Monday, June 27, 2016

USS Arizona Memorial To Be Closed Two More Days

From the June 24, 2016, Daily Journal "The National Park Service says the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor will be closed to visitors for an extra two days while the dock is replaced."

The new dock would not be finished on Sunday as planned, but hopefully by Tuesday.  In the meantime, visitors to the site will be taken by boat close by to view it, but no one will be allowed to go on it.

It is expected to reopen on Wednesday.

I Sure Would Hate to Go All the Way There and Not See This One "Must See" Thing for Me in Hawaii.  --GreGen

Pearl Harbor Survivor Max Baker Dies: "That Damn Navy, They're Even Practicing on Sundays"

From the June 23, 2016, Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal "Pearl Harbor survivor from Topeka dies at age 94" by Phil Anderson.

Max Baker, 94, died June 11, 2016,. During the attack he was in the U.A. Army Air Corps based at Hickam Field.  The native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, said he had his obituary printed in at least two Pennsylvania newspapers in the days of confusion that followed the attack.

He was in his bunk thinking about getting breakfast when he heard explosions.  "My first thought was 'That damn Navy, they're even practicing on Sundays."

Running out of the barracks, he helped get ammunition and machine guns into two of the few undamaged B-17 bombers at Hickam Field.  A bomb struck his barracks and destroyed his bunk and all of his possessions except his Bible.

He served 52 consecutive months with the 31st Bomb Squadron in the Pacific Theater and moved to Topeka after the war.

--GreGen


Friday, June 24, 2016

One of Two Remaining Doolittle Raiders Dies: David Thatcher-- Part 2

After the bombs were dropped on Japan, the "Ruptured Duck, was low on fuel and crash landed in the ocean near China.  The plane flipped over on impact and all the crew members except Thatcher were seriously injured.

he was knocked out, but soon regained consciousness and gathered the rest of the crew, administered first aid and convince Chinese guerrillas to take them safely inland and away from Japanese patrols.

Mr. Thatcher was born July 31, 1921, in Bridger, Montana, one of ten children.

After the war, he worked for the U.S. postal service for 30 years.

--GreGen

One of the Two Remaining Doolittle Raiders Dies: David Thatcher-- Part 1

From the June 22, 2016, Fox News "One of two remaining airmen who flew in World War II 'Doolittle Raid' dies." by AP.

Retired Army Staff sergeant David Jonathan Thatcher died June 22, 2016, at age 94, in Missoula, Montana.  That leaves just Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole remains of the eighty airmen who flew 16 B-25 bombers against Japan on April 18, 1942.  This gave a huge boost to U.S. morale which was still down because of Pearl Harbor and a string of defeats in the Pacific afterwards.

Mr. thatcher was an engineer-gunner on the plane named "Ruptured Duck."

--GreGen

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Walter Bailey, 96

From the June 23, 2016, Everett, Washington Herald "Pearl Harbor survivor Walt Bailey was a true outdoorsman."

Walter Bailey, 96, died May 27, 2016.

Mr. Bailey joined the CCC for two years during the Depression and cut trails, built shelters and fought fires in the Cascade Range.  He sent his mom $25 of the $30 he made each month.

In 1941, he joined the Army and was tending flower beds outside his barracks when the first shots were fired December 7, 1941.  He grabbed a rifle and fired seven shots at the Japanese planes.

Much of the war was spent training German shepherds as guard dogs and operating searchlights and radar equipment.  In 1944, he was at Leyte Island in the Liberation of the Philippines.

--GreGen

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Looking Back to 1941: A Signal Honor for a Local Girl

From the June 8, 2016, MidWeek (for DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

"A signal honor has been conferred on Miss Barabara Engh, 19 years old, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Engh, former Sycamore residents, she having been named 'color girl' of the graduating class of the United States Naval Academy as June week activities got underway."

--GreGen

Looking Back to June 1941: American Red Cross Gathering Aid for War Victims

From the June 8, 2016, Midweek (for DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

Even though the United States was not yet in World War II, it was involved in various other ways.

"So urgent has the demand for material aid for the war sufferers in Europe been that the American Red Cross has continued its campaign for funding a house to house canvass of Sycamore was begun and will be continued throughout the week."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Shorpy Home Front Photos:

9-2-14  GREYHOUD GARAGE: 1943--  September 1943, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Esther Bubley, OWI.

8-30-14  GOGGLE GLASS: 1942--  December 1942.  "Chicago, Illinois.  Workmen grinding out a small part at the Chicago & Northwestern repair shop."  Jack Delano, OWI.

8-28-14 POP CULTURE: 1943.  "Columbus, Ohio.  A Greyhound bus driver off duty."  In a diner.  An ad in the background says, "I'd Give a Month's Pay for a Dr. Pepper."

10-11-14   IRONWOMAN: 1943--   June 1943.  Arlington County, Virginia.  "Arlington Farms, war duration residence halls.  Laundry room in Idaho Hall."  Esther Bubley, OWI.  Women are ironing their clothes.

Somebody's Got to Do It.  --GreGen

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Take the Bus

September 7, 2014   COLUMBUS: 1943.  "September 1943.  Washington Courthouse, Ohio.  Passengers boarding Greyhound bus."  Esther Bubley, OWI

The name "Pennsylvania Greyhound Line" is above the window.

The names of Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia and New York also on the bus.  The front of the bus has a sign for Columbus.

With all the gas rationing, the bus was a good alternative.

--GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Day Care

From September 12, 2014   SMALL FRY: 1944--  May 1944.  "New York.  A small boy who receives day care at Greenwich House while his mother works."  Risdon Tolley, OWI.

September 11, 2014   APERTURE: 1944--  Another photo of a boy at Greenwich House.

September 9, 2014   WORKING MOMS: 1944.  Greenwich House.  Someone had to watch the small children while their mothers were at work in war industries.

--GreGen

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Groups Move to Preserve Pearl Harbor Quays-- Part 2

The groups hope to preserve six concrete mooring quays lining Battleship Row.  The quay steel components are rusting and the mooring quays may collapse if not restored.

They hope to get $250,000 from the grants to get the project started.  The final cost is expected to be $5 million.  The Pacific Historic Parks intends to run fundraising campaigns to raise the rest.

The Navy built sixteen quays in Pearl Harbor before the attack for additional space for the Pacific Fleet which had been concentrated there as war with Japan loomed. The National Park Service currently manages six of them, including the two next to the USS Arizona.

The Concrete Preservation Institute will handle the restoration and will use Army and Navy servicemen looking to learn abilities for use after they leave the military.

Plans call for work to begin in September.

--GreGen

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Groups Move to Protect Historic Pearl Harbor Moorings-- Part 1

From the May 25, 2016, Stars and Stripes "Groups move to protect historic moorings at Pearl Harbor" by Audrey McAvoy.

The National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks on Wednesday launched an effort to win grant money to preserve the historic quays at Pearl Harbor.  These were where the battleships on Battleship Row were moored December 7, 1941,

They are competing with twenty other National Park Historic Sites across the country for grants from Partners in Preservation campaign funded by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation/.  Winners will be chosen according to voting online at www.VoteYour Park.org on July 5.

--GreGen

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pearl Harbor Survivor Celebrates His 99th Birthday

From the June 3, 2016, Hawaii News Now "Pearl Harbor survivor, longtime volunteer, celebrates big birthday" by Jolanie Miller.

Herb Weatherwax, 99, celebrated his birthday at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument on Friday.

He volunteers there four days a week.

He was stationed at Schofield Barracks and on leave near Pearl Harbor when the attack came and remembers seeing the Arizona on fire and the Oklahoma keeled over.  The planes at Wheeler Army Airfield were lined up and demolished.

--GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Office of War Information and Buses

September 25, 2014, A TO Z: 1943.  May 1943.  Washington, D.C.  "Office of War Information researchers working."  Ann Rosener, OWI.  Nothing like getting your photos at home.  These OWI photographers compiled quite a history of the Home Front during the war.

September 17, 2014,   BUS BAGGAGE: 1943.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  bringing baggage from a bus."  Esther Bubley, OWI

There were ads on the wall for Kellogg's Rice Krispies "A hit for wartime meals."    Also one for Amoco Oil reading, "The Gas Behind the Guns."

Buses were another major way to get around.

--GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: On the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe

October 2, 2014, LUX AETERNA: 1943.  Brakeman on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad in the caboose.  By Jack Delano, OWI.    Jack Delano sure rode the rails a whole lot during the war.  Shorpy has had many, many train photos by him.

Of course, the railroads were a major way of transporting troops, civilians and armaments.

--GreGen


Shorpy Home Front Photos: Bethlehem Fairfield Shipyard at Baltimore

September 27, 2014, SECOND SHIFT: 1943.

April 1943 Traffic jam on the road from Bethehem Fairfield shipyard at Baltimore as the second shift of workers leaves the plant."  Majory Collins, Office of War Information (OWI)

Comment from Charles Street:  "My maternal grandfather worked a Bethlehem Fairfield shipyard during WWII even though he was a butcher by trade (and bought a small grocery store/ butcher shop after the war with money he made at the shipyard).  He commuted by street car."

Plenty of work and money to be made supplying the country with the tools of war.

--GreGen

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Relic of the USS Arizona Finds New Home at Pearl Harbor-Hickam Field Joint Base

From the June 3, 2016, Ho' Okele Pearl Harbor-Hickam News "Relic of the USS Arizona finds a new home at Joint Base."

An anchor cross made from salvaged metal from the sunken battleship USS Arizona that was crafted by retired U.S. Navy Captain Charles Swanson in the early 1970s has been given to the Pearl Harbor-Hickam Joint Base.

It had been kept for many years at St. George's Episcopal Church in Hawaii, which has since closed.

--GreGen

Alfred Wells' Family Officially Notified of His Death in 1942

From the February 24, 1942, Syracuse Herald-Journal "Alfred Floyd Wells Death at Pearl Harbor Disclosed."

Official announcement was received by his parents Mr. and Mrs. A.F. Wells, 2509 Burnet Avenue, yesterday.

A telegram signed by Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs arrived to his sister.  It read:  "After exhaustive search it has been found impossible to locate your brother Alfred Floyd  Wells, machinist mate, first class, U.S. Navy, and he has therefore been officially declared to have lost his life in the service of his country as of Dec. 7, 1941.  The department expresses to you its sincerest sympathy."

The last letter from him was received by his family from Pearl Harbor on November 27.

Alfred Wells had  enlisted in the Navy in 1927 and served in China, panama, Alaska and Hawaii.  He was discharged last August but reenlisted in November and was sent to Pearl harbor to serve on the USS Oklahoma.

Surviving are his wife and two daughters residing in California.  They will come to Syracuse next month.  He is survived by his parents, 5 sisters and one brother as well as several cousins.

--GreGen

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Body of Syracuse Pearl Harbor USS Oklahoma Sailor Comes Home

From the June 6, 2016, Syracuse.com (New York)  "Body of Syracuse sailor killed at Pearl Harbor ID's; he's coming home for burial" by Elizabeth Doran.

Alfred Wells died on the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941, at age 312, leaving behind a wife and two daughters.  He was one of the older sailors on the USS Oklahoma to lose his life.  his remains will arrive in Syracuse on Friday and burial will be on Saturday.  He was one of the Oklahoma's unknowns buried at the Punch Bowl in Hawaii all these years.

One of his two surviving sisters, Mary Lou Schmeltzer, 89, said, "My brother is finally coming home."

Alfred Wells was a Machinists Mate 1st Class and an Eastwood native.  He will be buried at Onondaga County Veterans Cemetery on Onondaga Hill.

After serving in the Navy for many years, he was discharged in March 1941 to get married and built a house in Long Beach, California where he had two daughters.  Unable to find a job in the Great Depression, he went back into the Navy in August 1941 and was assigned to the USS Oklahoma.

--GreGen


Shorpy Home Front Photos: Social Media 1943

6-7-16 SOCIAL MEDIA: 1943  May 1943 Arlington, Virginia.  "Reading the Sunday paper at Arlington farms, duration residence halls for women war workers."  Esther Bubley, OWI.

There was great need in the Federal Government for records keeping which had to be done manually.

Two young women are reading sections of the newspaper which is much wider than today's newspapers.  One is reading a color section of the the Sunday comics.

There was a painting/print on the wall behind them and a reader commented it was painted by Vincent Canade in the 1930s while working for the WPA Federal Art Project.  It had that look that much of the artwork had.

--FreFen