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Pacific War Trials – conclusion

USMC Gen. R. Blake on Truk

There were 19 cases brought up for medical experiments at Truk. (Most people have only heard of these abominable acts from the Nazis.) Another was held for the slaughter of 98 Pan American airline employees on Wake Island in 1943. And ten others were sentenced to death; 18 were convicted of murdering civilians in the Palaus.

Upon Japan’s surrender, the Allies began organizing war crimes investigations and prosecutions throughout Asia. At the Tokyo Trial, the Allies prosecuted only 28 high-ranking ‘Class A’ suspects from various government and military departments on charges linked to the waging of war and war crimes.  Hundreds of lower-ranking ‘Class B’ and ‘Class C’ suspects of diverse ranks were prosecuted at other Allied trials operating across Asia.

The gallows for 18 prisoners charged w/ crimes at Changi, 1946

It is hard to arrive at the exact number of Allied trials held in Asia, as there continues to be access restrictions to some national trial records. Some latest estimates of the number of war crimes trials held by different national authorities in Asia are as follows: China (605 trials), the US (456 trials), the Netherlands (448 trials), Britain (330 trials), Australia (294 trials), the Philippines (72 trials), and France (39 trials).  In 1956, China prosecuted another four cases involving 1062 defendants, out of which 45 were sentenced and the rest acquitted.  The Allies conducted these trials before military courts pursuant to national laws of the Allied Power concerned.  Altogether 2244 war crimes prosecutions were conducted in Asia. 5700 defendants were prosecuted: 984 defendants were executed; 3419 sentenced to imprisonment; and 1018 acquitted.

JAPANESE WAR CRIMES TRIAL IN SINGAPORE (SE 6985) Lieutenant Nakamura, his head covered with a white hood, is led to the scaffold where he will be hung after being found guilty of beheading an Indian soldier with his sword on the Pulau Islands, 14 March 1946. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208817

The British conducted national war crimes trials (the Singapore Trials) pursuant to a 1945 Royal Warrant adopted by the British executive under royal prerogative powers (1945 Royal Warrant). The British military was given the responsibility of implementing these trials in different locations across Asia and Europe.  330 trials were organized by the British military in Asia. Of these, 131 trials were conducted in Singapore.

As of mid-1946, the British military had established 12 war crimes courts in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Rangoon, Hong Kong, and Borneo. Eight of 12 courts established were located in Singapore. There were also ‘travelling courts’ that made their way to particular locations to hear a case.

3 September 1946. Nisei Activities, Tokyo, Japan. Nisei monitors both civil service employees for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, War Ministry Building, Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Sho Onodere, Language Division, IMTFE, from Los Angeles, California, left, and Mr. Lanny Miyamoto, Language Division, IMTFE, From Los Angeles, California, right, listen to courtroom procedure. As the Japanese interpreters for the court make their translations, these men listen to their statements for accuracy and possible corrections, thus insuring a correct translation for the court records. Their job is twofold, for when the English speaking attornerys have the flloor, translation of English into Japaense must also be monitored. This is one of the many important positions held by Nisei in the Tokyo Area. Photographer: Davis.
Box 444

Singapore served as the base for the British military’s war crimes investigations and prosecutions in Asia. Investigations were conducted out of Goodwood Park Hotel. Post-war conditions in Singapore posed many challenges to the organizing of these trials. There was a shortage of food, basic necessities, and qualified personnel in post-war Singapore.

Trials conducted in Singapore concerned not only Japanese military atrocities perpetrated in Singapore but those committed in other parts of Asia

A substantial number of trials addressed the abuse and neglect of POWs and civilian detainees in prisons and camps, such as Changi Prison, Sime Road Prison, Outram Road Gaol, and Selarang Barracks.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Nikyisha T. Boyd – Kissimmee, FL US Army, Midlle East, Sgt. 1st Class, 1st Special Forces

Paul Coleman – Roswell, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO

William Degen – Buffalo, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 7th Army

Dallas G. Garza – Fayetteville, NC; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Chief Warrant officer, KIA (South Sinai)

Marwan S. Ghabour – Malborough, MA; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Chief Warrant Officer, KIA (South Sinai)

Robert C. MacDonald – Hamilton, CAN; RC Air Force (RAF), WWII, CBI, Sgt., radarman

Kyle R. McKee – Painsville, OH; US Army (MFO), Egypt, SSgt., KIA (South Sinai)

Jeremy C. Sherman – Watseka, IL; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Sgt., KIA (South Sinai)

Seth V. Vandekamp – Katy, TX; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Captain, KIA (South Sinai)

Joseph Watson (102) – Waikato, NZ; RNZ Army, WWII, Pvt. # 6290224, 50th Northcumberland Regiment

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Pacific War Trials – part three

Kempeitai

The British prosecuted Japanese along the Malay Peninsula, in Borneo, New Britain, Rangoon and Singapore. In Malay, 35 Kempeitai (secret police) were tried and 29 went to the gallows. The most publicized trial involved those at the “River Kwai” for causing almost 600 deaths of the 2,000 POWs that built the Burma Siam railroad.

Shiro Ishii

Australia listed 35 separate charges, including cannibalism and mutilation of a dead body. The most famous was Shiro Ishii of Unit 731 for subjecting prisoners to horrendous experiments. These crimes against humanity were normally held in cooperation with British and American officials. One trial held on New Guinea was for a Japanese officer who ate part of an Australian POW. The defense claimed starvation as a reason for his mental demise – he was hanged.

The largest trial of 503 Japanese was held by Australia for cruelty to prisoners on Amoina and 92 were convicted. In Rabaul, New Britain, 1,000 American and British POWs were forced to march 165 miles and only 183 made it the entire route. The Japanese commander executed the survivors. The officer had survived the war – but not the court.

Michiaki Kamada

The Netherlands tried an ugly case for Vice Admiral Michiaki Kamada who ordered 1,500 natives of Borneo murdered. Four others were executed for their participation in the awful treatment of 2,000 Dutch prisoners on Flores Island. Another case involved the treatment of 5,000 Indonesian laborers, 500 Allied POWs and 1,000 civilians.

China tried 800 defendants, whereby 500 were convicted and 149 sentenced to death.

The French held the least number of trials and dealt with them as ordinary crimes. Five Japanese were given the death penalty for the murder of American airmen in Indochina. The French were still holding their trials as late as November 1951.

As mentioned previously, the Russian “trials” were held as propaganda against the West. The charges would be dismissed, due to “arrested development.” ( suggesting that the Japanese were hindered in their development since they were not subject to Soviet culture and education.) The Soviets publicly made it clear that they were “on to” Japan and her American friend’s plot against them.

Abe Koso under guard.

The U.S. Navy tried the Japanese accused of crimes on the Pacific islands. Three were held on Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands and 44 were put on trial on Guam. These were closely held in conjunction with British, Australian and Indonesian officials. Abe Koso, became the naval commander at Kwajalein and ordered the beheading of nine Marine Raiders that were left behind after the Makin Raid. Koso defended his acts by claiming the Marines were U.S. spies. The tribunal rejected his claim and 19 June 1947, he was hanged.

To be continued…

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

La Fayette A. Bronston – Springfield, OH; USMC, VIetnam, SSgt., 3 Purple Hearts, Bronze Star, Silver Star

Max W. Daniels (103) – Lake Como, PA; USMC, WWII, cook

WHAT IS A VETERAN?

Joe, Francis & Harry Doyle – Arthur, CAN; Canadian Armed Forces, WWII, KIA (in Memorandum by the Doyle Family)

James Fleming – Hawkes Bay, NZ; NZEF, WWII # 103747, NZ Engineers

Leo Hines – Albany, NY; US Army, Vietnam, 506/11/101st Airborne Division

Wally McLaughlin – Minneapolis, MN; US Army, Korea, 187 RCT/11th Airborne Division

William Schroeder – Boise, ID; USMC, Korea, B Co./1/7th Marines

Michaela Ticha – CZE; MFO Sgt. (Multinational Force & Observers), KIA (So. Sinai)

Gregory Troutman – Salisbury, NC; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 187th RCT / Pentagon, Col. (Ret. 30 y.)

John ‘Val’ Wachtel IV – Topeka, KS; US Army, Vietnam, Green Beret

Pacific War Trials – part two

Courtroom spectators, Manila

The Allies also established the United Nations War Crimes Commission (the UNWCC) in 1943.  The UNWCC collected evidence on Axis war crimes and drew up lists of suspected war criminals for Allied prosecution after the war.  In 1944, a sub-commission of the UNWCC was established in Chungking to focus on the investigation of Japanese atrocities.

The major trials being held in Tokyo were presided by the U.S., Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, France, China and the Philippines and began in May 1946. General MacArthur, as supreme commander of the Allied powers, largely controlled the progress of the trials. They started with 25 defendants, but two passed away during the proceedings and another was evaluated as too mentally deficient to participate.

Hideki Tojo listening to testimonies.

Hideki Tojo was the most infamous face to symbolize Japanese aggression being that he was the Prime Minister at the time of Pearl Harbor. A 55-count indictment was drafted by the British prosecutor, Arthur Comyns-Carr. Every nation’s prosecutor signed the document listing: 36 counts of ‘crimes against peace’, 16 for murder and 3 counts for ‘other conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity’ for the major persons involved. These proceedings were held at the Japanese War Ministry Building and would last until November 1948. During this time, the prosecution called 400 witnesses and produced 800 affidavits.

Foreign Minister, Koki Hirota at his sentencing.

Tojo took responsibility as premier for anything he or his country had done; others argued that they had operated in self-defense due to the ABCD power’s embargo and military assistance given to China. In Tokyo, all defendants were found guilty. The death sentence was given to: Hideki Tojo; Foreign Minister Koki Hirota; Generals Kenji Doihara, Seishiro Itagaki, Akiro Muto, Hyoturo Kimura and Iwane Matsui – these sentences were carried out three days later.

Sixteen others received life in prison. Eight of the judges agreed on all of the sentences. Sir William Webb dissented, Delfin Jaramilla of P.I. thought they were too lenient, H. Bernard of France found fault with the proceedings, B.V.A. Roeling of the Netherlands voted to acquit Hirota and several others.  A complete dissent came from Radhabinod Pal of India.

Tomaya Kawakita and his attorney

Another series of tribunals were held in Yokohama, Japan. These were for lower ranking officers, Shinto priests, medical personnel and farmers in association with the treatment of prisoners. One case involved the ship, Oryoko Maru, upon which 1,300 POWs died in 1944. The secret police, the Kempeitai, were brought to justice along with other spies. The trial of Tomaya Kawakita was moved from Yokohama to Los Angeles at his request being that he was born in the United States. This was a clear case of “be careful what you wish for” – the American court sentenced him to death.

American tribunals were held in Shanghai for those accused of executing American airmen under the “Enemy Airmen’s Act” due to the Doolittle raid on Japan in April 1942, when many prisoners were murdered as an act of revenge for that mission of bombing Japan early in the war.

To be continued…

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ralph Becker – South Bend, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 388th Bomb Group/8th Air Force

Alice Keller Clark – Lebanon, PA; US Army Air Corps WAC, WWII

David A. Deatherage – Independence, MO; US Army, Korea, Co. A/187th RCT

James M. Flanagan – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

George Homer Jr. – New Rochelle, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical/457th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

George La Marsh – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII

John Price – Muskogee, OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO, PB4Y-2 bombardier

Charles ‘Chuck’ Reiner (100) – Rochester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII  /  31 y. career as volunteer, Red Cross, VA Hospital, DAV

Jack Schouten – Keokuk, IA; US Army, WWII, SSgt., 588th Signal Depot Company

Edward Wall – Riverside, CA; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

Pacific War Trials – part one

Yamashita at his trial.

One of the most monumental surrenders in the Pacific War was General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

General Tomoyuki Yamashita as he led his staff officers of the 14th Area Army to surrender, 2 Sept. 1945. He did not believe in hara-kiri.  He said, “If I kill myself, someone else will have to take the blame.”

Just as the Japanese surrenders occurred in different places and on different dates, so were the trials. The regulations used differed and the criminal charges varied. Preparations for the war crimes started early in mid-1942 due to the heinous reports coming out of China during the Japanese invasion in 1937. The home front recollections of these proceedings might differ from the facts stated here because of the media slant at the time and sensationalism.

Trial correspondents

Often, the stories were even inaccurate, such as in Time magazine, the writer ranted about Yamashita’s brutality during the Bataan Death March. The truth of the matter was – Yamashita was in Manchuria at the time. All in all, 5,600 Japanese were prosecuted during 2,200 trials. More than 4,400 men and women were convicted and about 1,000 were executed and approximately the same number of acquittals.

Soviet trials are not included here as these were held merely as propaganda show pieces. The defendants mostly pleaded guilty, made a public apology and said something wonderful about communism and the “People’s Paradise” of Russia.

Yamashita’s military commission

General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s case was the most famous of the American trials and was presided over by a military commission of 5 American general officers (none of which had any legal training) and held in the ballroom of the U.S. high commissioner’s residence. The charge was “responsibility for the death and murders tolerated – knowingly or not.” The general’s defense council, Col. Harry Clark, argued that no one would even suggest that the Commanding General of an American occupational force would become a criminal every time an American soldier committed a crime – but, Yamashita was just so accused.

Yamashita speaks at his trial.

MacArthur let it be known that Truman wanted the proceedings to be completed at the earliest possible date. It became obvious that the verdict was predetermined; even one correspondent at the scene reported, “In the opinion of probably every correspondent covering the trial, the military commission came into the courtroom the first day with the decision already in its collective pocket.” Many observers felt that Yamashita was not being accorded due process as MacArthur and the commission refused to provide copies of the transcript. Proof that the general had known of the atrocities was never given, but after closing arguments, it was announced that the verdict would be given in two days. Significantly, the guilty verdict was given on 7 December 1945. The general was hanged in Manila, Philippines on 23 February 1946 because the men he commanded had committed evil acts during the war.

Yamashita upon hearing the verdict.

Hundreds of others were also prosecuted in the American trials, including Lt. General Matsaharu Homma, the man who actually did order the Bataan Death March and the bombing of the undefended “open city” of Manila. His headquarters had been 500 yards from the road the prisoners had marched and died on and he had admitted having driven down that road of blood many times. He was sentenced to hang.  His wife appealed to MacArthur to spare him – which he refused, but did execute Homma by the less disgraceful method of firing squad.

Gen. Homma with his attorneys

During these trials in the Philippines, 215 Japanese faced criminal charges and 20 were declared innocent and 92 were given the death sentence. In one case, Philippine President Manuel Roxas appealed to China’s Chiang Kai-shek to spare the life of one Japanese officer who had saved his life and that of several other Filipinos. The request was granted.

Manila Hotel Annex, 1945

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Walter Morgan Bryant Jr. – Delray Beach, FL; USMC, Vietnam (2 tours), Sgt.

Sean Connery (Sir Thomas) – Edinburgh, SCOT; Royal Navy, Able Seaman, HMS Formidable,  /  Beloved Actor

Vincent De Magistris – Chester, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, RHQ/503rd RCT/11th Airborne Division

Jean (Love) Glass – Sokane, WA; Civilian, WWII, Boeing Aircraft

Vernon Hogsett – Lamar, NE; US Army, WWII, Bronze Star

Dave Knight – Skowhegan, ME; US Army, Vietnam, Sgt., 173rd Airborne

James Larson – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Clarence Mantis – Dayton, OH; US Navy, WWII

Ronald Shurer – Puyallup, WA; US Army, Afghanistan, SSgt., Senior Medical Sgt., Silver Star, Medal of Honor

Billy D. Welch – Hendersonville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret.)

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Pacific War in art – 1945

I wish all of the distinguished artists of WWII could have been included – here is the final year of the Pacific War…

“Battle of Luzon” by: Yorozujiro Terauchi, 1945

Mandalay, Burma, by: David Pentland, Feb. ’45

Pacific Glory” by: Nicholas Trudgian

It is March 1945 and the P-38’s of the 475th FG are involved in a huge dogfight with Japanese Zeros over the coast of Indo-China. Flying “Pee Wee V” is Lt Ken Hart of the 431st Fighter Squadron, who has fatally damaged a Zero in a blistering head on encounter. The second P-38L – “Vickie” – belongs to Captain John ‘rabbit’ Pietz, who would end the War as an Ace with six victories.
Signed by three highly decorated P-38 pilots who flew in combat with the 475th Fighter Group in the Pacific theatre during World War II.

‘The Great Tokyo Air Raid’ by: Hashimoto Kimisuke, 10 March ’45, age 7

Raid on China Coast, By: Roy Grinnell April ’45

“Indochina Prisoners of War” by: Donald Friend

‘Ready Room’ by: Tom Lea

“Victoria, Labuan Island” Borneo, July ’45 by: William E. Pigeon

“Standing Guard” by Sgt. John Ruge, USMC, Naha, Okinawa, cover of ‘Yank’ mag.

“Surrender Flight” by: Mike Hagel, 19 Aug. 1945

‘Milk Run to Kyushu’ by: Jack Fellows

 

“USS Missouri Signing” by: Standish Backus, 2 Sept. ’45

Responsibility, But For What? Kyoto Street by: Barse Miller. Army WWII, 28 Sept. ’45

‘Japan Surrender’ by: Howard Brodie (veteran of 3 wars, Bronze Star)

Resources –

IHRA: for their blog and their books and prints

Jack Fellows website

Howard Brodie sketches

“WWII” by: James Jones

“WWII: A Tribute in Art and Literature” by: David Colbert

For the art of Nicholas Trudgian http://www.brooksart.com/Pacificglory.html

Roy Grinnell

https://www.roygrinnellart.com/ Barse Miller

http://www.artnet.com/artists/barse-miller/

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence Beller – Bisbee, AZ; US Air Force, Korea, 67th Airborne Reporter Corps

Jack Bray – Madison, WI; US Army, Korea, 82nd Airborne Division + 187th RCT

Adam M. Foti – Moyack, NC; US Navy, Chief Petty Officer, USS Jason Dunham

Juan Garcia – Brownsville, TX; US Army, Vietnam, Sgt. Major (Ret.), Co. E/3/506/101st Airborne Division

John Hoyt – Reading, MA; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

Leon Kneebone – State College, PA, US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co F/187/11th Airborne Division

George E. Lineham – Sanbornville, NH; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Edward C. Meyer – Arlington, VA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, General, Army Chief of Staff, West Point grad ’51, Bronze Star, 2 Silver Stars, Purple Heart

Earl Smith Jr. – Oakland, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., 80th Fighter Squadron, P-38 pilot, KIA (Paga Point, New Guinea)

John Waterman (100) – Tunbridge Wells, ENG; Royal Army, Special Boat & Air Services, WWII

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Pacific War in art – 1944

As promised, here is an example of other works of art for the following year of the Pacific War…

USMC in the Marshall Islands, 31 Jan 1944, by: James V. Griffin

 

Truk Island, Carolinas, by: Frank Lemon

 

RNZAF, May 1944 with Corsairs

 

Saipan Jun-july 1944, by: Robert Benney

 

War Weary, by: Jack Fellows

 

Guam, July-Aug. by: Howard Gerard

 

Peleliu Invaded, Sept. 1944, By: Tom Lea

 

Avengers of the Philippines, by: John D. Shaw

November 14, 1944 . . . As smoldering enemy ships mark a trail to Manila Bay, Avengers and Hellcats of Air Group 51 overfly the isle of Corregidor on their return to the carrier U.S.S. San Jacinto.

With the misty mountains of Bataan standing as a silent sentinel, Naval LT (JG) George H.W. Bush pilots his TBM in one of his last combat missions of WWII. The valor of Bush’s group in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and in the strikes on Manila Bay helped pave the way for MacArthur’s campaign to liberate the Philippines

 

Kamikazes in the Philippines, by Usaburo Ibara

 

Japanese paratroopers, Leyte, by Tsuruto Goro

Some 750 men, mainly from the 2nd Raiding Brigade, of this group were assigned to attack American air bases on Luzon and Leyte in the night. They were flown in Ki-57 transports, but most of the aircraft were shot down. Some 300 commandos managed to land in the Burauen area on Leyte.

The paratroopers of the 11th A/B, including Gen. Joseph Swing and Smitty, found themselves fighting Japanese parachutists who had landed near the San Pablo airstrip. The Japanese were wiped out in a 5-day engagement. In a continuous series of combat actions, Japanese resistance was reduced on Leyte by the end of December 1944.

Resources:

IHRA: for their blog and their books and prints

Jack Fellows website

Barse Miller –

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-C-WWII/index.htm

Frank Lemon lithograph – 

https://www.ursusbooks.com/pages/books/162620/frank-lemon/long-a-pacific-mystery-the-secret-naval-base-at-truk-is-hit-by-avengers-february-1944-a-gallery-of-air

James V. Griffin – 

https://www.jamesgriffinillustration.com/works

Robert Benney

https://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/art/artists/the-art-of-robert-benney.html

Tom Lea

1000 Yard Stare by: Tom Lea

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_C._Lea_III

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bruce Bacon Sr. – Toledo, OH; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

Roy Brumbaugh – Platte, SD; US Army, German Occupation + Middle East, 11th Airborne Division

Margaret Fletcher – Woodland, CA; Civilian, Civil Air Patrol, pilot

John G. Herring – Copperhill, TN; US Army

Joseph Kelly – New Canaan, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO, Forward Observer

Mary LaPlante (100) – Kansas City, MO; US Navy WAVE, WWII, encryptor

Jack Martin – Greensboro, NC; US Army, Korea, 77th Special Forces (Green Berets)

John Morrison (101) – Moose Jaw, CAN; RC Army, WWII, 1st Survey Regiment

Gerard Simpson – Staten Island, NY; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd + 101st Airborne Divisions, Purple Heart

Bill Wingett – Salem, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Co. E/506/101st Airborne Division, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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Pacific War in art – 1941 – 1942

From some of our most prestigious artists come their depictions of the war…

PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO GET THE FULL EFFECT.

“Tora, Tora, Tora”, by Robert McCall

“Battle of Slim River” by: Mark Stille

Japanese and war horses in Hong Kong

Japan in Dutch East Indies

Japan bombs Darwin, Australia, by” James Baines, Feb. 1942

Bataan Death March, by Ben Steele, himself a death march survivor from Montana, April 1942

Doolittle Raid, B-25 over Japan, by: Francis Bergese
18 April 1942

“Cactus Air Force” by: Jack Fellows, Guadalcanal

RAAF Kittyhawk Squadron, Milne Bay, New Guinea, by: William Dargie, Sept. 1942

“Action Over Salamaua”, by: Jack Fellows

Pictorial series to be continued…

Resources:

IHRA: for their blog and their books and prints

Jack Fellows website

William Dargie info

“WWII: A Tribute in Art and Literature” edited by David Colbert

This idea for this post arose from a discussion with Pat at equipsblog

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Canadian Thanksgiving – 12 October 2020

To all our Canadian friends…..

ENJOY, MY FRIENDS!

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U.S. Navy’s Birthday – 13 October 2020

U.S. Navy emblem

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2019/10/13/u-s-navy-birthday/

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Clifford Blain – Hogsett, WV; USMC, WWII

Raymond Cohen – St. Louis, MO; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 89th Infantry Division

Leonard Davidson (101) – Valley City, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Navigator

Eugene Figurelli Sr. – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, WWII, munitions instructor

Edward “Whitey” Ford – NYC, NY; US Army, Korea  /  Pro-MLB pitcher

Donald Horn – Arba, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Africa

Joseph Messina – Boston, MA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

John O’Malley – Bronx, NY; US Navy, WWII, USS Tausig

George ‘Clint’ Shay – Madison, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Dale Tatman – Modesto, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Antietam

USS West Virginia – Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay

USS West Virginia, pre-WWII

Her wounds had been grievous that morning in 1941, when Japanese torpedo bombers  swept low over the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor and unleashed their deadly cargoes at the easy targets moored along Battleship Row.  The surface might of the U.S. Pacific Fleet was virtually helpless against the onslaught, and those ships moored outboard received the brunt of the devastating attack.

Oklahoma capsized and West Virginia took 7 torpedoes into her port side, gouging huge holes in her hull.  Two modified artillery shells, configured as

USS West Virginia (BB-48)

aerial bombs, struck aft.  The ship’s captain, Mervyn Bennion, was cut down by a steel fragment but remained in command, perishing with courage and later receiving a posthumous Medal of Honor.  Dorie Miller, a cook, manned a machine-gun and received the Navy Cross for heroism.

Alert counterflooding kept West Virginia from capsizing and the heavily damaged battleship settled to the bottom of Pearl Harbor upright and on an even keel.  A total of 106 West Virginia sailors were killed that fateful morning.

USS West Virgina @ Pearl Harbor. USCG boat in front saving sailors

At first glance, it appeared that the battleship might be a total loss.  However, salvage and recovery efforts were quickly begun.  West Virginia was refloated and pumped dry.  The bodies of sailors entombed on the ship for days were recovered.  The torpedo holes were patched, and the Colorado- class ship, first launched in November 1921, sailed for Puget Sound Navy Yard, in Bremerton, WA, for a substantial rebuild.

December 7th memories.

After 2 years of modernization,  USS West Virginia was ready for combat duty.  In October, she joined the shore bombardment group off of Leyte, P.I.  Here, her main 16-inch guns barked at the Japanese.  She gained another measure of revenge in the night Battle of Surigao Strait.  Along with the Mississippi, and other Pearl Harbor veterans Tennessee, Maryland, California and Pennsylvania they pounded an enemy surface squadron.

USS West Virginia, sinking at Pearl Harbor

West Virginia, affectionately known to her crew as, “Big Weevie”, later provided fire support for the amphibious landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, remaining to lend heavy artillery as the operations progressed.  She was struck by a Kamikaze plane off Okinawa that killed 4 sailors, but she remained on station until her mission was completed.

When the news of the Japanese surrender reached her crew, the USS West Virginia was ordered to sail for Tokyo Bay.  She arrived on 31 August, and her contingent of Marines went shore.

West Virginia was the largest ship of the U.S. Navy present at both Pearl Harbor and the  2 September surrender ceremonies.  The only other U.S. warship that were at both events was the light cruiser USS Detroit.

USS West Virginia, 1944

After lending 5 musicians from her band to play during the surrender proceedings, she only had one more task to complete: transporting 25,554 fighting men from Pearl Harbor to San Diego, CA, during Operation Magic Carpet, the mammoth undertaking to bring American personnel home from the Pacific.

West Virginia in Hawaii preparing for home, Oct. 1945

She was decommissioned in 1947, and put in the Pacific Reserve Fleet until 1959.  After a storied career spanning 4 decades, she was towed to New York harbor to be broken up for scrap.

The West Virginia’s bell sits in the state museum at Charleston, her wheel and binnacle are at the Hampton Roads Museum, her mast at West Virginia University and an antiaircraft gun in a park at Parkersburg.

WWII History Network.

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Military Humor – Navy Style – 

THE VIEW IS PRETTIEST FROM THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN.

WHY C.O.’S DON’T GET MUCH SLEEP!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frank Anthon – Cincinnati, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, Co. A/1/6/2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, KIA (Tarawa)

Warren G.H. DeVault – TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt., Co. F/2/12/4th Infantry Division, KIA (Hürtgen, GER

HONOR

Roland Fafard – Worchester, MA; US Navy, WWII, SeaBee

Bernie Lieder – Greenwood Township, MN; US Army, WWII, ETO  /  MN Representative

Douglas ‘Knute’ Nelson – Haynesville, LA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Marvin Pretzer – Bay City, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Donald Rusk – Clarks Hill, IN; US Army, Korea, Sgt.

Norma Schrader – Bridgeport, CT; US Army WAC, WWII

Donald Stouli – Robbinsdal, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot, 303 Bomb Group  /  US Air Force, Korea

Julian C. Wills (100) – Flingsville, KY; US Army, WWII, MSgt.

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Army Corps of Engineers in Japan after WWII

Osaka, Japan, 1945, canvas tanks of water purification station run by the 323rd Engineers/98th Division

Under the terms of surrender that ended World War II, Japan fell under Allied occupation. U.S. Army engineers faced a daunting challenge in constructing facilities for the occupation forces and rebuilding the vanquished nation’s infrastructure. The immediate postwar standard of living in Japan had sunk to subsistence levels and U.S. Army Air Force bombing raids destroyed much of the nation’s industrial base. Roadways originally were designed for light vehicle traffic and frequently were unsurfaced, and railroads often were of differing gauges. Unskilled labor was plentiful but craftsmen were scarce. Sewage systems were nonexistent. To complicate matters, at the occupation’s outset, Japanese construction firms were not considered financially sound nor did they operate with bonding or insurance.

Under the Far East Command—the ruling authority in occupied Japan—the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers created an engineer district equivalent, the Army Construction Agency, Japan, to accomplish all project work, with project review performed by the Army Forces Pacific theater engineer. However, the engineering support for the occupation was the responsibility of engineers from the U.S. Eighth Army, the Sixth Army Engineers out of Kyushu, and elements of the 5th Air Force Engineers. Additionally, to overcome a shortage of engineer troops, indigenous labor gangs were organized.

872nd Airborne Engineers repair Atsugi Airdome runway.

The intact Japanese civil government bore the financial responsibility for infrastructure reconstruction, including military programs. American area commanders funded projects by levying requisitions known as procurement demands on local Japanese administrations. After some abuses arose, the commanders lost their ability to make such requisitions. Instead all requirements were processed through General Headquarters. Eventually, the Japanese government, using Termination of War funds, was able to procure its own construction contractors. All were Japanese companies either created or expanded in response to the building requirements.

The centerpiece of the U.S. reconstruction effort in Japan was the base-building program to construct facilities supporting the occupation forces that at the same time would have joint-use applications. While in the early part of the occupation the U.S. military engaged in or supervised the Japanese in humanitarian and related civilian activities, the bulk of the engineering projects it performed involved converting existing facilities for the Eighth Army and other military units. Housing, hospitals, airfields, and administrative and operational structures were provided for American garrison divisions by rehabilitating former Imperial Army military camps. Many Japanese housing units were converted to house Americans and their dependents.

Quonset hut originally barracks for the 736th Engineers reused as office space for the 598th Engineer base, 1947

Other than some prefabricated buildings and petroleum tanks, building materials came from the local economy. In all, 15,000 dependent housing units were built or converted. Furthermore, former Japanese military ports and industrial plants became not only U.S. Army depots and logistics staging areas but also dual-use facilities. Repair and utilities support to all installations was funneled through regional post engineers, under whom utilities detachments and technicians resided. Because of the lack of civilian-operated heavy earth-moving equipment, engineer units performed all earthworks. By 1950, Army engineers had carried out total construction valued at more than $400 million.

With the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, a new and extensive construction support program had a direct effect on Japan’s rehabilitation. Procurement totaled nearly $1 billion annually by 1953 and involved contracts with 3,000 Japanese firms. By the end of 1951 the Japanese were able to negotiate an end to Allied occupation.

598th Engineers Supply Div. at Yokohama base, 1948

The peace treaty that went into effect in 1952 allowed for a mutual defense pact under which U.S. forces remained in Japan. This agreement began the permanent base construction that has continued with the establishment of the Far East District in 1957 and the Japan Engineer District in 1972. The work of Army engineers, although begun in the wake of a war with such terrible devastation, in large measure contributed to the rise of a former enemy as both an advanced, democratic nation and a stable bulwark for American interests in the wider region. This effort lives on in the continued cooperation among uniformed and civilian employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, its contractors, other U.S. agencies abroad, local nationals, and the host government.

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Happy 73rd Birthday –  U.S. Air Force

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Military Humor –

Army Engineers

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Berry – Kilgore, TX; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Master Electrician

Robert L. Davisson – Savanna, IL; US Air Force, Korea, Sgt., radio operator

Charles Hill – Madison, TN; US Army, Co. C/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Albert Jenkins – Billings, MT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, aircraft mechanic

Jason K. Phan – Anaheim, CA; US Air Force, Kuwait, Senior Airman, 386th Expeditionary Security Force

Richard Fox – Racine, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, P-47 pilot, 368/396/9th Air Force

Robert Libby – Hiram, ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Palmer Mart – Elkhart, IN; US Navy,WWII, radioman

Terry R. Santos – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Recon/11th Airborne Division

Arthur Smith (100) – Kendaia, NY; US Army, WWII, ATO, Corps of Engineers

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First-hand account: Okinawa

Louis Meehl, WWII

It wasn’t always the enemy they had to contend with…

Louis Meehl

After the war started, I decided I had to get into the service, this didn’t make my folks very happy, especially my dad, but I just had to go.  So, I enlisted in the Army Air Corps.  They made me a gunner and sent me to the Pacific.  I flew on A-20’s in the 417th Bomb Group, B-24’s in the 90th and B-25’s in the 38th.  I was on the islands all through the western Pacific, New Guinea, the Philippines, the Ryukyus, and even up to Japan later on.

It was after the war had ended and we’d moved up to an airstrip on a little island called Ie Shima, right next to Okinawa.  It was the island where Ernie Pyle was killed.  We were living there in the usual primitive conditions that we’d put up with on all the islands – tents, C and K rations, nothing to do but fly missions.  The airstrip there was right near the beach, well, the island was so small that everything was right near the beach, and of course our tents were close to the coast.

Ernie Pyle, le Shima

We got word that a storm was coming and the pilots flew our squadron’s planes off somewhere.  The rest of us on the flight crews and the ground crews were left behind to fend for ourselves.  The wind started blowing, the rain was coming down, and we were trying to hold on to our tents to keep them from blowing over,

Well, it turned out this storm was a typhoon and the wind blew stronger and stronger, and the rain was being driven horizontally.  What a storm!  I’d never experienced anything like it.  After a while, we couldn’t hold the tents up anymore.  First one of the tents blew down, then another, and pretty soon all the tents were down, and we were outside in the weather.

There was no other shelter – our bombing and the Navy’s shelling when we’d taken the island had flattened all the trees and it was just bare sand and rock.  And the wind just kept blowing harder!

Okinawa, naval typhoon damage

Next thing we knew the tents and everything inside them started to blow away, right off the island and out into the ocean.  We just couldn’t hold on to them under those conditions – the wind just ripped anything out of our hands if you tried to hold on to it.  So after the tents and everything was gone, all we could do was huddle together and try to protect ourselves.  It was like we were just a bunch of wet, cold sheep huddled together – and the wind kept blowing even harder.

We’d rotate the guys on the outside of the huddle toward the middle because the rain was being blown so hard it hurt when it hit you.  We all took our turns on the outside of the group.  Some of us had bruises from that rain afterwards.

Okinawa, typhoon tent

 

[ I was unable to locate le Shima photos of the storm, hence the Okinawa pictures.  I suppose everyone’s camera went to sea. ]

This seemed to go on for hours, and the whole time we just stayed there huddled together,  When the wind and rain finally started to let up, it dawned on us that everything we had was gone.  I had a lot of photos from all the islands we’d been on, some souvenirs, and of course the rest of my clothes and personal effects, and they were just gone.

Our planes came back and they flew in more tents for us, but later when I shipped back to the States I didn’t have much more to take home with me that the clothes I had on the day the storm started!

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bernice Cooke – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, nurse

George C. Evans – Bay Village, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Reynaldo ‘Chita’ Gonzolaz – Newton, KS; US Army, Korea, Sgt., 2nd Division

Peter Hanson – Laconia, NH; US Army, Vietnam, Captain, 101st Airborne Division

Christopher Knoop – Buffalo, NY; US Army, Desert Storm, 810th MP Co., communications

Donald Ottomeyer – St. Louis, MO; US Army, Lt., 101st Airborne Division

John D. Roper – Nashville, TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Westmoreland & Pontiac

Juan Serna Sr. – Pharr, TX; US Army, WWII / National Guard (Ret. 25 y.)

Michael Stickley – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, Vietnam

Pansy Yankey (100) – Brashear, TX; Civilian, North American Aviation, WWII, drill press operator

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