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Fear not dear mother – Blue Maiden

Eric brought us these stories overyears ago, butnever forgot them. While the events of the Pacific transpired, other parts of the world suffered…….

Written Words Never Die

Whenever soldiers trudged through the rubber plantations, Siva would run after the men, calling – “Johnny” or “Tommy”.

Then the Japanese brought the war to Malaya and many Australian stragglers took refuge in the jungles. They crept out to scavenge food from the locals.

Siva persuaded his mother, Neela Kanni, to spare whatever they could from their meagre store. Late at night, he would pick his way to the jungle fringe and leave baked tapioca wrapped in banana leaves. One morning, a scrap of paper held down by a stone, greeted him:

Thanks mate!

With a broad smile, Siva ran home with the treasured gift held close to his heart.

About two weeks later, sharp raps on the door startled the household. It was five in the morning. Siva’s father opened the door to four Sikh policemen, who emerged from the ghostly fog. They were apologetic but had come for Siva and his father – on Japanese demands.

View original post 442 more words

Malayan Campaign (2)

Gen. Bennet at Gemas

Gen. Bennet at Gemas

General Bennett’s story continued_______

Then came the battle of Bakri where the 19th and 29th held the road for several days although they were being attacked on all sides.  The men who survived fought their way back…destroyed their equipment and tried to filter back in small parties.

Next, the Japanese concentrated on the Batu Pahat…they landed men in sampans.  Troops had just arrived from England and were quite unused to Malayan conditions and they were unsuccessful in landing at Batu Pahat.  This meant our force at Gemas was almost cut off.  Our withdrawal from the Gemas area was one of the saddest events of the campaign from the Australian point of view.  During the next week the whole force was gradually withdrawn.

Singapore

Singapore

Sadly the men crossed the causeway to Singapore Island.  Our position was strengthened by the arrival of the 4th (W.A.) Machine Gun Battalion.  The 7 Australian battalions were given the western half of the island.  The A.I.F had the 44th Indian Brigade.  The 3rd Indian Corps had the newly arrived English division.  When the men began to build beach posts for machine-guns and beach lights, the Japanese aircraft flew up and down bombing them.

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The Japanese were able to observe the Australian positions so closely by air, they made maps showing everyone of them.  They launched their attacks in boats in the dark overwhelming the thin defense…Our units received inadequate support from other units…It must be remembered that many of these troops were exhausted after the long fight in Malaya.

Lookout

Lookout

Even at this stage, the A.I.F. managed to form a strong perimeter, which the enemy smashed over and over again…retirements on our flanks forced withdrawals until our line approached the city itself.  Then the enemy was able to concentrate his whole air force and many of his guns on Singapore, which was being reduced to a pile of rubble.  Casualties among the civilians were very heavy.  The city’s water supply was cut off.

Brig. Duncan Maxwell

Brig. Duncan Maxwell

Our forces were so depleted in the A.I.F. that it was necessary to use noncombatant troops…signalers, Army Service Corps and ordnance – did fine work.  At the end we occupied a perimeter we refused to budge.  It was in this position when the direction to surrender was made.  Brigadier Maxwell who is a doctor in civilian life was given permission to hand over his command to work in an Australian hospital – all the nurses had been withdrawn from the island.

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[General Bennett made an escape from Singapore to Australia via Java.  Brigadier Maxwell remained a prisoner until September 1945; when he returned to Australia.]

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British Military Humor – 

Home Guard cadets

Home Guard cadets

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kathleen Daniels – Michigan & FL; US Army7388b_To-Honor-Ones-Country-Wreath

Robert Isgrove – Botony, NZ; RNZ Navy # 16636, WWII

Thomas Lapinski – Toledo, OH; US Army, 187th RCT, Korea

Rowena Littrell – Austin, TX; US  Army, WWII, nurse corps

Peter Miles – Coffs Harbour Base, AUS; RA Navy

Jeffrey Piter – WPalm Beach, FL; US Army, Vietnam

William Royal – Sun City, AZ; US Army, WWII, ETO, Capt.(Ret. 20 years), 390 Bomber Group

Ronald Stuart – CAN; British Army “Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders & Madras Reg., Capt. & Canadian Militia & Intelligence, WWII

Alva Tubbs – Kenai, AK; US Navy, WWII, Underwater Demolition Team

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Eyewitness to Malaya

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This 2-part story is condensed from an article that ran in The West Australian newspaper on Saturday, 7 March 1942.  It is the report of Major General Henry Gordon Bennett:

 

General Bennet

General Bennet

The first defensive position in country near Gemas was covered by young rubber trees 4′ or 5′ high and the ground was fairly open and hilly.  The Australian line was covered by the guns of a very efficient artillery regiment from Queensland and New South Wales.  It was some miles in advance of this position at Gemas that the 30th New South Wales Battalion decided to ambush the enemy.

Far East/Malaya map

Far East/Malaya map

Click image to enlarge.

 

The 30th inflicted heavy casualties.  It was our first clash with the Japanese… LtCol. Galleghan was awarded the D.S.O. (Distinguished Service Order), for his conduct in this battle… He led his men personally.  On one occasion, Brigadier Duncan Maxwell sat beside him while a captain sent back ball-to-ball description of the fight, “They are coming at us now.  They are attacking from the left.  They are holding their hats in their hands.  They are shouting not to shoot because they are Indians.”  Maxwell replied, “Tell them to shoot – there are NO Indians in that front sector.”

There was dog-fighting for 2 days.  We had strong patrols on each flank preventing infiltrating parties of the Japanese.  It had just been decided to replace the tired 30th with the 29th when the situation at Muar on the west coast became critical.  The 45th Indian Brigade could not stop the Japanese who crossed the Muar River.  As a consequence, the 29th was hustled into lorries and driven to that front.  They arrived just in time to stop the advance.

The Argylls in Malaya

The Argylls in Malaya

Realizing that the position was vital and its loss would threaten our line of communications well to the rear, we withdrew the 19th Battalion from Mersing to help the 29th.  This left me with 2 battalions at Mersing, 2 at Gemas in the centre of the peninsula and 2 at Muar.  Soon after the 19th arrived near Muar, the Japanese attacked with tanks.  Our gunners realized they had to make sure they were completely destroyed.  Some of the disabled tanks were finished off with Molotov cocktails.

To be continued….With many thanks to Trove.com

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POLITICAL CARTOONS of 1942 – 42edit

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Bonvetti Sr. – Wilmington, DE; US Army WWII

Malcolm Dewar – Vancouver, CAN; Royal Air Force, WWIIOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jesse Dyess – Jacksonville, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, 270th Field Artillery Battalion

Marlene Graham – Colorado Springs, CO; FBI, WWII

Geoffrey Hardwick – Mitchell, AUS; RA Navy, WWII

Eric Larsen Sr. – Kiln, MS; US Army, WWII, ETO

Christ Rink – South Bend, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Herbert Stanley – Anchorage, AK; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Thomas Tyson – Taumarunui, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, #EC15591, Captain

Lionel Violette – Palm Beaches, FL; US Air Force, LtColonel (Ret. 25 years), pilot

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A Correspondent’s View

POWs

POWs

 

Kenneth Attiwill, Australian playwright, journalist and author described the conditions of Malaya for the Allied troops as they were being pushed back to Singapore.  The picture he molds with his words is dramatically similar to what was faced throughout the Pacific.  To give you an insight_____

“…the jungles, mangrove swamps and thickly treed areas of cultivation present a particular problem.  Visibility is limited…there are no fields of fire and tactical features become insignificant.

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“…the jungle itself – a terrifying morass of tangled vegetation, steamy heat, nerve-racking noises and the discomfit of mosquitoes by the myriad, moths, beetles, insects of all kinds, biting, buzzing, irritating and debilitating.

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“Rubber too, with its dampness and sound-deadening effect breeds a feeling of isolation…Noise is difficult to pinpoint…In the monsoonal season there is the added handicap of torrential rain, hissing down incessantly upon the greenery, dripping on heads and bodies, humid, sweaty, destructive…article970368-3-001

Within little more than a month, the Japanese had advanced from Siam all the way down the peninsula into northern Johore…Yet, in Johore, the commanders chose to try to defend one strong point, only to be destroyed piecemeal.”

“Withdrawal into Singapore was inevitable.  That was the pattern — errors by commanders; insufficient or inadequately trained troops and continuous under-estimation of a savage, speedy, highly skilled and highly mobile enemy.”

Kenneth Attiwill became a POW of the Japanese and was interned on both Java and later Japan.  He survived his ordeal and married author, Evadne Price.  He wrote “The Singapore Story” to describe the events up to the surrender and “The Rising Sunset” about his time in captivity.  Mr. Attiwill passed away in 1960 and the youthful age of 54.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

News articles are courtesy of Trove.com

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Current News –     THE AMERICAN VETERANS DISABLED FOR LIFE MEMORIAL  HAS NOW BEEN DEDICATED – Take a moment.

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Does Little Rock like this one?  Did I do the veterans justice?  Let me know.

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Paintings by WWII POW Lance Bombardier, Des Bettany –

Where's the cookhouse?

Where’s the cookhouse?

 

 

 

Prison library

Prison library

Heigh-ho-heigh-ho

Heigh-ho-heigh-ho

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Brugliera, Jr – Jupiter, FL; US Navy, WWII, destroyer radioman

Richard Bensacca – Soledad, CA; US Army, WWII, aircraft engine mechanicA-Single-Tear-Ach-Hold-Inspirational-Life-Quotes

John Cain – Ottawa, CAN; RC Army, P.P.C.L.I., Korea

Jack Dahlgren – Oilton, OK; US  Army, 291st Antitank/75th Div., USAAF, P-38, P-47 pilot, WWII

George Hill – Las Vegas, NV; US Air Force (Ret. E-6 20 years), 3 tours Vietnam

Harvey Johnson – Kansas City, MO; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Bruce McRobie – Northbridge, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Lloyd Oczkewicz – Everett, WA; US Army,WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Robert Pratt – Lake Worth, FL; US Army, Korea

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14 – 20 December 1941

Clarkfield, P.I., aftermath depicted in a Japanese print

Clarkfield, P.I., aftermath depicted in a Japanese print

Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox reported to the white House after his visit to Hawaii.  He did not accuse Admiral Kimmell or General Short of dereliction of duty and did point out that neither of the commanders were privy to the Magic intelligence intercepts.   Secretary of War, Henry Stimson was unaware of this interaction.  He had already sent a replacement to Pearl for General Short.  Pres. Roosevelt, displeased with Knox’s exoneration, called a meeting of high officials (including Knox).  A paper was given to each with the information they were permitted to mention at their press conferences.  It was to be admitted that the Army and Navy were unprepared and Kimmell and Short were to blame.  Knox’s own press release was verbatim of that paper. (Future posts will deal with the Kimmell and Short hearings as they fit into this history.).

Sec. of the Navy, Frank Knox

Sec. of the Navy, Frank Knox

Henry Stimson

Henry Stimson

 

15 December, to replace Admiral Kimmell, the White House discussions quickly agreed on RAdmiral Chester W. Nimitz, who was actually startled by the promotion.  He remarked to his wife, “… the fleet’s at the bottom of the sea.  Nobody must know that here, but I’ve got to tell you.”

16 December, the Japanese 19th Division landed on the northern coast of Borneo and pushed the British and Dutch troops into retreat.  A conquest of the Dutch East Indies would enable the enemy to dominate the southwestern sector of the Pacific and make an invasion of Australia possible.  Also on this date, the Allied airbase at Victoria Point in Burma fell into enemy hands.  This cut off aerial supplies to the local British forces.

Clarkfield days before attack

Clarkfield days before attack

19 December, a Japanese regiment from Palau took over Davao, a major port on Mindanao in the Philippine Islands.  It would serve as a staging point for the continued Dutch East Indies invasions and for further Philippine islands.  The British forces on Penang (off the coast of Malaya) were forced off that island.

The Japanese 38th Infantry Division of 40,000 men landed at Hong Kong.  They outnumbered the British garrison of 12,000 men.  The British were forced to withdraw behind the Perak River in central Malaya while the 11th Indian Division fought to delay the Japanese push.

Flying Tigers

Flying Tigers

20 December, over China, 10 Japanese bombers were shot down by US pilots of the Flying Tiger “volunteer” force.  This was the first engagement for the First American Volunteer Group based in Kunming.  The three fighter squadrons had been composed from the US Army Air Corps, Navy and Marines and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault.  Acting as a private military contractor group, they received 3-times the pay of the American military – plus bonus.  They would be replaced in July 1942 by the US Army 23rd Fighter Group.

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Humor – 

Despite today’s cutbacks – the military will continue to grow….

military pictures,military humor

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What would your captions be?

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Farewell Salutes – 

Farewell...

Farewell…

Rocco Barone – Point Pleasant, NJ; US Army, WWII

Micharl “MJ” Duersten – Racine, WI & Tequesta, FL; US Army, Korea

Graham Greenwood – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 452668, WWII, Squadron Leader, SSgt. 2NZEF & AK179 Z Special Force

Earl Johnson – Ottawa, CAN; RC Navy, WWII

Howard Lord – Monticello, IN; US Army

Fred MacGregor JR. – Chatsworth Greene, VT; USMC, WWII, PTO / US Army, Korea, Captain

Obert Ouimette – WPalm Beach, FL; USMC, WWII

Donald Raybuck – Cabot, PA; US Army, MP, Vietnam

Roger Stanley – Saraland, AL; USMC, Vietnam

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Japanese Blitzkrieg (1)

Japan's plan

Japan’s plan

 

The Japanese-style blitzkrieg offensive continued to spread throughout the Pacific carefully designed to weaken the Anglo and US strength in the Asia-Pacific zones and give Tokyo the time to seize strategic bases and economic resources.  The colonial outposts from Hong Kong to Manila and Malaya to Singapore were attacked while the US Naval Fleet lay crippled at Pearl Harbor.

Japanese troops in Johore, Malaya

Japanese troops in Johore, Malaya

Churchill, elated over the American attack, also saw the “terrible forfeits in the East” due to his misjudgment of Japan’s military power.  There would be little in the Pacific remaining between Japan and the virtually undefended Australia and New Zealand.

Malaya and Thailand had been invaded by the Japanese 5th and 18th divisions, along with the Imperial Guards, with the missions to capture Singapore, her port and the British troops surrounding it.  Let it be noted that the Malaya/Thailand and Singapore campaigns were designed as 2 separate strategies and were considered by the Japanese to be the most vital.  Pearl Harbor was merely meant to render the US fleet incapable of interfering with these operations.

Canadian troops training in Hong Kong, December 1941

Canadian troops training in Hong Kong, December 1941

The Japanese 15th Army on the Kra Isthmus of Burma were to sever the supply routes of supplies to China and secure the Burmese oil.  The British on  mainland China were pushed back due to the assault by 3 enemy regiments opposite Hong Kong.

Japanese Blitz in action

Japanese Blitz in action

8 December, in the Philippines, the Japanese infantry units went in to occupy Bataan while other units landed at Vigan and Aparri in the north portion of Luzon.  /  Wake Island began to receive heavy naval and aerial enemy bombardment.

FDR gives the "Infamy" speech

FDR gives the “Infamy” speech

FDR gave his “a day that will live in infamy” speech to Congress and they immediately passed the resolution to declare war on Japan. (NOT Germany).  Thirty-three minutes later, the president cabled Churchill_____

“…TODAY ALL OF US ARE IN THE SAME BOAT WITH YOU AND THE PEOPLE OF THE EMPIRE AND IT IS A SHIP WHICH WILL NOT AND CANNOT BE SUNK.”

Click on to images to enlarge.

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Humor – and the training shall begin…..

instructor.jpg Muscleheaded

 

armylife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postcards are courtesy of http://muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Borowski – Port Allegany, PA; US Army, WWII, SSgt., Europe/Africa/Middle East Theater

WWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

WWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

Donald Chapman – Redding, CA; US Army, Korea, 64th FAR/25th Division

Alex Giblin – Richmond, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 436608, Flt. Sgt., WWII

Raymond Hatfield – Cythniana, KY; US Navy, WWII

Joseph McEntee – Washington DC; US Army, WWII & US Air Force, Korea, LtCol. (Ret.)

Kenneth Rankin – Ottawa, CAN; RAF/RCAF, WWII, (Ret.)

Floyd “Flip” Soden – WPalm Beach, FL; US Navy,  USS Rowe 564

Robert Van Buren – WPalm Beach, FL; US Army, WWII

Adlophus “Ross” Wright  Jr. (89) – Columbia, MO; US Air Force, POW

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7 December 1941 (2)

 
Pearl Harbor view from a Japanese fighter

Pearl Harbor view from a Japanese fighter

0749 hours – “ToToToToTo” went out to all Japanese pilots (the first 2 letters of ‘Totsugeki!’  CHARGE!), and the torpedo bombers proceeded to sweep Battleship Row.  “Tora! Tora! Tora!” was sent out next.  The code, Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! was sent 5000 miles to the “Akagi” for Admiral Yamamoto to be aware that the Strike Force had indeed caught the US Navy by surprise; the Admiral read the message and then continued his game of Shogi with his staff gunnery officer, Watanabe.
Three civilian planes safely landed back on Oahu after being caught in the maelstrom of tracer bullets.
Shanghai Harbor under attack

Shanghai Harbor under attack

1000 hours – In Shanghai, China, Lt Comdr. Columbus Smith was woken up by a call from the HMS “Wake” to make a report on the attack of Pearl Harbor.  He immediately rushed to scuttle his command, but was promptly arrested by Japanese guards.
1130 hours – over Singapore, the 5am streetlights directed the Japanese planes to the city.  The Changi Naval Base, and British ships, “Prince of Wales” and “Repulse” returned antiaircraft fire.
 
USS Cassin & Downs

USS Cassin & Downs

 

On Formosa, the Japanese planes of the 11th Air Fleet were grounded by fog and were unable make their scheduled attack on Luzon.
1257 hours –  Guam was bombed by the Japanese navy bombers from Saipan.  The Marine barracks were destroyed and the USS “Penguin” was sunk.
 
USS Penquin

USS Penquin

 

 
1300 hours –  36 Japanese bombers left Roi in the Marshall Islands and strafed Wake Island.  Lacking radar, the fighter planes recently delivered by the “Enterprise” had only 15 seconds warning; 7 of them were destroyed on the ground.  Twelve Marines and 6 civilians of the Pan Am Hotel were killed.  A Marine survivor said, “The pilots in every one of those planes was grinning wildly.  Every one wiggled his wings to signify Banzai.”
The Pan Am flying boat, “Philippine Clipper”, escaped with 23 bullet holes in her as she carried 70 airline personnel and the             wounded from the island.  Pilot Capt. Hamilton radioed back that an enemy cruiser with destroyers was headed toward Wake.
 
Ford Island Air Station & USS Shaw

Ford Island Air Station & USS Shaw

1400 hours –  Hong Kong was attacked by 35 enemy bombers.  MGen. C.M. Maltby knew Britain would not defend the possession, but he was ordered to “hold out as long as possible.”
1500 hours –  With the fog lifted on Formosa, Luzon was attacked by 32 Japanese Army bombers and 192 of their Navy’s 11th Air Fleet took off to follow through.
Clark Field, Nov. 1941

Clark Field, Nov. 1941

1730 hours – a radar operator at Iba Field, Luzon spotted the Japanese squadron approaching and transmitted the data to Clark Field, but the teletype operator was literally out to lunch.  In a series of mistakes,  MacArthur had erred in underrating his enemy.
2200 hours –  Counterattacks at Kota Bharu failed.  This prompted the Australian commander to request permission to evacuate his remaining planes 150 miles south.  Ground personnel and civilians left the town as the surviving Indian troops stayed to make a final stand.
 
Cynthia Olson SS

Cynthia Olson SS

 
Also on this date, but the hour unknown, the US cargo ship “Cynthia Olson” loaded with lumber for Hawaii was torpedoed by the enemy submarine I-26 and sunk in the Pacific, 1200 miles west of Seattle, with the loss of 35 men.  
 

On that first night, as the world turned into another day, a darkness, never before known, fell over the Pacific culminating 24 hours of unmitigated disaster.  Only the British Prime Minister went to bed content, “So, we have won after all.  Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the sound and thankful”_____Winston Churchill

Click on any image to enlarge.

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Political Cartoons of the times_________

 

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Personal Note……  

It has been a while since I’ve given the veterans and volunteers of Little Rock, Arkansas a renewed Shout Out!!  I sincerely hope you are all enjoying this web site – this includes you too, Tom DeGrom!  I have spies out there and I want to hear that you are all doing well!  
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Farewell Salutes – 

Harry Alsman Sr. – LeClaire, IA; US Navy, Korea

Richard Bolt – Wellington, NZ; RNZ Air Force, Air Marshal, Chief of Defense Staff (Ret.)

James Chase – Chatman, MA; US Army, HQ Company, 11th A/B (Ret. 20 years)

Robert DePledge – Invermere, BC, Can; RC Armywwii-memorial-011me

Everett (Pat) Emmick – Loxahatchee, FL; US Army, Vietnam, Bronze Star

Eugene Knobbe – Boynton Beach, FL; US Army, Korea

Andrew Manchester Sr. – No. Branford, CT; US Army Air Corps. WWII, B-17 top turret gunner, 15th & 8th Army, ETO, No. Africa

Leonard Pilarski – Nesconset, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, F Co/511th Reg.

Charles Roberts, Jr. – Kansas City, MO; USMC, BrigGeneral, Korea & Vietnam, Purple Heart

Harry Stamos – Hendersonville, NC; US Army, WWII, Signal Corps, ETO

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THANK YOU FOR THE CORRECTION, ALLEN.

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