Monday, October 31, 2016

Another USS Oklahoma Sailor Comes Home: William "Billy" Welch

From the October 28, 2016, Springfield, Ohio, News-Sun  "Springfield sailor killed at Pearl Harbor to be buried Saturday" by Allison Wichie.

William "Billy" Welch enlisted in the Navy at 17, leaving his senior year at Catholic Central High School.  He was the middle child of a family of eight.  At age 18, he was killed on the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941.

More than 70 members of his family are expected to attend the ceremony at St. Joseph Church and he will be buried at Cavalry Cemetery.  Five of them are named William Edward after him.

The Springfield VFW Post 8673 is named after him.

A picture of him looking really young accompanies the article.

--GreGen

Friday, October 28, 2016

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Media

October 29, 2014   ROMANCE OF A PEOPLE: 1942  August 1942.  "New York.  Window of a Jewish religious shop on Broome Street."  Marjory Collins, OWI

A banner in the window reads "Equality, Liberty, Justice/ God Bless America/ We Are Proud to be Americans."

October 23, 2014  READ ALL ABOUT IT (COLORIZED): 1942  May 1941.  "Southington, Connecticut.  Women looking at huge magazine rack.  Fresno Jacobs, OWI.  Quite a few magazines with military on the cover and many comic books.

--GreGen

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

President Bush Shot Down

September 1944.

A U.S. Navy torpedo plane, piloted by Lt. George Bush was shot down near Okinawa.  he parachuted into the sea and was rescued by a U.S. Navy submarine.

--GreGen

Pilot Deaths Back in 2014: Hermann Greiner and Charles Read

HERMANN GREINER  (1920-26 September 2014)

German Luftwaffe night fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, the highest award of Nazi Germany.  He was squadron commander of the 1st Night Fighter Wing and credited with 51 aerial victories over Allied aircraft, including four American bombers during daylight and 47 British bombers at night.

CHARLES FREDERICK READ  (1918-17 September 2014

Beaufighter pilot for RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force), flying the Bristol Beaufighter British long range heavy fighter often called the "Beau."  Led the No. 31 Squadron, No. 77 Wing in the Southwest Pacific.

He once flew a "Beau" under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

--GreGen

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Survivor Planning Trip to 75th Pearl Harbor Anniversary

From the September 30, 2016, Ledger-Independent (Ohio) "Pearl Harbor survivor plans trip to mark 75th anniversary of the attack."  Marla Toneray.

Jimmy Kimmerly, 93, of Manchester, Ohio, was 18 that day and a U.S. Fireman 3rd Class on the USS Medusa, a repair ship.  His ship was anchored on the opposite side of Ford Island, in the middle of Pearl Harbor, from Battleship Row.  His ship was hit by machine gun fire.

He graduated from Cherry Fork High School in Ohio in 1940 and wanted to see the world so joined the Navy.  He was discharged in 1946.

Since 1991, he has made several trips back to Pearl Harbor.

--GreGen

Monday, October 24, 2016

USS Oklahoma Sailor Coming Home

From the October 4, 2016, Military.com "Sailor Killed in Pearl Harbor Attack to Be Buried to be Buried in Ohio."  AP.

Rudolph Piskuran of Elyria, Ohio, has had his remains identified and will be buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in that town.

he was a 1940 graduate of Elyria High School where he played basketball and sang in chorus.

In a letter from the USS Oklahoma dated eight days before the attack, he told his parents that he felt safe and happy and was more worried about volcanoes than an attack from the Japanese.

--GreGen

Plans for the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Underway

From the October 3, 2016, Pacific Business News "Actor Gary Sinise to attend the 75th Pearl harbor Commemoration."

Plans call for an eleven-day event and are being organized by the 75th Commemorative of Pearl Harbor Committee.  It will include concerts, movies and galas.

American Airlines will sponsor a round-trip flight for 120 of the surviving Pearl Harbor veterans from Los Angeles to Honolulu on December 3rd.

I also see that the Obamas and Tom Hanks will be in attendance.

Let's Make This a Great One.  --GreGen

Friday, October 21, 2016

Panoram and "Soundies"-- Part 3: Mills Novelty Co.

Panorams used mirrors and were about the size of a refrigerator.  The films shown were on a continuous loop and everything was housed in an art deco-style, high quality wooden cabinet.

They were first produced by the Mills Novelty Company of Chicago, Illinois which also made art deco-style, fancy slot machines.

With the beginning of World War II, production of "Soundies" and Panorams were drastically reduced due to wartime raw material shortages.

--GreGen

Panoram and "Soundies"-- Part 2: Televison Killed It

The Mills Company built a vast library of short, 3-minute videos for their "Soundies."  They featured the music stars of the era like Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Cab Calloway.  Many of these videos survive and are considered priceless archives of music from the pre-war period.

The Panorams were priced at $10,000 in 2006 dollars and generally found in bars, cafes and upscale dancing establishments.  They were quite a curiosity.

After World War II, they never regained their popularity due to competition from television.

--GreGen

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Panoram "Soundies"-- Part 1: Showed Early Music Videos in the 1940s

In the last post, there was a photograph of two Mills Panogram "Soundies" and mention that they were a sort of an early video jukebox.  A little more research was necessary as I'd never heard of them.

Good old Wiki to the rescue.

Panoram was the trademark name of visual jukeboxes that played music accompanied by a synchronized, film image (like today's music videos).  It was a jukebox playing a closed-loop 16 mm film reel projected out onto a glass screen.

They were popular in the United States in the 1940s.

--GreGen

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Slots of Music

SEPTEMBER 25, 2016 LOTS OF SLOTS: 1944--  "Slot machine stockroom, Maser Music Co., Mission and Washburn streets, San Francisco.  1944.  40s One-Armed Bandits.  Take My Money!!

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016,  PLUG-AND-PLAY: 1944--  June 7, 1944.  "Maser Music showroom, Mission and Washburn streets, San Francisco.  "On display on D-Day Plus One, a selection of Wurlitzer jukeboxes and two Mills Panoram "Soundies" machines, a sort of early video jukebox that played 16 mm film loops of musical acts for a dime.

One comment says these "Soundies" were before MTV.  Some mighty pretty machines.  Wish i had one in my cave.

Even In war, Gotta Gamble and Tune In.  --GreGen

Shorpy Home Front: Toys to Heal

Again, you can see the actual photograph by typing in the capital letters.

SEPTEMBER 5, 2016  PINE & SECOND 1943    February 1943  "Daytona Beach, Florida, street scene.  Gordon Parks, OWI.  This was one of several photos he took in the black section of town.

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016  TOY HOSPITAL : 1942   November 1942.  Babies' Hospital, New York.  "Nurse training.  Through classes in pediatrics, student nurses learn how the right toys can be almost as important as medicine and diet in getting a sick child well.

Encouraging an interest in play and normal activity of childhood hastens convalescence.  Fritz Henle, OWI

Another aspect of the war you don't think much about.

--GreGen

Monday, October 17, 2016

Arizona Football Team Honors USS Arizona With Uniforms-- Part 2

One shoulder will have the patch of the 47th Pursuit Squadron which was stationed at Pearl Harbor.  On the other there will be a 48-star flag (Arizona was the 48th state admitted to the Union and, of course, it was the 48-star flag that flew in Pearl Harbor that day.

The University of Arizona's football team helmets will feature a red block "A" that is based on a photo of the USS Arizona's football team.  Also, there will be a 12-7-41 date where the helmet and face guard meet.  there is also a helmet logo of the Arizona's ship's bell.

All jerseys will say USS Arizona on the front and BB-39 on the back where the names would be.

A Fitting Honor.  --GreGen

University of Arizona Football Team Wears Jerseys Honoring the USS Arixzona-- Part 1

From the September 14, 2016, Arizona Sports "Arizona football releases uniform honoring USS Arizona vs. Hawaii."

The uniforms honor the upcoming 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and will remember the sinking of the state's namesake.  The helmets and shoulder patches will especially reflect the USS Arizona.

The white-shaded helmets are the colors of the USS Arizona's upper mast.  The white jerseys are the colors of the hull and red pants are the color of the keel.

--GreGen

Friday, October 14, 2016

USS Oklahoma Sailor's Remains Returned Home

From the August 2, 2016, WCBE Central Ohio National Public Radio "Remains of Ohio Soldier killed in Pearl Harbor attack to be returned home in September" by Jim Letizia.

Clark County resident Navy Seaman William Welch's remains will be returned.  He was killed on the USS Oklahoma.

--GreGen

USS Pennsylvania Survivor Dies: Norman Lee Vance

From the August 9, 2016, Rushville (Indiana) Republican "Local Pearl harbor survivor passes away" by Kate Thurston.

Rush County native Norman Lee Vance died August 6, 2016.  He was born August 1, 1921, in New Castle.  After New Castle High School he enlisted in the Navy on was aboard the battleship USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) when the Japanese attacked.  The Pennsylvania had 15 killed, 14 missing and 38 wounded.

On December 20, 1941, the USS Pennsylvania sailed for San Francisco for repairs, arriving December 29.  It underwent those repairs until March 39, 1941.

He later served on the USS Columbia (CL-56).  he received many World War II ribbons and battle stars.

--GreGen

Thursday, October 13, 2016

World War II Army Veterans Gather in Rockford for Their 70th Reunion

From the June 24, 2016, Rockford (Illinois) Star by Sarah Wolf.

The 103rd Division, 2nd Battalion, 410th Infantry had their first reunion with a group of eight men from Company G in a Chicago hotel in 1946..

John LaVelle was one of those men and his son, Mike LaVelle, said, "Supposedly they partied and trashed the place, vowing to do the same thing again the next year."

Needless to say, the reunion is much more tame these recent years, as are World War II reunions all over the country.  These young men are getting quite old.  World War II veterans are mostly in their 90s and are dying at the rate of 430 a day.

Once, as many as 200 veterans and their families attended this group's reunion.  This year's week-long event was held at the Rockford Holiday Inn.

Only four veterans attended it:  Bert Miller, 94, Mike Egan, 96, Fred Kann, 91 and Charlie Atkinson, 92.  The last two were in Company G.  Kann spent a year in a hospital in the war after he stepped on a mine.

--GreGen

Frederick Morin Survived the Pearl Harbor Attack

From the June 26, 2016, Newark (Ohio) Advocate  "Frederick Morin was born October 30, 1921, in Licking County, Ohio.  He graduated from Newark High School in 1938 and joined the Navy on December 12, 1940.  When the Japanese attacked the fleet he was on the USS Nevada.

He remembered:  "I was a second loader on the five-inch anti-aircraft gun.  Eventually we ran out of ammunition so the gun captain sent me and another guy down below to an ammunition hoist to bring up some more..

"I had just loaded the first round in the hoist, pushed the button, and a bomb came down through the laundry and went off.  The guy that came down with us was killed.  It blew me against the outward bulkhead.  When I came to, my skivvy undershirt was on fire.  I tore it off and got out of there.  I was running and my arm was bleeding badly from shrapnel."

He was in the hospital for 4-5 days.

Mr. Morin served aboard the USS Nevada for the rest of the war and died August 30, 1988.

The Navy, however. misprinted his name as "Moran" when he enlisted.

--GreGen

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

USS Arizona 2016 Reunion

From the USS Arizona.org site.

The ship's 2016 reunion will be held December 1-9, 2016, in Hawaii (the 75th anniversary of the attack).

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort will serve as the host.

Currently five of the six remaining survivors will be attending.

Now, of course, there are just five survivors.  I don't know if Mr. Haerry was one of the ones planning to attend.

--GreGen

Raymond Haerry, USS Arizona Survivor Dies-- Part 4: 24 Years in the Navy

Mr. Raymond remembers the horror of swimming past the burning remains of his shipmates.  He swam to Ford Island.

He managed to avoid much of the flaming oil covering the water by swimming underwater and surfacing to push the burning oil aside with his arms.

Later service in the war and postwar years was on the USS Opportune, USS Allagash, USS Luiseno and the USS Muna Kea.

Retirement came November 1964, after 24 years service in the Navy.

--GreGen

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Raymond Haerry, USS Arizona Survivor Dies-- Part 4

From the USS Arizona. org site.

HAERRY, RAYMOND JOHN,  Coxswain US Navy

DUTIES:  work with canvas and handle boats, know signaling

ENLISTED:  11 March 1940

BORN:  New Jersey

BOARDED THE USS ARIZONA:  30 September 1940 from RS Norfolk.

--GreGen

One of Last Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Survivors Dies: Raymond Haerry-- Part 3

Upon enlisting in the Navy, Mr. Haerry's first assignment was on the USS Ranger, an aircraft carrier.  While on that ship, he that the Arizona was looking for crew members and he volunteered for it and got his transfer.  In September 1940, he boarded the USS Arizona which was refitting in Bremerton, Washington.

On the Arizona, his duties involved working on the deck crew, cleaning and painting and operating boats ferrying crew to shore and back.

The morning of December 7, 1941, he had already taken a boat to shore and was back aboard and having breakfast when he saw the Japanese planes.  The big hit blew the Arizona out of the water 8-10 feet and knocked him unconscious and into the water.  He half-walked and half-swam to nearby Ford Island where he found a machine gun and began firing.

--GreGen

One of Last USS Arizona Pearl Harbor Survivors Dies: Raymond Haerry-- Part 2

From the October 7, 2016, USA Today.

Raymond Haerry was barely 18 when he enlisted in 1940.  He had initially enrolled at MIT after high school in New Jersey, but didn't like the classes so dropped out and enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  In September 1940, he joined the crew of the battleship USS Arizona.

That December 7, 1941, the massive explosion blew him off the ship and into the burning water of Pearl Harbor.

There are now five remaining USS Arizona survivors:

Lou Couter, 95, Grass Valley, California

Lauren Bruner, 95, La Mirada, California

Lonnie Cook, 95, Morris, Oklahoma

Ken Potts, 95, Provo, Utah

Donald Stratton, 94, Colorado Springs, Colorado

--GreGen


Monday, October 10, 2016

One of the Last USS Arizona Survivors Dies: Raymond Haerry, 94-- Part 1

From the October 7, 2016, Fox News "1 of last USS Arizona survivors of Pearl Harbor attack dies."

Raymond Haerry, 94, died September 27, 2016.  He was one of the six remaining survivors from that doomed ship.

When the attack came, he ran to an anti-aircraft gun only to find its ammunition was in storage.  He was trying to get that ammunition when the bomb exploded and then swam through burning waters to the shore.

His son plans to take his ashes to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor to have his ashes buried on the ship. as soon as he can afford it.   Only USS Arizona crew members can be buried on that ship.  All others are buried on the USS Utah memorial.

Mr. Haerry served 25 years and retired as a master chief.

And Then there Are Just Five.  --GreGen

Shorpy Home Front: The Delivery Boy

From the September 8, 2016, Shorpy Old Photo site.

ORCHARD PARK: 1943.

May 1943.  "Buffalo, New York.  Peter Grimm, age 10, delivers for Loblaw's grocery store with his wagon.  This was a rainy day with few customers.

"Sometimes Peter makes as much as $3 on a Saturday.  He pays for all of his school supplies and much of his clothing.  His mother, a 26-year-old widow, is a crane operator at Pratt & Letchworth."

Marjory Collins, OWI

The photo shows stacks of Orchard Park Brand Tomato Juice.  Peter's image is captured in a reflection behind the cans.

--GreGen

Friday, October 7, 2016

Looking Back to September 1941: The CCC Wants You

From the September 28, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1941, 75 Years Ago:  "There was a a time when the CCC was faced with too many applications.  Today the steady decreasing unemployment problem has caused the corps to start a recruiting campaign.  Today the word goes out that the Civilian Conservation Corps is seeking young men for service between the ages of seventeen and 23 years.

"If a young man signs for CCC service and his parents are on relief he receives $8 a month and the balance, $22, is sent home.  If they are not on relief the CCC recruit still receives $8 a month and the $22 is deposited into a savings account in his name."

As we neared the war, at this point just a little over two and a half months away, young men were either entering the military or found work in war production factories.

A Way to Take Care of the Great Depression.  --GreGen

Herbert F. Rommel-- Part 2: At Pearl Harbor on USS Oklahoma

That day, December 7, 1941, Rommel was on board the USS Oklahoma and preparing to attend a pistol match when he heard an explosion.  He remembered: "I went to see what was going on.  As I reached the deck, I saw a plane with bright red balls beneath its wings fly right over me.

"The officer of the deck sounded air defense on the bugle.  I ran off toward the turret.  On the way, I grabbed the intercom and announced over the loudspeaker, 'This is a real air raid.  This is no (expletive deleted)'"

Afterwards, he served on the USS Gridley for the next three years and was awarded 12 battle stars and a Bronze Star.

He was promoted in ranks and eventually commanded the USS Wilkes at the end of the war.  Mr. Rommel said, "That was the most damn fun I ever had."

After that he became commanding officer of the Washington Navy Yard and later commanded five different ships.

He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 66, Site 6321.

--GreGen

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Herbert F. Rommel, Jr., On USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor-- Part 1

From Find-A-Grave.

This man wrote Jospeh P. Hittorff's parents about their son's final moments on the USS Oklahoma.  He survived the attack.

Born October 27, 1915, in Pennsylvania.  Died June 10, 2007.

Mr. Rommel's primary career and love, other than his wife, was the U.S. navy.

He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1934 as an apprentice seaman and was commissioned an ensign in 1938.  He was ordered to report to the battleship USS Oklahoma in 1940 and was on board that ship on December 7, 1941.

--GreGen

Looking Back September 1941: Cost of Living Excessively High at Pearl Harbor

From the September14, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1941, 75 years ago.  "George Bjelk, who is now employed on a government project at Pearl Harbor, writes back to his father that the cost of living is exceedingly high at the well-known naval base."

This, of course, just three months before the attack and at a time when many Americans had never heard of Pearl Harbor before.

--GreGen

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Ten Members of USNA Class of 1940 Killed at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941-- Part 2

These members of the USNA Class of 1940 died on the USS Oklahoma:

Darby, Marshall E.
Hittorff, Joseph P.
Thompson, Irvin A.R.

I wrote about Joseph Hittorff yesterday.

--GreGen

Ten Members of USNA Class of 1940 Killed at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941-- Part 1

From USNA.com.

USNA Class of 1940 Killed in Action or Line of Duty during World War II.

These members died on the USS Arizona:

Clouse, Edward B.
Lomax, Frank S.
Merrill, Howard D.
Smith, Orville S.
Weeden, Carl A.
Whitehead, Ulmot I., Jr.
Young, Eric R.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Joseph Hittorff Was a Classmate of William Croft

I have been writing about William Crosswell Croft and Barbara Engh in connection to her being "Color Girls" of the USNA Class of 1940.

It turns out that Ensign Joseph Hittorff was also a member of the Class of 1940.

Both men were at Pearl Harbor and on battleships.  William Croft survived that day.  Joseph Hittorff did not.
--GreGen

Sailor's Remains Lost in Pearl Harbor Attack Come Home: Ensign Joseph P. Hittorff, Jr.

From the June 10, 2016, Litchfield (Connecticut) County Times by Diane Lang.

Ensign Joseph P. Hittorff, Jr, was on the battleship USS Oklahoma that day in Pearl Harbor and lost his life.  His remains have recently been identified and he will be buried with full military honors June 18th in Kent, Connecticut.

He was a ember of the USNA Class of 1940.

Herbert Rommell, shipmate, wrote to Joseph Hittorff's family afterwards and said that Joseph reported to the engine room when the alarm went off in order to attempt to get the ship underway.  "When last seen, he was in the machine shop, which is right above the engine room."

The Oklahoma was hit by many torpedoes in rapid succession and keeled over rapidly.  Some of the men down there abandoned ship.  But Joe decided to stay in an attempt to get the ship underway.  He went down to the starboard engine room.

And, that was the end for him.

Brave To the End.  --GreGen

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor William Crosswell Croft in 2009

From the March 27, 2009, Chicago Sun-Times "Pearl Harbor survivor, businessman."

He married Barbara Engh, at one time a resident of Sycamore, Illinois, where I came across her name as being "Color Girl" of the USNA Class of 1940.

Whenever he was asked about his health, William Croft would say. "I'm rugged.  I'm rugged."

He was a young naval officer on the battleship USS California at Pearl Harbor that fateful day in which almost 100 of its crew were lost in the Japanese attack.  He was also on the battleship USS Indiana when it collided with the the USS Washington in which ten crew were killed.

Mr. Croft, 91, of Northbrook, Illinois, died of pneumonia Saturday at Glenbrook Hospital, March 21, 2009.

He married Barbara Engh in 1942.  She was "The One" from the moment he met her on a blind date in 1939.  They were married for 67 years.

William Crosswell Croft was born January 8, 1918, in Greenville, South Carolina.  In the Navy he rose from the rank of ensign to lieutenant-commander.

--GreGen