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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

Spearhead II

Bill Mauldin must have seen the same newspaper photo I put into the last post. His cartoons helped to keep moral high among the American G.I.s.

bill-mauldin-jeep

General MacArthur, seated in an old American Lincoln that started up with a bang and chugged like a Toonerville Trolley, and the rest of the 11th Airborne began their procession to Yokohama 15 miles away. The roadway was lined with Japanese troops and police who turned their backs in respect as the vehicles went by. My father, Smitty, said that this was expected to happen and was discussed in the lectures on Okinawa. The Japanese officers were at the scene to call the order of ‘about-face’ and to ensure a peaceful passing of the “conquerors.”

Yokohama

Yokohama

Each regiment was given an assigned area to cover. The 511th was given the Yokohama-Tokyo road; the 188th went from Atsugi to Fujishawa and the 187th held the perimeter of Atsugi airfield.

Each zone maintained both motorized and foot patrols. The Antitank Company was to care for the Allied POWs that continued to show up and the band would perform for the former prisoners. The 187th regimental command post was in the Japanese Naval School, but rumors had it another move was in the wind.

Japanese tunnel used for kamikazes - Atsugi

Japanese tunnel used for kamikazes – Atsugi

Generals Wainwright and Sir Arthur Percival, after being held in a POW camp in Mukden, Manchuria, were flown to Manila. MacArthur ordered them to Tokyo so they would be present at the surrender signings. They landed at Atsugi on 31 August.

tunnel found under Atsugi

tunnel found under Atsugi

It is well known how the First Calvary Division landed in their LSM crafts at Japan’s shores as they would invade a hostile beach – but – what they came upon was the 11th Airborne Division and their band playing “The Old Gray Mare She Ain’t What She Used To Be.” When they continued to march inland, they were faced with a sign that read: “Cavalrymen – Welcome to Yokohama – from the 11th Parachute Infantry.”

As you can see from the photo that newspaper pictures that sit in a scrapbook for 68 years do not always appear clearly, but I could not resist including this particular one, even though, the 11th A/B troopers were forced to eat some crow when the Calvary hoisted the United States Ensign and the band was forced to play the anthem.

Marines land in Japan

Marines land in Japan

From 31 August until 2 September, (3 Sept. in Japan), hundreds of Allied warships pulled into Tokyo Bay. Along with the Missouri, the South Dakota and the British battleship Duke of York were present.

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A FAREWELL SALUTE – Major Thomas C. Griffin (1916-2013), was a navigator for Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s raid on Japan. He and 80 other volunteers were told it was “extremely hazardous” and considered a suicide mission due to lacking enough fuel to reach a safe return. But, the 16 B-25 bombers took off from the USS Hornet 18 April 1942 to put their mission into action. Many of the men were captured, but Maj. Griffin successfully parachuted into China. This month, the four surviving veterans of the Raiders will meet for the last time and finally open their bottle of 1896 cognac, that Doolittle bought before his own death, for the men to toast the 80.

classicpins_2177_65513696

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Resources: Rakkasans and Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division, by E.M. Flanagan; Everett’s scrapbook; The Week newsmagazine; Bill Mauldin cartoons.

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Remember- you can click on a photo to enlarge and view more clearly. Thank you for reading, gpcox

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