chesty” Puller placed men from the 7th Marine Division onto landing craft and began an assault on September 27th.

These landing craft were led by Douglas Munro, who took the men into a small bay just west of Point Cruz and delivered the entire 500 man force unopposed. Meanwhile, the destroyer USS Monssen laid down supporting fire and protected the Marines’ advance.

Meanwhile, Munro and his crews returned to Lunga point to refit and refuel, leaving a single LCP(L) (a 36-foot landing craft, lightly armed and made mostly of plywood) to provide evacuation for any immediate casualties.

Marines landing on the beach from their LCP’s.

But less than an hour after the initial landing the operation began to deteriorate. First, a flight of Japanese bombers attacked the Monssen, forcing her to leave the Marines without fire support.   Then the Japanese launched an infantry attack on the Marines. The Japanese had stayed to the north of the Marine landing force, near a rocky cliff known as Point Cruz. Their attack to the southwest was designed to cut the Marines off from their escape route.

There the single LCP(L) still sat, manned by Navy Coxswain Samuel Roberts and Coast Guard Petty Officer Ray Evans. The men had gotten close into shore for a speedy evacuation. A sudden burst of Japanese machine gun fire  damaged their controls.  Roberts managed to jury rig the rudder but was fatally wounded in the process, Evans jammed the throttle forward, speeding back to Lunga Point.

The trapped Marines hadn’t brought their cumbersome radios with them, and couldn’t signal back to their support. In desperation, they spelled out “HELP” by laying out their undershirts on a hillside. Luckily this was noticed by a Navy dive bomber pilot who reported it back to the sailors at Lunga. Because of this, by the time Evans’ LCP(L) made it back Munro and his men were already aware that something wasn’t going right.

Marines on Guadalcanal

Thanks to Evans they now had the detailed information needed to make a plan of action. It was determined that a group of small boats and troop transports would have to return, under fire, to get the men out of the combat zone. Munro immediately volunteered to lead the operation and got ten boats readied and underway as soon as possible.

This small flotilla came into the bay under fire.  USS Monssen, which had returned , gave support.  Munro directed his landing craft to begin ferrying the men back to the Monssen, while he and the other LCP(L)s provided fire support.

USS Monssen

By this time the Japanese had taken up positions on all three sides of the bay, and were able to coordinate a devastating barrage of fire on the retreating men. Seeing this, Munro positioned his own craft between the enemy and the landing crafts to provide support by fire.

After the last men were coming off the beach, a landing craft became grounded.  Munro ordered another craft to tow it free while he provided support, again putting his own boat in harm’s way to help save as many men as possible. While Munro’s boat was taking position to do this, a Japanese machine gun crew was setting up on the beach.

Petty Officer Evans, saw this and called out for him to get down, but Munro couldn’t hear him and he was fatally wounded.  Evans pulled away, and along with the rest of landing craft, headed back to Lunga Point; with all of the Marines saved.

Marines crossing Matanikau River.

Thanks to Munro’s heroism, 500 Marines made it off the beach that day, and for this, Signalman 1st Class Douglas A. Munro was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor.  The 500 men he saved went on to help capture the Matanikau River early in October, which meant the beginning of the end for Japanese forces on Guadalcanal.

The engraving on the back of Munro’s medal.

Munro’s body is interred in his hometown of Cle Elum, Washington, and his Medal of Honor is on display at United States Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, New Jersey, where it serves an everlasting example to new recruits about what it means to truly be a United States Coast Guardsmen.

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 Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Donald Bender – Machesney Park, IL; US Navy, WWII

Catherine Brown – San Diego, CA; US Coast Guard SPARS, WWII

Edward Delaney – Boston, MA; US Coast Guard, WWII, LST 170

Raymond Edinger – Liberty, NJ; US Coast Guard/Navy, WWII, Meteorology officer

James Evans Jr. – Seattle, WA; US Coast Guard, WWII, Korea

Daniel Fite – Fort Worth, TX; US Coast Guard, WWII

Arthur Janov – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII

Arthur Peeples – Springhill, MS; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Alexander Strachan – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 4210193, WWII, Sgt.

Robert Unzueta – Avalon, CA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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The Soldiers’ Pocket Books That Legitimized Paperbacks

Here is something else that began during WWII that we now take for granted.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Even though pamphlets and softcover books have been available in Europe since the 16th century, US readers looked down on them until well into the 20th century. As a recent Atlas Obscura post by Cara Giaimo explains, without a mass-market distribution model in place, it was difficult to make money selling inexpensive books.

Although certain brands succeeded by partnering with department stores, individual booksellers preferred to stock their shops with sturdier, better-looking hardbacks, for which they could charge higher prices. Even those who were trying to change the public’s mind bought into this prejudice: one paperback series, Modern Age Books, disguised its offerings as hardcovers, adding dust jackets and protective cardboard sleeves. They, too, couldn’t hack it in the market, and the company folded in the 1940s.

Wartime Reading

Armed Services Editions | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Soldiers in Virginia wrangle with hardcover books donated through the VBC. Image via Atlas Obscura.

Then, war came. In September of…

View original post 1,156 more words

Quartermaster Corps – Intermission Story (23)

I am always remarking on how the military operates as one large chain with every job having an important role in the smooth operations.  Most people concentrate on the front line combat soldier, sailor or Marine and forget what it all must take to not only put him/her there, but to keep their mission in operating condition.

The U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps was responsible for procuring and delivering various supplies to units in all those theaters. No other area proved to be more challenging than the war in the Pacific Theater with its lengthy supply lines.

The first step in the Quartermasters’ duties was procurement, which required more than simply calculating user needs and filling out the correct requisitions. Overcoming numerous hurdles, corpsmen were responsible for making victory possible. Their obstacles started on the home front, where shortages of all basic supplies originated. Further complicating matters was the fact that manufacturing and agricultural production had to be increased immediately.

Quartermaster corpsmen provided Class I, II, III and IV items to the war front.

Paratroopers with their ‘K-rations’

Class I: food

A steady supply of food and rations was most vital to the survival of the far-flung armed forces. During much of the war the Pacific Theater experienced heavy losses of food, resulting in random cycles of “feast and famine.” Food losses stemmed from a number of sources, the first being storage problems. Limited warehousing was available, and Class I items shipped to the Pacific were often stacked in big open food dumps with little protection from the elements. To rectify that problem, the corpsmen created portable warehouses called “Paulin Oases,” which resembled a native hut called a bures.

35th QM Pack Mule Train

Class II: clothing

Quartermasters in the Pacific had trouble getting sufficient reserves of clothing where it was needed, mainly because the U.S. clothing and textile industry could not easily obtain the necessary raw goods from scarce commodities. In addition, sometimes plants had to be completely retooled to accommodate full-scale production. Clothing took a lower priority compared to food and petroleum products. After the clothing did arrive, it usually went into base storage areas — sometimes disintegrating as a result of devastating environmental effects.

Naval Quartermasters

Class III: petroleum products

Essential to the war effort were gasoline, kerosene, aviation fuel, diesel oil, fuel oil and petroleum-based lubricants. Critical for the sustainment of war machinery and more vital even than clothing and general supplies, those Quartermaster supply items took high priority. The corpsmen excelled in the processing and delivery efforts, and because of easy accessibility from Australia, it suffered fewer hazards.

Class IV: general supplies

Such diverse items as rope, soap, candles, knives, forks and spoons rarely warranted “life or death” status. Those Class IV items usually shipped on a restricted basis. A procurement problem on the home front — the inability of the manufacturers to meet demand with supply — was the main reason for delays.

Quartermaster Corps on the beaches D-Day.

The Quartermaster Corps trained thousands of soldiers during World War II, filling specialized roles in every theater of operation from the Pacific and CBI theaters to North Africa, Italy, central and northern Europe. They willingly supplied more than 70,000 different items with more than 24 million meals each day going to the servicemen.

Pacific Paratrooper did a post on George Watson previously to honor the Quartermaster who won a Medal of Honor.

George Watson

Information derived from U.S. History.com

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Barbara Baker – Glen Burnie, MD; US Navy WAVES, WWII

George Curtis – Concord, NH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS McCracken

John Devitt – MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Troop Carrier pilot

Oscar Friedman – Hampton Bay, NY; US Army, WWII

Rubin Gansky – Wallingford, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, ‘Merrill’s Merauders’

La David Johnson – Miami Gardens, FL; US Army, Niger, Sgt., 3rd Spec. Forces Unit, KIA

Upson Kyte – Akron, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div. Recon Unit / Korea

Dwight McBride – Elida, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, APO, PTO, radioman, Sgt.

David Patterson Sr. – Rio Rancho, NM; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker

Norman Stobie – Nelson, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII

 

Women and Computers in WWII – Intermission Story (22)

Women with the ENIAC computer

 

Before the invention of electronic computers, “computer” was a job description, not a machine. Both men and women were employed as computers, but women were more prominent in the field. This was a matter of practicality more than equality. Women were hired because there was a large pool of women with training in mathematics, but they could be hired for much less money than men with comparable training. Despite this bias, some women overcame their inferior status and contributed to the invention of the first electronic computers.

In 1942, just after the United States entered World War II, hundreds of women were employed around the country as computers. Their job consisted of using mechanical desk calculators to solve long lists of equations. The results of these calculations were compiled into tables and published for use on the battlefields by gunnery officers. The tables allowed soldiers in the field to aim artillery or other weapons, taking into account variable conditions such as temperature and air density. Today, such calculations are done instantly in the battlefield with microcomputers.

One place where human calculators were busy at work was the Moore School of Engineering, a part of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dozens of women worked there, cranking the handles on their calculators and producing column after column of numbers. Adele Goldstine and Mary Mauchly, both employees of the university and wives of professors involved in computing, helped recruit and train the women who, early in the war, were usually college graduates with math degrees. Later, high school graduates were used. A few highly trained workers, including one Lila Todd, operated what was called a differential analyzer, a machine that could calculate the path of a shell or bomb as it flew through the air. But engineers such as John Mauchly thought it would be better to design a machine to do other tasks such as calculating ballistic tables, and began working on what became the ENIAC, one of the first electronic digital computers. Some women were hired to assemble the circuits used in the ENIAC, although very little is known about who these women were.

When the ENIAC was nearing completion, six women were chosen from among the human computers to be trained as programmers. These were Kay McNulty, Frances Bilas, Betty Jean Jennings, Elizabeth Snyder, Ruth Lichterman, and Marlyn Wescoff. By this time, it was the autumn of 1945. The war had ended, but the computing program was not cancelled. Instead, the military remained interested in a machine that would calculate complex trajectory equations very rapidly, and support for the project continued. The six women chosen to be programmers devised the very first computer program, which was demonstrated when the ENIAC was unveiled in early 1946. A short time later, all the women were taken off the project when the machine was taken to a military base near Washington, D.C., but several of them found employment elsewhere as programmers, and five of the six are alive as of this writing.

Information and links supplied by ETHW.org

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 Computer Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bryan Black – Puyallup, WA; US Army, Niger, SSgt., Green Berets, 3rd Spec. Forces Unit, KIA

Nannie Carr – Finleyville, PA; US Army WAC; WWII

Melvin Duck – Jackson’s Gap, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

William Finger – Maryville, TN; US Army, WWII, PTO

Alfred hawkes – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, MSgt. (Ret.)

Jeremiah Johnson – Springboro, OH; US Army, Niger, SSgt., Green Berets, 3rd Spec. Forces Unit, KIA

Bernard Kurtz – Buffalo, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO

Bruce Miller – Papakura, NZ; RNZ Army # 458490 & Air Force # 43146, WWII

Raymond Sweet – Palm Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Dustin Wright – Lyons, GA; US Army, Niger, SSgt. Green Berets, 3rd Spec. Forces Unit, KIA

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‘You Buy the Bonds and the Mulqueens Will Win the War’

A Home Front story from a fellow blogger! The USA was united and worked together!!

The Hanneman Archive

It was just the kind of wartime story that made an emotional impact on Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin. Three Irish brothers serving in World War II appeared together to promote the sale of war bonds at a series of rallies in November 1944. Two were home on leave from the front and one was about to embark on his first overseas tour of duty.

There they stood on stage, the baby-faced Thomas “Tinker” Mulqueen still in naval training, the serious Marine Cpl. Earl J. Mulqueen Jr., on crutches due to the loss of his left leg above the knee, and the curly-haired redhead, Patrick J. Mulqueen, home from more than 18 months at sea with the U.S. Navy.

The Milwaukee Journal carried a front-page story on the Mulqueen brothers and the war bond drive in November 1944. The Milwaukee Journal carried a front-page story on the Mulqueen brothers and the war bond drive in November 1944.

“Maybe it is because they are Irish, or maybe it is because they look…

View original post 1,616 more words

Chaplins – WWII – Intermission Story (21)

The Four Chaplains

Chaplains of World War II indicated that usually they had a chapel 
in the United States, but almost never once they were abroad. Kenneth W. 
Fristoe tells of building a thatched roof chapel in the jungles of New 
Guinea with the help of "Fuzzy Wuzzy" natives, and dedicating it on 
Mother's Day with an attendance of over 400.

Unknown chaplain in New Guinea, WWII


After Pearl Harbor the chaplains in the Philippines were the first to 
face sustained combat with their men. On 8 December, 150 Japanese 
planes bombed Pampanga for two hours. While the airfield was bombed 
and strafed, Chaplain Joseph V. LaFleur went among the wounded and 
dying to offer prayer and help get them to the hospital. He stayed on 
Bataan with his men. With 750 other American prisoners, he was crowded 
into two holds of a Japanese ship. At sea the ship was hit by two torpedoes. 
The Japanese tried to kill the survivors. Lieutenant Joseph Coe reported 
that the last he saw of La Fleur, the chaplain was helping wounded men 
get out of the hold and on the deck. The Japanese shot at them and only 
two or three survived. La Fleur died as he lived, serving his men.

Joseph V. LaFleur

Chaplains Leslie Zimmerman, John F. Duffy, Matthew Zerbas, John 
A. Wilson, Alfred C. Oliver, Ralph W. Brown, John K. Bomeman and 
Robert P. Taylor were among those who distinguished themselves by 
heroism in the first days of the war. Bomeman went through dangerous 
lines to Manila at least twice before it fell to the enemy, in order to get 
messages from his men to their families.

Robert P. Taylor

 
Brown, under fire, earned a Distinguished Service Cross for carrying the wounded from under the nose 
of the enemy. 
He said, "We made it to the hospital. I didn't think par- 
ticularly about it until the thing was over. It was a job to be done." That 
note was sounded again and again by chaplains all over the world. Time 
magazine reported that Taylor "gave the most recent superb example of 
a chaplain's courage ... in braving machine gun fire to rescue the 
wounded." With the fall of Corregidor and Bataan, 21 chaplains be- 
came prisoners of the Japanese; within weeks, the total was 32."

services in a combat zone
photo from Smitty’s scrapbook

 

The ministry among American prisoners of war in the Pacific was 
characterized by service under extremely difficult and cruel conditions. 
Taylor was one of the chaplains on the infamous Bataan death march.

Lt.Col. Hudson Phillips Sr., 11th Airborne Division Chaplin

This information is from The Archives.org, contributed by Matt Underwood,

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Mike Dauncey – UK; British Army # 184738, DSO, Lt. to Brigadier (Ret.) Cheshire Reg.

LeRoy Donahoe – Sioux Falls, SD; US Navy,WWII, PTO

Donald malarky – Astoria, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Easy Company paratrooper

Ottis Gordon – Morton, MS; US Navy, WWII, USS Samuel Parker

Joyce Hansen – Strafford, ENG; Civilian, WWII, English Nat. Fire Service

Wallace Helm – Calgary, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Alexander W. Missildine – Tyler, TX;  US Army, Iraq, Spc., 710th Batt/3rd BCT/10th Mountain Div.

C.C. ‘Doc’ Privette – Pine Tree, AR; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Rugeley – Metairie, LA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Engineers

Seth Stone – Houston, TX; US Navy, Commander, SOCPAC

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Military Poetry – Intermission Story (20)

When only poetry will do – in their words ______

A SOLDIERS PICNIC

I like my olives sanded,
My pickles full of bugs;
I’m rustic: To be candid,
I shy from chairs and rugs.

The open field! The azure sky!
The fields of waving grain!
The piece of huckleberry pie
That’s bogged with sudden rain!

I understand the merits of
A cake that’s turned to goo;
For every bite I take and love
Mosquitoes give me two,

And naught I know can close compare
The taste of hardboiled eggs,
While bees make honey in my hair
And flies besiege my legs.

So “outdoor” is the word for me
Ah! – Give me trees to hack!
And then my first response will be
To give the damned things back.

– By M/Sgt. H. E. KELLENBERGER

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11th Airborne Division Chapel

A PARATROOPER’S PRAYER

When I’m flying at seven hundred
And the red light flickers on
I know I’ll tremble and start to sweat
But, God, let me be strong.
When I look down through the hole, God
It’s like I’m standing by a grave
And my knees go weak and I can’t speak
Then, God, please make me brave.
And if it be Thy will, God
Part of Thine own Great Plan
That my life should stop, then on that last long drop
Oh God, let me die a man!
While I’m waiting to emplane, God
And checking my jumping kit
Though I laugh and jeer I’m full of fear
But, God, don’t let me quit.
When the kite begins to move, God
And take off time is near
Then my heart grows cold – God, make me bold
And drive away my fear.

 

Desmond Le Pard, 17th Battalion Parachute Regiment @ 18 years old

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Military Humor – 

Paratrooper School.

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Timothy Bowman – Ontario, CAN; Canadian Forces, Military Police, Capt. 1 Wing HQ, pilot

Edward Flora – Mishawaka, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, A/674th Arty/11th Airborne Division

Gilbert Grossinger – Kerhonkson, NY; US Army, WWII

Donald Hardcastle – Rochdale, ENG; RAF, WWII, radioman

Hugh Hefner – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, Infantry Clerk, military newspaper cartoons

Vincent Koravos – Lowell, MA; USMC; WWII, PTO, MAG-24 tail gunner

Ramon Laughter – Edna, TX; US Army, WWII & Korea, Colonel (Ret. 25 y.)

Kevin McCarthy – Brooklyn, NY; US Air Force, Flt. Surgeon

Geral Sheridon – Denver, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Jon Vaccarino – Yorktown Heights, NY; US Army, Korea

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New Zealand Minesweepers Sink an Enemy Sub – Intermission Story (19)

Kiwi attacking the I-1 submarine

A story I failed to locate from 1943.

By early 1943 the ships of the New Zealand minesweeping flotilla were patrolling along the Guadalcanal coast. The Americans had landed successfully, but Japanese land, air and sea forces held footholds and were still contesting the islands. Although the destroyers of the nocturnal ‘Tokyo Express’ were still active, the Bird-class ships’ usual targets were small craft and submarines attempting to land troops and supplies.

Lt.Cmdr. Peter Phipps, HMNZNS Moa

On the night of 29 January Kiwi and Moa were patrolling along Kamimbo Bay, on the north-western corner of Guadacanal, when Kiwi detected a submarine. It made a depth charge attack, but then lost contact. Kiwi continued to attack and on its third run, the damaged submarine surfaced and attempted to fight it out.

On paper it was two-to-one, but the Japanese sub I-1 was a formidable opponent. At 2135 tons surfaced, the Type J1 class were one and a half times bigger than Moa and Kiwi combined. Undamaged, the sub could outrun them by about five knots. The I-1’s 140-mm gun had greater range and hitting power than the New Zealand ships’ 102-mm guns, and it also had powerful torpedoes. No wonder that to the Kiwi’s crew in the dark, the Japanese shells sounded ‘like an express train going through’.

Lt. Comdr. Gordon Brisdon, HMNZNS Kiwi

In confined waters the Kiwi’s commander, Lieutenant-Commander Gordon Brisdon, decided to get in close to negate some of the sub’s advantages. But that meant braving a hail of fire from light-calibre weapons. Japanese machine-guns bullets sprayed the Kiwi, mortally wounding Acting Leading Signalman C.H. Buchanan. In pain and bleeding, he remained at his post, lighting up the sub for the gunners with his searchlight.

With a crunching sound, the Kiwi rammed the I-1 right behind the conning tower. Locked together, the vessels continued to blaze away at each other with light weapons. Twice more Brisdon pulled his ship away from the huge submarine only to ram it again, badly damaging his opponent and crumpling his own bows. When Kiwi’s main gun overheated, Moa took over, chasing the submarine until it ran aground on a reef.

The wreck of Japanese sub I-1

This information comes directly from the New Zealand history website.  By clicking on the links additional information can be acquired.

Critical codes remained on board the submarine and the Japanese command tried unsuccessfully to destroy the boat with air and submarine attacks.  The US Navy reportedly salvaged code books, charts, manuals, the ship’s log and other secret documents.

I-1 sub’s deck gun, now sitting in Torpedo bay Navy Museum.

The sinking of the Japanese submarine was only one of the contributions made by New Zealand to the defeat of Japan in the Pacific. The sinking of I-1 remains one of the proudest moments in New Zealand naval history.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alto ‘Bud’ Adams – St.Lucie County, FL; US Navy, WWII

Colin Bennett – Gisborne, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 46820, WWII

Allan Cameron – Taranaki, NZ; RNZ Army # 459507, WWII, SSgt.

Vivian King (102) – New Plymouth, NZ; 27 NZ(MG)BTN # 42512, WWII, Sgt.

John Pay – Hawkes Bay, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, PTO

Henry ‘Joe’ Sargeant – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Harry Dean Stanton – W.Irvine, KY; US Navy, WWII

Bruce Stott – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 10517, WWII

Hugh Turnbull (103) – Wellington, NZ; British Army ONZM # 129228, WWII, artillery

Jason Woodworth – Kea’au, HI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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Home Front – Ham Radio Operators – Intermission Story (18)

Canadian radio operators

Naval Communication Reserve, the Army Amateur Network (not military and often used by the Red Cross), and the Amateur Emergency of the American Radar Relay League  (AARL),were the main networks as WWII brewed toward the USA. The messages were relayed and transmitted free of charge.

In Los Angeles, CA, the Major Diasater Emergency Council, a behind-the-scenes orgaization, prepared early to take over the handling of relief and and public safety.  The operators wore a special uniform and each had special instructions as to their duties.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC), trained intelligent men who were needed to man the new long-range surveillance and direction-finding radio interceptor stations that were being built as part of the national defense program.  [This was transpiring in 1939, long before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor]

A very short (1:28) video on the secret wireless war from the UK.

 

In time of war, thousands of trained members of these nets would be taken in by the military services for active duty and many others would be detailed to guard various frequencies to detect enemy and spy messages.  Resitrictions governing amateur radio were being tightened and all owners of transmittng stations were fingerprinted and were required to show proof of citizenship.

In June 1942, at the request of the AARL, the War Emergency Radio Service (WERS), was created.  The FCC continued to offer amateur licensing throughout the war.

Gwendoline’s contribution for us – Here you can see the letter sent from Mrs. Cecilia McKie in Sacramento, California to Mrs. Alice Eaddie, Yorkshire, England (a similar letter sent to Mr. & Mrs. Nils T. Peterson, MT).  In it Mrs. McKie explains that she listens to the shortwave program and overhears messages from Allied POWs in Japanese camps.  During February 1943 to the present date of this letter, Cecilia had mailed out 8100 letters to the families of these prisoners.  The message to Mrs. Eaddie was:

“Received your cablegram and safe.  Hope you are all still well at home.  Give my love to Mother and Dad.  Best wishes to our friends.  Tell May Charles (?) is all right.  All my love to you, Patricia.”

Ham radio WWII letter, contributed by Garrulous Gwedoline

 

Other countries had many other radio operators – here is an incredible example from Australia –

http://www.arrl.org/news/behind-enemy-lines-an-amateur-radio-operator-rsquo-s-amazing-tale-of-bravery

This post was inspired by Garrulous Gwendoline and her contribution to this site.  Her own website is well worth a read – you’ll love it!

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

“I DON’T CARE IF DIVISION DOESN’T SEND QSL CARDS……GET ON THAT RADIO!”

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Butler – Atlanta, GA; US Army, Korea

Caleb Erickson – Waseca, MN; USMC; Afghanistan, Cpl., KIA

Samuel Hadley Jr. – W>Palm Beach, FL; US Army, WWII

Paul Himber – Elizabeth, NJ; US Navy, USS Threadfin

Stanley Krolczyk – Toledo, OH; US Navy, WWII, Korea, Cmdr. (Ret. 24 y.), pilot

Al Kuhn – Chcago, IL; US Army

Rex Phelps – MI; US Navy, WWII, LT., LST

Larry Satell – Palm Beach Gardens, FL; US Army, Korea

Kent Stirling – Pittsburgh, PA; US Air Force

Leland Uhlenhopp – Storden, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

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