Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas For the Boys At War-- Part 2: Miss Connie & the Sergeant

"The response was overwhelming.  About 21,000 readers volunteered o send gifts, and for some it was the start of long pen-pal relationships with soldiers they'd never met."

One even turned into romance and marriage.  Years later, the Tribune found Connie and Francis Harmon living on a farm near Ottawa, Illinois, and wrote:

"Sgt. Harmon, a member of the 129th Infantry regiment, opened a tinsel-wrapped parcel bearing an unfamiliar name, that of Miss Connie Roberts of Madison, Wis..  He was puzzled for he had not heard about the Tribune campaign.  ...Grateful for being remembered with candy, a fountain pen, and other presents, Sgt. Harmon wrote to thank Miss Roberts."

Soon they were writing each other regularly and sharing photographs.  They met in person for the first time in 1945 and got married on Valentine's Day 1946.  They had six children by the time the Tribune wrote their story in 1954.

Romance After a Gift of Friendship.  --GreGen

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas For the Boys At War-- Part 1: The Tribune Does Its Part

From the December 24, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Lara Weber.

"As long as wars have been fought, troops have sent letters home from the battlefield -- homesick missives and pleas for loved ones to remember them.

"By the time the United States entered World War II, though, air travel and modern communications made it much easier for Americans to send gifts and letters to their family, friends and neighbors serving in the armed forces -- and the Chicago Tribune stepped up to make it easier yet.

"Three days after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor drew the U.S. into the war, the Tribune announced a plan for readers to 'Adopt a Yank for Christmas' and send holiday gifts to the troops."

"'Let him know that he wasn't forgotten,' the Tribune said, 'when he gave up his job, put on his country's khaki, and went away where there are only strangers and other lonely men -- where there is no familiar west side, or north side, or south side.'"


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wofford College in World War II

Still smiling about that huge upset Wofford College pulled on last year's National Champion #5 University of North Carolina.  And, I am a huge Tarheel fan, but not when they play one of the "little guys."

During World War II many Wofford students were deployed overseas.  The U.S. Army took over the campus for aviation training.  The few remaining undergraduates attended neighboring Converse College, a women's school.

Enrollment at Wofford increased significantly after the war thanks to the G.I. Bill.

From F-A Military

The Army Air Corps took over Wofford for over a year 1943-1944.  It was used as a training detachment before aviation students went on to pre-flight training and flight school.  The remaining Wofford undergrads went to either Spartanburg Methodist or Converse College.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Bits of War: Pearl Harbor-- Wofford College Beats UNC!!

1.  PEARL HARBOR--  The Dec. 6, 2017, Fortune magazine had an article "What You Should Know About the Pearl Harbor Attack."

It mentioned that after the first wave came in, there were five additional attacks that lasted until 9 p.m., December 7, 1941.  I knew of the two waves, but not the additional attacks.  Unfortunately they didn't say anything about the other attacks.

The article also mentioned that the wreck of the USS Ward, the destroyer that engaged the Japanese mini submarine at the harbor entrance before the planes arrived, had been found at the bottom of Ormoc Bay, Philippines.  I had heard nothing of this story.

2.  WOFFORD COLLEGE--  Still all excited by Wofford College's huge victory over defending national champion and #5 UNC last week.  The Carolina student newspaper describes it as an "unthinkable upset."

In case you are wondering why I included this, I also found that the Wofford College campus was taken over during World War II to train Army Air Corps officers.

Go You Wofford Terriers!!  --GreGen

Friday, December 22, 2017

Modern Technology Keeps Pearl Harbor Alive-- Part 4: A Forced Letter

According to family history, Steve Trafny's Aunt veronica wrote a letter to President Roosevelt asking what had happened to him.  The letter was forwarded to the Red Cross and then on to Trafny's colonel who orderted him to sit down in his presence and write his family a letter to let them know he was still alive.

Steve Trafney died in 1991 and now his story will have to be told by his family.

In his classes, John Trafney favors tow documentaries for his students:  Ken Burns' "The War," a seven-part PBS documentary on World War II and "Victory At Sea."


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Modern Technology Keeps Pearl Harbor Alive-- Part 3: "One of the Stoves Exploded?"

John Trafny has written four books in the "Images of America" series.  His father, Steve Trafny, enlisted in 1939 and served in the 24th Division of the U.S. Army, stationed at Schofield Barracks in Oahu.

"He was set to return stateside when they bombed Pearl Harbor," Trafny said.  "He was on his way to the mess hall  -- he thought one of he stoves exploded.  Then he saw the rising sun (the Japanese emblem) on the side of the plane.

As a teacher, he makes sure students hear the veterans speak first-hand about their war experiences.  He talked with his father and other family members to learn about what happened to them.  he saved photos and letters his father wrote home -- including the first letter from him that his family received after the attack.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Modern Technology Keeps Pearl Harbor Alive-- Part 2: Getting Virtual

Even though the U.S. government took efforts to censor the horrible images back them, today it is very easy to see what happened from a TV or home computer.  You can go on You Tube, founded in 2005, and see all you want.  A quick search will also get you lots of information.

Time Inc.' Life VR -- as in virtual realty -- has recently released "Remembering Pearl Harbor," which can be seen on Vive, a virtual reality game system.  The story on this goes through the eyes of an actual Pearl Harbor veteran, Lt. James Downing, who served as a postmaster on the USS West Virginia.

The Smithsonian Channel has a new series called "The Lost Tapes," and has an episode on Pearl Harbor.  It includes radio reports, film footage, audiotape, photos, wire dispatches and first-person accounts.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Modern Technology Keeps History of Pearl Harbor Alive-- Part 1

From the December 7, 2016, Chicago Tribune by Nancy Colton Webster.

The eyewitnesses to that attack are fewer and fewer with each passing year.  But, many are leaving their stories via technology for future generations.

Technology not dreamed of in 1941 makes it possible to retell those stories in new and exciting ways showing film footage, photos and audio from that day.

"The interesting thing in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack -- the government censored the showing of any images so as not to alarm to the tremendous extent of the damage to our fleet, said James B. Lane, professor emeritus of history at Indiana University Northwest in Gary.


Monday, December 18, 2017

For Pearl Harbor Unknowns, A Final Rest --Part 4: Joseph Triolo Remembers His Friend Donald McCloud

Joseph Triolo, 96, is in an assisted living facility in Zion, Illinois.  He is waiting to hear from the Defense Department when they identify Donald R. McCloud, a sailor aboard the Oklahoma and one of the unknowns.

McCloud was one of Triolo's closest friends growing up in Waukegan and he followed Triolo's lead to enlist in the Navy in 1937.  The two were at Pearl Harbor that day, but on different ships.  The night before the attack, they had watched a baseball game between two Navy teams.  Then McCloud had bought Triolo a beer.

Triolo was on the USS Tangier when the attack came.  He remembers the chaos:  "There were so many men getting killed, you couldn't think about it.  You just went on and did what the hell you needed to do."


Friday, December 15, 2017

For Pearl Harbor Unknowns, A Final Rest-- Part 3: "Everyone Has the Right to Have Their Names Back"

Researchers using genealogical records to track down descendants who could provide DNA samples.  These samples are crossed with DNA pulled from the skulls and teeth of the servicemen to find a match.

So far, according to Captain Edward A Reedy, a medical doctor who is lab director for the POW/MIA Accounting Agency, research teams have found strong DNA or dental evidence for nearly 350 of the 388 sailors and Marines from the USS Oklahoma.

The oil from the stricken ship has helped to preserve the bones and Reedy is confident that the teams will identify nearly 310 of the servicemen by the time the project is scheduled to end in 2020.

This article is from December 7, 2016.  Just recently the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command has released a report that they have now identified 100 of the men.

"In my line of work, there is no higher honor than returning a missing individual to their loved ones,"  Reedy said.  "Everyone has a right to have their names back.  It's been nearly 75 years since they have had their names back.  It is about time they do."


Thursday, December 14, 2017

For Pearl Harbor Unknowns, A Final Rest-- Part 2: The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command

The military buried the remains of the unidentified in group graves in two cemeteries in Hawaii.  In 1947 the remains were exhumed and brought to a military lab on the islands to be identified.

But that effort fizzled after disputes arose over how to conclusively identify the remains.  Disagreement also existed over whether individual remains could be segregated from group graves with scientific certainty.  The two groups of unknown were united for reburial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).

The situation changed in 2003 when a Pearl Harbor survivor who was researching buried unknown sailors and Marines persuaded the military lab in Hawaii to exhume the remains of an ensign.  That exhumation revealed that approximately 100 servicemen's remains in the same casket.

In 2012 the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command proposed a full disinterment, which led to a Defense Department directive to begin the exhumations in June 2015 and to identify each of the 388 remains of the unknown servicemen.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

For Pearl Harbor Unknowns, A Final Rest-- Part 1: Below Deck On the USS Oklahoma

From the December 7, 2016, Chicago Tribune  Ted Gregory.

A total of 64 of those nearly 400 sailors and Marines who died on the USS Oklahoma and buried as unknowns have been identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

One of the remaining unidentified  is Michael Galajdik, Navy Fireman 1st Class from Joliet, Illinois.  He enlisted in April 1940 and was one of three brothers who served during World War II.

Death below deck on the USS Oklahoma was particularly nightmarish.  Althougjh about 32 men were rescued by cutting through the hull, many suffocated after those efforts had to be abandoned for fear that the work would ignite explosive fires from oil and gas in and around the ship.

The vast majority of bodies were recovered from July 15, 1941, to May 10, 1944.  The bodies had by then decomposed extensively and were unidentifiable.

This Effort to Identify the Ramains Is Very Commendable.  --GreGen

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lack of Waitresses Causes Sycamore Restaurant To Close On Sundays

From the October 27, 2017, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"War is striking hard at the restaurants in Sycamore as well as other cities and waitresses are difficult to find.

"Because of this, the State Street Cafe near California, has announced that it will be closed on Sunday for the duration."

Many of the women who used to work as waitresses are now working in defense industries.

The War's Impact on Restaurants Now.  --GreGen

Monday, December 11, 2017

Two Pearl Harbor Survivors To Speak At WW II Round Table

From the November 29, 2017, Press & Journal (Pennsylvania)  "Pearl Harbor survivors to speak at local World War II Roundtable event December 7."

Richard "Dick" Schimmel of Allentown was at a radar station at Fort Shafter where he worked a s a plotter and switchboard operator.

William Bonelli was an aircraft mechanic with the Army Air Corps at Hickam Field

The Central Pennsylvania World War II Roundtable meets at the Grace United Methodist Church in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania.

I Sure Wish We had a WW II Round Table Around Here.  --GreGen

Warning Signs That War Was On the Way-- Part 2: Accurate Predictions

JANUARY  27, 1941

Though the Navy relays the ambassador's note to Admiral Husband Kimmel, the newly named commander at Pearl Harbor, it places "no credence" in it.  Such rumors had existed long enough to become a cliche in military circles.

MARCH 31, 1941

Two U.S. air-defense officials say a Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor would probably happen at dawn, from carriers less than 300 miles away, and before war was officially declared.

The Martin-Bellinger report proved remarkably accurate.

Sounds Familiar.  --GreGen

Friday, December 8, 2017

Warning Signs That War Was On the Way-- Part 1: It Could Happen

From the December 7, 2016, USA Today.  "War games, embassy rumor, report said attack could happen."

1932 and 1938:  Two separate U.S. Navy military exercises showed that a surprise attack against Oahu could succeed.

Japanese assault positions and times were similar to those of the simulated attacks.

Jan. 27, 1941:  Joseph Grew, U.S. ambassador to Japan, secretly cables Washington that Japan is planning a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Washington disagrees, believing instead that Japan will attack the Philippines if war starts.


Japan Struck Pearl Harbor in Two Waves

From the December 7, 2017, USA Today.

The Japanese launch their attack planes from a six-carrier task force about 220 miles north of Oahu.  determined to dominate Asia, and convinced that war with the United States is inevitable, Japan hopes it can swipe out the Pacific Fleet in a surprise attack.

The infamous day starts at about 4a.m. when a submerged submarine is sighted near the harbor entrance.  The destroyer USS Ward sinks it about 6:45 a.m., but by then the Japanese planes are in the air.

Too late.  --GreGen

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Joe George Gets Medal for Saving USS Arizona Sailors-- Part 3: Bronze Star

At around sunset, rear Admiral Matthew Carter, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, will present the Bronze Star to Joe George's daughter, Joe Ann Taylor, at the USS Arizona Memorial -- reversing a past decision by the Navy not to give him a medal for disobeying the order.

"Bruner, 97, and Stratton, 95, will be in attendance as well.  George died in 1996.

"'It means everything,'  Taylor said.  'It's a wonderful thing because it validates everything we know about my father.'

"Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., introduced the proclamation in August and, with five co-sponsors -- both Republican and Democratic --  it passed unanimously in September.

"Flake called the honor 'long overdue.'

"Randy Stratton notes that 'I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for what Joe George did.  I have him to thank for saving my father.'

"Bruner got emotional during a phone interview.  His caregiver, Ed Hoeschen, said Bruner fought back tears before saying that the medal should have been given to George a long time ago.

"'It's about damn time,' Bruner said."

Congratulations to the Joe George Family and Thanks To All Involved In his getting It.  --GreGen

Sailor Gets Medal for Saving USS Arizona Lives-- Part 2

Jumping into the water was not an option as it was on fire because of the fuel from the ruptured tanks on the Arizona.

Joe George "threw the rope anyway.  It was caught and secured to the Arizona, and Stratton and Bruner began scooting along it, hand over hand, for 75 feet.

"'As we got closer, he was standing there nodding his head yelling, 'You can make it!  You can make it!' Stratton said in a phone interview from Hawaii.

The two did make it -- along with four others from the Arizona.  Two eventually died from their injuries, but those who survived (and Stratton and Bruner are still alive) credit George with saving them.  despite his act, he never was awarded a medal.

"That will change Thursday.  His family will see him honored at Pearl Harbor on the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941."


Sailor Gets Medal for Saving USS Arizona Lives-- Part 1: In a Really Bad Place

From the December 7, 2017, Chicago Tribune  "USS Arizona survivors get sailor a medal for saving their lives" by David Montero, L.A. Times.

"The ship was burning and Donald Stratton and Lauren Bruner thought they were going to die.

"Bruner had been wounded aboard the USS Arizona, taking bullets to a leg.  he was bleeding badly.  Stratton was burned on his back, face and leg.  Part of his ear was missing.  Japanese planes buzzed above Pearl Harbor.

"Through the smoke and haze, Stratton saw Joe George standing on the deck of the USS Vestal, a repair ship moored next to the Arizona.  George had been ordered to cut the lines between the ships as the battleship (Arizona) was sinking.  But Stratton and Bruner were yelling at him to throw them a rope.  A lifeline.  An officer ordered George to let the men be."

A Bad Spot.  --GreGen

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tomorrow Is the 76th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

It was the "Event" of the Greatest Generation, much like the Kennedy Assassination was to my generation.  It is even more important as we continue to lose the Pearl Harbor survivors as fast as we are (and the World War II survivors for that matter).

In commemoration of it, all seven of my blogs will be about it.

I also am looking to find out if there are any Pearl Harbor events planned for the McHenry and Lake County part of Northeastern Illinois.  So far, sadly, I haven't found any.

My U.S. flags will be flying in remembrance tomorrow.

Pearl Harbor--  Not Forgotten.  --GreGen

100 USS Oklahoma Unknowns Identified-- Part 2: One to Be Interred Tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery

Many of the identified sailors from the ill-fated ship have been buried in their home towns.  Others have been reinterred at the National Cemetery of the Pacific where they have rested as unknowns for so many years.  Now they have names on their plot.

One reburial is planned for the week.  Navy Radioman 3rd Class Howard W. Bean of Everett, Massachusetts, will be buried Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.  He was 27 when he died.

When the Oklahoma capsized, 429, the second largest number of killed during the attack (the USS Arizona was the largest), only 35 were identified in the following years.  Until now.

When the Oklahoma was finally uprighted months later, the skeletal remains were quite intermingled and buried together.

We Are One Day Away From the 76th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  -GreGen

Trying to Serve in 1942

From the November 22, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"After several attempts to enter some sort of war service, C.R. "Luke" McLagan, has given up and has returned to his home in Sycamore.  In Chicago last week after learning certain details regarding a service he had been investigating for some weeks, declined to sign, nor did he take the examination.

"Since Pearl Harbor, he has offered his services to the government censorship bureau, attempting to enlist in the army intelligence service, tried to obtain office work and even volunteered in the draft.  he now plans to turn his attention to ordering things."

If At First You Don't Succeed....  --GreGen

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

One Hundred USS Oklahoma Unknowns Have Been Identified-- Part 1

From the December 2, 2017, Review Journal  "100 killed on USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor identified" Audrey McAvoy.

This  project began two years ago with the removal of nearly 400 sets of remains from the National Cemetery of the Pacific on Oahu.  Using DNA advances in forensic science and genealogical help from families, researchers at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska have now identified 100 U.S. servicemen who died on the USS Oklahoma when it capsized at Pearl Harbor during that attack nearly 76 years ago.

The 100th set of remains were identified last week but the family has not been notified so his name has not been released.

By 2020, researchers hope to have 80% of the remains identified.

We are two days away from the 76th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

This Is One of the Great Stories of Our Time.  Thank You U.S. Government.  --GreGen

Birth Certificates Becoming An Issue in DeKalb County in 1942

From the October 4, 2017, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Since the outbreak of the war there has been a great demand for birth certificates and some of the older residents are finding it a bit difficult in locating them.  Records were not kept as well as they are now years ago and many difficult situations have come up in regards to obtaining a certificate.

"All those working in defense industries are required to have a birth certificate and in many cases they are needed also.  Several people are at the city clerk's office each day obtaining the certificates, and since some of the plants in DeKalb are in war work the demand has increased."

Making Sure German Citizens Aren't Working In the War Industries.  --GreGen

Oakland Raiders Honor 98-Year-Old Pearl Harbor Survivor

From the November 27, 2017, Independent Journal Review  "Oakland Raiders Honor 98-Year-Old Pearl Harbor Survivor In Pregame Ceremony"  William Vaillancourt.

In the game against the Denver Broncos, Mickey Ganitch, a huge Raiders fan (wonder what he thinks about their move to Las Vegas) was honored for his service.  While in the Navy, he played football for his ship, the USS Pennsylvania, and was set to play the team from the USS Arizona that day.  Needless to say, that game never came to pass.

He was 22 at the time and had been in the Navy for ten months.

The Pennsylvania was in drydock with two destroyers at the time of the attack.  He didn't see the bomb blast, but felt it as the crow's nest shuddered.  It wiped out an entire gun crew.  The second bomb hit one of the destroyers, causing an oil slick which ignited.

The Japanese planes flew by very close to the ground.

Mickey Ganitch went on to serve in the Navy for 23 years.

It Is Always Good To Write About These Survivors While They Are Still Alive.  --GreGen

Monday, December 4, 2017

Honoring Those Serving At DeKalb Business

From the November 29, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"In the recreation room of the Ideal Commutator and Dresser Company on the south side of DeKalb hangs a large service flag containing a star for every man who has entered the service.  Also in the same room will be found a large plaque on which the name of every man in the service will be placed.

"The plaque and flag will ever call attention to other employees of the plant that many of their friends who were working alongside of them, now are fighting alongside others -- for them!!"

The actual name is the Ideal Commutator Dresser Company and the headquarters today are in Sycamore, Illinois.

Backing Those Serving.  --GreGen

DeKalb Library Closes On Sundays Because of Fuel Rationing

From the November 19, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The Haish Memorial Library (DeKalb) which has been open each Sunday afternoon for reading purposes in the past will be closed on Sundays in the future.

"The closing is made necessary due to the situation created by the fuel rationing."

No Reading For You!!  --GreGen

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Sycamore Store Closes Because of the War Shortages

From the November 22, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Because of the shortage of machines, and the inability to obtain repair parts, the Sycamore Implement Company will close its store here, which has been a aprt of the business section since 1937.

"All stock of the Sycamore store will be taken to DeKalb for the business there."

The War Was Really Good for Business...But Not Always.  --GreGen

That Problem With Sugar in Restaurants

From the May 24, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"By the use of individual servings of sugar in damp proof containers, restaurant owners of DeKalb believe they have solved the problem of how to the meet sugar rationing orders recently issued.

"Most of the leading eating places here have adopted this means, while there are some who inquire of the customer as to the amount of sugar he desires for his coffee or cereal.  In nearly all cases, the plan is meeting with approval by the patrons."

They reached a new decision by October 1942.  See my November 11 post.

Want Some Sugar for That Coffee?  --GreGen

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hoisting the Flag on the DeKalb County Court House

From the October 4, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Members of the DeKalb County Board of Supervisors in their closing session ordered that arrangements be made at once to fly the National Flag from the dome of the courthouse, and thus eliminate the two flags now placed on the sidewalk in front of the main entrance.

"There is a flagpole in first class condition on the building, but the trouble has been with the roof, which in the opinion of some was not safe.  It was suggested that a catwalk be constructed if necessary to eliminate any danger of damage to the roof or to one who has charge of taking care of the colors each day."

And, speaking of flags, this Thursday is December 7.  You know what day that is.

Showing Your Patriotism  --GreGen

Gathering Scrap for the War Effort

From the September 27, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"George Littlejohn, Franklin Township road commissioner, is chairman of the scrap drive for the rural districts of the township."

Franklin Township is in the northwest corner of DeKalb County.

A Real Scrap Pile.  --GreGen

So, That's What Happened to Amelia?

I recently read an article that reports it knows what happened to Amelia Earhart.

According to it, she spent several days in a Japanese prison before being executed in Saipan in 1937.

Just One More Possibility.  What Makes History So Interesting.  --GreGen

No More Typewriter Rentals

From the September 27, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Under regulations issued by the Office of Price Administration all typewriter rentals companies, dealers and store owners are to cancel all rentals of machines which have been manufactured since January 1, 1935.

"Those machines which have been rented and are still out are to be picked up and put back into stock unless the renter can secure a certificate from the rationing board and present it to the dealer.  Otherwise the machine must be picked up."

Typing for the War.  --GreGen

Thursday, November 30, 2017

"Be Prepared": A Clinton, Iowa, Pearl Harbor Survivor Remembers

From the November 10, 2017, Clinton (Iowa) Herald by Jacqueline Covey.

Daniel J. Kramer, 101, a resident of Prairie Hills Center was on the USS California that day at Pearl Harbor.

"Sunday in the Navy, back in those days, was called Holiday Routine.  You took it easy at liberty, other than the fellas that had duty.  This was before women were allowed on ships," he remembered.

"So, I had duty that day when general quarters sounded -- that means to man your battle station.  I thought it was some kind of nutty drill that the Air Force was flying in some planes from the States."

It was an 80 degree day and beautiful.

He grew up in Dubuque, Iowa, in the 1920s and 1930s and had turned 21 in 1940 when he enlisted.  Just months before the attack, he had married Mary Jane and honeymooned in California.  She was supposed to meet him in Hawaii, but that didn't happen after the attack.

Afterwards, he was sent to the West Coast and then reassigned to a base in key West where he trained pilots in catapult and recovery.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Underwood Family Mourns Second Son

From the June 23, 1944, Sycamore True Republican.

Pair of Gold Stars Added To Our Honor Roll.

Glenn Underwood and Ervin Burkart Taken.(I'll write more about Ervin Burkart later.)

Mr. and Mrs. Don O. Underwood were informed that their son, Corporal Glenn C. Underwood was killed in Italy on June 1.  He is the second son of the Underwoods who has made the supreme sacrifice during the present war.

Evidently, since the other two sons were not listed on the DeKalb casualty list, they made it home.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Glenn C. Underwood of Sycamore and His Brother Jay Killed in World War II

In the last post, I wrote about Glenn Underwood of Sycamore writing to his parents from Northern Ireland after his safe passage across the Atlantic Ocean.

Looking up DeKalb County, Illinois, World War II casualties, I am sad to see that Glenn C. Underwood never returned home.  He was killed.

In addition, his brother Jay D. Underwood, also was killed.

Glenn C. Underwood  Corporal, KIA
Jay D. Underwood, 2nd lt--  DNB  Died non-battle


Monday, November 27, 2017

Soldier Would Rather Be "Back in the Good Old U.S.A."

From the November 22, 2017, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Glenn Underwood of Sycamore, who is one of four Underwood boys withe the armed forces of the country has recently written his parents of his safe arrival in Northern Ireland.

"He says the trip across the water was without incident and while he is enjoying the sights of the foreign land, still prefers to be back in the good old U.S.A.."

Better to be Home.  --GreGen

Friday, November 24, 2017

Fingers Save a "Flying Fortress"

From November 8, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Lieut. Orval Huff of Waterman, a bombardier on the Flying Fortress, was one of the members of a crew who took turns plugging a hole in the fuel line with their fingers so the Flying Fortress could make its way back to England after a raid in Lille, France.

"The four-motored bomber had been damaged by machine gun bullets and cannon shells and each member of the crew was forced to keep the break in the fuel line closed with his fingers."

Plugging the Break, Finger-Style.  --GreGen

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"We've Lost Our Living History": No Pearl Harbor Survivors Found for Florida Event

From the November 14, 2017 Sun Sentinel (Florida) "'We've lost our living history':  No Pearl Harbor survivors found for South Florida Event"  Lisa J. Huriash.

The people of South Florida want to commemorate the event and honor survivors, but this year, for the first time, they can not locate any survivors.

One of the last-known South Florida survivors was Edward Hammond, 93, of Deerfield Beach, but he died in September.  Nationwide, it is believed that fewer than 2,000 of them remain.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association was founded in 1958 and dissolved in 2011 because of declining membership.  There motto was "Keep America Alert!  Remember Pearl Harbor!"

The commemoration will be held December 3 at the Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale in Dania Beach.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

On the USS Vestal at Pearl Harbor

From the November 14, 2017, Kern Valley (California) Sun  Debbie Teofilo.

Bob Cunnigham and his brother both joined the U.S. Navy on the same day in 1941.  Bob was on the USS Vestal, tied up next to the USS Arizona that day at Pearl Harbor.  The Vestal was a repair ship and was working on the Arizona.

He was below deck and heard a loud explosion and went on deck where he found that the skipper and several sailors had been blown overboard by the Arizona's explosion.  The Vestal's executive officer ordered them to abandon ship.

As they approached the gangway, they met the skipper, covered with oil, and in the process of getting back on his ship.  he said, "Where are you guys going?  get back on board!  We're getting underway!"  The Vestal had been badly damaged, but got underway and was beached.

After Pearl Harbor, Mr. Cunningham served on minesweepers off the U.S. West Coast, but they never found any.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Sycamore Tops in United China Relief Drive

From May 24, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Sycamore went over the top in the United China Relief Drive that recently ended in this city.  It was announced that $560.10 was gathered in Sycamore and is to be sent to the national headquarters for United China Relief.

"The quota for Sycamore was $500."

Helping China As Well.  --GreGen

Friday, November 17, 2017

Funding the War With Payroll Deductions

From the May 24, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The DeKalb-Sycamore division of the Central Illinois Light Company has been 100 per cent in payroll deduction plan since the first of February.  The light company was one of the first to have all their employees join the deduction plan.

"A certain amount is taken from the pay check every two weeks in equal amounts, with the consent of the employees, which is used in the purchase of United States War Savings Bonds."

Funding the War.  --GreGen

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hoarding Gasoline and Oil Will Not Be Tolerated

From the November 15, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Fire Chief Charles Butzow of Sycamore stated yesterday that although gas and fuel rationing is soon to come, hoarding of such will not be tolerated in the city.

"Gasoline or oil storage is dangerous, the chief pointed out, not only to the occupants of the property but to the fire department members as well, in case they are called to the property to fight a fire.


Making a List of DeKalb Residents Serving in Armed Forces

From the November 15, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The children of the upper grades in the five elementary schools of DeKalb are starting their canvass of the city in an effort to learn the names and addresses of all DeKalb men and women who are serving in the armed forces of the United States.

"The children have been provided with forms which are to be filled out by members of families in homes where members are serving in the armed forces.  The children are to contact homes in their neighborhoods in an effort to secure all the names."


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Preparing For War This Date in 1940: Selective Service

In 1940, the first 75,000 men were called to armed forces duty under peacetime conscription.

In other words the draft.

The United States was preparing for way way in advance of December 7, 1941.

It Was Just a Matter of Time.  --GreGen

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Farm Security Administration-- Part 2: Photographers and Japanese-American Relocation

The Resettlement Administration's primary focus was California where migrant workers and farmers fleeing from the Dust Bowl were placed in 95 camps.  Some 75,000 people benefited from the services.

Thirty-four homestead communities were also established and agricultural education was given to 455,000 farm families.

Many of the Farm Security Administration's (FSA) photographers became photographers for the Office of War Information.  Some of them were Jack Delano, Dorothea Lange, Gordon parks, Arthur Rothstein (whose three photographs at Mercer G. Evans Camp were in yesterday's post) and John Vachon.

During World War II, the FSA was under the Wartime Civil Control Administration, a sub-agency of the War Relocation Authority (WRA).  This group was responsible for the relocation of Japanese-Americans to internment camps.  They also transferred Japanese-American farms to other operators.


Farm Security Administration-- Part 1: Grew Out of the Resettlement Administration

From Wikipedia.

In the last post, I wrote about the Mercer G. Evans Camp in Welasco, Texas, part of the Farm Security Administration.  This was an organization I knew nothing about, so good old Wikipedia to the rescue.

This was originally the Resettlement Administration (RA) established in 1935 as part of FDR's New Deal effort to combat rural poverty.  This later became the Farm Security Administration (FSA).

Its goal was to improve the lifestyle of sharecroppers, tenant farmers and poor farmers and resettle them into group farms on land more suitable for farming.  It was really an experiment into collectivization.

They had a small, but highly photography program for documentation that ran from 1935 to 1944.  These photographers showed the challenges faced by the program.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Shorpy Photos, Home Front: Farm Security Administration

From the Shorpy Photo site.

OCTOBER 31, 2017--  LIKE PULLING TEETH: 1942.  February 1942.  "Dental clinic, Farm Security Administration camp, Welasco, Texas."  Arthur Rothstein, OWI.

NOVEMBER 1, 2017--  WELDON & SLEEPY: 1942--  February 1941.  "Two members of the "Musical Drake Family" performing at a barn dance in the Mercer G. Evans Farm Security Administration camp in Welasco, Texas.  Our pickers are brothers Welson (1923-1977) and Jasper 'Sleepy' Drake (1926-1992)."
Arthur Rothstein, OWI.

NOVEMBER 6, 2017--  SWING YOUR PARTNER: 1942.  February 1942.  "Farm Security Administration Mercer G. Evans camp in Welasco, Texas.  Drake family playing for a Satyrday night dance."  Arthur Rothstein, OWI.

The couples are slow dancing and there is one male-female couple.  The other two are women couples.

A comment says that the reason for the women dancing is that so many men had joined the military.


U.S. Marines in World War II-- Part 2: Massive Expansion

Continued from November 10.

The Corps expanded from two brigades to six divisions, five air wings during the wart with 485,000 serving.  There were also 20 defensive battalions and a parachute battalion as well.

During the war, the Corps suffered nearly 87,000 casualties with almost 20,000 killed.  In addition, members were awarded 82 Medals of Honor.

In 1942, the Navy Seabees were established and they received their training from the Marines.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Five Great Places to Visit This Veterans Day 2017

From the Nov. 10, 2017, USA Today  "10 great places to honor military on Veterans Day" by Larry Bleiberg.

The other five can be seen in my Cooter's History Thing Blog for today.

6.  Alamo--  San Antonio, Texas

7.  Minute Man National Historic Park--  Concord, Massachusetts

8.  Normandy, France

9.  Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery--  San Diego, California

Support Your Local veterans.  --Cooter

The War Entering a New Phase in Europe in October 1942: Allies Go On Offensive

October 4, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The war today appeared to be moving to the verge of a new phase in which the Allied war planes and Allied land forces will strike at Nazi Europe with unprecedented fury."

Better Than losing.  --GreGen

NIU's Enrollment Booms After the War

From the October 4, 2017, MidWeek.

1947 aerial photograph.

Northern Illinois State Teacher College (Northern Illinois University) showing the World War II barracks built to house veterans and married couples going to college under the GI Bill..

The barracks are north of the college buildings and Lucinda Avenue and consist of 15 individual single story structures.

Making Good Use of the GI Bill.  --GreGen

The Patriotic Use of Sugar in Restaurants

From the October 11, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Believing that restaurant patrons are patriotic enough not to use more sugar than necessary, most of the restaurants in DeKalb have placed the bowls on counters and tables again."

Just a Spoonful of Sugar Makes What Go Away?  --GreGen

Friday, November 10, 2017

U.S. Marine Corps in World War II-- Part 1: Many Engagements in the Pacific

Fom Wikipedia.

The United States Marine Corps played a central role in the War in the Pacific along with the U.S. Army.

Actions included Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa, Guam, Tinian, Cape Gloucester, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

The Battle of Iwo Jima began 19 February 1945.  The Japanese had constructed many fortified positions along with pillboxes and tunnels.  The Marines reached the summit of Mt. Suribachi on 26 February.  Fighting was fierce, but the island taken with 26,00 American casualties and 22,000 Japanese.


The Boy Scouts and Sportsmen's Club Cooperating in Paper Collecting

From the March 29, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

"For some time there have been two organizations, the Scout and Sportsmen's Club in Sycamore collecting waste paper as a war effort.

"Today the heads of the two groups issue a joint declaration in which they state that they are henceforth cooperating in the paper collections."


Thursday, November 9, 2017

How Well Do You Know Your WW II Slang- Part 3: "See the Chaplain"

9.  When someone said, "See the Chaplain,"  what did they mean?

10.  A know-it-all about military regulation was called a what?

11.  Canned or tinned food was called what?

12.  Why didn't men like to get a Dear John letter, even if their name was John?


9.  They didn't want to hear your problems.

10.  Barracks Lawyer  Also know as a Guardhouse Lawyer.

11.  C-Rats.  better than nothing, but didn't taste good  They were eventually put in a pouch and had goodies like a brownie added.

12.  It was a break-up letter from their women.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How Well Do You Know Your WW II Slang?-- Part 2: "GI Jesus"

Answers below.

5.  Who was a GI Jesus?

6.  When a person is "bucking for a Section 8" they were trying to get what?

7.  A person who gives his opinion on everything is a what?

8.  What do the letters "CB" mean?


5.  I guessed  it was a prayer.  That was wrong.  A "GI Jesus" was a chaplain.  Any military person, regardless of denomination, could confide with any chaplain.

6.    Discharged from the military.  They often would claim they were crazy or even shoot themselves in the foot.

7.  I guessed "Backseat driver" incorrectly.  It was an armchair general.  Whether informed on a subject or not, he gave his opinion.

8.  "CB" means confined to barracks.  There were usually two main reasons to get "CB."  The person was sick, but not sick enough for the infirmary or being disciplined.

How You Doing?  --GreGen

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

How Well Do You Know Your World War II Slang?-- Part 1: SNAFU

From Zoo. How Well Do You Know Your World War II Slang?

They give you options to choose.

1.  A letter from one's sweetheart (not a breaking up letter) was called?

2.  Becoming acclimated to the way a ship moved meant a sailor was getting his?

3.  What is a SNAFU?

4.  "Kilroy Was Here" was a type of ?


1.  Sugar Report    I guessed correctly on this.  "Dear John" would have been too easy.

2.  Sea Legs

3.  "Situation Normal, All F'd Up   The "F" word was used a whole lot during the war.

4.  Graffiti  It is engraved on the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C..  Kilroy was a bald man, sometimes shown with a few hairs, with a big long nose who peeked over a wall with his fingers own each hand clutching to the wall.

I Got Them All Right So Far.  --GreGen

Monday, November 6, 2017

Goodbye WW I Relic for the War Effort

From the October 11, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Tomorrow evening will see the scrapping of the relic of World War I and a huge pile of scrap that has accumulated during the week, when the American Legion disposes of the old cannon that had been in front of the Community Center in Sycamore several days.

"When the boys of the American Legion tugged and pulled and finally were able to remove the field piece from the west Community Park entrance to a prominent place on State Street in front of the Community Center building, they appealed to the public to contribute scrap metal to the drive."

Another Scrap Drive.  --GreGen

Second-Oldest Pearl Harbor Survivor Visits the USS West Virginia Bell

 From the November 5, 2017, Metro News West Virginia  "Second-oldest Pearl Harbor survivor finally able to ring the bell" by Brittany Murray.

Jim Downing, 104, served on the USS West Virginia for ten years, including the attack on Pearl Harbor.  He visited his ship's mast at the West Virginia University Friday.  He was only 27, when he last saw the bell and mast and his ship was sinking.

He summarized his experience at Pearl Harbor in five words:  surprise, scared, anger, resolve and pride.  Most of the damage to his ship was done in the first eleven minutes of the attack.  The ship had a weekly newspaper named "The Mountaineer."

Later he met Commander Mitsuo Fuchida who led the Japanese attack on the harbor.  During the Korean War, he was commander of the USS Patapsco.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

FBI Collecting Fingerprints-- Part 2: Even Info On Notorious Dead Criminals

By the end of 1943 the FBI employed  around 13,000 people in this endeavor.  Judging by the photos accompanying the article, most were women and might have lived at Arlington Farms complex across the river in Virginia.

One of the drawers of information was shown and was "Notorious Dead Criminals."  Some of the names of the files shown were Louis Alterie, Marvin Barrow, Clyde C. Barrow, "Legs" Diamond and Pretty Boy Floyd.

Since 1924, the FBI has been the single U.S. repository for fingerprints.


FBI Collecting Fingerprints During the War-- Part 1

In the last post, I wrote about the U.S. government wanting fingerprints of persons working in the milk industry in DeKalb County, Illinois.

From the July 8, 2015 History Daily   "FBI's Colossal Fingerprint Filing System During World War II" by John Titor.

A whole lot of photos of interest.  Out wartime government in big-time action.

During the war, the FBI collected over 23 million cards and 10 million fingerprint records and housed them in the Washington, D.C. Armory.  Every month around 400,000 cards were added to the collection.  It took huge resources to investigate potential defectors and spies in the United States.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Uncle Sam Wants Your Fingerprints, Or, Should We Say J. Edgar?

From the November 1, 2017, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Because Uncle Sam wants the fingerprints of all persons who handle milk for defense plants or destined for the consumption by the armed forces, Frank Freeman, manager of the Pure Milk Association plant in Hinckley, was forced to submit to printing."

The story ended here.  Not sure what he had to put to printing.  And, why would they want milk people fingerprinted?.


Esther Mae Nesbitt-- Part 4: Received the French Croix de Guerre Medal

Master sergeant and local artist.  Enlisted in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in 1943.  Was an intelligence analyst and became custodian of all maps of the European Theater with the responsibility of keeping the war room maps up to date.

For this, she became DeKalb County's only recipient of the French government's Croix de Guerre medal.

After the war, she returned to Sycamore, except for a return to military service during the Korean War.  She lived in Sycamore until her death.  There is some confusion here between this and the previous post.


Esther Mae Nesbitt-- Part 3: Photographer and Artist

On October 1, 1942, she enlisted as an aviation cadet in the Women's Army Corps.  In her civilian life she had been a postal clerk and photographer.

During her years as a WAC, she served as an artist until shortly before her death.  (I am not sure about this as I think the WACs dissolved shortly after the end of the war.  Wikipedia said that the WACs dissolved in 1978 so she might have stayed in rthe rest of her life.

She never married.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Esther Mae Nesbitt-- Part 2: Member of the WACs

She was the third woman to step ashore on Omaha Beach which she did on July 14, 1944.  She was a master sergeant assigned the Allied forward communications.  Her WAC unit consisted of 49 enlisted women and six officers.

She was the only NCO in the European Theater of Operations to receive the French Croix de Guerre medal.

Born 21 July 1913.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Esther Mae Nesbitt-- Part 1: World War II Hero

From Find-A-Grave.

Esther Mae Nesbitt  1913-1971.

Sycamore, Illinois, woman.  World War II hero.

Buried Elmwood Cemetery, Sycamore, Illinois.

There is also a memorial located at her grave.


Sky Harbor Airport, Northbrook, Illinois-- Part 2

Shy Harbor Airport was located near Pal-Waukee Airport.  By 1939 it had four 'cinder-oiled" runways, the longest at 2,500 feet.    But by then, it had begun a decline because of the Great Depression and the airport had been abandoned and the once-glitzy clubhouse gutted by vandals.

In 1939, it was sold and started a comeback as a center for Navy fliers from the nearby Glenview Naval Air Station. And, it was also used by the Civil Air Patrol.

By 1950, its runways were paved but it was closed by 1974.  Just part of the hangar remains of it today.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sky Harbor Airport, Northbrook, Illinois-- Part 1

From the Little-Known Airfields:  Illinois, Northern Chicago Area.

In the last post, I mentioned Miss Esther Mae Nesbitt joining the Civil Air Patrol that flew out of Sky Harbor Airport northwest of Evanston, Illinois.  I'd never hear of it, but thought perhaps it might have been the Pal-Waukee Airport (now Executive Airport) by Wheeling, near where I grew up.  It was a different airport, however.

This facility was opened in 1929 and featured an art deco terminal, clubhouse and hangar.  It was built by the North Shore Airport Company and described as "The Airport of Tomorrow."  It was a base for private aircraft, airlines and sightseeing aircraft.

It cost $500,000 to build, a sizable sum back then and had an elegant arch roof hangar as well as the posh Petrushka Club on top of the terminal.


Monday, October 30, 2017

Sycamore Woman in Civil Air Patrol Out of Evanston

From the March 22, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Miss Esther Mae Nesbitt of Sycamore is now a member of the Chicago unit of the Civil Air Patrol which has military training each week in Evanston and is made up of private patrols flying from Sky Harbor airport northwest of Evanston.

"Miss Nesbitt has had previous training this winter at San Antonio, Texas."

The Civil Air Patrol hurt German U-boats operating off the U.S. coast as they kept watch and reported their location to military forces.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Marines From Tarawa Atoll Accounted For in October

From Missing Marines:  Accounted For.

This site gives information on Marines whose remains have been found and identified.  These are the ones for October 2017, so far:

**  THOMAS JESSE MURPHY--  PHM2C, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines.

KIA Betio, Tarawa Atoll, 20 Nov. 1943.  Accounted for 12 October 2017.

**  ARNOLD JUNIOR HARRISON--  PFC, Co. B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine

KIA Betio, Tarawa Atoll  25 Nov. 1943.  Accounted for 10 October 2017

**  RAYMOND ARTHUR BARKER--  Corporal, Co. C, 1st Corps Tank Battallon (Medium)  "Condor."

MIA  Betio, Tarawa, 20 Nov. 1943.  Accounted for 10 October 2017

So Happy the Government Is Doing This.  Thanks.  --GreGen

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Kentucky Unknown Headed Home: On the USS Oklahoma That Fateful Day

October 24, 2017, WBKO  "Kentucky soldier's body headed home decades after Pearl Harbor attack.

Samuel Warwick Crowder, 35, Petty Officer 3rd Class, firefighter on the USS Oklahoma.

Another success by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

I wish someone would realize that sailors are not soldiers.

Always Happy to Learn the Unknowns Have Been Accounted.  --GreGen

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Missing Marines: Accounted For

While looking for information on Pvt. Vernon Keaton, USMC, I came across this site of interest about Marines who were missing, but found and accounted for.

Missing"  Accounted For.

A whole lot of World War II  Marines.


Private Vernon Keaton-- Part 4: Death Notice in 1941

From the Avalanche Journal  "Vernon Keaton Dies In Action."

"Mr. and Mrs. G. V. Keaton of 609 Avenue M expect daily to receive official notification of the death of their only son in action with the U.S. Marines.

"According to communication to the Red Cross here, the son, Pvt. Vernon P. Keaton 'recently died while in the naval service.'"


Private Vernon Keaton-- Part 3: Ceremonies To Be Held and Public Graveside Service

An Air Force sergeant will fly to Hawaii and escort the remains home.  A ceremony will be held when the remains are placed on the plane there and another one will be held after the plane lands at Will Rogers Airport.

The graveside service will be open to the public.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Private Vernon P. Keaton-- Part 2: Buried in U.S. or Cremated and Ashes Spread Over Hawaii

His mother and father are both buried at the Lula Cemetery in Lula, Oklahoma.

He was 18 when he joined the USMC and had no children.  The DNA match was not easy to find.

His identification was based on DNA and his family was given the choice of having him buried in the continental United States or cremated with his ashes spread over Hawaii.

They chose burial in Oklahoma.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Private Vernon P. Keaton, USMC-- Part 1

From Find-A-Grave

Private Vernon Paul "Buck" Keaton

Born May 23, 1923 in Texas.  Died December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor.

Service # 309484.

Entered service from Oklahoma on 30 May 1941 and was serving with the Marine detachment on the USS Oklahoma.

Before the recent identification he had been buried in Row 4.


Another USS Oklahoma Unidentified Returns: Pvt. Vernon Keaton, USMC

From the October 16, 2017, Tulsa (Ok) World  "Marine killed in Pearl Harbor attack to be buried in Oklahoma."  Matt Dinger of the Oklahoman.

Private Vernon Keaton, USMC, will be buried in a graveside service in Lula. Oklahoma.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

No More Road or Bridge Building

From the March 29, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The DeKalb County Board of Supervisors was advised that road and bridge building in the county must be set aside for the duration of the war."


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Civil War Group Supports War Effort

From the March22, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Miss Lillie Austin, patriotic instructor of the Woman's Relief Corps, No. 18 of Sycamore, presented the Sycamore Community High School pupils with some patriotic literature consisting of instructions for displaying our flag, also the history of our creed together with a picture of Lincoln, and a printed copy of the Gettysburg Address."

The Woman's Relief Corps, officially the National Woman's Relief Corps, was the auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization of Union Civil War veterans and was organized in Colorado in 1883.
A Civil War organization supporting this new war.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Singer Sewing Machine Co. Loans Used Machine to Red Cross

From March 22, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The Singer Sewing Machine Co. of DeKalb has loaned the Clare Red Cross ladies, for the duration, a used sewing machine for which the ladies are grateful."

Sewing for Victory  --GreGen

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Road and Bridge Building Curtailed for War Duration in DeKalb County.

From the March 22, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Road and bridge building in DeKalb County will have to be halted until after the war.  Because of priorities, which prohibit the use of vital materials for building unless it is necessary to life or safety, any road construction program will have to wait until the day when such materials will again become available."

In a recent blog entry, I wrote of some of the steps they had to go through in order to repair roads.

Just Another War Sacrifice.  --GreGen

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Growing Food for Victory in Sycamore

From the March 22, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"All Sycamore people interested in directly aiding the war program by helping to produce food stuffs vital to health are invited to attend the organizational meeting of the Sycamore Victory Garden Club."

All In for the War Effort.  --GreGen

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Learn About Fort Fisher's World War II Role This Saturday

Fort Fisher State Historic Site in North Carolina is having a day to show the Civil war's role as an anti-aircraft training facility during World War II this Saturday.

For more information, go to my Running the Blockade Civil War Navy Blog.  Just hit the site in the Blogs I Follow area to the right of this.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

USS Tracy Fights Japanese at Pearl Harbor

From the March 17, 2017, Scout/Warrior  "A Famous & Historic WW II Navy Ship Attacked Japanese Planes.

The USS Tracy, DD-214, sent fire and damage control crews to other battered American ships and set up machine guns with borrowed ammunition to protect the nearby USS Cummings and USS Pennsylvania.  During the attack, it lost one man killed and 2 lost.

It was a destroyer/minesweeper laid down in 1919, commissioned in 1920 and was in Pearl Harbor that fateful day undergoing a massive overhaul.

It took part in mine laying March 1942 and then was at Guadalcanal.  One of its mines sank the Japanese destroyer Makigumo.  At Bougainville Island and Okinawa and it rescued survivors of a ship hit by a suicide boat attack.


Monday, October 9, 2017

DeKalb's Housing Shortages

From the March 16, 2017 MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Efforts to secure government approval to the designation of DeKalb as a defense area, in order that the lack of homes may be declared an emergency, did not meet with much success for the DeKalb committee which went to Chicago."

Unfortunately, DeKalb, Illinois, wasn't the only U.S. town to experience housing shortages.


About That Sugar Rationing

From the March 16, 2017, MidWeek   "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago

"Slowly but surely we Americans are being informed as to how sugar will be rationed.

"There are strong hints that other food commodities may be rationed in the future and the sugar plan will be followed in such future rationing."


Shorpy Home Front Photos: Old Trolley Cars,Youth Camps and Harlem

3-12-17  TRANSIT GRILL: 1943.  April 1943.  Baltimore, Maryland.  "Baltimore Transit bus with trolley of 1917 vintage.  Many old cars have been reconditioned because of wartime transportation pressure."  Marjory Collins, OWI.

3-18-17--  KP CUTUPS: 1943.  August 1943.  Arden, New York.  "Interracial activities at Camp Gaylord White, where children are aided by the Methodist Camp Service.  Campers help with the kitchen work."  Gordon Parks, OWI.

3-18-17--  NEW YORK, 1943.  May 1943.  "Woman and her dog in the Harlem section.  Gordon Parks, OWI.  A black woman peering out her window.


Pearl Harbor Survivor Remembered in New Hampshire

From the February 27, 2017, New Hampshire Union-Leader  "Pearl Harbor survivor from Rochester remembered" by Kimberly Haas.

Roland "Sonny" Dagon, 97, a Purple Heart recipient, died February 24, 2017.  He was at Hickam Field with the Army Air Corps, that day.  he remembered the Japanese planes flying in low and ducked under a nearby trailer until he realized the paint shop a few yards away was on fire.

He fled and was wounded by flying shrapnel.

He enjoyed sulky-racing until the age of 88.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

German Air Raid on DeKalb?

From the March 16, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago

"Because practically all planes have been grounded and because the airport in Waterman has been closed, much mystery envelopes an episode which occurred Saturday night.

"A plane was hear flying over DeKalb three times during the night."

Wonder What That Was All About?  --GreGen

Junk Cars to Help Win the War

From the March 16, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"There are 26,995 worn-out jalopies in automobile graveyards in the state of Illinois.  Before long these old cars will be melted into armaments.

"That is good news for everyone, not to mention residents of neighborhoods in which one of the graveyards is located.  It is estimated that this amount of scrap material will produce 3,680 American tanks to help Uncle Sam's soldiers win the war."


Friday, October 6, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Roger the Riveter

6-19-17--  ROGER THE RIVETER: 1942:--  October 1942.  "Riveter at work at Douglas Aircraft plant at Long Beach, California.  Color.  Alfred Palmer, OWI.  He was sure taking a lot of pictures here   (See the last two posts.).  There were also men working in war industries.  You hear so much about our Rosie the Riveters.

6-23-17--  CARR FORK CANYON:  1942--  November 1942.  "Bingham Copper Mine, Utah.  Carr Fork Canyon as seen from the "G" Bridge."  Color.  Andrew Feininger, OWI  All sorts of uses for copper during the war.

6-26-17--  ON THE ROAD: 1942  December 1942.  "Highway view along U.S. 40 in Mount Vernon Canyon, Colorado.  Looking east toward Green Mountain, with Shingle Creek below.  Color.  Andreas Feininger, OWI


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Bombers, Planes & Birthday Cakes

6-3-17 AVENGING ANGEL--  October 1942.  "Woman at work on a bomber motor, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, California."  Color  Alfred Palmer, OWI.   So, this one's a woman, not a girl.

6-7-17  OUTTA MY WAY: 1942--  June 1942.  "Tank driver --  Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Color.  Alfred Palmer, OWI.  Looks a bit frightening with him wearing those goggles and the way the lighting is.

6-12-17   MAKE A WHOOSH: 1942--  June 1942.  Greenbelt, Maryland. "Grandma Taylor blows out the candles on her 83rd birthday cake while her daughter, Mrs. McCard and grandson look on."  Marjory Collins,, OWI.


Shorpy Home Front Photos: Memorial Day Parade and Lunch

5-29-17  MEMORIAL DAY: 1942--  May 1942.  Stonington, Connecticut.  "An American town and its way of life.  The Memorial Day parade moving down main street.  The small number of spectators is accounted for by the fact that the town's war factories did not close.  The town hall is in the foreground."  Fenno Jacobs, OWI.

Cars are parked on both sides of the street where the parade is.

The War Effort more important than patriotic parades evidently at this time.

5-31-17 EMPTY CALORIES: 1942--  October 1942  "Girl worker at lunch also absorbing California's sunshine.  Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach."  Alfred Palmer, OWI.  Color photo.  Comment  Should have called her a woman.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Corn Detasseling Machine for the War Effort

From the August 9, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"A corn detasseling machine was delivered this week to Kenneth Furr of Genoa from the shop of Fritz Loptien of Sycamore.  The device makes it possible for four operators to detassel eight rows of corn at one trip across the field.

"The machine moves less than two miles an hour under the power of a Ford engine, which is part of the machine.  The efficiency of the device is indicated by the fact that four detasselers and one driver were said to have accomplished in 80 minutes as much as 23 men working four hours from the ground."

It was a manpower thing.

Just the Thing With All  the Many Men Away in the Military.  --GreGen

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

LST-779-- Part 5: Last U.S. Ship to See the USS Indianapolis

The passing encounter between the LST-779 and USS Indianapolis occurred within 12 hours of the sinking of the cruiser at 0014 30 July.  It was likely the last American vessel to see the doomed ship.

The 779's log noted that after its shooting anti-aircraft exercise, it maintained its course slightly north of Peddie.  That track would put the ship too far away from where the Indianapolis went down to spot survivors.

The LST-779 was launched sideways into the river at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Ships were launched sideways as the river was too narrow to launch by the stern.

I also found out that the LST-779 was the ship that supplied the famous second U.S. flag at the Iwo Jima flag raising made so famous by that photograph.  I'll see what I can find out about that.


Monday, October 2, 2017

LST-779-- Part 4: Last Ship to See USS Indianapolis

From the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command LST-779 1944-1946.

The LST-779 departed Guam 29 July 18945.  Its log notes:  "Held general quarters to conduct firing exercises" at 1312.  Also in the area at the time was the USS Indianapolis.

The 779 arrived Guinan, Saamar, Philippines 1 August without incident.

The commander of the Indianapolis, Captain Charles B. McVay III noted passing an unknown LST on 29 July:  "We passed an LST headed toward Leyte as we were also, on Sunday," he later recalled.  "They were north of us and they were preparing to go further north to get out of our area to do some anti-aircraft shooting."

This Would Be the LST-779.  --GreGen

LST-779: --Part 3: At Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Famed Flag-Raising Flag From It

The LST-779 participated in the assault and occupation of Iwo Jima in February 1945 as well as the assault and occupation of Okinawa in April,1945.

The famous second flag to be raised on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, came from the LST-779.

After the war, it performed occupation duty in the Far East and service in China until early April 1946 when it was decommissioned 18 May 1946.

On December 5, 1947, it was sold to Bosey, Philadelphia.

It warned two battle stars during its service.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

LST-779, Last U.S. Ship to See the USS Indianapolis-- Part 2

Continued from September 2, 2017.

After its commissioning in New Orleans, 3 August 1944, the LST-779 then had a two-week shakedown cruise in St. Andrews Bay, Florida (by Panama City).  It was then loaded with construction materials for forward airfields and also five sections of Tank Landing Craft, LCTs.  On 7 September, it departed for the Pacific Theater.

It passed through the Panama Canal and went to San Diego where it departed 8 October and sailed unescorted to Pearl Harbor, arriving 18 October.  There it unloaded and began intensive training with the Army and USMC in the Hawaii Islands.

On 22 January, it departed Pearl Harbor for the Marianas with ammunition, gasoline, equipment, Marines and 8 Amphibian trucks (DUKWs).


Friday, September 29, 2017

Downhill Slider, 1944: The Lighthouse

from Shorpy Old Photo Site.

MAY 27, 2017, DOWNHILL SLIDER: 1944  <arch 1944.  "Children playing on the roof of the Lighthouse, an institution for the blind, at 111 East 59th Street, New York.'  Richard Boyer, OWI.  The photo shows just one young girl of a slide wearing dark glasses.

The Lighthouse Guild: Vision and Hearing is still in existence serving the visually impaired.  The Lighthouse Guild was formed in 2013 and had begun in 1905 by sisters Winifred and Edith Holt who founded the Lighthouse which became a pioneer in the field  of vision rehabilitation.

They also had a summer camp for the children.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Keeping the Buses Running and "Arming" the Kids

From the Shorpy Old Photo Site.

MAY 22, 2017--  HOUND DOC: 1943.  September 1943.  Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania.  "A mechanic at the Greyhound Garage."  Esther Bubley, OWI.  With tire, gasoline rationing, bus riding became much more popular.

MAY 26, 2017--  THE CHILDREN'S ARMY: 1942--  Washington, D.C., 1942.  "Children playing, using sticks as guns."  Color.  Louise Rosskam, OWI.  The boys are "armed" and girls aren't.  The girls are also wearing dresses."

One of the comments was, "They don't need no stinkin' Nintendo."  Or "Idge Phones."


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pearl Harbor Survivor Finally Gets His Purple Heart

From the September 16, 2017, Herald Dispatch (West Virginia)

Wetzel "Sundown" Sanders, 94, was at an anti-aircraft battery at Hospital Point, manning a .50 caliber machine gun.  He shot down multiple Japanese planes, but a chunk of shrapnel hit him and he ran to the hospital.

However, his paperwork for the wound was misplaced.

He remained in Hawaii until may 1942, and after that participated in other Pacific battles.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Remains of USS Oklahoma's Ensign William "Bill" Manley Thompson Identified

From the September 20, 2017, CGS 6  "Remains of sailor killed during Pearl Harbor attack identified after 75 years."

The remains of Ensign William Manley Thompson, of New Jersey, are now home and buried in the family plot at Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia.

He was 21 years old when he died on the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941.

Ensign Thompson graduated from high school in 1937 and the University of North Carolina in 1941.

In his last letter home, November 23, 1941, he said he had enjoyed his Thanksgiving dinner and was considering buying a guitar and probably a car.  Since Christmas was nearing, he needed to start his shopping for presents, especially since he expected his ship to be at sea on maneuvers on that date.

It is so nice that these honored dead heroes are having their bodies identified after such a long time buried as unknowns.


Monday, September 25, 2017


Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa, who just recently died and I wrote about in the last two posts, served on this ship.

One site had the nickname of the ship as the USS Ivory Soap -- It Floats.

It was built by the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company at Evansville, Indiana.  Laid down 25 June 1942, launched 31 October 1942 and commissioned 10 February 1943  It ended service 9 December 1944 and was transferred to the Royal Navy and returned to the Navy 13 April 1946 and sold 5 September 1946.

It served in the European Theater:

Sicilian Occupation July 1943

Salerno Landing  September 1943

Invasion of Normandy  June 1944

During its service, it earned three Battle Stars.


Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa-- Part 2

He remembers being on the USS Raleigh,  "There were machine-gun bullets bouncing off the deck."  His body shook and he reached for his gun and began shooting at any moving target.  "All of a sudden, it looked like the ship was pitching out of the water and bounced back down again.'  It had been hit by a torpedo dropped by a plane on the port side.

The Raleigh fired 13,526 rounds of ammunition that day.

He participated in many battles later in the war on the LST-157., but he remembered D-Day the most.  "When the tide goes out you got nowhere to go.  Your ship is on dry land, and you can't move it until the tide comes in.  By the time the evening comes around, the German fighter pilots are coming over because we're sitting ducks."

Another of the Greatest.  --GreGen

Friday, September 22, 2017

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa-- Part 1

From the September 20, 2017, Long Island Herald "Pearl Harbor, D-Day East Meadow veteran was 93" by Stephany Reyer.

Gerald "Jerry" Barbosa joined the Navy in March 1941.  His twin brother and younger brother also joined the Navy.

He was a gunner's mate ion the USS Raleigh during the attack and he died September 15 and was one of the few Pearl Harbor veterans still living in the area.

In March 1941, when he joined he was only 17 years old.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Trains and More Trains

Jack Delano sure took a lot of train pictures for the Office of War Information.

Here are five more:

MAY 21-2017--  Red Means Go: 1943  Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago

MAY 23, 2017--  Locomotive Dreams: 1942  Chicago and North Western roundhouse.

JUNE 6, 2017--  Pabst Backward:  April 1943  Illinois Central and Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign, Chicago.

JUNE 16, 2017--  40th Street Shops:  1942   Dec. 1942   Chicago & North Western RR locomotives.

AUGUST 31, 2017--  Backtrack: 1943   Willard, New Mexico

See Train, Go train, Jack.  --GreGen

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Throw Your Scrap Into the Fight" in 1942

From the August 19, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Throw your scrap into the fight!  Although there have been campaigns conducted for the gathering of scrap metals and rubber, a crisis exists in the United States war production program unless more of these vital materials can be secured.

"The only way that the problem can be solved is for the American people to cooperate fully, and this means the people in DeKalb County as well."

Pots and Pans...Anything!!  --This Means YOU, DEKALB COUNTY!!!  --GreGen

Driving Your Auto On Hot Days Not Good for Your Tires in 1942

From the August 9, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Automobile dealers, especially those who specialize in tires, state those persons who go driving on a hot day, fail to realize that the hot pavements are not conducive to saving of tires.

"If the rubber on any auto is old, it has lost much of its heat resistance, and quickly blows out.  Tires are difficult to get nowadays, and drivers are warned that motoring in hot weather is not helping in the war effort against the enemy."

A Sunday Afternoon Drive in the Summer Is Helping Hitler and Tojo.  --GreGen

Working At the Old Beet Farm in 1942

From the August 2, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942. 75 Years Ago.

"According to an announcement from the Chicago Welfare Commission, nineteen men from the welfare rolls have been sent to DeKalb County to work on the beet farms in the county.

"They are being sent to help relieve the shortage in farm labor and further aid to farmers was also promised by the commission.

Beet Me Baby, Eight To the Bar.  --GreGen

The Navy Needs Your Binoculars in 1942

From the August 2, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  'Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Although nearly 2,000 binoculars meeting requirements have been received by the Navy Department since the first appeal was made the need for these important instruments is desperate.

"Mayor Hugh J. Hakata of DeKalb received a letter from the Navy Department recently asking that he again [bring] the great need of the binoculars to the attention of the public."

All the Better to See You, My Dear.  --GreGen

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recalls World War II-- Part 6: Playing Dead on Saipan

Karen Narayan, daughter of Burton and Wayne's oldest brother, Ernest, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, said she recalled a story about Wayne fighting unarmed against Japanese soldiers in Saipan in which he disguised himself in blood from another soldier and played dead until the Japanese left hours later.

"I asked Uncle Wayne, 'How could you do all this," she said.  "His reply was, 'Karen, just as you go to the grocery store shopping, we just did.  We didn't think about what we were doing, we just did.'"


Friday, September 15, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recalls the War-- Part 5: Bernice's War Story and Afterwards

Burton Miller's wife, Bernice, said she worked making uniforms for soldiers during the war, while men would work on farms and in factories.

"All of our foods were rationed, and we had food stamps," Bernice said.  "You could only get so much gas and so much everything at that time."

She said that they first lived in a one-room apartment, had no car and were on a waiting list to get a refrigerator.  She had to take three street cars, each costing 8 cents, to get to her job at Marshall Field's.

"We went down the hall to go to the bathroom where four families shared.  It was rough, "she said.  "We were able to get an apartment over a home, so we thought we were in heaven to get that because it had a bedroom and a living room."


Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor-- Part 4: Six Blankets and Couldn't Get Warm

Burton Miller went on to serve in England, France and Belgium, where he conveyed orders and communications during the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign of World War II.

One of the barracks in Belgium that he was in was an old chicken house where the soldiers had to endure the cold winter.  "I had six blankets and I couldn't get warm," Burton remembered.

Burton then had to go to the hospital, although he can't remember why.

"That was after Hitler took over Europe," he said.  "We had our fighter planes that went from England to France and then to Belgium supporting our troops, chasing Hitler at the time.  And when I got to Belgium, I had to go to the hospital, and when I came back, the war was over."

He married Bernice in 1946 and lived in Chicago for about sixty years.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor-- Part 3: Brother Wayne Was Looking for His Brother's Body

Burton Miller was out of high school and studying in college, but his brother Wayne was not yet old enough to enlist in the military.  "We had to lie a little bit [about Wayne's age]," Burton said.

Wayne's job at Wheeler Air Field at the time of the attack was outfitting men with parachutes, so he was tasked with identifying bodies based on their parachute numbers.

"[Wayne] was down at one of the hangars that they had converted into a morgue, and he was going through looking for his brother," Bruce said.

Burton Miller was stationed in Hawaii for two years after the attack.

"The rest of the two years was like heaven," Burton said.  "It rained every other day.  It could've been worse, and it was worse in Belgium."


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor Attack-- Part 2: "What Could Be Better?"

Thirty-three men died at Wheeler Field that day.

Both brothers survived the attack, but they didn't see each other for another three days, as the men hid, fearing the Japanese had invaded the island.  Their mother wouldn't get word of their survival until a month later.  (That had to be a really hard month for the family.

Bruce Miller, Burton's son, said his father and uncle enlisted in the Army Air Corps after seeing an ad in their local newspaper in Mount Vernon.  They had been in Hawaii for less than a year when the attack came.

"The ad said to sign up  for four years in the Army Air Corps and spend three years in Hawaii,"  Bruce said.  "This was 1940 and they had no idea what was coming, and they thought, 'What could be better?'  Two farm boys got away from milking cows and doing chores."

The Army Air Corps became the Army Air Forces on June 20, 1941.


Sycamore Vet Recounts Pearl Harbor Attack-- Part 1: "A Bomb Comes Down Right Next To Me"

From the December 7, 2016, Northwest Herald (McHenry County, Illinois) by Stephanie Markham.

95-year-old served in Army Air Force.

Burton Miller was on his way to eat breakfast when the first bombs started falling.  He was 19 that Dec. 7, 1941, and he and his 17-year-old brother, Wayne, were stationed at Wheeler Field in Hawaii -- one of the first places the Japanese attacked.

It was a bright Sunday morning and he broke his usual routine and got up for breakfast.  Meanwhile, brother Wayne was taking a shower in the barracks.

"I got up and went for breakfast for the first time, and I got through the breakfast door, and a bomb comes down right next to me.  And it hits the lawn, and it didn't hit the street, so I started running because they said that [the Japanese] were going to land troops there."

He has lived in Sycamore for the past four years with his wife, Bernice, also 95.  His brother Wayne died in 2001 at age 88.


Pelosi Tours WWII Exhibit About Japanese-Americans

From the September  1, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Steve Johnson.

Twice there have been exhibitions in Chicago's new Alphawood Gallery  and twice U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has visited.

Most recently she was there August 31 and she toured "And Then They Came for Me" the primarily photographic exhibition telling the story of Japanese-American improvement by the U.S. government during World War II.

"This is an inspiration to me, said Pelosi, whose district was among was among those especially affected when the government forced more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent, most of them U.S. citizens, into internment camps beginning in 1942.  "It hit me hard when we came in because it was so many images about a thing our country had done that we were ashamed of."

The free show is open through November and features mostly black-and-white photography of the internees taken by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and others.

A Sad Time In Our History, But Something That Must Not be Erased.  --GreGen

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society-- Part 2: Started in 1904

From their site.

In 1904, several Naval officers, wives of Naval officers and civilian friends saw the need for a more formal and organized assistance to Naval personnel.  The Society incorporated on January 23 with initial funding coming from the proceeds of the 1903 Army-Navy Football game.

In its first year, the Society gave $9,500 to widows and families of enlisted men.

During World War I, military pay was often delayed and the Society began an interest free loan program for Navy and Marine Corps personnel.  Eventually this expanded to help with other needs such as medical bills.

Anticipating personnel needs of World War II, President Roosevelt authorized a public appeal for support to benefit the military relief organizations.

The national fundraising effort helped establish the Society's Reserve Fund in 1942.  The Dubuque Navy Day on August 23, 1942, was part of this effort.

Monday, September 11, 2017

9-11 16th Anniversary Today

Yesterday, when the Safen und Spiel Festival in Johnsburg, Illinois, proved too crowded and no parking, we decided to go on a Chain Crawl crawl to get some more passport stamps.

We drove to McHenry and visited two places overlooking the Fox River.  The first was Snuggery and the second was Vickie's.  At Vickie's, I saw a poster for upcoming events in McHenry and one of them was an the 11th annual observance of 9-11 in veterans Park.

I am sorry to say that this was the first I'd even thought about it.  Sure glad I saw that poster as I'll be there at 9  a.m..

I'll Not Forget.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society-- Part 1: To Aid and Assist

From Wikipedia.

The purpose of the mass induction and baseball game on August 23, 1942, in Dubuque, Iowa, was to raise money for the Navy Relief Society Fund.

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society was established in 1904 "to provide, in partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps, financial, educational, and other assistances to members of the Naval service of the United States, eligible family members, and survivors in need, and to receive and manage funds to administer these programs.


Dubuque, Iowa, In World War II-- Part 2: Mass Induction and Baseball Game

"A mass induction of Navy recruits was planned for August 23, 1942, prior to a baseball game scheduled for Navy Day.  An entrance fee was charged with all the money given to the Navy Relief Society.

"Family members were later encouraged to write positive letters to their relatives in the armed forces and not burden them with problems at home."


Dubuque, Iowa, in World War II-- Part 1: A Local Boy at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941

From the Encyclopedia Dubuque.

Leo F. Greenwood, a native of the "northeast" end of Dubuque, was on the battleship USS West Virginia at the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  He survived and abandoned ship.  Oil from the stricken battleships had leaked out and the water of the harbor caught fire, requiring him to swim under water to reach safety (probably on Ford Island).

There, he found cover and remained for the rest of the attack.

Years later, a Navy diver found and returned his pocket watch and photo album that he had stored in his footlocker.

He became a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

Mr. Greenwood served on the USS West Virginia from 1939-1941 and was a Seaman First Class.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, August 23, 1942-- Part 4: One Helluva Team

Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane, the former star catcher for the Detroit Tigers, was appointed supervising officer in charge of athletics at Great Lakes and he assembled a formidable team of players who had left their American and National league teams to join America's war effort.

Throughout the war, the training facility's baseball teams compiled a record of 188-32 in exhibition contests.

Probably Stacked the Field.  --GreGen

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, August 23, 1942-- Part 3: Great Lakes Wins By Lopsided 16-1 Score


"The colors of Old Glory -- red, white and blue -- predominated as the crowd watched Naval officers swear Dubuqueland men into service.  The color of green -- the proceeds of the game --  went to Navy relief.  And the color of big-league baseball prevailed as the crowd watched the Great Lakes' star-studded team lick the Naval Pre-Flight Training School 16-1.

"The latter color in part was provided by a home run with the bases full by Chet Hajduk of the Chicago White Sox, the battery of Johnny Rigney and old "Iron Mike" Cochrane, and the appearance of Benny McCoy, Johnny Lucadello, Don Padgett, Ernie Andres, Joe Grace and Sam Harshaney -- all former major-league stars.

"The victory here was the second consecutive lopsided win for Great Lakes over the Seahawks in two days.  The win was the 59th of the year for the men coached by Lt. Gordon Cochrane, the above-mentioned Mr. "Iron Mike" or "Mickey" of professional baseball fame."

The Seahawks trained in Iowa City, Iowa, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes, hence the name Seahawks.


Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, 1942-- Part 2: Lots of Memories This Day

"Memories of some will center on the colorful ceremonies of the flag raising and mass inductions of the naval recruits before the baseball game; for some it will be the memory of witnessing a son, a brother, a sweetheart, a husband, or a pal being sworn into service with the nation's armed forces at an hour of great peril; and for some it will be the thrill of witnessing some of the greatest stars of baseball perform, even if the game was a one-sided affair.

"But the big result of the day is that a substantial sum of money will be added to the Navy Relief Society Fund, all proceeds of the day going to that fund."

(Former major-league players starred during the exhibition game, as the Telegraph Herald reported on August 24, 1942.)


Monday, September 4, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque, Iowa, 1942-- Part 1: 32 Enlisted and a Baseball Game

From the August 24, 2017, Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald "75 years ago: Bravery, baseball on display" by Erik Hogstrom.

I wrote about this last week, August 24.

Here is the Telegraph Herald story from August 24, 1942:

"There are several thousand residents of Dubuque and Dubuqueland who will long cherish happy memories of Dubuque's Navy Day program.

"They include the approximately 4,000 persons who jammed the stands of the Municipal Athletic Field on Sunday afternoon to witness the inductions of 32 Dubuqueland recruits into the U.S. Navy and the baseball game between the Great Lakes Naval Training Station at Great Lakes, Ill., and the Navy Pre-Flight Training School of Iowa City.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

LST-779-- Part 1: (1944-1946) Last American Ship to See the USS Indianapolis

From the U.S. naval History and Heritage Command.

Last week I wrote that this was the last American ship to see the USS Indianapolis.  It operated 1944-1946.

328 feet long, 50 foot beam, 11.6 knots, crew of 117.  Could carry equipment and 163 troops.

It was laid down 21 May 1944 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and launched 1 July 1944.  It took just 41 days from when it was laid down to launch.  That's pretty fast.  Because of it being launched into a river, it slid sideways into it.

It was commissioned in New Orleans 3 August 1944  Its commander was Lt. (j.g.) Joseph A. Hopkins, USNR.


World War II at Carolina Beach, N.C.-- Part 2: Mom's Recollections-- Restrictions and U-boats

My mother's family owned a cottage right on the oceanfront on Carolina Beach's Southern Extension.  She said that at night there were constantly military patrols going up and down the beach looking for U-boats.

You also were not allowed to have wet clothes on.  U-boats lurking offshore would surface and send people ashore on reconnaissance missions.  They'd get wet in the process.

The story continues that one time a German U-boat was sunk and one of the crew members was found to have a movie ticket to a Wilmington theater dated just a few days earlier.

Also, they were extremely strict on the blackout at the beach.  Lights onshore would silhouette Allied merchant ships plying the offshore waters, making them easy targets for a torpedo.


Friday, September 1, 2017

World War II at Carolina Beach, N.C.-- Part 1: Sharing the Cottage

Carolina Beach is located near Wilmington, North Carolina, and on the Atlantic Ocean.

I have been writing about the service of Claude R. Pfaff during World War I, in my Cooter's History Thing Blog.  After the war he returned to Winston-Salem, N.C., but started going to Carolina Beach for fishing and eventually built a cottage there in the 1930s.

During World War II, the Pfaffs often ended up sharing their small cottage with a family of strangers.  Because of the shortage of housing in the Wilmington area (with all of its war industry, the huge North Carolina Shipbuilding Company and military posts in the area), property owners were required to rent to families of soldiers scheduled to ship out overseas.

They would get a one week vacation at the beach before they had to separate.

Only office space was exempt from this requirement, so Mrs. Pfaff designated one room as an office.

A Little Privacy, Please.  --GreGen

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wreck of USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 6: Last Seen By LST-779

**  The ship was 610 feet long and had a 66-foot beam.

**  The cost of the ship was $10,903, 200.

**  The wreck is well-preserved.

**  It was a Portland-Class heavy cruiser.

**  Last seen by the USS LST-779 eleven hours before the sinking.

**  In 2016, Richard Hulver, historian at Naval History and Heritage Command determined a new search area for the shipwreck.

**  Commissioned in 1932.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wreck of USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 5: Those "Lifeless Eyes"

**  It sank in 12 minutes.

**  Survivors spotted by a Navy PV-1 on routine patrol four days later.

**   In the movie "Jaws," Captain Quint went into detail about the shark attacks on the Indianapolis survivors.

**  "Y-know the thing about a shark, he's got ... lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes."

**  It was sunk in the Philippines Sea, between Leyte Gulf and Guam.

**  It's number:  CA-35

**  Main battery was nine 8-inch guns in three turrets.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Wreck of the USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 4: Sunk by Japanese Submarine I-58

**  The loss of the USS Indianapolis is still the single largest United States war loss at sea.

**  The USS Indianapolis Survivors Association just had their 72nd anniversary reunion in Indianapolis, Indiana, from July 27-July 30.

**  The people who found the ship are on the Research Vessel Petrel, owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

**  The Japanese submarine IJN I-58 fired two torpedoes.

**  The I-58 was surrendered to the U.S. and scuttled 1 April 1946.

**  It's wreck was found just three months before the wreck of the Indianapolis was discovered, May 25, 2017.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Wreck of USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 3: Its Captain Court-Martialed and Found Guilty

"While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at the discovery so long in coming," Paul Allen said in a statement.

The cruiser's captain, Charles Butler McVay III, was among the survivors, but he was court-martialed and convicted for losing his ship.  He later committed suicide because of it.

Years later, McVay was posthumously exonerated by Congress and President Bill Clinton.

The shipwreck's location has eluded researchers for decades.  The coordinates keyed out in an SOS signal were forgotten by survivors and were not received by Navy ships or shore stations.

The ship is an official war grave, protected by laws.  No recovery efforts are planned.

Though I would like to have the ship's bell recovered.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Wreck of USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 2: Had Delivered Atom Bomb Parts to Tinian

The ship sank in just fifteen minutes on July 30, 1945, in the war's final days.  It took the Navy four days to realize the ship was missing.

About 800 of the crew's 1200 sailors and Marines made it off the cruiser before it sank.  But almost 600 died the next four to five days from exposure, dehydration, drowning and shark attacks.

The Indianapolis had just completed a top-secret mission to deliver components of the atomic bomb "Little Boy" to the island of Tinian.  The bomb was later dropped on Hiroshima.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Navy Day in Dubuque 75 Years Ago

From the August 24, 2017, Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald "75 years ago: Bravery, baseball on display" by Erik Hogstrom.

Dubuque's World War II effort took a major leap forward 75 years ago this week.  Thousands of residents filled the stands of the city's baseball stadium on August 23, 1942, to witness the mass induction of dozens of local men into the U.S. Navy.

Dubuque capped its "Navy Day" celebration with an exhibition baseball game featuring a military team packed with former Major League Baseball players who had joined the service.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wreck of USS Indianapolis Found-- Part 1: Found 3 1/2 Miles Deep in the Philippine Sea

From the August 20, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Wreck of lost WWII warship USS Indianapolis found" by Lisa Rein Washington Post.

Naval researchers announced Saturday that they have found the wreckage if the World War II heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, 72 years after the vessel was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

The ship was found almost 3 1/2 miles below the Philippine Sea by a group headed by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen.

Historians and architects from the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C., had joined forces with Allen last year to find the famous ship.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Guam's Navy Base Reminds Me of Pearl Harbor in 1941

From the August 10, 2017, Chicago Tribune.

With all the rhetoric going on between the United States and North Korea about their missile capability as well as nuclear possibility, and especially their firing a missile in the direction of Guam Island in the Pacific, I saw an article in the tribune that had a photograph of the U.S. navy base at Guam.

It sure reminds me a lot of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, especially with those destroyers tied up in pairs.  Kind of a Destroyer Row if you will.

Gave Me the Creeps.  --GreGen

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Kenneth Sprankle-- Part 2: The Pilot Who Died in the 41-13297 P-40 Tomahawk

From Find-A-Grave.

Kenneth Wayne Sprankle was 17 years old when his family moved to West Virginia.  He never married or had children.

He was killed when his plane stalled coming out of a slow roll and spun into a cliff.

The inscription of his grave in the Punch Bowl reads:  "Kenneth W. Sprankle, Pennsylvania.  1st Lt. 6 AAF Pursuit Sq.  World War II.

April 26, 1915- Jan. 24, 1942."

He is buried at the National memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Plot M289.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time' -- Part 7: Horrendous Losses

The Guadalcanal Campaign ended when the battered Japanese evacuated the island on January and February 1943.

About 30,000 of their men had been lost, along with many ships and over 500 planes.

The United States and its allies lost about 7,000 men, including two aircraft carriers and 480 planes.

It is kind of strange that there wasn't one of those special edition magazine/books out in the magazine racks for this battle.


Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time'-- Part 6: Brutal Fighting

One reporter, Jack Singer, who worked for the old International News Service, was killed when the aircraft carrier he was on, the USS Wasp, was torpedoed in September and sank.  Singer's final dispatch was written for him by surviving officers from the Wasp.

The fighting on the land was brutal.  In some cases it was hand-to-hand.  Men were clubbed to death, stabbed, strangled.  Hersey wrote that the jungle itself felt malevolent.

Marine Pfc. Robert Leckie remembered:  "It was a darkness without time.  It was an impenetrable darkness.  To the right and left of me rose up these terrible formless things of my imagination.  ... I could not see, but I dared not close my eyes lest the darkness crawl beneath my eyelids and suffocate me."

Mighty Scary Images Here.  --GreGen

Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time'-- Part 5: Marines Proved Themselves Here

The Battle of Guadalcanal began when the Marines landed there on August 7, 1942.

I am writing about the Marines at the Battle of Belleau Wood during Wold War, a fight which earned them the name "Devil Dogs" and proved they could fight the best troops in the world.  Guadalcanal did essentially the same thing during World War II.

Correspondent Richard Tregaskis was with the Marines and his book "Guadalcanal Diary," published in 1943, remains a classic.

There were other journalists along as well.  John Hersey nearly drowned there in a plane crash.  His account of a patrol he went on "Into the Valley," is another classic.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Guadalcanal 'A Darkness Without Time'-- Part 4: The Japanese Air Strip

"This was the first real test of what's now referred to as the Greatest Generation,"  frank said.  "Going toe-to-toe with an Axis power at the height of their capability, to see whether we had what it would take."

"Guadalcanal was really the testing ground,' he said.  "People talk about Normandy or Iwo Jima ...  but for the generation that fought the war (Guadalcanal) was a very big deal."

The fight for the island began after the Japanese landed there on June 8, 1942, to begin construction of an air strip.

The U.S. and the Allies realized such an airbase would threaten shipping lanes to Australia and decided to seize the island from the Japanese.