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Smitty’s Letter XV – “Landing”

All ashore that’s going’ ashore…..

November 1944: Two Coast Guard-manned landing ships open their jaws as U.S. soldiers line up to build sandbag piers out to the ramps, on Leyte island, Philippines. (AP Photo)

As the ships drew closer to Leyte, the American soldiers already on shore were being hampered by logistical problems which caused a severe delay in capturing the island.  When the 11th A/B division arrived, General Hodge was finally able to move General Arnold’s 7th division and their plans came together.

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Letter XV                                         Landing                        Somewhere in the Philippines

Dear Mom,

We landed here in the Philippines yesterday morn, but before leaving the ship, the Japs treated us with their honorable (?) presence in the form of bombing planes.  Shore batteries kept hammering at them in the gloom of a misty a.m. and the tracer’s bullets reaching up to the planes made a very pretty but gruesome sight.   The way those tracer shells can pick out the planes you would think that they had a score to settle and just can’t wait to even it.

We landed finally on the beach, being taken to it in those much touted and not highly praised enough landing boats.  How boats can ground themselves  on land the way they do and still get off again unscratched is really a marvel.  Those boys who handle them also deserve a lot of credit and, as Winchell would say, “A great big orchid is due.”

The natives here were real friendly and helpful in a dozen different ways.  They ran up to the landing boats as soon as the bow of the boat sunk its bottom into the beach and helped us carry off our burdensome equipment.  It reminded me of Penn or Grand Central Stations with porters running helter-skelter all over the place.  The only thing missing to make the picture complete were the tell-tale red caps on their heads.

November 1944: U.S. landing ship tanks are seen from above as they pour military equipment onto the shores of Leyte island, to support invading forces in the Philippines. (AP Photo)

It wasn’t long after landing that we were organized into work groups and sent off to our chores.  Work kept on until we were hours into the night despite the fact that again, Jap planes came over.  I am happy to report that they will not be able to do so again, that is – not the same ones.

During the day we were handed K-rations for our dinner and after the excellent food we had aboard ship, they sure tasted like hell.  Just before dark last night, we were allowed a few moments to ourselves and at once set to work getting our tents erected.  Here again, the native men came in handy helping us to either put up the tents or dig our slit trenches.  Of course they don’t do any of this work for nothing, but for items such as undershirts, trousers, soap or most anything in the line of clothing.

I will write more about the people in a later chapter.  After all, you can’t do well to write about them on so short an acquaintance.  Right now we are busy setting up a camp decent enough to live in.  Having a few minutes to spare in between tents.  I thought I’d write this down before it completely slipped my unrententive and feeble brain.  There goes the whistle calling us back to work now, so until the next ten minute rest period, I’ll close with loads of love and car loads of kisses,

Love, Everett

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Max Brown – Alma, MI; US Army, WWII, Military Police

Harold DeRose – Indianmound, TN; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Robert Fairbank – Gilbert, AZ; US Merchant Marine, WWII

Boy Scout Farewell Salute

Victor Galletly – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 44189, WWII

Zeb Kilpatrick – Hendersonville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C/457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Leo ‘Bill’ LeFevre – Jamestown, ND; US Army, WWII

David Maxwell – Brisbane, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII

Jose Ocampo – San Jose, CA; US Navy, WWII

Dick Patterson – Fort Worth, TX; USMC, WWII, PTO

Anthony Randi – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII, Cpl.

Donald Thompson – Spokane, WA; US Army, WWII

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The Douglas Dauntless & an Eye Witness Story

the first Douglas A-24, S/N#41-15746 (US Air Force photo)

the first Douglas A-24, S/N#41-15746
(US Air Force photo)

The SBD dive bombers were the main dive bombers of the US Navy and Marine Corps from late 1940.  Some of them, known as A-24 Banshees were employed by the US Army, but they had no arresting hooks and used different tires.  In early 1941, the variant SBD-3  went into production and offered increased protection, self-sealing fuel tanks and 4 machine-guns.  During the Battle of the Coral Sea, Dauntless bombers took part in the destruction of the Japanese carrier Shoho and in Midway they were involved in all 4 sinkings of Japanese fleet carriers.

Army A-24 Banshee

Army A-24 Banshee

A SBD Dauntless crew veteran recalled ______

The Dauntless was a charm; rock steady in a vertical dive, completely responsive to the controls and ready to absorb punishment and still get you home.  I was worked over by 2 Japanese Type 97 fighters over Maloelap on the afternoon of 1 February 1942 and came out of it unconcerned with 50 holes through the tail surfaces and left wing tip, a hole in the gas tank in the root of my right wing and one small calibre that broke apart when it hit the back of my armoured seal.
 
Our greatest vulnerability was the inadequate protection of the rear seat gunner.  At Midway, a good number of our torpedo plane losses must have come from after the gunner was killed.  At that point, the dive bomber or torpedo plane is dead…It was my observation that as long as the tail gunner was firing, the attacking fighter tended to break off the attack before getting into killing range.
 
USS Enterprise crewmen load a 500 lb bomb onto a SBD scout bomber

USS Enterprise crewmen load a 500 lb bomb onto a SBD scout bomber

 

The 2-man crew were powered by one Wright R-1820-66 Cyclone 9-cylinder radial engine rated at 1,350 horsepower and possessed an armament of two 12.7mm machine-guns, two 7.62mm machine-guns, an optional 1,600 pounds of bombs to be held under the body and an optional 650 pounds of bombs under their wings.

7 SBD Dauntless dive bombers flying in formation

7 SBD Dauntless dive bombers flying in formation

After the Coral Sea and Midway battles, the US Navy developed a highly efficient tactic with the SBD Dauntless; the ability to attack at a steep grade with the “helldiving” technique, while torpedo bombers attacked in conjunction to distract the Japanese gunners.  Defensively, the heavy armament of 4 machine-guns posed a serious threat for Japanese fighters, which generally lacked armor protection.  After being key participants of the various battles near Guadalcanal and around the Solomon Island area, they took their last major action during the Battle of the Philippine Sea.  Their successors, the SB2C Helldiver bombers took over the main role.

During the production life of the SBD Dauntless, 5,936 aircraft were built and they sank more Japanese shipping in the Pacific than any other Allied aircraft.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Humor –

Our NEW Air Force ?????

Our NEW Air Force ???

 

Our new Air Force

Our new Air Force

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charles Bullock Sr. – Orlando & Delray, FL; US Army, WWII, 7th Combat Engineers

Clinton Crow – Oxnard, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO / US Navy, Korea (Ret.)thankyou

Ronald Ferrie – Victoria, CAN; RC Signal Corps, WWII, Major, ETO

Steven Haase – Olympia, WA; US Army, Iraq, pilot, Warrant Officer, (Ret.)

Philip Laino – Worchester, MA; US Army, Vietnam & Korea, Sgt. Major, (Ret. 41 years)

John McNutt – Tequesta, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO & CBI

Sean P. Neal – Riverside, CA; USMC, ISIS Campaign

George Pokorny – Thornton, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C-47 radio operator

Edmund Pollak – Des Moines, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HeadquartersCompany3/511th Regiment

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National Airborne Day

 

11thabn

Click on image to read.

16 August 1940 was the first official U.S. Army parachute jump.

Everett "Smitty" Smith, 11th A/B, New Guinea

Everett “Smitty” Smith, 11th A/B, New Guinea – my dad.

 

On 14 August 2002, President George W. Bush issued a proclamation to honor the troopers with their own commemorative day – which can be found HERE>

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

3 August 2009, the U.S. Senate recognized National Airborne Day with Senate Resolution 235.

 

HERE’S TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU!!

THANK YOU !!

THANK YOU !!

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From Smitty’s scrapbook_______

From Everett Smith's real scrapbook/ glider and jump training

From Everett Smith’s real scrapbook/ glider and jump training

Click on photos to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bert Vincent Brickle – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Army # 447652, WWII, ETO, ( Fellow blogger, Galivanta [Ann]’s cousin)

Peter Gritis – Reston, VA; US Army, LtColonel, WWII, ETO, 7th Armored Division

Pedro Hernandez – Crystal, MN; US Army, WWII & Korea, 82nd Airbornejohncmaxwell383606

Nicholas Kremer – Cascade, IA; US Army Air Force, WWII paratrooper, ETO, Purple Heart

Maurice O’Toole – Toronto, CAN, RAF, pilot

Charles Skapik – Charlerol, PA; US Army Air Force, 457th Artillery/11th Airborne, WWII, PTO

Vince Tancredi – Windham, NY; US Army Air Corps, 503rd Reg., paratrooper

John Wheeler – Canton, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 82nd Airborne

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A Paratrooper’s Faith and a Legacy of Love

A BREAK IN THE ROUTINE TO HONOR A PARATROOPER WHO FOUGHT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLOBE AND HIS MOTHER WHO FOUGHT AT HOME. (NEAR THE BOTTOM – PLEASE FIND WHERE TO “CLICK HERE” TO VIEW THE CONTENTS OF THE BOOK)

TalesAlongTheWay

 FIGHTER FAITH
 by Jason Ladd
 This is my family story about a brother who gave his life for freedom, long before my birth,  and my mama who used her unspeakable pain and sacrifice to inspire and encourage soldiers going forth, and even today.   Anne 
 

a paratroopers faith

Green Light

On June 5th, 1944, high above a war raging in Europe, a paratrooper’s faith helped calm a 20-year-old soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division. The vibration of the military transport plane might have put George to sleep if not for the peril he was about to face. He was about to jump under cover of darkness into occupied France with fellow paratroopers from 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He closed his eyes and recalled a quote he memorized long ago:

Hard things…

View original post 822 more words

OPEN LETTER TO: ALL

Courtesy of

Courtesy of “The Voice of the Angels.”

As we venture back to the past for the Pacific War, there will continue to be eye-witness stories, the Farewell Salutes, occasionally a homeland episode and military humor.  I may not supply all the resources for my posts, since as many as 5 or 6 may be used to verify the information of any given post.  My bibliography has grown to 6 pages long and has not even been updated lately; also my own library has grown considerably since I first chronicled the war.

I will be re-blogging  some of my own posts from the Archives – updated since they were first published.  This entire site is dedicated to my father, Everett A. Smith, aka “Smitty”, who served in the Headquarters Company/187th Regiment/11th Airborne Division in the Pacific during WWII and the 11th A/B as a whole; therefore it is only right that I do so.  Smitty never said, “I did this” or “I did that,”  it was always – “The 11th did IT!”

Everett

Everett “Smitty” Smith at Camp MacKall, N.C.

As a member of the 11th Airborne Association (Member # 4511) myself, I am privy to their newsletter, “The Voice of the Angels,” edited by Matt & Kara Underwood, and I will be using quotes and stories from that publication.  Mr. Underwood and the officers of the Association have been of great assistance to me and I thank them very much for their help.

This website is ever changing and being updated, because further knowledge is always being learned.  Smitty told me and many others, “I try to learn something everyday.  When I stop, Please, close the lid.”  I have never forgotten that motto to live by and I sincerely hope you all do the same.

Please, DO continue to share what stories you know and/or a link to data you’ve uncovered and put them in the comments.  I am afraid no emails will be opened.  If you are not a blogger, you can Follow by clicking the Follow button in the top right-hand corner of each post.

REMEMBER!

I thank you all for your contributions in the past and hope you will continue to do so.  If you are new to this site – WELCOME!!  We have a wonderful group of people participating here – join them.  Reminder – we have the volunteers and veterans of the Little Rock, AR area watching us too – help show your support of our veterans .

Please remember that these countries, in the following posts, were in a horrendous war and NOTHING written or quoted here is with the intent to disparage any people or nations.  And, I have tried to limit the amount of gory details without shading the facts.  I hope I succeed.

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Military Humor – 

Some definitions you may want to keep in mind:

ARMY – a body of men assembled to rectify the mistakes of the diplomats
DRAFT BOARD – the world’s largest travel agency
MILITARY EXPERT – one who tells you what will happen next week – and then explains why it didn’t
NEW GUINEA SALUTE – waving the hand over the mess kit to ward off the flies
PACIFIST – a person who fights with everybody BUT the enemy
WAR – a time that starts off paying old scores and ends up by paying new debts
 
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Farewell Salutes – 

Brian Ashton – TePuke, NZ; NZ Reg. # 386718, Platoon B, Malayaus-flag-and-soldier-1

George Barton – Joliet, IL; US Air Force, WWII

Richard Crawford – Seattle, WA; US Navy (RET.), submarine service, Vietnam

Arthur Kitts – Singer Island, FL; US Army, WWII, antiaircraft battery

Hung O. Lee – College Point, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 511th/11th A/B Div., PTO

Carmen Edward Mercandante -Amsterdam, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Reinhold “Hank” Nagel – Sun Lakes, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, HQ Company/187th Reg./11th Airborne Div., PTO

Johnny Powell – Cartwright, OK; US Navy, WWII & US Air Force, Korea (Ret. 23 years)

Franklin Trapnell Jr. – Richmond, VA; US Army, Colonel (Ret. 34 years), 2 tours Vietnam

Thomas Weatherall – Toronto, Can; British Army, WWII

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07-04-14

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Intermission Stories (1)

 

"Wild Bill" Guarnere w/ fellow troopers

“Wild Bill” Guarnere w/ fellow troopers

Personal note – The posts listed under the title of Intermission Stories will be numbered just as the Korean War series is.  These will be first hand stories, events missed, pieces I found to be interesting, obituaries and my own experience climbing into a B-17 “Flying Fortress.” (Try not to laugh too hard at that one.)  This will enable me to gather and try to organize the data I have accumulated for the forthcoming WWII series.

Please remember – all of your stories are welcome in the comments and they need not be only of these two wars; some of you are current members of the military and some are civilians with home front experiences.  If you have a post or web site dedicated to a veteran and/or event, please supply a link so that all of us can read it.

Thank you ALL for your loyalty, friendship and willingness to participate with me in our goal to REMEMBER!

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Band of Brothers Obituary

William “Wild Bill” Guamere – one of the World War II veterans whose exploits were dramatized in the TV miniseries “Band of Brothers” has dies; he was 90 years old.  He was a member of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.guarnere1

His exploits during some of the fiercest battles of the European Theater earned him his nickname and cost him his leg while trying to help a wounded soldier during the Battle of the Bulge.  His commendations included the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

When he returned from the war, Guarnere lived in the row house in South Philadelphia, where he would eventually reside for 60 years.  He worked in construction despite his disability and helped to put together Easy Company reunions.  In 2007, he helped to write, “Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends,” with fellow veteran Edward J. “Babe” Heffron and journalist Robyn Post.

Babe Heffron and Wild Bill met during the war and remained friends until Heffron died 1 December 2013,

Babe Heffron during WWII

Babe Heffron during WWII

also 90 years of age and a Bronze Star  recipient.  Guarnere”s son said, “Now they’re together again.”

The viewing is set for tomorrow, Thursday, at Ruffenach Funeral Home in Philadelphia and the funeral will be held this Friday.

10 Sept. 2008, Guarnere, Babe Heffron & Forest Guth in Kuwait en-route to Iraq

10 Sept. 2008, Guarnere, Babe Heffron & Forest Guth in Kuwait en-route to Iraq

**This information supplied by FoxNews.

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Please click to enlarge this inspirational story of survival.

Holocaust survival

Holocaust survival

Information supplied by “The Week” magazine.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Sanford Ames – Takoma, MD; US Army, WWII

Frederick Cavlovic – Cleveland, OH & N.Palm Beach, FL; US Army, WWII, PTO

Russell Clanahan – Springfield, VA; US Navy, KoreaVeterans_Day-thanks

Colin Gibson – Wheaton, MD; US Navy, WWII, PTO, medical team

Kathleen Grasmeder – Colonial Beach, VA; US Army (Ret.)

Carroll Jordon – Chickasaw, AL; veteran of Korea, targeted and brutally beaten and stabbed by 3 youths.

Spero Kitsakos – Brooklyn, NY & W.Palm Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII

Edward Makowski – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

Frank Owen – Ste-Agathe, Quebec; British Columbia 28th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own), Major (Ret.)

Edward Touhy – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

Norman Wetzel – Union Bridge, AR; US Army, WWII, 3rd Armored/813th Engineer Corps/29th Division

Charles Zeigman – Manchester, AR; US Army, Korea

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Korean War Statistics

Moving the wounded

Moving the wounded

Personal note – The resources I have used throughout this Korean War project all vary in the total statistics; therefore I have been forced to give the readers the range [highest and lowest] or the only amount located.

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All the news fit to print, brings smiles

All the news fit to print, brings smiles

United States – of the 1,319,000 men that served –  33,629 to 54,246 were KIA – – 92,134 to 103,284 were WIA

Republic of Korea – 58,127 to 59,000 were KIA – – 175,743 were WIA and ~ 80,000 MIA

Great Britain – 1,109 were KIA – – 2,674 to 4,817 were WIA and 1,060 MIA

Canada – Of 25,000 who served – 516 were KIA and 1,042 were WIA

Australia –  Of 17,000 served – 281 to 339 were KIA and 1, 050 were WIA

New Zealand – Of 3,794 who served – 33 were KIA – – 79 were WIA

Turkey – 717 to ~900 KIA – – 2,111 to 3,500 WIA and 168 MIA

South Africa – Of the 826 served – 28 were KIA    – – 8 were MIA

Netherlands – 110 KIA

France – 300 were KIA  or MIA

Philippines – 112 were KIA

Greece – 170 were KIA

Belgium – 100 were KIA

Thailand – 110 were KIA

Ethiopia – 120 KIA

Columbia – 140 were KIA

001 (582x800)

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The border road today

The border road today

From Western resources – North Korea had 215,000 men KIA and 303,000 listed as WIA.  Chinese troops were down as 400,000 as KIA and 486,000 as WIA.

From Chinese resources – North Korea suffered 290,000 KIA and China listed themselves as – 144,000 KIA – 340,000 WIA  – 7,600 as MIA

Civilian casualties in both North and South Korea could only be estimated and those numbers ran from 400,000 to well into the millions.

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India had chosen not to participate in the fighting, but they did send the 60th Parachute Field Ambulance unit which was included in the 1st Commonwealth Division.  The Indian Paratroop Battalion/315 Air Division were deployed later as part of the Custodial Forces sent to enforce the demilitarized zone.

374th's Douglas C-124 Globemaster in Korea

374th’s Douglas C-124 Globemaster in Korea

The US Air Force 374th Troop Carrier Wing, throughout the war, performed air lifts and air drops; after the cease-fire, using the C-124 Globemaster, they moved the repatriated prisoners.  By the end of the war, they had earned their 4th DUC.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – Soldiers_saluting_siloutte1

Samuel Applewhite III – Oakland, CA & Scottsdale, AZ; US Army, Korea

Vincente Blaz – Fairfax, VA; USMC (Ret.)

Donald Boyd – Boone, Iowa & Sun City, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Lawrence Hammar- Kerkeley, IL; US Army, WWII, PTO

Patrick A. Lindsay – born: Tipton, England, died: Village Point-Claire, Quebec; Royal Navy, WWII, HMS Brocklesby

Allan A.C. Riordan – Christchurch, NZ; RNZAF # 72855, WWII, Malaysia

Cyril Shaller – EauClaire, WI; US Navy, WWII

Albert Taylor (Burt) Taylor – Christchurch, NZ; NZEF # 290465

Joseph Vito – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

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Korean War (33)

Grumman F9F Panther jet

Grumman F9F Panther jet

 

1 September 1952, a large percentage of Task Force (TF-77) was directed at supplies and positions at the front line area.  One site was the synthetic oil producing center at Aoji, only 4 miles from the Manchurian border and 8 miles from Russia.  The US Navy air attacks on Musan and Hoeam-dong in North Korea marked one of the few times that Panther jets were used exclusively as an attack plane.

 

Aoji area, North Korea

Aoji area, North Korea

13 September, two carrier strikes from TF-77 attacked the supply and troop billeting areas in the Manchurian border town of Hoeryong.  The aircraft from the USS Bon Homme Richard caught a 130′ enemy naval vessel near Wonsan and sank it with rockets and 20mm strafing.

In September, the 5th Air Force sent its aircraft against enemy troop concentrations and barracks in the north-west Korean area.  The Bomber Command went to similar targets near Hamhung in the north -east.  Along the front lines, the FEAF (Far East Air Force) joined the US Navy and Marines to provide between 2,005 and 4,000 close air sorties each month of the summer and fall.  They not only flew nighttime missions but also gave radar-directed close air support (10,000 or more meters from friendly positions) at night to front-line troops under CCF attack.  During the day, the Mustang (F-51) pilots flew pre-planned and close air support missions.

 

F-51 Mustang, Korea

F-51 Mustang, Korea

The 315th Air Division also supported ground forces, flying n supplies and personnel to Korea while returning the wounded, reassigned and furloughed to Japan.  C-124s carted men and cargo; C-47s provided tactical airlift to airfields near the front lines and C-119s hauled the bulky cargo, airborne and airdrop missions.

The 4th and 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wings replaced many of their F-86Es with the modified F-86-F.  The new Sabre planes were more powerful and had leading wing edges to allow them to match the performance of the Chinese and North Korean MiG-15 jets.  During the summer the enemy tended to stay in MiG Alley, but in September, they showed more initiative and willingly engaged the Sabres almost on a daily basis.  By the end of October, the US pilots would destroy enemy MiGs at a ratio of 8 : 1.

F-86-F

F-86-F of the 311th Fighter Bomber Squadron, “The Sidewinders”, Korean War

28 September, while heading toward Outpost (OP) Zebra [Hill 205] occupied by the Chinese Communist Force, I and R platoons of the 187th RCT took positions at the base of Hill 250.  From there they could see Hill 404 also entrenched with the enemy.  A dummy plane flew over and crashed with a stuffed “pilot” on board to act as a ruse to flush out the CCF.  The Rakkasan troops hid and anxiously waited to see if the plan would work.  Apparently the enemy’s curiosity got the better of them and when they approached within 100 yards, the troopers opened fire and the battle was over within minutes.

The next few weeks, the 187th stayed along Line Missouri going out on patrols and constructing bunkers and outposts.  They then returned to the airfield north of Seoul and were once again considered paratroopers.

HMCS Iroquois

HMCS Iroquois

2 October, the Tribal Class destroyer HMCS  Iroquois, G89/217, commanded by William Landymore, was hit by some shore batteries.  This shell caused the only 3 Royal Canadian Naval casualties of the war; 10 others were wounded.

Click images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salute – 

Thomas Belcik – Chicago, IL; US Air Force, WWII, 306 Bombardment Group

Richard Burns – New Zealand; Royal NZ Air Force, WWII #415989korean67

Alfred Carmony – Seattle, WA, US Army WWII & US Navy Korea

Billy Jones – Guthrie, OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Joseph King – South Boston,MA; US Army, WWII

Edward Kosner – Northbrook, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Howard Mauldin – Oklahoma City, OK; US Army WWII

Thomas Verran – Matua, New Zealand; 8th Army, WWII #398123

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Any advertising seen on this sight is not from GP Cox or Pacificparatrooper.

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Korean War (9)

187th RCT jump from FEAF transports

187th RCT jump from FEAF transports

18 October 1950, General Peng and his Communist “volunteers” crossed the Manchurian border and reached the town of Pakchon under the cover of night. Disguised as refugees, by the following day, 260,000 men and their artillery began crossing the Yalu River. They traveled over the concrete road atop the Suiho dam that MacArthur had been ordered NOT to destroy. With B-29s flying overhead, the CCF troops built wooden bridges, painted to look like the river, and submerged them to be unseen from above.

314th Troop Carrier Wing

314th Troop Carrier Wing

The 187th Rakkasans, after a final debriefing were informed that due to worsening weather condition their jump was delayed. 20 October, at 1030 hours, the troopers were told to ‘chute up’ and they began boarding 73 C-119s of the 314th Troop Carrier Wing and 40 C-47s from the 21st Troop Carrier Wing. At noon, the first plane took off headed for DZ William, southeast of Sukchon. Sfc William Ignatz recalled their rendezvous in a 9-plane V of Vs over the Han River and then going north along the west coast of Korea. Fighters strafed DZ William and at 1400 hours, he heard, “GO!” The veterans of WWII in his plane yelled, “Geronimo” as they jumped and only encountered sparse sniper fire. In all, 1,470 men and 74 tons of equipment were unloaded.

The 3/187th went south of Sukchon setting up roadblocks across the highways and railroad. The 1/187th was assigned to clear the Sukchon area and secure the high ground to the north. The 1st platoon of Engineers reached Songnani-ni at 1530 hours and was met by enemy fire. The porters continued to move their equipment and reached Namil-ni. General Bowen set up his headquarters post at Chanyi-ni on Hill 97.

DZ Easy was another jump, this one southwest of Sukchon and the Rakkasans marched into Sunchon in a column of twos. Pfc Kirksey remarked on the noise that echoed in the streets as the 2,500 North Koreans tossed their weapons. The two drops at the two DZs would total 4,000 men and 600 tons of materiel. Although many of the NKPA were already heading north, the jumps were considered a success. Unfortunately, the Allied POWs they were scheduled to rescue had previously been moved. (unknown to Allied intelligence) Unaware of the Chinese presence, MacArthur flew in for his fourth visit in time to witness the jumps.

October 1950 Korea map

October 1950 Korea map

21-22 October, I Company of the 3/187th, 8 miles south of Sukchon, headed down the railroad while K Company took the highway to meet up with the 27th Commonwealth Brigade coming north. I Company was caught in an ambush by a North Korean battalion and their 120mm mortars and 40mm guns. A heavy firefight ensued for two hours. With 90 men missing, they retreated back to Hill 281. Fortunately, the NKPA withdrew to their former positions. Medic Private First Class Richard G. Wilson, with I Company, returned to the battlefield of Opari to remain and tend the wounded. Two days later, his body was found riddled with bullets. He was given the Medal of Honor posthumously for self-sacrifice.

Harvey Kurtzman comic books  - Frontline Combat & Two-Fisted Tales were so well researched that the soldiers enjoyed them as much as the home front

Harvey Kurtzman comic books – Frontline Combat & Two-Fisted Tales were so well researched that the soldiers enjoyed them as much as the home front

The 1st Cavalry discovered the POW train, that the 187th was to intercept, heading toward Suchon. Many of the prisoners had previously been executed; out of 370 Americans, 23 were still alive although two died that night. On 22 October, the North Korean capital was moved to Sinuijiu.

937th Field Artillery self-propelled 155-mm "Long Tom" guns

937th Field Artillery self-propelled 155-mm “Long Tom” guns

K Company/187th had their battle one mile north of Yongyu. After the combat with heavy fire, they entered the town and dug in on Hill 163 just north. A line of hills ran diagonally across the railroad and highway between Pyongyang and Opari; 2,500 of the North Korean 239th Regiment were dug in there. A column of these troops strolled down the road pretending to be ROKs and they got away with the ruse until dawn broke. L Company and Headquarters Company could see who they truly were and opened fire. Heavy combat again followed and 3 G.I. machine-gunners were killed. MSgt. Willard Ryals, with bullets streaming passed him. reached one of the guns and fired back. He received the Silver Star. When Pyongyang was secure, I Corps headed to the Yalu River.

Two companies of the Argyll 1st Battalion moved into Yongyu and the Australian 3rd Battalion arrived. Four companies seized the road attacking the NKPA as they went on. The CO of the Argylls, Lt. Colonel Charles Greene, had his command post attacked by a large enemy force, but even as it came down to hand-to-hand combat, the NKPA lost about 270 KIA and 200 captured against the Australians having only 7 wounded. The enemy fled and the Middlesex 1st Battalion linked up with the American 187th RCT. The Presidential Citation was awarded to the 3rd Battalion/187th, the 3rd Platoon A Company 127th Engineers and the 2nd Section of the Antitank Platoon for the battle at Yongyu and then went into reserve until their next jump. The 1st Battalion received battle honours for the Battle of Pakchon.

Click on images to enlarge.

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30 August 1950

Farewell Salutes –

Victor Keve – Brooklyn, NY & W. Palm Beach, FL; U.S. Army, WWII

Elden Arthur King – Highland, MI & Boynton Beach, FL; U.S. Army, Korea

Carroll Madison – Richmond, VA & Lake Worth, FL; U.S. Navy, WWII signal-man aboard ship, Atlantic Coast and D-Day

Joseph Jackson Paul – N. Palm Beach, FL; U.S. Army, SSgt. WWII

Philip Vultaggio – Amityville & Massapequa, NY & Delray Beach, FL; U.S. Army Pfc 115th Infantry/29th Division, WWII

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Resources: “Rakkasans” by Gen. EM Flanagan; “Korean War” by Stephen Badsey; “MacArthur’s War” by Stanley Weintraub; Palm Beach Post; National Archives;Tiny Tot Comics; U.S. Army Military History Institute

V-J Day/ Paratrooper Padre poem

V-J Day postcard

V-J Day postcard

PARATROOPER PADRE

by: Peter S. Griffin

copied in full from Paratroopers of the 50’s, http://home.hiwaay.net/~magro/poemsww2.html

In loving memory of Monsignor Francis L. Sampson, Major General (Ret.) U.S. Army (2/29/12 – 1/28/96)

001 (746x562)

Father Francis L. Sampson,a man of the cloth
The PARATROOPER PADRE, his mission, not a soul lost…!
An elite soldier, who jumped from the sky,
A faithful companion, for one who might die…
 
The Paratrooper’s greatest fear,
The Angel of Death, oh so near…!
“Praise the Lord, pass the ammunition,”
An accurate description of the combat condition…!
 
Hungry, tired, dirty, pushed to the edge,
Praying to God, dodging bullets of lead…
Facing death at every turn,
God’s saving grace, the soldier does yearn…!
 
But there’ one comfort, he surely does know,
By his side, the PARATROOPER PADRE, wherever he goes…
Offering encouragement, dispelling confusion,
Comforting the wounded, granting absolution…
V-J Day headlines

V-J Day headlines

 
A shining example, for all who are near,
This servant of God, showing no fear…
Bursting shells, agonizing yells,
Death’s horrible smell, the panic he quells…
 
The peace of God, he spreads to all,
Saving body and soul, was his call…
His comforting words, his caring touch,
No mortal man could care as much…!
 
To dying men, he gave much comfort,
A Christian death, a prayerful tear…
God’s embrace, relieved the fear,
All the troopers knew he cared…
 
Braving the hardships, of many a war,
The sacraments of God, he gave to all…
Soldiers lose their fear of death,
Last Rights given, all is forgiven…!
 
This is the greatest gift, Paratrooper Padres can give,
The keys to Heaven, is for the forgiven…!
He patched their bodies, to make them whole,
He risked his life to save their souls…!
C-47s of the 54th Troop Carrier Wing  1945

C-47s of the 54th Troop Carrier Wing 1945

 
Enduring all that war could give,
To prisoners of war he gave the will to live…!
Deprived of all, but their faith,
Father Sampson spread God’s saving grace…
 
Hearing confessions, saying Mass,
Tortured souls, pains that last…
Near starvation, dying of thirst,
Facing atrocities, all the worst…!
 
Bringing aid and comfort to soldiers in need,
The sacred Last Rights, the blessed last deed…
To many dying troopers, he put minds at ease,
Father Sampson turned death to blessed victory…!
 
Our PARATROOPER PADRE, a man we could kiss,
Served in three wars, no ordinary accomplishment…!
WWII, Korea and Viet Nam,
To so many lives, he restored the calm…
 
Now is the time to say HOORAY…!
To Father Sampson, our PARATROOPER PADRE…!
Thank you sir, for all you’ve done,
In three wars, OUR HEARTS YOU HAVE WON…!
 
 
 

VE_VJ_Day (1)500dc71ca071e.preview-620

Click photos to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes –

Edward McPherson – Iselin, PA & Aliso Viejo, CA; U.S. Navy, ship welder, WWII

N. Burton Wilkins – Santa Monica, CA; U.S. Army Signal Corps ’43-’46, Philippines

Michael Diesel – Hicksville, NY & Lake Worth, FL; U.S. Navy, WWII USS McCook

Michael Guerrisi – Queens, NY; USMC, Korea

Hilga Swanson – (93) Born in Norway, East Hampton, NY; Pres. of Salvation Army’s Auxillary

John Pfau – Chicago, IL & Plantation Gardens, FL; U.S. Navy, WWII

Charles Lefkowitz – Livingston, NJ & Boynton Beach, FL; U.S. Army, WWII, Battle of the Bulge

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