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“Doubly So When Wars Increase”

The Chaplain Kit

Living, working and playing among the Service Members they minister to, chaplains usually have insight into the struggles and feelings of those Service Members. They help them try to navigate their troubles successfully through many means, based on their strengths and talents. Some use poetry, as did Chaplain Henry W. Habel, who by March 1945, had been an Army Chaplain for three years.

Chaplain Habel was from Buffalo, New York and graduated from Acadia University in Nova Scotia before pastoring churches in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada through the Baptist Church of the Northern Convention.

The following poem, written by Chaplain Habel, was found in a worship bulletin from 6 May 1945, from the 13th General Hospital Chapel in New Guinea where Chaplain (Major) D.O. Luginbill and Chaplain (Captain) L.V. Walters were the chaplains.

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Our Worship

Oft men feel they’re “in a spot”,

Wondering how to bear their…

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Klandasan July 1st 1945

From Dennis O’Brien, a talented writer and devoted son – he remembers!

dnobrienpoetry

From Syria to Milne Bay,
At Shaggy ridge, the fall of Lae,
Two men had seen each other right,
Now one last battle left to fight.

From landing craft they hit the sand;
At Klandasan the diggers land.
The Alligators roll ahead,
But quiet and still, a man lies dead.

He thought the end within his reach,
But now he sleeps upon this beach.
His blankets are the tropic sands
And at his head his rifle stands

With slouch hat for a digger’s cross,
For those to come, to mark the loss,
As by the grave there stands his mate;
For some the war will end too late.

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…and a Soldier Died Today…

Koji Kanemoto has started our Memorial Day weekend off with the proper remembrance and respect that our deceased veterans deserve.

Masako and Spam Musubi

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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

Click on images to enlarge.

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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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Hidden Battlefields – New Guinea

New Guinea 10/24/44

New Guinea ’44

With Smitty’s letters coming close to New Guinea, this wonderful poem seemed to correspond.

The Rant Foundry

I recently came across the following poem in Jungle Warfare – With The Australian Army In The South Pacific (1944) and as I read, its verses struck me as not only timeless, but also somehow relevant to our world today. In it, the author ponders the overgrown state of the tropical jungles he has encountered, and as he observes the shattered palm battlefields he sees the ghosts of those who fought there, and feels the weight of their sacrifice and the obligation it carries – to never again be repeated. His poetry delves into the simple and often primal feelings that drive ordinary men and women feel to serve their countries in times of war, yet yearns for a world where such sacrifice is not necessary.

It was penned during 1944 in New Guinea by Maurice Lindsay Bull, a Victorian soldier with the Australian Army.

Hidden Battlefields – New Guinea

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Intermission Stories (11)

Sgt. Brian Cooper & Cpl. Ron Walker  on Hill 111 just after the armistice

Sgt. Brian Cooper & Cpl. Ron Walker on Hill 111 just after the armistice

 

Corporal Ron Walker enlisted in the Royal Australian Regiment at the age of 17, July 1951 in Perth, WA.  Both of his brothers were veterans of the Korean War.  Having fought on Hill 159, in the “Bowling Alley” and Hill 111, Walker’s vivid memories in his memoirs  are the songs of the times: “Jumbalaya” -Teresa Brewer, “Moving On” – Hank Snow, “Vaia Con Dios” – Doris Day… and also the American band at Pusan playing “Waltzing Matilda.”  But here we will remember the poems he wrote that express more emotion than long stories are capable of ______

Hook area, Korean War

Hook area, Korean War

KOREAN LAMENT

Just over the Manchurian border, Korea is the spot,
We are doomed to our lifetime, in this land that God forgot.
Down with the snakes and lizards, down where the men are few,
Right in the middle of nowhere and a helluva way from home too.
 
We swear, we sweat, we grumble; it’s more than we can stand,
We’re not a bunch of convicts, but defenders of our land.
We are soldiers of an active force drawing our monthly pay,
Defending our people and country for thirty three bob a day.
 
Living on our memories or our lovin’ waiting gals,
hoping that while we’re away, they haven’t married pals.
The time we spent in the Army, the good times that we missed,
Boys, we hope the draft don’t get you, for God’s sake don’t enlist.
 
Now when we get to heaven, St. Peter will surely yell:
They’re REOS from Korea Lord and they’ve see enough of hell!
2RAR trench collapses after bombardment

2RAR trench collapses after bombardment

 
 
A KOREAN HILLSIDE
 
There is blood on the hills of Korea,
’tis the blood of the brave and the true.
Where the nations they battle together,
Beneath the banners of red, white and blue.
As we marched o’er the hills of Korea,
To the hills where the enemy lay.
 
We remember our general’s orders,
Those hills must be taken today.
So forward we went into battle,
Our faces unsmiling and stern.
For we know as we charge that hillside,
There are many who shall never return.
 
Some thought of their wives and sweethearts,
Some thought of their mothers so fair.
Yet others who plodded and stumbled,
Were softly saying a prayer.
There is blood on the hills of Korea,
’tis the cost of the freedom we love.
May their names live in glory forever,
While their souls rest in heaven above.
 

Ron Walker continued to serve in the military after the armistice, including the Bomb Search and Disposal Squad in Brisbane.  He was discharged on 1 July 1957.  This story was taken from Korean War Online.com.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Braid – Wilmington, MA; US Army WWII

Edward L. Callahan – Sherman, TX & Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII

Signal Corps Regimental Colors

Signal Corps Regimental Colors

Anne Heller – Brooklyn, NY & Santa Fe, NM; US Army Signal Corps, WWII (WAC)

Lloyd Hammel, Jr. – Oregon; US Army, WWII, PTO, Forward observer, Philippines & Korea

Raymond C. Hersey – Guelph, Can.; PPCLT Regiment, Canadian Special Force, Korea

John Krembs – Chicago, IL; US Army, Vietnam

Colin J. Meale – Whangarei, NZ; Service # 42/114919, WWII

James T. Robinson – Jupiter, FL; US Army WWII

Bernard G. Sykes – Norwood, MA, US Navy, Korea

John Wiltshier – Aukland, NZ – RNZAF, Squadron leader & RAF (Ret.)

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Intermission Stories (4)

Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall, Washington D.C.

Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall, Washington D.C.

There are beautiful memorials to the Korean War veterans all around this world of ours, the following is the memorial poem at the Liberty State Park.  Fellow blogger, Gallivanta, was kind enough to submit these sentiments for this site.  It would be wonderful if readers would take the time to see her site as well, it can be found HERE.

 
Liberty Park statue for Korean War veterans

Liberty Park statue for Korean War veterans

 
We didn’t do much talking,
We didn’t raise a fuss.
But Korea really happened,
So please – remember us.
 
We all just did our duty,
But we didn’t win or lose.
A victory was denied us,
But we didn’t get to chose.
 
We all roasted in the summer,
In winter, we damn near froze.
Walking back from near the Yalu,
With our blackened frozen toes.
 
Like the surf the Chinese kept coming,
With their bugles in the night.
We fired into their masses,
Praying for the morning light. 
 
All of us just had to be there,
And so many of us died.
But now we’re all but half forgotten,
No one remembers how we tried.
 
We grow fewer with the years now,
And we still don’t raise a fuss.
But Korea really happened,
So please – remember us.
 
Liberty Park statue for Korean War veterans

Liberty Park statue for Korean War veterans

Click on images to enlarge.

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I know how much eye witness accounts and the Farewell Salutes mean to the readers of this site, therefore I wish to introduce you to Jacqui Murray, should you not already be acquainted.  Her site is USNA or Bust and every Wednesday she posts the Wednesday Hero.  I thought you might enjoy having a link to go take a peek at the wonderful veterans she has honored.  Located here.

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A WWII Update – 

Please click to enlarge this powerful story from The Week magazine…

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Farewell Salutes – 

Brandon Tyler Bennett (20) – Lewisville, Tx; Texas Army National Guard, 176th Engineer Brigade

Russell A. Bertram – Toronto, Canada; Royal Can. Army Medical Corps Band, WWII

The Missing Man formation

The Missing Man formation

Walter G. Bruhl, Jr. – Newark, NJ & Dewey Beach, DE; USMC, Sgt., Korea

Sammy Countryman – Roger, AR; Us Army, Korea, Helicopter instructor during Vietnam

John Lewis Chambers – Lantana, FL; US Air Force, Korea

Francis Flynn – Sun Lakes, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, pilot

LeRoy “Peanuts” Holmberg – Cloquet, MN & Boca Raton, FL; US Army, WWII

Damiel Murphy – Pearl River, NY; US Army, WWII

Malcolm A. Newton – North Island, NZ; RNZN #18141

Edward K. Steffen – Ahwatukee, AZ; US Navy, Vietnam

John Theus – Jacksonville, FL; US Army Air Corps, Col. WWII, US “Flying Tigers”, PTO

Ernest Tollerson, jr. – Washington, DC; US Army, Pvt., WWII / Lt.Col., Korea & Reserves

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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)

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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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The Rising Sun – a poem

THE RISING SUN 

Dedicated to the elite troopers of the 11th Airborne Division and all the other gallant forces who fought in the Pacific during WWII

by: Peter S. Griffin

1943 Camp MacKall Yearbook

1943 Camp MacKall Yearbook

Out of the east, the horror would come,
The dreaded war beast of THE RISING SUN,
Sunday, December 7th of '41,
That day of infamy, the war had begun...

The Pacific Ocean was their nest,
Full of warships, carriers the best...
Tora, Tora, Tora!, was their call,
A sneak attack would signal our fall...

Torpedo bombers led the way,
Pearl Harbor was sleeping, resting that day...
Hickam Field was quiet as well,
Soldiers at ease, Tojo quite pleased...

Devastation was thorough and quick,
Japanese treachery had done the trick...
Our Pacific Fleet was left in ruins,
Sunken ships, in a burning lagoon...

Midway, Wake and Guam fell next,
America's forces were most perplexed...
General MacArthur left the Philippines,
Japanese forces, fulfilling their dreams...

British possessions in the Far East,
Were soon to suffer, similar defeat...
Soldiers of THE RISING SUN,
Had the Allies on the run...

Instilling terror everywhere,
Samurai Soldiers had nothing to fear...
Gobbling up islands as they progressed,
Japs reveling in, such easy conquests...

It wasn't long before we rallied,
Our Air Forces would better the tally...
Doolittle and his Bombers filled the air,
Soon Tokyo, would taste the fear...

Japanese Soldiers would fight to the death,
Suicide acceptable, if aided conquest...
The "Bushido Code"* called for this,
American power would grant them their wish...

Naval battles would turn the tide,
Coral Sea, Midway, many Japs were to die...
American Soldiers and Marines,
Were soon to silence, the Bonzai screams...
11th Airborne Division patch

11th Airborne Division patch

Our Merchant marines joined the foray,
"The Red Ball Express" saved many a day...
The Japanese were a bitter foe,
Jungle fighting was toe to toe...

Heavy fighting was the theme,
Island hopping was the scheme...
Coast watchers monitored our foe,
We'd attack as we'd grow...

Victories on Iwo Jima and Saipan,
Forced the Japs to alter their plans..
American flags, being raised everywhere,
Japanese losses, exploding in air...

MacArthur and Halsey gathered their might,
Taking Leyte in the dark of night...
Kamikazes struck from the air,
Jap desperation, reached a new tier...

MacArthur's promise was right on,
American troops stormed Luzon...
Paratroopers jumped on Corregidor,
Airborne soldiers opened the door...

The Bataan Death March, horrors begotten,
Japan's atrocities not forgotten...
The Los Baños Raid, liberation at dawn,
Paratroopers jumped, to right such a wrong...

B29's bombed the Isles of Japan,
Fire bomb raids were scorching their lands...
Jap industries burst into fire,
"Tokyo Rose" became known as a liar...

To invade the land of THE RISING SUN,
America would lose, too many sons...
On an August day, flew the 'Enola Gay,'
Atomic blasts would finish the task...

Anchored in Tokyo Bay,
"Missouri Guns" seemed to sway...
Leaders of THE RISING SUN,
Had to answer, for what they had done...
September 2nd of '45,
"V-J Day" had finally arrived...
THE RISING SUN was set by the best,
"The Sleeping Giant" put them to rest...


* Bushido means, the way of the warrior.

Yank magazine Sept. 1945 (notice the helmet stenciling)

Yank magazine Sept. 1945 (notice the helmet stenciling)

 

Peter Griffin is a Paratrooper with an outstanding combat record. His military decorations include the Viet Nam Service Medal w/ two bronze battle stars, the Silver Star, the Vietnamese Paratrooper Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Recondo Patch, etc. More of his poems can be found on the web site Paratroopers of the 50’s http://home.hiwaay.net/~magro/poemsww2.html
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Farewell Salute –

Donald Meads – Elverson, PA & Jupiter, FL; USMC WWII PTO, pilot receiving 5 Battle Stars and the DFC

Robert Saunders – Boynton Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII

Margaret “Peggy” J. Brabham – Warm Sulphur Springs, GA & Leeds, Alabama; United States Intelligence Service, WWII

Edward Herman – Oceanside, Long Island NY & Hutchinson Island, FL; Army Air Corps Band, WWII

Larry Lockwood – Utica, NY & Lantana, FL; US Army, WWII

John B. Boy – Johnson City, TN & LaBelle, FL; US Navy, WWII, Captain of the USS C350 (subchaser), USS PC613 (patrolcraft) & USS Holton, DE _ 703 (destroyer escort)
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Ode to the Los Banos Raid/MOSSCOMES

Manila headlines

Manila headlines

I wrote this many, many years ago when I first heard the story about the raid and the release of 2,122 internees. I have been hesitant to include this in my father’s story, but since you have all been so patient with me in the past, I thought I’d give it a shot. I am told that the rhythm is hard to find and my answer is: I told you I wasn’t a professional. Soooo, here it goes …

MOSSCOMES
Ode to the Los Banos Raid, 23 February 1945

Men in mass, 8,000 “thieves,” 11th Airborne Division,
Objective: clear the jungle more dense than anyone could envision.
Secure in themselves after New Guinea and Leyte,
Safety in their brotherhood, their trooper fraternity.

Commanded by ingenious General Joseph May Swing,
Offensive – plan to destroy the enemy string.
Maneuvering 16 days to break the Genko Line,
Economically fought terrors too fierce to define.

Simply, 11th take back Luzon – tho each man is spent,
Make it thru the Tiger Division to the “Pearl of the Orient.”
Over 25 miles behind enemy lines, Los Banos is trapped,
Swing, with his smarts, a great scheme he had mapped.

Straving and dying, internees prayed to be free,
Civilians living the Hell of Sadaaki Konishi.
Over 70% suffered dysentery, malaria or beriberi,
Meals were rice or rodents or bugs – which were plenty.

Eager guerrillas in the brush did their part,
Sgt. Fulton, their contact had bravery and heart.
Makapili – native spies abound in Japanese favor,
Overtly slew, even their own, but the 11th did not waver.

Secretly, Peter Miles did flee and intel went to Swing,
Sketched the prison layout and completed the sting.
Covertly the officers jumped into action,
Only nine “Gooney Birds” used for the troopers faction.

Men in sticks, 15 per plane jump at 400 feet,
Eyes to the horizon, green smoke shows their beat.
Some think of their homes, others the mission,
Make deals with their God, whose death his decision.

On land and sea, 54 amtraks do proceed,
Semaphore flags forward “wigwag” boys wave the “alligators” to lead.
Soule Task Force on land, fight and fend off the enemy,
Completing the land, sea and air strategy.

Overjoyed, but confused come the weak and the maimed,
Mission successful, “Thieves” now “Angels” were named.
Echelon back dated orders, to scoff up the credit [but]
Stealth, surprise, daring and speed – the 11th earned all the merit.
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If you followed this post this far, I tip my hat to you. Thank you for bearing with me.

U.S. Army Air Forces recruiting poster

U.S. Army Air Forces recruiting poster

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