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International Women’s Day, Veteran of the Day, Violet Gordon

Violet Gordon

Violet Gordon

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Women’s Army Corps Veteran Violet Hill Askins Gordon. Violet served during World War II.

Violet was living in Chicago, Illinois, supervising stenographic pools, bored and restless, when a friend told her about the Women’s Army Corps. Violet enlisted when the first Officer Candidate class for women accepted her application.

At the end of the training period, Violet had earned the rank of Second Commanding Officer and was assigned to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where the first detachment of African-American women for the WAC were stationed. In an interview with the Veterans History Project, Violet said it was a little nerve-wracking when they arrived. “Of course the male units that were already there knew that we were coming. There was a lot of controversy about women in the services. A lot of rumors, most of them not really very complimentary.” Fortunately, Violet said Army officers always maintained safe and appropriate order within the camps.

After Fort Huachuca, Violet and her unit became the only all African-American female unit to serve overseas in England and France during World War II. Violet believes her experiences in WAC changed her from a shy, introspective person into a leader. Violet left the service as a Captain.

Decades after her retirement, Violet went to the dedication of the Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. On the final day, Violet heard somebody say, “Violet?” and turned to see one of her old friends from her unit. “I had no trouble whatsoever recognizing her and obviously she had no trouble recognizing me,” Violet said. Her friend then led Violet to a group of women from her first officer’s class and unit all sitting together. Violet was overjoyed to see her old friends.

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Violet remembers how happy it made her to see the women on active duty at the dedication in D.C. from all branches of the service, representing all colors, all races and all ranks. “It was something that I would have never envisioned in 1942 was right there in front of me.”

This past October, Violet celebrated her 100th birthday in Florida.

Thank you for service, Violet!


Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to newmedia@va.gov with as much of the information as you can put together with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating for how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.


Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.

Japanese View of the Leyte Naval Battle

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The following was published in “Senso: The Japanese Remember the Pacific War.”

Don’t Shoot at a Sinking Enemy

As a 25-year old seaman about a destroyer, I participated in the sea battle off Leyte.  In the midst of the battle, our destroyer was pursuing a fleeing aircraft carrier through squalls and curtains of smoke.  Suddenly a single enemy destroyer headed directly for us.  Attacked by the concentrated fire from our destroyer squadron, it rapidly went up in flames.  As we neared the enemy ship to see its last moment, it listed to one side, with flames rising everywhere.  It was about to sink.  Men were floating on the water’s surface or sinking beneath it, while half-naked crew members jammed themselves into lifeboats and rowed away, escaping.

We were close enough to see their unkempt beards and the tattoos on their arms.  One of our machine-gunners impulsively pulled his trigger.  He must have been overflowing with feelings of animosity toward the enemy.  But he was checked by a loud voice from the bridge saying, “Don’t shoot at escaping men!  Stop shooting, stop!”  So he inflicted no injury on the enemy.

I read an article written after the War’s end that the captain, who survived*, (a descendant of the Cherokee tribe) had tears in his eyes when he recalled the scene. “A Japanese destroyer that passed by did not shoot.  What is more, I cannot forget the officers on the Gigantic warship who saluted us in seeming condolence for the loss of our ship.”  What flashed through my mind was the story of Commodore Uemura, who rescued the crew of the sinking Yurik during the Russo-Japanese War.  Seppū was the name of his destroyer – known as the luckiest warship in the world.

This was written by Okuno Tadashi, who became a business owner in Ōmuta, Japan after the war.

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Edward E. Evans

Edward E. Evans

Commander Ernest Edwin Evans was born in Pawnee, Oklahoma on August 13, 1908.  He was three quarters Cherokee Indian.

During the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 25, 1944 Commander Evans and the USS Johnston were assigned to Task Unit 77.4.3 AKA Taffy III with 2 other destroyers (Hoel and Heermann), 4 destroyer escorts (Butler, Dennis, Raymond, Roberts) and 6  escort carries (Fanshaw Bay, Saint Lo, Kalinin Bay, White Plains, Kitkun Bay, Gambier Bay).  Here, at the Battle Off Samar, they fought the vastly superior Imperial Japanese Navy Centre Force which consisted of 4 battleships, 6 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, and 11 destroyers.

At 9:45 AM Commander Evans ordered his crew to abandon ship.  The USS Johnston sank at 10:10 AM, receiving a hand salute from the skipper of a Japanese destroyer.

* The article Mr. Tadashi read must have been written by another crew member, as Cmdr. Evans was seen abandoning ship, but was never found.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal note – 

I would appreciate hearing if you are interested in more stories from the Japanese side of the war.  I refrained from adding a second story here from a crew member of the Musashi to keep the post at a decent size.

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Military Humor – from the Readers Digest ‘Humor in Uniform –

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“I’m the commander of data security.”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Allis – Clearwater, FL; USMC, WWII, PTO

Lou Bucelli Sr. – Bridgeport, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Scoter

George Clifford-Marsh – Waikato, NZ; RNZ Army # 629433, WWII, Cpl.th-jpg1

James Fuehrmeyer – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Thomas Gibson – Nashville, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, pilot

Stuart Hansen Jr. – Kettering, OH; US Army, Vietnam

Robert Jones – Syracuse, NY; US Navy, WWII

William ‘Bud’ Liebenow – Fredericksburg, VA; US Navy, WWII, PTO & ETO. Captain, PT-199

Howard Porter – Kalamazoo, MI; US Army, WWII, PTO, medic

Joseph Wapner – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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A Soul Lost in a Faraway Jungle – Part 2

Our good friend Koji Kanemoto gives us a view from both sides of the war.

Masako and Spam Musubi

It is believed I occupy a potentially unique position when it comes to looking at history as it pertains to the Pacific Theater in World War II.  I am American first and foremost and have studied WWII history out of curiosity.  As expressed in the description of my blog, my viewpoint is from “one war, two countries, one family”.  However, one potential uniqueness is that I am able to read a bit of Japanese; you may be amazed to read what is written about WWII from the Japanese viewpoint of history. As such, I believe each battle will have in the background two broad, driving and dissimilar viewpoints: one from America and one from Japan.  The attack on Pearl Harbor is one example. But that is but the surface on war’s history – a high altitude view.  One that can be easily manipulated politically. But being on the ground dealing…

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Japanese Prime Minister Abe in Hawaii – correction

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe having a moment of silence after the laying of the wreath

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe having a moment of silence after the laying of the wreath

Once again – correcting the media……

In May, President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in 1945 and soon compelled Japan’s surrender, ending World War II. It was a historic moment: Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city.

Now, Abe is repaying the favor.  On Tuesday, he will accompany Obama to Pearl Harbor, the site of the Japanese attack 75 years ago that led the United States to join World War II.

But is Abe’s visit quite as historic? When it was announced in early December, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said Abe would be the first sitting Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor since World War II. News outlets repeated this assertion, including The Washington Post.

But quickly afterward, things began to look a little more complicated. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper soon reported that Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii, home to Pearl Harbor, in 1951 when flying back home from San Francisco. He made a public visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, which honors American war dead, and a more private visit to Pearl Harbor.

 Aug. 31, 1951, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, center right, accompanied by his daughter, Kazuko, center left, is greeted by Adm. Arthur Radford, left, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Joseph R. Farrington, a delegate of the U.S. Congress for the Territory of Hawaii, during an arrival ceremony for Yoshida in Honolulu. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii in 1951.

Aug. 31, 1951, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, center right, accompanied by his daughter, Kazuko, is greeted by Adm. Arthur Radford ( l), commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Joseph R. Farrington, a delegate of the U.S. Congress for the Territory of Hawaii, during an arrival ceremony for Yoshida in Honolulu. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii in 1951.

The Pearl Harbor visit was not noted widely by the U.S. press, but it appeared in the Japanese press.

Yoshida told a reporter from the Yomiuri Shimbun that he had been “moved” by the visit. It also turns out that the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander at the time, Adm. Arthur Radford, was present. Radford later wrote that the visit was awkward for Yoshida and that they mostly discussed his dog.

Now more developments indicate that Abe may not be the second sitting prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor, either. Last week, the Hawaii Hochi — a dual-language Japanese-English newspaper based in Hawaii — suggested that two other Japanese leaders may have visited Pearl Harbor in the 1950s.

The newspaper posted images to its Facebook account that showed two front pages from its archive. One claimed that Ichiro Hatoyama visited the harbor on Oct. 29, 1956, where he was welcomed by a 19-gun salute and a band performing Japan’s national anthem. Another headline says that Nobusuke Kishi, Abe’s grandfather, visited the harbor on June 28, 1957, where he laid a wreath at the flagpole at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The Japanese government has now been forced to change its story. After Yoshida’s visit to Pearl Harbor was made public again, the government asserted that as the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor was not constructed until 1962, Abe will still be the first to visit the most famous monument. “He will also be the first to do so with an American president,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Sheila Smith, a senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, says she was “taken aback” by the initial mistake.

“If any organization should know its history, its MOFA,” she wrote via email, using an acronym to refer to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. “I’m also surprised that Abe himself or rather his office didn’t correct the record as he is a careful student of his grandfather’s diplomacy towards the U.S.”

Article found in Stars and Stripes magazine; by Adam Taylor | The Washington Post | Published: December 27, 2016

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News Corrections Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Bossi – Medford, MA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Attilio Cardamone – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Real DeGuire – Tecumseh, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, ETO, HMCS Hunter Haida & Algonquinplaying-taps

Pat Farwell – Skagway, AK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot

John Hayes – Elyria, OH; US Navy, WWII

Thelburn Knepp – Peoria, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 89th Infantry Division

Jack Messemer – Phoenix, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW / Korea, Sr. Sgt. Major (Ret. 41 years)

Sam Patane – Kirland, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQS/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Div.

Donald Patterson – Wichita, KA; US Army, Korea

Liz Smith – Lincolnshire, ENG; Women’s Royal Naval Service, WWII, CBI, (beloved actress)

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Working Dogs honored for their service

Sgt. Wes Brown & Isky

Sgt. Wes Brown & Isky

WASHINGTON — During a routine perimeter check in the desert of Afghanistan, Isky found a roadside bomb. He had come to a complete stop, sitting near the explosive device, patiently waiting for orders from his best friend, Army Sgt. Wess Brown.

The IED – buried two feet deep – was a 120-pound bomb. Isky, a German shepherd military working dog, had just saved countless lives.

For his service, he was honored on Capitol Hill – along with three other dogs – with the first-ever K-9 Medal of Courage. It is the nation’s highest honor for military dogs, acknowledging their extraordinary valor and service, awarded by the American Humane Association.

Isky found at least five deadly IEDs and 10 weapon caches as an explosive-detection dog deployed with Brown in July 2013. The two spent a year protecting U.S. political leaders, including President Barack Obama.

Isky and Brown were with 100th Military Working Dog Detachment and have been together since October 2011.

“After he came out of training from Lackland – he was about 18 months old – I was his first handler to certify with him,” Brown, now 27, said.

While most military working dogs can have two to seven handlers, Isky has only had one: Brown.

“I didn’t PCS,” Brown said. If he had, the dog would have gone to a new handler.

In May 2014, Isky’s military career came to an end.

“We were on a combat mission, one of many,” Brown said. “To avoid an ambush we had to get into the vehicles fairly quickly. While Isky was running up the stairs, I had a hold of him, but he fell off the side and broke his leg in six different spots.”

The leg had to be amputated.

“Once I knew he got injured and knew what was happening, as soon as his amputation was scheduled and his future with the Army was done,” Brown put in the paperwork to adopt him, he said.

Brown has been separated from Isky for only two weeks, and that was while Isky recovered. Even when Isky isn’t with him, Brown carries his picture.

These days, instead of searching for bombs, Isky suns himself on a porch in Virginia with Brown. He has become Brown’s PTSD service dog, and the two comfort each other.

“I have nightmares, I get night terrors stuff like that,” Brown said. “I’ll wake up, and he’s jumped up in bed with me. He kind of does the same thing. I’ll hear him have bad dreams and I’ll wake him up. For all I know he’s chasing a ball, but it sounds to me like he’s having a pretty rough time in some of these dreams. I’ll wake him up and he jumps right up in bed with me. And we both calm down.”

Brown has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, and has three crushed discs in his neck. He is currently waiting to be medically retired from the Army.

Isky hasn’t been trained as a PTSD dog. But his bond with Brown is strong enough that when Brown has an anxiety attack, Isky knows.

“When I look at him, I feel safe because of everything we did together in Afghanistan. If it wasn’t for him and doing what we did, there would be a lot more people unable to go home,” Brown said.

More than 200 Congressional staffers and 19 members of Congress attended the event to honor military working dogs. The other dogs who earned the Medal of Courage:

  • Matty, a Czech German shepherd, was a bomb-detection dog in Afghanistan. Now retired Army Spc. Brent Grommet, his handler, says that Matty saved his life and the lives of everyone in his unit more than once. The two were wounded together, including being in a truck that was hit by two roadside bombs. They were flown back to the U.S. for treatment, and while Grommet was in surgery, Matty was wrongly given to someone else. The Humane Association helped reunite the two, and now Matty serves as a support dog for Grommet.
  • Fieldy, a black Labrador retriever, served four combat tours in Afghanistan, where he worked to detect explosives. Handler Marine Cpl. Nick Caceres spent seven months deployed with Fieldy in 2011 and adopted him three years later when the lab was discharged.
  • Bond, a Belgian Malinois, worked 50 combat missions and deployed to Afghanistan three times. He was a multipurpose dog with a special operations unit before he retired. Bond suffers from combat trauma and will be reunited with his handler, who will leave active duty in a few months.

From “Stars and Stripes.”

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Military Canine Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

  • Cairo, a Belgian Malinois used by U.S. Navy Seals in Operation Neptune Spear, in which Osama bin Laden was killed.
  • Gander –  a Newfoundland, was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medall for his feats during the Battle of Hong Kong in WWII.
    Civil War mascot memorial

    Civil War mascot memorial

    Gunner –  Canine air-raid early warning system during the bombing of Darwin in World War II.

  • Rags –  a Signal Corps mascot during World War I.
  • Rifleman Khan –  a German Shepherd that won the Dickin Medal for bravery.
  • Rip –  a Second World War search and rescue dog.
  • Sarbi –  an Australian special forces explosives detection dog, that spent almost 14 months missing in action (MIA) in Afghanistan before being recovered in 2009.
  • Sasha – bomb sniffing dog, posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal
  • Smoky –  hero war dog of World War II, was a Yorkshire Terrier that served with the 5th Air Force in the Pacific after she was adopted by Corporal William Wynne.  Smoky was credited with twelve combat missions and awarded eight battle stars.
    .Sgt. Stubby –  a Boston bull terrier, the most decorated war dog of WWI and the only dog to be nominated for rank and then promoted to sergeant through combat.
  • Tich –  Dickin Medal winner of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, WWII
  • Treo –  awarded Dickin Medal for work as a Arms and Explosives Search dog in Helmand Province, Afghanistan
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Smitty ~ Letter X

11th Airborne preparing to jump. (soldier turned around appears to be Smitty)

11th Airborne preparing to jump. (soldier turned around appears to be Smitty)

In Dobodura, New Guinea, the 457th began to notice severe shortages in their sugar supply.  As it turned out, there was a major boot-legging operation in progress.  With the absence of alcohol, the men felt ‘necessity would be the mother of invention’, but they were caught with their stills in production.  The makeshift liquor companies were immediately put out of business.

My father had other ideas.  Smitty’s ingenuity was unfailing.  He used to tell me, “If you think hard enough, there’s a solution to every problem.”  After years of having tended bar, this was going to  be right up Smitty’s alley.

Letter # 10 has been previously published by “Whistling Shade” magazine in 2007.  I submitted it during their war story inquiry.

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Letter X                                          “Jungle Juice”                                  Monday 7/17/44

Dear Mom,  The title of this letter, at first glance, will no doubt puzzle you, but I suspect at the end you will know more than you do now.  Before going any farther with this, allow me to explain the whys and wherefores of its origin and purpose.

The Army has been telling us, for some time now, that any day (they mean year), they are going to issue us hot, dry soldiers some beer.  They haven’t told us the percentages yet, but never fear, it will be 3.2.  In the meantime, we’re here in New Guinea patiently awaiting the day.  We know, because our eyes and nostrils do not lie, that there is good whiskey slyly floating about.  Try as we may to lay hold of some, as yet, none have succeeded. 

There is an old saying, told to me by a much older and wiser veteran of this man’s army that goes: “Take something away from a soldier and he will, in time, make or find a better substitute.”  Hence and forever after – Jungle Juice.

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To begin the making of this liquor substitute, one must first overcome a few minor details in order to secure the necessary equipment and ingredients.  First:  You may try to cultivate the friendship of the mess sergeant.  This is easily accomplished if one is well endowed with currency.  Second:  You may try getting on guard duty and taking a chance of getting the job of protecting the mess hall. (The odds against this working out is ten to one against you.)  This is the hard way of acquiring the friendship of the mess sergeant and we will continue.  With your new buddy’s help, you now have in your proud and cherished possession a quantity of raisins, dried prunes or apricots and some sugar.  (Very rarely will one come up with any yeast, so we will forget it.)

Now, we need something to put all this stuff into.  To make matters worse, it cannot be metal and it must be waterproof.  A nail barrel will do the trick, if we soak it in water, thereby allowing the wood to swell.  You could go to the supply sergeant and get a saw, hammer, nails and boards, but in taking this route, you risk your supplier discovering your idea and you will have to pay him off with the promise that, when finished, he will receive a share.  Not only is this undesirable, but now you will have to sit out in the hot sun and build a cask.  My first suggestion of a nail barrel will not only save you labor, but also add an extra drink of this wonderful alcoholic beverage.

Now, we are ready to begin.  Into the empty cask, put your fruit and sugar, making certain to add water.  With your hands, (clean ones are advisable) stir everything around while crushing some of the fruit with your fists.  This is what’s called the “rapid juice extraction process.”  When finished, cover the cask with a clean piece of linen long enough to drape over the side.  Here, you can also use a G.I. handkerchief or undershirt.  (This is just a sanitary precaution and it in no way affects the product.)

Now, dig yourself a hole (under your bunk preferably) large enough to receive the cask and conceal it.  This is a necessary precaution as the manufacture of Jungle Juice is frowned upon by the Army and especially you C.O. or Inspection Officer.  The finding of such might cause embarrassment.  This way it will only be found if someone should trip you C.O. and he inadvertently falls face down on the spot.

All you have to do at this point is use some self-control and patiently wait out the next two or three weeks as the fruit, sugar and water do their stuff.  We all know from experience that you will only sit out two weeks, so let’s get on with the last step.  Surely you have kept busy locating empty bottles and cleaning them, so dig up the cask.hootch-2bbottles-640x560

To accomplish the final phase, it is wise to get your mattress cover and put it over a clean, steel helmet.  You will find that the Army had supplied you with a damn good filter.  The whole parts stay on top and the liquid freely pours through, without blemish to the helmet.  Pour the juice into the bottles and seal with candle wax, making them air tight.  Here is the most difficult step because by this time, not only your curiosity, but your craving for a taste is so high — you’re almost completely out of control.  But, you must put your contraband away for one more week.

As the expected day approaches, I want to warn you to be on the lookout for newly acquired friends who start calling on you, regardless of the fact that they never came near you before.  Yes, you are suddenly becoming the most popular guy in camp.  When the hour approaches, marked as the time of reckoning, I would advise you to make up your mind that you are not going to finish it all in one sitting.  Actually, this precaution is really unnecessary, as the Jungle Juice will decide that for you.

I won’t describe the taste.  For some it is bitter and others say sweet.  No two batches are alike and in fact the Juice has no opposition.  Even its most adamant foes agree that for variety, the Juice has no equal.

This recipe is given free of charge.

I hope to hear your hiccupping in your next letter soon.  Your brewmeister son & never to be dry again,     Everett

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General Swing decided, after the stills were destroyed, to bring in ice cream machines and set up sports competitions.  Teams were made up for volleyball, softball and tackle football.  This proved not only to lift their spirits, but the activities kept them in top physical shape.

It always amazed me that such a letter as “Jungle Juice” made it through the censors without Smitty ever getting into trouble.  His little operation was never discovered.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –demotivational-poster-beer

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gilbert Berry – Northwood, OH; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Gerald Boutilier – St. Margaret’s Bay, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO, POW

Standing Guard

Standing Guard

Joseph Cox – Charlotte, NC; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. (Ret.28 years), Silver Star, Bronze Star

Alfred Doktor – Riverton, KS; US Army, Korea, E/187th RCT

Maurice Eatwell (102) – Greymouth, NZ; RNZ Army # 80776, WWII, 35th & 37th Field Batt.

Guy Luck – Cajun, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 457th Artillery/11th A/B Div.

Warren Mitchell – London, ENG; RAF, (beloved actor)

Thomas O’Grady – Newport News, VA; US Army, 503rd/11th Airborne Division

Melvin Smith – Waldwick, NJ; US Navy, WWII, submarine SSR 272 Red Fin

Leonard Sousa – Manchester, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div.

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Veteran’s Day ~ Remembrance

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“FOR TOO LONG, TOO MANY OF US HAVE PAID SCANT ATTENTION TO THE SACRIFICE OF A BRAVE FEW IN OUR MIDST.  IT IS UNHEALTHY FOR A NATION TO BECOME DETACHED FROM THOSE WHO SECURE IT.”_______Howard Schultz, author of For Love of Country

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I first want to give my personal THANK YOU to each and every veteran that fights for peace and freedom!!!  I tear up and become speechless at the mere sight of any one of you!!

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 Here in the United States of America we do our best to convey our gratitude to these men and women for giving so much of themselves for our safety on this day.  In such nations as: Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, India, Mauritius, South Africa and many in Europe, a day set aside is called Remembrance Day and was recently observed.

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Our fellow blogger @ Parent Rap led me to this –  100 Ways to Honor a Veteran – if you care to view it – CLICK HERE.

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FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

by: Cadet Major Kelly Strong, Air Force Junior ROTC, Homestead Senior High, Homestead, FL 1988

watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.
 
looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
 
thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mother’s tears?
 
How many pilot’s planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldier’s graves?
No, freedom is not free.
 
I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a certain chill.
 
I wondered how many times
that Taps meant “Amen,”
When a flag draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
 
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
 
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
O unmarked graves in Arlington
No, freedom is not free.
 
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Farewell Salutes –

Andrew Byers – Rolesville, NC; US Army, Afghanistan, 10th Special Forces Group, Capt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

Jason Finan – Anaheim, CA; US Navy, Iraq, Chief Petty Officer, KIA veterans_day

Ryan Gloyer – Denton, PA; US Army, Afghanistan, 10th Special Forces Group, Sgt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

William Hobbs – Marietta, GA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 187th Reg/11th Airborne & later 82nd difference-memorial-veterans-day-640x480Airborne (Ret.)

Matthew Lewellen – Kirksville, MI; US Army, Jordan, Special Forces, SSgt., KIA

Kevin McEnroe – Tucson, AZ; US Army, Afghanistan, Jordan, KIA

James Moriarty – Kerrville TX, US Army, Jordan, KIA

Dakota Stump – Avon, IN; US Army, 1st Cavalry Division, Ft. Hood

Adam Thomas – Lyon County, MN; US Army, Afghanistan, !0th Special Forces A/B, SSgt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

David Whitcher – Bradford, NH; US Army, SSgt., 1st Special Warfare Training Group

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Current look back at the home front

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My Years of Eating Dangerously

by: William Jeanes, former editor-in-chief of ‘Car and Driver’

Marie Osmond told me on tv that she lost 50 lbs. eating prepackaged meals sent to her home, and not too long ago, the nation’s first lady ran off the White House pastry chef.  That reminded me of childhood mealtimes and my grandmother’s nutritional malfeasance.

Until well after WWII ended, I lived on 6th Street in Corinth, MS, with my grandparents.  Two aunts also lived with us.  All the men were in the Pacific, leaving my grandfather (Pop), to provide.  My grandmother (Mom), ran the house.

Pop was a superb provider.  He worked as a carpenter for the TVA and had a green B sticker on his car’s windshield, meaning that we had income and gasoline.  He also had a green thumb and grew green vegetables in a huge backyard garden.  Pop also fished, and he put fresh bream and crappie on our big dining room table at least twice a week.  He also oversaw a backyard chicken house that delivered eggs as well as raw material for the big, black frying pan that dominated Mom’s cooking.

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Mom was a canner and preserver.  We had – in what seemed to be endless quantity – green beans, pickled beets, peaches, strawberry preserves, and goodness knows what else.

Mom supplemented this bounty by going to the tiny Kroger store once a week for meat, which was rationed, and such staples as Luzianne coffee, Domino sugar, Clabber Girl baking powder and Crisco shortening.

Many things were served fried: chicken, green tomatoes, fish and pork chops.  Steak, scarce in wartime, was “chicken-fried.”  Meatloaf was baked of course, as was macaroni and cheese.

Mom always overcooked the steak and pork chops.  In those times, the idea of a rare steak or hamburger could disgust whole neighborhoods.  A typical summer meal included fried fish, tomatoes, green beans or butter beans and turnip greens or collards.  I hated greens more than I hated Tojo or Hitler.  If we had salad, it was a wedge of iceberg lettuces doused with French dressing, an orangey liquid unknown in France.

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Modern nutritionists would hyperventilate just thinking about what we ate in the 1940’s.  On the healthy side were the vegetables and greens that were available 6 months out of the year.  From there, things went nutritionally sideways.  Nowadays my grandparents would be guilty of child abuse.

Can you imagine a germ-laden hen house in a backyard of today?  How about wringing the neck of a chicken on the back steps?  Those activities would have brought the SWAT teams from PETA and the EPA pouring through our front door.

The Dept. of Agriculture never inspected Pop’s garden, let alone the hen house, and Mom adhered to no federal guidelines when it came to canning and cooking and cake making.  As fore fried food, the only questions were, “Is it crisp enough?” and “May I have some more?”

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Out house was heated by coal, we drank non-homogenized milk and we rarely locked doors.  It’s a wonder I wasn’t overcome by fumes, poisoned or stolen by gypsies.  Yet we survived.  Pop lived to be 88 and Mom 82.  Both aunts made it well past 80 and I was 77 on my last birthday. [This was originally published in Sept/Oct. 2015].

That’s what 400 year’s worth of fried chicken and beet pickles can do for you.

Condensed from the Saturday Evening Post.

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 Military Humor – on their food – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Arthur – Louisville, KY; USMC, WWII, PTO

Charlton ‘Chuck’ Cox – Seattle, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 navigator/Korea06062012_AP120606024194-600

Edward Fuge – Otaki, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Delva Gess – Chewelah, ID; USO, WWII

Roy Hart – Saskatchewan, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, CBI & ETO

Cecil Jarmer – Portland, OR; US Navy, WWII, CBI

George Macneilage – San Bernadino, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div., artillery

Nita Rinehart – Ashtabula, OH; US Navy, WWII WAVES, WWII

Ernest Sprouse Jr. – Knoxville, TN; US Navy, WWII, USS Frost

Gene Wilder, Milwaukee, WI; US Army, (beloved actor)

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IHRA – International Historical Research Associate’s 5th Air Force Series

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Warpath Across the Pacific

 

I am not at all certain what I expected  before my copy of Warpath Across the Pacific arrived at my doorstep, but today I find myself wholly unqualified to review IHRA’s commanding series Eagles Over the Pacific.  This tome concerning the 345th Bomb Group is the highest quality of research I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Lawrence J. Hickey has created a masterpiece account of history accompanied by the artistic talent of Art Director, Jack Fellows.  The Preface, written by Col. Maurice J. Eppstein, USAF Ret., delivers an impact of reality depicting life for the 498th,499th, 500th & 501st squadrons and so many others during the Pacific War.

Warpath Across the Pacific takes the readers from the establishment of the 345th, into their rigorous training and throughout  their deployment.  One is carried across the massive ocean to see the bases and examine each aircraft.  You will eventually realize that you have come to know each crew as they prepare, experience and carry out each mission as it is described in striking detail.  Then, with bated breath, you await each of their return.

The numerous maps and aircraft profiles, by Steve W. Ferguson, keep the reader orientated while being engulfed in the events, seeing their successes and feeling the pain of their losses.  Countless photographs from worldwide historians and private collections are included to correspond to the information at hand.  Nose-art is visible cover to cover as well as artistic illustrations of the B-25’s flown by these young, valiant men.  Each airman is mentioned, the bomb squadrons profiled and the book has a special section for those killed and missing.

I find it difficult to accurately describe how greatly impressed I am by this series as each page is turned.  I have never acquired a volume I value more or recommend so highly.  Reading Warpath Across the Pacific was not a way to learn history, but a way to experience it!

This 5th edition even includes new material concerning the Japanese side of the war.

I thank the members of the IHRA for paying such attention to detail, for their dedication, patriotism and expertise.

Therefore, it is with the utmost confidence that I recommend these other editions of the series…

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Warpath Across the Pacific

# 2 –  Revenge of the Red Raiders – 

An equal effort of historical importance concerning the 22nd Bombardment Group/5th Air Force.  The same attention to detail as they bring the reader from the airfields of America to the SW Pacific skies.

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# 3 – Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s – 

The life and wartime of the 312th Bombardment Group/5th Air Force follows in the same style and professional manner.  Read and imagine these young men in their P-40 Warhawks and later, the Douglas A-20 Havoc aircraft.

"Ken's Men Against the Empire, Vol. I"

“Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Vol. I”

# 4 – Ken’s Men Against the Empire – Vol. 1 – 

This project by the IHRA, contains the history of the 43rd Bombardment Group, generated such an abundance of material that it was necessary to create two volumes rather than omit any information.  With the early war and the B-17 era, and then re-equipping with B-24’s for this young, but growing unit.

This edition holds the detailed and accurate missions of the most highly decorated crew in U.S. history, Zeamer’s “Eager Beavers.”  You can start your journey with these squadrons as they progress through the Pacific and witness it as never before.  Should you have any doubt about their research from U.S. training bases – through New Guinea, the Netherlands Indies, the Philippines, Indochina and Japan – a reblog 0f their own post will show, (rather than tell), you how expertly each record is handled.

As Lawrence Hickey stated in his Introduction: “This, then, is the story of the ‘Air Apaches.'”

 To locate the IHRA blog – Please Click Here!

To purchase any volume from the IHRA, click HERE!

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Cather – Birmingham, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 501st “Black Panthers”/345th, Capt.

Glenn Doolittle – San Antonio, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 435th Bombardment Group, Silver Star, Col.

Lester Gurden – Owosso, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., radio technician

Land-Sea-Air Tribute

Land-Sea-Air Tribute

William Hammock – Columbus, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Bruce Hanson – Nampa, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-25 pilot

Erwin Johnson – New Orleans, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 27th Bomb Group, A-20 air mechanic, POW

Gerald Levin – Baltimore, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

William Michels – Alexandria, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Engineer Corps

Louis Mori – Ronoke Rapid, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 674th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Harold Peterson – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, radioman

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4th of July – 1940’s Style +

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A 1940’s CELEBRATION WRAPPED AROUND A 1776 WAR SONG

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!!

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Even children became involved.

HARK, hark the sound of war is heard,
And we must all attend;
Take up our arms and go with speed,
Our country to defend.

Our parent state has turned our foe,
Which fills our land with pain;
Her gallant ships, manned out for war,

Come thundering o’er the main.

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There’s Charleton, Howe and Douglas too,
And many thousand more,
May cross the sea, but all in vain,
Our rights we’ll ne’er give o’er.

Our pleasant homes they do invade,
Our property devour;
And all because we won’t submit
To their despotic power.

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Then let us go against our foe,
We’d better die than yield;
We and our sons are all undone,
If Britain wins the field.

Tories may dream of future joys,
But I am bold to say,
They’ll find themselves bound fast in chains,
If Britain wins the day.

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Husbands must leave their loving wives,
And sprightly youths attend,
Leave their sweethearts and risk their lives,
Their country to defend.

May they be heroes in the field,
Have heroes’ fame in store;
We pray the Lord to be their shield,
Where thundering cannons roar.

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Island of Broad Channel, NY - Smitty's hometown.

Island of Broad Channel, NY – Smitty’s hometown.

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Land and Flag that I love

Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance!!  Very Impressive!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZBTyTWOZCM

From Doc & CJ at I Married an Angel.

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The USN Topside Brass Band entertained the public in Port Louis, Mauritius with New Orleans rhythms.

From: Mike Sinnot

From: Mike Sinnot

i284284747_72578Please remember that fireworks can also spark PTSD reactions in some of the wounded troops.  Be considerate. Thank you. 

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FOURTH OF JULY HUMOR ? – 

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FAREWELL SALUTES – 

Gerald Ackley – Kane, PA; US Army, WWII, 261 Infantry/65th Division, Sgt.

Thomas Bailey – Wilmington, DE; US Army, WWII, ETO, 65th Div. Chaplain

Willis McKinney – Morganton, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, piloteagle-flag

John Norkus Sr. – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO

Robert Poulin – New Bedford, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 10th Armored Division

Charles Robinson – Tulsa, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division

Paul Sandacz – Catonsville, MD; US Army, WWII, Engineer Corps

Wayne Twito – Bloomington, MN; USMC, WWII, Korea, pilot

Serina Vine – Berkley, CA; US Navy WAVE, WWII, radio intelligence

John Wilmott – Huntington, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, pilot/ US Coast Guard & Navy, Korea, Vietnam

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