Wednesday, July 29, 2015

USS Indianapolis Tragedy Was 70 Years Ago, July 30, 1945-- Part 1

From the July 27, 2015, National Geographic "Warship's Last Survivors Recall Sinking in Shark-Infested Waters" by Glenn Hodges.

"Seventy years ago this week, on July 30, 1945, the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis was sunk by two torpedoes fired by a Japanese submarine in the south Pacific.  So began a five-day ordeal of thirst, hypothermia, salt-water poisoning, hallucination. drowning, and dismemberment in shark-infested waters."

"Out of a crew of 1.196, only 317 men survived.

"For years the story seemed destined to be forgotten.  Until the movie "Jaws" hit theaters in 1975, and Captain Quint's now infamous monologue about the relentless shark attacks thrust the Indianapolis incident into public consciousness, it seemed almost no one knew about it.

"The survivors, of course, found the event impossible to forget.  Since 1960, they've been meeting for reunions in Indianapolis to bond with their shipmates, tell their stories, and commemorate the worst week of their lives."


--GreGen

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Wilmington Star-News Calls for the N.C. Lawmakers to Allow Bond Issue for USS North Carolina

From the July 23, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News Editorial "Keep aquarium, battleship funded" by the Editorial Board.

"Another local attraction doing well is the Battleship North Carolina.  The memorial is having a banner season, reporting 17,500 paid visitors during the patriotically inclined first 13 days of July.

"The battleship, which gets no regular funding from the state, has its hands full with a fundraising campaign to repair a hull that is leaking in places and is paper-thin in others.

"So a bond issue pushed by Gov. Pat McCrory that would pay for a new $11.5 million visitors center is a welcome development.

"We hope that lawmakers will allow the bond issue to come before the voters."

A Tax Increase I Could Support.  --GreGen

Monday, July 27, 2015

USS North Carolina Gets a New Chairwoman

From the July 24, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Local judge to chair battleship group."

Judge Sandra Ray was appointed Thursday by Gov. Pat McCrory as te first female chairwoman of the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission.

She had previously served on the commission as a board member for eight years.  She is a district court judge and before that worked for the District Attorney's Office.

Additionally she serves on the Arlie Board, Good friends Board and is chairman of the Wilminghton Parks and recreation Board.

She was born in Charleston, S.C., and grew up in Warsaw and Wrightsville Beach.

--GreGen

Saturday, July 25, 2015

National Hot Dog Day: A Carry Over from the War, Paul's Place Famous Hot Dogs

Thursday, July 23rd, was National Hot Dog Day.

Mom and I celebrated it by stopping at Paul's Place Famous Hot Dogs in Ricky Point, North Carolina.  This is not you usual run of the mill hot dog place and still popular after all these years.

Before I-40 was built to Wilmington, we always went to Carolina Beach on US-117 from Goldsboro or Mt. Olive.  We have been stopping at Paul's ever since I can remember.  Even though it was bypassed by I-40, it is easy off to get to the place and several miles along 117.

They still do a really great business and is usually crowded anytime we go.It is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Its World War II connection is that its hot dogs are covered with a special relish they were forced to develop because of meat shortages during the war.

--GreGen


Friday, July 24, 2015

Wilmington American Legion Supporting the USS North Carolina

From the July 24, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Post 10 fish fries help battleship" by Kenneth Pike.

The American Legion Post 10 of Wilmington was proud to have taken a major part in bringing the USS North Carolina to Wilmington back in 1961, which has since become a major tourist draw for eastern North Carolina.  Over the years it has also served as a reunion place for other Navy crews.

Recently a representative of the post met with Capt. Terry Bragg of the Battleship Memorial and made a commitment to a series of fundraisers that will create a fund for $5,000 to go toward upgrading and restoring the aging warship.

The source of the fund will be a monthly fish fry (also half a baked chicken or  deviled crab).  They will be held the first Fridays of the month through October.

Cost will be $8.

The USS North Carolina operates solely on its own and with no state aide, so this is quite the big deal.

--GreGen

Thursday, July 23, 2015

First Look Inside Abandoned English WWII Tunnels

From July 20, 2015, ABC News.

Used during World War II along England's coast.  They were called the Fan Bay Shelter and were built in 1940 through 1941 and were used to house a defensive gun battery that was housed at the White Cliffs of Dover in the southeast corner of the country.

The battery was there to prevent the Germans from using the English Channel.

These tunnels have recently been reopened.

--GreGen

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Don't Just Worry About the Sharks Off U.S. Coast This Year

From the July 20, 2015, USA Today "Sharks? World War II bombs also are a beach peril."

Sharks,?  Those old unexploded bombs might be even more to worry about this summer.

A World War II-era shell forced beachgoers on a beach on the Gulf near Tampa, Florida, to evacuate.  It was exploded in a controlled detonation later that day.

Millions of unexploded ordnance (UXO) was dropped in the waters off thye U.S. coast by the military before the practice was banned in 1970 by the Pentagon.

Most of the UXOs were from World War II.  The practice also applied to ordnance from the Korean and Vietnam wars.

--Cooter

Monday, July 20, 2015

Four Historical Myths from World War II

From the June 20, 2015 Listverse "10 Ridiculous Myths From Famous Historical Wars" by Gregory Myers.

The list gave four of its ten items to World War II-related events.

9.  The United States saved the day for the Allies in World War II.

5.  The harshness of the Versailles Treaty cause World War II.

3.  The United States entered World War II after Pearl Harbor.

1.  The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unprecedented.

--GreGen

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Another Deadly Trainwreck Took Place Just Over Three Months Earlier

On September 6, 1943, 79 were killed in a trainwreck in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Congressional Limited, touted as being able to make the run from Washington, D.C. to New York City in 3 1/2 hours had flames burst out from one of the cars' hot box which caused the axle to snap and the train went off the tracks.

As you would expect during wartime, there were about 200 servicemen aboard the train.  Seventy-nine passengers from two of the cars were killed and another 117 injured.

--GreGen

Saturday, July 18, 2015

N.C.'s Deadliest Train Wreck-- Part 3

From the Dec. 2, 2013, Daily Beast "The Five Deadliest Train Derailments in U.S. History."

DECEMBER 16, 1943.   72 dead near Rennert, N.C.

An Atlantic Coast Line train lost three of its rear cars near Rennert.  Rescue operations were underway when another train, unaware of the accident and approaching from the opposite direction slammed into it.  The first train had fortunately been cleared of passengers, but 72 of the new train were killed in its first three cars.  Fifty-two of them were servicemen coming home for the holidays.

A visitor to the site shortly after the accident described "all the rails twisted like pretzels," and "carnage of track, wreckage, wheels, axles and twisted railroad."

--GreGen

North Carolina's Deadliest Trainwreck-- Part 2

There were no serious injuries and passengers got off the train.

The chief fireman of the train placed flares ahead of it.  He forgot to bring torpedoes with him though.  They were a small noise-making charge.  The flares were dampened and didn't work.

The derailed cars did not physically touch the northbound tracks so automatic sensors were not activated.

At 1:45 a.m., doing about 80 mph, the East Coast Champion roared past and saw a sleeper car in its path, but too late to stop.

The first passenger car had many servicemen.  Two of them, Joannes Nystrom and James Conney had recently been discharged.  they were killed.

Clyde Lollier, a mess sergeant, died instantly.  His wife, who had been in the berth beneath him had just left to go to the restroom in one of the Pullman cars, survived.

--GreGen

North Carolina's Deadliest Trainwreck-- Part 1

December 17, 2013, Fayetteville (NC) Observer "Remembering the deadliest train accident in N.C. history" by Chick Jacobs.

"One forgotten pouch.  One wrong step.  One night of unprecedented carnage.  seventy years later, officials are still not sure how many people died.  The counts range from 72 to 74 with nearly 200 injured.  It remains the deadliest disaster in North Carolina history."

On December 16, 1943, the Atlantic Coast Line's Tamiami West Coast Champion left Fayetteville and heading southward with 18 cars just after midnight.It was a cold night with temps in the teens.  Earlier a storm had coated the region with a light snow and ice.

Less than a half hour out of Fayetteville, near Raft Swamp, a rail fractured under the train, derailing the three rear cars.  The train couldn't stop for a quarter mile.

--GreGen

Friday, July 17, 2015

Chester Nimitz Assumes Command of the Pacific Fleet-- Part 2

However, Chester Nimitz proved to be just the man for the job, the perfect CEO in troubled and perilous times.

**  He was flexible.  The battleships were out under his command and aircraft carriers in.  he deployed them ably.

**  He got the Navy moving again immediately, sending the aircraft carrier Enterprise out against the Japanese.

**  He used his head and trusted his instincts.

**  He took calculated risks.

**  He trusted his people.

These are traits all CEOs should strive to achieve.

--GreGen


Chester Nimitz Becomes C-in-CPac After Pearl Harbor-- Part 1

From the December 17, 2013, Forbes "The Ultimate Turnaround CEO" by Geoff Loftus.

Seventy-two years ago, Chester Nimitz was appointed to a new job after the events at Pearl Harbor.  He became Commander-in-Chief Pacific Command, C-in-CPac.

What he received was the command of a mostly wrecked Pacific Fleet.  The keystone of U.S. Naval strategy, its battleships had been destroyed in one blow.  Plus, he had just lost about 3,000 skilled sailors dead and many others wounded and unable to do their jobs.

His opponents, the Japanese, had a well-trained, experienced force.

The odds were definitely against him.

--GreGen

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Nevada Played a Big Role-- Part 2: Homefront and Gambling

The saddle is touring the state of Nevada in honor of the 150th anniversary of the state's admittance to the Union.

Thousands of Nevadans served in the war and hundreds died.

American troops trained for North African desert warfare in the desert south of Searchlight.

Training for aerial warfare took place at Reno, Ely, Fallon Wendover, Las Vegas and Tonopah.  Ammunition was made at a depot in Hawthorn.

The arrival of soldiers and war workers in Las Vegas caused a boom in Nevada's young gambling industry.  This influx caused Las Vegas' population to surpass that of Reno and began a shift of political and economic power to the south end of the state.

Gold and silver mining halted and instead copper and magnesium was gone after as a necessity of the war.

--GreGen




Nevada Played a Big World War II Role-- Part 1: USS Nevada

From the Dec. 7, 2013, RGJ "Chuck Weller: Nevada played rich WW II role."

The USS Nevada was making for open sea at Pearl harbor that day when it was hit by multiple bombs and intentionally run aground.  The crew earned two Medals of Honor and 13 Navy Crosses that day.

It was there at the Japanese surrender and had aboard it a saddle built in Reno with a silver plaque reading "Presented to Admiral Frederick Halsey, USN, for use on the favorite white horse of the emperor of Japan, by the Reno Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the war bond buyers of Washoe County, Nevada, 1945."

The saddle was recently returned to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

--GreGen

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ed Wentzlaff Rejoining Shipmates on the USS Arizona

From the Dec. 7, 2013, Free Press "Nicollet native rejoining USS Arizona shipmates" by Tim Krohn.

Navy divers will inter Ed Wentzlaff urn with his remains in the ship he was serving on that fateful day.

"He always said he wanted to be buried with his friends.  Now he got his wish," said sister Gerry Leonard.

Twenty-five survived even though they were in the open on the foredeck when the ship blew up.  "He was shaving for church.  he was just in his underwear.

Mr. Wentzlaff died of cancer in September at the age of 95.  Just 335 of the 1,512 crew survived tghe attack and most are still entombed on the ship.

He was born Nov. 16, 1917, and married Alice Mork in 1947.

--GreGen

USS Arizona Tour Draws Multitudes to Pearl Harbor

From the Dec. 18, 2013, Stars and Stripes "USS Arizona Memorial tour draws respectful multitudes to Pearl Harbor" by Terry Richard.

The National Park Service does a magnificent job handling and keeping crowds coming to the memorial respectful.  It draws over a million visitors a year.

Lines form at 7 a.m. and persons get a free timed ticket.  After which they tour the Arizona museum located on the grounds and then, when their time arrives, they take a five minute trip to the sunken ship.  Two launches are used and leave every 75 minutes.

--GreGen

Monday, July 13, 2015

Nazi Murderer Heinrich Boere Died at 92 in 2013-- Part 3

Heinrich Boere fought on the Russian Front then was sent back to the Netherlands.  he and another member were given a list of names for "retaliatory measures."

Boere killed pharmacist Fritz Hubert Ernst Bicknese with a pistol in the pharmacy, then killed bicycle shop owner Tenn de Groot when he answered his doorbell at his house.  Then they forced Franz Wilhelm Kusters into his car, drove to another town and shot him.

After the war, Boere escaped from a POW camp in the Netherlands and eventually made his way to Germany after being sentenced to death in 1949.

--GreGen

--

Nazi Murderer Heinrich Boere Dies at 92 in 2013-- Part 3

Heinrich Boere was born to a Dutch father and German mother in Eschweiler, Germany, and moved to the Netherlands as a youth.  he remembers his mother waking him up in the night in 1940 and telling him that Germany had invaded the Netherlands and he saw Stuka dive bombers overhead.

Instead of being afraid, his family was happy and his mother said that things would now be better.

At age 18, he saw a recruiting poster signed by Heinrich Himmler offering German citizenship and a possible police job after the war.  He and 100 others showed up and he was one of only fifteen selected and was very proud of his accomplishment.

--GreGen