Thursday, July 27, 2017

Wings of Freedom Tour Comes to Chicago: See the Warbirds

Advertisement in July 23, 2017, Chicago Tribune.

It was an eye-catching ad with those four wonderful old World War II Warbirds:  B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell and P-51 Mustang.  Those planes will catch my eye every day.

The tour is at the Chicago Executive Airport (unfortunately, they didn't say where it was) July 26 to July 30.

Walk-through tours are $15 for adults.  And, you can fly in one of the bombers for $400 to $450.


I looked the Chicago Executive Airport up and found it to be the former Palwaukee Airport which is not too far from where I formerly lived in Palatine, Illinois.  I might just go see those old Warbirds.  Now, if they also had a British Spitfire like the ones in the movie "Dunkirk" that would really make this a must-see event for me.

That's the Real Thing.  Thinking About It.  --GreGen

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Looking Forward to the "Dunkirk" Movie

I am planning on seeing this movie tomorrow.  I've been looking forward to it since I first saw it was being released in July.

I don't know a whole lot about it, but a few days ago bought one of those special magazines about it.

And, of course, this is one of those movies that really needs to be seen on the big screen and I will probably end up seeing it twice at the theaters.

And, of course, since this is a historical movie, even better.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Long-Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 8: Now Hidden Away in a Government Facility

So, most likely, the 200+ pound memorial was placed on public land by the American Nazi Party.

The National Park Service couldn't do anything about removing the marker until they found out if anyone was buried under it.  They went over World War II records for details on where the bodies had been buried, but came up with no definitive answers were forthcoming.  Old maps showed conflicting spots for the burials and one even showed it under a building.

Rosenstock believes that whoever buried the bodies didn't want them found.

But, no one was buried under where the marker was found because in the 1940s a creek had run through the spot.

In 2010, under direction of the museum curator, a fork lift exhumed the granite block and lowered it into a truck.  The stone, tagged OXCO-475, now spends its days under a protective blanket on a shelf in a storage facility in suburban Maryland -- its exact location a secret.

Sounds a Bit Like At the End of the Indiana Jones Movie About the Lost Ark.  --GreGen

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Long-Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 7: The "N.S.W.P.P." Clue

Until the mid-1960s, the National Socialist White People's Party had gone by the more familiar name:  The American Nazi Party.  The group's founder, George Lincoln Rockwell, had given it the new title shortly before his assassination in 1967.

By the 1970's, however, the group had begun to split apart and had lost much of its relevance.  Jim Rosenstock believes the newly found Nazi memorial marker is from that time.

The party didn't entirely cease to exist until 1983 so the stone may have been carved more recently.

As for now, the memorial presents a conundrum.  It is certainly something that should have been left on public property, but there is nothing in any handbook that says what to do with it.


Friday, July 21, 2017

July 20, 1944: Hitler Assassination Attempt, FDR Nominated for a 4th Term

From the Chicago Tribune "On July 20..."

73 Years Ago yesterday.

July 20, 1944:  An attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb failed as the explosion at Hitler's Rastenburg headquarters only wounded the Nazi leader.

July 20, 1944:  President Franklin Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term of office at the democratic convention in Chicago.

Four years earlier he had been nominated for an unprecedented third term of office.


A Long Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 6: Fast Guilt, Fast Death

In mid-Summer 1942, seven U.S. Army generals found all eight men guilty but left their punishment up to the president.  FDR sentenced six to death, and two, including John Dasch, to lengthy prison terms, though both were deported after the war.

The electrocutions began at 12:01 p.m. on August 8.  By 104, all six were dead.

Three days later, they were secretly buried amid a seldom-visited thicket of Southwest Washington known as Blue Plains.

Jim Rostenstock back searched this information, but the question remain, "Who placed the granite memorial stone there?"

The line at the bottom spelling out "N.S.W.P.P." offered a clue.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Long Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 5: Hysteria and Secret Military Trials

War hysteria broke out.  Hundreds of German immigrants were rounded up, and others suspected of spying were arrested.  The Justice Department banned German and Italian barbers, servers and busboys from Washington, D.C.'s restaurants because three of the would-be saboteurs had worked as waiters in America.

Ignoring due process, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered that the Germans be tried in secret before a military commission -- a tactic then backed by the U.S. Supreme Court, that President George W. Bush would replicate 59 years later in his directive that Guantanamo Bay detainees be judged in similar fashion.


A Long Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 4: J. Edgar Hoover Took Credit for Stopping Them

Four days later, John Dasch took the $82,000 he'd been given for the operation -- more than $1 million in today's money --  and boarded a train for Washington.  There he met with FBI agents, whom he expected to welcome him as a hero.

They didn't.

J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the bureau, recognized the opportunity.  In late June, with all eight men captured, Hoover announced their capture in New York -- and claimed credit for the FBI.

He made no mention of Dasch.

A huge war scare rolled over the United States.  Francis Biddle, then attorney general, later wrote in a memoir, "The country went wild."


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Long Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 3: Here's the Story

At the strat of World War II, Adolf Hitler decided he wanted to show the world just how susceptible America was to a German attack so he ordered his military to devise a plan.

The high command recruited eight Germans for the mission.  In teams of four, the men were loaded onto a pair of U-boats, one destined for Jacksonville and the other for a beach near the tip of Long Island.

On June 13, 1942, the New York group reached shore -- and was discovered by an unarmed Coast Guardsman on foot patrol.  The Germans escaped, but by morning the Coast Guard had unearthed the Germans' buried supplies:  fuses, pre-made bombs and four crates of TNT.

Those supplies wouldn't have mattered as their leader, John Dasch, had no intention of setting off any of the bombs.  When the group reached New York City, he and a comrade decided to turn the others in to American authorities, so Dasch phoned the FBI.


A Long-Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 2: All the Elements of a Great Mystery

Jim  Rosenstock works in resource management for the National Park service and was a big local history buff was curious and skeptical about this stone.  He got involved with finding out about the marker.

As he dug deeper, it had all the elements of a great mystery:  World War II espionage, nationwide panic, a mass electrocution, J. Edgar Hoover chicanery, white supremacists, federal bureaucracy and a U.S. Supreme Court case that played a significant role in America's modern war on terror.

For decades, few people in Washington, or elsewhere, knew of the stone's existence.  It wasn't a secret so much as something that just never got out.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Long-Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 1: Six Executed German Agents

From the July 2, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Nazi memorial a long forgotten mystery" by John Woodrow Cox.

This is one really interesting story.

Power company workers were walking  through a rarely visited thicket in Southwest Washington state when they spotted something, a rectangular slab of granite.  Upon closer inspection they saw it was a memorial to honor Nazi spies and it was on U.S. government property.

It said:  "In memory of agents of the German Abwehr executed August 8, 1942.".

Below that were the names of the six executed:

Herbert Hans Haupt
Heinrich Harm Heinck
Edward John Kerling
Hermann Otto Neubauer
Richard Quirin
Wener Thiel

And, at the bottom "Donated By the  N.S.W.P.P."

The whole endeavor had the code name Operation Pastorius.

And, It Thickens.  --GreGen

Monday, July 17, 2017

Old Jalopies For the War Effort in 1942

From the March 16, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"There are 26,995 worn-out jalopies in automobile graveyards in the state of Illinois.  Before long these old cars will be melted into armaments.

"That is good news for everyone, not to mention residents of neighborhoods in which one of the graveyards is located.  It is estimated that this amount of scrap material will produce 3,680 American tanks to help Uncle Sam's soldiers win the war."


Friday, July 14, 2017

World War II-Era 'Ghost Army' Up for a Congressional Gold Medal in 2016

From the March 12, 2016, Washington Times.

described as "Masters of innovation, large scale camouflage -- and tactical deception."

Bi-partisan legislation has been introduced to give the Gold Medal to the "Ghost Army."

The unit created intricate battlefield deception using hundreds of inflatable tanks, aircraft, sound effects and phony radio transmissions to confuse the Germans before D-Day.

Currently, there are Ghost veterans living in 11 states and Washington, D.C..

They were officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops.  There efforts were chronicled in a 2013 documentary film by Rick Beyer and is under development for a Hollywood movie

In the past, the Congressional Gold Medal has been given to Doolittle's Raiders, the Monuments Men, WASPs and Code Talkers.

Legislation is also underway to give the Gold medal to the OSS -- forerunners of the CIA.

All So deserving.  Thanks.  --GreGen

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Three At Pearl Harbor on the USS Hull, New Orleans and Shaw

DON ALSBRO    Enlisted 1940 at age of 16.  On USS Hull when the attack came.  Eating breakfast and thought it was practice until he heard the explosions.   The Hull was not hit and immediately put out to sea.  he didn't see a lot of devastation then, but sure did when the ship returned two days later.

ROBERT FLAHERTY  seaman 1st class on USS New Orleans and worked in the ship's store.  His ship sustained minor damage.  Eating breakfast when the attack began.  From his battle station, he saw the Arizona and Oklahoma hit by torpedoes and sink.

JOHN DeFIELDS, yeoman on the USS Shaw where 25 were killed.  He was one of the 17 wounded and spent two weeks in the hospital.


Shorpy Home Front Photos: Building a C-47 Cargo/Troop Plane

March 19, 2016  TEAMWORK: 1942

October 1942.  :Men and women make efficient operating team on riveting and other jobs at the Douglas Aircraft plant, Long Beach, Calif.  Most important of the many types of aircraft made at this plant are the B-17F 'Flying Fortress' heavy bomber, the A-20 'Havoc' assault bomber and the C-47 heavy transport plane shown here for carrying troops and cargo."

Alfred Palmer, OWI  Color photograph.

Comments:  Posed.  The woman is outside holding a riveting gun.  The man is inside the plane holding a bucking bar.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Carnivals and Trees

From the March 20, 2016, Shorpy site--  FAIR MAIDENS: 1942.  July 1942, Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Carnival of the Circus>  Waiting in line for the Tilt-A-Whirl.  Russell Lee, OWI

I noticed all sorts of lights on at night.  No black out here evidently.

From the March 18, 2016, Shorpy--  UP A TREE: 1942.  July 1942, Klamath Fallls, Oregon.  "Boys in a city park on a Sunday afternoon.  Russell Lee, OWI.  Two shirtless boys are  climbing a tree.

Even With a War On, You Gotta Have Some Fun.  --GreGen

Monday, July 10, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: At a Relocation Camp-- "Dr. Pepper: Good for Life"

March 23, 2016, GOOD FOR LIFE: 1942.

July 1942, "Nyssa, Oregon, Farm Security Administration mobile camp.  Soda pop is delivered at the camp for Japanese-Americans."  Russsell Lee, OWI  There are those old wooden crates of Dr. Pepper bottles and they are picking up empties.  A sign says "Drink Dr. Pepper:  Good for Life."

Not one of our prouder moments, but understandable under the circumstances.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Japanese Submarine Bell Recovered Off Oahu in 2016

From the March 17, 2016,  "Bronze bell recovered from WWII aircraft-carrying submarine off Oahu coast."

The I-400 Japanese submarine had been lost since 1946 when it was intentionally sunk by the United States.

It lies in 400-foot deep water.

The Sen-Toku class were the largest submarines ever built until the nuclear submarines were constructed.

One of the 5 submarines of this class was bought to Pearl Harbor to be examined  The Soviet Union demanded the sub be turned over to them to examine and the United States sank it to prevent them from getting the advanced technology.


USS Oklahoma Sailor Lewis Stockdale Laid to Rest at Punchbowl in 2016

From the March 18, 2016, KHON 2 News.

Navy Ensign Lewis S. Stockdale, 27, was from Anaconda, Montana and he was one of the Oklahoma's unknowns.  Bodies were recovered from the stricken ship from December 1941 to June 1944 and were interred at Halawa and Nuu anu cemeteries.

In 1947, they were disinterred and transferred the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks where 35 remains were identified.  The many unidentified were buried in 46 plots in the Punchbowl.

In 1949, they were all classified as "non-recoverable."

On June 15, 2015, they began exhuming those commingled bodies for identification.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Search for Frozen Heroes in 2016

From the March 19, 2016, International Business Times "Scientists to lead mission to find frozen World War II heroes buried under 40 feet of ice" by Romil Patel.

Two previous missions to find the plane failed.

Lt. John Pritchard,  radioman Benjamin Bottoms and Corporal Loren Howarth's plane crashed into a Greenland glacier in November 1942.  Pritchard and Bottoms were flying a rescue plane to survivors of a B-17 bomber crash.  They had rescued some of them and returned and had rescued Horwarth when they got caught in a storm and left stranded.

In the early days of the U.S. involvement in the war, the U.S. Army Air Corps transferred bombers across Canada, Greenland and Iceland to the United Kingdom by air to avoid German U-boats sinking transports.