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Camp Polk

Entrance to Camp Polk

It took 22 trains and one week to transport the proud and cocky division to Camp Polk in the west-central area of Louisiana.  This was the home of the armored forces and it would not take long for the two units to clash.  But first, the 11th A/B planned to enjoy the improved living conditions and the 3.2 beer.  They found time to “hit the town” and often it was a place called “Scotty’s,” just outside of Southern Pines.

Camp Polk 1944

The tank units, who called Camp Polk their home, did not take kindly to the new finely tuned troopers who were in the best shape of their lives (and they knew it!).  The 11th A/B  would often “unboot” the tankers when they were in town, forcing them to return to base barefoot and find their footwear neatly lined up in their barracks.

building a pontoon boat in Calcasieu Swamp

Beginning Jan. 10, the men underwent harsh training in preparation for the tests at the hands of the Third Army.  The Louisiana Maneuvers began Feb. 5 with the troopers bivouacked near Hawthorne, LA.  There were 4 tactical maneuvers lasting 3 days each.  First, they jumped and marched immediately after.  Then they attacked and defended using an attack sequence of “flags & umpires.”  Finally, the “enemy” broke through and they would retreat.  The weather in the Calcasieu Swamp was snow, hail, sleet and enough rain to swallow a jeep.  The men joked that the camp should be a naval base.  On Feb. 20, the 11th airborne division took and passed their infantry tests.

Everett Smith w/ unknown buddy, Camp Polk

About this time, Gen. Swing was pleased to be told that the troopers were being sent to the Pacific Theater and MacArthur would consider the unit his “secret weapon.”  This turned out to be one reason for the lack of newspaper coverage for the division until they landed in the Philippines.  I discovered this after an extensive search in the Australian library and newspaper archives.

Camp Polk

The 11th was restricted to base for one month.  Swing decided the men should travel to their POE (Port of Exit/Entry) Camp Stoneman, CA incognito as Shipment # 1855 in an effort to bypass the Inspector General’s men.  Orders were to look and act as a “straight-leg” unit; ALL paratrooper I.D. and clothing to be stowed away.

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News from home:  The Banner (Broad Channel newspaper sent to servicemen) reports:  NY Governor Dewey signed a bill that would allow fishermen of Jamaica Bay to shoot an unlimited amount of eels, but the shooting had to be done with bow and arrow.  Smitty’s mom says:  everyone is still trying to figure that one out.

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Fellow blogger, Carl D’Agostino at “i know i made you smile”, sent me his father’s pictures and information.  Arthur D’Agostino had been with the 8th Armored Division.  They were stationed at Camp Campbell, KY until 1943 when they were moved to Camp Polk, LA to prepare for combat.  The division was sent to the European Theater on 5 December 1943, but Mr. D’Agostino was in recovery from surgery and was spared the journey.  Carl’s blog can be found HERE.

Arthur D’Agostino

Unfortunately, the world lost  Arthur R. D’Agostino, 97. when he passed away March 17, 2021. Served 8th Armored Division March 1943 – September – 1944. T-Sgt. Survived by his son, Carl, two grandchildren and 4 great children. An honest, upright, kind and generous man to all and the best father a son could ever hope for.

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Personal Note – I have recently noticed that I have lost links to blogs I follow.  I can not imagine how it happened and I have recovered a few – BUT I do not know how many others this has happened to.  Please contact me if I have not been on your site the past few weeks!!

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Military Humor from WWII’s Camp Polk – 

Click on to enlarge.

Drill Instructor

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Farewell Salutes – 

Chester Balinski – Highland Heights, OH; US Army, WWII / USMCR

Harold Bates – Rush Center, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Bobbie Ray Daniels (17) – Bedford, VA; US Army, Korea, Pfc., Co. F/2/5/1st Cavalry Division, KIA (Waegwan, So. Korea

Hubert Faure (106) – Neuvic, FRA; French Commandoes, WWII, ETO, Chief Warrant Officer, 1st Battalion, Fusiliers

Abigail Jenks – Gansevoort, NY; US Army, Spc., 1/319 Airborne Field Artillery/3rd Brigade Combat Team

Susanne Kostelnik – Dearborn, MI; Civilian, WWII, teacher at Willow Run Air Force School

Walter Mondale – Ceylon, MN; US Army, Korea / US Senator, Vice-President & Ambassador to Japan

Clayton Schenkelberg (103) – Carroll, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Pearl Harbor survivor, (Ret. 30 y.)

Bernie Sippel – Morningside, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Capt., C-46/C-47 pilot, 64/433rd Troop Transport/ 5th Air Force

Wallace Taylor – Louisville, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, MSgt. / Korea, 38th Ordnance Co., Colonel

Ernest N. Vienneau – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 2nd Lt., B-17 co-pilot, 340/97 BG/15th Air Force, KIA (Maribor, YUGO

KRI Nanggala 402

In honor of the 53 souls lost when the Nanggala went down below the waves.  May their final voyage be on eternal peaceful seas.

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USS Cod (SS 224)

U.S.S. Cod (SS 224), was launched on March 21, 1943. under the command of CDR James C. Dempsey, USN. Dempsey had already won fame by sinking the first Japanese destroyer lost in the war while in command of a tiny, World War I-era submarine.

It was on Cod‘s third patrol, Dempsey’s last in command, that Cod fought her biggest battle. Tracking a massive Japanese convoy heading for Subic Bay in the Philippines on the night of May 10, 1944, Cod maneuvered into firing position just after sunrise. Cod fired three of her four stern tubes at the Japanese destroyer, IJN Karukaya, before unloading all six of her bow tubes at two columns of cargo ships and troop transports. Dempsey watched as the first torpedo exploded under the destroyer’s bridge after a short, 26 second run. Both smoke stacks collapsed and dozens of enemy sailors (watching for submarines) were tossed high into the air. The enemy ship started to sag in the middle, with both bow and stern rising, just as the second torpedo hit near the main mast causing the whole rear half of the Karukaya to disintegrate.

A minute later, all six of Cod‘s bow shots hit targets among the columns of enemy ships. Cod submerged to her 300-foot test depth and ran at her top underwater speed of 8.5 knots for 10 minutes to clear the firing point, which was clearly marked by the white wakes of Cod‘s steam-powered torpedoes. The high-speed run had to be kept to 10 minutes to preserve as much of the submarine’s electric battery as possible for later evasive maneuvers.

The firing point was quickly saturated with aircraft bombs and depth charges dropped by enemy escort ships. Between the explosions of enemy depth charges, Cod‘s sonar operators could hear the sounds of several Japanese ships breaking up and the distinct firecracker sound of an ammunition ship’s cargo exploding. Cod‘s own firecracker show soon followed: a barrage of more than 70 Japanese depth charges shook Cod in less than 15 minutes. After 12 hours submerged Cod surfaced 25 miles away from the attack area in the midst of a heavy night thunderstorm.

It was on Cod‘s seventh and final war patrol that she would carve a unique niche for herself, not for destroying enemy ships, but for performing the only international submarine-to-submarine rescue in history. On the morning of July 8, 1945 Cod arrived at Ladd Reef in the South China Sea to aid the Dutch Submarine O-19 which had grounded on the coral outcropping. After two days of attempts at pulling O-19 free, the captains of both vessels agreed that there was no hope of freeing the Dutch sub from the grip of the reef. After removing the 56 Dutch sailors to safety, Cod destroyed the O-19 with two scuttling charges, two torpedoes, and 16 rounds from Cod‘s 5-inch deck gun. The Cod was home to 153 men for the two and a half-day run to the recently liberated Subic Bay naval base.

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After delivering the O-19 crew, Cod returned to her patrol area off the coast of Vietnam where she resumed boarding and sinking Junks carrying enemy supplies. During one of these “pirate-like” operations, a five-man boarding party was stranded on a junk after Cod was strafed by a Japanese plane and forced to crash dive. It was several hours before Cod could surface to retrieve her boarding party. When she did, the horizon was littered with Junks.

After a two-day search involving several U.S. submarines, the lost crewmen were recovered by the submarine Blenny. Highlights of the patrol, including the O-19 rescue and return of the lost boarding party, were recorded in color movies made by Norman Jensen, a Navy photographer, who was assigned to film Cod‘s war patrol. The films were discovered in the National Archives in 1992.

Start to a series on warships – USS Cod

Today, Cod is one of the finest restored submarines on display and is the only U.S. submarine that has not had stairways and doors cut into her pressure hull for public access. Visitors to this proud ship use the same vertical ladders and hatches that were used by her crew. Cleveland can claim partial credit as Cod‘s birthplace, since the submarine’s five massive diesel engines were built by General Motors’ Cleveland Diesel plant on Cleveland’s west side.

Cod is credited with sinking more than 12 enemy vessels totaling more than 37,000 tons, and damaging another 36,000 tons of enemy shipping. All seven of her war patrols were considered successful and Cod was awarded seven battle stars. Patrols 1, 2, and 3 were under the command of CDR James C. Dempsey, USN; patrols 4, 5, and 6 were under the command of CDR James “Caddy” Adkins, USN; and patrol 7 was under the command of LCDR Edwin M. Westbrook, Jr., USN.

Cod is now docked in Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio and is maintained and operated as a memorial to the more than 3900 submariners who lost their lives during the 100 year history of the United States Navy Submarine Force.

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1940’s Naval Humor –

Navy Humor – courtesy of Chris @ Muscleheaded.wordpress.com

Navy training…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Appelbaum – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, submarine service

Demetrius, Babiak – brn: Lug, POL; US navy, WWII, medic

Frank Eckert – Bridgeport, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, tail gunner

Paul Green – Bay County, FL; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 25 y.)

Jack Harris Sr. – Quebec, CAN; US Navy, WWII, PTO / US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 28 y.)

Donald MacDonald – Elizabeth, NJ; USMC, WWII, PTO, 4th Marine Division

James May – East Aurora, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. B/457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Wesley Nutt – Davison, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188/11th Airborne Division

Leon Spinks – St. Louis, MO; USMC  /  Olympic + pro boxer

Theodore Weygandt – New Eagle, PA; US Navy  /  US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, MP (Ret. 20 y.)

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The U.S.O.’s 80th Anniversary

“Until everyone comes home” is the motto of the U.S.O., the nonprofit organization has stuck to that motto, doing its best to bring support and entertainment to American military personnel around the world.

To connect to the organization, please click HERE!

Over the course of the USO’s 80-year history, the organization has seen it all: the beaches of France, the jungles of Vietnam, the deserts of Saudi Arabia and the mountains of AfghanistanBut most importantly, the USO has witnessed several generations of service members, military spouses and military families pass through its doors – and has provided them with crucial support by boosting their morale and keeping them connected to one another throughout their time in the military.

Boxing match w/ Sugar Ray Leonard & Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney as referee.

Starting in 1941 and in the eight decades since, the USO has remained committed to always standing by the military’s side, no matter where their service takes them.

Eleven months before the United States’ official entry into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was already creating a support system for the nation’s Armed Forces. Bringing together the Salvation Army, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the National Catholic Community Service, the National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board, these six organizations formed the United Service Organizations (USO) on 4 February 1941. The USO was created specifically to provide morale and recreation services to the troops.

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“Until everyone comes home” is the motto of the U.S.O., the nonprofit organization has stuck to that motto, doing its best to bring support and entertainment to American military personnel around the world.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jesse Anderson – Boise, ID; National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer 4, instructor pilot

Dale F. Bruhs – Milford, MD; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Millie Hughes-Fulford –  Mineral Wells, TX; US Army Reserve, Medical Corps / NASA, 1st female astronaut-

Michael Gastrich – Cincinnati, OH; US Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class, air crew mechanic/flight engineer

Roland Horn – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII, Chief Warrant Officer (Ret.)

George Laubhan – Boise, ID; National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer 3, instructor pilot

Charlotte MacDonough – Boston, MA; Civilian, WWII, made B-17 fuel bladders

Ryan Mason – Carthage, NY & TX; US Army, Middle East, Sgt.

Matthew Peltzer – Napa, ID; National Guard, Chief Petty Officer 3, pilot

George P. Shultz (100) – Englewood, NJ; USMC, WWII, PTO / Secretary of Labor, Treasury and State

Julian Vargas – Silver City, NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187/11th Airborne Division

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Del Ray Echo Hawk

”Ken’s Men Against the Empire, vol. I”

I acquired “Ken’s Men, Against the Empire, volume I” during this pandemic of ours and when I reached the story of Bootless Bay, I couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I decided to share it with you all.  I thank the research of Lawrence J. Hickey and the IHRA for over 373 pages of unforgettable stories, plus a sneak preview of Volume II.  I can’t praise this organization enough.  I recommend you all try at least one of their books.

Del Ray Echo Hawk

Rescue from Bootless Bay

As men fought on the ground in New Guinea, the 5th Air Force was in the sky above them.  The B-24D, the “Ben Buzzard”, 43rd Bombardment Group/64th Bombardment Squadron, with Lt. Stephen Blount as pilot, could be heard over the radio at Seven Mile Drome as they returned in violent weather over the Owen Stanley Mts.,  and then the roar of the engines abruptly ceased…

“Ben Buzzard” 43rd Bombardment Group

Gas was leaking from a split in the trailing edge of the left wing; then one of the engines on the left wing suddenly quit and the radio operator couldn’t raise the tower, he had no idea if they were receiving his messages.

“Ben Buzzard” skipped across the water, then porpoised.  The rear part of the plane split and flipped over the nose.  Blount, not wearing his seatbelt, was catapulted through the Plexiglas windshield.

Jack Matisoff & Del Ray Echo Hawk, best friends

It was 18 October 1943 when Staff Sgt. DelRay Echo Hawk, who had been manning one of the waist guns and wounded, popped to the surface.  He then filled his lungs and dove back underwater.  He swam to the waist area of the aircraft, bent back the rear fuselage and pulled SSgt. Clayton L. Landon out of the wrecked Liberator.  Del Ray’s hands were cut and bleeding from the jagged metal, but he had saved Landon’s life.

Major Harold M. Brecht, who had just landed, hurried to his plane with another pilot and took off in search of the missing crew.  Their flight path took them directly down the length of Bootless Bay, where Blount and co-pilot, Julian Petty were yelling and waving frantically…

Crew taken in front of “Lucky Lucille”. Top 2nd from right is Jack Matisoff, 4th from Right, Echo Hawk. Signatures on back: Julian Al Petty, John R. O’Neal Jr., Coltrane C. Sherrill, Bob Lee, Bob Mason, Delray Echo Hawk, Albert Richter Jr., Jack Shainfine, Arthur Brent

Apparently unseen, the 4 surviving crewmen continued to ride the 3-foot swells.  Fortunately, within a few minutes a canoe appeared and turned in their direction.  Inside were 2 curious Australian enlisted men, who had seen the plane disappear and commandeered a native boat to investigate.

After a hurried discussion, it was decided that the men would hold onto the side of the canoe and be towed.

The Australians at the camp formed 2 long parallel lines 200 yards out in the water.  The Americans were passed from one man to another until they were safely on shore.

Landon and Echo Hawk, the most seriously injured, were laid out on the beach to await an ambulance.  They were then transported to a field hospital.

Lt. Blount would recommend Del Ray Echo Hawk, a member of the Oklahoma  Cherokee Nation, for the Silver Star for his exceptional bravery in rescuing SSgt. Landon.  Echo Hawk later received the Soldier’s Medal and the entire crew was awarded the Purple Heart.

Grave marker for Del Ray Echo Hawk

This story was condensed.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert D. Bay – Chesterfield, MI; US Army, WWII, PTO, Corps of Engineers, MGen. (Ret.)

Shirley (Cherrington) Beachum – Catawissa, PA; US Army WAC, WWII, link instructor

From: Cora Metz posters

Wilfred C. Cloutier – Guilford, VT; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Ralph Dunwoody – Aberdeen, SD; US Army, WWII, Intelligence & Recon

Dorothy D. Garippo – Roselle, IL; US Navy WAVE, WWII, nurse

Yvonne H. Jackson – Owego, NY; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Gene M. Kirby – Davenport, IA; US Army, WWII, ETO

A.J. Laughlin – New Carlisle, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Jack Moreland – Paducah, TX; US Army, WWII, 2nd Division

Raymond Sontag (101) – Creve Coeur, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt.

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Pacific War in art – 1945

I wish all of the distinguished artists of WWII could have been included – here is the final year of the Pacific War…

“Battle of Luzon” by: Yorozujiro Terauchi, 1945

Mandalay, Burma, by: David Pentland, Feb. ’45

Pacific Glory” by: Nicholas Trudgian

It is March 1945 and the P-38’s of the 475th FG are involved in a huge dogfight with Japanese Zeros over the coast of Indo-China. Flying “Pee Wee V” is Lt Ken Hart of the 431st Fighter Squadron, who has fatally damaged a Zero in a blistering head on encounter. The second P-38L – “Vickie” – belongs to Captain John ‘rabbit’ Pietz, who would end the War as an Ace with six victories.
Signed by three highly decorated P-38 pilots who flew in combat with the 475th Fighter Group in the Pacific theatre during World War II.

‘The Great Tokyo Air Raid’ by: Hashimoto Kimisuke, 10 March ’45, age 7

Raid on China Coast, By: Roy Grinnell April ’45

“Indochina Prisoners of War” by: Donald Friend

‘Ready Room’ by: Tom Lea

“Victoria, Labuan Island” Borneo, July ’45 by: William E. Pigeon

“Standing Guard” by Sgt. John Ruge, USMC, Naha, Okinawa, cover of ‘Yank’ mag.

“Surrender Flight” by: Mike Hagel, 19 Aug. 1945

‘Milk Run to Kyushu’ by: Jack Fellows

 

“USS Missouri Signing” by: Standish Backus, 2 Sept. ’45

Responsibility, But For What? Kyoto Street by: Barse Miller. Army WWII, 28 Sept. ’45

‘Japan Surrender’ by: Howard Brodie (veteran of 3 wars, Bronze Star)

Resources –

IHRA: for their blog and their books and prints

Jack Fellows website

Howard Brodie sketches

“WWII” by: James Jones

“WWII: A Tribute in Art and Literature” by: David Colbert

For the art of Nicholas Trudgian http://www.brooksart.com/Pacificglory.html

Roy Grinnell

https://www.roygrinnellart.com/ Barse Miller

http://www.artnet.com/artists/barse-miller/

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE AND VIEW THE DETAIL.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence Beller – Bisbee, AZ; US Air Force, Korea, 67th Airborne Reporter Corps

Jack Bray – Madison, WI; US Army, Korea, 82nd Airborne Division + 187th RCT

Adam M. Foti – Moyack, NC; US Navy, Chief Petty Officer, USS Jason Dunham

Juan Garcia – Brownsville, TX; US Army, Vietnam, Sgt. Major (Ret.), Co. E/3/506/101st Airborne Division

John Hoyt – Reading, MA; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

Leon Kneebone – State College, PA, US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co F/187/11th Airborne Division

George E. Lineham – Sanbornville, NH; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Edward C. Meyer – Arlington, VA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, General, Army Chief of Staff, West Point grad ’51, Bronze Star, 2 Silver Stars, Purple Heart

Earl Smith Jr. – Oakland, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., 80th Fighter Squadron, P-38 pilot, KIA (Paga Point, New Guinea)

John Waterman (100) – Tunbridge Wells, ENG; Royal Army, Special Boat & Air Services, WWII

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Pacific War in art – 1943

TO CONTINUE OUR MINI-GALLERY OF DISTINGUISHED ARTIST’S VIEW OF WWII ……

RAAF Kittyhawk Squadron, Milne Bay, New Guinea, by: William Dargie

5th Air Force & RAAF, Battle of the Bismark Sea

USS Bailey, Battle of Komandorski, by I.R. Lloyd

“Mission Accomplished”, Yamamoto shot down, 18 April 1943, by Roy Grinnell

Japanese postcard, Aleutian Campaign

The Solomons, by: Peter Dennis

IJN Amagiri ramming PT-109

‘Marine Raider’ Bougainville, by: Marc Erickson

Tarawa by: Tom Lovell

Pappy Boyington, F-4U Corsair, by: Craig Tinder

Cape Gloucester, Solomons, 26 Dec. 1943

Resources:

IHRA: for their blog and their books and prints

Jack Fellows website

William Dargie artwork

“WWII: A Tribute in Art and Literature” edited by David Colbert

Nicholas Trudgian

http://www.nicolastrudgian.com/

I.R. Lloyd

http://ussbaileydd492.org/crew_signatures_on_ir_lloyd_painting_the_battle_of_the_komandorski_islands.html

Roy Grinnell

https://www.roygrinnellart.com/

Craig Tinder artwork

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Jack D. Baker – New Salisbury, IN; US Navy, WWII, USS Iowa

Gilbert Clarin – Turlock, CA; US Army, 511th Regiment

Randall Edwards (103) – Ruskin, NE; US Navy, WWII, Pto & CBI, USS Canopus, radioman, POW

Paul Ernyei – Burton, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Mary Fusselman – Davenport, IA; Civilian, WWII, military cartographer

Winston F. Groom Jr. – Fairhope, AL; US Army, Vietnam, 2nd Lt.,  /  author: “Forest Gump”

Leslie Kessler Jr. – Columbus, TX; US Army, WWII, PTO, Marine Engineman, Co. C/593rd Engineer Boat Regiment

Jason E. Pelletier – Presque Isle, ME; US Army, Iraq & Afghanistan, 2nd. Lt. (22 y.)

Donald Stoulil – Olivia, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot, 303rd Bomb Group

Carl L. Ware (101) – Odenville, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt., Co. E/159th Combat Engineers

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Home Front – Hard to keep the good times rollin’

 

[ This post was originally a guest post I wrote for Judy Guion @ Greatest Generation Lessons.  Being as times are rough these days, I thought a bit of comparison with what our parents and grandparents went through was in order. ]

Columnist Marquis Childs said after Pearl Harbor: “Nothing will ever be the same.”  Thirty-five years later he added: “It never has and never will be.”

We need to remember that in 1941 as much as 40% of U.S. families lived below the poverty level, approximately 8 million worked for less than minimum wage and another 8 million were unemployed.  The median income was about $2,000 per year.  The government, in virtually fighting two separate wars, entered into civilian lives by raising taxes, rationing, controlling prices and allotting jobs.

Once the war began, truck convoys became commonplace and train depots burst into arenas of activity.  The movement was not entirely servicemen as women began to migrate into towns and communities near the military bases and jobs when they entered the workforce.  Judy Guion’s Aunt Jean did just that by going to Florida to be near her husband Dick.  Minorities headed for higher paying positions in defense plants and shipyards.

The greatest annoyance to civilians was the fact that new automobiles were no longer being produced.  The public’s status symbol and route to financial and social activities had been curtailed and this caused boot-leg markets to spring up selling tires and taking their chances with the law.  The La Salle Motor Company in Indiana was the first firm to be cited by the government.  The Office of Price Administration would regulate everything from soup and shoes to nuts and bolts and was responsible for all domestic rationing.  J. Edgar Hoover issued warnings about car thefts; alerting owners to be wary of where they parked their cars, especially during evening hours.  In Southwest Harbor, Maine, reports of gasoline siphoning were a constant problem.

The use of taxicabs grew throughout the world in the early part of the 20th century.  In the 1940’s, the taximeter was developed and the new two-way radio was a great improvement over the old callboxes.  DeSotos, Packards and the GM “General” were the common vehicles utilized for this purpose.

Streetcars were heavily used in the 1930’s, but companies began to fail as gasoline buses (”trackless trolleys”) took their place.  The most prominent name was the Greyhound.  In 1936, they introduced their “Super Coach” for family travel and it was so well received that within four years, they opened a chain of restaurants called “Post House.”  When war began, they became a major carrier of the troops heading to the east and west coasts.  Since nearly 40% of their workforce was eventually drafted, women were offered training as bus drivers.  Local buses where often late and overcrowded, having standing room only.  A person was often unable to keep a reliable daily schedule due to the situation.

Delta Airlines’ ad, 1940’s

Air travel was certainly difficult with a war in progress and the airlines did not have the systems they have now.  Case in point:  the Hoover Airport (where the Pentagon building is now), had a major highway running smack through it.  When a plane took off or landed, the red traffic light was switched on to halt car and truck movement.

Train transport

Trains were the dominate mode of transportation since the transcontinental was completed in 1869 and up until just before the war era when cars and trucks became predominate.  The massive movement around the country pressed heavily on the antiquated railroad network.  Most of the system had been built in the decades following the Civil War.  The Office of Defense Transportation urged people to only travel on “slack days” and take one-day vacations.  The Director stated, “Needless passenger movement is getting to the point where it is embarrassing the war effort.”  One rail line that came out of Saint Louis, called the “Jeffersonian,” had only reserved seating, but people continued to line up in the aisles.

1944 Arnold Schwinn ad, Chicago, IL

In congested areas, such as N.Y.C., vendors began to spring up to rent out bicycles.  In fact, the summer of 1942, when the gas pumps went dry, drivers followed a gas truck to its delivery point, (as many as 350 would line up) so the bicycle business erupted.  When walking became more important, leather for shoes became scarce and shoe rationing went into effect February 1943.  In the U.S., three pairs per year was the quota and in England it was only one.  By 1944, the U.S. civilian ration was dropped to two pair.

Greyhound 1940’s ad

The old saying, “Let the good times roll” proved difficult and often the stories seem to be from another world rather than another decade.  Do any of our readers have stories they remember or were told?  How would any of you deal with this lifestyle?

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Home Front Humor –

Chattanooga Times, the overburdened railroads

“When you boys finish with your Civil Air Patrolling stuff, I’ll have some iced tea ready for you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul A. Avolese – USA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Major, radar/navigator, 4133 Bombardment Wing, KIA (South China Sea)

Neil Bohner – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Bernard Brown – Rutland, VT; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Kevin Dobson – NYC, NY; US Army, Military Police  /  Actor

Fred Ferry – Clarksville, TN; US Army, Co. A/544 Artillery/11th Airborne Division, (Ret. 23 y.)

Rosanna H. Gravely (102) – Camden, NJ & CO; US Navy WAVES, WWII, PTO, Yeoman 1st Class

Joseph W. Hoffman – USA; US Navy, WWII, Navy musician 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

John P. Langan – Columbus, NE; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc., Co. C/1/6/2nd Marine Division, KIA (Tarawa)

Neal ‘Lil Pa’ Stevenson – Houma, LA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Patricia Warner – Lincoln, MA; OSS, WWII, undercover agent

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Ted Crosby – An Ace in a Day

n a dramatic painting by Roy Grinnell, Lieutenant (j.g.) Willis Hardy, a member of Crosby’s VF-17 Squadron from the carrier USS Hornet, flames a Japanese kamikaze plane that was on its way to attack the American naval task force off Okinawa, April 6, 1945. The Hellcat’s distinctive “white checkerboard” markings show it belongs to the USS Hornet (CV12).

As Ted Crosby watched, Yamato’s giant, 18-inch guns hit the water, their enormous weight probably helping the battleship capsize. Suddenly, Yamato’s No. 1 magazine exploded, sending up a huge coil of smoke and flame that could be seen for over 100 miles. It was a strange foretaste of the atomic mushroom clouds that would envelope Hiroshima and Nagasaki a few months later.

Watching from above, Crosby had no feeling of elation. “I was thinking of the Japanese crew,” he said in a 2011 interview. “Three thousand lives lost.”  As a former fighter pilot and Navy man, he could appreciate what it meant to go down fighting with his comrades.

During his World War II career, Ted Crosby served aboard two Essex-class carriers, Bunker Hill (CV 17) and Hornet (CV 12). There were 24 Essex-class carriers built during the war, and they soon became the backbone of America’s naval offensive in the Pacific. The efforts of pilots like Crosby not only turned defeat into victory, but also changed the course of naval warfare forever.

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Ensign John T. Crosby, shortly after being commissioned in May 1943.

An autumn raid on Rabaul was a major effort involving several American carriers. It was also Ted Crosby’s first taste of battle. The raid of November 11, 1943, involved dogfights on a massive scale. It was an aerial free-for-all, with the new F6F Hellcat generally gaining the upper hand over the vaunted Mitsubishi A6M Zero or “Zeke.”

On November 26, 1943, Ted got his first kill—a piece of a Mitsubishi G4M Betty bomber.  A steady stream of .50-caliber slugs sprayed from Ted’s six machine guns peppered and shattered the Betty’s tail and rear-gun position. Other Hellcats chimed in, joining Crosby’s symphony of destruction until the stricken bomber crashed. When he got back to Bunker Hill, he claimed the Betty, but it was determined that the other pilots had a share in its downing. As a result, Crosby’s official score stood at one-quarter of a Japanese bomber.

In dogfights and strafing runs, Ted had only one rule: “Don’t be in any one spot for more than 10 seconds! When I looked in my rear view mirror, I’d often see flak bursts where my plane had just been.”

In January 1945, Ted joined a newly reformed VF-17 aboard the USS Hornet. The new VF-17 appropriated the old formation’s skull and crossbones logo, but this time the men would be exclusively flying Hellcats, not Corsairs. The commander of the new VF-17 was Lt. Cmdr. Marshall U. “Marsh” Beebe.

On April 16, 1945, Ted Crosby became an ace in a day, shooting down five Japanese planes on a single mission. The Marines had landed on Okinawa on April 1 and, as time went on, the battle for the island intensified. Swarms of kamikazes flew out of Kyushu on suicide missions, crashing into any Allied ship they could find in the area. Ted and his fellow aviators called them “kami-krazies.” They seemed to conform to the wartime stereotype of fanatics who would rather commit suicide than surrender.

Crosby began April 16 on a target combat air patrol with Lt. Cmdr. Beebe. Crosby’s division (four Hellcats) was led by Lieutenant Milliard “Fuzz” Wooley; Ensigns J. Garrett and W.L. Osborn completed the quartet. As  VF-17’s war diary put it, “Wooley’s division ‘tallyhoed’ [engaged] 12 Jacks and Zekes at 24,000 feet and started working them over.”

Actually, there were two groups of Japanese planes, a dozen or so at around 24,000 feet and a second group that was flying about 9,000 feet lower. Their main target was a destroyer, possibly a Fletcher-class vessel, that was cruising north of Okinawa. Ted could not recall the name of the ship, but its call sign was “Whiskey Base.”

The fighter director aboard the destroyer was happy to see Hellcats above him but dismayed when it appeared that they were leaving. “The fighter director said, ‘I see what you guys are doing––don’t leave us!’ Wooley replied, ‘Don’t worry. We’ll be back. We want to meet these guys halfway before they can get to you!’”

In the process, Wooley and Crosby became separated from the other pilots. Squadron Commander Beebe called them, asking for their position. Crosby said, “Fuzz” replied, ‘Never mind, skipper, we got them [the Japanese] cornered!’”

The first plane Crosby encountered was a Mitsubishi J2M “Jack” fighter that was coming head on. Crosby and his adversary were seemingly on a collision course, like two medieval knights jousting in a tournament.

“Well, I met that Japanese plane head on with my six .50-caliber guns, and the impact of the bullets blew him apart. Part of his engine and propeller, with the prop still turning, flew right over my head. I picked out another [Japanese plane], executed a turn, and went right after him.”

The second was a Zeke, a kamikaze, not a fighter, so Ted proceeded with caution. “We all realized you had to watch out what you did because the kamikazes were loaded with TNT to do us maximum damage. When you hit one, they would really explode! Once they exploded, you’d find yourself flying through lots of garbage and debris.”

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After he downed the Zeke, Crosby attempted to find his division leader only to notice tracer bullets zipping past his Hellcat. Ironically, Ted had found his leader, but not in the way he wanted! The bullets were from Wooley who, in the excitement, had mistaken Crosby for the enemy. Realizing his error, Wooley sheepishly radioed Ted, “Did I get you, Ted?”

“Noooo.…” Ted replied, “but let’s settle down and get more of these guys!”

Wooley readily complied, going after another Japanese plane, but found he was out of ammunition. Ironically, his last few bursts had been expended when he mistakenly fired on Ted. Wooley dove down, making himself a decoy by luring enemy planes into Crosby’s guns. The ruse was successful, enabling Ted to down two more Japanese planes.

They decided to call it a day, but as they started back to the carrier Crosby spotted kamikaze heading toward the same destroyer they had helped protect earlier. Ted gave chase, tattooing the Japanese plane with a spray of .50-caliber lead. He broke off his attack because they were nearing the destroyer, and he knew that the ship’s radar could not distinguish friend from foe.

Sure enough, the destroyer opened fire, and the kamikaze, already disabled by Ted’s guns, angled down and crashed onto a nearby island. Thus, Ted Crosby became an ace in day, credited with three Jacks, a Zeke, and a Val dive bomber.  His skill and valor that day won him the coveted Navy Cross.

Ted says he did not feel too good about downing those kamikazes at first. He realized that most of the suicide pilots had little training and were for the most part sitting ducks to experienced Navy airmen. However, Ted felt better “when I was told the extent of the damage they did on ships, and by shooting them down I was saving American lives.”

Crosby also had a close call on a photo-recon mission near Shokaku, after American carrier planes had attacked Japanese shipping in the area. “I had my plot board out and I’m putting down the time of day, the slant of the sun, and all that had to do with photography. Suddenly, I saw stuff [bullets] bouncing off my wing. I look back, and there’s this guy on my tail—probably a George.  Only time I ever had a guy on my tail.”

After one pass the George broke off the attack and seemed to head back to his base. Crosby was not inclined to follow him. At the moment he was alone, and following an enemy plane over enemy territory did not seem like a wise thing to do. After he got back to Hornet, Ted found an unexploded 30mm shell in his cockpit armor, mute testimony to his luck and the fact that American aircraft designs protected their pilots.

Ted Crosby remained in the Navy after the war and retired with the rank of commander.

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Military Humor –

“Ya might hafta catch a boat. One of those kids ya just chased off th’ field wuz the pilot”

The new “Learn-as-you-Go” pilot training method.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ed Bearrs – Billings, MT; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl., 3rd Marine Raider Battalion & 7/1st Marine Division, Purple Heart  /  Historian

John Bero Jr. – Buffalo, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Patrick Chess – Yakima, WA; US Navy, WWII shipfitter 3rd Class, USS Oklahoma. KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Gabriel J. Eggud – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 1st Lt., pilot, 110/71 Reconnaissance Group, KIA (New Guinea)

Ellis Fryer – Dearborn, MI; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Donald Lesmeister – Harvey, ND; US Navy, Korea, USS Wiltsie

Jack McPherson – Casper, WY; US Army, WWII, Chief Warrant Officer/ Korea & Vietnam/ NSA (Ret.)

June Pearce – Waukon, IA; Civilian, B-17 riveter

Charles Perkins – Quincy, MA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Donald Schimmels (100) – Kewaunee, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII

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USS West Virginia – Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay

USS West Virginia, pre-WWII

Her wounds had been grievous that morning in 1941, when Japanese torpedo bombers  swept low over the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor and unleashed their deadly cargoes at the easy targets moored along Battleship Row.  The surface might of the U.S. Pacific Fleet was virtually helpless against the onslaught, and those ships moored outboard received the brunt of the devastating attack.

Oklahoma capsized and West Virginia took 7 torpedoes into her port side, gouging huge holes in her hull.  Two modified artillery shells, configured as

USS West Virginia (BB-48)

aerial bombs, struck aft.  The ship’s captain, Mervyn Bennion, was cut down by a steel fragment but remained in command, perishing with courage and later receiving a posthumous Medal of Honor.  Dorie Miller, a cook, manned a machine-gun and received the Navy Cross for heroism.

Alert counterflooding kept West Virginia from capsizing and the heavily damaged battleship settled to the bottom of Pearl Harbor upright and on an even keel.  A total of 106 West Virginia sailors were killed that fateful morning.

USS West Virgina @ Pearl Harbor. USCG boat in front saving sailors

At first glance, it appeared that the battleship might be a total loss.  However, salvage and recovery efforts were quickly begun.  West Virginia was refloated and pumped dry.  The bodies of sailors entombed on the ship for days were recovered.  The torpedo holes were patched, and the Colorado- class ship, first launched in November 1921, sailed for Puget Sound Navy Yard, in Bremerton, WA, for a substantial rebuild.

December 7th memories.

After 2 years of modernization,  USS West Virginia was ready for combat duty.  In October, she joined the shore bombardment group off of Leyte, P.I.  Here, her main 16-inch guns barked at the Japanese.  She gained another measure of revenge in the night Battle of Surigao Strait.  Along with the Mississippi, and other Pearl Harbor veterans Tennessee, Maryland, California and Pennsylvania they pounded an enemy surface squadron.

USS West Virginia, sinking at Pearl Harbor

West Virginia, affectionately known to her crew as, “Big Weevie”, later provided fire support for the amphibious landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, remaining to lend heavy artillery as the operations progressed.  She was struck by a Kamikaze plane off Okinawa that killed 4 sailors, but she remained on station until her mission was completed.

When the news of the Japanese surrender reached her crew, the USS West Virginia was ordered to sail for Tokyo Bay.  She arrived on 31 August, and her contingent of Marines went shore.

West Virginia was the largest ship of the U.S. Navy present at both Pearl Harbor and the  2 September surrender ceremonies.  The only other U.S. warship that were at both events was the light cruiser USS Detroit.

USS West Virginia, 1944

After lending 5 musicians from her band to play during the surrender proceedings, she only had one more task to complete: transporting 25,554 fighting men from Pearl Harbor to San Diego, CA, during Operation Magic Carpet, the mammoth undertaking to bring American personnel home from the Pacific.

West Virginia in Hawaii preparing for home, Oct. 1945

She was decommissioned in 1947, and put in the Pacific Reserve Fleet until 1959.  After a storied career spanning 4 decades, she was towed to New York harbor to be broken up for scrap.

The West Virginia’s bell sits in the state museum at Charleston, her wheel and binnacle are at the Hampton Roads Museum, her mast at West Virginia University and an antiaircraft gun in a park at Parkersburg.

WWII History Network.

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Military Humor – Navy Style – 

THE VIEW IS PRETTIEST FROM THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN.

WHY C.O.’S DON’T GET MUCH SLEEP!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frank Anthon – Cincinnati, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, Co. A/1/6/2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, KIA (Tarawa)

Warren G.H. DeVault – TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt., Co. F/2/12/4th Infantry Division, KIA (Hürtgen, GER

HONOR

Roland Fafard – Worchester, MA; US Navy, WWII, SeaBee

Bernie Lieder – Greenwood Township, MN; US Army, WWII, ETO  /  MN Representative

Douglas ‘Knute’ Nelson – Haynesville, LA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Marvin Pretzer – Bay City, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Donald Rusk – Clarks Hill, IN; US Army, Korea, Sgt.

Norma Schrader – Bridgeport, CT; US Army WAC, WWII

Donald Stouli – Robbinsdal, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot, 303 Bomb Group  /  US Air Force, Korea

Julian C. Wills (100) – Flingsville, KY; US Army, WWII, MSgt.

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Conscientious Objector and the Medal of Honor

Desmond Doss

The President of the United States, in the name of Congress, awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to the Nation’s bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard personnel, since the decoration’s creation in 1861!

This article was compiled from a variety of resources to honor one such person…

Desmond T. Doss:

Desmond T. Doss was born on February 7, 1919 in Lynchburg, Virginia, USA as Desmond Thomas Doss. He was married to Frances Duman and Dorothy Schutte. He died on March 23, 2006 in Piedmont, Alabama, USA.

Doss receives Medal of Honor from Pres. Truman

Rank & Unit: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division
Place & Date: Near Urasoe Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 29 April-21 May 1945

He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion, 77th Infantry Division assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As the troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machine gun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within 8 yards of enemy forces in a cave’s mouth, where he dressed his comrades’ wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety.

On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire.

On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers’ return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of 1 arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station.

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While serving with his platoon in 1944 on Guam and the Philippines, he was awarded two Bronze Stars with a “V” device,  for exceptional valor in aiding wounded soldiers under fire. During the Battle of Okinawa, he saved the lives of 50–100 wounded infantrymen atop the area known by the 96th Division as the Maeda Escarpment or Hacksaw Ridge.   Doss was wounded four times in Okinawa and was evacuated on May 21, 1945, aboard the USS Mercy.   Doss suffered a left arm fracture from a sniper’s bullet and at one point had seventeen pieces of shrapnel embedded in his body. 

His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.  The movie, “Hacksaw Ridge” was made to honor this man and his actions.

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Current News – Honoring 9/11

9/11 Tribute

My past posts to give tribute to those affected by 9/11 …

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/911-patriot-and-national-service-day/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/benghazi-9112012/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/patriot-day-9112001/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/national-service-patriot-day-911/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/patriot-national-service-remembrance-day-911/

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Myrwin ‘Red’ Anderson – Madison, IN; US Navy, WWII

Gladys Blum – Philadelphia, PA; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Joseph S. Forzley – Lemont, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 5th Air Force

Charles Herrmann – Cincinnati, OH; USMC, WWII

Joseph Kurata – Acampo, CA; US Army, Japanese Occupation & Korea, Counter Intelligence Corps, Col. (Ret. 32 y.)

Ian McKnight – NC; US Navy, USS Nimitz, 5th Fleet, Information Tech 2nd Class, MIA (Arabian Gulf)

Kathryn Phillips – Columbus, GA; Civilian, US Red Cross, WWII

Amy Ponech – Lethbridge, CAN; WRC Air Force, WWII

Philip Savage Jr. – Buffalo, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 505/82nd Airborne Division

Michael Wadeck – Bradenton, FL; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 27 y.)

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