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187th Rakkasans – part (4)

Rakkasans for life!

In March 2010, the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain), Vermont National Guard, joined Task Force Rakkasan units in Paktya province as a battle space owning unit in AO Rakkasan. Task Force Avalanche conducted 65 major named operations, over 4,300 combat patrols and 9 air assault operations, including Task Force Rakkasan’s largest combined air assault operation of the deployment in support of Operation Champion Stone.

During OEF X-XI, Soldiers earned or were nominated for 132 Army Commendation Medals (Valor). 44 Soldiers were decorated with the Bronze Star Medal (Valor). Additionally, two Soldiers were decorated with the Silver Star Medal. Nearly 1,600 individual Task Force Soldiers earned combat badges for participating in direct combat against the enemy for the first time. Almost 1,100 Combat Infantryman Badges (CIB), over 1,300 Combat Action Badges (CAB), and 117 Combat Medical Badges (CMB). As a testament to the sacrifice, troopers from Task Force Rakkasan made in service to the nation, 229 Soldiers earned Purple Hearts for battle injuries. 17 Task Force Rakkasan Soldiers paid the ultimate price.

 

Units
Headquarters and Headquarters Company “Samurai Rakkasans”
1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment “Leader Rakkasans”
2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment “White Currahee Rakkasans”
3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment “Iron Rakkasans”
1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment “War Rakkasans”
21st Brigade Engineer Battalion “Rak Solid Rakkasans”
626th Brigade Support Battalion “Assurgam Rakkasans”

Col. John Cogbill, MGen. Brian Winski & Col. Brandon Teague, Fort Campbel. Changing of command._ Avery Seeger photo

In August 2019, the Rakkasans received a new commander, Col. John Cogbill, who has commanded the unit for two years, will pass the brigade colors to Col. Brandon Teague.

“For the past two years, it has been an honor and privilege to serve as commander of this outstanding organization,” said Cogbill. “This brigade has a unique mission, with Soldiers currently training for unknown missions anywhere in the world. Initially it was for a U.S. Central Command mission, later, focused readiness, with focus in East Asia, transitioning to a Regionally Aligned Forces focus in support of Africa Command. During my tenure, we were the most ready brigade in the Army, and as such, would have been one of the first to be called. I’m proud of this team and all they’ve done, and all they will do in the future.”

Colonel Brandon Teague

“It is my distinct honor to take command of this historic organization,” said Teague. “I look forward to continuing to build upon the strong legacy of this brigade and preparing our Soldiers for our next rendezvous with destiny.”

A last minute item I discovered from the Rakkasans – Awards received for their field culinary creativity!!

https://www.army.mil/article/237559/top_dog_training_field_feeding_equipment_integral_part_of_rakkasan_contest

It is because of the heroic service of these brave airborne soldiers that the colors of the Regiment fly proudly, fifteen Citations for Valorous and Meritorious service and twenty three Battle Campaign Streamers. No other Airborne Regiment can equal that record and the Rakkasans stand proudly at, and have earned, “the right of the line”, amongst their sister Airborne Regiments, ever mindful of their Regimental motto.

”Ne Desit Virtus” — “Let Valor Not Fail”!

They have not —– and shall not

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To be continued by forthcoming generations, we hope…

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Current News – We can all make a difference!  American Legion

https://alaforveterans.wordpress.com/2020/07/27/virginia-junior-provides-handwritten-thank-you-cards-for-servicemembers/

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alfred Altmiller – Lipscomb County, TX; US Navy, WWII

Carl Davis Jr. – Sidney, OH; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. (Ret. 20 y.)

Charles Evers – Jackson, MS; US Army, WWII / mayor

George M. Fisher Sr. (100) – Bedford, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Co. B/44th Tank Battalion / Korea, (Ret. 21 y.)

Jack Halpin – Washington D.C.; US Navy, WWII, PTO / CIA (Ret.)

William Jenkins – Conway Springs, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunner’s mate, USS Corregidor

Lillian Meidinger – Huntsville, AL; Civilian, Civil Air Patrol, WWII, pilot

Jack Park – Flint, MI; US Army, WWII, PTO

Sidney Schlain – Hartford, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO

Marjorie Watson (101) – Taradale, NZ; Red Cross, WWII, PTO & ETO, Nurse # 820748

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187th Rakkasans – part (3)

By the Persian Gulf War in 1990, the 101st Airborne, along with the Rakkasans of the 3rd Brigade had converted from airborne to air assault troops. During that 100 days of ground combat, the 1/187 Infantry conducted an air assault 155 miles behind enemy lines to Objective Weber capturing over 400 Iraqi soldiers on February 25, 1991. (48 years to the day after they were formed).  The operation into the Euphrates River valley cut off the retreating enemy out of Kuwait. The Rakkasans had advanced further than any other Allied unit, proven the viability of the air assault on the modern battlefield, and did so without a single soldier killed in action.

As part of the Global War on Terror (GWT), the Rakkasans deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in December 2001. As such, the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne became the first Army brigade to deploy in the ongoing war on terror. The Rakkasans fought against the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan, which included Operation Anaconda in March 2002.

Rakkasans in the Gulf War

Seven months after their return from Afghanistan, the 3rd Brigade deployed to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF1). On March 20, 2003 the Rakkasans led the 101st Airborne Division into Iraq, establishing Forward Area Refueling Points (FARPs) to support deep attacks into Iraq. They seized the city of Hillah and participated in the liberation of Saddam Hussein International Airport before going on to occupy portions of Baghdad. The BDE then moved to western Ninewah province along the Syrian border for the remainder of the deployment, establishing fledgling governance and reconstruction projects for the betterment of the local population, while continuing operations against insurgents.

The 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division returned to Fort Campbell in early 2004 and was reorganized under Army Transformation as the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (BCT). The 3BCT then began a train up for returning to Iraq. They deployed in September 2005 for OIF rotation 05-07. During this year-long deployment the Rakkasans fought the growing Sunni insurgency in Salah Ad Din Province, which included Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit.

The Rakkasans deployed again to Iraq for OIF 07-09 as part of the Iraq Surge in September 2007. This rotation took the 3BCT to southwest and southern Baghdad between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. This time the brigade was deployed for 15 months and conducted operations against both Sunni and Shia insurgents.

The Rakkasans returned home in November 2008. After their fourth refit and re-training period since 9/11, the 3d Brigade Combat Team deployed again in January 2010. This time they went to Afghanistan in support of OEF 10-11 as part of Regional Command-East near the Afghan-Pakistan border. The Rakkasans were home in early 2011, but redeployed to Afghanistan again in September 2012. They came home to Fort Campbell in May 2013 and are again preparing for their next deployment.

The banner under the distinctive unit insignia of the 187th Infantry Regiment (Airborne) bears the Latin words Ne Desit Virtus, meaning “Let Valor Not Fail.” The soldiers of the 187 Infantry from every era have certainly upheld their motto.

To be continued………

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

George C. Allen – Morgantown, WV; US Army, WWII, ETO, 7th Army

James Boak – Kosk-onong, MO; USMC, WWII

2020 POW/MIA poster unveiled

Glen E. Collins – Tucson, AZ; US Army, Korea, Pfc., Heavy Mortar Co/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Hugh Dischinger Sr. – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, fighter pilot

John E. Gillen – Champaign, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc., Co D/1/6/2nd Marine Division, KIA (Tarawa)

Mejhor Morta – Pensacola, FL; US Army, Pvt., mechanic, 1/5/2/1st Cavalry Division

Regis Philbin – NYC, NY; US Navy, supply officer / TV personality

John Haig Robinson – TeAwamutu, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII, HMNZS Achilles

Roy Shibata – Denver, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, / Civilian, US Army

Charles Wood – Redwood City, CA; US Army, WWII, SSgt., HQ Battery/899th Field Artillery Battalion / actor

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The Last Living Paratrooper from MacArthur’s return …..

Gen. Douglas MacArthur (l.) and Richard “Dick” Adams (r.)

Richard Adams describes General MacArthur as “quite a guy.”

In commemoration of the 75th year of World War II in the Philippines, one of its heroes returned. Richard “Dick” Adams visited Corregidor once again, but this time, he did not parachute out of a C-47 plane to land on the towering trees of the Rock. The 98-year-old understandably opted to ride a ferry.

He was recently, poignantly, at the MacArthur Suite of the Manila Hotel, in a room dedicated to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who led the American and Filipino troops in liberating the country from Japanese occupation. MacArthur actually stayed in that suite for six years, as Manila Hotel’s honorary general manager.

It was a time of fear across the country as Japanese forces ravaged Manila and the countryside. People clung to MacArthur’s words, “I shall return,” which he said after he was forced to abandon the Philippine island fortress of Corregidor under orders from U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt in March 1942. Left behind at Corregidor and the Bataan Peninsula were 90,000 American and Filipino soldiers, who, lacking food, supplies, and support, would soon succumb to the Japanese offensive.

‘Dick’ Adams

It was at this battered battleground that Adams, as a young paratrooper assigned to the HQ Company 3rd Bn in an 81 mm mortar platoon, arrived on February 16, 1945. He is the last surviving paratrooper of the group and he shares his memories of the wartime experience.

What he remembers the most about his Corregidor landing is the wind. “It was a beautiful day when we came in at about a thousand feet above the water and then the island came up 500 feet so we jumped in about four to five hundred feet,” he says. “And the wind was a little too hard so they dropped it down and once they came after us we were pretty close to the ground.”

The landing itself was over pretty quickly, but the wind blew him toward a cliff and not the golf course that he was aiming for. Luckily, he says, he landed on a tree and that kept him from going down further.

He thinks something else saved him that day. “I wear a Miraculous Medal that my mother gave me. The second day after my jump, I noticed that the medal was gone, it was torn off,” he says. “About a week after we went to Corregidor, we went up to the hill and there were so many flies. You couldn’t open a can and put it in your mouth. The flies were terrible because the battlefield was kind of a mess that encourages the flies. I went back down to the jump field to get a parachute to protect me from the flies and came back towards the hill. It came out of my hands and when I picked it up, I saw it.  There was my medal, in the middle of the field. So that was kind of a Miraculous Medal.”

PT-32, one of 4 boats used in the escape.

Adams spent a good part of the first day getting injured troopers to the first aid station. He was in Corregidor until early March, when General MacArthur returned. He was part of the border patrol, spending most of his time on the hills and further down, he recalls.

Although a young recruit at the time, having joined the troops only a few months prior to his assignment, he understood the significance of that tiny island.  “It was kind of a guard in Manila Bay. It has a kind of control on any ship that came in through there. It was mainly a field with a fortress where they control it,” he shares. “Also, it was the last place where the phrase ‘I shall return’ became significant because that’s where General MacArthur left from going to Australia and then he came back. It was important in a sense that it controls the Manila Bay, but it is also significant just because it was the last place that the Americans surrendered from.”

“It was a pretty scary place,” he says of wartime Philippines. “I joined a few months earlier, so I was kind of new in the game at that time. We were in Mindoro and I ended up in the hospital. After Corregidor, we ran in Negros, so we got around a little bit. We spent most of our time up in the woods.”

He has vivid memories of MacArthur. “We did meet once in a while. I was at the dock when he came in and, as a matter of fact, the first time I was back in Corregidor I was in the museum and I found a picture of myself that was standing on the dock where he and I met. So, I welcomed him, but I don’t think he knows. He was quite a guy.”

After the Negros campaign and occupation duty in Japan, Adams returned home and joined the National Guard as operations sergeant in the 165th Infantry and left 20 years after as a master sergeant. He obtained a law degree from St. John University and is retired from General Motors. He has two daughters, one of whom is an Air Force Captain.

Pictures are courtesy of Manila Hotel

 

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His first trip back to Corregidor was in 2012 and he described it as an emotional trip. “I like going back to Corregidor. It’s really an honor to be here. It’s a little embarrassing when there are people standing around taking pictures—the people you should be taking pictures of, they are not here. Some might be still in Corregidor. My whole climb to fame is that I was there and I’m still here,” he says.

Of his visit, he shares, “I’m doing these to honor those people, the Filipinos and Americans that defended the island and also those who on the 16th came back to Corregidor. I think we are honoring those not only who came back on the 16th but everyone who was left.”

By : esqiremag.com   |   Feb 18, 2020

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Military Humor – 

“Yes, sailor, we docked 2 days ago!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Margaret Adamchak – Bridgeport, CT; Civilian, WWII, Naval Dept. employee

John Dennis – Tucson, AZ; US Navy, WWII, radar, USS Rochambeau

Paul H. Gebser – San Diego, CA; US Navy, WWII, Machinist’s Mate 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

John Henry – Lugarno, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, pilot instructor

Benjamin Meo – Haddon Heights, NJ; USMC, WWII

Carl Overcash – Rowan County, NC; US Army, WWII, PTO

Augustin Polasek – MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, bomber pilot, Colonel (Ret.)

Andrew Schmitz – Richmond, VA; US Navy, WWII, fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Donald Stratton – Red Cloud, NE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Arizona survivor / USS Stack / author, “All the Gallant Men”

Charles Wion – La Junta, CO; US Navy, WWII, Signalman

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The Caterpillar Club

Portraits of Henry Wacker and John Boettner frame an illustration of their July 21, 1919, jump from a Goodyear airship, qualifying them as the first two members of the Caterpillar Club. NASM-00152652

A hundred years ago, tragedy struck the skies of Chicago just before five in the afternoon on July 21, 1919.  The Goodyear airship, Wingfoot Air Express, more commonly known as the Wingfoot Express, took off from Grant Park, destined for the White City Amusement Park balloon hangar. The Wingfoot Express had successfully made its maiden flight that morning and another later in the afternoon. As the airship passed over the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, it turned into a “mammoth red ball of fire.” Four tiny parachutes became visible over the financial district. Only two survived—Henry Wacker, the chief mechanic, and John Boettner, the pilot. They became known as members one and two of the Caterpillar Club, an organization formed in November 1922 consisting of people who had used parachutes to make an emergency jump.

The wreckage of the Goodyear Airship Wingfoot Express falling onto a bank building in Chicago, Illinois, July 21, 1919, people and cars can be seen in the foreground. The photograph is signed, “To B.E. Walls, From First Caterpillar [sic] Club Member, July 21, 1919, Henry Wacker”, Wacker’s parachute can be seen below the falling wreckage. NASM-2007-72

United States Air Force 1st Lieutenant Harold R. Harris, served as the inspiration for the creation of the Caterpillar Club.  On October 20, 1922, Harris was testing experimental ailerons on a Loening pursuit monoplane at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio.  As he banked in tandem with Lieutenant Muir Fairchild, Harris lost control of the plane. He slid out of his aircraft and attempted to open his parachute several times. It is estimated that he had fallen from 2,500 feet to 500 feet before successfully deploying his chute—marking what is thought to be the first successful use of a parachute in an emergency situation from an airplane.

At a 1943 dinner at the Wings Club, Colonel Harold R. Harris, commanding officer of the Air Transport Command (center), is presented the Switlik Trophy commemorating the first jump from an aircraft via parachute by Stanley Switlik (right) donor of the plaque and leading proponent of safety parachutes. Capt. Harold L. Foster (left) President of the Caterpillar Club looks on. NASM-00143229

Milton H. St. Clair, a parachute engineer at McCook Field, and Verne Timmerman and Maurice Hutton, journalists for the Dayton Daily Herald, figured that Harris was just the first of many future emergency parachute jumps. St. Clair suggested the term “caterpillar” from a description on the composition of a parachute: “mainsail and lines…are woven from the finest silk. The lowly worm spins a cocoon, crawls out and flies away from certain death.”  Thus was born the Caterpillar Club.

Irene McFarland

Irene McFarland became the first female member of the Caterpillar Club on July 4, 1925. A stunt jumper, McFarland was scheduled to test a parachute of her own design in a 3,500 foot jump. Government regulations required that she wear a backup Irving chute. Despite her protests, McFarland wore the emergency chute and used it when her original failed. The Club accepted her as a member even though she intended a parachute jump because she did not intend to use the emergency pack, which saved her life.

The parachute companies quickly got in on the marketing game, presenting pins to the latest emergency parachutists who could confirm which brand of chute they had used. While Robert Fitzgerald of Wright Field maintained the “official” records of the self-proclaimed “mythical organization.”

 

Leslie Irvin of  Irving Air Chute Co., Stanley Switlik of Switlik Parachute Co. and others kept their own lists. Members could be eligible for special deals. For example, on February 25, 1932, Keith’s Theater in Washington, DC, reserved a box for the estimated 17 local members to view the movie The Lost Squadron, advertised as having “more crashes than Wall Street.”

Milton H. St. Clair, parachute engineer and co-founder of the Caterpillar Club, points to a sign for Caterpillar farm tractors.

With the dawning of WW II, it appeared the ranks of the Caterpillar Club would grow exponentially. The Club decided to take its status beyond “mythical” to “organized” and officially incorporated on April 6, 1943.  Stanley Switlik provided office space and assistance with applications and credentials.

Today the ranks of Caterpillar Club members number in the tens of thousands. Both Irving (as Airborne Systems) and Switlik continue to register members. Famous members include John Glenn, Jimmy Doolittle and George H.W. Bush.  With four jumps to his credit, Charles Lindbergh is probably the member with the most pins.

Lt. Charles Lindbergh parachuting from his disabled airplane, circa 1926.

Maurice Hutton, co-founder of the Caterpillar Club and aviation editor for the Dayton Daily Herald, poses for a photo wearing flight gear and standing next to his plane

And how are Wacker and Boettner members one and two, if the Club was founded three years later with Harris as the first member? The Caterpillar Club was willing to add back-dated members. William O’Connor was the first to be added with a 1920 exhibition jump requiring an emergency chute, making him number one, then number three when Wacker and Boettner were added about nine years after the fact.

 

John Boettner continued to pilot airships for Goodyear and rose to the rank of Commander in the US Navy, flying in World War II. Henry Wacker went on to work for B.F. Goodrich and the WPA. He proudly autographed photos of his jump as “the first Caterpillar Club member.” And every year on July 21, the anniversary of his jump, he took his parachute out of storage and aired it out, in honor of the day it saved his life.

 

Story derived from a Smithsonian Museum article.

Please click on images to enlarge.

 

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jack P. Ancker – NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 17th Airborne Division / Korea & Vietnam, Col. (Ret.)

Carl Bell – Gresham, OR; US Navy, WWII, USS Pickens

‘Last Flight’, by Rhads

William B. Clarke – Smyrna, DE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Vincennes / Korea, USS Worchester

Joseph Damico – Poughkeepsie, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 76/3rd Army

Kenneth E. Ford – Albia, IA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. C/1/32, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Louis Kulma – Parisville, MI; US Merchant Marines, WWII, chief radio operator

Isabelle Messenger (100) – Peru, MA; Civilian, Red Cross, WWII, ETO, Medal of Freedom

Nicholas Panipinto – Bradenton, FL; US Army, Korea, Spc., 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team/1st Calvary, KIA

Lonnie Ware – Marrero, LA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Waring – Fredericksburg, VA; US Army, Korea, 101 Airborne Division / US Coast Guard Res., Cmdr. (Ret. 40 y.)

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Classified British Life-savers in D-Day Landings

From a woman who always advocates for our military… an insight into those clickers you see and hear in the movies!!

Tribute to Veterans

Acme 470 clicker used during 1944 D-Day landings as a means of communicating with allied troops
Photo – Evening Standard

In approaching the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, perhaps there is still history, unbeknownst to many, on safeguards instilled prior to 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landing upon five beaches of France’s Normandy region, June 6, 1944 – along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified coast.  This particular defense was secretly crafted and classified by the British.

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Desperate bid to track down life-saving ‘clickers’ British soldiers used in D-Day landings

The Evening Standard (UK)
Olivia Tobin

Manufacturers from ACME Whistles are attempting to trace the “lost clickers” of the Normandy Landings, a life-saving tool of the invasion, to mark the 75th anniversary.  The small metal device was used by troops abroad to try to determine if among friends or foes in pitch black conditions.  Every paratrooper was issued a clicker and…

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Military Poetry – Intermission Story (20)

When only poetry will do – in their words ______

A SOLDIERS PICNIC

I like my olives sanded,
My pickles full of bugs;
I’m rustic: To be candid,
I shy from chairs and rugs.

The open field! The azure sky!
The fields of waving grain!
The piece of huckleberry pie
That’s bogged with sudden rain!

I understand the merits of
A cake that’s turned to goo;
For every bite I take and love
Mosquitoes give me two,

And naught I know can close compare
The taste of hardboiled eggs,
While bees make honey in my hair
And flies besiege my legs.

So “outdoor” is the word for me
Ah! – Give me trees to hack!
And then my first response will be
To give the damned things back.

– By M/Sgt. H. E. KELLENBERGER

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11th Airborne Division Chapel

A PARATROOPER’S PRAYER

When I’m flying at seven hundred
And the red light flickers on
I know I’ll tremble and start to sweat
But, God, let me be strong.
When I look down through the hole, God
It’s like I’m standing by a grave
And my knees go weak and I can’t speak
Then, God, please make me brave.
And if it be Thy will, God
Part of Thine own Great Plan
That my life should stop, then on that last long drop
Oh God, let me die a man!
While I’m waiting to emplane, God
And checking my jumping kit
Though I laugh and jeer I’m full of fear
But, God, don’t let me quit.
When the kite begins to move, God
And take off time is near
Then my heart grows cold – God, make me bold
And drive away my fear.

 

Desmond Le Pard, 17th Battalion Parachute Regiment @ 18 years old

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Military Humor – 

Paratrooper School.

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Timothy Bowman – Ontario, CAN; Canadian Forces, Military Police, Capt. 1 Wing HQ, pilot

Edward Flora – Mishawaka, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, A/674th Arty/11th Airborne Division

Gilbert Grossinger – Kerhonkson, NY; US Army, WWII

Donald Hardcastle – Rochdale, ENG; RAF, WWII, radioman

Hugh Hefner – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, Infantry Clerk, military newspaper cartoons

Vincent Koravos – Lowell, MA; USMC; WWII, PTO, MAG-24 tail gunner

Ramon Laughter – Edna, TX; US Army, WWII & Korea, Colonel (Ret. 25 y.)

Kevin McCarthy – Brooklyn, NY; US Air Force, Flt. Surgeon

Geral Sheridon – Denver, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Jon Vaccarino – Yorktown Heights, NY; US Army, Korea

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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

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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…

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