Wednesday, December 12, 2018

HMS Apollo At D-Day With Eisenhower

From Wikipedia.

An Abdiel-class British minelayer operating in home waters during World War II and took part in the Normandy Invasion.

Detached for "Operation Neptune" the Normandy Invasion and on June 7, 1944 had Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, Naval Commander  in Chief Admiral Bertram Ramsey, General Bernard Law Montgomery and staff members from SHAEF tovisit the beaches.

Unfortunately, the Apollo grounded hard and her passengers were transferred to the destroyer  HMS Undaunted.

Was involved with laying mines afterwards.


Deaths: Courtenay Wright: D-Day With Eisenhower

COURTENAY WRIGHT, 95     (1923-2018)

Physicist Saw Normandy Beaches With Eisenhower.

November 27, 2018, Chicago Sun-Times.

Worked with some of the world's greatest military and scientific minds during his life.

As a 20-year-old Royal Navy radar officer, he decoded the message that made him one of the first in the world to know about the launch of D-Day.

The day after that, he was on the bridge of the HMS Apollo when General Dwight D. Eisenhower urged the captain to go full speed ahead so he could inspect the Normandy beaches.  The ship ran aground and "nearly decapitating the general."  Eisenhower's "startled face was inches from his own.

After the war, he was brought to to the University of Chicago by renowned physicist Enrico Fermi, a leader in the Manhattan Project.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

After the Mission-- Part 2: The Bandage

In the scene of the painting, the American intelligence officer is taking notes.  Over his shoulder is his British counterpart.  The waist gunner standing second from left stares pensively toward the viewer, his expression suggesting emotional trauma from the recent stress he has endured.

His right hand is bandaged, perhaps from the bolt of his .50 caliber machine gun repeatedly slamming into it.

The tail gunner, a young man still in his teens, glances out the window wondering if his buddy in another aircraft will return.


After the Mission-- Part 1: Intel Gained

From the Paralyzed Veterans of America 2018 calendar featuring the aviation artwork of Gil Cohen. December.  I am going to miss this excellent calendar with all the realistic paintings by this artist.

Safely back home and exhausted, it's time for bomber crews to debriefed the details of their mission.  The table is laden with simple items:  aerial maps, strike photos, coffee mugs, cigarette packs (Lucky Strikes) and ashtrays.

But the lessons learned and intel gathered and shared here will prepare them for some of the command's next important tasks.


Monday, December 10, 2018

What Were They Smoking On That Hemp Tour in 1943?

From the September 5, 2018, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois"  "Looking Back"

1943, 75 Years Ago.

:Over 200 DeKalb county farmers attended the hemp tours held at the Kirkland and Shabonna hemp mill  areas in DeKalb County.

And, What Were They Smoking.  --GreGen

Lutherans Supporting the Military

From the May 9, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"An interesting window display furnished through the courtesy of the Immanuel Lutheran church, has been placed in the window of the Riippi store in DeKalb and has been attracting widespread interest.

"The theme of the display is 'They Shall Not March Alone' and shows some of the many things which are supplied the men in service by the Lutheran Army-Navy Commission.  In the window are the Service Prayer Book and other reading materials which the commission furnished to the boys serving in the armed forces.


Sunday, December 9, 2018

WW II Service of George H.W. Bush-- Part 2: Back to the San Jacinto and Discharge

In November 1944, George Bush returned to the USS San Jacinto an participated in operations in the Philippines until his squadron was replaced and sent home to the United States.  By 1944, he had flown 58 combat missions.for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals and the Presidential  Unit Citation awarded to the San Jacinto.

He was then reassigned to a training wing for torpedo bomber  crews at the Norfolk Navy base, Virginia.  His final assignment was to the new torpedo squadron VT-153 based at Naval in Station Gross Ile, Michigan.

He was honorably discharged from the Navy  in September 1945, one month after the surrender of Japan.

While he was still in the Navy, he married Barbara Pierce in Rye, New York, on January 6, 1945.


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Pearl Harbor In My Other Blogs Yesterday

Since yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day, I wrote about it in all my blogs, as I do every year.

You can use the My Blogs section to the right to check out what I wrote.

Civil War Navy:  Death of the oldest Pearl Harbor vet, Ray Chavez, at age 106.

Civil War:  Hiram "Pete" Carter.

Down Da Road:  Pearl Harbor might become a stand-alone National Memorial

RoadLog:  Lt. Jim Downing, USS West Virginia

History:  Clarence Lux

WW II and War of 1812:  USS Nevada

Friday, December 7, 2018

December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor

Continued from today's Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 blog.

Wade was a 3rd Class Gunner's Mate on the USS Nevada on the #1 Turret (the one closest to the bow).  He was a powder man for a 14-inch gun and had to place three bags of powder, each as big as a five gallon bucket.

His ship was anchored near the USS Arizona.

During the attack a ship in the drydock exploded and he thought it was his ship, the Nevada.  He went overboard into the water.  He was pulled out and put back on his ship.

His was the only battleship able to get underway that day.

Afterwards he helped save sailors and pull the dead out of the water.  A few days later he was back aboard the USS Nevada.  The holes had been patched, water pumped out and the ship went back to the U.S. for repairs.  Wade was transferred to the USS Pathfinder, a coast and geographical survey ship.

His action wasn't over as he was at Guadalcanal and Bougainville.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

The WW II Service of George H.W. Bush-- Part 1: Rescue By USS Finback

George Bush was the only survivor and he waited for hours in an inflated raft while several U.S. fighters circled overhead to protect him.  he was finally rescued by the submarine USS Finback.  He remained on that ship for the next month and participated in the rescue of other aviators.

Several of the Americans shot down in the attack on Chichijima were killed by their Japanese captors and their livers eaten.

This experience affected Bush intensely for the rest of his life.  He often said, "Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?"

For more on his World War II service, see my other blogs for today.  All were about him in the war.  Go to My  Blog List to the right of this.


Illinois Bicentennial, Robert Anderson-- Part 2: Killed on USS Colorado By Friendly Fire

From Maritime Quest.

List of men killed on the battleship USS Colorado (BB-45) by accidental gunfire during the invasion of the Philippines at Lingayen Gulf January 9, 1945.

There is a list of 21 men, including Robert E. Anderson.

Some of the others killed that day:

James Edgar Apple

Karl Porter Baum, Jr.

John Paul Bock

Harold Archibald Coates

Kenneth Eugene Davis

Sad.  Friendly Fire?  --GreGen

Monday, December 3, 2018

Illinois Veteran Robert Emmanuel Anderson, Mortally Wounded By Friendly Fire?

One of the 22,000 men and women from Illinois who gave their lives during the war.

From the Illinois World War II Veterans Memorial site.


Marine Corps, Killed in Action

Hometown:  Norwood Park Township, Illinois

Robert began his service April 12, 1944, after graduating from high school.  After boot training, he received nine weeks of special schooling, and he was stationed at San Diego, California.

He was one of the few men selected to be a member of Mrs. Roosevelt's Guard of Honor.

In November, he left San Francisco as Private 1st Class on a battleship in the Pacific Theater.

During battle on January 9, 1945, his leg was blown off by cannon fire, possibly friendly.  He died the next day.

He would have been 19 years old on January 21, 1945.  He had been anticipating his birthday.

Submitted by Megan McGovern, August 2010.


Illinois in World War II: Illinois Veterans Memorial

Since today is the 200th anniversary of Illinois being admitted as a state in the United States.

From the Illinois Natural Resources Historic Preservation  Division.

This memorial honors the  987,000 Illinois men and women who served during the war and the 22,000 who gave their lives.

Its focal point is a white, 22-ton concrete world globe flanked  on two sides by black granite walls.

Stainless steel buttons on the globe identify major battles and there are quotations by military leaders and Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

The memorial is in Oak Ridge Cemetery on the north side of Springfield.  This is the same cemetery in which Abraham Lincoln is buried.


Saturday, December 1, 2018

President George H.W. Bush (June 12, 1924-November 30, 2018): World War II Veteran

Saddened to hear about his death today.

A hero in every sense of the word.

He was a pilot on the USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) during the war.


Friday, November 30, 2018

Fort Wood in New York Harbor During WW II

I have been writing about this fort in my Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 blog.  Today, Fort Wood is the base of the Statue of Liberty.

From FortWiki.

After WW I,  troops from it guarded and patrolled New York Harbor.  In 1924, the Statue of Liberty and Fort Wood were declared a National Monument and in 1933 they were transferred to the National Park Service.

The U.S. Army abandoned the post in 1937.

During World War II, the Coast Guard maintained an observation station on the old Fort Wood  statue base and after the war, the remaining military buildings were torn down.


USS Liscome Bay-- Part 3: The Torpedo Hit the Bomb Magazine

On 23 November 1943, the Japanese submarine I-175 arrived off Makin.  The U.S. Task Force built around Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinnix's three escort carriers:  Liscome Bay, Coral Sea and Corregidor,  was steaming 20 miles  southwest of Butaritari Island at 15 knots.

At 04:30 24 November, reveille sounded on the Liscome Bay.  Flight quarters sounded 04:50 and crew to routine general quarters at 05:05.  Flight crews began preparing their planes for dawn launching.  Thirteen planes had been readied on the flight deck, including one on the catapult.   They had all been  fueled and armed.

Since this was the Liscome Bay's first operation since leaving Pearl Harbor, she still had her full amount of fuel and bombs.  And, there were a lot of  big bombs on board as well as depth charges and torpedoes.

At about 05:10, a lookout on the starboard side of the ship reported a torpedo headed for the ship.  It struck behind the engine room and detonated the bomb magazine causing a devastating explosion that engulfed the whole ship.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

USS Liscome Bay-- Part 2: Capturing Tarawa

Length  498 feet  65 foot beam  (108 foot flight deck)

Crew 910 officers and men

Carried 27 aircraft.

After training exercises along U.S. West Coast departed from San Diego on 21 October 1843 and arrived in Pearl Harbor a week later.  After more drills and operational exercises, she left on her first and last combat mission.  Departed Pearl Harbor on 10 November as part of Task Force 52, commanded by Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner headed for the Gilbert Islands.

This attack was the first major U.S. thrust into the Central Pacific and began on 20 November.  Just 76 hours later, Tarawa and Makin islands were taken.  The Liscome Bay, however, did not take part in it.

With the islands taken, naval forces began retiring from the area.



Monday, November 26, 2018

USS Liscome Bay (ACV/CVE- 56)-- Part 1: Operation Galvanic

From Wikipedia.

Was a Casablanca-class  escort aircraft carrier during World War I.  It was named for  Liscome Bay on Dall Island in Alaska.  the ship was lost in a torpedo attack by the Japanese submarine I-175 during Operation Galvanic (of which the Battle of Tarawa was part), with a catastrophic loss of life, on November 24, 1943.

So, we are at the 75th anniversary of the sad event.

I'd never heard of this ship so am doing some research.  This would be an excellent vessel to locate with all the ones being found in the Pacific Theater these days.

It was laid down on December 9, 1942, by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Company in Vancouver, Washington and launched  April 18, 1943.  It was commissioned by the Navy on August 7, 1943.


A Nurse on Leave in 1943

From the August 15, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Lieut. Alta Wiley, A.N.C. who has been visiting relatives the past week, will leave for Douglas Air Field, Ariz. at the end of her fifteen-day leave.

"Lieut. Wiley id the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs.  R.V. Wiley and the niece of Mrs.  Clarence Mahin and Mary and Louise Barron."


Friday, November 23, 2018

75th Anniversary of the End of the Battle of Tarawa Today

At 5:10 on November 23, 1943,  one of the 17 aircraft carriers involved in the battle, the USS Liscome Bay (ACV-CVE-56) an escort carrier was sunk by the Japanese submarine I-175 with a huge loss of life.

The loss of life was 687.

I have seen sources that say it sank on November 23 and other sources say November 24.  Not sure which one.

Fighting on the island of Betio was essentially cleanup with very high Japanese casualties on this date.

America paid a big price in casualties, but the island was ours.