Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Eastern Defense Command

On Saturday, I mentioned the Eastern Defense Command prohibiting photography along the North Carolina coast as a war measure.  This was an organization I had never heard of before.

From Wikipedia.

The Eastern Defense Command (EDC) was established as the Northeast Defense Command on 17 March 1941, one of four U.S. Army continental defense commands to plan, prepare and execute defense against enemy attack (if needed) along the Atlantic coast before the U.S. entered the war.

Its main job was to coordinate Army forces and installations.  It replaced the New England Defense Section.

With the U.S. entry into the war on December 8, 1941, the Northeast Defense Command was placed in the Eastern Theater of operations.  Its first commander was Lt. Gen. Hugh A. Drum, commander of the First Army with headquarters at Fort Jay on Governor's Island, New York City.  Its operational area included every state along the eastern coast.

As prospects of enemy attack all but diminished, the EDC merged into the Central Defense Command on 15 January 1944.

Other Defense Commands during the war:

Western Defense Command
Central Defense Command
Southern defense Command
Alaska Defense Command
Caribbean Defense Command


Monday, June 29, 2015

Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Survivor Sails On

From the Sept. 19, 2013 Times.

Edward L. Wentzlaff went to the USS Arizona Memorial in 2011 for the 9th time.  He died at age 95 on September 10, 2013,  His ashes will join 35 others on December 7, 2013, on the USS Arizona.

In 1941, he was a 24-year-old on the deck of the USS Arizona waiting for church service to begin.  he had joined the Navy in 1939.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

German U-boats Off East Coast of U.S.: Photography Limitations

From the August 28, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

AUGUST 10, 1943:  German U-boats were off the East Coast.  The Eastern Defense Command banned civilian photography along much of the beaches in North Carolina.  Only the southeastern portion of the N.C. shore was allowed.

Also, it was illegal to take photographs from planes and illegal to make paintings or drawings of beach landmarks.

Although by now, most U-boat activity had ceased after hitting its peak the previous summer.


Friday, June 26, 2015

The Office of War Information

From the Sept. 28, 2013, "Amazing Colir Photos of the U.S, Home Front During World War II."

FDR issued an executive order creating the Office of War Information (OWI).  They were tasked with taking photographs releasing war news, promoting patriotic activities and providing news outlets audio, film and photos of the government's activities during the war.

Thousands of photographs were taken and approximately 1600 were in color.

The Shorpy site sure has a lot of OWI photos, especially of trains.  I wonder if anyone has written a book about this organization?

Smile for the Camera.  --GreGen

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Oldest Pearl Harbor Survivor Honored

From the May 25, 2015, CBS 8 News.

Monday, Ray Chavez, 103, was honored.  He was serving on the minesweeper USS Condor that day.  he was one of four Pearl Harbor survivors to speak at the memorial Day event at National City.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941, his ship spotted the periscope of a Japanese mini submarine which was attacked and blown up by the destroyer USS  Ward.  He served on transports for the remainder of the war.


70th Anniversary of Danish Jews in 2013

From the September 29, 2013, Fox News "Denmark marks 70th anniversary of World War II rescue of 7,300 Danish Jews."

The ceremony was held at a Copenhagen synagogue.

They dodged German patrol boats across a waterway to neutral Sweden and survival.  Some 481 elderly and sick Danish Jews were unable to leave and were deported to a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia where 53 died.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Partying With the Young Folks in Wilmington at Club Poinsettia

FROM THE OCTOBER 6, 1943, Wilmington (NC) Star- News.  Many young people were working at the shipyard and Camp Davis.  This led to big business keeping them entertained when off work (and also provide a place to drink).

One of these places was Club Poinsettia at 814 Market Street in Wilmington.  This dare they advertised Key Scales and his 12-piece orchestra.  (Remember, this was still the era of Big Bands and Swing Music.)  Admission was $1.25 (quite a lot back then).

Club-style tables were promised for everyone.  However, stags (men without dates) were not allowed except if they were in a party with ladies.

I tried to find out more about this club and band.  I could find nothing about Key Scales and his 12-piece orchestra or anything about Club Poinsettia other than its address at 814 Market Street which is today the site of the Cape Fear Museum.

Party On.  --GreGen

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wilmington, N.C., at War

From the October 1, 2013, Wilmington (N.C.) Star News "Back Then."

SEPTEMBER 17, 1943--  Lt. Frank C. Adens, former reporter of the old Wilmington News-Dispatch and a member of the War Shipping Administration Overseas Correspondents had a long article in the Newsweek magazine.

SEPTEMBER 17, 1943--  Advertisement, "hear exclusive news from Walter Winchell tonight on WMFD at 9 p.m..


Monday, June 22, 2015

First USS Oklahoma Remains Exhumed

From the June 10, 2015, KFOR 4 News.

In April the Defense Department announced that the remains of up to 400 unaccounted USS Oklahoma crew will be exhumed and examined with the process starting June 8.

The first set of remains was exhumed.  Altogether, the bones are buried in 65 caskets at 41 grave sites with a total of 388 sets of remains.

As each set is disinterred there is a special ceremony held to honor them.

The remains will undergo months of DNA and forensic work.



Stevens Point Pearl Harbor Survivor to Be Honored

From the June 12, 2015, WSAW TV News, Wisconsin.

Will Lehner, 94, was on the USS Ward which fired the first U.S. shot in the war at a Japanese mini sub is one of only two men from that ship alive today,

Sixty years later, he, along with the National Geographic magazine and well-known undersea discoverer Bob Ballard spent 14 days looking for the submarine with no success.  Two years later, divers from the University of Hawaii found it right where Lehner said it would be.

There will be a ceremony to honor him.


Deaths: Dr. Alan Green: Followed Patton Across Europe and Delivered 10,419 Babies

From the June 7, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

DR. ALAN GREEN, 102  (1913-2015)

Died May 21, 2015.  Paid his $100 per semester tuition at the University of Illinois Medical School by waiting on tables at fraternity houses and at the 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago.  During his career, he delivered 10,419 babies during his long career.  Born and raised in Chicago, attended Crane Technical High School, the Univ. of Illinois and U of I Medical School.  Graduated in 1936 and started medical practice in Chicago.

Drafted into Army.  In 1942 shipped to England and there until the invasion of Normandy.  As a captain of a medical company attached to the 6th Armored Division, followed Gen. George S. Patton across France and into Germany, operating a field hospital responsible for the care and triage of the wounded.

Dr. Green was with the first troops to enter the Nazi concentration camp in Buchenwald, Germany.

Quite a Life.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Quad-City Vets Return to Pearl Harbor in 2013

From the Oct. 7, 2013, Quad-City (Iowa) Times by Barb Ickes.

Alvis "Al" Taylor, 90 and Eldon Baxter, 93 are two of the three-known Quad-City Pearl Harbor survivors and they are flying back there on December 4 for the 72nd anniversary commemoration.

Baxter remembers more about Pearl Harbor than anything else he's ever experienced.  He was in the USS West Virginia when he saw a torpedo coming at him.  A rescue boat pulled him out of the water.

Al Taylor was in the Army and in charge of dozens of ambulances used to transport the wounded.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Deaths of Two More Pearl Harbor Survivors in 2013

From the Oct. 9, 2013, Pittsburgh Trib Live "Work was way of life for Pearl Harbor survivor" by Debra Erdley.

Nelson Ferguson, 93, died Oct. 6, 2013,.  He was one of 11 children who joined the CCC at age 17 and sent part of his earnings home to support his family.

He joined the Army in 1940 and was in the Signal Corps in Hawaii that day.  He later served in northern Australia and Dutch New Guinea.

From the Oct. 3, 2013, Paducah (Ky) Sun.  Carl E$. Golightly was born in 1924 and died Oct. 1, 2013.  He joined the Navy at age 17 in April 1941 and was on the USS California during the attack.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pearl Harbor Survivor Celebrates 99th Birthday Back in 2013: Looking For the Tall Gals

From the Oct. 12, 2013, Appeal-Democrat.

Joe Langdell of Yuba City celebrated his birthday on Saturday and was at Pearl Harbor on that day.

"The boys were looking for the girls, and the girls were looking for the boys.  I was looking for the girls, tall ones," he remembered.

He was asleep at  the Bachelor Officers quarters on Ford Island with serious plans for an afternoon beach party with the girls when he awoke to the sound of planes.

He would have died had he been on his ship at the time.  That ship was the USS Arizona where his battle station was in the ammunition room under turret No. 2.

A Close Call.  --GreGen

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Saltwater Crocodiles Feast On Japanese Soldiers

From the March 2015, Smithsonian magazine "Crikey" by Franz Lidz.

An article about saltwater crocodiles in the Pacific.

There are lots of stories about "salties" as they are called, killing humans.

But the worst devouring was reported in 1945, during the Japanese retreat in the Battle of Ramree Island in the Bay of Bengal.  British soldiers encircled swampland through which Japanese soldiers were withdrawing.  Nearly 1,000 of them are believed to have been munched to death by resident salties.

Don't Go Near the Water (There Or "Jurassic World").  --GreGen

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fort Armstrong, Hawaii

From Wikipedia

This was a follow up on my October 2, 2013, entry on the death of Pearl Harbor survivor Gordy Caza.

Coast Artillery fort built in 1907 and named after General Samuel C. Armstrong..  Built in Honolulu in fill over a reef to protect the harbor..  It had one named battery and spread out over 64 acres.

Battery Tienon had two pedestal mounted 3-inch guns from 1911 to 1943.

The 1st Coast Artillery Company and then the 104th Mine Company was based there, the latter operating the Honolulu Harbor mine defenses.

The 185th Coast Artillery Company later was there.

Operations continued at the site until 1950, when it was abandoned.  It is now part of the container port facility.

One person commented, "During that fateful morning, I was tending to my newly planted grass at my new house at Lime Street.  Suddenly O heard 'boom, boom' sounds and saw puffs of smoke appearing in the sky.  This must have been artillery firing from Fort Armstrong attempting to shoot down the Japanese warplanes."


Monday, June 15, 2015

Follow Up on Pagan Island-- Part 2: Many Bombing Attacks

After the war, Pagan island was under U.S. occupation and became part of the U.N. Trust territry of the Pacific before receiving U.S. Commonwealth status.  the U.S. Navy maintained a small presence for awhile.

From Pacific Wrecks site:

Pagan island came under near constant U.S. bombing and aerial attack near the end of the war.  Most missions were launched by the U.S. 7th Air Force.  The first attack took placeJune 23, 1944 and two HellCats were lost.  Those were the only losses recorded during the 79 attacks.

The last attack was made by USMC planes.

The Japanese troops on Pagan Island surrendered to Commodore Vernon F. Grant and the USS Rhind (DD-404) on September 2, 1945. The Rhind was named for Alexander Colden Rhind, a naval officer who commanded the USS Keokuk at Charleston which was hit by 90 Confederate shells and later sank during the Civil War.  He also commanded Gen. Butler's powdership Louisiana at the First Battle of Fort Fisher in December 1864.


Follow Up on Pagan Island-- Part 1: Japan Took Control During WWI

From Wikipedia.

Back on June 6th, I wrote about the USMC proposal to use this island in the Pacific for large-scale amphibious landing practice.  First, back in the 70s it was desert warfare training, now this.  Are they trying to tell us something?

Anyway, some background on this island I'd never heard of before.

In 1914, during World War I, it was captured by Japan who was awarded control of it after the war by the League of Nations under the South Pacific Mandate.

An airfield was built on it in 1935 and the Imperial Japanese Navy garrisoned it in 1937.  In June 1944, 2150 Imperial Japanese Army soldiers arrived and were cut off by the Allied offensive, receiving supplies only occasionally by submarine.  Facing starvation, several hundred died of malnutrition.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

10 Wacky Experimental Nazi Weapons

From the Sept. 22, 2013, Listverse.

10.  HEINKEL He 162-- 116 made, unsuccessful
9.  PANZER VIII MAUS--  Largest tank ever built
8.  JUNKERS Ju 322 MAMMUT--  Replacement for cargo planes

7.  ROCKET U-BOAT--  Sub with rockets to attack the United States.  The U-511 was the first one.
6.  FIESLER Fi 103R--  A piloted rocket where the pilot parachuted out at the last minute.

5.  FLIEGERFAUST--  Portable ground-to-air rocket launcher.
4.  ZEPPELIN RAMMER--  A plane to be towed by another plane.

3.  TAIFUN--  A rocket for use against bombers.
2.  KRUMMLAUF--  Allowed a rifle to fire in many directions and, for infantry, could fire around corners.

1.  THE SUN GUN--  A giant mirrot sent into orbit to boil seas and burn cities down.

Those Germans.  --GreGen

Memorial for the HMCS Alberni in Canada

From the September 9, 2013, Comox Valley (Can.) record " Memorial for Sunken World War ship finds home in Comoc" by Earl Couper.

The Alberni Project-- HMCS (His Magesty's Canadian Ship) Alberni Memorial opened in Comox Centre Mall on September 1st.  It is run by TAP, devoted to the preservation of the events of the battle between the Canadian corvette HMCS Alberni and the German submarine U--480.

Also in the exhibit is the role of Canadian women in the war.

The HMCS Alberion sailed from Esquimalt through the Panama Canal and joined the Royal Navy's Atlantic Fleet in Halifax in 1941. and was assigned to the Newfoundland Escort Force protecting Allied convoys across the North Atlantic, including Convoy SC42 and others.

In 1943, the Alberni was assigned to Operation Torch in the Mediterranean and later Fleet Operation Overlord (the invasion of Normandy) in the spring of 1944.

The ship was torpedoes by the U-480 in the British Channel 25 nautical miles southeast of St. Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight at 11:45 a.m. on August 21, 1944, while escorting a convoy.

Fifty-nine crew died after the torpedo struck the port side of the engine room and it sank in less than a minute.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Parbuckle Salvage Used Raising the USS Oklahoma

From Wikipedia.

I came across a photo of the Navy raising the USS Oklahoma in Pearl harbor during the war.  This meant turning it over to an upright position and the caption mentioned Parbuckle Salvage as the method used.

Parbuckle Salvage uses rotational leverage and is commonly used on smaller vessels that a battleship, but has been used on larger ones.

In 1943, the USS Oklahoma was rotated nearly 180 degrees.    It was also used on the USS Utah, but as it was being rotated, its hull caught the harbor bottom and it slipped toward Ford Island and the effort was abandoned.

Parbuckle Salvage was also used to right the ocean liner MS Costa Concordia in the Mediterranean recently.


Pearl Harbor Survivor Edward Wentzlaff Died in 2013: "Some Moments Are Too Ghastly"

From the September 11, 2013, Minneapolis Star-Tribune obituary by Kevin Giles.

It is believed that Edward Wentzlaff, 95, died Sept. 10, was the last Minnesota USS Arizona survivor.  He farm,ed near Milaca for most of his life and revisited Pearl Harbor at least ten times.  H
Joining the Navy in 1937, he was on the forward deck of the Arizona awaiting for church service to begin.

He credits his survival on a split-second decision to run to his battle station instead of going below deck (where the explosion took place)    He recalled: "Some moments are too ghastly to remember.  Some are so horrible that they defy forgetting."

Ten years ago, Mr. Wentzlaff returned to Pearl Harbor where only ten Arizona survivors attended.

There are only a few Pearl Harbor survivors still living in Minnesota.  Richard Thill was on the USS Ward and says it is hard to count survivors because so many have relocated to nursing homes.

The Greatest Generation.  --GreGen

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor George Smith in 2013: "Waved At Me and Took Off"

From the September 17, 2013, Stars and Stripes, from the Tacoma (Wash) News-Tribune "Pearl Harbor Survivor Smith dies" by Adam Ashton.

George Smith died Sept. 13, 2013, at age 89 in Olympic, Washington.

He ran away from his home in Chicago and rode trains to relatives in Seattle.  At age 17, he dropped out of high school and joined the Navy to see the world.

He was on the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor and had just finished his night watch shift.  He remembered, "One plane came in, circled, came right down to us.  The guy opened the hatch to his plane and dropped his torpedo, waved at me and took off.  The next thing I knew there was a big explosion."

Mr. Smith swam over to the USS Maryland and spent the rest of the battle there, clad just in his underwear.

Another thing he recalled was reaching for wounded men in the water only to grab severed limbs.


Britain's Shadow Facories

From the September 22, 2013, Daily Mail "In pictures: The eerie factory tunnel safe from German bombers where workers built the military might for Britain to defeat Hitler."

Britain's Birmingham Longbridge site, p[ride of Britain's auto industry.  Shadow Factory tunnels planned by Lord Austin.  Where Merlin engines were produced that powered Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes.

At the peak, there were 26 Shadow Factories.  Expecting war, Britain started building them in 1936.

After the war, the tunnels were abandoned.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sunken War Bird Emerges From Lake Michigan-- Part 2

Some 17,000 pilots trained at Glenview Naval Air Station outside of Chicago during the war.  Two lakes passenger liners were converted into aircraft carriers for them to practice landings and takeoffs.  Lake Michigan was used for this training because it was safe from enemy submarine attacks.  Former President George H.W. Bush also trained here and had his plane crash into Lake Michigan.

Taras Lyssenko and A&T Recovery Co., out of Michigan, has pulled dozens of World War II planes out of the Lake Michigan depths over the years.  Pilot error (they were learning after all) was part of the reason, plus, the planes they used were often not in good shape).

William Forbes said the ship pulled his plane's tail off as he went down, then ran over him.

All sunken planes still belong to the Navy

Lake Michigan is the perfect preservative for these planes, but quagga mussels are degrading the planes.

Forbes died in 2008 at the age of 85.

I Bet He Would Sure Have Liked to Have Been Around for His Plane Getting Pulled Out of the Water.  --GreGen

Sunken War Bird Emerges From Lake Michigan-- Part 1

From the August 1, 2013 Stars and Stripes/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Meg Jones.

William Forbes didn't like cold water and especially didn't relish the idea of taking a swim in frigid Lake Michigan even more so in December.

On December 28, 1944, he powered his Grumman FM-2 Wildcat engine along the deck of a converted ship made into an aircraft carrier.  Just as he reached the end of the flight deck, his engine died and he and his plane went into that really cold water.  The plane sank to 200 feet.

This past December, that very same plane was hauled out of Lake Michigan.  Its rusted remains are on display at the EAA Air Show in Oshkosh this week.  It is proving to be quite a popular exhibit.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Digging for WWII Munitions or Just Junk at Fort Sheridan, Illinois-- Part 2

Aimee Collins says, The fort has lots of areas on it that during the military days they pushed garbage into a pit and covered it up."

The excavation site, known in military parlance as the "former anti-aircraft artillery battery firing point B," was used for training from 1930 through 1950, primarily to support activities in Europe during World War II.  The 61st Coast Artillery fired at targets in Lake Michigan.  (Meaning there likely are live shells out in the water.)

The project costs about $400,000 and is funded by the Department of Defense

If explosives are discovered, further study will be made.

Got Junk?  --GreGen

Digging for WWII Munitions or Just Junk at Fort Sheridan-- Part 1

From the June 2, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Greg Trotter.

More than 1,000 "suspected anomalies" lie beneath the ground of a two-acre field overlooking Lake Michigan.  This area used to be part of the Army's Fort Sheridan, north of Chicago.  Exactly what these are is unknown, but there is a slight possibility some might be munitions are explosives left over from World War II

The Army Corps of Engineers has contracted companies for a five-day dig to take place between June 15 and 19 this month.  Just to be sure, a few nearby homes will be evacuated and a popular trail nearby closed.

The site was used for military target practice during World War II, but those "anomalies" are most likely utilities or construction debris from buildings which used to be on the site.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Marine Raider Reunion in Wilmington

From August 14, 2013, WWAY 3 ABC, Wilmington, N.C. "World War II Marine Raiders reunite in Wilmington" by Holden Kurwick.

Japan surrendered on this date in 1945.

The first special forces unit in U.S. military history was the Marine Raiders.

PFC Kenneth "Mudhole" Merrell, "It was a tough outfit.  That's all it was.  I wasn't tough, but the guys I served with was, I guarantee you."

PFC Charles Meachem said they were the first to have dog handlers and Navajo Code Talkers.

A total of 8,000 served in this unit over the course of the war and just 4,000 returned.


Battled Subs From a Blimp-- Part 3

Blimps were equipped with radar for use on the surface and also had Marine Air Detection which enabled them to "see" to the bottom of the sea.  They charted a lot of sunken ships with it.

"The first time I saw a torpedoed ship-- it was four in the morning--  just daylight.  I tell you, that's a sight you'll never forget,"said Dick Wrigley.

Blimps were armed with 50 caliber machine guns and carried ten 100-pound depth charges or four 450-pound depth charges.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

U.S. Military Plans to Use Pagan Island-- Part 3: Why Not Tinian?

Some people say the Marines should use Tinian which is already mostly leased by the military, but the Marines insist they couldn't practice full-scale landings there.

Tinian, about twice the side of Pagan Island, is best-known as the take-off point for the U.S. planes that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

Today, there is a casino on it.

Under Attack Again.  --GreGen

U.S. Military Plans to Use Pagan Island-- Part 2

The Marine Corps says Pagan island is the only island available with beaches large enough for major amphibious maneuvers.  They will repair the old Japanese runway to ferry in supplies.  Bombing targets would be set up on Mount Pagan.

Some 5,000 Marines are due to move to Guam in the next decade, but Guam is too heavily populated for large-scale war games.

War also might return to the Pacific with China building up its amphibious landing capability and becoming more assertive in its islands claims.


U.S. Military Plans to Use Pagan Island Again-- Part 1

From the May 20, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Pagan Games" by David S. Cloud.

"Saipan, Northern Marianas--  The tiny Pacific Island of Pagan is a lost world of deserted black sand, feral pigs and huge fruit bats.  Two active volcanoes, one at each end of the spoon-shaped isle, rise over a deep blue horizon.

"A rusting Japanese Zero fighter lies near a derelict Japanese-built runway still pock-marked with craters from an American bomber attack seven decades ago in World War II."

Now, the USMC wants the island to go to war again on a regular basis.  The Pentagon had proposed leasing the entire 18-square-mile island for use in live-fire amphibious invasion practice.

There is some question as to why the Marines need amphibious practice since they haven't done one since the invasion of Inchon in Korea 65 years ago.

But, there are plans for practice at Pagan Island at least 16 weeks a year.  Troops from Japan, Australia and South Korea might use it as well.  Imagine American and Japanese troops operating together this time.



Friday, June 5, 2015

Battled Subs From a Blimp-- Part 2: Low and Slow

Richard Wrigley spent three months learning about blimps.  He was assigned to Fleet Airship Wing 2, ZP-21 based out of Richmond Lighter Than Air Station, 20 miles south of Miami, Florida, where he spent most of his time patrolling off the coast of Florida and in the Caribbean Sea.

German U-boats had to surface for eight hours to recharge their batteries which they did mostly at night while on patrol.

German submarines were well-armed with anti-aircraft guns by 1943 and would even fight B-24s.

Only one blimp was shot down by the Germans during the war.

Blimps had a crew of eight and flew, as they said, low and slow, usually just 750 feet above the water.


Battled Subs From a Blimp-- Part 1: Joined Navy Because Friends Did

From the July 27, 2013, My Desert "World War II veteran battled subs from his blimp."

Richard "Dick" Wrigley was flight engineer aboard a Navy blimp on anti-submarine patrol.  He enlisted in 1942 because all of his buddies also joined the Navy.

The training camp in San Diego was full, so he was sent to Farragut, Idaho, where he had to battle temperatures of 40 degrees below zero.

In January 1943, he was sent to Memphis Naval Air Station in Tennessee where he became an aviation machinists' mate and went into the Blimp Service.

There were ten main blimp bases, five along the Atlantic coast, three along the Pacific coast and two in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wrigley was sent to Naval Air Station Lakehurst in New Jersey, site of the famous 1937 Hundenburg disaster.  Six years later, the spot where the Hindenburg had caught fire and crashed was still visible and the ground charred black.


Grandson Works to Clear Officer's Name in Pearl Harbor Attack

From the August 5, 2013, Clarion-Ledger.

Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel and Army Major General Walter Short were called "solely responsible" for the disaster at Pearl Harbor and both were demoted.

Tom Kimmel says his grandfather was a scapegoat.

After the attack, a special commission was set up and found the officers guilty, but those findings have since come under attack and scrutiny.

Now some historians are saying that Kimmel and Short were no the recipients of important military intelligence which might have led to better preparation.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Pearl Harbor Survivor Jack Leaming Died in 2013-- Part 2: Dodging Friendly Anti-Aircraft Fire

About an hour into the flight, he heard, "Don't shoot.  This is an American plane."  A few seconds later his pilot say, "Get the rubber boot, we're going in."  Nine of the original scout planes were lost, some shot down by friendly fire.

The canopy of the plane was open when they approached Oahu and could smell smoke and see it billowing up even before they could see the harbor.  They had to dodge friendly anti-aircraft fire as they approached Ford Island and then they landed safely at Ewa Marine Corps Air Station.

Three months later, his dive bomber was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire and they were forced to ditch near Marcus Island and captured.  he was beaten and held at different prison camps before being liberated at Osaka, Japan, on September 6, 1945.


Pearl Harbor Survivor Jack Leaming, 93, Died in 2013-- Part 1: Escorting USS Enterprise to Pearl Harbor That Day

From the August 12, 2013, Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Jack Leaming, 93, Pearl harbor survivor died August 4, 2013.  He spent three and a half years as a Japanese POW.

He is the third Pearl Harbor survivor to die in the last three months.  Clifton E. Dohrman died June 16 and William Simshauser, Army Air Corps, died July 16.  Only a handful of Pearl Harbor survivors still remain in Las Vegas.

Jack Leaming was born Dec. 6, 1919, in Philadelphia and always wanted to be an aviator.

As a radio/gunner, one day past his 22nd birthday, he and pilot Dale Hilton took off from the USS Enterprise on December 7, 1941.  His plane and 17 others fanned out west of Oahu to escort their ship to Pearl Harbor.  By order of Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, they were flying under radio silence.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Six World War II Propaganda Broadcasters

From the August 13, 2013, History Channel.

The Allies and Axis both used the radio for propaganda purposes.  Most broadcasts were aimed at their own populations, but others were there for their enemy.  Their jobs was to spread hisinformation and foster discontent.

GERMANY--  Axis Sally (Mildred Gillars)--  from Maine

GERMANY--  Lord Haw Haw--  William Joyce--  very popular in Britain.

JAPAN--  Tokyo Rose (Iva Toguri)

BRITAIN--  Sefton Delmer

GERMANY--  Philippe Henriot--  Occupied f

GERMANY Fred W. Kaltenbach


Veterans of Ploesti Raid Held 70th Anniversary Reunion in 2013

From the July 30, 2013, Montreal gazette "Veterans of World War II's Ploesti Raid holding 70th anniversary reunion in Ohio" by AP.

It was a low-flying raid on the German oil fields and the survivors still alive will be arriving at the National Museum of the Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.  The 70th anniversary of the raid will be on Thursday and there will be a public memorial service and a chance to meet the veterans.

Code named Operation Tidal Wave, it was an attack on oil fields in German occupied Romania.  B-24 bombers attacked in the daylight, some only yards above ground.  Nearly 1/3 of the 177 planes were shot down and 1/3 of the men killed, captured or missing in action.

The 44th Bombing Group received the Distinguished Unit Citation.

The last reunion, held in Salt Lake City in 2003, drew 85 veterans and now there are fewer than 70 still alive.  This is likely their last reunion.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Marijuana "Reefers" Sold, Air Medal, Labor Unrest

From the July 30, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

Seventy years ago.

JULY 25, 1943:  Three men were in jail for selling marijuana cigarettes to soldiers and civilians in the vicinity of Camp Butner near Durham.

Undercover agents bought 32 "Reefers" at 35 cents apiece.

JULY 30, 1943:  The Air Medal was presented by FDR to Lt. (jg) Lloyd D. Hollingsworth for meritorious achievement as a seaplane pilot during the invasion of North Africa in November 1942.  He is the son of Margaret Hollingsworth and currently listed as MIA.

JULY 31, 1943:  There are Labor Relations problems at the Wilmington Shipyard and across the country.    The War Labor Board denied a general wage increase to more than one million shipyard workers at 188 shipyards across the country.

Bits of War: PT-109-- Death of Pear Harbor Survivor

1.  PT-109:  August 2, 1943.  PT-109, commanded by LT (jg) John F. Kennedy, was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagira off the Solomon Islands.  Two crew were killed and Kennedy led others to a nearby island.

2.  DEATH OF PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR--  From 7-31-13 Kitsap Sun.  William Payne Powell, 95, of Bremerton  (Dec. 1, 1917 to July 18, 2013).  On USS Dale at Pearl Harbor and served on submarines in the war.  His ashes were scattered at sea from the submarine USS Michigan.


USS Indianapolis Survivors-- Part 3: Hunter Scott

Continued from May 27th.

Hunter Scott was also at the reunion.  His 7th grade history project as a student in Pensacola, Florida, led to a reassessment of the court martial of the ship's commanding officer, Rear Admiral Charles B. McVay III who was tried for not zig-zagging his course as a protection against enemy submarines.

He was found guilty.

But, because of Hunter Scott's efforts, in 2000, 32 years after his suicide because of the guilty finding, Congress passed an act clearing his name.

Hunter Scott is now 28-years-old and a Navy helicopter pilot.


Monday, June 1, 2015

World War II Poster for June: British Forward to Victory

Poster shows crew of an anti-aircraft gun fighting during a nighttime German air raid with searchlights in the background.  Two of the searchlights cross and make a "V".

Forward to Victory,  British World War II.

The British Victory or V Campaign" proved a successful drive during World War II.

The "V" became not only a symbol of victory, but also resistance.  People throughout German-controlled Europe painted the "V" on almost any flat surface.  The German military responded by prosecuting 6,200 people in Paris alone for using the symbol to demonstrate defiance to the occupation.

"V" Me.  --GreGen

Failed Attempt to Return 10 Japanese Photographs-- Part 3

But Tomohiro Harada didn't give Bib Brown much hope that the families of the the subjects would be found., citing the many years that had passed.

This turned out to be the case for Mr. Brown.  A couple months ago, he received a letter from the Japanese government saying they had been unable to find the families.

They offered to send the photos back but he said, "Keep them."  But asked what would happen, hoping they would just be tossed into the trash.  Their reply was most likely they would go to a museum or archive.

Last month, he was moved by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologizing for his nation's actions during World War II.

So, on this Memorial Day, Bob Brown was going to pl;ace an American flag on the grave of his father and give thanks to all veterans.  But, at the same time he was going to think about the rank-and-file Japanese soldiers who dearly loved their country and died following it.