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Lady Luck’s Unlucky Day

The 11th Airborne Division need not speculate any longer as the 5th Air Force prepares to move them to Okinawa!

Thanks to the historians of the IHRA, we can now have some answers.

IHRA

After the atomic bombs were dropped, but before a Japanese surrender had been negotiated, V Bomber Command was busy moving troops and equipment to Okinawa. The 22nd and 43rd bomb groups were also enlisted to ferry troops, as all the C-46s and C-47s were already in use. While the B-24’s potential as a troop carrier may have looked good on paper, the logistics behind turning these bombers into transport aircraft subjected passengers to a potentially deadly situation. The ideal location for extra passengers would have been closer to the tail of the aircraft, but that would make the plane much more difficult to fly. Instead, passengers had to ride on precarious wooden seats installed in the bomb bay.

The 11th Airborne Division was selected to drop onto Atsugi Airdrome as part of the Army of Occupation if the Japanese were to surrender. First, though, they had to be moved from…

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Smitty’s Guard Duty – Letter XVI – conclusion

In the event that you missed the previous post, Cpl. Smith serving in the 11th Airborne during WWII, was attempting to visualize his first experience at standing guard duty in a combat zone to his mother in a letter.

At one point, the situation appears critical and the next – a comedy of errors.  Nevertheless, this half of the letter describes his four-hour rest period and the following two hours of standing guard.  Hope you stick around to see how he does.

*****          *****          *****

Guard Duty (con’t)

As soon as your relief man comes along, you strut back to your tent feeling as proud as all hell knowing that you are a conqueror of the night and a tried and true veteran of the guard.  You are supposed to get four hours of rest or sleep before going on for your second shift, but for some reason or another the time just flits away and just as you close your eyes in deep slumber — in walks the sergeant of the guard and out you go sleepily rubbing your eyes wondering how in the devil you are ever going to keep awake for the next two hours.

As you sit on the stump of a tree surveying what you have just four hours ago mentally overcame, you begin to think of home.  Now, thinking of home is alright in the daytime with a load of griping G.I.s around, but at night on a lonesome post, it is strictly out.  Not only do you think of things you shouldn’t, but soon you are feeling sad and more lonely than ever knowing that no one cares and that the whole world is against you.  Not only is this bad for you, it doesn’t even help to pass the time.

 You turn your thoughts elsewhere trying next to figure out what the cooks will try to feed you tomorrow.  Here again is a very poor time-passing thought as you know damn well they’ll feed you bully-beef in its most gruesome form.  Soon your eyes feel heavy again and seem like they’re going to close and you wonder if it would be okay to light up a cigarette. 

 Here again the book says what to do, but heck, as I said before, the guy who wrote it isn’t out here, so what does he know?  You daringly light one up, trying desperately to shield the light and take a big, deep drag.  I found that it isn’t the inhaling of the cigarette that keeps you awake, but the ever constant threat of being caught in the act.  You look at your watch and find to your dismay that you still have an hour and forty-five minutes left to go.

Damn but the time sure does drag along.  Wonder why it doesn’t speed up and pass on just as it does when you are off.  Oh!  Well, sit down again and hum a tune or two, maybe that will help.  Gosh, sure wish someone would come along to talk.  Ho-hum, lets see now.  What will I do tomorrow on my time off?  This last thought is sure to pass away in 15 to 20 minutes, but why it should, I don’t know.  You know damn well that no matter what you may plan for tomorrow’s off-time, it will only be discarded and you will spend that time in bed asleep. 

 Light up another cigarette, sweat it out, swear a little at the dragging time, hum another tune, think more about home, think of you and the army, swear good and plenty and after that thought — look at your watch.

Hey — what goes on here? — that damn relief is over a half-minute late — who does he think he is anyway?  Swear.  Brother how you are swearing and cursing now.  Oh!  Oh!  There’s a light coming your way — the relief.  “Oh boy, sleep ahead.”

“So long bud, the whole damn post is yours.  Take it easy, it ain’t too bad.  Goodnite.”  —  And so ends your first night of guard duty as you wearily drag yourself to your bunk too damn tired to even undress.

Hey Mom, hope you enjoyed this as much as some of the others here did.  Meant to send this off before now, but you know me.

Love,  Everett

 

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Military Humor – 

WWI soldiers had their brand of humor too for guard duty.

Soldiers and Officers from 16 Air Assault Brigade, build snow men during their break to stand guard.

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Bond – Virginia Beach, VA; US Army, 187th RCT, Colonel (Ret.)

Cornelius Cunningham – Bronx, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO, Sgt. 27th Division

Teddy Drapper Sr. – Chinle, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker, 5th Marine Div.

Stuart Haw Jr. – St. Louis, MO; US Army, 11th Airborne Div., Military Police

Charles Quarles – Hockessin, DE; US Navy, WWII, electronic tech’s mate

Edward Rowny (100) – Baltimore, MD; US Army, WWII, ETO/Korea & Vietnam, West Point grad., Lt.General (Ret.), Presidential adviser

Nola ‘Paddy’ Scott – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 621, WWII

Wilburn Timmons – Jonesboro, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Douglas Voyzey – AUS; RA Army # 2137680, Vietnam, KIA

George B Willis Sr. – Leupp, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker, 2nd Marine Division

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Smitty, April 1944 & Letter I

Camp Stoneman

Camp Stoneman

Pvt. Smith was as cocky and proud as the next trooper, but he also thought of the army as a learning experience and considered his new adventure as a chance to experience things he would not otherwise have the opportunity.  On April 23, 1944, he stepped off a train near Camp Stoneman, California.  Here the troopers would learn how to live aboard ship, operate life boats, raft kits and climb up and down rope ladders.  Censorship of the soldier’s letters began here. The Inspector General’s men discovered the ruse of the 11th A/B Division hiding behind the paperwork of Shipment #1855 and the troopers began to accumulate AW104’s in record amounts. (Under the Article of War #104 – a commanding officer may give punishment, as is necessary, without the threat of court-martial.)  May 2, the 11th A/B moved to Pittsburg, CA by way of inland boats to their actual POE and the letters from Smitty began …

Everett Smith, aka "Smitty" or "Pops"

Everett Smith, aka “Smitty” or “Pops”

Letter I                                                                                                                        Tuesday 5/2/44

 Dear Mom,

 I sure am a fine one after calling you Sunday especially to wish you a Happy Birthday and I go and forget to, but I assure you it wasn’t intentional, but just excitement of the conversation.  I tried yesterday to buy a card, but to no avail.  No doubt by the time you receive this letter you will be wondering why I didn’t call you this week as I promised I would.  It just so happened that we were confined to our company area starting yesterday morning, so it was an impossibility to get to either a telephone or telegraph office.     

From now on all my letters to you will be numbered as this one is in the upper left hand corner.  In that way, you can read my letters in sequence and can tell whether or not you are receiving all my letters.  I would also advise sending all letters to me from now on by airmail as that will be the quickest way.  We heard that not all the mail so far from here has yet been sent out, but when it does go out, why you will no doubt get them all at once.  Tell everyone at home to be patient and they will no doubt hear from me as I sit down Saturday and either write a letter or card to everyone I know.  You had better check up on them all and see that they have my correct address, as the army will notify only you of any new changes.  I sure don’t want to lose out on my letters of anyone just because they have an incorrect address.     

Yesterday we didn’t do much of anything, but Sunday was really quite an entertaining day.  We went bowling, then to a free USO show and from there to a movie.  The entertainment is so full and alive that sometimes it still persists in your dreams.  Therefore, you can really say they even take care of you while you are slumbering.     Well mom, that is all for now, so once more I want to wish you a “Happy Birthday” and the best of everything.  Don’t worry and keep your chin up.

   Love,

   Everett

PS – Be on the lookout for a new Class E allotment I made out and also a B allotment.  Your allotments now will come to 22 dollars cash and a $18.75 war bond a month.  I’m getting pretty good, aren’t I?

CpStoneman1

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

card2gi military-humor-action

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Farewell Salutes –

Joseph Bernardo – Norwich,CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th Reg/11th Airborne Division

Andrew Gettings – NYC, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWIIKXAC000A

Robert Guinan – Watertown, NY; US Air Force, Korea

David Lamphere – St. Cloud, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511/11th Airborne Division

Milton Moss – Lebabon, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 221st Med/11th Airborne Division

Robert Neavear – Siloam Springs, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 503/11th Airborne Division

Bernard Neihm – Gallipolis OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457 Artillery/11th Airborne Div,

James Parcell Sr. – Wooster, OH; US Army, 101st Airborne Division

Cecil Robson – Casa, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 675 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Albert Scigulinsky – Perth Amboy, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

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Postcards & other pictures of Camp MacKall

Smitty had acquired additional postcards to show the people back home what Camp MacKall looked like.  They were in the scrapbook his mother put together and was saved for all these years…..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A history of Camp MacKall is on Youtube.com in 3 parts.  Part 1 includes some of  these postcards and other photos as well.

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Military Training Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Arnold – Edmonton, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, CBI, B-24 pilot

Norman Eckert – NY; US Army, Korea, Sgt.0083f165f66161f63454e92890403bcd

Howard Feldman – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Bill Hinson Jr. – W.Palm Bch., FL; US Navy, Cuban Missile Crisis, USS Saratoga, Shangri-la & Enterprise

Jim Keslar – Ligonier, PA; USMC & Army (Ret. 22 years)

Mardo ‘Lou’ Lucero – Alamosa, CO; US Navy, WWII/Vietnam, Corpsman

Stewart Alexander Marken – Brisbane, AUS; RA Army # Q266312, WWII, PTO, 472 Heavy Antiaircraft Troop, craftsman

Alan Penn – Skokie, IL; US Army, WWII

Herbert Sayles – W.Palm Bch, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, P-47 pilot

James Sumrall – Covington, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division

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Camp MacKall cont’d

1943 11th Airborne, Camp MacKall Yearbook

1943 11th Airborne, Camp MacKall Yearbook

The following story has been condensed from the “Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division” by MGeneral E.M. Flanagan Jr.

The 511th made waves for the 11th A/B Div.

General Swing, realized he was commanding an outfit of cocky paratroopers with special jump pay and glider troops who had no voice in their assignment and no extra pay to compensate for being forced to go to war in a rickety, undependable glider in equal hazardous duty.  Unless he took some drastic action, the division would be split.

511th Regimental patch.

511th Regimental patch.

Reports filtered back to Gen. Swing at Camp MacKall that the 511th troopers were full of arrogant, rowdy hell-raisers lacking in discipline.  But when the regiment joined up with the 11th Airborne, Swing was ready for them.  Henry Muller [G-2 officer] remembered:

 

“It was quite a shock to us.  Gen. Swing, who had heard terrible reports about the alleged rowdyism and unprofessionalism, was determined to ‘make us right.’  The first thing to go were the leather jackets [Air Corps ‘bomber jackets’ issued to flight crews] being worn by the paratrooper officers.  Next were the beloved boots for all ranks!  We were in a state of shock.

“That dreadful morning when we all had to put on ‘leggings’ nearly broke our spirits – but not for long.  The old horse artilleryman [Swing] knew what it would take to bring a high spirited horse under control.  In the long run it was good for us too-cocky paratroopers and helped prevent unhealthy rivalry between paratroopers and glidermen.  The glidermen had been referred to as ‘Haimes’ at this point.”

MGen. Joseph M. Swing

MGen. Joseph M. Swing

Unfettered by his superior officers, Gen. Swing would ensure that the entire division would operate as both paratroopers and glidermen.  He set up the 11th Airborne’s own jump schools at Camp Polk, New Guinea and the Philippines.

According to Smitty, the 511th continued to maintain their air of superiority throughout the war which also continued the rivalries; just unbeknownst to most the officers.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Paratrooper Humor – 

Para-Toast.

Para-Toast.

'I dropped out of Parachute School.'

‘I dropped out of Parachute School.’

post-19-1111162909

“It’s best not to speak to paratroopers about saluting. They’ll only ask you where you got your boots.”

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gordon Anderson – Ellensburg, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th Reg./11th Airborne

Patrick Butler – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, PTO Occupation, 187th Reg,/ 11th A/B

Renfroe Colbert – Indian Trails, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C/511th/11th A/B

11th A/B Soldiers Prayer

11th A/B Soldiers Prayer (Click on to read.)

William DeFlorio – Willowick, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, D/511th/11th A/B

Howard Englert – Stoney Creek, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ2/188/11th A/B

Valentine Geig – Port St.Lucie, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/187th/11th A/B

Hassel Rogers – Ridgeway, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C/674th Arty/11th A/B

Ted Timberlake – Cape Coral, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/187th/11th A/B

Delbert Thomsen – Clinton, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/ 457 Arty/11th A/B

James Wilson – Buffalo, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C/457th Arty/11th A/B

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Memorial Day – 2015

Memorial_Day_Art_American_Soldier_Salutes_Half_Mast_US_Flag-01

Last Letters Home

These letters have not been changed or edited for spelling or punctuation.

Civil War – 

Lindsey Buckner

Lindsey Buckner

The letter was written by a Kentucky man named Lindsey Buckner, who was selected to be shot in retaliation for the death of a Union soldier killed by Confederate guerrillas in his home state. “My dear sister,” Buckner wrote in late October 1864, “I am under sentence of death and for what, I do not know. … It is a hard thing to be chained and shot in this way; and if it was not for the hope I have of meeting you all in Heaven, I would be miserable indeed.

John Ross Wallar

John Ross Wallar

John Ross Wallar, 15 year old drummer boy, while injured wrote: “Dear Sister father Mother and friends I received your letter But I don’t think I Ever shall see another that you write this is Friday night But I don’t think I will Live to See Morning But My Kind friends I am a Soldier of Christ I will Meet you all in Heaven My Leg Has Bin taking of above My nee I am Dying at this time so don’t Morn after Me fore I Have Bleed and died fore My Country May God Help you all to pray fore Me I want you all to Meet Me in Heaven…My would Dresser is writing this Letter fore Me when you get this Letter write to Alexander Nelan fore I wont Live till Morning so good by My friends May God be with you all good by God Bless My poor Soul.”

***

World War I –

Sgt. David Ker

Sgt. David Ker

Sgt. David Ker wrote his mother the day before the Saint-Mihiel attack in France: “Should I go under, therefore, I want you to know that I went without any terror of death, and that my chief worry is the grief my death will bring to those dear to me.
Since having found myself and Mary, there has been much to make life sweet and glorious, but death, while distasteful, is in no way terrible.
I feel wonderfully strong to do my share well,and, for my sake, you must try to drown your sorrow in the pride and satisfaction, the knowledge that I died well in so clean a cause, as is ours, should bring you. Remember how proud I have always been of your superb pluck, keep Elizabeth’s future in mind, and don’t permit my death to bow your head.
“My personal belongings will all be sent to you. Your good taste will tell you which to send to Mary.
“May God bless and keep you, dear heart, and be kind to little Elizabeth, and those others I love so well.
“David
“The end.”

***

World War II – 

Lt. Tommie Kennedy

Lt. Tommie Kennedy

Lt. Tommie Kennedy, after Corregidor, spent 3 years as a POW.  While aboard a Japanese prison ship, he wrote on the back of 2 photos which traveled from prisoner to prisoner until smuggled out in the heel of a boot and sent to his parents in late 1945.  He wrote: “Momie & Dad:  It is hard to check out this way with out a fighting chance but we can’t live forever.  I’m not afraid to die, I just hate the thought of not seeing you again.  Buy Turkey Ranch with my money and just think of me often while your there.  Make liberberal donations to both sisters.  See that Gary has a new car his first year hi-school.  I am sending Walts medals to his mother.  He gave them to me Set 42 last time I saw him & Bud.  They went to Japan.  I guess you can tell Patty that fate just didn’t want us to be together.  Hold a nice service for me in Bksfield & put head stone in new cematary.  Take care of my nieces & nephews don’t let them want anything as I want even warmth or water now.  Loving& waiting for you in the world beon.  Your son, Lt. Tommie Kennedy

***

51TcidxiA5L__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

 These and other stories can found in “War Letters” by, Andrew Carroll.  If you have any letters you wish to share, including Iraq and Afghanistan, send them to Mr. Carroll @ P.O. Box 53250, Washington DC 20009 or visit http://www.WarLetters.us

Click on images to enlarge.

American-Flag-Eagle2

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Ash – Dallas, TX; RC Air Force, WWII, 411 Squadron, ETO, POW

Michael Gillooley – Hudson, FL; US Navy (Ret.), 1st radioman to become a Craftsman

Lawrence Green – Suffield,ct; US Army, Korea, SVC/187th RCTMediumPic634249020853470000

Walter Gumula – Stuart, FL; US Navy, WWII, ETO, frogman (UDT)

Marl Hanna – Portland OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457th Artillery/11th A/B Division

Richard Lent – New Paltz, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 navigator

Taylor Marks – Independence, OR; US Army, Iraq, 2nd Btn/162nd Inf/Oregon National Guard

Charles Persson – Fanwood, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Delbert Savage – WA; US Army, WWII, Tech 5

Arthur Stickney – Lake Worth, FL; US Army, Vietnam, helicopter mechanic

Wardell Turner – Nanticoke, MD; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt.

Earl Werner –  Mondovi, WI; US Army, Iraq, Sgt. 41 SpecTroops BTN/41st Inf Brigade Combat Team, Bronze Star

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Personal Note – i275258902_89590

Smitty, my father

Smitty, my father

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Note of interest – Walter Gumula, who recently passed away and is mentioned in the Farewell Salutes has his story told by Pacific Paratrooper in Intermission Story # 21 on 11 June 2014

And, William Ash’s story can be located on Pierre Lagacé’s site HERE!

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Dedication

187th, Headquarters Company, 11th Airborne Division - Smitty is in the back row, 5th from the right

187th, Headquarters Company, 11th Airborne Division – Smitty is in the back row, 5th from the right

The first men of the 187th Regiment at Camp MacKall seen above as they embark on a journey into the Pacific to become the “Rakkasans” known worldwide for their participation in WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm…

Major William C. Lee, Father of the Airborne

Major William C. Lee, Father of the Airborne

Here is the 11th Airborne Song: DOWN FROM HEAVEN,
An original composition by: Lt. Col. Byron Paige
Arranged by: Sgt. George Whissen

11th A/B shoulder patch

11th A/B shoulder patch

Down from Heaven come Eleven and there’s Hell to pay below
Shout “Geronimo” “Geronimo”
Hit the silk and check your canopy and take a look around
The air is full of troopers set for the battle on the ground
Till we join the stick of “Angels” killed on Leyte and Luzon
Shout “Geronimo” “Geronimo”
It’s a gory road to glory but we’re ready here we go
Shout “Geronimo” “Geronimo”

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Special thanks to the Paratroopers of the 50’s for this info. Should you wish to hear this song and others, see old photos,etc. go to http://home.hiwaay.net/~magro/abn.html On their home page is an index with a massive amount of information about paratroopers of all decades.

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For Smitty – we always try to give the tough events a lighter side –

"Geronimo!"

“Geronimo!”

Click on photos to enlarge

Going Home

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Gradually, the men of the 11th Airborne Division would earn their points to be shipped back home and they would allow the fresh, green G.I.’s to take their place in the occupation of Japan.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Everett (Smitty) Smith would return to Broad Channel, New York to restart his civilian life in February 1946. He gradually got to know Lillian Barrow during his morning rides on the bus, going to his job and he would chuckle whenever he related that story. Despite my mother’s protests, he would relate that he knew why Lillian was always on the same bus with him, but she was being coy. “I was just going to work myself,” my mother argued. Smitty would reply, “Then how do you explain that your job was in the opposite direction than the bus was going? You didn’t know that I was aware of that, did you?” No matter what the reason, they were married 20 September 1947 and I showed up nearly three years later.

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With many thanks to Matt Underwood, Editor of the “Voice” 11th Airborne Association, the ribbons were identified and an explanation of Smitty’s qualifications were explained:
Yellow-orange ribbon with the red, white and blue stripe is the Asian-Pacific Campaign
The PTO ribbon on the ribbon bar shows 3 stars, while the Philippine Liberation ribbon (all red with 2 even-width white and blue stripes in the center) show 2 stars and arrowheads with a slightly non-regulation preference and flair.
What is missing, but is in his records, is the ribbon for the Occupation of Japan. Mr. Underwood explained that many did not receive these as they had been shipped home before the ribbon supply arrived at the base.

The qualification and badges say that he was a primary front line combat infantryman, but his specialist rating (the “T” in the “T-5” rank) was probably because he was rated an Expert in the 37mm Tank Destroyer cannon.

Discharge

Discharge

Smitty’s discharge papers list four campaign stars for the PTO ribbon when most of the 187th Regiment only received three. The Bronze Arrowhead was for the invasion of Luzon, specifically for the 11th Airborne’s joint airborne and amphibious assault landings at Nasugbu Beach and Tagatay Ridge; both south of Manila on 31 January and 3 February 1945 respectfully.

I can honestly say that, as far as I am aware, my father had only one regret in his life and that would be leaving the service. Although my mother would have protested adamantly, he often told me that he should have stayed in the army.

Letter from Pres. Reagan

Letter from Pres. Reagan

Everett (Smitty) Smith passed away 14 May 1988, he was 73 years old. He left behind many who cared for and respected him, but very few who knew this story.

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Smitty and his mother, Anna

Smitty and his mother, Anna

Smitty is seen here at the corner of 9th Road and Cross Bay Blvd. in Broad Channel after returning home.

Researching

Researching

And, here we are in the present, trying to piece everything together. This is not the end of Smitty’s stories… we have yet to talk about the intelligence part in the war, the spies, and still more on the enemy.

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Letter from General Joe Swing

On Christmas Eve, 1944 General Joseph M. Swing composed a letter to his father-in-law, General Peyton C. March to sum up the actions of the 11th Airborne Division on Leyte. Random House has granted me permission to reprint this letter originally published in “THE ANGELS: A History of the 11th Airborne Division,” by E.M. Flanagan Jr. (received from Mrs. Mary Anne Fullilove, nee Swing) and published by Presidio Press. I thank you.

General Joseph M. Swing, on the reverse side of the photo, dad wrote: My General

General Joseph M. Swing, on the reverse side of the photo, dad wrote: My General

Dear General,
Am just back from a few days in the mountains, as a matter of fact I’ve walked clean across this d____ island and it wasn’t the most pleasant jaunt I ever took. Wish you could see these young men of mine fight. It would do your heart good to see the calm joyful manner in which they kill the rats. I really believe this is the first time the Japs have run against American troops that never stop coming. It has been the custom in this so called jungle warfare for troops to start “holing up” an hour or more before sundown and form their so-called perimeter from which they never venture forth until after cooking individual breakfast at daylight – taking an hour to do so. As a result, the Japs bivouac at their ease, have scouts watch the formation of the perimeter and then heckle our troops all night. We changed that – made my troops keep going until dark, then dig in so the Japs don’t know where we are located and finally got them to the point where they would start out just before the crack of dawn without breakfast. As a result, we’ve killed about twice as many Japs in proportion to our own casualties as had any other division. The last day, the 22d, when we busted out of the hills to where the 7th Division was sitting on the beach – the dawn attack caught 300 Japs sleeping outside their foxholes and we slaughtered them there with bayonet, knife and hand grenades. From then on it was a field day – had four battalions in column. As fast as one showed the least sign of tiring, sent the next one thru and by noon, we had done 4,000 yards – took a break for breakfast and at 1430, we were on the beach and the 7th Division bivouac. Counted approximately 750 dead Japs and didn’t go down the cliffs where many of them rolled off – captured two mountain howitzers, 1000 rounds of ammunition, 16 light machine guns, seven heavies, and the Japs left engineer, signal and medical supplies and many split-toed shoes along the trail. Have told the Corps commander if he wants to walk from Burauen air fields to Ormoc beach all he has to do is put a clothes pin on his nose and let a man with a strong stomach guide him.

General Peyton C. March

General Peyton C. March

Our identification shows that we cleaned out the 16th and 26th Division completely. The two had consolidated in the Mt. Mahonag region and initiated the attack on the airfields in conjunction with the paratrooper attack of Dec. 6th. Have killed the Chief of Staff of the 16th Division and most of the staff of both divisions but unable to locate the two commanding generals. Prisoners of war say they were replaced by new commanders but believe they were evacuated by air. Of course the devils bury their officers and booby trap their bodies so we’ll never know.

Am taking a week to evacuate to the beach and reequip for an airborne operation, but as I told you some time ago the staff is a pain in the neck to me so far as having little imagination. Afraid they can’t supply us once we’re in and we have practically supplied ourselves with cub planes for over a month in the mountains. Come under Eichelberger’s command on the 26th. He has already sent word he wants to see me about an airborne operation, so maybe we’ll have a chance to do our stuff. You probably surmised the orthodox manner in which they will attack Luzon. Have a spot picked out south of Manila that would give the so and so’s fits if I can convince the powers to land me there. Xmas greetings,
Sincerely,
Joe

Everett "Smitty" Smith at Camp MacKall, N.C.

Everett “Smitty” Smith at Camp MacKall, N.C.

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General Peyton C. March (12/27/1864 – 4/13/1955) is known to World War I enthusiasts as the commander of the United States First Army. Also, then as Army Chief of Staff, he created additional branches, one being the U.S. Army Air Corps.
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