Wednesday, July 29, 2015

USS Indianapolis Tragedy Was 70 Years Ago, July 30, 1945-- Part 1

From the July 27, 2015, National Geographic "Warship's Last Survivors Recall Sinking in Shark-Infested Waters" by Glenn Hodges.

"Seventy years ago this week, on July 30, 1945, the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis was sunk by two torpedoes fired by a Japanese submarine in the south Pacific.  So began a five-day ordeal of thirst, hypothermia, salt-water poisoning, hallucination. drowning, and dismemberment in shark-infested waters."

"Out of a crew of 1.196, only 317 men survived.

"For years the story seemed destined to be forgotten.  Until the movie "Jaws" hit theaters in 1975, and Captain Quint's now infamous monologue about the relentless shark attacks thrust the Indianapolis incident into public consciousness, it seemed almost no one knew about it.

"The survivors, of course, found the event impossible to forget.  Since 1960, they've been meeting for reunions in Indianapolis to bond with their shipmates, tell their stories, and commemorate the worst week of their lives."


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Wilmington Star-News Calls for the N.C. Lawmakers to Allow Bond Issue for USS North Carolina

From the July 23, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News Editorial "Keep aquarium, battleship funded" by the Editorial Board.

"Another local attraction doing well is the Battleship North Carolina.  The memorial is having a banner season, reporting 17,500 paid visitors during the patriotically inclined first 13 days of July.

"The battleship, which gets no regular funding from the state, has its hands full with a fundraising campaign to repair a hull that is leaking in places and is paper-thin in others.

"So a bond issue pushed by Gov. Pat McCrory that would pay for a new $11.5 million visitors center is a welcome development.

"We hope that lawmakers will allow the bond issue to come before the voters."

A Tax Increase I Could Support.  --GreGen

Monday, July 27, 2015

USS North Carolina Gets a New Chairwoman

From the July 24, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Local judge to chair battleship group."

Judge Sandra Ray was appointed Thursday by Gov. Pat McCrory as te first female chairwoman of the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission.

She had previously served on the commission as a board member for eight years.  She is a district court judge and before that worked for the District Attorney's Office.

Additionally she serves on the Arlie Board, Good friends Board and is chairman of the Wilminghton Parks and recreation Board.

She was born in Charleston, S.C., and grew up in Warsaw and Wrightsville Beach.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

National Hot Dog Day: A Carry Over from the War, Paul's Place Famous Hot Dogs

Thursday, July 23rd, was National Hot Dog Day.

Mom and I celebrated it by stopping at Paul's Place Famous Hot Dogs in Ricky Point, North Carolina.  This is not you usual run of the mill hot dog place and still popular after all these years.

Before I-40 was built to Wilmington, we always went to Carolina Beach on US-117 from Goldsboro or Mt. Olive.  We have been stopping at Paul's ever since I can remember.  Even though it was bypassed by I-40, it is easy off to get to the place and several miles along 117.

They still do a really great business and is usually crowded anytime we go.It is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Its World War II connection is that its hot dogs are covered with a special relish they were forced to develop because of meat shortages during the war.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Wilmington American Legion Supporting the USS North Carolina

From the July 24, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Post 10 fish fries help battleship" by Kenneth Pike.

The American Legion Post 10 of Wilmington was proud to have taken a major part in bringing the USS North Carolina to Wilmington back in 1961, which has since become a major tourist draw for eastern North Carolina.  Over the years it has also served as a reunion place for other Navy crews.

Recently a representative of the post met with Capt. Terry Bragg of the Battleship Memorial and made a commitment to a series of fundraisers that will create a fund for $5,000 to go toward upgrading and restoring the aging warship.

The source of the fund will be a monthly fish fry (also half a baked chicken or  deviled crab).  They will be held the first Fridays of the month through October.

Cost will be $8.

The USS North Carolina operates solely on its own and with no state aide, so this is quite the big deal.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

First Look Inside Abandoned English WWII Tunnels

From July 20, 2015, ABC News.

Used during World War II along England's coast.  They were called the Fan Bay Shelter and were built in 1940 through 1941 and were used to house a defensive gun battery that was housed at the White Cliffs of Dover in the southeast corner of the country.

The battery was there to prevent the Germans from using the English Channel.

These tunnels have recently been reopened.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Don't Just Worry About the Sharks Off U.S. Coast This Year

From the July 20, 2015, USA Today "Sharks? World War II bombs also are a beach peril."

Sharks,?  Those old unexploded bombs might be even more to worry about this summer.

A World War II-era shell forced beachgoers on a beach on the Gulf near Tampa, Florida, to evacuate.  It was exploded in a controlled detonation later that day.

Millions of unexploded ordnance (UXO) was dropped in the waters off thye U.S. coast by the military before the practice was banned in 1970 by the Pentagon.

Most of the UXOs were from World War II.  The practice also applied to ordnance from the Korean and Vietnam wars.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Four Historical Myths from World War II

From the June 20, 2015 Listverse "10 Ridiculous Myths From Famous Historical Wars" by Gregory Myers.

The list gave four of its ten items to World War II-related events.

9.  The United States saved the day for the Allies in World War II.

5.  The harshness of the Versailles Treaty cause World War II.

3.  The United States entered World War II after Pearl Harbor.

1.  The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unprecedented.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Another Deadly Trainwreck Took Place Just Over Three Months Earlier

On September 6, 1943, 79 were killed in a trainwreck in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Congressional Limited, touted as being able to make the run from Washington, D.C. to New York City in 3 1/2 hours had flames burst out from one of the cars' hot box which caused the axle to snap and the train went off the tracks.

As you would expect during wartime, there were about 200 servicemen aboard the train.  Seventy-nine passengers from two of the cars were killed and another 117 injured.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

N.C.'s Deadliest Train Wreck-- Part 3

From the Dec. 2, 2013, Daily Beast "The Five Deadliest Train Derailments in U.S. History."

DECEMBER 16, 1943.   72 dead near Rennert, N.C.

An Atlantic Coast Line train lost three of its rear cars near Rennert.  Rescue operations were underway when another train, unaware of the accident and approaching from the opposite direction slammed into it.  The first train had fortunately been cleared of passengers, but 72 of the new train were killed in its first three cars.  Fifty-two of them were servicemen coming home for the holidays.

A visitor to the site shortly after the accident described "all the rails twisted like pretzels," and "carnage of track, wreckage, wheels, axles and twisted railroad."


North Carolina's Deadliest Trainwreck-- Part 2

There were no serious injuries and passengers got off the train.

The chief fireman of the train placed flares ahead of it.  He forgot to bring torpedoes with him though.  They were a small noise-making charge.  The flares were dampened and didn't work.

The derailed cars did not physically touch the northbound tracks so automatic sensors were not activated.

At 1:45 a.m., doing about 80 mph, the East Coast Champion roared past and saw a sleeper car in its path, but too late to stop.

The first passenger car had many servicemen.  Two of them, Joannes Nystrom and James Conney had recently been discharged.  they were killed.

Clyde Lollier, a mess sergeant, died instantly.  His wife, who had been in the berth beneath him had just left to go to the restroom in one of the Pullman cars, survived.


North Carolina's Deadliest Trainwreck-- Part 1

December 17, 2013, Fayetteville (NC) Observer "Remembering the deadliest train accident in N.C. history" by Chick Jacobs.

"One forgotten pouch.  One wrong step.  One night of unprecedented carnage.  seventy years later, officials are still not sure how many people died.  The counts range from 72 to 74 with nearly 200 injured.  It remains the deadliest disaster in North Carolina history."

On December 16, 1943, the Atlantic Coast Line's Tamiami West Coast Champion left Fayetteville and heading southward with 18 cars just after midnight.It was a cold night with temps in the teens.  Earlier a storm had coated the region with a light snow and ice.

Less than a half hour out of Fayetteville, near Raft Swamp, a rail fractured under the train, derailing the three rear cars.  The train couldn't stop for a quarter mile.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Chester Nimitz Assumes Command of the Pacific Fleet-- Part 2

However, Chester Nimitz proved to be just the man for the job, the perfect CEO in troubled and perilous times.

**  He was flexible.  The battleships were out under his command and aircraft carriers in.  he deployed them ably.

**  He got the Navy moving again immediately, sending the aircraft carrier Enterprise out against the Japanese.

**  He used his head and trusted his instincts.

**  He took calculated risks.

**  He trusted his people.

These are traits all CEOs should strive to achieve.


Chester Nimitz Becomes C-in-CPac After Pearl Harbor-- Part 1

From the December 17, 2013, Forbes "The Ultimate Turnaround CEO" by Geoff Loftus.

Seventy-two years ago, Chester Nimitz was appointed to a new job after the events at Pearl Harbor.  He became Commander-in-Chief Pacific Command, C-in-CPac.

What he received was the command of a mostly wrecked Pacific Fleet.  The keystone of U.S. Naval strategy, its battleships had been destroyed in one blow.  Plus, he had just lost about 3,000 skilled sailors dead and many others wounded and unable to do their jobs.

His opponents, the Japanese, had a well-trained, experienced force.

The odds were definitely against him.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Nevada Played a Big Role-- Part 2: Homefront and Gambling

The saddle is touring the state of Nevada in honor of the 150th anniversary of the state's admittance to the Union.

Thousands of Nevadans served in the war and hundreds died.

American troops trained for North African desert warfare in the desert south of Searchlight.

Training for aerial warfare took place at Reno, Ely, Fallon Wendover, Las Vegas and Tonopah.  Ammunition was made at a depot in Hawthorn.

The arrival of soldiers and war workers in Las Vegas caused a boom in Nevada's young gambling industry.  This influx caused Las Vegas' population to surpass that of Reno and began a shift of political and economic power to the south end of the state.

Gold and silver mining halted and instead copper and magnesium was gone after as a necessity of the war.


Nevada Played a Big World War II Role-- Part 1: USS Nevada

From the Dec. 7, 2013, RGJ "Chuck Weller: Nevada played rich WW II role."

The USS Nevada was making for open sea at Pearl harbor that day when it was hit by multiple bombs and intentionally run aground.  The crew earned two Medals of Honor and 13 Navy Crosses that day.

It was there at the Japanese surrender and had aboard it a saddle built in Reno with a silver plaque reading "Presented to Admiral Frederick Halsey, USN, for use on the favorite white horse of the emperor of Japan, by the Reno Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the war bond buyers of Washoe County, Nevada, 1945."

The saddle was recently returned to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ed Wentzlaff Rejoining Shipmates on the USS Arizona

From the Dec. 7, 2013, Free Press "Nicollet native rejoining USS Arizona shipmates" by Tim Krohn.

Navy divers will inter Ed Wentzlaff urn with his remains in the ship he was serving on that fateful day.

"He always said he wanted to be buried with his friends.  Now he got his wish," said sister Gerry Leonard.

Twenty-five survived even though they were in the open on the foredeck when the ship blew up.  "He was shaving for church.  he was just in his underwear.

Mr. Wentzlaff died of cancer in September at the age of 95.  Just 335 of the 1,512 crew survived tghe attack and most are still entombed on the ship.

He was born Nov. 16, 1917, and married Alice Mork in 1947.


USS Arizona Tour Draws Multitudes to Pearl Harbor

From the Dec. 18, 2013, Stars and Stripes "USS Arizona Memorial tour draws respectful multitudes to Pearl Harbor" by Terry Richard.

The National Park Service does a magnificent job handling and keeping crowds coming to the memorial respectful.  It draws over a million visitors a year.

Lines form at 7 a.m. and persons get a free timed ticket.  After which they tour the Arizona museum located on the grounds and then, when their time arrives, they take a five minute trip to the sunken ship.  Two launches are used and leave every 75 minutes.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Nazi Murderer Heinrich Boere Died at 92 in 2013-- Part 3

Heinrich Boere fought on the Russian Front then was sent back to the Netherlands.  he and another member were given a list of names for "retaliatory measures."

Boere killed pharmacist Fritz Hubert Ernst Bicknese with a pistol in the pharmacy, then killed bicycle shop owner Tenn de Groot when he answered his doorbell at his house.  Then they forced Franz Wilhelm Kusters into his car, drove to another town and shot him.

After the war, Boere escaped from a POW camp in the Netherlands and eventually made his way to Germany after being sentenced to death in 1949.



Nazi Murderer Heinrich Boere Dies at 92 in 2013-- Part 3

Heinrich Boere was born to a Dutch father and German mother in Eschweiler, Germany, and moved to the Netherlands as a youth.  he remembers his mother waking him up in the night in 1940 and telling him that Germany had invaded the Netherlands and he saw Stuka dive bombers overhead.

Instead of being afraid, his family was happy and his mother said that things would now be better.

At age 18, he saw a recruiting poster signed by Heinrich Himmler offering German citizenship and a possible police job after the war.  He and 100 others showed up and he was one of only fifteen selected and was very proud of his accomplishment.


Nazi Murderer Heinrich Boere Dies at 92 in 2013-- Part 1

From Associated Press by David Rosing.

Died Dec. 1, 2013, of natural causes.  Murdered three Dutch civilians as part of the Nazi Waffen SS hit squad and died in prison hospital while serving a life sentence.

He was on Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals.  Arrested in Germany and convicted in 2010 on three counts of murder.

Mr. Boere served in the Silver Fir SS hit squad composed mostly of Dutch volunteers who were responsible for killing Dutch civilians suspected of being anti-Nazi.

During his trial, he spoke very little, but in a written statement said, "As a simple soldier, I learned to carry out orders.  And I knew that if I didn't carry out my orders I would be breaking my oath and would be shot myself."

He and his accomplices would dress in civilian clothes when they were out killing people.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Colonel Jimmy Stewart Comes Home

From the November 11, 2013, Mail Online "Colonel Stewart comes home: Rare photo shows actor Jimmy Stewart returning home after serving as a pilot in World War II" by Ashley Coleman.

Jimmy Stewart came from a long line of military men who participated in the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War and Wold War I.  His father was a World War I veteran who owned a hardware store.  He was already a successful actor, but put his movies on hold and enlisted.

Initially turned down for being underweight, he had a Hollywood trainer bulk him up and he was accepted into the Army Air Corps on March 22, 1941 and eventually rose to the rank of colonel.  Part of this rapid rise was because he was already a licensed commercial pilot.

The actor was 37 on his return and he then spent time with his family and helped out his father at the family-owned hardware store.  There stood an Oscar next to a model plane he had made as a child.  he had won the Oscar for his role in "Philadelphia Story."

When he went back to acting, his first role was that of George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life."


The Loss of the HMS Ark Royal

From the Nov. 14, 2013, Second World War Blog by Jeff Williams.

I had just barely heard of this ship before this blog entry.

The sinking of the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal on 13 November 1941 was a huge blow to the Royal Navy.  It was sunk by torpedoes from the German submarine U-81.  The following afternoon, fire broke out in the engine room and the ship sank around 6 p.m..

The ship's sinking was the result of Hitler reinforcing his U-boat strength in the Mediterranean following his losses to the Italian supply convoys destined for North Africa.  Rommel, his general there, had pleaded for help to prevent the losses.

At the time of the attack, the Ark Royal was returning from delivering fighter planes to Malta.

The loss of the Royal Ark, Illustrious and Formidable (which was being repaired in the United
Planes from the Ark Royal had attacked the German battleship Bismarck in May 1941 which led to its sinking.


Friday, July 10, 2015

2015 Military Poster Calendar for July

This one features Uncle Sam in the sky with bombers flying overhead and soldiers charging along the ground below him with the words "BUY WAR BONDS."

Short and to the point.

The caption reads:

"Buy War Bonds

N.C. Wyeth, United 1943

Between January and July 1943, only 60% of American households had purchased War bonds.  Due to the lagging support for that bond drive, President Roosevelt considered making the purchase of war bonds mandatory for American households."

N.C. Wyeth was quite the well-known artist of the era.


NIU's Albert Riippi-- Part 3

In 1949, he got a job with the DeKalb Fire Department and resigned in 1952 to try out with the Green Bay Packers but an Achilles tendon tear in camp ended his pro career.

He returned to De Kalb and worked different jobs, including his father's cheese-making factory on Eighth and Oak streets.  He married his wife Jean in 1953 and they will be married 60 years in December.

In 1959, he was back with the fire department where he retired in 1986.

His family has held season tickets on the NIU 45-yard line for 27 years.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

NIU's Albert Riippi-- Part 2: A Game and the Navy

That year NITC (NIU) was undefeated going into the last game versus Southern Illinois.  Before the game, Chick Evans and college president Karl Adams told Riippi that he had been ordered to report to duty the next morning in Chicago.  The game was being played in Carbondale.

The Huskies won 13-12.  Mr. Riipi missed the celebration party the next day in DeKalb.

He was named All-Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference First Team (he played both offense and defense).

After training, he served on the USS Columbia, the "Gem of the Ocean.  He joined the ship while it was in Long Beach, California, where it had gone for repairs after being struck by a kamikaze.  The ship participated in the Borneo invasion and he returned to DeKalb in time for his mother's funeral.

An Interesting Life.  --GreGen

NIU's Albert Riippi, Football and the War--Part 1

From the November 9, 2013, DeKalb (Ill.) Chronicle "Olson: Honoring captain's career in football, firefighting."

Albert Riippi, 87, will be the honorary football team captain in the Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Ball State University game and near the end of the 2nd quarter will present a new pickup truck to a veteran wounded in Afghanistan on behalf of the DeKalb Firefighters Union.

Mr. Riippi is a lifelong DeKalb resident.

He graduated from DeKalb High School at age 17 in the spring of 1944 and enlisted in the Navy.  Two older brothers were already serving in the military.

He stood 6 foot and weighed 220 pounds, a big Finnish kid who had played offensive tackle for the DeKalb Barbs.

At Northern Illinois Teachers College (as NIU was called back then), football coach Chick Evans needed players with so many young men at war.  His squad was mostly made up of men who were 4-F or had already served.  He asked Riippi to play.  Riippi said to him, "I'm in the Navy.  I'm just waiting to be called."  But he agreed to play until then.

Just Waiting for the Call.  --GreGen

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Tamale King", WWII Vet Killed in Botched Robbery

From the Oct. 28, 2013, U.K. Mail Online "'Tamale King' World War II veteran, 87, who was 'killed in botched robbery by four teens' is buried with Navy honors."

Lawrence E. Thornton, 87, a white man, was brutally murdered.  He was considered a "Pillar of His Community" and was beloved by all who knew him.  During World War II he served as a Fireman First Class on board the minesweeper USS Herald in the Pacific.

Mr, Thornton died October 20th, two days after he was attacked in his driveway in Greenville, Mississippi.

Four black teenagers were arrested.

Mr. Thornton was known far and wide in the Delta Region for his award-winning Maria's Famous Hot Tamales.


Daylight Saving Time Comes From World War II

Daylight Saving Time was an effort to save resources during World War II when the government made it mandatory for the whole country.

Indiana is a mess when it comes to it.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Wilmington on Track to Become the First World War II City-- Part 2

In addition, there were three German POW camps in Wilmington and the headquarters of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad was located in the city.  This line was a major mover of goods and soldiers.

The North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, at the time the state's largest employer, built 243 cargo vessels, mostly Liberty Ships.

The war brought many workers and military personnel to the city, causing severe housing shortages.

Wilbur Jones was seven and remembers listening to the announcement of the Pearl Harbor attack on te radio when it broke into the broadcast of the Philadelphia Eagle-Washington Redskin game and said that there was an emergency and all officials needed to report immediately to their offices.

Wilmington lost three men in the attack.He recently was appointed to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission and started the effort for city recognition in 2008.

There is no one who knows more about Wilmington's role during World War II than Mr. Jones.


Wilmington on Track to Become the First World War II City-- Part 1

From the Oct. 29, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News by Julian March.

The hard part is over.  On Monday a bill to designate at least one U.S. city a year, with Wilmington as the first one, passed the U.S. House of Representatives.  Now, it just needs passage in the Senate and a presidential signature.

The two-year effort to proclaim Wilmington as an American World War II City is the brainchild of Wilbur Jones of Wilmington, a military historian.

Wilmington lost 248 men in the war out of thousands who served.  The Air Force trained at the city's airport, the Army at Fort Fisher, the Navy at Fort Caswell and Coast Guard Wrightsville Beach.

Definitely a Deserved Honor.  --GreGen

Monday, July 6, 2015

Two Oldest Pearl Harbor Survivors Meet

FromJuly 3, 2015, NBC 7, San Diego "2 of the Oldest Known Pearl Harbor Survivors Reunite 74 Years Later" by Matt Rascon.

Ray Chavez, 103, and Jim Downey, 102, got together in San Diego on July 3, 2015.  They were both there that day, but this is the first time they've met.

Jim Downing lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado and had believed he was the oldest survivor until he recently read about Mr. Chavez.  He, however, says he'll take Chavez's word and won't be checking any birth certificates.  That day he was 28 and stationed aboard the battleship USS West Virginia and says he remembers "most of what happened just as clear as if it were last week."  He was not on the ship during the attack, but believes that if he had been, he'd have been killed.

Ray Chavez was aboard a ship sweeping restricted waters when they spotted a Japanese submarine and alerted other ships, one of which sank the submarine.  He then went home (before the attack) and his wife awoke him with news of the attack.

Great That They Finally Met.  -0-GreGen

Jewish Population Back to Near Pre-World War II Level

From the June 28, 2015, Trib Live, SAP.

The Jewish People Policy Institute said there are 14.2 million Jews in the world today.  When factoring in individuals with one Jewish parent and others identifying themselves as part-Jewish the number rises to 16.5 million.

That was the Jewish population of the world before the beginning of World War II.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

America Turns 239

Not bad for an old country.

Congrats.  --GreGen

There Are Only 77 American Aces Still Alive

From the June 2015 Veterans Site Blog.  "There Are Only 77 Left?  We Need to Honor These Vets Before It's Too Late" by Brian Doyle.

Recently two American Aces from Washington State went to meet up with more than three dozen other Aces in Washington, D.C. to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest U.S. civilian award.

To reach Ace status, the pilot has to have shot down five or more enemy planes in aerial combat, otherwise known as Dogfights.Only 77 remain from the past.  Air Force Brigadier general Steve Ritchie of Bellevue, Washington, became an Ace during the Vietnam War by flying 800 hours of combat on 339 missions.  He shot down five MIG-21s.

Navy Commander Clarence Borley, of Olympia, Washington, was actually shot down himself in the South Pacific where he floated for five days before being spotted and picked up by an American submarine.  While on that sub, he also experienced submarine combat when it was attacked twice by Japanese vessels.

On a day like today, July 4th, it is good to remember these men who risked their lives for us.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Donald Allen, WWII "Nose Art" Artists Died in 2013-- Part 2

Donald Allen, a Cleveland native, graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1941.  His job in the air force was to ready planes for sorties.  he avoided painting nude women, unlike many others doing "Nose Art."

He painted more than fifty designs on P-47 Thunderbirds and P-51 Mustangs.  Reproductions of his "Nose Art" are on display at Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, N.C., where a street is named for him.

He volunteered as a waist gunner on a B-17 shuttle of bombers from England to Italy to Russia in 1944 to service aircraft on each stop and was awarded the Air Medal for his role.


Donald Allen, World War II "Nose Art" Artist Died in 2013-- Part 1

From the September 21, 2013, "Donald Allen, 'nose art' artist of World War II, dies at 93" by Brian Albrecht.

Died August 15 in Rocky River, crew chief with the 4th Fighter Group, 334th Fighter Squadron, based in England.  he was commissioned by pilots to paint depictions of their wives, girlfriends, favorite cartoon characters and other subjects on the noses of their planes.

A Golden Gloves champ from Missouri got a boxing mule.  A pilot from Idaho flew the "Bosie Bee.  The practice of painting the noses of airplanes was common in the Army Air Force and came known as "Nose Art" for its location on the planes.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Port Chicago Explosion-- Part 2

Two hundred and fifty-eight surviving black sailors from the stevedore teams refused orders to go back and continue loading and offloading ships, demanding improved safety procedures.

A mutiny was declared and most were arrested and 208 court martialed.


Local Men from Wilmington Casualties in Port Chicago Explosion in 1943-- Part 1

From the July 16, 2013, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Local men among casualties of epic World War II disaster" by Wilbur D. Jones Jr.

On July 17, 1943, the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in California exploded, obliterating ships and killing 320 naval, maritime and civilian personnel.  Almost 400 were wounded.  Damage from the blast extended out to 50 miles.

Two hundred and two blacks were among the dead.  The deaths from this one event accounted for 15% of all black military personnel killed in the war.  Two of them were from Wilmington.  Seaman First Class James Henry Nixon and Seaman second Class James Jackson.

The explosion had a lot to do with the military's racial policies of the time.  Most of the laborers were black sailors who received little training and they had to work under very unsafe conditions.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Okinawans Still Haunted by Horrors of War-- Part 2

Over 100,000 Okinawans died along with 80,000 Japanese troops.  Almost every family suffered at least one casualty during the U.S. bombardment by air, sea and on land.

The island's lush green landscape was turned into a scorched wasteland.

More than 12,000 Americans also died, the worst bloodshed suffered by them during the War in the Pacific.

Many felt this slaughter and bloodshed foretold of what would happen should the U.S. be forced to invade Japan itself.

Yoshiko Shimabukure lost two older siblings and was told that should she be captured by the Americans that she would be raped and burned alive.


Okinawans Still Haunted By the Horror of War-- Part 1

From the June 22, 2015, Yahoo! News/ARP by Alastair Hummer.

Yoshiko Shimabukure still has nightmares of watching friends and Japanese soldiers die as they hid in caves to escape the American shelling.  She was one of 222 female students mobilized as a battlefield nursing unit for the Imperial Army in March 1945.

They had only basic training putting on bandages, but the Japanese soldiers they tended "has legs ripped off, their intestines were falling out, faces missing."  She was just 17 at the time.

many of her friends died when they were ordered by Japanese soldiers to leave the caves under fire.  Others jumped off the cliffs as Americans approached. Others blew themselves up with grenades.