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Japanese View from the IJN Musashi

Yamato and Musashi (artist unknown)

Yamato and Musashi (artist unknown)

This was originally published in “Sensō: The Japanese Remember the Pacific War”, edited by Frank Gibney.  Story by: Satō Kiichi, from Yokosuka, Japan.

The Last of Battleship Musashi

“Third attack,” came the warning.  The damage from the second attack had been terrible.  Lying on the deck were several wounded men receiving emergency treatment.  I was taking a brief break.  My two subordinates were on their way to the infirmary.  Just at that moment, a torpedo approached with a sinister hissing sound.  Shouting “Go on up!” I rushed to the upper deck.  I couldn’t see the two who had gone to the infirmary.

IJN Musashi (artist unknown)

IJN Musashi (artist unknown)

I had to get those two.  I looked down the hatch.  There was already close to a meter of water flooding the ship.  The infirmary was left isolated.  Neither my voice nor my concern could reach that far.  Was it too late?  My feeling of grief ran ahead of me.  Then I recalled that the exhaust vent ran through the pharmacy.  I frantically threw a rope from the deck down into the exhaust pipe.  But there was no response.  Still I continued to call out desperately.

I regained a bit of my composure.  I was crouching in the safety zone under the main gun turret.  The battle gained in ferocity.  I wondered what had happened to my two men.  To think that a single hatch would be the difference between life and death.  We had spent our days together as crew members on the battleship Musashi.  Looking back, I still agonize about their going to the infirmary.

IJN Musashi

IJN Musashi

After the fourth and fifth concentrated air attacks, the Musashi, once called unsinkable, finally sank into the Sibuyan Sea.  Its bow tilted.  Columns of water and flames spewed up into the sky.  I heard voices of my comrades singing “Umi Yukaba” [“Across the Sea”]* and other war songs amid the waves.  Even now I see clearly onto my eyelids the faces of my two subordinates.  I hear my war buddies singing as their heads bob in the waves.

* “Across the Sea” was the anthem of the Japanese Navy.  The verse went:

Across the sea, water-drenched corpses;

Across the mountains, grass-covered corpses.

We shall die by the side of our lord,

We shall not look back.

Two years ago….

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Abe – Appleton, WI; US Navy, WWII

Kenneth Bourke – AUS; RA Navy, WWII, HMAS Warramunga

Robert Futoran – Pompano, FL; US Navy, WWII, Lt., USS Black

Leslie Gibson – Dallas, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO,, LST-1040

Kenneth Ketron – Elsmere, KY; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Dallas Milton – Venice, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Nelson Sr. – New London, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO

Frank Panzzie – East Meadow, NY; US Army, WWII

Teddy Sheean – Tasmania, AUS; RA Navy, WWII, HMAS Armidale, KIA

Lawrence Snowden – Charlottesville, VA; USMC, WWIII, Korea & Vietnam, LtGeneral (Ret.)

Click on images to enlarge.

Personal Note – My apologies for a late-in-the-day post and delayed viewing of your sites as I have been under the weather.

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Japanese View of the Leyte Naval Battle

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The following was published in “Senso: The Japanese Remember the Pacific War.”

Don’t Shoot at a Sinking Enemy

As a 25-year old seaman about a destroyer, I participated in the sea battle off Leyte.  In the midst of the battle, our destroyer was pursuing a fleeing aircraft carrier through squalls and curtains of smoke.  Suddenly a single enemy destroyer headed directly for us.  Attacked by the concentrated fire from our destroyer squadron, it rapidly went up in flames.  As we neared the enemy ship to see its last moment, it listed to one side, with flames rising everywhere.  It was about to sink.  Men were floating on the water’s surface or sinking beneath it, while half-naked crew members jammed themselves into lifeboats and rowed away, escaping.

We were close enough to see their unkempt beards and the tattoos on their arms.  One of our machine-gunners impulsively pulled his trigger.  He must have been overflowing with feelings of animosity toward the enemy.  But he was checked by a loud voice from the bridge saying, “Don’t shoot at escaping men!  Stop shooting, stop!”  So he inflicted no injury on the enemy.

I read an article written after the War’s end that the captain, who survived*, (a descendant of the Cherokee tribe) had tears in his eyes when he recalled the scene. “A Japanese destroyer that passed by did not shoot.  What is more, I cannot forget the officers on the Gigantic warship who saluted us in seeming condolence for the loss of our ship.”  What flashed through my mind was the story of Commodore Uemura, who rescued the crew of the sinking Yurik during the Russo-Japanese War.  Seppū was the name of his destroyer – known as the luckiest warship in the world.

This was written by Okuno Tadashi, who became a business owner in Ōmuta, Japan after the war.

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Edward E. Evans

Edward E. Evans

Commander Ernest Edwin Evans was born in Pawnee, Oklahoma on August 13, 1908.  He was three quarters Cherokee Indian.

During the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 25, 1944 Commander Evans and the USS Johnston were assigned to Task Unit 77.4.3 AKA Taffy III with 2 other destroyers (Hoel and Heermann), 4 destroyer escorts (Butler, Dennis, Raymond, Roberts) and 6  escort carries (Fanshaw Bay, Saint Lo, Kalinin Bay, White Plains, Kitkun Bay, Gambier Bay).  Here, at the Battle Off Samar, they fought the vastly superior Imperial Japanese Navy Centre Force which consisted of 4 battleships, 6 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, and 11 destroyers.

At 9:45 AM Commander Evans ordered his crew to abandon ship.  The USS Johnston sank at 10:10 AM, receiving a hand salute from the skipper of a Japanese destroyer.

* The article Mr. Tadashi read must have been written by another crew member, as Cmdr. Evans was seen abandoning ship, but was never found.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal note – 

I would appreciate hearing if you are interested in more stories from the Japanese side of the war.  I refrained from adding a second story here from a crew member of the Musashi to keep the post at a decent size.

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Military Humor – from the Readers Digest ‘Humor in Uniform –

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“I’m the commander of data security.”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Allis – Clearwater, FL; USMC, WWII, PTO

Lou Bucelli Sr. – Bridgeport, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Scoter

George Clifford-Marsh – Waikato, NZ; RNZ Army # 629433, WWII, Cpl.th-jpg1

James Fuehrmeyer – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Thomas Gibson – Nashville, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, pilot

Stuart Hansen Jr. – Kettering, OH; US Army, Vietnam

Robert Jones – Syracuse, NY; US Navy, WWII

William ‘Bud’ Liebenow – Fredericksburg, VA; US Navy, WWII, PTO & ETO. Captain, PT-199

Howard Porter – Kalamazoo, MI; US Army, WWII, PTO, medic

Joseph Wapner – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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A Soul Lost in a Faraway Jungle – Part 2

Our good friend Koji Kanemoto gives us a view from both sides of the war.

Masako and Spam Musubi

It is believed I occupy a potentially unique position when it comes to looking at history as it pertains to the Pacific Theater in World War II.  I am American first and foremost and have studied WWII history out of curiosity.  As expressed in the description of my blog, my viewpoint is from “one war, two countries, one family”.  However, one potential uniqueness is that I am able to read a bit of Japanese; you may be amazed to read what is written about WWII from the Japanese viewpoint of history. As such, I believe each battle will have in the background two broad, driving and dissimilar viewpoints: one from America and one from Japan.  The attack on Pearl Harbor is one example. But that is but the surface on war’s history – a high altitude view.  One that can be easily manipulated politically. But being on the ground dealing…

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October 1944 (1)

Causeway with 2 damaged Sherman tanks, Peleliu

Causeway with 2 damaged Sherman tanks, Peleliu

3  October – the Marines on Peleliu attacked the “Five Sister,” a coral hill with 5 sheer peaks and the Japanese defensive fire was deadly accurate.  Four days later, in an Army tank/Marine infantry operation, they made their assault in a horseshoe shaped valley after 2 ½ hours of big gun artillery fire.

The odor on the island of decaying bodies and feces, (latrines could not be dug in the coral), became extreme.  The flies were uncontrollable.  The [now-banned] pesticide of DDT was first used on Peleliu, but with very little success.

Napalm strike on Five Sister, Peleliu

Napalm strike on the Five Sisters, Peleliu

On 12 October, Captain Andy “Ack-Ack” Haldane, well-respected leader and veteran of Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester and Peleliu, was killed on Hill 140 in the Umurbrogol Pocket.  This was also the date that organized resistance on the island was declared over.

10 October – The 3rd Fleet of aircraft carriers made a major attack on the enemy naval and shore installations on the Ryukyu Islands.  Their arrival took the Japanese by surprise and destroyed 75 planes on the ground and 14 in the air; 38 ships were either sunk or damaged.  Other US Navy surface vessels conducted a 15-hour bombardment of Marcus Island.  This would give the US a forward base less than 1000 miles from the Japanese mainland.

Formosa and the Ryukyu Islands

Formosa and the Ryukyu Islands

12→15 October – after refueling, the 3rd Fleet’s 1000 carrier fighters and bombers conducted a campaign over Formosa along with 100 Superfortresses of the US Army’s 20th Air Force coming out of the Chingtu bases.  The 500 enemy aircraft of Adm. Fukudome’s Imperial Navy 6th Air Force were manned by inexperienced pilots.  On the 13th along, 124 enemy fighters were shot down during a massive dogfight and 95 more were destroyed on the ground.  As Fukudome himself described it, “Like so many eggs thrown against the stone wall of indomitable enemy formations.

More than 70 enemy cargo, oil and escort ships were sunk in the area.  The US lost 22 aircraft.  The carrier, Franklin, and the cruiser, Canberra, were hit, but the latter was towed to safety.  Due to the inexperienced Japanese pilots misinformation, Tokyo Rose announced, “All of Admiral Mitscher’s carriers have been sunk tonight – INSTANTLY!”  Japan claimed a second Pearl Harbor and a public victory holiday was proclaimed.

Arisan Maru

Arisan Maru

In October, the Japanese ‘hell ship’, Arisan Maru, departed Manila, P.I. with 1800 American prisoners on board held in her unventilated hold.  It was sunk by the USS Snook, killing 1795 POW’s.

The Japanese attempted to break the build-up of Allied forces in Manila Bay, Luzon, P.I., but the result was losing approximately 30 more aircraft to US fighters and antiaircraft fire.

October 1944 was an extremely active month and it will take at least 5 posts to just put the basics down.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – military-humor-funny-surrounded-attack-soldiers-meme

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Alamar – Scranton, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, minesweeper

Robert Brooks – Ontario, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, 143rd Air Wing, radio operations

Peleliu cemetery

Peleliu cemetery

Harold Girald – Mah-wah, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Ken Hartle (103) – San Francisco, CA; US Navy, WWII, SeaBee

Melvin Hill – Pomona, CA; Korea, 31st RCT, KIA

Harold “Hal” Moore, Jr. – Auburn, AL; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 1/7th Cavalry Reg., Lt.General, West Point Grad, DSC

Allen “Bud” Moler – Dayton, OH; USMC, PTO, KIA (Roi-Namur)

Brent Morel – Martin, TN; USMC, Iraq, 1st Marine Recon Battalion, Navy Cross, KIA

Richard Lyon – Oceanside, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO / Korea, Admiral (Ret. 41 years)

Elizabeth Zarelli Turner – Austin, TX; US Army WAC, WWII, pilot

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Japanese Prime Minister Abe in Hawaii – correction

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe having a moment of silence after the laying of the wreath

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe having a moment of silence after the laying of the wreath

Once again – correcting the media……

In May, President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in 1945 and soon compelled Japan’s surrender, ending World War II. It was a historic moment: Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city.

Now, Abe is repaying the favor.  On Tuesday, he will accompany Obama to Pearl Harbor, the site of the Japanese attack 75 years ago that led the United States to join World War II.

But is Abe’s visit quite as historic? When it was announced in early December, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said Abe would be the first sitting Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor since World War II. News outlets repeated this assertion, including The Washington Post.

But quickly afterward, things began to look a little more complicated. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper soon reported that Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii, home to Pearl Harbor, in 1951 when flying back home from San Francisco. He made a public visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, which honors American war dead, and a more private visit to Pearl Harbor.

 Aug. 31, 1951, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, center right, accompanied by his daughter, Kazuko, center left, is greeted by Adm. Arthur Radford, left, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Joseph R. Farrington, a delegate of the U.S. Congress for the Territory of Hawaii, during an arrival ceremony for Yoshida in Honolulu. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii in 1951.

Aug. 31, 1951, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, center right, accompanied by his daughter, Kazuko, is greeted by Adm. Arthur Radford ( l), commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Joseph R. Farrington, a delegate of the U.S. Congress for the Territory of Hawaii, during an arrival ceremony for Yoshida in Honolulu. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii in 1951.

The Pearl Harbor visit was not noted widely by the U.S. press, but it appeared in the Japanese press.

Yoshida told a reporter from the Yomiuri Shimbun that he had been “moved” by the visit. It also turns out that the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander at the time, Adm. Arthur Radford, was present. Radford later wrote that the visit was awkward for Yoshida and that they mostly discussed his dog.

Now more developments indicate that Abe may not be the second sitting prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor, either. Last week, the Hawaii Hochi — a dual-language Japanese-English newspaper based in Hawaii — suggested that two other Japanese leaders may have visited Pearl Harbor in the 1950s.

The newspaper posted images to its Facebook account that showed two front pages from its archive. One claimed that Ichiro Hatoyama visited the harbor on Oct. 29, 1956, where he was welcomed by a 19-gun salute and a band performing Japan’s national anthem. Another headline says that Nobusuke Kishi, Abe’s grandfather, visited the harbor on June 28, 1957, where he laid a wreath at the flagpole at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The Japanese government has now been forced to change its story. After Yoshida’s visit to Pearl Harbor was made public again, the government asserted that as the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor was not constructed until 1962, Abe will still be the first to visit the most famous monument. “He will also be the first to do so with an American president,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Sheila Smith, a senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, says she was “taken aback” by the initial mistake.

“If any organization should know its history, its MOFA,” she wrote via email, using an acronym to refer to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. “I’m also surprised that Abe himself or rather his office didn’t correct the record as he is a careful student of his grandfather’s diplomacy towards the U.S.”

Article found in Stars and Stripes magazine; by Adam Taylor | The Washington Post | Published: December 27, 2016

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News Corrections Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Bossi – Medford, MA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Attilio Cardamone – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Real DeGuire – Tecumseh, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, ETO, HMCS Hunter Haida & Algonquinplaying-taps

Pat Farwell – Skagway, AK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot

John Hayes – Elyria, OH; US Navy, WWII

Thelburn Knepp – Peoria, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 89th Infantry Division

Jack Messemer – Phoenix, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW / Korea, Sr. Sgt. Major (Ret. 41 years)

Sam Patane – Kirland, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQS/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Div.

Donald Patterson – Wichita, KA; US Army, Korea

Liz Smith – Lincolnshire, ENG; Women’s Royal Naval Service, WWII, CBI, (beloved actress)

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Why Japan’s Air Force failed

 

Aircraft carrier IJN Kasagi, 1945

Aircraft carrier IJN Kasagi, 1945

From an article written by Shahan Russell

According to Osamu Tagaya, Japan was doomed to lose WWII.  A writer for the Smithsonian, Tagaya’s father was an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), so he should know.

Like the other Axis powers, Japan wasn’t prepared for a long war. But just as Germany became overconfident because of the Spanish Civil War, so Japan felt the same because of victories against Russia and China.

What both lacked, however, was the superior manpower, greater industrial capacities, and vast resources that the US and Britain had. The Japanese government knew this, but had gambled on a short war and had badly underestimated the Allied response to their aggression.

Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero

Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero

Tagaya takes it a step further by pointing out the tactical and political weaknesses that doomed Japan. The government didn’t control the Armed Forces, so couldn’t effectively unite them.  The result was a schism that drained the country’s limited resources and overly-extended industrial capacities.

The Army saw the Soviet Union as its enemy, while the Navy looked to the US.  So while Japan was among the first to develop combat aircraft, they were mostly designed for a land war against the Soviets, not for long range operations in the South Pacific.

Not that it stopped them from occupying parts of Southeast Asia. But it made them overconfident, which was why they were slow to develop aerial technologies. Their occupation of the Pacific was another drain since the region was under-developed – forcing them to build landing fields and communications equipment.

Though Japan had contributed to radar technology, they failed to maximize its potential. Their weakness in detecting enemy craft, combined with cramped airfields where planes parked close together, made it easier for the Allies to take more out in a single raid.

And while Japan was the first to develop aircraft carriers, their focus was on combat missions. They therefore failed to understand the strategic value of taking out supply lines, giving the Allies an edge.

Finally, they didn’t have an effective training program for pilots. As more experienced ones died out, that left inexperienced ones who were forced to do kamikaze missions.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – From: Kunihiko Hisa’s cartoon album “Zero Fighter 1940-1945

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Farewell Salutes – 

In memorandum, today would have been Smitty’s 102nd Birthday – Everett Smith – Broad Channel, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/187/11th Airborne Division

Carson Grady Bird – Newnan, GA; US Air Force, Captain (Ret.), Afghanistan, communications

David Coates – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Lancaster bomber navigator

Daniel Davenport – Dayton, OH; US Army, WWIIth-jpg1

Maurice Hanson – TX & FL; US Air Force, Medical Corps, Captain

Michael Irish – brn: Lancaster, ENG; R Air Force, pilot

Robert Jones – Albany, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Ronald McLennan – Wallsend, AUS; RA Army, Vietnam

Merrill D. Pack – Louisa, KY; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Frederick Schroeder – Newark, NJ; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 5/1st Cavalry, (Ret.), Purple Heart

Vivian Alda Williams – Alpharetta, GA; US Army WAAC, WWII

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The Firebombing of Tokyo – Part 2

As fighting on Saipan continued, other units of the Allied forces were busy elsewhere. Mustang Koji’s posts offer an insight from both sides.

Masako and Spam Musubi

Fifi 1 Fifi – the last flying B-29 Superfortress in the world. Taken by me flying over my house on November 13, 2010. Copyright Koji D. Kanemoto

Superfortress.

Or the “Superfort”.

That’s what we called them here in the States; nicknames for the Boeing B-29 bomber.

My aunt called them “地獄からのトンボ” or dragonfly from hell.

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Development

The development of the B-29 actually started before WWII began for the US – in 1939.  Perhaps there were some shenanigans back then but Boeing had engineered a pressurized cockpit for their B-17 Flying Fortress (from whence the nickname Superfortress hailed from) for the USAAF.  Conveniently, the USAAF put together in 1939 a call for a new bomber capable of 400 mph while carrying a 20,000 pound payload.  The B-29 was born.

frye Destroyed Frye Packing Plant. Boeing archives.

Her development was not smooth.  Indeed, it was the most advanced aircraft design of its time with…

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Japanese WWII Vet Sees Trouble on the Horizon

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Kaname Harada, 98, holding a picture of himself when he was a fighter pilot

NAGANO, Japan — Kaname Harada was once a feared samurai of the sky, shooting down 19 Allied aircraft as a pilot of Japan’s legendary Zero fighter plane during World War II. Now 98 years old and in failing health, the former ace is on what he calls his final mission: using his wartime experiences to warn Japan against ever going to war again.
This has become a timely issue in Japan, as the conservative Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has called for revising Japan’s pacifist Constitution. On a recent afternoon in this alpine city near his home, Mr. Harada was invited to address a ballroom filled with some 200 tax accountants and their business clients.
After slowly ascending the stage with the help of his daughter, he stopped to hang up hand-drawn war maps and a sepia-toned photo of himself as a young pilot in a leather flight suit glaring fearlessly into the camera.  It was the same face that now turned to look at the audience, creased by age, and somehow softer and wiser. His body was so frail that his suit hung loose like a sail, but he spoke with a loud voice of surprising vigor.
“Nothing is as terrifying as war,” he began, before spending the next 90 minutes recounting his role in battles, from Japan’s early triumph at Pearl Harbor to its disastrous reversals at Midway and Guadalcanal. “I want to tell you my experiences in war so that younger generations don’t have to go through the same horrors that I did.”

model aircraft Mr. Harada uses while he describes his experiences.

model aircraft Mr. Harada uses while he describes his experiences.

It is a warning that Mr. Harada fears his countrymen may soon no longer be able to hear. There are only a dwindling number of Japanese left who fought in the war, which in Asia began when Imperial Japan invaded northeastern China in 1931, and claimed tens of millions of lives over the following 14 years.
In an interview after his speech, Mr. Harada described himself as “the last Zero fighter,” or at least the last pilot still alive who flew during that aircraft’s glory days early in the war with the United States. He recounted how in dogfights, he flew close enough to his opponents to see the terror on their faces as he sent them crashing to their deaths.
“I am 54, and I have never heard what happened in the war,” said Takashi Katsuyama, a hair salon owner, who like many in the audience said he was not taught about the war in school. “Japan needs to hear these real-life experiences now more than ever.”
Mr. Harada’s talk was filled with vivid descriptions of an era when Imperial Japan briefly ruled the skies over the Pacific. During the Battle of Midway in 1942, he said, he shot down five United States torpedo planes in a single morning while defending the Japanese fleet. He described how he was able to throw off the aim of the American tail gunners by tilting his aircraft to make it drift almost imperceptibly to one side as he closed in for the kill.

Mr. Harada during one of his talks.

Mr. Harada during one of his talks.

He also described his defeats. He said he had to ditch his plane in the sea after Japan lost all four aircraft carriers it sent to Midway, the battle that turned the tide of the war in favor of the United States. Four months later, he was shot down over the island of Guadalcanal. He survived when his plane crashed upside down in the jungle, but his arm was so badly mangled that he never fought again. He spent the rest of the war training pilots back in Japan.
After Japan surrendered, he said, he hid from what he feared would be vengeful American occupiers. He worked for a time on a dairy farm, but found himself plagued by nightmares that made it tough to sleep. In his dreams, he said, he kept seeing the faces of the terrified American pilots he had shot down.  “I realized the war had turned me into a killer of men,” he said, “and that was not the kind of person I wanted to be.”
He said the nightmares finally ended when he found a new calling by opening a kindergarten in Nagano in 1965. He said he was able to alleviate the pangs of guilt by dedicating himself to teaching young children the value of peace. While he has now retired, he said he still visits the school every day he can to see the children’s smiling faces.

Harada in days gone by.

Kaname Harada in days gone by.

He said it took many more years before he could finally talk about the war itself. The turning point came during the Persian Gulf war in 1991, when he was appalled to overhear young Japanese describe the bombing as if it were a harmless video game. He said he resolved to speak out. – He has been talking about his war experiences ever since.
“Until I die, I will tell about what I saw,” Mr. Harada concluded his speech to the accountants’ group. “Never forgetting is the best way to protect our children and our children’s children from the horrors of war.”
From a “New York Times” article, written by, Martin Fackler, and submitted to Pacific Paratrooper by Christina @ http://bowsprite.wordpress.com/

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Farewell Salutes – 

Doyle Baker – Cherokee, OK; USMC, Vietnam, 3rd Marine Air Wing, Lt.

Jack Bryce – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 429941, WWII0083f165f66161f63454e92890403bcd

Lawrence Ericksen – Vernal, UT; US Coast Guard, WWII, Merchant seaman

Frederic Gilbert – El Paso, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Bronze Star

Riley Hammond – Lexington, SC; US Navy, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, (Ret. 30 years)

Paul Ladd – Miami, FL; US Navy, Dental Corps, Capt.

David Manwarring – Covina, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457 Ordnance/11th Airborne Div.

Mel Martin – NY; US Army, Capt., Commander of West Point Medical Corps

Dempsey Syvet – Gaspe, CAN; RC Army, WWII, CBI, Royal Rifles of Canada

Edward Tice Jr. – Allentown, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO

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Personal Note –  

I attempted to condense this post for the readers, but I just could not see where anything could be taken out.

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WWII Veteran Travels To Teach History

Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot

Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot

I discovered this article and simply felt the day after 9/11 was perfect for repeating it.

Retired Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin is a man on a mission, and that mission is to speak to young people across America about World War II and the futility of war. His life’s motto is, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and he firmly believes that the young people of today do not appreciate the reality of war and what it was like to fight in one.

Jerry Yellin climbing into a trainer aircraft

Jerry Yellin climbing into a trainer aircraft

Yellin was an Army pilot during WWII [the 78th Fighter Squadron, “The Bushmasters”], with 19 missions over Japan to his credit, but now he is a worried man. In an interview with Channel 12 News, he said, “It’s 2016. I’m 92 years old. I’m reading the same headlines in the newspaper about race, religion, terrorism and killing people for (beliefs) that I read when I was 12 years old in 1936. It’s no different.”

He fears that young people do not understand how the fueling of hatred over differences plays into the hands of warmongers, “We’re an angry nation,” said Yellin. “We’re a divided nation: Culturally, monetarily, racially and religious-wise we’re divided.”

Yellin has a simple message that he is trying to get across to the leaders of tomorrow. No matter how naive he may sound, he simply wants people to draw closer together, “We all need three meals a day,” he said. “We all need a bed to lie down on. We all need something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to for happiness.”

Retired U.S. Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin attends the 71st Commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima at Iwo To, Japan, March 19, 2016. The Iwo Jima Reunion of Honor is an opportunity for Japanese and U.S. veterans and their families, dignitaries, leaders and service members from both nations to honor the battle while recognizing 71 years of peace and prosperity in the U.S. – Japanese alliance. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by MCIPAC Combat Camera Lance Cpl. Juan Esqueda / Released)

Ret. Capt. Jerry Yellin attends the 71st Commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima, March 19, 2016.

This aging pilot and humanitarian has already spoken to the students at the University of Washington, and he has several other speaking engagements set up. This weekend he will be at the Sioux Airshow, in the Sheehan Mack Sales & Equipment’s tent where he will be very happy to chat to you.

Hopefully, many young people will heed the important message that this veteran carries. All nations need someone to unite them instead of serving up reasons to divide the population against one another.   Yellin said, “I just want (people) to know what the 16 million (veterans) did in World War II and why we did it. There were 16 million of us, now there’s maybe 300,000 of us. Most of us can’t walk and talk, but I can, so I’m doing it.”

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“Telling them the story of World War II — why we fought, and why we can’t fight any more wars.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –11133852_544721869000280_6531901680391445584_n

How else can we expect to pay for this war?

How else are we going to to pay for this war?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Richard Alkema – Belmont, MI; US Navy, WWII

Donald Blakely – Woodbury, MN; US Navy, WWII11986973_1183822258300441_3544440820007753006_n.jpgfrom, Falling with Hale

Dorothy Clapshaw – Waihi, NZ; JP # 810166, WWII, Medical ship, Oranje, ETO to PTO

Peter Collins – UK; RAF, test pilot

Arthur Marshall – No.Vancouver, CAN; WWII, ETO, Calgary Highlanders

Thomas Parkhurst – Prague, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division

Robert Schaeffer – Allentown, PA; US Army, WWII, MSgt. (Ret. 31 yrs.), Bronze Star

Thomas Wickline Sr. – Hillsboro, WVA; US Army, Korea

Melvin Witt – Muskegon, IL; US Army, Korea

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Saburo Sakai, WWII Japanese Ace – know who you’re up against

 As the Intermission stories come to a close, until we reach the break of 1944-1945, we take a look at one of the pilots the Allied Air Forces were up against…..

 

Saburō Sakai in the cockpit of a Mitsubishi A5M Type 95 fighter at the Hankow Airfield in China in 1939

Saburō Sakai in the cockpit of a Mitsubishi A5M Type 95 fighter at the Hankow Airfield in China in 1939

During WWII, Sub-Lieutenant Saburō Sakai served as a naval aviator with the Imperial Japanese Navy. He claimed 64 victories, one of which was made after he had been blinded in an eye and had half of his body paralyzed.

 Born in 1916, Sakai was a direct descendant of samurais. He was the third of four sons, which is exactly what Saburō means – third son. In 1933, he joined the Japanese Navy and began quickly climbing his way up the ranks.

In 1937, however, he decided to become a pilot. He did so well that he graduated first in his class, for which he received a silver watch from Emperor Hirohito. By 1938, he became a Petty Officer Second Class where he saw aerial combat during the Second Sino-Japanese war. Though wounded, he achieved his first kill in October 1939 when he shot down an Ilyushin DB-3 bomber.

In 1942, he saw action in the Dutch East Indies where he began to develop an independent streak. Japanese pilots were ordered to shoot down any planes that weren’t Japanese, regardless of whether they were military or civilian craft.

Sakai saw a Dutch Douglas DC-3 carrying civilian passengers, so he got ready to fire. Looking out at him through one of the windows, however, was a blond woman and a child which triggered a flashback. The woman looked like an American teacher who had been kind to him back in Japan, so he couldn’t shoot.

He instead flew forward and signaled the pilot to keep going. The pilot and passengers saluted him in gratitude and did just that. Returning to base, Sakai didn’t report the incident and only included it in his later memoirs.

The Pacific Theater in WWII

Sakai was part of the Tainan Kōkūtai, an air group formed in Tainan City, Taiwan (formerly Japanese territory) on 1 October 1941. Part of the 23rd Air Flotilla, it produced more flying aces than any other unit in the Japanese military, making them national heroes in Japan. The Tainan flew in Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero fighter planes which had greater speed and maneuverability than those used by the Allies, so Sakai decided to show off.

On the evening of 16 May 1942, Sakai was on the island of Lae listening to an Australian radio program broadcasting Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre,” when he got an idea. The next day, he participated in an attack on Port Moresby, but after the rest had flown off, Sakai and two others flew loops in close formation to the tune of Danse Macabre to demonstrate their aerobatic skills.

The next day, an Allied bomber flew over the Lae airfield and dropped a note. It thanked the Japanese for their aerial demonstration, invited them for a return performance, and promised them a warm reception when they did. Sakai and his friends got in serious trouble for that incident, but they didn’t’ regret it.

The Allies, however, didn’t wait for a repeat performance. In August that year, they launched Operation Watchtower, the first major offensive against the Japanese. Its aim was to secure America’s access to Australia and New Zealand, and to isolate the Japanese bases at Rabaul and New Britain.

The Japanese were eventually defeated in that battle, so the Americans took the island of Guadalcanal and its Japanese base, renaming it Henderson Field. The Japanese maintained their hold over the islands of Rabaul and New Britain, but they wanted Henderson Field back.

This resulted in almost daily air and sea battles collectively known as the Guadalcanal Campaign – one which Sakai almost didn’t survive.

The Tainan Kōkūtai in June 1942. Sakai is in the middle row, second from the right.

The Tainan Kōkūtai in June 1942. Sakai is in the middle row, second from the right

On August 7, during Operation Watchtower the Americans attacked the islands of Tulagi and Florida, taking the Japanese by surprise. Sakai and three others from the Tainan Kōkūtai shot down an F4F Wildcat while Sakai alone destroyed an SBD Dauntless dive bomber flown by Lt. Dudley Adams – but not before Adams fired a shot into Sakai’s canopy.

 Sakai wasn’t hurt and Adams managed to parachute out of his plane before he crashed. The next day, Sakai’s luck changed.

Flying over the island of Tulagi, the Tainan tried to ambush eight SBDs. Sakai dove under and aimed for the one flown by Ensign Robert C. Shaw, mistaking it for a Wildcat fighter. But Shaw’s VB-6 Dauntless was a dive bomber with a rear-mounted twin 7.62 mm machine gun.

Sakai had avoided Adam’s shot into his canopy, but not Shaw’s. The bullets blew off his canopy, one took out his right eye and paralyzed the left side of his body. His Zero plummeted to the sea below.

With his good eye blinded from all the blood, Sakai pulled out of the dive and looked for an Allied ship to crash on. But the rush of cold air cleared his head a bit and when he could finally see, he realized he had enough fuel to return to base.

It took him almost five hours to reach Rabaul, nearly crashing into a group of parked Zeros. He had to circle four times, nearly running out of fuel before he finally managed to line up on the runway properly.

Rabaul, 8 August 1942: A seriously wounded Sakai returns to Rabaul with his damaged Zero after a four-hour, 47-minute flight over 560 nmi (1,040 km; 640 mi). Sakai's skull was penetrated by a machine-gun bullet and he was blind in one eye, but insisted on making his mission report before accepting medical treatment.

Men helped him get off and were about to rush him to the field hospital, but he refused. Sakai wanted to make his report first. He did so then passed out. They sent him back to Japan on August 12 for surgery which was done without anesthesia because Japan was running low on supplies, but they couldn’t restore sight to his blind eye.

They finally discharged Sakai in January 1943 and ordered him to spend the rest of the year training pilots. He obeyed, but his samurai blood found it humiliating. With Japan clearly losing the air war, he prevailed upon his superiors to let him fly in combat again. In November 1943, Sakai was promoted to the rank of Flying Warrant Officer. In April 1944, he was transferred to Yokosuka Air Wing, which was deployed to Iwo Jima.

Sakai with his grandchildren in California in 1991

Sakai with his Grandchildren in California, 1991

Sakai with his grandchildren in California in 1991

Sakai made his final kill on 24 June 1944 when he downed an F6F Hellcat. Later he was transferred back to Japan where he took part in the Japanese air force’s last mission of the war. He attacked two reconnaissance B-32 Dominators on 18 August, which were conducting photo-reconnaissance and testing Japanese compliance with the cease-fire. He initially misidentified the planes as B-29 Superfortresses but both aircraft returned to their base at Yontan Airfield, Okinawa.

After the war, Sakai retired from the Navy. He became a Buddhist acolyte and vowed he would never again kill any living thing, not even a mosquito. He died in Tokyo on September 22nd 2000.

Source: Warhistoryonline, Wikipedia, NY Times

 

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PERSONAL NOTE –  Our fellow blogger Mustang Koji and his family are supporting a worthy program for our deployed troops, Operation GratitudePlease pay them both a visit!

Personal Request – would the reader from St. Kitts & Nevis please comment – I have a question.  Thank you.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Leland Baalmann – St. Francis, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Carmon Christensen – Hartford, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 127th Communications Sq.

"Remembering Our Fallen", courtesy of: Cora Metz @ A Fresh Start

“Remembering Our Fallen”, courtesy of: Cora Metz @ A Fresh Start

Joseph ‘Dick’ Gafney – Syracuse, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII/ US Air Force, Vietnam

Fred Hayter – Mooreville, NC; US Navy, WWII

Jane Jawcett – Oxford, ENG; British codebreaker credited w/ the sinking of the Bismark

Troy Kennedy – Bryceland, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret.)

Thomas E. Marriott – Norman, OK; US Army, HQ3/508th/11th Airborne Division

Stephanie Rader (100) – Alexandria, VA; OSS, US Army, WWII, ETO, Major (Ret.)

Melvin Rector – Barefoot Bay, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 96th Bomb Group, MSgt., radio/gunner

Thomas Spitzer – New Braunfels, TX; USMC, Afghanistan, 1st Marine Div., Sgt., KIA

Peter Wolf – Westbury, NY; US Army, Korea, paratrooper

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