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Following the Flag

This is not our Flag Day, but the history behind it and the relationship to the POW’s of WWII are with us still today.

The Veteran's Collection

The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground Depicting the Massachusetts 54th Infantry Regiment at Fort Wagner, SC, this (2004) painting, “The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground” by Rick Reeves prominently displays the flag leading the troops in battle.

Today is Flag Day. On June 14, 1777, Congress passed a resolution to adopt the stars and stripes design for our national flag. In honor of that, I felt compelled to shed some light on how the impact of the flag holds for men and women who serve this country in uniform.

Throughout the history of our nation, the Stars and Stripes have had immeasurable meaning to to those serving in uniform. On the field of battle, the Flag has been a rallying point for units as they follow it toward the enemy. From their vantage points, commanding generals are able to observe their troop movements and progress throughout battles by following the flag.

Troop reverence for the…

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Intermission (5) – POW in Japan

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Can you imagine what it must be like to be marched out to face a firing squad, say goodbye to your closest friend who is standing next to you and then have the squad shoulder their rifles and march away having not fired a shot?  What are the odds on that happening during a war situation?  The mind boggles at the odds of this happening but this did happen to Charles Rodaway who served in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment during World War II.

POW camps in Japan

POW camps in Japan

He joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was posted to Shanghai in 1934.  He undertook guard duties in Shanghai before  being transferred to Singapore in 1938.  At the fall of Singapore in 1942, he was captured by the Japanese and put to work as a labourer in the Kawasaki shipyards, near Tokyo.  In 1944, he and a friend attempted to escape but were captured and sentenced to death by firing squad for the escape attempt.

 In an interview, he said, “I said to my pal, ‘This is it’.  Instead of a volley of bullets, the officer in charge, ordered the firing squad to shoulder arms and marched them away.

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Charles Rodaway

He and eight other POW’s were sentenced to 15 years incarceration at Sakai Prison in Osaka.  In a 2005 interview, he told of the horrendous conditions in the prison, “There was no heat or fan; no water, a wooden pail for a toilet, one light hung from the ceiling, a small barred window at the rear of the cell. Clothing was one thin shirt, one thin trousers, no shoes or socks, no jacket or kimono. No wooden box, only the floor to sit on. Only one thin blanket for cover. Bathing was usually allowed once a month; no soap, no washcloth or towel, no clean clothing.”

Charles was released from the prison, a week after the Japanese surrender, when it was liberated by Allied Forces in August 1945.  His family were stunned when he reappeared in Blackpool.  They had waited at the train station for him, and when he did not appear they were convinced that he had died.

Narmuni  POW Camp, Osaka, Japan

Narmuni POW Camp, Osaka, Japan

In 1948, he emigrated to Canada but made many trips back to his hometown until he became too old to travel.  On the 12th March, he celebrates his 100thbirthday.  His wife, Sheila, said “It’s quite an accomplishment, especially considering the inhumane conditions during his time in Japan prisons. He’s absolutely amazed he’s lived so long, and feels wonderful, excitedly looking forward to his birthday although he can’t quite believe it! He credits truthfulness and honesty as the key.”

An amateur historian, Tony Rodaway, who is no relation to Charles is credited with bringing this story to the attention of the world.  Most soldiers, on their return from war, do not talk about their experiences as it is often much too painful.  In Charles’s case he must give thanks every day that the firing squad was called away.

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Military Humor –

low-tech-gifts-john-atkinson

Traveling light !

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Farewell Salutes –

Kenneth Austin – Vancouver, CAN; RC Air Force – WWII

Robert Berly Jr. – Charlotte, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 pilot, POW

Hector Cafferata Jr. – Caldwell, NJ; USMC, Korea, F/2/7/1st Division, Medal of Honor

Barry Davies – UK; British Special Air Services, GSG9 hostage rescue (1977)

Dudley Evans – Greenville, MS; US Army, Korea, Cpl., POW, KIA

John Howard Sr. – AL; US Army, Korea, POW/ Vietnam, 1st Sgt.

Morell Jones – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 443211, WWII, 26 Battalion

Frederich Mayer – brn: Freiburg, GER; US Army/OSS, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, POW

Edmond Rachal – Marco, LA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 823rd Tank Destroyer Batt., POW/ US Air Force, TSgt. (Ret.)

James Sorenson – Superior, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart, POW

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The Ultimate Sacrifice

For our return to the Pacific War and August 1943….

IHRA

Art print of Ralph Cheli's B-25 going down over New Guinea. Painted by Steve Ferguson, sold by IHRA

On August 18, 1943, Maj. Ralph Cheli led a strike group from the 38th Bomb Group in an attack against the Japanese airstrip at Dagua, New Guinea, as a part of an all-out low-level B-25 strafer attack against the four airfields in the Wewak complex. Already fighting bad weather across the northern coast of New Guinea, Maj. Cheli’s unit was attacked by roughly ten 59 Sentai Oscars. Soon thereafter, one of the fighters made a five o’clock pass at the lead B-25, its fire ripping into the right engine. Maj. Cheli’s wing burst into flames and he rapidly began losing power as black smoke poured from the engine nacelle and wing. Despite a severely damaged aircraft, Cheli selflessly refused to relinquish leadership of the formation, and continuing his attack across the target, strafing and dispersing his load of parafrag bombs as he went. Only when the attack run was well…

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Eye Witness Account – Magic on the Burma Railroad

‘One day, the Japanese camp commandant said he had generals coming to visit and that he wanted me to do some magic. He asked what I would need for a trick. I requested an egg. He wrote out a chitty and told me to take it to the cook house. The cook asked me how many I wanted, so I asked for 50. I went straight back to the hut and we had a 49-egg omelette, saving just one for the trick.

Egg-shaped: Fergus Anckorn with the secret of his success

Gus Anckorn 7.egg-trick today

Gus Anckorn
7.egg-trick today

After the war, as a lecturer in subjects including English and economics at West Kent College, Fergus often pepped up his lessons with anecdotes about his extraordinary wartime survival. Now 92, he has decided to record everything in a new book, Captivity, Slavery And Survival As A Far East POW.

‘At the prison camp that night I did the trick for the generals and it all went very well,’ he says.

‘But the next day I was summoned to the commandant’s hut. He was glowering. The chitty was on his desk. He said, ‘You do magic one egg. Where 49 eggs?’ I thought, in ten seconds my head will be rolling across that floor.

‘Out of my mouth came the words, ‘Your trick was so important to me, I was rehearsing all day.’ He nodded and let me go. I couldn’t perform that trick again for 40 years. My knees would knock together even thinking about it.’

FERGUS ANCKORN. With the nurse he married.

FERGUS ANCKORN.
With Lucille, the nurse he married.

 

The Japanese wanted to know how the trick was done, so Fergus showed the commandant how he made a hole in the back of a second eggshell into which he dextrously stuffed the handkerchief. The hollow egg is switched for an intact egg, which is cracked on a bowl, and out plops – not a handkerchief – but yolk and albumen.

Fergus and his twin sister were born in Dunton Green, Kent, in December 1918. Fergus’s father, Wilfred, a writer on The Hotspur, and his mother, Beatrice, instilled in him the moral code of decency, honesty and kindness that helped him survive the war.

On Fergus’s fifth birthday his father gave him a box of magic tricks and he became hooked on the expressions of amazement his family would feign at his childish conjuring. But as Fergus practised, this wonder became genuine and, at the age of 18, he was admitted to the Magic Circle.  ‘For about five years I was the youngest member and now I am the oldest,’ says Fergus. ‘I have joined the Inner Circle of 150 members.’ 

When war was declared in 1939, Fergus joined the Army.

He served in the 118th Field Regiment Royal Artillery and spent the first two years in Britain, preparing to fight a Nazi invasion.  While stationed in Woolwich, South-East London, he contracted pharyngitis and met the love of his life, a pretty, bespectacled nurse called Lucille.

‘I was lying in a ward for two months,’ he recalls. ‘One day, the fellow in the next bed asked if I was engaged. I said, “Good God, no. I haven’t got time for women.” And then Lucille walked into the ward. I quickly added that if I ever did get married, it would be to her.  ‘Lucille and I hit it off straight away. I used to go and talk to her when she was in the sluice cleaning out the bedpans – very romantic.’ 

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Fergus found himself heading to the Far East instead. Just before they departed, the colonel of Fergus’s regiment gave him the then huge sum of £30 to buy magic props, declaring: ‘You’re the only man we’ve got to entertain the troops.’

POWs working on the Thailand/Burma Railroad.

POWs working on the Thailand/Burma Railroad.

 

But on arrival, it was the enemy who were full of surprises. ‘We arrived in Singapore 15 days before it fell,’ says Fergus. ‘My war lasted five days.’  On Friday, February 13, 1942, Gunner Anckorn was driving an armoured lorry just outside Singapore when 27 Japanese bombers swooped out of the sky. ‘There were so many of them, there was no escape,’ he says.

By the time the bombing stopped Fergus had taken a severe blow to the head, his right hand was hanging off and he had a bullet in the back of his left knee. He was found in a ditch and taken to a field hospital, where a surgeon told Fergus his damaged hand would have to be amputated. 

Luckily, when an orderly came round to administer ether he recognized Fergus and cried: ‘You can’t cut his hand off, Sir, he’s our conjuror and a bloody brilliant one, too!’

The next day Fergus woke up in the Alexandra Military Hospital to find he still had his hand but that the hospital had been taken over by the Japanese, who were taking away the staff and shooting them.

From the Daily Mail. co. uk

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

article-2169177-13EF191F000005DC-287_306x466

Well, I didn’t read it myself, but my mate knows a bloke who got a mate that’s a mess orderly and he knows a bloke on P party who says…….

 

 

buck.jpg from Muscleheaded

Courtesy of Chris, from Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charlie Aldridge – Olive Branch, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Asia-Pacific Campaign Medal

Asia-Pacific Campaign Medal

Stanley Atkins – Fort Lee, NJ; US Army, WWII, Africa & CBI, Bronze Star

William Baldwin – Stroudsburg, PA; US Navy, WWII,PTO, USS Batfish & Bass

Angelo DeRosa – Toms River, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Mary Dunne – Milford, CT; US Army WAC Nurse Corps, WWII, CBI, 159th Sta. Hosp & 181st Gen. Hosp.

Earl Hayes – San Jose, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, P-47 pilot

William Kast – San Francisco, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunnery officer

Duane Oberlin – Ft. Wayne, IN; US Army, WWII, CBI

Donald Peck – Tampa, FL; US Army, WWII, CBI, Bronze Star

Peter Zaharko Sr. – Brooklyn, NY & Delray Bch, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 68th Air Service Group, Sgt. Major

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Former U.S. POWs Visit Japan

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On 12 October 2015, 9 US former prisoners of war returned to Japan for a Memorial Service – 

View their 2 minute video Here!

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Nine former American servicemen who were held as prisoners during World War II were in Japan on Monday to revisit some of the places where they were held seven decades ago and recount their memories.

The men, all in their 90s, opened their tour with a memorial service for their fellow fallen soldiers at the Commonwealth War Graves in Yokohama, near Tokyo.

As they marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, the emphasis was on reconciliation.

George Rogers, of Lynchburg, Va., said he had no hard feelings. Now 96, he was taken captive by the Japanese after surviving the infamous Bataan Death March in April 1942 and forced to work at the Yawata steel plant in southern Japan, or today’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.

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During his nearly 3 1/2 years of captivity, Rogers was given meager food rations and sometimes beaten.

He said that he was lucky to survive, but that he harbored “no hard feelings” toward his captors.

“Just like we do what we’re told to do as far as the Army is concerned, your (Japanese) men do the same thing. They tell them to do it, they do it,” he said. “Other than that, I think we lived.”

A month after Japan’s Aug. 15, 1945, surrender, Rogers returned to the U.S. in skin-and-bone state, weighing only 85 pounds (38 kilograms) despite being 6-foot-3. His doctor told him — he was 26 then — that he would most likely not live past 45 or 50, keep his teeth or have children.

Rogers still has his teeth, and has five children. One of them, Jeffrey, accompanied him on his trip to Japan.

“They didn’t give me any food, and I didn’t get much water when I needed it, but other than that, it was a long trip, very far,” he said.

His hope to revisit the steel plant wasn’t accommodated. The Yawata plant was chosen as a World Heritage site.

William Chittenden, Carl Dyer & Joseph Demott. 3 of the 9 former Pow's at the Commonwealth War Graves, 12 Oct. 2015

William Chittenden, Carl Dyer & Joseph Demott. 3 of the 9 former Pow’s at the Commonwealth War Graves, 12 Oct. 2015

During the Bataan march, thousands of prisoners were forced to walk more than 60 miles under severe, sweltering conditions while being abused by their captors. Many died.

Historians say some 30,000 Allied force members were held as prisoners in Japan during World War II.

At Monday’s memorial service, the nine veterans, assisted by their family members and U.S. servicemembers, laid flowers for their fellow countrymen who perished while in captivity.

The participants, visiting Japan at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry under a program for reconciliation that started five years ago, are scheduled to visit some former camp sites, including Osaka, Yokohama and Kamioka, central Japan.

Japan has similar programs with Australia and Britain. Many former POWs still harbor hard feelings because of harsh treatment by the Japanese.

It took 94-year old Arthur Gruenberg, from Camano Island, Wash., 70 years to come back. The former Marine surrendered at Corregidor, Philippines, in May 1942, and was eventually shipped to a Fukuoka mine in southern Japan. By then he was blind in one eye due to vitamin A deficiency.

Gruenberg said he was simply impressed by Japan’s postwar development and hoped it remains a peace-loving nation.

“Everything is just amazing, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “I can’t say it (my feelings) has changed much, I just hope we don’t have any more wars.”

Article from “Stars and Stripes.”

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Military Humor – 

SadSack37

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alan Brecht – Canberra, AUS; RA Navy, Commodore

Thomas Campbell – Beaumont, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Don Edwards – San Jose, CA; US Navy, WWII228685_214560631902034_100000442955388_742352_2701778_n

Quin Johnson-Harris – Milwaukee, WI; US Air Force, Afghanistan

Robert McCombe – Whangamata, NZ; RNZ Army # 056196, WWII, Hawkes Bay Regiment

Sam Ozaki – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 442nd RCT

Charles Ragland – Bethesda, MD; US Army Lt., Vietnam, Siver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Josephine Stetson – NYC, NY; US Army civilian employee & USO, WWII

Steve Theobald – Goose Creek, SC; US Army, Iraq, SSgt.

Marvin Voltech – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII, PTO

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National POW/MIA Recognition Day (2)

NEVER FORGET!

Pacific Paratrooper

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FOR ALL THOSE WHO BORE THE TRIALS – PAST AND PRESENT – MAY THEY ALWAYS COME HOME!

To view last years POW/MIA Day post click HERE

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POW/MIA

by: Abe Jones

For as long as we have Wars
And we send our Young to fight
We’ll have Those who are Missing
And the P.O.W.’s plight.
 
All People of this Nation
Have this Duty to fulfill,
We must keep Them in our thoughts
And, We must have the Will
 
To bring every One home
And those POW/MIAs
And leave NO Souls behind.
 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Pamela Brement – Tucson, AZ; civilian internee, WWII, Philippinespowmia

John Gulberanson – Roveville, MN; US navy, WWII, POW Santo Tomas, Philippines; Korea

Richard Klema – Wilson, KS & Morro Bay, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

Buel Knight – Tuscaloosa, AL; US Army, ETO, POW / USMC, Korea, Vietnam

Bruno Lombardi…

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Featherston, NZ – POW Camp

Featherston, NZ

Featherston, NZ

During WWI, Featherston was the largest military training camp in New Zealand, housing 7500 men.  It was dismantled after the war ended.  In September 1942, the US requested that it be re-opened as a prisoner of war camp for the captured Japanese troops of Guadalcanal.

Approximately 900 Japanese and Korean men were housed in the camp with the senior Japanese officer being Lt. S. Kamikubo of the Imperial Japanese Navy.  The prisoners consisted of Koreans and labor units who had worked on Henderson Field and about 250 Japanese, at the time of the POW uprising.  Lt.Colonel D.H. Donaldson was the camp’s commandant.

The Japanese prisoners were from the army, navy and air force with the majority of them from the cruiser IJN Furutaka, which was sunk during the Battle of Cape Esperance.  The remaining 19 men were the extent of the surviving crew from the destroyer, Akatsuki.  It was this group that refused to assist in the work parties and staged a sit-in on 22 February 1943.

Japanese POWs

Japanese POWs

A guard fired a warning shot, which appeared to have injured Lt. Adachi Toshio.  This led to an apparent charge by 250 rock-throwing prisoners.  The guards opened fire with rifles and sub-machine-guns.  Forty-eight POWs and one New Zealand guard were killed.

An official inquiry cleared the guards of wrongdoing by judging that they acted in self-defense. It blamed the incident on cultural differences worsened by a language barrier.  Among the issues was the Japanese being unaware that under the 1929 Geneva Convention, compulsory work by the prisoners was allowed.  The Japanese government rejected the court’s findings.

Pvt. Walter Pevin, NZ POW guard

Pvt. Walter Pevin, NZ POW guard

In September 1945, the prisoners told a neutral inspector that they were concerned about repatriation as honorable citizens; provisions would be necessary or they should be given asylum on a Pacific island.  They feared a mass suicide might result otherwise.  The POWs also worried about the treatment in New Zealand when news of the conditions in the Japanese POW camps holding their men was released.

Examiner (Launceston, Tasmania) 3 March 1943

Examiner (Launceston, Tasmania) 3 March 1943

The prisoners were transported in two trains from Featherston to Wellington and embarked on 30 December upon two large American tank landing vessels, LST 273 and LST 275, under Lt.Comdr, R.P. Rudolph, for Japan.

The Featherston uprising would inadvertently be one of the reasons for the Cowra POW camp incident in August 1944, to be posted later in this series.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – everyone’s favorite soldier….

SadSack36

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Farewell Salutes – 

Brian Arsenault -Northborough, MA; US Army, Afghanistan, 82nd A/B

Eric Bradshaw – Wandoan, AUS; RA Air Force # 124491

Wayne Dyer – Detroit, MI; US Navy 21_gun_salute

Harold Greene – Schenectady, NY; US Army, Afghanistan, Major

Dean Jones – Decatur, IL; US Navy, Korea (beloved actor)

Jerome LaVatch – Rutland, VT; US Navy, WWII

Brian Maples – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 207340, Canterbury Regiment

Robert Oliphant – Bryant, AR; US Army, WWII, WTO, 8th Infantry Division

Billy Stevens – Bullhead City, AZ; UA Army (Ret. 26 years), Korea, Vietnam, Sgt. Major

Edward VanNordheim – Licoln, NE; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star

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Nashville: About 400 letters found in cereal box tell story of WWII German POWs in Tenn.

STORIES TO REMEMBER….

Letters found in cereal box tell story of WWII POWs in Tenn.

(…)

About 400 letters, stuffed inside an old Corn Flakes box, recall the experiences of some of the tens of thousands of prisoners of war who were sent to Tennessee during World War II.

In the late 1980s, Curtis Peters’ sister-in-law in Lawrenceburg found the letters — all from German men who were held at a prison camp near Tennessee’s southern border. The local history buff instantly recognized their significance.

After returning to Germany, the former soldiers wrote back to people they met as POWs with striking affection, sometimes referring to the Tennesseans as “Uncle and Aunt.”

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Intermission Stories (5)

Corporal Hiroshi Hersey Miyamura

Corporal Hiroshi Hersey Miyamura

Corporal Hiroshi “Hersey” Miyamura

Hersey Miyamura, a young Nisei Army Corporal distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy near Taejon-ni, Korea on 24-25 April 1951.

On the night of 24 April, Company H was occupying a defensive position when the enemy fanatically attacked, threatening to overrun the position.  Miyamura, a machine-gun squad leader, aware of the imminent danger to his men, unhesitatingly jumped from his shelter, wielding his bayonet in close hand-to-hand combat, killing approximately ten of the enemy.  Returning to his position, he administered first-aid to the wounded and directed their evacuation.

Area of combat in central South Korea__ click to enlarge

Area of combat, Taejon, in central South Korea__
click to enlarge

As another savage assault hit the line, he manned his machine-gun and delivered withering fire until his ammunition was expended.  He ordered the squad to withdraw while he stayed behind to render the gun inoperative.  He then bayoneted his way through infiltrated enemy soldiers to a second gun emplacement and assisted in its operation.  When the intensity of the attack necessitated the withdrawal of the company, Corporal Miyamura ordered his men to fall back while he remained to cover their movement.

He killed more than fifty of the enemy before his ammunition was depleted and he was severely wounded.  He maintained his magnificent stand despite his painful wounds, continuing to repel the attack until his position was overrun.  When he was last seen by his men, he was fighting ferociously against an overwhelming number of enemy soldiers.But, it was only the beginning of a long night.  Wounded, he struggled to safety, engaging in only brief encounters with the enemy.  By dawn, the exhausted corporal was playing dead in a ditch as hundreds of the enemy walked past his body, but one Chinese officer was not fooled and Hersey was taken prisoner.

Miyamura in Freedom Village

Miyamura in Freedom Village

For 28 months he struggled to survive and for more than a year, his family did not know if he was dead or alive; the Chinese had not released his name as a POW.  Unaware that due to his own courage, many of his men had reached American lines, Miyamura believed they were all wounded or dead.

It was 23 August 1953 when he was escorted by his captors to the Freedom Village near Panmunjom.  Then, Hersey heard a strong voice inquire, “Are you Corporal Hiroshi H. Miyamura?”  He thought momentarily that the MPs were to take him into custody to await his court martial.  To his amazement, the general extended his hand with the announcement, “Congratulations.  You’ve been awarded the Medal of Honor.”

Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor

For the young Nisei corporal, this was unbelievable.  Just as the Chinese had kept to secret of his capture, the US Army had maintained the secret of his award.  He was later told that had the Chinese captors known of this honor, “You might not be here, alive, today.”  Two months later, 27 October 1953, Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower shook Miyamura’s hand and placed the medal around the neck of the Japanese-American boy from Gallup, New Mexico.

"Hersey" (center) w/ friends in Gallup, NM for the Hiroshi Miyamura High School dedication Oct. 2010

“Hersey” (center) w/ friends in Gallup, NM for the Hiroshi Miyamura High School dedication Oct. 2010

As of this post, Mr. Miyamura is 88 years old.

Click on images to enlarge.

This information is courtesy of Home of the Heroes.com; http://www.nj.gov and 100th battalion.org

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Click on images to read a heartwarming WWII update and a very unique upgrade for our current military…

Coutesy of "The Week" news magazine

Courtesy of “The Week” news magazine

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A Farewell Salute video from fellow blogger Carl D’Agostino.wordpress.com/

Two Air Firce pilots, Major Howard V. Andre, Jr. and Major James E. Sizemore, MIA since the Vietnam War return home.

Watch HERE>

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Farewell Salutes – untitled

Lucille Camarota – McKees Rock, PA & D.C.; US Army Nurse Corps, Captain

Virgil Dunn – Rowlett, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

John Frankowski, Sr. – New Hyde Park, NY; US Army, Vietnam

Charles W. Menifee – Nakina, Ont.; RCAF, WWII, ETO

Harold Mouser – Wichita, KS; US Army, Lt.

Michael Scanlon – Gainsville, VA; USMC, Colonel (Ret.) 32 years

Maurice J. Walker – Christchurch, NZ; RNZAF # 425958, navigator F/Sgt., WWII

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Correspondents’ View – 4

press photo release of Gen. Dean

press photo release of Gen. Dean

Night Owl has told us in previous comments that the Communist reporters could often be a more valuable source of information and in the following article, published 24 December 1951 in the New York Journal America, his statement is demonstrated.

Saga of Suffering and Survival:

Gen. Dean Foxed Reds for Month

By Rafael Steinberg

International News Service Staff Correspondent

PANMUNJOM, Korea, Dec. 24 – The incredible story of Maj. Gen. William F. Dean’s survival and capture after being cut off from his troops in the thick of battle was related today by a Communist newsman at Panmunjom.

Wilfred Burchett, correspondent for the Paris newspaper CE Soir, who said he interviewed Dean in a North Korean prison camp two days ago, gave Allied newsmen the drama-packed story of the heroic American officer.

Burchett told how the former commander of the 24th Div. survived 20 days without food; how he wondered through North Korea eluding capture for a month; how he had saved a bullet to kill himself rather than be captured and how he was twice betrayed to the reds.

Allied newsmen agreed Burchett’s story, although containing propaganda, was not a hoax.  Burchett said he interviewed Dean in his “prison cell” in the North Korean capitol of Pyongang.  His reference to a prison cell indicated Dean is held in solitary confinement.

The saga of Gen. Den began July 25, 1950, when a pitifully small band of American soldiers were fighting to slow down a powerful North Korean army crashing into Taejon in South Korea.  Dean returned to his command post to find escape routes cut by communist road blocks.

Dean left his jeep to encourage his outnumbered troops not to surrender.  He lost the jeep, hopped on a tractor and then ran up against the stone wall of red road blocks.

Gen. William F. Dean

Gen. William F. Dean

With a wounded aide, Lt. Arthur Clarke, and a small group of others, Dean tried to find a way out on foot.  He left the group to make his way to a brook and ordered the others to wait no longer than an hour for him.  On the way down he stumbled, and lost consciousness.  When he awoke it was 2:30 a.m.  Gen. Dean never knew if he had been unconscious a few hours or a full day.  Apparently suffering a fractured collar bone, he made his way to the brook to drink and remained there two days, too weak to move.

Dean hear footsteps and cocked his pistol but found the approaching man was an American officer who aided him.  Burchett said Dean does not remember the officer’s name although for two days the two trudged through hills and paddy fields.

Starving, Dean and his companion finally turned to a Korean peasant home for help.  They were given eggs and a place to sleep.  Then they were betrayed for the first time.  English speaking voices called to them to come out and they would not be harmed.  But they slipped away with Dean leading.  During the resultant firing and confusion, the officer became separated from Dean.  They never saw each other again.

Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor

Dean hid in a foxhole for an entire day and in some manner he does not remember, got some rice, the last food he was to eat for 20 days.  He survived solely on water.  Burchett quoted Dean as saying:  In his 20 agonizing days without food, Dean was surrounded five times but escaped.  Four of the five times he was surrounded he was betrayed by children who reported his presence in the neighborhood.

Dean attempted to move by night and sleep by day but was always betrayed by Korean civilians.  Dean began to think that his chances of escape were good.  But he was betrayed again to North Korean troops.  They captured him.

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These next articles were published in The Caberra Times on Saturday 15 December 1951. (Correspondents unknown)

NEW PROPOSAL IN ARMISTICE TALKS

(A.A.P. – Reuter)

TOKYO, Friday.

peace negotiations

peace negotiations

The Communists made a new six-point plan for the supervision of the armistice at the truce talks at Panmunjom today.  The proposal included the limited rotation of troops at the rate of 5000 on each side monthly.

The United Nations spokesman, General Nuckols, said that although this was below the present Allied level, it suggested that the Communists would accept the Allied plan for a neutral inspection body operating under a military armistice commission.

In the prisoner of war sub-committee, the Communists again deadlocked discussions by refusing to hand over information about Allied prisoners in their hands.  The Communists again refused to allow International Red Cross representatives to visit their prisoner of war camps.  United Nations negotiator, Rear Admiral Libby, asked them, “Is this because your prisoner list contains only a handful of names and you are ashamed to give it to us?”

Preserving Strength

TOKYO, Friday.

The Allies in Korea are bringing in enough additional troops to meet any forceable Communist ground attack.  This was announced “somewhere in Korea” today by the Allied ground commander, General James Van Fleet, in answer to queries from American United Press.

James Van Fleet

James Van Fleet

He was asked if he thought the Communists ever could get strong enough to push the Allies out of Korea, “The 8th Army will never be pushed out of Korea as far as comparative ground strength is concerned between the enemy and ourselves,” he replied.  “The point of balance lies in the air.  If the enemy throws in his Manchurian potential and we don’t have enough additional air power to combat that threat, then the 8th Army might be jeopardized.  At the present time, we do not anticipate that possibility.” he said.

Asked if he thought the Communists were getting stronger every day of the current lull in the fighting, General Van Fleet said they were and had been strengthening themselves even before the lull occurred.  For several months, he said, the Communist supply and replacement activities had been improving.

UN delegates

UN delegates

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Farewell Salutes – 

*Richard W. Asbury – Maryland; US Army Air Corps, Lt. Col. (Ret.), WWII, Korea, Vietnam – The last remaining WWII flying ace.

Laurice Tappan – Chandler, AZ; US Navy WWII nurse

Merlin Marion Andrew – London, England; ambulance driver, WWII, blitz

Clifford Gallant – Providence, RI; USMC, WWII, PTO, Japanese interpreter

Gene Hoffman – Rochester, NY; US Army, WWII

Samuel Leabo – Phoenix, AZ; US Navy, 1st Class Machinist Mate, WWII

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Resouces:

http://nightowlsnotebook.wordpress.com

National Library of Australia; Trove archives

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