Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Last Otter Tail County Pearl Harbor Veteran Dies: Gene Davis

From the November 30, 2016, WDAY 6 (Minnesota) "Honoring a vet:  Last Pearl Harbor survivor in Otter Tail County dies" by Kevin Walleband.

Gene Davis, 94, of Fergus Falls, Minnesota was buried Friday.

He joined the Navy at age 18 and was on the USS California during the attack.  A blast blew him off the deck and he was left for dead, but actually was shell-shocked.

For years, he wouldn't speak about his experience, but that all changed with a trip back to Pearl Harbor in 1980.

One hundred died on the USS California that day.

--GreGen

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Portland's Toxic World War II Ship Graveyard

From the December 2, 2016, Portland (Ore) Tribune, by Cassandra Profita.

During World War II, several Willamette River shipyards were busy, but after victory, that stretch of waterfront became a scrapyard where many ships were dismantled.  Areas of the river were covered with ship scraps often laced with toxic pollutants like lead, asbestos and PCB.

At its peak during the war, Portland was launching on average a warship every four days.  Speed was encouraged.  As soon as one was launched, the next one's keel was immediately laid.

Pollution covered 30 acres along a half mile of riverfront.

--GreGen

Monday, April 24, 2017

Congress Approves Gold Medal for Filvets

From the December 2, 2016, Inquirer.Net.

The Gold Medal for the 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who served with U.S. Army Forces of the Far East, USAFFE, during World War II has been approved.

Now it goes to President Obama for his signature.

The Rescission Act of 1946, Congress stripped Filipino soldiers of the benefits they were promised by FDR.  Fewer than 7,000 of them survive today in the United States.  Overall, there are just 18,000 Filipino veterans still alive.

The Tuskegee Airmen and Hawaii's 442nd/100th Infantry Battalion have also received the Congressional Gold Medal.

About Time.  --GreGen


Friday, April 21, 2017

OSS Veterans Get Congressional Gold Medal-- Part 2

In the past, the World War II groups Tuskegee Airmen and Navajo "Code Talkers" have also received the Gold Medal.

The OSS was formed in 1942 by William Donovan who called them the "Glorious Amateurs," responsible for cloak-and-dagger operations throughout the war, including ones behind enemy lines in Germany.

The OSS insignia, the spearhead, is synonymous with the Special Operations Command.

They were dissolved after the war when what was left of the organization became the foundation for the CIA.  Other branches of the OSS became the Green Berets and Navy SEALs.

Now, I'd like to see the Montford Points Marines receive one.

Well Deserved, Even This Late.  --GreGen

Bill Honoring World War II's Intelligence Operatives Finally Passes Congress-- Part 1

From the December 1, 2016, Washington Post by Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

Photo accompanying the article shows OSS founder General William Donovan and members of the OSS operational groups, forerunners of the U.S. Special Forces.

This measure took a long time to pass Congress, despite bipartisan support.

The Congressional Gold Medal will go out to veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).  The problem with them, getting the Gold Medal was a new law that prevented groups from getting it..  This law, however, had earlier been waived in order to honor Civil Rights activists in 1965's "Bloody Sunday" march in Selma, Alabama.

--GreGen

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kansas Family Made Ultimate Sacrifice-- Part 2: Another One Died in France

Their brother Bob joined the Navy when he turned 17 and was in basic training when the war ended in 1945.

Her mother's brother Leroy Blattner joined after the Pearl Harbor attack and was an Air Force pilot.  On August 3, 1944, another plane crashed into his Marauder B-26 bomber in France.  This caused a crash and his whole crew was killed.

--GreGen

Kansas Family Made Ultimate Sacrifice on USS Arizona, Twice

From the November 12, 2016, Hays Daily News (Kansas)  "Hays woman speaks of family's service, sacrifice" by Savannah Downing.

Fay Klein said that on both her mother and father's side, her family made the ultimate sacrifice.

Her father, Walter Becker, was the oldest brother of seven kids.  Three of his brothers:  Harvey, 24; Marcin, 22 and Wesley, 18, were stationed on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941.  They had requested to serve together.

Harvey was not on the ship at the time as he was on shore leave with his wife, a nurse.  He went to pearl Harbor after the attack to look for his brothers.  Eventually, he had to call his parents to tell them he couldn't find his brothers.

Wesley and Marvin's name are listed on the USS Arizona Memorial.

--GreGen

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Local Man Killed on USS Arizona

From the February 1, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Charles Aves received word that his son Willard was killed at Pearl Harbor on December 7th.  The war department had previously reported Willard as missing and his friends and relatives had felt that he was gone because he had been on duty on the USS Arizona as a fireman.

"His father and sisters have the sincerest sympathy of this community as everyone feels he too has had a loss."

The War Hits Home.  --GreGen

USS Arizona Survivor Laid to Rest On His Ship-- Part 2

Raymond Haerry was 19 that day and the blast blew him off the USS Arizona.  "The oil that was belching out of the ships ignited because of the explosion and he had to swim through that, got to Ford Island, got some medical care and somehow got a gun and fired back at the enemy and survived the day."

He is the 42nd Arizona survivor to rejoin his shipmates.  Out of the 335 who survived that day, five are still alive.

--GreGen


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

USS Arizona Survivor Laid to Rest on His Ship-- Part 1: Raymond Haerry

From the April 16, 2017, KITV 4 ABC News Hawaii "USS Arizona survivor laid to rest inside sunken battleship" by Mackenzie Stasko.

Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Raymond Haerry was interned in the hulk of the Arizona on Saturday afternoon.

Over 100 gathered at the USS Arizona memorial for the internment ceremony.

A team of U.S. navy and National Park Service divers took him to his final resting place where the urn was placed in turret #3 in the part of the ship which they believe contain the remains of his shipmates.

 --GreGen

New Jersey Native and One of Last USS Arizona Survivors, Gets Final tribute

From NJ.com by Jeff Goldman.

The remains of Master Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Haerry were placed on an American Airlines flight after a ceremony at Newark Liberty International Airport.  he was a Paterson native who died in Rhode Island in September at age 94.  His ashes will be interred on the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.

When the Arizona exploded that day, he was thrown into the water, but swam to safety, got a gun and began firing at the Japanese planes.

Later, he served on the USS Opportune, USS Allagash, USS Luiseno and the USS Muna Kea.  He also served during the KoreanWar, and retired from the Navy in 1964.

He was born November 21, 1924 and enlisted March 11, 1940.

--GreGen

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pearl Harbor Survivor Al Taylor Was a Reluctant Hero

From the January 19,2017, Quad-City (Iowa) Dispatch by John Marx.

Alvis "Al" Taylor died earlier this week at age 93 on January 16, 2017.

In 2013, there were three Pearl Harbor survivors in the Quad-City area: Eldon Baxter, Al Taylor and Bob Cewe.  Bob Cewe died in 2014.

Mr. Taylor was an Army medic at Schofield Barracks and 18 years old in the attack.  He guided ambulances to pick up wounded soldiers and non-survivors, working 48-straight hours non-stop.  Also, he helped a physician who specialized in traumatic head injuries.  he proudly said that the nineteen soldiers he assisted all lived.

"There was no break.  You just did what you needed to do," he recalled.

Another of the Greatest.  --GreGen

Friday, April 14, 2017

Death of Another Pearl Harbor Veteran: Maxwell Burggraaf

From the January 17, 2017, Fox 13 Salt Lake City, Utah "Man speaks after his father, a Pearl Harbor survivor, dies at 98."

Maxwell Burggraad, 98, died.

He was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy for nearly a decade and a chief electrician's mate on the USS Nevada when the harbor was attacked.  He was born in Ottumwa, Iowa.

On December 7, 1941, he got up early and caught a street car to Waikiki for a priesthood meeting.  Upon arrival there, he was told that all servicemen were to report back to their stations immediately.

He remembers seeing the smoke and fires as he approached the harbor.  He arrived back at his ship,  the USS Nevada, just before it made its dash out of the harbor.

After the action, he found out that his cabin had been destroyed.  The sailor who had taken his place while he was on leave was killed.

The Greatest Generation.  --GreGen

Looking Back to 1942: Use Those Gas Rationing Coupons... Or Lose Them!!

From the January 25, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"The valid period for coupon three in the Mileage Ration book will expire at midnight tonight for the "A" books.  It is expected that all who have any of these coupons remaining will have used them by this evening, for they will become worthless after tomorrow."

Gas Up, Folks!!  --GreGen

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: Shovel Your Sidewalks

From the January 25, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Several weeks ago an appeal was made to the residents of this city to keep their sidewalks clear of snow.  The answer to that appeal has been most gratifying but there are still a dew who have failed to cooperate.

"Since the advent of gas rationing, many more are forced to walk and it will be a great help to these pedestrians if the residents keep their walks shoveled.  Many are forced to walk to their work and most of them leave for work while it is still dark.'

Shovel for Victory.  --GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Being Poor and Interracial Activity

March 31, 2017  TOY STORY: 1943:  July 1943.  Washington, D.C.  "A child whose home is in an alley dwelling near the U.S. Capitol."  Esther Bubley, OWI.  A black child sitting in a pile of debris.

Being poor did not take a vacation during the war.  Sad to have such squalor so close to the Capitol.

March 31, 2017:  SPLINT IN A TENT: 1943:  August 1943.  Southfields, New York.  "Interracial activities at Camp Nathan Hale where children are aided by the Methodist Camp Service.  First aid."  By Gordon Parks, OWI.

White and black boys in a tent where the black boy is putting on a splint or bandage on the white boy.

--GreGen

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hoping That New Orleans Will Not Be Taking Down the Confederate Statues

I expect the city will do just that and soon.  This would be too bad, as I really like this town with Bourbon Street and all that great music and food.  I would also like to go to the National World War II Museum which I have been writing about a great project they are undertaking.

However, if those statues come down, I might have to show my displeasure at the horrible thing they have done to my heritage by organizing my own little boycott.  Now, I know that just one person counts for little in the grand scheme of things, but it would be something I would have to do.

My Civil War Round Table group is planning a trip there in a few months to look at sites, but I haven't signed up for it while waiting to see what the city does.

I Really Don't Want to Have to Boycott New Orleans.  --GreGen

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A USS Oklahoma Hero Comes Home

From the April 8, 2017, Albert Lea (Minnesota) Tribune "A hero comes home" by Colleen Harrison.

Glaydon Iverson of Emmons boarded the USS Oklahoma on September 11, 1941, in San Francisco.  He had recently been home on furlough with his parents and family.

After December 7, 1941, his parents, Edwina and Anna received two telegrams from the War Department.  The first said that he hadn't been located and the second that his remains had not been found and was presumed dead.

He was the first casualty of the war from the county.

But, recently, the remains of the Oklahoma's unknowns have been dug up and DNA testing has led to the identification of many, including Mr. Iverson.

He will have a funeral on May 27 with full military honors and will be buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery.

--GreGen

USS Arizona Relic Coming to Coast Guard Auxiliary in Florida

From the April 5, 2017, Treasure Coast Palm "USS Arizona relic to be presented to Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla" by Hank Cushard.

The USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 59 at Stuart, Florida was formed April 11, 1942 to combat the menace of German U-boats off the Florida coast in the first months of the war.  As such, the group marks their 75th anniversary today.

Members of the group during the war rode horseback along beaches looking for U-boat activity or ships or persons in distress.  They manned the tower at House of Refuge on Hutchinson island and had offshore patrols.

In 1986, a member of the group, Captain Spence Kidd, brother of Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who commanded the USS Arizona at Pearl harbor and whose body was never recovered, donated a model of the USS Arizona to the group.

The USS Arizona relic will be given to the group on April 29.  Unfortunately, the article did not say what the relic was and I was unable to find out in other sources what it might be.

--GreGen

Monday, April 10, 2017

Boy Finds German Plane With Pilot Remains Still Inside

From the March 8, 2017, CNN "Boy finds WWII plane with pilot's remains in the cockpit" by Judith Vonberg.

Fourteen-year-old Daniel Kristiansen and his father, Klaus, have discovered what is believed to be a Messerschmitt fighter plane buried in a field on their farm near Birkelse, in northern Denmark.  He was using a metal detector out in the field, hoping to find something to show at school.

He remembered his grandfather telling him about a German plane crashing there during the war in November or December 1944.

They found the pilot's papers and believe the German was flying his plane from a training base for German pilots in Aalborg, a nearby city.

An ordnance team is working on the site to determine there is nothing dangerous.

--GreGen

Friday, April 7, 2017

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Working On Your Car

March 8, 2017--  BACKYARD MECHANIC: 1943.  June 1943.  Silver Springs, Maryland.  "Man repairing his automobile."  Anne Rosener, OWI.  Comment:  working on a 1937 Plymouth.

With gas rationing and shortages, you had to keep your car running the best you could.

March9, 2017--  D'OILY: 1943:  A different shot of the above photo.

----GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Buy Coke and War Bonds

MARCH 21, 2017  BOTTLE UP: 1943.  Uncaptioned photograph, circa 1943  Photograph taken by OWI of a brick tower, probably in the Upper Midwest.  The tower has been repurposed to advertise for War Bonds and Coca-Cola.

Shorpy commentators quickly identified the tower as being in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the remnant of the 1886 Minneapolis Exposition Building.  The tower's final owner, Coca-Cola, tore the building down in 1940 to make room for a new bottling plant and left just the tower, which stood for a few more years.

The advertising features a huge bottle of Coca-Cola near the top of it.  Underneath it is a picture of a grave cross at a cemetery and the caption "This Man Gave a Life....  Will You Invest More Than 10% In War Bonds?"

Both the bottle and War Bond Ads appear on two of the sides, perhaps all four.

--GreGen

Thursday, April 6, 2017

World War II Graveyard Off the North Carolina Coast-- Part 2

4.  Photo of the Bluefields--  sunk by the U-576 on July 15, 1942.

5.  The wreck of the Bluefields.  The wreck of the U-576 and its victim, the Bluefields, lie just 240 yards apart.

6.  Sonar scanning of the U-576.

7.  The Baseline Explorer, the research vessel at the shipwreck sites.

8. The Baseline and the 2-man submersible Nomad which went to the ocean floor to explore the wrecks.

9-16  Views of the wreck of the U-576.

--GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: All Aboard the Train, Another Jack Delano Train Picture

March 24, 2017  WHERE I'M COMING FROM: 1943.  "Freight train operation on the Chicago and North Western Railroad between Chicago and Clinton, Iowa.  Somewhere in Illinois between Cortland and Malta (right alongside the Lincoln Highway).  Jack Delano, OWI.

Jack sure takes a lot of train photos.  He took the picture from the back of the caboose looking down the tracks behind him in some mighty flat  country.  This area wold also be near the famed Lincoln Highway.

0--GreGen

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

George Ray Tweed, Eluded Japanese for 2 Years 7 Months on Guam

From Wikipedia.

This comes about because he appeared on the an old TV show "To Tell the Truth" earlier today on the Game Show Network.  I didn't see it, but Liz did and told me about it, knowing I would be interested.  I'll have to see the next time it is shown.

(July 2, 1902-January 16, 1989)

Decorated U.S. Navy radio man, famous for evading Japanese capture for two years and seven months after the U.S. garrison on Guam island surrendered in 1941.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1922 and was sent to Guam in 1939.

As war loomed on the horizon, his family was sent back to the States in October 1941.  The Japanese invaded the island December 8, 1941.  Guam's garrison consisted of 155 Marines, aided by a force of 200 islanders and 400 Navy personnel untrained for combat.

It wasn't much of a fight.  However, George Tween and five others decided not to surrender and slipped off into Guam's jungle.

Very interesting story of his escapades at Wikipedia.

--GreGen

World War II Graveyard Off North Carolina Coast-- Part 1

From CBS Sunday Morning "World War II graveyard off the American coast."

This is a slide show, mostly on pictures of the German submarine U-576 and the SS Bluefields.  The German U-boat sank the Bluefields and within a short time, was sunk itself very close to its victim.

Slide Show:

1.  The wreck of the USS Monitor from the Civil War.

2.  The SS Dixie Arrow, sunk March 26, 1942 by another U-boat during Germany's Operation Drumbeat to destroy Allied shipping along the U.S. East and Gulf coasts.  In the first eight months of 1942, 400 Allied ships were sunk.  Off the North Carolina coast, 80 were sunk.

3.  The U-576 attacked the KS-520 Convoy on July 15, 1942.  It sank the Bluefields and then was sunk itself.

--GreGen

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Jim Doyle, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Dies

I wrote about Mr. Doyle last week.  This is a follow up.

From the March 31, 2017, Lakewood (Colorado) Sentinel "Pearl Harbor survivor dies at 93."

Lakewood resident, Jim Doyle, died March 28, 2017, at age 93.

He was born in Colorado and joined the Navy at age 16, wanting to become a pilot, but instead became an aerial photographer.

Mr. Doyle's memory of the attack:  "I was an aerial photographer and was stationed on Ford Island.  We slept in the hangar, and when I heard the explosions, I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures.  Many of the Dec. 7 pictures used are mine."

After his time in the service, Mr. Doyle worked for the U.S. Geological Service.

I still do not know specifically which of the Pear Harbor attack photos are his, but since he was on Ford Island, I would say the picture of the planes on fire on the island are his.

--GreGen

Shorpy Home Front Photos: Peanuts and Newsboys

March 21, 2017--  MR. PEANUT: 1943.  April 1943.  "Baltimore. Maryland -- peanut stand."  Marjory Collins, OWI.  The peanut stand is on the street.

One comment is wondering about the speakers set up on a street corner pole with speakers facing all directions.  Might it be Air Raid or Civil defense?

March 24, 2017--  YESTERDAY'S NEWSBOYS: 1943.  March 1943.  "Galveston, Texas.  Newspaper delivery boys."  John Vachon, OWI.

The boys are delivering the Houston Chronicle on bicycles.

--GreGen

Monday, April 3, 2017

Omaha Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies At 95

From the March 30, 2017, Omaha (Nebraska)  World-Herald "Omaha man who survived Pearl Harbor attack dies at 95" by Steve Liewer.

(May 19, 1921-March 26, 2017)

Howard Linn was on the nearby USS Nevada when the USS Arizona exploded.  It blew out his eardrums.  Sixty died on the Nevada during the attack and Mr. Linn was one of the 109 wounded.  The Nevada, of course, was the only battleship to get underway that day and the one that made the dash to get out of harm's way.

He was a petty officer 1st class and remembers pieces of the Arizona coming through his ship's portholes.  No one around him on a lower deck at the time was hit, but he said that every man topside was killed.

When later asked by an officer as to how he was doing, Mr. Linn replied that he was concerned About his dad who was working in the fire room of one of the absent carriers.  His dad had enlisted in the Navy after serving in the Army during World War I.

There is a video showing the five remaining crew members of the USS Nevada.

--GreGen


Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Jim Doyle-- Part 2

Jim Doyle enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 16.  he was in a hangar on the west side of Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack and saw some of the Japanese planes flying in at street level.  Among his worst memories were the smell of charred bodies and others floating.  "Oil and slime were all over their bodies."

The photographs he took of the attack and aftermath are considered some of the most iconic of the attack.  (I was, unfortunately, unable to locate any source which definitely showed his photos.)

During the Battle of the Coral Sea, he was on the aircraft carrier USS Lexington.  After a sortie, he flew back to his ship, landed but had to abandon ship when it sank.

He later was shot down while ferrying planes to Guadalcanal.  Marines braved enemy fire and rescued him.  Mr. Doyle said he remembers none of this rescue as he woke up in a hospital in Brisbane, Australia.

Because of his injuries, he received a medical discharge in 1943.

--GreGen

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Death of Pearl Harbor Survivor Jim Doyle, 93--Part 1

From the March 31, 2017, Denver Post "Denver Pearl Harbor survivor Jim Doyle dies, leaving a legacy as a war hero and artist" by Monte Whaley.

"Jim Doyle captured some of the most enduring images of Pearl Harbor attack on film."

Died March 27, 2017.

He filmed the scene.  Later, he came under fire again while flying as an aviation mate 1st Class in the Pacific Theater.

For his service, he received two Purple Hearts and a Distinguished Flying Cross, but rarely talked about his experiences.

--GreGen

World War II Gun Arrives in Delaware-- Part 2: Technologically Advanced

The gun weighs 32,000 pounds and could be used on ships or land.  They fired two types of shells:  high-explosive or armor-piercing.  The shells weighed 24 pounds and could hit a target 11 miles away or an aircraft flying at 34,000 feet.

Crews loaded the shells individually, but a highly complex firing system then took over to fire it.  This was extreme armament technology at the time.

When the guns were at Fort Miles during the war, they were placed on the beach, but had wheels for ease of movement.

The Fort Miles Historic Association and Delaware state Parks got the gun from the National Electronics Museum in Linthicum, Maryland.  They are currently looking for a 1918 155 mm gun as the fort at one time mounted eight of them.

--GreGen

World War II Gun Arrive in Delaware-- Part 1: Fort Miles

From the March 30, 2017, Delaware Inline News-Journal "Wold War II big gun arrives in Lewes" by Molly Murray.

The gun arrived Thursday, March 30.  It is like the ones that defended the entrance to the Delaware Bay back in the war.  It arrived at Cape Henlopen State Park.  Over the next year, volunteers will sandblast and restore it for display at Fort Miles.  (Which is turning into quite the World War II museum.)

Guns like this Model M2, 90 mm anti-aircraft were put in to fire on motor torpedo boats, and, of course, German planes.

General George Patton claimed that these guns were second only to the atom bombs as the technology that helped turn the tide of war.

--GreGen