Blog Archives

11th Airborne Medic

Combat Medic pin

Leaving out all the bloody and boring bits, being an 11th Airborne Medic wasn’t all that bad ___ by: Ray Sweet, Medical Detachment/ 152nd Airborne Anti Aircraft Battalion/ 11th Airborne Division

Starting late 1945 and leaving out the bloody and boring bits, being and 11th Airborne Medic wasn’t all that bad.  The officers handled medics with silk gloves because they knew from who cometh their future immune booster injections as ordered by the higher command.

Medics ate better than most.  The cooks all knew who had the 190-proof alcohol to put in that lousy canned grapefruit juice.

Airborne Medic

They never had bed checks, curfews and all that other crap (like standing guard over a useless pile of junk that no one in their right mind would ever dream of stealing.)  They had a good life.

Sergeants were never a bother.  They all knew their battery could always stand for a short arm inspection.  It was actually quite nice to be a medic.  If the captain said trooper Jones must do something yucky and a medic said he was not able, trooper Jones didn’t do it.

Playing cards with the geishas while on pro station duty was rather pleasant.  It was a fun way for them to meet a lot of friendly girls.

When, as a courier transporting drugs from base hospitals to battalion, they had a rail care just like a general.

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Military Medic Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Corona Shortages – 

Contrary to popular belief, duct tape does NOT fix ALL problems !!!!

 

Duct tape toilet paper

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bob Bechtold – Martinsville, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt. # 194GIF/ Medical Tech, 1/17th Airborne, Bronze Star

Thomas G. Delaney – Hartford, CT; US Army, Vietnam, 173rd A/B, 10th Special Forces A/B Group, Major (Ret. 20 y.)

THANK YOU

William Frankland (108) – Battle, England; Royal Army Medical Corps, WWII, CBI, POW, doctor/researcher

Richard Griffin – Franklin, NH; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Douglas L. Hickok – Norman Air Force Base, OK; US Army, Captain, Medical Corps

Donald D. Johnson – Clarkston, MI; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, (Ret. 21 y.)

James B. Morrison – San Antonio, TX; US Army, Korea, Medical Corps/187th RCT

Edmound M. Parker – Ahoskie, NC; US Army, Medical Corps/188/11th Airborne Division

Don Schweitzer – Los Angeles, CA; US Merchant Marines, WWII / US Army, Japan Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

Bill Withers – Beckley, WV; US Navy / Douglas Aircraft / singer

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Home Front – Wartime Recipes (5)

 

Please thank Carolyn on her website for putting these delicious meals on-line! We often discuss the food our parents and grandparents dined on, despite rationing and wartime, they ate quite well – here are some of the recipes you might want to try out.

Now – you can even download her cookbook for free by clicking Right Here!!

Recipe 131: Kale and Bean Stew

Recipe 132: Pea and Potato Stew

Recipe 133: Baked Chips with Thyme

Recipe 134: Homity Pie

Recipe 135: Vegetable Au Gratin

Recipe 136: Kale and Potato Soup

Recipe 137: Trench Stew

1940,s Irish Potato Pancakes

Recipe 138: Irish Potato Pancakes

Recipe 139: Vegetable Soup

Recipe 140: Canadian Bake

Recipe 141: Savoury Meat Pie

Recipe 142: Potatoes in Curry Sauce

Recipe 143: Padded Pudding with Mock Cream + VIDEO RECIPE

Recipe 144: Bread and Butter Pudding

Recipe 145: Wartime Mock Crab

Recipe 146: Mince in the Hole

Recipe 147: Country House Cake

Recipe 148: Mock Banana – VIDEO

Recipe 149: Pink Layer Party Cake (Mother’s Day Tribute)

Pink Party Layer Cake

Recipe 150: Plum Charlotte

Recipe 151: The Original Lord Woolton Pie

Recipe 152: Bare Cupboard Cake

Recipe 153: Summer Breakfast Dish

Recipe 154: Leek and Potato Soup

Recipe 155: Kentish Pasties

Recipe 156: My Keep the Wolf from the Door Vegetable Stew

Recipe 157: Ministry of Food Christmas Cake

Recipe 158: Blackberry Mincemeat

Recipe 159: 1940s Meal Prep – Root Vegetable Mash

Recipe 160: 1940s Meal Prep – Bean Stew

Recipe 161: Broccoli & Bean Bake

Recipe 162: Hunt Pie

Recipe 163: Oaty Biscuits

Recipe 164: Beetroot Pudding

Recipe 165: Root Vegetable Mash

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Military Humor – 

Best Before end of the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Bailey – Harrisburg, PA; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne, Silver Star / U.S. Congressman

Elmer “Moe” Boll – Breese, IL; US Navy, Bikini bomb tests

Manolis Glezos – Athens, GRC; Greek Resistance, WWII

Thomas Kelly – Sayville, NY; US Navy, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 25 y.)

Adam Lueras – Sacramento, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/188/11th Airborne Division

Bob Otto – East Bakersfield, CA; US Air Force, Korea, B-26 pilot

Gerald Page – Aberdeen, WA; US Navy, WWII, USS Harold & USS Cybelle

Adolph “Whitey” Schieve – Douglas, ND; US Army, WWII, Sgt., 28th Infantry Division

Hatley “Bud” Todee – Dallas, TX; USMC, WWII, PTO

Carl Vogelaar – Pella, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 pilot

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Clemson U. honors Ben Skardon (102)

‘Ben’ Skardon

Clemson University will award its highest honor, the Clemson Medallion, to two distinguished alumni — Professor Emeritus Beverly “Ben” Skardon and Trustee Emeritus Allen Price Wood. Skardon and Wood will be honored at a presentation ceremony in February 2020. Skardon, who lives in Clemson, is a native of Walterboro. His brother, Jimmy Skardon, still lives here.

Clemson University President James P. Clements said he is proud that the university is honoring Skardon and Wood for their leadership and contributions to the university. “Both of these men have helped shaped the university in important ways,” said Clements. “Col. Skardon made a lasting impact by teaching countless students during his career on the faculty, and students are being educated every day in buildings that Allen Wood designed. It is safe to say that our university would not be what it is today without these two outstanding leaders.”

Ben Skardon in Army dress greens, formal photo in 1938 Clemson University TAPS yearbook.

Skardon, 102, is a 1938 Clemson graduate and veteran of the U.S. Army. He fought in the Philippines in World War II, earning two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star for valor before becoming a prisoner of war when American troops were forced to surrender to the Japanese April 9, 1942. Skardon lived through one of the most infamous ordeals of World War II, the Bataan Death March, and survived for more than three years in Japanese prison camps despite becoming deathly ill.

Two fellow Clemson alumni, Henry Leitner and Otis Morgan, kept him alive by spoon-feeding him and eventually trading his gold Clemson ring — which he had managed to keep hidden — for food. It is a story now told at every Clemson ring ceremony, when Clemson seniors receive their class rings. Leitner and Morgan did not survive the war. Skardon honors them every year by walking in the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Ben Skardon, at 99, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, walks in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, accompanied by two Army medics, March 19, 2017. This was the tenth time Skardon walked in the march, and he is the only survivor of the real Bataan Death March who walks in the memorial march. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)

He is the only survivor of the real march who walks in the memorial march. Last year, at 101, he walked more than three miles through the desert to honor his friends. Skardon went on to serve in Korea in 1951-52 and retired from the Army at the rank of colonel in 1962. He joined the Clemson faculty in the department of English in 1964 and was named Alumni Master Teacher in 1977. He taught at Clemson until his retirement in 1983.

Skardon has received several honors from the university, including the Alumni Distinguished Service Award. In 2013 the university established the Skardon Clemson Ring Endowment, which helps fund the ring ceremony, and in 2016 the Memorial Stadium flagpole was dedicated in his honor.

On Skardon’s 100th birthday on August 11, 2017, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster presented him with the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest honor. In March 2018 Skardon received the Congressional Gold Medal honoring Filipino and American Veterans of World War II, which is one of the highest civilian awards in the United States.

 

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Blythe – Long Beach, CA; US Navy, WWII, ETO, minesweeper / PTO, USS Ticonderoga

Bruce Brigham – Fort Knox, KY; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Colonel, Quartermaster Corps

Alive Ferguson (99) – Williamsburg, VA; US Navy WAVES, nurse

Ruth (Baker) Gilbert – White Plains, NY; Civilian, aircraft riveter

Lyle Norquist – Thief River Falls, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Monroe Ozment – Rome, GA; USMC, PTO, Purple Heart

Nathan Rawson – Thompson, VA; US Army, WWII

Fred Reed – Gardendal, AL; US Army, WWII, Purple Heart

Mary White – Perryville, MD; Civilian nurse’s aide

Al Worden – Jackson, MI; US Air Force / NASA astronaut, West Point Alum 1955

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U.S. to compensate Guam for the Japanese Occupation

Japanese POWs play baseball in their compound, Guam 1945

Guam the small island with a big history.

The history of the twentieth century is littered with the dead. There were men and women transported to the Nazi death camps, others that suffered and died in Cambodian killing fields, yet more killed in Rwanda for being from the wrong tribe.

But behind all the attention-grabbing headline horrors are smaller, no less terrible war crimes.

On the day the Imperial Japanese Navy launched its attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, December 7th, 1941, another attack was getting underway on the US island territory of Guam in Micronesia

Landing on the beach the Japanese 144th Infantry Regiment, South Seas Detachment took on the small US military garrison taking two days to defeat the Americans.

The Japanese assault outnumbered the US ten to one in manpower and brought the might of twenty ships, including four heavy cruisers and four destroyers, to bear on the single minesweeper and two small patrol boats at the garrison port. The Americans scuttled the minesweeper and one of the patrol boats before surrendering in the Western Pacific.

The occupation of Guam lasted more than two-and-a-half years. 406 US military personnel were captured and the native Chamorros people were pressed into servitude, interned in concentration camps, suffered rape and torture.

The island was recaptured after a battle that lasted through July and August 1944 and a war reparations treaty was signed with Japan in 1951, preventing the government of Guam from suing Japan for war damages.

This did nothing to heal the sense the survivors of the war atrocities felt that they had been abandoned by the US Government.

Now, more than seventy-five years after their liberation, the Chamorros are receiving financial compensation for the crimes committed by the Japanese during the occupation.

The funds are not coming from Japan but from US Section-30 cash, a fund sent to Guam to pay for general obligations and projects.

It is a compromise following many decades of appeals and lobbying by members of Congress and residents of the island and was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2016.

Survivors will receive money on a sliding scale, $10,000 for people interned or sent on forced marches, $12,000 for personal injury or who had been forced to work for the occupiers, $15,000 for severe injury, including rape and $25,000 for relatives of those killed.

These amounts are broadly in line with claims paid out to survivors of Japanese occupations on other island territories in the region. The federal agency set a window of one year for all applications for compensation.

Antonina Palomo Cross was just seven years old when the Japanese invaded and was at a church service when the sirens filled the air.

Her family had to give up their home to the invaders and were forced to march to a concentration camp. On a forced march the family had to carry Antonina’s baby sister who had died from malnutrition.

She is now 85  and says of her compensation pay-out that she is happy to get it despite the amount not yet being confirmed.

Approximately three-thousand residents, manåmko or ‘elders’ in the Chamorros language are likely to qualify for the money although some have been hesitant about making a claim.

Chamorro performers

Judith Perez, who at seventy-six was just a babe in arms at the time, regrets that her parents never received such recognition for suffering, “It’s great to have money, but the people who are more deserving of it are the ones who really suffered physically and mentally, but they’re gone,” she said.

In 2004, a federal Guam War Claims Review Commission found the U.S. had a moral obligation to compensate Guam for war damages in part because of its 1951 peace treaty with Japan.

Commission member Benjamin Cruz said the U.S. did not want to further burden Japan with reparations as it sought to recover from the war. But the treaty effectively prevented Guam from suing Japan for damages.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – Bill Mauldon style – 

That can’t be a combat man. He’s lookin’ for a fight.”

“Let’s grab this one, Willie. He’s packed wit’ vitamins.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Coy Beluse – Hattiesburg, MS; US Navy, WWII

William Calvert Sr. – Montclair, NJ; US Army, WWII, Medical Corps

Thomas Donzal – Eugene, OR; RAF/US Army Air Corps,WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Colonel (Ret.)

John Fruzyna – Northlake, IL; US Army, Korea, HQ Co./187th RCT

Richard Hover – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, Korea, Purple Heart

Lester Jackson – Muldrow, OK; US Arm, WWII, PTO

Edward Murphy – Claymont, DE; USMC, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 2nd Marine Division, Bronze Star

Roy Ourso – White Castle, LA; USMC, WWII, PTO, 4th Marine Division / Korea

Norman C. Rosfeld Jr. – Green Tree, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-29 radioman

Jeanne Scallon – Harrisburg, PA; US Army WAC, WWII

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Send In The Old Guys!

Please remember throughout this post, it is meant to be humorous – don’t anyone be offended – have fun with it!

I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I’m too old to track down terrorists.  You can’t be older than 42 to join the military – but they’ve got the whole thing backwards.

Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, They ought to take us old guys.  You shouldn’t be able to join the military until you’re at least 35.  For starters, researchers say 18-year olds think about sex every ten seconds.  Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a month, leaving us more than 280,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven’t lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier.  “My back hurts!  I can’t sleep!  I’m tired and hungry!”  We’re bad-tempered and impatient, and maybe letting us kill some terrorist a**hole that desperately wants to go to ‘Paradise’ anyway will make us feel better and shut us up for a while.

An 18-year old doesn’t even like to get up before 10 a.m.  Old guys always get up early to pee, so what the hell.  Beside, like I said, I’m tired and can’t sleep and since I’m up already, I may as well be up killing some fanatical SOB.

If captured, we couldn’t spill the beans because we’d forget where we put them.  In fact, name, rank and serial number would a real brain-teaser!

Boot camp would be easier for old guys… We’re used to getting screamed and yelled at and we’re used to soft food.  We’ve also developed an appreciation for guns.  We’ve been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house and away from all the screaming and yelling!

They could lighten up the obstacle course however…. I’ve been in combat and never saw a single 20-foot wall with a rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do push-ups after completing basic training.

Actually – The running part is kind of a waste of energy too…. I’ve never seen anyone outrun a bullet!

An 18-year old has the whole world ahead of him.  He’s still learning to shave or start a conversation with a pretty girl.  He still hasn’t figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head.

These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm’s way.

Let us old guys track down those terrorists…. The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple million hacked-off old farts with bad attitudes and automatic weapons, who know that their best years are already behind them!

Old sailor on the hunt.

HEY!!!  How about recruiting women over 50 …. in menopause?!  You think men have attitudes?  If nothing else, put them on Border Patrol.  They’ll have it secured the first night!!

Send this to all your senior friends – make sure it’s in big enough type so they can read it!

Contributed by Trooper Gilbert Wells and published in “The Voice of the Angels” newspaper of the 11th Airborne Division Assoc.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Buchanan – VA; USMC; WWII

Miguel M. Covarriebias – Hanford, CT; US Army, Iraq, Spc., 1/227/1/1st Cavalry Division, KIA

Leo Croce – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot, 398 BG/8th Air Force, Bronze Star

Brodie Gillon – UK; Royal Army Medical Corps/Irish Guards Battle Group, Iraq, Cpl., KIA

John Mastrianni – New Britain, CT; US Air Force, Korea, SAC & NSA Intelligence

Glen Ogden – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Marshal D. Roberts – Owasso, OK; US National Guard, Iraq, SSgt., 219th Engineering/138th Fighter Wing, KIA

Richard J. Smith Jr. – Mobile, AL; US Navy, WWII, PTO & ATO, USS Pennsylvania

Herbert Stettler – Oskloosa, IA; US Army, Korea

Eloiza Zavala – Sacramento, CA; USMC, United Arab Emirates, Combat Logistics Battalion 13, driver, KIA

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Jump Boots – the Airborne trademark

508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team

Distinctive as Airborne itself, so are the dark, glistening jump boots of a paratrooper.  Troopers glory in their significance and only they know the secret pride when they glance down at their boots, polished like glass, and see in them the reflected valorous traditions of AIRBORNE _____ By: Cpl. Jim Ethridge

Jump boots belong to the paratroopers!  They are as distinctive as the airborne itself.  Others in the armed forces may wear them, but the dark glistening boots are the original trademark of the swaggering soldiers-of-the-sky.

At Fort Campbell, as with other installations were paratroopers are stationed, it is the jumpers’ delight to “fall out” each morning with starched fatigues, blocked hat and the mirrored footwear.

Corcoran Paratrooper boots

This is true of the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat team.  The doughty Red Devils flash all the dash and verve that marked the paratroopers of yesterday.  Very early paratroopers wore ordinary army shoes and some even used tennis shoes.

Then somebody devised a leather ankle-top boot with a big metal buckle across the top of the arch.  but this proven impractical after several paratroopers came down looking like spiders trying to get the suspension line unhooked from the buckle.

Next came the boot called the Corcoran.  The most beloved of the several brands of jump boots on the market.  These are still the main choice of the airborne warriors.

the boots of a “Flying Tiger”

Another popular, well-appearing boot is the Skymaster, which has the same thick sole and slash heel as the Corcoran, but it doesn’t quite have the snub, upturned hard toe of today’s famed boot.

An early fad was to replace the manufacturer’s eyelets with huge brass grommets.  The grommets called for the nightly ritual of removing the 72-inch leather laces and running a blitz cloth through the big eyelets – all 48 of them!

Red Devils and other paratroopers alike take pride in this hallmark of distinction.  They glory in its significance.  They are proud soldiers when they glance down at their boots, polished like glass, and see reflected the valorous traditions of the Airborne!

This article and pictures below are from: “The Voice of the Angels” newspaper of the 11th Airborne Division Association, Matt Underwood, Editor

paratrooper gear of the Pacific Theater

paratrooper 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Bettin – Milwaukee, WI; US Navy, corpsman, USS Jason

Walter Grisevich – Hartford, CT; USMC, WWII, PTO

Katheryn Hatch Klaveano – Woods Cross, UT; US Navy WAVE, WWII, flight orderly

Fernand “Bucko” Lambert – Artic Village, RI; US Army, Korea

Moises A, Navas – Germantown, MD; USMC, Iraq, Captain, 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Purple Heart, KIA

John E. Nichols – Springfield, VA; USMC; Cuba, Vietnam, Major (Ret. 44 y.)

Diego D. Pongo – Simi Valley, CA; USMC, Iraq, GSgt., 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

Wayne Smith Jr. – Fort Benning, GA; US Army, Korea, 11th Airborne Div. / Vietnam, adviser, Bronze Star, West Point alum ’49

Max von Sydow – Lund, SWE; Swedish Army, Quartermaster Corps / beloved actor

Ken Wright – Avalon Beach, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, ETO, Flight Lt., Spitfire pilot

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Home Front / Bomb Testing / conclusion

Later improvements consisted of a 5,000-foot airstrip, an upgraded sewer system, dozens of semi-permanent buildings, including Quonset-and Butler-type steel buildings, over 500 concrete tent pads, and trailers for housing, administration, storage, and other uses. There were chapels, an open-air-theater with wooden bleachers and an elevated stage, a barber shop, and a beer tent. The open-air theater hosted entertainers from Las Vegas who came to Camp Desert Rock to perform for the troops. The camp had its own telephone system nicknamed the “Camp Desert Rock Telephone Company.” By the time Exercise Desert Rock VI had started in 1954, the camp had grown to 133 semi-permanent buildings and more than 500 framed squad tents. Large prefabricated buildings were built to serve as Signal and Quartermaster warehouses. The ordnance yard gained a pair of prefabricated storage buildings.

A helicopter landing area next to the airstrip was added for storing, maintaining, and refueling helicopters prior to exercises. Many of these later improvements to Camp Desert Rock were carried out by the Shore Battalion, 369th Engineer Amphibious Support Regiment, 95th Engineer Construction, 412th Engineer Construction, and 314th Signal Construction Battalions.

In October 1951, as part of Operation Buster-Jangle, the Army and the AEC prepared to test the ability of men and machines to move through ground zero within minutes after the detonation of an atomic bomb. The first shot did not involve live troops. Instead, various types of military equipment including Jeeps, trucks, tanks, personnel carriers, and half-tracks were to be used. Some were buried to various depths at distances ranging from two hundred yards to three miles from ground zero, while others were completely exposed. Heat, blast, and radiation sensors monitored the effects on each vehicle.

Soldiers from the 11th Airborne Division’s 188th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 127th Engineer Battalion, and the 546th Field Artillery Battalion observe a nuclear detonation called Buster Dog during Operation Buster- Jangle, six miles from ground zero at NTS, October 1951

In addition to observing nuclear detonations, troops received training in radiation and nuclear weapons effects. Personnel assigned to the camp were provided booklets that explained the importance of secrecy. They were prohibited from discussing nuclear tests, military maneuvers, or any effects they felt from the tests. They were also warned about the dangers of poisonous snakes and insects found in the Nevada desert, but the more deadly danger of radiation was rarely discussed. One training film said that radiation was “the least important effect” and that it was fatal only within a mile of a nuclear detonation. The men were taught that they could “live through an atomic attack and live to fight another day” and that a nuclear explosion “is one of the most beautiful sights ever seen by man.”

Exercise Desert Rock operations were staffed and administered by the Sixth Army’s III Corps. Exercise troops were assigned to Camp Desert Rock for periods lasting several weeks to participate in a particular military training program. Operation Buster-Jangle, comprised of seven nuclear detonations in late 1951, was the first nuclear test series during which a large number of troops assigned to Camp Desert Rock received realistic training in the tactical aspects of nuclear warfare. Over 6,500 troops, including those from the Army’s Atomic Maneuver Battalion, took part in the operation. Additional tests that took place over the years measured the blast and radiation effects on buildings, vehicles, various weapon systems, and animals.

188th/11th Airborne Division patch

Original plans called for the Army to dismantle Camp Desert Rock following Buster-Jangle and return all support units to their home stations. Instead, the Army ultimately chose to keep the camp open as a permanent installation to support additional nuclear tests. Immediately after Operation Plumbbob’s Galileo shot on 7 October 1957, the camp reverted to standby status, with a small caretaker staff remaining at the post. After the suspension of above-ground testing in 1957, the camp ceased operation as an Army sub installation effective 18 June 1964. Many of the camp’s structures were moved to other parts of the NTS.

The AEC resurfaced and enlarged the Desert Rock airstrip in 1969, extending the runway to a length of 7,500 feet. Although this airstrip was originally built to serve the NTS, it is currently an emergency landing site for any aircraft. Later additions included a National Weather Service facility and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Surface Radiation (SURFRAD) station.

A number of troops assigned to Camp Desert Rock received realistic training in the tactical aspects of nuclear warfare. Over 6,500 troops, including those from the Army’s Atomic Maneuver Battalion, took part in the operation. Additional tests that took place over the years measured the blast and radiation effects on buildings, vehicles, various weapon systems, and animals.

In August 2010, the NTS was renamed the Nevada National Security Site. Most of the remaining Camp Desert Rock facilities except the airstrip were dismantled and salvaged for scrap. Today, the camp’s remains are located on Department of Energy property.

National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, NV

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Shout Out >>>>>

I think it is wonderful so many readers responded to our last Shout Out.  Isn’t it great to show one the Greatest Generation how much we think of them?  We now have a veteran who served in the US Navy, Pacific Theater turning 99-years old on 23 March 2020.  How about a birthday card folks?!!!

Arthur Hashagen

211 Persimmon Circle West

Dover, DE   19901

World War II vet’s family asks for cards for 99th birthday

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Murlen Berry – Weatherford, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/187/11th Airborne Division

Ray Catan – brn: ITA; US Navy, WWII, ETO

Frederick Dempsey – Lexington, KY; US Army, WWII & Korea

Claude Horne – Bleckley County, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, fighter pilot / West Point flight instructor

Gordon Jenke – Murray Valley, AUS; RAAF # 48753

John McDonald – Hollister, CA; USMC, WWII, CBI, 2nd Lt., & Korea

Joseph Pallotto – Wallingsford, CT; US Navy, WWII, USS Lake Champlain

Elwood Scheib – Berrysberg, PA; US Army, 188/11th Airborne Division, atomic test witness

Samuel Shields – Meridian, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 874th Airborne Engineers

Royce R. Wood – Gadsden, AL; US Army, Vietnam, helicopter gunner, 1st Cavalry

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Home Front / Bomb Testing / part two

On 18 December 1950, President Harry S. Truman gave his approval to use a portion of the U.S. Air Force’s Las Vegas Bombing and Gunnery Range in southeastern Nevada for atomic tests. Construction of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), originally known as the Nevada Proving Ground (NPG), began in January 1951. Construction of what became known as Camp Desert Rock did not start until September 1951. The camp was named for Exercise Desert Rock, a series of atmospheric nuclear tests first conducted at NTS in 1951. This site included Yucca and Frenchman Flats, Paiute and Rainer Mesas, and the Camp Desert Rock area, which was used by the Sixth Army in the 1950’s to house troops participating in atmospheric tests at the site.

Designed as a military support facility for NTS, Camp Desert Rock began as a temporary camp originally part of NPG. It was located twenty-three miles west of Indian Springs, Nevada, in Nye County on Highway 95 and assigned to Sixth Army effective 12 September 1951. Headquarters, III Corps, Sixth Army, chose an area just outside NTS about two miles southwest of the Atomic Energy Commission’s (AEC) Camp Mercury. The site, in the center of Mercury Valley, was bordered by the Spring Mountains and the Spotted Range towards the north and east and the Specter Range to the west. The Army acquired 23,058 acres for Camp Desert Rock from the Department of the Interior on 5 September 1951.

The Army established Camp Desert Rock to stage and house troops involved in training exercises associated with nuclear weapons testing by the AEC. Personnel from all four services were deployed to observe the detonations from trenches, tanks, and armored personnel carriers. After the completion of exercises, the camp adhered to radiological safety measures throughout its use. In 1951, the Army, working closely with the AEC, carried out the Desert Rock exercises to “dispel much of the fear and uncertainty surrounding atomic radiation and the effects of gamma and x-rays.”

188th/11th Airborne Division at Desert Rock

The initial construction for Camp Desert Rock was accomplished by the 231st Engineer Combat Battalion, a North Dakota Army National Guard unit mobilized in September 1950 for the Korean War and based out of Fort Lewis, Washington. The battalion’s mission was to establish, build, and maintain the camp, and construct field fortifications at the atomic test sites. The 90th Engineer Water Supply Company handled the camp’s water supply, to include running water from a 190,000 gallon water tank, and several permanent type latrines with showers, flush toilets, and wash bowls. Temporary sumps for garbage disposal were built by the 597th Engineer Light Equipment Company.

Within the first six months of existence, Camp Desert Rock had grown from a few tents to a relatively comfortable, semi-permanent tent camp with many modern amenities. It had two permanent buildings for mess halls, each of which could accommodate 500 soldiers, electricity to all parts of the camp from nearby AEC Camp Mercury, and telephone, telegraph, and teletype facilities. A sewage system ran throughout the permanent part of the camp. In addition, the camp featured a permanent training auditorium with seating for 400, a post exchange housed in a Quonset hut, and framed and floored tents to house soldiers.

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Shout Out >>>>

Major White walks passed some of the 140,000 Valentine cards he received.

Those of you who were kind enough to send Major White, 104-year old veteran and oldest living U.S. Marine, a Valentines card – here is the story and end result!!

https://www.kcra.com/article/feeling-the-love-stockton-vet-gets-140k-valentines-day-cards/30936477#

 

 

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Military Humor – 

“Now is when we need a Plan B”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Cox Jr. – Guston, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Armando Groccia – Providence, RI; US Army, WWII

Last Flight

Ned Johnson – Vincennes, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Brandon T. Kimball – Central Point, OR; US Army, Afghanistan, Spc., 3/10/10/10th mountain Division, KIA

Frank Losonsky – Detroit, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 23rd Fighter Group/14th Air Force “Flying Tigers”, pilot

Matthew Morgan – Paladine, IL; US Army, SSgt., dive instructor

Glenn Neal – Konawa, OK; US Army, WWII, PTO

John “Donnie” Pullo Jr. – Boston, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO,Sgt., 82nd Airborne Division

Winsbury “Jim” Robinson – Kohimarama, NZ; RNZ Air Force / RAF # 413125, WWII, 485th Squadron, Spitfire pilot

Irvin Sullivan – Wichita, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Lt. Commander, PBY Squadron VP 12 “Black Cat Raiders”, pilot-navigator

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U.S. Coast Guard disaster, the USS Serpens

USS Serpens USCG

The sinking of the ammunition ship USS Serpens in January 1945 was the single deadliest day in the history of the Coast Guard. The gigantic explosion, which killed 250 sailors and almost vaporized the ship, was blamed on an accident involving the ship’s explosive cargo. Now, new allegations push the theory that the ship was actually attacked by a Japanese submarine—and that U.S. Navy officials were covering this up as late as 2003.

On the night of January 29th, 1945 the island of Guadalcanal was wracked by a truly massive explosion. The USS Serpens, whose crew had been handling a cargo of anti-submarine depth charges, exploded with the force of 600 tons of explosives.

Serpens, a Liberty Transport Ship, 424 feet long and displacing 14,250 tons, practically disappeared in the blink of an eye. The ship, save for a section of the bow, disappeared from the face of the earth. Along with it went 193 Coast Guardsmen, 56 U.S. Army soldiers & a U.S. Public Health Service surgeon.

One sailor who responded to the explosion stated:

“…as we came into closer view of what had once been a ship, the water was filled only with floating debris, dead fish, torn life jackets, lumber and other unidentifiable objects. The smell of death, and fire, and gasoline, and oil was evident and nauseating. This was sudden death, and horror, unwanted and unasked for, but complete.”

The U.S. Navy would ultimately chalk up the incident to an accidental detonation of the ship’s cargo: 3,399 unfused bombs, each containing 350 pounds of high-explosive Torpex. That adds up to 1,189,650 pounds of high explosive, or 594 tons. As the Coast Guard states, “By 1949, the U.S. Navy officially closed the case deciding that the loss was not due to enemy action but an “accident intrinsic to the loading process.”

Now, 74 years later, a son of one of the lost crew members of the Serpens is lobbying for the Pentagon to reconsider the official explanation. Backing him up are some curious facts, allegations, and discrepancies, as reported recently by the Sarasota-Herald Tribune:

  • Amazingly, there were two survivors of the ship explosion, both of whom survived in the remaining bow section of the ship. One of them reported that a Japanese submarine had been tracking the Serpens before the explosion.
  • Two explosions were heard by nearby military personnel. The second explosion was the detonation of the million plus pounds of high explosives aboard the ship. According to the submarine theory, the first explosion was a torpedo which then set off a huge “secondary” explosion of the ship’s cargo.
  • A majority of the Court of Inquiry convened to look into the accident believed that the ship had been the victim of enemy action—yet the Navy still insisted the cause of the explosion had been an accident.
  • Japanese radio propaganda actually announced the explosion before Japan could have plausibly learned about it from the Americans, suggesting a submarine reported the attack back to Tokyo.

Veering into sinister territory: the Navy Judge Advocate General’s conclusions on the Serpens’ sinking, dated 1949, “were checked out of the National Archives Records Administration in 2003 by the Navy JAG’s office and never returned.”

USS Serpens’ caskets at Arlington Cemetery

At 76, the retired Central Intelligence Agency senior finance officer and certified fraud investigator wonders if he’s onto one of the last cover-ups of World War II.

So why would the U.S. Navy cover up the incident? By 1945 Guadalcanal was thousands of miles behind friendly lines and was part of the logistics chain supporting the Allies’ advance on Japan itself. Anti-torpedo nets were supposed to be strung along Lunga Point to protect ships like the Serpens, but were often less than 100 percent reliable.

The death of 250 military personnel far from the front line would have been a major embarrassment to the Navy.

Could the Navy reverse course and come clean? In 2001, Naval historians pieced together enough evidence to convince the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of the Navy that the USS Eagle 2, a patrol boat sunk off the coast of Maine in 1945, was the victim of a submarine attack. For decades, the Navy believed Eagle-2 had been the victim of a boiler explosion.

USS Serpens monument

Historians discovered reports by survivors that a mysterious submarine with unique symbols painted on the conning tower was sighted at the time of the attack. The symbols matched those painted on the German Navy U-boat U-583,proving it was responsible for the sinking.

The official explanation for the loss of Serpens leaves open the possibility that members of the crew were in some way incompetent and caused their own deaths. A submarine attack, on the other hand, could mean that local anti-submarine defenses were not strong enough and would fault the Navy’s leadership.

Reopening the case of the Serpens could help clear the names of the crew—and determine why the real truth didn’t come out decades sooner.

Story by:
Kyle Mizokami

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stuart Amstutz – New Orleans, LA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Jeff Bricker – Quincey, IL; US Army, Gulf War, 82nd Airborne Division

John Christopher – Roswell, GA; US navy, WWII, PTO, USS Rodman

Aubrey Downey – Morvin, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI; 375th Bomb Squadron

William Frasher – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Frederick Gerken Jr. – Denville, NJ; US Army, WWII, Pvt., cannoneer, 398th Infantry Reg., Bronze Star

Richard Lillie Sr. – Boston, MA; US Navy, WWII, USS Bunker Hill

Ceci Nelson (102) – Oklahoma City, OK; US navy, WWII

Peter Povich – Akron, OH; US Army, Cpl., 11th Airborne Division

John A. Shelemba – Hamtramck, MI; US Army, Korea, L Co./3/34/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Taejon)

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“THIS IS THE ARMY” conclusion

After touring the English provinces, the company went to North Africa for two weeks and then sailed for Italy. This Is the Army was presented at the San Carlo Opera House in Naples in early April 1944. The group arrived in Rome by truck only six days after the Eternal City fell to the Allies. The musical was presented twice a day at the Royal Opera House in June.

Egypt was the next stop in early August, with This Is the Army being performed at the Cairo Opera House until the end of the month. September and October were spent in Iran. The company then traveled to the vast Pacific Theater, with New Guinea the first stop at the end of December 1944.

The company eventually landed at Guam in early August 1945, days before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. A number of island-hopping stops followed, from Leyte in the Philippines to Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and other Pacific islands. The touring company reached Hawaii on October 10 and gave its final performance in Honolulu on October 22, 1945.  Irving Berlin spoke after the last performance and expressed hope that he would never again have to compose a war song.

“This Is the Army” was made into a Technicolor movie by Warner Brothers in 1943. The film starred future President Ronald Reagan (then an Army lieutenant), George Murphy (later a senator from California), and Joan Leslie. The motion picture was produced by Hal B. Wallis and Jack L. Warner and directed by Michael Curtiz. The entire cast and crew were transported to Hollywood in February 1943 and stayed at a large tent camp near Warner Brothers Studio under military command.

The cast still had drill duty

Irving Berlin’s doleful cinematic performance of “Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” recreating the role he previously played in his World War I musical “Yip! Yip! Yaphank”, is legendary. Boxer Joe Louis, Frances Langford, and Ezra Stone also appeared in the movie version, along with Kate Smith, who naturally sang “God Bless America.” Included in the cast were hundreds of soldiers released from duty until the filming was completed.

Although the movie was mainly a musical that merged entertainment and propaganda, a thin plot tells the story of Jerry Jones (George Murphy) and his son, Johnny (Ronald Reagan), during the course of two world wars. “This Is The Army” won an Academy Award in 1943 for best musical score..

Berlin was drafted into the Army in 1917 during World War I and was sent to Camp Upton in Yaphank, Long Island, where he wrote the musical “Yip! Yip! Yaphank”. The review raised $83,000 to build a service center at Camp Upton. However, the service center was never built, and Berlin never found out what became of the money.

“God Bless America,” which was originally written for this show, was thought to be a little too hymn-like for a musical, and remained unknown and unpublished in Berlin’s files. Kate Smith introduced the song during a CBS radio broadcast on Armistice Day, November 11, 1938, and recorded “God Bless America” for RCA Victor on March 21, 1939. Her original version was reissued over the years on many occasions and was also recorded by numerous other artists.

Kate Smith singing, “God Bless America”

Berlin wanted “God Bless America” to be the final number of the Broadway musical. Director Ezra Stone had other ideas and used the song “This Time.” Stone eventually realized how wrong he was!

“This is the Army” was especially significant in that African American performers were included in the cast at Mr. Berlin’s insistence.  “This Is the Army”  thus became the only integrated unit in the military at that time, with white and African American soldiers working and living together.

“This Is the Army” eventually raised more than $10 million for the Army Emergency Relief Fund from the stage productions and movie version until performances ceased at the end of 1945.

By Sheldon Winkler

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Military Humor – Sad Sack style – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Arias – NYC, NY; US Merchant Marines / US Air Force

Melray R. Ballard – W. Benson, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Stanley Bieber – Oakland, CA; USMC, WWII & Korea, radioman

Adelard Dubreuil (100) – Putnam, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 7th Armored Division

Teddie Massie Sr. – Lesage, WV; US Army, WWII & Korea

Michael Priano – Brooklyn, NY; OSS, WWII, CBI, ‘frogman’, Bronze Star

Desmond Scott – London, ENG; Royal Navy, WWII

Robert Styslinger – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, Korea, 1st Lt., B/57/7th Infantry Div., Bronze Star, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Harold Vienot – Brighton, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO

Joe Walsh (100) – East Orange, NJ; USMC; WWII, Pearl Harbor / Korea, D.I. Sgt.

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