Monday, April 27, 2015

Tybee Island Light Station

In a short time we're going out to the Tybee Island Light Station since we ended up being "Stuck on the Island" as "MadDog" Adams would sing.

I'm sure that its light would have been off during the war as navigational aids to lurking U-boats were not needed.  It was  also likely used as a place to spot the German submarines.

It is referred to as Georgia's oldest & tallest lighthouse.

--GreGen


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Times Change, Japanese-Owned NYK Remus Just Cruised By Savannah

We just saw the NYK Remus cruise down the Savannah River by Savannah, heading out toward the ocean.  Definitely something we wouldn't have seen back during World War II.  It is a container ship and loaded high with containers.

During World War II, the NYK Line, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, provided military transport and hospital ships for the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy.  It lost many ships during the war.  Only 27 remained after losing 185 to Allied attacks.

Of 36 passenger ships in its fleet before the war, only one remained.

--GreGen

World War II in Savannah: Role and Liberty Ships

From New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Men and women from Savannah and Chatham County served  in all branches of U.S. military during the war.  Being a port city, Savannah was very involved in wartime production and a najor military cargo port.

Other groups during the war were  the Savannah-Chatham County Defense Council and the U.S. Coats Guard Temporary Reserves Volunteer Port Security Force.

The Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation received a contract to build 36 Liberty Ships on the Savannah River east of the city.  However, between 1942 and 1945, they built 88 ships.

--GreGen

Friday, April 24, 2015

What's Oscar Doing in the U.S. Signal Corps Museum?

You win an Oscar at the Academy Awards and there is an Oscar at the United States Army Signal Corps museum at Fort Gordon, Georgia.  You would not really expect to find one of these at a military museum like this.

From the museum brochure:

OSCAR. One of the most interesting artifacts at the museum is an Oscar awarded to the Signal Corps right after World War II.  It was for the short documentary "Seeds of destiny."

The Signal Corps operated a movie studio during the war at Astoria Long Island, N.Y.  The studiom produced training films such as the "Why We Fight" series by Major Frank Capra.

--GreGen

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pearl Harbor Survivor Receives "Warrior's Passage"

From the il 2, 2015, Prescott (Az) Daily Courier by Nana Hutson.

Navy radioman Edward Sowman and his shipmates were standing in line for breakfast that day.  He was 24-years-old Missourian and on the USS New Orleans.  A Japanese plane flew by so close he could see the pilot laughing.

Mr. Sowman was honored Friday, March 27th with "The Warrior's Passage" after dying the day before, March 26th.  He enlisted in the Navy in 1939 and was discharged in 1945.  He remembered the Oklahoma turning over and heard the Arizona blow up.

The New Orleans remained on alert the rest of the day while they spent hours and hours at battle stations.  They also worked at saving lives.  He lost many friends that day.

--GreGen

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pearl Harbor Survivor "Chief" Schleusner Died in 2013

From the April 19, 2013 Sheboygan (Wi) Press "'Chief' Scheusner was one of two Pearl Harbor survivors in Shebotgan County."

Known as Schleu, Bud or Dutch, but Chief most often.  He spent 40 years in the U.S. Navy and became a chief petty officer.

Harold Schleusner, 93, died March 29, 2013.  He was one of just two Pearl Harbor survivors remaining in Sheboygan County.  Stuart "Bud" Sweeney of Plymouth is the other one.

Schleau grew up in Bruce, Wisconsin, and joined the Navy at age 18 and served as an aviator machinist.  He was 21 when Pearl Harbor was attacked and sleeping in his barracks when the attack came.  Awakened by his comrades.  He recalled that the Japanese planes were flying so low it seemed that you could grab just about anything and throw at them.

--GreGen

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Follow Up on USS Perch and Mankassar Prison Camp

You can see Ernie Ernie Plantz talking about his experiences on You Tube.

Four of the 5 Perch crew members who died at Mankassar Prison Camp are listed on the complete list of American deaths there.

All 600+ survivors of the HMS Exeter were taken there and then senior officers sent on to Japan.

Mankassar Prison Camp is now known as Ujunpandan Celebes (Sulawesi).

The first inmates of the camp were members of the KNIL, the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army after the fall of the Dutch East Indies to the Japanese.

Three of the USS Perch crew died of pellagra.  Pellagra is a vitamin deficiency disease caused by a chronic lack of niacin.  One result of it is skin lesions.

--GreGen

USS Perch Sailors Who Died in Japanese Prisons-- Part 2

HOUSTON ERNEST EDWARDS--  Chief Electrician's Mate, Service # 355 46 35, Born Oct. 8, 1901 From Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Died of cerebral malaria, beriberi and dysentery.


FRABK ELMER McCREARY--  Machinist's Mate First Class, Service #346 16 79, Born Oct. 10, 1904, From Marble Hill, Mo.

Died Jan. 4, 1943 at Fukukoa, Japan of pneumonia.

ALBERT KENNETH NEWSOM--  Chief Machinist's Mate, Service# 265 53 46 from Ahoskie, N.C., Born Feb. 13, 1909.  Died April 6, 1945 at Mankassar Prison Camp of Pellagra.

ROBERT ARCHIBALD WILSON--  Fire Controlman First Class, Service # 223 34 64,  Born Oct. 26, 1917, From Weehawken, N.J.

Died June 15, 1945 at Makassar Prison Camp of bacterial dysentery and Pellagra.

Five of the 60+ crew members died in prison.

--GreGen

USS Perch Sailors Who Died in Japanese Prisons-- Part 1

From the Submarine Eternal Post Site.

I have been writing about the submarine USS Perch which was scuttled by its crew and everyone captured by the Japanese 3 March 1942.  The crew was then interned in Japanese prisons for the remainder of the war.

CHARLES NEWTON BROWN-- Machinsits Mate, 2nd Class,  Service # 201 57 30, Born Aug. 3, 1919, From Boston, Mass.

Died: April 18, 1945 at Mankassar Prison Camp in Celebes, Indonesia of Pellagra.

PHILIP JAMES DEWES--   Pharmacist (Warrant Officer) Service # 227 89 75 (enlisted) 129560 (warrant officer), Born March 28, 1901 from San Diego, Cal.

Died July 25, 1945 at Makassar Prison Camp, Celebes, Indonesia of Pellagra.

--GreGen

Friday, April 17, 2015

USS Perch Survivor to Visit Japan This Year

From the Sept. 9, 2014, KTLO Radio (Arkansas).

Robert Lents, 93, has been invited by the government of Japan to visit that country as part of the Japanese/POW Friendship Program which aims at reconciliation.

Mr. Lents is one of the 62 crew members of the submarine USS Perch, which was scuttled after engaging the Japanese on 3 March 1942, captured and who then spent nearly 1300 days a s prisoners of war.

He says he plans to visit Japan in 2015.

--GreGen

U.S. Submarine Perch Found in 2006

From the Jan. 21, 2007 Honolulu Star Bulletin "On Eternal Patrol."

The USS Perch (SS-176) was scuttled after being damaged by Japanese destroyers on 3 March 1942.  The 300-foot diesel submarine was found 23 November 2006 by an international team of photographers and divers looking for the wreck of the HMS Exeter sunk in the same area on 1 March 1942.

Robert Lentz was a 20 year-old torpedoman on the ship. and remembers "I got $35 still in my locker."  he is now 85 and living in Mountain Home, Arkansas.  He spent 3 1/2 years in Japanese prison camps before being released Sept. 18, 1945.  he recalled that in one camp, there were nearly 600 survivors of the HMS Exeter.

There are only five Perch veterans still alive (as of 2007).

the wreck was found north of Surbaya City, Java.  They know fopr a fact it is the Perch because they found a plaque with the name on it.

In the past year, three other U.S. submarine wrecks have been found:

USS Wahoo, sunk north of Hokkaido in 1943.
USS Grunion, sunk 1942 near the Aleutian Islands.
USS Lagarto sunk 62 years ago by a Japanese minelayer.

During the war, more than 3500 American submariners lost their lives on 52 submarines that were lost.

--GreGen


Thursday, April 16, 2015

72nd Liberty Ship Launched at Wilmington March 1943

From the Match 13, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

MARCH 1, 1943:  The 72nd Liberty Ship slid down the ways at the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company.  It was the SS William D. Pender, named after the Confederate general, one of the youngest and most promising officers of the South who was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg.

He was born at Pender's Crossroads in Edgecombe County, North Carolina and graduated the USMA in 1854.  Before the war, he served with the U.S. 2nd Artillery and 1st Dragoons in Washington Territory and in Indian Wars.

Pender County, North Carolina was named for him in 1875.

--GreGen

Illinois Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies in 2013

From the Feb. 8, 2013, (Il.) Journal-Standard by Travis Moore.

Dean Garrett, 92, of Freeport, Illinois, died Sunday.

He was a young hospital corpsman at the base hospital that day and spent the next 72 hours helping the wounded and dying.

He was the former president of the Northern Illinois Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

He lost his best friend and fellow corpsman John Mulick on the USS Oklahoma.

--GreGen

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Iwo Jima Monument to be Auctioned-- Part 4: It Wasn't

I got to wondering if the sculpture was sold.  I found out that the bids reached $950,000, but it wasn't sold.

Still in Rodney'sLiving Room Evidently.  --GreGen

Iwo Jima Monument to Be Auctioned-- Part 3

The sculpture was in extremely bad shape and Brown said he could have had a new one built for 1/4 the cost of repairing the original.  But, Brown paid to restore it.

In 1995, on the 50th anniversary of Iwo Jima, Brown unveiled it at the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York and remained there until 2007.

The auction will be Feb. 22, 2013.  The successful bidder will also get the tools, drawings, sketches and pictures used to make it.

Rodney Brown says he has decided to sell it because it "doesn't fit in my living room."

--GreGen

Iwo Jima Monument to Be Auctioned-- Part 2

The new, smaller monument, was completed in three months and stood in front of what is now the Federal reserve Building on Constitution Avenue.  It remained there until 1947 when it was moved to make way for a new building.

At the same time, the government authorized a foundation for Felix de Weldon to build the larger 32-foot one.  The 12 1/2 one was returned to de Weldon who covered it with a tarp where it remained for four decades.

Then it came to the attention of military historian and collector Rodney Hilton Brown who was researching for a biography on de Welson who then bought it from the sculptor in 1990.  He paid de Weldon with "a Stradivarus violin, a 1920s solid silver Newport yachting trophy and a lot of money" according to Brown.

Felix de Weldon died in 2003.

--GreGen

Iwo Jima Monument to Be Auctioned-- Part 1

From the Feb. 8, 2013, Huffington Post "Iwo Jima Monument To Be Auctioned In NYC Among Wold War II Artifacts" by Ula Ilnytzky.

OK, it wasn't the big one in Arlington, Virginia, which is why the article caught my attention back then.  It is an original smaller statue of the famous big one of them raising the flag at that small island in the Pacific.  It is expected to fetch up to $1.8 million at a New York auction of World War II artifacts.

Most people didn't even know it existed, being familiar with the 32-foot-tall one in Arlington Virginia, commemorating the flag-raising on February 23, 1945, which was dedicated in 1954.  Of course, the sculpture is based on the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph which won him a Pulitzer Prize.

Sculptor Felix de Weldon, then serving in the Navy, started making a 12 1/2 foot one soon after the big one was unveiled.  He cancelled a weekend pass to make a wax sculture.  Congress ok'd it, but gave no money, so de Weldon financed it himself.

--GreGen


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Burial of Doolittle Raider Robert Hite

From the April 13, 2015 NBC10 Fox, Monroe "World War II Veteran, Doolittle Raider, Lt.Col. Robert Hite Laid to Rest in Camden." by Caitlin O'Neal.

Camden, Arkansas.  Robert Hite was 95 and died Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee.  At the service, his daughter, Catherine Landers said: "He was probably one of the kindest, most generous people that you would meet.  He loved his country, his family, and his church."

His son, Wallace Hite, said that he taught us that " The Freedom that our country enjoys comes at a price.

Now, only two Doolittle Raiders remain: Lt.Col. Richard E. Cole and Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Thatcher.  I wasn't able to learn if either were at the funeral.

Doolittle Raiders will finally be awarded the Congressional Gold medal which will be presented April 18th in Dayton, Ohio, on the 73rd anniversary of the raid.

One of the Greatest.  --GreGen

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Robert McCullough in 2013

From the feb. 7, 2013, KRCT 7 ABC News.

Robert McCullough died jan. 27, 2013, at age 93.  there are now just four Shasta County Pearl Harbor survivors remaining.  The local Pearl Harbor Survivors Association no longer officially meets.

Mr. McCullough was on the USS Medusa, a naval repair ship, that day.  he remembered: "I had been playing a little poker the night before, then sleeping in.  We heard the racket that was going on, and went topside.  Of course we saw the planes coming in....

"I saw the Utah being hit, torpedoes, and then sunk.  And various ships being fired at, torpedoed, all hell breaking loose.  After we saw the red ball on the wings of the planes, we realized they were not ours."

The helm of the USS Medusa is displayed at the Redding Veterans Hall

]--GreGen

Monday, April 13, 2015

Top Ten Allied War Crimes-- Part 3

5.  CHINESE WAR CRIMES--    Against captured Japanese soldiers.

4.  RHEINWIESENLAGER--  Prisoner of War Temporary Enclosure.  These were 19 U.S.-built war camps to hold Germans during the occupation of that country.  Inmates suffered from starvation, exposure and dehydration.  Up to 10,000 died.

3.  OPERATION OVERLORD MASSACRE--  After D-Day led to unknown number of deaths.  Reports that captured German soldiers used as shields and to clear mine fields.

2.  NUCLEAR WEAPONS

1.  PRUSSIAN RAPE--  The Soviet Army carried this out against women and children.  As many as 240,000 deaths.  (In addition, there were around 10,000 rapes accused against U.S. military and another 1,500 against the French.)

For more information and pictures, go to the site.

So, Not Just the Axis.  --GreGen