Blog Archives

Trials in the Pacific

 

Courtroom gallery of spectators, Manila, P.I.

For those of you who have regularly visited this site, you are aware of posts I already published concerning the war trials, some of the most prominent figures which are Posted Here.

This below is a short round-up of other trials that occurred….

Rabaul – the gallows used

Hundreds of others were also prosecuted in the American trials, including Lt. General Matsaharu Homma, the man who actually did order the Bataan Death March and the bombing of the undefended “open city” of Manila. His headquarters had been 500 yards from the road the prisoners had marched and died on and he had admitted having driven down that road of blood many times. He was sentenced to hang.  His wife appealed to MacArthur to spare him – which he refused, but did execute Homma by the less disgraceful method of firing squad.

During these trials in the Philippines, 215 Japanese faced criminal charges and 20 were declared innocent and 92 were given the death sentence. In one case, Philippine President Manuel Roxas appealed to China’s Chiang Kai-shek to spare the life of one Japanese officer who had saved his life and that of several other Filipinos. The request was granted.

American tribunals were held in Shanghai for those accused of executing American airmen under the “Enemy Airmen’s Act” due to the Doolittle raid on Japan in April 1942, when many prisoners were murdered as an act of revenge for that mission of bombing Japan early in the war.

The U.S. Navy tried the Japanese accused of crimes on the islands. Three were held on Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands and 44 were put on trial on Guam. These were closely held in conjunction with British, Australian and Indonesian officials. Abe Koso, became the naval commander at Kwajalein and ordered the beheading of nine Marine Raiders that were left behind after the Makin Raid. Koso defended his acts by claiming the Marines were U.S. spies. The tribunal rejected his claim and 19 June 1947, he was hanged.

Singapore, 21 Jan. 1946

There were 19 cases brought up for medical experiments at Truk. (Most people have only heard of these abominable acts from the Nazis.) Another was held for the slaughter of 98 Pan American airline employees on Wake Island in 1943. And ten others were sentenced to death; 18 were convicted of murdering civilians in the Palaus.

The largest trial of 503 Japanese was held by Australia for cruelty to prisoners on Amoina and 92 were convicted. In Rabaul, New Britain, 1,000 American and British POWs were forced to march 165 miles and only 183 made it the entire route. The Japanese commander executed the survivors. The officer had survived the war – but not the court.

Australian MP’s guard 4 Japanese Officers of Borneo POW Guard Unit, in front of 9th Div. HQ, Labuan Island, Dec 1945

The Netherlands tried an ugly case for Vice Admiral Michiaki Kamada who ordered 1,500 natives of Borneo murdered. Four others were executed for their participation in the awful treatment of 2,000 Dutch prisoners on Flores Island. Another case involved the treatment of 5,000 Indonesian laborers, 500 Allied POWs and 1,000 civilians.

China tried 800 defendants, whereby 500 were convicted and 149 sentenced to death.

The French held the least number of trials and dealt with them as ordinary crimes. Five Japanese were given the death penalty for the murder of American airmen in Indochina. The French were still holding their trials as late as November 1951.

As mentioned previously, the Russian “trials” were held as propaganda against the West. The charges would be dismissed, due to “arrested development.” ( suggesting that the Japanese were hindered in their development since they were not subject to Soviet culture and education.) The Soviets publicly made it clear that they were “on to” Japan and her American friend’s plot against them.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas R. Boggs – Glaston Oaks, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. F/511/11th Airborne Division

Donald Dennis – Monroe, WA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 146th Field Artillery

Herbert Ginn _ Bangor, ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Robert A. Henderson – Spooner, WI; USMC, WWII, PTO

Thomas Manier Sr. – Big Beaver, MI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Lyman, sonar

Horace Middleton – Northumberton, PA; US Army, WWII, Pvt., Co. F/2/5307 Composite (Merrill’s Marauders), KIA (Burma)

Michael Priano – Brooklyn, NY; OSS, CBI, frogman

Arthur C. Ramirez – US Army, Korea, Cpl., B Batt./57th FA/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin)

Lionel “Buck” Rogers – Muskoka Lakes, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Leland Smith – Vallejo, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 489th Bomb Group, machinist

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British Commonwealth Occupation Forces – Japan

 

Participation in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) marked the first time that Australians were involved in the military occupation of a sovereign nation which it had defeated in war. BCOF participation in the allied occupation force was announced on 31 January 1946, though planning and negotiations had been in progress since the end of the war. The main body of Australian troops arrived in Japan on 21 February.

Up to 45,000 Australians served in BCOF, including an infantry contingent of 4,700, base units consisting of 5,300, an air force wing of 2,200 and 130 from the Australian General Hospital. The Australian Navy also had a presence in the region as part of the British Pacific Fleet. For two thirds of the period of occupation the Commonwealth was represented solely by Australians and throughout its existence BCOF was always commanded by an Australian officer.

Japanese prefectures

The BCOF area of responsibility was the western prefectures of Shimani, Yamaguchi, Tottori, Okayama, Hiroshima and Shikoku Island. BCOF headquarters were located at Kure, the army was encamped at Hiro, the RAAF at Iwakuni, and the naval shore establishment at the former Japanese naval base at Kure. At the peak of its involvement the Australian component of BCOF was responsible for over 20 million Japanese citizens and 57,000 sq. kilometres of country. Adjacent to the area of Australian responsibility were prefectures occupied by the 2 New Zealand EF (Japan), the British and Indian Division (Brindiv) and, further away, the US 8th Army. 

100 Yen BCOF note

The main Australian occupation component was the 34th Infantry Brigade, which arrived in early 1946, and was made up of the 65th, 66th and 67th Battalions. The RAN ships that served were: HMAS Australia, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Shropshire and the destroyers: HMAS AruntaBataanCulgoaMurchisonShoalhavenQuadrantQuiberon. Landing Ships Infantry: ManooraWestralia and Kanimbla were used for transport. 

The Australian air force component was stationed at Bofu, in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The RAAF Squadrons which served were No. 76, No. 77 and No. 82, all flying Mustangs. The air force component of BCOF was known as BCAIR. By 1950 only one Australian squadron, No 77, remained in Japan.

By early 1947, BCOF had begun to decline from its peak of over 40,000 service personnel from the UK, New Zealand, India and Australia and, by the end of 1948, BCOF was composed entirely of Australians. The force was dismantled during 1951 as responsibilities in Japan were handed over to the British Commonwealth Forces Korea. Some personnel stayed on to serve in the Korean War. Members of No 77 Squadron, for example, had their ‘going home’ celebrations interrupted by the news that they were to be sent immediately to Korea. BCOF ceased to exist on 28 April 1951 when the Japanese Peace Treaty came into effect.

BCOF

The primary objective of BCOF was to enforce the terms of the unconditional surrender that had ended the war the previous September. The task of exercising military government over Japan was the responsibility of the United States forces. BCOF was required to maintain military control and to supervise the demilitarization and disposal of the remnants of Japan’s war making capacity. To this end, Australian army and air force personnel were involved in the location and securing of military stores and installations.

BCOF medal, Australian

The Intelligence Sections of the Australian battalions were given targets to investigate by BCOF Headquarters, in the form of grid references for dumps of Japanese military equipment. Warlike materials were destroyed and other equipment was kept for use by BCOF or returned to the Japanese. The destruction or conversion to civilian use of military equipment was carried out by Japanese civilians under Australian supervision. Regular patrols and road reconnaissances were initiated and carried out in the Australian area of responsibility as part of BCOF’s general surveillance duties.

The RAN component of BCOF was responsible for patrolling the Inland Sea to prevent both smuggling and the illegal immigration of Koreans to Japan. In this task they were assisted by the RAAF whose aircraft were also involved in tracking vessels suspected of smuggling or transporting illegal immigrants. RAAF squadrons also flew surveillance patrols over each of the prefectures in the BCOF zone in order to help locate left over weapons and ordnance.

During 1947, the BCOF began to wind down its presence in Japan. However, BCOF bases provided staging posts for Commonwealth forces deployed to the Korean War from 1950 onwards. The BCOF was effectively wound-up in 1951, as control of Commonwealth forces in Japan was transferred to British Commonwealth Forces Korea.

Click on images to enlarge.

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BCOF Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kjell F. Andersen – New London, CT; Merchant Marines, WWII, ETO, / US Army, Korea

Mary Barraco – Renaix, BEL; Danish Resistance, WWII, Captain, USO, POW

Albert Bracy (104) – Durham, CAN; Queen’s Own Rifles, WWII, Hamilton Light Infantry

Leslie Edgerton – NZ; RAF/ RNZ Air Force, WWII, ETO, 75th Squadron

Lyle “Moose” Hardy – Belconnen, AUS; RA Air Force, Sgt., (Ret.)

Kenneth Johnson – Doncaster, ENG; RAF, WWII, Warrant Officer, 61st & 9th Squadrons

Alan Lepper – Taranaki, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 432823, WWII

Vera McLane – London, ENG; RAF, WWII, Photograph intelligence

James K. Thompson – Allentown, NY/Largo, FL; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Esme Wirth – Leeton, AUS; Australian Womens Land Army, WWII

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First Occupation of Japan in 2000 years

It began with the landing of the 187th RCT/11th Airborne Division – the first to set foot in Japan!  And Smitty was there!   This video was located and contributed by Pierre Lagacé.

Gen. MacArthur, 1946

 

Nippon Times article on MacArthur

 

 

 

 

Unlike Germany,  Japan retained a native government throughout the occupation.  Although MacArthur’s official staff history of the occupation referred to “the Eighth Army Military Government System”, it explained that while:   “In Germany, with the collapse of the Nazi regime, all government agencies disintegrated, or had to be purged”, the Japanese retained an “integrated, responsible government and it continued to function almost intact”:

In effect, there was no “military government” in Japan in the literal sense of the word. It was simply a SCAP (Supreme Commander, Allied Powers) superstructure over already existing government machinery, designed to observe and assist the Japanese along the new democratic channels of administration.

General Horace Robertson of Australia, head of BCOF, (British Commonwealth Occupation Force) wrote:

MacArthur at no time established in Japan what could be correctly described as Military government. He continued to use the Japanese government to control the country, but teams of military personnel, afterward replaced to quite a considerable extent by civilians, were placed throughout the Japanese prefectures as a check on the extent to which the prefectures were carrying out the directives issued by MacArthur’s headquarters or the orders from the central government.

USMC “barracks”


The really important duty of the so called Military government teams was, however, the supervision of the issue throughout Japan of the large quantities of food stuffs and medical stores being poured into the country from American sources. The teams also contained so-called experts on health, education, sanitation, agriculture and the like, to help the Japanese in adopting more up to date methods sponsored by SCAP’s headquarters.

The normal duties of a military government organization, the most important of which are law and order and a legal system, were never needed in Japan since the Japanese government’s normal legal system still functioned with regard to all Japanese nationals … The so-called military government in Japan was therefore neither military nor government.

USMC had their 10-in1 meals, 1946

The Japanese government’s de facto authority was strictly limited at first, however, and senior figures in the government such as the Prime Minister effectively served at the pleasure of the occupation authorities before the first post-war elections were held. Political parties had begun to revive almost immediately after the occupation began.

Left-wing organizations, such as the Japan Socialist Party and the Japan Communist Party, quickly reestablished themselves, as did various conservative parties. The old Seiyukai and Rikken Minseitocame back as, respectively, the Liberal Party (Nihon Jiyuto) and the Japan Progressive Party (Nihon Shimpoto).

Shigeru Yoshida

The first postwar elections were held in 1946 (women were given the franchise for the first time), and the Liberal Party’s vice president, Yoshida Shigeru (1878–1967), became Prime Minister. For the 1947 elections, anti-Yoshida forces left the Liberal Party and joined forces with the Progressive Party to establish the new Japan Democratic Party (Minshuto). This divisiveness in conservative ranks gave a plurality to the Japan Socialist Party, which was allowed to form a cabinet which lasted less than a year. Thereafter, the socialist party steadily declined in its electoral successes. After a short period of Democratic Party administration, Yoshida returned in late 1948 and continued to serve as prime minister until 1954. However, because of heart failure, Yoshida was replaced by Shinto in 1955.

In 1949, MacArthur made a sweeping change in the SCAP power structure that greatly increased the power of Japan’s native rulers, and the occupation began to draw to a close. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951, marked the end of the Allied occupation, and when it went into effect on April 28, 1952, Japan was once again an independent state (with the exceptions of Okinawa, which remained under U.S. control until 1972, and Iwo Jima, which remained under US control until 1968). Even though some 31,000 U.S. military personnel remain in Japan today, they are there at the invitation of the Japanese government under the terms of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan(1960) and not as an occupying force.

Information documented in the Gutenberg project.

Just one year after a devastating war…..

 

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SHOUT OUT !!!

 

Help make a 104-year old veteran very happy this Valentine’s Day.  Thanks to fellow blogger, Pat, we have the scoop!!

https://equipsblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/14/reblog-104-year-old-usmc-vet-looking-for-valentines-day-cards/

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Samuel Ankney – Greensburg, PA; US Navy, WWII

Philip Blakeslee – Deland, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Signal Corps, 1st Infantry Division

Kenneth Corder – Dayton, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 674 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Richard Hawthorne – Myrtle Beach, SC; US Navy, ETO, USS Savannah

William J. McCollum – Anderson, SC; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. D/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Ian P. McLaughlin – Newport News, VA; US Army, Afghanistan, SSgt., 307/3/82nd Airborne Division, KIA

Joseph Peczkowski – South Bend, IN; US Army, WWII, Sgt.

John Pollard – Petrolia, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Supply Sgt.

Austin Sicard Sr. – New Orleans, LA; US Army, Korea

Miguel A. Villalon – Joliet, IL; US Army, Afghanistan, Pfc, 307/3/82nd Airborne Division, KIA

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Japanese Unit 731

Main complex for Unit 731

Warning !!  There are pictures in this post that may be very upsetting.  

In the 1930s-‘40s, the Japanese Empire committed atrocities across Asia, such as the Rape of Nanking. German crimes such as human medical testing committed in concentration camps tend to receive more attention than Japan’s crimes against humanity, as more research has been done and more historians have spent time looking back and studying these horrific acts. However, the Japanese too played a part in human medical testing in a secret project called Unit 731.

Begun in 1937, Unit 731, located in Harbin, China, was created with legitimate intentions by the Japanese government. Started as an agency to promote public health, Unit 731 was meant to conduct research that would benefit Japanese soldiers, such as learning more about the ways in which the human body can withstand hunger and thirst and fight diseases. Early experiments were conducted on volunteers who had signed consent waivers, giving personnel permission. However, as the war intensified, they changed their methods.

Although the 1925 Geneva Accords had banned the use of biological or chemical weapons in warfare, the Japanese nevertheless wanted to prepare for these types of warfare. As these types of experiments were naturally ones that most people would not volunteer to take part in, the Japanese decided to use prisoners of war as their test subjects. Unit 731’s victims who were primarily Chinese and Russians, along with some Mongolians and Koreans.

Gen. Shiro Ishii

The leader of the unit was Lieutenant General Shiro Ishii. Along with the other scientists he recruited, they experimented by infecting test subjects with different types of diseases to see how their bodies would respond to pathogens. As the Japanese destroyed most of the Unit’s records at the end of the war, little is known about the scientists who worked there.

Using the test subjects, the scientists injected different germs to see how they would react to one another in the human body, in an attempt to create new diseases. Referring to their victims as Maturas, or “wooden logs,” Japanese scientists would perform different types of procedures, such as vivisection, on live victims. Rats infected with the bubonic plague were released onto victims, with the intention of infecting the subjects so that they could be studied. Unit 731 was a place of torture that was, in the minds of many Unit 731 workers, a necessity in order to win the war.

Scientists in Unit 731 also experimented on their test subjects through pregnancy and rape. Male prisoners infected with syphilis would be told to rape female prisoners as well as male prisoners in order to see how syphilis spreads in the body. Women were involuntarily impregnated and then experiments were done on them to see how it affected the mother as well as the fetus. Sometimes the mother would be vivisected in order to see how the fetus was developing.

I could not bring myself to put the worst of the images on this site.  I believe those here give a clear picture of what happened.

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Once it was clear that the Japanese were going to lose the war, unit workers destroyed much of the evidence of the experiments. Upon the formal surrender of the Japanese in August 1945, Unit 731 was officially terminated.  The government did not acknowledge the atrocity until 1988, and even then, they did not apologize for what had happened. The project was highly secretive and much of the evidence had been destroyed; in addition, government officials who were aware of what happened in Unit 731 did not make their knowledge known to the public. Because of this lack of acknowledgment, the Chinese government took it upon themselves to spread awareness of the atrocities. In 1982, they established a museum in the same place where Unit 731 operated during the war.

Unlike some of the Nazi doctors who conducted experiments on prisoners and concentration camp inmates, none of those involved with the experiments at Unit 731 were ever punished for their crimes. Instead, after war’s end, many re-entered society and went on to have very successful careers in their fields.  They were granted immunity in exchange for the information they had gathered while doing their experiments.

For further information from fellow blogger, John Knifton, view his site HERE!

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Military Humor – 

Happy New Year – “One more hiccup and’we nab ‘im!”

Adventure stories?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Coker – Purcell, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, (Ret. 20 y.)

William Evans – Smithfield, NC; US Army, WWII, mechanic

Last Flight

Carmen Famolaro – Utica, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 406th Bomb Squadron

Russell Goforth – Glencor, OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Cullman

Lester Jensen – Benton, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, TSgt., C Co./327 Glider/101 Airborne Division, Bronze Star

Tom Mac Donald – SCOT/NZ; SAS, Parachute Territorial Army, Iranian Embassy hostage rescue team

Royal Manaka – Monterrey, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Sgt., 442nd RCT

Charles H. Phillips – Emerson, NJ; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Charles Ruggles – Tucson, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Co. I/511/11th Airborne Division

Kenneth Sheets – Avon, IN; US Navy, WWII, Japanese Occupation, corpsman

Joseph Sitrick – Davenport, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, LST communications

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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U.S. Coast Guard disaster, the USS Serpens

USS Serpens USCG

The sinking of the ammunition ship USS Serpens in January 1945 was the single deadliest day in the history of the Coast Guard. The gigantic explosion, which killed 250 sailors and almost vaporized the ship, was blamed on an accident involving the ship’s explosive cargo. Now, new allegations push the theory that the ship was actually attacked by a Japanese submarine—and that U.S. Navy officials were covering this up as late as 2003.

On the night of January 29th, 1945 the island of Guadalcanal was wracked by a truly massive explosion. The USS Serpens, whose crew had been handling a cargo of anti-submarine depth charges, exploded with the force of 600 tons of explosives.

Serpens, a Liberty Transport Ship, 424 feet long and displacing 14,250 tons, practically disappeared in the blink of an eye. The ship, save for a section of the bow, disappeared from the face of the earth. Along with it went 193 Coast Guardsmen, 56 U.S. Army soldiers & a U.S. Public Health Service surgeon.

One sailor who responded to the explosion stated:

“…as we came into closer view of what had once been a ship, the water was filled only with floating debris, dead fish, torn life jackets, lumber and other unidentifiable objects. The smell of death, and fire, and gasoline, and oil was evident and nauseating. This was sudden death, and horror, unwanted and unasked for, but complete.”

The U.S. Navy would ultimately chalk up the incident to an accidental detonation of the ship’s cargo: 3,399 unfused bombs, each containing 350 pounds of high-explosive Torpex. That adds up to 1,189,650 pounds of high explosive, or 594 tons. As the Coast Guard states, “By 1949, the U.S. Navy officially closed the case deciding that the loss was not due to enemy action but an “accident intrinsic to the loading process.”

Now, 74 years later, a son of one of the lost crew members of the Serpens is lobbying for the Pentagon to reconsider the official explanation. Backing him up are some curious facts, allegations, and discrepancies, as reported recently by the Sarasota-Herald Tribune:

  • Amazingly, there were two survivors of the ship explosion, both of whom survived in the remaining bow section of the ship. One of them reported that a Japanese submarine had been tracking the Serpens before the explosion.
  • Two explosions were heard by nearby military personnel. The second explosion was the detonation of the million plus pounds of high explosives aboard the ship. According to the submarine theory, the first explosion was a torpedo which then set off a huge “secondary” explosion of the ship’s cargo.
  • A majority of the Court of Inquiry convened to look into the accident believed that the ship had been the victim of enemy action—yet the Navy still insisted the cause of the explosion had been an accident.
  • Japanese radio propaganda actually announced the explosion before Japan could have plausibly learned about it from the Americans, suggesting a submarine reported the attack back to Tokyo.

Veering into sinister territory: the Navy Judge Advocate General’s conclusions on the Serpens’ sinking, dated 1949, “were checked out of the National Archives Records Administration in 2003 by the Navy JAG’s office and never returned.”

USS Serpens’ caskets at Arlington Cemetery

At 76, the retired Central Intelligence Agency senior finance officer and certified fraud investigator wonders if he’s onto one of the last cover-ups of World War II.

So why would the U.S. Navy cover up the incident? By 1945 Guadalcanal was thousands of miles behind friendly lines and was part of the logistics chain supporting the Allies’ advance on Japan itself. Anti-torpedo nets were supposed to be strung along Lunga Point to protect ships like the Serpens, but were often less than 100 percent reliable.

The death of 250 military personnel far from the front line would have been a major embarrassment to the Navy.

Could the Navy reverse course and come clean? In 2001, Naval historians pieced together enough evidence to convince the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of the Navy that the USS Eagle 2, a patrol boat sunk off the coast of Maine in 1945, was the victim of a submarine attack. For decades, the Navy believed Eagle-2 had been the victim of a boiler explosion.

USS Serpens monument

Historians discovered reports by survivors that a mysterious submarine with unique symbols painted on the conning tower was sighted at the time of the attack. The symbols matched those painted on the German Navy U-boat U-583,proving it was responsible for the sinking.

The official explanation for the loss of Serpens leaves open the possibility that members of the crew were in some way incompetent and caused their own deaths. A submarine attack, on the other hand, could mean that local anti-submarine defenses were not strong enough and would fault the Navy’s leadership.

Reopening the case of the Serpens could help clear the names of the crew—and determine why the real truth didn’t come out decades sooner.

Story by:
Kyle Mizokami

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stuart Amstutz – New Orleans, LA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Jeff Bricker – Quincey, IL; US Army, Gulf War, 82nd Airborne Division

John Christopher – Roswell, GA; US navy, WWII, PTO, USS Rodman

Aubrey Downey – Morvin, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI; 375th Bomb Squadron

William Frasher – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Frederick Gerken Jr. – Denville, NJ; US Army, WWII, Pvt., cannoneer, 398th Infantry Reg., Bronze Star

Richard Lillie Sr. – Boston, MA; US Navy, WWII, USS Bunker Hill

Ceci Nelson (102) – Oklahoma City, OK; US navy, WWII

Peter Povich – Akron, OH; US Army, Cpl., 11th Airborne Division

John A. Shelemba – Hamtramck, MI; US Army, Korea, L Co./3/34/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Taejon)

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“THIS IS THE ARMY” conclusion

After touring the English provinces, the company went to North Africa for two weeks and then sailed for Italy. This Is the Army was presented at the San Carlo Opera House in Naples in early April 1944. The group arrived in Rome by truck only six days after the Eternal City fell to the Allies. The musical was presented twice a day at the Royal Opera House in June.

Egypt was the next stop in early August, with This Is the Army being performed at the Cairo Opera House until the end of the month. September and October were spent in Iran. The company then traveled to the vast Pacific Theater, with New Guinea the first stop at the end of December 1944.

The company eventually landed at Guam in early August 1945, days before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. A number of island-hopping stops followed, from Leyte in the Philippines to Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and other Pacific islands. The touring company reached Hawaii on October 10 and gave its final performance in Honolulu on October 22, 1945.  Irving Berlin spoke after the last performance and expressed hope that he would never again have to compose a war song.

“This Is the Army” was made into a Technicolor movie by Warner Brothers in 1943. The film starred future President Ronald Reagan (then an Army lieutenant), George Murphy (later a senator from California), and Joan Leslie. The motion picture was produced by Hal B. Wallis and Jack L. Warner and directed by Michael Curtiz. The entire cast and crew were transported to Hollywood in February 1943 and stayed at a large tent camp near Warner Brothers Studio under military command.

The cast still had drill duty

Irving Berlin’s doleful cinematic performance of “Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” recreating the role he previously played in his World War I musical “Yip! Yip! Yaphank”, is legendary. Boxer Joe Louis, Frances Langford, and Ezra Stone also appeared in the movie version, along with Kate Smith, who naturally sang “God Bless America.” Included in the cast were hundreds of soldiers released from duty until the filming was completed.

Although the movie was mainly a musical that merged entertainment and propaganda, a thin plot tells the story of Jerry Jones (George Murphy) and his son, Johnny (Ronald Reagan), during the course of two world wars. “This Is The Army” won an Academy Award in 1943 for best musical score..

Berlin was drafted into the Army in 1917 during World War I and was sent to Camp Upton in Yaphank, Long Island, where he wrote the musical “Yip! Yip! Yaphank”. The review raised $83,000 to build a service center at Camp Upton. However, the service center was never built, and Berlin never found out what became of the money.

“God Bless America,” which was originally written for this show, was thought to be a little too hymn-like for a musical, and remained unknown and unpublished in Berlin’s files. Kate Smith introduced the song during a CBS radio broadcast on Armistice Day, November 11, 1938, and recorded “God Bless America” for RCA Victor on March 21, 1939. Her original version was reissued over the years on many occasions and was also recorded by numerous other artists.

Kate Smith singing, “God Bless America”

Berlin wanted “God Bless America” to be the final number of the Broadway musical. Director Ezra Stone had other ideas and used the song “This Time.” Stone eventually realized how wrong he was!

“This is the Army” was especially significant in that African American performers were included in the cast at Mr. Berlin’s insistence.  “This Is the Army”  thus became the only integrated unit in the military at that time, with white and African American soldiers working and living together.

“This Is the Army” eventually raised more than $10 million for the Army Emergency Relief Fund from the stage productions and movie version until performances ceased at the end of 1945.

By Sheldon Winkler

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – Sad Sack style – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Arias – NYC, NY; US Merchant Marines / US Air Force

Melray R. Ballard – W. Benson, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Stanley Bieber – Oakland, CA; USMC, WWII & Korea, radioman

Adelard Dubreuil (100) – Putnam, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 7th Armored Division

Teddie Massie Sr. – Lesage, WV; US Army, WWII & Korea

Michael Priano – Brooklyn, NY; OSS, WWII, CBI, ‘frogman’, Bronze Star

Desmond Scott – London, ENG; Royal Navy, WWII

Robert Styslinger – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, Korea, 1st Lt., B/57/7th Infantry Div., Bronze Star, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Harold Vienot – Brighton, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO

Joe Walsh (100) – East Orange, NJ; USMC; WWII, Pearl Harbor / Korea, D.I. Sgt.

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HAPPY HOLIDAY WISH FOR ALL !! Poems (2)

SANTA PARATROOPER

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

 

 

A 1944 Christmas

FromPacific Paratrooper to ALL !!!

Cherish His Christmas

by Roger J. Robicheau

Dedicated to our military…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©2004Roger J. Robicheau

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

From Charly Priest to Smitty – CLICK HERE!!

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Military Humor – 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wiley Tanner – Radium, KS; US Army, WWII

 

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Christmas poems for our military (1)

Sailor Santa

“A Different Christmas Poem”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

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

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

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

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

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

Aboard the USS Nimitz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

Joseph Cuda – NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Smitty in December 1945 w/ the Sword Story

Christmas card

This was the Christmas card sent from Japan to Broad Channel, New York in December 1945. Anna Smith had been waiting to hear this news from her son Everett (Smitty) for over three years. On the back, it reads:

“Dear Mom:
This is the best Xmas card I’ve sent to you since getting in the army. I figured this would be what you have always been waiting to see, here it goes.

“I’m finally on my way, so don’t send any more mail.
Love, Everett
“P.S. I’ll keep you posted on my various stops.”

Smitty in Japan, at far right

Even though Smitty had earned his points to go home, he was still an NCO on General Swing’s staff and was required to finish out his duties as such. After going through combat in the South Pacific, it would be in peaceful occupational Japan where Smitty’s temper would get the better of him.

Non-nonchalantly going about his business at the headquarters of Camp Schimmelpfennig, Smitty just happened to glance through the glass partition that sealed off Gen. Swing’s office. Inside was an officer holding and admiring the Japanese sword that his commander intended to keep and bring home as a souvenir. Smitty didn’t think much of it at the time; he was busy and many people commented on the weapon. so he continued down the hallway. A short while later, the entire office could hear the general demanding to know what had become of his sword. It was gone.

Gen. Swing accepts Japanese sword at Atsugi Airfield

Major General Joseph Swing

My father didn’t think twice, this was his general. He went into the room and told Swing what he had witnessed. Without a second thought, the two men went to the other man’s office, but neither the man or sword was there. The officer in question showed a few moments later. When the general explained why they were waiting for him, the officer became indignant and professed his innocence (just a tad too much). My father said the air of tension in the room became thick enough to use a

Postcards received from a Cavite, P.I. woman

machete on. This was when Smitty’s temper went out of control and with one right cross – sent the officer through his own glass partition.

Of course, this action made it necessary to bust Smitty back down to private, but he didn’t care about that. He was still furious that the sword was never returned. It all could have gone worse if the general had not been there or if he did not believe Smitty’s word. Smitty said it was worth being busted just to wipe the smirky grin off the officer’s face. The officer, I believe, was a replacement and had not seen much (if any) combat, just a blow-heart. Smitty later offered his two Japanese swords to General Swing, but he refused. My father didn’t believe the general would have taken the Emperor’s own sword as a replacement. I can clearly see my father’s face contort when he thought of the thief and he would say, “That know-nothing mattress salesman from Texas!” I’m sure it was for the best that the two men never met again stateside as civilians.

Unfortunately, a similar incident occurred to my father. As he happily began packing to go home, Smitty noticed that an expensive set of carved ivory chop sticks he had purchased somehow had disappeared. They also were never recovered. (I had often wondered if the two incidents had been related, but I suppose we’ll never know.)

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Daniel Aiello – NYC, NY; US Army / Actor

Vernon Bartley – brn: Meerut, India/ENG; Punjab Army, WWII, CBI

John Cameron – Waipukurau, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII, minesweeper

Frank Crane – Toledo, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Joseph Haratani – Florin, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 442nd RCT

Clarence Katwyk – Salt Lake City, UT; US Merchant Marines / US Army, WWII, PTO

Dominic Moschetti – Victor, CO; US Army, WWII, TSgt., 354th Infantry

Raymond Plassmann – CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 navigator

Arthur Schaefer – Tucson, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Lt., B-17 navigator

Orland Webb – Harrodsburg, KY; US Army, WWII

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