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