Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fayetteville Man to Return to Belgium for Battle of Bulge Anniversary-- Part 1: Parachute Gifts

From the March 26, 2014, Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus "Fayetteville man to return to Belgium to recall WWII jump" by AP.

Everett"Red"  Andrews has perhaps the last parachute used at Bastogne,  "They filtered through the last wisps of lingering fog, brightly colored early Christmas packages in the middle of smoke and flames of hell.  First Lt. Everett "Red" Andrews was among the young men ordered to scramble over hard-frozen fields to gather the gifts sent to keep them alive and fighting."

This December Andrews plans to return to Bastogne on the anniversary of that Christmas drop which helped save the famed 101st Airborne Division which was completely surrounded by Germans during their Battle of the Bulge attack.  Even more important , he will be bringing with him one of the last surviving working-shape  parachutes from that drop.

Everett Andrews, 93, says he won't be jumping out of any planes, however.  But, he was a young soldier from Kankakee, Illinois, with a shock of red hair which gave him his nickname.  In mid-December 1944, his artillery unit  was ordered to take up a position just north of a Belgium town named Bastogne and he found himself in one of the biggest and most desperate battles of the war.

Reliving the Past.  --GreGen

Friday, March 28, 2014

War's Impact On the Country's Railroads

From the March 25, 2014, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then." //// During the war, homefront travel was adversely affected thanks to tire shortages and gas rationing. But that was not the only travel-related industry affected, At the 44th meeting of the American Railway Engineering Association, it was reported that 270,000 railroad workers had been drafted into the military with another 50,000 expected to be later, leaving the railroad lines with aa critical shortage of manpower. //// --GreGen

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Theodore Franklin Roosevelt's Ashes Placed Aboard the USS Utah

From the DVIDS by Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal. //// Explosive Ordnanace Disposal Detachment Middle Pacific divers placed the ashes of Quartermaster Theodore Franklin Roosevelt, a Pearl Harbor survivor, to rest on the USS Utah during an interment ceremony honoring his memory on March 20, 2014. //// These were his wishes to rejoin his USS Utah shipmates. //// When the attack started, he was working three decks below the main deck on the Utah, when word came down to report to their battle stations. After receiving two torpedo hits, the crew made its way to the main deck, as the ship sank. //// Mr. Roosevelt made his way topside, swam to shore and survived. //// --GreGen

Saturday, March 22, 2014

USS Mohawk Becomes a Florida Reef

From the July 3, 2012, Huffington Post "USS Mohawk, World War II Ship, To Become a Veteran's Memorial Reef After Being Sunk Off Florida Coast" by Nick Wing. //// The USS Mohawk was a Coast Guard cutter launched in 1934 and will be towed 30 miles off Sanibel island and scuttled with six charges arranged in such a way so it will sit upright on the bottom in 90 feet of water. It will then begin a new tourism career for divers and fishermen. //// The 165-foot long cutter served in the served in the North Atlantic and at one point was damaged by British fire. It is the last remaining ship from the Battle of the Atlantic and had been a floating museum in Key West. //// It has been stripped of dangerous items, but a case of aged Caribbean rum and an 18th century rum bottle with a treasure map inside have been left for the first divers. //// The first group of divers were there just hours after the ship sank. //// Wonder What They Were Looking For? -GreGen

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge Dedicated in 2012-- Part 2

TOM NERKOWSKI, 92, of Branford, was on the hospital ship Solace: "I was standing right on the fan deck and that plane come down like it was going to fire on us. It looked like we were going to be hit. So, I couldn't reach the rifles, they had them all locked up, there was nothing I could grab, so I grabbed ahold of what I could and that was my hammer that I had with me, and I flung it at the plane. Lucky that it didn't hit, and then again, I kind of wish that it did." //// JERRY STOEVER was on the destroyer-tender USS Whitney and in the shower when the attack began: "I was going to meet my uncle who lived in Waikiki. I was supposed to meet him that morning. Well, needless to say, I didn't get to see him. There was liberty. I was a gunner on a 50-caliber anti-aircraft gun. That was my station for the attack. I had a chance to fire back, which I felt good about." //// --GreGen

Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge Dedicated in 2012-- Part 1

From the June 22, 2012, New Haven (Ct.) Register by Ed Stannard. //// The names of 14 from Connecticut who died that day were read off during the ceremony. Four survivors of that infamous day were there for it. //// FLOYD WELCH, 91, of East Lyme was in the washroom of the USS Maryland and couldn't believe it for fiftenn minutes. When he stepped out to the foc'sle, the Oklahoma had already turned over and oil had spread across the water and caught fire. //// WILLIAM LEHR, of Hamden, was on the destroyer USS Monahan and had been all set for a day and swimming at Waikiki Beach. His ship was tied up with four others. The Monahan got underway and out to the channel where a 2-man Japanese mini submarine fired a torpedo at it. The torpedo missed, but the Monahan sank the sub. //// --GreGen

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Survived Three Sunken Ships: Germain J. Maurais

Obituary from April 27, 2012, Chicago Daily Herald. ///// GERMAIN J. MAURAIS (1921-2012) //// Died April 25, 2012. A man who led qwuite an interesting life during World War II. Born in Quebec, Canada and nicknamed "Frenchy" after he came to the United States where he eventually became a naturalized citizen. //// Enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1939 and during the early part of the war, served on a destroyer doing North Atlantic convoy duty. //// He later was coxswain on Higgins landing boats at Guadalcanal and other Pacific islands. Probably most notable was that he was on theree ships that sank: light vrusier USS Atlanta, USS McCawley and USS John Penn. He also saw service on the destroyer USS McCook and at the end of the war on the USS Trapper. //// He was present at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. //// --GreGen

War On the Homefroint

From the July 3, 2012, Wilmington (NC) Star-News. //// JULY 2, 1942: An article out of New York noted that there were so many women working in defense jobs, there was a shortage of teachers. Previously, married women were not allowed to teach and women teachers who got married lopst their jobs. //// --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

World War II's "Kissing Sailor" Dies-- Part 2

When Lois Gibson determined that he was the "Kissing Sailor," this really impacted Mr. McDuffie's life. He began making appearances and women paid $10 for a photograph of them kissing them. Gibson said: "He would make money and kliss women. He had the most glamorous life of any 80 year old." //// Mr. McDuffie told AP that he was changing trains in New York when he found out the Japanese had surrendered. "I was so happy, I ran out into the street." He was 18 and on his way to meet his girlfriend in Brooklyn. "And then I saw a nurse. She saw me hollering and with a big smile on my face.... I just went right to her and kissed her. We never spoke a word. Afterwards, I just went on the subway across the street and went to Brooklyn." //// I would imagine he might be arrested if he tried that in these days. //// That Is One Iconic Photograph. --GreGen

World War II's "Kissing Sailor" Dies-- Part 1

From the March 14, 2014, West Texas Bews West 9 "Man known as kissing sailor in World War II-era image dies" by Ramit Plushnick-Masti, AP. //// Glenn McDuffie, 86, died March 9, 2014. He was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and moved to Houston in 1960 where he was a mail-carrier and semi-pro baseball player. //// Houston Police Department forensic artist Lois Gibson identified him as the sailor from the famous V-J Day photo taken August 14, 1945, by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. She is quite the expert in such matters, but even so, there is still a lot of controversy as many others have claimed to be that sailor. Sadly, Eisenstaedt had never gotten the names of the two in the photo. //// "Will the Real 'Kissing Sailor' Please Stand Up." I'll Go With Mr. McDuffie. --GreGen

Hessian Sandbags

From Wikipedia. //// Two posts ago I mentioned the Hessian sandbag pillbox discovered in Britain. They looked like regular sandbags to me, only the article said they were filled with concrete when placed, instead of the usual sand that I would expect. Why would the British name something after something German? Plus, the article did not capitalize the h in hessian. I's never heard of them called Hessian sandbags either, just sandbags. More research was needed. //// Hessian or burlap refers to woven fabric usually made from the skin of the jute plant or sisal fibers. It is also sometimes referred to as gunny cloth. Traditionally, it is a coarse fabric. //// The name hessian is initially attributed to the German military uniforms worn by soldiers from the German state of Hesse who were called Hessians. (Definitely an American Revolution connection.) //// Most often, sandbags are used in emergencies during flooding. //// --GreGen

Five Came Back: Hollywood Directors in the War

From the March 14, 2014, Washington Post "Five Came Back: a Story of Hollywood and the Second World War" by Mark Harris. //// Five Hollywood directors made propaganda and training films during the war. John Ford, 46, and the oldest, joined the military three months before Pearl Harbor was attacked. //// He was joined by Frank Capra, William Wyler, John Huston and George Stevens. They all joined rthe Army Signal Corps, the branch responsible for communications and information. //// Capra made the war series "Why We Fight." Ford made the first major film "The Battle of Midway." Henry Ford and Jane Darwell wrote the script. //// --GreGen

Relics Uncovered By Storms in Britain

From March 14, 2014, Journal (UK) "Second World War relic uncovered by storms on Northumberland coast" by Michael Brown. //// Recent storms washed away part of the mud and sand cliffs at Lynemouth Beach near Ashington. (I guess Britain is having its winter weather woes as well. A photo is with the article.) What was revealed was a type of defensive pillbox, but a little different from most which were built of concrete of brick. If one was needed fast to defend against expected German attack, like this one, they used hessian sandbags filled with concrete which made it look like a sandbag pillbox. //// A similar one appeared three months ago on Bamburgh Beach when a tidal surge damaged homes and uncovered it. //// The Threat of German Invasion Was a Very Real Thing to Brits. I Wonder How Many Coast defenses Still remain in the Country? --GreGen

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Reunion Seven Decades in the Making-- Part 3: The Flag After the War

What happened to the flag after the war? //// The flag was put in storage after it was given to the state. In 1992, the California Department of Veterans Affairs offices were remodeled and then-Governor Pete Wilson suggested it be displayed there. At one time in the past, it must have been at the VFW Post 1267 in Sacramento as they fortunately added a plaque to the flag. //// The USS California was raised in 1942 and underwent two years of repairs and modernization. It returned to World War II servuice in time to participate at Saipan, Guam, Tinian and Leyte Gulf before it was decommissioned in 1947. Seven sailors received posthumous Medals of Honor at Pearl Harbor. //// The flag is now in a display case. //// Duvrell Connor thinks the flag looks bigger than he remembers it, though. Tony Palumbo of the California State Military Museum says the flag at the veterans center is the ship's ceremonial flag, different and larger than the duty flag which was used on a day-to-day basis. //// Either way, this is a great story. There is a picture of the USS California shortly after Mr. Connor raised the flag. //// I Wonder What happened to the Other Sailor? --GreGen

No USS Arizona Stamp For Me

I went over to our Spring Grove, Illinois, post office Thursday to get a new USS Arizona Memorial stamp, but unfortunately, they didn't have any. //// I'll try the Ingleside, Fox Lake and Lake Villa post offices today. Here's hoping I get one or more. //// A suitable way to commemorate the tragic event. //// --GreGen

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Reunion Seven Decades in the Making-- Part 2: Raising the Flag

According to Duvrell Conner: "When the captain gave the order to return to the ship, I thought if we're going to save the ship, we should have the flag going. I thought that would help bring the guys back on the ship. When I raised it, there was a cheer. I like to think I did a little something to inspire them to come back. But I don't make the claim." //// He never saw that flag again. //// Conner was a crptologist working on the admiral's staff encoding and decoding messages. As the California began sinking, he and others packed their top-secret gear and left the ship. //// About 10-15 years ago, he saw that the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association in Sacramento was donating the California's flag to the State Capitol. //// More to Come. --GreGen

A Reunion Seven Decades in the Making-- Part 1: The USS California's Flag

From the March 9, 2014, Seacramento (Cal.) Bee. //// On December 7, 1941, Yeoman 2nd Class Duvrell Conner was 23-years-old and on the USS California in Pearl Harbor. Today, he is 96. //// After the attack, he and another sailor saw the ship's U.S. flag on the deck and raised it. That flag is believed to be the one that today hangs in the California Department of Veterans Affairs Medal of Honor Hall. Mr. Conner saw that flag on March 7th. //// He remembers hearing the crew cheer when he raised the flag. At one point, the California's captain had ordered the ship to be abandoned, but changed his mind when a breeze blew some of the smoke away and he saw things were not as bad as he had been led to believe. //// More to Come. --GreGen

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

USS Nevada Commissioned 98 Years Ago

MARCH 11TH, 1916: America's first super-dreadnaught, the USS Nevada, was commissioned yesterday, 98 years ago. It was the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name. //// Classified a super-dreadnaught because of its massive size, weight, triple gun turrets (mounting three big guns instead of the standard two per turret), more efficient turbines and used oil instead of coal. //// It did not fight in World War I, but was at Pearl Harbor and was the only battleship able to get underway. It was damaged with casualties, but not sunk. Intentionally grounded, it was repaired and later took part in other battles. //// The USS Nevada was sunk after the war in 1948 as part of fleet training exercises. //// --GreGen

USS Arizona Postage Stamp

The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, in Hawaii will be commemorated in a new US postage stamp to be issued tomorrow, Narch 13th. It will be a priority mail express stamp. //// The ceremony will be held at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center and will include government and military speakers. //// Those in attendance can purhase day of issue stamps and related merchandise at the on site Pacific Historic Parks bookstore. //// More than 4,000 people visit the memorial daily. //// Pearl Harbor is what got me first interested in World War II, that and Walter Lord's book "Day of Infamy." I'll be stopping by my local Spring Grove post office tomorrow and getting my stamps of the Arizona which features the white memeoral built atop the old battleship. //// --GreGen

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A 100-Year Old Pearl Harbor Survivor Tells His Story to Kids

From the February 9, 2014, Colorado Springs (Col.) Gazette by Michael S. Humphreys. //// Jim Downing spoke to 200 students, faculty, staff and visitors at Thomas MacLaren School in Colorado Springs. On December 7, 1941, he was a gunners mate on the battleship USS West Virginia and to this day believes he survived the attack because he was not on his ship that morning. //// He went on to serve on several ships during World War II and the Korean War in a 24 year Navy career. //// This is a great way for kids to experience history up close and personal and the World War II veterans who speak to kids like Mr. Downing are to be commended. //// Making History Come Alive. --GreGen

Monday, March 10, 2014

Continuing With Muskegon During WW II: La Colonia Housing-- Part 2

Continued from Saturday.

Estevan Ramirez was one of scores of Latino men recruited from the sugar beet fields in the Saginaw area to work at Campbell, Wyant and Cannon during World War II.

They were provided with good jobs and housing at Ryerson Heights. Many more came as word got around.

Ryerson Heights Housing was only in existence for nine years. In 1954, the last one story barrack-like units were razed and residents scattered. Many of the Latinos remained in Muskegon.


A Follow Up On Those 250 Letters

Follow up on previous post from Oklahoma 9. //// Eurall Harvill's children, Teri Winnert and Mike Harvill traveled from Texas and Tennessee to receive their father's letters. Teri Winnert read part of her father's letters written nearly 70 years ago, saying: "I won't get too thick with her because I don't want to get married." Three months later, he was married to that girl, Teri's mother. //// I did not come across whether Robert's family was at the ceremony. //// The Kind of Story You Like to Hear. --GreGen

250 World War II Letters Found and Returned

From May 27, 2013, ABC News "250 World War II Letters Found in Hat Box Returned to Soldier's Family" by Eliza Murphy. //// They were written between 1940 and 1946 by Eural and Robert Harvill to their parents, Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Harvill, Box 7, Drumright, Oklahoma, from different training camps around the United States where they were stationed. //// Pamela Gilliland bought the box for $1 at an estate sale in Drumright 15 years ago. //// History buff Doug Eaton helped track the Harvills down with the help of local Drumright residents and //// The letters were returned in the Drumright City Hall. //// A Bit of Family History Restored. --GreGen

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Continuing With Muskegon During World War II: La Colonia Housing-- Part 1

From the Jan. 3. 2008 M-Live All Michigan "Viva La Colonia" by Susan Harrison Wolffis of the Muskegon Chronicle.

Ryerson Heights Housing was built in 1943 to accommodate World War II defense plant workers and their families. There were forty or so Hispanic families clustered in one section of the 375 unit federal housing project called Ryerson Heights along Ryerson Creek on Getty Street. These families referred to their area of Ryerson Heights as La Colonia, the Colony.

Ryerson Heights was one of four federal housing projects built in Muskegon and Muskegon Heights: Ruddiman Terrace, Forest Homes and Fairview Homes.

 I've written about Fairview Homes, the black units, earlier.


U-boats Off the North Carolina Coast, March 1942-- Part 6

March 26th: DIXIE ARROW, tanker, sunk by the U-71; 11 killed. //// March 26th: EQUIPOISE, freighter, sunk by the U-160; 41 killed. //// March 26th: SULOIDE, freighter, collided with the wreck of the W.E. HUTTON. //// March 27th: CAROLYN, Q-Ship USS Atik, sunk by the U-123; 47 killed. //// March 29th: CITY OF NEW YORK, passenger-freighter, sunk by the U-160; 26 killed. //// Most Americans during this time and even today, do not know about the threat of German U-boat attack off the coast of the United States, but, as you can see, it was real. //// Watch Out for Those U-boats. --GreGen

Friday, March 7, 2014

U-boats Off the North Carolina Coast, March 1942-- Part 5

March 18th: the destroyer USS DICKERSON was shelled by the LIBERATOR; 4 killed (it wasn't sunk and, of course, not sunk by a U-boat, but just to show the tension along the coast) //// March 19th: LIBERATOR-- freighter; sunk by the U-332; 5 killed. //// March 21st: ATLANTIC SUN-- tanker, sunk by the U-124. //// March 22nd: ESSO NASHVILLE-- tanker, sunk by U-124. //// March 23rd: NAECO-- tanker, sunk by U-124; 24 killed. //// March 25th: NARRAGANSETT--tanker, sunk by U-105; 49 killed. //// Kind of interesting to see the freighter Liberator fired on a ship that was there to protect it on March 18th and then was sunk itself on the next day. //// Still Not Done With March Sinkings. --GreGen

U-boats Off the North Carolina Coast: March 1942-- Part 4: Good Hunting

Continuing with the list of Allied ships sunk off the coast of North Carolina during March 1942. And this list is just the ships sunk off the North Carolina shore. Ships were being sunk all up and down the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. //// March 15th: ARIO-- tanker, sunk by the U-158; 8 killed. //// March 15th: CEIBA freighter (also shown as sunk by the same sub on March 17th), freighter, off Nags Head by U-124; 44 killed. //// March 16th: AUSTRALIA-- tanker, sunk by U-332; 4 killed. //// March 18th: E.M. CLARK-- tanker, sunk by the U-124; 1 killed. //// March 18th: PAPOOSE-- tanker, sunk by U-124; 2 killed. //// March 17th: KASSANDRA LUOLOUDIS-- freighter, sunk by U-124. //// That U-124 was having a good week. GreGen

Thursday, March 6, 2014

U-boats Off the North Carolina Coast-- Part 3: March 1942

This month, the U-boat war along the North Carolina coast really kicked into high gear. Eight ships were sunk by German U-boats (plus one in a collision with a British warship) in January and seven in February. //// However, this month, the NC Wreck Diving Site lists 24 (although two appear to be listed twice, so at least 22). In addition, one, the schooner ANNA R. HEIDRITTER, ran aground off Ocracoke on March 1st. Another of the listings was a U.S. destroyer attacked by a merchant ship, so the number probably was twenty sunk by U-boats. I'll divide the list into three parts: //// March 7th: ARABUTA-- freighter, torpedoed and sunk by U-155; 1 killed. //// March 11th: CARIBSEA-- freighter, torpedoed and sunk by U-158; 21 killed. //// March 12th: JOHN D. GILL-- tanker, torpedoed and sunk by U-158; 23 killed. //// March 14th: OLEAN-- (also listed March 16th) tanker, torpedoes and sunk by U-158. //// --GreGen

U-boats Off the North Carolina Coast-- Part 2: February 1942

The second month of U-boat operations. //// Feb. 2: AMERTIKALAND, ore carrier, sunk by the U-106; 29 killed. //// Feb. 8th: OCEAN VENTURE, freighter, sunk by U-108; 32 killed. ///// Feb. 11th: BLINK, freighter, sunk by U-108; 34 killed. //// Feb. 15th: BUARQUE, passenger-freighter, sunk by the U-432. //// Feb. 22nd: OLYMPIC, tanker, sunk bt U-130. //// Feb. 24th: NORLAVORE, freighter, sunk by the U-432; 28 killed. //// Feb. 27th: HALO, tanker, sunk by U-130. //// --GreGen

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

U-Boats Off the North Carolina Coast-- Part 1: January 1942

From the NC Wreck Diving Site. //// Little-known to most Americans back then, but the Germans were operating its feared U-boats off the United States Atlantic and Gulf coasts and really sinkin a lot of ships in 1942. //// The first ship sunk by a U-boat went down just 41 days after the U.S. declaration of war on Japan, January 18th. Five were sunk on January 19th alone. //// These are the ships listed as being sunk off the coast of North Carolina in January 1942. //// JAN. 14TH:The Brazos, freighter, sunk in collision with HMS Archer off Cape Hatteras. // JAN. 18TH: The Allan Jackson, tanker, sunk by U-66 off Diamond Shoals; 22 killed //// JAN. 19TH: Norvana, tanker, sunk by either the U-123 or U-66 off Diamond Shoals; 29 killed // City of Atlanta, passenger-freighter, sunk by U-123 off Diamond Shoals; 43 killed. // Malay, tanker, shelled by the U-123 off Diamond Shoals; 4 killed. // Ciltvaira, freighter, sunk by U-123 south of Diamond Shoals; 2 killed. // Lady Hawkins, passenger-freighter, sunk by U-66 off Cape Hatteras' 251 killed. //// JAN. 22ND: Olympic, tanker, torpedoed and sunk by U-130; 31 killed. // JAN. 24TH: Empire Gem, tanker, sunk by U-66 off Diamond Shoals; 49 killed. //// Happy Hunting for U-boats in Early Going. --GreGen

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mardi Gras During World War II-- Part 3: It Wasn't

During World War II, the Mardi Gras parades were put on hiatus in New Orleans from 1942 to 1945. //// In 1943, The Retailers For Victory Committee organized a special Carnival Day Bond Drive and celebration in front of the Godchaux Department Store in the 800 block of Canal Street which was blocked and war bonds sold for admission. (Mr. Godchaux was the head of the committee.) More than 25,000 attended and $1.2 million raised for the war effort. The Higgins Industries Band entertained. Higgins Industries in New Orleans manufactured the famous Higgins boats which Gen. Eisenhower said was the reason the Allies won the war and why the Natinal World War II Museum is located in the city. //// Answers My Question. --GreGen

Mardi Gras During World War II-- Part 2

Back in the 2011 Mardi Gras celebration, instead of the traditional gold, purple and gree colors used by the Krewe of Bacchus, it was red, white and blue in honor of the World War II generation. The theme was "Bacchus Salutes America's Greatest Generation." //// The Krewe of Bacchus parade is one of New Orleans' biggest with 33 floats and over 1,350 Krewe members. //// The New Orleans National World War II Museum also participated, providing vintage war trucks, jeeps and even a Sherman tank to lead the parade. Several members of the museum's Living History Corps of World War II re-enactors were in full uniform. Trinkets and beads thrown from the floats were all red, white and blue. World War II veterans had a special viewing stand at Gallier Hall. //// However, As Great As This Was, It Didn't Answer My Question As to Whether Mardi Gras Was Celebrated in the War. --GreGen

Mardi Gras During World War II-- Part 1

From the March 6, 2011, New Orleans Times-Pocayune "Krewe of Bacchus pays tribute to World War II generation" by Masako Hirsch.

Since today is Mardi Gras, I got to wondering if Mardi Gras took place during World War II. With all the revelry, it wouldn't seem right, but perhaps it did take place just to relieve people of all the war's woes, even if for just a short time.

Plus, with all the rationing, would there be food and especially, would there be king cake? Would people be able to drive from distances?

So, I Set Out On A Search on Yahoo!. --GreGen

Meridian Pearl Harbor Survivor Had Storied Legacy: The Football Incident

From the Feb. 24, 2014, My Record Journal by Molly Callahan.

Sgt. Major Andrew V. Schipke died at age 93 and served 26 years in the USMC. He was at Pearl Harbor and was one of the first Marines sent into Vietnam. Born in 1920 and enlisted in the Corps in 1939.

Less than a month before Pearl Harbor was attacked, he and some buddies got into a bit of trouble, when after some serious imbibing, they found themselves at a local high school football game on Oahu and there was Mr. Schipke running down the field with the football tucked under his arms with both teams in hot pursuit.

He awoke the next day thinking it might have been a dream until his commanding officer "roared" at him that he was restricted to base for the next thirty days.

While on that restriction, he had just signed in at 0800 on December 7th and remembers seeing a Japanese plane "about 20 feet up heading right toward me, and so help me, it had a torpedo hanging from under the craft that looked to be as long as the plane itself."

Another of the Greatest. --GreGen

Nimitz's "Graybook" Now Online

From the Feb. 24, 2014, National Post "From the attack on Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima: Declassified Second World War diary reveals U.S. battle strategy." by Michelle R. Smith, AP.

The U.S. Naval War College released the operational diary of Pacific Commander Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

The 4,000 page, multi volume diary includes a running summary of every day of the war and was compiled by his staff. This way, the admiral could keep up with all facets of the war.

It is called "Nimitz's Graybook" because of the gray material it was bound in. It begins on December 7, 1941 with the statement, "The war opened with the attack of Japanese aircraft on Oahu" and continues on to August 31, 1945.

Interesting Reading.  --GreGen

Monday, March 3, 2014

Latinos In Muskegon

From the Latinos Working for the Future site.

There is a book titled "A New Home in Michigan: The Mexican-American Experience in Muskegon." Many of the World War II Latino workers located in the Ryerson Heights Housing Project, often referred to as La Colonia.

 Many of these people had originally made their living in Texas as migrant workers.


Muskegon Heights: Muskegon's Black Experience-- Part 2: Fairview Housing

Fairview Housing had 100 units with 100% occupancy with over 1,700 black residents. By 1950, that number had risen to 7,382. Before Fairview was built, many of the Blacks even slept in box cars.

In 1943, a court ordered that Fairview have city water and sewer. These units, althought originally intended to be temporary, lasted until 1961.

Doesn't sound like a very nice place to have lived.


Muskegon Heights: Muskegon's Black Experience-- Part 1: "Hot Beds"

From the Muskegon, Michigan site by Dr. James Jackson, Director of the Museum of African-American History in Muskegon, Michigan.

During World War II, Muskegon became a major material supplier of the war effort. Large numbers of black workers from the South were hired and brought to the city to provide cheap labor.

Temporary housing was constructed. When the war ended, these blacks were in effect stranded. Muskegon did not welcome them.

Federal law forced recruitment in the South. Sleeping for these workers often consisted of a bed rented for eight hours according to one's shifts (shifts at local plants were 24-hours-a-day with three shifts). Such housing was referred to as a "Hot Bed." Many of these were located on Pine Street. Some workers even slept in public parks.

More to Come. --GreGen

Saturday, March 1, 2014

1000th Post!!

This marks the 1000th post on this blog, which began January 1, 2012. It grew out of my Cooter's History Thing blog when it became apparent I was posting more and more about World War II. I decided to just go with a site entirely devoted to it.

The GreGen signoff I use on each post is short for GREatest GENeration. Of course, we are now in the 70th anniversary of the war and those who fought and survived are rapidly dying off now, all of them in their upper 80s and 90s.

The title "Tattooed On Your Soul" comes from Frank Curre, who was at Pearl Harbor and died Dec. 7th, 2011, 70 years later. It is a good quote pretty much summing up their experieneces.

I have definitely learned a lot about the war.