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Adm. Nimitz – 136th Birthday & USMC Raiders

Pacific War Museum, Nimitz statue

Chester W. Nimitz was born on February 24, 1885 – and today would have been his 136th birthday. The National Museum of the Pacific War is located in Fredericksburg. Texas because Nimitz grew up here and he was a major figure in the U.S. victory over Japan in WWII. 

Nimitz reached the pinnacle of naval leadership when he was promoted to the 5-star rank of Fleet Admiral in late 1944. As the Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Area, he led more than two million men and women, 5,000 ships and 20,000 planes in the Pacific Theater. 

Adm. Nimitz at the “Old Texas Roundup”


He was known to be a congenial and accessible leader and that sailors loved and respected him. He is pictured here at the “Old Texas Roundup” speaking to his guests –  sailors, soldiers and Marines who hailed from Texas. The barbeque was held on January 1944 on Oahu, Hawaii, and Nimitz reportedly invited 40,000 Texans to celebrate their heritage.

 

The following video may be too long for some to watch, but I do recommend a little scanning through it.  The original films are included, and I’m certain you will enjoy that.

 

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Maj. Gen. James F. Glynn, commander of Marine Forces Special Operations Command, addresses MARSOC personnel during the rededication ceremony at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Feb. 22, 2021. On Feb. 24, 2006, the Marine Corps combined several of its specialized and uniquely trained units, gave them a name and a commander and directed them to become pioneers in a new chapter of Marine Corps history. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt Jesula Jeanlouis)

Fifteen years ago, the Marine Corps combined several of its specialized and uniquely trained units to become pioneers in a new chapter of Marine Corps history within Special Operations Command. While MARSOC can still be considered a relatively young unit, the history of Marine Corps specialized forces can be traced back much further than 2006.

The original Marine Raiders date back to World War II when the Marines were called on to solve complex problems posed by our nation’s adversaries. These specially trained Marines helped turn the tide in the early stages against the imperial Japanese Army. In honor and recognition of those that came before, the Marine Corps officially re-designated those serving with MARSOC as Marine Raiders in 2015.

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Military Humor – Navy style – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Scot Ames Jr. – Pekin, IN; US Air Force, 50th Flying Training Squadron, instructor pilot

Tanner W. Byholm – Ashland, WI; US Air Force Reserve

Joseph Couris – Philadelphia, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Captain, pilot B-17 “Rose of York”

B. Paul Hart – Williams, AZ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman

Harry Lord – Farmingham, MA; US Navy, PTO, Chief Boatswain’s Mate (Ret. 30 y.)

Paul Mitchem – McDowell County, WV; US Army, Cpl. Korea, Co K/3/34/24th Infantry Division. KIA (Ch’onan, SK)

John Osgood – Claremont, NH; US Army, WWII, ETO

Lada Smisek – Cleveland, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Chief Machinist’s Mate, POW, KIA (P.I.)

William D. Tucker – USA; US Navy, WWII, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Michaux Turbeville – SC; US Army, Korea, Pfc., HQ Co/ 3/31/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

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Wednesday Hero: Cpt. Joseph O’Callahan

Author and mother of an Army Sergeant and Navy Lt. Commander presents a series of gallant history…

USNA or Bust!

Cpt. Joseph O’Callahan
58 years old from Worcester, Mass
Naval Reserve Chaplain Corps, USS Franklin
May 14, 1905 – March 18, 1964

From Cpt. O’Callahan’s Medal Of Honor citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as chaplain on board the U.S.S. Franklin when that vessel was fiercely attacked by enemy Japanese aircraft during offensive operations near Kobe, Japan, on 19 March 1945. A valiant and forceful leader, calmly braving the perilous barriers of flame and twisted metal to aid his men and his ship, Lt. Comdr. O’Callahan groped his way through smoke-filled corridors to the shells, rockets, and other armament. With the ship rocked by incessant explosions, with debris and fragments raining down and fires raging in ever-increasing fury, he ministered to the wounded and dying, comforting and encouraging men of all faiths; he organized and…

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Before the Journey Begins

A well researched blog, I know you all will be interested!

Stanley Hall's Diary

This is a most precious page in Flight Sergeant W.S. Hall’s log book. There is everything I need on it to find out when and where some photos were taken.W S Hall Service Record
Rongotai N.Z. 24-8-1940 to 2-9-1942 (2 years and 9 days)

W S Hall black album page 19 600dpi

W S Hall black album page 19 group picture 1942

ITW Rotorua N.Z. 3-9-1942 to 15-10-1942 (I.T.W. is Initial Training Wing) (42 days)

EFTS Harewood N.Z 16-10-1942 to 1-1-1943 (E.F.T.S. is Elementary Flying Training School) (77 days)

SFTS Woodbourne N.Z 2-1-1943 to 7-5-1943 (S.F.T.S. is Special Flying Training School) (125 days)

No. 12 P.R.C. Brighton, England 8-7-1943 to 14-9-1943 (P.R.C. is Personnel Reception Centre) (69 days)

Flats Brighton City

Residential District Brighton

No. 6 PAFU Little Rissington, Glos 15-9-1943 to 7-2-1944 (P.A.F.U. is Pilots Advanced Flying Unit) (145 days)

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Little Rissington 1  600dpi.jpg

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No. 5 PDC Blackpool, Lancs 8-2-1944 to 19-2-1944 (No. 5 Personnel Despatch Centre) (11 days)

No. 1 ME. A.P. C. Jerusalem 8-3-1944 to 14-4-1944 (A.P.C. – Armament Practice Camp) (37 days)

76 O.T.U. Aqir 15-4-1944 to 16-7-1944…

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A Brief War History of the USS Dyson (DD572) was written.

Historian at Saratoga - Town of Saratoga

ruff#onthisday in 1945, A Brief War History of the USS Dyson (DD572) was written. Schuylerville-native, US Navy Commander Lawrence Ruff was in command of the boat from September 1944 to October 1945.

history.jpgReturning to a nation which is testing the sweetness of a newly-won peace, the USS Dyson (DD572) and the men who fought on her feel proud of the record which they bring home with them. As a member of the “Little Beaver Squadron”, she has participated in the following campaigns: New Georgia, New Guinea, Treasury-Bougainville, Bismarch Archipelago, Marianas, Philippines, and Okinawa. The veteran sailors who have served on board this destroyer since she left the States in May, 1943, have earned nine battle stars in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre as well as the Presdential Unit Citation.”

Lawrence E. Ruff was a career Naval officer that served as navigator of the battleship USS Nevada during the Japanese attack on…

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USS Cod (SS 224)

U.S.S. Cod (SS 224), was launched on March 21, 1943. under the command of CDR James C. Dempsey, USN. Dempsey had already won fame by sinking the first Japanese destroyer lost in the war while in command of a tiny, World War I-era submarine.

It was on Cod‘s third patrol, Dempsey’s last in command, that Cod fought her biggest battle. Tracking a massive Japanese convoy heading for Subic Bay in the Philippines on the night of May 10, 1944, Cod maneuvered into firing position just after sunrise. Cod fired three of her four stern tubes at the Japanese destroyer, IJN Karukaya, before unloading all six of her bow tubes at two columns of cargo ships and troop transports. Dempsey watched as the first torpedo exploded under the destroyer’s bridge after a short, 26 second run. Both smoke stacks collapsed and dozens of enemy sailors (watching for submarines) were tossed high into the air. The enemy ship started to sag in the middle, with both bow and stern rising, just as the second torpedo hit near the main mast causing the whole rear half of the Karukaya to disintegrate.

A minute later, all six of Cod‘s bow shots hit targets among the columns of enemy ships. Cod submerged to her 300-foot test depth and ran at her top underwater speed of 8.5 knots for 10 minutes to clear the firing point, which was clearly marked by the white wakes of Cod‘s steam-powered torpedoes. The high-speed run had to be kept to 10 minutes to preserve as much of the submarine’s electric battery as possible for later evasive maneuvers.

The firing point was quickly saturated with aircraft bombs and depth charges dropped by enemy escort ships. Between the explosions of enemy depth charges, Cod‘s sonar operators could hear the sounds of several Japanese ships breaking up and the distinct firecracker sound of an ammunition ship’s cargo exploding. Cod‘s own firecracker show soon followed: a barrage of more than 70 Japanese depth charges shook Cod in less than 15 minutes. After 12 hours submerged Cod surfaced 25 miles away from the attack area in the midst of a heavy night thunderstorm.

It was on Cod‘s seventh and final war patrol that she would carve a unique niche for herself, not for destroying enemy ships, but for performing the only international submarine-to-submarine rescue in history. On the morning of July 8, 1945 Cod arrived at Ladd Reef in the South China Sea to aid the Dutch Submarine O-19 which had grounded on the coral outcropping. After two days of attempts at pulling O-19 free, the captains of both vessels agreed that there was no hope of freeing the Dutch sub from the grip of the reef. After removing the 56 Dutch sailors to safety, Cod destroyed the O-19 with two scuttling charges, two torpedoes, and 16 rounds from Cod‘s 5-inch deck gun. The Cod was home to 153 men for the two and a half-day run to the recently liberated Subic Bay naval base.

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After delivering the O-19 crew, Cod returned to her patrol area off the coast of Vietnam where she resumed boarding and sinking Junks carrying enemy supplies. During one of these “pirate-like” operations, a five-man boarding party was stranded on a junk after Cod was strafed by a Japanese plane and forced to crash dive. It was several hours before Cod could surface to retrieve her boarding party. When she did, the horizon was littered with Junks.

After a two-day search involving several U.S. submarines, the lost crewmen were recovered by the submarine Blenny. Highlights of the patrol, including the O-19 rescue and return of the lost boarding party, were recorded in color movies made by Norman Jensen, a Navy photographer, who was assigned to film Cod‘s war patrol. The films were discovered in the National Archives in 1992.

Start to a series on warships – USS Cod

Today, Cod is one of the finest restored submarines on display and is the only U.S. submarine that has not had stairways and doors cut into her pressure hull for public access. Visitors to this proud ship use the same vertical ladders and hatches that were used by her crew. Cleveland can claim partial credit as Cod‘s birthplace, since the submarine’s five massive diesel engines were built by General Motors’ Cleveland Diesel plant on Cleveland’s west side.

Cod is credited with sinking more than 12 enemy vessels totaling more than 37,000 tons, and damaging another 36,000 tons of enemy shipping. All seven of her war patrols were considered successful and Cod was awarded seven battle stars. Patrols 1, 2, and 3 were under the command of CDR James C. Dempsey, USN; patrols 4, 5, and 6 were under the command of CDR James “Caddy” Adkins, USN; and patrol 7 was under the command of LCDR Edwin M. Westbrook, Jr., USN.

Cod is now docked in Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio and is maintained and operated as a memorial to the more than 3900 submariners who lost their lives during the 100 year history of the United States Navy Submarine Force.

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1940’s Naval Humor –

Navy Humor – courtesy of Chris @ Muscleheaded.wordpress.com

Navy training…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Appelbaum – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, submarine service

Demetrius, Babiak – brn: Lug, POL; US navy, WWII, medic

Frank Eckert – Bridgeport, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, tail gunner

Paul Green – Bay County, FL; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 25 y.)

Jack Harris Sr. – Quebec, CAN; US Navy, WWII, PTO / US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 28 y.)

Donald MacDonald – Elizabeth, NJ; USMC, WWII, PTO, 4th Marine Division

James May – East Aurora, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. B/457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Wesley Nutt – Davison, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188/11th Airborne Division

Leon Spinks – St. Louis, MO; USMC  /  Olympic + pro boxer

Theodore Weygandt – New Eagle, PA; US Navy  /  US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, MP (Ret. 20 y.)

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DDT, Aerosol Cans and WWII

With millions of troops moving into tropical and subtropical campaigns, WWII military leaders and planners sought ways to fight diseases endemic to these regions. Two WWII era innovations were combined to save the lives of many combatants during the war years. Malaria was the primary concern at the time.

Malaria was commonly avoided by prophylactic treatments with quinine. Larger doses could be given to those known to be infected. Quinine came from the bark of a South American shrub that came to be grown on commercial plantations in the South Pacific. The Japanese occupied these plantations early in the war, and substitutes for it were less effective.

In 1939, Paul Hermann Muller discovered that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) effectively killed insects.. In 1943 tests showed it to be effective against the mosquitoes that carried malaria, and the US Military started using it. At first they used hand pumps that pressurized a canister, and applying DDT this way replaced spraying fuel oil in streams and ditches. In 1948 Muller received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery.

USDA researchers Lyle Goodhue and William Sullivan developed the first effective aerosol spray can in 1941. There were earlier patents for aerosol spray, but no one had yet made an effective disposable canister. Goodhue and Sullivan were looking for ways to spray insecticides, and found a way to compress chlorofluorocarbon gases in a can with the chemical to be dispersed. With a valve at the top that controlled emission of the contents, the active chemical was carried by the expanding carrier gas

Combining DDT with a working disposable aerosol can, the US military was able to give its troops a way to spray inside tents, nets and clothes to kill mosquitoes (and just about all the other insects that came in contact).

Dr. Lyle D. Goodhue, 1942

In the 1970s scientists showed that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in aerosol cans and refrigeration, were causing a degradation of the ozone layer in the atmosphere. Ozone is a toxic pollutant at ground levels, but a concentrated layer of ozone high in the atmosphere shields the Earth’s surface from a large amount of ultra-violet radiation from the sun. Regulations in the US and around the world phased out the use of CFCs as propellants first, and then as refrigerants, by the late 1980s. Metal spray cans are more rare now, but they dominated the shelves of stores for many decades of the 20th century.

Both products have since been removed from sale due to side effects.

From: the National WWII Museum, New Orleans

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Military Humor –

How’s this for recycling? We get some heavily polluted air, put it an aerosol can, and use it as an insecticide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Ashcroft – Wilmington, DE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS LCI – 688 / Korea

Russell Bishop – Wickenburg, AZ; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Frank M. Fonte – Northport, NY; US Navy, WWII

Russell Harvey (105) – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, WWII

Hal Holbrook – Cleveland, OH; US Army, WWII, SSgt. / beloved actor

Bruce Mock – Dodge City, KS; US Army, Japanese Occupation, Sgt. Major, 808, 836th Engineering Battalion

Eugene Reilly (100) – Boston, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 2nd Lt., 3rd Infantry Division

Robert Skyles – Hill City, ID;US Navy, WWII, PTO

Irwin Stahl – Delray Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/ 187/11th Airborne Division

Robert Max Willocks – Maryville, TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO

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“Static Line” 11th Airborne newspaper

“Static Line”

Static Line staff

On 7 January 2021, I ran a post about the L-4 Grasshopper, the plane that most think of as a Piper Cub.  This note was included…

“While some of the men were confined to fighting up in the mountains, the division’s newspaper called the Static Line, used a piper cub plane to drop bundles of the publication down to the men.  This was the only news of the outside world that the troopers could receive.  One day, a roll of the papers was dropped with a note attached addressing it: “To the girls, with the compliments of Art Mosley and Jack Keil, Phone Glider 3.”  It was discovered later that the WAC camp received the roll meant for the 11th airborne.”

I located an issue of “Static Line” on the internet and wanted to share it.  News included kept the men up to date on the war around the globe, home front news, Hollywood, Books, Sports, a cooking corner, Humor and even obituaries.

‘Static Line’ column

Here is the list of top 10 models.  (Do you remember these names?)

Static line, top 10 models

Static Line’s Books

Static Line’s Sports Corner

 

 

 

 

 

“Hard time ahead if we don’t find a post-war place for the pin-up girl.”

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Military Humor – 

‘Bloody air mail!’

‘Air Mail’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Born – New Haven, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 9th Air Force, B-26 pilot

William Denlinger – Gentry, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW

William Johns – Roeland Park, KS; US Army, WWII, PTO

Christian Koch – Honeoye Falls, NY; National Guard, Middle East, Chief Warrant Officer 4, pilot

Timothy Manchester – Austin, TX; USMC / National Guard, Kuwait, SSgt., 36th Infantry Division

Louis Monaco – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunner’s mate 2nd Class, USS San Francisco

Walter Pasiak – Scranton, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO, MSgt., Pearl Harbor survivor, Bronze Star, Purple Heart / Korea, Silver Star, (Ret. 22 y.)

Daniel Prial – Rochester, NY; National Guard, Afghanistan, Chief Warrant Officer 2, pilot

Steven Skoda – Rochester, NY; National Guard, Afghanistan, Chief Warrant Officer 5, pilot

Eleanor Wadsworth (103) – Bury St. Edmonds, ENG; Air Transport Auxiliary, WWII, pilot

 

Covering “The Other Side” Pictorial

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Japanese/American Unity – Today

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Japanese Military Humor – from:  Kunihiko Hisa cartoon album “Zero Fighter 1940-1945”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Marvin L. Anderson – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, infantry

John D.S. Bailey – Haiku, HI; US Army, SSgt., fire direction chief, HQ Co./4/70/1st Armored Brigade Combat Team

By: Howard Brodie

Scott W. Blais – East Longmeadow, MA; US Air Force, MSgt., flight engineer, 337th Airlift Squadron

Henry Daubert Jr. – New Orleans, LA; US Navy, WWII, Ensign, navigator /  USNR, Lt. Cmdr.

Carl Johnson – AZ; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class, USS West Virginia, Purple Heart, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Charles Joo – Riverside, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 waist-gunner

Clinton Lindseth – Silva, ND; US Army Air Corps  /  US Navy, radio engineer, PTO

Walter Paczkowski – Windsor, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Roy R. Suisted – Cambridge, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 431080, WWII, Medical Section

Harry Servos – Sewell, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. F/187/11th Airborne Division

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Military Radio – Armed Forces Network

1943 ‘G.I. Jive’ sheet music by Johnny Mercer

ARMED FORCES NETWORK

Although American Forces Network Radio has officially been on the air for 60 years, listeners began tuning in at the end of World War I.

A Navy lieutenant in France broadcasted information and live entertainment to troops accompanying President Wilson to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.  Radio was a novelty then, and little equipment was given to overseas military broadcasting until the United States started gearing up for World War II.

playing music for the troops

Bored soldiers in Panama and Alaska created makeshift transmitters and aired records, according to an Armed Forces Radio pamphlet. The U.S. military was unaware of the broadcasts until celebrities wrote asking how to send the stations recordings.

During the first days of the U.S. entry into World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff members set up military radio stations in the Philippines. Their success paved the way for the Armed Forces Radio Service.

In May 1942, the Army commissioned broadcasting executive Tom Lewis as a major and assigned him to create a viable military radio network.

Its primary goal was to keep morale high, a daunting task when the enemy already was broadcasting to Allied troops, in the personas of the infamous “Axis Sally” and “Tokyo Rose.” Playing popular American music, they tried to demoralize troops with talk about missing home.

On July 4, 1943, the Armed Forces Network went on the air, using the BBC’s London studios. With British and Canadian radio stations, it formed the Allied Expeditionary Forces Program. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower wanted to ensure the stations worked together and all allies were getting the same message.

“G.I. Jive” disc, 1943

To boost morale, AFRS headquarters in Los Angeles produced shows such as “G.I. Jive,” shipping them to stations on special “V-Discs.” By early 1945, about 300 Armed Forces Radio Stations worldwide were broadcasting. (There are some V-discs available on e-bay)

Then came peacetime.

By 1949, just 60 stations were operating. But broadcasters who remained in Europe with the occupying forces took on a new role. Music and information were broadcast from Bremen to Berlin — giving many Europeans their first exposure to American culture and music.

AFN brought jazz, blues, rock ’n’ roll and country and western to audiences starved for music. The shows were so popular that when the leftist Greens Party urged Germany to quit NATO in the 1980s and called for U.S. troops to leave, it made one exception.

“The U.S. military should go home, but leave AFN behind,” a Greens leader demanded.

When the Korean War started in 1950, AFRS leased several portable trailers and followed the troops as “Radio Vagabond.” The American Forces Korea Network was established in Seoul later that year.

While the organization changed its name to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service in 1954, the focus remained on radio.

The American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) was established in 1962, during the Vietnam War, mostly for numerous military advisers there. It served as the backdrop for the 1988 movie, “Good Morning, Vietnam!”

But broadcasting to the troops as the war heated up was no day on a Hollywood set.

During the Tet Offensive, AFVN studios in Hue City were attacked. The staff fought off the Viet Cong for five days before the station manager and several others were captured. They spent five years in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp.

Recently, Armed Forces Radio quickly mobilized for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

A mobile broadcasting van deployed to Saudi Arabia, where the American Forces Desert Network was established in 1991 and broadcast for the first time from Kuwait shortly after the Iraqi occupation ended. Since then, it has become a fixture throughout the region.

Tech. Sgt. Mark Hatfield, 36, was “out in the middle of nowhere … at a secret base detached from civilization” as a structural maintainer on F-15s, with the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) during Desert Storm.

About a month after he arrived, AFDN went into operation.

“I remember when they came on line … I had my little transistor radio, and sure enough, there it was,” he said.

Someone also bought a radio for the hangar. “We cranked it because news was coming out left and right about the war,” Hatfield added.

“It was good because that was our only source of real information. You get out in the middle of nowhere, you don’t really hear it from the U.S side of things … uncensored, coming in from the U.S.”

“Good Morning, Vietnam!”

Today, American Forces Radio and Television Service operates about 300 radio and television outlets, serving an audience of 1.3 million listeners and viewers on every continent and U.S. Navy ship at sea.

“As long as there’s military there, we’re going to be there.”

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Military Humor –

Marines from Los Angeles

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Bermudez – Dallas, TX; US Army, Kuwait, SSgt.

Edward R. Burka – Washington D.C.; US Army Medical Corps (airborne), BGeneral

Dorothy (Schmidt) Cole (107) – OH; USMC Women’s 1st Battalion, WWII

Hyman Coran – Sharon, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, flight instructor

Michael Domico – Westville, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt., radio/gunner

Veronica Federici – Fulton, NY; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Michael Morris – Cass Lake, MN; US Air Force, TSgt., 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (Europe)

Vincent Pale – Philadelphia, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW

Claude Spicer – McComas, WV; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 30 y.)

Robert Wendler – Newport, RI; US Navy, WWII, Navy band

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Guam

Guam

In a lot of Pacific War histories, Guam is swept aside and banished as insignificant.  How soon they forget, many might say.

In Tokyo, soundtrucks festooned with World War II colors still extol those lost in a gallant defeat. In America, elders like Louis H. Wilson Jr. and George Tweed would never forget.

Masashi Ito and Bunzo Minagawa spent young manhood into middle age in the tropical underside of an island that tourists now praise as a paradise. They were holdouts, soldiers who refused to surrender and would forage for
survival for 16 years.

Soichi Yokoi, before and after

The last known Japanese survivor, Shoichi Yokoi, held out until 1972, captured by chance as he ventured out to empty a fish trap. Yokoi had never crept out of dense cover to hear the happy shouts of Japanese tourists and honeymooners. Nor had he walked the lobby of the Hilton or the Cliffside.

Luxury hotels swarm over the beachfront and jungle growth has covered the faint traces of war, and Guam gets only a passing nod as a battlefield beside Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Okinawa and Leyte. Thirty-six years ago [now it is 76 ½ years ago]  shellfire plowed across Guam. Some 18,500 Japanese were trying to pry loose the fingerhold that many more thousands of American soldiers and Marines had fastened on beaches and cliffsides.

Many of the Americans barely had a respite between battles, having first seized Saipan to pull the keystone of the Marianas archway. Guam was almost a point-of-honor afterthought. The island was an American possession until a handful of Marines, soldiers and Guamanian militia made a no-choice surrender only three days after Japanese bombers pounded Hawaii.

The III Amphibious Corps and the 77th Infantry Division are not going in blindfolded that July 21, 1944. Eleven days before the landing, as American warships savage Guam’s coastal defenses, a tall figure sprints down a beach and plunges into the surf, swimming with desperate strength until he is within hailing distance of a destroyer.

George Tweed

George Tweed is pulled aboard and tells an astonishing story. He was one of the 288 men on the island as 5,000 Japanese surged ashore, ignoring the flea-bite firepower of a few .30 cal. machine guns as they overwhelmed the thin garrison and forced the Naval Governor, Capt. George J. McMillin, into quick submission.

Tweed and five others slipped away, hunted by Japanese who probed the underbrush with bayonets. Only Tweed survived, living on land crabs and coconuts, warily evading the patrols that shook every palm tree and banyan for him. Tweed saw his pursuers far more often than they saw him, and his sketchpad mind has taken it all down — every gun emplacement, trenchline and fortified cave. The Japanese failure to capture or kill this ragged stray will cost them dearly.

Exacting naval gunfire singles out visible and concealed coastal guns – all but a few. As the 3rd Marine Division and the 1st Marine Brigade board barges that cut paint-stroke wakes toward the western side of Guam, sharp flashes burst along the coastline. Barges turn over like crumpled buckets.

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“You never get it for free,” an older Marine mutters as the barges push ashore — the division between Adelup and Asan Points and the brigade wedging between Point Bangi and the town of Agat. Beachheads are “tightly fastened and the coastal guns erased.

There are already wolfish shouts from the jungle along the coastline. Fierce counterattacks tear into the Marine lines and one lunge rips through the brigade. It is contained after a desperate brawl with bullets, blades and even fists.

The Marines begin moving inland, slowly closing a gap between division and brigade as hey crush across Apra Harbor and Orote Peninsula, squeezing
the defenders between them. But the Japanese put no markdown price tags on anything, heaping fallen defenses with Marine dead. As the two Marine forces grasp .hands, another enemy rush pours forth — the futile bravery of 500 Japanese sailors who die in an inferno of shellfire.

Capt. Louis H. Wilson Jr. is a company commander in the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. He thrusts ahead of the others to take high and important ground, holding it against human-avalanche counterattacks.

His Medal of Honor citation will stiffly relate that Wilson “contributed essentially” to the success of the assault, passing over the fact that he was wounded three times and fought aside agonized delirium to rally his Marines.

Capt. Louis H. Wilson Jr., USMC

Soldiers of the 77th, fed slowly into the advance, must do the deadly, mop-and-dustpan work in southern Guam as the Marine advance lunges on. The suicidal determined Japanese will tear tiny leaks and large gaps in the line, and the effort to repulse them will often get down to hand-to-hand piecework.

The advance will spider all over the island, with Guam declared secure as Marines reach the northernmost tip on Ritidian Point. Everything is back under American colors by Aug. 10.

The past will be wiped away over the years. Wreckage will be swept aside. Foundations for posh hotels will be sunk along the beachfront. Andersen AFB and Agana NAS will assure a stronger military presence than those unfortunate few of late 1941.

Strangers will be strafed by stiff expense but nothing else.

“Robinson Crusoe, USN” by: George Tweed

Tweed will write a book, “Robinson Crusoe, USN.”

Wilson will become Marine Corps Commandant.

Battle histories will little note nor long remember Guam.

But Wilson, Tweed, many Americans and a few Japanese, will always share a thin fund of private memories.

From the Archives of the Stars & Stripes,  August 10, 1980

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Military Humor – 

‘Howitzers at dawn.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Howard Buescher – Cleveland, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Andrew Caneza – New Orleans, LA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Mead Clark – Joliet, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 17th Airborne Division

George Fry – St. Paul, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Ed Guthrie (102) Omaha, NE; US Navy, WWII, electrician’s mate 2nd Class, USS Banner, last known Pearl Harbor survivor

John Harris – NY & FL; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 28 y.)

Glen Kloiber – Milwaukee, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 791st AAA Battalion

Dallas Lehn – Elba, NE; US Army, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart

Michael D. Miller – OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

John Rudberg – Minneapolis, MN; US Navy, V-12 Program

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