Monday, October 16, 2017

Singer Sewing Machine Co. Loans Used Machine to Red Cross

From March 22, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The Singer Sewing Machine Co. of DeKalb has loaned the Clare Red Cross ladies, for the duration, a used sewing machine for which the ladies are grateful."

Sewing for Victory  --GreGen

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Road and Bridge Building Curtailed for War Duration in DeKalb County.

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

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Road and bridge building in DeKalb County will have to be halted until after the war.  Because of priorities, which prohibit the use of vital materials for building unless it is necessary to life or safety, any road construction program will have to wait until the day when such materials will again become available."

In a recent blog entry, I wrote of some of the steps they had to go through in order to repair roads.

Just Another War Sacrifice.  --GreGen

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Growing Food for Victory in Sycamore

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

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"All Sycamore people interested in directly aiding the war program by helping to produce food stuffs vital to health are invited to attend the organizational meeting of the Sycamore Victory Garden Club."

All In for the War Effort.  --GreGen

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Learn About Fort Fisher's World War II Role This Saturday

Fort Fisher State Historic Site in North Carolina is having a day to show the Civil war's role as an anti-aircraft training facility during World War II this Saturday.

For more information, go to my Running the Blockade Civil War Navy Blog.  Just hit the site in the Blogs I Follow area to the right of this.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

USS Tracy Fights Japanese at Pearl Harbor

From the March 17, 2017, Scout/Warrior  "A Famous & Historic WW II Navy Ship Attacked Japanese Planes.

The USS Tracy, DD-214, sent fire and damage control crews to other battered American ships and set up machine guns with borrowed ammunition to protect the nearby USS Cummings and USS Pennsylvania.  During the attack, it lost one man killed and 2 lost.

It was a destroyer/minesweeper laid down in 1919, commissioned in 1920 and was in Pearl Harbor that fateful day undergoing a massive overhaul.

It took part in mine laying March 1942 and then was at Guadalcanal.  One of its mines sank the Japanese destroyer Makigumo.  At Bougainville Island and Okinawa and it rescued survivors of a ship hit by a suicide boat attack.


Monday, October 9, 2017

DeKalb's Housing Shortages

From the March 16, 2017 MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Efforts to secure government approval to the designation of DeKalb as a defense area, in order that the lack of homes may be declared an emergency, did not meet with much success for the DeKalb committee which went to Chicago."

Unfortunately, DeKalb, Illinois, wasn't the only U.S. town to experience housing shortages.


About That Sugar Rationing

From the March 16, 2017, MidWeek   "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago

"Slowly but surely we Americans are being informed as to how sugar will be rationed.

"There are strong hints that other food commodities may be rationed in the future and the sugar plan will be followed in such future rationing."


Shorpy Home Front Photos: Old Trolley Cars,Youth Camps and Harlem

3-12-17  TRANSIT GRILL: 1943.  April 1943.  Baltimore, Maryland.  "Baltimore Transit bus with trolley of 1917 vintage.  Many old cars have been reconditioned because of wartime transportation pressure."  Marjory Collins, OWI.

3-18-17--  KP CUTUPS: 1943.  August 1943.  Arden, New York.  "Interracial activities at Camp Gaylord White, where children are aided by the Methodist Camp Service.  Campers help with the kitchen work."  Gordon Parks, OWI.

3-18-17--  NEW YORK, 1943.  May 1943.  "Woman and her dog in the Harlem section.  Gordon Parks, OWI.  A black woman peering out her window.


Pearl Harbor Survivor Remembered in New Hampshire

From the February 27, 2017, New Hampshire Union-Leader  "Pearl Harbor survivor from Rochester remembered" by Kimberly Haas.

Roland "Sonny" Dagon, 97, a Purple Heart recipient, died February 24, 2017.  He was at Hickam Field with the Army Air Corps, that day.  he remembered the Japanese planes flying in low and ducked under a nearby trailer until he realized the paint shop a few yards away was on fire.

He fled and was wounded by flying shrapnel.

He enjoyed sulky-racing until the age of 88.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

German Air Raid on DeKalb?

From the March 16, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago

"Because practically all planes have been grounded and because the airport in Waterman has been closed, much mystery envelopes an episode which occurred Saturday night.

"A plane was hear flying over DeKalb three times during the night."

Wonder What That Was All About?  --GreGen

Junk Cars to Help Win the War

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, October 6, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Roger the Riveter

6-19-17--  ROGER THE RIVETER: 1942:--  October 1942.  "Riveter at work at Douglas Aircraft plant at Long Beach, California.  Color.  Alfred Palmer, OWI.  He was sure taking a lot of pictures here   (See the last two posts.).  There were also men working in war industries.  You hear so much about our Rosie the Riveters.

6-23-17--  CARR FORK CANYON:  1942--  November 1942.  "Bingham Copper Mine, Utah.  Carr Fork Canyon as seen from the "G" Bridge."  Color.  Andrew Feininger, OWI  All sorts of uses for copper during the war.

6-26-17--  ON THE ROAD: 1942  December 1942.  "Highway view along U.S. 40 in Mount Vernon Canyon, Colorado.  Looking east toward Green Mountain, with Shingle Creek below.  Color.  Andreas Feininger, OWI


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Bombers, Planes & Birthday Cakes

6-3-17 AVENGING ANGEL--  October 1942.  "Woman at work on a bomber motor, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, California."  Color  Alfred Palmer, OWI.   So, this one's a woman, not a girl.

6-7-17  OUTTA MY WAY: 1942--  June 1942.  "Tank driver --  Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Color.  Alfred Palmer, OWI.  Looks a bit frightening with him wearing those goggles and the way the lighting is.

6-12-17   MAKE A WHOOSH: 1942--  June 1942.  Greenbelt, Maryland. "Grandma Taylor blows out the candles on her 83rd birthday cake while her daughter, Mrs. McCard and grandson look on."  Marjory Collins,, OWI.


Shorpy Home Front Photos: Memorial Day Parade and Lunch

5-29-17  MEMORIAL DAY: 1942--  May 1942.  Stonington, Connecticut.  "An American town and its way of life.  The Memorial Day parade moving down main street.  The small number of spectators is accounted for by the fact that the town's war factories did not close.  The town hall is in the foreground."  Fenno Jacobs, OWI.

Cars are parked on both sides of the street where the parade is.

The War Effort more important than patriotic parades evidently at this time.

5-31-17 EMPTY CALORIES: 1942--  October 1942  "Girl worker at lunch also absorbing California's sunshine.  Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach."  Alfred Palmer, OWI.  Color photo.  Comment  Should have called her a woman.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Corn Detasseling Machine for the War Effort

From the August 9, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"A corn detasseling machine was delivered this week to Kenneth Furr of Genoa from the shop of Fritz Loptien of Sycamore.  The device makes it possible for four operators to detassel eight rows of corn at one trip across the field.

"The machine moves less than two miles an hour under the power of a Ford engine, which is part of the machine.  The efficiency of the device is indicated by the fact that four detasselers and one driver were said to have accomplished in 80 minutes as much as 23 men working four hours from the ground."

It was a manpower thing.

Just the Thing With All  the Many Men Away in the Military.  --GreGen

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

LST-779-- Part 5: Last U.S. Ship to See the USS Indianapolis

The passing encounter between the LST-779 and USS Indianapolis occurred within 12 hours of the sinking of the cruiser at 0014 30 July.  It was likely the last American vessel to see the doomed ship.

The 779's log noted that after its shooting anti-aircraft exercise, it maintained its course slightly north of Peddie.  That track would put the ship too far away from where the Indianapolis went down to spot survivors.

The LST-779 was launched sideways into the river at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Ships were launched sideways as the river was too narrow to launch by the stern.

I also found out that the LST-779 was the ship that supplied the famous second U.S. flag at the Iwo Jima flag raising made so famous by that photograph.  I'll see what I can find out about that.


Monday, October 2, 2017

LST-779-- Part 4: Last Ship to See USS Indianapolis

From the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command LST-779 1944-1946.

The LST-779 departed Guam 29 July 18945.  Its log notes:  "Held general quarters to conduct firing exercises" at 1312.  Also in the area at the time was the USS Indianapolis.

The 779 arrived Guinan, Saamar, Philippines 1 August without incident.

The commander of the Indianapolis, Captain Charles B. McVay III noted passing an unknown LST on 29 July:  "We passed an LST headed toward Leyte as we were also, on Sunday," he later recalled.  "They were north of us and they were preparing to go further north to get out of our area to do some anti-aircraft shooting."

This Would Be the LST-779.  --GreGen

LST-779: --Part 3: At Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Famed Flag-Raising Flag From It

The LST-779 participated in the assault and occupation of Iwo Jima in February 1945 as well as the assault and occupation of Okinawa in April,1945.

The famous second flag to be raised on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, came from the LST-779.

After the war, it performed occupation duty in the Far East and service in China until early April 1946 when it was decommissioned 18 May 1946.

On December 5, 1947, it was sold to Bosey, Philadelphia.

It warned two battle stars during its service.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

LST-779, Last U.S. Ship to See the USS Indianapolis-- Part 2

Continued from September 2, 2017.

After its commissioning in New Orleans, 3 August 1944, the LST-779 then had a two-week shakedown cruise in St. Andrews Bay, Florida (by Panama City).  It was then loaded with construction materials for forward airfields and also five sections of Tank Landing Craft, LCTs.  On 7 September, it departed for the Pacific Theater.

It passed through the Panama Canal and went to San Diego where it departed 8 October and sailed unescorted to Pearl Harbor, arriving 18 October.  There it unloaded and began intensive training with the Army and USMC in the Hawaii Islands.

On 22 January, it departed Pearl Harbor for the Marianas with ammunition, gasoline, equipment, Marines and 8 Amphibian trucks (DUKWs).


Friday, September 29, 2017

Downhill Slider, 1944: The Lighthouse

from Shorpy Old Photo Site.

MAY 27, 2017, DOWNHILL SLIDER: 1944  <arch 1944.  "Children playing on the roof of the Lighthouse, an institution for the blind, at 111 East 59th Street, New York.'  Richard Boyer, OWI.  The photo shows just one young girl of a slide wearing dark glasses.

The Lighthouse Guild: Vision and Hearing is still in existence serving the visually impaired.  The Lighthouse Guild was formed in 2013 and had begun in 1905 by sisters Winifred and Edith Holt who founded the Lighthouse which became a pioneer in the field  of vision rehabilitation.

They also had a summer camp for the children.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Keeping the Buses Running and "Arming" the Kids

From the Shorpy Old Photo Site.

MAY 22, 2017--  HOUND DOC: 1943.  September 1943.  Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania.  "A mechanic at the Greyhound Garage."  Esther Bubley, OWI.  With tire, gasoline rationing, bus riding became much more popular.

MAY 26, 2017--  THE CHILDREN'S ARMY: 1942--  Washington, D.C., 1942.  "Children playing, using sticks as guns."  Color.  Louise Rosskam, OWI.  The boys are "armed" and girls aren't.  The girls are also wearing dresses."

One of the comments was, "They don't need no stinkin' Nintendo."  Or "Idge Phones."


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pearl Harbor Survivor Finally Gets His Purple Heart

From the September 16, 2017, Herald Dispatch (West Virginia)

Wetzel "Sundown" Sanders, 94, was at an anti-aircraft battery at Hospital Point, manning a .50 caliber machine gun.  He shot down multiple Japanese planes, but a chunk of shrapnel hit him and he ran to the hospital.

However, his paperwork for the wound was misplaced.

He remained in Hawaii until may 1942, and after that participated in other Pacific battles.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Remains of USS Oklahoma's Ensign William "Bill" Manley Thompson Identified

From the September 20, 2017, CGS 6  "Remains of sailor killed during Pearl Harbor attack identified after 75 years."

The remains of Ensign William Manley Thompson, of New Jersey, are now home and buried in the family plot at Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia.

He was 21 years old when he died on the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941.

Ensign Thompson graduated from high school in 1937 and the University of North Carolina in 1941.

In his last letter home, November 23, 1941, he said he had enjoyed his Thanksgiving dinner and was considering buying a guitar and probably a car.  Since Christmas was nearing, he needed to start his shopping for presents, especially since he expected his ship to be at sea on maneuvers on that date.

It is so nice that these honored dead heroes are having their bodies identified after such a long time buried as unknowns.


Monday, September 25, 2017


Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa, who just recently died and I wrote about in the last two posts, served on this ship.

One site had the nickname of the ship as the USS Ivory Soap -- It Floats.

It was built by the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company at Evansville, Indiana.  Laid down 25 June 1942, launched 31 October 1942 and commissioned 10 February 1943  It ended service 9 December 1944 and was transferred to the Royal Navy and returned to the Navy 13 April 1946 and sold 5 September 1946.

It served in the European Theater:

Sicilian Occupation July 1943

Salerno Landing  September 1943

Invasion of Normandy  June 1944

During its service, it earned three Battle Stars.


Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa-- Part 2

He remembers being on the USS Raleigh,  "There were machine-gun bullets bouncing off the deck."  His body shook and he reached for his gun and began shooting at any moving target.  "All of a sudden, it looked like the ship was pitching out of the water and bounced back down again.'  It had been hit by a torpedo dropped by a plane on the port side.

The Raleigh fired 13,526 rounds of ammunition that day.

He participated in many battles later in the war on the LST-157., but he remembered D-Day the most.  "When the tide goes out you got nowhere to go.  Your ship is on dry land, and you can't move it until the tide comes in.  By the time the evening comes around, the German fighter pilots are coming over because we're sitting ducks."

Another of the Greatest.  --GreGen

Friday, September 22, 2017

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa-- Part 1

From the September 20, 2017, Long Island Herald "Pearl Harbor, D-Day East Meadow veteran was 93" by Stephany Reyer.

Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa joined the Navy in March 1941.  His twin brother and younger brother also joined the Navy.

He was a gunner's mate ion the USS Raleigh during the attack and he died September 15 and was one of the few Pearl Harbor veterans still living in the area.

In March 1941, when he joined he was only 17 years old.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Trains and More Trains

Jack Delano sure took a lot of train pictures for the Office of War Information.

Here are five more:

MAY 21-2017--  Red Means Go: 1943  Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago

MAY 23, 2017--  Locomotive Dreams: 1942  Chicago and North Western roundhouse.

JUNE 6, 2017--  Pabst Backward:  April 1943  Illinois Central and Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign, Chicago.

JUNE 16, 2017--  40th Street Shops:  1942   Dec. 1942   Chicago & North Western RR locomotives.

AUGUST 31, 2017--  Backtrack: 1943   Willard, New Mexico

See Train, Go train, Jack.  --GreGen

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Throw Your Scrap Into the Fight" in 1942

From the August 19, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Throw your scrap into the fight!  Although there have been campaigns conducted for the gathering of scrap metals and rubber, a crisis exists in the United States war production program unless more of these vital materials can be secured.

"The only way that the problem can be solved is for the American people to cooperate fully, and this means the people in DeKalb County as well."

Pots and Pans...Anything!!  --This Means YOU, DEKALB COUNTY!!!  --GreGen

Driving Your Auto On Hot Days Not Good for Your Tires in 1942

From the August 9, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Automobile dealers, especially those who specialize in tires, state those persons who go driving on a hot day, fail to realize that the hot pavements are not conducive to saving of tires.

"If the rubber on any auto is old, it has lost much of its heat resistance, and quickly blows out.  Tires are difficult to get nowadays, and drivers are warned that motoring in hot weather is not helping in the war effort against the enemy."

A Sunday Afternoon Drive in the Summer Is Helping Hitler and Tojo.  --GreGen

Working At the Old Beet Farm in 1942

From the August 2, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942. 75 Years Ago.

"According to an announcement from the Chicago Welfare Commission, nineteen men from the welfare rolls have been sent to DeKalb County to work on the beet farms in the county.

"They are being sent to help relieve the shortage in farm labor and further aid to farmers was also promised by the commission.

Beet Me Baby, Eight To the Bar.  --GreGen

The Navy Needs Your Binoculars in 1942

From the August 2, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  'Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Although nearly 2,000 binoculars meeting requirements have been received by the Navy Department since the first appeal was made the need for these important instruments is desperate.

"Mayor Hugh J. Hakata of DeKalb received a letter from the Navy Department recently asking that he again [bring] the great need of the binoculars to the attention of the public."

All the Better to See You, My Dear.  --GreGen

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recalls World War II-- Part 6: Playing Dead on Saipan

Karen Narayan, daughter of Burton and Wayne's oldest brother, Ernest, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, said she recalled a story about Wayne fighting unarmed against Japanese soldiers in Saipan in which he disguised himself in blood from another soldier and played dead until the Japanese left hours later.

"I asked Uncle Wayne, 'How could you do all this," she said.  "His reply was, 'Karen, just as you go to the grocery store shopping, we just did.  We didn't think about what we were doing, we just did.'"


Friday, September 15, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recalls the War-- Part 5: Bernice's War Story and Afterwards

Burton Miller's wife, Bernice, said she worked making uniforms for soldiers during the war, while men would work on farms and in factories.

"All of our foods were rationed, and we had food stamps," Bernice said.  "You could only get so much gas and so much everything at that time."

She said that they first lived in a one-room apartment, had no car and were on a waiting list to get a refrigerator.  She had to take three street cars, each costing 8 cents, to get to her job at Marshall Field's.

"We went down the hall to go to the bathroom where four families shared.  It was rough, "she said.  "We were able to get an apartment over a home, so we thought we were in heaven to get that because it had a bedroom and a living room."


Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor-- Part 4: Six Blankets and Couldn't Get Warm

Burton Miller went on to serve in England, France and Belgium, where he conveyed orders and communications during the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign of World War II.

One of the barracks in Belgium that he was in was an old chicken house where the soldiers had to endure the cold winter.  "I had six blankets and I couldn't get warm," Burton remembered.

Burton then had to go to the hospital, although he can't remember why.

"That was after Hitler took over Europe," he said.  "We had our fighter planes that went from England to France and then to Belgium supporting our troops, chasing Hitler at the time.  And when I got to Belgium, I had to go to the hospital, and when I came back, the war was over."

He married Bernice in 1946 and lived in Chicago for about sixty years.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor-- Part 3: Brother Wayne Was Looking for His Brother's Body

Burton Miller was out of high school and studying in college, but his brother Wayne was not yet old enough to enlist in the military.  "We had to lie a little bit [about Wayne's age]," Burton said.

Wayne's job at Wheeler Air Field at the time of the attack was outfitting men with parachutes, so he was tasked with identifying bodies based on their parachute numbers.

"[Wayne] was down at one of the hangars that they had converted into a morgue, and he was going through looking for his brother," Bruce said.

Burton Miller was stationed in Hawaii for two years after the attack.

"The rest of the two years was like heaven," Burton said.  "It rained every other day.  It could've been worse, and it was worse in Belgium."


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor Attack-- Part 2: "What Could Be Better?"

Thirty-three men died at Wheeler Field that day.

Both brothers survived the attack, but they didn't see each other for another three days, as the men hid, fearing the Japanese had invaded the island.  Their mother wouldn't get word of their survival until a month later.  (That had to be a really hard month for the family.

Bruce Miller, Burton's son, said his father and uncle enlisted in the Army Air Corps after seeing an ad in their local newspaper in Mount Vernon.  They had been in Hawaii for less than a year when the attack came.

"The ad said to sign up  for four years in the Army Air Corps and spend three years in Hawaii,"  Bruce said.  "This was 1940 and they had no idea what was coming, and they thought, 'What could be better?'  Two farm boys got away from milking cows and doing chores."

The Army Air Corps became the Army Air Forces on June 20, 1941.


Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor Attack-- Part 1: "A Bomb Comes Down Right Next To Me"

From the December 7, 2016, Northwest Herald (McHenry County, Illinois) by Stephanie Markham.

95-year-old served in Army Air Force.

Burton Miller was on his way to eat breakfast when the first bombs started falling.  He was 19 that Dec. 7, 1941, and he and his 17-year-old brother, Wayne, were stationed at Wheeler Field in Hawaii -- one of the first places the Japanese attacked.

It was a bright Sunday morning and he broke his usual routine and got up for breakfast.  Meanwhile, brother Wayne was taking a shower in the barracks.

"I got up and went for breakfast for the first time, and I got through the breakfast door, and a bomb comes down right next to me.  And it hits the lawn, and it didn't hit the street, so I started running because they said that [the Japanese] were going to land troops there."

He has lived in Sycamore for the past four years with his wife, Bernice, also 95.  His brother Wayne died in 2001 at age 88.


Pelosi Tours WWII Exhibit About Japanese-Americans

From the September  1, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Steve Johnson.

Twice there have been exhibitions in Chicago's new Alphawood Gallery  and twice U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has visited.

Most recently she was there August 31 and she toured "And Then They Came for Me" the primarily photographic exhibition telling the story of Japanese-American improvement by the U.S. government during World War II.

"This is an inspiration to me, said Pelosi, whose district was among was among those especially affected when the government forced more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent, most of them U.S. citizens, into internment camps beginning in 1942.  "It hit me hard when we came in because it was so many images about a thing our country had done that we were ashamed of."

The free show is open through November and features mostly black-and-white photography of the internees taken by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and others.

A Sad Time In Our History, But Something That Must Not be Erased.  --GreGen

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society-- Part 2: Started in 1904

From their site.

In 1904, several Naval officers, wives of Naval officers and civilian friends saw the need for a more formal and organized assistance to Naval personnel.  The Society incorporated on January 23 with initial funding coming from the proceeds of the 1903 Army-Navy Football game.

In its first year, the Society gave $9,500 to widows and families of enlisted men.

During World War I, military pay was often delayed and the Society began an interest free loan program for Navy and Marine Corps personnel.  Eventually this expanded to help with other needs such as medical bills.

Anticipating personnel needs of World War II, President Roosevelt authorized a public appeal for support to benefit the military relief organizations.

The national fundraising effort helped establish the Society's Reserve Fund in 1942.  The Dubuque Navy Day on August 23, 1942, was part of this effort.

Monday, September 11, 2017

9-11 16th Anniversary Today

Yesterday, when the Safen und Spiel Festival in Johnsburg, Illinois, proved too crowded and no parking, we decided to go on a Chain Crawl crawl to get some more passport stamps.

We drove to McHenry and visited two places overlooking the Fox River.  The first was Snuggery and the second was Vickie's.  At Vickie's, I saw a poster for upcoming events in McHenry and one of them was an the 11th annual observance of 9-11 in veterans Park.

I am sorry to say that this was the first I'd even thought about it.  Sure glad I saw that poster as I'll be there at 9  a.m..

I'll Not Forget.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society-- Part 1: To Aid and Assist

From Wikipedia.

The purpose of the mass induction and baseball game on August 23, 1942, in Dubuque, Iowa, was to raise money for the Navy Relief Society Fund.

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society was established in 1904 "to provide, in partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps, financial, educational, and other assistances to members of the Naval service of the United States, eligible family members, and survivors in need, and to receive and manage funds to administer these programs.


Dubuque, Iowa, In World War II-- Part 2: Mass Induction and Baseball Game

"A mass induction of Navy recruits was planned for August 23, 1942, prior to a baseball game scheduled for Navy Day.  An entrance fee was charged with all the money given to the Navy Relief Society.

"Family members were later encouraged to write positive letters to their relatives in the armed forces and not burden them with problems at home."


Dubuque, Iowa, in World War II-- Part 1: A Local Boy at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941

From the Encyclopedia Dubuque.

Leo F. Greenwood, a native of the "northeast" end of Dubuque, was on the battleship USS West Virginia at the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  He survived and abandoned ship.  Oil from the stricken battleships had leaked out and the water of the harbor caught fire, requiring him to swim under water to reach safety (probably on Ford Island).

There, he found cover and remained for the rest of the attack.

Years later, a Navy diver found and returned his pocket watch and photo album that he had stored in his footlocker.

He became a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

Mr. Greenwood served on the USS West Virginia from 1939-1941 and was a Seaman First Class.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, August 23, 1942-- Part 4: One Helluva Team

Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane, the former star catcher for the Detroit Tigers, was appointed supervising officer in charge of athletics at Great Lakes and he assembled a formidable team of players who had left their American and National league teams to join America's war effort.

Throughout the war, the training facility's baseball teams compiled a record of 188-32 in exhibition contests.

Probably Stacked the Field.  --GreGen

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, August 23, 1942-- Part 3: Great Lakes Wins By Lopsided 16-1 Score


"The colors of Old Glory -- red, white and blue -- predominated as the crowd watched Naval officers swear Dubuqueland men into service.  The color of green -- the proceeds of the game --  went to Navy relief.  And the color of big-league baseball prevailed as the crowd watched the Great Lakes' star-studded team lick the Naval Pre-Flight Training School 16-1.

"The latter color in part was provided by a home run with the bases full by Chet Hajduk of the Chicago White Sox, the battery of Johnny Rigney and old "Iron Mike" Cochrane, and the appearance of Benny McCoy, Johnny Lucadello, Don Padgett, Ernie Andres, Joe Grace and Sam Harshaney -- all former major-league stars.

"The victory here was the second consecutive lopsided win for Great Lakes over the Seahawks in two days.  The win was the 59th of the year for the men coached by Lt. Gordon Cochrane, the above-mentioned Mr. "Iron Mike" or "Mickey" of professional baseball fame."

The Seahawks trained in Iowa City, Iowa, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes, hence the name Seahawks.


Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, 1942-- Part 2: Lots of Memories This Day

"Memories of some will center on the colorful ceremonies of the flag raising and mass inductions of the naval recruits before the baseball game; for some it will be the memory of witnessing a son, a brother, a sweetheart, a husband, or a pal being sworn into service with the nation's armed forces at an hour of great peril; and for some it will be the thrill of witnessing some of the greatest stars of baseball perform, even if the game was a one-sided affair.

"But the big result of the day is that a substantial sum of money will be added to the Navy Relief Society Fund, all proceeds of the day going to that fund."

(Former major-league players starred during the exhibition game, as the Telegraph Herald reported on August 24, 1942.)


Monday, September 4, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, 1942-- Part 1: 32 Enlisted and a Baseball Game

From the August 24, 2017, Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald "75 years ago: Bravery, baseball on display" by Erik Hogstrom.

I wrote about this last week, August 24.

Here is the Telegraph Herald story from August 24, 1942:

"There are several thousand residents of Dubuque and Dubuqueland who will long cherish happy memories of Dubuque's Navy Day program.

"They include the approximately 4,000 persons who jammed the stands of the Municipal Athletic Field on Sunday afternoon to witness the inductions of 32 Dubuqueland recruits into the U.S. Navy and the baseball game between the Great Lakes Naval Training Station at Great Lakes, Ill., and the Navy Pre-Flight Training School of Iowa City.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

LST-779-- Part 1: (1944-1946) Last American Ship to See the USS Indianapolis

From the U.S. naval History and Heritage Command.

Last week I wrote that this was the last American ship to see the USS Indianapolis.  It operated 1944-1946.

328 feet long, 50 foot beam, 11.6 knots, crew of 117.  Could carry equipment and 163 troops.

It was laid down 21 May 1944 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and launched 1 July 1944.  It took just 41 days from when it was laid down to launch.  That's pretty fast.  Because of it being launched into a river, it slid sideways into it.

It was commissioned in New Orleans 3 August 1944  Its commander was Lt. (j.g.) Joseph A. Hopkins, USNR.


World War II at Carolina Beach, N.C.-- Part 2: Mom's Recollections-- Restrictions and U-boats

My mother's family owned a cottage right on the oceanfront on Carolina Beach's Southern Extension.  She said that at night there were constantly military patrols going up and down the beach looking for U-boats.

You also were not allowed to have wet clothes on.  U-boats lurking offshore would surface and send people ashore on reconnaissance missions.  They'd get wet in the process.

The story continues that one time a German U-boat was sunk and one of the crew members was found to have a movie ticket to a Wilmington theater dated just a few days earlier.

Also, they were extremely strict on the blackout at the beach.  Lights onshore would silhouette Allied merchant ships plying the offshore waters, making them easy targets for a torpedo.


Friday, September 1, 2017

World War II at Carolina Beach, N.C.-- Part 1: Sharing the Cottage

Carolina Beach is located near Wilmington, North Carolina, and on the Atlantic Ocean.

I have been writing about the service of Claude R. Pfaff during World War I, in my Cooter's History Thing Blog.  After the war he returned to Winston-Salem, N.C., but started going to Carolina Beach for fishing and eventually built a cottage there in the 1930s.

During World War II, the Pfaffs often ended up sharing their small cottage with a family of strangers.  Because of the shortage of housing in the Wilmington area (with all of its war industry, the huge North Carolina Shipbuilding Company and military posts in the area), property owners were required to rent to families of soldiers scheduled to ship out overseas.

They would get a one week vacation at the beach before they had to separate.

Only office space was exempt from this requirement, so Mrs. Pfaff designated one room as an office.

A Little Privacy, Please.  --GreGen

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wreck of USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 6: Last Seen By LST-779

**  The ship was 610 feet long and had a 66-foot beam.

**  The cost of the ship was $10,903, 200.

**  The wreck is well-preserved.

**  It was a Portland-Class heavy cruiser.

**  Last seen by the USS LST-779 eleven hours before the sinking.

**  In 2016, Richard Hulver, historian at Naval History and Heritage Command determined a new search area for the shipwreck.

**  Commissioned in 1932.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wreck of USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 5: Those "Lifeless Eyes"

**  It sank in 12 minutes.

**  Survivors spotted by a Navy PV-1 on routine patrol four days later.

**   In the movie "Jaws," Captain Quint went into detail about the shark attacks on the Indianapolis survivors.

**  "Y-know the thing about a shark, he's got ... lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes."

**  It was sunk in the Philippines Sea, between Leyte Gulf and Guam.

**  It's number:  CA-35

**  Main battery was nine 8-inch guns in three turrets.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Wreck of the USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 4: Sunk by Japanese Submarine I-58

**  The loss of the USS Indianapolis is still the single largest United States war loss at sea.

**  The USS Indianapolis Survivors Association just had their 72nd anniversary reunion in Indianapolis, Indiana, from July 27-July 30.

**  The people who found the ship are on the Research Vessel Petrel, owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

**  The Japanese submarine IJN I-58 fired two torpedoes.

**  The I-58 was surrendered to the U.S. and scuttled 1 April 1946.

**  It's wreck was found just three months before the wreck of the Indianapolis was discovered, May 25, 2017.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Wreck of USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 3: Its Captain Court-Martialed and Found Guilty

"While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at the discovery so long in coming," Paul Allen said in a statement.

The cruiser's captain, Charles Butler McVay III, was among the survivors, but he was court-martialed and convicted for losing his ship.  He later committed suicide because of it.

Years later, McVay was posthumously exonerated by Congress and President Bill Clinton.

The shipwreck's location has eluded researchers for decades.  The coordinates keyed out in an SOS signal were forgotten by survivors and were not received by Navy ships or shore stations.

The ship is an official war grave, protected by laws.  No recovery efforts are planned.

Though I would like to have the ship's bell recovered.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Wreck of USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 2: Had Delivered Atom Bomb Parts to Tinian

The ship sank in just fifteen minutes on July 30, 1945, in the war's final days.  It took the Navy four days to realize the ship was missing.

About 800 of the crew's 1200 sailors and Marines made it off the cruiser before it sank.  But almost 600 died the next four to five days from exposure, dehydration, drowning and shark attacks.

The Indianapolis had just completed a top-secret mission to deliver components of the atomic bomb "Little Boy" to the island of Tinian.  The bomb was later dropped on Hiroshima.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque 75 Years Ago

From the August 24, 2017, Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald "75 years ago: Bravery, baseball on display" by Erik Hogstrom.

Dubuque's World War II effort took a major leap forward 75 years ago this week.  Thousands of residents filled the stands of the city's baseball stadium on August 23, 1942, to witness the mass induction of dozens of local men into the U.S. Navy.

Dubuque capped its "Navy Day" celebration with an exhibition baseball game featuring a military team packed with former Major League Baseball players who had joined the service.


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."