Saturday, April 20, 2013

Veterans Undertake One More Mission

So glad some more veterans are being honored by being flown to DC.  My only issue with the story is there is no such thing as a "former Marine"; once a Marine, always a Marine.

Saluting the Greatest Generation again...

Read the entire article here:

April 20, 1945 - Hitler Celebrates 56th Birthday

Hitler celebrates his 56th birthday in the bunker in Berlin; reports are that he is in an unhealthy state, nervous, and depressed.

Friday, April 19, 2013

April 19, 1941 - Heavy Air Raids in London

London suffers one of the heaviest air raids in the war; St. Paul's is mildly damaged but remains closed; other Wren churches are heavily damaged or destroyed.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 18, 1942 - Doolittle Raid on Japan

This daring raid was a notable beginning of the United States showing that it would not only fight back from the attacks on Pearl Harbor, but would just be the beginning of the determination, heart and ingenuity of the American forces to come.

Launching from the USS Hornet, sixteen B-25B bombers flew to Nagoya, Tokyo and Yokohama.  The intent of the raid, which was later verified by Lt. Colonel James Doolittle himself in an autobiography, was to show the Japanese population that they were not immune to attack and to boost the morale of the American people.

An Army Air Force B-25B bomber takes off from USS Hornet (CV-8) at the start of the raid, 18 April 1942.
Note men watching from the signal lamp platform at right.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection.

The specific aircraft (B-25B Mitchell twin engine medium bomber) was selected as it was able to take off from an aircraft carrier, carry enough munition for significant bombing runs and have enough fuel to continue to airfields in China.  

Doolittle specially trained his raiders for their mission and they made modifications to the planes just for these flights.  Plans called for the Hornet to get to a point roughly 400 miles from the Japanese mainland before the planes took off, but as so many military missions go, the plans changed.  Enemy boats were encountered nearly 600 miles from shore, and while they served no danger to the Hornet and her escorts, the USS Enterprise with cruisers and destroyers, the ships were able to send radio signals alerting Japan to the American's presence.  The crews had no choice but to take off and begin the mission.

The bombers arrived in Japan about noon (Tokyo time; six hours after launch) and bombed 10 military and industrial targets in Tokyo, two in Yokohama and one each in Yokosuka, Nagoya, Kobe and Osaka . Although some B-25s encountered light antiaircraft fire and a few enemy fighters over Japan, no bomber was shot down.

From the Navy History and Heritage web page :
Damage to the intended military targets was modest, and none of the planes reached the Chinese airfields (though all but a few of their crewmen survived). However, the Japanese high command was deeply embarrassed. Three of the eight American airmen they had captured were executed. Spurred by Combined Fleet commander Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, they also resolved to eliminate the risk of any more such raids by the early destruction of America's aircraft carriers, a decision that led them to disaster at the Battle of Midway a month and a half later.

1942 US newsreel about the raid

The Raiders have a web site with lots of information and audio and video clips. They also still have an annual reunion:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sparta, Michigan in World War II

Nice article on a small town in Michigan's stories from World War II. The story of the Lamoreauxs is tragic. Out of three sons in the service, all three were KIA. The military attempted to locate the third son after his two brothers were killed (as in Saving Private Ryan) but did not before he was killed February 6, 1945 in Germany.

April 17, 1942 - French General Giraud escapes imprisonment

French General Henri Giraud, who was captured in 1940, escapes from a castle prison at Konigstein by lowering himself down the castle wall and jumping on board a moving train, which takes him to the French border.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"American Warrior" pre-flight rally honors veterans

American Warrior
(L-r) Robert Shields, Milton Judson, Robert Eichman and Stanley Ploszaj pledge allegiance to the flag to start the rally before their upcoming American Warrior flight to Washington, D.C. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

100 veterans from all branches of service gathered for a service to honor them before their trip to Washington, D.C. to see the World War II Memorial.  They briefly told their stories and had a chance to mingle and meet their "guardians" that will help escort them on their trip.

Read the entire article here :

For more information on American Warrior, visit their web site : 

April 16, 1941 - Luftwaffe bomb Northern Ireland

Heavy Luftwaffe raid on Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Off Topic : Prayers For Boston Today

Philippine Scouts, descendants honor those who fought in WWII

This is not only important that groups still get together and honor those that fought and died, but that these people are also recognized.  Very glad to see media coverage of gatherings and interviews with those involved.  We as a society must never forget the sacrifices made by our ancestors to get us where we are today.
Zenaida Crisostomo Slemp of Puyallup joined her father’s military heritage organization years after his death. Something called out to her, telling her it was time to learn more about his past.
She knew her father, Serafin Crisostomo, survived as a prisoner of war of the Japanese after fighting overwhelming odds with the U.S. Army’s Philippine Scouts. Her grandfather fought there, too.
“I needed to honor my father, to keep his legacy going,” she said.

Read more here:

Jose Calugas, left, president of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society, Rudy Cabigas, center, dressed in a Philippine Scouts uniform, and David Tejada, 90, who served with Philippine Scouts enjoy sharing war stories at the 29th National Reunion of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society in Tacoma on Friday. (LUI KIT WONG/Staff writer)

Read more here:

Read the entire article here :

April 15, 1942 - Allied Forces begin work to destroy the Yenangyaung oil fields in Burma

Soldiers of the I Burma Corps begin to destroy the infrastructure of the Yenangyaung oil fields to prevent the advancing Japanese from capturing them intact.

Yenangyaung in Burma was the location of a strategically and tactically important oil refinery. As a result of the speed and success of the Japanese advance up through Burma during the Burma Campaign and the Battle of Yenangyaung, the retreating Allied forces were forced to blow up the oil fields and refinery to prevent them falling into the hands of the Japanese. This difficult task was left to a small group of men who had experience with explosives and demolitions, some from serving with the Bombay Pioneers, part of the British Indian Army, in World War I. The oil facilities were destroyed at 10 pm on 16 April 1942.

The men had then to escape through enemy held territory back to Imphal and Kohima in India, a distance of nearly 1,000 miles. This escape included swimming across the Irrawaddy River, as the only bridge had been blown up to delay the Japanese advance.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Veteran has an amazing story

Joe Williams was drafted at 18.  When he and others arrived at Camp Croft in South Carolina, they were told to pick which service they wanted to enter.  He chose the Coast Guard, thinking that would mean he would stay closer to home and guard the east coast.  "I was wrong,” Williams said.
After boot camp, Williams went to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for amphibious training. He signed up to learn welding, a move that later would save his life.
“The ship I was eventually assigned to was the USS Bayfield,” Williams said, “a flagship – we always had all sorts of brass officers onboard.”
Williams took part in the training mission "Exercise Tiger" for the D-Day invasion that turned out to be a disaster. Many American lives were lost due to friendly fire and an German ambush.  The operation was sealed and never talked about for years.

The USS Bayfield also took part in the battle of Iwo Jima.
Williams has many stories about his tour during the war. “My friend on the ship played the mandolin, and we’d entertain with bluegrass in the mess hall on Friday nights,” said Williams, who played guitar. “When we were at Iwo Jima, he and I were to go ashore with another soldier. Officers stopped me from going at the last minute because our ship had taken a hit, and the resulting hole needed to be repaired by welding, and I was the welder.
“My good friend and the other soldier never made it back. To this day, I cry for him whenever I hear ‘Taps.’ ”
After the war, Joe eventually met his wife Faye.  In July, the couple will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

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April 14, 1940 - Enigma code deciphered

The Enigma code is deciphered by the intelligence group at Bletchley Park in England for the first time.