Monday, March 2, 2015

Maryland's Last Surviving Pearl Harbor Marine Honored in 2013

From the Jan. 18, 2013, (Maryland) "State's Last Surviving Pearl Harbor Marine Honored" by Connie Hempel.

Richard Crosariol received a Marine Corps NCO sword, the oldest U.S. military weapon still in service.  He enlisted in the Marines in 1940 at the age of 21.  After boot camp he was sent to Hawaii and assigned to the battleship USS Maryland.  He is the last Marine survivor of the attack from that ship.

During his 20-year career, he rose to the rank of sergeant-major.

He remembers getting ready for mass that eventful Sunday: "The only thing I heard was a rap, rap, rap, from the bullets.  Soon the announcement came, 'This is no drill!  Man your battle stations!'"

During the first attack, the Maryland was hit by two bombs, but none in the second one as the ship was obscured by smoke.


Storm Turns Up lard From WWII Shipwreck

From the Jan. 18, 2013, Live Science.

Holiday storms in Scotland caused decades old lard from a shipwreck to wash ashore.  Four large chinks of lard came up on land.  They were originally in barrels which have long since rusted away, but the lard kept its shape.

That lard was still a bright white under the barnacles.  The merchant ship (name not given) was sunk in the war and every few decades the lard washes ashore.

The lard first started washing ashore during the war.  People collected it, boiled it tio get the sand out and then used it as lard was in short supply.

I doubt that this really old lard will be used.


World War II Plane Grounded for Tuneup-- Part 3

The only plane being lowered this time is the Stuka.  All undergo servicing every decade or so.  A 3-D scan has shown that there is a small trap door under the pilot's seat that has been sealed over.  It is believed that at one time it was used for the pilot to have a clearer view of targets on the ground.  (Well, I believe it might have been used for relief.)

The plane;s mechanical systems are also being serviced and when it is again raised as early as Monday (Feb. 23) its flaps will be in a  more accurate position for portraying a divebombing run.

Cleaning is done partly like restoring a fine painting and partly like a car wash.  As we know, a lot of dust can build up over a decade.  But it's not just soap and water.  But, its deionized water applied with a chemical-free cleanser.

They say the bullet holes will remain.

And, the Museum of Science and Industry also has the German U-boat U-505.

Seeing My WWII Stuff.  --GreGen

Saturday, February 28, 2015

World War II Plane Grounded for Tuneup-- Part 2

After the war, the Stuka came to America as part of a tour of war relics put on by the British Information Services and was donated after the tour to the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI).  That is also how the Stuka's companion plane also hanging from te ceiling arrived at MSI.

"About a year later," Kathleen McCarthy said, "the British thought, 'Well, you ought to have an Allied aircraft too.  Would you like a Spitfire as well?'"

That is how the British Supermarine Mark 1A Spitfire (regarded by some as one of the prettiest planes ever built) came to be in Chicago.

Few would call the Stuka pretty, but it was more along the lines of scary with that unique wing design and I've heard it made a frightening sound when dive bombing.

(Other planes in the MSI hall are a 1917 Curtiss JN-4D "Jenny" biplane (is this the one featured on the most valuable stamp ever made "The Inverted Jenny?"), a 1928 Boeing 40B mail-transport plane and a 1930 Texaco TravelAir Model R racing plane.)

What About That Small Trap Door Under the Pilot's Seat?  --GreGen

Friday, February 27, 2015

World War II Plane Grounded for a Tuneup-- Part 1

From the Feb. 19, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Doug George.

The German Luftwaffe Stuka airplane that has been soaring up at the ceiling of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry's Transportation Gallery is not up there right now.  It has been lowered to the floor and undergoing a deep cleaning and inspection.

The Stuka, more specifically the 1941 Junkers Ju-87R-2 Tropical Stuka, was a World War II-era dive-bomber is exceedingly rare, one of only two such aircraft left in the world.

It is not in perfect condition.  There are bullet holes in the fuselage which is part of the reason it ended up in Chicago.

According to Kathleen McCarthy, the museum's director of collections, the Stuka was forced down in fighting over North Africa and made an emergency landing in Libya just before the British captured the German air base.

More to Come.  --GreGen

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The First Iwo Jima Flag-Raising

The first photograph, not the famous one, was taken by SSgt. Louis R. Lowery.  Present in the photo were Col. Charles W. Lindberg, 1st Lt. Harold G. Schrier, Private Gene Marshall and PFc James Michels (holding the gun).

James Michels was the Chicago-connection that I wrote about earlier this week.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Eugene Camp in 2013

From the Jan. 20, 2013, My San Antonio "Camp enjoyed sharing his stories as Pearl Harbor survivor."

Eugene Camp was serving in the California National Guard Coastal Artillery at Pearl Harbor.  He  was in his barracks and ran outside to see what the commotion was all about.  He saw Japanese aircraft flying low and helped set up an anti-aircraft gun.  He later served as an infantry man in the Pacific.

In December last year, he was one of five Pearl Harbor survivors honored at the Barn Door Restaurant for the 71st anniversary.

Col. Eugene Camp was born in Texas in 1920 and moved to California where he joined the Coastal Artillery of the California National Guard in 1940.  His unit was activated and reported to Pearl Harbor in November of that year.

He was an anti-aircraft sergeant during te attack.  Afterwards, he went to Officer candidate School and by the end of the war was an Infantry Company Commander.  His service in the Army continued until 1973 and he was one of the first U.S. military advisors sent to Vietnam.


More Federal Housing in Wilmington

From the Jan. 22, 1943, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

JANUARY 4, 1943:  An additional 180 homes in the John N. Maffitt housing project for shipyard workers were turned over to the housing authority.

By then, 4471 of 800 houses had been completed.  Another 3,500 shipyard worker homes were expected.

Wilmington's population increased tremendously during the war and housing was always in short supply.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Flag Raised Over Iwo Jima 70 Years Ago-- Part 2

The Marines down below were still able to see that first flag go up and there was much cheering.  Then, the fleet chimed in with whistles.  Even though the fighting would continue for weeks for the volcanic island, this was a major turning point of the battle.

Before the fighting was over, 6800 Americans and 19,000 Japanese had lost their lives, but the Marines had secured the island and its three airfields.  The bombing of Japan itself soon began.

The Rosenthal photo showed six men, five Marines and one Navy corpsman, raising the flag.  Of them, three did not make it off Iwo Jima alive.

Clint Eastwood's famed "Flags of Our Fathers" movie barely mentioned the first flag and didn't show any of it.

James Michels' family contacted the National Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Virginia, and found they had no artifacts from the first flag raising and were kind enough to donate Mr. Michels' uniform and medals to it.

James Michels died in 1982 at the age of 67 and is buried at the Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.

A Member of the Greatest Generation.  --GreGen

Flag Raised Over Iwo Jima 70 Years Ago-- Part 2: A Chicago Connection

From the Feb. 23, 2015, WGN TV News.The famous photo of the flag raising was actually not the first flag raised atop Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima..  It was the second one raised after four days of hard fighting against a determined Japanese garrison.

Japan was fully aware of the consequence of what would happen should the island and its four airfields fall into American hands.  It would be used as a forward base for bombing attacks on the Japanese home islands.  It simply could not fall.

Sadly, the first flag to be raised is largely forgotten because of the much more famous Joe Rosenthal photograph.  Those Marines who raised it were largely forgotten as well.  That flag was determined to be too small, so a new, larger flag was raised.  Those men did it while Mount Suribachi was still in Japanese hands.

One of the men in the first raising, also photographed after it was up, had his rifle at ready to protect his comrades.

That man with the rifle was Private James Michel, from Chicago.

--More to Come.  --GreGen

Monday, February 23, 2015

Flag Raised On Iwo Jima 70 Years Ago Today-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

That famous photograph of the six Americans raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima was taken 70 years ago today.  Joe Rosenthal was there to take the photograph of the five Marines and one Navy corpsman raising it.  Sadly, there of them did not live to see the end of the battle which raged for considerably longer.

Putting that flag up did not end the battle.

Iwo Jima was a tiny eight-square mile island in the Pacific.  Its importance came from the three Japanese airfields located there.  The United States wanted to use them to strike at the Japanese home islands.

The picture was taken four days after the battle started.

It is quite possibly the most reproduced photograph in history and one of the most recognized images of the war and is the only photo ever to win a Pulitzer Prize in the same year it was taken.

However, it was not the first flag raised atop Mount Suribachi.

More On That Tomorrow.  --GreGen

Saturday, February 21, 2015

War Stamp Brides-- Part 1

Back on feb. 19th, I wrote about a Life Magazine with a picture of a bride with the title "War Stamp Bride."  I had not heard this term before.  I'd heard "war Brides," but not "War Stamp Bride."  I had to investigate further.  Sadly, there was no entry in Wikipedia for it so I had to do some more searching.

I found this account from the July 10, 1942, Lorain (Ohio) Journal  "Lorain to Have 'War Stamp Bide,' City Invited to Shower and Public Wedding Ceremony."

"All of Lorain is invited to a 'war stamp and bond shower for the city's first war stamp bride, Miss Irene Ketchum, 20, 1154 E. River St., Elyria.

"Climaxing Lorain's observance of Victory Corsage day today and tomorrow, Miss Ketchum will be married to Joseph G. Anthony, 21, Cleveland, in a public ceremony on the show window of the Smith and Gerhart Co..

"For the ceremony, the bride will carry  large war stamp corsage."

It was a part of a Victory Corsage Day in July 1942, "Retailers for Victory" national campaign to sell War Stamps and Bonds.

More to Come.  --GreGen

USS Utah Survivor Dies in 2013: Louie "Pete" Underwood

From the Jan. 23, 2013, Southeast Missourian "Pearl Harbor survivor buried in Scott City" by Keith Lewis.

Louie "Pete" Underwood was buried January 22, 2013.  He had just returned from the Pearl Harbor 71st Reunion at Pearl Harbor for his ship, the USS Utah.

During the attack, he was ordered to remain below deck but disobeyed after a torpedo hit his ship and it began to list.  He made his way topside and jumped into the harbor where he remembered being strafed.  The Utah lost 54 men that day.

Mr. Underwood was in his underwear.  He found an officer's quarters and took his clothes and drank his liquor because, as he said, "They'd had a rough morning."

Afterwards, he was assigned to convoy duty on the USS Detroit and served in the New Guinea and Philippines campaigns.  he was on another ship that was sunk, the USS Helena.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Follow Up on Howard Bender: Only Torrance Man to Survive

From the Dec. 8, 2014, AXS "Pearl Harbor survivors attend memorial ceremony aboard USS Iowa."

With the older blog entries, I sometimes do a search to see if the people I wrote about are still alive.  I did so with Howard Bender and am happy to report that as of this past Pearl Harbor Day he was still alive.

Howard Bender, 92, turns 93 on January 22.  He was an 18-year-old Yeoman 3rd Class Petty Officer on the USS Maryland in the attack..

He was joined by another Pearl Harbor survivor, Nelson G. Mitchell, Jr., who will be 85 on January 19th. When the attack came he was a 21-year-old Steward Mate 1st Class on the destroyer USS Jarvis DD-393.

Mr. Bender remembers: "I was on watch in the evening.  Myself and three other men from the City of Torrance in 1940 were taken down to San Diego and trained to the Pacific Fleet.  Those three men were on the Arizona and I was the only one from Torrance that came back alive."

Glad To Know He's Still Alive.  --GreGen

Howard Bender on Surviving Pearl Harbor: Check Your Shorts

From the January 23, 2013, Mission Viejo Patch (Cal.) "Surviving Pearl Harbor" by Peter Schelden.

Howard Bender, 91, is one of five remaining Pearl Harbor survivors in Orange County.  He joined the Navy right out of high school and sent to Pearl Harbor after boot camp where he was assigned to the USS Arizona before being transferred to the USS Maryland.

Mr. Bender remembers seeing the USS Oklahoma hit through a porthole.

When asked how he reacted, he replied, "It is not until after the fact when you check your shorts."


Philippines Veterans Still Fighting Their Battle

From the Jan. 26, 2013, Los Angeles Times "Still fighting their battles over World War II" by Richard Simon.

Philippine's World War Ii veterans, in their 80s and 90s now, are still fighting their battle for recognition.

In 2009, President Obama authorized a one-time payment for those who saw service in country there.  U.S. citizens received $15,000 and non citizens, even those living in the Philippines received $9,000.

A total of 43,083 applied, but more than half were turned down because their service could not be verified.

But, there is a Congressional bill to award  the group with the Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor.


Shorpy's Yreka Magazine Stand: 1942-- Part 2: Western, Crime and War Dominates

DARE-DEVIL ACES--  10 cents--  bombers"Leatherback Wings"  "The Hell Divers' Last Patrol"

LIBERTY--  10 cents

G-MEN DETECTIVES--  10 cents--  Nazis on cover


.44 WESTERN MAGAZINE--  10 cents--  cowboys


SUPER SPORTS--  15 cents-- baseball on cover




WEST--  15

You could sure get a lot of reading for a buck back then.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Shorpy's Yreka, Cal. Magazine Stand, June 26, 1942-- Part 1

From the Feb. 11, 2015, Shorpy "Yreka Comix: 1942."  You can see the photo by typing in the title.  "Yreka, California Magazine Stand." by Russell Lee, OWI (Office of War Information).

I was interested in seeing what people back then were reading, especially kids.  Were some of the comics about the war?

Here are the magazines, newspapers and comics I could make out in the photo with headlines  

LIFE MAGAZINE--  "War Stamp Bride"  10 cents

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE--  "Rommel Drives On Deep Into Egypt"


The rest are comic books.

ACTION STORIES--  20 cents

SKYFIGHTERS--  10 cents   World War II, "Wings of Victory"

Great Reads.  --GreGen

25th Liberty Ship Launched at Wilmington August 23, 1942

From the August 28, 2012, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Looking Back."

AUGUST 23, 1942:  The Thomas Pinchney, the 25th Liberty Ship to be launched by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company (present-day N.C. State Port) at 8:30 that morning.

Thomas Pinckney was an American statesman and veteran of both the American Revolution and War of 1812.  He was born in South Carolina and governor of that state.

During the war, 243 Liberty Ships were launched at Wilmington.

For more on the Wilmington Liberty Ships, go to

Wilmington: Arsenal of Democracy.  --GreGen

Historic Ship Buffs Work to Restore World War II Landing Ship in Oregon-- Part 2

The LCI 713 (Landing Craft Infantry) was built in 1944, one of 923 LCIs constructed.  They could carry 200 troops at a time and were 380 feet long  At Mindinao, Philippines, it carried members of the 41st Infantry Division.  This was a part of the Oregon National Guard.

THE LCI 713 was built in Neponset, Massachusetts and traversed the Panama Canal to get to the Pacific Ocean to fight.

The only other surviving LCI is the LCI-1091 in Eureka, California.  (Not sure of the ship number here if they only built 923, though that number probably was the ones built during World War II.  So the LCI 1091 might not have been a World War II vessel.