Thursday, March 31, 2016

Shorpy Home Front Photos: 1942, Careful With Those Butts!!

JUNE 19, 2014, ENNIS THE MENACE: 1942.

September 1942.  "Civilian defense.  Fire protection.  The careless smoker causes more fires each year than any other person in the country.  he is to blame for 87,000 separate 1941 fires, which resulted in the loss of many lives and destruction of 14 million dollars of property.

"Whether he falls asleep with a lighted smoke or is careless in the deposit of burning cigars, cigarettes , or matches, he is always a menace."  OWI.

Photo of a man asleep on a couch holding a lit cigarette on a newspaper.  He is about to drop it.

Smokey the Bear Would Be So mad at Him.  --GreGen


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Making Parachutes

JUNE 19, 2014  PIONEER PARACHUTE: 1942:

August 1942.  "Production.  Parachute making.  As these two girls thread shroud cords through the material, these yards of silk become more recognizable as one of the parachutes turned out by this eastern plant.  Pioneer Parachute Co., Manchester, Ct."  William Ritasse, OWI.

COMMENT:  The company became Pioneer Aerospace Corporation and in 1988 was purchased by Zodiac Parachute and Protection and still makes parachutes and aerial delivery systems.

COMMENT:  Manchester was a major center of silk production for over a century.  It is nicknamed "Silk City."  The first silk factory opened in 1804.  It had been in decline during the years preceding World War II, but the war gave it a great boost.

--GreGen


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Gary Rossi in 2015

From the April 19, 2015, Stow (Ohio) Sentry  "Stow school crossing guard and Pearl Harbor survivor mourned as a 'great guy'" by Jeff Saunders.

Gary Rossi, 93, of Talmadge, a school crossing guard since the 1980s and Army veteran died April 10, 2015.  When the attack started, he was in the mess hall having breakfast and planning on going to church when he heard an explosion.  he and a group of men ran outside and heard explosions at Wheeler Air Base, about a mile away.

In early 1942, he was sent to Guadalcanal, but saw no other action after that.  He returned to the United states in 1944 and served in Missouri for the rest of the war.

--GreGen

Monday, March 28, 2016

Another Barrien County Pearl Harbor Death: George E. Jones on USS Downes

I was unable to find out much information on George Edwin Jones who was a Petty Officer 3rd Class, Radio man Third Class on the destroyer USS Downes (DD-375) during the attack.  There is a famous picture of the wrecked destroyers Downes and Cassin in the drydock with the battleship USS Pennsylvania after the attack.

There were 142 enlisted and 5 officers aboard during the attack.  Twelve of them died, including Mr. Jones.

His grave is at Riverview Cemetery in St. Joseph in Barrien County, Michigan. and his marker reads "First soldier/sailor from Barrien County killed in World War II.  Pearl Harbor."

--GreGen


Michigan's Barrien County's Pearl Harbor Surivors-- Part 3: Louis E. Harris and Wesley Graham of the USS Oklahoma

From Find-A-Grave.

Wesley Ernest Graham  and Louis E. Harris were on the USS Oklahoma that day.

From the Benton Harbor, Michigan News-Palladium, February 16, 1942.

"TWO B.H. BOYS LISTED AMONG DEAD IN PEARL HARBOR RAID."

Louis E. Harris, Jr., 21 and Wesley Graham, 21.  A telegram was sent to Mr. Louis E. Harris, Sr, saying his son, a musician on the Oklahoma "after and exhaustive search" had been "officially declared to have lost his life in the service of his country."

Wesley Graham's father also received a similar telegram.  His son had been a seaman first class on the Oklahoma..  Wesley Graham's younger brother, Ernest O. Graham had also been on the Oklahoma but had been transferred before the attack and was recently home on a ten-day furlough.  Wesley had enlisted in 1940.

Both Graham and Harris had been trained at Great Lakes Naval Station in North Chicago, Illinois.

Their unknown remains were buried at Hawaii's Honolulu memorial Cemetery in the Punchbowl.

here's hoping that their remains will be identified now that all of the Oklahoma's unknowns have been dug up for DNA testing.

--GreGen


Friday, March 25, 2016

Michigan's Barrien County's Pearl Harbor Survivors-- Part 2

I found out that Don Alsbro is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army and president of a veterans organization called Lest We Forget.  I wasn't able to find out about him at Pearl Harbor.

There was an article from the Dec. 4, 2006, Berrien County, Michigan Herald Palladium about another survivor, William Wenger, 82 at the time, who was going to make his third and final trip back for the 65th anniversary commemoration.

He was on the destroyer USS Hull and said he was seventeen at the time of the attack and weighed 120 pounds soaking wet.

--GreGen

Michigan's Barrien County at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941-- Part 1

There are still two Pearl Harbor survivors living after the death of Robert Flaherty earlier this month.  They are Don Alsbro and John DeFields

John DeFields was on the destroyer USS Shaw that day.  There is a photograph of a huge explosion taking place on that ship.  He was hit by shrapnel by one of three bombs that tore the ship apart.  He remembers: "I was going to take the ammunition belt off and jump ship.  I looked down and I was all sticky.  I had a hole in my gut and my heart came up into my mouth."

He swam to safety.

I also went through a long list of Barrien County men who died in the war and found that three of them met their deaths at Pearl Harbor:

Wesley E. Graham
Louis E. Harris, Jr.
George Jones  on the USS Downes

--GreGen

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pearl Harbor Survivor Robert "Bob" Flaherty Dies

From the March 22, 2016, St. Joseph-Benton Harbor (Mich.) Herald Palladium "Pearl Harbor survivor, longtime mayor dies" by John Matuszak.

Robert "Bob" Flaherty, 96, one of Barrien County's last Pearl Harbor survivors died March 17, 2016.  he was mayor of Watervliet for 18 years.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1940 and shipped to Pearl Harbor in February 1941, serving on the USS New Orleans and escaped injury in the attack.  In 1942, he was forward gunner on the destroyer USS Laffey off Guadalcanal when it was sunk with much loss.  Uninjured, he drifted in the ocean for five hours before being rescued.

At the end of the war he was stationed in Miami training to pilot landing for the planned assault on Japan.

--GreGen

Female WASP Pilots' Fighting Arlington-- Part 4: Reasons

At the current rate of about 160 burials a week, space in Arlington National Cemetery is expected to run out by mid-2030.  There are  50,600 burial plots and 35,548 inurnment spaces left.

According to Arlington spokeswoman Jennifer Lynch, "We're looking at the cemetery as stewards.  We're running out of space."  She said that the job done by the WASPs was commendable, but "it does not reach the level of inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery."

Elaine Harmon's family argues that point.  there are about 100 WASP pilots still alive though not all want to be buried there.  So, they're not going to fill it up.

Representative Jeff Denham, R-Calif., says that if the issue is space, more space should be found at the cemetery.  The military shouldn't "pick winners and losers" in determining who should be buried there.

"They were brave pilots who served our country proudly."

WASP member Jean Landis, 97, of El Cajon, Calif., said that after fighting so long for recognition, the Army's decision leaves a bitter taste.  "A veteran is a veteran, don't you have the honor and the privilege to be buried in one of our national cemeteries?"

I am wondering if this also means they can't be buried in another national cemetery?

--GreGen


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Female WWII Pilots Fighting Arlington-- Part 3: Eligible and Then, Not Eligible

In 2002 Arlington National Cemetery's administrator said that WASPs were eligible for full military honors when being buried at Arlington and that they had been eligible since 1977.  Bit in March 2015, a month before Elaine Harmon died at age 95, Army Secretary John McHugh rescinded that decision saying that they were eligible only for burial in all cemeteries run by the VA.

However, WASPs understood they were entitled to all benefits of being veterans, including the right for a spot at Arlington.

Of the 15 WASPs interred or inurned at ANC, 15 would have been eligible for other reasons:  Some were buried with a spouse or served their country in other ways after their WASP duty.

--GreGen

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Female WWII Pilot's Kin Now Fight Arlington-- Part 2: 38 Died in Service

Ninety-seven House members have signed a bill to allow all WASP members to be inurned at Arlington and a bill has been sponsored in the Senate.

The WASPs flew more than 60 million miles domestically, test-flew and repaired military aircraft and ferried male officers around the country.  They even towed targets during live-ammunition training.

Thirty-eight died  while serving.

Congress finally granted them military and veteran status in 1977.  In 1984, they each received a World War II Victory Medal and in 2010, they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

It sure strikes me how long it took Congress to do this.

--GreGen

Female World War II Pilots Now Fight Arlington National Cemetery-- Part 1: Elaine Harmon

From the Feb. 4, 2016, Chicago Tribune by Sarah D. Wire.

The late Elaine Harmon was one of about 1,000 female pilots who served stateside during the war to free up male pilots for combat.  After the war, she helped persuade Congress to recognize the women's service and grant them veteran status and benefits.

Today, her ashes are sitting in her daughter Terri's closet in Silver Spring. Maryland, because she and other Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) have been deemed ineligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC)

The Army says that even though they are considered veterans, that doesn't entitle them for burial at the best-known National Cemetery.

A Change.org petition has been filed by the Harmon family and has so far collected over 54,000 signatures.  Legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate to overturn the Army's decision.  They want Harmon's remains to be stored in an urn in a crypt at ANC.

Something That Never Should Have Happened.  The Army Should Be Ashamed.  They Were Veterans.  --GreGen

Monday, March 21, 2016

Wilmington, N.C. in the War-- Part 2: U-boat Attack at Kure Beach

Other parts of Wilmington's role in the war can be found at The Wilmington Railroad Museum and the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science.

Wilbur D. Jones was a U.S. Navy captain who came back home in 1977 and he has a two-hour tour that he gives to showcase Wilmington's World War II sites.  He was seven when Pearl Harbor was bombed.  His father and mother were active volunteers during the war.

The first stop ion his tour is Robert Strange Park, the site of a German POW camp where about 550 members of Rommel's Afrika Korps were imprisoned.

Then they go to Fort Fisher, an old Civil War fort that saw use as as an anti-aircraft training site.  The famous Bazooka guns were tested here.

Then, it is on to U-boats at Kure Beach.  A cottage on Atlantic Avenue is believed to be the site of the only German attack on the U.S. eastern seaboard.  On a night in July 1943, a U-boat surfaced off Kure Beach in view of a couple sitting out on the cottage's front porch and fired several shells from its deck gun at the Ethyl-Dow chemical plant, 1/2 mile away where an aviation component fuel was manufactured.

The shots missed, but a few days later a German submarine was sunk about 20 miles offshore.

The final stop is at the Hannah Block Historic USO.

--GreGen

Wilmington, N.C. in the War-- Part 1: American World War II City

From the March 16, 2016, New York Times "The Battles of Wilmington, N.C.-- in World War II, That Is" by John Hanc.

Wilbur D. Jones, 81 was born in Wilmington and for the last 16 years has led an effort to recognize his city's role in the war effort and turn Wilmington into a sprawling "museum of the home front."

He wants Wilmington designated as the "American World War II City" and has worked with local legislators and testified before Congress on its behalf.

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved creating the title and bestowing it on a new city every year.

Wilmington's biggest World  War II attraction, of course, is the battleship USS North Carolina.

--GreGen


Friday, March 18, 2016

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Harold E. Leal-- Part 2

Mr. Leal's battle station was lookout on the mizzenmast of the USS Tennessee, but he was unable to get to it because of the heat and smoke from the Arizona and Est Virginia which were engulfing his ship.  Instead, he did other duties and served as needed.

He spent many hours in the sick bay moistening the gauzed wounds of burn victims.

Later in the war, he served on the oil tanker USS Cuyama as a radio operator and later on the USS Hopewell and was at the U.S. Advance Base Torokina in Bougainville, Papua, New Guinea.

Later he was an aviation machinist with the Air Transport Squadron 13 until honorably discharged from the Navy in April 1948.

--GreGen


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Harold E. Leal, USS Tennessee-- Part 1

From the March 16, 2016, Galt (California) Herald  "Family, country mourns loss of Pearl Harbor survivor."

Harold E. Leal, 92, died March 1, 2016.  service was held March 10.

On December 7, 1941, he was at Pearl Harbor on the battleship USS Tennessee on Battleship Row next to Ford Island.  Normally the Tennessee would be berthed on the outside of the USS West Virginia, but that ship was scheduled to depart before the Tennessee, so it was outboard that day.  As a result, it suffered a lot more damage and casualties.

Mr. Leal was off duty and below deck reading a magazine when he felt his ship lurch.  A shipmate ran down the ladder yelling that they were under attack and then he heard the alarm.

--GreGen

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Shorpy Photo Home Front: Going Swimming and to a Circus

From the Feb. 17, 2016, TRUNK SHOW:  1943--  July 1943.  July 1943.  Montgomery County, Maryland.  "Bathers on the side of a pool at the Glen Echo amusement park."  Esther Bubley, OWI.

Comment:  Glen Echo was whites only until 1961.

FROM THE MARCH 13, 2016 SHORPY  SERIOUS FUN: 1962--  July 1942, Klanmath Falls, Oregon.  "At the sideshow of the circus."  Russell Lee, OWI.  Young couple staring intently at something with a ferris wheel and lighted ride in the background.

Obviously a circus or carnival of some sort.

Even with the war on, fun was still had.

--GreGen

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Oldest Pearl Harbor Vet Still Pumping Iron at 104-- Part 2: Spotted Japanese Sub at 3:45 A.M.

Ray Chavez was born in San Bernardino in 1911 and grew up in San Diego where his family ran a wholesale flower business.  At age 27, he joined the Navy and was assigned to the minesweeper USS Condor based at Pearl Harbor.

At 3:45 a.m., on the morning of December 7, Seaman 1st Class Chavez was on his ship, sweeping the east entrance to the harbor when they spotted the periscope of a Japanese mini submarine.  depth charges were dropped, but no damage sighted.  The rest of the morning was peaceful.

He was asleep at home in nearby Ewa Beach when the attack came.  His wife ran into the bedroom and said, "We are being attacked."  Mr. Chavez ran outside and saw everything black from all the burning oil.  A friend in a passing car picked him up and they sped off to the harbor.

He spent the next nine days on continuous duty and didn't know for ten days whether his wife and daughter had survived.

Over the next four years of war, he rose to the rank of chief and served in transport ships in eight Pacific battles.

--GreGen

Oldest Pearl Harbor Vet Still Pumping Iron at 104-- Part 1: Ray Chavez, USS Condor

From the March 8, 2016, San Diego Times-Union by Pam Kragen.

It is estimated that fewer than 2000 Pearl Harbor survivors remain.  Ray Chavez is one of them and is the oldest, at 104.  And he still pumps iron, even at that age.

He turned 104 this week.

Last December, just seven of the old men were healthy enough to make it back to Pearl Harbor for 74th anniversary of the attack.  Mr. Chavez was one of them.

The next oldest survivor is Colorado's James Downing, 102, had been considered the oldest survivor until last summer.  Both hope to attend the 75th anniversary this coming December.

Ray Chavez did not return to Pearl Harbor until the 50th anniversary in 1991.

In San Diego, Ray Chavez is quite the celebrity. Last August, he threw out the first pitch for the San Diego Padres Armed Forces Day.  He goes to Personally Fit Gym in Rancho Bernardo twice a week and has been doing that regularly for the last three years.

--GreGen

Monday, March 14, 2016

Extreme Daylight Savings Time During the War: "Double Summertime"

From the March 13, 2016, Atlas Obscura "The Extreme Daylight Savings Time of World War II" by Jessie Guy-Ryan.

And, there are some today who are complaining about having to change all the clocks the last couple days, and may were late for work today.  But, it was even worse for some countries during World War II.

From 1940-1947, the United Kingdom set their clocks ahead not one, but TWO HOURS in something referred to as "Double Summertime."  The government reasoned that it saved fuel and, during the Blitz, gave workers extra time to get home before Black Out.

Vichy France also had "Double Summertime" from 1940-1942.  In 1945, Berlin and Soviet-occupied Germany were on Daylight Savings Time.

In the United States, meanwhile, we had "War Time" from 1942-1945 when it was Daylight Saving Time all year long.

Quit Yer Gripin'.  --GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Women Working at a Lumber Salvage Mill in N.H.

March 2, 2016, SAWDUST IN HER HAIR: 1943. "Turkey Pond, near Concord, New Hampshire.  Women workers employed by a Department of Agriculture timber salvage saw mill.  18-year-old 'pit-woman' Norma Weber agrees with her sister that sawmill work is harder than working in a laundry, but isn't so tedious, and is easier on the nerves."  John Collier, OWI.

October 3, 2013, PIT-WOMEN: 1943.  "Ruth De Roche and Norma Webber, both 18."  relaxing off duty, smoking cigarettes.

COMMENT:  Norma Webber married and died Norma Seaver in 2010.  She was raised in Concord and went to school there and lived a full life.  She rode jet skis at age 80 and hiked Mount Major at 85.

COMMENT:   The Hurricane of 1938 felled thousands of trees in New England.  Timber salvage operations were kept busy for years cleaning up the mess and turning out lumber.

Of course, the war effort needed lots and lots of lumber.

--GreGen

Friday, March 11, 2016

Shorpy Photos of the Home Front: Child Care Center

From the Shorpy Photo website.

MARCH 3, 2016--  PANTRY PATROL: 1943.  June 1943.  New Britain, Connecticut:  "A child care center opened September 15, 1942, for 30 children, ages 2 through 5, of mothers engaged in war industry.  The hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days per week.

"Miss Machmer and the dietician checking the amount of food used during the month and making a general inventory of all supplies on hand."  Gordon Parks, OWI

With the moms away working in vital war industries, it was necessary to have a place to care for their children.  The war brought on a lot of child care centers.

Comments:

Junket Rennet powder for dessert.  cans of Hurff tomato juice and Libby's Fruit Cocktail.

Junket was like the Brand-X dessert in place of Jell-O.

--GreGen

Death of Iowa Pearl Harbor Survivor Bob Ulrich (Only One Iowa Survivor Left)

From the February 28, 2016, Gazette (Iowa).

Bob Ulrich turned 18 just before Pearl Harbor was bombed.  he and his brother George, who had just turned 20, were both on The USS California, but on opposite sides of the battleship.  George had disappeared when the attack was over.  His remains were found later and he was buried in Bakersfield, California.

In 2014, Bob Ulrich was one of only four-known Pearl Harbor survivors living in Iowa and the only one from eastern Iowa.

As of last week,Clarence Pfundheller of Audubon is the only Iowa resident from that day still alive.

During the attack, he had been in the Navy for three years and was on the USS Maryland.

--GreGen

Thursday, March 10, 2016

USS Arizona Survivor Pushes for Recognition of Sailor Who Saved His Life-- Part 2

Several bombs hit the USS Arizona.  The largest hit the starboard side and caused an explosion in the munitions cache.  "It blew 110 foot of the bow of that ship clear back to the base of number two turret," said Don Stratton.

Badly burned, he and a group of men ran toward the rail on the port side where the USS Vestal was moored and "attracted the attention of a seaman on board (that ship) named Joe George, we found out later, he threw us a heaving line and tied the heavy end line on it and we pulled it across, tied it off on the Arizona and we preceded to go hand over hand across the line."

It was decades before he learned George's name.  Ever since then, Don Stratton has tried to get George recognition for his heroism..

Joe George died in 1996.  Mr. Stratton  related, "The Captain and the Admiral received the Medal of Honor and the Captain of the Vestal received a Medal of Honor posthumously, so I don't understand the deal."

The Navy declined requests for recognition because of lack of documentation.

Mr. Stratton is currently involved with raising money to send the few remaining USS Arizona survivors to Pearl Harbor for the 75th anniversary later this year.

--GreGen

USS Arizona Survivor Pushes for Recognition of Sailor Who Saved His Life-- Part 1

From the Feb. 17, 2016, KOAA 5 by Andy Koen.

Don Stratton had just left the USS Arizona's mess hall and was bringing oranges to a buddy in sick bay.  On the way there, he spotted a group of sailors in the bow of the ship staring and pointing at the horizon.  Then they saw the first plane clearly and when the rising sun on its tail became clear, they knew they were in for it.

Everyone ran to their battle stations.  He recalled, "We were being strafed and dive bombed and high altitude bombers were bombing us."

Mr. Stratton's battle station was at  the sight of an anti-aircraft gun high above the deck.  he remembers his shells falling short of those high altitude bombers.

--GreGen

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Vernon Luke of USS Oklahoma to be Reburied in Hawaii

From KRQE News 13 "Sailor killed in Pearl Harbor attack identified, be reburied" by AP.

Machinist's Mate 1st Class Vernon Luke of Green Bay, Wisconsin, 43, died Dec. 7, 1941 on the USS Oklahoma.  He was among the 400 sailors and Marines from the battleship buried as unknowns.  Their remains were recovered after many months in the water making identification with existing technology impossible.

All were exhumed last year and attempts made to identify them with advance forensic science and technology will be used.

Vernon Luke is the first to be reburied.

--GreGen

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Closure for Survivors of Wisconsin Sailor Killed at Pearl Harbor on USS Oklahoma

From the March 3, 2016, WXOW, LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

Petty Officer First Class Vernon Luke of Green Bay died on the USS Oklahoma.  His body was found, but never identified until now, some 75 years later.  His remains were buried in Hawaii.

He will now have a proper burial.

Six weeks ago, the Navy notified his oldest survivor, niece Lee Ann Michalske, that he had been identified.  Next week he will be buried with full military honors in Hawaii.

The Navy will fly her to Hawaii for the ceremony to attend her uncle's funeral.

--GreGen

Artifacts of the USS Nevada Given to Nevada State Museum in 1946

From the March 3, 2016, Nevada Appeal "Past Pages for Thursday, March 3, 2016."

70 YEARS AGO

"Other items from the USS Nevada, according to Judge Clark J. Guild, chairman of the board of directors of the state museum, include a silver service, bell, nameplate of the USS Nevada, a magnesium chest and a plaque bearing the names of the captains who commanded the ship.

"The chest was made by the Basic Magnesium Plant near Las Vegas in 1944."

The USS Nevada was about to be decommissioned and used in the atomic tests.

--GreGen

Monday, March 7, 2016

Battery Osgood-Farley, Fort MacArthur, Cal.-- Part 3: Some More on General Osgood

From the 40th Annual reunion of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 10, 1909.

Henry Brown Osgood was the great-great grandson of American Revolution's Bunker Hill hero Israel Putnam.  At the age of 18, enlisted in the 27th Maine on September 30, 1862 and was commissioned second lieutenant and promoted to first lieutenant on December 15.

Their 9-month term of service was up during Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania and 312 officers and men, including Lt. Osgood, volunteered to remain in service and were given Medals of Honor for it.

He was appointed to the USMA September 1, 1863 and graduated June 17, 1867 and became a career Army officer.  During the Spanish-American War, he was sent to Cuba, but saw no action.

His son, Winchester Dana Osgood had been killed in Cuba before the U.S. got involved while leading Cuban insurgent field artillery against the Spanish at Guaiimara.

--GreGen


Battery Osgood-Farley, Fort MacArthur, California-- Part 2: Member 27th Maine During Civil War

The museum at Fort MacArthur was established in 1985.

Battery Osgood was named for Brigadier General Henry Brown Osgood Jr (1843-1909).  He was a member of the 27th Maine during the Civil War.  In July 1863, with the approaching Battle of Gettysburg approaching, and nearing the end of their enlistment, 312 members of the 26th volunteered to stay and protect Washington, D.C..  For this, 299 members were awarded the new Congressional Medal of Honor.

In 1916 Congress was tasked with reviewing the Medals of Honor and determined their awarding for this action was not justified and rescinded all of them, including Osgood's.

Henry Osgood was later appointed to the USMA by President Lincoln and graduated with the Class of 1867.

He served the rest of his career with the U.S. Army and is buried at Hillside Cemetery in Stephentown, New York.

--GreGen


Battery Osgood-Farley at Fort MacArthur, California-- Part 1: 14-Inch Guns

From the Fort MacArthur Museum site.

Battery Osgood-Farley was built 1916-1919 and was a two-gun emplacement.  Each gun operated as a separate tactical battery which is why the battery had two names.

The ordnance were 14-inch disappearing guns.  They were called disappearing because they could be lowered out of line of fire to load and then raised to fire.  Each was capable of firing a 1560 pound projectile up to 14 miles.  The guns never fired in war, but did fire for practice, but rarely with a full charge because of damage to surround civilian windows (and subsequent complaints).

During its time as a battery, Battery Osgood fired 116 times and Battery Farley 120.

These guns were considered obsolete by the 1920s and replaced by new ordnance in the mid-1940s.

During World War II, the batteries were partly used for a radio station and fire control switchboard.

--GreGen

California's Fort MacArthur-- Part 2: U.S. Coastal Defense 1900s

One component of Fort MacArthur is Battery Osgood-Farley which is considered one of the best preserved examples of U.S. Coastal Defense emplacements remaining.  Another such emplacement at the fort is Battery John Bartow and Saxton.

The Fort MacArthur Military Museum is at the site of Battery Osgood-Farley.

The museum opened in 1985.

--GreGen

Friday, March 4, 2016

California's Fort MacArthur-- Part 1: To Protect Los Angeles

From Wikipedia.

I had never heard of Fort MacArthur before, which I wrote about in the previous post, so had to look it up and research further.  The fort was an Army installation located at San Pedro, California.  A small section of it is still used by the U.S. Air Force for housing and administration.  It was named in honor of Lt. general Arthur MacArthur, the father of Douglas MacArthur.

In 1888, President Grover Cleveland designated it for protection of the growing Port of Los Angeles.  Construction started in 1914 and it served as a training area during World War I.  The first large gun batteries were constructed in 1917.

However, test firing of the massive 14-inch guns proved extremely unpopular with the fort's civilian neighbors and caused quite a few broken windows.

By the end of World War II, the large guns were being removed and were completely gone by 1948.

--GreGen

"The Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942" Recreated at Fort MacArthur

From the March 1, 1942, LA Times by Sebastien Basset.

The event took place Feb. 20 at Fort MacArthur Museum in San Pedro where the annual event and fundraiser was held.

Back on the night of Feb. 24-25, 1942, unidentified flying object(s) were spotted around Los Angeles, setting off a panic because of paranoia of a Japanese attack on the mainland so soon after Pearl Harbor. The Los Angeles area contained many vital military factories.

Fort MacArthur was the site of a former coastal defense artillery battery.

The event featured Big Band music, singers, dancers and, as darkness fell, air raid sirens blared, a wartime blackout followed, searchlights lit the sky and then a fireworks show recreated that night.  Military re-enactors scrambled to their posts and there was the sound of machine gun and artillery fire coming from a vintage tank on the property.

Hope They raised Som,e Needed Funds.  It Sounded Like a Real Good Time.  --GreGen

Thursday, March 3, 2016

SS Red Oak Victory Gets New Berth in California

From the March 1, 2016, Contra Times (Cal.) "Historic World War II Cargo Ship to land in new resting place in Port of Richmond" by Sarah Tan.

The SS Red Oak Victory is moving to basin 5.

Riggers Loft Wine Co. wanted the ship's relocation so its customers have a better view of the bay.

The Red Oak Victory was built in Richmond and is one of the last surviving ships built at the Kaiser Richmond shipyards during the war.

--GreGen

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Looking Back: Famous War Correspondent Comes to DeKalb

From the Feb. 24, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb, Illinois) Looking Back.

From 1941, 75 years ago.  The United States was not yet in World War II, but moving toward it back in February, 75 years ago.  This from the MidWeek:  "One of the outstanding entertainments of the entire year is being planned for DeKalb residents on March 24 when Leland Stowe, veteran correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, makes his initial appearance at the Teachers College auditorium."

The Teachers College would be Northern Illinois University today and the auditorium would be in Altgeld Hall.

I looked up Leand Stowe and he was quite an interesting war correspondent.

--GreGen

The Kassel Mission-- Part 5: Overcame Reluctance

Ira Weinstein was reluctant to go to Germany with the others, but did.  he came back with a different point of view.  They saw the memorial near Bad Hersfeld.  Linda Alice Dewey said that Weinstein "was dumbfounded over the welcome he received from Walter Hassenpflug, a boy who had witnessed the falling men and planes that day, and other Germans he met when he was there.  Their open-hearted friendliness amazed him."

The Kassel Mission-- Part 4: Held By German Air Force

Ira Weinstein was taken to Stalag Luft I, manned by members of the German air force who were too old for battle field duty.  They felt a kinship with American airmen and conditions were far better than at most POW camps

After being liberated by the Soviet Army at the end of the war, Weinstein returned home and traveled the country visiting the crew members of his B-24 who didn't survive.Linda Dewey said that the war experiences never left him, "He had terrible survivor's guilt and would often break into tears when he spoke...."

Mr. Weinstein received honors, including a Purple Heart and the distinguished French Croix de Guerre for his wartime service.

After the war, he went to work for Schram Advertising and then bought the company in 1945.  It was considered a pioneer in the direct mail and business-to-business fields.

He designed the logo for the Kassel Mission Historical Society and sat on its board for twenty years.  Some veterans of the mission, including Dewey's father, the late William R. Dewey, returned to Germany and organized projects with their former enemies.

--GreGen

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Kassel Mission-- Part 3: Huge American Losses, But Mr. Weinstein Survived Because of a Village Mayor

And, until this obituary for Ira Weinstein, 96, who died on January 24, 2016, I had never heard of it before.

Born and raidsed in Chicago, he attended Crane Technical High School and began his advertising career with Goldblatt's before joining the U.S. Army Air Forces.

Mr. Weinstein had already flown two dozen missions before the Kassel Mission.  Four planes had to abort the mission.  Of the ones that continued, 25 crashed in Germany, two crash-landed in occupied France, one crashed in Belgium, two made it back across the English Channel but made forced landings on an emergency strip, one crashed near the base and four made it back to the base.Anti-aircraft fire forced Weinstein to bail out and on his way down, he saw the pilot of his plane being killed by farmers with a pitchfork.

He was taken into custody, but the village mayor heard him speaking Yiddish and realized he'd be surely killed if turned over to the Nazi secret police.

The mayor said: "I'll have to deliver you to a Luftwaffe base before the SS discovers you are here.  Those SS men do not take Jews prisoners.  They kill them."

I was wondering about Mr. Weinstein having that name his incarceration by the Nazis would have been bad.

--GreGen


Deaths: Ira Weinstein-- Took Part in Kassel Mission-- Part 2: "Nobody Knew"

After the war Ira Weinstein ran his own advertising business, Schram Advertising, for 40 years.  It is nowknown as Temkin & Temkin.

But he was always involved with keeping the mission in World War II out there in the public.

According to Linda Alice Dewey, president of the Kassel Mission Historical Society, which her father and Weinstein helped found in 1989: "These men wanted the world to know that this happened, that it was a tragedy of great proportions, and that the world has]d a right to know.  It was the worst loss for a single group flying from one airfield in a single day's battle. -- ever.  No other group lost more men and machines in one day than they did.  And, that's what hurt -- nobody knew."

--GreGen