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Wartime Football

One of the Sports Facts newspaper of April 25, 1950 with photos of Bronko Nagurski.

What many people today don’t know is that professional football went through many of the same trials and tribulations that baseball did during the war years. Making matters even worse for the owners and fans of the sport was the fact that even in the 1940s, professional football was not as popular as its college counterpart.

Adding to the wartime troubles for football was the fact that college football remained somewhat unaffected, as the players were mostly younger or exempt (at least temporarily) from the military draft. That meant that star college players kept playing, but star professional players found themselves in uniform.

American footballer Tuffy Leemans

To keep people interested in the game, the National Football League (NFL) came up with sort of a gimmick, much like their baseball counterparts – they re-signed older, retired stars. The most famous of the returning players was Bronko Nagurski, who had played for the Chicago Bears and had retired in 1937. Nagurski, who became famous in college and the pros as a fullback, returned to football as a tackle.

Other (future) Hall of Famers included Green Bay quarterback Arnie Herber, who had retired in 1940, and halfback Ken Strong. Herber signed with the New York Giants and Strong returned to that team.

Steagles starting line-up

Teams as a whole went through hard times because of the war. The Cleveland Browns suspended play for 1943. Many people would be surprised to hear that the two Pennsylvania teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, actually merged for 1943, and played in both cities. People dubbed the team “the Steagles.”

The “Steagles” only lasted one year, but in 1944 Pittsburgh combined with another struggling team, the Chicago Cardinals. The official name of this team was the catchy “Card-Pitt Combine” and they were so bad they went winless that year. Opposing teams ran over them so much that sportswriters and fans began calling the team “the Carpets.”

The year 1945 saw the end of the “Combine,” but two teams that do not exist anymore, the Boston Yanks and the Brooklyn Dodgers (yes, football “Dodgers”) merged at that time and played as the “Yanks,” but left a city tag off the name.

During the war, a surprisingly large number of NFL players were killed overseas. Many of the players went into combat roles – their athletic prowess and toughness made it almost inevitable, and the death toll reflected that. Nineteen active or former players were killed in action, as was an ex-head coach and a team executive.

Al Blozis, Giants tackle, died in World War II. According to Mel Hein, “If he hadn’t been killed, he could have been the greatest tackle who ever played football

Of those NFL players killed in action, probably the best-known was Al Blozis, who played tackle for the New York Giants and had been “All-League” (the early NFL’s “All-Pro”). Blozis was 6’6” tall and weighed 250 lbs. Blozis was in the Army, and actually could have claimed exemption from front-line infantry duty because of his size and instead put into the artillery or a support branch, but he would not take the exemption.

During basic training, he set the Army record for a grenade throw – he had been a varsity shot-putter at Georgetown University. In the winter of 1944, just six weeks after playing in the 1944 NFL Championship Game, Blozis was killed by German machine-gun fire as he helped look for some missing men in the snow-covered Vosges Mountains of eastern France.

Three men who had played in the NFL or pro football or later had connections to it were awarded the Medal of Honor during the war, one of them posthumously.

Joseph Jacob Foss wearing the highly prized Medal of Honor bestowed upon him by President Roosevelt for outstanding gallantry against the Japanese in the Solomons.

The most famous of the three was fighter pilot Joe Foss, who was the leading Marine ace of WWII with 26 victories. He later was commissioner of the AFL from 1960-66 as well as being governor of South Dakota.

Maurice Britt briefly played end for the Detroit Lions before the war. He fought in North Africa and Italy and was the first man in WWII to be awarded all four of the top medals of valor: the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star. He also received four Purple Hearts. Football was easy compared to all that.

Jack Lummus, USMC, Medal of Honor recipient; Battle of Iwo Jima

Andrew Jackson “Jack” Lummus played with the 1941 New York Giants and received the Medal of Honor for actions taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. He destroyed many Japanese positions single-handedly, despite being wounded multiple times, before being killed by a land-mine.

Tom Landry, USArmy Air Corps / Coach Landry

Perhaps the most famous of them all, at least in regard to football, was legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry. At 19, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and flew 30 missions in a B-17 over occupied Europe, surviving a crash in Belgium on his way back from bombing a German armaments plant in Czechoslovakia. He was on the real “America’s Team” long before he coached the other one.

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Military Humor – 

‘These military teams really take their defence seriously…!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stephen F. Ambrose – Trumbull, CT; US Army, WWII

Francis Behrendt – Charleroi, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Co. E/188/11th Airborne Division

V. Herbert Brady Jr. – Macon, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Peter Corchero – Mayfirled, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Michael Howard – South Kensington, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO, Lt., Coldstream Guards. Military Cross / Military Historian

Evelyn Owens – Harlan, KY; Civilian, “Rosie” @ Willow Run, B-24 riveter & crane operator

Thomas Parnell – Somerset, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, gunner

David Ridley – Brockville, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, 514th Squadron, Lancaster navigator

Jerome Thomas – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LST # 991

John Weatherly – Grand Island, NE; US Army, WWII, ETO, 349th Infantry Regiment “Blue Devils”

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Military during Thanksgiving

 

 

 

The Thanksgiving Day card GP Cox received from the National WWII Museum in New Orleans

I WISH TO EXPRESS MY THANKS TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU !!!  AND MAY WE ALL THANK THOSE VETERANS WHO FIGHT FOR US !!!

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Thanksgiving during WWII…

They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day,

My thoughts are at home, though I’m far away;

I can see everyone, eating dinner deluxe,

Whether it be chicken, turkey or even duck;

The fellows over here won’t whimper or moan,

They’ll look to the next one and hope to be home.

 

Truly and honestly, from way down deep,

They want you to be happy and enjoy your feast.

These holidays are remembered by one and all,

Those happy days we can always recall.

The ones in the future, will be happier, I know

When we all come back from defeating the foe.

_______Poem by an Anonymous WWII Veteran

Thanksgiving

For those of you living where there is no official Thanksgiving Day on this date – look around – family, friends, Freedom and life itself – all enough to give thanks for each day !

 

FROM: PACIFIC PARATROOPER – May you all have a happy and healthy Holiday Season !!

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Please be considerate to those who may not be celebrating…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Humor – 

Navy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Army

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Archer – Omaha, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-25 navigator

John Boone – Summerville, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, light mortar, Co. I/319/80th Division

Juan Borjon Jr. – Morenci, AZ; US Army, Spc., 11th Airborne Division

WWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

Don Dyne – Kelseyville, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO / Korea, radio tech.

Adolph J. Loebach – Peru, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Oklahoma, KIA, (Pearl Harbor)

Donald McElwain – Holyoke, MA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Ensign, LST

Frank Merritt – Broxton, GA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Charles G. Ruble – Parker City, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 441st Troop Carrier Group, KIA (Germany)

Elmo Sepulvado – Zwolle, LA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Gerald N. Wilson – Camden, MI; US Army, Korea, Cpl., 1st Calvary Division, KIA

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Strategy Page’s Military Humor and more….

 

Military Common Sense Rules

A lot of life’s problems can be explained by the U.S. Military and its applications of common sense …

  1. “Sometimes I think war is God’s way of teaching us geography.”
    (Paul Rodriguez)
  2. “A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what’s left of your unit.”
    (Army’s magazine of preventive maintenance ).
  3. “Aim towards the Enemy.”
    (Instruction printed on US M79 Rocket Launcher)
  4. When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.
    (U.S. Marine Corps)
  5. Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs always hit the ground.
    (U.S. Air Force)
  6. If the enemy is in range, so are you.
    (Infantry Journal)
  7. It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.
    (US Air Force Manual)
  8. Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.
    (Gen. MacArthur)
  9. Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo.
    (Infantry Journal)
  10. You, you, and you . . . Panic. The rest of you, come with me.
    (Marine Gunnery Sergeant)
  11. Tracers work both ways.
    (US Army Ordnance)
  12. Five second fuses only last three seconds.
    (Infantry Journal)
  13. Don’t ever be the first, don’t ever be the last, and don’t ever volunteer to do anything.
    (US Navy Seaman)
  14. Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.
    (David Hackworth)
  15. If your attack is going too well, you have walked into an ambush.
    (Infantry Journal)
  16. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
    (Joe Gay)
  17. Any ship can be a minesweeper… once.
    (Admiral Hornblower)
  18. Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.
    (Unknown Marine Recruit)
  19. Don’t draw fire; it irritates the people around you.
    (Your Buddies)
  20. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
    (Army Platoon Sergeant)
  21. If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission properly.
    (David Hackworth)
  22. Your job is to kill the other person before they kill you so that your national leaders can negotiate a peace that will last as long as it takes the ink to dry.
    (Drill Instructor)

23. In the Navy, the Chief is always right.

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More Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joe T. Avant – Greenwood, MS; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Heavy Mortar Co./31st RCT, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Why Bliley – Richmond, VA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 77th Division

Last Flight

Josephine Boyd – Ochiltree City, TX; Civilian, Amarillo Air Force Base, weapons instructor

Egbert Crossett – Corona, NM; US Navy, WWII, CBI, Medical unit

Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr. – Keaau, HI; US Army, Afghanistan, Warrant Officer, 1/227/1/1st Calvary Div., Apache pilot, KIA

David C. Knadle – Tarrant, TX; US Army, Afghanistan, Warrant Officer, 1/227/1/1st Calvary Div., Apache pilot, KIA

James P. McMahon – Rockford, IL; US Army, Somalia, Sgt. Major (Ret. 30 y.), Delta Force, Silver Star, Purple Heart

Thomas Parnell – Somerset, WI; US Army, WWII, gunner

Rex Ruwoldt – Darwin, AUS; Australian Army, WWII, 19th Machine-Gun Battalion

Dean Weber – Hot Springs, SD; US Navy, WWII

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Veterans Day 2019

For each and every veteran – Thank You!!

For All Our Todays and Yesterdays

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.  Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

For their loyalty

War Dog Memorial on Guam.

 

US Military dog insignia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Things That Make a Soldier Great

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,

To face the flaming cannon’s mouth, nor ever question why,

Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,

The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,

The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:

‘Tis these that make a soldier great. He’s fighting for them all.

‘Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;

‘Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;

For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam

As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.

Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run–

You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.

 

What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees?

The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,

The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,

Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.

The golden thread of courage isn’t linked to castle dome

But to the spot, where’er it be–the humble spot called home.

 

And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there,

And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;

The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,

And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.

He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,

And only death can stop him now–he’s fighting for them all.

by: Edgar A, Guest

For All Those In Free Countries Celebrating Remembrance 0r Poppy Day

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Current News – 

In honor the Veterans who are in hospice, there is a drive for Christmas cards, and if possible, small gifts for those who are about to go on their final mission.  Please do your best for them – they did it for you!

https://equipsblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/reblog-from-national-anthem-girl-send-christmas-cards-to-lonely-vets-in-hospice-care/

Veteran’s Last Patrol; attn: Holiday Drive, P.O. Box 6111, Spartanburg, SC 29304

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Willard R. Best – Staunton, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 40th/1st Air Div./8th Air Force, gunner, KIA (Germany)

Leon E. Clevenger – Durham, NC; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. K/3/21/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Kalgo-ri, South Korea)

Harry Dexter – Davenport, IA; US Army, MSgt., 11th Airborne Division

Herbert B. Jacobson – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor, KIA, USS Oklahoma

Servando Lopez – Alice, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart

Ralph Nichols – Dawson, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 551/82nd Airborne Division

Robert Register – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, minesweeper USS Notable # 267

William Timpner – Stamps, AR; US Army, WWII

Frank Wills – Columbus, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, submarine service

Peter Zemanick – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, 504/82nd Airborne Division

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U.S. Marine Corps Birthday – 10 November 2019

What does the celebration mean to Marines across the globe?  To General John Lejeune it meant a great deal.  On 1 November 1921, he issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, which provided a summary of the history, mission and traditions of the Corps and directed that the order be read to every command each subsequent year on 10 November.

The reading of Order 47, Series 1921

 

To read Order 47 please click HERE!

 

 

USMC Birthday Cake

 

 

At the Marine Corps Ball, one key piece of the ceremony is to present the first piece of cake to the oldest Marine in the room, who in turn gives the next to the junior Marine.  This symbolic gesture is the passing of experience and knowledge from the veteran to the recruit.  We should all emulate their example and take part in history.

 

To all those who are able – Enjoy the fruits of your labor and revel in the spectacle and unabashed camaraderie that is the U.S. Marine Corps!!

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News – Charly Priest Review

As I explained to Charly Priest, I am the farthest thing from a poet that anyone could meet, but I am attempting a review of his Kindle/Paperback book.  I hope everyone bears with me.

Priest is an unusual sort, and his poetry bears witness to this statement, but he’s humorous, serious and down-right confusing at times.  There is no clearer explanation of him than that which is written at the end of the book by himself.

There are some that make you think, such as his poem “The Priest”, but I think he hunkers down and shows more of his true self in Chapter 4, and I was impressed.  Such as “Land of the Killers” you can hear his own experiences in the Spanish Legion during deployment.  “In Warfare”, that with all said and done, boils down to the last line, “where it’s a day-to-day reality of the insane.”

“Invisible People”, we’ve either known one of these or were one ourselves;  “Seven Sins”, he expresses the human condition as he sees it and “After the End” with great advice to all.

To find his book, Click Here!

To locate his blog, Click Here!!

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Marine Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Somebody stop that guy and give him a piece of cake!!!”

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rudy Boesch – Virginia Beach, VA; US Navy, Vietnam, Master Chief SEAL (Ret. 46 y.), Bronze Star

Larry Brown – Columbus, OH; USMC, Vietnam

Thomas H. Cooper – Chattanooga, TN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl. # 295826, 2nd Amtrac Battalion, KIA (Tarawa)

Glen “Bud” Daniel – Belleville, KS; USMC, WWII, 2ndLt., pilot, Purple Heart

Darryly Fleming – Orange Park, FL; USMC, Chief Warrant Officer-5 (Ret.)

Harry C. Morrissey – Everett, MA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Co. B/1/7/1st Marines, KIA (Guadalcanal)

Paul Plasse – Waterville, ME; US Navy, WWII, ETO

Kenneth Ross – Mosinee, WI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Thomas Walker III – Gadsen, AL; USMC, WWII, Sgt.

Jack Van Zandt – Danville, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, Co. A/1/6/2nd Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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No Hallowe’en in the early ’40’s

 

WWII put quite the damper on any activity as chaotic as Halloween was back in those days … according to history war shortages made everyone edgy, and towns clamped down on Halloween pranking with both curfews and notices sent home from principals and police. There was a national plea for conservation: any piece of property damaged during Halloween pranking was a direct affront to the war effort.

In 1942 the Chicago City Council voted to abolish Halloween and institute instead “Conservation Day” on October 31st. (This wasn’t the only attempt to reshape Halloween: President Truman tried to declare it “Youth Honor Day” in 1950 but the House of Representatives, sidetracked by the Korean War, neglected to act on the motion. In 1941 the last week of October was declared “National Donut Week,” and then years later, “National Popcorn Week.”)

Editorial pages coast to coast filled with warnings to young people and their parents, such as this one from the Superintendent of Schools in Rochester, NY in 1942: “Letting the air out of tires isn’t fun anymore. It’s sabotage. Soaping windows isn’t fun this year. Your government needs soaps and greases for the war…Even ringing doorbells has lost is appeal because it may mean disturbing the sleep of a tied war worker who needs his rest.”

SO, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE OUR OWN FUN TODAY!!

C’mon!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Military Pumpkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find templates for your own pumpkin carvingsCLICK HERE !!

Click on images to enlarge,  have fun,  but be safe!!

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edwin Benson – W. Newton, MA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Co. L/3/2nd Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Leo Cohen – Far Rockaway, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 11th Armored Div., tank operator, Purple Heart

Porfirio C. Franco Jr. – Albuquerque, NM; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt., POW, KIA (Manila)

Howard ‘Mike’ Hunt – Plok City, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII & Korea

Billy E. Johnson – White Oak, TX; USMC, Korea, Pfc, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Russell Lubbers – Bozeman, MT; US Army, Korea

John Moro – Columbus, OH; US Navy, WWII, USS Hancock

Sam Storms – LaFeria, TX; US Army, Korea, Major, Silver Star, Purple Heart, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Grady Trainor – Clarksville, TN; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. Major (Ret. 31 y.), Silver Star, Bronze Star,

Raymond Wallace – Dexter, ME; US Army, Vietnam

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The Weasel

The idea for the Weasel came from the British Inventor Geoffrey Pyke, a man famed for his unorthodox methods. His most famous invention was Pykrete, a material that would’ve been used for the Habbakuk iceberg aircraft carrier. Pyke had long planned for Commando assaults on German power plants and industrial areas in Norway and also planned actions to interrupt the Nazi atomic weapons program in Operation Plough. Operation Plough is very much the origin of the Weasel. Pike called for a small, lightweight and fast vehicle, able to transport small teams of men across deep snow to take them deep into enemy territory.

The United States used the vehicle extensively during World War Two.  It was used in Italy, the Western Front, and even in the Pacific. It saw action during the Normandy landings, St. Lo, and the Battle of the Bulge.  It proved its usefulness at the engagements on the Ruhr and Rhine, where it was able to cross the thick, sticky river mud.  In the Pacific, it was used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, where it proved capable of crossing loose sand, and the harsh tropical island terrain where the Marine Corps’ jeeps wouldn’t dare venture.

Weasel

The use of the M29 Weasel as a universal vehicle soon became clear to the Americans. They used it regularly as a light troop carrier and cargo hauler, and also as a mobile command center, ambulance, and to lay telegraph wires. One of its major attributes was its ability to cross minefields, as its low-ground pressure was often not enough to trigger the anti-tank mines. The ground pressure was still more than enough to trigger anti personnel mines which could easily split a rubber track.

Weasel

The M29 was operated by one driver and could carry three passengers. The driver was positioned in the front left with the engine compartment to his right and a row of three seats in the rear for the passengers. Though officially an unarmed vehicle, Browning M1919 .30 cal or .50 cal M2HB Machine Guns were often mounted for some form of offensive/defensive capability.

Weasel

The M29C was the main variant of the Weasel. The M29 was already partly amphibious, able to traverse shallow and calm waters such as rivers and streams, but could not operate in rough, sea like waters. The M29C amended this issue, with the addition of buoyancy aids in the rear of the hull as well as two rudders. Removable pontoons were also added to the front and rear and changes were made to the treads of the track links to allow it to propel itself in water, although it was very slow. This still didn’t make the M29 capable of seaborne amphibious landings, but allowed to be more stable in deeper or slightly inland waters.including Sweden, France and Norway. Many Weasels served in scientific Arctic explorations.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Elton Allen – Lubbock, TX; US Army, Vietnam, (Ret. 30 y.)

Carl Baumgaertner – St. Paul, MN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Silver Star

Edward Demyanovich – Bethlehem, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 82nd Airborne Division

Warren Johnson – Glass Lake, NY; US Army, Korea, 101st Airborne Division

Nick Krysko – Toronto, CAN; RC Armed Forces, WWII

Norbert Mersman – Mesa, AZ; US Army, WWII & Korea

Melvin Smith – Sebring, FL; US Army, Korea, Co. E/187th RCT

Anna Snyder – Biloxi, MS; US Army Air Corps WAF, WWII

Estelle Valentine – San Diego, CA; Civilian, Goodyear, WWII / OSS, ETO

John Williamson – Anderson, IN; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt (Ret. 24 y.), flight engineer

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Current News – USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL is OPEN

USS Arizona Memorial, Pear Harbor, Hawaii

HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — With the American flag billowing in the wind and “The Star-Spangled Banner” playing on the loudspeakers from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the first boatload of tourists and residents in nearly 16 months stepped onto the USS Arizona Memorial on Sunday morning.  (1 Sept.)

The 145 visitors on the Navy boat disembarked to spend a few solemn minutes within the white walls of the shrine at the same time, 8:10 a.m., that the Arizona was hit Dec. 7, 1941, also a Sunday, by an armor-piercing bomb that sank the ship and killed 1,177 men. The battleship suffered the greatest loss of life of all the ships and planes attacked that day. Among the dead were a father and son named Free and 23 sets of brothers.

“It was just terribly moving to be over there today,” said Minneapolis resident Patty Drake, 63, who was in Hawaii with her husband, Bob. “All the death and the pain.”

She saw the oil seeping from the sunken ship that she recalled seeing the last time she visited the memorial while living in Hawaii more than 50 years ago.

USS Arizona

“It was powerful,” Bob Drake said.  The oil the Drakes witnessed leaks from the million gallons of bunker fuel oil that was aboard the ship when it sank and is known as the “black tears of the Arizona.”

Visitors now can walk on the memorial and see the oil and the names of the dead etched into the marble wall as they reflect on the sacrifice of those who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the U.S. into World War II.

The memorial was closed in May 2018 after park staff found major damage to the anchoring system for the boat dock at the memorial. The damage — possibly caused by king tides in 2017 that raised the concrete blocks out of the ground — allowed too much movement of the dock and created a risk that the bridge to the memorial could collapse.

Jay Blount, Pearl Harbor National Memorial’s chief of interpretation said, “The new anchoring system uses giant screws, some longer than 100 feet, that have been driven into the seafloor. Twelve anchors were installed and then were attached to the dock using synthetic rope as part of the $2.1 million repair.

USS Arizona Memorial, JESSICA O. BLACKWELL/U.S. NAVY

Steve Mietz, acting supervisor of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, said reopening the Arizona Memorial was the top priority of the National Parks Serv­ice.

“Reconnecting the American public to the USS Arizona Memorial is very meaningful to me,” Mietz said. “People need to be there at that shrine to pay their respects to those fallen heroes. It’s such a moving sight.”

Mietz said the repair project involved working with several partners, including the nonprofit Pacific Historic Parks and the Navy, which had the equipment to support the parks department and helped compete the project faster and at a lower cost.

Blount said the memorial, which opened on Memorial Day 1962, stands as the symbol of American sacrifice in the Pacific theater during WWII.

For history buff Camden Koukol, 13, of Dayton, Ohio, visiting the sunken battleship was a key reason for coming to Hawaii, said his mother, Dominique Koukol.

In Ohio, Dominique Koukol had heard the memorial might be reopening soon, and because her husband was going to be in Hawaii for business, the couple decided it would be a chance for them to travel to the islands affordably as a family, with the hope that the battleship would reopen in time for their son to visit.

Camden, who learns about military ships and planes while building models for national contests, visited the memorial Saturday with his parents to scope out the park and returned about 5:30 a.m. Sunday to get in line for the first boat. They were the second group in line.

Camden said he wanted to visit the sunken battleship because it was an impressive ship when it was built, and he wanted to “see what it was like after the attack.”

Brian Catron of Pearl City seized upon the idea of visiting the memorial after hearing it had reopened on the 6 o’clock news Sunday morning. He woke his two daughters and brought them and his wife down by about 6:30 a.m. It was a way to spend the day with family for free and finally gave his daughter, Kahea­lani, 10, a chance to visit the memorial, he said.

Crew of the USS Arizona

©2019 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

 

e-Quips would like anyone interested, to write a letter to one or all four of the remaining USS Arizona survivors. CLICK HERE!!

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Beetle Bailey

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Farewell Salutes –

Henry Allen – Dayton, KY; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 23 y.), Bronze Star

Thomas Burton – Middleburgh, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./511/11th Airborne Division

Frank Checchi – Hooversville, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS Oliver Mitchell

Arizona Memorial

Fred Gans Jr. – Daytona, FL; US Navy, WWII & Vietnam, Lt. Commander (Ret.)

“Goodie” Lorentzen – Anacortes, WA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Harold Lowry – Mollala, OR; USMC, WWII, PTO, PFC, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Gisela Murray – Milwaukee, WI; Civilian, 128th Airborne, logistics assistant

Jerry Pierce – Turlock, CA; US Navy, WWII, minesweeper USS Scout

Thomas Rostek – East Windsor, CT; US Navy, WWII, USS Yosemite

Roger Schlaak – Michigan City, IN; US Navy, WWII

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U.S. Marines in China – Part IV – conclusion

By early 1947, it was clear that General Marshall’s effort to reconcile the Nationalists and communists was an utter failure. As a result, President Truman ordered all U.S. military home, but the disengagement was going to be a long and tedious one. Units were shifted around and finally withdrawn. It was clear that Chiang’s government was going to fall.

The last and greatest clash between American Marines and the Chinese communists took place the night of April 4-5, 1947. Mao’s forces, now dubbed the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), attacked an ammunition dump at Hsin Ho that was guarded by Marines. The Americans were heavily outnumbered; the attacking force was estimated at about 350 men.

The night’s quiet was broken by the shrill notes of a Chinese bugle call. It was the PLA’s style to blow bugles when launching an offensive. This same technique would be used later in the Korean War. Five Marines were killed in the initial assault, and the rest were hard pressed to keep the enemy at bay. The PLA commander had anticipated that American reinforcements would be sent, so he placed a mine in the road where relief would be expected at any moment.

The bodies of two dead communist soldiers killed in a skirmish at Hsin Ho in April 1947 attest to the ferocity of such incidents.

Sure enough, a truck bearing a relief force made its way up the road and promptly hit the mine. The relief men jumped off the truck, and a sharp firefight ensued. The issue was in doubt several times, but the Marines finally gained the upper hand. Once again communist forces broke off the action and faded into the darkness. The enemy did manage to make off with some ammunition boxes, which seemed to be one of their main goals in the raid.

Private Stevens also had his share of adventure. He joined a small mission—only a handful of Marines—to try and rescue some nuns and Chinese orphan children in a remote place called Loh Shan. The mission failed because the nuns refused to leave. But worse was to follow. Stevens and his party were captured by bandits. All were executed, but Stevens was spared apparently because he knew Chinese.

Stevens was promptly turned over to a communist officer from the 8th Route Army. He became a prisoner with a Chinese character tattoo ID inked on his arm. Before long he found himself in a work gang on a coal storage island. The prisoners’ main job was to shovel coal to flat-bottomed boats moored along the shore.

“Mao was preparing for a major naval assault against the Nationalists,” Stevens says today, “and his ships needed coal to run their steam engines.” It was backbreaking work, but luckily he was transferred to help fishermen work their nets. He had to escape, had to get back to his unit. After some careful deliberation, he hatched an acceptable if risky plan. He would skull out in a small boat, pretending to check the nets that were farthest out.

Once in position, he would dive into the water and hopefully get picked up by a passing junk. It all unfolded as planned, except the water proved bitterly cold.  A junk did indeed pick him up, and friendly Chinese crewmen pulled him out of the water half dead with cold. Later, the junk was intercepted by a U.S. destroyer. He was free!

In November 1948, the U.S. embassy issued a statement that declared any American citizen “who does not wish to remain in North China should plan to leave at once by United States Naval vessel at Tientsin.” By the end of the month, consular personnel, the remaining American civilians, and military dependents were being shipped out. The American presence in China, which dated to the first Yankee traders who sailed to Canton in the 1780s, was coming to an abrupt end. There would be no more contact with China until President Richard Nixon’s visit in 1972.

By the spring of 1949, the total withdrawal of American military forces was almost complete. In February of that year, the U.S. Marine Corps Air Facility at Tsingtao was disbanded. All the ground equipment was removed, and the planes of fighter squadron VMF-211 took off for their new home, the escort carrier Rendova. On May 25, 1949, Company C/ 7th Marines, the last remaining American unit on Chinese soil, departed Tsingtao.  It was truly the end of an era.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

“ONE OF THESE DAYS THEY’RE NOT GOING TO FINISH ON TIME.”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jack Burnett – Seattle, WA; US Army, Korea, 1st Calvary Division

Charles Clement – Redmond, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Company B/511/11th Airborne Division

Josephine Hopp – North Olmstead, OH; US Army Air Corps WAC, WWII, Medical Tech.

Louie Jordon – Saratoga Springs, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, SeaBee, USS Unimak (seaplane tender)

Paul Kelley – Evansville, IN; US Army, WWII, PTO, TSgt., Signal Corps

Leo Maroney – Kansas City, KS; USMC, WWII, 3/1st Marine Division

Robert Paynter – Mineral Point, WI; US Army, WWII, 139 Engineers/17th Airborne Division

Thomas Peatross – Mechanicville, VA, US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Cpl., 320 Bomb Group

Myron Stone – Orem, UT; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

John Tort Sr. – Newark, NJ; US Merchant Marines, WWII

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U.S. Marine Corps in China – part III

American officers of the 6th Marine Division inspect Japanese soldiers at Tsingtao airfield. As Japanese soldiers were repatriated from China after World War II ended, some remained to guard rail lines against sabotage or disruption caused by the reemergence of civil war in China.

Clashes between the Marines and communist Chinese insurgents started to occur and eventually became almost routine. The communists tried to sabotage the railroad tracks, and sometimes they would snipe at passing trains. In the clash later known as the Kuyeh Incident, the communists ambushed a train that was traveling from Tangshan to Chinwangtao. This was a special train carrying General Dewitt Peck, commander of the Marine 1st Division, and a Marine inspection team. The communists opened fire from the village of Kuyeh, only 500 yards from the railroad track.

A firefight erupted that lasted the better part of three hours. Air support was called in, but Marine pilots could not clearly distinguish where communist forces were lurking. There was a fear of hitting civilians too, so permission to open fire was denied. A relief force was dispatched from the 7th Marines, but when they arrived the communists had melted away into the countryside.

American troops and Chinese laborers who have been repairing a rail line take cover as they come under fire during an attack by communist soldiers between Tientsin and Chinwangtao in November 1945.

The train stayed overnight at Kuyeh, but when it started again the next day it was found the communists had torn up about 400 yards of railroad track. When Chinese railroad crews tried to repair the line, they were ambushed by waiting communist troops. General Peck gave up trying to reach Chinwangtao by rail. He turned back to Tangku and took a flight on an observation plane instead.

The incident showed how firm a grip the Chinese communists had on the province. General Peck felt a Nationalist offensive was needed to clear the vital rail links from communist interference. Peck contacted General Tu Li-Ming, who was in control of the Northeast China Command, to arrange such a sweep. Tu readily agreed but requested that Marines guard all large rail bridges between Tangku and Chinwangtao, a distance of about 135 miles. That way, more Chinese Nationalist troops would be freed up for the offensive.

Gradually the Marines began to realize their mission was morphing into something quite different than the original assignment. Private Stevens almost got into a fight when he mentioned that their main mission was to repatriate the Japanese. Hearing this, a fellow Marine exploded in anger. “Don’t give me that bullshit!” he said forcefully, “Marines are in North China to support Chiang’s regime.”

Many Marines also started to realize that Chiang’s government was so corrupt it was beyond saving. American servicemen were appalled by the extreme poverty they saw all around them, the careless indifference to human life, and practices like selling young Chinese girls into sexual slavery in brothels.  Almost anything seemed better than the current government.

In 1946, the Marine forces in China were substantially reduced. The 6th Marine Division was disbanded, and the forces in Tsingtao were whittled down to a reinforced brigade. The Japanese repatriation was going well, ironically “helped” by the growing communist presence. Japanese nationals, both military and civilian, had no wish to be subject to the tender mercies of any Chinese, but they particularly feared the communists. As communist forces like the 8th Route Army advanced, the Japanese packed up and headed for Tsingtao, the main embarkation port. 

During a meeting in China in 1945, Communist leader Mao Tse-tung climbs aboard a Jeep that is carrying U.S. Ambassador Patrick Hurley and American Colonel I.V. Yeaton.

The clashes between Marines and communist Chinese insurgents seemed to grow in number and seriousness. On July 13, 1946, communist raiders surprised and captured seven Marines who were guarding a railroad bridge. After some negotiations the leathernecks were released on July 24, but the communists adamantly demanded an “apology” from the U.S. government for “invading” a “liberated” area. The U.S. government ignored this posturing and issued its own strong protest in return.

Just a few days later, on July 29, 1946, a Marine convoy heading from Tientsin to Peiping was ambushed at Anping. The column consisted of cargo trucks, jeeps, and some U.S. Army staff cars carrying personnel bound for the Chinese capital. Second Lieutenant Douglas A. Corwin led the escort, which consisted of 31 men from the 1st Battalion and a 10-man 60mm mortar section from the 1st Marines. There were also some Marine replacements with the column.

The Marine convoy encountered a roadblock of oxcarts, so Corwin and an advance party went forward to investigate. Suddenly, a dozen hand grenades were thrown from some nearby bushes. Given no time to react or take cover, Corwin and the men immediately around him were all killed or wounded.

U.S. Marines in China 1946

The convoy truckers and other personnel immediately jumped out of their vehicles and took cover. The convoy seemed to be trapped and was taking heavy fire from the right, left, and rear. Platoon Sergeant Cecil Flanagan now took command and ably directed return fire. The communists were apparently surprised that the column had mortars, and their attack plans were thrown off balance by well-directed rounds.

Every time the communists tried to mount an attack on the convoy, their troop concentrations were spotted before they could get far. Once spotted, the 60-mm mortars went to work, lobbing round after round into enemy positions. The communists became so disoriented by this mortar fire that a Marine jeep from the rear managed to break through and go for help. The column did have radios, but unfortunately they had limited range.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

NEWSPAPER FOR U. S. ARMED FORCES IN THE CHINA THEATER OF OPERATIONS OF WORLD WAR II

Issue published: 11 Sept. 1945

 

Issue published 18 Sept. 1945

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Roy Andrews – South Bend, IN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., Medical Tech

Bill Burdette Sr. – Tuppers Creek, WV; US Army,

William Errington – Edwn, NY; US Navy, WWII

Norman Honie – Second Mesa, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Morgenthau – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII / Manhattan District Attorney

Bill Parham – Kingfisher, OK; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., Corps of Engineers

James G. Sartor – Teaque, TX; US Army, Afghanistan (7 deployments), Sgt. Major, 2/10th Special Forces, KIA

John Paul Stevens – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, Naval Intelligence / Supreme Court Justice

Joseph Toth – CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 tail gunner

William Henry Webster Sr. – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Major, 8 SQ/3 AG/ 5th Air Force, Silver Star, 2 Purple Hearts

Cecil Williams – Baton Rouge, LA; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division

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