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Camp Stoneman conclusion

POE Camp Stoneman

This photograph above was removed from a New York newspaper.  The sign above the entry states: “Through these portals pass the best damn soldiers in the World.”  The clipping beside it indicates shipping out dates.   The 11th A/B departed May 5, 1944.   Smitty said that this cruise would be the most boring part of his service, although he did become quite adept at playing cards during this time.

Smitty was unable to tell his mother that he and the 11th A/B would be shipping out the following day – destination and mission unknown.  The men cruised from Suisan Bay into San Pablo Bay, into San Francisco Bay and under the Oakland Bridge to Oakland Mole where the Red Cross passed out coffee and donuts while they boarded the transport ships.  So … back under the Oakland Bridge, thru San Francisco Bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge to the open Pacific.

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Letter II                                                                                                                                                                                      Thursday 5/4/44

Dear Mom,

     There really isn’t much to write about as I’ve told you most everything on the phone.  By the way, when you receive your bill for the month let me know just how much these calls cost.

I heard from *Harley yesterday and it seems that he wants something to do and they just won’t give him anything.  They have now made him landscape sergeant and I can just see him pulling weeds and taking care of flowers.  If he should ever get his load on, he’ll nip out the flowers and let the weeds alone.  I haven’t written to Woods yet, but give me time.  I’ll get around to it before long.

We have to police up the area now, so will leave you for a while.  Be back before long. — Hello again.  We no sooner pick up the old cigarette butts and paper than some jerk behind you drops one so that cleaning up is getting to be a problem.  Policing up is what is known as body bending exercise, head down, backsides pointing to the sky.

Well mom, that is all there is for now so take care of yourself and give my regards to all. 

All my love, Everett

*  Harley was a friend from back home in Broad Channel, now in the Army.

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Current News – 

I hope all have been showing their thanks during Military Appreciation Month this year and will have a safe and commemorative Memorial Day on 31 May 2021…. and everyday!

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Hugh R. Alexander – USA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Lt. Commander, USS Oklahoma, Silver Star, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Jack Barnes – Haskell, OK; US Navy, WWII, Vietnam, Senior Chief (Ret. 23 y.)

Arlington Cemetery

Leonard H. Crump – Indianapolis, IN; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Edward Geary – Tampa, FL; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

Henry L. Helms – Colleran, AL; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. D/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

John Knapp – Ottawa, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, ETO

Douglas Lowell – Pagosa Springs, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO, 97th Infantry Division, Bronze Star

Billy McDonell – CA & TX; US Army, Vietnam, 3/506/101st Airborne Division

Rosie – Annapolis, MD; US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 1st Class, Annapolis Station canine mascot,( her watch is over)

Gene Podulka – Glenview, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, weather forecaster

Robert Tatje – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Combat Engineers

Richard Zeeff – Grand Rapids, MI; US Navy, WWII, aviation

 

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Camp Stoneman part 1

POE/POD Camp Stoneman

Pvt. Smith was as cocky and proud as the next trooper, but he also thought of the Army as a learning experience and considered his new adventure as a chance to experience things he would not otherwise have the opportunity and on April 23, 1944, he stepped off a train near Camp Stoneman, California.  It was here the troopers would learn how to live aboard ship, operate life boats, raft kits and climb up and down rope ladders.  Censorship of the soldier’s letters began here.

Camp Stoneman

The Inspector General’s men discovered the ruse of the 11th A/B Division hiding behind the paperwork of Shipment #1855 and the troopers began to accumulate AW104’s in record amounts. (Under the Article of War #104 – a commanding officer may give punishment, as is necessary, without the threat of court-martial.)  May 2, the 11th A/B moved to Pittsburg, CA by way of inland boats to their actual POE/POD (Point of Entry/Point of Departure), and the letters from Smitty began …

Letter I                                                                                                                        Tuesday 5/2/44

Dear Mom,

I sure am a fine one after calling you Sunday especially to wish you a Happy Birthday and I go and forget to, but I assure you it wasn’t intentional, but just excitement of the conversation.  I tried yesterday to buy a card, but to no avail.  No doubt by the time you receive this letter you will be wondering why I didn’t call you this week as I promised I would.  It just so happened that we were confined to our company area starting yesterday morning, so it was an impossibility to get to either a telephone or telegraph office.     From now on all my letters to you will be numbered as this one is in the upper left hand corner.  In that way, you can read my letters in sequence and can tell whether or not you are receiving all my letters.  I would also advise sending all letters to me from now on by airmail as that will be the quickest way.  We heard that not all the mail so far from here has yet been sent out, but when it does go out, why you will no doubt get them all at once.  Tell everyone at home to be patient and they will no doubt hear from me as I sit down Saturday and either write a letter or card to everyone I know.  You had better check up on them all and see that they have my correct address, as the army will notify only you of any new changes.  I sure don’t want to lose out on my letters of anyone just because they have an incorrect address.     Yesterday we didn’t do much of anything, but Sunday was really quite an entertaining day.  We went bowling, then to a free USO show and from there to a movie.  The entertainment is so full and alive that sometimes it still persists in your dreams.  Therefore, you can really say they even take care of you while you are slumbering.     Well mom, that is all for now, so once more I want to wish you a “Happy Birthday” and the best of everything.  Don’t worry and keep your chin up.   

Love,                 Everett

PS – Be on the lookout for a new Class E allotment I made out and also a B allotment.  Your allotments now will come to 22 dollars cash and a $18.75 war bond a month.  I’m getting pretty good, aren’t I?

Camp Stoneman souvenir

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Current News – Everyone helps out when it comes to finding the MIA.

 

Austrian Raimund Riedmann, pilot with the Flying Bulls, flies a restored P-38 Lightning

Austrian, Raimund Riedmann, a pilot with the Flying Bulls, flies a restored P-38 Lightning during a fly over event for a recovery team attached to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), Austria, April 25, 2021. DPAA personnel arrived to conduct excavation operations in an effort to find a U.S. service member lost from a P-38 lightning that crashed during World War II. DPAA’s Mission is to achieve the fullest possible accounting for missing and unaccounted-for US personnel to their families and our nation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Melanye Martinez)

 

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Military Humor –

‘Lord, what have they done to him? He made his own bed!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert R. Arrowsmith – Livermore, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Pfc., rifleman, Co E/511 PIR/11th Airborne Division

Carmen DePaulo III – Jacksonville, FL; US Army, Africa, Green Beret, Medical Sgt., 3rd Special Forces

John Foye Jr. – Lowell, MA; US Navy, Japanese Occupation

William Halliday – Scarborough, CAN; Queen’s Own Rifles, WWII, ETO

Sherman Hoffenberg – Delray Beach, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Military Police

Clifford S. Johnson – Valatie, NY; US Army, Korea, Cpl., HQ Co./57 FA/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Joseph Kuba (100) – Struthers, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Major (Ret.), 1264th Engineer Combat Battalion

Lindbergh Lopez – Niagara Falls, NY; USMC; WWII, Korea / US Army, Vietnam (Ret. 23 y.)

Ian N. Morosoff – Saquamish, WA; US Army, Pfc., Co. B/1/503/173rd Airborne Division

Robert Parker – Lansing, MI; US Army, WWII, PTO, pilot, 1st Lt.,35th FS/8th Fighter Group, KIA (New Guinea)

Lloyd Price – New Orleans, LA; US Army, Korea  /  singer

G. Clark Shaffer – Bloomsburg, PA; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation, 5th Air Force

Bobby Unser – Albuquerque, NM; US Air Force, sharp shooter  /  auto racing champion

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“SOLDIERS’ STORIES” VOL. 2, by the Miller Family, REVIEW

Soldiers’ Stories, Vol. II

After reading the Miller Family’s first volume OF SOLDIERS’ STORIES, I was excited to receive Volume # 2.  I was not disappointed.

Not only was I, as usual, proud to see 4 pages of my own Father’s stories in print, but even discovered another member of the 11th Airborne Division represented among the other memoirs.

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Most of my readers tell me that they find the personal stories and letters from my father and other veterans to be their favorite posts.  In this book, readers are privileged to have over 300 pages of such tales.

The many photographs give you a personal perspective, both humorous and educational, of a time that dramatically altered the entire world.  Men and women alike are included in this well constructed journal for the generation we are so quickly losing.

Every branch of service, in each theater of operation, is represented along with the invaluable contributions of the home front military, women, civilians and our British Allies.

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Modern day honoring of those buried in foreign lands and innumerable photos of the people who fought for us and the treasures they left behind.  Even fellow blogger and author, Joy Neal Kidney, has the Wilson Family included.

You can hear in their words the eagerness to serve their country, their laughter and the camaraderie of close unit ties.  You might even feel their pain.

Inspired by the Miller Family’s, SSgt. Myron Miller, of the 83rd Infantry, I can unquestionably recommend both Volume  # 1 and # 2 of SOLDIERS’ STORIES!

For Myra Miller’s blog, click HERE!

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Military Humor –

“I’ve given you th’ best years of my life.”

“What’s your job, steady K.P.?”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Evo Aspreli – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII

Michael Collins – Washington, D.C.; US Air Force, pilot  /  NASA, Astronaut, MGeneral

111024-N-WD757-029
SAN DIEGO (Oct. 24, 2011) Ceremonial honor guard await to render honors for retired Vice Adm. Paul F. McCarthy. McCarthy (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Carlos M. Vazquez II/Released)

Carl Dalrymple – Jamestown, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

James Edgar (100) – brn: Pietersburg, So. Afr.; Gordon Highlanders, WWII, ETO & CBI, Intelligence SOE

Philip T. Hoogacker – USA; US Army, Korea, Pfc., Co. D/1/29th Infantry Regiment, KIA (Anui, So. Korea)

George Humphrey – Onslow County, NC; US Army, Medic, 11th Airborne Division

Theodore Q. Jensen – Delta, UT; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

James ‘Sonny’ Melhus – Eau Claire, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, HQ Co./506/101st Airborne Division

William H. Melville – Minneapolis, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., pilot, 36th FS/8th FG, KIA (Papua, New Guinea)

Christopher F. Pantos – Richmond, VA; US Army, Kuwait, SSgt., 55th Sustainment Brigade

John Shoemaker – Mont Clare, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 87th Infantry, Purple Heart

Michael Sierra – San Antonio, TX; Texas National Guard / US Army, Vietnam, platoon leader, 327/101st Airborne Division

Camp Polk

Entrance to Camp Polk

It took 22 trains and one week to transport the proud and cocky division to Camp Polk in the west-central area of Louisiana.  This was the home of the armored forces and it would not take long for the two units to clash.  But first, the 11th A/B planned to enjoy the improved living conditions and the 3.2 beer.  They found time to “hit the town” and often it was a place called “Scotty’s,” just outside of Southern Pines.

Camp Polk 1944

The tank units, who called Camp Polk their home, did not take kindly to the new finely tuned troopers who were in the best shape of their lives (and they knew it!).  The 11th A/B  would often “unboot” the tankers when they were in town, forcing them to return to base barefoot and find their footwear neatly lined up in their barracks.

building a pontoon boat in Calcasieu Swamp

Beginning Jan. 10, the men underwent harsh training in preparation for the tests at the hands of the Third Army.  The Louisiana Maneuvers began Feb. 5 with the troopers bivouacked near Hawthorne, LA.  There were 4 tactical maneuvers lasting 3 days each.  First, they jumped and marched immediately after.  Then they attacked and defended using an attack sequence of “flags & umpires.”  Finally, the “enemy” broke through and they would retreat.  The weather in the Calcasieu Swamp was snow, hail, sleet and enough rain to swallow a jeep.  The men joked that the camp should be a naval base.  On Feb. 20, the 11th airborne division took and passed their infantry tests.

Everett Smith w/ unknown buddy, Camp Polk

About this time, Gen. Swing was pleased to be told that the troopers were being sent to the Pacific Theater and MacArthur would consider the unit his “secret weapon.”  This turned out to be one reason for the lack of newspaper coverage for the division until they landed in the Philippines.  I discovered this after an extensive search in the Australian library and newspaper archives.

Camp Polk

The 11th was restricted to base for one month.  Swing decided the men should travel to their POE (Port of Exit/Entry) Camp Stoneman, CA incognito as Shipment # 1855 in an effort to bypass the Inspector General’s men.  Orders were to look and act as a “straight-leg” unit; ALL paratrooper I.D. and clothing to be stowed away.

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News from home:  The Banner (Broad Channel newspaper sent to servicemen) reports:  NY Governor Dewey signed a bill that would allow fishermen of Jamaica Bay to shoot an unlimited amount of eels, but the shooting had to be done with bow and arrow.  Smitty’s mom says:  everyone is still trying to figure that one out.

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Fellow blogger, Carl D’Agostino at “i know i made you smile”, sent me his father’s pictures and information.  Arthur D’Agostino had been with the 8th Armored Division.  They were stationed at Camp Campbell, KY until 1943 when they were moved to Camp Polk, LA to prepare for combat.  The division was sent to the European Theater on 5 December 1943, but Mr. D’Agostino was in recovery from surgery and was spared the journey.  Carl’s blog can be found HERE.

Arthur D’Agostino

Unfortunately, the world lost  Arthur R. D’Agostino, 97. when he passed away March 17, 2021. Served 8th Armored Division March 1943 – September – 1944. T-Sgt. Survived by his son, Carl, two grandchildren and 4 great children. An honest, upright, kind and generous man to all and the best father a son could ever hope for.

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Personal Note – I have recently noticed that I have lost links to blogs I follow.  I can not imagine how it happened and I have recovered a few – BUT I do not know how many others this has happened to.  Please contact me if I have not been on your site the past few weeks!!

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Military Humor from WWII’s Camp Polk – 

Click on to enlarge.

Drill Instructor

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Farewell Salutes – 

Chester Balinski – Highland Heights, OH; US Army, WWII / USMCR

Harold Bates – Rush Center, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Bobbie Ray Daniels (17) – Bedford, VA; US Army, Korea, Pfc., Co. F/2/5/1st Cavalry Division, KIA (Waegwan, So. Korea

Hubert Faure (106) – Neuvic, FRA; French Commandoes, WWII, ETO, Chief Warrant Officer, 1st Battalion, Fusiliers

Abigail Jenks – Gansevoort, NY; US Army, Spc., 1/319 Airborne Field Artillery/3rd Brigade Combat Team

Susanne Kostelnik – Dearborn, MI; Civilian, WWII, teacher at Willow Run Air Force School

Walter Mondale – Ceylon, MN; US Army, Korea / US Senator, Vice-President & Ambassador to Japan

Clayton Schenkelberg (103) – Carroll, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Pearl Harbor survivor, (Ret. 30 y.)

Bernie Sippel – Morningside, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Capt., C-46/C-47 pilot, 64/433rd Troop Transport/ 5th Air Force

Wallace Taylor – Louisville, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, MSgt. / Korea, 38th Ordnance Co., Colonel

Ernest N. Vienneau – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 2nd Lt., B-17 co-pilot, 340/97 BG/15th Air Force, KIA (Maribor, YUGO

KRI Nanggala 402

In honor of the 53 souls lost when the Nanggala went down below the waves.  May their final voyage be on eternal peaceful seas.

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11th Airborne graduates Camp MacKall

1943 Camp MacKall, 11th Airborne yearbook

Smitty had acquired additional postcards to show the people back home what Camp MacKall looked like.  They were in the scrapbook his mother put together and was saved for all these years….

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General Order No. 1 listed the original organic units of the 11th Airborne Division, as they moved on with their training, as follows:

Headquarters, 11 A/B Division

Headquarters Company, 11th A/B Division

Military Police Platoon, 11 A/B Division

408th A/B Quartermaster Company

511th A/B Signal Company

711th A/B Ordnance Maintenance Company

221st A/B Medical Company

127th A/B Engineer Battalion

152nd A/B Antiaircraft Battalion

HQ & HQ Battery, 11th A/B Artillery

457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion

674th Glider Field Artillery Battalion

E. Smith, back row, 5th from the right – HQ Co/187th Regiment

675th Glider Field Artillery Battalion

187th Glider Infantry Regiment

188th Glider Infantry Regiment

511th Parachute Infantry Regiment

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Total = 8,321 men

 

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Military Training Humor – 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ollie Baird – Malin, OR; Civilian, WWII, B-17 production

Nathan Burke – Lubbock, TX; US Navy, Airman

Stanislaw F. Drwall – WV; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, Pattern Maker 1st Class, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

James Hawkins – Decatur, IL; US Army, WWII, PTO

Jeffrey Wester “Pug” Lee – Hamilton County, FL; US Army, WWII, PTO, 243rd Port Company Transportation

Dennis Merriman – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Bruce Meyers – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII, USS Bunker Hill  /  invented the dune buggy

Frank Occhiuto – Longmont, CO; US Navy, WWII & Korea, radioman, USS Lowry

Joan Parks – Ypsilanti, MI; Civilian, WWII, Willow Run bomber production

Ramon L. Smith – Knox County, TN; US Army, Korea, Pfc. # 14270116, 50th AntiAircraft Battalion, KIA (No. Korea)

Nicholas J. Valentine – Cassville, WI; US Army, Korea, Sgt. 1st Class, Batt B/57 Field Artillery/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

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Camp MacKall, Smitty and the Knollwood Maneuvers

WACO glider in take off from Camp MacKall field.

WACO glider at Camp MacKall – reverse side reads: “Hello Mom, Finally got some cards that can let you see what these gliders we ride around in look like. This picture was taken on our camp field. I have a few more that I’ll send to you. Regards to all. Hope to be home this Wednesday.” Everett

Station Hospital, Camp MacKall, NC

The type of construction used for the barracks at Camp MacKall and the above hospital is called a “theatre of operations.”  Built on pilings and constructed of green sawed pine boards which is then covered with type 4 black tar paper.  The wood was cut from trees on the camp property using 7 sawmills running 24/7.  When the boards dried out, the 2 pot-bellied stoves were incapable of keeping the men warm.  Smitty spent some time at that hospital when the army discovered he did not perspire.  The medication took 3 weeks to kick in and then he was back to marching.

Knollwood Maneuvers

The Knollwood Maneuver would not only be the deciding factor for the 11th Airborne, but also for future paratrooper divisions as a whole.  5 December 1943, Army Ground Forces test team deployed a composite combat team from the 17th A/B, plus a battalion from Col. Duke McEntee’s 541st Parachute Infantry Regiment to be situated at Knollwood Airport and other critical points to act as the ‘enemy.’

Viewer to this operation included: Under Secretary of War, Robert Patterson; General McNair; General Ridgeway (82nd A/B); BGen. Lee Donovan; Airborne Command and several teams of high-ranking inspectors from the War Dept., Army Ground Forces and Army Air Forces.

Camp MacKall, 1943, triangular runway

On midnight of Dec. 6, 1943, 200 C-47 Dakota transports carried the troopers and towed the 234 gliders from five separate airfields to begin the operation.  The lift-offs were timed so that each plane would join the column in its proper place.  The aircraft became a vee-of-vees, nine ships wide as the formations grew larger.  They made a rendezvous on the Atlantic coastline and took a 200 mile circular route before aiming toward the inland drop zones; most of the men would jump during evening’s darkness at 1200′.  Almost all the troopers and gliders hit the proper DZ (drop Zones) and LZs (landing zone).  However, the division chief of staff and his glider load landed in a road on the Fort Bragg artillery range.

Weather conditions were not conducive for jumping as the rain became sleet, but still, 85% were successful.  There were 2 casualties and 48 injuries.  The 11th Airborne “captured” and “held” the Aberdeen and Knollwood Airports from the defending forces.  The exercise came to an end on Dec. 12 – Smitty’s 29th birthday.  The War Dept., after reviewing the reports, replied to Gen. Swing that they had been wrong and the training for such a specialized unit should proceed. (As it would turn out, their training had only just begun. )

For a complete and detailed look at the Knollwood Maneuvers, a friend of mine, Eugene Piasecki, U.S. Army Historian,has his data online now…

https://arsof-history.org/articles/v4n1_knollwood_page_1.html

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News from home: Smitty’s friend, George Dunlop rescued two Navy pilots after their training plane crashed into Jamaica Bay.  The company of soldiers that were stationed on Broad Channel became an actual camp and decided to call it — Camp Smith!  War bond drives were going on as well as the dimming of the street lamps.

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Military Humor –

Learning on the job.

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Arthur R. D’Agostino – Staten Island, NY; US Army, WWII, TSgt., 8th Armored Division / post that includes Mr. D’Agostino will be published at a later date

Gordon M. Hill – CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, pilot, 416th Squadron

Courtesy of Dan Antion

Burtell M. Jefferson – Washington D.C.; US Army, WWII, PTO / Police Chief

Herbert C. Jensen – Farmington, UT; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Henry LaBonte – Brockton, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Eugene Richard Skotch – East Meadow, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Pfc., KIA (Gia Dinh Province)

Walter A. Smead – Saratoga County, NY; US Army, Korea, Cpl. Battery A/57th Field Artillery/7th Infantry Div., KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Everett R. Stewart – Anderson, CA; US Navy, WWII, Petty Officer 2nd Cl., USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Joseph E. Tinkham Jr. – South Gardiner, ME; US Army, Vietnam, !st Calvery Division, Adj. Gen. of Maine National Guard, MGeneral (Ret. 37 y.)

Bertram G. Voorhees – Pasadena, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511/11th Airborne Division

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CBI Theater, Eugene V. Rizzi

While my father, Smitty , was training in North Carolina, fellow blogger Allen Rizzi’s  father, Eugene Valentine Rizzi, entered the U.S. Army on December 21, 1942.  

On route to China via India on an aircraft carrier, his company was strafed by Japanese aircraft. resulting in huge causalities. After making it over “the Hump,” Eugene was posted with the 396th Signal Company (AVN) under Captain Willard Simpkins as a high speed manual radio operator (Morse Code) in support of the Flying Tigers.

Gene Rizzi, U.S Army, 1945

Before entering the army, Eugene Rizzi was a concert master (violinist) with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Vienna) an actor and radio announcer with Fox, Warner Brothers and RKO (Hollywood). As a musician he was noted to have had perfect pitch and therefore found radio operation using Morse Code fairly easy. In this capacity, he learned Chinese and also served as an enemy code breaker.

Rizzi eventually became station master of the Fourteenth Air force Headquarters in China overseeing 60 radio operators. He was discharged December 7, 1945 at Fort McArthur, California as a Staff Sergeant. 

Gen. Claire Chennault always knew where his men were and what they were up to, according to his superiors.  Chennault was not one to kid around, but if you did your job, you would have no trouble from him.

The attached letter is a “true copy” of a letter sent by Major General Claire Lee Chennault to Captain Willard Simpkins congratulating him and his men for a job well done. “True Copies” were distributed to key personnel in the unit as a “thanks from the top.”

For further information on “The Hump”, please click HERE>

396th Signal Co. (Avn) – Kunmin, Kweilin, Kanchow, Luliang, Hengyang, Luichow, Tushan. 

For U.S. Army lineage page, click here>
https://history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/lineages/branches/sc/0396scco.htm

The 14th Air Force as of 30 December 2019 became designated as the Space Operations Command.

Mr. Rizzi is the father of fellow blogger, Allen Rizzi, located here>

https://rizziallen.wordpress.com/

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

John Butterly – Tampa, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./187/11th Airborne Division

image courtesy of Dan Antion

Harold Clark – Junction City, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO, Tank gunner, 740th Tank Battalion

Leslie P. Delles – St. Charles, IL; US Navy, WWII, Electrician’s Mate, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Robert Ford – Bibb County, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO / Civilian, Robin AFB, Dir. of Engineering

Jack E, Hill – CO; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc., Co. D/1/6/2nd Marine Division, KIA (Betio, Tarawa)

James A. Requenez – San Antonio, TX; Spec., 6th Ranger Training Battery

George Segal – NYC, NY; US Army / beloved actor

Alfred ‘Fred’ Turgeon – Cordova, AK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, KIA (Romania)

Nicholas J. Valentine – Grant County, WI; US Army, Korea, Sgt., Battery B/57 Field Artillery/ 7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Willie Williams Jr. – Bath, SC; US Army, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division

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The Army Airborne and the start to Camp MacKall

Airborne, Camp MacKall

The original idea for an American airborne came from Gen. Billy Mitchell in 1918.  His  commander, Gen. Pershing agreed, but once the WWI Armistice was signed, the plan was terminated.  In the late 1920’s, Germany began training parachute units and in the 1930’s, they led the world in gliders.  Russia created the Air Landing Corps in 1935.  Japan started in 1940 with German instructors.  The U.S. did not take note until Germany was successful on Crete in 1941.

Smitty, 187th RCT/11th Airborne Division, Camp MacKall 1943

The American tradition was born when 48 men jumped at Ft. Benning on Aug. 16, 1940, where  Private Eberhard, promised to yell to his buddies below, was the first to shout out “Geronimo”.  General William Lee is considered the “Father of the Airborne.”  My father, Everett Smith or “Smitty” (as you’ll get to know him),  did not care for heights or jumping, so I asked him – “Why volunteer?”  He shrugged and said, “They pay you more in the paratroopers.”  Smitty had a dry sense of humor which you will see more of in the letters he wrote to his mother in future posts.  He did however accept his boot camp, sharp shooting, glider & parachute training as a way  of learning new things he would otherwise have never experienced. [One of his statements driven into me – ” Like any job, always try your best.”]  Since he was 27 and much older than other recruits, he was often referred to by the nickname of “Pops.”

Camp MacKall postcard

The 11th Airborne Division was formed on Feb. 25, 1943 and their conditioning was so severe that most of the men felt combat would be a breeze.  They were the first A/B division formed from scratch, so instead of following the manuals – they were writing their own.  The camp was under construction 24/7 and they took classes sitting in folding chairs and easels were used for map reading, first-aid, weapons, foxholes, rules of land warfare, communications, field fortifications, and so on.  Between May and June one battalion at a time went to Fort Benning for jump school.

glider jumping

When the time came for Stage A of jump school, it was scratched since the men were already as fit as possible.  Stage B, was learning to tumble, equipment knowledge, sliding down a 30′ cable and packing a parachute.  In Stage C, they used a 250-foot tower, forerunner to the one at Coney Island, to simulate a jump.  Stage D, they earned their jump wings and boots.  In June, the units began training in every circumstance that might arise in combat.

The gliders used were WACO CG 4A, boxlike contraptions with wings.  The skeleton was small gauge steel covered with canvas; a wingspan of 84 feet, length of 49 feet and carried 3,700 pounds = two pilots and 13 fully loaded soldiers or a jeep and 6 men. The casualty list developing these appeared endless to the men.  Smitty could not listen to “Taps” without tearing up, even in his later years.

WACO glider in take off from Camp MacKall field.

21 June, the division entered the unit training program.  During July, all units went on 10-day bivouacs and to Fort Bragg.  Glider formal training occurred at Maxton Air Base.

In July, in Sicily, Operation Husky went terribly awry, due to the weather conditions –  3,800 paratroopers were separated from their gliders and each other.  The casualty rate was exorbitant.  This created serious doubts about the practicality of a division size airborne.  Proof would rest on the shoulders of the 11th and their commander, Gen. Joseph May Swing.  A demonstration called the “Pea Patch Show” was displayed for Sec. of War, Stimson.  He gave Swing a positive review, but it did not convince Gen. Marshall or McNair.  The fate of the Airborne Command rested on the upcoming Knollwood Maneuvers.

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Smitty’s hometown of Broad Channel sent out a free issue of their newspaper, “The Banner”, to every hometown soldier and this became another source of back front info, along with news from his mother and friends:

News that Smitty got from home at this point:  Broad Channel was getting their own air raid siren.  (Broad Channel is one-mile long and about 4-blocks wide).  His neighbors, the Hausmans, heard from their POW son in the Philippines.  And – his divorce papers were final, Smitty was single again.

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Military Humor –

‘I dropped out of Parachute School.’

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Ashby – Sun City, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Carl Bradley – USA; US Navy, WWII, Fireman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Leo Brown – Lima, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO, USS Colorado,3rd Marine Division

Benjamin Goldfarb – Toronto, CAN; US Army, WWII, PTO, Surgical tech, 54th General Hospital, Philippines

Daniel C. Helix – Concord, CA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, MGeneral, Purple Heart / Mayor

Denis H. Hiskett – USA; US Navy, WWII, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Robert L. Moore – Queens, NY; USMC, Korea & Vietnam, Gunnery Sgt.

Thomas O’Keefe – Washington D.C.; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT  /  CIA

George Semonik Jr. – Sewickley, PA; US Army, Chief Warrant Officer, 82nd Airborne Division (Ret. 20 y.)

Shelby Treadway – Manchester, KY; US Navy, WWII, Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

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A Brief Background for War

Teddy Roosevelt

For centuries Asian products were desired, but one of the most profitable trade routes operated from India to China, introducing opium into that country.  This market accounted for 20% of the British Empire’s revenue and was the basis of the Roosevelt family wealth.

Teddy Roosevelt, an aristocrat, was taught thru his youth and at Harvard, of Aryan supremacy in government and intellect.  Columbia University professor John Burgess impressed him with white American world domination.  With this ideology, he followed the European nations in absorbing colonies.  He pushed for control of the Philippines where the American behavior was deplorable, but overlooked.

The U.S. Minister to Japan, DeLong, encouraged “General” Charles LeGendre to go to Japan and instruct them on invasion tactics and instigate his “Monroe Doctrine” for Asia. (Three decades later it would be known as the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere of WWII).  When Japan invaded Manchuria, Roosevelt said, “I was thoroughly pleased with the Japanese victory for Japan is playing our game.”  Although U.S. advisors assured Korea that America was their “Elder Brother,” in 1905 Roosevelt closed the embassy and said, “I should like to see Japan have Korea.”  The Nobel prize committee did not know of his secret meetings with Japan during the Russo-Japanese War and gave him the Peace prize anyway.

Roosevelt had not only opened the door for Japan to conquer neighboring nations, he gave them the ideal instructor and plans to do it with.  For detailed information see: The Imperial Cruise, by James Bradley.

https://www.thriftbooks.com/browse/?b.search=the%20imperial%20cruise#b.s=mostPopular-desc&b.p=1&b.pp=30&b.oos&b.tile

“The Imperial Cruise” by: James Bradley

If Congress discovered he had also sent pilots to Britain, Roosevelt said, “I will be impeached.”

Being that Japan found it necessary to import food, fuel and American plane parts, here was the edge that FDR needed to coax the U.S. public into war.  When Germany failed to declare war, he froze Japan’s assets on July 26, 1941.   Relations between Japan and the ABCD countries had basically reached a point of no return.  The New York Times newspaper called this action, “…the most drastic blow short of war.”

The ABCD powers (American, British, Chinese & Dutch) followed suit and this became a choke chain around Japan’s neck which FDR jerked as he saw fit until Pearl Harbor exploded into a scene of destruction.  This action not only got the U.S. into the war, but FDR made certain that the major effort would be to assist his friend Winston Churchill – not the Pacific.

FDR campaigning in Warms Springs, GA, 4 April 1939

For a more detailed look into the world that led into WWII, I have a 3-part ‘East/West series’ that starts here…

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/east-and-west-1/

FDR cabled Philippine President, Manuel Quezon, “I can assure you that every vessel available is  bearing the strength that will eventually crush the enemy… I give to the people of the Philippines my solemn pledge that their freedom will be retained… The entire resources in men and materials of the U.S. stand behind that pledge.”

Gen. George Marshall, FDR’s Army Chief of Staff, radioed MacArthur:  ‘A stream of 4-engine bombers, previously delayed by foul weather, is enroute…Another stream of similar bombers started today from Hawaii…”

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Political Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Patricia Adams – Fitchburg, MA; Civilian, WWII, Civil Corps, plane spotter

Joseph Bange – Dayton, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO, Signal Corps

Robert Benden (101) – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, x-ray technician

Michael Glockler Sr. – Chicago, IL; US Army, Vietnam, Co. B/2/505/82nd Airborne Division, Bronze Star

Wilton Jackson (100) – Little River, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Captain, 17th Bomb Group

Emil J. Kapaun – Pilsen, KS; US Army, Korea, Chaplain, 3/8/1st Cavalry Division, POW, Medal of Honor, KIA (Chinese Camp 5)

Frank Lopez – East Lost Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, aircraft maintenance

Kenneth “Rock” Merritt – Warner, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt. Major, 82nd Airborne Division / Korea & Vietnam, Silver Star, (Ret. 35 y.)

Robert Renner – Wautoma, WI; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation / US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

John Garvis Smith – Winston-Salem, NC; US Navy, WWII, USS Southerland

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Everett (Smitty) Smith

young Everett and Mother, Anna

Everett Smith was born Dec. 12, 1914 and grew up with the gentle waves of Jamaica Bay on an island one mile long and barely four blocks wide.  This was the tight-knit community of Broad Channel, New York.  He resided with his mother, Anna at peaceful 207 East 9th Road and spent his days between school, working and helping to care for his grandmother.

Aerial view of Broad Channel

 

Smitty’s, Broad Channel, NY

Everett’s nickname had always been “Smitty” and so, the name of his fishing station came to be.  In 1939, at 24 years of age, he married a woman named Catherine and she joined the Smith household.

News of Hitler and his rise to power filtered into the newspapers and radio, but Anna still had the memories of WWI and their financial struggles in what would be become known as the Great Depression made the problems of Europe so far away.

Grassy Point, Broad Channel, where Smitty often tended bar.

The majority of the U.S. population held the ideal of isolationism in high regard and the Smith household agreed wholeheartedly.  Everett was baffled by FDR’s election as his past political and personal records indicated both amoral and often criminal behavior.  The president began to stretch his powers to the limit to assist his friend, Winston Churchill, while U.S. citizens were straining to survive.

On Oct. 30, 1940, Roosevelt spouted in Boston, “I give you one more assurance.  I have said it before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent to any foreign wars.”  My father did not believe FDR then and as we look back — he was right.

Draft card
You’re in the Army now!

Everett received his draft notice in Sept. 1942.  He would be sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey where he volunteered for the paratroopers.  He would immediately then be sent to Camp MacKall, North Carolina for the start of his vigorous training.  Smitty became part of one of the most unique army units of its day, the HQ Co./187th/ 11th Airborne Division.

Smitty, 187th RCT/11th Airborne Division, Camp MacKall 1943

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Chris Andreadakis – Youngstown, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO

Paul Brown (100) – Saginaw, MI; US navy, WWII

Arlington Cemetery

Thomas ‘Millar’ Bryce (101) – Saskatchewan, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, navigator

Robert “Cookie” Cook  (100) – Rochester, NY; US Army, WWII

Aaron M. Fish – USA; US Navy, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, Petty Officer 3rd Class

Dick Hall (100) – Murray, NE; US Army, WWII, ETO, 94th Chemical Mortars/3rd Army Tank Battalion, Lt.

E. Allan Logel (100) – Mapelwood, NJ; US Army, WWII, PTO, Captain, Strategic planning

Donald Myers – Cambria, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO & Korea

Ken P. Smith – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2/187/11th Airborne Division

Martha Watts – Charleston, NC; US Army WAC, WWII

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