Blog Archives

Pearl Harbor is remembered

Crew of the USS Arizona

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

Hickam Field

Aerial view during the attack

Battleship Row, as seen by Japanese pilot during the attack

From the Smithsonian Museum……

USS Oklahoma stamp

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

U.S. Marine Mounted Honor Guard

Korea

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

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

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

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

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

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

Otto Wilner – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

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

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Wartime Football

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

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

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

American footballer Tuffy Leemans

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

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

Steagles starting line-up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Landry, USArmy Air Corps / Coach Landry

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

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Capitalism helped to win the war

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

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

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

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

Rob Citino

Rob Citino:

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

One of many Rosie the Riveters

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

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

tank mass production

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

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

Higgins boats at Saipan

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

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

aircraft mass production

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

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

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Strategy Page’s Military Humor and more….

 

Military Common Sense Rules

A lot of life’s problems can be explained by the U.S. Military and its applications of common sense …

  1. “Sometimes I think war is God’s way of teaching us geography.”
    (Paul Rodriguez)
  2. “A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what’s left of your unit.”
    (Army’s magazine of preventive maintenance ).
  3. “Aim towards the Enemy.”
    (Instruction printed on US M79 Rocket Launcher)
  4. When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.
    (U.S. Marine Corps)
  5. Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs always hit the ground.
    (U.S. Air Force)
  6. If the enemy is in range, so are you.
    (Infantry Journal)
  7. It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.
    (US Air Force Manual)
  8. Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.
    (Gen. MacArthur)
  9. Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo.
    (Infantry Journal)
  10. You, you, and you . . . Panic. The rest of you, come with me.
    (Marine Gunnery Sergeant)
  11. Tracers work both ways.
    (US Army Ordnance)
  12. Five second fuses only last three seconds.
    (Infantry Journal)
  13. Don’t ever be the first, don’t ever be the last, and don’t ever volunteer to do anything.
    (US Navy Seaman)
  14. Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.
    (David Hackworth)
  15. If your attack is going too well, you have walked into an ambush.
    (Infantry Journal)
  16. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
    (Joe Gay)
  17. Any ship can be a minesweeper… once.
    (Admiral Hornblower)
  18. Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.
    (Unknown Marine Recruit)
  19. Don’t draw fire; it irritates the people around you.
    (Your Buddies)
  20. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
    (Army Platoon Sergeant)
  21. If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission properly.
    (David Hackworth)
  22. Your job is to kill the other person before they kill you so that your national leaders can negotiate a peace that will last as long as it takes the ink to dry.
    (Drill Instructor)

23. In the Navy, the Chief is always right.

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More Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joe T. Avant – Greenwood, MS; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Heavy Mortar Co./31st RCT, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Why Bliley – Richmond, VA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 77th Division

Last Flight

Josephine Boyd – Ochiltree City, TX; Civilian, Amarillo Air Force Base, weapons instructor

Egbert Crossett – Corona, NM; US Navy, WWII, CBI, Medical unit

Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr. – Keaau, HI; US Army, Afghanistan, Warrant Officer, 1/227/1/1st Calvary Div., Apache pilot, KIA

David C. Knadle – Tarrant, TX; US Army, Afghanistan, Warrant Officer, 1/227/1/1st Calvary Div., Apache pilot, KIA

James P. McMahon – Rockford, IL; US Army, Somalia, Sgt. Major (Ret. 30 y.), Delta Force, Silver Star, Purple Heart

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

Rex Ruwoldt – Darwin, AUS; Australian Army, WWII, 19th Machine-Gun Battalion

Dean Weber – Hot Springs, SD; US Navy, WWII

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Merredin, Australia

This is more and likely an area that not many know of or would even consider as concerned with WWII, but the World War II Sites in Merredin provide a fascinating insight into the role the Central Wheatbelt played in Australia’s preparation for World War II.

Military history enthusiasts will be captivated by the RAAF No 10 Store Depot which comprises of igloo shaped tin hangars.  They were originally built in 1943 to store American aircraft for the war. From the sky the hangars were camouflaged to look like a salt lake.

Take a drive to the High Frequency Direction Finding Installation, also known as the Radar Hut. It was built to give advance warning of an impending invasion.

Merredin

The country town of Merredin is a three hour drive northeast of Perth. A visit to the Australian General Army Hospital and the nearby Military Museum will complete your World War II tour of Merredin.

Australian General Army Hospital

Located off Benson Rd, The remains of the former field Hospital that was relocated to Merredin from Gaza Ridge, Palestine in 1942 can be viewed in native bushland adjacent to Merredin Peak. Extensive interpretation on site, but only the foundation of the hospital are visible.

Aviation Fuel Tanks

These tanks can be viewed from the car park of the BP Roadhouse on the Great Eastern Highway. Part of a home has been built on top of the aviation fuel tanks which sit partly above and partly below ground. The tanks held six million litres of fuel used at the Cunderdin Airfield.

RAAF WWII Supply Hangar, Merredin

RAAF No10 Stores Depot

Located on the Nungarin-Merredin Road / Railway Ave. These igloo shaped hangars were part of the RAAF No10 Stores Depot commenced in 1943. The Depot held bulk and technical stores, especially radar and radio spares. Sheets of tin placed on the ground helped camouflage the site as a salt lake. RAAF personnel lived in nearby houses with vegetable gardens and flowers beds rather than barracks, also as a camouflage technique. On Private property, can be viewed from the roadside.

HF/DF Installation

Located on the Merredin-Chandler road. In the paddock just past Hunts Dam is the High Frequency Direction Finding Installation, locally known as the Radar Hut. It’s role was to give advance warning of an impending invasion. It is believed to have been completed in February 1945. On Private property, can be viewed from the roadside.

Ammunition Dumps

Nokaning East Road (gravel road). Scattered rows of rounded concrete buildings set in the paddocks. The 46 concrete igloos were constructed to house a wide range of munitions. You can still make out the numbers on some doors. The area would have been guarded by personnel who lived in approximately 40 timber framed buildings hidden amongst the trees.  On Private property, can be viewed from the roadside.

At the Military Museum

Military Museum

This museum located on the Great Eastern Highway contains memorabilia from all major conflicts since World War 1 and is a great place from which to start your exploration of the Military history of the Wheatbelt.

Vietnam Veteran’s Reflection Pond Memorial

Located in Roy Little Park , Merredin this monument constructed by Wheatbelt Vietnam Veterans was dedicated on Long Tan Day, August 18th 2006, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jackey D. Blosser – WV; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. D/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Glenn Crocker – Maize, KS; US Navy, WWII, pilot

James Dennis – Sussex, ENG; 28th Batt./Royal Essex Regiment/5th Army, WWII

Jack Garwood – Villages, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Edward Herbert – Boonton, PA; 11th Airborne Division

Max W. Lower – Lewiston, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 345/98/9th Air Force, KIA (Romania)

James McCauley – Tucson, AZ; USMC, WWII, pilot

Patrick Ryan – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII

Gerald Smith – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO / US Army, Korea, 7th Infantry Division

Frederick Willman Jr. – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

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The Caterpillar Club

Portraits of Henry Wacker and John Boettner frame an illustration of their July 21, 1919, jump from a Goodyear airship, qualifying them as the first two members of the Caterpillar Club. NASM-00152652

A hundred years ago, tragedy struck the skies of Chicago just before five in the afternoon on July 21, 1919.  The Goodyear airship, Wingfoot Air Express, more commonly known as the Wingfoot Express, took off from Grant Park, destined for the White City Amusement Park balloon hangar. The Wingfoot Express had successfully made its maiden flight that morning and another later in the afternoon. As the airship passed over the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, it turned into a “mammoth red ball of fire.” Four tiny parachutes became visible over the financial district. Only two survived—Henry Wacker, the chief mechanic, and John Boettner, the pilot. They became known as members one and two of the Caterpillar Club, an organization formed in November 1922 consisting of people who had used parachutes to make an emergency jump.

The wreckage of the Goodyear Airship Wingfoot Express falling onto a bank building in Chicago, Illinois, July 21, 1919, people and cars can be seen in the foreground. The photograph is signed, “To B.E. Walls, From First Caterpillar [sic] Club Member, July 21, 1919, Henry Wacker”, Wacker’s parachute can be seen below the falling wreckage. NASM-2007-72

United States Air Force 1st Lieutenant Harold R. Harris, served as the inspiration for the creation of the Caterpillar Club.  On October 20, 1922, Harris was testing experimental ailerons on a Loening pursuit monoplane at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio.  As he banked in tandem with Lieutenant Muir Fairchild, Harris lost control of the plane. He slid out of his aircraft and attempted to open his parachute several times. It is estimated that he had fallen from 2,500 feet to 500 feet before successfully deploying his chute—marking what is thought to be the first successful use of a parachute in an emergency situation from an airplane.

At a 1943 dinner at the Wings Club, Colonel Harold R. Harris, commanding officer of the Air Transport Command (center), is presented the Switlik Trophy commemorating the first jump from an aircraft via parachute by Stanley Switlik (right) donor of the plaque and leading proponent of safety parachutes. Capt. Harold L. Foster (left) President of the Caterpillar Club looks on. NASM-00143229

Milton H. St. Clair, a parachute engineer at McCook Field, and Verne Timmerman and Maurice Hutton, journalists for the Dayton Daily Herald, figured that Harris was just the first of many future emergency parachute jumps. St. Clair suggested the term “caterpillar” from a description on the composition of a parachute: “mainsail and lines…are woven from the finest silk. The lowly worm spins a cocoon, crawls out and flies away from certain death.”  Thus was born the Caterpillar Club.

Irene McFarland

Irene McFarland became the first female member of the Caterpillar Club on July 4, 1925. A stunt jumper, McFarland was scheduled to test a parachute of her own design in a 3,500 foot jump. Government regulations required that she wear a backup Irving chute. Despite her protests, McFarland wore the emergency chute and used it when her original failed. The Club accepted her as a member even though she intended a parachute jump because she did not intend to use the emergency pack, which saved her life.

The parachute companies quickly got in on the marketing game, presenting pins to the latest emergency parachutists who could confirm which brand of chute they had used. While Robert Fitzgerald of Wright Field maintained the “official” records of the self-proclaimed “mythical organization.”

 

Leslie Irvin of  Irving Air Chute Co., Stanley Switlik of Switlik Parachute Co. and others kept their own lists. Members could be eligible for special deals. For example, on February 25, 1932, Keith’s Theater in Washington, DC, reserved a box for the estimated 17 local members to view the movie The Lost Squadron, advertised as having “more crashes than Wall Street.”

Milton H. St. Clair, parachute engineer and co-founder of the Caterpillar Club, points to a sign for Caterpillar farm tractors.

With the dawning of WW II, it appeared the ranks of the Caterpillar Club would grow exponentially. The Club decided to take its status beyond “mythical” to “organized” and officially incorporated on April 6, 1943.  Stanley Switlik provided office space and assistance with applications and credentials.

Today the ranks of Caterpillar Club members number in the tens of thousands. Both Irving (as Airborne Systems) and Switlik continue to register members. Famous members include John Glenn, Jimmy Doolittle and George H.W. Bush.  With four jumps to his credit, Charles Lindbergh is probably the member with the most pins.

Lt. Charles Lindbergh parachuting from his disabled airplane, circa 1926.

Maurice Hutton, co-founder of the Caterpillar Club and aviation editor for the Dayton Daily Herald, poses for a photo wearing flight gear and standing next to his plane

And how are Wacker and Boettner members one and two, if the Club was founded three years later with Harris as the first member? The Caterpillar Club was willing to add back-dated members. William O’Connor was the first to be added with a 1920 exhibition jump requiring an emergency chute, making him number one, then number three when Wacker and Boettner were added about nine years after the fact.

 

John Boettner continued to pilot airships for Goodyear and rose to the rank of Commander in the US Navy, flying in World War II. Henry Wacker went on to work for B.F. Goodrich and the WPA. He proudly autographed photos of his jump as “the first Caterpillar Club member.” And every year on July 21, the anniversary of his jump, he took his parachute out of storage and aired it out, in honor of the day it saved his life.

 

Story derived from a Smithsonian Museum article.

Please click on images to enlarge.

 

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jack P. Ancker – NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 17th Airborne Division / Korea & Vietnam, Col. (Ret.)

Carl Bell – Gresham, OR; US Navy, WWII, USS Pickens

‘Last Flight’, by Rhads

William B. Clarke – Smyrna, DE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Vincennes / Korea, USS Worchester

Joseph Damico – Poughkeepsie, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 76/3rd Army

Kenneth E. Ford – Albia, IA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. C/1/32, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Louis Kulma – Parisville, MI; US Merchant Marines, WWII, chief radio operator

Isabelle Messenger (100) – Peru, MA; Civilian, Red Cross, WWII, ETO, Medal of Freedom

Nicholas Panipinto – Bradenton, FL; US Army, Korea, Spc., 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team/1st Calvary, KIA

Lonnie Ware – Marrero, LA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Waring – Fredericksburg, VA; US Army, Korea, 101 Airborne Division / US Coast Guard Res., Cmdr. (Ret. 40 y.)

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Home Front – Wartime Recipes (4)

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

Carnation Milk ad, 1942

Recipe 101: Gingernuts

Recipe 102: Eggless christmas pudding

Recipe 103: Leftovers stew

Recipe 104: Vinaigrette dressing

Recipe 105: Apple pudding

Recipe 106: Irish omelette

Recipe 107: Potato cakes

Recipe 108: Glazed turnips (Canadian recipe)

Recipe 109: Carrot roll

Recipe 110: Wartime Bara Brith

Recipe 111: Bread and prune pudding

Recipe 112: Sausage stovies

Recipe 113: Malted loaf

Recipe 114: Toad in the Hole

Recipe 115: Summer berry jam

Recipe 116: Scones

Recipe 117: Mock cream 3

Recipe 118: Vegetable Pie

Recipe 119: Air-raid apple chutney

Recipe 120: Lentil curry

Recipe 121: Haricot bean croquettes

Recipe 122: Leek and Lentil Pie

Recipe 123: Coconut Cream

Recipe 124: Colcannon

Recipe 125: Carrot and Sultana Pudding

Recipe 126: Lemon Syrup Sauce

Recipe 127: Bean and Vegetable Sheperd’s Pie

Recipe 128: Chocolate Layer Cake

Recipe 129: Small Cottage Tea Loaves

Recipe 130: Vinegar Cake

From: The 1940’s Experiment 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

WHO IS THE RHODES SCHOLAR HERE?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Leonard Cabral – Westport, CT; US Army, Vietnam, 11th Airborne Division

David Garner – Darlington, SC; US Navy, Lt. (Ret. 24 y.)

Cemetery at Lae, New Guinea, 1945

Eugene E. Lochowicz – Milwaukee, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc, A/28/8th Infantry Division, KIA (GER.)

John Moon (103) – Macomb, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, 5th Marines

Ramon Moreno – El Paso, TX; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Marjorie Farber Ross – Michigan City, IN; Civilian, Curtis Wright Aircraft, engineer apprentice

Eric Taylor – Te Puke, NZ; RNZEF # 63229, WWII, PTO

Walter W. Tobin Jr. – Glen Lake, MI; US Army, Korea, Sgt., 1/32/7/31st RCT, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

George Wagner – Chicago, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO

Tom Zauche – Grand Arbor, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

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No Hallowe’en in the early ’40’s

 

WWII put quite the damper on any activity as chaotic as Halloween was back in those days … according to history war shortages made everyone edgy, and towns clamped down on Halloween pranking with both curfews and notices sent home from principals and police. There was a national plea for conservation: any piece of property damaged during Halloween pranking was a direct affront to the war effort.

In 1942 the Chicago City Council voted to abolish Halloween and institute instead “Conservation Day” on October 31st. (This wasn’t the only attempt to reshape Halloween: President Truman tried to declare it “Youth Honor Day” in 1950 but the House of Representatives, sidetracked by the Korean War, neglected to act on the motion. In 1941 the last week of October was declared “National Donut Week,” and then years later, “National Popcorn Week.”)

Editorial pages coast to coast filled with warnings to young people and their parents, such as this one from the Superintendent of Schools in Rochester, NY in 1942: “Letting the air out of tires isn’t fun anymore. It’s sabotage. Soaping windows isn’t fun this year. Your government needs soaps and greases for the war…Even ringing doorbells has lost is appeal because it may mean disturbing the sleep of a tied war worker who needs his rest.”

SO, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE OUR OWN FUN TODAY!!

C’mon!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Military Pumpkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find templates for your own pumpkin carvingsCLICK HERE !!

Click on images to enlarge,  have fun,  but be safe!!

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edwin Benson – W. Newton, MA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Co. L/3/2nd Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Leo Cohen – Far Rockaway, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 11th Armored Div., tank operator, Purple Heart

Porfirio C. Franco Jr. – Albuquerque, NM; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt., POW, KIA (Manila)

Howard ‘Mike’ Hunt – Plok City, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII & Korea

Billy E. Johnson – White Oak, TX; USMC, Korea, Pfc, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Russell Lubbers – Bozeman, MT; US Army, Korea

John Moro – Columbus, OH; US Navy, WWII, USS Hancock

Sam Storms – LaFeria, TX; US Army, Korea, Major, Silver Star, Purple Heart, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Grady Trainor – Clarksville, TN; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. Major (Ret. 31 y.), Silver Star, Bronze Star,

Raymond Wallace – Dexter, ME; US Army, Vietnam

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Ted Nelson – Stud Welder / Anne Clare, Book Review

Ted Nelson

Eighty years ago, many rural homes weren’t electrified, nor did they have indoor plumbing.  Glenn Miller and Billie Holiday were at the top of the charts. A brand-spanking-new car could be yours for well under $1,000. And the state-of-the-art battleships — whole floating cities unto themselves — were that era’s equivalent of the Space Shuttle. While working at Mare Island Naval Shipyard Ted Nelson had his big idea. And what an idea! Ultimately, Nelson’s advancement helped save the Navy so many man-hours that he earned top-of-the-line commendations and set in motion a legacy of excellence that remains on the leading edge of the industry to this very day.

Mare Island Shipyard, WWII

The Mare Island Naval Shipyard, where Nelson worked in the years leading up to and during World War II, was the Navy’s first base on the Pacific Coast, located just north of San Francisco and now a California Historical Landmark. In its day it was the United States’ controlling force in the area’s shipbuilding efforts – at least 89 seagoing vessels were constructed onsite before its closure. During its World War II years, the Mare yard specialized in submarines, making it something of a hotbed of innovation, and young Ted Nelson, working on both repairs and new construction, fit right in.

“Prior to World War II, the Navy was attaching wood decking on many vessels using through-bolting,’” says John von der Lieth, Senior Nelson Stud Welding Field Sales Representative at Stanley Engineered Fastening. “This often required many levels of scaffolding underneath the wood deck just to install nuts onto threaded bolts attaching the wood to the steel frame below. The nuts were often also then tack-welded to prevent them from vibrating loose.”

“Well, Ted was a real inventor type, and he devised a handheld arc welding gun that looked kind of like a drill press. He would insert a threaded stud into the gun and place that down into a pre-drilled hole in the wood decking, making contact with the steel frame of the vessel below. The stud gun was connected to an arc-welding power source and a timing control device. When triggered, the stud gun coil would energize, lifting the stud off the steel frame just enough to establish an electric arc. Within a split second, the stud was melted (along with the steel base metal) and then was plunged home into the molten pool, establishing a complete joint penetration weld, and all of this was taking place from the topside of the wood decking.”

“The ‘Nelson Stud Welding Process thus eliminated the need for the vast scaffolding below the wood decks, dramatically reducing the time involved to install the decking, and producing a superior quality, full penetration welded connection. Ted also produced a special flanged nut to securely fasten the top side of the wood planks onto the studs, filling the pre-drilled, countersunk holes that were created to install the threaded studs. This also allowed for much easier replacement of any future damaged wood decking,” explained von der Lieth. “It changed the face of the war effort.”

Ted nelson ‘E’ citation

So, with his ingenuity and strong desire to solve a problem, Ted Nelson saved the Navy an estimated 50 million man-hours and the Nelson Specialty Welding Equipment Corp. was awarded two Navy “E” Citations, presented only to companies who met outstanding production criteria during the war effort. Not only did production numbers climb, the stud welding process also saved an unparalleled amount of money with respect to the foregone need for scaffolding, as well as labor and materials cost.

Ted Nelson’s invention was right on time. “The Nelson welding guns, studs, and nuts were used to install wood decking on submarines, battleships, and aircraft carriers. The patent for the decking gun was filed May 31, 1941,” says Clark Champney, Nelson Stud Welding Application Development Manager, and resident Nelson historian at Stanley Engineered Fastening. “Six months and one week later on December 8, 1941, the United Stated entered World War II.”

After the war, Nelson took his invention private, setting up shop in a coastal California garage in Nelson Stud Welding’s first incarnation. “Ted Nelson had the mind-set early on that his invention could be used in a wide variety of industries – he had a real vision,” says von der Lieth. “Although he hadn’t been a part of the company for many years at the time of his death in the 1990s, he was still a very active inventor into his 80s – he’d invented a hospital bed that rotated 360 degrees for hip replacement patients. He invented a glider that had an emergency engine in it – they called it the Hummingbird. He had countless minor inventions, and that’s why he ultimately sold the stud welding business – because he was an inventor type; problem-solving was his first love.”

Story idea from: Koji Kanemoto

Click on images to enlarge.

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Book Review – “Whom Shall I Fear?”  by: Anne Clare, our Naptime Author

“Whom Shall I Fear?, by Anne Clare

Without giving readers too much insight and being the cause of stumbling into a spoiler, I shall begin this review by applauding Anne Clare, who has researched her way into creating a lovely romantic tale intertwined with the struggles and pains of war.
Amid the years of WWII bombings, the loss, deprivations and combat, two very different people are seemingly thrown together. Their worries, dreams and realities are shown to you through their correspondence. BUT – behind it all lurks the sinister aspirations of a narcissistic coward and his cohorts.
I found myself thinking about the story long after putting the book down – and to me, that is one major characteristic of an excellent novel.
Thank you, Anne, for granting me the privilege of owning a copy of your creation and for giving me the lingering question in my mind of – who should they have feared the most?
I highly recommend “Whom Shall I Fear?” to all.

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Military Humor – 

“These aren’t barnacles. Someone stuck their gum down here.”

Shipbuilding Safety Award – or – Why women live longer than men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charles Atkinson – Arvada, CO; US Army, Vietnam, Military Police

Eugene Barbezat – St. Johns. AZ; US Army / US Air Force, Vietnam, Lt. Col. (Ret.), Intelligence

Tom Curtsinger – KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Warren Eginton – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO, 716th Tank Battalion

Donald Love – Hamilton, NZ; British Merchant Navy, # R258982. WWII

Lynn McDonald – Rochester, NH; US Army Air Corps, glider pilot

Leon “Jack” Persac Jr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 ball turret gunner

Robert D. Sullivan – Fairbury, NE; US Army, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lt. Colonel (Ret. 27 y.)

Homer Terry – Tahoka, TX; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, pilot/logistics, Colonel (Ret. 32 y.)

Channing R. Whitaker – Granger, IA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Co. A/1/6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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Ruby Boye, WRAN Coastwatcher

Ruby Boye

 

MRS. RUBY BOYE lived with her husband, Mr. Skov Boye, at Vanikoro, a small tropical island in the Santa Cruz group of the then British Solomon Islands

Soon after the commencement of World War 2, the Australian Navy installed a powerful AWA tele-radio for communication between Vanikoro and Tulagi. The radio was operated by a qualified telegraphist on the island.

The Vanikoro radio operator wished to return to Australia to join the RAAF.  Before departing, he taught Ruby how to transmit weather reports and operate the radio in code, and during the following months she learned Morse Code from a book.  Eric Feldt, the Commander in Charge of the Coastwatcher movement,  appointed Mr. and Mrs. Boye as members of his organization.

Ruby Boye on Vanikoro

Mr. and Mrs. Boye realized the importance of Vanikoro in relation to coastwatching, and few white men knew more about the Solomons and Santa Cruz Islands than Mr. Boye.  When the evacuee ship arrived, Ruby refused to leave, announcing that she proposed to stay and operate her radio.  As well as their own safety, Mr. and Mrs. Boye had their two sons, Ken in the RAAF and Don, still a schoolboy in Sydney, to consider.

With the evacuation of the other Europeans from Vanikoro, Ruby and Skov took on many extra tasks. They had to act as doctor treating the sick. They extracted teeth and arbitrated disputes between the natives.

After the Japanese landed at Tulagi, Charles Bignell, a Solomon Islands plantation owner, called at Vanikoro in his ketch for fresh water and food. Charles warned Ruby and her husband that a Japanese ship was in the Santa Anna area. Charles’ wife, Kathleen, and son, Ted, both good friends of Ruby’s, had been captured by the Japanese at Rabaul. Margaret Clarence’s book ‘Yield Not to the Wind‘ covers this episode.

Ruby Boye

Between 4th and 8th May 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea took place. Ruby,  some 700 miles away from the Coral Sea Battle area, was sending out coded meteorological data, and acted as an emergency relay station in communicating reports between coastwatching stations in the Solomons and Vila, the US Navy base receiving station, in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu).

The USS Lexington was lost while the Japanese carrier Shoho was sunk. HMAS  Australia and Hobart took part in the battle. The Japanese main object, the capture of Port Moresby, was denied them, nor did they ever get as far south again.

Even so in 1942 Japanese naval forces were operating north, south, east and west of Vanikoro.  Ruby was on duty during the Battle of Savo Island in August 1942, when HMAS Canberra was lost, together with the USS  AstoriaVincennes and Quincy.

Guadalcanal, where the Japanese fought until early 1943, was only some 500 miles north by west of Vanikoro and during that critical period, Ruby was in easy range of Japanese aircraft that flew at low heights over the Island on many occasions. For safety reasons it was decided to relocate the tall radio mast and equipment across the river from the living quarters.

A punt.

After the suspension bridge crossing the river from the residence to the radio shack was destroyed in a cyclone, four times a day, often in torrential tropical downpours, this indomitable lady had to cross the crocodile-infested Lawrence River by punt, and then often walk through ankle-deep mud to transmit the important meteorological data obtained from her own readings.

The night transmitting session was the most hair-raising, because the crocodiles became active at dusk. Spotlights would sometimes reveal the evil eyes gleaming like two orange lights in the dark. In fact a number of dogs and cats were killed and fowls perched under Ruby’s residence were often seized by the crocodiles.

Newspaper article on Ruby Boye

In September 1942, the USS Wasp was torpedoed while covering a Guadalcanal Troop Convoy. The burning carrier sank with the loss of 193 sailors, leaving during that month the USS Hornet as the only operational undamaged US carrier in the Pacific. The Hornet was to meet her end in the Battle of Santa Cruz, in October 1942. In the same engagement, the Japanese carriers Zuiho and Shokaku were damaged. This battle took place very close to the Island Group of which Vanikoro was part. Ruby recalls: After sending the usual weather report, an English-speaking Japanese voice came crackling through. ‘Calling Mrs. Boye, Japanese Commander say you get out.’ The message at this point was jammed by other coastwatchers and she was informed later the rest of the message was unprintable.

Japanese aircraft dropped pamphlets to the Vanikoro natives telling them to work for the Japanese and report the whereabouts of Europeans. On Guadacanal, coastwatchers found the bodies of nuns and priests bayoneted  by the Japanese. As a result of the Japanese threats, it was considered desirable that Ruby should be in uniform for the sake of her own protection.

Remainder of Ruby Boye article.

At times US Navy seaplane tenders, including the USS Curtiss, were based at Vanikoro to refuel and service Catalina flying boats.  A group of American Naval Officers landed, Mr. Boye was greeted by an Admiral who said ‘My name is Halsey. I’d like to meet that wonderful lady who operates the radio here.’ Admiral William A. ‘Bull’ Halsey was the C- in-C of the South Pacific area at that time.  He had such a high regard for Ruby that he arranged for a US Naval Catalina Flying Boat to take her south for medical treatment for shingles. While Ruby was on sick leave, she was replaced by four US Naval Radio men, two on duty and two off.

In 1944 Ruby was awarded the BEM for meritorious service as a Coastwatcher in the Solomons. In addition, she received the 1939/45 Star, the Pacific Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal, the Returned From Active Service Badge and is a Life Member of the WRANS Association.

The letters of appreciation, the photos and autographs from Admirals Nimitz, Halsey and Fitch and the recent invitation to Texas for the Grand Opening of the Admiral Nimitz Memorial mean more to Ruby than money.

Ruby returned to Sydney in 1947 with her husband when he became terminally ill. He arrived in Sydney just two weeks before his death.  Ruby Boye passed away 14 September 1990.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – Saturday Evening Post style – 

“And when you go forth into the world,
be it as riveters, welders, or mechanics,
keep ever bright before you the slogan of
Sweet Lawn Seminary—’A lady, first, a lady always!'”
June 5, 1943

“It’s some game she learned in the Army.”
August 22, 1942

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph F. Boschetti – Philadelphia, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO, KIA (Tarawa)

Edward Dillon (100) – San Diego, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Army

Philip Gamache – Blairsville, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Richard Keatinge – Tenderfield, AUS; Australian Military, WWII, Medical Team

Imogene Kinge – Monette, TX; Civilian, “Rosie”, aircraft construction

Birdie McInnis – Clanton, AL; Civilian, WWII, Brooklyn Army Airfield, aircraft inspector

Richard Oster – New Orleans, LA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Gerald B. Raeymacker – Erie, PA; US Army, Korea, Sgt., KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Evelyn Smith – Westwood, KS; Civilian, Secretary to the Commander of the 6th Corps, Camp McCoy

Louis Wiesehan Jr. – Richmond, IN; USMC; WWII, PTO, F/2/8th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

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