Monday, December 31, 2018

Sycamore Down to Two Newspapers Because of Paper Shortage


From the December 19, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Effective  this week Sycamore will have but one newspaper, published twice each week, under the general management of Frank Dean, who has been publishing one of the papers for several years.

"The new publication will be issued tomorrow and the policies and much other interesting information will be found within its columns.  The city has supported two newspapers for many years but with the present acute shortage of paper, the consolidation was deemed advisable."]

Even Newspapers.  --GreGen

About Those Christmas Decorations


From the December 19, 2018, MidWeek.

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"American people  are being asked by J.A. Krug, director of the Office of Utilities,  to confine Christmas lighting decorations to the Christmas trees inside private homes.   It had has been asked that street decorations, Community Christmas trees, exterior home decorations, and interiors and exteriors of commercial establishments dispense with decorations this year insofar as lighting is concerned.

"Government and industry have combined in a nationwide conservation campaign to save critical fuels and materials necessary to produce and consume electricity.    Electric light bulbs are particularly short at present and strict conservation of them is necessary."

The War Impacts Christmas.  --GreGen

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Gas Shortage Almost Idles Fire Truck


From the December 19, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Gasoline will again be available for the city fire truck at Earlville and the residents of the community are again able to breathe easier.

"Application for renewal of the gasoline allotment had been refused by the Peoria district office of ODT and the residents had been planning to resume the old bucket brigade."

No Fire Trucks?  Shortages Getting Serious At Home.  --GreGen

An Enemy Walking Stick Sent Home


From the December 12, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Louis Lloyd is walking with a cane at the present time, but not by force, however.  He recently received a box of trophies from his son-in-law, Lieut. Com. George Milles who is on a hospital ship, and a cane directory from one of the foreign fighting theatres was included.

"The walking stick has the appearance of  teakwood and handsomely  engraved and feted with  shells and bits of glass and ornaments.  Mr. Lloyd states that he has many other interesting articles  which have been taken from the enemy by Lieut. Com. Milles."

Love Those Souvenirs.  --GreGen

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Manpower Shortages on the Railroads


From the October 31, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"After several months preliminary work and delays caused by the shortage of manpower and many other difficulties, the Chicago Great Western railway company today started repairs on the Sixth Street crossing.

"Work was held up until rightful owners could be determined as to the adjacent property, and whether the tracks belonged to the railway company or private concerns.  This investigation required several months' time, and eventually included the transfer of property back to the Great Western."

Manpower Shortages Everywhere.  --GreGen

Rumors of Coffee Rationing Again


From the November 7, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Many were asking today if coffee is to be rationed again after discovering that stamps in the ration book Four marked coffee.  The answer is no.

"The new ration books were printed while coffee was still being rationed. and the rumors that coffee is again to be rationed are unfounded."

--RoadDogCoff

Friday, December 28, 2018

A New Trailer Housing Project for Housing Shortage


From the November 21, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Construction work on the 50 family trailers, which will be built on the Evans lot on East Lincoln Highway is reported to have been started today.

"The contractor, Elmer Gus, of 100 East New York street, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has been awarded the contract, and he is in DeKalb at this time and will start work on the war housing project immediately."

--GreGen


Hemp Very Profitable in DeKalb County in 1943


From the November 28, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Hemp raising in DeKalb county, although in its infancy this year, is going to prove a profitable project for farmers, its first check presented this week to Orville Olson, of Corrtland, is a criterion.

"Mr Olson raised ten acres of hemp, which was graded as number one,  and after all deductions had been made for seed, planting, harvesting, and hauling to the mill at Kirkland, he was presented with a check for $1,883.89.

Which Explains All Those Rumors of Wild Marijuana Growing Along Roads In DeKalb While We Were At NIU In the 1970s.  --GreGen



Thursday, December 27, 2018

Shoe Repairs Backed Up in DeKalb Because of Shoe Rationing


From the October 31, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Due to the rationing of shoes, repairs have become so numerous that shoe men of DeKalb will not promise repair work of any consequence for a period of three to five weeks.

"Repairmen in DeKalb say that never  before have had so much rebuilding of all  of footwear since they have been in business."

--GreGen

Library Converting From Fuel Oil to Coal Because of Fuel Oil Shortage


From the April 26, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Members of the library board are elated over the arrival of the coal stoker for installation in the Sycamore Public Library, the plan being to convert the heating system from fuel oil to coal.

"This action was decided last year when the fuel oil shortage became acute here and the library could not be properly heated seven days a week with the supply provided by the rationing board."

More Shortages Hit the Home Front.  --GreGen

Another Manpower Shortage in Garbage Pickup


From the November 14, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"With the man power shortage prevailing at the present time residents of the city are asked to cooperate with the rubbish and ash pickup crews and not place all their rubbish out and expect the crews to haul it away.

"The crews are shorthanded at present and find it difficult to keep up with the ordinary collections but in a number of cases large pules of weeds, cabbage plants, tomato vines and other garden debris have been set out for the city crews to haul."

--RoadRubb

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Wartime Christmas Cards in DeKalb


From the November 28, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Christmas greeting cards are being brought to the DeKalb Post Office where they will be held for holiday delivery.

"An appeal was made a couple weeks ago that the greeting cards be  brought in as soon as possible and the response to date has been  most gratifying."

So, the post office had asked for everyone to bring in their Christmas cards early so they could be shipped out when available transportation found.

--GreGen


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Lt. Whipple (Former NI State Teachers College Student) Is German POW


From the November 21, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Mr. and Mrs, H.C. Collin of 223 Gurler street this week received a card from Lieut. Donald E. Whipple, better known as Gene, a former student at Northern Illinois State Teachers College, now a prisoner at a German camp.

"Lieut. Whipple was a member of the air forces and was shot down over Bremen.  He was reported missing April 15 and the card received this week is the first word his DeKalb friends have had of his whereabouts.  The card was written on July 12 and was received in DeKalb on October 27.  He states that he is feeling well, is being treated satisfactorily and desires to hear from his friends in the vicinity."

I was unable to find out anymore information on this man.

--GreGen

Monday, December 24, 2018

Relief Apartments at the Theater in Sycamore


From the September 26, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"To further relieve the housing shortage within Sycamore, work has begun on the construction of apartments in the State theater building on West State Street.

"The bulk of the studding for the apartments is in place and reports were that  other construction work on the several living quarters will be pushed rapidly to completion.  The apartments in the theater building, it is understood, will be four room affairs, and many inquiries have been made as to when they will be ready for occupancy."

Severe Housing Shortages.  --GreGen

The Clydesdales Come to DeKalb Raising War Bonds


From the September 26, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Residents of the DeKalb community will have the opportunity to see the famous Clydesdale team when it visits here Saturday of this week to do its part in raising bond sales.  The team is owned by Wilson and Company and its visit is being sponsored by the United States Treasury Department.

"The DeKalb County War Finance Committee is offering this special attraction.  The internationally known six-horse hitch of massive Clydesdale geldings will be on exhibition with the greater part of thee exhibition to take part on Locust Street."

--GreGen

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Welcome Home G.I.s


From the November 14, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1945

A large "Welcome Home GIs" billboard was in place at the corner of First Street and the Lincoln Highway in DeKalb.

With stars across the top, it also said "Thanks A Million."

--RoadDog

Help Needed In the Sewing Center in DeKalb in 1943


From the September 12, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Mrs. Clarence Swanbum, chairman of the production department of the DeKalb chapter of the Red Cross, is making an appeal for women to help in some of the work at the sewing center on the second floor of the Chronicle Building.

"Production this year is lagging because of the scarcity of helpers and any women who are able to devote some time to this work will be welcomed."

Sew, Sew, Sew Your Way for the Boys.  --GreGen

A Huge Flag Pole and Flag for Sycamore Anaconda


From the September 12, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"The south mill of the Sycamore Anaconda is a genuine 100% war industry.  A new 60-foot,  steel flag pole was installed there.  A flag will adorn the pole early next week.

"It must be set in concrete a few days before being vibrated by Old Glory waving in the breezes.  Installation of the pole created major interest for war workers at the mill.  Already they  express a feeling of pride over it."

--GreGen





Friday, December 21, 2018

Wartime Transportation Problems in Sycamore


From the September 12, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, IL)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Strain's Food  Mart is the latest retail establishment in Sycamore to be hit by the wartime transportation problem.

"Starting next Tuesday that store will restrict  its delivery service to one trip a day except Saturday."

Gas rationing, you know.

--GreGen

About That Top Secret Plane Built in DeKalb in 1943


From the September 19, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1993, 25 Years Ago.

"Fifty years after the former Wurlitzer and International plants in DeKalb built an airplane that was top secret at the time, the puzzle of what happened to the plane after it left DeKalb is being pieced together by local residents."

So this would have been a secret plane during World War II, 1943.

--GreGen


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Renters, Take Care of Your Landlord's Property


From the September 19, 2018, <idWeek  (DeKalb County, IL)  "Looking Back.

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Tenants occupying homes in the DeKalb Defense Rental areas, were admonished by Acting Director John J. Ryan to treat  their present abodes as though it was their own property

"Many landlords are renting residential  accommodations at very reasonable rental and the least a tenant can do is respect the property of his landlord who is making a direct contribution to the successful prosecution of the war."

The Ingrates.  --GreGen



Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Rent Control Necessary: Lack of Housing Due to War Industry


From the September 5, 2018, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Rent control became necessary in vital war production areas to keep workers from migrating to escape excessive living costs, and to help sustain the war effort., John J. Ryan, area rent director explained.

"The value of rent control in these centers already has been demonstrated.  Control of indiscriminate  eviction also became necessary to prevent eviction of war workers from their home to favor those willing to pay higher rents."

Housing was also a problem in Goldsboro and Wilmington, North Carolina and pretty much every war industry town and city.

--GreGen

Lack of Labor Endangers Corn Crop


From the September 5, 2018, MidWeek   "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"The Sycamore Preserve  Works tolled through the week end to pack corn.    On Saturday an emergency call was sent out through the Sycamore Chammer of Commerce for 100 men to work Sunday.

"Harvester Street was  jammed with wagon loads of corn waiting to be poured into the  canner plant.  The crop is apparently heavy.  There seems to be no end to the tons of ears being hauled in."

That Pesky Labor Shortage.  --GreGen




Tuesday, December 18, 2018

HMS Undaunted at Normandy


From the D-Day Overlord site.

The HMS Undaunted had only been in British service for just over three months at D-Day.

Its first action was escorting a convoy to destroy the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway.

In May 1944, it joined Bombardment Force K, which became part of Bombarding Force G  as part of Operation Overlord.  It escorted convoys across the English Channel on the night of 5 June 1944,heading for Gold Beach.  On D-Day it participated in fire support of English troops.

On June 7, the Undaunted embarked General Eisenhower, Admiral Ramsay and part of Overlord's staff to Portsmouth.  It then patrolled  on the Bay of the Seine and across the English Channel while occasionally pursuing its mission fire to the benefit of land forces.

--GreGen

HMS Undaunted and Ike's Flag-- Part 2: Indelible Pencil Dipped in Whiskey


This is the inscription that goes along with the flag:

"Flag presented to the Officers and Men of the HMS Undaunted by General Eisenhower.  During the afternoon of 7 June 1944, HMS Undaunted embarked General Eisenhower, Admiral Ramsay and their staffs, whose ship had grounded.

"This flag was hoisted on the starboard yard arm.    General Eisenhower signed his name across two of the stars, using indelible pencil dipped in whiskey."

--GreGen


Friday, December 14, 2018

HMS Undaunted and Ike's Flag-- Part 1: Crudely Made


In the last post I mentioned that the HMS Undaunted had come to have the flag of General Eisenhower after it took him and other top military personnel off the HMS Apollo after it ran aground during the Normandy Invasion.

I have not been able to find a picture of it.  But a General of the Army flag would consist of four white stars on a red field.

From Wikipedia.

The flag of Eisenhower is now property of the National Trust for Scotland at Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland, in the Eisenhower exhibit along with some other items belonging to the general including his presidential flag, shirt, jacket and tie.  The flag is thin and crudely made.

--GreGen

Thursday, December 13, 2018

HMS Undaunted Took Eisenhower Off the HMS Apollo After It Grounded on D-Day


This all started with the obituary of Courtenay Wright that I wrote about a couple days ago.

From Wikipedia.

The HMS Undaunted was a U-class destroyer commissioned 3 March 1944.  Its first operation was an attempt to destroy the German battleship Tirpitz then it took part in the D-Day landings.

It was here that the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower boarded the ship after the ship he was on, the HMS Apollo grounded while he was inspecting the beaches.

The Undaunted took the general and Admiral Ramsay back to Portsmouth and his flag was a wardroom "trophy" until 1969 when it was  presented to the National Trust of Scotland.

--GreGEn

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

HMS Apollo At D-Day With Eisenhower


From Wikipedia.

An Abdiel-class British minelayer operating in home waters during World War II and took part in the Normandy Invasion.

Detached for "Operation Neptune" the Normandy Invasion and on June 7, 1944 had Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, Naval Commander  in Chief Admiral Bertram Ramsey, General Bernard Law Montgomery and staff members from SHAEF tovisit the beaches.

Unfortunately, the Apollo grounded hard and her passengers were transferred to the destroyer  HMS Undaunted.

It was involved with laying mines afterwards.

--GreGen

Deaths: Courtenay Wright: D-Day With Eisenhower


COURTENAY WRIGHT, 95     (1923-2018)

Physicist Saw Normandy Beaches With Eisenhower.

November 27, 2018, Chicago Sun-Times.

Worked with some of the world's greatest military and scientific minds during his life.

As a 20-year-old Royal Navy radar officer, he decoded the message that made him one of the first in the world to know about the launch of D-Day.

The day after that, he was on the bridge of the HMS Apollo when General Dwight D. Eisenhower urged the captain to go full speed ahead so he could inspect the Normandy beaches.  The ship ran aground and "nearly decapitating the general."  Eisenhower's "startled face was inches from his own.

After the war, he was brought to to the University of Chicago by renowned physicist Enrico Fermi, a leader in the Manhattan Project.

--GreGen


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

After the Mission-- Part 2: The Bandage


In the scene of the painting, the American intelligence officer is taking notes.  Over his shoulder is his British counterpart.  The waist gunner standing second from left stares pensively toward the viewer, his expression suggesting emotional trauma from the recent stress he has endured.

His right hand is bandaged, perhaps from the bolt of his .50 caliber machine gun repeatedly slamming into it.

The tail gunner, a young man still in his teens, glances out the window wondering if his buddy in another aircraft will return.

--GreGEn

After the Mission-- Part 1: Intel Gained


From the Paralyzed Veterans of America 2018 calendar featuring the aviation artwork of Gil Cohen. December.  I am going to miss this excellent calendar with all the realistic paintings by this artist.

Safely back home and exhausted, it's time for bomber crews to debriefed the details of their mission.  The table is laden with simple items:  aerial maps, strike photos, coffee mugs, cigarette packs (Lucky Strikes) and ashtrays.

But the lessons learned and intel gathered and shared here will prepare them for some of the command's next important tasks.

--GreGen

Monday, December 10, 2018

What Were They Smoking On That Hemp Tour in 1943?


From the September 5, 2018, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois"  "Looking Back"

1943, 75 Years Ago.

:Over 200 DeKalb county farmers attended the hemp tours held at the Kirkland and Shabonna hemp mill  areas in DeKalb County.

And, What Were They Smoking.  --GreGen

Lutherans Supporting the Military


From the May 9, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"An interesting window display furnished through the courtesy of the Immanuel Lutheran church, has been placed in the window of the Riippi store in DeKalb and has been attracting widespread interest.

"The theme of the display is 'They Shall Not March Alone' and shows some of the many things which are supplied the men in service by the Lutheran Army-Navy Commission.  In the window are the Service Prayer Book and other reading materials which the commission furnished to the boys serving in the armed forces.

--GreGen

Sunday, December 9, 2018

WW II Service of George H.W. Bush-- Part 2: Back to the San Jacinto and Discharge


In November 1944, George Bush returned to the USS San Jacinto an participated in operations in the Philippines until his squadron was replaced and sent home to the United States.  By 1944, he had flown 58 combat missions.for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals and the Presidential  Unit Citation awarded to the San Jacinto.

He was then reassigned to a training wing for torpedo bomber  crews at the Norfolk Navy base, Virginia.  His final assignment was to the new torpedo squadron VT-153 based at Naval in Station Gross Ile, Michigan.

He was honorably discharged from the Navy  in September 1945, one month after the surrender of Japan.

While he was still in the Navy, he married Barbara Pierce in Rye, New York, on January 6, 1945.

--GreGen

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Pearl Harbor In My Other Blogs Yesterday


Since yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day, I wrote about it in all my blogs, as I do every year.

You can use the My Blogs section to the right to check out what I wrote.

Civil War Navy:  Death of the oldest Pearl Harbor vet, Ray Chavez, at age 106.

Civil War:  Hiram "Pete" Carter.

Down Da Road:  Pearl Harbor might become a stand-alone National Memorial

RoadLog:  Lt. Jim Downing, USS West Virginia

History:  Clarence Lux

WW II and War of 1812:  USS Nevada

Friday, December 7, 2018

December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor


Continued from today's Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 blog.

Wade was a 3rd Class Gunner's Mate on the USS Nevada on the #1 Turret (the one closest to the bow).  He was a powder man for a 14-inch gun and had to place three bags of powder, each as big as a five gallon bucket.

His ship was anchored near the USS Arizona.

During the attack a ship in the drydock exploded and he thought it was his ship, the Nevada.  He went overboard into the water.  He was pulled out and put back on his ship.

His was the only battleship able to get underway that day.

Afterwards he helped save sailors and pull the dead out of the water.  A few days later he was back aboard the USS Nevada.  The holes had been patched, water pumped out and the ship went back to the U.S. for repairs.  Wade was transferred to the USS Pathfinder, a coast and geographical survey ship.

His action wasn't over as he was at Guadalcanal and Bougainville.

--GreGen



Thursday, December 6, 2018

The WW II Service of George H.W. Bush-- Part 1: Rescue By USS Finback


George Bush was the only survivor and he waited for hours in an inflated raft while several U.S. fighters circled overhead to protect him.  he was finally rescued by the submarine USS Finback.  He remained on that ship for the next month and participated in the rescue of other aviators.

Several of the Americans shot down in the attack on Chichijima were killed by their Japanese captors and their livers eaten.

This experience affected Bush intensely for the rest of his life.  He often said, "Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?"

For more on his World War II service, see my other blogs for today.  All were about him in the war.  Go to My  Blog List to the right of this.

--GreGen

Illinois Bicentennial, Robert Anderson-- Part 2: Killed on USS Colorado By Friendly Fire


From Maritime Quest.

List of men killed on the battleship USS Colorado (BB-45) by accidental gunfire during the invasion of the Philippines at Lingayen Gulf January 9, 1945.

There is a list of 21 men, including Robert E. Anderson.

Some of the others killed that day:

James Edgar Apple

Karl Porter Baum, Jr.

John Paul Bock

Harold Archibald Coates

Kenneth Eugene Davis

Sad.  Friendly Fire?  --GreGen


Monday, December 3, 2018

Illinois Veteran Robert Emmanuel Anderson, Mortally Wounded By Friendly Fire?


One of the 22,000 men and women from Illinois who gave their lives during the war.

From the Illinois World War II Veterans Memorial site.

ROBERT EMMANUEL ANDERSON

Marine Corps, Killed in Action

Hometown:  Norwood Park Township, Illinois

Robert began his service April 12, 1944, after graduating from high school.  After boot training, he received nine weeks of special schooling, and he was stationed at San Diego, California.

He was one of the few men selected to be a member of Mrs. Roosevelt's Guard of Honor.

In November, he left San Francisco as Private 1st Class on a battleship in the Pacific Theater.

During battle on January 9, 1945, his leg was blown off by cannon fire, possibly friendly.  He died the next day.

He would have been 19 years old on January 21, 1945.  He had been anticipating his birthday.

Submitted by Megan McGovern, August 2010.

--GreGen

Illinois in World War II: Illinois Veterans Memorial


Since today is the 200th anniversary of Illinois being admitted as a state in the United States.

From the Illinois Natural Resources Historic Preservation  Division.

This memorial honors the  987,000 Illinois men and women who served during the war and the 22,000 who gave their lives.

Its focal point is a white, 22-ton concrete world globe flanked  on two sides by black granite walls.

Stainless steel buttons on the globe identify major battles and there are quotations by military leaders and Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

The memorial is in Oak Ridge Cemetery on the north side of Springfield.  This is the same cemetery in which Abraham Lincoln is buried.

--GreGen

Saturday, December 1, 2018

President George H.W. Bush (June 12, 1924-November 30, 2018): World War II Veteran


Saddened to hear about his death today.

A hero in every sense of the word.

He was a pilot on the USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) during the war.

--GreGen


Friday, November 30, 2018

Fort Wood in New York Harbor During WW II


I have been writing about this fort in my Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 blog.  Today, Fort Wood is the base of the Statue of Liberty.

From FortWiki.

After WW I,  troops from it guarded and patrolled New York Harbor.  In 1924, the Statue of Liberty and Fort Wood were declared a National Monument and in 1933 they were transferred to the National Park Service.

The U.S. Army abandoned the post in 1937.

During World War II, the Coast Guard maintained an observation station on the old Fort Wood  statue base and after the war, the remaining military buildings were torn down.

--GreGen

USS Liscome Bay-- Part 3: The Torpedo Hit the Bomb Magazine


On 23 November 1943, the Japanese submarine I-175 arrived off Makin.  The U.S. Task Force built around Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinnix's three escort carriers:  Liscome Bay, Coral Sea and Corregidor,  was steaming 20 miles  southwest of Butaritari Island at 15 knots.

At 04:30 24 November, reveille sounded on the Liscome Bay.  Flight quarters sounded 04:50 and crew to routine general quarters at 05:05.  Flight crews began preparing their planes for dawn launching.  Thirteen planes had been readied on the flight deck, including one on the catapult.   They had all been  fueled and armed.

Since this was the Liscome Bay's first operation since leaving Pearl Harbor, she still had her full amount of fuel and bombs.  And, there were a lot of  big bombs on board as well as depth charges and torpedoes.

At about 05:10, a lookout on the starboard side of the ship reported a torpedo headed for the ship.  It struck behind the engine room and detonated the bomb magazine causing a devastating explosion that engulfed the whole ship.

--GreGen


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

USS Liscome Bay-- Part 2: Capturing Tarawa


Length  498 feet  65 foot beam  (108 foot flight deck)

Crew 910 officers and men

Carried 27 aircraft.

After training exercises along U.S. West Coast departed from San Diego on 21 October 1843 and arrived in Pearl Harbor a week later.  After more drills and operational exercises, she left on her first and last combat mission.  Departed Pearl Harbor on 10 November as part of Task Force 52, commanded by Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner headed for the Gilbert Islands.

This attack was the first major U.S. thrust into the Central Pacific and began on 20 November.  Just 76 hours later, Tarawa and Makin islands were taken.  The Liscome Bay, however, did not take part in it.

With the islands taken, naval forces began retiring from the area.

But....

--GreGen

Monday, November 26, 2018

USS Liscome Bay (ACV/CVE- 56)-- Part 1: Operation Galvanic


From Wikipedia.

Was a Casablanca-class  escort aircraft carrier during World War I.  It was named for  Liscome Bay on Dall Island in Alaska.  the ship was lost in a torpedo attack by the Japanese submarine I-175 during Operation Galvanic (of which the Battle of Tarawa was part), with a catastrophic loss of life, on November 24, 1943.

So, we are at the 75th anniversary of the sad event.

I'd never heard of this ship so am doing some research.  This would be an excellent vessel to locate with all the ones being found in the Pacific Theater these days.

It was laid down on December 9, 1942, by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Company in Vancouver, Washington and launched  April 18, 1943.  It was commissioned by the Navy on August 7, 1943.

--GreGen




A Nurse on Leave in 1943


From the August 15, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Lieut. Alta Wiley, A.N.C. who has been visiting relatives the past week, will leave for Douglas Air Field, Ariz. at the end of her fifteen-day leave.

"Lieut. Wiley id the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs.  R.V. Wiley and the niece of Mrs.  Clarence Mahin and Mary and Louise Barron."

--GreGen

Friday, November 23, 2018

75th Anniversary of the End of the Battle of Tarawa Today


At 5:10 on November 23, 1943,  one of the 17 aircraft carriers involved in the battle, the USS Liscome Bay (ACV-CVE-56) an escort carrier was sunk by the Japanese submarine I-175 with a huge loss of life.

The loss of life was 687.

I have seen sources that say it sank on November 23 and other sources say November 24.  Not sure which one.

Fighting on the island of Betio was essentially cleanup with very high Japanese casualties on this date.

America paid a big price in casualties, but the island was ours.

--GreGEn

"Bloody, Bloody Tarawa-- Part 7: A Learning Process


Even with the heavy casualties and miscalculations, American forces inflicted a tremendous amount of casualties on the Japanese defenders on Tarawa.  A total of 4,836 Japanese troops died, with only 17 survivors.

The lessons learned at Tarawa were applied to later invasions of the Marshall Islands at the beginning of 1944.  The Navy and Marine Corps were better prepared by having "improved naval gunfire and air support, ...waterproof radios and underwater demolition teams," as well as more amphibious landing vehicles and flamethrower tanks.

This would prove to be vital for Allied success in later Pacific battles.

"Tarawa doesn't get the respect that Iwo Jima, Okinawa or other Pacific battles get, but, in my opinion, it is right up there with them," said Annette Amerman.  "It was a smaller and shorter battle, but it was just as crucial as the alter fights in the war."

--GreGen


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

75th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Battle of Tarawa Today


Seventy-five years ago today, Marines stormed ashore on the small Pacific atoll called Tarawa on the island of Betio and met huge Japanese resistance and turned it into "Bloody, Bloody Tarawa."

The battle lasted three days and was the first U.S. offensive in the central Pacific.  Previous landings had met little or no resistance.  This one certainly did not.

Of the 4,000 plus Japanese garrison, just 17 were captured.  the rest died.  Of 18,000 Marines, there were 1,009 killed, 2,101 wounded.  Total American casualties were 1,966 killed and 2,101 wounded.

On November 23, the USS Liscome Bay was sunk with 687 killed.

Like They Said, "Bloody, Bloody Tarawa."  --GreGen

"Bloody, Bloody Tarawa"-- Part 6: Reasons For the Heavy U.S. Casualties


The reasons for the heavy casualties on Tarawa have much to do with the planning and execution of the invasion.

For starters, the Americans counted on a tide of at least four feet to allow the assault vehicles to cross the several hundred yard reef before reaching the shore on Betio.  But, Betio was at neap (an especially low) tide, landing craft were unable to make it to shore on the first day of battle.  Marines had to wade through the ocean water -- many were wounded or killed before making it to the beach.

Another issue for the Navy and marines involved in the battle was timing of attacks.  Many of the radios during the opening of the battle were damaged by water and enemy fire.  Because of severe limitation to communications, many units did not know about last minute changes to H-Hour, or the designated time when the assault would begin.

Rough seas and a long run from the Navy ships to the beach caused delays.  The time of attack was postponed twice, but many Marines did not receive the news because of communication failures.

--GreGen

Monday, November 19, 2018

"Bloody, Bloody Tarawa"-- Part 5: U.S. Public Shocked By Motion Picture


According to Annette Amerman, the Battle of Tarawa gets its notorious reputation because it was the first Marine Corps battle to be captured on motion picture -- something that was frequently seen in later battles and wars.

"Americans saw dead Marines in the beach of Tarawa, and it was very shocking to them," Amerman said.    "Everyone had already heard the term 'war is hell,' but they saw it first hand thanks to that film.

Indeed, the Navy and Marine Corps suffered very many casualties during this short battle.  Some 1,085 men were killed and 2,292 wounded in action.  Even more shocking is that those numbers are our of only 5,600 Americans in the battle.

--GreGen

"Bloody, Bloody Tarawa"-- Part 4: Never In a 100 Years


Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the beginning of this battle.

One of the people who believed it would be impossible for Tarawa to fall was Japanese Rear Admiral Meichi Shibasaki, the island's commander, who said "a million Americans" wouldn't be able to take Tarawa in "100 years."  He was wrong, the United States captured it in 76 hours.

Retired Marine Corps Col. Joseph Alexander wrote in his book "Across the Reef: The Marine Assault of Tarawa that Shibasali's thoughts were forgivable and that the island was "the most heavily defended atoll that ever would be invaded by Allied forces in the Pacific."

--GreGEn

Saturday, November 17, 2018

"Bloody, Bloody Tarawa"-- Part 3: The Japanese Were Ready


The Battle of Tarawa was the first major American offensive in the central Pacific.  Until then, Americans didn't face mush opposition during amphibious assaults.  Previous landings had met little or no hostile action.  But Tarawa was to be different.

The initial landings of the 2nd Marine Division met with heavy Japanese resistance right away.  The Japanese troops on Betio were also equipped with 8-inch, turret-mounted naval rifled guns as well as coast defense, anti-aircraft, anti-boat field artillery guns and howitzers.  They also had many kinds of light tanks and other weapons.  These soldiers were ready for anything the Americans might bring against them.

Americans had never met this kind of opposition before.

"Tarawa was a bloody, bloody battle," said Annette Amerman, a historian with the Marine Corps History Department in Quantico, Virginia.  Nit only was it an exceedingly hard-fought battle, but in reality, the Marines probably should not have been able to take the island. "There are people who argue that Tarawa should never have been taken.""

--GreGen


"Bloody, Bloody" Tarawa-- Part 2: In the Gilbert Islands


The November 1943 invasion of the Gilbert islands was the beginning of the U.S. "Island-Hopping" Campaign in the central Pacific during World War II.  U.S. commanders determined that amphibious attacks on Japanese-occupied islands was key to victory.

And, not every island would have to be attacked.  We would chose principal ones and skip others.

The island of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands was the first target of the American campaign.

Tarawa is located about 80 nautical miles from the equator and is the largest atoll in the Gilbert Islands which is a 16-island chain roughly halfway between Hawaii and Papua New Guinea.  The Japanese had seized it from the British a few days after the their attack on Pearl Harbor.

Tarawa's main island, Betio, was the target if the Navy and Marine Corps.

--GreGen

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"Bloody, Bloody" Tarawa-- Part 1: 75th Anniversary This Month


From the November-December 2018 VFW Magazine by Dave Spiva.

November 20 marks 75 years since the American assault against Japanese forces on Tarawa in World War II.

The victory on this central Pacific island came at a high cost for the Marines.  Mistakes were made but lessons learned.  These proved invaluable in later amphibious assaults in the "Island-Hopping" Campaign.

--GreGen

New Scrap Drive Flag Hoisted Over Court House in Sycamore in 1943


From the May 2, 2019, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Without the standard awarded by the country for the successful scrap drive, which has been practically destroyed by the storms and wind, the court house was flying a new United States flag and it is a far prettier sight than the old one that was removed and burned.

"The scrap drive award flag was ruined and destroyed."

So, if your county had a successful scrap drive it would get a U.S. flag.  This flag was flown over the DeKalb County Court House in Sycamore, Illinois.

Gather A Lot of Scrap, Get A New Flag.  --GreGen

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Someone Goes for a Joyride in 1943


From the July 18, 2018, MidWeek  :Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Early this afternoon the Charles Bradt car, taken during the night, was recovered about a block from his home.  The gasoline supply was nearly exhausted indicating that those who had taken the car had driven it a considerable distance before deserting it on the nearby street."

And, remember, there was gas rationing going on.

Joyriding During the War?  --GreGen



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Case of the Drunk Soldier in DeKalb


From the July 18, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"A soldier on his way west was taken from a bus yesterday afternoon by the DeKalb police and taken to the station and held until he sobered up.

"The driver of the bus had asked that he be removed."

--GreGen

Monday, November 12, 2018

No. 8 Group RAF-- Part 3: Heavy Losses During the War


Continued from Friday.

There were initially five squadrons in Group 8, but that was expanded to 19.  No. 8 Force was also responsible for  the Light Night Striking Force which used Mosquito bombers and harassing Germany.

The Force was disbanded 15 December 1945.  However, in 1943, members got patches with the inscription "We Guide To Strike."

Most of the Pathfinder Forces (PFF) were members of the Royal Air Force, but there were also members from Commonwealth countries.

The PFF flew a total of 50,490 individual sorties against some 3,440 targets.  It was at a big cost, though.  At least 3,727 members lost their lives.

--GreGen

It's Threshing Time in DeKalb County in 1943


From the August 8, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Threshing crews are in vogue this week, and many 'rigs"  as the farmers designate them, are in operation in all parts of the county.

"The oats were cut and shocked  through the cooperative aid of the United States Employment Agency in conjunction with the California Packing corporation and much of the work was completed in time."

This U.S. Employment Agency may have been referring to the War Manpower Commission.

Food for the War Effort.  --GreGen

Sunday, November 11, 2018

"The War To End All Wars" Ends and Veterans Day Today


On this date, at 11 a.m., the guns along the Western Front ceased firing, marking the end of "The War To End All Wars."  Sadly, this was not the last war.

But, anyway, the bloodiest war in the annals of human history ended and everyone was happy.

Today, we still commemorate Armistice Day, though we call it Veterans Day.

In a short time, Liz and I will be going to the train station in Fox Lake, Illinois, for the observance of this special day.

If You See a Vet Today, Definitely Thank Them.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"No Smarter, Handier, or More Adaptable" USMC


The U.S. Marines have their roots in the Continental Marines of the American Revolution, formed 243 Years ago by a resolution of the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775.

"I am convinced that there are no smarter, handier, or more adaptable body of troops in the world."

Prime Minister of Britain Winston Churchill speaking about the USMC.

--GreGen

Friday, November 9, 2018

No. 8 Group RAF-- Part 2: Using Oboe, Gee and H2S


It was a key component of the Bomber Command.  It consisted of specialist squadrons that marked targets for the main targets of Bomber Command aircraft.

The Force, which had been formed in August 1943 with five squadrons flying a mix of Short Stirlings, Handley Page Halifaxes, Avro Lancasters and Vickers Wellingtons.

Whenever new improved aircraft became available, like the de Havilland Mosquito,  8 Group got the first ones.  Its aircraft used  advanced navigation aids like Gee, H2S and Oboe to find targets of attack more accurately than the main force of bombers could do on their own by eye.

--GreGen

Thursday, November 8, 2018

No. 8 Group RAF-- Part 1: In Both World Wars


From Wikipedia.

The No. 8 Group RAF (Royal Air Force) existed in the final year of the First World War and during the Second World War.

During the First World War it was formed in April 1918 as a training unit and designated  as 8 Group (Training).  It remained  at this for the remainder of the war and was disbanded May 1919.

SECOND WORLD WAR

The group was re-established as No. 8 (Bomber) Group on 1 September 1941 only to be disbanded  around five months later on 28 January 1942.

However, 8 Group was re-constituted when Bomber  Command's Pathfinder Force was redesignated No. 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group on 8 January 1943.

--GreGen

We Guide To Strike-- Part 2: Marked the Targets


The Pathfinder force was able to penetrate the industrial pollution with aircraft equipped with the blind-bombing device known as Oboe.  This technology afforded them the ability to seek out targets regardless of weather conditions and to illuminate desired areas with brilliant target markers which reflected back up from the ground through the haze.

The application of the crew's precise identification of the target locations enabled  the following bomber strikes to be  incisively accurate.

That's why "We Guide To Strike" is the motto of the No. 8 Pathfinder Force Group.

--GreGen



Wednesday, November 7, 2018

"We Guide To Strike"-- Part 1: 156 Squadron Pathfinder Force


From the Paralyzed Veterans of America 2018 Calendar Heroes of the Air.  With another amazing painting by Aviation Artist Gil Cohen.

November 2018.

You see five British RAF men at a high altitude, four working with instruments and one flying the plane.

Here, a Lancaster of 156 Squadron Pathfinder Force, flying ahead of the main force of bombers, makes a run over its target in the heavily defended German industrial Ruhr Valley.

The Ruhr, the greatest industrial area in all of Germany, was the most heavily defended target in the world.  The Ruhr Valley was almost always covered by an almost permanent  smoke-haze from the factories, which made visual pin-pointing of towns below nearly impossible at night.

--GreGen


Saturday, November 3, 2018

USS Abner Read-- Part 2: Operations Before the Mine Explosion


After a shakedown cruise along the California coast in April 1943, the Read left for the Aleutian Islands and started patrolling May 5.  On 11 May, she shelled Japanese positions on Attu Island supporting a U.S. landing on the island.  She again shelled the island May 16, before returning to California at the end of the month.

Two weeks in drydock  and returned to the Aleutians in June and began patrolling off Japanese-occupied Kiska  On 22 July 1943, the Read joined a general fleet bombardment of Kiska in Operation Cottage where a joint American-Canadian landed only to find the Japanese had withdrawn their troops.

--GreGen


Friday, November 2, 2018

The USS Abner Read Named After A Civil War Union Naval Officer


From Wikipedia.

Abner Read (5 April 1821 to 7 July 1863)

An officer in the U.S. Navy who distinguished himself during the Civil War.

He died of injuries sustained while patrolling the Mississippi River in command of the USS New London.

At the time of his death he had attained the rank of lieutenant commander.

The destroyers USS Abner Read (DD-526) and USS Abner Read (DD-769) were named after him.

The DD-769 was a Gearing-class destroyer laid down during World War II but never completed.

I will be writing about Abner Read in my Running the Blockade: Civil War Navy blog.

--GreGen

USS Abner Read (DD-526)-- Part 1: Fletcher-Class Destroyer


From Wikipedia.

The USS Abner Read was a Fletcher-class destroyer named after Lieutenant Commander  Abner Read (1820-1863) who died in the Civil War.  It saw action in the Aleutian Islands Campaign where its stern was blown off by a Japanese mine in 1943.

After repairs, she returned to service and was involved in the New Guinea Campaign and the Battle of Leyte.  She was sunk off Leyte in 1944.

Built by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding  Corporation of San Francisco.  Laid down 30 October 1941, launched 18 August 1842 and commissioned 5 February 1943.  Commander Thomas Burrowes commanding.

376.6 feet long, 39.8 foot beam, 336 crew, Five 5-inch guns, 17 AA guns, ten torpedo tubes,  six depth charge projectors and two depth charge racks.

--GreGen


Thursday, November 1, 2018

USS Abner Read Stern Found-- Part 8: Found Proof


The multi-beam sonar scans of the flat sea floor west of Kiska on July 17 had quickly picked up an object.

The scientist sent down an underwater robot with cameras, and there, looming in the dim light, was the encrusted profile of the Abner Read's sunken five-inch gun.

Said Andrew Pietruzka, lead archaeologist:  "It's like scoring a touchdown.  You see it  come on the screen, and the whole room goes pretty nuts."

"It's a very humbling experience,"  he said.  To be part of, even without the recovery of these remains, (something where) families can find some solace that somebody found where their loved one is, that you.can put that to rest."

--RoadDog

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Stern of USS Read Found-- Part 7: Sunk By a Kamikaze in 1944


Another destroyer managed to tow the ship out of danger.  It was later towed to Bremerton, Washington, where it got a new stern and rejoined the fighting.

It participated in several actions before sailing to Leyte Gulf by the Philippines.

On November 1, 1944, the Abner Read was struck by a suicide kamikaze and sank in about 30 minutes.  All but twenty of her crew were rescued.  Daryl Weathers was burned but survived, in part because a shipmate gave him his life jacket.

--GreGen


Monday, October 29, 2018

Stern of USS Abner Read Found-- Part 6: :You Weren't Good For More Than 10 or 15 Minutes"


The rescuers used life jackets to hook men in the water and then haul them in.  "We pulled up a few," he said.  But "they didn't last too long in the cold water.  ...You weren't good for more than 10 or 15 minutes."

Seventy-one men were lost according to Navy records.  Daryl Weathers said he knew most of them.

The crew numbered about 330.  Commander Burrowes went on to higher command after the incident.

The blast also set off the ship's smokescreen mechanism which was belching toxic smoke and choking the survivors.

The Read was now powerless and adrift near the shore.  There was the knowledge that there might as well be more nearby mines.

--GreGen

Friday, October 26, 2018

Stern of USS Abner Read Found-- Part 5: From Boredom To Blown Out of the Water


Mr. Weathers continued:  "We'd been doing figures 8s, about 3-, 4-miles long.  We'd been doing this for a day and a half and were becoming relaxed because there was no report of anything."

Scores of sailors were asleep in the aft compartments.

When the mine went off "the whole ship came out of the water."  A huge flash appeared on the radar screen.

The crew went to battle stations.  Weathers ran to his anti-aircraft gun, but there was nothing to shoot at, so he started helping rescue men who had fallen into the rigid water.

"It was a kind of bad thing."  The sea was coated with fuel oil  "Everybody was slippery, you couldn't get  get a hold of anybody."

--GreGen

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Stern of USS Abner Read Found-- Part 4: A First Hand Account


Seaman First Class Daryl Weathers, 19, from Los Angeles was in the radar room on the bridge, standing the mid-watch --  midnight to 4 a.m..  "Everything was peaceful," he said, and the exhausted skipper, Cmdr. Thomas Burrowes, had just gone to his quarters for rest.

Burrowes had already lost one ship, the USS O'Brien the year before and was reluctant to leave the bridge.

"I got a responsibility here for everyone of these kids' mothers to bring them back home again," Weathers remembers him saying.

"I was very touched by that, he said.  "But he went down to his cabin and about 30 minutes later, 'Bam!'"

--GreGen



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Stern of Abner Read Found-- Part 3: Locating War Artifacts At the Bottom of the Sea


The Japanese seized Kiska in June 1942 and weren't driven off until June 1943 after relentless shelling and bombing by U.S. forces.

Along with the Read' stern, a dozen Japanese ships, two Japanese submarines and numerous downed American airplanes are believed to be in local waters.  And this, in part, is the reason Project Recover is there as that is a bi part of it, the locating of lost World War II aircraft at sea.

The project got a $600,000 grant from the NOAA and spent two weeks in a research vessel off Kiska in July.

--GreGen

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Stern of USS Abner Read Found-- Part 2: Ship Later Sunk By a Kamikaze


Despite losing its stern, the Read managed to stay afloat that night.  It was later repaired and went back into action.  In 1944, the Read was hit again, this time by a Japanese kamikaze and sank off the Philippine island of Samar.

The Abner Read was named for a Civil War naval hero.  Shortly after commissioning, it was sent to Kiska.

And there, 75 years after it lost its stern, on July 17 underwater archaeologists found the 75-foot stern section where scores of men probably remain entombed.

The expedition was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and run by Project Recover and several other organizations.  The aim was to study the almost untouched underwater battlefield of the battle for the Aleutian Islands.

It was the only World War II battle on North American soil.  Kiska and Attu Island are the only U.S. territories occupied by a foreign force in the last 200 years.  Kiska is about 1,000 miles off Alaska's western coast in the Bering Sea.

--GreGen




Monday, October 22, 2018

Stern of USS Abner Read (DD-526) Found-- Part 1: Sunk By Japanese Mine


From the August 19, 2018, Chicago Tribune  "Stern of WW II ship found off Aleutians" by Michael E. Ruane. The Washington Post.

The USS Abner Read had just finished one leg of its anti-submarine patrol and was starting the next one off shore of Kiska, in Alaska's Aleutian Islands.  It was August 18, 1943 and the Japanese had just evacuated the island.

But, they still had a minefield in the area.  The Read figured it to be 2,000 yards away. At 1:50 aa.m., its stern erupted in a huge geyser of water.  It had struck a mine which snapped off a large chunk of the stern sending it and a 5-inch gun to the bottom of the sea.  As many as 70 men were trapped inside it.

On Wednesday, August 15, maritime scientists announced that they had found that stern encrusted in sea growth in 290 feet of water.

No remains of sailors were seen or recovered.

--GreGen

Visiting Europe's Fascist Sites-- Part 5: Gestapo and SS HQs and Hitler's Bunker


The Topography of terror exhibit in Berlin stands atop the rubble of what was once one of the more terrifying of Nazi sits, the headquarters of the Gestapo secret police and the elite SS force.

Hitler's life would end in Berlin, deep underground in his bunker.  With his capital smoldering in ruins in the spring of 1945, the war in Europe ended after his death.

Rick Stevens:  "While traveling in Italy and Germany recently and taking in the remnants of Mussolini' and Hitler's reigns, I was struck by how entire nations have become mesmerized and led astray by fascist leaders.  The best souvenir from that trip:  a realization of how fragile democracy is -- and how, if you take freedom for granted, you can lose it."

--GreGen

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Visiting Europe's Fascist Sites-- Part 4: Eagle's Nest and the Reichstag


Another of Hitler's shows was at his mountain-capping Eagle's Nest.  It was his Alpine getaway south of Munich in Berchtesgaden where he softened his image and became a "regular guy."  A stone tunnel leads to his elevator which takes you to the top.

The Reichstag in Berlin is Germany's parliament building.  It "mysteriously" caught fire in 1933 and gave Hitler the excuse to frame the communists and seize power.

--GreGen



Thursday, October 18, 2018

Visiting Europe's Fascist Sites-- Part 3: Germany


"Inspired by Mussolini and buoyed by the Great Depression in 1929, Hitler's similar promises of a better life gained traction in Germany."

For the Nazi's, this was especially to center on the city of Nurnberg, nicknamed the "most German of German cities.  It was a favorite of Hitler to showcase his nationalistic pomp and pageantry and where he held those grand rallies you always see in documentaries.

The Rally Grounds consist of four square miles southeast of Nurnberg's Old Town.  Zeppelin Field was the site of those rallies.  Today, the stark remains are "thought provoking."

You can also see the unfinished Congress Hall which now is the site of the Documentation Center Museum.  This is the largest surviving example of Nazi architecture.  Hitler modeled the building on Rome's Colosseum, only on an even grander scale.

The Documentation Center traces the evolution of the Nationalist Socialist movement and how it both energized and terrified the German people.

--GreGen

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Visiting Europe's Fascist Sites-- Part 2: Rome's Olympic Stadium and E.U.R.


Two examples of Mussolini's infrastructure can be seen in Rome.  One is the Olympic Stadium, located north of Vatican City and the planned city called E.U.R. in south Rome.

The Olympic Stadium was originally called Foro Mussolini and is still in use today.  It was built with the intention of having the games in Rome as well as to promote physical prowess as a key element of fascist ideology.

In the late 1930s, Mussolini made plans for an international exposition -- the Exhibit Universal Rome (E.U.R.) to show off the wonders of his fascist world.  World War II stopped it from happening, but the project was completed in the 1950s and today houses apartment blocks, corporate and government offices and big, rarely visited museums.

--GreGen

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Visiting Fascist Sites in Europe-- Part 1: Rise of Mussolini and Hitler


From the August 19, 2018, Chicago Tribune  "Visiting 20th-century fascist sites" by Rick Stevens.

"The sweeping impact of fascism in the 20th century can be felt to this day in the many monuments and memorials across Europe that remind us of those horrific years."

Fascism started in the post-World War I years when anger ruled and charismatic leaders rose to manipulate that anger.  Both Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany turned fringe movements into totalitarian fascist regimes.

Mussolini gained power first and met with success, pumping up the Italian economy, creating jobs and investing in infrastructure.

--GreGen

Save That Kitchen Fat for the A.A. Guns


From the August 22, 2018, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"If each household in DeKalb county saved one teaspoon of waste fat for a year it would provide enough glycerin to make 458,496  anti-aircraft shells."

Do Your Part, Save That Fat.  --GreGen

Monday, October 15, 2018

Horace Carlsen, USMC-- Part 5: Funeral Arrangements


VISITATION:  Friday, October 12, 2018 from 5 pm until 8 pm at Glueckart Funeral Home, Ltd. 1520 N. Arlington Heights Road (4 blocks south of Palatine Road) Arlington Heights, Illinois 60004.

A 11 am Saturday, October 13, 2018 Committal Service will be held at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, Illinois.

In lieu of flowers, memorial may be donated to non-profit organizations working to locate and identify the remaining lost Tarawa Marines.

Funeral information and condolences can be given at www.GlueckertFuneralHome,com or (847) 253-0168.

Great To Have You back, Sgt. Carlsen  --GreGen

Horace Carlsen, USMC-- Part 4: Finally Identified


Due to extensive research by William Niven, Rick Stone (Chief Rick Stone and Family Foundation), and Mark Noah (History Flight), the search for Bud focused on Grave E1212.

Work by Nancy Spellman, Bud's niece, and great nephew Ed Spellman, led to the exhumation if E1212 and the conclusive identification of Bud in June 2018.

Bud is survived by his nieces and nephews:  Barbara Rapp, James Goodman, Richard Goodman, JAne Hilmer, and many great nieces and nephews.

Many Thanks to Them.  --GreGen

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Horace Carlsen, USMC-- Part 3: Killed At Battle of Tarawa, Remains Unidentified


In November of 1943, he was among the first troops to assault the heavily fortified enemy defenses of Betio Island Red Beach One, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert islands, as part of an advance team whose mission was to establish a headquarters for tractor battalion operations.

Bud was one of the 550 Marines killed in the battle whose remains were not identified or recovered. Dogtags were removed, gravesites obliterated and records lost.In 1946, his unidentified remains were moved to Hawaii's Schofield Mausoleum.

In 1949 his remains were reinterred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Hawaii's Punchbowl in grave E1212.

--GreGen

Friday, October 12, 2018

Horace Carlsen, USMC-- Part 2: At Many Battles, Including Guadalcanal


Horace "Bud" Carlsen was born January 4, 1912, in Brookfield to James and Amalia (nee Mehalek) Carlsen.  He died on November 20, 1943 during the Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific during WW II.

Bud came from a large family of 4 sisters and two brothers.  Through the 1930's Bud worked as an auto mechanic for Mahoney & Sirvotka in Cicero.  He was married to Jarmila Fisera from 1933 to 1941.

He enlisted in the Marine reserves in December 1941.  He rose to the rank of Technical Sergeant and served as the Quartermaster Maintenance Chief for Company A of the 2nd Marine Division's Second Amphibious Tractor Battalion.

From August through December of 1942, he participated in landing assaults against several strongly defended enemy positions in the South Pacific, including Tulagi, Gavutu, Tonambogo, Florida, Guadalcanal and British Solomon Islands.

--GreGen

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Horace Bud Carlsen Obituary-- Part 1: Died in 1943, Unknown Until 2018


From the October 7, 2018, Chicago Tribune Obituaries.

While reading Sunday's Chicago Tribune I happened to glance at the obituaries.  I usually don't look at the obituaries in the Tribune when people have to pay for them as they are too short.  I want to know about the lives of the people.  This one was a lot longer than most and then in the second sentence read that he had died on November 20, 1943.

OK. that was a long time ago and 1943 would mean World War II.  Then I saw he died at the Battle of Tarawa.  And, he was from the Chicago area.

And then, I thought to myself that the Tribune had definitely missed a good story here.  But, today, I see the story made front page.  Many Marines who died in that battle were never identified and buried as unknowns.

Here's hoping the U.S. government will start work on identifying these people as they have the Oklahoma unknowns.

--GreGen

USS Amethyst (YPc-3)-- Part 3: Back to the Former Owners


The Amethyst was again decommissioned at San Diego on 27 February 1946 and 11 September transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal.

It was sold to Samual K. Rindge, son-in-law of Willits J. Hole,  and the name Samona II given to her again.  In the 1950s it was sold to  David P. Hamilton of Shreveport, Louisiana, and renamed the Pudio until sold in 1962 and renamed the Explorer.

As of 2000 it was reported to still be operating along the Gulf Coast.

--GreGen

USS Amethyst (YPc-3)-- Part 2: Patrolled Entrance of Los Angeles Harbor


The ship was assigned to Inshore Patrol, 11th Naval District and helped patrol the entrance to Los Angeles Harbor.  After the U.S. declared war, its role expanded to escorting vessels and convoys as well as  carrying local passenger traffic.

On April 1, 1943, the Amethyst was attached to Surface Task Group, Southern Section, San Pedro, California, and continued patrolling the California coast.  This duty continued until January 1944 and the ship was decommissioned 2 February 1944.

The Amethyst was placed back in commission 19 April 1944, thus time manned by a U.S. Coast Guard crew.  Through the end of 1945, it maintained plane guard station, collected weather data and carried out anti submarine and antiaircraft  coastal patrols.

--GreGen


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

USS Amethyst (YPc-3)-- Part 1: The Second of Willits J. Hole's Yachts Acquired by Navy


From Wikipedia.

Willits Hole had two ships built by the name Samona and sold the first one to buy the second one.  The first one was renamed Elvida by its new owner.  Both the Elvida and the second Samona became yard patrol craft for the U.S. navy during World War II.

Formerly the yacht Samona II.  Launched 1931.  Acquired by Navy 1940 and commissioned 1941.  Purchased from Willets Hole.

147-feet long, 24  foot 10 inch beam, two guns and depth charge racks.

Built by the Craig Shipbuilding Co., Long Beach, California.  Converted to naval service by same company.  Commissioned 27 February 1941.

--GreGen


Monday, October 8, 2018

Willits J. Hole Owner of Elvida and Samona II


In the last posts I mentioned this man as the one who had the YP-109 Elvida built.

From Wikipedia.

1858-1938

American businessman and real estate developer of Southern California.   Known as the "Father of La Habra, California."

In the early 1920s, Hole took up boating and since he was quite rich by then, he had the yacht built for him.

Naval architect Leslie Edward Geary designed it and N.J. Blanchard built the 115-foot Samona in 1923.  (It was renamed Elvida when sold.)   In 1931, the Craig Shipbuilding Company built the 147-foot, steel-hulled long range cruiser Samona II, which was bought by the U.S. Navy in 1940, and commissioned as the USS Amethyst (PYc-3).

--GreGen

Saturday, October 6, 2018

USS Elvida (YP-109) Part 2: So, It Was There


*  Acquired  21 October 1941 by U.S. Navy.
*  Allocated to 14th Naval District.

*  Placed in service as District Patrol Craft YP-109 at Pearl Harbor, late 1941.
*  YP-109 present at Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941.

*  Placed out of service, date unknown.
*  Struck from Naval Register 3 January 1946

*  Delivered to War Shipping Administration for disposal 9 January 1947.
*  Final disposition, to Mexican flag 1948.  Further fate unknown.

--GreGen

USS Elvida (YP-109)-- Part 1: Somebody's Yacht


I could not find this ship's name anywhere other than on The Greatest Generation Foundation Facebook page where it mentions Steve Warren as being on this ship.

But NavSourceOnline has it, but just under the name YP-109 with no name.

It was classified as a District Patrol Craft.

*  Built by N.J. Blanchard Boat Co.  Seattle, Washington
*  Completed as the yacht Samona (ON 2223191) for Willits J. Hole, Los Angeles, California , 1923.

*  Sold to Craig Shipbuilding, Long Beach, Ca. as partial payment for Hole's new yacht Samona (later Amethyst PYc-3), 1930.
*  Sold to Thomas R. Dempsey. Los Angeles, CA. and renamed Elvida, 1936

--GreGen




Friday, October 5, 2018

Death of a Pearl Harbor Survivor Steve Warren: Saved By Infected Wisdom Tooth


As the years take more and more of the Greatest Generation.

From the Sept. 19, 2018, Rapid City Journal

STEVE P.WARREN, 97.  Died September 15, 2018.

Grew up in Meadow, Texas.  Joined Navy at age 19 and served six years, rising to the tank of Chief Warrant Officer.  In late 1941 he was to ship out on the USS Arizona but delayed because of complications from an infected wisdom tooth.

Instead, he shipped out on the USS Elvida (YP-109).  This ship was docked at the mouth of Pearl Harbor during the attack.  Had he been on the Arizona, no telling if he would have survived.  He lost many friends on the Arizona.

--GreGen

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Requiem For Torpedo Eight-- Part 3: Battle of Midway the Turning Point of War in the Pacific


Soon after, SBD Dauntless dive bombers hit and sank three Japanese aircraft carriers, the Akagi, the Kaga and the Soryu -- the pride of the Japanese fleet, and later, the Hiryu.

Ensign George Gay was rescued the day following the battle and Torpedo Eight was later awarded the American Presidential Unit Citation.

This event was the turning point of World War II in the Pacific.  From that point on, Japan would be fighting a defensive war against increasingly powerful American forces.

--GreGen

Requiem For Torpedo Eight-- Part 2: All Shot Down, Only One Survivor


The pilots' orders are to attack the entire might of the Japanese fleet off Midway Island.  Squadron leader LCDE John C. Waldron and his aircrews are well aware that their chances of survival from this fateful mission are minimal at best.

Flying low and slow against the Japanese armada, all fifteen torpedo bombers were shot out of the sky with only one survivor, Ensign George Gay.

But this daring action forced the defending Zero fighters down to wave-top level and exhausted much of their fuel, leaving their carriers virtually unprotected.

--GreGen

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Requiem For Torpedo Eight-- Part 1: Getting Ready for the Battle of Midway


From the Paralyzed Veterans of America 2018 Calendar.  Artwork by Gil Cohen.

Shows planes on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet getting ready to take off.

It is 0700 hours on the fourth day of June, 1942.  The place is the deck of the carrier Hornet (CV-8), made famous less than two months prior when B-25s led by Jimmy Doolittle were launched from her deck in the first surprise bombing raid on japan.

The atmosphere is tense, as the Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bombers of Torpedo Squadron Eight are poised for takeoff.

--GreGen



LST-325 Visits Dubuque-- Part 5: War's Going to Be Over


Roger Klauer says the trip to the LST-325 on Monday was emotional for the whole family:  "This is where Dad was figuring out who he was going to be.  He was just 22 years old and not yet married."

Klauer's LST was at sea when he learned the war was ending.

"Our captain announced: 'Now hear this:  We've just had an announcement that a bomb was dropped on enemy territory that is equivalent to what 2,000 bombers could carry, and we expect the war to be over soon."

We went into the bay at Manila and we counted 42 enemy ships that had been sunk," Klauer said.

He was discharged on June 6, 1946, and attended dental school on the G.I. Bill and practiced dentistry in Dubuque for 45 years, retiring in 1998.

--GreGen


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

LST-325 Visits Dubuque-- Part 4: LST-806 At Sea in the Pacific


In New Orleans, the LST-806's weapons were mounted.  Then the ship went through the Panama Canal on its way to the South Pacific Ocean.

"Along the equator, there were times the ocean looked like glass -- it was absolutely calm," he recalled.  "The sunrises and sunsets were gorgeous."

His job on board was to assist in the ship's office and he also served as a "conn talker," an individual who relays the captain's orders to the rest of the crew.

After sailing along the equator alone, the 808 joined a large number of ships upon arrival in the South Pacific.  After that, the ship embarked on a series of island invasions.

--GreGen

LST-325 Visits Dubuque-- Part 3: Training and His Ship


As he walked through the LST-325, he recalled his days on the identical LST-806.

"We slid down those stairs," he said of a steep set of stairs leading down to the ship's living quarters,.  "Sometimes the seas were so rough the deck with ripple."

Roger Klauer entered Navy service on May 11, 1944.  His LST crew was assembled  shortly after that in Libertyville, Illinois.  "from there, we trained at Navy Pier (Chicago), then we were sent to Evansville, Indiana."

The Navy launched Klauer's LST-806 from the shipyards in Evansville (which is the LST-325's home port).  With him and the rest of the crew of 123 on board,  the USS LST-806 traveled down the Ohio River to Cairo, Illinois, where it went into the Mississippi River and eventually to New Orleans.

--GreGen

LST-325 Visits Dubuque-- Part 2: LST-806 Operations


Roger Klauer said that one of the invasions his LST-806 was involved in was the one of  Palawan in the Philippines in early 1945.  "Palawan was of extreme importance because the enemy was holding out prisoners there."

His LST also made landings at Brunei Bay on Borneo and on the tip of the Philippines.

"We would hit the shores at low tides.  We would open the doors, and equipment, tents, food and everything would come out."

He toured the LST-325 on Monday, August 27, the same day I was on the ship.  He had his family with him who lived all over the country.

--GreGen

Monday, October 1, 2018

LST-325 Visits Dubuque, Iowa-- Part 1: LST Veteran Visits


From the August 28, 2018, Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph-Herald  "Veteran revisits tour of duty aboard restored WW II ship" by Eric Hogstrom.

Roger F. Klaure, 94, toured the restored LST-325 in Dubuque, 74 years after he first stepped aboard  a LST (Landing Ship Tank), the USS LST-806, in the Pacific Theater of action during World War II.

His own LST transported troops and equipment during invasions around Borneo and the Philippines in 1945.

"We did make three landings, after the shores had been bombarded by cruisers, destroyers, rockets, planes and everything," he said.

--GreGen

Friday, September 28, 2018

Three More USS Oklahoma Unknowns Identified


These are from June 2018.

ROBERT HOLMES

USMC  His recovered remains consist of a jawbone, a piece of his shoulder and a shinbone.

He will be buried in Utah.

JOHN SCHOONOVER

Of Port Edwards, Wisconsin.  Navy Pharmacist's Mate 1st Class, age 39.

His funeral will be at Naval Air Station Pensacola later this month.

WALLACE EAKES

He was 22 when he died on the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941.  He will be buried June 21 at Fort Logan National Cemetery  in Colorado.

Born and raised in Caney, Kansas and was a Storekeeper 3rd Class.

So far, 135 of the USS Oklahoma's Unknowns have been identified and 70 reburied.

--GreGen




Thursday, September 27, 2018

Pearl Harbor



1.  May 8, 2018 CNY Central.com  "CNY native Pearl Harbor survivor passes away at 97-years-old"

Larry Parry.  Was playing football when he saw the Japanese planes.  He spoke of his Pearl Harbor experiences at many schools and went back there for the 73rd anniversary.

2.  Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise  "Christensen served on the Tennessee at Peal Harbor."

Alvin H. Christensen.

--GreGen

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Railroad Repairs in DeKalb in 1943


From the May 16, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"The Chicago and North Western Railroad will start the repair work on its crossings in this city within a short time it was announced.  Some of the crossings are badly in need of repair, especially the one at Fourth Street and the Lincoln Highway.

"The railroad, like most others is short of help at present and it also difficult to secure the necessary materials.  The city has received many complaints on the condition of the crossings and has been doing everything possible to have the necessary repairs made as soon as possible."

More Wartime Shortages.  --GreGen

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

USS Cumberland Sound: Seaplane Tender and Operation Crossroads


From Wikipedia.

In the last post, I mentioned that Pearl Harbor survivor Ludwig "Lou" Radil was on this ship during the nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll.

Was a Kenneth Whiting-class seaplane tender  launched 23 February 1944 and commissioned 21 August 1944, Captain E. Grant in command.492 feet long, 69.6 beam, crew 1,077.

In October it sailed to Pearl Harbor and then to Enitowek and Ulithi where she tended the seaplanes of the  Patrol Bomber Squadron 22.  Then, the Cumberland Sound rendezvoused with the 3rd Fleet at Okinawa and sailed to Tokyo Bay, arriving 28 August 1945.  returned to the United States in November and was converted to carry returning U.S. military home.

She departed Seattle 28 December 1945 and embarked returning servicemen at San Pedro, California,  12 January 1946.

The Cumberland Sound was then assigned to "Operation Crossroads" nuclear testing. and on 19 January entered Long beach  Naval Shipyard for conversion to a laboratory ship.  She served during the atomic tests until 12 September 1946 when she returned too San Diego.

Placed out of commission in naval reserve 27 May 1947.

--GreGen

Monday, September 24, 2018

Pearl Harbor Survivor Ludwig Radil Dies in Nebraska


From the May 8, 2018, Omaha (Neb) World-Herald  "Navy veteran among last of Pearl Harbor survivors in Nebraska, dies at 98"

Ludwig "Lou" Radil was in the Navy for six years.  He was a yeoman on the USS California when the Japanese attacked and later he witnesses the nuclear testing after the war.

Joining the Navy in 1941, he arrived in Pearl Harbor in August and was the ship's librarian on the California. At the time of the attack he was setting up deck chairs for church services and remembered, "We got a torpedo hit, then another, and then a bomb hit.

"We started listing to one side.  We got word that the ship was sinking and might capsize.  So, the captain ordered a call to abandon ship.."

He jumped into the water and swam 200 yards to Ford Island, soaked with oil but uninjured.  The next day he helped remove bodies of the nearly 100 who died on his ship.

After the war he was assigned to the USS Cumberland Sound, a seaplane tender and was at Bikini Atoll in the spring of 1946 and observed the first of two post-war tests of nuclear weapons.

He was buried at Graceland Park Cemetery in South Omaha.

--GreGen

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The USS North Carolina Rides Out Hurricane Florence, It's Visitor Center Not So Well


From the September 19, 2018, Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

The battleship USS North Carolina, anchored at Wilmington, North Carolina, weathered Hurricane Florence as it came ashore last week.

But two-thirds of the roof of the visitors center is gone and some of the administrative offices were flooded.

Captain Terry Bragg, the battleship director said that repairs were already underway, but the ship will be closed to the public until further notice.

Let's hope the cofferdam and ship are able to handle the flooding Caper Fear River as well.

--GreGen

Some More Oklahoma Unknowns Identified:


JOE JOHNSON

Age 22.  Radioman from Rushford, North Dakota.  Enlisted in Navy April 23, 1940 at a salary of $54 a month.  The first torpedo hit the Oklahoma near the radio room so it is likely he was killed immediately.

A service held for him on July 7, 2018.

There are still 79,000 service personnel unaccounted for from World War II.

LEON ARICKX

Age 23.  Seaman 1st Class.  Born December 28, 1918, in New London, Minnesota.  Joined Navy May 7, 1940, for a four year tour of duty.  Basic training at Great Lakes  Naval Base assigned to USS Oklahoma as a cook, specifically as a baker.

The day before the attack, he had been on shore leave and had purchased and sent Christmas presents home..  The presents arrived the same day as the telegram saying he was missing in action.  The family received official notification of his death in February 1942.

It Is A Great Thing Our Government Is Doing.    --GreGen

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Kids Getting Into the War Effort in DeKalb, Illinois, in 1943


From the August 15, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Five DeKalb youngsters have been putting part of their summer vacation to good use by helping with war work.  For the past several weeks they have been collecting much needed waste kitchen fats from homes  about DeKalb, these valuable fats  being needed in making explosives.

"In this period of time they have collected nearly 60 pounds, a record of which they will be proud.  The waste kitchen grease has been sold to the meat markets and the money derived from the sales was turned over to the Red Cross."

Even the Kids.  --GreGen

A Practice Blackout in Kirkland, Illinois


From the August 15, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"A practice blackout will be staged in Kirkland and vicinity Friday night between 9:30 and 10:00 o'clock.

"One long blast of the whistle will be given for the alert signal and another long blast for all clear."

Just In Case.  --GreGen

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Joe Gaspar, Pearl Harbor Survivor Honored on 100th Birthday


From the May 8, 2018 GoErie.com  "Ellwood City helps Pearl Harbor survivor celebrate 100th birthday

Joe Gaspar was on maneuvers on a hill above Pearl harbor when the attack came.  He remembered:  "At first we didn't know what was going on, but the planes came over so low we could see the faces of the Japanese.

"There were three waves of planes.  Bombs were dropping everywhere.  My command car was hit, and I was thrown down a 70-foot cliff.

Mr. Gaspar was in the 21st Infantry and served from August 1839 to August 1945.  During that time he received three Bronze Stars.

--GreGen

Wakako Yamauchi, Japanese-American Writer Imprisoned During WW II


From the September 14, 2018, Chicago Tribune by Emily Langer, Washington Post.

(1924-2018)

Wakako Yamauchi was living behind barbed wire, poring over books in a tar paper-covered barrack that doubled as a library when she discovered the depth of her love of literature.

She was at the time a 17-year-old Nisei, or first generation Japanese-American confined with her family to the Poston Internment camp in Arizona.  They were among the 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government in such centers during World War II.

Her most famous work was "And the Soul Shall Dance" which grew from her youth as the daughter of itinerant migrant  farmers in California.  The work is sometimes described as a Japanese "Grapes of Wrath."

--GreGen

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ideal Commutator Dresser Co.-- Part 2: Moved to Sycamore in 1924


Ideal Industries was founded in 1916 by J. Walter Becker as the Ideal Commutator Dresser Company in Chicago, Illinois, manufacturing commutator dresser stones.  In 1924, he relocated the company to where it is now in Sycamore, Illinois.

By 1949, it had become  the leading producer of wire nuts in the United States.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says a commutator is a series of bars or segments connected to the armature coils  of a generator or motor so that the rotation of the arm will in conjunction with a set of fixed brushes convert alternating current to direct current.

I still don't know what this is.

--GreGen

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ideal Commutator Dresser Company-- Part 1: What They Make


In the last post I mentioned the name of this company.  I had no idea what they made or did, so had to look it up and I found an article about it in good ol' Wikipedia.

From Wikipedia  Ideal Industries

An American company that today produces connectors, hand tools, testers and meters for electrical and telecommunications industries.

The company makes many of its products in the United States.  It also owns Western Forge and Pratt-Read, the largest and second-largest  American-made producers of screwdrivers at the time of their acquisitions.  Its tools are sold at Lowe's and Ace  Hardware stores as well as many independent distributors.

Oh, They Make Those.  --GreGen

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Ideal Commutator Dresser Company Doing Its Part


From the July 11, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Manufactured articles of the Ideal Commutator Dresser Company pertaining to the war effort, have been placed on display at the offices of the Chamber of Commerce, and attracting considerable attention.

"The Ideal is one of the industries in this city working night and day for the war effort and the many articles shown at the Chamber  office depict in a small way, what is being done at the west side plant."

Working Day and Night for the War Effort.  --GreGen


The Dogs of War in 1943


From the August 8, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Among the fourteen dogs which left Rockford today for war service were two from DeKalb, their owners being Wilbur C. Watson and C.B. Watson.  W.W. Dorwood, Rockford area director of Dogs for Defense the group today runs the count to 78 dogs which have been sent from the district.

"The recruits must be purebreds or mixed breeds that is a cross of not more than two breeds.  The heavier breeds, particularly farm collies, Doberman pinschers and German shepherds make the best recruits."

The dogs were probably trained at Camp Grant in Rockford.

Fido Goes to War.  --GreGen

Friday, September 14, 2018

September 14, 1940: Selective Service Act Passed


On this date in 1949, Congress passed the Selective Service Act.

This was the first time in U.S. history that a peace time draft was enacted.  The United Staes, of course, was preparing fir entry into World War II.

--GreGen

John S. McCain, Jr.-- Part 3: Lackluster USNA Career, Then, Subs


John S. McCain, Jr. entered the United States Naval Academy at age 16 in 1927 and accumulated many demerits and had just mediocre grades.  He was also known as a drinker and quite the partier, very dangerous during Prohibition.  He graduated  in 1931 #423rd out of 441.

Upon graduation, he was appointed ensign and assigned to the battleship Oklahoma.  (His father had also spent time on the doomed cruiser USS San Diego which was sunk by a mine during Wold War I.)  The USS Oklahoma was sunk at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

While stationed on the USS Oklahoma, based in Long Beach, California, he met Roberta Wright and when her parents objected, they eloped and were married in Tijuana, Mexico.

He managed to get into Submarine School at Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut.  There he placed #28 out of 29.

Next came service on the  old World War I-era submarines S-45 and R-13.  In 1940 and early 1941, he was on the more modern Skipjack.  In April 1941, he received his first command, the World War I submarine O-8.  This ship had been decommissioned in 1931, but with WW II imminent, was called back to duty as a training ship with McCain in command.

--GreGen




John S. McCain, Jr.-- Part 2: Strong Family Presence in the U.S. Navy


His father, John S. McCain  Sr. was an admiral in the U.S. Navy and a naval aviator, and the two became the first father-son pair  to achieve the four-star rank of admiral.

His son, John S. McCain III, was a former naval aviator (and USNA graduate as was his father and grandfather) who was a prisoner of North Vietnam during his father's time as CINCPAC  who retired with the rank of captain and became a U.S. senator from Arizona and was the 2008 Republican nominee for president.

Two grandsons are now in the U.S. Navy and Marines.

--GreGen

Thursday, September 13, 2018

John S. McCain, Jr.-- Part 1: Senator John McCain's Father


From Wikipedia.

(January 17, 1911 to March 22, 1081)

He was the father of Senator John McCain.  I have been writing about Sen. McCain's grandfather, John McCain Sr. in my Cooter's History Thing and in this blog as he was in both wars.  As you'll see, John McCain Jr. also played a big role in World War II.

United States Navy admiral who served in conflicts from the 1940s through the 1970s, including Commander, United States Pacific Command.

The son of a Navy officer, he grew up in Washington, D.C..  Graduated from the USNA in 1931, after which he entered the submarine service.  During World War II he commanded submarines in several different theaters of action and was responsible for sinking several Japanese ships and received a Bronze Star.

After the war, he held command in several commands, specializing in amphibious warfare.  In 1965, he led the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic.  A staunch anti-Communist and an advocate of a strong  naval presence, he became known as "Mr. Seapower".

During the Vietnam War, McCain was Commander-In-Chief, Pacific Command (CINCPAC), commander of all U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972.

--GreGen


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Motorists, Check Those Tires


From the May 9, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"The DeKalb War Price and Rationing Board urges all motorists to check their tires closely at frequent intervals so as to not let them get by the recapping condition.

"There is a shortage of tires and the board has only been able to fill but a fraction of the eligible applications to date.  With the shortage expected to remain motorists are being urged to have their tires recapped."

--GreGen

Adm. John McCain-- Part 2: World War II Service and Family


Admiral McCain held several commands during World War II's Pacific campaigns.  He was a pioneer of aircraft carrier operations which proved to be the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

In 1942, he commanded all land-based aviation operations in support of the Guadalcanal Campaign, and in 1944-1945 he aggressively led the First Carrier Task Force.  His operations off the Philippines and Okinawa and air strikes against Formosa and the Japanese home islands caused tremendous destruction of Japanese naval and air forces in the closing months of the war.

Sadly, the  stress of his war service took a drastic toll on his health, and McCain died of a heart attack four days after the formal Japanese surrender.  His death was front page news across the United States.

Several of his descendants also graduated from the USNA at Annapolis.    He and his son, John S. McCain Jr.  were the first father-son pair to achieve four-star admiral rank in the U.S. Navy.  His grandson, John S. McCain III also graduated from Annapolis and became a U.S. senator from Arizona and was the Republican candidate for president in the 2008 election.

Two great grandsons have also graduated from the USNA and both are currently serving.

I'll have to research Senator John McCain's father.

What A Family.  --GreGen





Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Algonquin's 9/11 Memorial: WTC Beam a Donation From the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey


From the chicagoareafire.com site.

Whereas, Tinley Park has evidently not done anything with their piece of the World Trade Center wreckage, Algonquin, Illinois, has.

The Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Firefighters Association is building a memorial on the north end of Riverfront Park.  Construction on the memorial started last week after agreements were approved by the Village of Algonquin and fire protection district and is on track to be finished  in time for a September 11 dedication.

The memorial will consist of a brick paver circle 40 feet in diameter with the World Trade Center beam in the middle and landscaping around it.

Dan Teson said the association got the beam from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  He and two other firefighters flew to New York City in November to accept the donation and were met there by one of the firefighter's fathers, who drove his truck.  They picked up the beam at a hangar outside LaGuardia Airport, and the father and son drove it to Illinois.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Admiral John McCain, Sen. McCain's Grandfather-- Part 1: World War I Service and Interwar


From the United States World War I Centennial Commission  "Remembering the World War I service of John "Slew" McCain" by Chris Isleib.

A few weeks ago, our country lost one of our greatest heroes, Senator John McCain.  He was in the U.S. Navy and his father and grandfather were both admirals in the Navy and both fought in World War II.  All three men were named John McCain with the senator being the III.

This is his grandfather's role in World War I and the interwar:

After his service in World War I, which was primarily convoy duty in the Atlantic Ocean aboard the USS San Diego (which was sunk by a mine placed by a U-boat off Long Island, New York two months after he transferred off it) he advanced in rank and became an expert in the budding field of Naval Aviation.

These skills would prove critical to American efforts when World War began.

--GreGen



Chinese Pirates Plundering British War Graves-- Part 4: The Other Four Ships


HMS ENCOUNTER

Sunk in the Battle of Java Sea on March 1, 1942  Eight died.  Eighty percent of the ship has been removed.

HMS EXETER

Sunk at the Battle of Java Sea on March 1, 1942.  Loss of 40 crew members.  Nothing remains of this ship.

HMS ELECTRA

Sunk three days before the HMS Encounter.  Fifty-four dead.  Almost half of this ship has been removed.

HMS THANET

Sank near Endau, Malaysia on January 27, 1942.    It is now "broken Up."

A Horrible Thing.  --GreGen

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Chinese Pirates Plundering British 'War Grave' Ships-- Part 3: Ten All Together


Besides the HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales, the other eight ships:

SS LOCH RANZA--  Seven crew members died after this merchant ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft before sinking off Indonesia in February 1942.

HMS TIEN KWANG--  Sunk with the HMS Kuala south of Singapore on February 14, 1942.    298 lives were lost, many civilians being evacuated from Singapore.

HMS KUALA--Newly plundered.  This patrol vessel and the HMS Tien Kwang were hit south of Singapore as they headed for Jakarta  Around 200 men, women and children died.

HMS BANKA--  Newly plundered.  This minelayer sank off the coast of Malaysia on December 9, 1941, with the loss of 38 lives.  Previous looting means nothing of its remains are left.

And, there are four more.

--GreGen

Chinese Pirates Plunder British Shipwrecks 'War Graves'-- Part 2


The battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battle cruiser HMS Repulse were both sunk 10 December 1941. This incident is often referred to as Britain's Pearl Harbor.  These two ships were part of Force Z which also included four destroyers sent out to stop the Japanese invasion of Malaya.  They had no air cover.

Earlier in 1941, the Prince of Wales had participated in the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck and had also ferried Winston Churchill across the Atlantic for a secret summit where he and FDR signed the Atlantic Charter, a document that paved the way for the United Nations.

The HMS Repulse was a World War I battle cruiser.

--GreGen

Friday, September 7, 2018

Chinese Pirates Plundering British Shipwrecks-- Part 1: HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales


From the August 18, 2018, Daily Mail (UK)  "Desecration of British war graves:  Chinese pirates plunder ten shipwrecks carrying remains of UK's Second World War heroes."  Abul Taher and Nick Craven.

**  Ten ships
**  Final resting place of more than 1,000 British sailors
**  Defence (British spelling) Secretary Gavin Williamson demands an immediate investigation

The ten ships are off the coasts of Malaysia and Indonesia.

HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Repulse

These two ships were part of Britain's Force Z.

835 men died on these two ships

Half of the Prince of Wales' hull has been plundered, mostly in the past two years.  Some 327 died on this ship, including Admiral Tom Phillips, the highest-ranking British military figure to die in the war.

--GreGen

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Three Shifts At Sycamore War Plant in 1943


From the August 29, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"The south mill of the Anaconda  in Sycamore is now on a three-shift basis.  The mill is engaged in filling an important war contract and is engaged in nothing else at this time.

"More help is needed there.    Not only because of the war time shortage but because several younger workers are planning to return to school this fall.  Many women are on duty in all three shifts.  They are of all ages, from young to gray haired."

My Answer:  Dead Pirates.  --GreGen

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Mission Regensburg-- Part 3: They Mission They Almost Did't Make It Back


The B-17 bomber called Just -A-Snappin is one of the better known planes in 100th lore.

She is best remembered for bringing her crew back from Bremen on October 8, 1943, as is described in this account by Lt. Harry H. Crosby:  "Leading a large formation of B-17s, we were hit hard over the target, spun out of control and saved from crashing by the superb efforts of our pilot and command pilot.

"With two engines knocked out, we were forced to head home alone at low altitude, our plane riddled by over 1,200 shell holes by actual count, one crewman mortally wounded and five severely injured.

"When we were attacked repeatedly by Luftwaffe fighters along the way, our gunners shot down ten of them.  Unable to ditch in the North Sea because of our wounded or to make it over our own airfield, we crash-landed at a 'dummy' airfield on the English coast."

Quite An Accomplishment.  --GreGen

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Mission Regensburg-- Part 2: North Africa Instead of England


After being postponed several times by unfavorable weather, "Mission No. 84" was a strategic bombing attack by B-17 Flying Fortresses led by the 4th Bombardment Wing commander Colonel Curtis E. LeMay on August 17, 1943.

The Regensburg attack group was able to successfully hit their targets, and then, to fool the Germans, they flew on to Africa instead of doubling back through Germany to return to England.

After a week in North Africa, the bomber group returned to England on August 24.  They bombed Bordeaux, France, en route home.

--GreGen


Monday, September 3, 2018

Mission Regensburg-- Part 1: Bombs Away!!


From the Paralyzed Veterans of America 2018 Calendar Heroes of the Air featuring the aviation artwork of  Gil Cohen.

And his artwork is spectacular.

Inside the somewhat claustrophobic nose compartment of Just-A-Snappin, Bonbardier Lt. Jim Douglas, the lead bomber of the 100th Bombardment Group, signals Navigator Lt. Heuropeaarry S. Crosby with a thumbs-up after releasing his salvo of bombs on the Messerschmitt factory in the city of Regensburg, Germany.

Crosby then records the time of the bomb release in his log before charting a course for North Africa.

With quiet heroism and amid the tumult of the deadly flak bursts just outside the plane's windows, these men are simply doing their job.

--GreGen

War on the Weeds in Sycamore in 1943


From the August 8, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Again, it was proven beyond all reasonable doubt that if the business men or any other group  of Sycamore, make up their minds to do something in a big way, they do it, and with a vengeance too.

"About 40 business and factory men went to Sycamore Park after work, armed with hand sickles, sycthes, rakes, and mowers and after a last minute meeting strategic meeting between the generalissimos, Emil Cassier as superintendent of the par, Vernon Weitzel, Ed Boies and a few more, the attack on the tall grass, obnoxious weeds and other objectionable began with a vim that meant a decided victory for the attackers, and a noticeable improvement in the grounds."

Don't Mess With Those Sycamore Guys.  Must Have Been Axis Weeds.  --GreGen

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Access to USS Arizona Memorial Still Closed in May


From the May 15, 2018, Hawaii News Now  "Access to USS Arizona Memorial remains closed as repairs continue.."

These are short term repairs.  They are hoping the memorial will reopen by the end of the week.

Tour boats still go by it, but don't let passengers off.

Rhonda Householder had an uncle who died on the Arizona and said, "We're from Ohio, so we're a little disappointed."

Imagine going all the way to Hawaii from the mainland and not being able to visit the memorial.

Authorities are looking for long term solutions to the problem.

--GreGen



Saturday, September 1, 2018

Gordon Jones Pushed for A USS Pearl Harbor-- Part 2: And He Got It


He died August 24, 2018 in Chula Vista, California, at the age of 96.

Mr. Jones was at Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii tending  PBY Catalinas (flying boats) on December 7, 1941, when the attack came.  Looking forward to liberty, he was in his dress whites when the first plane came swooping in very low.  At first, he thought it was a Marine pilot harassing the Navy.  That is, until the bullets started flying and bombs going off.

Most of the 30 PBYs at the base were destroyed and almost 20 of the men were killed.  There were dozens wounded, including his brother Earl, who was hit in the back by bomb shrapnel and disabled.

Afterwards, he island-hopped across the Pacific and kept a diary.

That would be interesting reading.

--GreGen