Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pearl Harbor Survivor Harry J. Hale, Sr. Dies in 2012

From the Dec. 19, 2012, WKTV NBC, Utica, New York.

Harry J. Hale, Sr., one of the area's last Pearl Harbor survivors died on December 16, 2012.

He was born in 1921 in Utica and joined the Navy after graduation from high school.  He was on the USS Travor when the attack came.

He later saw action at Guadalcanal, Midway, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and was a past president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

--GreGen

Pearl Harbor 71st Anniversary in 2012

December 8, 2012: USS Nevada survivor Woody Derby, 94, helped unveil the new wayside exhibit at Hospital Point, Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor survivors soldier on with the annual reunion of the New Jersey Turnpike.

Ralph Jeffers, 92, was on the USS Curtiss, a seaplane tender fired a machine gun at the planes and took shelter in the stern.

Tom Mahoney was on the USS Curtis also.

John Hanson was on the transport ship USS Argonne and threw potatoes at a low flying plane.

--GreGen

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Only One Pearl Harbor Survivor Attends Observance in 2012

From the Dec. 8, 2012, Corvallis (Oregon) Gazette Times.

David Russell, 92, was the only survivor to attend the Friday ceremony on the north steps of the Linn County Courthouse.  he was on the USS Oklahoma that day and said that there are now only 67 sailors from that stricken ship still alive today.

The Oklahoma lost 429 of the 1354 aboard that day, the second highest loss on any ship.

"I remember the concussions from the bombs.  I came close to dying several times during the war."

Later in the Pacific, he was on the USS Mahan which was struck by three kamikazes on December 7, 1944.  Evidently, December 7th is not a good date for him.

He ended up serving twenty years in the Navy.

--GreGen

Wilmington At War: 1942

From the Dec, 11, 2012, Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

NOVEMBER 4, 1942:  A bus transportation system for exclusive use of its many in-town employees in four southeastern North Carolina counties has been established by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company.

Ten modern tractor-trailer type buses were received by the U.S. Maritime Commission.  Each bus can carry 100 people.

In 1942, the company employed 18,000 workers.

--GreGen

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

World War II Duck Boat Found in Italian Lake

From the Dec. 13, 2012, Yahoo! News Christian Science Monitor" by Nick Squier.

The amphibious vessel sank in Lake Garda, killing 23 U.S. soldiers just days before the end of the European fighting.  Amateur historians have been searching for it for months.

The 6-wheel, 2-ton amphibious DUKW sank April 30, 1945 while carrying supplies and ammunition to the American Army near the town of Torbole in Italy's north.  The vessel was hit with gale force winds,causing it to sink.

It had on board a truck carrying 24 American soldiers ages 18 to 25 from the 10th Mountain Division.  Only one survived from the 605th Field Artillery Battalion. as well as the driver from the Quartermaster Corps.

The Duck was found in 905 foot deep water.

The group next will try to find any human remains in the area, but it is too deep for divers.

--GreGen

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pearl Harbor Survivor Helps Identify Unknown Dead

From the Dec. 6, 2012, Port Clinton (Ohio) News Herald by Audrey McAvoy, AP.

Ray Emory, 91, couldn't accept the fact that nearly 25% of the Pearl Harbor dead were unidentified.

He survived the attack, and, using old documents, badgered the government into relabeling more than 300 gravestones of these men with the name of the ship they were on that day.  He has lobbied to have forensic experts unearth the remains and examine them.

Emory first learned of the unidentified twenty years ago when he attended the 50th anniversary commemoration.  The bodies of the Pearl Harbor dead are scattered around the Punch Bowl National Cemetery in Oahu.

He found one 1941 Navy record noting that one burned body was found floating in the harbor, wearing shorts with the name "Livingston" on them.  There were only two men at Pearl Harbor with that last name and one of them is accounted for, so it must be the other.

His body was exhumed and found to be Alfred Livingston, 23, a fireman first class on the USS Oklahoma.

--GreGen


USS Arizona Survivor Donald Stratton: "Maybe You Don't Know the Feeling..."

From the Dec. 7, 2012, KRDO Radio, Colorado Springs.

Donald Stratton has a momento of the USS Arizona, a part of a 20-foot gun section and is one of only a handful of survivors of the gallant USS Arizona who are still alive.

He has an action figured named after him.

He remembers his ship firing at the Japanese planes: "We couldn't fire toward the sub base because another ship was in the way.  We couldn't fire back in our direction because we would have fired on our own superstructure.  We fired at high altitude bombers.

"We got hit by a big bomb.  A little more than a million pounds of ammo exploded.  The explosion was horrendous.  A fireball went up for six hundred feet in the air.  It engulfed us where we were at.  The Arizona burned for about three and a half days."

Mr. Stratton received severe burns on his legs and arms and lost part of his ear and nose.  He was hospitalized for a year and returned to duty.

A few weeks ago, he was honored at a home Denver Broncos game.

He went back to the 70th anniversary commemoration in Pearl Harbor last year: "One of the things that hit me is to be back 70 years later and raise the flag over the ship with all my shipmates still aboard.  It was kind of, well you know.  Maybe you don't know the feeling, I do!"

--GreGen




Saturday, January 24, 2015

Brevard Pearl Harbor Survivors "Never Forget"

From the Dec. 7, 2012, Florida Today by R. Norman Moody.

Fred Robinson, 90, of Rockledge was in the Army on the island.

George Herold, 88, of West Melbourne was at the submarine base and said, "They didn't hit the sub base.  They hit all around us."

John Hatcher, 91, of Pembrook Pines was preparing pancakes for breakfast.

James Mitchell of West Melbourne.

Richard Jeffrey, 95, of Vicra.

--GreGen

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day After Pearl Harbor

From the Dec. 7, 2012, Shorpy "War News: 1941.

December 8, 1941 "Corner of Montgomery and Market streets in San Francisco.  Monday morning after Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor."  Photo by John Collier.

A big group of men (no women) gather around a newstand, buying and reading papers.

The San Francisco News headlines "Navy Hunts Japs Off Pacific Coast."  Another one "War Extra "Enemy Planes Near New York From the Atlantic."

It was indeed a frightening time, especially with all the screaming headlines.

--GreGen

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Day After Pearl Harbor, San Francisco-- Part 2

There are some movie pictures shown in the photo.  One is for "Blood Spray at Fuji River" from 1939.  There is also one with a woman from a 1940 romantic novel.

It is not known whether Dr. Uyeyama or his family were interned.  But they did find out he was a 1934 graduate and a clinical member at University California-San Francisco.  He left the U.S. Army as a Lt.Col. in 1949.

Census records show that he and his whole family were born in the United States.

Other military records show a USAF Lt.Col. Terry Uyeyama, born in San Francisco in 1937.  He was interned by the North Vietnamese 1968-1973 and recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, legion of Merit, Silver Star and POW Medal.

The impact of war at home.

--GreGen

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Day After Pearl Harbor, San Francisco-- Part 1

From Shorpy Dec. 7, 2012, "Cafe Ginza: 1941"  Taken in San Francisco the Monday morning after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The picture had framed pictures on the side of the building with Japanese writing.  One looks like a samurai with a woman.  A sign next to the cafe is for Dr. Kahn Uyeyama" Phusician and Surgeon" with Japanese letters underneath it.  There is a big Coca-Cola sign also in the photo.

Comment: "Empires may crumble and Reichs turn to dust but the Coca-Cola Company endures."

Comment:  Many of the doctor's neighbors ended up in internment camps.  The 1940 census has Yaneo (age 39) and Shizuku (40), identified as proprietor and manager of the restaurant.  The names and ages match those of internees at Manzamar and Heart Mountain Relocation Centers.

--GreGen


Hitler's Plans to Destroy Paris

From the Nov. 14, 2014, Chicago Tribune "'Diplomacy' imagines how Paris was saved in WWII" by Kenneth Turan.

Hitler's plans for Paris in case he was forced out was one of massive destruction.  Thirty-three bridges over the Seine River were to be blown up.  That was to be followed by Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Opera and then submarine torpedoes were to be attached to each leg of the Eiffel Tower to bring it down.  "Paris as we know it was to be destroyed."

This was Adolf Hitler's command to his German occupying troops should Paris evacuation become necessary.  Only the decision of the commander of Paris, Gen. Dietrich von Cholitz to disobey the order saved the city.

Historians even to this day argue why he did this.  Now, there is a fictionalized movie "Diplomacy" to examine what went on between the general and Swedish Consul Raoul Nordling between August 24-25, to make such a decision.

It was never released around me, but I would have liked to have seen it.

--GreGen


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Death of a Tuskegee Airman in 2012

Retired Lt. Col. Herbert Eugene Carter, 95.

An original Tuskegee Airman in the first group to be trained for the 99th Fighter Squadron.

Flew 77 missions and crash landed once.

A Hero in More Ways Than One.  --GreGen

Battleship North Carolina Curators Keep History Alive-- Part 2

Items in this storage area are divided into 2-D and 3-D classifications.  The 2-D collection has more than 4,000 photos and 25,000 blueprints of the ship.  Many of these were still on the ship when it arrived at Wilmington.

Since then, diaries have been donated (even though the crew was not supposed to keep them.  On April 6, 1945, a sailor described a "friendly fire" incident that killed three crew members.  He said how he was eating breakfast with one of the three that very morning and the man had joked that he didn't want insurance because the minute you get it, something bad happens to you.

There is a pilot's leather jacket among other items in the 3-D collection.  Others of this group were found on the ship like boxes of empty liquor bottles smuggled on board and hidden inside the bulkheads.  They have lots of dress uniforms and blue wool uniforms, but only two chambray shirts-- the blue work shirts enlisted sailors wore most of the time.

Worth Checking Out.  --GreGen


Friday, January 16, 2015

Battleship North Carolina Curators Keep History Alive-- Part 1

From the Nov. 11, 2012, Wilmington (NC) Star- News by Ben Steelman.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the median age of World War II veterans is now 89.  Of the 16 million who served 1941-1945, only around 1.7 million remain.

The small staff pf curators on the battleship are taking care of what the men carried.  They have videos of oral stories from about 200 of the 7,000 plus sailors and Marines who served aboard the ship.  These are stored in the former chief petty officer's quarters, normally off limits to the public in rows of acid-free bankers' boxes.

--GreGen

Five Attacks on U.S. Soil in World War II-- Part 3

4.  OPERATION PASTORIUS--  Eight male German sabateurs, all naturalized U.S. citizens were to sabotage war industries and use terrorism on U.S. citizens.

In June 1942, U-boats dropped off two four-man groups.  One landed in Amagansett, New York, and the other at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  Each team had $84,000 cash.  One group turned themselves in and the mission failed.

5.  JAPANESE FIRE BALLOONS--  Balloon bombs called "Fugos."  Starting in 1944 there were 9,000 high-altitude balloons launched from Japan.  Each carried 50 pounds of explosives.  They drifted some 5,000 miles to the U.S. mainland, a trip of three days at the high altitudes.

Nearly 350 made it across with several being intercepted and shot down.  Balloons were spotted in 15 states, as far east as Iowa and Michigan.  The only fatalities were from one balloon which exploded in Oregon, killing a pregnant woman and 5 children.  These six are considered the only U.S. mainland fatalities during the war.

And Most Americans Think the U.S. Was Safe During the War.  --GreGen

Thursday, January 15, 2015

World War II Altered Fort Fisher

Today marks the sesquicentennial of the fall of Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  Its capture resulted in the closing of the Confederacy's last remaining port and the new country was no more less than 90 days later.

After the war, the huge fortification was abandoned until World War II, when the Army used it for training anti-aircraft gunners at the site.  A large landing strip was built and many of the fort's remaining traverses on the land face were destroyed to make it.  The strip was used by planes towing anti-aircraft targets.

It is too bad they didn't make the landing strip further north or south of Fort Fisher.

Today, the visitor center and parking lot are built on the landing strip.

There had been no need for any fortification there during World War I because New Inlet, which the fort had guarded during the Civil War was no longer there.

--GreGen

Five Attacks on U.S. Soil During the War-- Part 2

3.  BOMBING OF FORT STEVENS AND LOOKOUT AIR RAIDS--  The only attack on a military target on the continental U.S. took place on June 21, 1942, on the Oregon coastline.  A Japanese submarine, the I-25, trailed a fishing boat to avoid minefields to north of the Columbia River and surfaced by the Civil War-era Fort Stevens and fired 17 shells.  The fort did not fire back.

In September 1942, the same I-25 was back and launched a Yokosuku E14Y float plane which dropped 2 incendiary bombs on Brookings, Oregon, but there were no fires.  Later that month, there was another bombing.


--GreGen

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Five Attacks on U.S. Soil During World War II-- Part 1

From the Oct. 23, 2012, History Channel by Evan Andrews.

1.  DUQUENE SPY RING--  Thirty men and three women under Frederick "Fritz" Joubert Duquene were able to gather much information on the United States before the war.  Their downfall came when a new recruit became a double agent.  All were arrested before Pearl Harbor, tried and sentenced to over 300 years in prison.

2.  THE BOMBING OF ELLWOOD OIL FIELD--  A group of Japanese submarines operated off the U.S. West Coast.  On Feb. 23, 1942, the I-17 surfaced and shot 16 shells at Ellwood Beach from its single deck gun.  Only minor damage done, though.

THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES--  The next day this 'battle" took place because of a mistaken aircraft sighting.  The people were very tense on the West Coast of the U.S..

--GreGen

Battleship North Carolina Had a Very Good Year in 2012

From the October 25, 2012, Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

For the year, the USS North Carolina Memorial had 216,438 visitors (39% from out-of-state), its third best attendance since 1995.  That year the ship set its best-ever attendance at 232,000.

The keel was laid in 1934 and "The Showboat" was launched in 1940.  During World War II, it received 15 Battle Stars for action in the Pacific Theater.

--GreGen