Blog Archives

Poems

I think we are all in need of a more light-hearted post by now …..

 

A FRIEND, YOUR AMERICAN M.P.

 

 When soldiers go out and have some fun,

 They always forget about some other one.

 That someone’s on duty every day,

 To see that these soldiers are safe at play.

 They call him names that we can’t print,

 But they should sit down and try to think.

 These men are detailed for this tough job,

 So why go around and call him a snob?

 When a guy’s in trouble, and things look bad,

 They call on this fellow, and then he’s not bad.

 At the end they will say, “this fellow took up for me.”

 And the fellow that did it was your American M.P.

 One thing to remember fellows when you’re down and out,

 There’s a fellow that will help you if he hears you shout.

 He will stand beside you and fight like hell.

 So do the right thing, and treat him well.

 Just remember fellows on your holiday,

 One of your buddies can’t go out and play.

 You call him an outcast, and other names,

 But he’s your buddy, just the same.

 We envy no one, try never to do harm.

 We’re here to keep you safe, in every form.

 So if you see us on duty, please don’t get mad.

 Remember we’re here for you, and that M.P.’s aren’t bad.

     – S/Sgt. GODFREY J. DARBY

 

WAR AND HELL

 

 When reception is poor and the signal stinks

  And you think of bed and your forty winks

  And the PE coughs and pulls high jinks

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When your grease is cold and your rear guns fails

  With a Zero riding each of your tails

  And you curse your luck and bite your nails

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When you’ve hiked all night and your feet are sore

  And your throat’s all parched and your clothes are tore

  And the C.O. says just ten miles more

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When you’re climbing a hill and the motor’s hot

  And the left read blows like a pistol shot

  You hope its a back fire but you know it’s not

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When the whistle blows for the day’s mail call

  And you’re sweating a letter from your butter-ball

  And Jones gets a card and they say that’s all

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When the chow bell rings and you hope for ham

  But the guy who cooks don’t give a damn

  So all you get is a slab of Spam

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 But when the war’s been won by your nation

  And you dream of home with anticipation

  But the order says Army of Occupation

  Brother that will be hell.

     – Sgt. CARL BROOKMAN

#############################################################################################

More Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

##########################################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Bennie Adams Jr. – Barnwell, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, SM Sgt., Bronze Star

H. Carl Boone – Atlantic City, NJ; US Navy, WWII, ETO, LST, Purple Heart

Andrew Curtis Jr. – Yakima, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII,B-24 pilot, 15th Air Force

John Eilerman – Fort Laramie, OH; US Navy, WWII

George Fuchs – Pinehurst, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 152nd Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Allan Goodwin – Houston, TX; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Michael Hession III – Harwich, MA; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO

Eileen “Gertie” Joyner – NYC, NY; US Army WAC; WWII, nurse

Ernest Reid – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Flight Sgt.

Shirley Zumstag – Bradenton, FL; US Navy WAVE, WWII

##############################################################################################

 

Advertisements

Hank Bauer – USMC Hero & Yankee All-Star

Baltimore Orioles manager Hank Bauer (42) in USMC uniform, viewing himself in team uniform over his shoulder during photo shoot. Composite. Bauer earned 11 campaign ribbons, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts during his time with the Marines.
Baltimore, MD 8/13/1964
CREDIT: Neil Leifer (Photo by Neil Leifer /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

After surviving some of the most intense fighting in the Pacific and earning a number of decorations, Bauer went on to achieve massive success on the baseball field in the decades after the war.

Bauer was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, in 1922. He was the youngest child of an Austrian immigrant family, and had eight older siblings. His father lost his leg in an aluminum mill accident, and the family found themselves in a situation of such dire poverty that Hank and his siblings had to wear old feed sacks as clothes.

Far from stewing in misery and despair about his circumstances growing up, however, Bauer was determined to work his way out of poverty and make a success of his life. From an early age it became obvious that he was a gifted athlete, and he excelled at both baseball and basketball.

After graduating from school in 1941, he took a job repairing furnaces at a beer-bottling plant. His brother, also a talented baseball player who had gotten into the Minor League, was able to get Hank a professional tryout. His tryout went well, and Hank was offered a contract with the Oshkosh Giants.

Just when it seemed that Hank was about to step into the professional baseball career he had always dreamed of, though, something happened that would change his life, and the lives of many other Americans: the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Okinawa

A month after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Bauer enlisted in the Marine Corps and initially served with the 4th Raider Battalion. Pretty much as soon as he arrived in the South Pacific, he contracted malaria.

This was not going to be the first time he contracted the disease – he would end up contracting malaria another twenty-three times. Just as he had dealt with any other hardships life had previously thrown his way, he simply gritted his teeth and fought through it without a word of complaint.

His first taste of battle came in early 1943, when he reached the vicinity of Guadalcanal, where a large-scale battle between Allied Forces and the Japanese had been raging since late 1942. He and his fellow Marines had to fight in the dense jungle on the islands of New Georgia northwest of Guadalcanal, a campaign Bauer called “indescribable – the worst [place he had] ever seen.”

Hank Bauer (center) w/ Yogi Berra & Mickey Mantle

After this, the Raider regiments were absorbed into regular Marine units, and Bauer served with the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines, part of the 6th Marine Division. He fought on the islands of Emirau in Papua New Guinea, and then on Guam, where he received his first wound after being hit with shrapnel.

While he was decorated with the Purple Heart for his injuries, he would end up keeping another souvenir of this battle for many years: some pieces of shrapnel stayed in his body, and would end up being picked out of his back by his Yankee teammates in locker rooms many years later.

After Guam Bauer, who was now a sergeant, and his Marines joined the Battle of Okinawa, which would turn out to be the bloodiest and one of the most ferocious battles of the entire Pacific theater of war. Bauer commanded a platoon of sixty-four Marines, of which only six men – including Bauer – survived the intense fighting.

Bauer fought on for fifty-three days before he was wounded by shrapnel once again. This time it was serious enough to result in his being sent back to the U.S. to recover from his injuries.

While he was recuperating stateside, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thus forcing the Japanese to surrender. When Bauer had healed and was sent back to his unit, he spent the remainder of his military service on occupation duty in Japan. He ended up being decorated with the Navy Commendation Medal, two Purple Hearts, and two Bronze Stars.

Owing to his war wounds, Bauer didn’t really think that he stood much chance of resuming his baseball career, but, as he had done with everything in his life, he gave it a shot anyway. A Yankees scout remembered Bauer from before the war, and signed him to the Quincy Gems, the Yankees’ farm team, in 1946. With his talent and determination, Bauer worked his way up.

In 1948 he was called up to the Majors – and the rest was history. Bauer ended up being named an all-star three times, and finished his Major League career with a batting average of .277. He once had a seventeen game hitting streak.

Even when he quit playing, he moved on to coaching and managing. He ended up as the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, which he led to a World Series championship in 1966.

Hank Bauer passed away in 2007 at the age of eighty-four, and will not only be remembered for his success as a baseball player and manager, but also for the grit, valor and determination he showed as a Marine during the Second World War.

Click on images to enlarge.

############################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes –

Elvin Bell – Oakland, CA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Philip DiStanislao – Bronx, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII

Mildred Grunder-Blackwell – Gary, IN; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Wallace Horton – Montgomer, AL; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Carmelo  Ieraci – ITA; US Army, Korea

Ed Keeylocko – Cowtown Keeylocko, AZ; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. (Ret. 23 y.)

William Masters – Atlanta, GA; US Navy, WWII

Paul ‘Duke’ Richard – Southbridge, MA; US Army, Army Digest Magazine, photographer/writer

Paul Sweeny – Upland, PA; US Navy, WWII, communications, Minesweeper USS Pheasant

Frances Temm – Whangarei, NZ; NZ Army # 36371, WWII, Sgt.

############################################################################################

Veterans Day 2018

 

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES….

https://mailchi.mp/nara/0rjknzxchj-763401?e=2018eed2da

NO MATTER WHAT COUNTRY YOU LIVE IN – IF YOU ARE LIVING FREE – THANK A VETERAN !!!

 

############################################################################################

Here We Go……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Daniel Buchta – Far Rockaway, NY; US Navy, USS Nimitz

Jean Danniels – ENG; WRENS, WWII

Waverly Ellsworth Jr. – Buffalo, NY; US Navy, Korea, medic

Virgil; Johnston – Grove, OK; USMC, WWII

Alma (Smith) Knesel – Lebanon, PA; Manhattan Project (TN), WWII

Samuel Mastrogiacomo – Sewell, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, MSgt., B-24 tail gunner, 2nd Air Div./8th A.F. (Ret. 33 y.)

Willis Sears Nelson – Omaha, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot

Gregory O’Neill – Fort Myers, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 787th

Orville Roeder – Hankinson, ND; US Army, Medic

Nicholas Vukson – Sault Saint Marie, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, Telegraphist, HMCS Lanark

#############################################################################################

 

 

U.S. Marine Corps Birthday

The Marine Corps Birthday is on November 10 and celebrates the establishment of the US Marine Corp in 1775.

The day is mainly celebrated by personnel, veterans, or other people related to the Marine Corps. Usually, it is marked with a Marine Corps Birthday Ball with a formal dinner, birthday cake, and entertainment. The first ball was held in 1925.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWDdC-D68Uo

The United States Marine Corps is the US Armed Forces’ combined-arms task force on land, at sea, and in the air. It has more than 180,000 active duty personnel as well as almost 40,000 personnel in the Marine Corps Reserves.

SHAKE THE HAND OF A MARINE TODAY!!

############################################################################################

USMC Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

#############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Nickolas Alba – Kyle, TX; USMC, Purple Heart

Robert Bailey – Fort Wayne, IN; USMC, Korea, Purple Heart

Herbert Carlson – Hartford, CT; USMC, WWII, PTO

John ‘Dan” Driscoll – Frisco City, AL; USMC

Joseph Ehrenberger – Charlotte, NC; USMC, WWII & Korea

David Gates – Edwardsville, WY; USMC, Sgt., Fighter Attack Squadron 312

Jack Hamblin – Pittsburgh, PA; USMC, Korea

Roger Lagace – Manchester, CT; USMC, Cpl.

William Milovich – Cowpens, SC; USMC, WWII, PTO

Francis Morris – OK; Womens USMC, WWII

William Soderna – Deerton, MI; USMC, 5th Div/27th Marines, Japan Occupation

#############################################################################################

The End of the Okinawa Fighting

Okinawa

Hari-kari to end Okinawa

‘The Fall of Japan” by William Craig, excerpt submitted by Rosalinda Morgan who can be found at https://subliblog.wordpress.com/

On the evening of the twenty-first of June, Generals Ushijima and Cho sat down to a sumptuous meal in their home under Hill 89. Overhead the Americans walked on top of the escarpment, where Japanese soldiers continued to resist them by fighting for every rock and tree.

The generals ate quietly. As their aids offered toasts, the two leaders drank to each other with dregs of whiskey preserved for this moment. A full moon shone on the white coral ledges of Hill 89 as a final tribute rang through the cave: “Long live the Emperor.”

At 4:00 A.M. on the morning of the twenty-second, Ushijima, cooling himself with a bamboo fan, walked with Cho between lines of crying subordinates to the mouth of the cave. There Cho turned to his superior and said, “I will lead the way.” The two generals emerged into the moonlight. They were followed by several staff officers.

Outside the entrance a quilt had been laid on top of a mattress. Loud firing sounded on all sides as American infantrymen, no more than fifty feet away, sensed movement. Ushijima proceeded to sit down and pray. Cho did the same.

Ignoring the guns and grenades, Ushijima bowed low toward the ground. His adjutant handed him a knife. The general held it briefly in front of his body, then ripped it across his abdomen. Immediately his adjutant raised a jeweled sword and brought it down across his neck. Ushijima’s head toppled onto the quilt and blood spattered the onlookers. Within seconds, General Cho died the same way.

*****          *****          *****

Okinawa, The Flag is raised

By 30 June, even the mopping up was completed’

The battle of Okinawa had ended. Over 12,000 Americans and more than 100,000 Japanese were dead and there were 7,401 military prisoners.  The American flag flew only 350 miles from Japan.

*****          *****          *****

Clearing the post of Naha, 19 June 1945

During the Okinawa campaign, a very strange “armed truce” occurred on a nearby island.  The commander of the small Japanese garrison asked to have time to consult with Tokyo about continuing his pointless holdout.  He later met several American emissaries on his beach and informed them that he was forbidden to surrender – but he would not fire on parties visiting the island for recreational purposes – on the condition that they did not molest his people.  Quite an improvement on the “old Pacific War”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click on images to enlarge.

############################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Alan I. Armour – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korean War, Lt., battalion cmdr. 187th RCT “Rakkasans”

Raymond Bonang – Boothbay Harbor, ME; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 880th Airborne Engineers

John Broderick – Pittsbourgh, PA; US Army, 756th Field Artillery Battalion, MSgt.

William Fouty Sr. – Tukwila, WA; USMC, WWII, PTO

G.M. ‘Jim’ Greene – Conway, AR; US Army, WWII, PTO, 7th Cavalry

John McGinnis – NY; US Army, Vietnam, 173rd Airborne Brigade

Chalmers Murray – Ft. Lauderdale, FL; US Army, WWII

Percy Overman Jr. – Newport News, VA; Merchant Marine, aviator

Howard Wildrick – Highland, NY; USMC

Thomas ‘Vic’ Varnedoe – Nashville, TN; US Army, Sgt., 2nd Infantry Division

###########################################################################################

Okinawa – June 1945

Last picture ever taken of Lt.Gen. Buckner, the day before he died

By 10 June, the Marines had captured Yuza Hill.  The 10th US Army suffered severe casualties before they and the USMC advanced to Kunishi Ridge, the western anchor of the Japanese defense; a massive fortress.

Gen. Buckner had been sending messages to Gen. Ushijima, urging him to surrender.  So, when over a dozen Japanese wearing white hats appeared, the Marines assumed they were surrendering and they ceased operations.  Shortly after the enemy soldiers ran, a mortar barrage began.

By morning, the Americans had a foothold on the ridge, but reinforcements were cut down when they tried to advance.  Nine tanks were used to deliver 54 fresh men and supplies, but returned with 22 wounded.  As the battle for Kunishi raged on, the tanks opened a road to continue supplying the Americans.

Okinawa

By 16 June, the US 96th Div. opened a road for the tanks to continue delivering supplies, as air drops were falling into enemy hands.  Only one day later, Kunishi Ridge was considered a “mopping up” operation.

The Marines were sent to Mezado and Kuwango ridges where the enemy fire though intense, was short-lived.  Meanwhile, the Army moved down the Pacific side of the island encountering the enemy at Yaeju Dake-Yuza Dake Escarpment.  Naval gunfire and artillery smothered the enemy as the 10th Army proceeded hill by hill toward the tip of Okinawa, up Hill 89, Ushijima’s headquarters near Mabuni.

18th June – the 8th Marines moved into the line contribute their fresh, full strength to the slow drive.  Army Gen. Buckner decided to leave the outpost he was at and found himself on a hill which afforded him a view of what was actually going on up at the front.  He paused to watch for a few moments.

Oroku Peninsula where Japanese base force made their last stand

By this time, the Japanese artillery had been reduced to next to nothing, no shells had fallen in that area all morning.  However, by some devious quirk of fate, a lone gun somewhere in the shrinking ranks of the enemy let go a few rounds.  The first one felled the general, but no one else near him was injured.  He died before they could evacuate him.

Gen. Geiger took over the command and followed what his late chief would have done.  This was the first instance of a Marine officer commanding an Army unit of that size, though in WWI, MGen. Lejeune had commanded the Army’s Second Division in several operations.

Ambulance jeep, Okinawa

Although Allied land forces were entirely composed of U.S. units, the British Pacific Fleet (BPF; known to the U.S. Navy as Task Force 57) provided about a quarter of Allied naval air power (450 planes). It comprised many ships, including 50 warships of which 17 were aircraft carriers, but while the British armored flight decks meant that fewer planes could be carried in a single aircraft carrier, they were more resistant to kamikaze strikes. Although all the aircraft carriers were provided by the UK, the carrier group was a combined Commonwealth fleet with British, Canadian Australian  and New Zealand ships and personnel. Their mission was to neutralize Japanese airfields in the Sakishima Islands and provide air cover against Japanese kamikaze attacks.

Click on images to enlarge.

############################################################################################

Current News – 

Information on the upcoming events of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society….

http://bataanlegacy.org/future-events.html

Information contributed by Nasuko

############################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Robert J. Andrews – Colorado Springs, CO; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Lt.Colonel (Ret. 31 y.)

Rosetta Brobst – Laceyville, PA; WWII, US Army, nurse

Athol Currin – Wanganui, NZ; RSA # 816777, J Force 22nd Batt/42 Squadron

Robert Dole – Pearl City, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 665th Ordnance Co.

Dennis Garbis – Falls Church, VA; Vietnam, Lt.Colonel (Ret. 20 y.), Bronze Star

John McCain – Alexandria, VA; US Navy, Vietnam, pilot, USS Forrestal, POW / US Senator

Miriam Olsen – Eugene, OR; US Army, WWII, nurse

Ronald Setniker – Biwabik, MN; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

James Tisdale – Goshen, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division, Bronze Star

John Waite – Clarkston, WA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

############################################################################################

Battle of Sugar Loaf Hill Okinawa

Eye witness account from Okinawa….

Together We Served Voices

By Scott Sumner USMC 1978 – 1984

My uncle James M. Barrett was a World War II Marine. He was born in Nov. 1923 in Minnesota. He had a promising career as a welterweight boxer, 1until his country’s call became too loud. On January 18, 1943 he reported for duty with the United States Marine Corps. He went through recruit training in San Diego, Calif. and on the first of May was sent to Sitka, Alaska and in October to Attu, Alaska. The Army had finished cleaning the Japanese off the island, and he drew guard duty for the winter.

The battles in the Pacific had taken their toll and the Marine Corps needed more men for the fighting. My uncle was sent to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. for additional infantry training in May 1944. On December 27, he, and many others, embarked on a troop ship for Guadalcanal…

View original post 1,137 more words

PTO & CBI reactions to V-E Day

US Army 77th Division hears the news on Okinawa

Victory in Europe was welcome news to Allied troops in the Pacific and the China-Burma-India theaters of war. They greeted it with thanksgiving but there was little celebration. As a London Times special correspondent in Burma wrote, “The war is over. Let us get on with the war.” Now that Europe would no longer be receiving the bulk of troops and materiel, officers and enlisted personnel in the war against Japan hoped they would be given more men and equipment quickly, in order to end their war sooner.

Meanwhile, fighting continued in New Guinea, the Philippines, Okinawa, the CBI and elsewhere. Kamikazes still made suicide dives to sink Allied ships. The lights may have gone on over Europe and America, but a funeral pall still darkened the Pacific and Asia.

SMITTY _ New Guinea 10/24/44

Smitty, my father, when asked how he had felt, merely shrugged. “I was happy for my fellow soldiers over there, but we had work to do, so we didn’t think about it very long.”

From The May 7, 1945 Edition of Stars and Stripes

OKINAWA, May 6 (ANS)—The reported death of Adolf Hitler and the word of surrender of the German armies in Italy was good news to soldiers, sailors and marines here but there was no celebrating.Most of the fighting men figured it wouldn’t mean a thing to them “until we can see some help coming and see a chance of ending the war out here.”

They termed Hitler’s death “good riddance” and said it was a good thing he went that way because there probably would have been lots of bickering around if we had taken him alive.”

Gen. Daniel I. Sultan

Gen. Dan I. Sultan, commander of the India-Burma Theater, on V-E Day, paid tribute to the fighting men who won the European war in a short statement to the troops of the India-Burma Theater broadcast over the American Army radio stations in the Theater. The text of Gen. Sultan’s statement:
“Today in Europe, German military might has been broken. After almost six years, organized hostilities have ceased. The great work of reconstruction of the shattered continent can now begin.
“We recognize the tremendous achievements of the Allied Armies in Europe who won this victory, for we too have been fighting. We know the cost of driving back a tenacious enemy – we know the necessity for close co-operation of all branches of our forces, the close union with our allies in the common cause. We know the heartbreaking conditions of combat under adverse weather and over difficult terrain – the back-breaking work of construction and supply in support of combat operations. So, as fighting men, we pay tribute to the fighting men in Europe.
“Their victory is in part our victory. We have done with less man and supplies, so that they might have more. Their victory brings our victory nearer. The men who broke the German ground defenses in the west, who destroyed her essential industries from the air, can now turn their attention to the war with Japan. The industrial strength of the United States, until now producing for the war both in Europe and in Asia, can turn its full productive force to the Far East.
“This is the day of Germany’s defeat and Europe’s liberation, but we must not forget that there is still a tough battle to be fought before the Japs are licked. Every one of us knows his part in that fight; and if every one of us will do his part to the utmost, Japan’s defeat and the liberation of Asia will come surely and swiftly.”

The Pacific War

 

The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia greeted V-E Day with the question, “Since when has it been customary to celebrate victory halfway through a contest?” The war with Japan had been the great threat to Australia itself, and the country’s sons were still fighting and dying in that war. Accordingly, the mood was more somber than in Europe. On May 9, some 100,000 people attended a service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

For the most part New Zealanders observed V-E Day on May 9, although there was some spontaneous dancing in the streets. Preparations had been underway for weeks, in part to keep celebrations from getting out of control. Events included speeches, thanksgiving services, and the singing of the national anthems of New Zealand, America and the Soviet Union. A People’s Victory March in Christchurch drew 25,000.

In the U.S., many communities attempted to subdue celebrations, wanting to give the occasion the solemnity they felt it deserved and reminding Americans that, as Truman said, “Our victory is only half over.” Across the country, however, joyous celebrations broke out. Thousands gathered in New York’s Times Square. New Orleans took on the appearance of Mardi Gras, with people dancing in the streets. Church bells rang out the glorious news in small towns and major cities.

In the Soviet Union, Stalin himself seemed less than enthusiastic. His deputy Nikita Khrushchev telephoned to congratulate the Soviet leader on his victory, and Stalin reportedly snapped at him, “Why are you bothering me? I am working.” The USSR’s official victory parade took place in a downpour over a month later, on June 24.

Click on images to enlarge.

############################################################################################

Military Humor –

‘Bring back rationing!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

##############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes –

Harold Bishop – Sacramento, CA; US Navy, WWII, submarine service

Christopher A. Celiz – Summerville, SC; US Army, Afghanistan (7th deployment), Sgt. 1st Class, KIA

Dallas ‘Chris’ Christenson – Pensecola, FL, US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret.)

John Hart – Keesville, NY; US Army / US Navy

Melvin Hilscher – Kulm, ND; US Army, WWII

James McLean – AUS; RA Air Force # 428761, WWII, Flight Sgt., 83rd Squadron

George Meyer – Bristol, CT; US Navy, WWII, Medical Corps

Ruskin Reddoch – Troy, AL; USMC, WWII, 1st Lt., Silver Star, Purple Heart

Elliot Seidman – Delray Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman

Maria Swafford – Boydton, VA; Civilian, US Map Service, D.C., WWII

############################################################################################

Col. Hiromishi Yahara on Okinawa

Lines of defense on Okinawa. Top Japanese officers were in the bottom line of bunkers.

Colonel Hiromishi Yahara was third in command of the Japanese defenses on Okinawa. Read all about his story below.

It was Colonel Hiromishi Yahara who designed and implemented the jiykusen, or the yard-by-yard battle of attrition that cost the American forces so many casualties in the three-month battle, and he was the highest ranking officer to survive the battle and make it back to Tokyo. Before the overall commander on the island, Lt. Gen. Mitsuru Ushijima, committed ritual suicide in the battle’s final days, he instructed Yahara to escape to Tokyo to make a final report to the emperor.

Yahara was captured by the Americans, which bothered him immensely—to be captured or to surrender was considered a disgrace to one’s family—but eventually he did return to Japan.  In 1973, Yahara still felt strongly that the garrison at Okinawa, as well as the people of Okinawa themselves, had been betrayed by Imperial Headquarters in Tokyo.  Because he faced personal attacks for surviving the battle, Yahara decided to write a book to set the record straight.


The result is a fascinating and unique look at the last, decisive battle of the Pacific War, written by a surviving member of the defeated Japanese command on Okinawa.  Yahara was a gifted and meticulous strategist, highly respected by his peers. Because he had spent two years in the United States as an exchange officer prior to World War II, he knew his enemy better than did his superiors at Okinawa, Ushijima and Maj. Gen. Isamu Cho.

Yahara makes a startling revelation in the book regarding the events surrounding the American landing on Okinawa on April 1, 1945.  According to Yahara, the plans drawn up in Tokyo called for Japanese air power to play the decisive role in the battle for Okinawa prior to the actual landing.  Japanese planes flying from the mainland along with aircraft launched by the Japanese Combined Fleet—conventional fighters and kamikaze suicide attackers—were supposed to strike the U.S. Fifth Fleet offshore prior to the landing and annihilate the American landing forces while they were still in their ships.  The 32nd Imperial Army entrenched on Okinawa was to play a minor role, mopping up the survivors of the American landing forces as they struggled ashore.

Giretsu Commandos on Okinawa

To Yahara, the failure to launch the promised air attack on April 1 sealed the fate of the island’s garrison—it never had a chance for victory. Hundreds of thousands of Okinawan citizens had been betrayed as well, Yahara believed, sacrificed to the whims of the Japanese high command.

Although his love for his country never wavered, Yahara was unique among his peers.  He fully recognized the flaws in traditional Japanese military thinking—the Bushido code, or way of the warrior—and he was disgusted as he watched his superiors repeat the errors of previous eras.  The Imperial Army had a “blood and guts” mentality; it had been undefeated since winning the Sino-Japanese War in 1895.  To the Japanese militarists’ way of thinking, the combination of Japanese spirit and the willingness to die for the emperor would overcome any material advantage enjoyed by an enemy.

Japanese bunker

Yahara was convinced that the initial Japanese strategy for Okinawa—depending on air power—would fail.  Japan’s air forces were seriously degraded by early 1945, and it had lost many experienced pilots. American aircraft were now technically superior, and Japan’s Navy was down to just a few surviving carriers.  Yahara believed that the only chance for his country’s survival lay in the proper use of its remaining ground forces.

After the promised air assault did not materialize, he went ahead with his planned defenses on the ground.  He would fight for time, making the invaders pay dearly for every inch of ground, to allow Japan to prepare its defenses on the main islands for the Allied invasion that was sure to come.  Yahara’s tactics on Okinawa would utilize the island’s terrain, which was perfectly suited for defense, to wage an ugly war of attrition. His soldiers would go underground in caves and concrete bunkers to survive air, artillery, and naval gunfire, and then battle American ground forces for every inch of island real estate. His intricate, multi-layered defensive positions and the tenacity of the 110,000-man 32nd Army combined to prolong the battle for three long and exceedingly bloody months.

Col. Hiromishi Yahara

In his book, Yahara admits that he despised both the self-delusion practiced by his superiors and the false propaganda foisted upon the Okinawan people, who were told that capture by American troops would result in rape, torture, and death, to which suicide was preferable.

Condensed from an article by John Walker.

Click on images to enlarge.

#####################################################################################

 Military Humor – BOOT CAMP 

‘Sign me up for swing shift basic training! I don’t think I could handle early morning hours.’

 

 

 

 

 

#####################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Bathurst – Madison, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Frank Conger – Poughkeepsie, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Bennington

Missing Man formation

Warren Foss – St. Louis, MO; US Navy, WWII, PTO

James Gavette – Bradford, PA; US Army, WWII

Samuel Tom Holiday – Kayeta, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker, Purple Heart

Norman Jackson – Watertown, NY; US merchant Marine, WWII

Francis McCormack – Rutland, VT; USMC

Irving Press – Windsor, CT; US Army, WWII

Raymond Rzepecki Sr. – Central Falls, RI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Pfc, B-24 tail gunner, 370th

Omar Shaffer – Linden, VA; US Navy, WWII, gunner

###########################################################################################

 

SeaBees on Okinawa, April 1945

SeaBees of WWII

This eye witness account was contributed by John Ratomski.

 

AHEAD OF OKINAWA’S FRONT LINES WENT A FIVE MAN SEABEE SURVEYING TEAM TO LAY OUT THE SITE FOR A NEW AIRFIELD.  CCM DOYLE L. CROWELL AND HIS MEN WORKING IN “NO MANS LAND” FOR TWO DAYS – SOMETIMES MORE THAN A HALF-MILE IN FRONT OF THE FIGHTING. THE MARINES DIDN’T CATCH UP WITH THE SURVEYORS UNTIL THE THIRD DAY.

April 1, 1945 – Easter Sunday arrived with a calm sea and a clear blue sky. The sun was two hours above the horizon. The serene South China Sea was fogged with the ghostly gray mist of the smudge pots. Behind the curtain of smoke, landing barges circled restlessly, waiting.  In the distance boomed the heavy naval guns. At 0830 the barges flashed across the line to the beach. The battle for “Bloody Okinawa” was on.

This was the moment we had sweated out for thirty days aboard ship. Thirty days of playing cards and checkers and reading books, magazines and the news reports; thirty days of boredom and anxiety.

USS Joseph T. Dickman, WWII

Aboard the USS Dickman we tried vainly to see what was going on. The wall of smoke obliterated everything outside a radius of two hundred yards. Scuttlebutt spread widely through the ship: The Japs are shelling! Someone had seen several unaccountable splashes near the next ship in line. On our bit of the U.S.A., isolated from the world and the news and in the midst of significant historical events, we depended on the latest developments from the coxswains passing by in landing barges. No one hit on the fourth wave. The sixth wave went in standing up! Our bird’s eye view of the battle was minute indeed.

D-Day for Seabees was April 2nd, and the first groups of the 71st Naval Construction Battalion stepped ashore at Blue Beach to the first nearly civilized country they had seen in eighteen months. There, not six yards from the beach, was part of a real house with the wreckage of some natives possessions strewn about.

Yontan Airfield, aerial view from the 25th Photo Recon Sq./5th Air Force

From Blue Beach we marched five miles, carrying the equipage necessary to existence (a mere 60 to 100 pounds) on our backs, to a former Japanese airfield, Yontan, and prepared to bivouac. Within a few hundred yards of the camp were a number of Nip planes in all states of disrepair.

April 6th. No bombs were dropped in the camp vicinity, but old hands neatly hit holes dug for that purpose. Later in the day planes made a strafing run on the camp, setting fire to and completely destroying the Frank type Nip plane which was parked near the camp. The first casualty due to enemy action occurred, a slight shoulder wound caused by falling flak. The most severe cases were those individuals unfortunate enough to have been carrying open cans at the time of the raid.

On April 8th, grading started on Route 1 from Yamada to Onna, the main road which led north on the China Sea side of the island. This stretch of road formed the backbone of the battalion’s job on Okinawa. The next day the first part of the battalion moved to a more suitable position north, following the Marines of the 3rd Corps and keeping the roads open.

SeaBees on Okinawa

The month of April brought cold weather miseries to the men. Eighteen months in the torrid heat of the South Pacific had weakened the resistance of the men to the mild cold of Okinawa. Cloudy, rainy days and cold nights brought on the worst colds and grippe in two years. Nights were spent with all available clothing wrapped around the body, and baths from buckets and helmets were no longer cool and refreshing as they had been in the tropics, but ordeals to be endured only when the odor became overpowering.

Also in April came terrific hailstorms of steel to those remaining encamped beside Yontan.  Shore installations and ships in the harbor threw up such a tremendous barrage in each raid that the harbor vicinity was prey to the never ending rain of metal.  On 16 April mortar shells aimed at Yontan landed around the camp area.  During the previous night the first and only death due to enemy action occurred. There were air raids too numerous to count, but usually the planes merely passed over on their way to more important targets. On several occasions bombs were dropped nearby, but they were just close enough to make a few more Christians.

SeaBees at work, Okinawa

By April 29th the battalion road responsibility extended from Yamada to Nago, a distance of more than 20 miles. Throughout the entire distance the road was widened sufficiently to accommodate the northward drive of the 3rd Corps. A Piper Cub strip at Onna was begun on April 16th.  By April 20th enough of the strip had been completed to enable the first plane to land.  At the village of Kise, a concrete bridge had been badly damaged by combat action and was repaired by cribbing along the broken span and back filling with rubble. Many of the bridges on Route 1 were damaged, seemingly beyond repair. Each bridge was repaired by crib and back fill or with shoring. These bridges were the only ones on the island made passable by using salvage material and drift wood.

Click on images to enlarge.

##################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

##################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

James Adams Jr. – So. Windham, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Aviation Engineer

John Beverly – Stone, KY; US Navy, WWII, Korea, Sr. Chief Radioman (Ret. 22y.)

Bob Dorough – AR; US Army, WWII, band, (Schoolhouse Rock)

Larry Harvey – Portland, OR; US Army, (Burning Man founder)

Douglas Jackson – Knoxville, TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1261st Combat Engineers Battalion

Kathleen Leach – Tauranga, NZ; WAAF # W2039, WWII, L.Cpl.

James Martin – Brookline, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division, jumpmaster

Bill Nichols – OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO & CBI

Dennis Odom – St. Louis, IL; US Army, Vietnam

Joseph Varone – NYC, NY; US Army, WWII, Bronze Star & 2 Purple Hearts

##################################################################################

 

%d bloggers like this: