Thursday, December 31, 2015

Draft Hits DeKalb County, Illinois December 1940-- Part 1

From the Dec. 29, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."

December 1940, 75 years ago.

"Reuel Hovland of Waterman, Clyde Mischler of Pierce, Wilbur Matson of DeKalb and Robert Blair of Claire were the first four draftees to be called from DeKalb County in the first peace time draft in the history of the county."

Getting Ready for War.  --GreGen

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Dinner for the 101st Infantry Battalion, HQ Company

From the History Rat site.

Yesterday, we saw what the president was eating for Christmas dinner.  Today, we take a look at what the lower officers and enlisted men were having.

Blue Point Oysters
Celery, Olives
Cream of green Peas
Mock Turtle Soup
Lobster American Style
Roast Turkey With Stuffing
Cranberry sauce
Giblet gravy
Fresh Stringbeans
Baked Squash
Mashed White Potatoes
Green Salad, Dressing
Plum Pudding With Rum sauce
Mince Pie, Pumpkin Pie
Vanilla Ice Cream
Coffee, Nuts, Dates, Raisins, Figs
Cider

Not Bad.  I'm Sure a Bit Nicer than the Soldiers Had at Bastogne.  --GreGen

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Dinner at the White House

From the History Rat site.

Unfortunately, no date given.

WHITE HOUSE MENU

Clear Soup With Sherry (not sure what clear soup is)
Celery, Assorted Olives
Thin Toast
Roast Turkey, Chestnut Dressing, Sausage
Giblet Gravy
Beans
Cauliflower
Casserole of Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry Jelly
Rolls
Grapefruit Salad and Cheese Crescents
Plum Pudding and Hard Sauce  (not sure about the sauce either)
Ice Cream and Cake
Coffee
Salted Nuts and Assorted BonBons

Kind of Like My T-Giving Dinner This Year.  --GreGen

Monday, December 28, 2015

World War II and Christmas: Transforming Traditions-- Part 2: Songs and Santa

SONGS--  Many of our favorite songs like "White Christmas,"  "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas" also come from the war.

SANTA--  The look of Santa Claus changed.  Prior to the war, he had more of a European look.  But during the war he took on more of an American persona.

--GreGen

Saturday, December 26, 2015

World War II and Christmas: Transforming Traditions-- Part 1

From the History Rat site.  I found this of interest.

Many of today's Christmas traditions came into being as a result of the war.

EARLY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING which came about because of the need of shipping items overseas to American troops.  The precursor to Black Friday.

GLASS ORNAMENTS--  Before the war many were made in Japan and Germany.  Of course, these supplies soon dried up and Corning Glass Company in New York transormed their light bulb machines to making glass ornaments.

RIBBONS AND BOWS  They changed their makeup because of shortages.

ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREES  Trees and lumber were needed for the war effort.

--GreGen

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Christmas Bombing Over Germany

From War Tales site  "He was a tail gunner in a B-24 over Germany on Christmas" by Don Moore.

Stanley Niemczura of Gardens of Gulf Cove was a tail gunner in a B-24 Liberator in the 15th Air Force.

On December 25, 2015, he and the nine other members of his crew joined a couple hundred other B-24s to stage a raid on Drux, Germany.  (I was unable to find a Drux, Germany, but one source mentioned the name along with Munich.  Perhaps it is part of that city?)

Instead, they ended up bombing Villach, a railroad marshaling yard.  (I was also unable to find this city).

The bombers made two runs over the site before dropping their bombs but missed it by about two miles.  Most of the bombs landed in a farmer's field and house.

Because it was overcast at their home base, they ended up landing at Foggia, Italy, and hedgehopped their way back to home base at Cerignola, Italy.

Once back, the mess halls had to reopen so they could have their Christmas dinner.  They finally got to eat their turkey at 1900 hours   Mr. Niemczura remembered, "Everybody was PO-ed."

He eventually flew 26 missions and was almost shot down on several occasions.  His crew was one of the first to be shipped back home upon germany's surrender because they were amongthe first deployed.

--GreGen

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Some Bizarre World War II Plans-- Part 1: Dying the River Yellow and Nazi Gold

From the March 8, 2014, Listverse "10 Totally Bizarre Plans to Win Wars" by Marc V.

Several dealt with World War II.

10.  The OSS almost dyed an entire river yellow.

In Burma, people believed that if their largest river, the Irrawaddy, turned yellow it would mean the end of foreign rule.  It was hoped that dying it would cause locals to rise up against the Japanese forces occupying their country.

However, a test run on the yellow dye failed and the idea was scrapped.

6.  The Nazis attempted to make gold

Before World War II word got out that substances found under the Izar River in Munich could be made into gold.  Karl Malchus conned SS leader Heinrich Himmler into believing it.

--GreGen

Teachers in Iowa Honor Pearl Harbor Veteran

From the March 2, 2014, Omaha World-Herald "Teachers to honor vet who shares Pearl Harbor story with students" by Andrew  J. nelson.

Coon rapids, Iowa:  Clarence Pfundheller, 93 of Greenfield, Iowa, has spent thirty years telling local schoolkids about that day.

In April the Iowa State Education will award him the Friend of Education Award recognizing all of those years.

Mr. Pfundheller was on the USS Maryland and had just eaten breakfast and was preparing to swab the deck when the attack came.  He was gun captain of a 5-inch anti-aircraft gun which fired a 75-pound, 3-foot-long shell designed to explode and spread shrapnel but the Japanese were too close to have much success.  The Maryland was able to shoot one plane down.

After Pearl harbor, he fought in the Pacific Theater.

--GreGen

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Volunteers Building a Vintage B-17 Bomber in Ohio

From the  March 2, 2014, Register Guard "Museum volunteers building vintage WWII plane" by Mitch Stacy.

Urbana, Ohio.

One part was found under an elderly woman's front porch and another part was hanging in a Colorado bar after it had been a prop for a 1960s TV show.  The tail section was salvaged from a wreck deep in the Alaska wilderness.

None have been built in nearly 70 years, that is, until now.

Volunteers at the Champaign Aviation Museum will buy or barter for parts and even build parts if necessary, but they intend to build a B-17 bomber they call the "Champaign Lady."

Completion is years away, but even now, it has the familiar lines of one of the famous World War   II bombers being built in a hangar.  It is 74 feet long and has four engines.

Volunteer Frank Drain designed the nose art which features a leggy 40s pinup girl against an outline of Ohio.

More than 12,700 B-17s were built.  There are around 40 left in the world and of those, fewer than a dozen are in flying condition.

The volunteers are designing the "Champaign Lady" so that it will fly.  The initial parts are from five different planes and about  100 volunteers are working on it.

Go "Champaign Lady."  --GreGen

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Death of Heroine Jacqueline Morgan in 2014

From the March 1, 2014, KTRE 9 TV "East Texas WWII heroine Jacqueline Morgan dies" by Francesco Washington.

Jacqueline Morgan, 94, died in Lufkin, Texas.  She was one of 1,174 WASPs (Women Air Force Service Pilots."  She joined in 1943 and towed targets for anti-aircraft practice, mostly flying  AT6s and BT-13s.

She joined because an older brother, already in the military, had been killed in a training accident.

WASPs were considered civilians and their records were classified for 35 years and were not offered military status until 1977.

In 2009, the group received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award.  they also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

--GreGen

World War II

From the Feb. 20, 2014, Fort Hood (Tx) Sentinel "World War II in America, Asia, Pacific: Part 2" by Eric Rogers.

Fredericksburg, Texas, has the National  Museum of the Pacific War and the Admiral Nimitz Museum in the historic Nimitz Hotel.

**  Iwo Jima Flagraising-- Three of the six were dead a month later.

**  Sullivsan Brothers--  Five brothers died on the USS Juneau when it was sunk in 1942.

**  Life-sized replica of the "Fat Man: atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945.

**  An actual rusted orange door from the USS Arizona with visible lines from fuel oil floating in the harbor and an egg-shaped hole cut by divers searching for survivors.

--GreGen


Monday, December 21, 2015

Veteran Reunited with His Lost D-Day Helmet

From the Feb. 20, 2014, Canada TV News Atlantic "Second World War veteran reunited with lost D-Day helmet."

Nearly seventy years ago, George Johnston, a member of the North Shore Regiment's "B" Company, was one of thousands of Canadians storming Juno Beach in Normandy on June 6, 1944, D-Day.  His helmet got bent during the battle and it was replaced with a new one.  After the war, he lost it.

On Tuesday, the phone at his Norton, New Brunswick home, rang.  After some questions, a woman said somebody had it and wanted to return it.  Jordan Chaisson had bought it at an Army surplus store in Monkton and saw the Army ID 22694 and used that number to track George Johnston down.

--GreGen

Back in 2014, Battleship North Carolina Gets State Help

From the Jan. 21, 20143, Raleigh (NC) News & Observer "Battleship North Carolina getting state help" by AP

The USS North Carolina will be receiving $500,000 from the state repair fund to repair the hull which has been stationary in the Cape Fear River opposite Wilmington since 1962.

In 2009, the U.S. Navy reported that the battleship was in serious need of being drydocked for repairs.

--GreGen

Saturday, December 19, 2015

World War II U.S. Numbers

From the June 5, 2013, CNN U.S. "By the numbers:  U.S. war veterans."

I am doing this for all U.S. wars in my Cooter's History Thing Blog right now.

WORLD WAR II (1941-1945)

Total in Service:  16,112,566

Casualties:  Dead--  405,399 (291,557 in battle)   Wounded--  670,846

Estimated Living (as of June 2013):  1,711,050

--GreGen

Friday, December 18, 2015

D-Day Research an Emotional Journey-- Part 4

When Brunson and Holtgrieve arrived in Normandy, France, they walked on Omaha and Utah beaches and then went to the American Cemetery so that each student could visit the final resting spot of their soldier.  When it was Brunson's turn, she carefully washed Eugene Mlot's marker with a bucket of sand and water carried from Omaha Beach, stuck small American and French flags in the grass and left a letter to Mlot under a rose.

Then, she stood behind the grave and thought about the man who had never returned to Milwaukee and had not gotten to celebrate even his 21st birthday.  She paid the ultimate tribute to that veteran from so long ago.  She remembered him.

This is an excellent way to get today's youth to connect with history.

--GreGen

D-Day Research an Emotional Journey-- Part 3: Eugen Mlot's Dogtags

Julia Brunson used census records and documents from the Milwaukee Public Library and Milwaukee County Historical Society to put together his story.

Eugen Mlot worked as an electrician, shipping clerk and milliner before he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in April 1942.  Bruner did not know what a milliner was (neither did I) and had to look up the occupation, finding that Mlot made hats.

Brunson kept a journal, blogged and updated her teacher during this.

Her initial research led to several dead ends, but once she discovered that his unit was the 328th Bomb squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group, she found the name of the Victory Belle's pilot and then could track Mlot's missions.

In Washington, D,\.C., she found flight log books and handwritten maps of Victory Belle bombing missions.

Then, she hit the jackpot.  A researcher told Brunson she could see Mlot's dogtags, which had been taken to Berlin by the German troops, was found by American troops at the end of the war, and were stored in the National Archives.

--GreGen

Thursday, December 17, 2015

D-Day Research an Emotional Journey-- Part 2: Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute

That program Maggie Holtgrieve applied for was  the "Normandy"  Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small  Student and Teacher Institute," which chooses 15 students across the country to research a military member who lost his life in the Allied invasion of France.

The program, sponsored by real estate developer and philanthropist Albert Small, paid for Julia Brunson and Maggie Holtgrieve to travel to Washington, D.C., for research at the National Archives and then to France to visit the cemetery and D-Day beaches.  Last summer the program was filmed by PBS.

Brunson started with a long list of Wisconsin names buried in France and was intrigued by Mlot's name.

She found out Eugen Mlot  was raised in Milwaukee's southside by a poor mother who emigrated from Poland.

--GreGen

D-Day Research an Emotional Journey-- Part 1: Eugen Mlot

From the Nov. 19, 2015, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Meg Jones.

"Before the B-24 bomber nicknamed Victory Belle crashed into Nazi-occupied France shortly after the D-Day invasion, several parachutes were seen as frantic crew members tumbled to safety from the flaming aircraft.

"Nose gunner Eugene Mlot was not among the lucky.  His remains stayed inside the plane until German troops removed the Milwaukee man's dog tags and buried him in a nearby cemetery.  A year later, Mlot was reinterred in the bucolic American cemetery overlooking the sea where thousands of men lost their lives on Omaha Beach."

There was probably no memorial service for him.  He was survived by his mother in Milwaukee who spoke only Polish and an older sister who worked as a hairdresser.

More than seven decades later, a 17-year-old girl walked up to his simple white marker with his name, military unit and date of death.  That girl was Julia Brunson.  How she ended up in Normandy, France, last summer to eulogize a hero whose death wasn't even mentioned in his hometown newspaper began when her history teacher at Ronald Reagan High School, Maggie Holtgrieve, applied to a unique program.

--GreGen

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Death of California Pearl Harbor Survivor Warren Taylor, 95

From the Dec. 15, 2015, Davis (Cal.) Enterprise "Legal community mourns loss of retired judge, Pearl Harbor survivor" by Lauren Keene.

Judge Warren Taylor, 95 spent 21 years on the Superior Court bench in Yolo County, California.

He died December 6, 2015,, one day before the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  That day, he was on the USS Sumner.  Mr. Taylor remembered: "Everything I could see was exploding, shrapnel was falling on the harbor like rain, the harbor was covered by oil, some of it on fire.

"I was knocked on the deck numerous times, and at 8:03 a.m., when we shot down a Japanese torpedo plane, preparing to lay its torpedo about 200 yards off our fantail, I thought the Sumner was going to capsize from the explosion."

Warren Earl Taylor was born June 7, 1920, in Independence, Iowa.  His family moved to Ventura County, California and he graduated from UC-Berkeley in 1941.  He served in the Navy until 1944.

--GreGen


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December 2015 Military Posters Calendar: Dish It Out With the Navy!

From the Smithsonian calendar.

"Dish It Out With the Navy!  Choose Now While You Can...U.S. Navy"

The poster shows a five man crew manning an open deck gun.  Two are wearing helmets.A very muscular swabbie is shirtless and cradling a huge shell he is about to put into the breech of the barrel as the gun fires off a shot.

McClelland Barclay, 1942.

"Poster artist McClelland Barclay served in the U.S. Navy in the War Arts Corps during World War II drawing navy recruitment posters.  In July 1943 the Navy reported Barclay missing when the ship he was in was torpedoed."

Just In Time to recruit After Pearl Harbor.  --GreGen

Monday, December 14, 2015

Pearl Harbor Survivor Wetzel Sanders, 92: "He's Been Dead for Two, Three Minutes"

From the Voice Herald "Oswego pays tribute to victims and survivors of Pearl Harbor attack."

Wetzel Sanders, 92, is one of approximately ten Pearl Harbor survivors still alive in West Virginia.

He says, "Every two or three days I think of something that happened to me or something to my buddies."

In 1970, former governor Arch Moore honored Pearl Harbor survivors with special license plates.  At the time there were still 137 alive.

"We were shooting this one plane.  It come down and I believe it tried to hit the hospital to kill us, as many as they could, but when he crashed, he missed the top of the hospital and crashed into an empty house.

"Me and two of my buddies run around and it cut him in two right at the bottom of his ribs.  He kicked him in the mouth laying there and I said, 'I don't think you need to do that.  He's been dead for two, three minutes.'"  he said with a lauch.

--GreGen

Pearl Harbor 74 Years Later

From various Sources.

**  Seven Pearl Harbor survivors were honored aboard the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.

**  Dunham Porcari is a 94-year-old survivor on the USS Phoenix.

**  There were 23 sets of brothers killed on the USS Arizona, out of 37 confirmed pairs.

**  The Arizona also had  a father-son pair, Thomas Augusta Free and his son William Thomas Free.  Bioth were also killed.

**  The entire 21-member USS Arizona band were also killed.

**  Another still-living Pearl Harbor veteran is Paul Wasniewski, 96.

--GreGen


Saturday, December 12, 2015

USS Tennessee Survivor, Adolph Hengl, Remembers-- Part 2: Looking for His Brother

Even more important to Adolph Hengl was finding his younger brother, Virgil, who was also serving on the USS Tennessee.

Mr. Hengl continued, "Unknown to me Virgil had gone aboard the USS West Virginia (moored alongside the Tennessee) to make plans with a friend he'd gone to high school with.  I couldn't find him for the longest time,

"I finally  saw him coming across the gang plank back to the Tennessee.

"The West Virginia was starting to go over, but they sank it straight down so it could be salvaged."

December 26, 2015, will be Adolph Hengl's 99th birthday and he is believed to be the oldest living Pearl Harbor battleship survivor.

--GreGen

USS Tennessee Survivor, Adolph Hengl, Remembers-- Part 1: "Get a Hose!"

From the December 10, 2015, Livermore (Calif.) Independent "Survivor Recalls the attack on Pearl Harbor" by Carol Graham.

Adolph Hengl, 98, was the aircraft maintenance officer on the battleship USS Tennessee at Pearl Harbor that day.

"I couldn't see what was happening outside.  When there seemed to be a lull, I came out of the compartment and stepped onto the quarterdeck to see what was going on.  A bomb hit and sent me back through the door, slamming me into a metal wall.

"I stood up and saw tiny fires all over the linoleum floor.  I wasn't hurt, although I guess I might have been out momentarily.

""Then men came running and said, 'Boy, oh boy, you did a pop!'  I hollered at them, 'Get a hose and let's put these fires out.'"

--GreGen

Friday, December 11, 2015

Nebraskan Sailor Haunted By Burned Sailors at Pearl Harbor-- Part 2

Melvin "Bud" Kennedy was at the Battles of Midway, Coral Sea and took supplies to embattled Marines on Guadalcanal.

In 1944, his ship, the USS Clark, escorted a convoy of ships from New York to Londonderry, Northern Ireland.  Mr. Kennedy said there were 800 ships in it and that "There were ships as far as the eye could see."

Soon after that, he was in a convoy to Cherbourg, France after the Allies had captured.  He said "there was nothing left of the harbor but piles of rubble."

At the end of the war, the Clark was 100 miles north of Australia and he and his friends celebrated its conclusion in Sydney.

--GreGen

Nebraskan Sailor Helped Rescue Pearl Harbor Men in the Water-- Part 1

From the December 9, 2015, Omaha.com "Nebraskan, 92, who helped rescue Pearl harbor survivors is haunted by memory of sailors drowning in oil" by Jeff Bahr.

Melvin "Bud" Kennedy found himself on a forty-foot launch that fateful day along with three others.  It became their mission all day and into the night when it was too dark to continue to rescue as many from the burning and oily water as possible.  He remembered that by then "we were just black as tar."

Veteran of six years in the Navy, Mr. Kennedy enlisted in Omaha in 1940 and was discharged in Philadelphia in November 1946.  He served on the repair ship USS Regal and the destroyer USS Clark during the war.

Actually, the actual name of his first ship is the USS Rigel and it was a destroyer tender.The ship was at Pearl Harbor that day but without armament as it was being converted to a destroyer tender.  It received slight damage.  The Clark wasn't.

Much of his duty was with lifeboats, but his battle station was one of a four-man crew on a four-barrel 37 mm anti-aircraft gun in front of the Clark;s bridge.  His station consisted of a trainer (who aimed the gun) , two loaders and he was the pointer.

--GreGen

Thursday, December 10, 2015

North Texas Pearl Harbor Survivors Mark Anniversary

From the Dec. 8, 2015, Dallas Morning News.

A ceremony was held at the Dallas Veterans resource Center.  These three survivors attended:

Robert Tanner, 94, an Army Air Corps pilot stationed at Hickam Field.

John Edward Lowe, 95, on the fleet oiler USS Neosho.

William Hughes, 94, USS Utah

--GreGen


"Man, This Is Not a Drill" Pearl Harbor Survivor Remembers the Attack

From the Orange County (California) Register by Scott Bosco.

Howard Bender, 93, was on the USS Maryland that day.

"There was this plane coming around with this big meatball on it.  I saw (bombers) going up and some guy's shoes going through the air.  I just thought, 'Man, this is not a drill.'"

His worst memory was watching the crew of the USS Oklahoma burning to death in the water.

--GreGen

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

U.S. Declaration of War Against Japan, December 8, 1941-- Part 3: The Actual Declaration

"JOINT RESOLUTION Declaring that a state of war exists between the imperial government of Japan and the Government and People of the United States and making provisions to prosecute the same.

"Whereas the imperial government of Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and people of the United States of America.

"Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is formerly declared, and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan, and, to bring the conflict to a successful i, all the resources of this country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States."

War on Gerrnany and Italy was declared on December 11, 1941.

--GreGen

U.S. Declaration of War Against Japan, December 8, 1941-- Part 2

The Joint Session of Congress began at 12:30 p.m. on December 8.  President Roosevelt delivered his famous "Day of Infamy" speech.  Then the War Declaration quickly passed in the Senate by an 82-0 vote and then the same happened in the House of Representatives by a 388-1 vote.

Jeannette Rankin, a noted pacifist, was the only nay vote.  Hers is a really interesting story in itself.

President Roosevelt signed the declaration of war at 4:10 p.m. the same day.

--GreGen

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

U.S. Declaration of War Against Japan, December 8, 1941-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

On December 8, 1941, the U.S. Congress passed this an hour after FDR's Day of Infamy speech.  Immediately following our declaration of war against Japan, its allies, Germany and Italy declared war against us.  Japan had already declared war on the United States the day before.

The Japanese declaration was supposed to be delivered thirty minutes before the attack on Pearl Harbor, but the 5,000-word notification  (known as the "14-Point Message") transmitted to the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C., had to be transcribed which took too long to deliver it in time.

The United Kingdom had declared war on Japan nine hours earlier due to attacks on Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

--GreGen

The Japanese Declaration of War on the United States

From Wikipedia.

Largely forgotten in the day of the attack and following was the Japanese Declaration of War on the United States.  Many felt the attack on pearl harbor pretty well announced it.  But this is the formal declaration as delivered through diplomatic channels.

'We, by the grace of heaven, Emperor of Japan, seated on the Throne of a line unbroken for ages eternal, enjou upon ye, Our loyal and brave subjects:

"We hereby declare a war on the United States of America and the British Empire.  The men and officers of Our army and navy shall do their utmost in prosecuting the war.  Our public servants of various departments shall perform faithfully and diligently the appointed tasks, and all other subjects of Ours shall pursue their respective duties; the entire nation with a united will shall mobilize their total strength so that nothing will miscarry in the attainment of our war aims."

It went on for a long further, but a big reason for the declaration was "To insure the stability of East Asia and to contribute to world peace."  It also mentioned the American support of the Chinese government in Chungking as a reason as well as" economic and military pressure against Our Empire."

"The 8th day of the 12th month of the 16th year of Showa."

--GreGen

Monday, December 7, 2015

USS Arizona Survivors Meet Again-- Part 2: Ship Outline at University of Arizona

However, at the banquet last year, the four survivors who attended decided that they would continue to meet as long as they were able.

Both Mr. Hand Mr. Bruner used wheel chairs to get around, but stood when the colors were posted and shook hands with everyone who approached them.

The University of Arizona has a concrete area on its central campus with the outline of the USS Arizona.  At intervals there are medallions with the names of the sailors and Marines who died aboard the ship.

USS Arizona Survivors Meet Again to Commemorate Their Ship-- Part 1: "The Reunion That Wasn't Supposed to Be"

From the December 7, 2015, AZ Central "USS Arizona survivors meet again and ring their old ship's bell" by Shaun McKinnon, The Republic.

Two of the remaining USS Arizona survivors met in Tucson for "the reunion that wasn't supposed to be."  The Survivors of the ship have in the past met every December in either Pearl Harbor or Tucson but decided last year in Hawaii that that reunion would be the last one.  Back then there were just nine survivors, most in their nineties, and many unable to travel due to afflictions.

The two were Lauren Bruner of La Mirada, California and Claire Hetrick of Las Vegas.

The names of crew members who died that day were read as well as the names of eight Arizonans who died

The two men pulled on a rope to ring their ship's bell.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

USS DeKalb County LST-715-- Part 2: Korean War

It was reacquired by the US Navy for the Korean War 25 July 1950 and participated in the North Korean Aggression, Communist China Aggression, Inchon landing, U.S. Counter Offensive, second Korean Winter and Korean Defense.

It earned a total of eight battle stars during its career: two in World War II and six during the Korean War.

It was transferred to the Military Transportation Service in 1965 and was later part of the National defense reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, California.

The DeKalb County was sold in 1984 for scrapping.

A Ship With a Long career.  --GreGen

USS DeKalb County, LST-715-- Part 1

The ship was named after the DeKalb County located in six different U.S. states, including Illinois.  Most LSTs, Landing Ship tanks, were not given names.

It was laid down 7 June 1944, at Jeffersonville, Indiana, by the Jeffersonville Boat & Machine Company and launched 20 July 1944 (in 43 days).  Commissioning took place 15 August 1944.

Assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater, the ship was at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  It performed Occupation duty until September 1945 and was decommissioned 17 April 1946 in the Philippines and transferred to the U.S. Army on 28 June 1946 where it was commissioned USAT LST-715.

--GreGen

Current Photos of Abandoned Second World War Fortifications

From the October 20, 2015, Daily mail "Photographs capture eerie image of abandoned Second World War fortifications slowly reclaimed by nature" by Mark Duell.

The photographs are by Marc Wilson who traveled 23,000 miles across 142 locations to put in his new 170-page book.

A lot of the pictyres are in the article.
Interesting Pictures.  GreGen

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ann Gilmore Tamny, Wife of Pearl Harbor Survivor, Dies

From the December 2, 2015, Raleigh (NC) News  & Observer.

Ann Gillmore Tamny died Nov. 28, 2015, in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

She was born in 1921 in New York and moved at an early age to California.  She attended the University of California at Berkeley at age 16, but left after just one year after meeting the love of her life, Ensign Lewis David Tamny.  They were wed in 1939.

An early duty station for him was Pearl Harbor where he was assigned to duty on the USS West Virginia and he was aboard it when Japan attacked.  He survived the attack but earned a Purple Heart

Ann had awakened early to pack a picnic lunch for their young son and heard the Japanese planes flying in for the attack.  It took her two days to find out if her Lewis was alive.

She will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next to her husband of 42 years.

I usually write about the deaths of the men, but their wives stories are just as poignant.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ace and Guadalcanal Hero "Fritz" Payne Dies at 104-- Part 2

Museum director Fred Bell said,  "Fritz came along at a time when we were essentially losing the war,: adding that he and others, "stood their ground at Guadalcanal."  The battle was one of the turning points of the war in the Pacific.

For his service, Fritz received the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and other medals during a long military career.

Earlier this year, Congress decided to honor all of the nation's fighter aces with a Gold Medal, Fritz was too frail to attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C., and Rep. Paul Ruiz brought it to him at the museum.

The title fighter ace is reserved for those who have shot down at least five enemy aircraft in battle.  Technically, Payne was awarded 5 1/2 kills as another pilot helped him down one plane.

--GreGen

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ace and Guadalcanal Hero "Fritz" Payne Dies at 104-- Part 1

From the August 20, 205, Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus by AP.

Payne Shot Down Six Planes During Bloody Battle.

Frederick R. "Fritz Payne, a World War II fighter ace who left his mark by shooting down six Japanese warplanes during the Battle of Guadalcanal which helped change the course of the war in the Pacific has died.

The retired Marine Corps brigadier general died August 6th.  He was honored  last Memorial Day at the Palm Springs Air Museum.

Between September and October 1942 he took to the skies in his F4F Wildcat and shot down four Japanese bombers and two fighters.

--GreGen

Goldsboro, N.C., USO Club-- Part 3: After the War

After the surrender of Japan in 1945, Seymour Johnson Filed became a separation center for returning personnel and by January the personnel were so reduced that the USO club closed, bur since their were rumors that the base might reopen, the lease was not given up then.

In January 1947, the building was formerly turned back to the Woman's Club.  The furniture and equipment used by the USO were sold to the club for $1,000.  Later the USO gave a cash settlement that was used to pay off the last $5,000 of the twenty year mortgage on the building.

In 1986, the Woman's Club turned the building over to the Wayne County Historical Society and today it continues as the Wayne County Museum.

--GreGen