Blog Archives

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

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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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Current News – Missing In Action

Video from the U.S. Army, filmed 2 weeks ago.

Right now, there are about 82,000 total people still missing from every major conflict since World War II. Of those, 81 are from Nevada. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is a government agency that is actively searching for all of those people.

The DPAA is working to get DNA swabs of family members related to those missing so that if and when they’re found, they can be identified. They then work to actually locate the remains of the people missing.

Last year, 217 people were found and identified. About 75% of those are former unknown soldiers. The DPAA researches what is known about the unknown soldiers, then if they are confident they can identify them positively, they’re able to do DNA testing on the remains.

The other way MIA are identified is through a search. The DPAA researches anything from where the person was last seen to where planes went down to where major battles were fought. They conduct interviews with any witnesses then determine the best area to search. Then, they bring in teams of dozens of people and dig for about a month, hoping to find any human remains. Even if it’s just a tooth, that’s all it takes to ID a person and solve the mystery of what happened to them.

The DPAA held a meeting in Henderson to update local families on their loved ones’ cases. Attendees heard updates on new technology being used to search and their own personal cases. There were also chances for family members to give DNA swabs.

For the families of the POWs and/or MIAs – CONTACT

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert C. Agard Jr. – USA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., 2/24/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Taejon, SK

Jacob Cruz – Los Angeles, CA; USMC, WWII, Pvt., Co. D/1/6/2nd Marine

HONOR

Division, KIA (Tarawa)

Elmer E. Drefahl – USA; USMC, WWII, Cpl., USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Henry E. Ellis – USA; USMC, Korea, Pfc., HQ Co./1/1st Marine Division, KIA (Koto-Ri, NK)

Harry Gravelyn (101) – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, WWII, Captain, Co. D/331/83rd Division

Jesse D. Hill – Highland Park, MI; US Army, Korea, Sgt., Co. C/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Marilyn Mackson – Lansing, MI; US Army WAC, WWII, Signal Corps decoder

Aurekui Ortiz – San Diego, CA; US Army, Korea, HQ Co./2/187th RCT

Joseph Pincinotti – Charleroi, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. D/457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Jimmy Young – Johnson City, TN; US Army, 89th Artillery, 11th Airborne Division

[The MIA’s recovered from the Korean War, and gradually being identified to come home, have been made possible by the joint talks between President Trump and North Korea]

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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?

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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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American, John Birch, First Casualty of the Cold War

John Birch in China

 

On August 25, 1945, John Birch, an American missionary to China before the war and a captain in the Army during the war, is killed by Chinese communists days after the surrender of Japan, for no apparent reason.

When 22-year-old Birch, graduate of Mercer University and a Baptist seminary in Macon, Georgia, arrived in Shanghai in Japanese-occupied China in 1940, he’d come to be a missionary to the Chinese people and began by learning the world’s most difficult language in record time—no surprise to his family back in Georgia who always saw Birch as the smartest guy in any room.

The Chinese recognized his charitable heart as he preached the love of Christ, a message many had never heard except from the lips of an interpreter. And preach he did, as he covered much of occupied and unoccupied China—dodging Japanese patrols, dressing in native clothes, eating the same food, and taking the same risks as the people he quickly came to love.

Gen. Chennault honors John Birch

From missionary to guide to spy…

As financial support from the World Fundamental Baptist Missionary Fellowship dried up, Birch realized he’d have to find some other source of income. He was sitting in a restaurant in Zhejiang province, eating the cheapest fare on the menu, when a man approached. “Are you American?”

Birch nodded. “Follow me,” the man said and led him to a sampan (flat-bottomed boat) on a nearby river where he could hear English being spoken inside. Birch called out, “Are there Americans in there?”

“Jesus Christ!” came a voice from inside. “No Jap could have that southern drawl.”

Birch answered, “Jesus Christ is a very good name, but I’m not he.” He stepped inside the sampan and looked directly into the eyes of Colonel James Doolittle. After bombing Tokyo, Doolittle and his men had bailed out over what they erroneously thought was free China. They needed help.

As things turned out, it became a question of who helped whom the most. Birch and many Chinese citizens risked their lives guiding Doolittle and his raiders to the safety of Chungking and Chiang Kai-shek; while Doolittle, impressed with Birch’s intelligence and knowing that the young man wanted to join the army, preferably as a chaplain, plugged him through military channels.

And so Birch became a second lieutenant in the famed Flying Tigers, commanded by General Claire Chennault, but not as a chaplain. Because of his command of the Chinese language, thorough knowledge of the countryside, mastery of disguise, mutual love for the Chinese nationals he worked with, and genius for gathering intelligence, Birch became … a spy.

But he had one request of Chennault—“Whenever I can, without neglecting my duties, can I preach?” General Chennault assented. Years later, the war over and Birch dead, this rough military man would remark with tears in his eyes, “John Birch was like the son I never had.”

In a last letter home to his mother who had asked him if he’d be getting a furlough, Birch answered that he would love to, but could not leave until the last Japanese had left. And indeed he stayed past Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945. On August 25 Birch, along with some American, Chinese, and Korean comrades, went on one last mission in a small town near Xuzhou. There Chinese Communists shot and killed Birch when he refused to surrender his revolver. After his death both the American and Chinese governments awarded him military honors.

This article is from Christian History magazine #121 Faith in the Foxholes.

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Military Humor –

“Honest, it’s real food, only it’s in camouflage.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Henry Baker (102) – Brooksville, FL; US Navy, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

Corlton L. Chee – Pinehill, NM; Pvt., 2/12/1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, tank crewman

Paul DiCiero Cincinnati, OH; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Johnny Kai – Honolulu, HI; US Army, 11th Airborne Div.  /  Vietnam, Major (Ret.), 5th Special Forces

John Langran – Columbo, Ceylon; Royal Navy, WWII, Lt. Commander (Ret.)

Warren O’Sullivan – Narberth, PA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, West Point grad, Corps of Engineers

John Pfeffer – Lebanon, IL; USMC, WWII

Albert Roe – Detroit, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division

Tom Seaver – Fresno, CA; USMC  /  MLB pitcher

Eugene, Smith – Norwood, MA; US Army Air Corps, 505/ 82nd Airborne Division

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Pin-up Girls Helped Win WWII

America’s entrance into WWII triggered the golden age of WWII Pin-ups — pictures of smiling women in a range of clothing-challenged situations.  The racy photos adorned lonely servicemen’s lockers, the walls of barracks, and even the sides of planes.  For the first time in its history, the U.S. military unofficially sanctioned this kind of art: pin-up pictures, magazines and calendars were shipped and distributed among the troops, often at government expense.

No history of any military unit would be complete without some info on its favorite pin-ups.  Keep in mind that in the days prior to women being in every military unit, soldiers would be in the field or in combat for months on end, or years as in WWII, without seeing or hearing a female voice.

Although a little revealing at times, pin-ups were not what you would recall pornography.  No one knows for sure when this trend began, but it is known that Napoleon’s soldiers carried pin-ups with them.

Usually pin-ups were wholesome American girls – movie stars, singers, dancers or just well-known celebrities, but occasionally, some of them were a bit on the “wild side”.  Some pin-ups were not real women at all, but drawings, like the well-known ones by Vargas.

“Gravy for the Navy”, Alberto Vargas

What would become the familiar pin-up began to take shape in 1917, when Wilson’s administration created the Division of Pictorial Publicity.  The art form’s ever-growing popularity bled over into other mediums, such as Hollywood, who jumped onto the bandwagon and movie execs began using sexually-charged imagery to promote their films.

This had such a success, it came as little surprise in WWII that pin-ups were used in recruitment posters and war bomb purchasing material.  Many considered this to be the pin-up’s “Golden Age” and thousands of images were commissioned to raise soldier morale while fighting overseas.  A U.S. soldier couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a pin-up girl: in barracks, on submarine walls and carried in pockets – they were never far away from a reminder of why they were fighting.

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Nose art for US aircraft regulations were eased and through WWII and into the Korean War, aircraft artistry would be in its ‘golden age.’  This not only helped the morale of the men, but it made a plane easier to identify rather than its serial numbers.  Although the art would also be of cartoon characters (“Thumper”) or hometowns (“Memphis Belle”), the majority were of women like “Lady Eve”, Forbidden Fruit” “Miss Behavin” and “Little Gem”, for example.

Adak Island, AK pin-up collection

The woman who became the champion pin-up girl was Betty Grable and winning that that title was a tough fight as she was up against such names as Hedy Lamarr, Dorothy Lamour, Ann Sheridan, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Esther Williams and many others.

For further research on pin-ups in aviation and nose art, Pierre Lagacé’s blog ‘Preserving the Past’ click HERE!  

                                                                                     Or ‘Preserving the Past II’ article HERE!

This information was condensed from stories found in “The Voice of the Angels” 11th Airborne newspaper.

For the 11th Airborne Division, the main woman was Olivia de Havilland, whose story will be in the next post.

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Current News –

To watch the vintage WWII aircraft flyover in honor of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two, Please check here for the count down and link for you to watch!!

For my post concerning the 2 September 2020 flyover. Please click here!!

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Military Humor – 

 

blind dates

 

 

 

 

 

‘Only one man in 1,000 is a leader of men. The other 999 follow women!’

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Farewell Salutes – 

Max Abram – Carthage, MI; US Army, WWII, Lt. Colonel (Ret. 37 y.)

John Childs – Jacksonville, TX; US Army, Vietnam, 2/506/101st Airborne Division, Lt. Col. (Ret. 21 y.)

Robert Butler – Lismore, MN; US Army, WWII, ETO, decoder

David Iggo (101) – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 415697, WWII, Flt. Lt., 457th Squadron

Wayne Kellog – North Hornell, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt.

Vincent P. Marketta – Brick, NJ; US Army, SSgt., 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (A)

Edward ‘Mike’ Reuter – Tacoma, WA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Tyler M. Shelton – San Bernadino, CA; US Army, Sgt., 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (A)

Margaret Shinners (100) – Middletown, RI; Civilian, US Naval photographer

Donald F. Wright – Coffeyville, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, PT-150/Ron 12

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First-hand account: Okinawa

Louis Meehl, WWII

It wasn’t always the enemy they had to contend with…

Louis Meehl

After the war started, I decided I had to get into the service, this didn’t make my folks very happy, especially my dad, but I just had to go.  So, I enlisted in the Army Air Corps.  They made me a gunner and sent me to the Pacific.  I flew on A-20’s in the 417th Bomb Group, B-24’s in the 90th and B-25’s in the 38th.  I was on the islands all through the western Pacific, New Guinea, the Philippines, the Ryukyus, and even up to Japan later on.

It was after the war had ended and we’d moved up to an airstrip on a little island called Ie Shima, right next to Okinawa.  It was the island where Ernie Pyle was killed.  We were living there in the usual primitive conditions that we’d put up with on all the islands – tents, C and K rations, nothing to do but fly missions.  The airstrip there was right near the beach, well, the island was so small that everything was right near the beach, and of course our tents were close to the coast.

Ernie Pyle, le Shima

We got word that a storm was coming and the pilots flew our squadron’s planes off somewhere.  The rest of us on the flight crews and the ground crews were left behind to fend for ourselves.  The wind started blowing, the rain was coming down, and we were trying to hold on to our tents to keep them from blowing over,

Well, it turned out this storm was a typhoon and the wind blew stronger and stronger, and the rain was being driven horizontally.  What a storm!  I’d never experienced anything like it.  After a while, we couldn’t hold the tents up anymore.  First one of the tents blew down, then another, and pretty soon all the tents were down, and we were outside in the weather.

There was no other shelter – our bombing and the Navy’s shelling when we’d taken the island had flattened all the trees and it was just bare sand and rock.  And the wind just kept blowing harder!

Okinawa, naval typhoon damage

Next thing we knew the tents and everything inside them started to blow away, right off the island and out into the ocean.  We just couldn’t hold on to them under those conditions – the wind just ripped anything out of our hands if you tried to hold on to it.  So after the tents and everything was gone, all we could do was huddle together and try to protect ourselves.  It was like we were just a bunch of wet, cold sheep huddled together – and the wind kept blowing even harder.

We’d rotate the guys on the outside of the huddle toward the middle because the rain was being blown so hard it hurt when it hit you.  We all took our turns on the outside of the group.  Some of us had bruises from that rain afterwards.

Okinawa, typhoon tent

 

[ I was unable to locate le Shima photos of the storm, hence the Okinawa pictures.  I suppose everyone’s camera went to sea. ]

This seemed to go on for hours, and the whole time we just stayed there huddled together,  When the wind and rain finally started to let up, it dawned on us that everything we had was gone.  I had a lot of photos from all the islands we’d been on, some souvenirs, and of course the rest of my clothes and personal effects, and they were just gone.

Our planes came back and they flew in more tents for us, but later when I shipped back to the States I didn’t have much more to take home with me that the clothes I had on the day the storm started!

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bernice Cooke – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, nurse

George C. Evans – Bay Village, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Reynaldo ‘Chita’ Gonzolaz – Newton, KS; US Army, Korea, Sgt., 2nd Division

Peter Hanson – Laconia, NH; US Army, Vietnam, Captain, 101st Airborne Division

Christopher Knoop – Buffalo, NY; US Army, Desert Storm, 810th MP Co., communications

Donald Ottomeyer – St. Louis, MO; US Army, Lt., 101st Airborne Division

John D. Roper – Nashville, TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Westmoreland & Pontiac

Juan Serna Sr. – Pharr, TX; US Army, WWII / National Guard (Ret. 25 y.)

Michael Stickley – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, Vietnam

Pansy Yankey (100) – Brashear, TX; Civilian, North American Aviation, WWII, drill press operator

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Current News – Lee Greenwood & the Air Force Band Singing Sergeants

 

Home Free – Greenwood & the Air Force Band Singing Sergeants

 

The traditional rendition of country music singer Lee Greenwood’s iconic “God Bless the U.S.A.,” already has a broad appeal as an uplifting song inspiring patriotism and love of country.

It’s likely you have listened to the song in recent days as Americans celebrated the 244th birthday of our nation on Independence Day.

But a stirring new version of the song that features members of the U.S. Air Force Band joining Greenwood and a cappella group Home Free has been produced that might just blow you away.

Recordings were done during the corona virus pandemic in studios in Nashville, Tenn., Los Angeles, Calif., Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, Minn. There are no guitars, drums, keyboards, but the sound is unbelievably full and strong.

If you like a cappella, and if you’re a fan of military members in uniform with a talent to sing, you will very likely love this new rendition of a song that has been a perennial favorite since 1984.

Give it a listen.  We got this article and song from “Stars & Stripes”

 

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Military Humor –  from Stars & Stripes –

“Shape up or ship out …..”

“Snap out of it Ed … other guys have received ‘Dear Johns’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Alleyne – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt.

David “Bill” Breen – Elsmere, KY; US Navy, WWII, SeaBees

Mary Cecce – Bath, NY; Civilian, WWII, Mercury Aircraft

Thomas W. Chase (100) – Warroad, MI; US Navy, WWII / Honeywell Aerospace

David Geiser – Waukon, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Richard L. Henderson Jr. – USA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., HQ Battery/57 FAB/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

William Kovaly – Bound Brook, NJ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Cabot

William H. Melville – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., P-39Q pilot, 38/8th Fighter Group, KIA (New Guinea)

Francis J. Rochon – Superior, WI; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. C/1/23/2nd Infantry Division, KIA (Changnyeong, SK)

Donald Slessler – Belchertown, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer (Ret. 36 y.)

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The Most Dangerous Paper Route in the World

 

Stars and Stripes, which dates back to the Civil War, has published continuously since World War II. In 2010, the paper won a prestigious George Polk Award for revealing the Defense Department’s use of a public relations firm that profiled reporters and steered them toward favorable coverage of the war in Afghanistan. In 2015, the publication broke the news that NBC anchor Brian Williams had exaggerated a story about his reporting in Iraq. Much of the day-to-day coverage is news of direct concern to service members and their families: pay and benefits, life on base and in the field, the real people behind the global geopolitics.

Central Command Area of Responsibility (Apr. 4, 2003) — Command Sgt. Maj. John Sparks, delivers copies of Stars and Stripes to U.S. Marines from Weapons Platoon, 3-2 India Company. The Marines are part of Task Force Tarawa, deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. USMC photo by 1st Sgt. David K. Dismukes.

The paper is a modern multimedia operation with a website, a social media presence and a couple of podcasts, and the print edition reaches troops in parts of the world where Internet access is absent.

“I remember being in al-Anbar and Haditha and picking up Stars and Stripes in the middle of a war zone,” says Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), one of Moulton’s committee colleagues and a fellow Marine veteran. “I didn’t have a cellphone.  Access to the Internet was very limited. But with every mail delivery there came a Stars and Stripes, and I was able to keep connected to the world.”

“Stars and Stripes kept our spirits up and kept us informed at some of the most difficult times,” says Moulton, who served four tours of duty in Iraq. “Just knowing they were out there doing their job — looking out for us by doggedly pursuing the truth — gave us more faith in our work and reinforced the values we were literally putting our lives on the line for.”

The paper’s publisher, Max Lederer, said, “You can give a service member the best gun in the world, but if his mind is elsewhere — if he’s worried about things at home — then he’s not going to be as good a soldier, and part of our role is to provide that information to give him a sense of comfort.”

Bill Mauldin

“This service cannot be duplicated in the private sector and should be maintained,” Thornberry said in a statement to The Post. “Ultimately, ‘Stripes’ should be preserved, but the business model will have to change so that the program can be maintained without taxing DOD resources.” But Thornberry concedes the fundamental point: “Stars and Stripes performs a useful function for men and women in uniform, particularly those who are forward deployed with limited access to news.” As Gates puts it, “Nobody else covers the Defense Department schools in Japan.”

Star and Stripes faces challenges, and rewards, every day in producing a newspaper for hundreds of thousands of service members, their families and other DoD employees deployed around the world, and in delivering that paper to its readers, including those in dangerous war and contingency areas.

1945 Stars & Stripes

Stripes’ allegiance to independent news – uncensored by military command influence – has established a unique, trusting relationship between the paper and its readers that is like no other. Readers trust Stripes to tell the truth, even though it has the conflicting challenge of delivering First Amendment-protected news while technically part of the Department of Defense.

If you wish to contact Stars & Stripes – Click Here!

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Military Humor – Stars & Stripes style – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Norbert T. Beck – Suffolk, Va; US Army, WWII

Reine Corbeil – MT; US Navy, SeaBee engineer

Iraq

King Dixon – SC; USMC (Ret. 22 y.), Bronze Star / SC football star & coach

E.G. Galarosa – Sta.Magdalena Soraogon, PI; US Army/Philippine Scouts, WWII, POW

Angelo ‘Buck’ Godici – Southington, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Charles Hogan – Vancouver, CAN; Allied International Service, WWII, PTO

Hugh Moore – Tomahawk, WI; US Navy, WWII, USS Wolverine

Frank E. Petersen Jr. – Topeka, KS; USMC, Korea & Vietnam, LT.General (Ret. 38 y.)

John M. Robertson – Camden, AR; US Air Force, Vietnam, pilot, Colonel (Ret. 23 y.)

Robert Sandona – Rockford, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS James C. Owens

Gerald Winters – Glen Falls, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Tower Operator

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