Sunday, December 8, 2019

Some More Pearl Harbor Headlines on the 78th Anniversary

**  And, now you know:  The day after Pearl harbor.

**  'Hard act to follow':   Pearl Harbor veterans  become rare gems as ranks thin 78 years after the tragedy.

**  Remembering the Montanans killed in Pearl Harbor attack.

**  Granddaughter proud of legacy of one of Cabell's last Pearl Harbor survivors.  (He was on the USS Maryland.)

**  78 years later, efforts continue to identify Pearl Harbor service members.

**  Nick in the AM:  78 years after  Pearl Harbor, LaSalle Countian's remains returning home.

**  Oak Forest vets welcome home WW II Marine killed in action.  (Marine Corps Pfc Marley R. Arthurholtz, 20, killed on USS Oklahoma.)

**  Pearl Harbor attack victims and other casualties remembered in ambitious project in Milwaukee.

**  Bernard Weber, 1918-1919   (On USS Oklahoma during attack.)

**  Five things to remember about Pearl Harbor.


The USS Arizona on the 78th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

These were headlines from yesterday's newspapers from around the country.  Pearl Harbor has definitely not been forgotten.

**  Pearl Harbor survivor will return to the USS Arizona a final time.    And he'll be the final one.

**  USS Arizona survivor remembers Pearl Harbor.

**  Luciano:  One of just three left, USS Arizona survivor recalls attack on Pearl Harbor.

**  Pearl Harbor Day:  USS Arizona videos.

**  Last remains of a Pearl Harbor survivor to be interred  on USS Arizona.

**  Honoring Pearl Harbor:  Youth learn about realities of war at 'Sacred Steel' exhibit in Mesa.

**  'Sacred Steel' exhibit opens on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, honoring the USS Arizona.

**  Sailor who helped rescue people from the USS Arizona recalls an emotional experience.

**  Camera explores inside the USS Arizona.

**  On the anniversary of Pearl Harbor,  just 3 survivors of the USS Arizona remain.

Not Forgotten.  --GreGen

Saturday, December 7, 2019

A Whole Lot of Pearl Harbor Photos

The December 6, 2019, Winston-Salem (NC) Journal has probably 25 photos from the attack.

"Photos:  Attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

The Tulsa World also has a whole lot of photographs.

Augustan Shivers' Pearl Harbor Story

From the December 6, 1941, Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle "Editorial:  How could Pearl Harbor be forgotten?"

Augustan Quentin Shivers was having his 21st birthday December 7, 1941.  he had just sat down in the officers' quarters to write a letter when the young Marine heard "a couple rumbles" which drew him to a window where he looked out across the harbor

He could see his vessel, the USS Pennsylvania on the far side.

"And the first thing I saw was an airplane way up on high just on fire-- just spiraling down on fire, just like you see in a  movie."

Unable to leave his post to get a rifle, sitting racked in his quarters, he said, "I just watched the Arizona blow up and watched everything go to hell."

Shivers died at age 96 in 2016, the year that it was estimated that there were still 2,000 to 2,500 Pearl Harbor survivors still alive.  That number dwindles every year and soon will dwindle to zero.

Friday, December 6, 2019

USS Arizona Survivor Lou Conter Arrives for Pearl Harbor Ceremony-- Part 2: Other Pearl Harbor Survivors

Lou Conter was quite surprised by the Red Carpet treatment he received on the way over and on arrival.  The crew of the plane were all Hawaii National Guard.  When he arrived, he was piped by whistle down two long rows of current Pearl Harbor sailors, something usually reserved for  high-ranking officers.

Triple Ace retired Colonel Clarence "Bud" Anderson, who had more than 16 kills  in Europe in his P-51 Mustang arrived on the same flight. and was similarly honored.

Tom Berg, who helped light the boilers of the USS Tennessee during the attack also was expected to arrive on Tuesday.

Other Pearl Harbor survivors are expected to arrive on Wednesday.  Stuart Hedley was on the USS West Virginia and Don Long was at Kaneohe Bay naval Air Station.

Ira J. Schab is the last of 22 bandmates from the  USS Dobbin and was getting ready to play morning colors when the bombs began to fall.  Jack Holder was in a hangar on Ford Island.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

USS Arizona Survivor Lou Conter Arrives in Hawaii for Commemoration

From the December 4, 2019, site "Pearl Harbor survivors gets hero's welcome as he arrives to mark attack's anniversary" by William Cole.  Honolulu Star Advertiser.

USS Arizona survivor Lou Conter flew in on Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A321 from Sacramento, California, along with fifty family members.  The plane was welcomed at Hawaii's Daniel K. Inouye International Airport through a watery arch formed by two fire trucks.

Mr. Conter was on the Arizona's stern that day in 1941 when a Japanese  aerial bomb pierced the bow of the battleship, igniting a million pounds of gunpowder.  He helped badly injured men get off the ship after that.

A total of 1,177 men were killed on the Arizona that day.  Today, Mr. Conter is one of only three survivors of the ship still alive.  He is in Hawaii partly for the internment aboard the Arizona of shipmate Lauren Bruner who died September 10 at age 98.

"We have to bury Lauren Bruner on Saturday, so [I] had to come back," Conter said sitting in his wheelchair.  "I'll come out every year I can until I'm gone.  I'm only 98," he added with a laugh.


One of the WW II Survivors Is Expected to Be USS Arizona Survivor Lou Conter, 98

Lou Conter, age 98, is expected to be in attendance.  He is one of just three of that ship's survivors still alive.

This past year, Lauren Bruner, another Arizona survivor, died and his ashes will be interred on the wreck of the USS Arizona in a sunset ceremony.


The morning ceremony will include a pass and review of the destroyer USS William P. Lawrence, a flyover by  the Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 fighters and remarks from the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, retired Admiral Harry B. Harris.

Following the ceremony and associated events, public programs at the USS Arizona Memorial will begin.  Thankfully, the memorial itself has reopened.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

More Than Two Dozen WW II Vets Expected at Pearl Harbor for 78th Anniversary Commemoration

From the December 4, 2019, Honolulu Star Advertiser by William Cole.

The 78th anniversary of the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is expected to include more than two dozen World War II veterans.  The theme is "Glimmers of Victory" and will also focus on the Doolittle Raid,  Battle of the Coral Sea and Midway.

The National Park Service and U.S. Navy will honor National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Saturday at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center at 1 Arizona Memorial Place.

The ceremony will begin at 7:50 a.m.  and will commemorate the service and sacrifice of American service members and civilians who fought and died  during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oahu.


78th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

This Saturday will mark the 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which caused the United States to enter World War II, which had already been going on since 1939.

In commemorating it, I will write about it in this blog starting today and for the next several weeks.  On December 7, Saturday, I will write about it in all eight of my blogs.

It Won't Be Forgotten.  --GreGen

My sign off name by the way, GreGen, is short for Greatest Generation, of which, the Pearl Harbor people belonged.

Yep, Even Popcorn Is Regulated

From the February 20, 2019, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago.

"Farmers in this district are in some cases in violation of the popcorn regulation in taking the processors mark-up while performing only one function of the processor, according to the announcement of the district OPA director.  A seller must perform all the duties of the processor as defined in the popcorn regulation to be allowed the mark-up.

"A processor means one who fully cleans, tests and grades popcorn.  There is no provision in the regulation for one who has this service performed for him on a custom basis, to be a processor.  No producer may qualify himself as a processor unless he actually performs all the processing functions himself."

Well, I imagine people making popcorn understand this better than I do.  OPA stands for Office of Price Administration which set price controls during the war.

It's Greek to Me.  --GreGen

The Hemp Crop Is In DeKalb County

From the February 6, 2019, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago,

"According to E,E, Houghtby, all hemp growers in the area of the Shabbona mill have completed their part of the  1943 growers contracts.

"The first load of straw passed over the scales  on October 26, and the last load was delivered to he mill on January  119, 1944.  Hemp growers in  Kirkland and Shabbona areas are to be highly commended for the excellent job that was done even in the face of great handicaps.  Growing hemp was an extra load at a time when labor was extremely scarce."


Monday, December 2, 2019

"Meatless Tuesdays "At DeKalb Restaurants in 1944

From the January 16, 2019, MidWeek   (DeKalb County, Illinois)   "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago.

" 'Meatless Tuesday' greeted those eating at DeKalb restaurants today and menus found at various eating establishments were quite out of the ordinary.  Chicken, turkey and other fowl are on most menus as they may be purchased without ration stamps, the idea of meatless Tuesdays being to refrain from from serving meat which had to be purchased with ration stamps.

"Fish and eggs, also highlighted many of the menus, and from all indications there was no possibility of anybody having to go hungry."


A Navy Plane Made In DeKalb in 1943

From the October 10, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Employees of Interstate Aircraft and Engineering Corporation and the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company witnessed the flight of the first plane to be produced at Interstate's DeKalb plant.  Hundreds cheered as the plane took to the air for the first time.

"Russell Whitesell and Carlton Darneal, Interstate pilots, thrilled the crowd and townspeople  with an exhibition of stunt flying used by planes built at Interstate's coastal plants.  Navy officials, other than those stationed at the plant flew into DeKalb for the demonstration.  Don P. Smith, president of the company was also present and expressed his appreciation of the speed with which the DeKalb plant was put into production."


Friday, November 29, 2019

Reduction in Hemp Plants Ordered; We've Got Too Much Hemp

From the January 16, 2019, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago.

"Hemp processing plants at Shabbona and Kirkland, as well as the plant  at Polo and two in Wisconsin, will remain the five operating establishments in the government's elaborate  hemp program, following the drastic order of curtailment.

"The five remaining plants will be the only operating units of a  28-plant program in the middle west that was sponsored by the government through the Commercial Credit Corporation, to meet the shortage of hemp fiber as the Japs seized South Pacific areas."


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

D-Day Flag Comes Home

From the October Naval History magazine.

In a White House ceremony on 18 July 2019, Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lonnie G Bunch III accepted a 48-star flag that had flown from Landing Craft, Control (LCC) 60 on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

The 30-by-57-inch flag  shows discoloration and staining from diesel exhaust along with general wear and tear sustained during its wartime use.  A hole in it appears to have come from a German machine-gun bullet.

The LCC 60 worked off Utah Beach and was commanded by Howard Vander Beek, a Dutch-American who kept the flag.

Following a meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of thye Netherlands, a Dutch art collector, Bert Kreuk donated the flag to the Smithsonian where it is now on view of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's "D-Day, June 6, 1944" 75th anniversary exhibit.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Uruguayan Court Orders Graf Spee Eagle To Be Sold

From the October Naval History magazine.

The giant bronze Nazi eagle from the stern of the German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee, sunk by scuttling off the coast of Uruguay after the 1939 Battle of the River Platte, must be sold according to a Uruguay court.

The 800 pound eagle was salvaged in 2006, but for years has been kept out of view in a sealed crate in a Uruguayan naval warehouse.  It has a controversial  artifact on it -- beneath the eagle's talons in a large swastika.  This has brought a lot of feelings.

Options are exhibiting the eagle, auctioning it off or even destroying it.

Personally I would like to have it put on exhibit somewhere as history.


Friday, November 22, 2019

Chicago's U-505-- Part 3: About Its Exhibit, Bill Curtis and Volunteers

Of course, the U-boat itself is the focal point of the exhibit, but there are several interactive displays outside the ship, archival media, around 200 artifacts and videos narrated by former WBBM-TV Channel 2 anchorman Bill Curtis that tell the complete story of the U-505.

To actually go on board the submarine, visitors are required to buy a separate ticket for an on-board tour that lasts around 25 minutes.

Despite all the wealth of information and things to see, visitors to the sub often have additional questions and this is where the ship's volunteers stand in. The MSI has a team of thirty of them who work at the site, including 20 who are veterans.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Chicago's U-505-- Part 2: 75th Anniversary of Its Capture This Year

It was captured off the coast of what was French Morocco  in 1944 by Task Force 22.3, a U.S. Navy anti-submarine group commanded by Chicago native Daniel Gallery on June 4, 1944, two days before D-Day.  This past June marked the 75th anniversary of its capture.

This capture was kept top secret during the war.

The U.S. government donated the U-505 to the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in 1954 and it was displayed outside the museum for 5 years.  Chicago weather and the elements caused much deterioration to the ship and in 2005 it was moved to a specially designed indoor facility.  It is one of only four German U-boats still existing worldwide.  All of them are museum ships and not operational any more.

June 4th was the 75th anniversary of its capture and a commemoration ceremony was held at the ship that included a proclamation by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A Submarine for All, Chicago's U-505-- Part 1: The First Enemy Ship Captured on the High Seas Since the War of 1812

From the Nov. 8, 2019, Chicago Tribune.

Of the many exhibits in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, the World War II German U-505 (U-boat submarine) continues to be one of its most popular and most intriguing.  This submarine has a very interesting history.

It is the original 252-foot long, 1,120 ton submarine which was part of Germany's over 1,000 sub strong fleet that sank 2,779 Allied ships and almost turned the course of World War II.

It draws visitors not only from the Chicago area, but also from around the country and the world.  It also has a large complement of volunteers.

The U-505 was the first enemy warship commandeered on the high seas by the U.S. Navy since the War of 1812 and was taken off the coast of what then was French Morocco two days before the D-Day invasion.

According to, there are just four U-boats in existence today, including the U-505.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Honor Flights Expanded to Korean and Vietnam Wars

The not-for-profit Honor Flight Program initially started as a way to get World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the WW II Memorial at no charge to them.  It was opened up to Korean War veterans in 2016 and now, this year, to Vietnam War veterans.

I have been writing about this program and Honor Flight Chicago these last two weeks in my Cooter's History Thing blog.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Post-Service Words and Acronyms-- Part 2: Ruptured Duck, MPs and SPs


Upon discharge, you were given a lapel pin to note your service.  In my Brooklyn neighborhood, for whatever reason, veterans did not wear the pin.    Consequently, after the war, a cloth ruptured duck was developed, because veterans wearing their armed forces coat or jacket, the only clothing they had, were being arrested by overzealous Army MPs (Military Police) or Navy SPs (Shore Patrol) for being out of uniform.

Hence, the cloth ruptured duck was developed, which could be sewn onto any clothing to note your discharge.  Now, interestingly, the  veteran telling this says he sees an occasional WW II veteran still wearing their ruptured duck.


Friday, November 15, 2019

Post-Service Words and Acronyms-- Part 1: Mustering-Out Money, GI Bill and College and 52-20 Club

These were some terms that came into use more after the war was over.


If you served overseas, after you were mustered out, you received $300.  If your whole service was stateside, you received $200.



For college, you received one year plus the time you served.  If you served for two years, you had there years for college.

However, a college year was less than 12 months.  If you used your GI Bill to purchase college books, that was subtracted from the time you were awarded.  To contend with this, when a course required three books, three of us purchased one book apiece and shared books.


52-20 CLUB

To help veterans  financially, the government provided $20 for 52 weeks.


A Big Help Back Then.  --GreGen

Thursday, November 14, 2019

WW II Acronyms and Words-- Part 7 : SNAFU, SOS and Zippo


Stands for Situation Normal, All _____ Up.  Meant there was a screw up of some sort and everyone knows this does not happen in the military.



Shorthand for "____ On A Shingle."  This was usually a breakfast meal composed of chipped beef in a white sauce on a piece of   white toast.  Said the man giving this information:  "I must confess, I loved SOS because eggs and potatoes were packaged in dehydrated form, and when the cooks aded water --- it did make for a very appetizing meal."

Myself, I really like SOS.



The Zippo lighter was constructed so that the wind would not blow out the flame.  Just about everyone who smoked wanted to own a Zippo.  And they had that special smell.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

WW II Acronyms and Words-- Part 6: USO, V-12s and P-38s


United Services Organization

Just prior to WW II, President Roosevelt  united several service groups into the USO to boost the morale of military men and women.   The USO provided services like snack bars, clubs, sports  activities and additional  services depending on location.

Bob Hope toured the USOs and did shows with entertainment, skits, monologues, celebrity appearances and singers.



The V-12 Navy College Training Program was for Navy and Marine recruits.  The purpose of the program was to provide bachelor's degrees for future officers.  About 125,000 participated in the program at 131 colleges.



In World War II, there were two P-38s.

One was a very fats and highly regarded fighter plane.

The other was a small can opener in C- and K-rations.    I always had a P-38 on my dog tags.  Many veterans still have P-38s on their key rings.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

WW II Acronyms and Words-- Part 5: Segregated Armed Forces


The Army was segregated  The soldier giving these said he was in a segregated Army.

The soldiers in the 92nd Infantry Division were Blacks and fought in Italy as part of the 5th Army.  Also serving in Italy were the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an all Nisei unit--  Americans of Japanese descent.

Here and there, depending upon the section of the country and the officers, there were integrated units.

In World War I. Blacks served with the French units.

As far as his military career he said that after training at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, the football team was desegregated.  The troop ships going over were segregated with black troops fore and aft.

In 1946, while at Camp Crowder in Joplin, Missouri, I went to a baseball game in Kansas City.  As I sat in the ballpark, I kept thinking something wasn't kosher.  Finally in the 7th inning stretch, I realized I was in a segregated park.

Back home all our teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and New York Yankees all played in integrated parks.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Honoring Our Veterans Today: Attend Your Local Ceremony

Of course, one of the best places you can go is to a local ceremony in your area, probably even your home town, where the local veterans organization will have a ceremony.  This is even more important as we continue losing so many World War II and Korean War veterans to age.

They almost all start at 11 a.m., in honor of the original reason for what became Veterans Day, something called Armistice Day which marked the end of World War I on the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of 11th Month.

This eventually became Veterans Day, honoring all veterans of all wars, and at the time in 1919, we still had many Civil War veterans, both Union and Confederate, as well as Indian Wars, Spanish-American War and Philippines.

I plan on going to our commemoration in Fox Lake, Illinois, to be held at the train station and put on by my American Legion Post 703 and the VFW.  Of course, we have just gotten around 4 inches of snow with more on the way with winter advisory until 2 p.m. and temps dropping significantly.

But, if our veterans stood this sort of weather for much longer than an hour, it's the least we can do for them.


Sunday, November 10, 2019

WW II Acronyms and Words-- Part 4: M1s, MOS and TS Ticket


The M1 Rifle was used in both WW II and the Korean War.  Was semiautomatic,  had an eight round clip and weighed 9 1/2 pounds.  Sometimes, if you weren't careful loading a clip, the bolt closed and smashed your thumb.

It was superior to the rifles used by the Germans and Japanese.    Gen. Patton called it  "The Greatest Battle Implement Ever Devised."


**  MOS

Everyone serving was assigned an MOS  "Military Occupation Specialty."  usually your MOS was listed on your discharge papers.  The person telling these things said his was Radio Operator,  High Speed, Manual.



The TS Ticket was often invoked when somebody was constantly complaining to the point it became unbearable.  TS  stood for "Tough S---."  You'd tell him to go to the chaplain and get his TS Ticket punched.


TS, Ya'll.  --GreGen

Saturday, November 9, 2019

WW II Acronyms and Names-- Part 3: Kilroy and Maggie's Drawers


Kilroy was a humorous image graffitied wherever American service personnel served.  There were many variations, but generally, he was a bald man with a prominent nose peaking over a wall with his fingers clutching the wall.



Basic to any rifle range.  For safety, there is a process of arranging yourself lying on the ground and holding your rifle and waiting to fire.    The loudspeaker would call, "Ready on the right, ready on the left, ready on the firing line, Maggie's drawers, commence firing."

When the words "Maggie's drawer's was shouted, a long thin pole was waved back and forth with a pair of women's bloomers attached to it.  It was a very sexist  activity and undoubtedly not used today.

I'm not sure this is entirely correct.   I looked it up and read that this was a large red flag that was waved when the shooter missed the target entirely.



Friday, November 8, 2019

WW II Acronyms and Names-- Part 2: The Jody Cadence, Dear John, Dog Tags and K-Rats


Soldiers march to a cadence.  For example, "Hup, two three four" and  "You left, your left."    Jody cadence was created by black soldiers, "You had a good home when you left, count off."  A Jody cadence can get quite raunchy and marched to a cadence where Jody gets your wife or girlfriend while you're gone.


Dear John was the generic name given for a break-up letter received by a GI.


GIs were issued two dig tags to wear around their neck for identification.  Stamped on the dog tag was your name, identification number, blood type and religion:  C for Catholic, P- Protestant and H-  Hebrew (Jewish).  The religious classifications were a holdover from WW I.


K-Rats were individually packed combat ration about the size of a box of Cracker Jacks, with a waxed  container.    To open the enclosed can, a P-38 can opener was enclosed, with a few cigarettes, crackers and a small chocolate bar.

So, That's What They Meant.  --GreGen

Thursday, November 7, 2019

WW II Acronyms and Names-- Part 1: Talking Regular Army, ASTP and C-Rations

From the November 6, 2019, MV Times  "World War II vet explains acronyms" by Herb Foster.

In case you are reading about the war and come across one of these.


If you were drafted, you served in the Army of the United States.  If you enlisted, you were in the U.S. Army (Regular Army).  You could be a captain in the Army of the United States and after teh war you would revert to your prewar Regular Army rank.



The Army Specialized Training Program was organized to develop officers, technicians and specialists.  This operated out of colleges and universities and about 200,000 came from this.



A C-Ration pack for combat troops contained small cans that could contain a main course like franks and beans, plus some cigarettes, canned fruit, chewing gum, chocolate bars, instant coffee and toilet paper.

It might also additionally have some biscuits, processed cheese and a matchbook.


Pass the C-Rats, Please.  --GreGen

Lost British Submarine HMS Urge Found-- Part 4: A Real Pain to the Italian Navy

On her way to the Mediterranean, the Urge  sank the Italian tanker Franco Martelli and damaged the Italian passenger ship Aquitania  and merchant ship Marigola.  On December 14, the Urge torpedoed and damaged the Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto during operations around the First battle of Sitre.  In the same attack, the Italian battleship Littorio narrowly avoided the Urge's torpedoes.

One of the crew of the Urge at this battle was Lt.  Godfrey Place who would later was one of the leaders in Operation Source, the attack on the German battleship Tirpitz.  On 1 April 1942, the Urge torpedoed and sank the Italian  light cruiser Giovanni delle Banda Nere.

The Urge was also one of the first submarines to land commandos by canoe (or folding kayak).  The submarine also had quite a few unsuccessful attacks on Italian ships because of  torpedo gyro problems.  There were other missed opportunities as well.

On April 27, 1942, the Urge was ordered to leave Malta and this is when the ship disappeared until it was found just recently.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Lost British Submarine HMS Urge Found-- Part 3

The wreck's exact location has not been yet disclosed.  It was one of 13 small U-Class British submarines lost in the Mediterranean Sea during the war.

During its previous patrols it had damaged the Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto and sank the Italian cruiser Bande Nere.


From Wikipedia.

Commissioned 12 December 1940  From 1941 to 1942 was part of 10th Submarine Flotilla based in Malta.  Operating in the Mediterranean, the Urge had an intensive 20 patrol career where she damaged or sank a number of mostly Italian warships and took part in several special operations.

She was commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Edward P. Tomkinson.  She was lost with all hands on 27 April 1942 after striking a naval mine off Malta.

It was adopted and partially funded by the people of the Welsh town of Bridgend in 1941.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Unknown Utahn Remains Found and Returned

Robert Hatch is the latest person from Utah whose unknown remains have been found and returned to home.

  Earlier this year the remains of Army Air Forces 2nd Lt.  Lynn W. Hadfield were buried at Utah Veterans Cemetery and Memorial in Bluffdale.  German anti-aircraft fire hit his A-26B Invader on March 21, 1945, crashing the plane and killing the 26-year-old and his two crew men.

In 2017, Navy Musician 1st Class Elliott Larsen was buried in Monroe, almost 76 years after he  died on the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.

The U.S. Department of Defense identified the remains of Army Air Force 1st Lt. Bryant E. Poulsen, of Salt Lake City in 2015.  He was a 22-year-old and the pilot of one of a dozen B-24s that took off from New Guinea on a mission to attack a Japanese anti-aircraft site at Hansa Bay.

His B-24 was nicknamed "Hot Garters."  Four of his crew parachuted out, but reportedly died while in captivity.

He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Remains of Robert J. Hatch Will Return to Utah, 76 Years Later

From the Nov. 1, 2019, Salt Lake City Tribune  "Remains of Utah Marine killed in World War II  will return home for burial" by Paighten Harkins.

Robert J. Hatch was just 21 when he was killed alongside 1,000 other service members on the small island of Betio in the Pacific against stubborn Japanese defense.  He made it through three days of fighting before being killed November 22, 1943.

He was buried either alone or in a cemetery on the island.  The military attempted to find his body in 1946, but couldn't.  Three years later, his remains were declared "non-recoverable."

Thanks to advanced technology and a nonprofit group called History Flight, this December, the Woods Cross native's remains are returning to Utah.  The group has been scouring Betio for remains and in March discovered Mr. Hatch's remains in a previously unknown burial trench in the cemetery.

His burial is set for December 14 in Bountiful.


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Lost British Submarine HMS Urge Found-- Part 2: It Went Down Fast

"The damage to the bow shows a very violent explosion ... indicating that the ship would have sunk very fast giving no chance to anyone to survive from this tragedy," said Timmy Gambin, who led the search mission.  "Besides the damage on the bow, the wreck is in absolutely fantastic condition.  It is sitting upright on the seabed  still facing the direction to which it had been ordered."

The British Defense Ministry has reviewed the findings and says it is the HMS Urge.

Gambin believes it hit the mine while sailing on the surface shortly after leaving Malta under the cover of darkness.

A ceremony is planned for April to declare the site an official war grave.  He hopes the daughter of the Urge's commander Lt. Commander  E.P. Tompkinson, will be in attendance.


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Lost British Submarine HMS Urge Found in the Mediterranean-- Part 1

From the October 31, 2019 Reuters  "Lost WW2 British submarine found off the coast of Malta" Crispian Balmer.

The British submarine HMS Urge had been based with other submarines at the island of Malta during the height of the war and had carried out several missions against Italian warships and commerce when it and the others were ordered to leave Malta and redeploy to Egypt because of relentless German attacks on the island.

The Urge set sail on April 27, 1942 with a crew of 32, 11 other Navy personnel and a journalist.  However, it failed to reach Alexandria by its May 6 rendezvous date and its final fate has been unknown, until now.  Most thought it had hit a mine as the area it had gone through had been heavily mined by the Germans.

A maritime team from the University of Malta has spent two decades surveying local waters at the request of the son of the Urge's commander.

A sonar image revealed a submarine-like shape at a 425 foot depth about two miles off Malta's coast.  Subsequent dives by an unmanned submersible revealed it to be a U-Class submarine with a large chunk of its bow missing.

That's It.  --GreGen

Friday, November 1, 2019

Kenneth Taylor, Pearl Harbor Hero-- Part 5: George Welch and After the War

George Welch flew  more than 300 missions in the Pacific Theater during the war and is credited with shooting down at least 12 Japanese planes.  After the war he became a test pilot and died in 1954 in a test flight of a F-100 Super Sabre fighter jet.

Taylor stayed in the Air Force after the war and retired in 1967 and then was with the Alaska Air National Guard, retiring as a brigadier general in 1971.

His other awards and decorations include the Air Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, tyhe Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, two Bronze Service Stars.

After he left the military, he worked as an aviation insurance underwriter for Lloyd's of London until 1985 and died in 2006.

Taylor's son, Kenneth Taylor Jr., followed in his father's footsteps, serving as a gunship and cargo pilot in the Vietnam War, accumulating more than 6,600 flying hours and 500 combat hours and eventually rose to the rank of brigadier general.

A well deserved honor to be inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame.


Kenneth Taylor, Pearl Harbor Hero-- Part 4: 14 Pilots Got Off Ground That Day, Both Became Flying Aces in the War

Taylor was credited with shooting down two Japanese aircraft that day, but a later search of Japanese records after the war confirmed that he had shot down four.  His wingman, George Welch, also took credit for shooting down four planes.

Taylor said he didn't have time to be scared during that morning's battle.  "I wasn't in the least bit scared and let me tell you why:  I was too young and too stupid to realize that I was in a lot of danger."

Both men were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross of Valor, the second highest award for bravery.  In all, 14 American pilots got off the ground to fight that morning and shot down ten Japanese planes.

Taylor and Welch both became flying aces during the war.  Taylor flew 40 combat missions, including 100 combat hours in a P-40 fighter and was credited with shooting down six Japanese planes.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Kenneth Taylor, Pearl Harbor Hero-- Part 3: Fighting the Japanese in the Air

Kenneth Taylor and George Welch landed at Wheeler Field to rearm.  Wheeler had already been under attack.  Senior officers there at first ordered the two to abandon their airplanes.  But, when they quickly dispersed under a new Japanese attack, the two pilots had their opportunity to get back into the air.

With enemy planes attacking the field, Taylor opted to take off directly into their he could shoot at them as he took off and they couldn't shoot him from behind.

Said Taylor:  "Wheeler was just a grass field in those days, and you could take off in any direction you wanted, and I took off right toward them, which gave me the ability to shoot at them before I even left the ground."

In the ensuing engagement, Taylor received minor wounds.

Once in the air, Taylor continued:  "I got behind one of them and started shooting again.  The only thing I didn't know at the time was that I had got in the middle of their line instead of at the end.  there was somebody on my tail.  They put a bullet right behind my head through the canopy.  So I got a little shrapnel in my leg and through my arm.  It was of no consequence;  it just scared the hell out of me for a minute."


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Kenneth Taylor, Pearl Harbor Pilot-- Part 2: Two Warhawks Vs. the Japanese

On December 6, 1941, his squadron was temporarily detached to Haleiwa Field, about 11 miles from Wheeler, for gunnery practice.  Kenneth Taylor spent the night and morning playing cards at the officers' club with a fellow second lieutenant and close friend, George Welch of Delaware.

They were awakened at 8 am on the 7th by machine gun fire and explosions.  Taylor called ahead to Haleiwa Field and  and ordered two P-40 Warhawks to be armed and fueled, then he and Welch, still clad in their tuxedo trousers from the night before, raced in Taylor's car to Haleiwa and were strafed along the way.  (These are the two people the movie "Pearl Harbor" based their two main characters on.)

They got to Haleiwa unharmed and got airborne without incident.  The first planes they spotted were the inbound formation of unarmed B-17s flying in from the mainland.  But as they approached the Marine Corps airfield at Ewa, they encountered Japanese planes.

Despite being vastly outnumbered and outgunned, they immediately attacked the Japanese.  Taylor said, "We just got in line with them and started shooting them down, and ultimately ran out of ammunition."


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Kenneth Taylor, One of Just 14 Pilots to get Their Planes Up Against the Japanese at Pearl Harbor Honored-- Part 1

From the October 27, 2019 Enid (Oklahoma) News & Eagle  "Enid native, Pearl Harbor hero to be inducted into Military Hall of Fame" by James Neal.

The late Brigadier Gen. Kenneth Taylor was honored as one of the first two pilots to get their aircraft into the air to fight the Japanese Dec. 7, 1941.  He was inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame on Saturday.

He was one of 13 veterans who were inducted.  Also honored at the ceremony were the USS Oklahoma  and 429 sailors and Marines who died aboard her that day.

Taylor was born December 23, 1919,  and shortly afterwards his family moved to Hominy, Ok., where he graduated high school.  He attended pre-law at the University of Oklahoma and joined the Army Air Corps two years later.

After completing flight training at  Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas,  He was promoted to second lieutenant and assigned to the 47th Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field in Oahu, Hawaii.


Monday, October 28, 2019

More USS Oklahoma Unknowns Identified: Victor P. Tumlinson, Walter C. Foley, Ted Hall, Johnny Cornelius Laurie

**  Victor P. Tumlinson, Navy Fire Control 3rd Class, 19, was stationed on the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7. 1941 and died.  His remains were identified in February 2019 and now they will be buried in Raymondville, Texas.

**  Walter C. Foley of Brooklyn, New York, 18,  was on the USS Oklahoma and a Seaman First Class.  His body has now been identified.

**  Private Ted Hall, USMC, was 24 when he died aboard the USS Oklahoma.  His remains were identified in January of this year.

**  Johnny Cornelius Laurie, 25, US Navy  Mess Attendant 1st Class of Bessemer, Alabama, has been buried in Alabama National Cemetery.  His remains were identified in July of this year.


USS Arrow (H-42) and SS Fort LaMontee-- Part 1: A Class Destroyer

From Wikipedia   U-boat net

In the last post on the USS Vulcan, I wrote that that ship rescued sailors off the ammunition ship Arrow in the Mediterranean Sea in August 1943.  It turns out that the Arrow was not an ammunition ship, but a British destroyer that had been severely damaged by the explosion of the ammunition ship SS Fort LaMontee.  So much damaged that it was ruled a wreck.

The Arrow was a British A Class destroyer.  A Class destroyers all had names beginning with the letter A except the first one, the Codrington.  There were nine of them altogether and five did not survive the war.  There were also two Royal Canadian A Class destroyers.  One survived the war and the other was wrecked.

The Arrow was commissioned in  14 April 1930.  (323 feet long, 32.3 foot beam, 134 crew,  four 4.7-inch guns, two AA guns, torpedoes and depth charges.)


Saturday, October 26, 2019

Bits of War: Dozens of Bombs Found, Niece Wants Uncle Returned, WW II Vet and Tomb Sentinel Honored, Finally

1.  DOZENS OF BOMBS FOUND--  36 bombs were found over a three day period at German city of Neutraubling  Some were still live and exploded.    A new industrial park is being built  There was a Messerschmitt plant there during the war and it was heavily bombed.

2.  NIECE WANTS UNCLE'S REMAINS RETURNED TO IOWA--  William "Bill" Querl, was killed in the war and buried in the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines.

The American Red Cross brought his mother news of his death on September 16, 1942.  She had lost her husband, had two sons in the military and was about to lose her home.  devastated, she signed a document to allow his body to be buried in the Philippines.  She regretted it ever since.

3.  WORLD WAR II VETS AND TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS GUARD, 100, FINALLY HONORED--  Jack Eaton is the oldest living Tomb of the Unknowns Sentinel.  However, the plaque honoring former Sentinels where his name should have been had omitted his name.  It is now on the plaque.


Friday, October 25, 2019

USS Vulcan (AR-5)-- Part 4: To the Mediterranean Sea and Invasion of Southern France

After repairs at Hampton Roads, Virginia, in June 1943, the ship was ordered to the Mediterranean Sea where it arrived in Oran, Algeria, June 27.  Then shifted to Algiers where it sent a fire and rescue crew to the burning British ammunition ship Arrow.  Three of her sailors pulled up alongside it and cut a hole in the side of its hull to rescue sailors trapped inside.

For their bravery and resourcefulness, they received decorations from the British government and Navy and Marine medals from the U.S. military.

I looked up the ammunition ship Arrow and found a discrepancy in the story.

The ship remained at her post in North Africa during the summer of 1944  In August and September, the Vulcan supported the invasion of southern France and received her sole battle star for providing repair services to ships involved in it.


Thursday, October 24, 2019

USS Vulcan (AR-5)-- Part 3: USS Niblack and More Iceland Service

Operations around Iceland proved to be often dangerous, fogs and storms frequently hampered the ships and there were collisions.    In November, the USS Niblack (DD-424) was rammed by a Norwegian freighter.  The destroyer had been scouting the coasts of Iceland when the accident occurred.

The Niblack suffered the loss of an anchor and a hole in her side, but the Vulcan quickly fixed it and the destroyer was able to continue her important convoy escort duties.  (There is no mention of this incident in the Wikipedia article about the Niblack.)

The Vulcan remained in the frigid Iceland waters until the spring of 1942.  After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Vulcan and other ships were ordered from Iceland to Boston. She was accompanied by the USS Tarazed (AF-13), USS Livermore (DD-429) and the USS Kearny.

The Vulcan was then placed in dry dock for repairs and then was assigned to assist the U.S. Navy in the North Atlantic.  She was based in Argentia, Newfoundland, from June to November 1942, then back to Iceland until 6 April 1943, when she was ordered to Hampton Roads.


USS Vulcan (AR-5)-- Part 2: USS Kearny Torpedoed Before the War Started for the U.S.

The HMS Tirpitz did not sortie but, U-boats were causing all sorts of problems with Allied shipping.  By the fall of 1941, U.S. destroyers were actively engaged in protecting convoys, but turned their charges they were protecting over to British ships at the MOMP (Mid Ocean Meeting Point)  On 4 September, the USS Grier narrowly missed being torpedoed.

On 17 October 1941, the USS Kearny  (DD-432) was torpedoed by U-568 while guarding Convoy SC-48.  The ship was able to get back to Reykjavik, but with a huge hole in its side and 11 sailors dead.

The Vulcan provided timely and effective assistance to the stricken ship.  Permanent repair facilities, like a dry dock, were unavailable, so the Kearny pulled up alongside the Vulcan and her port side was flooded to raise the torpedo hole above water.

In short order, the damaged hull had been cut away and a patch  placed on it.   By Christmas 1941, the Kearny was able to sail to the east coast of the U.S. for permanent repairs.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

USS Vulcan (AR-5)-- Part 1: The Battle of the Atlantic Before U.S. Entry Into the War

In the last post, I mentioned that when the USS Fulton (AS-11) submarine tender was decommissioned in 1991, it was the third oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy after the Constitution (commissioned in 1797) and the USS Vulcan (AR-5).

I knew about the Constitution, but not the Vulcan and had not posted about it.  Turns out, the Vulcan had quite the long and varied career.

From Wikipedia.

The USS Vulcan (AR-5) was the lead ship of her class of repair ships in the U.S. Navy.   It was laid down on 16 December 1939 and launched 14 December 1940,commissioned 14 June 1941.

It was 530 feet long, had a 73.4 foot beam and crew of 1,297.    Armed with four 5-inch guns and four .5 inch machine guns.

She was assigned to the Atlantic fleet.  In July 1941, at the request of the Icelandic government, U.S. troops had occupied the island.  Two bases were established at Reykjavik and Havalfjorour, which became known in Navy circles as "Rinky Dink" and "Valley Forge."

The Allies feared that the German battleship Tirpitz might break ot into the North Atlantic as her sister battleship Bismarck had done in the spring of 1941, the U.S. dispatched a task force to Iceland which included the aircraft carrier Wasp (CV-7) USS Mississippi (BB-41), USS Wichita (CA-45) and Vulcan along with four destroyers.

A German U-boat spotted them but couldn't keep up and the task force arrive at "Valley Forge." on 29 September 1941.

Remember, the U.S. Was Not Yet at War.  --GreGen

Monday, October 21, 2019

USS Fulton (AS-11)-- Part 5: From WW II to Nuclear and 3rd Oldest Commissioned Ship At One Time

In 1972, the Fulton made a 5 month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea with a mission to establish a full-time advance site for repairs for nuclear powered fast attack submarines.  This was quite an accomplishment since the Fulton was still a World War II-era ship.

In 1976, she returned to New London and was modernized 1983-1984.  She was at many stations after that until decommissioned in 1991.

In 1988, Submarine Squadron 10 (SubRon10) consisted of the Fulton, the flagship, and submarines Jack, Tinosa, Dace, Whale, Greenling, Gato, Pargo, Trepang, Billfish and torpedo retriever Labrador.

On 30 September 1991, SubRon 10 was disbanded and the Fulton decommissioned at her berth in New London, Connecticut.  At that time, she was the third oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. navy, exceeded only by the USS Constitution and the USS Vulcan (AR-5).  The Vulcan was decommissioned the same day.

The Fulton was sold in 1995 for scrap.

A Long-Serving Ship.  --GreGen

Sunday, October 20, 2019

USS Fulton (AS-11)-- Part 4: Tending the Nuclear Submarines


The Submarine tender Fulton was recommissioned in 1951 and home ported for the next 40 years in New London, Connecticut, where she was tender for Submarine Squadron  10 (SubRon10).  In April 1958, three nuclear submarines were assigned to the squadron, including the USS Nautilus.

1959-1960, she underwent an overhaul at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard which enabled her to provide service for both nuclear and conventional submarines.  As such, she was the very first tender with both capabilities, much as her previous Fulton (AS-1) was the first purpose-built submarine tender back in 1914.

The Fulton continued as the tender and flagship of the first all nuclear submarine squadron with the Nautilus, Seawolf, Skate, Triton and Skipjack.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

USS Fulton (AS-11)-- Part 3: A Busy Ship and At Operation Crossroads

The USS Fulton was at Midway until 17 October and Brisbane from  9 November.

  There she established a submarine base and rest camp, and in addition to refitting submarines between their war patrols, acted as a tender to other ships.

Milne Bay, New Guinea, was her station from 29 October 1943 to 17 March 1944 when she sailed for the U.S. West Coast for an overhaul.

Returning to Pearl Harbor 13 June 1944,  the Fulton took care of submarines for a month, then to Midway and later to Saipan.    Then to Guam where she fitted out submarines until the end of the war.

In Operation Crossroads, the testing of nuclear weapons at Bikini Atoll for the six submarines assigned to the project and also served as a repair ship to others involved in it.

Decommissioned in 1947.


Friday, October 18, 2019

USS Fulton (AS-11)-- Part 2: Battle of Midway

I wrote about the five ships that have been in the U.S. Navy by this name, of course, after the inventor of the steamboat Clermont, earlier this month.  This ship participated in World War II and for many years afterwards.

From Wikipedia.

The USS Fulton  (AS-11) was the lead ship of her class of seven submarine tenders.   It was launched December 1940 at Mare Island Navy Yard in San Francisco and sponsored by Mrs. A.T. Sutcliffe, the great granddaughter of Robert Fulton.   Commissioned 12 September 1941.

529.6 feet long,  73.4 beam, 1303 crew and four 5-inch guns.

It was on its shakedown cruise out of San Diego when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  She was ordered immediately to the Panama Canal, arriving December 9.   During the next month, the Fulton established several seaplane bases.

Then she tended submarines out of Pearl Harbor from March 1941 to July 1942, when she put out to sea during the Battle of Midway.  She transported many of the survivors of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown back to Pearl Harbor, arriving  8 June.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Saving the Waste Fat for the War Effort

From the January 23, 2019, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago.

"Although a number of housewives in this community have been faithfully saving their used fats, it is necessary that all should start now and there is an urgent need.

"Since early last month two extra points in addition to four cents a pound have been paid by  meat dealers for a pound of used cooking fat.     This plan was developed by the OPA in order not only to stimulate the saving of valuable waste fats but also as a just return for the housewife for the service of saving the fat."


Returning Soldier Starts Shoe Repair in DeKalb in 1919

Okay, I accidentally put this here instead of in Cooter's History Thing, but I didn't want to retype it.

From the March 6, 2019, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1919, 100 Years Ago.

"Joe Cohn, a returned soldier lad, who was in the service for seven months at Camp Jackson, South Carolina, has recently been mustered out, and has started a shoe repair shop in the little building next to the Nehring Electrical Works on East Lincoln Highway in DeKalb.

"Cohn was a cobbler by trade when he entered the service, and was in business at Earlville, and when he mustered out, thought DeKalb looked good to him and is getting his share of the business in this line."

Camp Jackson was where my grandfather was stationed during the war.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Ready-To-Eat Soups Removed From Rationing

From the January 23, 2019, MidWeek   "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago.

"Ready-to-eat canned or bottled soups, which were listed as zero points on the December table of point values for processed foods, have been removed entirely from the new January table and will not hereafter be considered a rationed food.

"The supply of this type of soup is so limited, none having been backed since June 30, 1942, that it is not practical to ration, and therefore theses soups are eliminated from the list of rationed foods.  Ready-to-serve soups  are unconcentrated and are ordinarily used used in their original form.  They do not require the addition of any liquid for dilution."


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Making Surgical Dressings for the Wounded in Sycamore

From the January 9, 2019, MidWeek   "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago.

"Now that the holiday season is a matter of history,  people of Sycamore are asked to turn their thoughts to the more serious and necessary work of providing surgical dressings for the use of wounded service men in hospitals of this and other countries.

"Friday of each week is devoted to the making of dressings and the work room of the Red Cross in the basement of the library are open on Friday at 9 o'clock in the morning to 9 o'clock in the evening."


Sunday, October 13, 2019

USS Oklahoma Unknowns: Two More Identified-- Wilbur Clayton Barrett and Johnnie C. Laurie

September 13, 2019--  WILBUR CLAYTON BARRETT--  Seaman 2nd Class of El Dorado, Kansas.   Enlisted at age 25 in May 1940.  Remains arrived in Wichita September 12 and buried at El Dorado September 14.

September 18, 2019--  JOHNNIE C. LAURIE--  Mess Attendant 1st Class, 25, of Bessemer, Alabama.  He will be buried October 19, 2019, in Montevallo.


Friday, October 11, 2019

USS Arizona Survivor Lauren Bruner Dies-- Part 2

From the September 12, 2019, Rogersville (Az) Review  "Pearl Harbor survivor Lauren Bruner, honored before the 2016 Arizona-Hawaii football game, dies at 98"   Arizona Daily Star.

There are now just three USS Arizona survivors alive:  Don Stratton, Lou Conter and Ken Potts.

When the attack came that December 7, he was at his duty station about 70 feet above the deck of the Arizona when the explosion that killed 1,177 of his crew mates.  He wad hoping to go to college and be a cheerleader  "we called  it a 'yell leader' then," he said.  he was one of the final two men rescued from the ship.

His hands and  arms were charred and he was shot twice in the leg.  Afterwards, he spent  seven months in hospitals with about 70% of his body burned.

He survived that ordeal and accepted assignment to another battleship and fought in eight major battles in the Pacific Theater.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

USS Fulton (AS-11)-- Part 1: Five Ships By This Name in U.S. Navy

Last month, I wrote about four previous USS Fultons that served in the U.S. Navy in three of my blogs.

USS Fulton (USS Demologos), designed by Robert Fulton, launched in 1815.  steam frigate in my Not So Forgotten" War of 1812 blog.

USS  Fulton (1837)  A sidewheel  steamer carrying four cannons.  Captured by the Confederates in 1861 and destroyed by them at Pensacola, Florida, to prevent capture in 1862.  This was in my Running the Blockade: Civil War Navy blog.

USS Fulton (AS-1).   The first purpose-built submarine tender launched in 1914 and reclassified as a gunboat in 1930 in my Cooter's History Thing blog.

USS Fulton (SP-247) a tugboat converted to a patrol boat 1917-1919.  In my Cooter's History Thing blog.

And this is the last U.S. ship by that name and a submarine tender which was in World War II and served until 1991.  At the time of decommissioning, it was the third oldest U.S. Ship, behind the USS Constitution and USS Vulcan.


Monday, September 30, 2019

Some More On the Palmer Boys Who Died on the USS Oklahoma-- Part 4

Senator John Hoeven, on the Senate  Defense Appropriations Committee, said:  "We are grateful that the Palmer brothers, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation at Pearl Harbor,  have now been accounted for.  These brave brothers who perished along with 427 others on the USS Oklahoma during the attacks on Pearl harbor, remind us once again of the  of the bravery and sacrifices our nation's Greatest generation."

Plans are for the brothers to be buried in early August in Port Orchard, where other family members and their friend from the  USS Oklahoma, Charles  Burns (and her father) are buried, Helene Jensen said.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Some More On the Palmer Boys Lost on the USS Oklahoma-- Part 3

Calvin, Wilfred, Doris, Florence and Joyce were all children of Harry and Rosie Palmer.  The two boys and Doris were all born in Minot, North Dakota and the two other sisters might have been.  The Palmer family moved from Minot to San Francisco where Calvin and Wilfred joined the Navy.

According to the DPAA, the Palmer brothers were among the 429 killed on the Oklahoma that day.  Remains were recovered from December 1941 to June 1944 and most were unidentifiable due to length of time.    They were interred in two cemeteries:  Halawa and Nu'uanu.

In September 1947,  members of the American Graves  Registration Service disinterred the graves in the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks where they were able to identify 35 of them.  The remainder were  were buried in 46 plots at the National Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl.

Between June and November 2015, the DPAA exhumed the 46 plots and used DNA analysis on the remains.

Helene Jensen aid that her aunt had provided DNA before her death and that is what provided the positive identification.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Some More On the Palmer Boys Lost on the USS Oklahoma-- Part 2

From the May 14, 2019, Minot (ND) Daily News "Casualties of USS Oklahoma:  Two Navy brothers  from Minot accounted for from World War II" by Eloise Ogden.

Pictures of Calvin H and Wilfred D. Palmer accompanied the article.

On March 19, 2019, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified their remains

Helene Jensen, their niece from Port Orchard, Washington, told the Minot Daily News that her father, Charles F. Burns, was also aboard the USS Oklahoma when the ship was attacked and "tried to save them to get them out of the laundryroom but was unsuccessful."  She said her father had to jump off the ship but the water was full of flames.  "He found an opening without flames " and was able to get to shore.

She also said that the Oklahoma and other ships in Pearl Harbor were not armed because the country was not at war.  (Well, they were armed, just not ready to fight.)

Her father died in 1998.  Her mother Doris then married Warren Houk.  She is 95 and resides in Port  Orchard.  Besides the two brothers and Doris, there were also two daughters:  Florence and Joyce.

So, There Were the Two Brothers and a Brother-In-Law On the Oklahoma That Day.  --GreGen

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Some More on the Palmer Family Who Lost Two Sons on the USS Oklahoma That Day-- Part 1

From Find-A-Grave.

Both sons, Wilfred (also I've seen it spelled Wilferd) Dewey Palmer and Calvin Harry Palmer were remembered at the USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island.  Their  unidentified remains were buried at the Punch Bowl, National Cemetery of the Pacific on Oahu.


Only their mother is listed in Find-A-Grave:

Rose E. Stredwick Palmer

Born:  Feb. 1895 in North Dakota.
Death: October 1984, age 94

Buried at Sunset Lane Memorial Park
Port Orchard, Washington (state)

However, an added section shows that she was from England and Sweden and that her husband was Harry C. Palmer from Illinois.  In 1930 the census recorded them as living in North Dakota with two sons, Calvin and Wilferd and three daughters:  Florence E.,  Joyce D., and Doris M..

The mother's tombstone lists her as a Gold Star Mother.  The brothers were reburied at Port Orchard, Washington (state), evidently to be with their mother.

Such a Sad Story.  --GreGen

Friday, September 20, 2019

Oklahoma Unknowns: Three More Identified-- Calvin and Wilfred Porter and Grant Cook Jr.and

MAY 14, 2019--  Minot (ND) Daily News.  The remains of two bothers from Minot have been identified.

Calvin H. Palmer, 23, Seaman 2nd Class
Wilfred D. Palmer, 21, Seaman 2nd Class  (Wilferd)

They were buried August 9, 2019 in Port Orchard, Washington.

When I think of the agony of not knowing for this poor family and then their sadness to find that they had lost not just one, but both of the brothers is unfathomable.

MAY 14, 2019--  NTV ABC

Grant Cook Jr.,  Fireman 1st Class from Cozad, Nebraska.  One of 429 who died on the ship.  He will be buried at the Punch Bowl in Hawaii.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Bits of War: A Pearl Harbor 101st and Bell Ringing

Bits of War.

1.  A PEARL HARBOR 101ST BIRTHDAY--  Bernie Rubien celebrated his 101st birthday in Rancho Mirage, California.  he was in the Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force for 25 years.  He celebrated with his best friend, 98-year-old Clarence Lux, a World War II U.S. Navy veteran.

Both men were stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, but did not know each other then.  They met many years later when they belonged to the Coachella Valley Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.  They are the last two members living of the group that at one time had 24 members.

2.  A BELL RINGING--  The bell in the University of Arizona Student Union Memorial Center Tower rang 21 times on Friday, September 13 for Lauren Bruner who died on September 11, 2019.

Ruth Campbell, wife of USS Arizona survivor Joe Campbell and leader of the USS Arizona Survivors Group visited the campus for the bell ringing and paid her respects at the USS Arizona Mall memorial.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

They're Coming Home At Last: Killed at Tarawa and On USS West Virginia

Again, I am so proud of the United States government's continued search for our nation's unknowns buried overseas.

SEPTEMBER 6, 2019--  Private 1st Class Kenneth W. Likens, USMC Reserve was killed at the Battle of Tarawa on November 22, 1943 while in Company B.  His remains have been identified and he is coming home.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2019--  Fireman 3rd Class Harold Kenneth "Bud" Costill was 18 when he died December 7, 1941, aboard the USS West Virginia at anchor in Pearl Harbor.  That ship lost 106 in the attack.  he was reburied September 14 in New Jersey.  He was one of 66 crew members who were unidentified after the attack and buried  in Oahu's Punch Bowl.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

U.S. Vet Returns Captured Japanese Flag-- Part 4: Nearly Half of Japanese Soldiers Killed Overseas Have Not Been Found

Marvin Strombo was not only able to return Sadao Yasue's flag, but could also provide the Yasue family with some answers involving his death.

He said that he found Sadao Yasue's body on the outskirts of Garapan, a village in Saipan, when he got lost and found himself near the Japanese front line.  He told them that their brother likely died of concussion from a mortar round.  That Sadao was lying on the ground on his left side, looking as if he was sleeping and without severe wounds.

Garapan is in the United States Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

And, importantly, with those details, the family can now hope that they might be able to find his remains now.

The remains of nearly half of the 2.4 million Japanese war dead overseas have yet to be found.  It is an increasingly pressing issue as bereaved families are reaching old age and memories fade.

In 2012, Marvin Strombo was connected to the Obon Society, an Oregon-based non-profit that helps U.S. veterans and their descendants return Japanese flags to the families of the fallen soldiers.

Tuesday's handover meant closure for Strombo, too.  "It means so much to me and the family to get the flag back and move on," he said.

A Great Story.  --GreGen

Monday, September 16, 2019

U.S. Vet Returns Captured Japanese Flag-- Part 3: "My Brother Came Out of Limbo"

The return of the flag brought closure to the Yatsue family.  "It's like the war has finally ended and my brother can come out of limbo," younger brother Sadao Yasue, 89, said.

Tatsuya Yasue last saw his older brother  the day before he left for the South Pacific in 1943.  he and two siblings had a small sendoff picnic for his oldest brother outside his military unit over sushi and Japanese sweet mochi.  At the end of it, his older brother whispered to him to take care of the parents as he was going to the the Pacific island s where chances of returning were minimal.

A year later, the Japanese government sent the family a wooden box with a few stones at the bottom -- a substitute or the body.  They knew no details of Sadeo's death until months after the war ended, when they were told he died somewhere in the Mariana Islands, presumably on July 18, 1944, the day Saipan fell.  The brother was just 25.

"That's all we were told about my brother," he said.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

America's Oldest World War II Veteran Celebrates His 110th Birthday in New Orleans

From Fox News by Nicole Darrah.

Lawrence Brooks, considered to be our oldest WW II veteran, celebrated his 110th birthday Thursday in New Orleans at the National World War II Museum  he was born September 12, 1909 and served in the 91st  Engineer Battalion stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines.  The 91st was predominately a black unit.

He served between 1940 and 1945 and his primary duty was as a servant to three white officers.  He attained the rank of private 1st class.

he is now considered to be the oldest veteran after the death of Richard Overton in December at the age of 112.  He has been returning to the museum for birthday celebrations ever since his 105th birthday.

One of the Greatest Generation.  --GreGen

Friday, September 13, 2019

USS Arizona Survivor Lauren Bruner Dies at 98

From the September 11, 2019, Hawaii News Now  "USS Arizona survivor who was second to last to leave  the sinking battleship dies at 98"  by Lisa Kubota.

One of just four remaining survivors from that fated ship.  Died Tuesday, September 10 in California.

On December 7, 1941, he was a 21-year-old fire controlman third class.  Bruner, fellow survivor Donald Stratton, and four others narrowly escaped by pulling themselves along a rope connected to another vessel.

In the attack, he was wounded by enemy  fire and suffered burns over  more than 73% of his body.

His story is chronicled in the recently published memoir "Second to the Last to Leave USS Arizona."

One of the Greatest.  --GreGen

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Deaths of 9-11 First Responders Continue to Rise

Continued from my Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 and Cooter's History Thing blogs posted today.

Three hundred forty-three New York City firefighters died during the initial response on Sept. 11.  In July, NYC mayor Bill Deblasio announced that the 200th NYC firefighter had died from a Ground Zero-related illness, a number expected to continue to grow even to exceeding the original firefighter toll.  (The number of these deaths this date in 2018 was approaching 180.)

Tom Frey remembers a detective who sat at the desk next to his, who was one of the first to succumb to a pulmonary illness.  His friend and fellow NYC detective Luis Alvarez, who supported Frey through his cancer treatments and made news in June when he gave emotional testimony before Congress in support of extending the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, died two weeks after his testimony.

In July, the victim fund was extended through 2090 -- a necessary measure, says Dr, Greg Cosgrove, chief medical officer at the Chicago-based Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, because illnesses such as that will continue to be linked to ground zero exposure.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

"Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)"-- Part 1

Because of the anniversary of 9-11, I will again write about it in all seven of my blogs.

This song hit me hard back then.  By Alan Jackson.


Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?

Were in the yard with your wife and children?

Or working on some stage in L.A.?

Did you stand there in shock

At the sight of that black smoke

Risin' against that  blue sky?

Did you shout out in anger

In fear for your neighbor

Or did you just sit down and cry?


Eighteen Years Ago.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

U.S. Vet Returns Captured Japanese Flag-- Part 2: "It Meant Everything In the World To Her"

U.S. veteran Marvin Strombo reached over to Sayoko Furata's shoulder and gently rubbed it,.  "I was so happy that I returned the flag," he said.  "I can see how much the flag meant to her.  That almost made me cry.  It meant everything in the world to her."

The flag's white background is filled with signatures of 180 friends and neighbors in this tea-growing mountain village of Higashishirakawa, wishing for Yasue's safe return.  It was those signatures that helped Strombo find the flag's rightful owners.

The brother of Sadao Yasue, the slain Japanese soldier, Tatsuya Yasue said the smell of the flag brought back old memories.  "It smelled like my hood old big brother, and it smelled like my mother's home cooking we ate together.  The flag will be our treasure."

The return of the flag brought closure to the 89-year-old farmer and his 93-year-old sister, Sayoko Furuta.

A Very Touching Story.  --GreGen

Monday, September 9, 2019

U.S. Vet Returns Captured Japanese Flag-- Part 1: Taken From a Dead Soldier's Body

From the August 16, 2017, Chicago Tribune "U.S. vet: 'I was so happy that I returned the flag' by Mari Yamaguchi, AP.

Higashishi, Japan.  Tatsuya Yasue buried his face into the flag and smelled it.  Then he held the 93-year-old hands that had brought the treasure home, and kissed them.

Marvin Strombo, who had taken the calligraphy covered Japanese flag from a dead soldier during a World War II battlefield 73 years ago, returned it Tuesday to the family of Sadao Yasue.  They had never gotten his body or -- until that moment -- anything else of his.

Yasue and Tatsuya's sister, Sayoko Furuta, 93, sitting in her wheelchair, covered her face with both hands as Tatsuya placed the flag in her lap.

A Touching Story After All This Time.  Time to Heal.  --GreGen

Suspected Nazi Artifacts Found in Argentina

From the June 21, 2017, Chicago Tribune  "Suspected Nazi artifacts found in a hidden room in Argentina"

Police have found the biggest collection of Nazi artifacts in Argentina's history in a secret room of the home of a collector near the nation's capital, Buenos Aires  These include a bust relief of Adolf Hitler and magnifying glasses inside elegant boxes with swastikas.  Some 75 items in all.

Authorities believe them to be originals.

Among the items were toys that would have been used to indoctrinate children and a large statue of the Nazi Eagle above a Swastika, a Nazi hourglass and a box of harmonicas.  One of the most compelling pieces is a photo negative of Hitler holding a magnifying glass similar to the ones found in the boxes.

They did not release the name of the collector who is under investigation.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Leaving for the WAVEs

From the March 6, 2019, MidWeek   "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago.

"Mildred Byers of Kirkland has resigned her  position at the DeKalb Agriculture office.  She will leave this week to enter training in the WAVES."


Friday, September 6, 2019

Some More on Bernard Dargols-- Part 2: To the French People He Was a Liberator

**  A few hours after landing on Normandy, Bernard Dargols was on a jeep nicknamed "La Bastlle" and he found himself surrounded by  Frenchmen who couldn't believe their ears.

"What a feeling to hear French spoken, to be taken in the arms of all these people older than me, calling me their liberator," he recalled.

**  "If I had kept all the bottles of calvados brandy  they were giving me, I think I could have opened my own specialist shop!"

**  IN 2014, he told Time magazine how badly he wanted to fight the Germans after he saw newsreel footage of Adolph Hitler shaking hands with French leader Philipe Petain, whose government collaborated in deporting 73,000  Jews from France to Nazi concentration camps.

**  His mother survived the Nazi occupation by hiding in her building.

**  He later moved to Paris.

**  "Today we're seeing the signs of anti-Semitism, he told AFP in 2014.  "I want young people to fight back against it."


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Germany Apologizes to Poland for 1939 Invasion and Atrocities

From the September 2, 2019, Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune  WW II's start marked in Poland with German  remorse, warning about nationalism" by Monika Scislowska and Vanessa Gera.

Germany's President Frank Walter Steinmeyer told Poland's  top leaders and others that Germany felt great remorse for the suffering his nation inflicted on the people of Poland and the rest of Europe on Sunday, the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II.

"The war was a German crime," he said.  "I bow  in mourning to the suffering of the victims.  I ask for forgiveness for Germany's historical debt.  I affirm our lasting responsibility."

Two weeks after Germany's invasion of Poland, the Soviet Union did likewise.  Six years later, about six million Polish people were dead, more than half of them Jews.

About Time.  --GreGen

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

USS Arizona Memorial Reopens After 16 Months

From the September 3, 2019,  "USS Arizona Memorial reopens after repairs" the Honolulu Star-Advertiser by Rob Shakina.

"With the American flag billowing in the wind above and 'The Star-Spangled Banner'  playing on the loudspeakers from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Field, the first boatload of tourists and residents in nearly sixteen months stepped onto the USS Arizona Memorial on Sunday morning."

The 145 persons disembarked from the Navy boat and spent solemn minutes looking at the long list of names of the 1,177 men who died that December morning.  Among the dead were a father and son named Free and 23 sets of brothers.

The oil is still seeping up from the ship which to me is the most moving sight.  The life blood of the ship and those men.  That oil is from the million gallons of bunker oil aboard the ship when it blew up.

While the memorial was closed, Navy boats still gave tours by it with a narrated story.  But no one was allowed to go into it.

It was closed in May 2018 after park staff found major damage to the anchoring system for the boat dock at it.    This damage possibly came from king tides in 2017.  Originally the memorial, which is one of Hawaii's biggest tourist attractions with about 4,300 people a day, was supposed to reopen in October 2018, but that was pushed back to December, then March of this year.

It's been a long time, but glad it has reopened.  I know that when I went to Hawaii, that was number one on my list of things to see.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Some More on Bernard Dargols-- Part 1

I have just finished writing five posts about this Frenchman's role in liberating his country as an American soldier during the war.

From 30 April 2019, Breitbart News "Bernard Dargols, Paris-Born GI who fought at Omaha Beach, dies at 98" by Simon Kent.

**  Paris-born Jew and only Frenchman to storm ashore at Omaha Beach in an American uniform.

**  Immigrated to U.S. in 1938 to work in Manhattan.

**  Became an American citizen.

**  Waded ashore as U.S. Army staff sergeant at age 24.

**  "If the Liberty Ship had been able to quickly ho into reverse, I think I would have asked them to do it."  He recounts coming to the shore.

More to Come.  --GreGen

One By One, D-Day Memories Fade-- Part 5

The road Bernard Dargols took from Omaha Beach inland now nears his name.

The battle to wrest Normandy from the Germans took longer than the Allies had figured, but, for Dargols, the final prize was invaluable.  When he made it to Paris, he went to his childhood apartment and found his mom -- unexpectedly alive.

For four decades, he didn't talk much about the war. But as more and more survivors died, and at his granddaughter's urging, he realized the importance of speaking out and sharing his stories with schools and journalists.

Dargols would have had a clear message for the D-Day anniversary had he lived, his granddaughter said:  "Never take democracy for granted.  Dictatorship is always a bad solution. Keep democracy alive.  Fight for democracy, for freedom, for peace."


Monday, September 2, 2019

One By One, D-Day Memories Fade Away-- Part 4: Bernard Dargols

Bernard Dargols might have made it back to Normandy this year had he not died in May.  It meant a lot to him.

His story is both unusual and emblematic.  He was born in France, but left Paris in 1938 for New York to learn his father's sewing machine trade.  He watched from afar as the Nazis occupied his homeland.  His Jewish relatives were sent to camps or fled in fear.

Determined to fight back, but skeptical of French gen. Charles de Gaulle's resistance force, he joined the U.S. Army instead.

With the 2nd Infantry Division, Dargols sailed from Britain on June 5 and only made it to Normandy on June 8, after three interminable days on choppy seas.

Then, he landed on Normandy on D-Day +2.


Saturday, August 31, 2019

One By One, D-Day Memories Fade-- Part 3: How Many Are Still Alive?

Normandy school teachers, veterans' families and military memorials are racing against time to record survivors' stories for posterity.

It was history's biggest amphibious invasion, on that fateful June 6, 1944, day, some 160,000 Allied forces came ashore to launch Operation Overlord to wrest Normandy from German control.  More than 4,000 Allied forces were killed that day alone.  Nearly a half a million people were killed on both sides by the time the Allies liberated Paris in August 1944.

It is unclear how many D-Day veterans are alive today.  The survivors are now in their 90s or 100s.

Of the 73,000 Americans who took part, just thirty are currently scheduled to come to France for this year's 75th anniversary.


Thursday, August 29, 2019

One By One, D-Day Memories Fade As WW II's Witnesses Die-- Part 2

An ever-smaller number of veterans will stand on Normandy's shores on June 6 for D-Day's 75th anniversary.  Many will salute fallen comrades from their wheelchairs.  As each year passes, more firsthand history is lost.

Bernard Dangols has outlived many of those men storming ashore June 6, 1944 and knows the importance of sustaining their memory.  "I'm convinced that we have to talk about the war to children, so they will understand how much they need to preserve the peace," he wrote in his memoir.

Even to his death, Dargols battled today's complacency, intolerance and those who think of D-Day as just a movie.

In recent years, "seeing any type of violence, of anti-Semitism and racism, either in France, in Europe or in the U.S." really upset him, said his granddaughter, Caroline Jolivet.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Halloween Prank in 1958

Okay, not WW II, but an interesting story anyway.

From the October 3, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

A photograph of a Halloween prank at Northern Illinois.

Caption:  "Halloween prank in 1958.  A fully assembled car sits on the structure that will become the Neptune building on the Northern Illinois University campus in De Kalb.

The photo was taken by Perry and Edythe Larson from their home on Carroll Avenue where the Holmes Student Center now stands.


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

One By One, D-Day Memories Fade As WW II's Witnesses Die-- Part 1

From the May 12, 2019, Chicago Tribune by Angela Charlton, AP.

Growing up, World War II veterans were everywhere so I never thought too much about them being around.  (I was born in 1951, just six years after the war.)  But, they are getting very rare these days as age claims so many daily.

"Paris --One more funeral, one fewer witness to the world's worst war.

"Bernard Dargols lived almost long enough to join the celebrations next month marking 75 years since the D-Day, 75 years since he waded ashore at Omaha Beach as an American soldier to help liberate France from the Nazis who persecuted his Jewish family.

"Just shy of his 99th birthday, Dargols died this month.  To the strains of his beloved American jazz, he was laid to rest Thursday at France's most famous cemetery, Pere Lachaise."


Monday, August 26, 2019

Shoe Rationing and Books for the Men in 1944

From the April 17, 2019, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago.

"Shoe retailers may temporarily sell children's shoes ration-free in ranges from size  eight and one half through twelve, and misses' and little boys' shoes in sizes twelve and one-half through three.  These shoes may be sold to consumers ration free from May  1 through May 20, at a maximum price of $1.60 per pair."


"Mrs. Leta Best Muller, Sycamore librarian, who is putting forth an extra effort to secure books for the men in service, reports that of late, a greater interest is being shown in the work and she expects to be able to send out a large shipment before many days pass."


Thursday, August 22, 2019

At 94, Bob Dole Greets Aging WW II Vets-- Part 3

Besides his service in World War II, Bob Dole's life has been one of service in all manners.  He is a champion of the disabled, Senate majority leader, 1996 Republican presidential candidate.  Meeting his fellow veterans is down to his final calling.  It is a duty to be fulfilled as long as he is able.

"It's just about the one public service left that I'm doing,"  Dole says.  "We don't have many of the World War II vets left.  It's important to me."

he has watched the proportion of WW II vets fall over the years from half the bus to just a few per group.

Dole's wife, former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole, says her husband is just wired to serve.  She frequently joins him on these Saturday outings.

I Still Think He Would Have Made An Excellent President.  --GreGen

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

At 94, Bob Dole Greets Aging WW II Vets-- Part 2

The aging vets recognize him, "Oh my gosh, Bob Dole!"

"Good to see you.  Where are you from?"  Dole says this over and over as they roll close, sometimes one on each side.  New York, Tennessee, Nevada.

He'll do this for more than three hours some days. and more than six hours on others.  They pump his left hand -- the one with some numb feeling left -- and squeeze his shoulders and sometimes he gets home not just tired, but gently battered by humanity and humidity alike.

"Physically, it takes a toll," says his nurse, Nathaniel Lohn.  "I may find five new bruises on him tonight.  But he won't miss it."

Dole has been doing this for years, weather and his health permitting, to greet his comrades.  They are brought there at no cost to them by the nonprofit Honor Flight Network.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

At 94, Bob Dole Greets Aging WW II Vets-- Part 1

From the June 24, 2018, Chicago Tribune  "At 94, Dole embraces role to greet aging WW II vets" by Steve Hendrix, Washington Post.

"Each Saturday, before Bob Dole sets off on his latest vocation, he has cornflakes, a little sugar on top, and a bottle of chocolate Boost.

"It takes less time to get dressed now that the 94-year-old allows a nurse to help him, but it remains a rough half-hour on a body racked by injury and age."  His shirt has to be maneuvered over his dead right arm and the shoulder that was blown away on an Italian hillside in World War II.

A pair of North Face running shoes have to be tied for him because his artillery blasted hands have been unable to tie since 1945.

Then, it is a 20 minute drive to the memorial that Bob Dole is very responsible, the National World War II memorial.

There, they come.  "Bus after bus, wheelchair after wheelchair, battalions of his bent brothers, stooped with years, but steeped in pride, veterans coming to see their country's monument to their sacrifice and to be welcomed by one of their country's icons."

He is there to  greet them.

Of course, Bob Dole is 95 now.  I am not sure he still does this.

One of the Greatest Generation and I think he would have made an excellent president.


Monday, August 19, 2019

Victory Gardens in DeKalb in 1944

From the April 17, 2019, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago.

"Waiting only for a change in the general weather conditions, home gardeners of DeKalb are preparing for victory gardening this year on even a greater scale than last.

"Gardens last year were well above expectations, and this year the government is asking that home gardens produce 25 percent more food than in the 1943 season."


Friday, August 16, 2019

Housing, Hemp and Books on the Home Front

From the March 27, 2019, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1944, 75 Years Ago.

"With completion of some of the apartments in the State theater building, it is announced that two of them are now occupied.    These apartments are three room kitchenettes an make a comfortable home for a family  of two or three."

War industries caused a big housing shortage all over.  This was in Sycamore.


"Announcement was made  at Decatur that the 1944 hemp crop of six midwestern states, including Illinois, will be decreased by two-thirds of 1943 production on record because of the current large reserve supply of fiber in the United States."


"Mrs. Leta Best Mueller has started a campaign to secure a large number of the better books for the men in service, and while there has been some response it is not what she thinks it should be, due to the fact, possibly,  that many persons have forgotten the campaign."

Home Front.  --GreGen

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Death of WASP Dorothy Olsen-- Part 5: "Despite the Fact That A Woman Once Flew It"

In 1945, just weeks after the end of the war in Europe, she married Harold Olsen and after raising their children, she ran antique shops near her University Place home, where she had lived since the 1960s.  Her husband died in 2006.

There are 37 living WASPs today, according to Kimberly Johnson, the archivist and curator of the WASP archive at Texas Woman's University in Denton.

They and their late colleagues were 'vitally important" -- not only to the war effort but "also for the impact they had on the experiences of women in future aviation" and other careers in engineering and science.

Sometimes before sending a plane off to combat,, WASPs would leave a note for its next pilot, occasionally sealing the missive with a red-lipsticked kiss.  In 1945, Dorothy Olsen received a letter sent from Italy by the pilot of a P-38 she had ferried.

It read:  "I thought I'd write a few lines," the lieutenant wrote, "to  let you know that despite the fact that a woman once flew it, the ship performs perfectly and is apparently without flaws of any kind."


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The End of World War II This Date, 1945: Japanese Surrender


1941--  President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter, a statement of principles that renounced aggression.

1945--  President Harry Truman announced that Japan had accepted the terms of unconditional surrender, that World War II was over and that he had proclaimed the following day to be V-J Day (Victory Over Japan).

This was 74 years ago.   This past Sunday I attended the Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive commemoration in McHenry, Illinois, at Veterans Park. which is always held the second Sunday of August to remember the Greatest Generation.

Finally, Over.  --GreGEn

Death of WASP Dorothy Olsen-- Part 4: Group Finally Gets Veteran Benefits and Gold Medal

The WASPs were disbanded in 1944, the year before the war ended.  Only in 1977 did they receive full veterans' benefits, and only in 2010 did they receive the recognition that their admirers thought to be their due, with the conferral of the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's second highest military honor.

"I was doing what I loved.  And I was lucky," Olsen told KOMO News.  "I loved it.  Every minute."

Dorothy Eleanor Kocher was born in Woodburn, Oregon, on July 10, 1916.  She became hooked on aviation after riding a biplane at a state fair and thereafter spent "all her available rime and money" on flying lessons," according to her daughter.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Death of WASP Dorothy Olsen-- Part 3: Buzzed the Base

In some cases, WASPs flew captured German and Japanese planes that had been transported back to the United States to be tested for their capabilities and vulnerabilities.

A total of 38 WASPs died during the war.

"The government didn't treat us very well, Olsen related.  "A bay mate was killed in a plane crash and the rest of us had to take up a collection to get her body back to Portland because they wouldn't pay for it."

Dorothy Olsen said she flew twenty types of planes during the war and became known for her moxie she brought to her sky duties.  At least once she flew her plane upside down for a thrill.

Another time the beauty of the nighttime sky overcame her:  "The moonlight came over Texas, and I was able to get big band music.  It was the closest to heaven I have ever been," she said.  "When I saw the lights of Coolidge Runway, I was excited and I came in low and buzzed the base before landing.   It was 11 o'clock during wartime, and I guess I woke up everybody.  The commander had a few words with me."

Wonder What He Said?  --GreGen

Monday, August 12, 2019

Death of WASP Dorothy Olsen-- Part 2: Flew Planes From Factories, Test Flights and Pulled Targets

She traced her love of airplanes back to reading a book about "The Red Knight of Germany" Baron Manfred von Richthoven during World War I.  For other WASPs, inspiration came from stories about Americans Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart.

The WASPs were formed by combining two earlier groups, the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron and the Women's Flying Training Detachment.  WASPs were treated as civilians and limited to domestic flights that freed more men to fly in combat.

But their missions, which totaled 60 million were of critical importance and sometimes of life-threatening danger.

They ferried planes from factories to their points of embarkation for the war front, performed test flights and towed targets (the ones at Fort Fisher did this) for gunnery practice.


Death of Daring WW II WASP, Dorothy Olsen-- Part 1: One of Just 1,074

From the August 8, 2019, Chicago Tribune "Daring aviatrix flew with WASPs during World War II" by Emily Langer, Washington Post.

DOROTHY OLSEN  1916-2019

Growing up on a farm in Oregon, Dorothy Olsen fell in love with flying.  She recalled, "From the time I was a little girl... until the time I was flying night missions as a Woman Airforce Service Pilot (WASPs) over moonlit Texas during World War II, I just loved to fly."

Olsen was one of the few surviving WASPs, the long unrecognized corps of female pilots who flew vital domestic missions for the Army Air Forces during World War II, died July 23 at her home in Washington state.  She was 103.

Olsen, then Dorothy Kocher, was working as a dance instructor in Portland, Oregon, when she joined the WASPs in 1943, the year the program was established.

Olsen had scrimped by to pay for private flying lessons for a pilot license and was one of mire than 25,000 women who applied to be WASPs, one of 1,879 candidates accepted and one of 1,074 to complete the training program.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Some More On USS Arizona Survivor Lonnie Cook

From MSN News.

Served eight years as gunner's mate in the U.S. Navy.

A fateful switch on December 7, 1941, probably saved his life.He switched shower times with a buddy at his buddy's request.  Had he not switched times he would have died that day as the buddy was in the shower and did not survive.

He fought in eight battles during the war.

Services will be in Morris, Oklahoma, where he will be buried next to his wife of 69 years.


The Four Remaining USS Arizona Survivors

With the recent death of Lonnie Cook, that leaves just four remaining USS Arizona survivors, all in their upper 90s:

Don Stratton

Lauren Bruner

Lou Conter

Ken Potts.

Earlier this year, the last survivor of the Doolittle Raid died.

It Will Be A Sad Day When These Four Die.  --GreGen

Thursday, August 8, 2019

One of the Last Known USS Arizona Survivors Dies: "L.D." Cook

From the August 2, 2019, KTIV NBC Channel 4 "Oklahoma, native, 1 of last-known USS Arizona survivors, dies

According to daughter Pat Cunanan, her father, Lonnie David  "L.D." Cook died Wednesday, July 31, 2019,  at age 98 in California where he was living near her family in Salinas.

He was born in Morris, Oklahoma, and his death leaves four known remaining survivors of December 7, 1941.  A total of 1,177 of the 1,512 on board died on the Arizona that day.

She said her father talked little of that day except to attribute his survival to being in one of the turrets at the time.

Funeral services will be held in Morris, about 35 miles south of Oklahoma City.


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Her Wedding Dress Made From Husband's Parachute-- Part 7:

Aida and Gerald Bonsonto went on to have four sons, one of whom, Vince, died a few years ago.   Gerald worked as a truck driver and wore his Army boots until they disintegrated, Aida said.

"I wanted to have them bronzed," something she did for her son, Joe, after he returned from serving in Vietnam, she said.   "But he insisted on wearing them every day, as a reminder of all he went through and why he went through it -- for freedom."   It also served as a tribute to his buddies who were killed in action, she said.

"He would say, 'Shut it off. It's not the real thing.  You've got to be there to know what it is really like,' "she said.

Aida said she is lending the dress to the museum instead of donating it, because she has several great granddaughters who might decide they'd like to wear it on their wedding day.

For now the dress will be displayed as a testament to a time when love and war intersected, creating a fahion statement.

So Glad It Is Going To a Museum.  --GreGen

Monday, August 5, 2019

Her Wedding Dress Made From Husband's Parachute-- Part 6: About That Nightgown

For months, Gerald Bonsonto recovered in hospitals in France, England and Capri, Italy.

While in France, he asked a woman to make a nightgown for his bride out of parachute material;.  The long-sleeved, sashed gown even has a nickname, "Edith," embroidered across the top left side.

Aida said that Gerald told her the cost of the seamstresses' work was two packs of cigarettes.

It was a different time, Aida said, and even though she only wore the nightgown on her wedding day, she machine sewed the originally hand-stitched seams to add durability.  She has also hand-washed the gown over the years.

Back then, the parachutes, said Jerry Bonsonto Jr., "were thin and lightweight, designed to get the men down fast so they wouldn't be targets in the air."

Caroline Bonsonto said the parachute nightgown "looks delicate but it is sturdy as steel."


Her Wedding Dress Made From Husband's Parachute-- Part 5: Her Photo Saved Gerald's Life

As Gerald Bonsonto, a medic and paratrooper assigned to the 307th Medics of the 82nd Airborne Division, saw duty around Europe and Africa, Aida worked in a shoe factory, first piecing together athletic shoes then sewing aviation lit bags for the Army.

One day, while on the job, she received a call from her future mother-in-law, asking her to come quickly.  Gerald had been shot in the chest while parachuting over Sainte-Mere-Eglise, which would become the first town liberated after the D-Day invasion.

A German sniper's bullet grazed Gerald's heart and lodges in his back, she says.  She believes "my picture saved his life."

Before he left for duty, she'd given Gerald a photo of herself that was taken at her brother's wedding.  He'd kept the picture, which had a metal, mirror-like backing in his chest pocket.  The photo was shredded by the bullet, but Aida kept it, an it is now buried with her husband.

Quite the Story.  --GreGEn

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Her Wedding Dress Made From Husband's Parachute-- Part 4: Wrote To Him Every Day

Aida "Edith" Bonsonto shared her story.  She and Jerry, her future husband, lived across the street from each other in Chicago but didn't meet until one summer night in 1938 when she ran into him as she was leaving a neighborhood ice cream shop with her sister.

He was standing on the corner with his cousin and the four got to talking.  "Before you knew it, we were walking and talking," Aida recalled.  "Then he asked me id I'd like to go to a movie."

From there they dated and spent many evenings sitting on her front porch.

By December 1942, when Gerald was inducted into the Army, the couple was going steady.  "Before he left, he asked if I would accept his ring and if I would wait for him," Aida said.  She promised she would.

"I wrote to him every day without fail.  Every day he had a letter from me.  I never stopped writing to him," she said.

A World War II Love Story.  --GreGen

Friday, August 2, 2019

Her Wedding Dress Made From Husband's Parachute-- Part 3: "People Who Started the Baby Boom"

Chris Ruff, curator of the 82nd Airborne Museum says:  "Everybody hears about these dresses made from parachutes but it seems there are very few that survived to this day and this one is a gem."

After the war there were shortages of materials so people would make do with what they could get their hands on.  He's heard about theses dresses but this is only the second one he's actually seen.  "There are only maybe three or four in the whole Army enterprise collection," he said.

"It's dresses like this and the people behind them that started the Baby Boom,"  Ruff said.  "That's a big deal, not to mention the military service of these soldiers who brought these back to their wives."

"Now we can enjoy them and tell their story today.  That's what museum artifacts are about."

Now, People Will be Able to View the Real Thing For A Long Time.  --GreGen