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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 Units were shifted around and finally withdrawn.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.

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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.

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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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The U.S. Marine Corps in China – part II

China 1945

In the meantime, the 29th Marine Regiment, 6th Division was supposed to have landed at Chefoo, but plans had to be changed. The communists had already seized the city, and they were extremely uncooperative. And so it was that young private Stevens and the 29th Marines found themselves at Tsingtao (now Qingdao), a port on China’s Yellow Sea coast.

In the early afternoon of October 11, 1945, the first Marines landed at Tsingtao. When the main body arrived on October 15, they were given a tumultuous welcome by the Chinese population. Private Stevens tried to learn a few words of Chinese on the trip. When Colonel Roston, the battalion commander, heard that Stevens “knew Chinese”—a great exaggeration —he appointed the young leatherneck as official interpreter. Stevens did his best, even though all he knew were a few stock phrases like, “Do you have your own rice bowl?”

Marines in China

Tsingtao was a fascinating city, but some aspects took some getting used to. Ragged beggars swarmed through the streets, a number that included many impoverished children. In fact, Private Stevens’ own outfit, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 29th Marines, unofficially adopted a little Chinese beggar who they nicknamed “Little Lew.” He was cleaned, fed, and dressed in cut-down Marine uniform items.

But elsewhere in China the news was not so heartwarming. Chiang had made a major tactical mistake that would ultimately cause his regime to collapse. The generalissimo concentrated on winning back Manchuria, in the process withdrawing many of his troops from northern China. This created a power vacuum that the communist Chinese were all too happy to fill. Tsingtao became a Nationalist “island” in a communist-dominated Shantung Province “sea.”

Even in Hubei Province the communists were suspicious and generally uncooperative. Marine Brig. Gen. William Worton had a meeting with Zhou En-lai, later famous as Mao’s right hand man and foreign minister for the People’s Republic of China. Zhou was a brilliant diplomat, and he made it clear that the communists would fight hard to prevent the Marines from entering Peiping.

Worton was not intimidated, even after a stormy hour with Zhou. He pointed out that the IIIAC was a battle-hardened unit with superior air power support. He was not looking for trouble, but his Marines could push through any opposition if they had to. Zhou En-lai had met his match, and he withdrew after insisting he would have Marine orders “changed.” The Marines arrived in Peiping without major incident.

American Marines armed with a Browning .30-caliber water-cooled machine gun and other light weapons pose during efforts to evacuate former Japanese Army personnel after their surrender in China following World War II.

The formal surrender of the 10,000-man Tsingtao Japanese garrison took place on October 25, 1945. The whole Marine 6th Division was on hand for the ceremony, conducted by division commander Maj. Gen. Lemuel Shepard and Chinese Nationalist General Chen Chao-Tsang. However, some Japanese troops were still needed to help keep the major rail lines open in Shantung. There were not enough Marines or Nationalist troops to guard all the railroads.

Even so, Marines often found themselves in the role of train guards, one of the most dangerous assignments in China. Winters were bitterly cold in China, and the great city of Shanghai, a metropolis of three million souls, needed a constant stream of northern coal to keep it going. Shanghai needed 100,000 tons of coal a month, so Marine riflemen, shivering from the icy blasts than swept in from the Gobi Desert, stood guard to keep the trains running. 

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Jacob Alphen – Green Valley, AZ; US Navy, WWII

Gerald Bruno – North Andover, MA; US Army, Korea, 82nd Airborne Division

Greg Farison – Columbia, SC; US Army, Vietnam, 1st Cavalry Division

John Gill – Huron, OH; US Navy, WWII & Korea, Lt. Commander

Charles Jackson – Camillus, NY; Merchant Marines, WWII / US Army, Korea

Cecilia Krulikowski – Yeadon, PA; US Army WAC, WWII, Medical Tech, ETO

Ervin Licko – Chicago, IL; USMC, WWII & Korea

Ian Michie – Toronto, CAN; RC Navy, WWII & Korea

Allen Penrod – Dunmor, KY; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, CMSgt. (Ret. 29 y.)

Richard Wenneson – Fredericksburg, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/511/11th Airborne Division

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The U.S. Marine Corps in China – part I

Marines in China

On September 2, 1945, Japanese representatives boarded the battleship USS Missouri. World War II had been brought to a swift conclusion. To the men of the III Marine Amphibious Corps (IIIAC), already training for the proposed invasion of Japan, this was welcome news indeed.

The leathernecks knew that an invasion of the Japanese home islands would have been bloody.  Now the nightmare seemed over, and the Marines looked forward to returning to the States.

But instead of going home, the IIIAC Marines found that they were going to be sent to China instead. This was a bitter disappointment for many, but some actually looked forward to an adventure in the Far East. Private Harold Stevens of the 29th Marines was thrilled that he was not going back to his family’s farm in Pennsylvania. He was only 19 but was already a veteran of the bloody battles that secured Okinawa.

To many Americans of Stevens’ generation, China was still the land of mystery and romance, of exotic sights and beautiful women. It was a place that had enthralled Marco Polo. Now Stevens, a farm boy, was about to be sent there. He could hardly believe his good fortune.

Chiang Kai shek

The story of the postwar Marine involvement in China is interesting but anything but romantic. It began when Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, leader of China during World War II, requested American help in securing northern China. There were more than two million Japanese there who had to be repatriated to Japan, including a substantial number of soldiers. But Chiang was also thinking of his chief rival, Communist leader Mao Zedong. The communists were particularly strong in the north. With American help, directly or indirectly, Chiang hoped to seize the important cities of northern China before the communists could gain control.

While the U.S government did help transport Chiang’s Nationalist troops to various locations, in general the American military was to maintain strict neutrality. In October 1945, the U.S. Fourteenth Air Force airlifted 50,000 men of the 92nd and 94th Chinese Nationalist Armies to Peiping (Beijing) and other key strategic points. While “cooperating” with Chiang and the Nationalists, the Americans thought they could bring about a permanent peace in China.

In fact, on November 1945, President Harry Truman appointed Gen. George C. Marshal as a special representative to mediate the differences between the communists and Nationalists. Truman felt it was in the most “vital interest” of the United States and all the United Nations that the people of China overlook no opportunity to adjust their internal differences promptly through peaceful negotiation.

Gen. George C. Marshall

American foreign policy over the last 70 years has often been based on naïve thinking and well-meaning blundering. There is an underlying assumption that Americans have the “know how” to solve the insoluble. Deep cultural, religious, ethnic, and political differences are all too often downplayed or ignored in favor of an optimism that is almost always misplaced.

Such was the case in Vietnam, and such was the case in China from 1945-1949. The Truman administration was certain that General Marshall could negotiate a lasting peace between the bitterest of enemies, foes who mistrusted each other and who were stalling for time to gain a decisive advantage over their rivals. As a result, the Marine IIIAC was left “holding the bag,” trying to maintain a precarious neutrality in the face of a swiftly deteriorating situation.

A pair of communist soldiers read a broadside describing a plan for reconciliation in post-World War II China that has been put forward by General George C. Marshall, U.S. Army Chief of Staff.

In fairness, there were some “Old China hands” in the State Department who recognized that the Chinese government was riddled with corruption and warned the Truman administration accordingly. They were ignored. Though Chiang was no “prize,” he was anti-communist, and that’s all that seemed to matter. The Cold War was starting and with it a new “Red Scare” that communism would spread throughout the world.

The Marine IIIAC Corps headquarters together with the 1st Marine Division would occupy positions in and around Tangku, Tientsin, Peiping, and Chingwangtao in Hopeh Province. Air Support would be provided by the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing flying Grumman F7F Tigercats and other planes. The airmen would be stationed at airfields in the Tsingtao, Tientsin, and Peiping areas.

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Military Humor – 

 

It’s his discharge papers.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ernest Bernard – Ackley, IA; US Navy, WWII

“THE LAST TRIP”

Walter Brown Jr. – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

Adam Cho – Honolulu, HI; US Army, WWII & Korea

Leonard Gustafson – Columbia, SD; US Army Air Corps, WWII / US Coast Guard

Charles Hasper – Denver, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 tail gunner

Jerry Kaschak – Castle Shannon, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Robert Parker – MA; US Army, WWII, APO

Howard Reynolds – Fort Worth, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Recon/11th Airborne Division

Herman ‘Bud’ Schwabl – Canandaigua, NY; USMC, WWII

Douglas Willson – Markham, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, # 10 Squadron

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Personal Comment –

I have been under the weather, so please bear with me as I am trying to continue my on-line presence as usual as possible.  I seem to have had the need to become quite acquainted with my couch.

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Table For One

A VERY SPECIAL POST FOR A VERY IMPORTANT WEEKEND! PLEASE THANK OUR HOST FOR PUTTING THIS TOGETHER FOR US.

Mickey~2~Travel

Let’s face it…. Nobody REALLY enjoys working during a Holiday weekend, however, when I walked into the cafeteria at Jackson Madison General Hospital, I saw this. This is called a Table For One, and it’s a wonderful tribute / memorial to the Military Service Members who have fought and died to defend our great country.

Thank you to the staff member who put this together to remind us all about the freedom we have today.

The framed plaque, which is on the table, reads:

* This table, set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone.

* It is set for one, symbolizing the fact that some are missing from our ranks.

* The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.

* The black napkin represents the sorrow of captivity.

* The single red rose in…

View original post 158 more words

May – Military Appreciation Month 2019

Most of my readers have see this post or one similar here on Pacific Paratrooper, but due to the arrival of new readers, I have chosen to remind every one again.  I thank you all for taking the time to visit this site and I hope you are enjoying the freedoms that these troops fought so hard to insure for us.

May, marked officially as Military Appreciation Month, is a special month for both those in and out of the military.

Not only do we pause on Memorial Day to remember the sacrifice and service of those who gave all, but the month also holds several other military anniversaries and events, including Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Armed Forces day.

USMC Silent Drill Platoon w/ the Blue Angels

MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH

Brigade Combat Team

The Origins of Army Day    

National Military Appreciation Month

A month to recognize and show appreciation to the Armed Forces of the United States of America.

 

May 1, 2019 – Loyalty Day

A day set aside for American citizens to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States

and to recognize the heritage of American freedom.  Learn more…

May 1, 2019 – Silver Star Service Banner Day

A day set aside to honor our wounded, ill, and dying military personnel by

participating in flying a Silver Star Banner.  Learn more…

May 2, 2019 – National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of

May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. Learn more…

How can you pray for the military community? Learn more…

 

May 8, 2019 – VE (Victory in Europe) Day

(Celebrated May 7 in commonwealth countries)

A day which marks the anniversary of the Allies’ victory in Europe during World War II

on May 8, 1945. Learn more…

May 10, 2019 – Military Spouse Appreciation Day

A day set aside to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of the spouses of

the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn more…

​LINK – Practical insights in caring for a military home front family

May 12, 2018 – Mother’s Day

LINK – Organizations that support deployed military personnel on Mother’s Day

LINK – Coloring page for military children

May 13, 2019 – Children of Fallen Patriots Day

A day to honor the families our Fallen Heroes have left behind – especially their children. It’s a reminder to the community that we have an obligation to support the families of our Fallen Patriots. Learn more…

May 18, 2019 – Armed Forces Day

A day set aside to pay tribute to men and women who serve in the United States’

Armed Forces. Learn more…

May 27, 2019 – Memorial Day (Decoration Day)

A day set aside to commemorate all who have died in military service for the UnitedStates. Typically recognized by parades, visiting memorials and cemeteries. Learn more…

LINK – Coloring page for military children

Edward Byers

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Military Humor – 

contributed by: Garfieldhug’s blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Henry Bloch – Kansas City, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 navigator / H&R Block

Daniel B. Bonner – Villages, FL; US Army, Vietnam, 3rd Infantry Regiment/199th Light Infantry Brigade

Mel Caragan – Malasiqui, P.I.; US Navy, Vietnam, 1st Class Petty Officer (Ret. 23 y.)

Robert Graham – Shrub Oak, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star, Silver Star

Robert Inger – St. Louis, MO; US Army, WWII, ground map maker

Richard Luger – Indianapolis, IN; US Navy, Intelligence /  U.S. Senator

Rosco Miesner – Syracuse, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Akutan

Howard Nelms – Charleston, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Vicksburg

Bjorn Rafoss – NOR & NY; US Army, Korea, Signal Corps

Janet Shawn – Springfield, MA; Civilian, Civil Air Patrol, WWII

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Current News – USS WASP – WWII Wreck Located

A port bow view of the ship shows her aflame and listing to starboard, 15 September 1942. Men on the flight deck desperately battle the spreading inferno. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-16331, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)

The discovery of sunken wrecks seems to hold an eternal fascination. Although the quest to find them takes a huge amount of resources and technical skills, the quest goes on. Many searches have focused on the wrecks of warships lost during the Second World War. One of the most recent successes, despite many difficulties, was the discovery of USS Wasp (CV-7) deep in the Pacific Ocean.

The story of Wasp‘s end begins in September 1942. The aircraft carrier set out with 71 planes and a crew of more than 2,000 men on board to escort a convoy of US Marines to Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. In the middle of the afternoon, Wasp was hit by Japanese torpedoes which caused serious damage.

The worst part was that the torpedoes had hit the magazine, setting off a series of explosions. The fire quickly spread, and the ship was also taking on water from the torpedo damage. Soon it began to tilt, and oil and gasoline that had spilled were set ablaze on the water. Captain Sherman had no choice but to give the order to abandon ship.

Wildcats & Spitfires on the USS Wasp, 7 April 1942

Those who were most seriously injured were lowered into life rafts. Those who could not find a place in a life raft had no choice but to jump into the sea. There they held on to whatever debris they could to keep them afloat until they were rescued.

Captain Sherman commented later that the evacuation of the ship was remarkably orderly under the circumstances. He also noted that sailors had delayed their own escapes to ensure that their injured comrades were taken off the ship first.

The first torpedoes had been spotted at 2:44 PM. By 4 PM, once he was sure that all the survivors had been removed, Captain Sherman himself abandoned ship. In that short time, Wasp had been destroyed along with many of the aircraft it was carrying, and 193 men died.

Despite the danger involved, the destroyers which had accompanied Wasp carried out a remarkable rescue operation and managed to bring 1,469 survivors to safety.

The ship drifted on for four hours until orders were given that it should be scuttled. The destroyer USS Lansdowne came to the scene, and another volley of torpedoes eventually sank the ship into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

The discovery of the wreck was largely due to the philanthropy of the late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Allen had a lifelong enthusiasm for underwater exploration and a fascination with WWII wrecks. He provided the substantial sums required to fit out the Petrel exploration ship through his undersea exploration organization.

View of 5 inch gun from online room. Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc.

The quest to find Wasp looked likely to be one of their more difficult tasks. The wreck lay 2.5 miles down in an area known as an abyssal plane. There is no light and little animal life as well as massive pressure, making it one of the most inhospitable and inaccessible areas of the ocean.

Kraft and his team recalculated the possible location based on the distance between Wasp and the other two ships at the time of the torpedo attack. They realized that they needed to look much further south. It seemed that the navigator on Wasp had provided the most accurate location information after all.

Bridge of the USS Wasp

The crew once again sent out drones to scan the area and on January 14, 12 days after their mission began, they located the wreck. Despite the massive damage, Wasp could be seen clearly in the underwater photographs, sitting upright on the seabed and surrounded by helmets and other debris that served as reminders of its dramatic history and tragic end.

The exact location of the wreck remains a closely guarded secret to avoid the risk of scavengers looking for valuable relics from the ship. There are no plans to attempt to raise the wreck, but its discovery has brought satisfaction to the few remaining Wasp survivors and their families.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Chauncy Adams (101) – NZ; RNZ Army, WWII, 25th Wellington Battalion/3rd Echelon

James Baker – Farmersville, TX; US Army, WWII,PTO, Infantry, Chaplain (Ret. 20 y.)

Joseph Collette – Lancaster, OH; US Army, Afghanistan, 242 Ordnance/71st Explosive Ordnance Group, KIA

John Goodman – Birmingham, AL; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Willie Hartley – NC; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Richard Kasper – Brunswick, GA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star

Will Lindsay – Cortez, CO; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt., 2/10th Special Forces (Airborne), KIA

Stanley Mikuta – Cannonsburg, PA; WWII, PTO, Co. E/152nd Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Leonard Nitschke – Ashley, ND; US Army, Korea, Co. G/21/24th Infantry Division

Charles Whatmough – Pawtucket, RI; US Navy. WWII, PTO, Troop Transport cook

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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

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More Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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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.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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 !!!

 

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Here We Go……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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