Saturday, July 30, 2016

Montford Point Marines Honored With Memorial-- Part 1

From the July 28, 2016, Fox Wilmington (NC) "Montford Point Marines to be honored with Memorial Friday" by Ashlea Kosikowski.

These Marines were the first blacks admitted to the United States Marine Corps and they were recognized Friday during the dedication of the National Montford Marine Point Memorial.

The ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. at the Lejeune Memorial on Montford Landing Road and NC Highway 24.

Several of the Marines who trained there will be in attendance, including F.M. Hooper Junior.

He recalled, "One of the happiest days of my life was when I graduated from basic training at Montford Point and I became a Marine.  My drill inspector said now you can wear the eagle, globe and anchors."

Long Overdue.  --GreGen

Friday, July 29, 2016

Montford Point Marine Dedication Today-- Part 2

Included in the first phase of the memorial will be a 9-foot statue made Robert Talbot and Stan Watts, as well as an M1A1 anti-aircraft gun.  Watts was the sculptor  of the 9/11 memorial "To Lift a Nation."

The M1A1 was used by the 51st and 52nd Defense Battalions, two of the Marine units that trained at Montford Point during World War II.  The gun--  one of fewer than ten M1A1s known to exist--  was located in Tennessee and purchased by the National Montford Point Marine Association for $15,000.

Funding for the memorial was raised by private donations and money from the city of Jacksonville, Onslow County and the state.  The architect for the project was O. Liam Wright, the grand-nephew of a Montford Point Marine.

--GreGen

Montford Point Marine Dedication on Today-- Part 1

From the July 28, 2016, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Montford Point Marine Dedication Fridayby Ben Steelman.

JACKSONVILLE.  The first phase of the National Montford Point memorial will be dedicated at 9 a.m. Friday at Lejeune Memorial Gardens, near the intersection on Montford Landing Road and N.C. 24 in Jacksonville.

The memorial, which stands near the Beirut and Vietnam Memorials, honors the memory of the first blacks to enter the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.  They trained at Montford Point, now Camp Johnson in the Camp Lejeune complex.

Because of the military's segregation policy of the time, they were not allowed to train with white Marines.

About Time They Were Honored.  --GreGen

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tennessee in World War II-- Part 3: Still Preparing for War

Tennessee also designated land for potential use as military bases, an act which resulted in the establishment of Fort Campbell near Clarksville and Camp Forrest near Tullahoma.  In 1941, the state bought over 3,000 acres near Smyrna, which was cleared and leased by the federal government as  Stewart Air Base.

During June of the same year, Major General George S. Patton conducted armored maneuvers in Middle Tennessee.

--GreGen

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Richard Winstead Borden-- Part 9: After the War He Continued in the Medical Field

From the obituary for him:

"Dr. Richard W. Borden, 87, of Newport, passed away Thursday, December 20, 2012, at Carolina East Medical Center in New Bern.

"He was born October 29, 1925, in Goldsboro, the son of Paul Lambert and Martha Gold Winstead Borden.  After serving his country as a Navy Corpsman in WW II, he pursued his medical training at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University.  He practiced first in Goldsboro and later in Morehead City.

"He was an avid outdoorsman and had a lifelong involvement in Scouting.

"In 2004 he and 99 other veterans of WW II were invited to France by the French government to participate in the 60th Anniversary of D-Day.  Days before his death he was awarded by the U.S. Army the Bronze Star and Medical Combat Badge for his service in the Normandy invasion.

--GreGen

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tennessee in World War II-- Part 1: A Huge Impact

From the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.

The total war effort reshaped Tennessee's whole economy from a primarily rural, agricultural one to an increasingly urban, industrialized one.  Besides the impact of all the people serving in the military, thousands migrated from the countryside for new opportunities in the burgeoning war industries.

Tennessee also played a huge role in the creation of the Atomic Age at Oak Ridge which grew out of the Manhattan Project.

More than 300,000 Tennesseeans served in the Armed Forces and 5,731 were killed.  Six won the nation's highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Cordell Hull served as FDR's Secretary of State.

In addition, Tennessee became the location of many military installations,training facilities and prisoner of war camps.  Another 280,000 worked in war manufacturing.

--GreGen

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tennessee in World War II-- Part 2: Preparing for War

The war was raging in Europe, but the U.S. was not yet in it, but had determined to  become the "Arsenal of Democracy."  This quickly reversed the  low productivity and high unemployment of the Great Depression.  Defense and armament capabilities greatly increased.

And, in 1940, a further step was taken when the U.S. Congress enacted its first-ever peace-time draft, the Selective Service and Training Act.

Tennessee was one of the first states to engage actively in military preparedness.  After meeting Hitler during a Rotary tour of Europe in 1937, Tennessee Governor Prentice Cooper became convinced that the United States could not avoid war with Germany.

Tennessee established the first state defense organization in 1940, the Advisory Committee on Preparedness.  In January 1941, the state legislature created a Tennessee State Guard, the largest in the South, to provide protection for the state in the absence of the Tennessee National Guard, which had been activated as the 117th Infantry Regiment in the 30th Division.  This regiment served with distinction in Europe until the end of the war.

--GreGen

Richard Winstead Borden-- Part 7: "There Was Hell Everywhere"

That was a nice break when he got to board the Navy ship.  But, that thing called D-Day was fast approaching.

"The morning of the invasion we watched the pre-invasion bombardment from the deck of the ship, and wished luck to the First Division as it went over the sides.  I must admit things looked good from the ship.  We landed on the same day, (D-Day), and lost quite a few men.

"Jerry had his 88's mortars and machine guns zeroed all along the beach and they worried us quite a bit.  We were never bothered by or even saw a Jerry plane by daylight.

("Jerry" was a nickname for German soldiers and was less than complimentary.)

"Our (the corpsmen's) work was heaviest D-Day and D-1 as many expected, and there was Hell everywhere!  About day 3 we were evacuating casualties smoothly and began to set up a 'home.'"

--GreGen

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Richard Winstead Borden-- Part 6: Back in the Navy Again-- Ice Cream!!

Dick Borden has finally gotten back on a Navy ship and is mighty happy to be back with his own folks.  Unfortunately, this was only a few days before D-Day, so all that didn't last long.

"   They were mighty nice to us aboard ship.  We ate with Ship's crew and were able to buy ice cream at their Ship's Service.  We were in the Navy again-- well, for a day or so at least."

We All Scream for....  --GreGen

Richard Winstead Borden-- Part 5: Preparing for D-Day

A letter home.

"When we arrived in England last January we came directly to this spot.  The huts had just been completed and mud was everywhere.  We soon got straightened out and later helped the C.B.'s build the chow hall and drain the place.

"  After about seven weeks we were moved up to ______________ Wales where we joined the Army _________.  From there until now we ate and lived with the army.

(The blanks suggest that he was not allowed to giver certain details because of censorship.)

"There were several maneuvers and after about two months we moved into what they call 'Concentration Area' which was a camouflaged camp where we had all our equipment and were restricted.

"From this camp we had one very large maneuver, the last 'dry run.'  Then came a briefing that is studying maps, models, photos, etc.  Then we moved to the marshalling area, then aboard the troop transport, where we got Navy chow!"

--GreGen

Richard Winstead Borden-- Part 2: Awarded Bronze Star

From the June 12, 2016, Goldsboro (N.C.) News-Argus.  "Dick Borden sailed ocean blue, walked the fields of battle, too" by Sherwood Owl Williford.

BRONZE STAR MEDAL AWARDED TO GOLDSBORO MAN

Probably from a local newspaper from the time period.

"U.S. Naval Forces in Europe--

"Richard Winstead Borden, pharmacists' mate, third class, USNR, son of Paul Lambert Borden of 305 West Mulberry Street, Goldsboro, N.C., has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal by Admiral Harold R. Stark, USN, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, in the name of the President of the United States.

"His citation reads:

"'For meritorious duty above that normally expected while a member of the medical section of the beach battalion, United States Navy, Normandy, France, in action against the enemy on June 6 and 7, 1944.

--GreGen

Richard Winstead Borden-- Part 4: A Letter Home "Instantaneously Jump At Sharp Sounds"

Dick Borden's brother, Paul, died almost a year later.

Sometime after D-Day, Dick wrote a letter home to his parents.

'We have almost gotten situated here, the place from which I sent the pictures.  You have no idea how swell it is to be back in this peaceful, quiet spot, and be able to relax, although I must admit that most of  us are still a bit jumpy.

"For we instantaneously jump at sharp sounds and sort of flinch at first when we step off a path into tall grass, or bushes, for, 'over there' we had to watch carefully for mines.  Give us a week or two though and I think we'll all be normal.

"I know you want to know just as much as possible, so here goes.  I hope you will understand that some things will have to wait, and some are better not mentioned at all."

--GreGen

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Richard Winstead Borden-- Part 3: Action at D-Day

Continuing with his Bronze Star Medal citation:

"'Borden performed his duties in tending and evacuating the wounded under direct enemy artillery shelling, disregarding his own personal safety, in such an outstanding fashion that he has not unquestionably saved many lives but also gave such an example of coolness and efficiency to his shipmates that he contributed materially to the success of this phase of the operation on his sector of the beach.

"'The gallantry and devotion to duty displayed by Borden on this occasion were in keeping with the best traditions of the United States naval service.'"

Dick Borden was just 18-years-old at the time.

--GreGen

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thanks Mom

The last post and the next several are from one of the last newspaper articles my mom pulled out of her local paper and saved for me.  She died last month and I am at her house now and organizing her stuff.  I found this article in a special cubby hole in an old desk where she saved newspaper clippings she thought would be of interest to me.

This article was from the Sunday, June 5, 2016, Goldsboro (N.C.) News-Argus  "From My Perch: Dick Borden sailed ocean blue, walked the fields of battle, too" by Sherwood Owl Williford.

I am really thinking about her right now.

Thanks Mom.

Richard Winstead Borden-- Part 1: General Eisenhower's Words to the Forces Before D-Day: "Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen..."

One of the Americans hitting the beaches June 6, 1944, was Goldsboro, North Carolina's Richard Winstead Borden.

The words addressed to the Allied forces about to hit the beaches of Normandy June 5, 1944.

"Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

"You are about to embark on the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.  The eyes of the world are upon you.  The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you... in company with our Allies you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine.

"Your task will not be an easy one.  Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened.  He will fight savagely ... the free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

"I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle..  We will accept nothing less than full Victory!  Good luck!  And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking."

Words to Charge Ashore.  --GreGen

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Shut Down for World War II

From the May 27, 2016, WTTV (Indianapolis) "Eight Pearl Harbor Survivors will be honored at Indianapolis 500" by Kylee Wierks.

The win by co-drivers Floyd Davis and Mauri Rose in the No. 16 Noc-Out Hose Clamp Wetteroth/Offy in the 29th Running of the Indy 500 on May 30, 1941, was the last race held at the track until 1946 because of the war.

The IMS facilities-- track, garages and grandstands deteriorated quickly during the war.  Anton "Tony" Hulman saved it when he purchased it in November 1945.  He then spearheaded a huge effort to get it ready for the 30th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1946.

--GreGen




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Another USS Oklahoma Casualty's Remains Identified

From the July 13, 2016, Vinton County Courier "7 decades later, remains of local Pearl Harbor casualty identified" by Tyler Buchanan.

The relatives of James Bryce Boring of Radcliffe, Vinton County, were notified earlier this year that his remains from the USS Oklahoma had been identified.  He was Vinton County's first casualty in World War II.

He was born August 28, 1920, the youngest of his family.  His mother died a few months later and his father passed away a few years later.  He and his siblings grew up in the Vinton County Children's Home.
A graduate of McArthur High School, he enlisted in the Navy and trained in Chicago before being assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma as a firefighter 2nd class.

A few days after the attack, his relatives received a telegram reporting him "missing in Pacific action."  He was Vinton County's first death of 51 others.

When the USS Oklahoma was uprighted, he was buried as an unknown and later exhumed and reburied in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific when it was opened in 1949.

However, it is now known that his body had been identified when it was recovered, but there was shoddy bookkeeping.

There will be a ceremony on August 6 at 1 p.m. at Bowen Cemetery.

--GreGen




Monday, July 18, 2016

World War II Veteran Reunited With His Ship From the Pearl Harbor Attack

From the June 24, 2016, WBAL (Baltimore) TV-11 News by Jennifer Franciotti.

Howard Hayes, 96, of Nevada was on the Nevada Honor Flight and visited the USCGC Taney, the last surviving ship from the infamous attack nearly 75 years ago.

His battle station during the attack was on the ship's mast.  "When the Japanese planes came over us and the power plant the didn't know we were there.  I gave the range and how high they were and surprised the Japanese so much they didn't have a chance to do anything."

He was 21 that day and a cook on the Coast Guard cutter.

The ship wa sin service for fifty years and is the only remaining ship afloat that was there.

Quite a Story.  --GreGen

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Washing Clothes and Waiting for the Parade

June 24, 2016,  DRIP-DRY: 1943.  June 1943.  "Arlington, Virginia.  Washing clothes in one of the laundry rooms at Idaho Hall, Arlington Farms, war duration residence hall for women government workers."  Esther Bubley, OWI.

July 10, 2016, WAIT WATCHERS: 1943.  July 1943.  Washington, D.C.  "Waiting for the parade ti recruit civilian defense volunteers."  Entertaining themselves with the hand-held device known as a "newspaper." Esther Bubley, OWI.

What is surprising about this photo, especially considering the segregation of the time is that blacks and whites are together by the statue of Union Civil War General Winfield Scott Hancock.

--GreGen

Friday, July 15, 2016

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Lighter-Than-Air Craft and Hangar

June 14, 2016  NAVAL GAZERS: 1943.  January 1943.  "A blimp of the U.S. Navy is led onto the apron of an East Coast lighter-than-air station before taking off on a patrol over the Atlantic Ocean."  OWI

Comment:  Looks like the USS Los Angeles (ZR-3).

Comment:  The hanger was built for the dirigibles Shenandoah and Los Angeles.  Th hangar was 966 feet long, 350 feet wide and 224 feet high with a floor area of 211,434 square feet and both airships could be in there side-by-side.

The hangar could shelter six of the K Type blimps shown in the picture.

--GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: The Monster Body Cast

From the Shorpy Old Photo Site.

June 16, 2016  PLASTERED: 1942.  Nov. 1942.  Babies' Hospital, New York. "When student nurses have completed much of their training they can relieve nurses like this one for war service, and can take over such duties as attending patients in corrective casts."  Fritz Henle, OWI

The patient is in a full body cast (looking a bit like the robot from "The Day the Earth Stood Still" movie.  Resembles an old-time diving suit.  Comment: "a plaster monstrosity."

I won't ever complain about my leg cast back in 1966.

--GreGen

Thursday, July 14, 2016

USS North Carolina in Contest for 20 Best Museum Ships-- Part 3

11.  USS Olympia and USS Becuna in Philadelphia
12.  USS Hornet in Almeda, California
13.  USS Intrepid and USS Growley in New York City

14.  USS Constitution and USS Cassin Young in Boston
15.  Potomac in Oakland, Californi (FDR's presidential yacht)
16.  USS Constellation, USS Torsk and Coast Guard Cutter Taney in Baltimore
17.  U-505 in Chicago

18.  USS Nautilus in Groton, Connecticut
19.  USS Pompanito in San Francisco
20.  SS Jeremiah O'Brien in San Francisco

--GreGen

USS North Carolina in Contest for Top 20 Best Museum Ships-- Part 2

I was wondering what the other 16 ships in the contest were and looked them up.

The Historical Naval Ships Association represents 108 historic ships in 12 countries around the world.

5.  USS New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey
6.  USS Yorktown and USS Laffey in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
7.  USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas

8.  USS Alabama and USS Drum in Mobile, Alabama
9.  USS Massachusetts,  USS Lionfish and USS Joseph Kennedy, Jr. in Fall River, Massachusetts
10.  USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

--GreGen

USS North Carolina in Contest for 20 Best Museum Ships-- Part 1

From the June 28, 2016, Port City (Wilmington, N.C.)  "Battleship latest Wilmington landmark to earn national acclaim" by Hilary Snow.

The USA Today's Top 20 Best Museum Ships voting contest which is part of 10 Best Reader's Choice Awards series.The USS North Carolina ranked first in early voting, but is now in 4th place.

The USS North Carolina was the first of America's ten fast battleships in World War II and was decommissioned in 1947 and put into mothballs.  It barely escaped scrapping in the 1960s before being bought by its namesake state.

First ship in the voting is the USS Midway in San Diego, 2nd is the USS Texas in LaPorte, Texas and third is the USS Iowa in Los Angeles.

The contest continues and right now we're still in 4th.

Get Out and Vote for the Showboat!!  --GreGen

Funeral Held in Montana for Doolittle Raider David Thatcher

From the June 28, 2016, Washington Times.

It was held at Sunset Memorial Cemetery in  Missoula, Montana, featuring a flyover by a B-1 bomber from Ellsworth AFB and then a B-25 like the one he flew in the raid as a twenty-year-old back on April 18, 1942.  He was a tail gunner/engineer in that one.

Governor Steve Bullock ordered flags in Montana to be flown at half mast.

Thatcher's son-in-law, Jeff Miller said that the raider had signed thousands of posters and other items during his life.

The sole remaining  Doolittle Raider, Lt.Col. Dick Cole, 100, was in attendance.  Cole was co-pilot alongside Lt.Col. James Doolittle in bomber No. 1.  Mr. Thatcher was in bomber No. 7.

Sons and grandsons of four other Raiders were in attendance.

--GreGen

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pearl Harbor Survivor Honored During Ash Internment Ceremony at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

From the June 24, 2016, DVIDS by Laurie Dexter.

Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate James W. Dvorak had his ceremony on June 25.  He was born September 18, 1918 and enlisted in the Navy at age 17.  At Pearl Harbor, he was stationed at Ford Island.

he was a flight engineer on PBY Catalinas flying patrols over the water.

Mr. Dvorak remembers seeing a Japanese plane coming right at him and releasing a bomb, but fortunately it drifted away from him.

During the second wave of attack, he manned a machine gun.  "He was shooting at an airplane and he saw it go up in flames.  He doesn't take credit for it because there were a lot of other people shooting at it.

--GreGen

Indiana Pearl Harbor Victim To Be Returned Home

From the July 1, 2016, WTTV CBS 4, Indiana "Indiana soldier's remains identified 75 years after attack on Pearl Harbor" by Kylee Wierks.

Paul A. Nash, Navy Fire Controlman First Class of Carlisle, Indiana died that day aboard the USS Oklahoma when the ship capsized.  His body was recovered several years later when the ship was uprighted, but by then it was impossible to identify with the state of science at the time.

However, earlier this year, his remains were identified using mitachondrial DNA, dental comparisons and circumstantial evidence.

The remains were flown back to Indianapolis and he was buried July 9 in Sullivan.

--GreGen

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Battleship USS North Carolina Unveils Restored Officers Dining Room

From the June 18, 2016, Port City (Wilmington, N.C.) Daily.

The 2,400-foot Officers Wardroom has been restored by ten North Carolina contractors using photos and descriptions.  When the ship arrived at Wilmington in the 1960s, the wardroom was turned into a  museum.

Work on it began last fall, but it now also has air conditioning, an audio-visual system and WiFi., which the ship obviously did not have back in World War II where it earned 15 battle stars.

Work continues on the ship's hull.

--GreGen

Ash Scattering Ceremony Reunites Pearl Harbor Survivor With Shipmates

From June 22, 2016, DVIDS by Petty Officer 2nd class Johans Chavarro.

Torpedoman 1st Class Richard P. Erico, ashed were scattered June 23 at the USS Utah memorial on Ford Island, Joint base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

He was born June 22, 1922, at Peaks Island, Maine and joined the Navy in 1940.  When the attack came, he was on the USS Case (DD-370) preparing to go ashore to play baseball.  He was part of the ammunition-handling team.

His ship got underway the  next day and sank a Japanese mini-sub.  The rest of the war he served on the same ship which earned nine battle stars.

Death came to Mr. Erico on June 16, 2009.

--GreGen

Pearl Harbor Survivor's Children, Grandchildren Carry Out Final Request

From the June 28, 2016, DVIDS by Johans Chavarri.

William F. White, 87, joined the Navy in 1938 and served on the USS Beaver, Sperry, Bushnell, Submarine Base Midway Island and the USS Matthews.

He was at Hickam Air Force Base waiting for his Navy discharge on Dec. 7, 1941.  He had been sleeping with his weapon and gear getting ready to turn them in when he heard the distant explosions.

According to Jim Taylor, Pearl Harbor survivors' liason, "When he realized the loud noises were bombs exploding, he and another sailor dived beneath the same desk and they banged heads.  It was his only injury for the entire war."

Of course, his discharge was cancelled.

He asked to have his ashes scattered at the USS Utah Memorial in Pearl Harbor.

--GreGen

Veterans Get Victory Lap in Indy 500 Parade-- Part 7: At Okinawa

Irv Herman, a radio communications specialist was just a kid when he entered the service.  Just 17.  he saw action at Peleliu and Okinawa.

"On Easter Sunday 1945, we landed on the beaches of Okinawa," he said.  "The Japanese were entrenched further inland. It was our responsibility to direct the delivery of supplies from the ships to the island.  We were still on Okinawa on V-J Day, August 6, 1945."

In the meantime, Japanese planes were still conducting kamikaze attacks on U.S. ships in the harbor.  He saw two of his buddies killed in the fighting.

Now 90, Herman lives in Indianapolis and says he saw enough bloodshed during his 32 months of service that he has a few words for today's politicians and world leaders and that is not to build walls and use diplomacy to solve problems.

--GreGen

Veterans Get Victory Lap in Indy 500 Parade-- Part 6: D-Day "Shortest Mission"

Bob Pedigo said that in all, 150,000 Allied troops, about half of them Americans, came ashore June 6, 1944, for D-Day.  Thirty minutes before the troops hit the beaches, Pedigo was clearing a path for them, dropping bombs from his plane.

"It was my shortest mission; we saw very little anti-aircraft fire, but it was a very costly mission," he said.  "We had 12,000 men died."

Though things went smoothly for him, Pedigo said, "I knew how bad it was on the beach."

--GreGen

Monday, July 11, 2016

Veterans Get Victory Lap in Indy Parade-- Part 5: Jimmy Stewart Was His Briefing Officer for D-Day

Movie actor Jimmy Stewart was Bob Perdigo's briefing officer who spoke to the men of Bob's 453rd Bombardment Group (bombers) the day before D-Day.

"On June 5, 1944, the day before D-Day, Jimmy Stewart called us out a squadron at a time, out in the middle of a big wheat field," Perdigo recalled.  "We knew something was coming."

Stewart said, " Fellas, we're on a restricted red alert, and nobody's coming or going on the base.  We got a big mission in the morning, so get to bed early, get your rest."

"We're standing in wheat up to my chest, all of us," for security reasons, Perdigo said.  "He didn't say what the mission was, but we surmised.  We'd been anticipating it."

--GreGen

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Hoosier Victim of Pearl Harbor Returns Home-- Part 2: Couldn't Find a Job in the Depression

Paul Andrews Nash was born in Coles County, Illinois, in 1915 and grew up in Carlisle.  In 1933 he graduated from Carlisle High School.  The year before, he secretly married Kathryn Wilson of Paris, Illinois.  They couldn't afford to be on their own so continued to live with their parents.

Nash enlisted in the Navy in 1933 and had his basic training at Great Lakes in Illinois.   From there he was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, the only ship he ever served on.  He became a Fire Controlman First Class in charge of the ship's main battery of 14-inch guns.

Unable to find a job, he reenlisted twice for four years in 1937 and another three in 1941.

The telegram saying that he was still missing after the attack arrived in December 20, 1941, his daughter Carol's birthday.

Welcome Home, Sir.  --GreGen

Friday, July 8, 2016

Hoosier Victim of USS Oklahoma Returns Home-- Part 1: USS Oklahoma

From the July 6, 2016, Terre Haute (Ind) Tribune Star "75 years after his death in Pearl Harbor attack, Carlisle sailor's military honors set for Saturday" by Nick Hedrick.

Paul Andrews Nash of Sullivan County will be buried with full military honors at 2 p.m. this Saturday at Oddfellows Cemetery in Carlisle, Indiana.

Friday, today, his remains arrive from Hawaii by plane in Indianapolis where it will be disembarked with full military honors.  The Indiana Patriot Guards will meet the casket.

Then, the hearse carrying his remains will drive to Holmes Memorial Chapel in Sullivan for a ceremony.  After that, he will be buried in a plot next to that of his parents, Earl and Faye.

--GreGen

Veterans Get Victory Lap in Indy Parade-- Part 4: Bob Pedigo's Trip to the WWII Memorial and Jimmy Stewart

Bob Pedigo gets choked up when he recalls participating in the Indy Honor Flight to see the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.  When they left it, a group of about 300 junior high students lined the east side of the walk and applauded until the last ones had passed.  "That was the most touching thing on the trip."

Pedigo, 92,  was a nose gunner of a bomber serving in the European Theater with the 453rd Bombardment group.

He recalled beloved actor Jimmy Stewart, who was a decorated officer during the war who flew 20 missions over Europe as captain of a B-24 Liberator, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and rose to the rank of brigadier general before retiring from the Air Force Reserve in 1968, after seeing more action in Vietnam.

Stewart was Pedigo's briefing officer the day before the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.

--GreGen

Veterans Get Victory Lap in Indy Parade-- Part 3: "Hitler's Head"

Continuing with Robert Swift's memories of World War II.

In the last post, I mentioned that he brings the head of Adolf Hitler to his school presentations.  It is not Hitler's actual head, but a bust he "liberated" from bombed-out office in Germany near the end of the war.  And, there is a story that goes with how he came to have it.

Before shipping off overseas, Swift asked his sister if there was anything she wanted him to bring back when he returned.

Her reply was, "Hitler's head!"

So, he brought home the bronze head which he says his sister used as a door stop for many years.  Now, Swift uses it as a teaching tool.

Great Story.  --GreGen

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Veterans Get Victory Lap at Indy Parade-- Part 2: Bob Swift Enters a Death Camp

The smell overpowered Bob Swift first, "Like nothing else in the world."

What he saw was even worse.  There were stacks of bodies.  Swift was a medic with the 71st Infantry and was among the first to enter Gunskirchen, a Nazi death camp in Austria.  It was the waning days of the war in 1945 and Hitler's armies were everywhere in retreat.  Americans were liberating Nazi concentration camps.

Often, they were too late.  Prisoners were dead or dying.  "They were just all bones," and some of the survivors were even too weak to eat.

The sights and smells of the war are still in his memory and today the 90 year-old veteran tells his war stories to school children.  He brings props to get the kids' attention.  One is the head of Adolph Hitler.  Well, not actually the head, but a pretty good likeness bust that he "liberated" from a bombed-out office in Germany.

More On the Head in Next Post.  --GreGen

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Veterans Get Victory Lap in the Indy 500 Festival Parade-- Part 1

From the May 26, 2016, Indianapolis Star "WWII veterans to get victory lap in parade" by Maureen C. Gilmer.

Hoosiers still have vivid memories of their service.

Bob Pedigo (Army Air Corps), Irv Herman (Navy)and Bob Swift (Army) are among a dozen Hoosiers veterans of World War II who will be riding in the IPL 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday May 28.  More than a quarter million spectators expected.  They will line up two-by-two in vintage Jeeps.

The parade is the day before the 100th Running of the Indy 500.

A Fitting Honor.  --GreGen


Refugees Saved By the Japanese Identified-- Part 4: Met With the Families

Information written on the back of those four photos, including partial or full names, helped identify them

One of the photos of the two unidentified women has a message written in French and the name Marie written on the back, but otherwise clues as to their identity remain scant.

Resdearchers plan to continue to attempt to identify the unknown.

Akira Kitade, now 71, wanted, "Japanese people and people of the Jewish communities around the world to know about the important roles played by ordinary Japanese citizens."  He met with the families of Reed, Kronberg and the woman who died in 2005.

He said that Osako was a kind person who was struck by the plight of the refugees and took particular interest in their well-being during their escape voyages.

A Story I'd Never Heard Of Before.  --GreGen

Refugees Saved by the Japanese Are Identified-- Part 3: The Four Identified

The four refugees identified so far:

**  ANTONINA BABB--  A Polish Jew who died in Santa Monica, California, in 19994.

**  NISSIM SEGALOFF--  A Bulgarian Jew who later changed his name to Nicholas Sargent, and lived in New York City; the place and date of his death are unknown.

**  VERA KRONBERG--  A Norwegisan gentile who died in Rochelle Park, N.J., in 2007.

**   NAME WITHHELD AT FAMILY REQUEST--  A Jewish woman who died in the U.S. in 2015.

--GreGen

Refugees Saved by a Japanese Identified-- Part 2: Tracked Down

As the ship's escort and clerk, Tatsuo Osako distributed money provided by Jewish agencies.  To thank him for his kindness, a man and six women he helped between 1940-1941 gave him portraits of themselves.

Descendants of the three refugees who had children were tracked down,  Some of the descendants met this month in the New York area with the late Osako's former colleague, Akira Kitade who wrote a book about Osako and the seven photographs.

Also, four of the people in the photos have been identified.

--GreGen

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Refugees Saved by the Japanese Are Identified-- Part 1

From the December 17, 2015, Chicago Tribune "WWII refugees saved by Japanese are ID's" by Chris Carola.

This is a story I had never heard of before.

Early in World War II, a Japanese tourism official by the name of Tatsuo Osako helped rescue Europeans escaping from the Nazis.

Now, 75 years after seven of those refugees gave him photographs of themselves to express their gratitude, a team of Internet sleuths have identified four of those seven.

Osaka, who died in 2003, was a tourism bureau clerk based in the Japanese port city of Tsuruga who assisted Jewish and other Europeans making the voyage from the Soviet Union Pacific port of Vladivostock to Japan in the period of time before Pearl Harbor.

--GreGen

Monday, July 4, 2016

Coast Guard Tender Kukui-- Part 5: Those Big Red Dots

George C. Larsen looked out from the back door of the Coast Guard radio station at Diamond Head Lighthouse,  "There were three planes flying below the rim of Diamond Head (an extinct volcano) in 'V' formation, low-wing type with big red dots on the underside about two feet in diameter."

On December 8, he was ordered to the buoy tender Kukui (WAGL-225) to help the crew pull harbor lights out of the water for the new blackout.  At one point the ship dodged a suspected Japanese submarine while doing this.

The ship was then ordered to carry Army troops to Ni'ihau Island.

--GreGen

Coast Guard Tender Kukua-- Part 4: George C. Larsen

From the December 7, 2010 Coast Guard Compass Blog "Pearl Harbor survivor continues his service."

George C. Larson, 93, is the president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association San Francisco Bay Area Chapter 2.  He was the one who wrote about the Ni'ihau Incident in the previous post.

On December 7, 1941, he was a radioman at the Coast Guard Radio Station Honolulu in the Diamond Head Lighthouse.  He had learned the "Orange Code" which was the top-secret deciphering of the Japanese military code.

Mr. Larson awoke to rattling and shaking and at first thought there was an earthquake.  he went to the station's back door and saw planes flying overhead.

--GreGen

Coast Guard Tender Kukui-- Part 3: Pearl Harbor's Ni'ihau Incident

One of the men on that trip to Niihau Island was George Larsen, who wrote that the Army raiders went ashore and returned on the 14th of December with the pilot's belongings.  The pilot was dead, having been killed by a 6 foot 6 inch Hawaiian who grappled with him.  The Japanese pilot, Shigenori Nishikaichi shot the Hawaiian three times point-blank in the groin, but that didn't stop the Hawaiian.

They inspected the items brought back and was a synchronized machine gun from the planes which still had 20 bullets in its breech.  Another was a fish skin water proof wrapping that had been around the pilot's waist which contained local maps, money and other things necessary if he had to bail out over Oahu.

George Larson pulled a bullet out of the machine gun as "an easy souvenir."

Friday, July 1, 2016

Coast Guard Buoy Tender Kukui-- Part 2: Pearl Harbor's "Ni'ihau Incident"

From the December 7, 2014, Coast Guard Compass, Official Blog of the U.S. Coast Guard  "Pearl Harbor: 5 things you didn't know about the Coast Guard that day."

3.  CG Cutter Kukui "Battle of Ni'ihau Island (sometimes called the Niihau Incident)"

The Kikui was called upon to transport army combat personnel here after reports that a Japanese pilot, Shigenori Nishikaichi, had crashed his Zero fighter on the small island off Oahu.  reports had him taking control of it.

Locals eventually overcame and killed him.  The Kukui arrived afterwards on December 14.

--GreGen

Coast Guard Buoy Tender Kukui-- Part 1

Earlier this week, I wrote about the three Nebraska Pearl Harbor survivors gathering together.  One of them was Lawrence Osterbuhr who served on the Coast Guard ship Kukui.

from the U.S. Coast Guard "U.S. Coast Guard Units in Honolulu, December 7, 1941."

**  The 327-foot Cutter Taney  (This is the only surviving U.S. ship from the attack.)

**  190-foot buoy tender Kukui

**  Two 125-foot patrol craft:  reliance and Tiger

**  Several smaller craft

All were performing peacetime duties when the attack came.

The USCGC Kukui (WAGL-226) was unarmed.  WAGL classification is considered to be a tender.

The USCGC Tiger came under fire at 0800.

--GreGen