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Flying The Hump

To honor the men who flew to support the men on the ground….

The Java Gold's Blog

The first massive airlift in history

One of the chapters in ‘The Java Gold’  is dedicated to ‘…flying the Hump…’as the ‘air bridge’ into China across the Himalayas soon became known. ‘It was the first massive airlift in history.

image The Himalayas as seen after take off from a field in Assam

‘The Hump’  started early in 1942, initially with just a handful of aircrew and airplanes. Most of these planes were hastily ‘converted’ civilian DC-3’s that had been ferried across the Atlantic, Africa and India by a Pan American subsidiary. Often the former civilian owner’s logo and lettering couldstill be seen shining through the hastily applied olive drab army paint.
The US 10th Air Force, ATC and CNAC attempted to carry 10.000 tons of cargo each month into the beleaguered Kunming area that was isolated after the loss of the Burma Road.

image Chabua airfield in 1944, with a view of…

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March 1942 (1)

Japanese in N.E.I.

Japanese in N.E.I.

The arrival of Japanese units on Java gave the enemy the important naval base at Surabaya and access to the valuable assets of oil, rubber, bauxite and rice.  This positioning would aid the operations targeting assaults on Australia.

HMAS Yarra

HMAS Yarra

2-4 March – The HMAS Yarra arrived at Tjilatjap with the depot ship Anking, the tanker Francol and the minesweeper MMS-51, the sloop was ordered to escort the other 3 ships to Freemantle.  A day later, the ship rescued forty survivors of the Dutch ship Paragi from their life rafts.  By the 4th, the convoy encountered an enemy fleet with the cruisers Atago, Takao and Maya and 4 destroyers.  Despite the gallant efforts of the Yarra, all 4 ships were pursued and sunk.  There were originally 34 survivors, but rescue did not arrive until the 9th and there were only 13 remaining. Holland_Japanese_IndonesiaA_280x196 JapBikes 9 March –  prisoners of war were rounded up nearing 98,000 and two days after the last Allied troops surrendered on Java, Emperor Hirohito warned Marquis Kido, Lord Privy Seal, “The fruits of victory are tumbling into our mouths too quickly.”  It was his 42nd birthday.  As the Japanese Empire grew in size each day, they were faced with the problems of defending and administering to their newly acquired territories. By this time, Churchill made even more demands of the US for tanks, aircraft and troops to be shipped to Britain.  But, with the added concern of protecting Australia and New Zealand, FDR warned him that the original build-up plan must be cut for the emergency status in the Pacific.  This gave Admiral King the opportunity to try to push his “Pacific-First” campaign.

a 1942 sample of war news. Click on to read.

a 1942 sample of war news.
Click on to read.

The Director of War Plans, BGen. Eisenhower, insisted on (A) maintenance of the United Kingdom; (B) retention of Russia in the war; (C) maintenance of the Indian-Middle East area to prevent a junction of the Axis enemies. [C- was actually a misconception here as Japan felt no attachment to Germany other than one old trade agreement.  It was the Allied powers that created the “link” between the 2 nations.].  King continued to argue that the US priority was the Pacific, while Ike called him “an arbitrary and stubborn type with too much brain…”  Marshall put forward a compromise, which went into effect, favoring the Atlantic.

Japanese soldiers teach New Guinea villagers songs as part of their indoctrination.

Japanese soldiers teach New Guinea villagers songs as part of their indoctrination.

8-17 March – on New Guinea, Japanese forces invaded with 2 battalions at Lae and Salamaua in the Huon Gulf.  Two days later, the enemy started their air raids on Port Moresby as the Allies sent aircraft to strike the Japanese positions.  Enemy forces secured the northern coastline with a landing at Finschafen.  The US cruisers Enterprise & Lexington launched major air raids against enemy shipping and landing parties.  The US Navy reported 2 enemy heavy cruisers, 5 transport vessels, 1 light cruiser and possibly 3 destroyers sunk; 1 destroyer and 1 cruiser damaged.  Those included the Armed Merchant Cruiser Kongo Maru, aux. minelayer Tenyo Maru [that broke in 2 pieces before sinking] and the transport Yokohama Maru.  The USS Yorktown was credited with the destruction of seaplane tender Kiyokama Maru. Click on images to enlarge and read. ################################################################################## MILITARY  HUMOR – Pin-ups became VERY popular – 

Vivian Austin

Vivian Austin

Ann Miller, Yank Magazine

Ann Miller, Yank Magazine

################################################################################## BENEFITS FOR TODAY’S VETERANS – submitted by Sheri DeGrom, we both hope these links will assist any veteran! www.va.gov military advantage VA Registry  ################################################################################## Farewell Salutes –  James Biden – El Paso, TX; US Army, Korea & Vietnam

Michael Davison – Vernon, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETOBN91311

John Eldridge Jr. – Fairbanks, AK; US Army (Ret. 20 years), Vietnam, Bronze Star

Gordon Jones – NH, MA & FL; US Navy, USS Cecil J. Doyle, navigator

Peter Kassig – Indianapolis, IN; US Army, Ranger, Iraq

Kenneth Leisy – Sun Lakes, AZ; US Army Major (Ret.), WWII John McEwing – Dargaville, NZ; RNZ Army #443847, WWII, Lance Cpl.

Terry Sato – Denver, CO; WWII internee Paul Tidwell Jr. – Delray Bch, FL; US Air Force, Korea ##################################################################################

February 1942 (2)

Lt. Edward "Butch" O'Hare, Feb. 1942

Lt. Edward “Butch” O’Hare, Feb. 1942

 

20 February – Lieutenant Edward H. “Butch” O’Hare, of the US Navy became America’s first flying ace while piloting his Grumman F4F “Wildcat” off the USS Lexington.  Fellow blogger Maryann Holloway has a terrific post for Butch___

Rangoon area map, showing Sittang River

Rangoon area map, showing Sittang River

21 February – Allied resistance in Burma evaporated at the Sittang River.  At one point, the British forces that were crossing the river on a single bridge, were forced to blow it up with a large number of men stranded on the other side.  Many of these soldiers drowned when they attempted to swim across.  The Japanese were then free to turn west toward Rangoon, but they would discover that the British had destroyed anything that might be of value to the enemy before they evacuated.

23 February – The Japanese submarine 1-17 made a rare attack on the west coast of the United States.  The oil refinery at Ellwood, California was fired on 17 times, but this only caused minor damage to a pier and an oil well derrick.

Japanese troops in Java

Japanese troops in Java

On the evening of 27 February, the Japanese Eastern Force of 4 cruisers, 14 destroyers and 41 transport vessels sailing for Java were intercepted by US, Dutch< Australian and British warships.  The Allied force consisted of 5 cruisers and 9 destroyers under Dutch Adm.Karel Doorman.  They suffered from inferior firepower, no reconnaissance aircraft, (Doorman felt they should remain ashore), no air cover and the admiral’s lack of experience.  Two Allied cruisers were sunk.  The HMS Exeter withdrew due to damage in her engine room and Ad. Doorman was killed.  Only one enemy destroyer was damaged.

USS Pope

USS Pope

The following night, the 2 remaining cruisers, USS Houston and the HMAS Perth, engaged the enemy west of Batavia, sinking 2 ships and damaging 4 other vessels.  The cruisers were later destroyed by 12 Japanese warships.  The HMS Exeter and 2 destroyers escorting her were sunk as they attempted to escape to Ceylon.  Three of the enemy warships involved in this battle were the Jintsu, Nachi and the Haguro.

Japanese aerial view of the Exeter

Japanese aerial view of the Exeter

The only Allied survivors of the Battle of the Java Sea were 4 US destroyers.  This action showed the perils of a makeshift multinational task force and demonstrated the superiority of certain Japanese weapon types; especially their “Long Lance” torpedoes.  (The wreckage of the Houston was finally confirmed as being located.  This was mentioned in my post “News Day.” which can be located HERE!

Japanese Long Lance torpedo being fired

Japanese Long Lance torpedo being fired

Churchill, upon hearing of the state of affairs of the ground troops on Java, sent a farewell message to the British that remained with the Dutch and Australian units: “I know you will do everything humanly possible to prolong the battle.”

Adm. Conrad Helfrich, Commander of the ABDA, was told the joint venture was dissolved.  Six days later, the last radio station in operation told the ground troops: “We are shutting down…Goodbye till better times.  Long live the Queen!”

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MILITARY HUMOR – 

Camp Polk

181017-military_humor_6-4024

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FAREWELL SALUTES – 

Florence Anderegg – Anchorage, ALaska; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Charles Cornwell – Harlington, TX; US Army, Vietnam945925_391409037634955_1621483807_n

Arthur Cowan – Otorohanga, NZ; RNZ Army # 20161, WWII, Sgt.

Richard Fereshetian – Carlisle, MA; US Navy, WWII

Joseph Geoghan Jr. – No.Augusta, SC; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. (Ret. 21 years)

Larry Michael – Vinton, IA; USMC, Vietnam, Major (Ret. 22 years)

Reginal Shikami – Chicago, IL; Manzanar Camp internee & US Army Intelligence Service

John Taylor – Vancouver, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Flying Beaufighters & the Buffalo 404 Sq.

Robert Whelpley – McPherson, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO

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Click on images to enlarge.

News Day

Western Union, Labor Day, 1942

Western Union, Labor Day, 1942

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE EXPECTING A LABOR DAY POST, I HAVE HERE A LINK TO MY POST FROM LAST YEAR WHICH DEPICTED THE DAY’S CELEBRATION IN THE STYLE OF THE 1950’S.   I’M SURE MANY OF YOU WILL REMEMBER IT, BUT –  WE HAVE HAD NEW READERS JOIN US SINCE THAT TIME.  PLUS – I’VE ACCUMULATED A LOT OF CURRENT NEWS THAT NEEDS TO BE POSTED.  THANK YOU….

america-in-the-1950s-old-time-radio-otr-cassettes-jpg

Labor Day Post – HERE

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WWII VETERAN – STILL HAS WHAT IT TAKES!

Arthur Lewis

Arthur Lewis

Arthur M. Lewis, 89, an Army veteran of the Pacific Theater, was working behind the counter of The Jewelry Exchange in Lake Park, Florida when an armed robber entered the store.  Lewis grabbed the attacker’s gun and pulled out his own weapon.  Shots were fired.  Lewis was grazed on his arm and the would-be thief escaped carrying 6 bullets in his body.  The man and his get-away driver were caught by the Boca Raton police when they sought medical attention.  The suspect faces felony charges when he is released by the hospital.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Fallen WWII Soldier Comes Home

David Rogers holding his uncle's WWII picture

David Rogers holding his uncle’s WWII picture

Dog tags of Pvt. Bernard Gavin

Dog tags of Pvt. Bernard Gavin

DNA testing and a set of dog tags has positively identified the missing US Army Pvt. Bernard “Max” Gavrin who fought in the PTO and went missing in Saipan.  He will be laid to rest on 12 September.  The remains were discovered by the non-profit Japanese organization, the Kuentai Group.

Gavrin’s nephew, David Rogers of Delray Beach, Florida, last saw his uncle when he was years old, said in an interview:  “I am completely in awe of where he is going to be buried.  Arlington Cemetery is the single most hallowed ground in this country.  Beneath its surface contains the who’s who of American history.  To think that my uncle will also be buried there is incredible to me.”

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Java Sea Wreck Confirmed

A wreath is passed to sailors for the tomb of 700.

A wreath is passed to sailors for the tomb of 700.

More than 70 years after the heavy cruiser, USS Houston, was sunk by the Japanese during the Battle of Sunda Strait in February 1942, the grave for 700 of its sailors and Marines has been confirmed.  Nicknamed the “Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast” had only 291 survivors.  The commander, Captain Albert H. Rooks, was killed during the battle and awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

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U.S. Military Downsizing

The 1/9 Marine insignia The Walking Dead

The 1/9 Marine insignia
The Walking Dead

A Marine Corps battalion decorated for extensive combat in WWII and Vietnam earned the nickname “Walking Dead.”  The 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, which also saw action in Iraq and Afghanistan, was deactivated during a ceremony at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  The unit had a reputation for heroism that included Medal of Honor recipients at Guam and Iwo Jima and two in Vietnam.

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Did You Know?

__ Elvis Presley did a benefit concert and raised over $50,000 to help in the cost of erecting the Arizona memorial.

Ticket for the Elvis USS Arizona Benefit

Ticket for the Elvis’ USS Arizona Benefit

__ Some former crew-members are choosing to have their ashes scattered over their former ships at Pearl Harbor.
__ Fuel, to this day, continues to leak from the USS Arizona.
__ Twenty-three sets of brothers died when the Arizona sank.
 
 
 Click on any image to enlarge.

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Merchant Navy Day – New Zealand – 3 September

Capt. Inkster

Capt. Inkster

The men and boys of the New Zealand Merchant Navy had one of the most perilous wartime occupations as they carried supplies to the troops and wounded to safety.  Their virtually unarmed ships were sitting ducks for the enemy.  Hundreds of mines were laid by German raiders in the early years of the war and several vessels were sunk, including the minesweeper, Puriri, May 1941 off Whangarei, NZ.

Around 130 New Zealand seafarers lost their lives and around 140 were taken prisoner.  Captain Inkster, pictured above, served for 60 years, including all six years of WWII.  Let’s join them this Wednesday in honoring these civilians who put their lives on the line for the Allied troops!

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A Current Political Cartoon____

A day of infamy Pearl Harbor (by Dan Saad)

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Farewell Salutes – 

Heroes R.I.P.

Heroes R.I.P.

Stuart Avery – Tauranga, NZ; RNZ Air Force # W327494

William “Dan” Boone – Adelanto, CA; US Air Force, MSgt. (Ret. 20 years), Vietnam

Charles Catanzaro – Syracuse, NY; US Army, Sgt., Vietnam

Morris “Moose” Fontenot – Longmeadow, MA;  US Air Force, LtCol., 104th Fighter Wing, F-15 pilot

Gerald McHaffie – Ozark, MO; US Navy, Korea

Walter Pacholka – Pointe-Claire, CAN; RC Air Force [attached to RAF Squadron 199], WWII

Harry Peterson – Oak Park, IL; US Army, 99th Div., WWII, ETO, [author]

Bertrand Vachon – Augusta, ME; US Army, Sgt., WWII

Herbert Waits – LaPine, OR; US Army, Corps of Engineers, WWII

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