Blog Archives

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

################################################################################################################

Military Humor – 

##########################################################################################################

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]

################################################################################################################################

Arctic Operation Haudegen Dr. Wilhelm Dege

The weather station where 11 German soldiers were trapped, forgotten by the fallen Nazis.

I thank Klausbernd for bringing this story to Pacific Paratrooper about the last German to surrender.  Not wanting any part of war, Dr. Dege became part of Operation Haudegen….

Weather played an important role during the Second World War. It dictated the outcome of Naval battles and decided the routes of military convoys. Weather and visibility affected photographic reconnaissance and bombing raids. Much of D-day planning revolved around the weather, and the landing itself was delayed by 24 hours because of choppy seas. Weather information was so sensitive that it was transmitted encoded from weather stations.

By August 1941, the Allies had captured many weather stations operated by the Germans on Greenland and on Spitsbergen, in the Svalbard Archipelago in Norway. These stations were critical because the air over Svalbard told a lot about what was coming over the North Atlantic and continental Europe.  Svalbard Archipelago lies in the Arctic Ocean about a thousand kilometres from the North Pole. When Norway came under German occupation in 1940, the Nazis took control of the oil fields and the weather stations there. The Germans made many attempts to set up weather stations on Spitsbergen, but all failed or fell to the Allies.

Geologist Wilhelm Dege, head of Operation Haudegen. Photo: From the archive of Wilhelm Dege

In September 1944, the Germans set up their last weather station, code named Operation Haudegen, on Nordaustlandet, one of the most remote and northerly of the main islands in Svalbard.  A U-boat and a supply vessel deposited eleven men, along with equipment, arms, ammunitions and supplies on the island and hurriedly retreated back to Norway before they could be discovered by Allied warships. The men set up the weather station and erected two inconspicuous flat-roofed huts using wooden panels and camouflaged with white nets.

Operation Haudegen started in December 1944. Five times a day, the station transmitted encrypted weather forecasts to the German naval command at Tromsø. In addition, once a week, they sent a hydrogen-filled weather balloon to 8,000 meters to obtain data from the upper atmosphere. The remaining time was spent exploring the island and learning about science, geography, philosophy and mathematics from the leader of the expedition, Dr. Wilhelm Dege. The young men built a sauna and helped themselves to the ample food supplies, enjoying delicacies like reindeer meat which most Germans at that time could only dream of in their bomb cellars.

The approximate location of the weather station of Operation Haudegen. Political map of Svalbard by Peter Hermes Furian/Shutterstock.com

Siegfried Czapka, the 18-year-old radio operator, told the German magazine Der Spiegel in 2010: “It was an unforgettable experience; we had everything but beer.

But of course, life in the Arctic was harsh. Temperatures went well below freezing, there were snow storms and daylight was scarce. Polar bears were another threat. The men had to carry rifles with them every time they went outside. The men had been given rigorous training to deal with the hardship. They learned to ski, rappel down cliffs, build igloos, cook and bake, pull teeth, attend to gunshot wounds, and even amputate frozen limbs.

On May 8, 1945, the men received a message from their commanders in Tromsø that Germany had surrendered and the war was over. They were ordered to dispose of explosives, destroy secret documents and send weather reports unencoded. Then there was complete radio silence. The men tried contacting base but there was no reply. They started transmitting their coordinates on the wave lengths the Allies used but no ship or aircraft appeared. The men had two years worth of ration, but the idea of getting stuck on ice for any amount of time held little appeal. The men worried about their families back in Germany, whether they were still alive or killed by air raids. In desperation, they started transmitting on Allied distress channels.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Towards the end of August, a reply was received. Norwegian authorities assured the stranded men that a ship would set sail for Spitsbergen in early September. Their joy was boundless when on the night of September 3rd and 4th, a vessel arrived in the fjord near the weather station. It was a seal-hunting ship that was chartered by the Norwegian navy in order to pick up the Germans.

The Norwegians came ashore and they all had a big celebratory meal together. Then the commanding officer of the Germans formally surrendered—four months after the war ended—by handing over his service pistol to the Norwegian captain.

“The Norwegian stared at it and asked ‘Can I keep this then?’, recalled Dr. Eckhard Dege, the son of Wilhelm Dege, the commanding officer. “My father explained that he could because they were surrendering.”

The men were taken to Tromsø where they became prisoners of war for three months. In December 1945, they returned to their homes, to a divided country. Some found themselves on East Germany, others on the West. The men of the unit tried to meet each other, but it became impossible due to the tensions between East and West Germany. It was only 60 years after the incident, that two of the survivors were reunited for a trip to the island.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Bernis Allardyce – Beaumont, TX; US Army, Lt.Colonel (Ret. 25 y.)

Willard Alverson – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, Korea, Ranger, Colonel (Ret. 31 y.)

Harold ‘Ron’ Hawkins – Tempe, AZ; US Army, Vietnam, 6th Special Forces, Sgt.

Emil ‘Gene’ Jemail – Newport, RI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division / JAG office Austria

James A. McNeill – Brooklyn, NY; USMC, Afghanistan, SSgt., 3rd Marine Logistics Group, KIA (Okinawa, non-combat)

Mavis Poe – Topeka, KS; Civilian US Navy, WWII, driver

Pleasant Rourke Jr. – Charleston, SC; USMC, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart

Mark Sertich (99) – Duluth, MN; US Army, WWII, ETO  /  world’s oldest ice hockey player

James Weber Jr. – Louisville, KY; US Navy, WWII Corpsman

Catherine Young – Napier, NZ; WRNZ Navy # 234, WWII

################################################################################################################

Follow up story for the Battle of Savo Island

Eric Geddes and his crew

With thanks to Pierre Lagacé for finding this information.  [Should anyone require research on WWII, especially the ETO, this is the man to know!]

Battle of Savo Island in art

 

 

https://richardharmervfn101.wordpress.com/2020/08/10/bloody-savo-revisited-sole-survivor-fights-to-clear-wwii-shadow/

Battle of Savo Island

Sole survivor fights to clear WWII shadow

For the follow-up video….

https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/sole-survivor-fights-to-clear-wwii-shadow/4468200

Eric Geddes WINS!!!

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-27/raaf-veteran-wins-fight-to-clear-crews-name/5844958

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Arnold – Des Plaines, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Shirley Hugh Barker (104) – Beloit, WI; US Army, WWII, 82nd Airborne Division

Raymond Dietrich – Muscatine, IA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Ira Edmondson – Texarkana, AR; US Army, WWII, 42nd “Rainbow Division”

Jack Frisch – Colorado Springs, CO; US Army, German Occupation, 547th Ordnance / NFL running back

Philip A, Goddard – Morrisville, VT; US Army, Medical Unit/82nd Airborne Division, doctor

Carl Humpfer Jr. – St. John, IN; US Navy, WWII / US Army, Korea

Kenneth Kokrine – Tanana, AK; US Army, Vietnam, radioman

Charles Mirachi – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Enterprise / Civilian, US Navy

Ronald Perry – New Haven, CT; US Army, Vietnam, 1st Calvary, Col. (Ret.), Silver Star, 2-DFC’s, 3 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart

################################################################################################################################################################################################################################

The Wreck of the IJN Chokai

IJN Chokai, 1942 -by: Paul Wright

Chokai was the last of the four-strong Takao class of heavy cruisers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the late 1920s. Imperial Japanese designers worked for several years under the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty to make warships that were superior in quality to their American and British opponents, but the tonnage limitations imposed by the treaty made designs that would satisfy the General Staff almost impossible.

In WWII,  Chokai participated in several of the early operations in Southeast Asia, including convoy escort, assisting in the Hunt for Force Z, and the destruction of ABDA forces.

In March 1942, the IJN made a raid into the Indian Ocean with impressive results. The British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, the heavy cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire, and the destroyers Tenedos and Vampire were all sunk. Additionally, several ports were raided on the island of Ceylon and the Indian mainland, and more than 25 merchant vessels were sunk for the loss of around 25 Japanese aircraft.

After a short refit at Yokosuka, Chokai was assigned to the occupation force for the Midway Invasion operation, with the intention of providing support to the Special Naval Landing Forces while they assaulted the atoll. However, the destruction of the Kido Butai and the resulting loss of Japanese air cover on June 4th resulted in the failure of the operation, and Chokai returned to Japan.

IJN heavy cruiser Chokai at Ruk 20 Nov. 1942, Yamato in background

On the night of August 9th, Chokai acted as the flagship for Vice Admiral Mikawa as the 6th Cruiser Division went into the Battle of Savo Island, a mostly one-sided beating of the Allied naval forces in the waters off the island.  Four Allied heavy cruisers were sunk (CanberraAstoriaVincennes, and Quincy) by the combined weight of gunfire and torpedoes from the Japanese force, and another survived with heavy damage. Despite the surprise of the attack, two Japanese cruisers were damaged by return fire, including ChokaiQuincy and Astoria succeeded at hitting Chokai’s Number I turret, disabling it and killing 34 of the crew inside. Repairs are made at Rabaul over the next several days.

For the rest of 1942, Chokai participated in bombardments of Henderson Field and escorted Tokyo express convoys to the island. For several more months most of Chokai’s time was spent escorting convoys, and in some minor refits that added newer radar and more AA guns.  In June 1944, she was part of the Mobile Force at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, a colossally one-sided battle that saw the loss of three Japanese aircraft carriers, three more carriers damaged, damage to several surface combatants, and the loss of more than 700 aircraft. Chokai emerged unscathed from the battle.

 

October 1944 would see the end of Chokai. In an effort to halt the American landing on the island of Leyte, the IJN put together a massive operation to divert the main striking power of the US navy away from the island, so that their battleships and cruisers could attack the vulnerable transport ships in the gulf.

IJN Center Force departing Brunei Bay, Borneo, for P.I. 22 Oct. 1944 w/ Yamato & Musashi

The Center Force under Admiral Takeo Kurita comprised four battleships (including Yamato and Musashi, the largest battleships ever built), ten heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and fifteen destroyers. Despite two devastating attacks on the 23rd and 24th by American submarines and aircraft (which sank two of her sister ships and critically damaged another), Chokai made it into the gulf for what would have been the main event.

During the Battle off Samar on October 25th, the Center Force totally failed to utilize its advantage in survivability and firepower and was turned back by the boldness and audacity of the Americans in the small task forces that were supporting the marines on the island. For the loss of an escort carrier, two destroyers, a destroyer escort, several aircraft, and damage to several other warships, the Japanese lost three more heavy cruisers and another three were seriously damaged.

At 0558 the Center Force opened fire on Taffy 3, by 0850 Chokai started to take 5” shellfire from the guns on the escort carriers and destroyer escort Roberts. It is probable that several of them were from USS White Plains (CVE-66).  Less than ten minutes later, reports indicate a large explosion, long believed to be from Chokai’s torpedoes detonating from a near hit by a 5” shell. Her engines and rudder were disabled, and she fell out of formation. At 0905, a flight of four TBM Avengers from Kitkun Bay scored a hit with a 500 pound bomb on the stern, and they reported billowing smoke.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Towards the end of the hour, the heavy cruiser Tone reports that Chokai is dead in the water. Kurita orders the destroyer Fujinami to escort the stricken cruiser away a few minutes after 1000, and the destroyer takes off the survivors. At last, at 2148 hours Fujunami reports that she had scuttled Chokai with torpedoes.

But even after their ship was sunk, Chokai’s crew weren’t safe. On October 27th, while diverting to pick up more survivors from another lost Japanese ship, aircraft from USS Essex attacked Fujinami in the afternoon. Fujunami was sunk with all hands, including all of the survivors from Chokai.

On May 5th, 2019, the R/V Petrel located Chokai at a depth of 16,970 feet (5,173 meters), and on May 30th they conducted an ROV survey of the wreck.  Chokai is resting upright, her bow broke off in front of the Number I turret and is resting about 980 feet (300 meters) away, an aircraft catapult also broke away, and the rear deck has fallen in.

Aside from that, most of the ship is in one piece.

 

################################################################################################################

Military Humor – Navy Chief style – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Leon Ahlquist – Scarborough, ME; US Navy, WWII, USS Antietam

Daniel H. Bergolc – Euclid, OH; US Army, Iraq & Afghanistan, Captain, 2 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts

Jack Childress – Ridgeland, MS; USMC, WWII, PTO, 1st marine Division, 3 purple Hearts

Robert Dishmond – Science Hill, KY; US Army, Korea, 101st Airborne & 3rd Infantry Division

Charles Gwinn – Silverdale, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. B/674 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Norris Halstead – Notomine, WV; US Navy, WWII

Fred Kerhoff – Lena, IL; US Army, WWII

Laverne Mertz – Walnut, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Oliver Williams Jr. – New Orleans, LA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Hutchins

Thomas Francis Wills – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII, ETO & PTO, radioman 1st Class, USS Upshur Inshore Patrol/10th ND/Navy 116; USS Chickadee, Monitor & Dyess

################################################################################################################

The Home Front Role of Sports

Hialeah Race Track postcard. Flamingos were imported from Cuba in 1934

The movies and newsreels of WWII provided information and diversion for many at the home
front, but none could provide the escape and release of stress for the civilian as much as sports.

South Florida maintained a carnival atmosphere with the Hialeah Race Track and West Flagler Kennel Club, which took in $100,000 nightly – just to prove my point. And, somehow, travel restrictions did not deter the action at Miami’s Tropical Park. Horse racing went on, despite the war, in every country. All in all, racing boomed as the 68th running of the Kentucky Derby went off with 100,000 in the crowd. Unfortunately, this was the same day that 68 men had been taken by the Japanese at Bataan; they were all members of D Company, 192d Tank Battalion, out of Kentucky.

Sam Snead & Ted Williams

The war did not stop the golfers either as the tournaments and professional tours continued. Sam Snead, fresh back from the Navy, played in the 1944 tourney; he came in second to Byron Nelson. (gpcox met Snead at the ‘Sail Inn’ in Delray Beach, FL when he would drop in for lunch after a game with friends.)

In boxing, Joe Louis started the idea of holding a sports event for the war effort. He announced in 1942 that his profits from the bout against Buddy Blair would go to the Naval Relief fund.  The gate was $200,000 and Louis finished off his opponent in 2 minutes and 56 seconds. Louis was drafted three days later.

Not to be outdone, a profitable pro-football contest was held between the National League AllStars and the Chicago Bears and these profits also went to the Naval Relief Fund. The National Football League was forced to reduce to a 42 game season in 1943 due to all the draftees, but
Coach George Halas brought home two championship titles for the Bears, 1940 & 1942; while Curly Lambeau’s Green Bay Packers won it in 1944.
As during most of WWII, 1943 in New Zealand had no Rugby International matches played, but the West Coast did retain the Northern Union Cup. England and Australia were unable to hold their tennis championships, such as Wimbledon, for the extent of the war.

Rose Bowl at Duke Stadium, 1942

In 1942, the Rose Bowl was moved to Duke Stadium in North Carolina to avoid having large crowds converge anywhere on the west coast. Dallas, Texas had 38,000 for the Cotton Bowl that year and 35,505 amassed in Miami for the Orange Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs 46 – Horned Frogs 40. The annual Army-Navy game brought 66,000 to Baltimore’s Municipal Stadium in 1944, when Coach “Doc” Blanchard led the Army, not only to victory, but a perfect season.

For the story of “The Game Must Go On” click here.
Professional baseball was as hot as ever when 37,815 fans watched the American League Browns, in Sportsman Park, beat the New York Yankees for the pennant 1 October 1944. This made the World Series an all-St. Louis affair against the Cardinals. Truman was there watching as the Cardinals won their fifth world crown. The Yankees won it in 1943 against the Cardinals.
As most people are aware, the baseball racial barrier was not broken until 1947 when Jackie Robinson walked out on the field, so during WWII there were two Negro leagues. (As they were called back in the day.) Out of Hometown, Pennsylvania, “Josh” Gibson and Walter Johnson dominated the games. In the Washington Griffith Stadium, he had the long-ball hitter record of 563 feet, (Babe Ruth’s record was 550’) and a .541 batting average in 1943.

And, we cannot close this section of baseball without mentioning the AAGPBL – the AllAmerican Professional Baseball League, also known as the “lipstick league.” They were the “Girls of Summer” depicted in the newspapers as “Queens of Swat” and “Belles of the Ball Game.” They referred to each other by nicknames like: ‘Jeep,’ ‘Flash,’ ‘Pepper’ and ‘Moe.” The league premiered in 1943 and would last for 12 years. There were 545 female athletes that made up the ten teams and their popularity would eventually draw a million fans. These women have been honored by the movie, “A League of Their Own” in 1992 and finally received tribute in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame in 1988.

Young adults (the word “teenager” was not really used back then), used sporting events as a gathering spot for camaraderie among friends and also to help fill the void of adult male influence that was prevalent in so many homes. In the “Corn Belt,” basketball ranked as the number one sport, but there was also tennis, golf, a tumbling club, fencing and even Ping-Pong clubs. High school games were even broadcast on the radio. The girls would join a Booster Club to be their school’s cheering squad and wearing their boyfriend’s sports jacket was a major status symbol.

Willie Mays playing stick ball

Not all sports were organized. Boys played stick ball in the city streets and in the suburbs, a basketball hoop attached to a garage door attracted neighbors. Church picnics and block parties always included a multitude of games and sports to occupy the younger set. Communities were kept closely knit that way, like Kerry Corner, the Irish working-class neighborhood not far from Harvard yard. They organized their own baseball and basketball games. John “Lefty” Caulfield formed a baseball scholarship program before he enlisted in the Navy because it had done so much for him. Those that returned from the war became part of the ROMEO Club, (Retired Old Men Eating Out), to maintain those childhood friendships.

Harry James, better known as a big band leader for the ‘Swing Era’ was also a one-time Detroit Tigers prospect. He organized his own band into a team, complete with uniforms. Louise Tobin, singer with many of the big bands, said, “The boys were hired first because they could play baseball; second for their instruments.” Fellow musicians said you had to have a .300 average to get an audition with Harry. The band’s manager added, “They carried more equipment for baseball than music… Another bus on the road would probably be a band and we’d stop and play a game.” Mr. James gave his all for baseball as captain, pitcher and the heaviest hitter.
For the home front, living during a world war was an experience no one of today’s generation has experienced.
I’m certain I have missed at least a million or so stories out there that are related to the sports of the 1940’s – so let’s hear some!

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor – Stars & Stripes style – 

“TODAY IT REALLY IS”

“… and don’t try any of that funny stuff, Slim….”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

James C. Broughton – Barbersville, KY; US Army, WWII, Sgt. Major (Ret.), Bronze Star

Robert Campbell – Richmond, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 navigator

Joseph DeMaria – Albany, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Distinguished Flying Cross

Warren Gale – No. Sydney,NS, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII

Albert Haimes – Boston, MA; OSS, WWII, ETO

Michael Mandzak – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, pilot, Lt. Col. (Ret. 26 y.)

Charles Queen – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, P-47 pilot, Col. (Ret.)

Frank Rees – Newfoundland, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, 409th Squadron “Night Hawks”, navigator

Joseph A. Richards (100) – Sellersburg, IN; US Army, WWII, CBI, MSgt., 691st Engineers

Louise Ullman – Miami, FL; Civilian, US Navy employee

################################################################################################################################################################################################################################

The New York Times Crossword and WWII

The WWII home front and this generation have something in common, lock-downs.  This post seemed appropriate for right about now.

There are plenty of crossword puzzles in publications across the country, but when we think of the pinnacle of puzzledom (Not officially a word, but, perhaps, it should be?), the purveyors of the most preeminent puzzles, we bow to The New York Times (NYT).

For more than 75 years, the NYT crossword puzzle has been stumping readers with its clever clues and then sending them soaring when they finally fill in all the squares.

When did the NYT Crossword begin?

When crossword puzzles first came about in the 1920s, the NYT turned up its nose at them. In 1924, the paper ran an opinion column that dubbed them, “a primitive sort of mental exercise”.

So, what absolved the crossword puzzle in the illustrious publication’s mind and made them eat their words? Reportedly, it was after the bombing of Pearl Harbor that Lester Markel, the paper’s Sunday editor at the time, decided the country could use some levity, primitive or not.

Crosswords became an American craze in the 1920s, but it took the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the urging of The New York Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger, a long-time crossword fan, to convince the features editor to run a crossword puzzle each Sunday.   In a memo dated December 18, 1941, an editor conceded that the puzzle deserved space in the paper, considering what was happening elsewhere in the world and that readers might need something to occupy themselves during blackouts.  The frivolous” feature, he admitted, would take people’s mind off the war and give them something to do while hunkered down in their bomb shelters.

Seventy-five years later, people continue to turn to crosswords for comfort and distraction. As the first editor of the crossword noted, “I don’t think I have to sell you on the increased demand for this kind of pastime in an increasingly worried world. You can’t think of your troubles while solving a crossword …” — Will Shortz

The first puzzle ran Sunday, February 15, 1942, and it was, in fact, a primitive pursuit, (Dictionary.com’s first definition for the adjective: “Being the first or earliest of the kind or in existence”), as they were the first major US paper to run a crossword puzzle. By 1950, the paper began running a crossword puzzle daily.

Since that time, there have only been four editors of the NYT Crossword puzzle, beginning with Margaret Farrar, who served as editor from the publication of the first puzzle until 1969. Will Weng and Eugene Maleska followed in her footsteps.

 

To print out a copy of the original crossword – CLICK HERE!

For the solution – CLICK HERE!

################################################################################################################

Military Humor –

“Besides that, it ruins on only 2 flashlight batteries.”

 

 

SIGN POSTED IN THE ARMY RECRUITING OFFICE:

Marry a veteran girls!  He can cook, make beds,

sew and is already used to taking orders!

 

 

 

 

################################################################################################################

Quarantine Humor –   THE ECONOMY IS SO BAD THAT….

 My neighbor got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.

 Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

I saw a Mormon with only one wife.

McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

A picture is now only worth 200 words.

When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.

And, finally…

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., that I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Melvin Askenase – FL; US Army, WWII & Korea

Clarence “Cubby” Bair – Troy, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO,17th & 82nd Airborne Division

Lester Cheary – Havana, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division / US Navy, Korea, USS John Pierce

Homer Dunn – Woodrow, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Thomas Falzarano – Colorado Springs, CO; US Army, Iraq, Pentagon, Air Force Academy grad, Colonel, 21st Space Wing Commander

Frank Manzi – New Haven, CT; USMC, WWII, CBI, canine handler

James Mincey – Burlington, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Communications / Western Elec. engineer for antiaircraft & missile guidance radar

Ron Shurer – Fairbanks, AK; US Army, Afghanistan, SSgt., Special Operations Task Force, Medal of Honor

John C. Taylor – Warsaw, VA; US Army, Vietnam, MSgt., 82nd Airborne Division (Ret. 27 y.)

Fred Willard – Shaker Heights, OH; US Army, KY & VA Military Institutes alum / beloved actor

################################################################################################################################################################################################################################

Pearl Harbor – your opinion? / “Leora’s Letters” review

This subject is still a topic of debate, even to this day.   Please watch these 2 videos before giving me your opinion.  Thank You.

 

 

################################################################################################################

Book Review – Leora’s Letters”  by:  Joy Neal Kidney

No one warned me that when you read this book – you must be prepared to join the family.

Reading Leora’s Letters, you do not merely become acquainted with this close-knit, hard-working family – you become one of them.  In this tumultuous period of our history, you are transported into the  heartland’s home front and the different areas of combat of that age.  You can understand their dreams and hopes; feel their anguish, trepidation and heartaches and you pull for each member of that family to succeed just as you do for your own loved ones.

One need not be a WWII buff or knowledgeable of military operations to comprehend the Wilson brothers’ correspondences.  You need not be familiar with Iowa in the 1940’s to grasp the emotions and hardships they endured.

This non-fiction experience will not disappoint – and don’t take MY word for that!!  After reading it, I researched the opinion of other readers and it has a solid 5-Star rating!!  Click HERE or the link above to purchase this treasure or click on Joy’s name above to reach her website.

###############################################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

###############################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Barbara Barnett – Chappaqua, NY; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Calvin Beazley – Chesterfield, VA; US Army, WWII, SSgt.,1151st Engineer Combat Group ? Korea

Cecil Crookshanks – Rainelle, WV; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret.)

Theodore Fibison (100) – Syracuse, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, pilot, Flight Instructor

Don Howison – Bradenton, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, The last officer of the USS Indianapolis to take his final voyage.

Margaret Madden – Berlin, MD; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Colin G. Parry – Hamilton, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 432370, WWII

Wallace Ramos Jr. – Honey Grove, TX; US Navy, WWII / Korea, Chief Petty Officer (Ret.)

Arthur B. Summers – Poplar, MT; USMC, WWII, PTO, Gunnery Sgt., KIA (Tarawa)

LLoyd R. Timm – Kellogg, MN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

##############################################################################################

Another “Rosie” Story

Ruth & Ben Reise

When Ben Reise went to enlist in the military in 1942 during World War II, his future wife, Ruth Fern Gibb, went with him. The two had grown up together in Chicago, meeting in grammar school.

Ben Reise tried to enlist in the Navy, but they told him that he was too short at 5 feet, 4 inches, Ruth Reise said. Next, he went to the Army, which “took him right away.”

At the same time Ben enlisted, Ruth was also offered a job. Her height – 5 feet even – made her the perfect size to climb into airplane gas tanks to secure the rivets. Soon after, she began working at the Douglas Aircraft manufacturing plant, on the site where O’Hare International Airport is today.

From 1942 to 1945, Douglas manufactured 655 C-54 Skymasters, a military transport aircraft, at the Chicago plant. A photo from the Chicago Tribune’s archive shows that the opening of the gas tank on the C-54 was just 13 inches tall and nine inches wide.

“I told [the recruiters], ‘I don’t have any claustrophobia so that will be fine,’” Ruth Reise, now 92, said.

Each day, 15-year-old Reise would go to school, take two streetcars and arrive at her job at 2:30 p.m. She would work until 10 p.m. and head home on the same two streetcars. It was only as an adult that she realized just how young she was when she began working on the planes. Despite her age, she enjoyed the work she did at Douglas, and felt as if she was contributing something to the war.

Although she was called a “Rosie the Riveter” by many – representing the women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II – she said she was part of a two-person team. While the person on the outside of the tank used a rivet gun to shoot the rivet through the metal, she would secure the rivets from the inside.

“I had someone working on the outside of the gas tank, and the lady that was on the outside was a riveter,” Reise said. “I had a little block and gloves and as soon as she started drilling, I had to catch the rivet and make it absolutely perfect. They would come in and inspect, because if I didn’t get it perfect, it had to come out and they had to do it over. They never had to do mine over again,” she said.

While Ben Reise was in Paris, he would send her letters, photos and other pieces of memorabilia. He included photos of the gliders that he flew as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Forces, a picture of his bunk that included a portrait of her, and a photo of him doing a handstand on top of a plane.

She said he was “the most remarkable handstand person,” and before the war started, the two of them would enter gymnastics contests around Chicago on weekends. “We would do our act and we would always win.  It would be $10, so we thought we were millionaires,” she said.

In 1943, he sent her a cartoon that had been published in Yank, the Army’s weekly magazine that ran during World War II. The cartoon was part of George Baker’s series “The Sad Sack.”

Ruth Reise said that his friends would make fun of his dedication to her while he was overseas. “They had made a joke of the fact that he never dated at all when he was there.

On Sept. 2, 1945, the day World War II ended, she was still working in the gas tanks of planes at Douglas Aircraft. “They blew all the whistles and thousands and thousands of us were out on the grounds. I wish I had been taking photographs of it,” she said.

Throughout the war, she saw patriotism all around her. At school, she said, patriotism was encouraged among students, and with a job so closely connected to the war, she found that “somehow or other, it was acceptable to be that patriotic.”    The fact that people around her were drafted or enlisting in the military heightened her dedication to the United States’ cause.

“It was acceptable to be that patriotic, not just because [Ben] was gone, but my stepfather had the six of us and he was next on the roll,” she said. “We didn’t know what we would do if he went in.”

After Ben returned home safely in 1945, the two began making plans for their future. “When he got off the train it was just like I had said goodbye to him,” she said. “Right away, we knew that we were going to decide where we were going to get married.”  On Feb. 10, 1946, they got married at her aunt and uncle’s house in Illinois.

The two eventually settled in Wheaton, Illinois, where Ruth Reise still lives today. Ben Reise died in 2012 at the age of 89.

This story is partially from: “Stars and Stripes” magazine

Click on images to enlarge.

#############################################################################################

Military Humor –

While he was overseas in 1943, Ben Reise sent Ruth Reise a clipping of this comic strip by George Baker which had been published in Yank, the Army’s weekly magazine that ran during World War II. Ruth said that Ben’s friends would make fun of his dedication to her and compared him to the character in this comic strip.
COURTESY OF RUTH REISE

 

#############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

John Arsers – New Ulm, MN; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Frank Bennetti – Butler, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQS/187/11th Airborne Division

William Burr Jr. – Champagne, IL; US Army, WWII, West Point Class ’44, 101st A/B / Korea, 25th Infantry Div. / Vietnam, Col. (Ret. 33 y.)

Renaldo Jenson – Arco, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, air mechanic / National Guard, Sgt.

Theodore Masterson – Cleveland, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO, 11/5th Infantry Division

James Miller – Oakland, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt. C Co./1/24, Purple Heart

Dale Stoner Sr. – York, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Military Police, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

John Turnley – Martin, KY; US Navy, WWII

Donn C. Young – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Major, 90th BS/3rd BG/5th Air Force, KIA (New Guinea)

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

#############################################################################################

Nisei – part 2

306th HQ Intelligence Detachment, XXIV Corps, Leyte, Philippines, November 1, 1944. Front row, l to r: George Shimotori, Saburo Okamura, Thomas Sasaki, Francis Yamamoto Herbert Nishihara, Warren Tsuneishi. Back row, l to r: Hiroshi Itow, Joe Nishihara, Lt. Richard Kleeman, TSgt George Takabayashi, Lloyd Shimasato.
(Signal Corps photo)

When the first graduates were sent to the Pacific and landed in Australia, they were part of the Americal troops. Many were sent to help with the fighting on Iwo Jima, which MacArthur felt was taking far too long to complete. Some stayed and worked with the Australian troops and others went to British or Canadian units. (Canada also had their own S-20 Japanese Language School in Vancouver, British Columbia to train interpreters.) Only the U.S. Navy rejected the linguists. Admiral Halsey did in fact understand their importance and requested some MIS’ers for his fleet, but as a whole, Nimitz and the rest of the navy wanted to continue using their own intelligence personnel. (A very serious mistake in Leyte Gulf.)

It was difficult to locate the Nisei that worked G-2 specifically for the 11th Airborne and when because the men were rarely ever put on the official rosters. A MISer could train with the 11th Airborne on New Guinea and by December he was in Burma or up in the Aleutians. They were as difficult to track as the 11th A/B themselves. One Nisei found himself stuck at the Panama Canal, not at all certain what he was supposed to do there.

Nisei at work in Manila, P.I.

But, I did manage to locate a fair number of fellow paratroopers from Smitty’s division: Clarence Ohta and John Nakahara jumped with the 11th on Luzon. George Kojima, Koshi Ando and James Harada were with the 503d Regiment. Harry Akune jumped on Corregidor without any training, injured his ankle and went to work translating immediately. He was later at Atsugi airfield with MacArthur. After the service he went back to college. There was also: Robert Kimura and Mitsuo Usui; Takeshi “Jim” Fujisaka (lived in Fresno, CA and passed away 7 Sept. 1996); Tetsuo Koga; Norman Kihuta (with the 511th G-2 was discharged 6 Jan. 1946); Mike Miyatake went back to his customs job after his discharge; Akira Abe took his parachute training, flew to New Guinea and continued with the 11th A/B throughout Leyte and Luzon. Jiro Tukimura and Eddie Tamada were also noted in the records.

Nisei, saving lives by flushing out the caves.

In February of 1943, the Taiyo Maru, a Japanese transport ship, was sunk and a lifeboat washed up on Goodenough Island, north of New Guinea;s eastern tip. On that boat was a document that included a list of 40,000 Imperial Army officers from Hideki Tojo on down. These papers, once translated, gave the rank of each officer, unit assigned, the order of battle and the amount of men in each of these units. This information along with documents previously acquired and translated established the exact location of all Japanese units. This work alone was worth the time and effort of forming the MIS.

Click on images to enlarge.

############################################################################################

SHOUT OUT !!!

James South, 99 year old veteran, is about to turn 100 on 7 October.  He has asked for one thing for this occasion — to receive 100 birthday cards!!  Help him have his wish come true……

James South, 5800 North Park Drive, Watauga, TX  76148

############################################################################################

Military Humor – 

“Thank you, sir — all we needed was somebody blowin’ his horn.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Alvie Boles (100) – Rosedale, OK; US Army, WWII. Purple Heart

William Davis – Topeka, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, P-51

Dorothy Doerr – St Clair, MO; Civilian, “Rosie” at Curtiss Wright Aircraft, WWII

Robert Engel – E. Greenbush, NY; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Harold Hayward (101) – Lower Hutt, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 74142, WWII, Wing Commander

Herschel Mattes – Pittsburgh, PA/Avon, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, pilot, 1st Lt., 525 FS/86th Fighter Group, KIA

W. Ray Painter (100) – Augusta, GA; US Army, WWII

John Runkle Jr. – Washington D.C.; US Navy, WWII, APO / Korea

Henry C. Smith – Manistee, MI; US Army, WWII, CBI; Sgt., Merrill’s Marauders, Silver Star

Maurice ‘Migs’ Turner – Winnipeg, CAN;  RCNVR, WWII, Sub-Lt., HMCS Guelph / NATO / RC Coast Guard

############################################################################################

How Donald Duck & Dumbo Helped to Win the War

Just one day after Pearl Harbor, Walt Disney received his first military contract and began creating promotional reels, war bond advertisements, short training and instructional films, and other WWII materials.  Also at this time, he received requests from military units all over the world requesting Disney-designed insignia’s and mascots.

David Lesjak, a former employee and Disney historian says, “Insignia helped build morale.  Having a cartoon character you grew up with on your plane or shoulder patch helped remind you of home.  In my mind it was a happy diversion from the horrors of war.”

Hank Porter @ Disney

One of the purest expressions of Walt Disney’s genuine patriotism during the war years was his decision to establish a unit devoted to producing customized military unit insignia free of charge for U.S. armed forces and their allies.  Headed by the talented draftsman, Hank Porter, whom Walt referred to as a “one-man department,” a unit of 5 full-time artists worked steadily throughout the war, turning out 1,300 insignia.

By far, the single most requested and used Disney character was Donald Duck, who was featured in at least 146 designs.  The numerous requests for Donald’s likeness resulted in a wealth of drawings that successfully channeled his irascibilty as patriotism and military zeal, often with a comedic flourish.

Next, the character that appeared most was Pluto in about 35.  Pluto was popular and his trademark facial expressions made it easy for the artists to incorporate him into a variety of insignia.  Goofy followed in popularity at 25 insignia and Jiminy Cricket appeared in 24.

B-29 Thumper nose-art

Sometimes a unit had a special design in mind and was seeking a Disney artist’s skill to bring it to life, attaching a rough sketch to their request letter for reference.

The bulk of insignia were designed for Army units and Navy vessels, but occasionally individuals requested their own personal design.  These requested were accommodated and executed with the same level of care as an insignia for an entire ship, bombardment group or battalion.

Mickey nose-art

The requested letters were often addressed simply: Walt Disney, Hollywood, California.  Once a letter was received in was placed in the queue of pending requests, and the turnaround time was usually 3-4 weeks, though a wait of several months was possible when the insignia unit was particularly swamped.

The procedure for the creation of the insignia design varied, but it typically involved a preliminary pencil drawing in which the image was established, then a full-color pencil version and finally a full-color gouache on art board that would then be forwarded to the requesting unit or party.  This would often hang in the unit headquarters and serve as a template for reproducing the emblem on aircraft, tanks, and other military equipment – as well as uniforms and letterheads.

War Bond by Disney

It is difficult today to fully appreciate how it felt for a serviceman to have his unit represented by a Disney-designed insignia.  For the generation that fought WWII, Disney character images possessed and iconic heft that has no analog in contemporary animation.

A Donald Duck insignia boosted morale, not just because it reminded soldiers of home, but also because it signified that the job they were doing was important enough to be acknowledged by Walt Disney.

The 127th Airborne Engineers/11th Airborne Division’s first insignia was Donald Duck with combat engineer equipment and aviation goggles.

This article and information was printed in the “Voice of the Angels” 11th Airborne Division Association newspaper.

Click on images to enlarge.

############################################################################################

Military Humor – 

Tracking Guide

Disney Humor

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

John Bradshaw III – E. Greenwich, RI; US Army, WWII & Korea. Major (Ret. 45 y.)

Jimmie Calder – Pensacola, FL; US Navy, WWII / US Air Force, MSgt. (Ret. 22 y.)

Charles Graybeal – W. Jefferson, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO

Charles Hankammer – San Francisco, CA; US Navy, WWII, CSG2 cook

Clayton J. Horne – Atlanta, LA; Saudi Arabia, Specialist, 351/160th Military Police Battalion, KIA

Meredith Keirn – Niagara Falls, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO, Spl. / Korea, Sgt., Co F/2/7/1st Marine Division, KIA

Ralph Mayville – Windsor, CAN; RC Forces, WWII, ETO, 1st Special Forces (Black Devils)

Horace Ogle – Whangarei, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 44071, WWII

George Rash – Pulaski County, VA; US Army, WWII, POW / Korea

Martin J. Wurth –  Paducah, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

############################################################################################

%d bloggers like this: