Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wreck of USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 1: Found 3 1/2 Miles Deep in the Philippine Sea

From the August 20, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Wreck of lost WWII warship USS Indianapolis found" by Lisa Rein Washington Post.

Naval researchers announced Saturday that they have found the wreckage if the World War II heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, 72 years after the vessel was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

The ship was found almost 3 1/2 miles below the Philippine Sea by a group headed by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen.

Historians and architects from the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C., had joined forces with Allen last year to find the famous ship.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Guam's Navy Base Reminds Me of Pearl Harbor in 1941

From the August 10, 2017, Chicago Tribune.

With all the rhetoric going on between the United States and North Korea about their missile capability as well as nuclear possibility, and especially their firing a missile in the direction of Guam Island in the Pacific, I saw an article in the tribune that had a photograph of the U.S. navy base at Guam.

It sure reminds me a lot of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, especially with those destroyers tied up in pairs.  Kind of a Destroyer Row if you will.

Gave Me the Creeps.  --GreGen

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Kenneth Sprankle-- Part 2: The Pilot Who Died in the 41-13297 P-40 Tomahawk

From Find-A-Grave.

Kenneth Wayne Sprankle was 17 years old when his family moved to West Virginia.  He never married or had children.

He was killed when his plane stalled coming out of a slow roll and spun into a cliff.

The inscription of his grave in the Punch Bowl reads:  "Kenneth W. Sprankle, Pennsylvania.  1st Lt. 6 AAF Pursuit Sq.  World War II.

April 26, 1915- Jan. 24, 1942."

He is buried at the National memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Plot M289.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time' -- Part 7: Horrendous Losses

The Guadalcanal Campaign ended when the battered Japanese evacuated the island on January and February 1943.

About 30,000 of their men had been lost, along with many ships and over 500 planes.

The United States and its allies lost about 7,000 men, including two aircraft carriers and 480 planes.

It is kind of strange that there wasn't one of those special edition magazine/books out in the magazine racks for this battle.


Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time'-- Part 6: Brutal Fighting

One reporter, Jack Singer, who worked for the old International News Service, was killed when the aircraft carrier he was on, the USS Wasp, was torpedoed in September and sank.  Singer's final dispatch was written for him by surviving officers from the Wasp.

The fighting on the land was brutal.  In some cases it was hand-to-hand.  Men were clubbed to death, stabbed, strangled.  Hersey wrote that the jungle itself felt malevolent.

Marine Pfc. Robert Leckie remembered:  "It was a darkness without time.  It was an impenetrable darkness.  To the right and left of me rose up these terrible formless things of my imagination.  ... I could not see, but I dared not close my eyes lest the darkness crawl beneath my eyelids and suffocate me."

Mighty Scary Images Here.  --GreGen

Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time'-- Part 5: Marines Proved Themselves Here

The Battle of Guadalcanal began when the Marines landed there on August 7, 1942.

I am writing about the Marines at the Battle of Belleau Wood during Wold War, a fight which earned them the name "Devil Dogs" and proved they could fight the best troops in the world.  Guadalcanal did essentially the same thing during World War II.

Correspondent Richard Tregaskis was with the Marines and his book "Guadalcanal Diary," published in 1943, remains a classic.

There were other journalists along as well.  John Hersey nearly drowned there in a plane crash.  His account of a patrol he went on "Into the Valley," is another classic.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time'-- Part 4: The Japanese Air Strip

"This was the first real test of what's now referred to as the Greatest Generation,"  frank said.  "Going toe-to-toe with an Axis power at the height of their capability, to see whether we had what it would take."

"Guadalcanal was really the testing ground,' he said.  "People talk about Normandy or Iwo Jima ...  but for the generation that fought the war (Guadalcanal) was a very big deal."

The fight for the island began after the Japanese landed there on June 8, 1942, to begin construction of an air strip.

The U.S. and the Allies realized such an airbase would threaten shipping lanes to Australia and decided to seize the island from the Japanese.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time'-- Part 3: Iron Bottom Sound and "Starvation Island"

So many ships were sunk from both sides in one area north of the island that it became known as Iron Bottom Sound.

There were numerous land battles, most of which ended with grim losses for the Japanese, who called Guadalcanal "Starvation Island."

Historian Richard Frank, author of the 1990 book, "Guadalcanal," said, "there's nothing really ... comparable to it in all of World War II, in terms of sustained combat in land, sea and air."

The island essentially was the line drawn in the sand for the two nations.  Despite heavy losses, both sides sent in reinforcements.  Up until now, the mighty Japanese army had rarely tasted defeat in its conquest across the Pacific and Asia.  And, it wasn't clear whether the Americans were up to stopping it.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time"-- Part 2: Six Months of Fighting

Today, Guadalcanal is often eclipsed by the fighting at Iwo Jima and D-Day, but the struggle for Guadalcanal was the first major U.S. ground offensive in the Pacific Theater against the Empire of Japan.

The fighting for the island went on for six months as the United Sates and Japan both poured ships, planes and men into the fight for the jungle-covered island in the Solomon Islands, northeast of Australia.

We eat quite often at Popeye's in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and they have a huge wall map of the world and I like to locate the places where the battles of the Pacific took place and Guadalcanal is there.

There were seven major sea battles, often fought at night with torpedoes and search lights.  Several of these encounters were disastrous defeats for the Americans.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time'-- Part 1: 75th Anniversary

From the August 10, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post.

The Marines began lining the rail of the troop ship before dawn to peer at the distant shape as they approached.

War correspondent Richard Tregaskis remembered things being so quiet he could hear the swish of the water as his vessel steamed toward the island.

It was 6:14 a.m. Friday, August 7, 1942, eight months to the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl harbor.

"Suddenly ... I saw a brilliant yellow-green flash of light coming from ... a cruiser on our starboard side.  I saw the red pencil lines of the shells arching through the sky, saw flashes on the dark shore ... where they struck."

It took a second for the booming sound of the guns to reach him, and when it did, he jumped.

They were the opening salvos of the epic World War II battle for the island of Guadalcanal.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Kenneth Sprankle-- Part 1: The Pilot Who Died in the P-40 41-13297's Crash

From the Wanderling.

Kenneth Wayne Sprankle was born April 26, 1914 and died January 24, 1942.  He was born in Cloe, Pennsylvania and moved to West Lafayette, Indiana, in 1932 and graduated from West Lafayette High School in 1932.  Next, he attended Purdue University and was a member of the Class of 1938.

Flight training began for him in the summer of 1938 at Randolph Field, Texas, and he received his wings at Kelly Field in 1939.

Assigned initially to Selfridge Field in Michigan, he transferred to Hawaii and survived the Japanese attack there December 7, 1941.  He died a month and a half later in an accident.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

History of the P-40 Tomahawk-- Part 2: Used By Most Allied Air Forces

The P-40 Tomahawk was used by most Allied forces during the war and remained in the front lines of operations for the entire period of the war.

The United States Army Air Corps named the P-40 the Warhawk.  The British and Russian Air Forces used the name "Tomahawk" for the 'B' and 'C' series and Kittyhawk for the 'D' models.

It was powered by an Allison V-1710 and armed with nose and wing mounted Browning machine guns.  Pilots generally avoided high altitude combat due to a lack of a two-stage super charger.  This made combat with the Focke-Wulf 190 and Messerschmidt Bf 109 very dangerous.

At medium to low altitudes the P-40 had good agility.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

History of the P-40 Tomahawk-- Part 1: 3rd Most Produced American Fighter

From Collins Foundation World War II Planes page.

They were built by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation and were single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft that first flew in 1938.  A total of 13,738 were built between 1939 and 1944, making the aircraft the third most-produces American fighter after the P-51 and P-47.

The P-40 design was a modification of the previous Curtiss P-36 Hawk.  This new design reduced development time and enabled rapid entry into production and operational service.


The Curtiss P-40 B Tomahawk-- Part 3: #41-13297 "Rediscovered" and Restored

This is definitely a plane with a history, even if it had very little war record.

In 1985, the plane was "rediscovered".  After a preliminary investigation it was determined that its air frame was not severely damaged and it could be removed and restored.  Some parts were recovered in 1985 and the rest recovered in 1989.

In 1989, the Curtiss Wright Historical Association in Torrance, California, was formed to restore the plane.  The restoration was named "Project Tomahawk."

Whenever possible, parts of the original plane were used.  Two other P-40 Bs, the 39-287, that also crashed in Hawaii in 1941 and the 39-287, that crashed in a severe storm over the Sierra Nevadas on October 24, 1941, were utilized for parts.

When it was finished, it joined "The Fighter Collection" at Duxford, United Kingdom.  In 2003, it began flying wearing the same color scheme it had in Hawaii in 1941 as a member of the 18th Pursuit Squadron based at Wheeler Field.


Monday, August 7, 2017

The Curtiss P-40 B Tomahawk #41-13297-- Part 2: In a Hanger During the Attack

The Collins Foundation Tomahawk was made a part of the 19th Pursuit group at Wheeler Field in Hawaii.

In October 1941 it was in a wheels up landing which required repairs.  It was in a hanger when the Japanese attacked and that probably saved it.

It was quickly repaired afterwards and returned to flight worthy status.

However, on January 24, 1942, after just nine months of service and just 56 hours flight time, on a routine training flight it spun out of control and crashed.

The pilot, Lt. Kenneth Wayne Sprankle, was killed.  The crash took place in a rather inaccessible area.  The body was recovered and the plane left in place.

It has since been recovered.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Curtiss P-40 B Tomahawk #41-13297-- Part 1: This One at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941

On July 27, 2017, I wrote about the Winds of Freedom Tour coming to the Executive Airport in Chicagoland.  I, unfortunately, did not get there, but while doing research on their planes found out that one of planes among the Collins Foundation's World War II collection is the only surviving airworthy U.S. fighter from the attack on Pearl Harbor.  However, this plane was not at the show last week.

It was a Curtiss P-40 B Tomahawk fighter like the ones the Americans were flying in the movie "Pearl Harbor."

It was one of the 131 P-40 Bs built at the Curtiss facility in Buffalo, New York, between 1940 and 1941..  Its number is Bu No. 41-13297 and it was delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps in March 1941 and sent to Wheeler Field, Hawaii in April.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Why We Can't Stop Watching World War II Movies: "Dunkirk"

From the July 27, 2017, New York Post   "Maureen Callahan:  Why we can't stop watching films about World War II"

"Dunkirk" is doing real well at the box office, earning $56 million in its first three days.

"Why has a drama about one of World War II's lesser-known battles resonated so deeply?"  Even though there is almost no dialogue and under two hours long?  Well, first off, it is not one of the lesser-known battles for people who know about the war.  It might have even won the war.

One reason World War II movies do so well is that it remains one of the more clear-cut examples of good vs. evil.

There are still no end of untold stories to make movies about.

The Civil War still has litigation going on, and to my way of thinking is still being fought. World War I lacked American support and has always been overshadowed by World War II.  (I don't agree with the first part of the statement.)

Vietnam was a catastrophe, but we learned our lessons from it, at least until we got mired down in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Death of Helen Kuwashima-- Part 2: Japanese-American Internee

She was born Helen Bingo on April 7, 1932, in Torrance, California.  She and her family were interned in a  makeshift camp at the Santa Anita racetrack near Los Angeles at the start of World War II.

Her niece Joyce Naka said "They slept in horse stalls.  It was filthy and smelled horrible."

From Santa Anita, she and her family were sent to an internment camp in Jerome, Arkansas, and later one in Tulelake, California.

After the war her family moved to Chicago on the South Side.  Later they settled on the North Side and she attended Tuley High School before graduating from Waller High School, now Lincoln Park High School.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Death of Helen Kuwashima, Japanese Internee and Ukulele Club Founder-- Part 1

From the August 2, 2017, Chicago Tribune  "Ukulele club founder and its driving force" by Joan Giangrasse Kates.

Helen Kuwashima (1932-2017)

She was the daughter of a strawberry farmer in California and spent part of her childhood in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.  She later came to Chicago and became the executive secretary to the president of the National Tea, then one of the largest grocery chains in the United States.

After retiring at age 62, she became a founding member of the Na Kupuna Ukulele Club, a popular performance group known for hula dances and Hawaiian songs.  Prior to forming the club in 1997, she had never even picked up a ukulele


The Plattsburgh Barracks

From Wikipedia.

I have been writing about the Plattsburgh (New York) Barracks for the past week in my War of 1812 blog, Not So Forgotten.  The barracks and town served as the site of the war's Battle of Plattsburgh/Battle of Lake Champlain.

The base saw use during World War II.

In 1939, on the eve of World War II, the barracks hosted the massive U.S. Army maneuvers which was a huge pre-war training operation involving aircraft, tanks and about 20,000 troops.

It was last used as offices and then apartments for personnel at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base into the late 1950s.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

About That Movie "Dunkirk"-- Part 5: A Victory Within A Defeat"

Christopher Nolan's grandfather on his father's side had died in World War II while serving in the Royal Air Force, and, growing up, Nolan had steeped himself in the history of the conflict.  The idea of recounting the story of Dunkirk seemed like a thrilling challenge.

He said:  "There's something very unique about the nature of the denouement.  As Churchill put it, it's a victory within a defeat."

I am going to go back to see it again.  It is one of those movies you need to see twice and on a big screen.  I am also reading the TimeLife magazine on Dunkirk and it even goes into greater detail on the victory with a defeat.  A lot of scenes from the movie came from pictures in this magazine.


August 2: Hindenburg Dies, Einstein and PT-109

From the August 2, 2017, Chicago Tribune.

1934   German President Paul von Hindenburg died, paving the way for Adolf Hitler's complete takeover of the German government.

1939   Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt urging the U.S. to create an atomic weapons research program.

1943   During World War II, a Navy patrol torpedo boat, PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, sank, after being rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri off the Solomon Islands.

(The future president was credited with saving members of his crew, and he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism and the Purple Heart.)


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

About That Movie "Dunkirk"-- Part 4: The Boat Trip to Dunkirk

It was supposed to be an easy eight-hour trip.  "We thought we'd be there by lunchtime."  But a bad turn in the weather led to rough seas and the pleasant jaunt became an exhausting and frightening 19-hour ordeal.

Nolan said, "It was an absolute nightmare.  We got to Dunkirk and my respect for the people involved in the real events increased more than I could have imagined."


About That Movie "Dunkirk"-- Part 3: A Suspense Thriller

For the most part, World War II movies have fallen out of favor in Hollywood as the period recedes into the distant past.  In recent years, only one movie dealing realistically with the war, 2014's "Unbroken," has grossed more than $100 million domestically and it had a best-selling book tie-in.

But as Christopher Nolan sees it, "Dunkirk" is not a war movie per se but rather a kind of Hitchcockian suspense thriller.  His goal is to create a white-knuckle ride that puts the viewer into the shoes of the soldiers fighting for survival.   I'd say he succeeded in this.  I was worn out when I left the theater and all I did was sit there eating popcorn.

Nolan says the initial seed for "Dunkirk" came about twenty years ago when he and his wife on a sailing excursion with a friend went across the English Channel, retracing the route of the British civilian vessels to rescue the trapped soldiers at Dunkirk.


About That Movie "Dunkirk"-- Part 2: Very Little Dialogue

"Dunkirk" is a risk for Warner Brothers because it doesn't have the usual marketing hooks of major American movie stars, ancillary tie-ins and presold brand awareness.  It is also not about the United states.

The movie itself defies conventional war movies.  Its scale is immense, playing out on land, sea and the air., but the narrative is lean.  There is not much talking.  The cast is a blend of established and newcomers, but again, there is relatively little dialogue and virtually no back-story to explain how they got to Dunkirk.

Director Christopher Nolan said, "Telling the story primarily pictorially and through sound and music rather than having people talk about who they are and where they're from, that was very attractive to me."

The line of British soldiers standing in the water in orderly lines and then a body comes drifting up and the one man getting out of line and pushing it away with no dialogue told a huge story for me.


Monday, July 31, 2017

About That Movie "Dunkirk"-- Part 1: "The Dunkirk Spirit"

From the July 19, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Nolan taking a huge risk on 'Dunkirk'" by Josh Rottenberg, LA Times.

Christopher Nolan took a half hour  just working in post filming on the sound where the torpedo hit the British destroyer full of young British soldiers who were thinking they were finally going home.  He wanted just the right pitch of sound to convey the terror.  The scene was barely a minute long in the movie.  This gives you an idea of how important this movie is to him.

The movie recounts the harrowing story of the evacuation of nearly 400,000 British and Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, France in the spring of 1940.

For British audiences, it is a cherished tale of resilience, a military catastrophe that turned into a moment of communal heroism immortalized in the phrase "Dunkirk Spirit."

But to most American movie-goers, especially the younger ones, it is an unfamiliar piece of history.  Like I said, I knew about it, but not much.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Just Got Back From Seeing the Movie "Dunkirk"

If you haven't yet seen it, definitely do so.  I'd put it up for an Academy Award for Best Picture as well as other nominations.  Outstanding.  We even had applause at the end of it, something I've rarely heard.

There wasn't much dialogue, but the story wasn't hard to follow, involving the land, air and sea.  Of course, the fleet of small pleasure and work boats which came over were featured and there was a whole "Red Badge of Courage" thing going on with the first man the Moonstone rescued as well as the two main characters, one of whom turned out to be a French soldier wearing British clothing.  The British weren't rescuing French soldiers until all the British ones were off.

How hard was it to get away from Dunkirk?  I doubt that anyone had it harder than the main pair.

Plenty of wonderful war quotes as well.

All I can say is that the British destroyers sure couldn't take a hit and sank, as did all the ships in the movie, very fast.  A bomb or torpedo hit and down you went within a few minutes.

And those lines of British soldiers just standing there calmly.  The man in the one line pushing away the floating body and the man walking into the English Channel and trying to swim it.  The list goes on of memorable scenes.

Well Worth Seeing.  --GreGen

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Wings of Freedom Tour Comes to Chicago: See the Warbirds

Advertisement in July 23, 2017, Chicago Tribune.

It was an eye-catching ad with those four wonderful old World War II Warbirds:  B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell and P-51 Mustang.  Those planes will catch my eye every day.

The tour is at the Chicago Executive Airport (unfortunately, they didn't say where it was) July 26 to July 30.

Walk-through tours are $15 for adults.  And, you can fly in one of the bombers for $400 to $450.


I looked the Chicago Executive Airport up and found it to be the former Palwaukee Airport which is not too far from where I formerly lived in Palatine, Illinois.  I might just go see those old Warbirds.  Now, if they also had a British Spitfire like the ones in the movie "Dunkirk" that would really make this a must-see event for me.

That's the Real Thing.  Thinking About It.  --GreGen

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Looking Forward to the "Dunkirk" Movie

I am planning on seeing this movie tomorrow.  I've been looking forward to it since I first saw it was being released in July.

I don't know a whole lot about it, but a few days ago bought one of those special magazines about it.

And, of course, this is one of those movies that really needs to be seen on the big screen and I will probably end up seeing it twice at the theaters.

And, of course, since this is a historical movie, even better.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Long-Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 8: Now Hidden Away in a Government Facility

So, most likely, the 200+ pound memorial was placed on public land by the American Nazi Party.

The National Park Service couldn't do anything about removing the marker until they found out if anyone was buried under it.  They went over World War II records for details on where the bodies had been buried, but came up with no definitive answers were forthcoming.  Old maps showed conflicting spots for the burials and one even showed it under a building.

Rosenstock believes that whoever buried the bodies didn't want them found.

But, no one was buried under where the marker was found because in the 1940s a creek had run through the spot.

In 2010, under direction of the museum curator, a fork lift exhumed the granite block and lowered it into a truck.  The stone, tagged OXCO-475, now spends its days under a protective blanket on a shelf in a storage facility in suburban Maryland -- its exact location a secret.

Sounds a Bit Like At the End of the Indiana Jones Movie About the Lost Ark.  --GreGen

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Long-Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 7: The "N.S.W.P.P." Clue

Until the mid-1960s, the National Socialist White People's Party had gone by the more familiar name:  The American Nazi Party.  The group's founder, George Lincoln Rockwell, had given it the new title shortly before his assassination in 1967.

By the 1970's, however, the group had begun to split apart and had lost much of its relevance.  Jim Rosenstock believes the newly found Nazi memorial marker is from that time.

The party didn't entirely cease to exist until 1983 so the stone may have been carved more recently.

As for now, the memorial presents a conundrum.  It is certainly something that should have been left on public property, but there is nothing in any handbook that says what to do with it.


Friday, July 21, 2017

July 20, 1944: Hitler Assassination Attempt, FDR Nominated for a 4th Term

From the Chicago Tribune "On July 20..."

73 Years Ago yesterday.

July 20, 1944:  An attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb failed as the explosion at Hitler's Rastenburg headquarters only wounded the Nazi leader.

July 20, 1944:  President Franklin Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term of office at the democratic convention in Chicago.

Four years earlier he had been nominated for an unprecedented third term of office.


A Long Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 6: Fast Guilt, Fast Death

In mid-Summer 1942, seven U.S. Army generals found all eight men guilty but left their punishment up to the president.  FDR sentenced six to death, and two, including John Dasch, to lengthy prison terms, though both were deported after the war.

The electrocutions began at 12:01 p.m. on August 8.  By 104, all six were dead.

Three days later, they were secretly buried amid a seldom-visited thicket of Southwest Washington known as Blue Plains.

Jim Rostenstock back searched this information, but the question remain, "Who placed the granite memorial stone there?"

The line at the bottom spelling out "N.S.W.P.P." offered a clue.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Long Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 5: Hysteria and Secret Military Trials

War hysteria broke out.  Hundreds of German immigrants were rounded up, and others suspected of spying were arrested.  The Justice Department banned German and Italian barbers, servers and busboys from Washington, D.C.'s restaurants because three of the would-be saboteurs had worked as waiters in America.

Ignoring due process, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered that the Germans be tried in secret before a military commission -- a tactic then backed by the U.S. Supreme Court, that President George W. Bush would replicate 59 years later in his directive that Guantanamo Bay detainees be judged in similar fashion.


A Long Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 4: J. Edgar Hoover Took Credit for Stopping Them

Four days later, John Dasch took the $82,000 he'd been given for the operation -- more than $1 million in today's money --  and boarded a train for Washington.  There he met with FBI agents, whom he expected to welcome him as a hero.

They didn't.

J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the bureau, recognized the opportunity.  In late June, with all eight men captured, Hoover announced their capture in New York -- and claimed credit for the FBI.

He made no mention of Dasch.

A huge war scare rolled over the United States.  Francis Biddle, then attorney general, later wrote in a memoir, "The country went wild."


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Long Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 3: Here's the Story

At the strat of World War II, Adolf Hitler decided he wanted to show the world just how susceptible America was to a German attack so he ordered his military to devise a plan.

The high command recruited eight Germans for the mission.  In teams of four, the men were loaded onto a pair of U-boats, one destined for Jacksonville and the other for a beach near the tip of Long Island.

On June 13, 1942, the New York group reached shore -- and was discovered by an unarmed Coast Guardsman on foot patrol.  The Germans escaped, but by morning the Coast Guard had unearthed the Germans' buried supplies:  fuses, pre-made bombs and four crates of TNT.

Those supplies wouldn't have mattered as their leader, John Dasch, had no intention of setting off any of the bombs.  When the group reached New York City, he and a comrade decided to turn the others in to American authorities, so Dasch phoned the FBI.


A Long-Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 2: All the Elements of a Great Mystery

Jim  Rosenstock works in resource management for the National Park service and was a big local history buff was curious and skeptical about this stone.  He got involved with finding out about the marker.

As he dug deeper, it had all the elements of a great mystery:  World War II espionage, nationwide panic, a mass electrocution, J. Edgar Hoover chicanery, white supremacists, federal bureaucracy and a U.S. Supreme Court case that played a significant role in America's modern war on terror.

For decades, few people in Washington, or elsewhere, knew of the stone's existence.  It wasn't a secret so much as something that just never got out.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Long-Forgotten Nazi Memorial Mystery-- Part 1: Six Executed German Agents

From the July 2, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Nazi memorial a long forgotten mystery" by John Woodrow Cox.

This is one really interesting story.

Power company workers were walking  through a rarely visited thicket in Southwest Washington state when they spotted something, a rectangular slab of granite.  Upon closer inspection they saw it was a memorial to honor Nazi spies and it was on U.S. government property.

It said:  "In memory of agents of the German Abwehr executed August 8, 1942.".

Below that were the names of the six executed:

Herbert Hans Haupt
Heinrich Harm Heinck
Edward John Kerling
Hermann Otto Neubauer
Richard Quirin
Wener Thiel

And, at the bottom "Donated By the  N.S.W.P.P."

The whole endeavor had the code name Operation Pastorius.

And, It Thickens.  --GreGen

Monday, July 17, 2017

Old Jalopies For the War Effort in 1942

From the March 16, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"There are 26,995 worn-out jalopies in automobile graveyards in the state of Illinois.  Before long these old cars will be melted into armaments.

"That is good news for everyone, not to mention residents of neighborhoods in which one of the graveyards is located.  It is estimated that this amount of scrap material will produce 3,680 American tanks to help Uncle Sam's soldiers win the war."


Friday, July 14, 2017

World War II-Era 'Ghost Army' Up for a Congressional Gold Medal in 2016

From the March 12, 2016, Washington Times.

described as "Masters of innovation, large scale camouflage -- and tactical deception."

Bi-partisan legislation has been introduced to give the Gold Medal to the "Ghost Army."

The unit created intricate battlefield deception using hundreds of inflatable tanks, aircraft, sound effects and phony radio transmissions to confuse the Germans before D-Day.

Currently, there are Ghost veterans living in 11 states and Washington, D.C..

They were officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops.  There efforts were chronicled in a 2013 documentary film by Rick Beyer and is under development for a Hollywood movie

In the past, the Congressional Gold Medal has been given to Doolittle's Raiders, the Monuments Men, WASPs and Code Talkers.

Legislation is also underway to give the Gold medal to the OSS -- forerunners of the CIA.

All So deserving.  Thanks.  --GreGen

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Three At Pearl Harbor on the USS Hull, New Orleans and Shaw

DON ALSBRO    Enlisted 1940 at age of 16.  On USS Hull when the attack came.  Eating breakfast and thought it was practice until he heard the explosions.   The Hull was not hit and immediately put out to sea.  he didn't see a lot of devastation then, but sure did when the ship returned two days later.

ROBERT FLAHERTY  seaman 1st class on USS New Orleans and worked in the ship's store.  His ship sustained minor damage.  Eating breakfast when the attack began.  From his battle station, he saw the Arizona and Oklahoma hit by torpedoes and sink.

JOHN DeFIELDS, yeoman on the USS Shaw where 25 were killed.  He was one of the 17 wounded and spent two weeks in the hospital.


Shorpy Home Front Photos: Building a C-47 Cargo/Troop Plane

March 19, 2016  TEAMWORK: 1942

October 1942.  :Men and women make efficient operating team on riveting and other jobs at the Douglas Aircraft plant, Long Beach, Calif.  Most important of the many types of aircraft made at this plant are the B-17F 'Flying Fortress' heavy bomber, the A-20 'Havoc' assault bomber and the C-47 heavy transport plane shown here for carrying troops and cargo."

Alfred Palmer, OWI  Color photograph.

Comments:  Posed.  The woman is outside holding a riveting gun.  The man is inside the plane holding a bucking bar.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Carnivals and Trees

From the March 20, 2016, Shorpy site--  FAIR MAIDENS: 1942.  July 1942, Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Carnival of the Circus>  Waiting in line for the Tilt-A-Whirl.  Russell Lee, OWI

I noticed all sorts of lights on at night.  No black out here evidently.

From the March 18, 2016, Shorpy--  UP A TREE: 1942.  July 1942, Klamath Fallls, Oregon.  "Boys in a city park on a Sunday afternoon.  Russell Lee, OWI.  Two shirtless boys are  climbing a tree.

Even With a War On, You Gotta Have Some Fun.  --GreGen

Monday, July 10, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: At a Relocation Camp-- "Dr. Pepper: Good for Life"

March 23, 2016, GOOD FOR LIFE: 1942.

July 1942, "Nyssa, Oregon, Farm Security Administration mobile camp.  Soda pop is delivered at the camp for Japanese-Americans."  Russsell Lee, OWI  There are those old wooden crates of Dr. Pepper bottles and they are picking up empties.  A sign says "Drink Dr. Pepper:  Good for Life."

Not one of our prouder moments, but understandable under the circumstances.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Japanese Submarine Bell Recovered Off Oahu in 2016

From the March 17, 2016,  "Bronze bell recovered from WWII aircraft-carrying submarine off Oahu coast."

The I-400 Japanese submarine had been lost since 1946 when it was intentionally sunk by the United States.

It lies in 400-foot deep water.

The Sen-Toku class were the largest submarines ever built until the nuclear submarines were constructed.

One of the 5 submarines of this class was bought to Pearl Harbor to be examined  The Soviet Union demanded the sub be turned over to them to examine and the United States sank it to prevent them from getting the advanced technology.


USS Oklahoma Sailor Lewis Stockdale Laid to Rest at Punchbowl in 2016

From the March 18, 2016, KHON 2 News.

Navy Ensign Lewis S. Stockdale, 27, was from Anaconda, Montana and he was one of the Oklahoma's unknowns.  Bodies were recovered from the stricken ship from December 1941 to June 1944 and were interred at Halawa and Nuu anu cemeteries.

In 1947, they were disinterred and transferred the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks where 35 remains were identified.  The many unidentified were buried in 46 plots in the Punchbowl.

In 1949, they were all classified as "non-recoverable."

On June 15, 2015, they began exhuming those commingled bodies for identification.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Search for Frozen Heroes in 2016

From the March 19, 2016, International Business Times "Scientists to lead mission to find frozen World War II heroes buried under 40 feet of ice" by Romil Patel.

Two previous missions to find the plane failed.

Lt. John Pritchard,  radioman Benjamin Bottoms and Corporal Loren Howarth's plane crashed into a Greenland glacier in November 1942.  Pritchard and Bottoms were flying a rescue plane to survivors of a B-17 bomber crash.  They had rescued some of them and returned and had rescued Horwarth when they got caught in a storm and left stranded.

In the early days of the U.S. involvement in the war, the U.S. Army Air Corps transferred bombers across Canada, Greenland and Iceland to the United Kingdom by air to avoid German U-boats sinking transports.


Hitler's Personal Copy of "Mein Kampg" Sells for $20,000

From the March 21, 2016 Times of India by Ashley Cowburn.

It was sold at an auction at Chesapeake City along with thousands of other World War II items.  The book was published in 1924 and it was bought by an American.

The book was found by members of an American field artillery unit and signed by eleven officers on the first page with the words "From Adolf Hitler's apartment on May 2, 1945."


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Some More On the "Nuts" Reply-- Part 4: Short Straw Wins

Edward Ihlenfeld remembered:that once he and two buddies were hiding in a barn and drew straws to see who would go out and search for food.  He got the short straw, went out and when he returned he found that his two buddies had been captured by the Germans.

Another time, near the end of the war, he and his buddy lobbed grenades at a window where a sniper had been firing at them.  They found the body of a boy about 12 or 13.

He returned to his police job in Milwaukee after the war.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

To Our Enemies Today: One Word!! "NUTS!!!!!"

In keeping with this 4th of July day here in the good ol' U.S.A., just one word.


Get the Idea.

How's About a Little "Shock and Awe?"  --GreGen

Some More On the Famous "Nuts!" Reply-- Part 3: Wounded and Had Good Typing Skills

Edward Ihlenfeld's daughter, Christy Breihan said:  "He was in midair and they could see bullets flying back and forth.  he remembered thinking, 'I hope I get hit somewhere that doesn't kill me.'  It got him in the leg right below the knee.

This is what took him off the front lines and got him a clerical job because he also had good typing skills.  That is how he ended up typing the famous response.

He enjoyed going to 101st Airborne Reunions and talking with old friends.  For many years, he just talked about the good times in the war, but more recently had begun talking about other things.

What You call a Million Dollar Wound.  --GreGen

Some More On That Famous "Nuts!" Reply-- Part 2: Edward Ihlenfeld

Edward Ihlenfeld was a 1938 North Division High School graduate in Milwaukee and worked for the Milwaukee Police Department when he was drafted in the fall of 1942.

He parachuted into France during D-Day, landing at Sainte-Mere-Eglise, where he saw the paratrooper whose chute got caught up on the church steeple in the town square which was shown in the movie "The Longest Day."

After D-Day, he returned to England, then made another parachute jump into the Netherlands September 1944 during Operation Market Garden where he received a Purple Heart for a wound he received on the way down.


Some More On That Famous "NUTS" Reply-- Part 1: "To the German Commander..."

From the March 16, 2016, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Edward Ihlenfeld recalled for role in famous 'NUTS' response in WWII" by Meg Jones.

Edward Ihlenfeld died March 13, 2016, in Milwaukee in the home he built.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101st Airborne acting commander, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe received a message from the German commander saying he had to surrender to avoid annihilation.

McAuliffe crumpled the paper and said, "Aw, nuts."   He had the reply typed:  "To the German Commander, NUTS!  The American Commander."

Edward Ihlenfeld typed that message.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Shorpy Home Front: Swimming

From the Shorpy Old Photo site.

MARCH 13, 2016--  SWIMMING OF '42--  July 1942 "Rupert, Idaho.  Dressing after swimming.  Russell Lee, OWI.

MARCH 9, 2016--  PICNIC IN THE PARK: 1942--  July 1942  "Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Picknickers in city park."  Russell Lee, OWI.  Family seated at picnic table preparing to feast.

Comment:  They are at Moore Park on Lakeshore Drivee.

MARCH 9, 2016--  LAST ONE IN  July 1942  Rupert, Idaho.  Schoolboys at swimming pool."  Rupert Lee, OWI.

Comment:  Very thin boys.  really tight, form-fitting trunks, at least one with a belt on his trunks.

Swimming and Fun Went On for Kids, Despite the War.  --GreGen

Veteran of USS Flasher Dies in 2016-- Part 2: Loved That Strawberry Ice Cream

On the submarine USS Flasher, Mr. Sherman worked in electronics.  It was his job to keep the sub's radar, sonar and radio going.  He was one of 60 men on it.

After the war he was in corporate industry.

He remembers that his favorite dessert was strawberry ice cream.  After each sea battle, the cook would break out frozen strawberries and bake up some shortcake to celebrate.  He really loved that celebration.

The USS Flasher was scrapped in 1963.  Its cunning tower was saved and is on display at the National Submarine memorial and Wall of Honor at Groton, Connecticut, which honors the 3,500 submariners who lost their lives in World War II.

Mr. Sherman said, "You find that after you've been at sea for awhile, the officers smell about the same as you do.  You're all one big family."


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Francis Sherman, Submariner on USS Flasher, Dies At 96-- Part 1

From the February 17, 2016, Press-Democrat "Francis Sherman, World War II Navy veteran, dies at 96" by Chris Smith.

Francis Sherman boarded the submarine USS Flasher in 1943 and served on every combat patrol it went on for the rest of the war, credited with sinking over 100,000 tons of Japanese naval and cargo ships.

He died February 11, 2016, in Santa Rosa.  A native of Yuba County, he grew up in Dobbins and enlisted in the Navy in 1942.

In six combat patrols, the Flasher sank a reported 21 Japanese ships: freighters, tankers, transports, a destroyer and other vessels.


10 Bizarre World War II Weapons That Were Actually Built-- Part 2: The Mistel Flying Bomb

5.  The Mistel Flying Bomb--  an unmanned flying aircraft packed with explosives.

4.  The Surcouf--  France--  a huge submarine with 8-inch guns.

3.  Type XVII Submarine--  Germany--  A unique propulsion system using hydrogen peroxide would enable it to go 30 knots underwater, extremely fast for a submarine.

2.  Nakajima A6M2- 'Rufe'--  Japan--  a float fighter version of a Zero.

1.  The Canal Defense Light--  Allies--  a light that would disable German troops using a powerful flickering searchlight.

Very Interesting.  --GreGen

10 Bizarre World War II Weapons That Were Actually Built-- Part 2: The Sturmtiger

From the February 25, 2016, Listverse by Sam Derwin.

10.  Touchpanzer--  Germany.  For use in Operation Sea Lion (the invasion of Britain).  A tank that could actually dive.

9.  DD Tank--  Allies--  tanks that could float.  Actually used at D-Day without much success.

8.  Karl-Gerat--  Germany--  A super gun.  Could fire a 4000 pound shell three miles.

7.  Sturmtiger--  Germany--  for urban fighting, a heavily armored vehicle with a rocket launcher.

6.  The Zueno Project--  Soviet Union--  A plane that could carry other planes.

You can find photos and more information at the Listverse site.

What Will They Think Of Next?  --GreGen

Friday, June 30, 2017

Pearl Harbor Veteran Laid to Rest

From the February 16, 2016, KOLO News ABC.

Fernley, Nevada.

One of the last Pearl Harbor survivors in northern Nevada, Roland Peachee, 99, has died.

He was a petty officer 1st class on the USS Rigel and going about his duties as a butcher when the attack came.  He came through the attack unscathed, but the Navy sent a telegram to his foster family in Indiana saying he was missing..

They were greatly shocked when they saw him again.  According to Mr. Peachee, "They said, 'It can't be you,' I said, 'Well, why not?' 'Well, you were reported dead at Pearl Harbor.'"

Also in attendance was his friend of thirty years, Robert Lloyd, 94, the last remaining northern Nevada Pearl Harbor survivor who was at Hickam Field.

In an update, it was learned there is another northern Nevada survivor, Richard Laubert, 94, who was stationed at the Naval Hospital during the attack.  He retired from the Navy after 20 years service.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Unknowns from USS West Virginia Next To Be Identified-- Part 2: "If I Had It To Do Over"

"This is great.  This is the best news," said Nancy Eckler, whose uncle, Harold Kendall "Brud" Costill, died on the West Virginia.  His remains were never identified.

Eckler grew up in Clayton, New Jersey, in the same house as "Brud," who got the nickname because he couldn't pronounce "brother" when he was younger.  Her grandfather had signed papers that allowed "Brud" to enlist in the Navy at age 17.

In his last letter home, Brud wrote: "If I had it to do over I would join in a second.  Even though I have been away from home so long, I have been to places and seen things that I never would have seen."

He died four days later.

"There was so much guilt," Eckler said.  "My grandfather never forgave himself."

She hopes her son, a captain on the the Maryland National Guard will be able to escort her uncle's remains back home.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Unknowns From USS West Virginia Next To Be Identified-- Part 1

From the December 7, 2016, Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald  "Unknowns from USS West Virginia will be next to finally be identified" by Steve Liewen.

The Department of Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency is now in the process of identifying the USS Oklahoma's unknowns.  It now also has the approval and plans to open 35 graves assigned to the USS West Virginia's unknowns.  These graves contain the remains of an estimated 38 men.  Most of the graves will contain skulls and jawbones with teeth which will be easier to identify than those of the Oklahoma whose remains were extremely co-mingled.

At least four of the sailors of the 106 who died on the West Virginia were from Nebraska.  They were all identified, though:

Frank J. Bartok of Wahoo is buried in Colon, Nebraska
Myron Goodwin of Sidney is buried in Gering
Edward Dunkee of Arlington is buried at the military cemetery in Honolulu
Clement Durr of Nebraska City is also interred in the above cemetery.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ten Japanese Weapons Invented Too Late To Win the War-- Part 2: The Nakajima Kikka

You can go to the Listverse site to see pictures and read more about each one.

5.  Kyushus J7W--  Originally designed as a jet, but later adapted to propellers.

4.  Nakajima Kikka--  jet

3.  Type 5 Chi-Ri--  Designed to destroy the American M4 Sherman tank.

2.  Nakajima G8N--  four-engine heavy bomber.

1.  Shimakaze Class destroyer--  A super destroyer with 5-inch guns, 15 torpedo tubes and capable of doing 40 knots.

Sure Glad These Came Too late.  --GreGen

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ten Japanese Weapons Invented Too Late To Win World War II-- Part 1: I-401 Class Subs

From the February 16, 2016, Listverse by Sam Derwin.

10.   I-200 Class Submarines.  They could travel underwater faster than 20 knots while most submarines of the time couldn't do more than 10 knots.

9.  I-401 Class Submarine.  The largest ever constructed.  It was 60% larger than U.S. subs and could carry three aircraft.

8.  Kawanishi N1K1-J--  fighter plane

7.  Type 5 15-centimeter AA gun.  It could fire shots up to 65,000 feet and could easily reach our B-29s who were bombing Japan.

6.  Ki-83--  twin engine long-range fighter

Too Late, Too Little.  -GreGen

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pearl Harbor Child Shares Memories-- Part 2: Was 7 At the Time

he spent the rest of the attack in the house.  In the hours after the attack, civilians were evacuated to pineapple and sugar fields in the center of Oahu where they stayed for three to four days as a Japanese attack was still feared.

Tom Marname remembers it was "great fun" because they didn't have school.  When they returned home there were foxholes everywhere as well as drills at Wheeler.

He went o a tour of Pearl Harbor and saw the burning battleships.

The family boarded a ship bound for San Francisco's Fort Mason on Christmas Day and they then moved to Oregon for the duration of the war while his father remained at Oahu.

Later, he became a career naval officer and retired as commander of the Pearl Harbor Shipyard (which wasn't bombed) in 1980 for his final posting.

A Different Viewpoint of the Attack.  --GreGen

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pearl Harbor Child Shares Memories-- Part 1: Was a Child At Wheeler Field

From the February 10, 2016, Lamorinda Weekly by Cathy Dausman "Young Pearl vet shares memories."

Tom Marnane is a Pearl harbor survivor and that day was waiting for a bus at Oahu's Wheeler Army Airfield.  He and his friends were strafed, but all survived.  The thing was, he wasn't in the Army and was only seven at the time.

No one had an idea what was going on at the time.  His father was a U.S. Army captain and his family lived on the base.

He said the attack "was fast in and out.  There were always airplanes around."  He also remembers seeing the Rising Sun on the fuselages of the attacking planes and noted a "line of planes" flying in formation.  He and his friends ran to collect spent cartridges until his father dragged him back into the house.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Facts About Sugar Rationing Stamps

From the May 17, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The ration periods for the first four sugar rationing stamps were announced this morning by the DeKalb Rationing Board.

"The stamps will be honored by any dealer throughout the country but each stamp must be used during the designated period or it will be worthless."

In Other Words, Use 'Em Or Lose 'Em.  --GreGen

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Incendiary Bombs Sent to DeKalb in 1942

From the May 17, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

Incendiary bombs have been received in DeKalb to be used in demonstrations in the various classes of training in the Civilian Defense Council work.

"It is expected that there will be a demonstration for the auxiliary policemen this evening, if the weather permits and there will also be one for the air wardens on Friday night."

Big Boom, Big Fire.  --GreGen

Monday, June 19, 2017

USS Nevada Reunion in 2016-- Part 4: Ship Survived Atomic Blasts

The USS Nevada was the Navy's first battleship with triple turrets. and an oil-fired steam plant.

Les Pullman, 91, of Menasha, Wisconsin, boarded the Nevada in late 1942.  He was also a 5-inch gun pointer and also remembered the 80 straight hours they had at Normandy.

Ansel Tupper, 83, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, served in the ship's navigation office 1945-1947.  He remembers it surviving two atom bomb blasts at Operation Crossroads in 1946 off Bikini Atoll, but said the ship "wasn't painted red, it was painted orange" at the tests.  It survived a test from above and one from below.

His ship was contaminated with radiation from the blasts and decommissioned, but later served as a target ship before being sunk by a torpedo about 65 miles southwest of Oahu in 1948.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Handful of USS Nevada Crew Attend Reunion in 2016-- Part 3

After D-Day, its 14-inch cannons were refitted with some of the guns recovered from the USS Arizona and Oklahoma before it sailed to the Pacific and Iwo Jima.  It was attacked by kamikazes off Okinawa which killed 19.

Dick Ramsey of Port St. Lucie, Florida was 19 at Iwo Jima and remembers Marines of the USS Nevada volunteering to go ashore and some were killed in a kamikaze attack.  He remembers carrying one of the bodies from sick bay to where it was to be buried.

Cliff Banks, 90, of Dickinson, Texas, was a 5-inch gun pointer and served on the Nevada from November 1942 until December 1945.  At age 18 he was on board for the shelling of the Normandy coast,  "We spent 80 hours of shooting.  I never was so hungry in my life.  They sent us down a can of peaches to split among 13 people."


Friday, June 16, 2017

Handful Attend USS Nevada Reunion in 2016-- Part 2

At Pearl Harbor that day, the battleship USS Nevada was hit by six bombs and a torpedo.  Fifty-seven were killed and 109 wounded.

It was the only vessel on Battleship Row to get underway.

After temporary repairs at Pearl Harbor it sailed to Pugent Sound, Washington for more repairs and a major overhaul to modernize it.

Returning to service, it participated in the Battle of Attu in the Aleutian Islands  After that the Nevada led the offshore firepower in Operation Neptune against Utah Beach on D-Day and is credited for knocking out 90 German tanks and 15 trucks.


Handful Attend USS Nevada Reunion in 2016-- Part 1

From the February 8, 2016, Las Vegas Journal  "Handful of USS Nevada shipmates reunite in Las Vegas."

They saw a 35-minute film by Chuck Pride of Henderson, Nevada, who was formerly in the Army.  The film covered the ship's whole history, including a short service in World War I.

They viewed it to get a better idea of the overall action on their ship on Dec. 7, 1941.  Bryon McGinty, 90, said, "We were aboard the ship at the time, but you don't know what's really going on.  You're in your own little compartment... and you're concentrating on performing your duty.  You don't really understand a lot about what's going on outside."

Only five crew members of that day attended the reunion.  Overall, they believe only about a dozen are still alive.

That day, the crew's average age was 19 1/2.  Today, much older than that.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Remains of USS Oklahoma Sailor Come Home

October 12, 2016, Danbury News Times "Remains of sailor killed at Pearl Harbor returning home" by Michael Casey, AP.

Navy Fireman 3rd Class Edwin Hopkins of Keene, New Hampshire was one of 429 who died on the USS Oklahoma that day.  He was just 19 years old.

His remains arrived Thursday in Boston and then he was flown to Dillant-Hopkins Airport in Keene (named in his honor)  Visitation will be Friday and he will be buried Saturday at Woodland Cemetery in Keene, next to his parents Frank Hopkins Sr. and Alice Hopkins.

He was one of the 388 USS Oklahoma sailors whose remains were disinterred in 2015.  So far about 30 have been identified.

Another one, Navy Seaman 2nd Class James M. Phipps of Ranier, Oregon, also has been identified and will be buried October 17 in Portland, Oregon.

Edwin Hopkins quit high school to join the military to learn a trade.  He served on the Oklahoma with his brother Frank, who survived the attack but was also aboard the USS Hornet and USS Princeton later in the war.  Both of these ships were also sunk by the Japanese.

Edwin was from Swanzey, not Keene.

So Great They Are Identifying Them.  --GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: "Weld Noir" and "Fate's Fickle Finger"

NOVEMBER 18, 2014  "Weld Noir: 1943"  May 1943.  "Bethlehem -Fairfield Shipyard, Baltimore, Maryland.  Liberty Ship construction.  Welding on a hatch assembly at night."  Arthur Siegel, OWI.

American war industry goes mass production to destroy the Axis.  Work continued around the clock.

NOVEMBER 13, 2014   "Fate's Fickle Finger"  New York: 1944.Pawnbroker and prospective customer.  Tony Lick.

JANUARY 7, 2015

JANUARY 4, 2015--  "You  Like It: 1942.  August 1942.  "Bike rack in Idaho Falls, Idaho.  Russell Lee, OWI.  There is Seven-Up advertising on the bike rack.  Bicycling increased so much because of gas rationing.

Don't Drive It... Bike It.  --GreGen

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The World War II Flag on Flag Day

This being Flag Day and all, you'd be flying a 48-star flag which was the one in the United States during World War II.

Alaska and Hawaii had not yet become states, though both played roles  in the war and were the scene of fighting between the Japanese and Americans.

Unfortunately, I don't have a 48-star flag or I'd be flying it.


Shorpy Home Front Photos: Warship of the Air: 1942

From the Shorpy site.

NOVEMBER 23, 2014.  "Warship of the Air: 1942."

December 1942.  "Production B-17 heavy bombers.  The four mighty engines of a new B-17F (Flying Fortress) bomber warm up at the airfield of Boeing's Seattle plant as another warship of the air awaits its test flight.

"The Flying fortress has performed with great credit in the South pacific, over Germany and elsewhere.  It is a four engine heavy bomber capable of flying at high altitudes."

Andreas Feininger, OWI.

Bombs Away!  -GreGen

More War Industry in DeKalb, Illinois

From the March 8, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"A portion of the building, long known as the "red shop" when occupied by the  American Steel Company in DeKalb is to have a new defense industry.

"The assembly of tank tracks is to take place there, a project under the direction of the Northern Illinois Finance Corporation headed by T.E. Courtney.  Space in the building, in the year of that used by the Fourth Street Motors, will be used."


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts-- Part 2

TThe five Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts (PADD):

PADD 1--  East Coast
Divided into Subdistricts:

A.  New England
B.  Central Atlantic ( New York to Washington, D.C.
C.  Lower Atlantic  (Virginia to Florida)

PADD II--  Midwest

PADD III-  Gulf Coast

PADD IV--  Rocky Mountains

PADD V--  West Coast


Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

During the war, the United States was divided into five Petroleum Administration for defense Districts (PADDs).  These districts were set up to help the Petroleum Administration for War (PAW)  organize the allocation of fuels including petroleum and diesel.

These districts are still used today for data purposes.

PAW was established in 1942 by Executive Order and abolished in 1946.

The districts are now named for the later Petroleum Administration for Defense which existed during the Korean War and was established by the Defense Production Act of 1950 and abolished in 1954 when it was taken over by the United States Department of Interior's Oil and Gas Division.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Garments For War Relief Made in DeKalb

From the March 8, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Employees of the Joseph Brody Garment Company, located in the Clark Building in DeKalb, worked all day Saturday for the Red Cross.

"Employees of the firm, members of Local 189 of the International Lady Garment Workers Union, produced garments that will be used directly for war relief."

I imagine they were donating their time.


Chairman of "Victory Garden" Campaign Appointed

From the March 8, 2017, MidWeek   (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

Mayor Frank E, Ashelford has appointed R.W. Terrell of the Sycamore High School agricultural department as chairman of the "Victory Garden" campaign here.

"It will be Mr. Terrell's duty to form a committee or similar organization that will take the lead in urging citizens to raise food."

Food For the Wart Effort.  --Cooter

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Cookies for Camp Grant

From the May 10, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 ears Ago.

"A total of 121 dozen cookies were contributed by members of the Waterman Women's Club and women of this community to the cookie jar at Camp Grant (military base near Rockford, Illinois).

"Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Pogue took the cookies to Shabbona where they were added to those given by the Shabbona Women's clubs and all were taken to Camp grant."

Where I Am Sure They Found Someone Willing To Eat Them.  --GreGen

More War Industry in Sycamore, Illinois

From the May 10, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The Elmer Little building on South Maple Street in Sycamore did not remain empty long.  After the garage business quietly drifted into the void it was empty until yesterday.  Workmen began on Monday to prepare it for part of the Anaconda Wire and Cable Company works.

Because the south plant of the Sycamore Anaconda is to be converted to a war industry it has become necessary to vacate much of the machinery.  The south plant houses the die making department for the wire industry here.

It is that department that is about to move into the Elmer Little building located a half block south of State Street."


Friday, June 9, 2017

Registering for Ration Books in 1941: Even If You Don't Use Sugar

From the May 10, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1941, 75 Years Ago

"  Millions of Americans began registering today for their first ration books.

"the books will be used in the sugar rationing program which starts tomorrow.  They must be used later for other products.

"Thus, even those people who have no use for sugar are urged to register."


DeKalb County (Il.) Deaths-- Part 9: Freeman to Hemenway

Freeman Kenneth L.--  PVT--   KIA

Friestead, Howard D.--  S SG--   FOD

Furtta, Walter--  SGT--   FOD

Ginder, Walter--  SGT--  FOD

Gauer, Ferdinand E.--  PFC-   KIA

Hammersmith, O.B. Jr.--  2LT--  FOD

Harris, George G.--  PFC--   KIA

Harris, George W.--  PFC--  KIA

Hemenway, Marsh W.--  2LT--   DNB


Thursday, June 8, 2017

DeKalb County, Illinois, Deaths-- Part 8: Davis to Franklin

Davis, Arlie--  PFC--  DOW

Delgadillo, Richard--  PVT--  KIA

Dobson, James L.--  PVT--  KIA

Donnelley, John M.--  PVT--  KIA

Drake, Charles A.--  PFC--  DOW

Dunkelberger, S.L.--  PFC--  KIA

Fishtmaster, Robert F.--  PFC--  DNB

Finney, Curtiss W. Jr.--  2 LT--  KIA

Franklin, John L.--  PFC--  KIA


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Finding Pearl Harbor Scapegoats in 1942

From the March 8, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Major General Walter C. Short, who were commanding officers at Pearl Harbor, December 7, were ordered to stand trial by court martial.

"They were tried on charges of dereliction of duty as alleged by the report of the Roberts Commission which investigated reasons for the success of the surprise Japanese attack on Hawaii which started the war."


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Seventy-Three Years Ago Today

Seventy-three years ago, British, Canadian and American forces came ashore in Normandy, France, in what is known as D-Day.

That was quite an undertaking and led to the liberation of France and eventual end of the war.

June 6,1944.  --GreGen

Monday, June 5, 2017

DeKalb County, Illinois, Deaths-- Part 7: Cahill to Cullen

Cahill, Joseph E..--  CPL--  DNB

Carlson, Norman D.--  1 LT--  KIA

Carney, Albert J.--  Tec 5--   KIA (Technician 5th)

Coleman, Lee A.--  PFC--   KIA

Cook, Harold C.--  2 LR--  FOD

Coppess, Ivan M.--  S SG--   DNB

Cortright, John M. Jr.--  2 LT--   FOD

Cullen, Lawrence P.--  PFC--  KIA


Friday, June 2, 2017

DeKalb County War Deaths-- Part 6: Bickford to Byron

Bickford, Robert R.--  CPL--   DNB

Biederman, George E.--  2 LT--   KIA

Broughton, Russell M.-- PVT--  KIA

Brunke, Herman F.--  PVT--   KIA

Burkart, Ervin T.--  1 LT--   KIA

Burton, Howard J.--  PVT--  KIA

Byro, Ardith E.--  PFC--  KIA

Byron, John B.--   2 LT--   FOD


Thursday, June 1, 2017

DeKalb County World War II Deaths-- Part 5: Some More on FODs

From the With Military Honors site "World War II Casualty Codes."

FOD--  Finding of Death, in the absence of a recovered body, soldiers that were determined to be dead under Public Law 490.

Made in cases, after at least one year from time of disappearance, when there were either conclusive proof that the person is dead or equally overwhelming evidence that the person could not have remained alive."


DeKalb County World War II Deaths-- Part 4: FOD

I did have to look up FOD as a cause of death.

I figured this probably referred to those missing in action, or MIAs as we call them today.

The FOD, according to the Genealogy Trail article stood for Finding of Death.  But it went on to say Under Public Law 490.

I lookd up FOD and found it stands for absence of recovered body at least a year after disappearance or Evidence that he could not have been alive.


DeKalb County (Ill.) World War II Deaths-- Part 3: Anderson to Bemis

From Geneaology Trail.

The Lund family was fortunate in that none of their sons were killed in the war.  But others were not so lucky.

Here is a list of the ones who made the Supreme Sacrifice for their Country.  Rank and cause of death follow the name.  See the first blog entry in this series for cause of death initials:

Anderson, Franklin J.--  1 LT--   FOD

Anthenat, La Vern A--  Tec 5--    KIA

Baie, Wendell M.--  AV C--   DNB

Baird, William R.--  1 LT--  KIA

Bastion, James S.--  1 LT--  KIA

Bemis, Henry M.--  PVT--   FOD


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

DeKalb County World War II Deaths-- Part 2: Did the Lund Boys Come Home?

Back on May 1, I wrote about a family in DeKalb, Illinois, who had three sons either in the service or about to enter it back in February 1942.  there was also a fourth son who was a year away from going in, and no doubt would have.

They were the Samuel Lund family.

I went to Geneaology Trails and found a list of the DeKalb County men who had died in World War II.  It was a long list.

There was no one by the last name Lund listed.

So, they must have all come home.

No Saving Private Ryan Here.  --GreGen

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

DeKalb County, Illinois, World War II Deaths-- Part 1

I am continuing my Salute to the Veterans for Memorial Day 2017.

Actually, this whole blog is a salute to veterans and especially those of World War II.

Back on May 1st, I wrote about a DeKalb, Illinois, family having one son already in the Army in February 1942.  In addition, they had another son about to enter the Navy and a third one set to go to the Marines.  There was even a fourth son who was a year too young to join the military, but no doubt would follow his brothers.

I'll let you know the family name and if they all came back or not tomorrow.

I got to wondering if any of them did not come home so looked up DeKalb County's World War II casualties.  I will be writing the names of the men who died over the next week.

From Geneaology Trails.

These are the abbreviations for how they died.

KIA--  Killed In Action
DOW--  Died of Wounds
DOI--  Died of Injuries
DNB--  Died Non-Battle
FOD--  Finding of Death Under Public Law 490
M-  Missing


Monday, May 29, 2017

World War II Memorial Day 2017: Ambrose W. Klaus

I am honoring our military in every one of my seven blogs today, Memorial Day 2017.

Ambrose W. Klaus was in the U.S. Army in World War II in ordnance.  He rose to be a major.

He was my father-in-law.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Bicycles Becoming Very Popular

From the March 8, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Bicycles have come into their own again in DeKalb.  The bicycle is again becoming a common medium of transportation, harking back to the days 30 or so years ago, when the bicycle was the favorite means of getting to and from work and to and from school.

"At the DeKalb plant of the California Packing Company a dozen or more of the office staff and others now employed are using bicycles and several have placed orders for bicycles."

Impact of Gas Rationing and Lack of Tires.  --GreGen

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Making Model Planes for the War Effort at DeKalb High School

From the February 15, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Students of the DeKalb Township High School, working under the general direction of Edward Lindgren, member of the faculty, head of the Industrial Arts Department, have set up an organization and started actual construction work on 100 model airplanes that have been requested by the government.

"The models will be taken to training centers of the nation's armed forces and because they are in exact scale they will prove valuable in being used for identification of various types of planes."

You've Got To Know Friend From Foe.  --GreGen

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Red Cross Sewing Center in DeKalb

From the February 15, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The Red Cross sewing center located in the Ellwood School in DeKalb will be open on Thursday afternoon only.

"The sewing center located on the second floor of the Chronicle building is open every afternoon."

Sewing for the Boys.  --GreGen

Looking Back to 1942: Sugar Rationing Books Begin

From the February15, 2017,  MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"County Clerk Earle W. Joiner today received 41,000 applications for sugar war ration books.

"Although exact instructions have not been received, it is the understanding of the county clerk that the applications received today will be placed in the hands of a school teacher, who will have charge of compiling the information which will be secured through the blanks.  The blank is an application for a sugar rationing book it is understood."

This information is compiled at the Joiner Library in Sycamore.  Was this named after Earle W. Joiner?

A Sweet Job, But, In Addition To Grading Papers, Etc..  --GreGen

Monday, May 22, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: The Ben Franklin Store's Patriotic Window in Sycamore

From the March 1, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

"Another 'Victory' store window display is receiving attention these days in Sycamore.  The Ben Franklin store has an eyeball of red, white and blue for all passersby.  The entire window is ablaze with the national colors.

"Flags and a display of candy comprise the exhibit.  It is impressive with patriotism rather than commercial appeal.  It is part of the Sycamore retail effort in selling war bonds and stamps."

Getting Our Patriotism On.  --GreGen

Friday, May 19, 2017

The USS Bayfield (APA-33)-- Part 2: At D-Day

The Bayfield was 492 feet long, had a beam of 69.6 feet and regular complement of 51 officers and 524 enlisted.  As a transport, it could carry 80 officers and 1,146 troops.  It was capable of 18 knots and mounted two 5-inch guns and an assortment of anti-aircraft guns.

After commissioning, it carried troops to the British Isles for the D-Day invasion (and Yogi Berra as well).  At D-day, Berra was a gunner's mate, but not on the Bayfield, but a much smaller rocket ship.  After disembarking its troops, the Bayfield supplied firepower and later operated in the area for a while before taking part in operations on the southern coast of France.


The USS Bayfield (APA-33)-- Part 1: Served in Three Wars

From Wikipedia.

Yogi Berra served aboard this vessel during World War II.

A Bayfield-class attack transport named for Bayfield, Wisconsin.  This ship participated in three wars and atomic testing.  And, as I wrote about earlier in the week, was the ship that famous New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra served on during World War II.  (Evidently not the Coast Guard ship Buckley as reported in the article.  I could not find any mention of a Coast Guard ship of that name.)

It was commissioned 20 November 1943 and decommissioned 28 June 1968.

It received four Battle Stars in World War II, four in the Korean War and two in the Vietnam War.

The Bayfield was scrapped in September 1969.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Bits of War: Winston Churchill's Secret Bunkers and Quonset Huts

**  From the March 9, 2017, Express (U.K.)  "Winston Churchill's SECRET bunkers hidden all over Britain in THESE classified locations.

There was, of course, a serious threat of German invasion in the early 1940s.  There were over 600 secret bunkers spread out over the British landscape.  It was planned to have specially-trained groups of soldiers conduct guerrilla type operations out of them.

**  From the February 17, 2016, Wilmington (NC) Biz  "Proposed Mixed-Use Project Includes Historic Wilmington Structure."

A quonset hut in Wilmington, constructed after World War II is on the path of preservation.  The U.S. Navy used quonset huts a lot during World War II because they were light and easy to build.

Quonset huts were named after Quinset Pointe, a peninsula and former site of a Rhode Island Navy base where they were first made.

--Quon me.  --GreGen

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Yogi At War-- Part 4: First to Receive the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award

When the team behind the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award began preparations for their first awards in 2013, it was an easy decision in Yogi Berra's case.  Said founder Peter Fertig:  We all agreed -- that was the one thing that the board all agreed to -- that Yogi  should have been first, and he was."

Berra received the honor, named for another Hall of Famer noted for his wartime naval service, pitcher Bob Feller.  Berra received the award at his museum in Montclair, New Jersey.  He was also honored there last June on  the 70th anniversary of D-Day for his service that day.

"He was a humble person, "Fertig said pf Berra.  "He was a warm, caring human being who served at a very delicate time in our nation's history.  And he was an instrumental part of it, being at D-Day."

Quite the Amazing Person, Even If he Was a New York Yankee.  --GreGen (White Sox Fan)

Yogi At War-- Part 3: Very Impressive Baseball Stats

Yogi Berra played that major league team and did well, but he was still an unknown., but that was not for long.

He was in the majors with the Yankees at the tail end of the 1946 season and earned his first of ten World Series rings as a Yankee player in 1947 and was voted into his first All-Star game in 1948.

From Wikipedia.

Born 1925  Died September 22, 2015, age 90.

Lifetime Stats:

.285 batting average
358 home runs
1,430 RBIs

18-times All-Star
13 World Series Championships (some as a manager or coach)
3 times AL MVP:  1951, 1954, 1955.

Not Bad for a Swabbie.  --GreGen

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Yogi At War-- Part 2: On Rocket Ship at D-Day

Yogi Berra spent D-Day on a 36-foot long boat just off the Normandy coast that lobbed rockets inland in support of the troops on the beaches.

He remembered getting in some trouble then:  "I kept coming up top to look around, and they kept telling me to get back down there or I'd get hit.  I just wanted to see what was going on.  I liked it more up there!"

Yogi also served in North Africa and Italy before eventually returning to the States to Groton, Connecticut where he joined the submarine base's baseball team; when the club played against the Major League New York Giants.  In that game, Yogi, a Yankee minor-leaguer, went 3-for-4.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Yogi At War-- Part 1: Almost Went With the Army

From the October 12, 2015, Navy Times "Yogi at war: Before pinstripes, Berra donned Navy blue" by Kevin Lilley.

Many consider Yogi Berra as the greatest catcher in history, but in 1943, he first year in pro baseball, he hit .253 with a midlevel minor league baseball team.  But, like many other professional sports figures of the time, Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra joined the military.

Yogi Berra died September 22, 2015, at age 90.

But, before getting to the majors, he left the diamond to serve in the Navy during World War II.  He remembered:  "I almost joined the Army after I had enlisted in the Navy.  The Army would have allowed me to spend a couple weeks back home before I shipped out.  But, off I went to the Navy."

He headed to Europe aboard the Buckley, a Coast Guard attack transport.  Both his ship and Berra had been pressed into Navy service for the Allied invasion of German-occupied France.

There is some confusion here as I can find no mention of a Coast Guard ship named the Buckley, but several sources have Berra serving on the USS Bayfield, an attack transport.

--More to Come.  --GreGen

Bits of War: More Pearl Harbor Deaths-- Daniel S. Schroeder and Bud Christopherson

Always sad as the Greatest Generation continues to pass away.

**  Jan. 31, 2017, Reading Eagle  "Man believed to be Berks County's last Pearl Harbor survivor passes away."

Daniel S. Schroeder, 96, of Wernersville.  Former U.S. Navy captain  he was 21 years old on the USS Ash and had been guest of honor of the 75th anniversary commemoration back in December.

**  Jan. 30, 2017, Statesman Journal

Alvin "Bud" Christopherson 1925-2017.  Memorial service held Jan. 23, 2017 in Portland.  Pearl harbor survivor at Schofield Barracks.  Earned a Bronze Star that day.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Bits of War: Deaths-- Bob Adler (Served on USS West Virginia) and Ken Hartle (Pearl Harbor Survivor)

**  Jan. 17, 2017, Lake County (Wisconsin) Now:  Robert "Bob" Andler, 96.  Born April 30, 1926 in Chicago.  Died Jan. 8, 2017.  In World War II served on the USS West Virginia from March 1944 to May 1946.

**  January 30, 2017 Times of San Diego "Navy Diver  Retrieved Bodies From Pearl Harbor, Dies in Escondido at age 103" by Tom McAllister.

Ken Hartle died January 24.  He may have been the oldest remaining Pearl Harbor salvage diver.

He wouldn't talk about recovering bodies at Pearl Harbor, but did speak of towing unexploded torpedoes and salvaging ships.


Death of Clare Hollingworth, Reporter Who Broke News of World War II

From the January 10, 2017, New York Times by Margalit Fox.

Clare Hollingworth died January 10, 2017, at age 105.

Less than a week after first getting a job with the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph in 1939, she was driving alone from Gleiwitz, then in Germany, to Katowice in Poland, a distance of less than twenty miles.

She happened to be looking when wind lifted a piece of tarpaulin the German side of the road which was being used to screen the village below.  She saw "large numbers of troops, literally hundreds of tanks, armored cars and field guns."

She knew at that moment that the Germans were getting ready to attack Poland and telephoned her editor on August 28, 1939.  Her article was published the next day by the British newspaper The Guardian.

This was probably the greatest scoop of modern times.  Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 and war began.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: She Sells Celery and Game Night

January 15, 2017--  SHE SELLS CELERY: 1942--  November 1942"  Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  "Mennonite farm woman at her stall in the Central Market."  Marjory Collins, OWI  She is standing under a sign for Millers Celery.

January 14, 2017--  GAME NIGHT: 1942--  October 1942.   "New York.  Dr. and Mrs. Winn with daughters Janet and Marie, a Czech-American family, playing Chinese checkers while the grandmother knits."  Marjory Collins, OWI

Comment:  John A. Winn, his wife Hanna and daughters came to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia in 1939.  he became a well-known psychiatrist and died in 1983.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: The Knit-A-Bit Club

From the February 1, 2017, MidWeek (Dekalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942. 75 Years Ago.

"Members of the Knit-A-Bit club have established an enviable record in knitting for Red Cross needs.  At the present time every member of the club has completed at least one sweater and Mrs. John McClenahan leads the membership with thirteen completed and turned in."

Sewing for the Military and Red Cross.  --GreGen

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

DeKalb County, Illinois, At War: Books for the Boys

From the February 1, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Books, over 2,500 of them, were collected in a drive sponsored by the friends of the Library, in order to provide reading matter for the boys in army camps and naval training stations throughout the country."


Shorpy Home Front Photos: TVA and Coal

JANUARY 23, 2017--  Turn, Turn Turn: 1942--  June 1942.  "Tennessee Valley Authority power and conservation.  Fort Loudoun Dam construction.  Workman opening valve on a new pipeline of Fort Loudoun Dam, farthest upstream of the TVS's main Tennessee River projects.

"Scheduled for closure and first storage of water early in 1943, this dam will create a 15,000 acre lake reaching 55 miles upstream of Knoxville..  This reservoir will have a useful storage capacity of 126,000 acre-feet.  Power installation of 64,000 kilowatts is authorized, with a possible ultimate of 96.000 kilowatts."  Alfred Palmer, OWI.

JANUARY 16, 2017--  Big John: 1942--  November 1942:  "Pittsburgh (vicinity).  Montour No. 4 mine of the Pittsburgh Cone Company.  Coal miner waiting to go underground."  John Collier, OWI.  The miner is a black man.  Everyone doing their part for the war effort.

What Made America Powerful.  --GreGen

Monday, May 8, 2017

155-mm Long Tom Cannons

From Wikipedia.

The gunmount in the last two entries was designed to hold a 155-mm cannon.  These cannons were used in World War II and the Korean War and fired 100-pound shells with a maximum range of 13.7 miles.

They were a military field gun developed by the United States and classified as secondary armament in coastal defense.

One can be seen at Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama, by the USS Alabama.

There are also ten others on display around the country.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

WWII Gun Mount Uncovered By Hurricane Matthew-- Part 2: Battle of the Atlantic

During World War II, Charleston was protected by big guns at Fort Sumter and Batteries Jasper and Thompson on Sullivan's Island.  These were built around the turn of the 20th century as part of the Endicott System.

These defensive fortifications were designed for use against smaller warships, but not battleships.  Late in the war, a new battery was built on the Marshall Reservation which mounted two 12-inch guns.  The guns were still around between Stations 30 and 31.

A warship attack by Germany never took place, but U-boats came to be a big problem.

During September 1942, the U-455 laid a dozen underwater mines at the entrance of Charleston Harbor, but a minesweeper detected them and cleared them away before any harm was done.


Friday, May 5, 2017

World War II Gun Mount Uncovered By Hurricane Matthew-- Part 1

From the March 7, 2017, Moultrie (South Carolina) News "World War II gun mount uncovered by Hurricane Matthew-- Relic tells the story of a country at war" by Jack Matthew.

At the western end of Sullivan's Island (Charleston, S.C.) much of the beach was washed away by Hurricane Matthew and this revealed one of the four Panama mounts installed in 1942 in a sub-post of Fort Moultrie known as the Marshall Reservation.

The concrete mounts were fitted for 155-mm field artillery cannons nearly 20-feet long which could fire a shell up to ten miles..  This was added for Charleston's defense which was considered a target because of the shipyard which built destroyer escorts.

Two of the guns were later moved to Folly Beach and the last two were removed later when threat of an attack diminished.  The mounts remained, but were buried.


Ten Reasons the German People Elected Adolf Hitler-- Part 2: The Enabling Act

5.  Widespread hatred of the Jews.

4.   The Stock Market crash of 1929.

3.  The Social Democrats skirted the democratic process.

2.  The Reichstag Fire

1.  The Enabling Act.  Nazis could enact any law without running it through parliament.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Ten Reasons the German People Elected Adolf Hitler-- Part 1

From the February 21, 2017, Listverse by Mark Oliver.

Of course, the site has more information and pictures.  I'm just listing.

10.  The War Guilt Clause

9.  The French occupation of the Ruhr

8.  Hyperinflation

7.  The rise of German Communism

6.  The Barmat Scandal


World War II Deaths in 2017-- Part 3: Saved JFK and Survived Bataan Death March


World War II Navy officer who guided his warship into Japanese territory to rescue future President John F. Kennedy and his crew after their PT boat was sunk by a Japanese destroyer in the South Pacific and they swam to a small island.

Died February 24, 2017.


Chicago native and Army tank commander who survived one of World War II's signature horrors, the Bataan Death March.  he wrote a memoir titles "My Hitch in Hell."

He spent his later years pushing Japanese authorities to apologize for their country's atrocities.

Died February 24, 2017, in California.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

World War II Deaths in 2017-- Part 2: Richard Lyon-- Navy SEALS

Born July 14, 1923  Died February 3, 2017.

Age 93.

Retired rear admiral and first Navy SEAL team reservist to become a flag officer who was also a founding trustee of Children's Hospital in Orange County, California, and had been selected to the U.S, Olympic swim team for the 1940 Games in Tokyo, which was canceled because of World War II.

He was commissioned into the Navy out of college in October 1944 and served as U.S. Navy Scout and Raider in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  He was also in China as an intelligence officer.


World War Deaths in 2017-- Part 1: Doris Lockness

These are just some of the many deaths of our Greatest Generation during February and March 2017.

From the February 12, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Deaths in the News."


Age 106.  Pioneering aviator who collected numerous honors during her flying years, which included a stint with the Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II and who earned a commercial helicopter rating and licenses to fly seaplanes, gyroplanes, hot air balloons and gliders.

She was a member of the Women in Aviation Hall of Fame and the Smithsonian Institute of Aviation and is listed as one of the 100 most influentual women in aviation by Women in Aviation International, in Folsom, California.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Making Model Airplanes At the High School for the War Effort

From the March 1, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Students of the DeKalb Township High School will start immediate production on model airplanes for the use of the army and navy.  The production of the model planes, at least a hundred of them, will be rushed in conforming to the needs of the nation's armed forces.

"These planes are to be exact models of the planes used by the United States, Germany, Japan and Italy, and will be used by the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics in training air and ground personnel."

You Need to Know What They Look Like.  --GreGen

Looking Back to the War: Persons Taking Advantage of the Situation

From the March 1, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Housewives were today warned not to make any purchases of toilet articles from persons who announce they represent the Red Cross and intimate that profits from the sale of the article will go to the Red cross.

"There have been two imposters working in DeKalb."

Bad-Hearted People.  --GreGen

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sewing Sweaters for the Soldiers

From the March 1, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Announcement was made by the office of the DeKalb Chapter of the American Red Cross this morning that it had received a new supply of khaki colored yarn.  This yarn is to be used in the knitting of v-neck, sleeveless type of sweaters being worn by soldiers.

"The yarn will be available at the sewing center located on the second floor of the Chronicle building and will be given out to those who will come to the center for the material."


Victory Gardens in DeKalb County

From the February 22, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Every citizen, old or young, who is not engaged in military service or the emergency services of civilian defense now has the opportunity to do his bit through the statewide victory garden and food supply program, it is pointed out by Farm Adviser Roy Johnson and Home Adviser Helen Johnson."


DeKalb Family Giving Its All to War Effort

From the February 22, 2017 MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Samuel Lund of DeKalb will take added interest in the war because one son is already in the army, a second is about to enter the navy, and a third goes to the marine base next month.

"A year from now another son will be of age to go."

Giving Your All.  --GreGen

Friday, April 28, 2017

Looking Back to 1941: DeKalb To Have First Test Blackout

From the April 12, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Ill.) "Looking Back."

1941, 75 Years Ago.

"DeKalb will hold its first test blackout this week.  Mayor Hugo J. Hakala, chairman of the Civilian Defense Council for DeKalb, received word from the war department today stating it had granted the city's request to hold a test blackout for that night."

You Never Know When the Enemy Bombers Will Arrive Over DeKalb, Illinois.  --GreGen

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: A New War Factory and Rationing in DeKalb

From the April 5, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942. 75 Years Ago.

"The Farmers Implement Company that was located in the former American Steel and Wire Company building on Locust street in DeKalb has moved to the garage which was recently vacated by Arthur Taylor on the southwest corner of Fourth and Locust Streets.

"The move was made so as to make room for the new tank track factory that is to open in the near future.  The first floor of the new quarters will be used for the display and repair of farm equipment while the second floor is being used to store new cars that can be sold through rationing.

"Farm machinery can be sold without rationing but dealers are having a tough time getting their orders filled."

The war hits home.  A new war factory, car rationing and farm machinery.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Last Otter Tail County Pearl Harbor Veteran Dies: Gene Davis

From the November 30, 2016, WDAY 6 (Minnesota) "Honoring a vet:  Last Pearl Harbor survivor in Otter Tail County dies" by Kevin Walleband.

Gene Davis, 94, of Fergus Falls, Minnesota was buried Friday.

He joined the Navy at age 18 and was on the USS California during the attack.  A blast blew him off the deck and he was left for dead, but actually was shell-shocked.

For years, he wouldn't speak about his experience, but that all changed with a trip back to Pearl Harbor in 1980.

One hundred died on the USS California that day.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Portland's Toxic World War II Ship Graveyard

From the December 2, 2016, Portland (Ore) Tribune, by Cassandra Profita.

During World War II, several Willamette River shipyards were busy, but after victory, that stretch of waterfront became a scrapyard where many ships were dismantled.  Areas of the river were covered with ship scraps often laced with toxic pollutants like lead, asbestos and PCB.

At its peak during the war, Portland was launching on average a warship every four days.  Speed was encouraged.  As soon as one was launched, the next one's keel was immediately laid.

Pollution covered 30 acres along a half mile of riverfront.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Congress Approves Gold Medal for Filvets

From the December 2, 2016, Inquirer.Net.

The Gold Medal for the 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who served with U.S. Army Forces of the Far East, USAFFE, during World War II has been approved.

Now it goes to President Obama for his signature.

The Rescission Act of 1946, Congress stripped Filipino soldiers of the benefits they were promised by FDR.  Fewer than 7,000 of them survive today in the United States.  Overall, there are just 18,000 Filipino veterans still alive.

The Tuskegee Airmen and Hawaii's 442nd/100th Infantry Battalion have also received the Congressional Gold Medal.

About Time.  --GreGen

Friday, April 21, 2017

OSS Veterans Get Congressional Gold Medal-- Part 2

In the past, the World War II groups Tuskegee Airmen and Navajo "Code Talkers" have also received the Gold Medal.

The OSS was formed in 1942 by William Donovan who called them the "Glorious Amateurs," responsible for cloak-and-dagger operations throughout the war, including ones behind enemy lines in Germany.

The OSS insignia, the spearhead, is synonymous with the Special Operations Command.

They were dissolved after the war when what was left of the organization became the foundation for the CIA.  Other branches of the OSS became the Green Berets and Navy SEALs.

Now, I'd like to see the Montford Points Marines receive one.

Well Deserved, Even This Late.  --GreGen

Bill Honoring World War II's Intelligence Operatives Finally Passes Congress-- Part 1

From the December 1, 2016, Washington Post by Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

Photo accompanying the article shows OSS founder General William Donovan and members of the OSS operational groups, forerunners of the U.S. Special Forces.

This measure took a long time to pass Congress, despite bipartisan support.

The Congressional Gold Medal will go out to veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).  The problem with them, getting the Gold Medal was a new law that prevented groups from getting it..  This law, however, had earlier been waived in order to honor Civil Rights activists in 1965's "Bloody Sunday" march in Selma, Alabama.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kansas Family Made Ultimate Sacrifice-- Part 2: Another One Died in France

Their brother Bob joined the Navy when he turned 17 and was in basic training when the war ended in 1945.

Her mother's brother Leroy Blattner joined after the Pearl Harbor attack and was an Air Force pilot.  On August 3, 1944, another plane crashed into his Marauder B-26 bomber in France.  This caused a crash and his whole crew was killed.


Kansas Family Made Ultimate Sacrifice on USS Arizona, Twice

From the November 12, 2016, Hays Daily News (Kansas)  "Hays woman speaks of family's service, sacrifice" by Savannah Downing.

Fay Klein said that on both her mother and father's side, her family made the ultimate sacrifice.

Her father, Walter Becker, was the oldest brother of seven kids.  Three of his brothers:  Harvey, 24; Marcin, 22 and Wesley, 18, were stationed on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941.  They had requested to serve together.

Harvey was not on the ship at the time as he was on shore leave with his wife, a nurse.  He went to pearl Harbor after the attack to look for his brothers.  Eventually, he had to call his parents to tell them he couldn't find his brothers.

Wesley and Marvin's name are listed on the USS Arizona Memorial.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Local DeKalb County Man Killed on USS Arizona

From the February 1, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Charles Aves received word that his son Willard was killed at Pearl Harbor on December 7th.  The war department had previously reported Willard as missing and his friends and relatives had felt that he was gone because he had been on duty on the USS Arizona as a fireman.

"His father and sisters have the sincerest sympathy of this community as everyone feels he too has had a loss."

The War Hits Home.  --GreGen

USS Arizona Survivor Laid to Rest On His Ship-- Part 2

Raymond Haerry was 19 that day and the blast blew him off the USS Arizona.  "The oil that was belching out of the ships ignited because of the explosion and he had to swim through that, got to Ford Island, got some medical care and somehow got a gun and fired back at the enemy and survived the day."

He is the 42nd Arizona survivor to rejoin his shipmates.  Out of the 335 who survived that day, five are still alive.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

USS Arizona Survivor Laid to Rest on His Ship-- Part 1: Raymond Haerry

From the April 16, 2017, KITV 4 ABC News Hawaii "USS Arizona survivor laid to rest inside sunken battleship" by Mackenzie Stasko.

Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Raymond Haerry was interned in the hulk of the Arizona on Saturday afternoon.

Over 100 gathered at the USS Arizona memorial for the internment ceremony.

A team of U.S. navy and National Park Service divers took him to his final resting place where the urn was placed in turret #3 in the part of the ship which they believe contain the remains of his shipmates.


New Jersey Native and One of Last USS Arizona Survivors, Gets Final tribute

From by Jeff Goldman.

The remains of Master Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Haerry were placed on an American Airlines flight after a ceremony at Newark Liberty International Airport.  he was a Paterson native who died in Rhode Island in September at age 94.  His ashes will be interred on the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.

When the Arizona exploded that day, he was thrown into the water, but swam to safety, got a gun and began firing at the Japanese planes.

Later, he served on the USS Opportune, USS Allagash, USS Luiseno and the USS Muna Kea.  He also served during the KoreanWar, and retired from the Navy in 1964.

He was born November 21, 1924 and enlisted March 11, 1940.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Pearl Harbor Survivor Al Taylor Was a Reluctant Hero

From the January 19,2017, Quad-City (Iowa) Dispatch by John Marx.

Alvis "Al" Taylor died earlier this week at age 93 on January 16, 2017.

In 2013, there were three Pearl Harbor survivors in the Quad-City area: Eldon Baxter, Al Taylor and Bob Cewe.  Bob Cewe died in 2014.

Mr. Taylor was an Army medic at Schofield Barracks and 18 years old in the attack.  He guided ambulances to pick up wounded soldiers and non-survivors, working 48-straight hours non-stop.  Also, he helped a physician who specialized in traumatic head injuries.  he proudly said that the nineteen soldiers he assisted all lived.

"There was no break.  You just did what you needed to do," he recalled.

Another of the Greatest.  --GreGen

Friday, April 14, 2017

Death of Another Pearl Harbor Veteran: Maxwell Burggraaf

From the January 17, 2017, Fox 13 Salt Lake City, Utah "Man speaks after his father, a Pearl Harbor survivor, dies at 98."

Maxwell Burggraad, 98, died.

He was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy for nearly a decade and a chief electrician's mate on the USS Nevada when the harbor was attacked.  He was born in Ottumwa, Iowa.

On December 7, 1941, he got up early and caught a street car to Waikiki for a priesthood meeting.  Upon arrival there, he was told that all servicemen were to report back to their stations immediately.

He remembers seeing the smoke and fires as he approached the harbor.  He arrived back at his ship,  the USS Nevada, just before it made its dash out of the harbor.

After the action, he found out that his cabin had been destroyed.  The sailor who had taken his place while he was on leave was killed.

The Greatest Generation.  --GreGen