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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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The Other Pearl Harbor Story – Kimmel and Short

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People around the nation, including some vocal congressmen, asked why America had been caught off guard at Pearl Harbor.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said he would appoint an investigatory commission. Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts — a pro-British internationalist friendly with FDR — was selected to head it. Also appointed to the group: Major General Frank McCoy, General George Marshall’s close friend for 30 years; Brigadier General Joseph McNarney, who was on Marshall’s staff and chosen on his recommendation; retired Rear Admiral Joseph Reeves, whom FDR had given a job in lend-lease; and Admiral William Standley, a former fleet commander. Only the last seemed to have no obvious fraternity with the Washington set.

The commission conducted only two to three days of hearings in Washington. Admiral Standley, arriving late, was startled by the inquiry’s chummy atmosphere. Admiral Harold Stark and General Marshall were asked no difficult or embarrassing questions. Furthermore, all testimony was taken unsworn and unrecorded — an irregularity that, at Standley’s urging, was corrected.

The commission then flew to Hawaii, where it remained 19 days. When Admiral Husband Kimmel was summoned, he brought a fellow officer to act as counsel. Justice Roberts disallowed this on grounds that the investigation was not a trial, and the admiral not a defendant. Because Kimmel and General Walter Short were not formally “on trial,” they were also denied all traditional rights of defendants: to ask questions and cross-examine witnesses. Kimmel was also shocked that the proceeding’s stenographers — one a teenager, the other with almost no court experience — omitted much of his testimony and left other parts badly garbled. Permission to correct the errors — other than adding footnotes to the end of the commission’s report — was refused.

The Roberts Commission laid the blame for Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian commanders. Roberts brought a final copy of the report to FDR. The president read it and delightedly tossed it to a secretary, saying, “Give that in full to the papers for their Sunday editions.” America’s outrage now fell on Kimmel and Short. They were traitors, it was said; they should be shot! The two were inundated with hate mail and death threats. The press, with its ageless capacity to manufacture villains, stretched the commission’s slurs. Even the wives of the commanders were subject to vicious canards.

By 1944, the Allies were clearly winning, and national security would no longer wash as a barrier to trials. A congressional act mandated the court-martials. At last, the former Hawaiian commanders would have their day in court.

In August, the Naval Court of Inquiry opened. A source inside the Navy Department had already tipped Kimmel and his attorneys about the scores of Magic intercepts kept from the admiral in 1941. One of the attorneys, a former Navy captain, managed to get at the Department’s files, and authenticated the existence of many. Obtaining their release was another matter. Obstruction after obstruction appeared — until Kimmel tried a ploy. Walking out of the courtroom, he bellowed to his lawyer that they would have to tell the press that important evidence was being withheld.

By the next day, the requested intercepts had been delivered — 43 in all. The admirals on the Court listened to them being read with looks of horror and disbelief. Two of the admirals flung their pencils down. More than 2,000 died at Pearl Harbor because those messages had been withheld. Navy Department officers gave additional testimony. After nearly three months, the inquiry finished. The verdict of the Roberts Commission was overturned. Admiral Kimmel was exonerated on all charges. Admiral Stark — who had rejected pleas of juniors to notify Hawaii on the morning of the attack — was severely censured.

Criticism of the president, incidentally, was forbidden to the proceedings as beyond their jurisdiction. But FDR held ultimate responsibility for Pearl Harbor, and the warnings he had received — some of which have only recently come to light — far exceeded anything they might have dreamed.

Naturally, the inquiry findings wrought dismay in the administration and Pentagon. But a solution was swiftly concocted. It was announced that, in the interest of national security, the court-martial results would not become public until the war’s end.

Other rather staged shows were carried out afterward. Witness reversed their original testimonies or memories were “refreshed.” It was discovered that just four days after Pearl Harbor, Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes, director of naval communications, told his subordinates: “Destroy all notes or anything in writing.” This was an illegal order — naval memoranda belong to the American people and cannot be destroyed except by congressional authority. Stories circulated of a similar information purge in the War Department. Some files, however, escaped destruction.

Congress did conduct a probe in 1995, at the urging of the families of General Short (died 1949) and Admiral Kimmel (died 1968). The families hoped to restore the ranks of their libeled, demoted fathers. The 1995 probe requested that the Pentagon reinvestigate Pearl Harbor in light of new information.

However, on December 1, 1995, Undersecretary of Defense Edwin Dorn concluded his own investigation with these comments: “I cannot conclude that Admiral Kimmel and General Short were victims of unfair official actions and thus cannot conclude that the remedy of advancement on the retired list is in order.”

However, on May 25, 1999, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution that Kimmel and Short had performed their duties “competently and professionally” and that our losses at Pearl Harbor were “not the result of dereliction of duty.” “They were denied vital intelligence that was available in Washington,” said Senator William V. Roth Jr. (R-Del.). Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) called Kimmel and Short “the two final victims of Pearl Harbor.”

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Farewell Salutes –

David Bone – Livonia, MI; US Navy, WWII, USS Kretchmer

Joe Carter – Lodge, SC; US Navy, WWII, Chief Petty Officerflag041

Harry Grim – Aransas Pass, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Henry Kaufman – Jersey City, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Wallace Lutz – Lake Worth, FL; US Navy, WWII

Linda Milton – Tucumcari, NM; US Army, Sgt.

Jack Riley – Shelton, NE; US Army, Korea

William Stanley – Cheshire, CT; US Army, WWII, Ordnance

Bryan ‘Jim’ Whitmer Jr. – Waterville, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Jess Wise – Spokane, WA; USMC, Korea, Force Recon

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Pearl Harbor battleships after WWII: part I

A series here that deserves attention!

HERE find the 5 myths about Pearl Harbor!!!!

wwiiafterwwii

Except for USS Arizona, all of the battleships attacked at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 were later raised, and saw the end of WWII. This three-part series will show their peacetime use and final fates after WWII.

location

(Recovered in 1945 during the occupation of Japan, this photo was taken by a Japanese airman and shows the opening seconds of the 7 December 1941 attack, and the location of the American battleships: 1) USS Nevada 2) USS Arizona 3) USS West Virginia 4) USS Tennessee 5) USS Oklahoma 6) USS Maryland 7) USS California and 8) USS Pennsylvania, out of the picture to the right. Two other warships are a) USS Vestal and b) USS Neosho. Circled are two Aichi D3A “Val” dive bombers of the strike force.)

View original post 6,433 more words

News Day

Western Union, Labor Day, 1942

Western Union, Labor Day, 1942

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE EXPECTING A LABOR DAY POST, I HAVE HERE A LINK TO MY POST FROM LAST YEAR WHICH DEPICTED THE DAY’S CELEBRATION IN THE STYLE OF THE 1950’S.   I’M SURE MANY OF YOU WILL REMEMBER IT, BUT –  WE HAVE HAD NEW READERS JOIN US SINCE THAT TIME.  PLUS – I’VE ACCUMULATED A LOT OF CURRENT NEWS THAT NEEDS TO BE POSTED.  THANK YOU….

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Labor Day Post – HERE

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WWII VETERAN – STILL HAS WHAT IT TAKES!

Arthur Lewis

Arthur Lewis

Arthur M. Lewis, 89, an Army veteran of the Pacific Theater, was working behind the counter of The Jewelry Exchange in Lake Park, Florida when an armed robber entered the store.  Lewis grabbed the attacker’s gun and pulled out his own weapon.  Shots were fired.  Lewis was grazed on his arm and the would-be thief escaped carrying 6 bullets in his body.  The man and his get-away driver were caught by the Boca Raton police when they sought medical attention.  The suspect faces felony charges when he is released by the hospital.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Fallen WWII Soldier Comes Home

David Rogers holding his uncle's WWII picture

David Rogers holding his uncle’s WWII picture

Dog tags of Pvt. Bernard Gavin

Dog tags of Pvt. Bernard Gavin

DNA testing and a set of dog tags has positively identified the missing US Army Pvt. Bernard “Max” Gavrin who fought in the PTO and went missing in Saipan.  He will be laid to rest on 12 September.  The remains were discovered by the non-profit Japanese organization, the Kuentai Group.

Gavrin’s nephew, David Rogers of Delray Beach, Florida, last saw his uncle when he was years old, said in an interview:  “I am completely in awe of where he is going to be buried.  Arlington Cemetery is the single most hallowed ground in this country.  Beneath its surface contains the who’s who of American history.  To think that my uncle will also be buried there is incredible to me.”

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Java Sea Wreck Confirmed

A wreath is passed to sailors for the tomb of 700.

A wreath is passed to sailors for the tomb of 700.

More than 70 years after the heavy cruiser, USS Houston, was sunk by the Japanese during the Battle of Sunda Strait in February 1942, the grave for 700 of its sailors and Marines has been confirmed.  Nicknamed the “Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast” had only 291 survivors.  The commander, Captain Albert H. Rooks, was killed during the battle and awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

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U.S. Military Downsizing

The 1/9 Marine insignia The Walking Dead

The 1/9 Marine insignia
The Walking Dead

A Marine Corps battalion decorated for extensive combat in WWII and Vietnam earned the nickname “Walking Dead.”  The 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, which also saw action in Iraq and Afghanistan, was deactivated during a ceremony at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  The unit had a reputation for heroism that included Medal of Honor recipients at Guam and Iwo Jima and two in Vietnam.

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Did You Know?

__ Elvis Presley did a benefit concert and raised over $50,000 to help in the cost of erecting the Arizona memorial.

Ticket for the Elvis USS Arizona Benefit

Ticket for the Elvis’ USS Arizona Benefit

__ Some former crew-members are choosing to have their ashes scattered over their former ships at Pearl Harbor.
__ Fuel, to this day, continues to leak from the USS Arizona.
__ Twenty-three sets of brothers died when the Arizona sank.
 
 
 Click on any image to enlarge.

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Merchant Navy Day – New Zealand – 3 September

Capt. Inkster

Capt. Inkster

The men and boys of the New Zealand Merchant Navy had one of the most perilous wartime occupations as they carried supplies to the troops and wounded to safety.  Their virtually unarmed ships were sitting ducks for the enemy.  Hundreds of mines were laid by German raiders in the early years of the war and several vessels were sunk, including the minesweeper, Puriri, May 1941 off Whangarei, NZ.

Around 130 New Zealand seafarers lost their lives and around 140 were taken prisoner.  Captain Inkster, pictured above, served for 60 years, including all six years of WWII.  Let’s join them this Wednesday in honoring these civilians who put their lives on the line for the Allied troops!

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A Current Political Cartoon____

A day of infamy Pearl Harbor (by Dan Saad)

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Farewell Salutes – 

Heroes R.I.P.

Heroes R.I.P.

Stuart Avery – Tauranga, NZ; RNZ Air Force # W327494

William “Dan” Boone – Adelanto, CA; US Air Force, MSgt. (Ret. 20 years), Vietnam

Charles Catanzaro – Syracuse, NY; US Army, Sgt., Vietnam

Morris “Moose” Fontenot – Longmeadow, MA;  US Air Force, LtCol., 104th Fighter Wing, F-15 pilot

Gerald McHaffie – Ozark, MO; US Navy, Korea

Walter Pacholka – Pointe-Claire, CAN; RC Air Force [attached to RAF Squadron 199], WWII

Harry Peterson – Oak Park, IL; US Army, 99th Div., WWII, ETO, [author]

Bertrand Vachon – Augusta, ME; US Army, Sgt., WWII

Herbert Waits – LaPine, OR; US Army, Corps of Engineers, WWII

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First-Hand Account – corpsman

USS Solace

USS Solace

James F. Anderson

Hospital corpsman, USS Solace

James Anderson of Fort Worth, Texas was aboard the USS Solace looking out across the bay on 7 December as he awaited a liberty boat to take him to shore as 5 planes flew overhead.  He spotted the red balls on the wings, “My God, those are Japanese.  Let’s get this damn hatch shut!, he said.  “Normally it took an electric winch to pull it shut.  How 3 of us did it I’ll never know.”

“I remember very clearly what looked like a dive-bomber coming in over the Arizona and dropping a bomb.  It rose out of the water and settled.  I could see flames, fire and smoke…and I saw 2 men flying in the air…and screaming as they went.  Then we went into the ward and checked everything and made ready for patients to arrive.  Four of us set to with plaster-of-Paris.

Japanese view

Japanese view

“At this point, the Japanese planes were coming in alongside us… We could look straight into the cockpits and see the pilots as they went by us.  Almost immediately we started getting casualties…only one of the men could tell us his name.  He did not have a stitch of clothing on.  The only thing left was a web belt with his chief’s buckle, his Chief-master-at-arms badge and the letters ‘USS Nevada.’  He survived…

Surgery aboard ship

Surgery aboard ship

“We were using tannic acid for the burns… All we could do for these poor fellows was to give them morphine and pour the tannic acid over them.  We were making it from tea, boiling it up as strong as we could get it and bringing it straight to the ward from the galley.

“I think we must have gone through 48 hours without any sleep – all spent tending to our patients.  There was so much adrenalin pumped into the body, a person couldn’t sleep… I got to the point I was staggering around… Nobody ever thought of asking for relief.”

Patient ward aboard ship

Patient ward aboard ship

James Anderson made his career as an enlisted man and continued his service until his retirement in 1960 when he returned to Texas.

This story was taken and condensed from, “The Pacific War Remembered” edited by John T. Mason Jr. and published by the Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD.  Photos are courtesy of the USS Solace website.

TO SEE WHAT THESE MEN ACTUALLY WITNESSED – Fellow blogger, Koji was kind enough to send a link for us to do just that – watch the short video from –  the Naval History $ Heritage

Click on images to enlarge.

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Humor – 

Bill Mauldin cartoons

Bill Mauldin cartoons

Just give me the aspirin, I already got the Purple Heart.

Just give me the aspirin, I already got the Purple Heart.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Walter Bailey – Jupiter, FL; US Army,  WWII & Korea, Major (Ret. 25 years)

Irene Brainerd – Prairie Village, MO; US Army WACS, WWII, Quartermaster Corps

Harvey A. Chesley, Sr. – Clinton, ME; USMC, Vietnam

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Gordon Conquergood – Toronto, CAN; RC Army, WWII

Richard Haas – Freeport, IL; US Army, Korea

Kenneth Irving Sr. – Clinton, ME; USMC, Korea

Michael Martin – Palm Bch Gardens, FL; US Army, WWII

Theodore Perry – Petaluma, CA; US Army, Rangers, Sgt.

Mark Priestly – Masterton, NZ; RNZ Navy # E746216

Fred Schrager – Brooklyn & Miami; US Army, WWII, POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Charles (Bud) Willis – Bastrop, LA; US Army, Vietnam

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Eroni Kumana – Obituary

One of the Solomon Islands scouts who assisted in the rescue of the PT-109 crew passed away exactly 71 years after JFK’s boat was rammed while in the Pacific.  Mr. Kumana was 96 years old.  Kumana and fellow scout Biuku Gasa had discovered the Naval crew on Naru and Olasana islands.

Eroni Kumana

Eroni Kumana

A more complete story of this event will be posted when this series reaches August 1943.

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First-hand Account

Major Doody, (Ret.)

Major Doody, (Ret.)

Major Kathryn Mary Doody

Kathryn Doody was enrolled in nursing school by her mother, but following her graduation, the United States Army would not accept her until they lowered their height requirements.  Kathryn was at the Tripler Army Hospital, Hawaii on 7 December 1941 as one of eighty-two nurses.

Kathryn Doody, RN

Kathryn Doody, RN

Her baptism of fire came that fateful morning when the sound of bombs woke her.  She ran into the yard and saw aircraft smoke.  Thinking that an accident occurred, she went to see the night nurse on duty, only to be informed otherwise – Oahu was under attack.  Finding the news a bit unbelievable, Kathryn turned on a radio and listened to the broadcast herself – now she believed.  “I hadn’t been there long [Hawaii] before the bombs descended.”

Hawaii

Hawaii

She was summoned to the operating room to begin treating those coming in injured from Hickam Field.  As she worked with her patients and preparing for new arrivals, she heard the sound of bullets hitting the pavement outside, but neither she nor the hospital were hit.  She began to wonder what life would be like in wartime as she assisted in her first major limb amputation.  She continued to work until midnight with troops standing guard outside the doors.

The horror of the attack continued the following morning when Kathryn checked on her patients.  Some of the wounded had accidentally ripped out their tourniquets during the night and some had bled to death.

Later, Kathryn was given a leave and then assigned to Germany where she was awarded a Bronze Star.  During the Korean War, she was part of the original 8063rd Mobile Army Surgical Hospital – the first MASH unit in Korea.  Kathryn Doody retired as a Major in the US Army and passed away 3 October 2010 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

HQ tent of the 8063rd MASH, Korea

HQ tent of the 8063rd MASH, Korea

This story was composed from information found at the Veteran’s History Project – Library of Congress.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Humor – 

DIARY OF A NURSE

I dreamed I’d see the country,
If I ever had the luck;
But in my wildest fancies,
It was never made by truck.
 
Nurse Nightingale before us,
Carried candles through the mist;
The modern maid of Mercy,
Totes a helmet in her fist.
 
Nostalgic waves encompass me
Though I’m still patriotic;
Tonight, my dear, I long to see
A land that ain’t exotic!
 
_____Lt. Rose C. Craig;
Puptent Poets, Stars and Stripes
 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Attenborough (Lord) – London, England; RAF Film Unit, WWII, ( famed actor, producer, director)

Boyce Bates – Springfield, OR; US Air Force, Airman First Class, Korea

courtesy: Cora @ A Fresh Start

courtesy: Cora @ A Fresh Start

Reginald Broadfoot – Waihi, NZ; RNZ Army, WWII # 622619, tank battery

Henry Doering – Regina, CAN; RC Army, WWII

Lloyd Dumond – Fort Kent, ME; US Army, WWII

Kenneth Jones – Liverpool, AU; 2 AIF, Major, Korea & Vietnam

Jeremiah LeFlore – Durant, OK; US Army, Vietnam

Lyman Oliver – Burlington, KY; US Coast Guard, Chief Warrant Officer (Ret. 20 years)

Teddy Patton – Lady Lake, FL; US Army, WWII & Korea, LtColonel (Ret.)

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Eye-witness Account

US Seaman, Victor E. Stefl

US Seaman, Victor E. Stefl

Victor E. Stefl

Seaman, US Navy

In the fall of 1941, I was a 19 year-old seaman not long out of the “Great Lakes” school (the US Navy boot camp).  My first assignment was aboard the USS Case, a Mahan-class destroyer commissioned in Boston in 1936.  We had sailed south from Pearl Harbor in November, toward New Zealand, then north again, crossing back and forth over the international dateline.

A few weeks later, as we returned to port, we were informed we would not be dry-docking.  The USS Shaw, we were told, had collided with another ship and would be occupying our ships space.  So we moored in a destroyer nest next the USS Whitney, (a destroyer tender), breaking down our main guns and performing general maintenance – – this was the condition of our ship when the Japanese showed up.

USS Case, Destroyer-370

USS Case, Destroyer-370

On the morning of 7 December, most of the officers were ashore.  I was lying in my bunk reading and looking forward to a quiet Sunday breakfast.  I heard an explosion, then several others.  I remember wondering who the heck was taking target practice on a Sunday.  Then one of my crewmates ran in and yelled, “Stef, get out of bed, the Japs are here?”

I was getting ready to tell him he was crazy when general quarters sounded.  I ran to my station and realized the gun I was assigned had been broken down for maintenance.  We scrambled to ready the 50 cals and gather ammunition.  Our officer of the deck, an ensign named Beard, had to break into the ammo locker because no one could locate a key.

370.number

We returned fire as soon as we could, but were limited as to when we could shoot.  If we fired on the Japanese aircraft as they leveled out for their torpedo runs we would be shooting across the harbor at our own men; so we had to wait for them to dive down before their runs or until they climbed out afterward.  Usually the Japanese turned toward the destroyers and strafed the hell out of us.  As the Japanese pilots flew between the masts they smiled and waved at us.  Obviously, that angered us.

During the attack a number of the crew were busy putting our main guns back together and making preparations for getting underway.  Many of my crewmates were trying to catch rides back to the ship on small transports; others simply swam.  We managed to down a few of the Japanese planes but not before they had inflicted heavy damage on the battleships.  After the attack was over, we threw all non-essential items overboard and took on fuel, food, water and ammunition.  When we got underway we cleared the harbor and depth charged an enemy sub.

USS Case - offical Navy log entries

USS Case – offical Navy log entries

Later on, we heard that the Shaw, sitting in our docking space had taken a direct hit.  I couldn’t help but think that it could have been us.  When night fell we darkened the ship and patrolled around Ford Island waiting for the Japanese to return.  That night was one of the scariest in my life.  At times we heard screams of wounded men trapped in the wreckage.  The only lights in the harbor were fires, which sometimes revealed bodies floating in the water.

Remember...

Remember…

Then, there were moments of almost complete silence, when the only sound we heard was the low hum of our ships in the harbor.  At such times we looked at each other and wondered just what the hell had we gotten into.  After 9 p.m., once we had been ordered to stand down, we spotted planes coming in over the harbor.  We opened up on them until the skipper ordered us to cease.  The Marines didn’t get the message and shot them down.  It turns out that those planes were American bombers scheduled to be delivered to the Army Air Force.  The rest of the night we circled the island and kept our eyes on the sky.

Victor Stefl was from Farmington Hills, Michigan.  He passed away October 2012 at the age of 90.

This story was taken directly from the ‘History Channel Magazine’ Jan/Feb 2013.  Images from the Stefl Family collection and US Naval History

Click on images to enlarge .

For a realistic view of Pearl Harbor, Mustang Koji supplied this video of footage, Click Here.

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Beetle Bailey – he knows how to keep things Top Secret!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Keith Bosley – Sydney, Aus.; RA Air Force, Vietnam

courtesy, Cora @ A Fresh Start

courtesy, Cora @ A Fresh Start

Rudolph Dansby Jr.; WPalm Beach, FL, US Navy (Ret. 21 years)

Frank Fee – Harlan, KY; US Army, Sgt., Korea

Cyril Goetten – Jerseyville, IL; US Army, WWII

Christine Hartigan – Mission, KS; US Air Force, nurse, Captain, Vietnam

Alistair McLaggan – Forest Hill, NZ; Argyle & South Highlanders, WWII

John Sadeir – Edmonton, Can; RC Air Force, pilot, WWII (Ret)

Richard Ward – Oro Valley, AZ; USMC, F-4 Black Knights

Larry Zoski – Bartiesville, OK; US Army, Sgt. Vietnam, 2nd Batt/9th Inf.Div/4th Field Artillery

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7 December 1941 (1)

 
Japanese Type 00 fighters just proir to take-off. Courtesy Japanese Archives

Japanese Type 00 fighters just proir to take-off.
Courtesy Japanese Archives

1200 hours – the lights of Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii were visible from the 2-man units of Commander Nagi Iwasa’s Special Attack Force 4 midget submarines.  An hour later, they reached the booms that guarded the mile-wide mouth to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s anchorage.
Orders for the men of the USS "Enterprise"

Orders for the men of the USS “Enterprise”

0300 hours – The crew of the Japanese aircraft, from 6 carriers, ate a celebratory breakfast, donned their “thousand-stitch” good luck belts, left family letters with clippings of hair and fingernails with their belongings and drank their sake toasts.  At their final briefing, Commander Mitsuo Fushida wrote, “the room was not large enough for all the men, some of whom had to stand in the passageway.  On the blackboard was written the positions of ships in Pearl Harbor as of 0600 hours 7 December. (Tokyo time).
0430 hours –  one midget submarine crept past Keanpapuaa Point and found the boom open to admit 2 minesweepers.  It circled Ford Island and logged in the warships through its periscope.
Japanese midget submarine

Japanese midget submarine

0530 hours –  with the Pearl Harbor Strike Force now 200 miles north of Oahu, seaplanes left the cruisers “Tone” and “Chikuma” to make predawn recon sweeps of Pearl Harbor and Lahaina while rows of attack aircraft were loaded up.  On the north Malayan coast, the enemy arrived at Kota Bharu, while the pillboxes and defenses manned by the 9th Indian Army Division were bombed.   Gen. Percival called the Governor to alert him, and Sir Shenton Thomas replied, “Well, I suppose you’ll shove the little men off.”
 
o600 hours –   the first planes to leave the Japanese Strike Force’s 6 carriers: 183 aircraft – 49 Val bombers with winged armor-piercing shells; 40 “Kates”, each with oxygen-powered Long Lance Torpedoes and an escort of 43 Zero fighters.  They joined up and went into formation for an estimated 90 minute flight.  The Imperial Navy battle ensign was broken out above Togo’s famous Z pendant signal at the “Akagi’s masthead as Fushida fastened the Hachimaki headband given to him from the crew.
0637 hours –  A midget submarine was spotted by the destroyer, USS “Ward,” as the booms opened again to allow the “Antares” into the harbor.  At 0645 hours, LtComdr. William Outerbridge ordered a gunfire and depth charge attack.  A report was transmitted, but given low priority.  See the after-action report below____
After-action report for the USS "Ward"

After-action report for the USS “Ward”

0700 hours – one of 3 US PBY flying boats, on submarine patrol, depth-charged a different attack and also signaled his report in code back to the base – the message took more than half an hour to be passed for circulation.  The 2-man crew of the Army radar post at Opana spotted unusual blips on the screen – they were told: “Don’t worry about it.”
Bachok Beach, Kota Bharu, Malaya.  Japanese landing point.

Bachok Beach, Kota Bharu, Malaya. Japanese landing point.

0730 hours (0130 hours in Singapore) – The first strike of 7 December was at Kota Bharu, northern Malaya, one hour and 20 minutes before Pearl Harbor.  In pouring rain and rough seas, the 5,000 troops of Gen. Yamashita’s 56th Infantry Regiment went ashore at Singora Beach without firing a shot.
0735 hours – Fushida’s command plane listened to a Hawaiian radio station as the aircraft flew over Kahuka Point, Oahu.
 
………..To be continued……..
 
Click on images to enlarge.
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Political cartoon of the times____

Dr. Seuss gives his opinion again….

jeez - how did that happen?

jeez – how did that happen? – check the War Warnings posts if you missed them

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Current news isn’t all bad____

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Baker, Mesa, AZ; US Army, WWII, Bronze Star

Thomas Decker – Quincy, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS  Hull & Endicott

Doyle Engle – Grays Knob, KY; US Army, Vietnam304229_408732649208035featured_1689121699_ne

Thomas Heran – W.Palm Bch, FL; US Air Force, Korea

Elizabeth Knowles – Bangor, ME; WAVES, WWII, Phar.Mate First Class

James Lattanzio Sr. – Rockville, CT; US Army, WWII, 3rd Battery/390 Infantry Regiment

John Phillips – Des Moines, IA; USMC, Korea

Thomas Vecchio – Palo Alto, CA; US Army, Medical Corps

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