Friday, April 28, 2017

Looking Back to 1941: DeKalb To Have First Test Blackout

From the April 12, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Ill.) "Looking Back."

1941, 75 Years Ago.

"DeKalb will hold its first test blackout this week.  Mayor Hugo J. Hakala, chairman of the Civilian Defense Council for DeKalb, received word from the war department today stating it had granted the city's request to hold a test blackout for that night."

You Never Know When the Enemy Bombers Will Arrive Over DeKalb, Illinois.  --GreGen

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: A New War Factory and Rationing in DeKalb

From the April 5, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942. 75 Years Ago.

"The Farmers Implement Company that was located in the former American Steel and Wire Company building on Locust street in DeKalb has moved to the garage which was recently vacated by Arthur Taylor on the southwest corner of Fourth and Locust Streets.

"The move was made so as to make room for the new tank track factory that is to open in the near future.  The first floor of the new quarters will be used for the display and repair of farm equipment while the second floor is being used to store new cars that can be sold through rationing.

"Farm machinery can be sold without rationing but dealers are having a tough time getting their orders filled."

The war hits home.  A new war factory, car rationing and farm machinery.

--GreGen

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Last Otter Tail County Pearl Harbor Veteran Dies: Gene Davis


From the November 30, 2016, WDAY 6 (Minnesota) "Honoring a vet:  Last Pearl Harbor survivor in Otter Tail County dies" by Kevin Walleband.

Gene Davis, 94, of Fergus Falls, Minnesota was buried Friday.

He joined the Navy at age 18 and was on the USS California during the attack.  A blast blew him off the deck and he was left for dead, but actually was shell-shocked.

For years, he wouldn't speak about his experience, but that all changed with a trip back to Pearl Harbor in 1980.

One hundred died on the USS California that day.

--GreGen

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Portland's Toxic World War II Ship Graveyard

From the December 2, 2016, Portland (Ore) Tribune, by Cassandra Profita.

During World War II, several Willamette River shipyards were busy, but after victory, that stretch of waterfront became a scrapyard where many ships were dismantled.  Areas of the river were covered with ship scraps often laced with toxic pollutants like lead, asbestos and PCB.

At its peak during the war, Portland was launching on average a warship every four days.  Speed was encouraged.  As soon as one was launched, the next one's keel was immediately laid.

Pollution covered 30 acres along a half mile of riverfront.

--GreGen

Monday, April 24, 2017

Congress Approves Gold Medal for Filvets

From the December 2, 2016, Inquirer.Net.

The Gold Medal for the 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who served with U.S. Army Forces of the Far East, USAFFE, during World War II has been approved.

Now it goes to President Obama for his signature.

The Rescission Act of 1946, Congress stripped Filipino soldiers of the benefits they were promised by FDR.  Fewer than 7,000 of them survive today in the United States.  Overall, there are just 18,000 Filipino veterans still alive.

The Tuskegee Airmen and Hawaii's 442nd/100th Infantry Battalion have also received the Congressional Gold Medal.

About Time.  --GreGen


Friday, April 21, 2017

OSS Veterans Get Congressional Gold Medal-- Part 2

In the past, the World War II groups Tuskegee Airmen and Navajo "Code Talkers" have also received the Gold Medal.

The OSS was formed in 1942 by William Donovan who called them the "Glorious Amateurs," responsible for cloak-and-dagger operations throughout the war, including ones behind enemy lines in Germany.

The OSS insignia, the spearhead, is synonymous with the Special Operations Command.

They were dissolved after the war when what was left of the organization became the foundation for the CIA.  Other branches of the OSS became the Green Berets and Navy SEALs.

Now, I'd like to see the Montford Points Marines receive one.

Well Deserved, Even This Late.  --GreGen

Bill Honoring World War II's Intelligence Operatives Finally Passes Congress-- Part 1

From the December 1, 2016, Washington Post by Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

Photo accompanying the article shows OSS founder General William Donovan and members of the OSS operational groups, forerunners of the U.S. Special Forces.

This measure took a long time to pass Congress, despite bipartisan support.

The Congressional Gold Medal will go out to veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).  The problem with them, getting the Gold Medal was a new law that prevented groups from getting it..  This law, however, had earlier been waived in order to honor Civil Rights activists in 1965's "Bloody Sunday" march in Selma, Alabama.

--GreGen

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kansas Family Made Ultimate Sacrifice-- Part 2: Another One Died in France

Their brother Bob joined the Navy when he turned 17 and was in basic training when the war ended in 1945.

Her mother's brother Leroy Blattner joined after the Pearl Harbor attack and was an Air Force pilot.  On August 3, 1944, another plane crashed into his Marauder B-26 bomber in France.  This caused a crash and his whole crew was killed.

--GreGen

Kansas Family Made Ultimate Sacrifice on USS Arizona, Twice

From the November 12, 2016, Hays Daily News (Kansas)  "Hays woman speaks of family's service, sacrifice" by Savannah Downing.

Fay Klein said that on both her mother and father's side, her family made the ultimate sacrifice.

Her father, Walter Becker, was the oldest brother of seven kids.  Three of his brothers:  Harvey, 24; Marcin, 22 and Wesley, 18, were stationed on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941.  They had requested to serve together.

Harvey was not on the ship at the time as he was on shore leave with his wife, a nurse.  He went to pearl Harbor after the attack to look for his brothers.  Eventually, he had to call his parents to tell them he couldn't find his brothers.

Wesley and Marvin's name are listed on the USS Arizona Memorial.

--GreGen

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Local DeKalb County Man Killed on USS Arizona

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

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Charles Aves received word that his son Willard was killed at Pearl Harbor on December 7th.  The war department had previously reported Willard as missing and his friends and relatives had felt that he was gone because he had been on duty on the USS Arizona as a fireman.

"His father and sisters have the sincerest sympathy of this community as everyone feels he too has had a loss."

The War Hits Home.  --GreGen

USS Arizona Survivor Laid to Rest On His Ship-- Part 2

Raymond Haerry was 19 that day and the blast blew him off the USS Arizona.  "The oil that was belching out of the ships ignited because of the explosion and he had to swim through that, got to Ford Island, got some medical care and somehow got a gun and fired back at the enemy and survived the day."

He is the 42nd Arizona survivor to rejoin his shipmates.  Out of the 335 who survived that day, five are still alive.

--GreGen


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

USS Arizona Survivor Laid to Rest on His Ship-- Part 1: Raymond Haerry

From the April 16, 2017, KITV 4 ABC News Hawaii "USS Arizona survivor laid to rest inside sunken battleship" by Mackenzie Stasko.

Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Raymond Haerry was interned in the hulk of the Arizona on Saturday afternoon.

Over 100 gathered at the USS Arizona memorial for the internment ceremony.

A team of U.S. navy and National Park Service divers took him to his final resting place where the urn was placed in turret #3 in the part of the ship which they believe contain the remains of his shipmates.

 --GreGen

New Jersey Native and One of Last USS Arizona Survivors, Gets Final tribute

From NJ.com by Jeff Goldman.

The remains of Master Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Haerry were placed on an American Airlines flight after a ceremony at Newark Liberty International Airport.  he was a Paterson native who died in Rhode Island in September at age 94.  His ashes will be interred on the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.

When the Arizona exploded that day, he was thrown into the water, but swam to safety, got a gun and began firing at the Japanese planes.

Later, he served on the USS Opportune, USS Allagash, USS Luiseno and the USS Muna Kea.  He also served during the KoreanWar, and retired from the Navy in 1964.

He was born November 21, 1924 and enlisted March 11, 1940.

--GreGen

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pearl Harbor Survivor Al Taylor Was a Reluctant Hero

From the January 19,2017, Quad-City (Iowa) Dispatch by John Marx.

Alvis "Al" Taylor died earlier this week at age 93 on January 16, 2017.

In 2013, there were three Pearl Harbor survivors in the Quad-City area: Eldon Baxter, Al Taylor and Bob Cewe.  Bob Cewe died in 2014.

Mr. Taylor was an Army medic at Schofield Barracks and 18 years old in the attack.  He guided ambulances to pick up wounded soldiers and non-survivors, working 48-straight hours non-stop.  Also, he helped a physician who specialized in traumatic head injuries.  he proudly said that the nineteen soldiers he assisted all lived.

"There was no break.  You just did what you needed to do," he recalled.

Another of the Greatest.  --GreGen

Friday, April 14, 2017

Death of Another Pearl Harbor Veteran: Maxwell Burggraaf

From the January 17, 2017, Fox 13 Salt Lake City, Utah "Man speaks after his father, a Pearl Harbor survivor, dies at 98."

Maxwell Burggraad, 98, died.

He was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy for nearly a decade and a chief electrician's mate on the USS Nevada when the harbor was attacked.  He was born in Ottumwa, Iowa.

On December 7, 1941, he got up early and caught a street car to Waikiki for a priesthood meeting.  Upon arrival there, he was told that all servicemen were to report back to their stations immediately.

He remembers seeing the smoke and fires as he approached the harbor.  He arrived back at his ship,  the USS Nevada, just before it made its dash out of the harbor.

After the action, he found out that his cabin had been destroyed.  The sailor who had taken his place while he was on leave was killed.

The Greatest Generation.  --GreGen

Looking Back to 1942: Use Those Gas Rationing Coupons... Or Lose Them!!

From the January 25, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The valid period for coupon three in the Mileage Ration book will expire at midnight tonight for the "A" books.  It is expected that all who have any of these coupons remaining will have used them by this evening, for they will become worthless after tomorrow."

Gas Up, Folks!!  --GreGen

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Shovel Your Sidewalks

From the January 25, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Several weeks ago an appeal was made to the residents of this city to keep their sidewalks clear of snow.  The answer to that appeal has been most gratifying but there are still a dew who have failed to cooperate.

"Since the advent of gas rationing, many more are forced to walk and it will be a great help to these pedestrians if the residents keep their walks shoveled.  Many are forced to walk to their work and most of them leave for work while it is still dark.'

Shovel for Victory.  --GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Being Poor and Interracial Activity

March 31, 2017  TOY STORY: 1943:  July 1943.  Washington, D.C.  "A child whose home is in an alley dwelling near the U.S. Capitol."  Esther Bubley, OWI.  A black child sitting in a pile of debris.

Being poor did not take a vacation during the war.  Sad to have such squalor so close to the Capitol.

March 31, 2017:  SPLINT IN A TENT: 1943:  August 1943.  Southfields, New York.  "Interracial activities at Camp Nathan Hale where children are aided by the Methodist Camp Service.  First aid."  By Gordon Parks, OWI.

White and black boys in a tent where the black boy is putting on a splint or bandage on the white boy.

--GreGen

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hoping That New Orleans Will Not Be Taking Down the Confederate Statues

I expect the city will do just that and soon.  This would be too bad, as I really like this town with Bourbon Street and all that great music and food.  I would also like to go to the National World War II Museum which I have been writing about a great project they are undertaking.

However, if those statues come down, I might have to show my displeasure at the horrible thing they have done to my heritage by organizing my own little boycott.  Now, I know that just one person counts for little in the grand scheme of things, but it would be something I would have to do.

My Civil War Round Table group is planning a trip there in a few months to look at sites, but I haven't signed up for it while waiting to see what the city does.

I Really Don't Want to Have to Boycott New Orleans.  --GreGen

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A USS Oklahoma Hero Comes Home

From the April 8, 2017, Albert Lea (Minnesota) Tribune "A hero comes home" by Colleen Harrison.

Glaydon Iverson of Emmons boarded the USS Oklahoma on September 11, 1941, in San Francisco.  He had recently been home on furlough with his parents and family.

After December 7, 1941, his parents, Edwina and Anna received two telegrams from the War Department.  The first said that he hadn't been located and the second that his remains had not been found and was presumed dead.

He was the first casualty of the war from the county.

But, recently, the remains of the Oklahoma's unknowns have been dug up and DNA testing has led to the identification of many, including Mr. Iverson.

He will have a funeral on May 27 with full military honors and will be buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery.

--GreGen