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General Yamashita – conclusion

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General Tomoyuki Yamashita as he led his staff officers of the 14th Area Army to surrender, 2 Sept. 1945. He did not believe in hara-kiri. He said, “If I kill myself, someone else will have to take the blame.”

One of the most monumental surrenders in the Pacific War was General Tomoyuki Yamashita. He had joined the Japanese Army in 1906 and fought the Germans in China in 1914, graduated Staff College in 1916 and began a military attaché in Switzerland as an expert on Germany, where he was to meet Tojo Hideki.

Tojo soon became very envious of the success and advancements Yamashita was achieving. This was especially true after the campaign in Malaya and bluffing the British into surrendering to his inferior forces in Singapore. Tojo used his influence to have Yamashita transferred to Manchuria before he could even announce his win to the Emperor. The general was sent to the Philippine Islands in 1944. A man who believed in the Samurai traditions and was highly devoted to the Emperor.

Many times, my friend Mustang Koji has given me information on this war, his site,  http://p47koji.wordpress.com and he supplied much of the data included here in today’s post. A visit to Koji’s website will give you stories about having relatives on both sides of the Pacific too.  Very interesting!

Initial American contact with Gen. Yamashita

30 August – negotiations with the general were drawing to a close, but he remained in his mountain headquarters sending word with thanks to the American Commanders for their “sincere efforts and concerns,” and his regrets that he was unable to contact his forces in Cagayan Valley, Balete Pass and the Clark Field areas.

Small groups were beginning to turn themselves in and Major General Yuguchi, of the 103d Division in the Cagayan Valley had already agreed to the surrender terms, but was awaiting word from Yamashita. The 37th Infantry Division was expecting 3,000 to surrender on 2 September. Throughout the Philippine Islands, capitulations were being delivered from Japanese officers.

Some Japanese soldiers refused to believe that the Emperor had aired a demand for peace and skirmishes were reported on various islands. No American troops were listed as casualties. Those killed during that action with unfriendly combatants were Japanese, Filipino, Korean.  General Yamashita arrived for his surrender and behaved as a gentleman officer would, then was led away to Baguio City for confinement, surrender and trial.

Yamashita testifies

In Time magazine, the writer ranted about Yamashita’s brutality during the Bataan Death March. The truth of the matter was – Yamashita was in Manchuria at the time. All in all, 5,600 Japanese were prosecuted during 2,200 trials. More than 4,400 men and women were convicted and about 1,000 were executed and approximately the same number of acquittals.

Yamashita trial

Gen. Yamashita at defense table. His longtime translator, Masakatsu Hamamoto accompanied him.

General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s case was the most famous of the American trials and was presided over by a military commission of 5 American general officers (none of which had any legal training) and held in the ballroom of the U.S. high commissioner’s residence. The charge was “responsibility for the death and murders tolerated – knowingly or not.” The general’s defense council, Col. Harry Clark, argued that no one would even suggest that the Commanding General of an American occupational force would become a criminal every time an American soldier committed a crime – but, Yamashita was just so accused.

correspondents

The American Military Court in Manila sentenced Gen. Yamashita on 7 December 1945 and he was hanged on 23 February 1946.

The above is a modern photo of the Home Economics building of the Kiangan Central School where General Yamashita was first contacted. Later, he was sent to Baguio City for the formal surrender.
Photo is credited to, Dr. Walter Johnson

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal Note – May we all say a prayer for Derrick and Jackie Knight, who lost their son, Michael, yesterday.

One I Never Thought I Would Need To Write

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edna Barnett – Telford, ENG; British Aux. Air Force; WWII

Victor Barnett (101) – Telford, ENG; RAF, WWII, radar

Robert Coccari – Monesson, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical/188/11th Airborne Division

Arthur Gould – Killara, AUS; RA Navy, Commander

Marcelite Harris – Houston, TX; US Air Force, MGeneral (Ret. 32 y.)

Richard Isawa – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, Signal Corps, instructor

Yukio Kawamoto (99) – Springfield, VA; US Army, WWII, PTO, combat intelligence

Albert Levy – Brookline, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, medic

John ‘Fred’ Martin – Watertown, NY; US Army, WWII, Major (Ret. 22 y.)

Joseph Slater – TN; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Master Chief Petty Officer (Ret. 30 y.)

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General Yamashita

Gen. Robert Eichelberger

From:  “Our Jungle Road to Tokyo” by General Robert Eichleberger

Although negotiations with Yamashita for surrender were completed after 8th Army had relinquished control of Luzon, the story should be told here.  It must be remembered that Japanese forces at this period had little or no communication with the homeland.

On 7 August – the day of the fall of the first atomic bomb – an America pilot was forced to abandon his disabled plane and parachute behind the Japanese lines in northern Luzon.  He was picked up by an enemy patrol the next morning and taken after 5 days of forced marches to Gen. Yamashita’s headquarters, then SW of Kiangan.

There he was subjected to vigorous and prolonged interrogation.  He was threatened with physical violence when he steadfastly refused to answer questions.

Gen. Yamashita

On 16 Aug – the attitude of the Japanese interrogators abruptly changed.  The pilot received medical treatment for his parachute-jump injuries and was extended many small courtesies.  The next day the American was guided toward American lines; when the Japanese soldiers had gone as far as they dared, they gave the flier a letter, written by Yamashita himself, which explained the circumstances of the pilot’s capture and commended him for his military spirit and devotion to duty.

On 24 August – the same pilot flew an L-5 liaison plane over the area in which he had been held and dropped a message of thanks to Gen. Yamashita, along with 2 signal panels.  The message, written by Gen. Gill of the 32nd Division, suggested that if Yamashita were in the mood for surrender negotiations he should display the 2 panels as evidence of his willingness to parley.

The following morning another pilot found the panels staked out according to instructions; also on the ground were many cheering, hand-waving Japanese soldiers, who beckoned the plane to land.  Instead, a second message was dropped.  It suggested that Yamashita send an envoy to the American lines to received detailed instructions for his surrender.

Late in the afternoon of 26 August, a Japanese captain, carrying Yamashita’s answer, entered the American lines under a flag of truce.  The letter, which was written in English, was as follows:

Ge. Yamashita

GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, IMPERIAL JAPANESE ARMY IN THE PHILIPPINES

August 25, 1945

TO: GENERAL W.H. GILL, COMMANDING GENERAL KIANGAN-BOYOMBONG AREA, UNITED STATES ARMY IN THE PHILIPPINES

  1.  I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication addressed to me, dropped by your airplane on Aug. 24th as well as your papers dropped on Aug. 25th in response to our ground signals.

2.  I am taking this opportunity to convey to you that order from Imperial Headquarters pertaining to cessation of hostilities was duly received by me on Aug. 20th and that I have immediately issued orders to cease hostilities to all units under my command insofar as communications were possible.

I also wish to add this point the expression of my heartfelt gratitude to you, full cognizant of the sincere efforts and deep concern you have continuously shown with reference to cessation of hostilities as evidenced by various steps and measures you have taken in this connection.

To date however, I have failed to receive order from Imperial Headquarters authorizing me to enter into direct negotiations here in the Philippines with the United States Army…, but I am of the fond belief that upon receipt of this order, negotiations ca be immediately entered into.  Presenting my compliments and thanking you for your courteous letter, I remain, yours respectively,

/s/Tomoyuki Yamashita, General, Imperial Japanese Army, Highest Commander of the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines

circa 1956: The samurai sword of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, ‘the Tiger of Malaya’, commander of the Japanese troops in the Philippines during World War II. It rests on the Philippine Surrender Document, signed at Baguio, Luzon on September 3rd, 1945. (Photo by Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)

This message was the first in a series exchanged between Yamashita and Gen. Gill.  The exquisite courtesy of the exchanges probably has for the average reader something of the quality of ‘Through the Looking-Glass’.

To be continued…….

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Coyne – St. Paul, MN; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Margaret Bergthold – Lookeba, OK; US Navy WAVE, WWII, nurse

George Gaw – Sacramento, CA; US Navy, Bimini Island, 53rd SeaBee Batt. / USMC, Korea

Desmond Hyland – Hawkes Bay, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 421274, WWII, Mosquito pilot

Ben Jenik – KS; US Army Air Corps, Sgt., 93rd Supply Squadron/490 Bomb Group

Tom Montalbana – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII & Korea

Harry Shakes – Winter Park, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. Major (Ret. 30 y.), 2 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts

Stephen St. Laurent – Portland, ME; US Army, Vietnam

Phyllis Tatel – Boston, MA; USO, WWII

William Webb Sr. – Columbus, GA; US Army, WWII

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Following the Flag

This is not our Flag Day, but the history behind it and the relationship to the POW’s of WWII are with us still today.

The Veteran's Collection

The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground Depicting the Massachusetts 54th Infantry Regiment at Fort Wagner, SC, this (2004) painting, “The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground” by Rick Reeves prominently displays the flag leading the troops in battle.

Today is Flag Day. On June 14, 1777, Congress passed a resolution to adopt the stars and stripes design for our national flag. In honor of that, I felt compelled to shed some light on how the impact of the flag holds for men and women who serve this country in uniform.

Throughout the history of our nation, the Stars and Stripes have had immeasurable meaning to to those serving in uniform. On the field of battle, the Flag has been a rallying point for units as they follow it toward the enemy. From their vantage points, commanding generals are able to observe their troop movements and progress throughout battles by following the flag.

Troop reverence for the…

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The Japanese and German Alliance / What once was….

L:Japanese ambassador Kintomo Mushakoji and foreign minister of Nazi Germany Joachim von Ribbentrop sign the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936.R: Matsuoka with Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (centre) and ambassador Heinrich Georg Stahmer (right) at a reception in the Japanese embassy in Berlin on 29 March 1941

Alliances during a war can change the outcome, but the alliance between Japan and Germany is one that baffles many people. Most people can understand why Japan went to war with America, but why did the Imperial nation join forces with Nazi Germany? To understand the Tripartite Pact which created the Axis Powers, a look further back in history is needed.

Both Germany and Imperial Japan arrived on the international stage in the mid-1800s. Japan was forced out of isolation and started rapid westernization in 1854. Germany had been a number of city-states before Prussia won the Franco-Prussian war and united all of them in 1871.

A Japanese lithograph depicting Japan’s troops attacking the German colony of Tsingtao in 1914

Before Germany became a country of its own, Prussia and a newly open Japan had a very friendly relationship. Prussia had been going through a modernization effort with the speed and efficiency that the Germans are known for. This led Japan to view them as a good role model, as Japan wanted to modernize in a similarly effective manner.

To this end, Japan hired many Prussian and German advisers to help them with modernization. These advisers brought the militaristic approach to modernization which worked in Prussia, and later Germany, to Japan.

As German ambassador in Tokyo from 1920 to 1928, Wilhelm Solf initiated the re-establishment of good German–Japanese relations. Bundesarchiv,

However, this cozy relationship ended when both nations decided to follow the other major powers and look for colonies.

The problem that Germany faced with its colonization efforts was the fact that the Age of Exploration was coming to an end.

The other major powers of the time had been colonizing the world for years, so all the areas Germany would have considered first were already colonized. This led Germany to turn east and start colonizing different areas of Asia.  At the same time, Japan was also looking for colonies and saw their best options in East Asia. This was the same area the Germans were operating in and led to a cooling of the relationship between these nations.

“Good friends in three countries”: Japanese propaganda poster from 1938 promoting the cooperation between Japan, Germany and Italy

Japan also started to become friendly with Great Britain at this time, which would affect the relationship between Japan and Germany during World War I.

When WWI broke out in 1914, Japan allied with Britain. After the Allies won the war, Japan was quick to take over the former German colonies in Asia.

While this would normally sour relationships between countries, Japan and Germany’s friendship would reignite in the post-WWI world.

Japanese foreign minister Yōsuke Matsuoka visits Adolf Hitler in Berlin in late March 1941.

After the war, Germany was not in a good place and was forced to sign an incredibly harsh treaty by the Allied Powers. This led to the crash of the government and economy as well as the rise of the Nazi Party.

In addition, the newly formed League of Nations was unpopular in Germany, and Japan was not a fan of it either.

The League of Nations was not very fair to Japan. Japan would often be punished by the league for its actions against its neighbors.

This sowed the seeds of discontent because the leaders of the League, France and Great Britain, often conducted the same actions against their own colonies. This hypocrisy would lead to Japan withdrawing from the League of Nations.

Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States on 11 December 1941 in the wake of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

As the Nazi Party gained power, Hitler created strong ties with China. However, he changed course and started to view Japan as a more strategic partner in Asia.  For its part, Japan wanted to continue expanding, and saw rebuilding its relationship with Germany as beneficial to this goal.

The renewed relationship between Japan and Germany was still fragile when WWII broke out. In the early stages of the war, Japan was strongly allied with Germany, but not involved militarily in the war.

The I-8 arriving in Brest, France, in 1943, on a “Yanagi” mission to exchange material and personnel with Nazi Germany

Their relationship was one of mutual benefit rather than a complete alliance, since Japan was more focused on exerting its influence in East Asia.

The true alliance of Japan and Germany would only come about when Japan entered the war. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and other American bases, it led to America declaring war on the Imperial nation.

Rear Admiral Jisaku Uozumi signs the surrender of Penang aboard the battleship HMS Nelson on 2 September 1945. He fainted shortly afterwards and was rushed to hospital. Note the Distinguished Service Cross ribbon on Uozumi’s uniform, which he had earned from the British during the alliance

In response, Germany declared war on America, and thus further strengthened their relationship with Japan. The Tripartite Pact created the Axis Powers, allying Germany, Japan, Italy and a number of smaller countries.

The alliance between Japan and Germany during WWII may seem strange and an odd pairing which did not yield much in terms of results. 

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Military Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Andrew Benjock – Pittsburgh, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO/CBI, Korea, radioman, Master Gunnery Sgt. (Ret. 31 y.)

Allan Brown – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Dan Darden – Montgomery, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Ralph Esposito – Mahopac, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII

Margaret Fish – CA; US Women’s Marine Corps, WWII

Murphy Neal Jones Sr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Air Force, Vietnam, POW (6½ y., Hanoi Hilton)

Fred Knodle – Cincinnati, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 187/11th Airborne Division, Medical unit

Robert Messel – Vincennes, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, West Point grad

Jack O’Neil – North Haven, CT; US Army, WWII & Korea, Chief Warrant Officer 4

Jocelyn Todd – Aiken, SC; US Army WAC, WWII

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The Emperor’s Speech

Emperor Hirohito recording his speech

13 August –  two ships, the Pennsylvania and the La Grange were hit by kamikaze carrier planes. All ships in Okinawa harbors were shipped out to ensure their safety. Although the Emperor was at this point demanding peace, the complicated arrangement of their government (Emperor, Premier, Cabinet, Privy Seal, etc. etc.) made it difficult for them to answer the Allies immediately. As Soviet forces, hovering at the 1.5 million mark, launched across Manchuria and approximately 1600 U.S. bombers hit Tokyo.

14 August –  the Emperor made a recording to be played over the Japanese radio stating that their government had surrendered to the Allied powers and to request that his people cooperate with the conquerors. The fanatics, mainly Army officers and also known as die-hards or ultras, attempted to confiscate the prepared discs and claim that the Emperor had been coerced into accepting the Potsdam Declaration.  The Emperor needed to sneak into his bunker to record his speech. People died in this mini revolution and others committed hara-kiri when it failed. Some Japanese pilots continued to fly their Zeros as American planes went over Japan.

The Emperor’s bunker where he recorded his speech.

“To our good and loyal citizens,

After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our Empire today, we have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

We have ordered our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union that our Empire accepts the provisions of their joint declaration.

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well- being of our subjects is the solemn obligation that has been handed down by our Imperial Ancestors, and we lay it close to the heart.

Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain out of our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.

But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone– the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of our servants of the state and the devoted service of our 100 million people–the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

Emperor’s speech.

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, or to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers.

We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia.

The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, and those who met with death and all their bereaved families, pains our heart night and day.

Reaction to hearing the speech.

The welfare of the wounded and the war sufferers, and of those who have lost their homes and livelihood is the object of our profound solicitude. The hardships and suffering to which our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great.

We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all you, our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that we have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable. Having been able to save and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, we are always with you, our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.

Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion that may engender needless complications, and of any fraternal contention and strife that may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.

Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishable of its divine land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibilities, and the long road before it. Unite your total strength to be devoted to the construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, nobility of spirit, and work with resolution so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.

All you, our subjects, we command you to act in accordance with our wishes.”

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SHOUT OUT !!!

From Linda, at Shores Acres:

 An Army combat engineer who served in Guam, the Philippines, and Saipan during WWII is turning 93 in April. He loves mail, but rarely gets any, so his family is asking people to send him a card between now and his birthday. You can read the article here. His name is Recil Troxel, and his address is 2684 North Highway 81, Marlow, Oklahoma 73055. It’s legit. If you do a search for his name, the reports about it are all over the tv stations and so on.
He’s suffering from cancer, too. I’ll put a card in the mail this week. It’s not often we actually can do something for a veteran like this.

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Military Humor – 

YIKES !!!!

Automatic pitching machine?????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ward Cook – Clinton, NY; US Army, Vietnam, E-5

Henry Fischer – Seymour, IN; US Army, WWII, Panama

Kevin Hoag – Providence, RI; US Army, Vietnam, Captain, 101st Airborne Division, 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart

Merle H. Howe – MI; US Army # 0-131962, Colonel, 128/32nd Infantry Div. Buna hero, KIA North Luzon, (Manila-American Cemetery Plot A/Row 5/Grave 100)

Jay Jakeway – Oklahoma City, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/674th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Charles Kohler – Astoria, NY; USMC, WWII, China, Cpl.

Rosemary (Bryant) Mariner – San Diego, CA; US Navy, Desert Storm, pilot, Captain (Ret. 24 y.)

Tony Mendez – Eureka, NV; CIA, Cold War, Operation Argo

Joe Sykes – Whangarei, NZ; NZ Army # 36371, WWII, Sgt.

Ruth St.John (101) – Batavia, NY; US Army WAC, WWII, CBI, nurse

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Peace Bombers Arrive

From the most thorough researchers on the Pacific War…..

IHRA

The title and written content of this week’s post come to you from the 63rd Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group’s history. Once again, we’re focusing on that August 19, 1945 flight that stopped over in Ie Shima on the way to Manila to discuss the Japanese surrender.

On August 19th, the men on Ie Shima witnessed history in the making, as at 12:30 p.m. two white Jap Bettys approached the island escorted by hordes of P-38s, 2 PBYs, two B-25s and other elements of our efficacious air force. After making two trips around the island, the Bettys landed gracefully on Mocha strip which was lined up with M.P.s and thousands of curious soldiers. As the ships taxied down the runway, their bespectacled engineers stood half out of their open top hatches. They were bedecked in most elaborate flying attire—leather jackets, flying helmets, and goggles. One couldn’t help but think how uncomfortably…

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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.

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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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USO Pacific Tour – Candy Jones

Candy Jones

By Sgt. Al Hine

YANK Staff Writer

Candy Jones was just back from a USO tour of the Pacific when I saw her, and with rare originality I said to her, “How are you?” She said, “Fine.”

Well, maybe she was telling the truth, and anyway who am I to be calling a beautiful model like Miss Jones a liar, but if she was feeling fine, she must have been pressing the old will power to its limit. The fact is that Candy had one of those Pacific trips that GIs usually are thinking about when they say, “Why doesn’t anyone ever print how lousy things are?”

She took off from the West Coast in November of 1944 and got back, a couple of months after the rest of the troupe she started out with, in August 1945. In this comparatively short time, she managed to get involved in two minor earthquakes, to lose the top of her dress on stage, and to spend a month in GI hospitals on Leyte and Morotai and in sick bay on the U.S.S C.H. Muir, the troop ship she came home on.

Candy Jones

Candy’s time on sick call was not goldbricking but the result of one of those nice little Pacific gadgets which medics diagnose as “fever of undetermined origin” and treat like malaria, coupled with a nasty case of eczema. A dame columnist in New York, shortly after Candy’s return, printed as an item that the showgirl-model was suffering from “jungle rot.” Possibly this made the eczema sound more romantic to the columnist, but eczema it was.

Candy threw off the fever in pretty good shape. “It only had me scared once, when I thought my hair was all going to fall out,” she said, “but after I lost a little, it stopped falling and everything was alright.”

The eczema left large areas of pale white on Candy’s otherwise sunburned chassis and this is possibly what caught the columnist’s eye.  It caught other eyes too, namely the eyes of photographers for whom Candy made a living posing.

“I won’t be able to pose for any color work till I begin to get even again, ” she said.

By the time all this info had come out, I was ready to ask Candy if she stuck by her original statement that she felt fine.  She said she did.

“It was a good trip and the GI’s we met were wonderful.  They gave us a swell hand everywhere, except sometimes in the hospitals.  I don’t see why I shouldn’t say that about the hospitals either.  It’s the truth.  Lots of guys who had been wounded were bitter and you couldn’t blame them.  They’d look at you when you came in with a sort of “Well, who the hell do you think you are?”

“We played regular shows nights and hospitals during the day.  After the regular shows, we’d get a chance to gab with the GI’s and stuff.  There was almost an even balance between officers and GI’s among the people we got a chance to know.”

“How about the earthquakes?” I asked.

“One was at Leyte,” she said.  “I was in bed when it happened and I almost fell out, but not quite.  The other was at Finschhafen, our first stop after Hollandia.  It was funnier because it was the first time I ever experienced an earthquake and I was in the johnny when it happened.”

“I was in the johnny and there was this crash and things started shifting around.  For a minute or two I thought I had jungle fever.  I pulled myself together, ran out and found it was only an earthquake.”

Candy’s itinerary ran from Brisbane to Leyte, hitting most of the whistle stops along the way.  The gang she was with was called “Cover Girls Abroad”.  The original destination was such a dead secret that Candy guessed wrong by thinking it was the ETO.  When she arrived at the dock, complete with woollies, she was flabbergasted to find she was headed for hotter Pacific.

Candy Jones

“Somebody got a surprise poking around that dock we left from”, she said.  “When I found out where we were going, I got rid of some of my luggage, women’s winter woolies.”

The Cover Girls played over 30 installations.  The troupe did vaudeville-type stuff – juggling, acrobatics, songs and black-out skits.  But it was a wedding number that Candy lost the top of her dress.

General Hospital dispensary/blood bank. Hollandia, New Guinea, 1945

“When the frame (for the ‘wedding picture’) went down,” she explained, “it hooked on top of the dress and took it with it.  I went through the number, sweetly holding up the shreds of camouflage.  After that time, we did the number in a reworked model of the same dress, the only strapless wedding dress I’d ever seen.”

Just as our interview was winding up, I thought of one more question: “How had she liked spending Christmas overseas?”

“Well, it wouldn’t have been bad really if I hadn’t gone and tried to be so smart.  You see, I was staying with the 334th General Hospital in Hollandia.  Christmas Eve had been rough.  We had carol singing and whipped up a bit of the spirit of the season and then they brought in some casualties.  Somehow it seemed worse than ever – no matter how many wounded men you might have seen – to see them on Christmas Eve.”

“But Christmas Dayed started out well.  The guys in the mess were buzzing around with their preparations for a real Christmas dinner – turkey and everything.  It sounded wonderful and I could hardly wait.  In fact I didn’t.  A friend asked me to go to the officer’s club for dinner at noon and thinking I’d be able to wolf down 2 Christmas feast, I accepted.”

“The officer’s club lunch was corned-beef hash; they’d have their turkey in the evening.  But I could dream of dinner at the hospital.  But when I returned to the hospital, I found that they had already feasted on turkey at noon.”

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Candy Jones made another trip with the USO during the Vietnam War.  She passed away from cancer on 18 January 1990.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – Saying Goodbye to the Best –

Bob Hope in Heaven

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joshua Beale – Carrollton, VA; US Army, Afghanistan, 3rd Special Forces Group, KIA

Henry A. Courtney Jr. – Duluth, MN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Medal of Honor, KIA

Elwin Duhn – Grand haven, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 82nd Airborne Division, 2 Purple Hearts

Martin Freed – Cleveland, OH; US Air Force

Rosemary Gancar – Mt. Sterling, KY; US Army Air Corps WAC, flight line mechanic

Edward Hock – Lewisburg, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. F/187th/11th Airborne Division

Ralph Jordon – Enfield, CT; US Army, Korea, Co. C/187th RCT

Edward Loeb – Berkeley, CA; US Navy, WWII

Charles Muehlebach – St. Louis, MO; US Army, WWII, PTO, 40th Infantry Division

Bill “Tiger” Watson – UK; British Army, WWII, ETO, Commando, POW,

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Paul Tibbets and Duty

Paul Tibbets

After receiving basic flight training at Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas in 1937, Tibbets quickly rose through the ranks to become commanding officer of the 340th Bombardment Squadron of the 97th Bombardment Group. After leading the first American daylight heavy bomber mission in Occupied France in August 1942, Tibbets was selected to fly Major General Mark W. Clark from Polebook to Gibraltar in preparation for Operation Torch, the allied invasion of North Africa. A few weeks later, Tibbets flew the Supreme Allied Commander, Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower, to Gibraltar. Tibbets quickly earned a reputation as one of the best pilots in the Army Air Force.

Paul Tibbets in New Mexico

Tibbets returned to the United States to help with the development of the B-29 Superfortress bomber. On September 1, 1944, Tibbets met with Lt. Col. John Lansdale, Captain William S. Parsons, and Norman F. Ramsey, who briefed him about the Manhattan Project. Tibbets, who had accumulated more flying time on the B-29 than any other pilot in the Air Force, was selected to lead the 509th Composite Group, a fully self-contained organization of about 1,800 hand-picked men that would be responsible for dropping the first atomic bomb on Japan.

Paul Tibbets

From September 1944 until May 1945, Tibbets and the 509th Composite Group trained extensively at Wendover Air Force Base in Wendover, Utah. Flight crews practiced dropping large “dummy” bombs modeled after the shape and size of the atomic bombs in order to prepare for their ultimate mission in Japan.

In late May 1945, the 509th was transferred to Tinian Island in the South Pacific to await final orders. On August 5, 1945 Tibbets formally named his B-29 Enola Gay after his mother. At 02:45 the next day, Tibbets and his flight crew aboard the Enola Gay departed North Field for Hiroshima. At 08:15 local time, they dropped the atomic bomb, code-named “Little Boy,” over Hiroshima.

The crew of the “Enola Gay”

Tibbets was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by Major General Carl Spaatz immediately after landing on Tinian. When news of the successful mission appeared in American newspapers the next day, Tibbets and his family became instant celebrities. To supporters, Tibbets became known as a national hero who ended the war with Japan; to his detractors, he was a war criminal responsible for the deaths of many thousands of Japanese civilians. Tibbets remains a polarizing figure to this day.

The book, “Duty”, by Bob Green, is a must read  Duty is the story of three lives connected by history, proximity, and blood; indeed, it is many stories, intimate and achingly personal as well as deeply historic. In one soldier’s memory of a mission that transformed the world—and in a son’s last attempt to grasp his father’s ingrained sense of honor and duty—lies a powerful tribute to the ordinary heroes of an extraordinary time in American life.

No regrets … Colonel Paul Tibbets, standing.

What Greene came away with is found history and found poetry—a profoundly moving work that offers a vividly new perspective on responsibility, empathy, and love. It is an exploration of and response to the concept of duty as it once was and always should be: quiet and from the heart. On every page you can hear the whisper of a generation and its children bidding each other farewell.

Warning leaflet dropped on 14 Japanese cities

“TO THE JAPANESE PEOPLE: America asks that you take immediate heed of what we say on this leaflet. We are in possession of the most destructive explosive ever devised by man. A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29s can carry on a single mission. This awful fact is one for you to ponder and we solemnly assure you it is grimly accurate.” (American leaflet warning Japan to surrender)

With the end of the war in 1945, Tibbets’ organization was transferred to what is now Walker Air Force Base, Roswell, N.M., and remained there until August 1946. It was during this period that the Operation Crossroads took place, with Tibbets participating as technical adviser to the Air Force commander. He was then assigned to the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., from which he graduated in 1947. His next assignment was to the Directorate of Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, where he subsequently served as director of the Strategic Air Division.

BG Paul Tibbets

Brigadier General Paul W. Tibbets Jr. retired from the United States Air Force in 1966. He died in 2007, his ashes were scattered at sea. For more on Tibbets, see Manhattan Project Spotlight: Paul Tibbets. To watch his first-person account of the Hiroshima mission, click here.

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Leaflet dropped on Nagasaki

9 August, ‘Bock’s Car’ dropped the next atomic bomb, “Fat Man,” which was nicknamed after Churchill or Sidney Greenstreet’s character in “The Maltese Falcon,” there are two conflicting stories. The bomb killed 80,000 people. This second bomb was different in that it was a spherical plutonium missile, ten feet long and five feet in diameter. The plane made three unsuccessful runs over the city of Kokura, but due to the lack of visibility, they went on to Nagasaki.  Jake Beser, an electronics specialist, was the only crew member to make both atomic bomb runs.

From the collection of images taken by Yosuke Yamahata, a Japanese military photographer.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stellla Bender – Steubenville, OH; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Ian Cowan – Christchurch, NZ; NZ Army # 635101, WWII, J Force

Raymond Evans – Naashville, TN; US Army, WWII

Wilbur Grippen Jr. (99) – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII

Albert Hill – Nampa, ID; US Army, WWII, CBI

Floyd Kennedy – Tonasket, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 674/11th Airborne Division, Medical Corps (Ret. 21 y.)

Louis Mueller – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, WWII

Clinton Phalen Sr. – Foster City, MI; US Navy, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

Raymond Shannon – Worchester, MA; US Air Force, Korea

Max Thomas – Calhoun, GA; US Army, WWII

 

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Personal Note – 

GP Cox had the pleasure – or should I say ‘best experience ever’ yesterday as I boarded a B-17 Flying Fortress.  If anyone has a chance to take a flight – DO IT!!

The Wings of Freedom Tour of the Collins Foundation is coming to a city near you!!  Tell them Pacific Paratrooper sent you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I was unable to download any of my videos, Pierre Lagace did this for me!  Actually for 6 years he has been helping me out – m Mentor!

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The 11th Airborne on Okinawa

C-47’s of the 54th Troop Carrier Group

Saturday, 11 August 1945, top secret orders were delivered to General Swing for the division to be prepared to move to Okinawa at any time. The division G-3, Colonel Quandt, called Colonel Pearson, “This is an Alert. Have your regiment [187th] ready to move out by air forty-eight hours from now.” Commanders throughout the 11th A/B had their men reassembled, even those on weekend passes had been found and brought back to camp.

11th Airborne

The lead elements left Luzon immediately. At 0630 hours on the 13th, trucks brought the 187th to Nichols and Nielson Fields for transport and they landed at 1645 hours that afternoon at Naha, Kadena and Yotan Fields on Okinawa. They would remain on the island for two weeks.

It would take the 54th Troop Carrier Wing two days to transport the 11th Airborne using 351 C-46s, 151 C-47s and 99 B-24s; with their bombs removed and crammed with troopers. The planes had carted 11,100 men; 1,161,000 pounds of equipment and 120 special-purpose jeeps for communication and supply. Eighty-six men remained on Luzon long enough to bring the 187th’s organizational equipment to Okinawa by ship.

Jeeps being stored

Okinawa, as one of the islands being “beefed-up” with supplies, men and materiel, quickly became significantly congested; it is only 877 square miles. One day would be unbearably hot and the next would bring the heavy rains that created small rivers running passed their pup tents. The troopers were back to cooking their 10-in-1, ‘C’ or ‘K’ rations on squad cookers or eaten cold.

Okinawa cave (in good weather)

A typhoon crossed the island and the men were forced to live on the sides of hills with their pup tents ballooning like parachutes and taking off in the wind. In the hills were numerous old Okinawan tombs that the Japanese troops had adapted into pillboxes and these helped to protect the men from the storms.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Bickel – Madison, TN; US Army, WWII, 85th Infantry

Douglas Clark – Portland, OR; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Roy Dillon – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII

Jonathan R. Farmer – Boynton Beach, FL; US Army, Syria, Chief Warrant Officer, 3/5th Special Forces Group, 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, KIA

Shannon M. Kent – NY; US Navy, Syria, Chief Cryptologic Technician, KIA

Wilsey Lloyd – Florence, CO; US Navy, WWII

Margaret Psaila – Louisville, GA; US Army WAC, WWII

William Schmitt – Anchorage, AK; USMC, WWII & Korea

Arthur Taylor – Mortlake, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO, Dunkirk

Scott A. Wirtz – St. Louis, MO; Civilian, Dept. of Defense, Syria, former US Navy SEAL, KIA

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