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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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HAPPY HOLIDAY WISH FOR ALL !! Poems (2)

SANTA PARATROOPER

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to everyone out there !!   May you all find the Peace and Happiness you deserve.

 

 

A 1944 Christmas

FromPacific Paratrooper to ALL !!!

Cherish His Christmas

by Roger J. Robicheau

Dedicated to our military…

Christmas brings such a time of love
Each tender heart holds so much of

Unselfishness thrives, trust is strong
The purpose to give, send love along

A time of pleasantries, patience too
Good wishes to all, all feelings true

Thankfulness follows each fine deed
Gifts from our God, never from greed

Great the rewards that joy does bring
Like the beauty in hearing angels sing

We pray for our loved, each so dear
Especially those who can’t be near

Many leave home to bravely serve
All freedoms we have, they preserve

Do pray for our troops, as we should
And their families too, if you would

Give thanks to our Lord, His only Son
And cherish His Christmas, everyone

©2004Roger J. Robicheau

Please do me one favor and click on last year’s post – Right Here !  

From Charly Priest to Smitty – CLICK HERE!!

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Military Humor – 

Easton, MD–Dec. 22, 2011–This is a Christmas display at the home of Tom and Alice Blair, which includes an F 104 jet, staff photo/Barbara Haddock Taylor} [Sun Photographer] #9306

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Anderson – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Bill Bjorson – Canfield, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/511/11th Airborne Division

Roland Duffany – Pawtucket, RI; US Army, WWII, SSgt., Purple Heart

Robert Gibbons – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Samuel Jones – London, ENG; Royal Navy, WWII, ETO, gunner, HMS Zulu

Shuso “Shoes” Kumata – IL; US Army, WWII, PTO, Occupation interpreter

Thomas Lovell – St. George, UT; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Tetsuo Matsumoto – Lodi, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 100/442nd RCT

George A. Sakheim – Brn: GER; US Army, WWII, ETO, Military Intelligence & interpreter

Wiley Tanner – Radium, KS; US Army, WWII

 

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Christmas poems for our military (1)

Sailor Santa

“A Different Christmas Poem”

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

091202-N-5339S-693
GROTON, Conn. (Dec. 2, 2009) Santa Claus stands with Sailors aboard the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755) during the submarineÕs return to Naval Submarine Base New London after an eight-month deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Electronics Technician John Sabados/Released)

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,

I’m out here by choice. I’m here every Night.”

“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at “Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of “Nam”,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son
In more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures;
He’s sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”
“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”

“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

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Military Humor – 

Easton, MD–Dec. 22, 2011–This is a Christmas display at the home of Tom and Alice Blair, which includes an F 104 jet, staff photo/Barbara Haddock Taylor} [Sun Photographer] #9306

Aboard the USS Nimitz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Arnold Arons – Vacaville, CA; US Navy, WWII / US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 30 y.)

John Bayens – Louisville, KY; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc., Co B/1/6/2nd Marine Division, KIA (Tarawa)

Joseph Cuda – NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Glenn R, Goff III – Hardeesville, SC; US Army, Vietnam, specialist

Francis Jackson – Oak Mills, KS; USMC, WWII, PTO, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret. 30 y.)

Richard Little – Mobile, AL; US Navy, WWII, USS Henry W. Tucker / US Air Force, Korea

Maurice Mounsdon (101) – Litchfield, ENG; RAF, WWII, Lt., pilot, 56th Squadron “The Few”

Michael Soares – New Bern, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, 2nd Lt., tank commander / US Navy (Ret. 25 y.)

Gordon Whitlow – Sioux Falls, SD; Merchant Marines, WWII / US Air Force, Korea

John Voogt – Newport, RI; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam

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Emperor Hirohito

Emperor Hirohito, on white horse, January 1940

 

Japanese public broadcast service, NHK has obtained documents showing that former Emperor Hirohito repeatedly felt sorry about World War II and tried, unsuccessfully, to express his feelings by using the word “remorse” in a 1952 speech.

The records of conversations with Hirohito spanning several years were kept by Michiji Tajima, a top Imperial Household Agency official who took office after the war.

Although it’s not surprising that Hirohito had deep regrets about the war, the documents highlight how painfully strong such emotions had been.

Journals and notebooks kept by Michiji Tajima, a former top Imperial Household Agency, are seen in Tokyo on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019.
KYODO NEWS VIA AP

The Imperial Household Agency declined to comment on the report.

As he was preparing his 1952 speech at a ceremony to commemorate Japan’s return to independence with the end of the U.S. occupation, Hirohito insisted to Tajima that he “must include the word remorse” in his speech, according to NHK.

That wish was relayed to then-Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who advised against it, NHK said.

Yoshida’s views were that people needed to look to the future and any reference sounding like an apology would give the wrong impression.

World War II, which ended with Japan’s 1945 surrender following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was fought in the name of the emperor.  The man who had wanted nothing more out of life than to be a Marine Biologist,  was considered divine.

After the war, the U.S. occupation allowed the emperor to stay on, although without any political powers but as a symbol of the state.

In this Jan. 26, 2016, file photo, Japan’s Emperor Akihito, right, and Crown Prince Naruhito, left, walk at Haneda international airport in Tokyo. Emperor Akihito, abdicated on April 30, 2019, in the first such abdication in about 200 years. The emperor will be 85. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

The documents show that Hirohito felt that, instead of surrender, he wished he had been able to end the war earlier. He also privately expressed horror at the atrocities committed by the Japanese military, according to the documents. But he also told Tajima that the military was so powerful that he couldn’t influence it.

Hirohito died of cancer in 1989 at age 87. He was succeeded by his son Akihito, who recently abdicated, passing the Chrysanthemum Throne to his son Naruhito. Both Akihito and Naruhito have publicly expressed remorse for the war.

From: Stars and Stripes magazine, YURI KAGEYAMA | Associated Press | Published: August 20, 2019

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

K. Beltz – Villas, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./674 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Wallace Crane – Manchester, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Robert Felton – Green Bay, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Lewis Gentry – Cookeville, TN; US Army, WWII, PTO, C/O cook, medic & Chaplin’s asst.

Mohammed S. Haitham – US Navy, KIA (Pensacola, FL)

George Kessel – Fargo, ND; US Army, WWII, ETO, 26th Infantry Division, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

James Masters – Bourne, MA; US Air Force, Vietnam, SSgt., radioman, Bronze Star

Victor ‘Pat’ Tumlinson – Raymondville, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Cameron Walters – GA; US Navy, KIA (Pensacola, FL)

Joshua C. Watson – AL; US Navy, US Naval Academy graduate, KIA (Pensacola, FL)

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Pearl Harbor is remembered

Crew of the USS Arizona

When diplomacy failed and power and greed survived – the Pacific skies went dark….

Hickam Field

Aerial view during the attack

Battleship Row, as seen by Japanese pilot during the attack

From the Smithsonian Museum……

USS Oklahoma stamp

This relic marks the movements before the U.S. was launched into WWII….To record when a piece of mail was processed aboard ship, the Navy used wooden postmark stamps.  This one bears an ominous date: 6 December 1941 PM.  It was recovered from the battleship Oklahoma after it was hit by several torpedoes, listed to a 45-degree angle, capsized and sank in the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The ship lost 429 sailors and Marines; one-third of its crew.

 

For a different view on the Pearl Harbor “surprise”……..

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/the-other-pearl-harbor-story-kimmel-and-short/

For a wonderful Pearl Harbor poem, by Lee…..

https://mypoetrythatrhymes.wordpress.com/2018/08/

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Barnes – Brookston, IN ,& Lake Worth, FL; First Cavalry Division, Korea

John B. Coffey – Johnstown, PA & Miami, FL; Lt. Colonel (Ret.), US Army Air Corps, WWII ETO, 35 B-17 missions; B-52 crews in

U.S. Marine Mounted Honor Guard

Korea

James “Harp: Gerrity – Milford, CT; US Army Staff Sgt., WWII ETO, Bronze Star & 8th Army African Star

Leo Keninger – Ackley, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Robert Frank Rolls – Napier, New Zealand; 4th Field Regiment, WWII Sgt.

Oscar J. Tenores – Lemoore, CA; US Navy, Master-at-Arms

Orval Tranbarger – Chapel, MO; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Robert Wade – Van Nuys, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII ETO, (Ret. 22 yrs. Major)

Otto Wilner – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

James Wilson Jr. – Decatur, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt., radioman

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Wartime Football

One of the Sports Facts newspaper of April 25, 1950 with photos of Bronko Nagurski.

What many people today don’t know is that professional football went through many of the same trials and tribulations that baseball did during the war years. Making matters even worse for the owners and fans of the sport was the fact that even in the 1940s, professional football was not as popular as its college counterpart.

Adding to the wartime troubles for football was the fact that college football remained somewhat unaffected, as the players were mostly younger or exempt (at least temporarily) from the military draft. That meant that star college players kept playing, but star professional players found themselves in uniform.

American footballer Tuffy Leemans

To keep people interested in the game, the National Football League (NFL) came up with sort of a gimmick, much like their baseball counterparts – they re-signed older, retired stars. The most famous of the returning players was Bronko Nagurski, who had played for the Chicago Bears and had retired in 1937. Nagurski, who became famous in college and the pros as a fullback, returned to football as a tackle.

Other (future) Hall of Famers included Green Bay quarterback Arnie Herber, who had retired in 1940, and halfback Ken Strong. Herber signed with the New York Giants and Strong returned to that team.

Steagles starting line-up

Teams as a whole went through hard times because of the war. The Cleveland Browns suspended play for 1943. Many people would be surprised to hear that the two Pennsylvania teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, actually merged for 1943, and played in both cities. People dubbed the team “the Steagles.”

The “Steagles” only lasted one year, but in 1944 Pittsburgh combined with another struggling team, the Chicago Cardinals. The official name of this team was the catchy “Card-Pitt Combine” and they were so bad they went winless that year. Opposing teams ran over them so much that sportswriters and fans began calling the team “the Carpets.”

The year 1945 saw the end of the “Combine,” but two teams that do not exist anymore, the Boston Yanks and the Brooklyn Dodgers (yes, football “Dodgers”) merged at that time and played as the “Yanks,” but left a city tag off the name.

During the war, a surprisingly large number of NFL players were killed overseas. Many of the players went into combat roles – their athletic prowess and toughness made it almost inevitable, and the death toll reflected that. Nineteen active or former players were killed in action, as was an ex-head coach and a team executive.

Al Blozis, Giants tackle, died in World War II. According to Mel Hein, “If he hadn’t been killed, he could have been the greatest tackle who ever played football

Of those NFL players killed in action, probably the best-known was Al Blozis, who played tackle for the New York Giants and had been “All-League” (the early NFL’s “All-Pro”). Blozis was 6’6” tall and weighed 250 lbs. Blozis was in the Army, and actually could have claimed exemption from front-line infantry duty because of his size and instead put into the artillery or a support branch, but he would not take the exemption.

During basic training, he set the Army record for a grenade throw – he had been a varsity shot-putter at Georgetown University. In the winter of 1944, just six weeks after playing in the 1944 NFL Championship Game, Blozis was killed by German machine-gun fire as he helped look for some missing men in the snow-covered Vosges Mountains of eastern France.

Three men who had played in the NFL or pro football or later had connections to it were awarded the Medal of Honor during the war, one of them posthumously.

Joseph Jacob Foss wearing the highly prized Medal of Honor bestowed upon him by President Roosevelt for outstanding gallantry against the Japanese in the Solomons.

The most famous of the three was fighter pilot Joe Foss, who was the leading Marine ace of WWII with 26 victories. He later was commissioner of the AFL from 1960-66 as well as being governor of South Dakota.

Maurice Britt briefly played end for the Detroit Lions before the war. He fought in North Africa and Italy and was the first man in WWII to be awarded all four of the top medals of valor: the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star. He also received four Purple Hearts. Football was easy compared to all that.

Jack Lummus, USMC, Medal of Honor recipient; Battle of Iwo Jima

Andrew Jackson “Jack” Lummus played with the 1941 New York Giants and received the Medal of Honor for actions taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. He destroyed many Japanese positions single-handedly, despite being wounded multiple times, before being killed by a land-mine.

Tom Landry, USArmy Air Corps / Coach Landry

Perhaps the most famous of them all, at least in regard to football, was legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry. At 19, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and flew 30 missions in a B-17 over occupied Europe, surviving a crash in Belgium on his way back from bombing a German armaments plant in Czechoslovakia. He was on the real “America’s Team” long before he coached the other one.

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Military Humor – 

‘These military teams really take their defence seriously…!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stephen F. Ambrose – Trumbull, CT; US Army, WWII

Francis Behrendt – Charleroi, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Co. E/188/11th Airborne Division

V. Herbert Brady Jr. – Macon, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Peter Corchero – Mayfirled, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Michael Howard – South Kensington, ENG; British Army, WWII, ETO, Lt., Coldstream Guards. Military Cross / Military Historian

Evelyn Owens – Harlan, KY; Civilian, “Rosie” @ Willow Run, B-24 riveter & crane operator

Thomas Parnell – Somerset, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, gunner

David Ridley – Brockville, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, 514th Squadron, Lancaster navigator

Jerome Thomas – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LST # 991

John Weatherly – Grand Island, NE; US Army, WWII, ETO, 349th Infantry Regiment “Blue Devils”

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How Capitalism helped to win the war

The Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Baltimore, MD – cargo vessels in 24/7 production

“We won because we smothered the enemy in an avalanche of production, the like of which he had never seen, nor dreamed possible.”  ___ William Knudsen, Pres. of G.M.

William ‘Bill’ Knudsen’s story is detailed in the video Capitalism in World War II: The Arsenal of Democracy.

Capitalism in WWII: Andrew Higgins “The Man Who Won WWII” covers Andrew Higgins, whose landing craft designs, based on his own experiences building shallow-water boats in New Orleans, dramatically shaped the way the U.S. military fought World War II. With its enemies oceans away, the U.S. military relied on these small, purpose-built crafts to put boots on the ground.

Rob Citino

Rob Citino:

Well first of all, what America was able to do as a result of individuals like Bill Knudsen and Andrew Higgins, and also as a result of our social economic system and as a result of our fantastic material wealth (much of which was lying fallow during the depression) was to mass produce and employ an economy of scale on a way that was just unheard of to the other countries, with the possible exception of the Soviet Union. If you look at others, another name that has to be mentioned up top is Henry Kaiser. He was the master builder of the war. Kaiser was an energetic and hard driving guy, he was always going in all directions at once. Kaiser would help build the Hoover Dam and the Grand Coulee Dam.

One of many Rosie the Riveters

Kaiser went from construction to shipbuilding, having never built a ship before in his life, during World War II in Richmond, California and Portland, Oregon. They were Liberty Ships, a kind of a floating train car, the most ungainly think you could ever imagine, and he banged them out with abandon.

It used to take months to build a ship. Kaiser’s company could bang them out in 10 days. A ship is a funny thing to build because for most construction projects you speed up at the end. You’ve done all of the heavy lifting in the beginning and at the end it really goes quickly. Shipbuilding goes slowly at the end because you have to put the deckhouses on, but you can clamp together the hull fairly quickly. Kaiser was the one who hit on the notion that you can prefab these things, preassemble the deckhouses and then use a crane to put them on top of an already full constructed ship. I think that was a real breakthrough in shipbuilding.

tank mass production

If we were going to come to grips with our enemy in the Pacific, Japan, an island nation all the way across the Pacific, or in Europe, Germany, we had to get across the Atlantic to get there. We had to form and deploy gigantic forces in a short amount of time, and the only way to get them there is by sea. You can air transport light forces into a theater, like paratroopers and light vehicles perhaps, but in order to bring the heavy metal (the way the United States fights wars is with a lot of materiel, a lot of ammunition, and a lot of heavy artillery) if you’re going to get these things to theater, the only way you can do it is by sea.

The real peak of that achievement is June 1944: spearheading an alliance, the United States landed a massive force in Europe, tens of thousands on the first day and millions of follow-on forces, and literally within weeks launched a gigantic landing on the island of Saipan in the Marianas. There has never been a military power before, and maybe there never will be again, with that kind of global reach. And it’s things like being able to build a Liberty Ship faster than the Germans could torpedo them in 1942 that enabled this. It’s nothing romantic, it’s a battle of attrition.

Higgins boats at Saipan

You have to produce more than you’re losing. And, by and large, that is the margin of victory across all fronts for the Americans in World War II. So it is someone like Knudsen, an expert on production and the assembly line, someone like Higgins, building a little shallow draft boat for river traffic down here in the New Orleans swamps and bayous, someone like Kaiser, figuring out a way to build a big transport ship in an ungodly short amount of time, that allows America to fight the war of the rich man.

There’s a famous book, Arthur Herman’s Freedom’s Forge, which attributes the entire success of the World War II economy onto a handful of these Knudsens and Higgins’ and Kaisers that you and I have been talking about. They brought their patriotism forward, the innovation, the entrepreneurial skills that U.S. workers on all levels enabled.

aircraft mass production

I don’t deny any of that, but the portrait has been overdrawn. Cost-plus contract gave every World War II contractor a guaranteed 8 percent profit, more or less. A guaranteed 8 percent profit is a lot of money for a $10 billion industry. Things like Cost-plus contract, a five-year amortization rather than 16, and letters of intent that could be used for borrowing [also impacted the success of the World War II economy]. Henry Stimson who was Secretary of War at the time said “you have to let business make money, otherwise business won’t work.”

Robert M. Citino (born June 19, 1958) is an American military historian and the Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian at the National WWII Museum. He is a leading authority on modern German military history, with an emphasis upon World War II and the German influence upon modern operational doctrine.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Daryle E. Artley – Maywood, NE; US Navy, WWII, Quartermaster 2nd Cl., USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Riley Burchfield – Cleveland, OH; US Army, Korea, Sgt. 1st Cl., Co. D/1/24/25th Infantry Division, POW, KIA

Roy Christopher – Fort Lawn, SC; US Army, WWII, POW

James Dunn – Larkhall, SCOT; RAF, WWII, ETO

Harold Graver – Victoria, CAN; Royal Canadian Engineers, WWII

George Kimberly – Blunt, SD; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Tom Luey – Oakland, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 14th Air Service Group

Steve Nagy – Lorain, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., pilot, 407/92/40/1st Air Division, KIA (Germany)

Louis Schultz – Ottawa, IL; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Frank Williams – Dumas, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, communications

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Veterans Day 2019

For each and every veteran – Thank You!!

For All Our Todays and Yesterdays

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.  Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

For their loyalty

War Dog Memorial on Guam.

 

US Military dog insignia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Things That Make a Soldier Great

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,

To face the flaming cannon’s mouth, nor ever question why,

Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,

The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,

The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:

‘Tis these that make a soldier great. He’s fighting for them all.

‘Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;

‘Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;

For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam

As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.

Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run–

You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.

 

What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees?

The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,

The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,

Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.

The golden thread of courage isn’t linked to castle dome

But to the spot, where’er it be–the humble spot called home.

 

And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there,

And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;

The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,

And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.

He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,

And only death can stop him now–he’s fighting for them all.

by: Edgar A, Guest

For All Those In Free Countries Celebrating Remembrance 0r Poppy Day

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Current News – 

In honor the Veterans who are in hospice, there is a drive for Christmas cards, and if possible, small gifts for those who are about to go on their final mission.  Please do your best for them – they did it for you!

https://equipsblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/reblog-from-national-anthem-girl-send-christmas-cards-to-lonely-vets-in-hospice-care/

Veteran’s Last Patrol; attn: Holiday Drive, P.O. Box 6111, Spartanburg, SC 29304

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Willard R. Best – Staunton, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 40th/1st Air Div./8th Air Force, gunner, KIA (Germany)

Leon E. Clevenger – Durham, NC; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. K/3/21/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Kalgo-ri, South Korea)

Harry Dexter – Davenport, IA; US Army, MSgt., 11th Airborne Division

Herbert B. Jacobson – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor, KIA, USS Oklahoma

Servando Lopez – Alice, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart

Ralph Nichols – Dawson, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 551/82nd Airborne Division

Robert Register – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, minesweeper USS Notable # 267

William Timpner – Stamps, AR; US Army, WWII

Frank Wills – Columbus, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, submarine service

Peter Zemanick – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, 504/82nd Airborne Division

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U.S. Marine Corps Birthday – 10 November 2019

What does the celebration mean to Marines across the globe?  To General John Lejeune it meant a great deal.  On 1 November 1921, he issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, which provided a summary of the history, mission and traditions of the Corps and directed that the order be read to every command each subsequent year on 10 November.

The reading of Order 47, Series 1921

 

To read Order 47 please click HERE!

 

 

USMC Birthday Cake

 

 

At the Marine Corps Ball, one key piece of the ceremony is to present the first piece of cake to the oldest Marine in the room, who in turn gives the next to the junior Marine.  This symbolic gesture is the passing of experience and knowledge from the veteran to the recruit.  We should all emulate their example and take part in history.

 

To all those who are able – Enjoy the fruits of your labor and revel in the spectacle and unabashed camaraderie that is the U.S. Marine Corps!!

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News – Charly Priest Review

As I explained to Charly Priest, I am the farthest thing from a poet that anyone could meet, but I am attempting a review of his Kindle/Paperback book.  I hope everyone bears with me.

Priest is an unusual sort, and his poetry bears witness to this statement, but he’s humorous, serious and down-right confusing at times.  There is no clearer explanation of him than that which is written at the end of the book by himself.

There are some that make you think, such as his poem “The Priest”, but I think he hunkers down and shows more of his true self in Chapter 4, and I was impressed.  Such as “Land of the Killers” you can hear his own experiences in the Spanish Legion during deployment.  “In Warfare”, that with all said and done, boils down to the last line, “where it’s a day-to-day reality of the insane.”

“Invisible People”, we’ve either known one of these or were one ourselves;  “Seven Sins”, he expresses the human condition as he sees it and “After the End” with great advice to all.

To find his book, Click Here!

To locate his blog, Click Here!!

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Marine Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Somebody stop that guy and give him a piece of cake!!!”

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rudy Boesch – Virginia Beach, VA; US Navy, Vietnam, Master Chief SEAL (Ret. 46 y.), Bronze Star

Larry Brown – Columbus, OH; USMC, Vietnam

Thomas H. Cooper – Chattanooga, TN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl. # 295826, 2nd Amtrac Battalion, KIA (Tarawa)

Glen “Bud” Daniel – Belleville, KS; USMC, WWII, 2ndLt., pilot, Purple Heart

Darryly Fleming – Orange Park, FL; USMC, Chief Warrant Officer-5 (Ret.)

Harry C. Morrissey – Everett, MA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Co. B/1/7/1st Marines, KIA (Guadalcanal)

Paul Plasse – Waterville, ME; US Navy, WWII, ETO

Kenneth Ross – Mosinee, WI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Thomas Walker III – Gadsen, AL; USMC, WWII, Sgt.

Jack Van Zandt – Danville, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, Co. A/1/6/2nd Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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