Monday, December 30, 2013

Hawaii's "Beacon" Beams Again

From the Dec. 2013 Diablo Magazine "The Beacon Beams Again" by Peter Crooks.

In June, a crane removed the beacon from the Mount Diablo State Park's Summit Building. For 85 years it has stood there and most recently it has been relit every December 7th to mark the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

The beacon is also known as "The Eye of Diablo."

The "Beacon Boys" oversaw the operation and have raised $100,000 for the 8-foot tall beacon's restoration. One of the "Boys" is CHUCK KOEHLER, 89.  He was 17 and typing a letter to his mother when the bombs began falling December 7, 1941.

The Mount Diablo beacon was lit in 1928 by famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. From 1928-1941, the beacon, atop the tower that was built by Standard Oil, was one of five major beacon towers built to help planes on the U.S. West Coast. The other tower sites were in Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego and Seattle.

In April 1941, the lookout tower of the Mount Diablo Building, a CCC project, was completed. On December 8, 1941, the day after the attack, the beacon was turned off for fear it would help the Japanese attack California. It stayed dark until the end of the war, then was no longer necessary due to the development of radar.

On December 7, 1964, it was relit by Admiral Chester Nimitz and from that year to 2012 relit every Dec. 7th at sunset and remain on until sunrise the next day.


Oldest-Living World War II Vet to Meet With Obama

From the November 11, 2013, USA Today by Greg Toppo.

RICHARD OVERTON, 107, s believed to be the oldest-surviving U.S. World War II veteran. He served in the Army's 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion and was in his 30s when he volunteered in 1942 and saw combat during the Pacific Island Hopping Campaign. This was an all black unit. He met Obama on Monday.
I always thought it was too bad President Obama was unable to go to the Doolittle Raisers Final Toast a few months ago, but am glad he is at least honoring a World War II veteran.


Wilmington, NC, in 1942-- Part 1

From the Feb. 14, 2012, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

FEBRUARY 8, 1942: Shipyard Road was extended to relieve congestion going to the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company.

FEBRUARY 13TH, 1942: Two areas in Sunset Park were designated for draft registration: the auditorium at Sunset Park School and the storage building on the North Carolina Shipbuilding grounds. Large numbers of workers at the shipyard were expected to register for the draft.

FEBRUARY 13TH, 1942: Thousands of new families had arrived in Wilmington every month for wartime jobs. The federal government spent $614,000 to help New Hanover County expand and improve public school buildings.

Impact At Home. --GreGen

Navy Pilot Sought and Destroyed Submarines

From the February 6, 2012, Canton (Ohio) Rep "World War II Then and Now: Navy pilot sought and destroyed enemy submarines" by Gary Brown.

MARVIN BLAIR FISHER was a 26-year-old graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and enlisted in the Navy a month before Pearl Harbor. He already had his private pilot's license.

He flew a torpedo bomber off aircraft carriers in the Pacific after getting his Navy Wings July 20, 1942 and flew off several carriers, including the USS Saratofga, before it was sunk.

His job was to protect the fleet and especially its aircraft carriers. Otherwise, he had nowhere to land. He dropped torpedoes and bombs and went after Japanese submarines. "We dropped a lot of depth charges" as well, he said. (Most often I regard depth charges as being dropped by surface ships.)

He added that once, "I actually saw two kamihaze planes hit each other before they could hit their target."

A problem faced by the crews of torpedo bombers was their slow speed and another was that they had to fly a straight course during attacks, making them easy targets: "They were huge planes...we were sitting ducks when we went that slow. And, you can't maneuver well with the load we carried." He recalls meeting Joe Kennedy, JFK's older brother, before he was killed.

Not All Fun and Games. --GreGen

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Casualties On the USS Dobbin at Pearl Harbor

From the Pearl Harbor Org.

Werner Klemm mentioned four deaths on the destroyer-tender USS Dobbin that day. Most, according to him, were serving on the gun crew, including his best friend, Roy Arthur Gross from Oak Park, Illinois.

According to the Pearl Harbor Organization, the four:

ANDREW MICHAEL MARZE GM1c, killed on the USS Pennsylvania.


Deaths: Ray Price-- Country Star, WWII USMC

I just wrote about Ray Price's death at age 87 in my Down Da Road I Go blog. He died Dec. 16th and was a member of the USMC from 1944-1946. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out anything about his service. --GreGen

Friday, December 27, 2013

Pearl Harbor Survivor Werner Klemm Recounts That Day-- Part 2

Werner Klemm's battle station was to get ammunition to the ship's anti-aircraft guns: "While rushing to my station, stuff started blowing up all over. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a plane coming right down on us." That plane was so close that he saw its pilot, "There was this Japanese with his head over the side, looking at me." He saw two bombs drop.

"I dropped the ammunition on the deck, put my hands on the deck and kind of prayed a little. The bomb on my side dropped in the water. All I did was get soaked and splashed."

The bomb on the other side blew up before it hit the water, "It took out the whole gun crew. It killed my best friend. His name was Roy A. Gross. He was from Oak Park, Illinois. He was a boilermaker striker like I was." Three others on the Dobbin were killed by that bomb.

Later, Klemm got on a 36-foot whale boat to rescue survivors while the water was on fire. They would pick up any person they came across, dead or alive, and pull them aboard hard. "Everything was slippery. Some were so badly burnt, their skin came right off their arm. Some would holler. Some would not holler."

Mr. Klemm served in the Navy in the Pacific until 1945.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pearl Harbor Survivor Werner Klemm Recounts That Day-- Part 1

From the Dec. 7, 2013, Tampa (Fla) Tribune "Pearl Harbor memories don't fade away" by Howard Altman.
WERNER KLEMM was an 18-year-old from New Jersey and had big plans for his Sunday day off. He was going to meet a friend on the USS California who had just arrived at Pearl Harbor and they were going to the Pali Trail on Oahu. They didn't get there that day.

Morning colors had just been presented and his ship, the USS Dobbin, a destroyer tender, was just a couple hundred yards away from Battleship Row.

Mr. Klemm is now 90 and living at Port Richey, Florida.

He saw planes but thought it to be a mock air raid even after seeing an explosion by North Island. He just didn't think anything of it. When he saw the two big red circles under the planes, he knew. This was for real. This was war.

The Dobbin's alarm went off, but there was no confusion as the men went to their battle stations.

More to Come. --GreGen

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Three Pearl Harbor Survivors Speak

From the December 15, 2013, Tampa Bay Tribune "Pearl Harbor survivors speak."

Just to see and hear one of these aging warriors is something else, but to have three at once? Wow.

On Dec. 7th,  Zephyrhills Museum of Military History had three of them:

GEORGE CASS on the USS San Francisco
WERNER KLEMM on the USS Dobbin

Sadly, the previous year, nine Pearl Harbor survivors were in attendance, but the other six could not attend for health reasons.

Sorry to See Them Go. --GreGen

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Reindeer Service in World War II

From the Dec. 23, 2013, Listverse "10 Wild Facts About Reindeer" by Alan Boyle.

I'll list all ten tomorrow in my Cooter's History Thing Blog, but this one was very appropriate for this particular blog, so here goes.

#7. REINDEER BATTALIANS: The Allies used camels in desert service, but in the Arctic region, the Soviet Union recruited some 6,000 reindeer. Reindeer can forage for themselves and could pull 110 pounds of equipment and supplies.

They were used to transport supplies, carry injured soldiers and, on occasion, even dragged damaged aircraft.

The Soviets also used 1,000 native reindeer herders to help.

Often, the reindeer were used to transport American supplies from the far north Murmansk to the frontlines. Throughout the war, the Red Army was often short on mechanical power and relied on that of animals.

The Arctic town of Naryan-Mar has erected a monument to the reindeer which were so essential for the Winter War.

Not Just for Santa Anymore.  Comrade Reindeer.  --GreGen

Monday, December 23, 2013

28 Crewmembers of U-85 Buried at Hampton National Cemetery in Virginia

From the Dce. 16, 2013, Hampton Roads (Vs.) Daily Press "A landmark graveyard filled with poignant stories of sacrifice and courage" by Mark St. John Erickson.

Mr. Erickson has also written quite a few interesting stories on the War of 1812 around Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Hampton National Cemetery in Virginia has more than two dozen World War II dead who were buried in secrecy in the dead of the night so as not to attract public attention. Not one of these men was over 30, and several were still in their teens and they died in the first months of what is called the Battle of the Atlantic off the U.S. east coast.

The secrecy was because they were on the wrong side. They were from a German U-boat.

Twenty-eight crew members of the U-85, a submarine caught on the surface by a searchlight on the old World War I four-stacker destroyer USS Roper. Gunfire and depth charges sank the German ship.

Nearly three decades later, the German-American Society began holding annual memorial services at the graves which are often attended by members of the Tidewater Chapter of U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II. Said one member in 1994: "We all went through the same thing even though we were on different sides."

Brotehrs of War Now. --GreGen

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Three Pearl Harbor Survivors Honored-- Part 2

Bob and Rich Miller are members of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors. Their father Clarence was on the USS Ramsay during the attack. They estimate that there are around 30 Pearl Harbor survivors still alive in the northern Illinois area.

Three of them: ED BLOCK, LYLE HANCOCK and JOE TRIOLO attended Friday's ceremony.

LYLE HANCOCK, 90, lives in Wheeling and was posted at the Navy Yard's dispensary less than a mile from his barracks but said he had to cross a seemingly endless field to get between the two places.

JOE TRIOLO, 93, of Waukegan, was on the USS Tangier, but his ship wasn't attacked. He believes the Japanese knew the base operations very well: "The church pennant was flying from the yard. The crews, instead of being at their guns, were at church or in their bunks. They knew it. They rehearsed it."


Three Pearl Harbor Survivors Honored-- Part 1

From the Dec. 7, 2013, Daily Herald (NW Chicago Suburbs) "So few Pearl Harbor survivors left; 3 honored in Des Plaines" by Christopher Placek.

ED BLOCK, 23, a Navy barber, was sleeping on the USS Medusa after a night on the town drinking beer "just like every other sailor." Now 93, he said, "I looked out the porthole and I saw the airplanes dropping their bombs. I said to the other two men that were there, 'It looks like a sham battle' And then a second later, I said, 'Oh God, no. It's a war."

Only about 1,000 Pearl Harbor survivors are still alive from the 84,000 American military personnel who were there that day. Their numbers have dropped so low that their Pearl Harbor Survivors Association disbanded two years ago.


Friday, December 20, 2013

That "Infamous" Morning on the USS Oklahoma-- Part 5: To the USS Maryland

Many of the Oklahoma survivors swam to the USS Maryland which had lost its electric hoist in the attack and the Oklahoma survivors formed a human chain to move munitionws from the armory to the boat deck. The Maryland's captain ordered them off his ship during a lull between the first and second waves of Japanese planes.

They swam to Ford Island where they were not allowed into barracks because they had no identification. They were forced to scavenge and steal food to survive and set up a signal tower.

Mr. Goodyear says he did not have a shower or enter a mess hall until December 15th when the captain of the USS Indianapolis allowed him on board for an hour.

Things were so confused in the aftermath of the attack, that it took the Navy until April 10th to put him back on the payroll and eventually restored all of his back pay except for $12, his pay for six days. The payroll officer told him "How do I know you didn't draw advance payment on December 1?"

Paul Goodyear is now 95 and his account definitely shed things I didn't know. It appears that the Navy wasn't so nice to its victims after the attack. Very surprising.

Thanks, Mr. Goodyear. --GreGen

That "Infamous" Morning on the USS Oklahoma-- Part 4: Trapped Below Decks and Father Schmitt

A total of 527 men died on the USS Oklahoma that day. Most of the survivors jumped off the deck or squeezed through 12-14-inch portholes. The men Paul Goodyear had relieved early so they could get breakfast before the mess closed all died.

The ship's chaplain , Father Al Schmitt, had an office with a 14-inch porthole and pushed 10-12 kids through it before being trapped himself and drowning. Goodyear is still angry that Schmitt did not receive a Medal of Honor for that.

Thirty-two men were rescued by cutting through the hull, but another 400 were trapped. Tapping continued from inside for three days before it stopped.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Battleship Torpedo Blister

From Wikipedia.

In the last entry, I wrote how Paul Goodyear had climbed out of the horrible waters of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and stood on the battleship USS Maryland's torpedo blister. This was not a term I was familiar with, so had to look it up (I couldn't find anything about a battleship's roll over bar, however.) however.)

Listed as an Anti-Torpedo Bulge, but also called an anti-torpedo blister, it is a passive defense against naval torpedoes used in battleship construction between the two world wars.

Essentially, it is an isolated compartment from the internal hull. Part of it is air-filled and free-floating. It is supposed to dissipate shock and absorb explosive fragments, leaving the ship's internal hull undamaged.

It was developed by the British and used during World War I. The HMS Grafton was torpedoed in 1917 and suffered only minor splinter holes, proving it a success. American naval architects adapted the design into their battleships as well.

It became obsolete when modern torpedoes were designed to explode under ship hulls.

Fish In the Water. --GreGen

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

That "Infamous" Morning on the USS Oklahoma-- Part 3: The Fate of the Book and USS Maryland

This is quite an interesting story. Personally, I think I would have not gone back for that stupid book. Continuing with the story.

By then the Oklahoma was listing 45 degrees and he crawled to the starboard side, grabbed the ship's life line and pulled himself over the hull "still carryiing that damned secret publication."

He then crawled over to the ship's roll bar where he saw the ship's executive officer and tried to give him the book. "He looked at it and said, 'I don't want it.' I looked at it and said, 'I don't want it either,' so I threw it in the water."

The ship continued to roll over and Paul Goodyear dropped 50 feet into the water and swam to the USS Maryland where he rested on a torpedo blister. A crew member threw him a line. As he was pulled up, Goodyear saw white spots between his face and arm, "Oh my God, those are bullets."

Japanese plaes were strafing the ships and he let go of the line and dropped back into the water, by now full of bunker oil and human waste, "It was not a very sanitary place to be swimming." (That's something you don't hear about, the human waste in the water.) When the strafing stopped, the sailor pulled him out.

More to Come. --GreGen

Monday, December 16, 2013

That "Infamous" Morning on the USS Oklahoma-- Part 2: Going Back for the Book

Unfortunately for the USS Oklahoma, the crew had opened all the watertight compartments the previous Friday in preparation for the admiral's inspection. Water poured in. Said Paul Goodyear, "We were just like an eggshell. One torpedo would have sunk us." The ship began listing quickly and was mast down in the harbor in 11 minutes.

When he saw a 36-inch long telescope slide across the bridge he decided, "Let's get out of here." They had gotten from the signal deck to the boat deck when he remembered the secret signal book still on his desk on signal deck. The Oklahoma was listing at 30 degrees by then, but even so, he went back to get it. After all, it was his responsibility.

And, it was a heavy book as it had lead covers so it would sink if necessary.

When he got back to the boat deck, he took a quick lean against a ladder to catch his breath when he saw the USS Arizona take its fatal blow. According to Goodyear, it was hit on the port side, not starboard as "psuado historians" say who weren't even born when it happened. He was right there looking down the length of the Arizona.

More to Come. --GreGen

That "Infamous" Morning: USS Oklahoma-- Part 1

From the Dec. 7, 2013, Casa Grande (Arizona) Dispatch "Infamous Morning" by Susan Randall.

Paul Goodyear was a 23-year-old petty officer third class on the USS Oklahoma that Dec. 7th morning. He and three signal men "strikers" were on the signal deck of the ship early so the previous watch could eat breakfast before the mess hall closed at 8 AM.

He saw a line of planes coming in but didn't think much of it, then he saw them drop what he took to be practice bombs. As the third one fell, the first one blew up the seaplane hangar. It was then that he saw the symbol of the Rising Sun on the planes.

He looked over his left shoulder and saw planes flying at them from the Southwest Loch. The first one dropped a torpedo. "Hang on, Red!!" he shouted to striker Red Luttrell. "Here comes a fish!" He saw at least nine more drop. When they went off, the Oklahoma lost at least 250 of its 583 feet portside. And, then things got really bad.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Other Man Who Tried to Shoot JFK-- Part 2

Continued from December 5th..

The Japanese had thoroughly terrorized the Solomon Islands so it wasn't too difficult for Reginald Evans to find locals to act as Allied spies.

One of them was Biuku Gasa, a fisherman.

JFK was seen by Gasa while looking for a spy to help him and his crew get back to American lines after his PT-109 had been sunk six days earlier. After his old rifle locked up, preventing him from shooting Kennedy, who he mistook from a distance as being a Japanese soldier, Gasa continued on and came across the PT-109's crew.

When Kennedy returned, Gasa instructed him to cut the famous message in the coconut "NATIV KNOWS POSIT/11 ALIVE/NEED SMALL BOAT."

That coconut was delivered by islanders to Evans via dugout canoe who radioed Allied forces the information which led to the crew's rescue.

That coconut is in the Kennedy Library in Boston.

I'd Sure Like to See It. --GreGen

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pearl Harbor Ceremony at Oahu

From the Dec. 7, 2013, Missourian "Pearl Harbor ceremony marks bombing anniversary" by Audrey McAvoy, AP.

About fifty survivors attended the ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the "Day of Infamy."

ALVIS TAYLOR, 90, was an Army medic who went to Pearl Harbor from his base, Schofield Barracks, about 18 miles north, with dozens of ambulances after he was left in charge when his superiors, who were doctors, rushed to the hospitals.

A crowd of some 2500 joined the survivors.

Taylor, who lives in Davenport, Iowa, returned to Pearl Harbor for the very first time since the war. Local chapters of Vietnam Veterans of America paid for him and his wife to make the trip.

DELTON WALLING, 92, was on the USS Pennsylvania, said, "I come back to be with my comrades-- meet the ones who are still alive, and we're going fast."

There was a moment of silence at 7:55 AM, the minute the attack began. The survivors and spectators sat on a grassy spot overlooking the USS Arizona Memorial. A 1944 North American SNJ-5B fighter flew overhead.

So Sad to be Losing These Proud Service People. --GreGen

Death of Aubrey F "Bud" Kriegermeir

From the Aug. 15, 2013, Northwest Herald (McHenry County, Il.) obituaries.

AUBREY F. "BUD" KRIEGERMEIR, Age 89, of Woodstock.

Died Aug. 10th.

Born Jan. 22, 1924, in High Hill, Missouri, and grew up in Moulton, Iowa.

During World War II, he served two years as Fireman First Class in Division 6 submarine service in the South Pacific, and six months in the Atlantic theatre on Patrol E Scout.

I tried to find out more information about Division 6 and Patrol E Scout, but didn't find anything.

The Greatest Generation. --GreGen

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Natick, Mass. Observes Pearl Harbor Day

From the Dec. 6, 2013, Metro West (Massachusetts) Daily News "Natick to observe Pearl Harbor Day."

At 7 PM there will be a meeting at the Lebowitz Meeting Hall at the Morse Institute Library in Natick. Gerald Halterman, one of the few remaining Pearl Harbor survivors in the area is expected to attend and speak.

This marks the 40th anniversary of the library hosting it and the 15th anniversary of the Natick Veterans Oral History Project which started at the suggestion of Eugene Dugdale, a Pearl Harbor survivor from Natick.

Both his and Halterman's account of the Day of Infamy have been recorded among the 250 interviews in the project.

Dugdale was a bosun on the USS Raleigh and Halterman worked in the communications office in the harbor's main building after he, fortunately, had been transferred from the USS Oklahoma.

Not Forgetting. --GreGen

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

USS Finnegan (DE-307)

On yesterday's Michigan's Upper Peninsula at Pearl Harbor-- Part 1, I mentioned William Finnegan being killed at Pearl Harbor on the USS Oklahoma and that later in the war, a U.S. Navy ship was named after him. So, I did some research on that ship from Wikipedia.

The USS Finnegan was an Evarts-class destroyer escort that fought in the Pacific escorting convoys and anti-submarine operations. It was named for Chief Radio Electrician William Michael Finnegan who was killed at Pearl Harbor.

It was commissioned 19 August 1944 and decommissioned November 1945 and screened tansports at Iwo Jima. On 26 Feb 1945, while escorting empty transports to Saipan, radioman Robert R. Perry, on radar duty, made a surface contact on what turned out to be the Japanese submarine I-370 which was sunk after a four-hour battle. Perry was given $50 by his captain for catching the signal.

The Finnegan also supported the invasion of Okinawa.

The Story of a Ship With a Pearl Harbor Connection. --GreGen

Monday, December 9, 2013

Follow-Up on USS Dewey (DD-349)-- Part 2

The Dewey then joined TF-11 (Task Force) and sailed to relieve the Marines at Wake Island on December 15, but returned after finding out Wake had fallen on 23 December.

The Dewey then screened the aircraft carrier USS Lexington until it was lost at the Battle of the Coral Sea. Then, it provided cover for the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga through Guadalcanal and the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

In 1943, the Dewey was largely in Alaskan waters. In 1944, it was at the Marshalls, Carolines, Marianas Islands and the battle of the Philippines Sea and was damaged in Typhoon Cobra.

It later provided support at Iwo Jima before being decommissioned 10 Oct 1945 and sold Dec. 1946.

The ship mounted five 5-inch guns, was 341 feet long and had a crew of 160.

One of thenm was Bud Cloud so he saw planty of action in the Pacific during his time in the Navy.

One of the Greatest Generation. --GreGen

Follow-Up on USS Dewey (DD-349)-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

On December 7th, I wrote about Bud Cloud in an entry "Pearl Harbor Survivor's Dying Wish Fulfilled" where he got to visit the new USS Dewey (DDG-105) as he served on the USS Dewey (DD-349) during World War II and was at Pearl Harbor.

So, I had to do some more research on Mr. Cloud's ship.

The original Dewey was a Farraugut-class destroyer launched in 1934 and commissioned 4 Oct. 1934, named for Admiral George Dewey of Spanish-American War fame and who had been at the Civil War Battle of Fort Fisher (another item of great interest to me). The ship served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. It was at Pearl Harbor that Dec. 7, 1941, but not damaged and got underway that afternoon.


Michigan's Upper Peninsula At Pearl Harbor-- Part 2

GERALD G. LEHMAN of Hancock on USS Oklahoma. His remains were returned to Houghton County for reburial in 2010. See my entry about the New Hampshire sailor's remains not being returned in my Dec. 7th blog.

FRANCIS R. McGUIRE of Wallace on the USS Arizona.

HERMAN C. REUSS of Menominee in 11th Bombardment Group at Hickam Field.

ROBERT L. SPREEMAN of Newberry on USS Arizona.

ROBERT H. THOMAS of Ironwood in 20th Air Base Group, Nichols Field at Luzon, Philippines. (Which was attacked by Japanese forces at the same time.)

LOWELL E. VALLEY of Ontonagon on USS Oklahoma.

Also killed, JAMES LONDON of Vulcan.


Michigan's Upper Peninsula At Pearl Harbor-- Part 1

From the Dec. 6, 2013, Iron Mountain (Mich) Daily News "Dec. 7 a day to rememember."

According to Larry Chabot of Marquette, author of "U.P. Goes to War: Upper Michigan and Its Heroes in World War II," these 12 U.P. residents died in the first hours of the war.

Saturday, I gave one name in each of my blogs but will list them all here:

MANFRED C. ANDERSON of Hancock, 18th Bombardment Group, Hickam Field.

JOSEPH BARAGA of Channing on USS Arizona.

DONALD CLASH of Iron Mountain on USS Arizona. Later in the war, his brother JAMES was killed in Germany March 1945.

KENNETH COOPER of Iron Mountain on USS California.

FRANCIS A. CYCHOSZ of Bessemer on USS Arizona. His brother RAYMOND was later severely wounded in Italy while a member of the famed 10th Mountain Division.

WILLIAM M. FINNEGAN of Bessemer and Dollar Bay on USS Oklahoma. Survived by his wife and five children. Later in the war, a U.S. Navy ship was named for him.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Commemorating Pearl Harbor

I didn't forget. I have flags out on the deck, mailbox and a banner by the front porch. All my blogs have entries about it as well. Each blog features the name of one American who died that day.

KENNETH COOPER, Iron Mountain, Michigan. On the USS California.


Manchester, New Hampshire's Pearl Harbor Connection

From the Dec. 5, 2013, New Hampshire Union Leader "Family wants remains of Swanzey sailor at PH returned for NH burial" by Paul Feely.

A ceremony in 2009 named the bridge across the Merrimack River into Manchester-Boston Regional Airport the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge. About 18 Pearl Harbor survivors from New Hampshire attended it.

Four Manchester natives were killed in the attack: Seaman 2nd Class JOE ROZMUS died on the USS Arizona. Army Sergeant MAURICE ST. GERMAIN and Private JOSEPH JEDRYSIK died at Hickam Field. Seaman 1st Class CROSSETT was shot twice by a Japanese plane as he headed to the crow's nest of the USS Utah.

There will be a memorial service today at 11 AM at the New Hampshire Veterans Home and another at 9 AM at Arms Park on the Merrimack River in Manchester.

-- GreGen

Family Wants USS Oklahoma Sailor's Remains Returned-- Part 2

Tom Gray says the anthropologist working the case back then refused to certify his cousin's remains and all were classified as unknown. Gray believes this is because only Hopkins' skull was recovered and that it could have been identified through dental work.

All 27 were reburied in the Punch Bowl as unknown. Hopkins is one of ten buried at the Section P, Grave 1003. Gray and the family first learned about his cousin through the efforts of Ray Emory, who was on board the USS Honolulu during the war. They want Hopkins buried next to his parents at Woodland Cemetery in Keene.

Hope That Edwin Hopkins Finally Comes Home. --GreGen

Family Wants USS Oklahoma Sailor's Remains Returned-- Part 1

From the Dec. 5, 2013, New Hampshire Union Leader "Family wants remains of Swanzey sailor killed at Pearl Harbor returned for NH burial" by Paul Feely.

On December 7, 1941, Third Class Fireman Edwin Hopkins, 19, was aboard the USS Oklahoma and died during the attack. Now, 72 years later, his second cousin is fighting to have his remains brought back to New Hampshire to be buried by his parents.

His remains have been identified according to Tom Gray of Guilford, Ct., and he deserves more than a co-mingled grave marked "Unknown" at the National Memorial Cemetery on Oahu, better known as the Punch Bowl.

In 1943, Hopkins' remains and 381 others were recovered from the stricken USS Oklahoma and buried in mass graves at Halawa and Nu'uana cemeteries on Oahu. In 1949, the Army Graves Registration Service disinterred the graves to id the remains. They recommended that the remains of 27, including Hopkins, be further researched for identification.


Pearl Harbor Survivor's Dying Wish Fulfilled

From the Nov. 25, 2013, Fox 5 San Diego "Pearl Harbor Survivor's Dying Wish Fulfilled."

Bud Cloud was in hospice care and his dying wish was to visit the namesake of the ship he was on that Dec. 7, 1941, the USS Dewey. He died just 13 days later.

The new ship is the DDG-105, a Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer. The ship he was on that day in Pearl Harbor was the USS Dewey (DD-349) and was undergoing an overhaul to be a tender. His ship got underway that afternoon.

I imagine that was quite the experience for the new Dewey's crew, meeting their past like that.

Glad He Got To Do It. --GreGen

USS Arizona Survivor Speaks

From the Nov. 10, 2013, Santa Crus (Cal.) Sentinel "Pearl Harbor Survivor visits Santa Cruz" by Kevin Guzman.

Louis Conter was 20 an on board the USS Arizona that day.

"When the bomb exploded, it exploded over 1 million pounds of powder. The whole bow of the ship came out of the water thirty feet and was on fire, and settled back in the water."


Friday, December 6, 2013

A Follow Up on the U-168-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Before the last entry, I had no idea that German U-boats operated in the Indian or Pacific Oceans. Now, I know better.

The keel of the U-168 was laid March 15, 1941, in Bremen, Germany. It was launched March 5, 1942, taking a full year to get to that point. (It certainly didn't take the U.S. that long to build a submarine, one reason for the Allied victory.)

It was commissioned on September 10th and commanded by Captain Helmuth Pich.

During the course of the war, the U-168 went on four patrols and sank three Allied ships totalling 8,108 tons. It also damaged another ship.

More to Come. --GreGen

German U-boat Discovered Off Indonesia

From the Nov. 23, 2013, Mail Online (UK) "Nazi U-boat sunk during Second World War is discovered by divers off of Indonesia-- complete with skeletons of its doomed crew."

The U-168 sank several Allied vessels before it was sunk in 1944. The wreck has a wealth of artifacts, as well as 17 skeletons.

The ship was launched in March 1942 and 23 died when it sank. German submarines were off Indonesia (and I always thought this was the area of Japanese sub operations) trying to cut Allied supplies from Asia to Britain.

Captain Helmut Pich commanded the sub for four missions. The ship sailed from France to the Far East in July 1943. He survived the sinking at 1:30 AM October 6, 1944, along with 28 others. And, here's another surprise to me, it was torpedoed by a Dutch submarine, the HrMs Zwaardvish (you never hear much about the Dutch Navy during the war).

Pich died in 1997 at age 83.

The U-168 was part of the Monsun U-boat pack operating around the Dutch East Indies, Jakarta and Sabang 1943-1945. Of the 14 U-boats sent out, only four returned.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Other Man Who Tried to Shoot JFK-- Part 1

From the November 22, 2013, Channel 4 NBC Southern California by Brian T. Brown.

Of special interest what with the recent 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. Everyone knows of Lee Harvey Oswald, but few, including me, have ever heard of Biuku Gasa, a fisherman in the Solomon Islands, who, back during World War II was working undercover for the United States and saw John Kennedy from a great distance and thought he was Japanese.

He had a rifle that had been discarded in battle, but it had rotted and when he tried to fire it at Kennedy, it locked up and he was unable to do so.

Gasa fled from the scene and an unaware JFK returned to his crew who had arrived at the island after their PT-109 was sunk. Gasa was part of an Allied spy network headed by Reginald Evans.


USS Missouri Gets Its 500,000 Visitor

From the November 21, 2013, Hawaii Reporter "Mighty Mo Welcomes 500,000th Visitor in 2013."

The battleship USS Missouri achieved the goal it set for itself 15 years ago when it opened to the public.

Felix Garcia of Phoenix was that visitor, stepping aboard at 2 PM. The Missouri opened in 1998 at Pier Foxtrot 5 on Ford Island, just several hundred yards from the wreck of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. 

World War II began for the United States when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and sank the USS Arizona and ended when the same country surrendered aboard the USS Missouri, as fine a pair of bookends as you can get.

Admission to the ship is $22 for adults and $11 for children and it's open daily from 8 AM to 4 PM. Unfortunately, when I was in Hawaii we did not have enough time to visit the Mighty Mo, but did get to the memorial for the USS Arizona.

Next Time. --GreGen

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Death of Decorated World War II Pilot

From the Nov. 16, 2013, "Russell E. Morrow, 93, decorated World War II pilot" by Bonnie L. Cook.

Died Nov. 10th. Was on 31 bombing missions in a B-17 in Europe while in the 8th Air Force. Received his flight training at Turner Air Force Base in Georgia. Received an Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters and a Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war, he was in the Berlin Airllift in 1948 and saw action in the Korean War with the 5th Air Force headquartered in Japan and with the Combat Cargo Command.

After the war, he remained in the Air Force and served at the Pentagon. --GreGen

Only One Posting In Two Weeks

I never know if I can post when I'm away from this 'pute on the laptop. Never any truer than this last couple weeks and I was only able to get it going for one post.

Oh, well, that's what happens when you're on the road.