Thursday, October 31, 2013

Maui's World War II Legacy-- Part 2

World War II related sites to see on the Hawaii island of Maui.

Camp Maui, near the town of Hai ku, today is a park. There are plaques and a monument commemorating the 4th Marine Division by "Giggle Hill" where many Marines spent time during the war with their girlfriends.

For Maui's civilians, "The war was not fought in a vacuum. Barbed wire lined its beaches and gas masks were required safety equipment. Black-out conditions were at night. Just three days after Pearl Harbor, martial law was declared on the island.

Liberties were curtailed and everything was under censorship. Photographers had to be registered and all film submitted to military censors.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Maui's World War II Legacy-- Part 1

From National Marine Sanctuaries "Maui's World War II Legacy."

There are reminders of the war submerged off the coast near the Hawaiian island of Maui which are ideal for divers.

During the war, NAS Kahului and Pu'unene were on the island. Kahului is now in civilian use as the Kahulai Airport.

NAS Pu'unene was closed in the 1950s and a raceway park is currently located there. There is also a runway for model airplane enthusiasts. Bunkers and revetments from the NAS are still there, however.

Also, submerged along Maui's south coast are tracked amphibious vehicles near where the Maui Amphibious Center at Kamalole Park is located. Today, there is a marker for the Underwater Demolition Teams.

And, More Stuff on Maui. --GreGen

American Rosie the Riveter Association

From the Feb. 11, 2012, Albany (Oregon) Democrat-Herald.

The American Rosie the Riveter Association (ARRA) is seeking women who worked in factories making war materials at the homefront during World War II. Thousands worked as riveters, welders, electrical, sewing clothing and parachutes and making ordnance.

The ARRA is collecting their stories. The association was begun in 1998 by Frances Carter in Birmingham, Alabama, and now has 4,000 members.

Glad to Have This Organization Saluting People Who Were Every Bit As Important As the People in the War Zones. We Would Have Lost the War But For Their Efforts. --GreGen

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Virginia Dare Receives the Gallant Ship Award

From the U.S. Merchant Marine site.

Over a 17-day period, the SS Virginia Dare, loaded with high explosives and en route to Murmansk, Soviet Union, repelled countless enemy bombs and torpedoes by accurate fire of its guns and skillful maneuvering.

Later in the war, the Virginia Dare and Liberty Ship SS Daniel Chester French were sunk when Convoy UGS 33 entered an Allied minefield 6 March 1944.


Guns From the USS Arizona Going Home?-- Part 3

Only one of the four main gun turrets remain on the wreck of the USS Arizona. In 1942, the Arizona's masts and superstructure were removed for scrap. The two aft turrets were removed and used as Hawaiian shore batteries. Turret one was left in place and the guns removed from turret two.

The state is also trying to get a 16-inch gun from the USS Missouri, also located at the Virginia site.


Guns From the USS Arizona Going Home?-- Part 2

Construction on the USS Arizona (BB-29) began March 1914 and was completed in 1915. The ship saw action along the U.S. eastern seaboard during World War I. In 1929 it began a 20-month refit.

At Pearl Harbor, the Arizona took eight bomb hits and 1,177 of its 1400 crew died. Three of the ship's officers received Medals of Honor as a result of their actions that day. Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, the first U.S. flag officer to die in the war, was aboard. Captain Van Valkenburgh died as did Lt. Samuel G. Fuqua, the damage control officer.

Now, the ship's big 16-inch guns are in Virginia. Special permits are needed to move the guns, along with lifting equipment and transportation, this last being the biggest problem because of cost. Transportation alone, for the nearly 200 ton gun is expected to be $500,000.

That's a Lot of Gas. --GreGen

Monday, October 28, 2013

Guns From the USS Arizona Going Home?-- Part 1

From the Feb. 6, 2012, Arizonan.

The Arizona Capitol Museum has a popular exhibit of USS Arizona artifacts. Now, the Secretary of State, Ken Bennett, is leading an effort to bring the big 16-inch guns of the USS Arizona and USS Missouri to Arizona. This would represent the beginning and end of World War II for the United States.

He heard that the big guns were going to be sold for scrap. If the attempt to get the guns is successful, they will be put on display at the Wesley Bloin Memorial Plaza, one block east of the Capitol building. (Now we know the effort was successful and the guns are soon to be open to the public.)
Bringing 'Em Home. --GreGen

Peleliu "Dream Island" Littered With Deadly Relics-- Part 2

Continued from Oct. 24th.

Americans landed on the island's Orange Beach on September 15, 1944, and were caught in a major Japanese crossfire. An expected several day fight lasted almost three months. Some 10,700 Japanese troops were killed along with 2,300 U.S. Marines.

Peleliu's importance stemmed from an airstrip located there.

Today, Peleliu is becoming a tourist destination for Japanese and even American tourists. One Japanese man was seen putting sand from a beach into a plastic bottle as a souvenir.

The left-over ordnance is becoming very dangerous after nearly 70 years, especially as their safety mechanisms rust away.

There is a munitions disposal team that has, since 2009, removed 6,500 guns and other ordnance, 9 tons worth. Tourists are warned not to go roaming through the jungle.

A path has been cleared through Death Valley onto Bloody Nose Ridge where the heaviest casualties of the action took place.

Islanders were evacuated from Peleliu before the battle and when they returned, they didn't even recognize the place as it was so torn up by the fighting. Vegetation was burned to the ground and villages destroyed. At first, they sold war relics as scrap.

Some 500 people live on the island today and they would like to have an open-air air museum on it.

Remnants of War. --GreGen

Saturday, October 26, 2013

No More Sunday or Holiday Funerals in Wilmington

From the October 15, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

From the Oct. 1, 1943, advertisement in the newspaper: "Because of the limitations placed on delivery services, manpower shortages and the need for conserving equipment and gasoline, we, the cooperating undersigned florists and funeral directors, are forced to curtail some of the services rendered in the past.

Therefore it is our belief and decision to meet this problem by discontinuance of funerals on Sundays and legal holidays.

Signed: Lucy B. Moore, florist; Will Rehder, florist; Lena F. Westbrook, florist; Dorothy Owen, florist; Andrews Mortuary; Yopp Funeral Home; Harrell's Funeral Home."

Another Impact of the War At Home. --GreGen

Friday, October 25, 2013

Some Landlords Not Being Very Patriotic

From the Oct. 15, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then" by Scott Nunn.

From the Oct. 22, 1943, newspaper. From the 1930s to 1950s nationally syndicated newspaper columnist Ruth Millett discussed controversial issues in her column, We The Women, which ran in more than 400 papers, including the Wilmington Star-News.

Today she wrote about women and their children being turned away by landlords, even with their husbands fighting overseas or even killed. Wilmington's housing shortage was severe during the war and many public housing units were built.

These Landlords Certainly Weren't Showing Patriotism. --GreGen

SS Port Nicholson-- Part 3: Was There Treasure On It?

That is the big question. According to Wikipedia, it was reported in 2008 that the wreck of the SS Port Nicholson had been discovered by the Sub Sea Research company who believe the ship was carrying a cargo of platinum, gold and industrial diamonds as part of payment from the Soviet Union to the United States for Lend-Lease.

The company also believe that there were two Soviet envoys on the ship. Later, the Soviet Union reimbursed the United States for the lost payment on the Port Nicholson.

Then, there was something about the boxes being too heavy to lift.

Some maritime and World War II historians doubt that the ship was carrying this treasure, however. I was unable to come across any stories that the treasure was recovered.

It Will Be Interesting to See How This Story Plays Out. --GreGen

SS Port Nicholson-- Part 2

The Port Nicholson sailed from Halifax in June 1942 for Wellington (NZ?) in Convoy XB25, a route that ran from Halifax to Boston. It was carrying a cargo of 1600 tons of auto parts and 4,000 tons of military stores. (Whether it was carrying the treasure would probably have been kept secret.)

What they didn't know was that the U-87 was tracking the convoy. On a very stormy 16 June 1942, the submarine fired two torpedoes. One the Germans thought missed, but the other hit something, but they didn't know what ship.

It was the SS Port Nicholson. The first hit in the engine room and second on the stern. The ship began sinking immediately and the crew abandoned ship and were picked up by the Royal Canadian corvette Nanaimo. The ship did not sink immediately and was still afloat at dawn so it was reboarded to see if it could be saved. The storm worsened and the ship began sinking rapidly. The boarding crew left, but one of their boats were overturned and two drowned.

Worth a Try. --GreGen

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Peleliu: Dream Island Littered With Deadly Relics-- Part 1

From the Feb. 8, 2012, Spiegel On Line International "Pacific Battlefield Tourism: A Dream Island Littered With Deadly Relics" by Stephen Robert WeiBenboru.

Peleliu is an island paradise. Arriving on the island, you see a sign reading "Welcome to Peleliu-Land of Enchantment." Another reads "Remember that WWII ordnance is still dangerous and can injure or kill."

Peleliu is the site of one of the Pacific Theater's bloodiest battles between American and Japanese forces. There are rusty grenades and rifles strewn about as well as warplanes and tanks covered up in the vegetation.

Most of the debris was simply left where it was after the fighting.

Careful Where You Step on Peleliu. --GreGen

SS Port Nicholson-- Part 1: Treasure Ship?

From Wikipedia. Yesterday, I blogged about a 2012 article saying that treasure hunters had found this sunken vessel off Cape Cod which was loaded supposedly with several billion dollars worth (today's money) of Soviet payments for weapons during World War II. I had also written about it back in 2012. I was unable to come across anything about whether they found this treasure, however, and there is still some question as to whether it actually had the treasure in the first place.

The SS Port Nicholson was a British refrigerated cargo ship owned by the Port Line and completed 13 May 1919. Before World War II, the 481-foot long ship sailed between the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. During those years, it had several serious accidents.

More to Come. --GreGen

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Treasure Hunters Find Billions in Sunken Ship Off Boston

From the Feb. 8, 2012, Fox News.

They found the sunken ship off Cape Cod in 2008 after a three-month search but kept it quiet while resources and legal rights were obtained. The S.S. Port Nicholson was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1942. The stricken ship drifted before sinking 700 feet deep in George's Bank, a popular fishing channel with lots of shipwrecks.

The ship was carrying a cargo of precious metals from the Soviet Union to the United States with an estimated worth of $3 billion in today's dollars.

The site is divable but very difficult.

A Treasure-Hunting We Go. --GreGen

The Early Days of the War at Wilmington, NC

From the Feb. 1, 2012 Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then" by Scott Nunn. These are articles taken from the papers from back then.

JANUARY 18, 1942: Air warden McKean Maffit (one of the Maffitt family?) announced plans for sentries to stand guard on top of several tall downtown buildings to be on the lookout for fires or bombs set off by saboteurs. (This would not be surprising coming just over a month after Pearl Harbor was attacked. However, I notice they weren't on the lookout for enemy bombers.)

JANUARY 20, 1942: Herbert Frank Melton, 25, of Masonboro Sound (near Wilmington) was killed at Pearl Harbor. He was a B.M. 2nd Class on the USS Oklahoma and the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Melton. Graduating from New Hanover High School in Wilmington, he enlisted in the Navy in 1936. (His remains were never found.)

There was another sailor killed from the Oklahoma with the same last name, Edward Rudolph Melton, but evidently no relation. John Russell Melton died aboard the USS West Virginia at Pearl Harbor, also no relation.

The War Hits Home. --GreGen

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Old News, But Kind of Sad: Doolittle's Raiders

From the Feb. 2, 2012, Lancaster Eagle-Gazette.

The five remaining Doolittle's Raiders were planning to attend their group reunion at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton April 17-20th, for the 70th anniversary of their daring feat.

On April 18, 1942, just months after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, 80 flyers under Lt. Col. James "Jimmy" Doolittle gave the Japanese a taste of their own medicine.

This year's event features a banquet, memorial service, autograph sessions and they were also hoping for a massive fly-over by 25 B-25 bombers.

This year, they will also have the Chinese survivors who risked their lives in Japanese-occupied China, to save the flyers. Surviving crewmembers of the USS Hornet will also be on hand.

Then, the real sad part of the story: all five survivors of the Doolittle raiders are able to travel and will attend. Now, we are down to four with one unable to travel for health reasons who will be attending the very final get-together in Dayton, Ohio, November 9th.

Like I Said, the Greatest Generation. --GreGen

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wilmington, NC, at Pearl Harbor

From the January 18, 1942, Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

The battleship USS North Carolina was commissioned April 9, 1941, and the Star noted that there were 15 sailors aboard her from North Carolina, including Robert E. Cook of Wilmington.

The Jan. 9, 1942, Wilmington, NC, paper noted that there were many Wilmington area people serving in Honolulu on the day of the attack:

HENRY MELTON of Masonboro Sound, MARION JEFFORDS of Carolina Avenue, CONRAD LOTT of Leland, GEORGE LATHAN HARRIS of Masonboro Sound, A.L. JONES of Masonboro Sound,

Three Wilmington brothers: CLYDE MOORE, RALPH MOORE and ROBERT MOORE, ANDY WEBB of Wrightsboro, JOHNNY DAVIS of Carolina Beach, GEORGE THOMAS BORDEAUX of South 3rd Street,



Another Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies

From the Jan. 27, 2012, Onalaska (Wis.) Courier-Life "Pearl Harbor Survivor 'Dutch' Albitz dies" by Jessica Larsen.

Died at age 89. There are only about 40 Pearl Harbor survivors remaining in Wisconsin. He was a 19-year-old gunner on an anti-aircraft battery on the USS Oklahoma.

When it began listing over, he jumped into the fuel-oil covered waters where a small boat pulled him out and took him to the USS Maryland. Once there, he helped pass ammunition to an anti-aircraft battery.

After the battle, he was assigned to the light cruiser USS Helena. From there he served on the new battleship USS Indiana in the Pacific for the duration of the war.

Another of the Greatest. --GreGen

Singapore World War II Bomb Shelter Open Again

From the Jan. 27, 2012, Jakarta Globe "Singapore WW II Bomb Shelter Open for Tours" by Lim Yang Liang.

It is perhaps the last civilian air raid shelter in the city and on the ground-floor of Block 78 Guan Chuan Street, 1,500 square meters and used for up to 100 people.

It was used during the Japanese air raids in December 1941 and January 1942 until Singapore fell. Built in 1940 in public housing in response to mounting war pressure with Japan.

The National Heritage Board has opened it for the 70th anniversary. It is in good condition, though not original. Along with the tours, there are photos and oral accounts of the time. Japanese air attacks began December 8, 1941, and the city was not ready.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Britain's HMS Olympus Submarine

From Wikipedia. Continuing with the last blog entry.

The HMS Olympus was an Odin-class submarine. This class was designed for use by the Royal Australian Navy for use in long-range patrolling in the Pacific Ocean. The Olympus, however, was intended for British service.

Commissioned in 1930, it served on China Station from 1931 to 1939 and then off Ceylon for a year before redeployment in the Mediterranean in 1940. It was damaged in an air raid by Italian aircraft while in dock at Malta. It was repaired and sent to sea again.

When it was sunk, May 8, 1942, it was carrying members of the crews of three other submarines (the Pandora, P-36 and P-39) which had been sunk in aerial attacks at Malta. The nine survivors had to swim seven miles back to Malta.


HMS Olympus Submarine Found

From the January 12, 2012, Huffington Post "World War II Submarine HMS Olympus Found By Divers Near Malta."

The submarine was found and identified nearly seventy years after sinking after it struck a mine on May 8, 1942, near Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. Only seven of almost one hundred aboard survived.

Florida-based archaeology group Aurora Trust found it last year but were not allowed to tell about it until now. The submarine is sitting upright and in pristine condition other than damage sustained when the mine blew up. It is considered a war grave as crewmember bodies are still aboard.

The 80 meter-long Odin-class submarine was built in 1927 and is seven miles off Malta' coast. Many of the dead aboard her were survivors of the sinkings of three other submarines in the area because of German bombing as the British base at Malta was considered crucial.

Always Glad When a Lost Ship Is Found. --GreGen

Thursday, October 17, 2013

WWII's "Ship That Wouldn't Die" Survives Again-- Part 2

The USS Laffey is also the only surviving World War II destroyer that served in the Atlantic and took part during D-Day. It was decommissioned in 1975 and brought to Patriot Point in 1981.

Lee Hunt, 89, said, "It's where I spent my youth. I grew up on that ship." He is a Plankholder, meaning that he was a member of the original crew. "I was on it when I was 17 and spent my 18th birthday killing people in Germany in the invasion of France and right on to Okinawa and the Philippines and what have you."

Hunt was not surprised on that March 1945 attack. "We knew we were going to get hit. Every destroyer out there on picket duty knew they were going to be attacked."

Renovation of the Laffey was paid by a state loan which the museum intends to pay back from operating expenses.

Next Time in Charleston, I Know Where I'm Headed. --GreGen

World War II's "Ship That Would Not Die" Survives Again-- Part 1

From the January 23, 2012, Washington Post "WWII destroyer USS Laffey returns to SC home after 29 million in repairs."

"The Ship That Would Not Die" returned Jan 25th to its berth at the Patriot Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston (SC) Harbor. It was towed doen the Cooper River after two years in drydock.

A group of fifty, including more than a dozen former crew members watched from the deck of another World War II ship, the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga.

The USS Laffey was built at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine in 1943 and got its nickname in March of 1945 when it was attacked by at least 25 Japanese planes, hit by four bombs and five kamikazes and suffered 103 casualties, but did not sink.

Quite a Valiant Ship. --GreGen

"No, I Have to be Able to Fly This Plane Back to England"

From the Jan. 22, 2012, My SA (San Antonio's Home Page.

Harry Seidel died January 20th at age 88.

At the onset of the war, he was working on B-17 bombers at Kelly Airfield and dreamed of flying a "Flying Fortress." He enlisted in the Army Air Force, became a pilot and flew 23 missions over Germany.

He received a Purple Heart on his final mission over Dresden. They had completed their run and were on the way back home when the plane was hit. The pilot was killed immediately. Mr. Seidel, as co-pilot, was hit in the stomach and elbow. Although losing blood rapidly, he took control. They were now down to two engines and the landing gear was damaged.

He was offered morphine for the pain, but replied, "No, I have to be able to fly this plane back to England." According to his son Sam Seidel, "He had one mission, and that was saving everyone's lives."

Mr. Seidel safely landed the plane in Molesworth, England.

It took him two years to recover from his wounds. Returning to the United States, he got lucky at poker and won enough to start Seidel Iron Works which does intricate welding on many historic structures, including the Joske Building, the River Walk ironwork and brass planters and railings at Trinity University.

America's Greatest. --GreGen

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Doolittle Raiders Gather One Last Time Next Month

From the Oct. 11, 2013, War History Online.

There are now only four remaining raiders from the 80 who took off with Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle that April 18, 1942, on a raid the Japanese didn't believe could happen. It did and provided a huge boost to U.S. morale and blow to Japanese pride.

Three of them: Lt. Col. Dick Cole, 98; Lt. Col. Ed Saylor, 93 and Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, 92, will attend the last reunion in Dayton, Ohio, next month. Lt. Col. Robert Hite, 93, will not be attending because of health issues.

Only an additional 1,000 are invited to attend. Regrettably, one of those won't be me, but I sure would like to be there.

They will lift their glasses and sip some 117-year-old Hennessy Very Special cognac and say goodbye to a decades old tradition.

I'll sure be writing about the ceremony.

The Greatest Generation. --GreGen

Duke University During World War II-- Part 3

The final game of Coach Eddie Cameron's 1942 season was against the Jacksonville Naval Air Stattion, an all-star unit called "The Flyers" who beat Duke 13-0 behind McAfee, the 1939 Blue Devil leader in total offense as as senior that year.

Wallace Wade, meanwhile, became a Lt. Col in the Army and served 15-months in France and Germany. Before shipping out in the summer of 1942, he coached the West Army All-Stars to a 2-3 exhibition record against NFL opponents to sell war bonds.

He was awarded a bronze star during his service and returned as Duke's head coach in 1946 before retiring in 1950 with a 110-36-7 record.

War Comes to Duke. --GreGen

Monday, October 14, 2013

Duke University During World War II-- Part 2

In 1943, Duke added the Navy's V-12 program, an accelerated training regimen to speed qualified military personnel and high school students into active service as officers. Many were needed to lead the explanded numbers of military members and those killed and wounded.

In the 1941-1942 basketball season, Coach Eddie Cameron's last Blue Devil squad went 22-2, his best record in his 14-year tenure. On March 7, 1942, they repeated as Southern Conference champs.

Football coach Wade resigned in March 1942 and returned to military service (he had been a captain in World War I) and volunteered for the field artillery. (A later Duke legend, Mike Krzyzewski, also was in the field artillery and rose to the rank of captain.)

Cameron, the football backfield coach, took Wade's place as athletic director and "acting head football coach." Cameron's position as head basketball coach was taken over by Gerry Gerald.

In football, the 1942 Duke team lost 21 players from the Rose Bowl unit, but Cameron opened the offense and had four straight winning seasons.

Go Field Artillery. --GreGen

Duke University During World War II-- Part 1: A Navy Connection at Cameron Indoor

From the Jan. 1, 2012, Go Duke Magazine "When the Rose Bowl Called Durham Home" by Barry Jacobs.

Continued from my last four entries. Only this more reflects what happened at Duke during the war years and a whole lot of Duke sports history.

During the war, Duke's biggest military tie was with the Navy. During the summer of 1940, the school added NROTC and had 218 applications that year, accepting 160 of them.

The program was based in a building that later became known as Cameron Indoor Stadium (where the Duke basketball team plays today). A shooting gallery was located in an area that today is offices behind press row. There were store rooms and an armory upstairs. Included was a machine gun, torpedo and a scale model of the battleship USS North Carolina.

Anchors Aweigh. --GreGen

Saturday, October 12, 2013

When the Rose Bowl Was Played in Durham, NC-- Part 4

They played in a driving winter rain that began three hours before the game started. Duke fumbled the opening kick-off and never led, although rallying twice to tie it before losing 20-16.

By February 1942, some 200 Trinity College (the name was changed to Duke in 1924) students were on active duty or military-related roles. Curriculum was changed to reflect a wartime emphasis, if only in name. For example, a course on parabolic equations became "Math of Artillery Fire."

Within 14 months, 2/3 of the Duke male students were in some sort of reserve training program. Overall, enrollment dropped and greater numbers of women began attending.

The War Comes Home. --GreGen

Friday, October 11, 2013

When the Rose Bowl Was Played in Durham, NC-- Part 3

The planned-for Rose Bowl game in Pasadena had already sold 65,000 tickets for this Duke-Oregon State match-up.

Duke was not a popular choice. One Los Angeles newspaper reported that when Duke was announced there was "a moment of silent shock" and then "a full-throated chorus of boos."

Duke's previous Rose Bowl appearance, credited with paying for the school's new indoor basketball facility, Cameron Indoor Arena, was also unpopular. At that time, the Iron Dukes, led by Football Hall of Famer George McAfee, Dan Hill and Eric Tipton led Southern Cal until the final 40 seconds when the Trojans scored to win 7-3.

The January 1, 1942, Rose Bowl game, now to be played in North Carolina, nonetheless, sold out in just three days. Demand was so high that exrtra bleachers had to be borrowed from the University of North Carolina to accomodate the 56,000 fans.

And, the Game Was On. --GreGen

When the Rose Bowl Was Played in Durham, NC-- Part 2

Before Pearl Harbor was attacked, a four-day train excusrion was arranged from Durham, NC, (home of Duke) to Pasadena, California, called "The Blue Devil Special" and "The Duke." First-class accomodation aboard a Pullman coach was $125.59 round trip. Duke was playing in the Rose Bowl that year.

The 1942 Duke yearbook, the Chanticleer, said, "Duke students are rabid football enthusiasts and are eager to follow their team all over the country."

In 1941, the winner of the Pacific Coast Conference was Oregon State College, and they got to choose their opponent. Spurning Texas, the Beavers chose Coach Wallace Wade's 9-0 Blue Devils from the much-disparaged Southern Conference (before the ACC). That selection was partly based on Duke defeating the Tennessee Volunteers saddling them with their first regular season loss since 1937.

No Big Ten? --GreGen

Thursday, October 10, 2013

When the Rose Bowl Was Played in Durham, NC-- Part 1

From the Jan. 1, 2012, Go Duke Magazine "When the Rose Bowl Called Durham Home" by Barry Jacobs.

Duke had accepted its Rose Bowl bid for the second time in four years when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

At the time, Duke University in Durham, NC, was "an insular, regional university" that had been reshuffling coaches in football and basketball to be played in the recently built "new gymnasium" as the 1942 student yearbook referred to it.

Because of fear of a Japanese attack on the West Coast, the Rose Bowl was uprooted for the first time ever. Cities all over the United States offered to host it, but it ended up being played in Durham, NC. (I never knew the Rose Bowl was played there.)

There had been an appeal to proceed with the Jan. 1st game because, "the appearance of normalcy touted as good for the national morale."

More to Come. --GreGen

Minnesota's Last Surviving World War II Medal of Honor Recipient Dies

From the Dec. 30, 2011, Duluth (Mn) News Tribune.

Mike Colalillo died Dec. 30th at age 86. He was the son of Italian immigrants, born in Hibbing, Minnesota, but grew up in West Duluth where he was a lifelong resident. Not long after his 18t birthday, he found himself fighting across Germany.

On April 7, 1945, near Untergriesheim, Germany, his unit was pinned down by German fire. With thhe arrival of U.S. tanks, he shouted for his buddies to join him and charge. His handgun was wrecked by shrapnel.

He recalled, "That's when I jumped up on the tank and he (the tank commander) said, 'Use my machine gun up there.'"

Exposed to enemy fire, he destroyed a machine gun nest, silenced a dozen German soldiers and blasted away at three other positions until the enemy fled. When the tank's machine gun ran out of ammunition, he grabbed a submachine gun and kept fighting.

After the fight ended, he spotted a wounded friend and, "I put him on my shoulders and carried him back" several hundred yards over open terrain that was being hit by enemy artillery and mortars.

President Truman presented him with a Medal of Honor. Mike Colalillo Medal of Honor Park and Mike Colalillo Drive in West Duluth are named for him.

One More of the Greatest. --GreGen

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Floating Drydocks Built at Wilmington-- Part 2

They were designated ARDC, Auxilisary Repair Dock, Concrete and assigned numbers. The first one took almost five months to build and was designated ARDC-1. Eight of these were built during World War II in Wilmington and another five at San Pedro, California.

Five of them were towed to bases in the Pacific and Pearl Harbor. There, they repaired many combat-damaged warships.

Navsource says the ARDC-1 was built in 1944 by the Tidewater Construction Co. of Norfolk, Virginia. Jones says the Tidewater Construction Co. got the contract after V.P. Loftis Co. gave it up.

Also, three of the Wilmington Liberty Ships were deliberately sunk off Omaha Beach after D-Day as components of an artificial port used to ferry supplies and reinforcements to the continent.

Still, Really, Concrete Ships. --GreGen

Floating Drydocks Built in Wilmington-- Part 1

From the Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Mr Reporter: Were floating drydocks built during World War II along the Northeast Cape Fear River?" by Ken Little.

According to Wilmington World War II historian Wilbur D. Jones, Jr., two concrete drydocks were built in a small shipyard along the Northeast Cape Fear between present day PPD and the Wilmington Convention Center.

They were built for the Navy in the spring of 1944. Each was self-contained and measured 389-feet long and 84-feet wide. They measured 40-feet deep with pontoons 14 -feet deep and wingwall tapering from 13-feet wide at the base to 10-feet at the top.

Floating Concrete? --GreGen

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Some More On Wilmington's World War II Housing-- Part 4: A Black and White Thing

Two housing developments were started by the Wilmington Housing Authority before the war. One was the Nesbitt Courts completed in 1940, now called the South Front Apartments after being redeveloped.

These units were reserved for whites in the segregated Wilmington and named for Charles T. Nesbitt, a prominent Wilmington doctor and pioneering public health official from the early 1900s.

Also built were the New Brooklyn homes, designated for blacks. There were quite a few blacks working at the N.C. Shipbuilding Company and other war industries in the city and surrounding area.

They were renamed the Robert R. Taylor Homes in 1942. Taylor was a Wilmington native and prominent black architect. This got me to thinking about Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes. Is it possible that there is a connection?

I'll check it out.

Back In a Segregated Wilmington. --GreGen

Some More on Wilmington's WWII Housing-- Part 3

Continued from Oct. 4th.

GREENFIELD TERRACE-- was a 150-unit cinderblock duplexes built along Greenfield Street. To serve the community, federal workers built a strip complex of stores along the 1000 block of Greenfield Street that was completed in 1942. It still stands and today is called Greenfield Plaza.

In 1947, 584 units of Lake Forest and Greenfield Terrace were sold to Veterans Homes, Inc, a non-profit cooperative, as housing for returning veterans.

Lake Village was sold to a private interest in 1955. In 1974, the units were renting for $54 a month and the whole complex was deteriorating. In 1983, it was redeveloped and is now called Garden Lake Estates.

They Had to Live Somewhere. --GreGen

Follow Up on Holocaust Survivor Eva Kor

Mrs. Kor travels around the country and world promoting peace. She also answers dozens of e-mails daily from concentration camp survivors.

Through her CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Indiana, she hopes to encourage everyone who's willing to listen to forgive and heal for peace. Her website is at

Right now, her organization is taking deposits for a 2014 trip to Auschwitz Concentration Camp which will be led by her. In addition, there will be a tour of her home village in Transylvania, Romania. When she is not out of town, she speaks Wednesdays and Saturdays at the museum at 1 PM.

Taking a trip to Aushwitz with a survivor like Mrs. Kor would be something.

Like I Said, Quite the Woman. Quite the Survivor.  --GreGen

Holocaust Survivor Shares Horrific Stories-- Part 4

Eva Kor continued, "We were just Dr. Mengele's guinea pigs. It made me feel like I was nothing and a nobody; a piece of meat." She said she had to develop an unbelievable will to survive and she still has the tattoo A-7063 on her arm. Her sister was given A-7064.

She, her sister and other children were rescued by the Soviet Army on January 27, 1945.

Her sister Miriam died June 6, 1993, after giving birth to three children. Kor believes that her sister's kidneys were diagnosed as the size of a child's due to the experiments Mengele carried out on her.

Kor has chosen to forgive Dr. Mengele and the Nazis, though most of the other children he experimented on haven't. A documentary was made on Eva Kor's life called "Forgiving Dr. Mengele."

An Amazing Woman. --GreGen

Monday, October 7, 2013

Holocaust Survivor Shares Horrific Stories-- Part 3

"On their first night in the camp, Eva Kor saw the corpses of three children when she went to the latrine. That's when she knew she could die there. 'I made a silent pledge that night to do everything in my power to not end up in the latrine floor like that,'" she said.

The experiments were at times mild. They would strip her naked and for six to eight hours measure her in every part of her body and compare it with her twin. Other times the experiments were painful.

She and her twin were injected with fluids that she to this day are unknown to her

A Brave One Who Overcame. --GreGen

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Holocaust Survivor Shares Horrific Stories-- Part 2

Eva Kor continued with her story: "My mom was pulled in one direction and we were pulled in another. Her arms outstretched for us. I never got to say goodbye to her."

Eva continued with the story of her nightmare she endured with her sister. The first day at Auschwitz she was stripped naked and then got her clothes back with a black mark on the back and how she was thankful she didn't get her head shaved like some of the other children did, but within days caught lice and got her head shaved anyway.

She said she was hungry most of the time but quickly learned that if she saved the piece of bread they gave her at night that the barracks rats would eat it.


War Bomber Flight Sparks Memories-- Part 4

Continued from September 28th.

After his 32nd mission, knowing he was done, Scott Welch, a former B-17 pilot, said, "I was very happy to be done with combat. I wasn't foolish enough to want to spend my life in combat because it was so risky."

His wife of 69 years, Phyllis, accompanied him on the flight. It was the first time the couple from Silver Lake, Wisconsin, had been on a B-17 together.

"I enjoyed [Phyllis] being there, said Welch. They held hands during the flight as they stood behind the co-pilot's seat, where he would have sat in 1943. "It was exciting for me and brought back memories."

Too bad Scott Welch didn't get a chance to actually fly the plane.

A Great Experience. --GreGen

Friday, October 4, 2013

Some More on Wilmington's WWII Housing-- Part 2

The Wilmington Housing Authority had been founded in 1938, just before the federal government embarked on on a local building boom.

LAKE FOREST was built with federal funds in 1942 with 475 units reserved for defense workers. They were what is called demountable housing "wooden structures easy to disassemble and rebuilt elsewhere. Many of the units, however, are still there.

LAKE VILLAGE was a development of 472 prefabricated units, each 720 square feet. They were shipped to Wilmington by rail and assembled on fifty acres of land north and south of Greenfield Street.


Holocaust Survivor Shares Horrific Stories-- Part 1

From the April 11-17, 2013, Lake County (Ill) Journal by Yadira Sanchez Olson.

Eva Kor, 79, spoke about her experiences April 4th at Carmel High School in Mundelein, Illinois. She is the founder of CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Indiana and travels the world speaking about her story in concentration camps and the time she and her twin sister, Miriam Mozes, were taken to the death camp where Josef Mengele held and experimented on 3,000 Jewish twins.

"Anger is the seed of war. Forgiveness is a seed of peace."

It was dawn of an early spring day she said in her thick Romanian accent. That was the day in 1944 that a group of Nazis stopped her parents' car and pulled her apart from her father, mother, two older sisters and took her and Miriam to the Auschwitz death camp. They were 10 years old.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Some More on Wilmington WWII Housing-- Part 1

From the Feb. 9, 2010, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "My Reporter: What is the history of housing developments put in at Greenfield Lake? Were they once military housing?" by Ben Steelman.

Housing developments named Lake Village, Lake Forest and Greenfield Terrace were built around Wilmington, North Carolina's Greenfield Lake. (The first two developments reminded me of Chicago suburbs.) They were built for civilian defense workers, mostly working at the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, present day site of the NC State Port facility.

During World War II, Wilmington, as did many military equipment ports, faced a severe housing shortage as workers and military personnel flocked into the city. From a prewar population of 33,000 in 1941, the city grew to 120,000 at the height of the war.

That's Called Real Fast Growth. --GreGen

Wilmington's Riverside Apartments: WWII Housing-- Part 2

They rented for $41.85 and $43.85 a month depending if they were on a corner or not. After the war, it later was named Dove Meadows and started deteriorating and became an embarrasment to the city.

A New Jersey construction company bought it from HUD in 1983 to convert the complex into 474 one and two bedroom townhomes, but HUD ended up foreclosing on them.

Later, the Wilmington Housing Authority acquired it and in 2002 demolished it for a new neighborhood. 

Today it is called Sunset South.


Wilmington's Riverside Apartments: WWII Housing Complex-- Part 1

From the June 29, 2011, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "My Reporter "Whatever happened to Riverside Apartments?" by Ben Steelman.

During World War II, Wilmington grew from a sleepy town of 10,000 to over 100,000 with all the war industries and military personnel. Riverside Apartments was a World War II housing complex of 500 red brick units located near the State Port (old NC Shipbuilding Co.) during the war).

They were likely built in 1943 to help solve the huge housing problem in wartime Wilmington, North Carolina.

One hundred four-room units were also opened in 1945 for armed forces members and their families. The earlier units were opened to house essential war workers and their families. Each one consisted of a kitchen, living room and two bedrooms.

Got to Live Somewhere. --GreGen

Remembering Pearl Harbor: Don't Wear Blue

From the Dec. 29, 2011, NBC 9 News, Colorado's News Leader "Remembering Pearl Harbor: The survivors."

Fred Mack remembers running for a hangar right in front of another man. "I felt a concussion and then looked back and he was no longer there."

Charles Boswell can't shake the image of severely burned man treading water in the harbor,  "He was saying 'Don't touch me! Don't touch me!' They reached down and pulled him up by the arm, and all they came up with was burnt muscle."

George Blake remembers that night of the attack, "We had orders to go back to the barracks one at a time and to change our clothes. It was the Japanese wore blue uniforms and [our] infantry had orders to shoot on sight anyone in a blue uniform. Well, we had blue fatigues on at the time."

Two other Pearl Harbor survivors: Charles Boswell, mess cook, USS Tennessee and George Richard, USS Tennessee.

Interesting Stories. --GreGen

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cloquet's Last Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies

From the September 19, 2013 Pine (Minnesota) Journal by Wendy Johnson and Jane Peterson.

Gordon "Gordy" Caza made his last public appearance at Cloquet's 4th of July parade this past summer. He died Sunday, September 15th.

Mr. Caza enlisted in the Army at age 17 and was sworn in at Fort Snelling and shipped to California then to Hawaii where he was assigned to a truck company.

In September 1941, he was stationed at Fort Armstrong in downtown Honolulu, about five miles from Pearl Harbor.

He was going to breakfast when an alert went off. He thought it was part of a routine maneuver. Once they knew it was an attack, they grabbed rifles and ammunition and headed for the parade ground.

Two Japanese planes flew over them strafing as they went.

The next day, he went to the Punch Bowl, site of an ammunition depot and hauled ammunition to Pearl Harbor where he saw the incredible damage and destruction.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Small World: Aviators' Paths Crossed in WWII-- Part 4

Near the end of the war, on two missions over Berlin, Paul Tuck encountered the Luftwaffe's secret weapon, jet planes. "We didn't even know they existed," he said.

On one other mission, escort was provided by the famous Red Tails, the Tuskegee Airmen, who said, "Don't you worry white boy, we're up here."

Tuck also remembers suiting up for missions ten times, only to have them called off because of weather or for other reasons.

The article did not, however, say which mission Tuck and Bill Hogan shared an experience.


Small World: Aviators' Paths Crossed in WWII-- Part 3

Continued from August 31st.

Paul Tuck received a Purple Heart while operating a still camera to record bombing missions when a piece of German shrapnel hit him in the "rear end" over Augsburg, Germany. Quite a few American flyers were wounded that way. Some even killed.

On another mission, his plane was "shot up pretty bad" and had to land in Yugoslavia. The ball turret gunner on the underside of the plane was stuck inside when they couldn't crank the turret up into the plane so they had to land nose first to save the gunner, not a pleasant option.

They were rescued and sent back to Italy to fly another day.