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Chick Parsons – Our Man In Manila

Charles ‘Chick’ Parsons

Charles Thomas Parsons Jr. was born in 1900 in Shelbyville, Tennessee, but his family moved frequently to avoid creditors. When young Charles was 5, his mother sent him to Manila for a more stable life with her brother, a public health official in the American-run government. The boy received his elementary education speaking Spanish at the Santa Potenciana School, a Catholic school founded in the 16th century. 

He returned to Tennessee as a teenager and graduated from Chattanooga High School. He sailed back to the Philippines as a merchant marine seaman in the early 1920s and shortly got himself hired as a stenographer for Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, a hero of the Spanish-American War  On January 2, 1942, the Japanese Army marched into Manila unopposed.

Parsons retreated—only so far as his house on Dewey Boulevard, where he burned his uniforms and any other evidence that he was a United States Navy officer. But he held on to his Panamanian flag. Because of his experience in shipping and port operations, Panama’s foreign minister had named him the country’s honorary consul general to the Philippines. While the occupation authorities ordered that the 4,000 Americans in Manila be detained at the University of Santo Tomas, they left Parsons, his wife and their three children alone, believing he was a diplomat from Panama, a neutral country.

For the next four months, speaking only Spanish in public and flashing his diplomatic credentials whenever necessary, Parsons collected strategic information, including Japanese troop strengths and the names and locations of American prisoners of war

Visitors inside the dungeon used by Japanese forces for Allied prisoners

After the Jimmy Doolittle raid on Tokyo, the Japanese Army’s feared Kempeitai military police retaliated by rounding up all non-Asian men—including Parsons, diplomatic immunity be damned. They were thrown into a stone dungeon at Fort Santiago, the 350-year-old fortress within Intramuros, the colonial walled city where Chick had lived and played as a child.

After being tortured for 5 days, he was sent to the hospital with kidney problems.  Still believing that Parson’s was Panama’s consul, him and his family were allowed to leave.  By the time the Parsons family reached New York on August 27, the Navy had lost track of Chick—he was listed as missing in action.

The gate of Fort Santiago where Parsons played as a boy and held captive as an adult.

When MacArthur received word that his old friend was not MIA, he called Washington: “SEND PARSONS IMMEDIATELY.” Within a month, Chick was on a submarine headed for Mindanao.  He gauged the guerrillas’ strength, established ground rules and united the Christian and Muslim fighters for a common effort of defense.

11 November 1943, Parsons was aboard another sub, the USS Narwhal, and delivered more food, medicine, weaponry and additional radio transmitters to expand the network of coastal watch stations.

By February 1944, Parson infiltrated the Philippines for 3rd time to continue keeping the guerrillas supplied as well as ferrying more than 400 American and foreign nationals to safety.

12 October 1944, a Catalina ‘Black Cat’ delivered Parsons and Lt.Col. Frank Rawolle of the 6th Army Special Intelligence.  For 4 days they sent coded messages back to HQ and warned the guerrillas to pull back off the beaches.  The Navy launched the main invasion on 20 October and the guerrillas joined up with the invading US Army.

Post-war Parsons back in Manila.

Peter parsons, son, said his father took but a few seconds to return to his prewar life and get back in business.  He remembered his father smiling and waving as a ship brought the family back to Manila as though nothing had happened.  We called him “Iron Man.”

Chick Parsons died in Manila on the afternoon of May 12, 1988, during his siesta. He was 88. His sons—Peter, Michael, Patrick and Joe—gathered for a funeral service there, and they laid him to rest in a grave next to Katsy, who had died eight years before. “He was hardly ever sick in his whole life,” Peter Parsons said. “When he died he was asleep”

This story was condensed from an article by Peter Eisner for the Smithsonian Magazine.  To read the complete story…

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/without-chick-parsons-General-MacArthur-Never-Made-Return-Philippines-180964406/?q=

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frank Amaral – Smithfield, RI; US Army, WWII

Haig Arakelian – Panama City, FL; US Army, WWII / US Air Force (Ret.)

Earl Baugh – Searcy, AR; US Navy, WWII, SeaBee

Tony Holbrook – Ontario, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

William Kunkel – NYC, NY; US Air Force, Korea

Catherine Murray (100) – Ft. Lauderdale, FL; USMC, WWII, MSgt. (ret.), 1st woman to retire from the Marine Corps

John Revill – Swanwick, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO

Charles Saccamdo – Springfield, IL; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Pearl Spurr – Bradford, CAN; CW Army Corps, WWII

Frank Wilkins Jr. – Georgetown, DE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Captain, 599/397/9th Air Force

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Thanksgiving – Then and Now

I wish to express my thanks to each and every one of you !!

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For those of you living where there is no official Thanksgiving Day – look around – family, friends, Freedom and life itself – all enough to give thanks for each day !

Thanksgiving during WWII…

They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day,
My thoughts are at home, though I’m far away;
I can see everyone, eating dinner deluxe,
Whether it be chicken, turkey or even duck;
The fellows over here won’t whimper or moan,
They’ll look to the next one and hope to be home.
 
Truly and honestly, from way down deep,
They want you to be happy and enjoy your feast.
These holidays are remembered by one and all,
Those happy days we can always recall.
The ones in the future, will be happier, I know
When we all come back from defeating the foe.

_______Poem by an Anonymous WWII Veteran

Please remember the troops that gave you freedom and those that protect it each day !!

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… and please be considerate to those who may not be celebrating…

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Military Thanksgiving Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Shirley Baltz – Hammonton, NJ; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Sam Cartner – Asheville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-24 tail gunner

Edward Ferguson – Petersburg, IL; US Army, WWII, Korea

courtesy of Cora Metz poster designs.wordpress.cm/, US Army

William Gray – Kent, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, LT., 391/366th Fighter Group. KIA

Charles ‘Hap’ Holladay – Cookeville, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, meterologist

Henry Karwas – MI; USMC, WWII, PTO

William Richardson – Ivey, GA; US Army, WWII, 95th Division

Melvin Stone – Portland, ME; US Army, WWII, ETO, 187th Combat Engineers

Mel Tillis – Pahokee, FL; US Air Force

Harold Tor – Huntington Beach, CA, US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division, Purple Heart

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General Joseph May Swing – Intermission Story (30)

Major General Joseph Swing

As the intermission period closes, it is only fitting that I introduce the man who lead the 11th Airborne Division.  Many called him “Uncle Joe”, but on the back of this photograph, Smitty wrote “My General.”

“A hero is a man noted for his feats of courage or nobility of purpose—especially one who has risked his life; a person prominent in some field, period, or cause by reason of his special achievements or contributions; a person of distinguished valor or fortitude; and a central personage taking an admirable part in any remarkable action or event; hence, a person regarded as a model.”

Joseph May Swing was born on 28 February 1894 in Jersey City and went to the public schools there, graduating in 1911 and entered West Point Military Academy directly.  He graduated 38th in the class of the star-studded class of 1915, famously known as “The Class the Stars Fell On.”

The 5-star generals were Dwight D. Eisenhower and Omar Bradley.  The four-star (“full”) Generals in the class of 1915 were James Van Fleet and Joseph T. McNarney. The three-star (Lieutenant Generals) Generals were Henry Aurand, Hubert R. Harmon, Stafford LeRoy Irwin, Thomas B. Larkin, John W. Leonard, George E. Stratemeyer, and Joseph M. Swing. This view was taken facing south around noon on May 3, 1915.

In 1916 Lieutenant Swing was part of the punitive expedition to Mexico against Francisco Villa under the leadership of General John J. Pershing. In 1917, shortly after the US entered the war in Europe, Major Swing joined the artillery of the 1st Division in France. When he returned to the US in 1918, he became an aide-de-camp to the Army’s Chief of Staff, General Peyton C. March. On 8 July 1918, he married Josephine Mary March, the daughter of General March. Later that year, he joined the 19th Field Artillery at Fort Myer, Virginia, and in 1921 sailed for Hawaii to command the 1st Battalion of the 11th Field Artillery at Schofield Barracks.

In 1925, he returned to the States and assumed command of the 9th Field Artillery at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.  He graduated with honors from the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, and in 1927 he graduated from the Command and Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. For the next four years, he was on duty in the Office of the Chief of Field Artillery in Washington, DC, and in 1933 he became chief of its war plans section. In 1935, he graduated from the Army War College in Washington and then joined the 6th Field Artillery at Fort Hoyle, Maryland.

Next, he went to Fort Sam Houston where he was the chief of staff of the 2d Division from 1938 to 1940. Later, he commanded the 82d Horse Artillery Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas and then commanded its division artillery. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1941 and at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, organized the division artillery of the 82d Division, a move which was to project him into the brand new field of “airborne.”  In Camp Claiborne, General Omar Bradley was the 82d Division commander. General Ridgway was the assistant division commander, and Colonel Maxwell D. Taylor was the chief of staff.

General Joseph M. Swing

In February of 1943, as a newly promoted major general, General Swing was assigned the task of activating the 11th Airborne Division at Camp Mackall, North Carolina, the Army’s third airborne division. Thus began for General Swing a tenure of service which was unique then and still remains a record: division commander of one division for five years, during which he activated the division, trained it, and commanded it in combat and during its subsequent occupation of Japan. During this period, General Swing and the 11th Airborne Division became synonymous; the man was the division and the division was the man.

General Swing made his mark on the Army and on the thousands of men who passed through the 11th Airborne Division in a way which those of us who were fortunate enough to serve with and have known him will never forget. His subordinates and superiors have described General Swing with numerous adjectives: forceful, energetic, courageous, self-disciplined, purposeful, farsighted, innovative, just, sentimental, short-tempered, forgiving, sincere, considerate, demanding—and with it all, handsome, erect, prematurely gray, with a lean, tanned face from which steely-blue eyes focused with incredible sharpness either to find a mistake or an accomplishment of a subordinate. General Swing fitted all of those descriptive adjectives to one degree or another; illustrations to exemplify each trait abound, particularly in the lore of the 11th Airborne Division. And as the years go by and as the men of the 11th gather at reunions, the stories about the “old man” increase and take on a sharper and more pungent flavor.

Leyte, Gen. Swing and staff on Mt.Manarawat

There is no doubt that General Swing was demanding in training, insisting on excellence, and setting and requiring the highest of standards for the 11th Airborne Division so that when it entered combat, after months of grueling training in Camp MacKall, Camp Polk, and New Guinea, the division was ready to take on the Japanese in the mud and rain across the uncharted central mountains of Leyte. Early in its combat career, it was ready to thwart a Japanese parachute attack on the division command post and nearby San Pablo airfield at Burauen, Leyte.

General Swing demonstrated his courage and vitality on that occasion by personally leading a Civil War-like attack across the airstrip with engineers, supply troops, and a glider field artillery battalion armed with carbines and rifles against the dug-in Japanese paratroopers who had had the audacity to attack the 11th Airborne from the air. In short order, the Japanese paratroopers, the elite Katori Shimpei of the Japanese forces, were routed, and the San Pablo airfield was back in the hands of the 11th Airborne Division.

_____ Condensed from a biographical article written by Edward Michael Flanagan, Jr., Lt.General, Retired

also, “The Gettysburg Daily, Wikipedia and Smitty’s scrapbook.

And this is where we left off the day by day and monthly island-hopping offense of the Pacific War.  You will be hearing often of General Swing, you might even get to admire him almost as much as Smitty did.

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Military Humor – 

‘I think it’s about time McFergle retired — he remembers the Lusitania.’

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Ball – Sterling, AK; USMC, WWII, PTO

Lloyd Crouse – Columbus, OH; US Army, WWII, PTO, 251st Sta. Hospital, combat medic

Charles Dye – Flint, MI; US Army, WWII

Frank Forlini – Yonkers, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division. Purple Heart

Richard Gordon – Seattle, WA; US Navy, test pilot / NASA astronaut, Gemini 11, Apollo 12 & Apollo 18

Bill Jo Hart – Fort Worth, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Flight Instructor

Alfred Jeske – Seymour, WI; US Army, WWII

Bill Mesker – Wichita, KS; US Navy, WWII

Myra Mitchell – Upalco, UT; USMC, Women’s Corps, WWII

Sterling Wood – Omaha, NE; US Army, Colonel (Ret. 30 y.), 143rd Transportation Command

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242nd USMC Birthday Message – 2017

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10 November 2017 is the 242nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps, please listen to the message delivered from Guadalcanal by General Robert Neller, Commandant of the USMC and Sgt.Major Ronald Green as they address all Marines and Sailors around the world….

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Marine Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Barclay – Duxbury, MA; USMC, Korea, 1st Marine Division, Silver Star

Robert Palmer Coles Jr. – Bronx, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Chief Petty Off. radioman (Ret. 30 y.)

James Conard – Lexington, SC; USMC, Vietnam, Major (Ret. 20 y.), Purple Heart

Ray Fenstemaker – Whitehall, OH; USMC, WWII & Korea

Orlis Kennicutt – Orange Park, FL, USMC, Captain (Ret.)

Nicholas Newell – Oceanside, CA; USMC, Sgt.

James Reynolds – Savannah, GA; USMC, SSgt. (Ret.)

Eric Thomas – Portland, ME; USMC & US Coast Guard

Carroll Vorgang – Jeffersonville, IN; USMC, Korea & Vietnam, Colonel (Ret. 29 y.)

Hank Williams – Princeton, WV; USMC, GySgt. (Ret.)

Kenneth Young – Tucker, AR; USMC, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart

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General “Vinegar” Joe Stilwell, Sr. – Intermission Story (25)

He is probably best remembered for his military service in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II. His nickname “Vinegar Joe” was attributed to his caustic personality. Born in Palatka, Florida, then moved with his family to New York.

After high school he received an appointment to attend the US Military Academy at West Point, New York and graduated in 1904 with a commission as a second lieutenant. During World War I, he was assigned to the US 4th Corps as an intelligence officer and helped plan the St. Mihiel offensive. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his service in France.

After World War I he served three tours in China, where he became fluent in Chinese, and was the military attaché at the U.S. Legation in Beijing from 1935 to 1939.  In 1939 he returned to the US and became the assistant commander of the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and from 1940 to 1941 he was assigned to organize and train the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California.

In 1941 he was sent back to China by President Franklin Roosevelt and Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall where he performed duties as the Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, and also served as the commander of the China-Burma-India Theater responsible for all Lend-Lease supplies going to China, and later was Deputy Commander of the South East Asia Command. Unfortunately, despite his status and position in China, he soon became embroiled in conflicts over U.S. Lend-Lease aid and Chinese political sectarianism.

Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell wasn’t around, so caricaturist Don Barclay, did the next best thing – captured him from a photograph. Here’s the result. Barclay is making a tour of hospitals and small units in CBI-land. CBI Roundup

When he arrived in China, he immediately began the task of reforming the Chinese Army, over the concerns of Chiang Kai-Shek that the American-led forces would become another independent force outside of his control.  The Chinese leader was far more concerned with fighting the Red Chinese Army, while also keeping a majority of the Lend-Lease benefits for himself and his cohorts.

In Burma, his initial military operation, to keep open the Burma Road between India and China and to repel Japanese incursions into Burma, failed. The operation in Burma was so disastrous that Chinese forces under his command stopped taking orders. He personally led his 117-member staff to safety in India on foot as the Allied forces capitulated to the Japanese invasion.

In India, he became well known for his no-nonsense demeanor and disregard for military pomp and ceremony. His trademarks were a battered Army campaign hat, GI shoes, and a plain service uniform with no insignia of rank, and frequently carried a .30 Springfield rifle rather than a sidearm. His derogatory remarks castigating the ineffectiveness of what he termed “Limey” forces, a viewpoint often repeated by his staff, did not sit well with British and Commonwealth commanders. However, it was well known among the troops that his disdain for the British was aimed toward those high command officers that he saw as overly stuffy and pompous.

He managed to lead Chinese divisions to retake Myitakyina and its airfield on August 4, 1944, from Japanese control, rebuilding the Ledo Road, a military highway in India that led into Burma. However, conflicts with Chiang Kai-Shek led to his ultimate removal in October 1944. He then served as Commander of Army Ground Forces, US Tenth Army Commander in the last few days of the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, and as US Sixth Army Commander.

In November 1945 he was appointed to lead a “War Department Equipment Board” in an investigation of the Army’s modernization in light of its recent experiences. Among his recommendations was the establishment of a combined arms force to conduct extended service tests of new weapons and equipment and then formulate doctrine for its use, and the abolition of specialized anti-tank units. His most notable recommendation was for a vast improvement of the Army’s defenses against all airborne threats, including ballistic missiles.

He died of stomach cancer at the age of 63 at the Presidio of San Francisco, while still on active duty. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Among his military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Philippine Campaign Medal, the World War I Victory Medal, the China Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Order of the Legion of Honour (France), and the Combat Infantryman Badge, only one of three general officers to be given this award normally reserved for those in the rank of colonel or below. The General Joseph W. Stilwell Award for the Outstanding Overall Cadet, Senior Division, in the California Cadet Corps is named in his honor.

So much more could be written for this soldier and his standards.  You can stand down now, General.

This information was obtained from a bio written by: William Bjornstad; CBI Roundup; History on-line.

This post was done on a recommendation by 56 Packardman 56packardman.wordpress.comx

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Military Humor – CBI Roundup style & Cpl. Gee Eye

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Addington – No. Canton, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

John Beitia – Shoshone, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, radio & co-pilot

Alfred Dresner – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

William J. Ely (105) – Claysville, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Lt.Gen., Corps of Engineers (Ret. 33 y.), West Point grad 1933

Frank Gilchrist – Centersville, MA; US Coast Guard, WWII & Korea

Bud Hindsley – Union City, IN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl.

Georgina Leland – Ossipee, NH; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Anthony Malizia – Nutley NJ; USMC, Korea

William Packard – Locust Grove, Ga; US Army, WWII

George Sims – Papakura, NZ; 2nd NZEF # 641719, Sgt., 5th Engineers

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Personal Request –    click to enlarge

I have been shown this photo and asked if I or any of my readers could give a clue as to where this WWII picture was taken.

Thank you for taking the time to look…..

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Douglas Munro, Coast Guard Hero – Intermission Story (24)

Painting of Doug Munro providing support from his LCP, by Bernard D’Andrea

The United States Coast Guard was founded on a tradition of taking small boats into dangerous conditions to save lives. This skill made Coast Guard coxswains an indispensable part of the Pacific Theater  and Smitty would whole-heartedly agree.  Coast Guardsmen proved their worth time and time again as they expertly handled small landing craft in and out of almost any situation. No man better exemplifies this prowess than Douglas A. Munro.

Signalman 1st Class, Douglas Munro

Born in Vancouver in 1919, Douglas Munro attended Cle Elum High School in Washington state.  He attended the Central Washington College of Education for a year before enlisting in the Coast Guard in 1939. He spent his first two years on board the Cutter Spencer,  a 327-foot Treasury-class cutter which patrolled out of New York, and later Boston.

While on the Spencer, Munro advanced quickly, making Signalman 2nd Class by the end of 1941. After the Spencer, he transferred to the Hunter Ligget, a Coast Guard-crewed landing craft patrolling in the Pacific. In 1942 he was made a part of Transport Division 17, helping to coordinate, direct, and train other troops for amphibious assaults.

The United States’ first taste of this warfare was at Guadalcanal.  After the initial Marine landings, a base was established at Lunga Point. Munro was assigned here along with other Coast Guard and Navy personnel to operate the small boats and assist with communications.  This base served as a staging point for further troop movements, consisted of little more than a house, a signal tower and a number of small craft and supplies

Lunga Point, Guadalcanal

After the Marines had moved west of Lunga point, they encountered an entrenched Japanese position on the far side of the Manatikau river. It was clear that an attack across the river would be fruitless, and a plan was devised to bring men down the coast, to land west of the Japanese position, allowing it to be attacked from both sides. To achieve this goal Marine Lieutenant Colonel Lewis “Chesty” Puller placed men from the 7th Marine Division onto landing craft and began an assault on September 27th.

These landing craft were led by Douglas Munro, who took the men into a small bay just west of Point Cruz and delivered the entire 500 man force unopposed. Meanwhile, the destroyer USS Monssen laid down supporting fire and protected the Marines’ advance.

Meanwhile, Munro and his crews returned to Lunga point to refit and refuel, leaving a single LCP(L) (a 36-foot landing craft, lightly armed and made mostly of plywood) to provide evacuation for any immediate casualties.

Marines landing on the beach from their LCP’s.

But less than an hour after the initial landing the operation began to deteriorate. First, a flight of Japanese bombers attacked the Monssen, forcing her to leave the Marines without fire support.   Then the Japanese launched an infantry attack on the Marines. The Japanese had stayed to the north of the Marine landing force, near a rocky cliff known as Point Cruz. Their attack to the southwest was designed to cut the Marines off from their escape route.

There the single LCP(L) still sat, manned by Navy Coxswain Samuel Roberts and Coast Guard Petty Officer Ray Evans. The men had gotten close into shore for a speedy evacuation. A sudden burst of Japanese machine gun fire  damaged their controls.  Roberts managed to jury rig the rudder but was fatally wounded in the process, Evans jammed the throttle forward, speeding back to Lunga Point.

The trapped Marines hadn’t brought their cumbersome radios with them, and couldn’t signal back to their support. In desperation, they spelled out “HELP” by laying out their undershirts on a hillside. Luckily this was noticed by a Navy dive bomber pilot who reported it back to the sailors at Lunga. Because of this, by the time Evans’ LCP(L) made it back Munro and his men were already aware that something wasn’t going right.

Marines on Guadalcanal

Thanks to Evans they now had the detailed information needed to make a plan of action. It was determined that a group of small boats and troop transports would have to return, under fire, to get the men out of the combat zone. Munro immediately volunteered to lead the operation and got ten boats readied and underway as soon as possible.

This small flotilla came into the bay under fire.  USS Monssen, which had returned , gave support.  Munro directed his landing craft to begin ferrying the men back to the Monssen, while he and the other LCP(L)s provided fire support.

USS Monssen

By this time the Japanese had taken up positions on all three sides of the bay, and were able to coordinate a devastating barrage of fire on the retreating men. Seeing this, Munro positioned his own craft between the enemy and the landing crafts to provide support by fire.

After the last men were coming off the beach, a landing craft became grounded.  Munro ordered another craft to tow it free while he provided support, again putting his own boat in harm’s way to help save as many men as possible. While Munro’s boat was taking position to do this, a Japanese machine gun crew was setting up on the beach.

Petty Officer Evans, saw this and called out for him to get down, but Munro couldn’t hear him and he was fatally wounded.  Evans pulled away, and along with the rest of landing craft, headed back to Lunga Point; with all of the Marines saved.

Marines crossing Matanikau River.

Thanks to Munro’s heroism, 500 Marines made it off the beach that day, and for this, Signalman 1st Class Douglas A. Munro was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor.  The 500 men he saved went on to help capture the Matanikau River early in October, which meant the beginning of the end for Japanese forces on Guadalcanal.

The engraving on the back of Munro’s medal.

Munro’s body is interred in his hometown of Cle Elum, Washington, and his Medal of Honor is on display at United States Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, New Jersey, where it serves an everlasting example to new recruits about what it means to truly be a United States Coast Guardsmen.

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 Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Donald Bender – Machesney Park, IL; US Navy, WWII

Catherine Brown – San Diego, CA; US Coast Guard SPARS, WWII

Edward Delaney – Boston, MA; US Coast Guard, WWII, LST 170

Raymond Edinger – Liberty, NJ; US Coast Guard/Navy, WWII, Meteorology officer

James Evans Jr. – Seattle, WA; US Coast Guard, WWII, Korea

Daniel Fite – Fort Worth, TX; US Coast Guard, WWII

Arthur Janov – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII

Arthur Peeples – Springhill, MS; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Alexander Strachan – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 4210193, WWII, Sgt.

Robert Unzueta – Avalon, CA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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Women and Computers in WWII – Intermission Story (22)

Women with the ENIAC computer

 

Before the invention of electronic computers, “computer” was a job description, not a machine. Both men and women were employed as computers, but women were more prominent in the field. This was a matter of practicality more than equality. Women were hired because there was a large pool of women with training in mathematics, but they could be hired for much less money than men with comparable training. Despite this bias, some women overcame their inferior status and contributed to the invention of the first electronic computers.

In 1942, just after the United States entered World War II, hundreds of women were employed around the country as computers. Their job consisted of using mechanical desk calculators to solve long lists of equations. The results of these calculations were compiled into tables and published for use on the battlefields by gunnery officers. The tables allowed soldiers in the field to aim artillery or other weapons, taking into account variable conditions such as temperature and air density. Today, such calculations are done instantly in the battlefield with microcomputers.

One place where human calculators were busy at work was the Moore School of Engineering, a part of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dozens of women worked there, cranking the handles on their calculators and producing column after column of numbers. Adele Goldstine and Mary Mauchly, both employees of the university and wives of professors involved in computing, helped recruit and train the women who, early in the war, were usually college graduates with math degrees. Later, high school graduates were used. A few highly trained workers, including one Lila Todd, operated what was called a differential analyzer, a machine that could calculate the path of a shell or bomb as it flew through the air. But engineers such as John Mauchly thought it would be better to design a machine to do other tasks such as calculating ballistic tables, and began working on what became the ENIAC, one of the first electronic digital computers. Some women were hired to assemble the circuits used in the ENIAC, although very little is known about who these women were.

When the ENIAC was nearing completion, six women were chosen from among the human computers to be trained as programmers. These were Kay McNulty, Frances Bilas, Betty Jean Jennings, Elizabeth Snyder, Ruth Lichterman, and Marlyn Wescoff. By this time, it was the autumn of 1945. The war had ended, but the computing program was not cancelled. Instead, the military remained interested in a machine that would calculate complex trajectory equations very rapidly, and support for the project continued. The six women chosen to be programmers devised the very first computer program, which was demonstrated when the ENIAC was unveiled in early 1946. A short time later, all the women were taken off the project when the machine was taken to a military base near Washington, D.C., but several of them found employment elsewhere as programmers, and five of the six are alive as of this writing.

Information and links supplied by ETHW.org

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 Computer Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bryan Black – Puyallup, WA; US Army, Niger, SSgt., Green Berets, 3rd Spec. Forces Unit, KIA

Nannie Carr – Finleyville, PA; US Army WAC; WWII

Melvin Duck – Jackson’s Gap, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

William Finger – Maryville, TN; US Army, WWII, PTO

Alfred hawkes – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, MSgt. (Ret.)

Jeremiah Johnson – Springboro, OH; US Army, Niger, SSgt., Green Berets, 3rd Spec. Forces Unit, KIA

Bernard Kurtz – Buffalo, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO

Bruce Miller – Papakura, NZ; RNZ Army # 458490 & Air Force # 43146, WWII

Raymond Sweet – Palm Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Dustin Wright – Lyons, GA; US Army, Niger, SSgt. Green Berets, 3rd Spec. Forces Unit, KIA

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Chaplins – WWII – Intermission Story (21)

The Four Chaplains

Chaplains of World War II indicated that usually they had a chapel 
in the United States, but almost never once they were abroad. Kenneth W. 
Fristoe tells of building a thatched roof chapel in the jungles of New 
Guinea with the help of "Fuzzy Wuzzy" natives, and dedicating it on 
Mother's Day with an attendance of over 400.

Unknown chaplain in New Guinea, WWII


After Pearl Harbor the chaplains in the Philippines were the first to 
face sustained combat with their men. On 8 December, 150 Japanese 
planes bombed Pampanga for two hours. While the airfield was bombed 
and strafed, Chaplain Joseph V. LaFleur went among the wounded and 
dying to offer prayer and help get them to the hospital. He stayed on 
Bataan with his men. With 750 other American prisoners, he was crowded 
into two holds of a Japanese ship. At sea the ship was hit by two torpedoes. 
The Japanese tried to kill the survivors. Lieutenant Joseph Coe reported 
that the last he saw of La Fleur, the chaplain was helping wounded men 
get out of the hold and on the deck. The Japanese shot at them and only 
two or three survived. La Fleur died as he lived, serving his men.

Joseph V. LaFleur

Chaplains Leslie Zimmerman, John F. Duffy, Matthew Zerbas, John 
A. Wilson, Alfred C. Oliver, Ralph W. Brown, John K. Bomeman and 
Robert P. Taylor were among those who distinguished themselves by 
heroism in the first days of the war. Bomeman went through dangerous 
lines to Manila at least twice before it fell to the enemy, in order to get 
messages from his men to their families.

Robert P. Taylor

 
Brown, under fire, earned a Distinguished Service Cross for carrying the wounded from under the nose 
of the enemy. 
He said, "We made it to the hospital. I didn't think par- 
ticularly about it until the thing was over. It was a job to be done." That 
note was sounded again and again by chaplains all over the world. Time 
magazine reported that Taylor "gave the most recent superb example of 
a chaplain's courage ... in braving machine gun fire to rescue the 
wounded." With the fall of Corregidor and Bataan, 21 chaplains be- 
came prisoners of the Japanese; within weeks, the total was 32."

services in a combat zone
photo from Smitty’s scrapbook

 

The ministry among American prisoners of war in the Pacific was 
characterized by service under extremely difficult and cruel conditions. 
Taylor was one of the chaplains on the infamous Bataan death march.

Lt.Col. Hudson Phillips Sr., 11th Airborne Division Chaplin

This information is from The Archives.org, contributed by Matt Underwood,

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Mike Dauncey – UK; British Army # 184738, DSO, Lt. to Brigadier (Ret.) Cheshire Reg.

LeRoy Donahoe – Sioux Falls, SD; US Navy,WWII, PTO

Donald malarky – Astoria, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Easy Company paratrooper

Ottis Gordon – Morton, MS; US Navy, WWII, USS Samuel Parker

Joyce Hansen – Strafford, ENG; Civilian, WWII, English Nat. Fire Service

Wallace Helm – Calgary, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Alexander W. Missildine – Tyler, TX;  US Army, Iraq, Spc., 710th Batt/3rd BCT/10th Mountain Div.

C.C. ‘Doc’ Privette – Pine Tree, AR; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Rugeley – Metairie, LA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Engineers

Seth Stone – Houston, TX; US Navy, Commander, SOCPAC

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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

**********          **********         **********          **********          **********

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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New Zealand Minesweepers Sink an Enemy Sub – Intermission Story (19)

Kiwi attacking the I-1 submarine

A story I failed to locate from 1943.

By early 1943 the ships of the New Zealand minesweeping flotilla were patrolling along the Guadalcanal coast. The Americans had landed successfully, but Japanese land, air and sea forces held footholds and were still contesting the islands. Although the destroyers of the nocturnal ‘Tokyo Express’ were still active, the Bird-class ships’ usual targets were small craft and submarines attempting to land troops and supplies.

Lt.Cmdr. Peter Phipps, HMNZNS Moa

On the night of 29 January Kiwi and Moa were patrolling along Kamimbo Bay, on the north-western corner of Guadacanal, when Kiwi detected a submarine. It made a depth charge attack, but then lost contact. Kiwi continued to attack and on its third run, the damaged submarine surfaced and attempted to fight it out.

On paper it was two-to-one, but the Japanese sub I-1 was a formidable opponent. At 2135 tons surfaced, the Type J1 class were one and a half times bigger than Moa and Kiwi combined. Undamaged, the sub could outrun them by about five knots. The I-1’s 140-mm gun had greater range and hitting power than the New Zealand ships’ 102-mm guns, and it also had powerful torpedoes. No wonder that to the Kiwi’s crew in the dark, the Japanese shells sounded ‘like an express train going through’.

Lt. Comdr. Gordon Brisdon, HMNZNS Kiwi

In confined waters the Kiwi’s commander, Lieutenant-Commander Gordon Brisdon, decided to get in close to negate some of the sub’s advantages. But that meant braving a hail of fire from light-calibre weapons. Japanese machine-guns bullets sprayed the Kiwi, mortally wounding Acting Leading Signalman C.H. Buchanan. In pain and bleeding, he remained at his post, lighting up the sub for the gunners with his searchlight.

With a crunching sound, the Kiwi rammed the I-1 right behind the conning tower. Locked together, the vessels continued to blaze away at each other with light weapons. Twice more Brisdon pulled his ship away from the huge submarine only to ram it again, badly damaging his opponent and crumpling his own bows. When Kiwi’s main gun overheated, Moa took over, chasing the submarine until it ran aground on a reef.

The wreck of Japanese sub I-1

This information comes directly from the New Zealand history website.  By clicking on the links additional information can be acquired.

Critical codes remained on board the submarine and the Japanese command tried unsuccessfully to destroy the boat with air and submarine attacks.  The US Navy reportedly salvaged code books, charts, manuals, the ship’s log and other secret documents.

I-1 sub’s deck gun, now sitting in Torpedo bay Navy Museum.

The sinking of the Japanese submarine was only one of the contributions made by New Zealand to the defeat of Japan in the Pacific. The sinking of I-1 remains one of the proudest moments in New Zealand naval history.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alto ‘Bud’ Adams – St.Lucie County, FL; US Navy, WWII

Colin Bennett – Gisborne, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 46820, WWII

Allan Cameron – Taranaki, NZ; RNZ Army # 459507, WWII, SSgt.

Vivian King (102) – New Plymouth, NZ; 27 NZ(MG)BTN # 42512, WWII, Sgt.

John Pay – Hawkes Bay, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, PTO

Henry ‘Joe’ Sargeant – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Harry Dean Stanton – W.Irvine, KY; US Navy, WWII

Bruce Stott – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 10517, WWII

Hugh Turnbull (103) – Wellington, NZ; British Army ONZM # 129228, WWII, artillery

Jason Woodworth – Kea’au, HI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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