Blog Archives

Wartime Football

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

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

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

American footballer Tuffy Leemans

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

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

Steagles starting line-up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Landry, USArmy Air Corps / Coach Landry

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

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Military during Thanksgiving

 

 

 

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

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

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Thanksgiving during WWII…

They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day,

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

I can see everyone, eating dinner deluxe,

Whether it be chicken, turkey or even duck;

The fellows over here won’t whimper or moan,

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

 

Truly and honestly, from way down deep,

They want you to be happy and enjoy your feast.

These holidays are remembered by one and all,

Those happy days we can always recall.

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

When we all come back from defeating the foe.

_______Poem by an Anonymous WWII Veteran

Thanksgiving

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

 

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

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Humor – 

Navy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Army

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

WWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Strategy Page’s Military Humor and more….

 

Military Common Sense Rules

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

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

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

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More Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

Last Flight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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No Hallowe’en in the early ’40’s

 

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

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

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

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

C’mon!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Military Pumpkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find templates for your own pumpkin carvingsCLICK HERE !!

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

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

Russell Lubbers – Bozeman, MT; US Army, Korea

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

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

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

Raymond Wallace – Dexter, ME; US Army, Vietnam

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Ted Nelson – Stud Welder / Anne Clare, Book Review

Ted Nelson

Eighty years ago, many rural homes weren’t electrified, nor did they have indoor plumbing.  Glenn Miller and Billie Holiday were at the top of the charts. A brand-spanking-new car could be yours for well under $1,000. And the state-of-the-art battleships — whole floating cities unto themselves — were that era’s equivalent of the Space Shuttle. While working at Mare Island Naval Shipyard Ted Nelson had his big idea. And what an idea! Ultimately, Nelson’s advancement helped save the Navy so many man-hours that he earned top-of-the-line commendations and set in motion a legacy of excellence that remains on the leading edge of the industry to this very day.

Mare Island Shipyard, WWII

The Mare Island Naval Shipyard, where Nelson worked in the years leading up to and during World War II, was the Navy’s first base on the Pacific Coast, located just north of San Francisco and now a California Historical Landmark. In its day it was the United States’ controlling force in the area’s shipbuilding efforts – at least 89 seagoing vessels were constructed onsite before its closure. During its World War II years, the Mare yard specialized in submarines, making it something of a hotbed of innovation, and young Ted Nelson, working on both repairs and new construction, fit right in.

“Prior to World War II, the Navy was attaching wood decking on many vessels using through-bolting,’” says John von der Lieth, Senior Nelson Stud Welding Field Sales Representative at Stanley Engineered Fastening. “This often required many levels of scaffolding underneath the wood deck just to install nuts onto threaded bolts attaching the wood to the steel frame below. The nuts were often also then tack-welded to prevent them from vibrating loose.”

“Well, Ted was a real inventor type, and he devised a handheld arc welding gun that looked kind of like a drill press. He would insert a threaded stud into the gun and place that down into a pre-drilled hole in the wood decking, making contact with the steel frame of the vessel below. The stud gun was connected to an arc-welding power source and a timing control device. When triggered, the stud gun coil would energize, lifting the stud off the steel frame just enough to establish an electric arc. Within a split second, the stud was melted (along with the steel base metal) and then was plunged home into the molten pool, establishing a complete joint penetration weld, and all of this was taking place from the topside of the wood decking.”

“The ‘Nelson Stud Welding Process thus eliminated the need for the vast scaffolding below the wood decks, dramatically reducing the time involved to install the decking, and producing a superior quality, full penetration welded connection. Ted also produced a special flanged nut to securely fasten the top side of the wood planks onto the studs, filling the pre-drilled, countersunk holes that were created to install the threaded studs. This also allowed for much easier replacement of any future damaged wood decking,” explained von der Lieth. “It changed the face of the war effort.”

Ted nelson ‘E’ citation

So, with his ingenuity and strong desire to solve a problem, Ted Nelson saved the Navy an estimated 50 million man-hours and the Nelson Specialty Welding Equipment Corp. was awarded two Navy “E” Citations, presented only to companies who met outstanding production criteria during the war effort. Not only did production numbers climb, the stud welding process also saved an unparalleled amount of money with respect to the foregone need for scaffolding, as well as labor and materials cost.

Ted Nelson’s invention was right on time. “The Nelson welding guns, studs, and nuts were used to install wood decking on submarines, battleships, and aircraft carriers. The patent for the decking gun was filed May 31, 1941,” says Clark Champney, Nelson Stud Welding Application Development Manager, and resident Nelson historian at Stanley Engineered Fastening. “Six months and one week later on December 8, 1941, the United Stated entered World War II.”

After the war, Nelson took his invention private, setting up shop in a coastal California garage in Nelson Stud Welding’s first incarnation. “Ted Nelson had the mind-set early on that his invention could be used in a wide variety of industries – he had a real vision,” says von der Lieth. “Although he hadn’t been a part of the company for many years at the time of his death in the 1990s, he was still a very active inventor into his 80s – he’d invented a hospital bed that rotated 360 degrees for hip replacement patients. He invented a glider that had an emergency engine in it – they called it the Hummingbird. He had countless minor inventions, and that’s why he ultimately sold the stud welding business – because he was an inventor type; problem-solving was his first love.”

Story idea from: Koji Kanemoto

Click on images to enlarge.

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Book Review – “Whom Shall I Fear?”  by: Anne Clare, our Naptime Author

“Whom Shall I Fear?, by Anne Clare

Without giving readers too much insight and being the cause of stumbling into a spoiler, I shall begin this review by applauding Anne Clare, who has researched her way into creating a lovely romantic tale intertwined with the struggles and pains of war.
Amid the years of WWII bombings, the loss, deprivations and combat, two very different people are seemingly thrown together. Their worries, dreams and realities are shown to you through their correspondence. BUT – behind it all lurks the sinister aspirations of a narcissistic coward and his cohorts.
I found myself thinking about the story long after putting the book down – and to me, that is one major characteristic of an excellent novel.
Thank you, Anne, for granting me the privilege of owning a copy of your creation and for giving me the lingering question in my mind of – who should they have feared the most?
I highly recommend “Whom Shall I Fear?” to all.

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Military Humor – 

“These aren’t barnacles. Someone stuck their gum down here.”

Shipbuilding Safety Award – or – Why women live longer than men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charles Atkinson – Arvada, CO; US Army, Vietnam, Military Police

Eugene Barbezat – St. Johns. AZ; US Army / US Air Force, Vietnam, Lt. Col. (Ret.), Intelligence

Tom Curtsinger – KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Warren Eginton – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO, 716th Tank Battalion

Donald Love – Hamilton, NZ; British Merchant Navy, # R258982. WWII

Lynn McDonald – Rochester, NH; US Army Air Corps, glider pilot

Leon “Jack” Persac Jr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 ball turret gunner

Robert D. Sullivan – Fairbury, NE; US Army, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lt. Colonel (Ret. 27 y.)

Homer Terry – Tahoka, TX; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, pilot/logistics, Colonel (Ret. 32 y.)

Channing R. Whitaker – Granger, IA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Co. A/1/6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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Ruby Boye, WRAN Coastwatcher

Ruby Boye

 

MRS. RUBY BOYE lived with her husband, Mr. Skov Boye, at Vanikoro, a small tropical island in the Santa Cruz group of the then British Solomon Islands

Soon after the commencement of World War 2, the Australian Navy installed a powerful AWA tele-radio for communication between Vanikoro and Tulagi. The radio was operated by a qualified telegraphist on the island.

The Vanikoro radio operator wished to return to Australia to join the RAAF.  Before departing, he taught Ruby how to transmit weather reports and operate the radio in code, and during the following months she learned Morse Code from a book.  Eric Feldt, the Commander in Charge of the Coastwatcher movement,  appointed Mr. and Mrs. Boye as members of his organization.

Ruby Boye on Vanikoro

Mr. and Mrs. Boye realized the importance of Vanikoro in relation to coastwatching, and few white men knew more about the Solomons and Santa Cruz Islands than Mr. Boye.  When the evacuee ship arrived, Ruby refused to leave, announcing that she proposed to stay and operate her radio.  As well as their own safety, Mr. and Mrs. Boye had their two sons, Ken in the RAAF and Don, still a schoolboy in Sydney, to consider.

With the evacuation of the other Europeans from Vanikoro, Ruby and Skov took on many extra tasks. They had to act as doctor treating the sick. They extracted teeth and arbitrated disputes between the natives.

After the Japanese landed at Tulagi, Charles Bignell, a Solomon Islands plantation owner, called at Vanikoro in his ketch for fresh water and food. Charles warned Ruby and her husband that a Japanese ship was in the Santa Anna area. Charles’ wife, Kathleen, and son, Ted, both good friends of Ruby’s, had been captured by the Japanese at Rabaul. Margaret Clarence’s book ‘Yield Not to the Wind‘ covers this episode.

Ruby Boye

Between 4th and 8th May 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea took place. Ruby,  some 700 miles away from the Coral Sea Battle area, was sending out coded meteorological data, and acted as an emergency relay station in communicating reports between coastwatching stations in the Solomons and Vila, the US Navy base receiving station, in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu).

The USS Lexington was lost while the Japanese carrier Shoho was sunk. HMAS  Australia and Hobart took part in the battle. The Japanese main object, the capture of Port Moresby, was denied them, nor did they ever get as far south again.

Even so in 1942 Japanese naval forces were operating north, south, east and west of Vanikoro.  Ruby was on duty during the Battle of Savo Island in August 1942, when HMAS Canberra was lost, together with the USS  AstoriaVincennes and Quincy.

Guadalcanal, where the Japanese fought until early 1943, was only some 500 miles north by west of Vanikoro and during that critical period, Ruby was in easy range of Japanese aircraft that flew at low heights over the Island on many occasions. For safety reasons it was decided to relocate the tall radio mast and equipment across the river from the living quarters.

A punt.

After the suspension bridge crossing the river from the residence to the radio shack was destroyed in a cyclone, four times a day, often in torrential tropical downpours, this indomitable lady had to cross the crocodile-infested Lawrence River by punt, and then often walk through ankle-deep mud to transmit the important meteorological data obtained from her own readings.

The night transmitting session was the most hair-raising, because the crocodiles became active at dusk. Spotlights would sometimes reveal the evil eyes gleaming like two orange lights in the dark. In fact a number of dogs and cats were killed and fowls perched under Ruby’s residence were often seized by the crocodiles.

Newspaper article on Ruby Boye

In September 1942, the USS Wasp was torpedoed while covering a Guadalcanal Troop Convoy. The burning carrier sank with the loss of 193 sailors, leaving during that month the USS Hornet as the only operational undamaged US carrier in the Pacific. The Hornet was to meet her end in the Battle of Santa Cruz, in October 1942. In the same engagement, the Japanese carriers Zuiho and Shokaku were damaged. This battle took place very close to the Island Group of which Vanikoro was part. Ruby recalls: After sending the usual weather report, an English-speaking Japanese voice came crackling through. ‘Calling Mrs. Boye, Japanese Commander say you get out.’ The message at this point was jammed by other coastwatchers and she was informed later the rest of the message was unprintable.

Japanese aircraft dropped pamphlets to the Vanikoro natives telling them to work for the Japanese and report the whereabouts of Europeans. On Guadacanal, coastwatchers found the bodies of nuns and priests bayoneted  by the Japanese. As a result of the Japanese threats, it was considered desirable that Ruby should be in uniform for the sake of her own protection.

Remainder of Ruby Boye article.

At times US Navy seaplane tenders, including the USS Curtiss, were based at Vanikoro to refuel and service Catalina flying boats.  A group of American Naval Officers landed, Mr. Boye was greeted by an Admiral who said ‘My name is Halsey. I’d like to meet that wonderful lady who operates the radio here.’ Admiral William A. ‘Bull’ Halsey was the C- in-C of the South Pacific area at that time.  He had such a high regard for Ruby that he arranged for a US Naval Catalina Flying Boat to take her south for medical treatment for shingles. While Ruby was on sick leave, she was replaced by four US Naval Radio men, two on duty and two off.

In 1944 Ruby was awarded the BEM for meritorious service as a Coastwatcher in the Solomons. In addition, she received the 1939/45 Star, the Pacific Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal, the Returned From Active Service Badge and is a Life Member of the WRANS Association.

The letters of appreciation, the photos and autographs from Admirals Nimitz, Halsey and Fitch and the recent invitation to Texas for the Grand Opening of the Admiral Nimitz Memorial mean more to Ruby than money.

Ruby returned to Sydney in 1947 with her husband when he became terminally ill. He arrived in Sydney just two weeks before his death.  Ruby Boye passed away 14 September 1990.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – Saturday Evening Post style – 

“And when you go forth into the world,
be it as riveters, welders, or mechanics,
keep ever bright before you the slogan of
Sweet Lawn Seminary—’A lady, first, a lady always!'”
June 5, 1943

“It’s some game she learned in the Army.”
August 22, 1942

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph F. Boschetti – Philadelphia, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO, KIA (Tarawa)

Edward Dillon (100) – San Diego, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Army

Philip Gamache – Blairsville, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Richard Keatinge – Tenderfield, AUS; Australian Military, WWII, Medical Team

Imogene Kinge – Monette, TX; Civilian, “Rosie”, aircraft construction

Birdie McInnis – Clanton, AL; Civilian, WWII, Brooklyn Army Airfield, aircraft inspector

Richard Oster – New Orleans, LA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Gerald B. Raeymacker – Erie, PA; US Army, Korea, Sgt., KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Evelyn Smith – Westwood, KS; Civilian, Secretary to the Commander of the 6th Corps, Camp McCoy

Louis Wiesehan Jr. – Richmond, IN; USMC; WWII, PTO, F/2/8th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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U.S. Navy Birthday

USNAVYImage4

The US Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775, by authorizing procurement, fitting out, manning and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America.  The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work.  All together, the Continental Navy numbered some 50 ships over the course of the war, with approximately 20 warships active at its maximum strength.

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cpohires

In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwait, authorized recognition of 13 October as the Navy’s birthday.  Not to be confused with Navy Day (the founding of the Navy Department), the Navy Birthday is intended as an internal activity for members of the active forces and reserves, as well as retirees and dependents.  Since 1972, each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion “to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service.”

Although written by a Royal Navy Admiral in 1896, “The Laws of the Navy” began to appear in the US Naval Academy’s “Reef Points” Plebe Handbook and is still there today.  The sketches were added by Lt. Rowland Langmaid R.N. during WWI.

Beginning of "The Laws of the Navy"

Beginning of “The Laws of the Navy”

Part 2

Part 2

Part 3

Part 3

End of "The Laws of the Navy"

End of “The Laws of the Navy

Click on images to enlarge!

 

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Navy Humor – 

FC

HAVE A BALL - BUT DON'T ROCK THE BOAT!!

HAVE A BALL – BUT DON’T ROCK THE BOAT!!

Lady Popeye

                                                                      Lady Popeye

for you submariners

for you submariners

for you surface-vessel types...

for you surface-vessel types.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Russell Allen – Lovell, ME; US Navy, Vietnam

Francis Currey – Selkirk, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, TSgt., Medal of Honor

Joseph Gildea – Hollidaysburg, PA; US Army, Occupation, 593rd Ordnance / US Navy, Vietnam, Capt., USS Rush & Hancock, US Naval Graduate

Everett Grabau – Spring Valley, MN; US Navy, WWII

K.Wayne Hays – Van Buren, AR; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Joe Irwin – St. Shelbyville, TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Rocco Lombardi – Ivoryton, CT; US Navy, WWII, LST-616

Richard McConville – Teaneck, NJ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Missouri

Robert L. “Cajun Bob” Thoms – Baton Rouge, LA; USMC, Vietnam, SSgt., Silver Star

Alex Wolffenden – New Smyrna Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII

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Higgins Boats

Higgins boat

President Eisenhower said: “If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs (Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel), we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different.” And as Colonel Joseph H. Alexander, USMC (Ret) said, “The Higgins boats broke the gridlock on the ship-to-shore movement.  It is impossible to overstate the tactical advantages this craft gave U.S. amphibious commanders in World War II.”

Clearly, the half-wood half-steel “smallboat” meant a lot to the War. These assault or LCVP boats would land troops and material on invasion beachheads. Their designer, Andrew Higgins, was positive there would be a need among the U.S. Navy for thousands of small boats—and was also sure that steel would be in short supply. In an common moment of eccentricity, Higgins bought the entire 1939 crop of mahogany from the Philippines and stored it on his own.

Higgins boat diagram

Higgins’ expectations were right, and as the war progressed he applied for a position in Naval design. Insisting that the Navy “doesn’t know one damn thing about small boats,” Higgins struggled for years to convince them of the need for small wooden boats. Finally he signed the contract to develop his LCVP.

Employing more than 30,000 for an integrated workforce in New Orleans. Higgins employed blacks and women among them, which was uncommon practice at the time. This force eagerly began mass-producing the “Higgins boats,” which were 36’3” in length and had a beam of 10’10”. Their displacement when unloaded was 18,000 lbs., and they could maintain a speed of 9 knots. They were defended by 2 .30 caliber machine guns, and could carry 36 combat-equipped infantrymen or 8,000 pounds of cargo. For a detailed picture of a Higgins boat’s anatomy, see the image below. Along with the help of other American factories, Higgins produced 23,398 LCVPs during the War.

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In the United States,  Andrew Higgins evaluated the Fox boat and felt it was too weak to survive mishap in emergency operations. In November 1943, Higgins assigned engineers from his company to make a sturdier version with two engines.  Higgins Industries, known for making landing craft (LCVPs)  and PT boats,  produced the A-1 lifeboat, a 1½-ton (1400 kg), 27-foot (8 m) airborne lifeboat with waterproof internal compartments so that it would not sink if swamped or overturned. Intended to be dropped by modified Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress it was ready for production in early 1944.

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Military History – Navy Style – 

The Navy’s version of Sad Sack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Adams – Rockingham, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. B/675 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Howard Blanchard – DE; US Navy, WWII, destroyer escort / Korea

William Cason Sr. – Charlotsville, VA; US Merchant Marines

Steven Donofrio – Middlebury, CT; US Navy, WWII

Barbara Bower Johnson – Pleasant Hills, PA; US Navy WAVE, WWII, telegrapher

Albert Moon – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Hamlin

Robert Oelwang – Hornell, NY; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class

William Robertson – MI; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO

John Sutton – Pittsburgh, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Signalman

Richard Wynn – New Britain, CT; US Navy, WWII

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Andrew Jackson Higgins – A Legacy

Andrew Jackson Higgins

Andrew Jackson Higgins, the man Dwight D. Eisenhower once credited with winning World War II, was a wild and wily genius.

At the New Orleans plant where his company built the boats that brought troops ashore at Normandy on June 6, 1944, Higgins hung a sign that said, “Anybody caught stealing tools out of this yard won’t get fired — he’ll go to the hospital.”

Whatever Higgins did, he did it a lot. “His profanity,” Life magazine said, was “famous for its opulence and volume.” So was his thirst for Old Taylor bourbon, though he curtailed his intake by limiting his sips to a specific location.

I only drink,” he told Life magazine, “while I’m working.”

It is Higgins himself who takes your breath away,” Raymond Moley, a former FDR adviser,  wrote in Newsweek in 1943. “Higgins is an authentic master builder, with the kind of will power, brains, drive and daring that characterized the American empire builders of an earlier generation.”

USNS Andrew J. Higgins, Sept. 1987

Higgins was not native to the South, despite his love of bourbon. He grew up in Nebraska, where, at various ages, he was expelled from school for fighting. Higgins’ temperament improved around boats. He built his first vessel in the basement when he was 12. It was so large that a wall had to be torn down to get it out.

He moved South in his early 20s, working in the lumber industry. He hadn’t thought much about boats again until a tract of timber in shallow waters required him to build a special vessel so he could remove the wood. Higgins signed up for a correspondence course in naval architecture, shifting his work from timber to boats.

In the late 1930s, he owned a small shipyard in New Orleans. By then, his special shallow-craft boat had become popular with loggers and oil drillers. They were “tunnel stern boats,” whose magic was in the way the “hull incorporated a recessed tunnel used to protect the propeller from grounding,” according to the Louisiana Historical Association.

Higgins ‘Eureka’ boat

Higgins called it the “Eureka” boat. The war brought interest by U.S. forces in a similar style vessel to attack unguarded beaches and avoid coming ashore at heavily defended ports. The Marines settled on the Higgins boat, transforming what had been a 50-employee company into one of the world’s largest manufacturers.

“To put Higgins’s accomplishment in perspective,” historian Douglas Brinkley wrote in a 2000 article in American Heritage magazine, consider this: “By September 1943, 12,964 of the American Navy’s 14,072 vessels had been designed by Higgins Industries. Put another way, 92 percent of the U.S. Navy was a Higgins navy.”

Though Eisenhower and even Hitler acknowledged the importance of the Higgins boat — military leaders came to call it “the bridge to the beach” — its builder went mostly unmentioned in histories of the war. That is, until 17 years ago, when the World War II Museum opened in New Orleans and recognized Higgins’ life, displaying a reproduction of his boat.

Still, there’s been just one biography written: “Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats that Won World War II” by historian Jerry Strahan.

“Without Higgins’s uniquely designed craft, there could not have been a mass landing of troops and matériel on European shores or the beaches of the Pacific islands, at least not without a tremendously higher rate of Allied casualties,” Strahan wrote.

Higgins Hotel, New Orleans

The WWII Museum in New Orleans officially broke ground on the Higgins Hotel directly across the street from the museum in 2017.

The one man in the South I want especially to see is Andrew Jackson Higgins.  I want to tell him, face to face, that Higgins’ landing boats such as we had at Guadalcanal are the best in the world.  They do everything but talk; honest they do.”  ___ Warrant Officer Machinist, James D. Fox, quoted in the Shreveport Times, 6 March 1943

AJ Higgins held 30 patents, mostly covering amphibious landing craft and vehicles.

Higgins died in New Orleans on 1 August 1952, and was buried in Metairie Cemetery.  He had been hospitalized for a week to treat stomach ulcers when he suffered a fatal stroke.

Article resources: The World War II Museum in New Orleans (2018 Annual Report), The Marine Corps & the Washington Post.

There will be more information on the boats in the upcoming post.

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Military Humor – Navy Style ……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bill Balser – Anderson, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Thomas Carney – Naples, FL; US Army, Vietnam, 173rd A/B Brigade / Cmdr. of 5th Infantry Div., Lt. Gen. (Ret. 35 y.)

Donald Davis – Orangeville, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Bill Hardin – Wheat Ridge, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO, 72nd Sea Bees

John Johnson – Sanford, NC; US Army, WWII, 9th Infantry Medical Detachment, medic

Garry Massa – Pickney, MI; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Roger Patrick – Tabor, IA; US Army, WWII, Sgt.

Paul “Ken” Rash – Indianapolis, IN; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Roy Schwabe (100) – Park Ridge, IL; US Army, WWII

Carl Wheaton – Bar Harbor, ME; USMC, WWII, PTO, Lt. Colonel, pilot

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Current News – USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL is OPEN

USS Arizona Memorial, Pear Harbor, Hawaii

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

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

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

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

USS Arizona

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crew of the USS Arizona

©2019 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

 

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

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Beetle Bailey

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Farewell Salutes –

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

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

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

Arizona Memorial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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