Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Fort Kamehameha-- Part 2: The Batteries


The batteries:

SELFRIDGE--  Constructed 1907-1913.  Two 12-inch guns on disappearing carriages.

JACKSON--  Constructed 1913.  Two 6-inch guns on disappearing carriages.

HASBROUCK--   Constructed 1909-1915.    Eight 12-inch coastal mortars

CHANDLER--  Two 3-inch guns

BARRI--  Two 4.7-inch guns.

ADAIR--  Two 6-inch Armstrong guns.  On Ford Island

BOYD--  Two 6-inch Armstrong guns on Ford island.

CLOSSON--  Had massive 20-foot thick concrete reinforced walls behind 3- feet of earth.  The earlier guns had becme obsolete and these replaced them.   Two 12-inch guns.  Anti-aircraft guns.

--GreGen

Fort Kamehameha, Hawaii-- Part 1: Built to Protect Pearl Harbor


From Wikipedia.

In the last post I mentioned that Heorge Stevens of Shasta County, California, is the lone remaining Pearl Harbor survivor.  He was stationed at Fort Kamehameha in Hawaii during the attack.  I'd never heard of this installation so looked it up.

The fort was a U.A. Army base with several coastal artillery batteries set up to defend Pearl Harbor.

Secretary of War William Howard Taft headed up a group to review coastal fortifications.  It was originally named Fort Upton, but local citizens objected and it was renamed to honor King Kamehameha, the first king of the unified Hawaiian Islands.

The fort consisted of eight batteries built at different times.

--GreGen

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Last Shasta County Pearl Harbor Navy Survivor Laid to Rest


From the July 13, 2018, Redding (Cal.) Record Searchlight  "Last Shasta County Navy veteran who survived Pearl Harbor laid to rest" by Jim Schutz.

Mel Fisher, 96, was buried at Northern California Veterans Cemetery.  He died June 17 and was the one of the last two last living members of Shasta County's Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Chapter 28.

Mr. Fisher enlisted in the Navy in 11940 and was aboard the USS Whitney, a destroyer tender on December 7,1941.    He remembered, "It was like watching the Fourth of July fireworks.  I could see explosions and lots of smoke."

Afterwards, he was in nine engagements in the Pacific, including Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Marianas on the battleship USS Indiana.

Now, the only Shasta County survivor is George Stevens, 98, U.S. Army.  He enlisted in 1938 and was stationed at Fort Kamehameha when the attack came.  During the course of the war, he was awarded four Bronze Stars and fought at the Battle of the Bulge.

--GreGen

One Who Survived Pearl Harbor and One Who Didn't


**  Ed Johann joined the Navy at age 17, was at Pearl Harbor and just turned 95.  He was on a hospital ship's water taxi when the attack came and spent most of rest of the day rescuing the wounded from the battleships.  Lincoln City, Oregon

**  W. Francis Roberts was ion the USS Arizona and died that day.There is a new exhibit at the Berman Museum of World History in Anniston, Alabama,and a letter of his to his parents on December 5, on USS Arizona stationery is in it.   He was to be temporarily part of the Arizona's crew.  He did not survived December 7, 1941.

This museum also has a piece of the USS Arizona, a large metal piece with rivets.

--GreGen


Monday, July 16, 2018

Kamikaze Strike on USS Tennessee, April 12, 1945


From Wikipedia.

In the last post, I gave Henry Cannon's account of the kamikaze hit on the battleship USS Tennessee.

On the afternoon of April 12, 1945, the Tennessee was one of the fire support battleships when she was attacked by five kamikazes.  Four were shot down, the last three within hundreds of yards of it.  The fifth one, an Aichi D3A Val dive bomber got through and flew at the Tennessee's bridge.

It ended up crashing into the signal bridge. and began sliding aft along the superstructure, crushing anti-aircraft guns and their crews.  It was carrying a 250-pound bomb went through the deck and exploded.

Twenty-tow men were killed or mortally wounded and another 107 wounded.

However, it did not put the ship our of action.  The dead were buried at sea and wounded transferred the following day to the casualty-evacuation ship USS Pinkney.  The ship's crew then did emergency repairs and by April 14, the ship was back in service.

--GreGen

When Kamikaze Hit the USS Tennessee, Henry Cannon Jumped Into Action


From the July 6, 2018, TPR Org.  by Danielle Trevina.

"People throw a rag doll into the air," said Henry Cannon.  "That is how I flew into  the air.  I was hurt pretty good."

After only a few weeks of basic training, Mr. Cannon was assigned to the battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43).  The Tennessee had been repaired and modernized after Pearl Harbor was attacked.  A few days into the Battle of Okinawa, on April 12, 1945, a kamikaze crashed into his ship.

He rushed to help wounded friends, but an officer told him to seek cover because Henry was also badly wounded.  All in all, he helped eight wounded to the medics.

--GreGen




Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mr. Luxton Closes His Cafe One Day for Lack of Help


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

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"For the first time since his restaurant was remodeled, Ernest Luxton closed up for the day because of lack of help.

"Mr. Luxton posted a sign on the door of the cafe that the place was closed to allow the help a little rest.

A Severe Labor Shortage Everywhere It Would Seem.  --GreGen

Friday, July 13, 2018

Rabbits Being Unpatriotic


From the June 27, 2018, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Following reports coming from residents in some parts of DeKalb that rabbits are destroying much produce in Victory Gardens comes information the animals are raising havoc in the forest preserves.

"Harley Renwick, game warden, was in the south end of the county the fore part of this week and in talking with the custodian of the Simonauk preserves, learning of considerable damage done there."

--GreGen

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The DeKalb Township Honor Roll Dedicated in 1943


From the June 27, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Yesterday afternoon at 5:00 o'clock the DeKalb Township Honor Roll which was erected on the Lincoln Highway near Fourth Street was unveiled at a dedication ceremony.

"The ceremony was planned as a part of the Army salute to this country and an honor guard from the 740th Military Police Battalion took part in the dedication."

This was a list of names of those serving in the Armed Forces from DeKalb Township.  The military police were in DeKalb County to guard the war industries.

--GreGen

Soldiers From Camp Grant Come to Sycamore to Help in Canning


From the June 27, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Approximately 40 soldiers from the Camp Grant (Rockford) area arrived in Sycamore early this morning to work in the fields of the California Packing Corporation in an effort to assist the canning company in putting up what produce is ready at this time and avert heavy spoilage."

Still, the Manpower Shortages on the Home Front.  --GreGen

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How Well Do You Know Your WW II Slang-- Part 5: What Was a Pecker Checker?


16.  WHAT WAS A POSTER OF A SEXY MOVIE STAR IN A SWIMSUIT CALLED?   Pin-Up.  Some of the more famous ones were Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake, Betty Grable.

17.  A PECKER CHECKER CHECKED SOLDIERS FOR WHAT?  Venereal Diseases.  Done by a doctor or medical assistant.  Also known as a Pricksmith.

18.  WHAT WAS R&R?     Rest and Relaxation.  Also known as Rest and Rotation.

Lookin' For A Little R&R Myself.  --GreGen

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Jamaicans Arrive to Help in the Fields and Factory of the Sycamore Preserve Works


From the July 4, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"An appeal for help to the United States employment agencies by J.W. Thuma, of the Sycamore Preserve Works was answered when a group of about 60 Jamaicans arrived for work in the fields and factory of the canning factory."

Those Manpower Shortages.  --GreGen

Monday, July 9, 2018

Military ID's 100 Sailors and Marines From the USS Oklahoma


December 3, 2017

The military has now identified the remains of 100 sailors and Marines who died December 7, 1941, aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma.  Their remains were recovered when the ship was finally uprighted a couple years after it capsized, but, due to the length of time underwater and the nature of identification process being so poor (before DNA), not many were identified.

Two years ago the the remains of nearly 400 men were exhumed from the Punch Bowl Cemetery ion Oahu Island in Hawaii.  Officials expect to have 80% of them identified by 2020.

Most of the newly identified have been reburied in their hometowns.  Others have been reinterred back in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (The Punch Bowl).  Only this time, their names are given and they are buried in individual graves.

Again, Thanks Military.  --GreGen

Saturday, July 7, 2018

More USS Oklahoma "Unknowns" Come Home


It is so great seeing these brave sailors and Marines who were entombed when the battleship USS Oklahoma capsized being identified through DNA and now coming home.

Here is a partial list of them:

WILLARD ALDRIDGE, Seaman 1st class, from Kansas.  To be buried at Highland Cemetery, Ashland, Kansas.  Born August 26, 1921.

QUENTIN J. GIFFORD,  Radioman 2nd class,  Declared officially Lost In Action in February 1942.  Funeral held at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.  He is the 4th Minnesotan to be identified from the Oklahoma.  There will be a 5th one later this year.

HOWARD W. BEAN,  Radioman 3rd class.  From Everett, Massachusetts.  Buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Thank You U.S. Government.  --GreGen

Friday, July 6, 2018

Trucks From Distant Cities Helping Haul the Peas


From the July 4, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Observation along the highway disclosed that many truckers are making extra money hauling peas for the California Packing Company.

"The need of trucks is almost as great as that for man-power, and machines are seen here from cities a long distance from DeKalb."

Wartime Shortages.  --GreGen

DeKalb Township Honors Those Serving in 1943


From the July 4, 2018, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

Since the dedication of the DeKalb Township Honor Roll and the unveiling of the beautiful new board which was erected to honor those from the township which are in service, many more names have been received.

"Every effort was made to secure all the names before the Honor Roll was unveiled but through various misunderstanding some failed to call in the names and a number are not on this board at the present time."

Honoring Those Who Serve.  --GreGen

"Last Man Standing" Honors the Whiskey Pact-- Part 2:


Fred Spencer poured a shot of Crown Royal into a bucket of sand in honor of his deceased comrades.  As the name of each was read off, he pored another shot into the bucket.

Mr. Spencer was just 16 when he enlisted in the Army.  Her needed the permission of his parents to join the National Guard.  Just two years later he was under Japanese fire in New Guinea.  He was hit by a Japanese sniper with a shot that went through his right lung and exited his shoulder blade.

He survived but fifteen members of his unit didn't.  However, he spent a year in the hospital.

When Wheeler Bowman, 97, died in April, Mr. Spencer became "The Last Man Standing."

There is still a Company C in the 126th Infantry Regiment.

--GreGen

Thursday, July 5, 2018

"Last Man Standing" Honors Whiskey Pact-- Part 1


From the July 3, 2018, CBS  "Last survivor of World War II unit finishes its whiskey pact."

Fred Spencer, 93, was honored July 1 in Kalamazoo as "The Last Man Standing" from a group that hailed from Kalamazoo during the war when he was presented with a bottle of whiskey.

The 126th Infantry Regiment was largely composed of men from Southwest Michigan.  And the members of Mr. Spencer's Company C were made up of 94 men from Kalamazoo County.

All of them were under the age of 20 when they left Kalamazoo for training in 1940.

They made the whiskey promise nearly 80 years ago and it was carried out on Sunday.

--GreGen

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

When Did Independence Day Become a Federal Holiday?


The other day, I went into our local bank and did some transactions.  They always have a question up on a board and I like to guess the answer.  The question was, "In what year did the 4th of July become a federal holiday?"

Answer possibilities:  1776, 1870, 1938, 1941

I thought and thought.

Hard question.

I thought perhaps 1870, but, maybe not   That was about the time we were getting into Decoration Day, now memorial Day.

I knew it wasn't 1776.

That left 1938 and 1941.  A real hard call.

In 1870, it became a federal highway, but unpaid.  In 1941 it became a federal holiday with federal emplyees being paid.

So, the answer was 1941, just before we went to war.

--GreGen


The Odyssey of the Utah Man and Ploesti-- Part 4: Many Awards


Steward was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his role in the bombing, one of more than 30 bombing raids during his five years of active duty in the Air Force.

Other military awards he holds are the Silver Star and five awards of the Air medal.  He was also awarded the coveted "Bronze Minute Man" awarded by the Utah National Guard after serving more than 30 years in the Air Force Reserve.

His full story of the Ploesti, Romania, bombing is told in the television documentary "Wing and a Prayer."

--GreGen