Real War Photos
Real War Photos would like to hear about your time in service or just receive your helpful input. In many instances, we hear from veterans who were actually in a picture, or on a ship when the picture was taken. With your permission, we are glad to share your veteran's story below or any other items of interest, words of wisdom or general guidance. We look forward to hearing from you and know others will appreciate your input on our country's history and your place in it both yesterday and today. Please email us via the Contact Us page.
Rudolph Victor Piskuran, was a 19 years old sailor, who died on the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by the Japanese on 07 December 1941.
RWP# N3080A (Above right) The capsized USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and the USS Maryland (BB-46), the next day after the Jap attack on Pearl Harbor, 08 December 1941. Photo courtesy of the N.A.R.A and Library of Congress.
Top photo, taken at the beginning of his journney, courtesy of Ernie Andrus. To read more about Ernie and donate to the LST-325 (see ship's photo below) Memorial Ship Fund, go to: http://coast2coastruns.com/
RWP #N25784 LST-325 seen in the background unloading her cargo. In the foreground, several jeeps driving along French invasion beach carrying casualities, to be transferred into waiting LST, which will return them to England, 12 June, 1944. Photo courtesy of Dept of Navy and National Archives and Records Administration.
The August 1967 flood, remembered as the greatest disaster to hit Fairbanks, eventually subsided but life didn't get back to normal for weeks. During this time we were all restricted to Ft. Wainwright, living without the usual cushy amenities like indoor plumbing, lights or food. C-Rations not qualifying for actual food, of course. We used field showers which were 55 gallon drums of water on top of a scaffold looking contraption. Heated by a gasoline heater that provided cold water or scalding water with no middle settings. Either way showers were an in and out affair with naked asses either blue or red. Or, one other possibility was the gas heater would sometimes explode. Showers were never long. After two weeks the troops were tiring of the lack of alcohol and the companionship of the native girls at the bars in Fairbanks. We had been promised the 3 day Labor Day weekend off after Saturday morning formation. All 3 days. Unprecedented. I'm sure having troops restricted to base made that generous decision easier for the brass to make. Friday afternoon, Robert Carleton walked over to my bunk and laid out a plan.
Carleton actually looked like Jim Carrey, black hair and dark eyes and an eternal, almost goofy grin. He proposed that him, Merle Archie and I should slip off post after dark and make our way to Pauline's bar to check out the chicks and sample Pauline's legendary drinks. Archie, or Arch as I called him, was a skinny little guy, very unassuming, almost meek. Load noises weren't his thing. He actually should have been assigned to a stamp collecting unit instead of the infantry. His idea of excitement was watching me and Schwering swill contraband Bacardi while listening to Peter Paul and Mary on his record player. Arch was incredibly bright and we had become close friends, having shared one of the partitioned areas in the barracks. Anyway, Arch looked at Carleton through his triple thick glasses and exclaimed, "Are you F'n nuts? No one in recent memory has been to Pauline's. It's a fairy tale made up by the Top Sarge. Like telling people on Devil's Island about the McDonalds just one island away. “ Carleton was too excited to hear Archie. You've heard the story, Arch! Pauline was the top place in the Big Apple until LaGuardia ran her out. She brought her whole set up to the woods outside Fairbanks. The stars fly in there all the time! Hell no, count me out Arch laughed as he turned and left. When Merle cussed he meant business.
Later that night we left the barracks by the side door, the fragrance of English Leather thick in the air. I had on my tight tan corduroy pants, a Van Heusen 417 and my best cardigan sweater. Don't forget the pointy black shoes, stilettos we called them. Probably had $80.00 in my wallet having just been paid. We stepped into the night after 4 or 5 minutes of careful planning without a thought about consequences or the fact that we had no idea where Pauline's actually was. We walked the muddy mile down past the motor pool to the fence at post's edge, 8 feet high topped with barb wire. Well Damn. A lot taller close up, I said. We struggled and cussed and finally got over it. Carleton had one small mishap, probably took 5 stitches, but as I told him he'll always have that scar on his ass to brag about. The plan was to follow perimeter road until the left corner, ducking the MP jeeps on patrol. Turn right then a short hike cross country until we found the paved road Pauline's was supposed be on. The night was dark, fog was settling in. A mile and we found the turn and headed off road. A hundred yards and we stumbled into a swamp. Ankle deep became knee deep. Dammit Carleton, these are my new cords! I could hear water splashing as he pressed on. A half hour later Carleton yelled "Keep moving I see a light!" We made the light and it was right beside the highway. Faultless planning, our determination was restored. "Now it's just a short hike on pavement and we are in the middle of a gaggle of aboriginal nubiles and Pauline's special elixirs! The place is a palace I tell you!" Carleton had a way with words.
Pitch black night. Dense fog. Not one car or house as we walked 3 hours. Not a slow pace but a good long march carrying full gear pace, whistling, shouting cadence counts, telling lies and laughing. Driven by hormones and the thought of that hidden oasis of sophistication. A noise behind us. A rusty dusty blue pickup flew by and disappeared into the gloom. We heard it brake and the two doors open and close. A few minutes later a faint neon red glow ahead. Carleton let out a yelp and took off running and I was just a step behind him. A small dirt parking lot then a weathered log cabin, stoop shouldered and tired looking, appeared out of the fog as we got closer. A neon sign propped on the roof by 2x4's shined out through the gloom, PAU INE's. Carleton was at the door looking just a bit hesitant. He looked at me and pushed the door open. Cigarette smoke filled the small dim room, an overhead light reflected in the mirror behind the small bar. We walked in not looking around and went to the bar. I stood at the left end Carleton was next to me then 3 guys who looked pretty much the same. Flannel shirts, dirty jeans, suspenders and work boots. Bearded, all of them. They all had shot glasses in their right hands and all 3 were staring at us. I looked around. The room was small with the same log walls as the outside. Two tables. One occupied.
A short woman, 50ish, walked out of the back, a little puffy, reddish hair, eyebrows arched on in a ruddy shade. She walked over to me, her eyes were the bluest I'd ever seen; something sparkled on her earlobe. “Yah out settin’ your trap lines tonight boys?” she asked me. I swallowed hard. No ma'am, actually we just stopped by for a drink. “What's your name young man?” Rick, I stammered, uh, Rick Blaine. Hmmm, she sighed, her eyelids lowering as she stared into my eyes. Duly noted, she said. “Tell me this young man, with all the gin joints up and down this highway why'd you choose mine?” I knew right then she was pretty sharp. Well, ma'am... “I'm Pauline, Rick, we're old friends now she said.” Okay Pauline, I smiled. Actually you're supposed to have an incredible selection of the best drinks a soldier, er, I mean a person can find this far north. And a very attractive clientele. “Soldier eh?” She looked at me. “How'd you get here?” Well, we walked, I told her, starting to feel more comfortable. Just a hop skip and a jump, you know. She looked at me trying not to laugh. “It's 12 miles as the crow flies to the edge of Wainwright. You must have wanted to get here pretty bad. And as for the clientele, get yourself off to Fairbanks. There ain't no money this far out anymore. Now what can I get you?” I thought for a minute. A framed picture behind the bar caught my eye. I could see one of DiMaggio and Gehrig standing beside a short chubby guy. It was autographed. Who's in the picture over there, I asked. “That's my pal. Fiorello, and a couple of his friends. The Little Flower. Now what can I get you?”
I'd heard of it but never sampled the mad water from Mexico. Maybe Tequila? I asked. A shot for me and my friend here, Louie, Mr. Raines. “Don't need no more rain,” she said as she turned around and grabbed a bottle. Two double sized shot glasses hit the well-worn wooden bar, filled in a smooth, much experienced motion. Carleton looked at me and I at him. We put the glasses to our lips and sipped in unison. Fire. Burning, eye watering fire. She watched us closely. “Down 'em!” she said. I tilted mine back taking in the whole glassful. Swirling it around and swallowing. I slammed the glass back onto the bar. Carleton did the same. No backing out now. Inside the fire of Hades was burning and a warm glow was consuming me. Immediate, sensual, I liked it. It terrified me. Pauline, I choked out, this stuff is fabulous! “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship. I've got one for you boys,” she said as she reached for two tall glasses. “Holy Shit!” Carleton whispered to me. Midnight sounded on the wind up grandfather clock by the door. The bearded guy next to Carleton leaned toward him and whispered, “Thad goot comrade?” Carleton jumped, visibly startled. “Yeah, yeah man, it's good. Ass kickin good.” The man turned and resumed talking with his friend, both with odd accents. Pauline returned, the two tall glasses on a tray filled with a cloudy concoction.
“Try these boys, right out of the Big Apple. Tequila cocktails. Very trendy in the right places. You running a tab, right?” Right Pauline, I said, and a couple more shots please. The 3 strangers to our right were staring again. We took a sip through the straws. The best drink I'd ever had. That was how we spent the next hour or two. Tequila shots chased with Tequila cocktails. Carleton was new best friends with the funny talking bearded guy and I was too hammered to move. Pauline appeared in front of me. “Closing time,” she said and she turned away. I never saw her again. I threw a twenty on the bar. Carleton and I stumbled out the door. The fog was still dense, we hadn't really considered the fact that 12 miles out is 12 miles back. 2:15 in the morning. Fall in for morning roll call in front of the barracks at 5 am. It would be easier to walk if my legs worked. We headed down that long eerie highway. About a half hour later we were sitting beside the road as headlights appeared out of the fog. A blue mid 50's International pickup stopped beside us. “Comrades! A ride to town”? It was the two of the guys from the bar. We got in. A very tight fit, sweaty, stale. My head started to spin. They talked to each other in that heavily accented semi English. I tried to stay awake. The driver asked, “You go to Ladd? To Wainwright?”Yeah we have to be back soon or we are screwed, I mumbled. “ I show you fast way,” said the driver. We drove for a half hour or so, Carleton had started spouting some kind of gibberish that mocked their accents. The cab of the truck was filled with crazy laughter. A bottle of vodka appeared and made the rounds. Two or three times. Then, the driver braked hard and pulled over. “Right here, he said. You walk 100 meter or so into wood and find railroad track. Follow thad west. Short walk, no problem?” We said goodbye with another round, laughs and back slapping. The truck started and they disappeared into the fog. Just as they said we found the railroad track. Most of the time, by this point Carleton was doubled over throwing up. “Rancid booze! Pauline served us rancid booze,” he cried. Carleton, I said, we are screwed. This train track hasn't been used in decades. It's going no-where, man. He was too busy to hear me. Another half hour and we started seeing light through the fog as we staggered on. I have to admit I don't remember getting back on base.
My next memory is Saturday afternoon, being jostled roughly and someone yelling at me in a deep southern voice. I peaked out of the wool O.D. blanket on my bunk. Master Sargent Holder stood over me, his usual not to be F'd with look on his angry red face. “What the hell you doin in bed troop? Get out of the rack and enjoy this wonderful God given day!” The room was floating in circles in front of me. I was so sick I couldn't move. Pauline's, I groaned. I went to Pauline's. “You what! Sgt Holder yelled. You poor stupid dumb ass excuse for a soldier you fell for that story?” He was almost laughing. Almost. “Every few years some useless piece of crap like you gets caught up in that hoax. We've spent a lot of money rescuing their asses after a couple days in the woods.” He shook has head as he now couldn't contain his laughter. That story started in about '43 when this place was Ladd Field. A jumping off point for sending planes to Russia. “There were shitloads of those dumb Rooskies running around over here and the GIs had fun sending them in search Pauline's, the bar straight out of the New York City. Some of those dumb bastards never did come back,” he laughed. “Pauline's is nonsense, boy! Forget about it. He turned and left, Praise The Lord, son! Praise The Lord. “I spent most of that weekend in bed. Late Monday I ventured to the E.M. Club and finally ate something. Three weeks later I left Alaska for good. I don't think I said goodbye to Carleton, I may not have even talked with him after that night. Merle Archie helped me carry my bags to the taxi that would take me to the airport. We had become pretty good friends despite being so different. He remains a person I've always admired. I was heading home to my own uncertain future. Maybe I should have stayed in the Army, I don't know. The next chapter started bad and only got worse. Robert Carleton and I were never in touch again. I had heard he had gotten a degree and was doing well. Married his girl back home. I wonder if he ever got to the Mississippi Delta like he talked about. The Blues were his passion. Merle Archie and I wrote back and forth for a couple years. He left Alaska in early '68 and was sent to Ft Hood in Texas. He returned to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and that's where I lost track of him. I looked for him 20 or so years ago and found a cousin who said he lived alone and was doing well. I wrote him but he didn't reply. I hope he is doing well.
Sgt. Holder, Tonight I raise a shot of Jose Cuervo to that crazy night 47 years ago. It was quite an adventure even though I have never quite understood what happened. Cheers ! John Brier
RWP# B30413A (photo on left)- In 1942, Miller received the Navy’s second-highest honor, the Navy Cross. He became the first African-American to receive it.
RWP# B30413 (photo on right) - Close up of Doris "Dorie" Miller showing Navy Cross received in ceremony at Pearl Harbor for responding heroically when the battleship West Virginia was attacked on 07/12/1941 at Pearl Harbor. 27 May 1942.
On July 27, 2015 Highland Park Town Council voted for a resolution asking the U.S. Congress, the Secretary of the Navy and President Barack Obama to honor Miller with a Medal of Honor. It’s part of a campaign by U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) to recognize the late Navy veteran.
Miller, a Waco native, was barred from combat because of his race. Without weapons training, Miller, a messman third class, jumped into action when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941. Miller manned a 50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun on the battleship, USS West Virginia (BB-48) and pulled the ship’s captain and several crew members to safety.
Miller was featured on a U.S. Office of War Information poster to inspire African-Americans to join the military; the Navy named a ship for him in 1973; Cuba Gooding Jr. portrayed Miller’s heroics in the movie, “Pearl Harbor” in 2001; and the Waco VA Medical Center was renamed for him in 2014.
Miller was killed in action in November 24, 1943 at 24 yrs of age, when the USS Liscome Bay (CVE-56) was hit by a torpedo during the Battle of Makin Island.
Above photo - RWP # AF1342A -Frances Green, Margaret (Peg) Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn leaving their plane, "Pistol Packin' Mama," at the four-engine school at Lockbourne AAF, Ohio, during WASP ferry training B-17 Flying Fortress. Photo courtesy of the N.A.R.A. and Dept of Air Force.
This is a story of a group of young, determined and courageous women during World War II who broke through barriers and shattered stereotypes. http://www.wstthemovie.com/
They were the first women pilots to ever fly for the United States military. However, after a nasty and aggressive campaign by male pilots who wanted the WASP jobs during World War II, they were the only wartime unit that was denied military status by Congress and were sent home before the war was over and their job was done. Because the women were denied military status, the WASP received no insurance or benefits during or after the war, and if a WASP died during training or while on a mission, their families were not allowed to put a service star in the window, nor could the WASP receive a military burial. It wasn’t until the middle of the 1970‘s that they would be recognized as World War II veterans, and it wasn’t until 2010, that the United States government would recognize those women who died during their service and the surviving WASP would receive the congressional gold medal.
We Served Too provides a first hand account from WASP who tell their story and discuss their experiences during the three pivotal periods that make up the WASP history. WASP experts and family members also share their personal stories and expert knowledge.
STOCKBRIDGE, MI - A short film highlighting the Stockbridge Advanced Underwater Robotics team is a finalist in this year's San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival.
The short film, "Miles from Home," is one of only 10 films worldwide selected as finalists in the festival's Student Film Competition. It was created by students Madelyn Armstrong, Jake Chapman and Sam Nichols.
The short film highlights the robotics team's partnership with the BentProp Project in Palau, a western Pacific Ocean island about 500 miles from the Philippines that was the site of one of World War II's fiercest air battles.
It shows footage from the team's 2014 trip, which included using their underwater robot in the filming of the site of a downed Japanese Zero aircraft.
The film also highlights the teams' upcoming plans to study manta rays in Palau.
"Miles from Home" is being screened at the festival Sunday, March 1.
The Stockbridge Advanced Underwater Robotics Team continues to raise funds for its fourth trip to Palau from March 26 to April 12. The $50,000 needed for the trip is raised entirely by the students through sponsorships, grants and fundraisers.
A Veteran Died Today
By anonymous author
He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, Telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he once fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.
And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors his tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly for they knew where of he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer, for he has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer for a Veteran died today.
He won't be mourned by many, just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary, Very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family, going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing, 'Tho a Veteran died today.
When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing, and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a Veteran goes unnoticed, and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country and offers up his life?
The politician's stipend and the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate, to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary Veteran, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps a pension, small.
It is not the politicians with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out, with his ever-waffling stand?
Or would you want a Veteran his home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Veteran, who would fight until the end.
He was just a common Veteran, and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his likes again.
For when countries are in conflict, we find the Veteran's part,
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honor while he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline In the paper that might say:
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING, A VETERAN DIED TODAY."
In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of "Machal" -- volunteers from abroad -- this ragtag band of brothers not only turned the tide of the war, preventing the possible annihilation of Israel at the very moment of its birth; they also laid the groundwork for the Israeli Air Force.
In 1944 Germany had started production of the Me-109 near Prague producing G-12 and G-14 type aircraft. After the retreat of the German army the production facility was virtually undamaged. The post-war Czech government ordered the continuation of the production. So about 20 G-14′s, named Avia S-99 and two G-12′s named CS-99 were produced.
There were plans for a large scale production to equip the new Czech air force. In September 1945 the stock of DB 605 engines was lost in a fire in the factory where they were stored and an alternative powerplant had to be found. The only available engine were the Jumo 211F and 211H intended for Heinkel He-111 bombers. The 109 airframe was adapted for the Jumo engine and the first Jumo engined S-199 first flew in March 1947. The S-199 was not a good fighter. Performance was disappointing.
To improve pilot vision a new "bubble" hood was fitted. Standard armament were 2 MG 131′s over the engine and two MG 151/20 under the wing. The S-199 and the two seat trainer CS-199 served for some years with the Czech air force but was soon replaced.
In 1948 25 of the S-199 fighters were sold to the new state of Israel where they served during the 1948 war fighting against Egyptian Spitfires!. In Israel the type was disliked by the pilots and prone to accidents. After the war in 1949 the surviving aircraft were soon decommissioned.
Above and Beyond is the story of these brave men.
The first major feature-length documentary about the foreign airmen in the War of Independence, Above and Beyond brings together new interviews with pilots from the '48 War, as well as leading scholars and statesmen, including President Shimon Peres, to present an extraordinary, little-known tale with reverberations up to the present day.
Above and Beyond is currently in production. It is produced by Nancy Spielberg, directed by Roberta Grossman and written by Sophie Sartain.
Photo below of engraving on WWII Monument
courtesy of Wally Moceri
He is engraved in stone in the National War Memorial in Washington, DC...
Back in a small alcove where very few people have seen it.
For the WWII generation, this will bring back memories.
For you younger folks, it's a bit of trivia that is a part of our American history.
Anyone born in1913 to about 1950, is familiar with Kilroy.
No one knew why he was so well known- but everybody seemed to get in to it.
So who was Kilroy?
In 1946 the American Transit Association, through its radio program,
"Speak to America," sponsored a nationwide contest to find the real Kilroy,
Offering a prize of a real trolley car to the person who could prove himself to be the genuine article.
Almost 40 men stepped forward to make that claim, but only James Kilroy from Halifax, Massachusetts, had evidence of his identity. 'Kilroy' was a 46-year old shipyard worker during the war who worked as
a checker at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy. His job was to go around
and check on the number of rivets completed. Riveters were on piece work and
got paid by the rivet. He would count a block of rivets and put a check mark
in semi-waxed lumber chalk, so the rivets wouldn't be counted twice.
When Kilroy went off duty, the riveters would erase the mark.
Later on, an off-shift inspector would come through and count the rivets a second time,
Resulting in double pay for the riveters. Until one day, Kilroy's boss called him into his office.
The foreman was upset about all the wages being paid to riveters,
and asked him to investigate. It was then he realized what had been going on.
The tight spaces he had to crawl in to check the rivets didn't lend themselves
to lugging around a paint can and brush, so Kilroy decided to stick with the waxy chalk.
He continued to put his check mark on each job he inspected, but added 'KILROY WAS HERE'
in king-sized letters next to the check, and eventually added the sketch of the chap with
The long nose peering over the fence and that became part of the Kilroy message.
Once he did that, the riveters stopped trying to wipe away his marks.
Ordinarily the rivets and chalk marks would have been covered up with paint.
With the war on, however, ships were leaving the Quincy Yard so fast that there wasn't time to paint them. As a result, Kilroy's inspection "trademark" was seen by thousands of servicemen who boarded the troop ships the yard produced.
His message apparently rang a bell with the servicemen. Because they picked it up and spread it all over Europe and the South Pacific. Before war's end, "Kilroy" had been here, there, and everywhere on the long hauls to Berlin and Tokyo. To the troops outbound in those ships, however, he was a complete mystery; all they knew for sure was that someone named Kilroy had "been there first." As a joke, U.S. Servicemen began placing the graffiti wherever they landed, claiming it Kilroy became the U.S. Super-GI who had always "already been" wherever GIs went.
Above photos courtesy of the NARA.
It became a challenge to place the logo in the most unlikely places imaginable
(it is said to be atop Mt. Everest, the Statue of Liberty, the underside of
The Arc de Triomphe, and even scrawled in the dust on the moon. was already there when they arrived.
As the war went on, the legend grew. Underwater demolition teams routinely
sneaked ashore on Japanese-held islands in the Pacific to map the terrain for
Coming invasions by U.S. Troops (and thus, presumably, were the first GI's there).
On one occasion, however, they reported seeing enemy troops painting over the Kilroy logo!
In 1945, an outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Roosevelt, Stalin,
And Churchill at the Potsdam conference. Its' first occupant was Stalin, who emerged and asked his aide (in Russian), "Who is Kilroy?"
To help prove his authenticity in 1946, James Kilroy brought along officials
from the ship yard and some of the riveters. He won the trolley car, which he
gave to his nine children as a Christmas gift and set it up as a play house in
the Kilroy yard in Halifax, Massachusetts.
And The Tradition Continues... EVEN Outside Osama Bin Laden's House!!!
Tues-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 12-4pm
The recently-opened Hamilton Museum is named for Dianne Hamilton, and contains displays ranging from a military button collection to Buffalo Soldier memorabilia. There are numerous exhibits focusing on local military heroes.
1811 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 202-265-6280
Our new permanent exhibit opens on Veterans Day, November 11, 2014! The grand opening will feature speakers and refreshments. Dedication ceremony at 3:00.
For the first time at NMAJMH, a core exhibit will take visitors from 1654 to the present showing Jewish participation in the American military. The exhibit will feature historical artifacts from a Revolutionary War rifle to a camouflage kippah designed to honor a casualty of the War in Iraq. Photos, video, and interactive media will illustrate the full experience of those Jews who have worn the uniform of our country. website: http://www.nmajmh.org/
SHARE YOUR WWII VETERAN'S STORY...
9/11/2014 Today, America lost another Hero and I lost a beloved Uncle (actually a cousin who was respectfully called uncle), Mentor, Supporter and Friend, Wally Loder….
Walford (Wally) J. Loder –beloved husband of Bobbie Loder, father to Shirley, Sharon, Sandy and Jim and my father’s cousin and life-long friend, passed away peacefully at 4AM on 9/11/2014. Wally served in WWII in the United States Marines, 2nd Marine Div, 2nd Bn, 8th Regt, Fox Co. and saw action and was wounded in:
Battle of Tarawa, Gilbert Islands – Pacific Theatre-WWII - Operation Galvanic - November 20 to November 23, 1943. (Wally in 1st wave - Nov 10th, 1943)
Saipan, Mariana Islands – Pacific campaign – WWII –15 June – 9 July 1944; Cmdg Gen Holland Smith, prior to Operation Overlord. (Wally in 3rd wave 15 June – 9 July 1944)
Tinian, Mariana Isl. - U.S. Navy strategy “island hopping”; 24 July 1944 to 1 August 1944. (Wally was told he was to be part of “mopping-up” campaign, which turned out to be anything but a simple mop-up – the 2nd and 4th Marine Div. landed 24 July 1944) Photo left- Wally Loder holding memorial plaque created by his family to honor his time in service.
Way back in December the 10th (or 11th) 1942, Ilene came to me and handed me the enclosed $2 bill. She said: “Wally if you hang onto this bill, you will never be broke!” So I put it in my billfold, and left December the 12th for San Diego , Ca. to start life as a Marine at 18 years of age.
Of course I spent my 1st Christmas away from home right there, and I will never forget that day. Just after dark I stepped outside the barracks into a misty rain, which looked almost like snow as I looked up into the yard lights. Yup, tears streamed down my cheeks, but I told myself that I am now a Marine, and they don’t cry!
After boot camp, I carried the bill in my billfold to New Zealand with me for training there, and then was transferred a couple of months later. I was put on a converted ship that had a ‘flat top deck’ on which we set up Army cots. The ship was so crammed that all we could do was eat/sleep, as there was no room for even exercising. During the 2nd or 3rd night a strong storm came up, causing ‘large waves,’ which is uncommon for the Pacific ocean (so we were told). I remember my cot shifting back and forth some, and the next morning they told us that some 2 dozen had slid off the deck, and of course they never even slowed down to look for them (remember this is ‘war time’) and life was not all that important…………
We continued on our trip, and on Nov 10th, 1943 we boarded ‘amphibious tanks’ and headed in to capture Tarawa . It was a small island about ½ mile wide and a mile long. It had been bombed and shelled so much, that they thought there will be little if any resistance—wrong! The Japanese had built concrete ‘pill boxes,’ and bunkers made of steel and concrete so thick, that the shelling did no damage to them. So when our navy started shelling , they just went into them and were safe. Even the airplane bombing did not penetrate them.
I was in the 1st ‘wave,’ and as we neared the island, our machine gunners mounted on our tanks, were firing like mad (which surprised me as there was supposed to be no resistance), until they were killed by incoming Japanese gunners fire, who had left the safety of the bunkers. As we got almost to the beach we started jumping out, and most of us did not make it because of the machine gunners. The area we landed on, had a high sea wall, so we got up against it and threw hand grenades toward the gunners, but they were ‘far enough back’ that they did no harm, and as we tried to climb over the wall, the gunners again did their thing, blocking our approach.
I could see that the tank to our left, had taken a ‘cannon type’ shell right through the middle of it, so all on it had lost their lives…………
While we were laying there, the few of us that were left, tried to figure out what to do, as there was no leadership alive. About then a couple of large special ‘Higgins’ boats, loaded with Marines, started coming in to help us out. These boats had a ‘ramp” the was lowered at the front, and as the the Marines came running out into ‘waist deep’ water, the were immediately mowed down by the Japs. All we could do was look in horror as some 300 young men died, as they had no place for cover and lost their lives. I got that ‘300 number’ from a book written by a Robert Sherrod (a reporter) in 1944. Some 970 Marines lost their lives on this small island in some 72 hours…
Fortunately, quite a ways to our right, the fighting was much less, and in several hours a beach head had been established, and Marines & equipment came pouring in. Apparently this went on all night (I had no way of knowing), and by morning the few of us left, crawled to ‘their area’ and a line was formed across the island, and we all started a drive to take over the rest of the island.
I had moved forward towards the end of one of the big bunkers, looking to get to the entrance, when a Jap soldier apparently had slipped out of the entrance, and quickly threw a hand grenade at us. I dropped to the ground, and just before getting there, I took part of the grenade in my right chest. I remember looking at the blood coming down my ‘fatigue jacket,’ and thinking: “I hope I don’t die!” I crawled back to where we had started the drive and a corpsman came to me, and bandaged me, and I think he gave me a shot of morphine, and attached a name tag (which I still have) to my ‘dog tags’. Apparently the Navy had only brought a small hospital ship to the area, thinking that it would not be used much, but it was already full, so I was put on “some other ship.”
I think I went into severe shock as I only remember watching a ‘burial at sea,’ and then the next thing I knew I was in a Naval Hospital in Honolulu . It was there that I got my purple heart, and I stayed there until after Christmas. I think part of the longer stay, was that I was suffering what they called ‘combat fatigue,’ but they have different name for it now.
Some time in early Jan, I rejoined my old squad and went into training for the next campaign, which was Saipan . This was a much bigger island and I was in the 3rd wave this time, and while the Japs were set up with mortars, etc, once we got past the beach it became a fire fight from time to time. My best buddy however lost his life from the shelling of the beach. I looked up his parents after the war was over, and told them about their son. They became lifelong friends. About the 3rd day, we moving forward to take care of a ‘nest of machine gunners.’ I had just moved forward, but one of the guys (Dick) in my squad did not make a move. I hollered to him to move out, but he said, “I can’t I’m hit.” So I crawled over to him and he told me he was not going to make it, but asked me to take his “Marine ring,” off of his finger and give it to his dad. I put the ring on my finger, and wore it until some weeks or a month (?) later.
This will be hard to believe (had I not been there, I too would maybe not believe,) but the island had grown sugar cane, so the Navy had shelled it with incendiary shells that set the fairly dry cane on fire. They did this so it was easier to see any emplacements, with out the corn blocking our view. Well, the heat from the burning caused ‘sweetness’ to run out of the stalks, and flies fed on it and began multiplying, so much so that in a few days, in the early morning we could actually hear buzzing as the flies started the day. The same thing happened at night with mosquitoes. The flies were so dense that it was impossible to eat a “C or K” ration without having to pick several of them out of the food. Well a couple of days later they sprayed the whole island at night, with planes spraying (sorta deadly) DDT (which was outlawed in America some years later), and in a couple of days there was no flies or mosquitoes to be found……..Due to the fact that we had only a canteen or 2 of water each day, of course there was no hygiene, so as a result a lot of us came down with dengue fever, then yellow jaundice followed as post infectious.. Since the island was basically secured by then, we just had to stay up on a cliff over looking the ocean, as they had not had time to set up a tent city for us to move into. They had however set up several ‘hospital’ tents, so a bunch of us sickies went some distance down to them, and spent 2 weeks there, while they treated us.
A week or 2 later we landed on a sister island name Tinian , which was largely a mopping up operation. After which training to hit Japan started in earnest. By now my ‘combat fatigue’ had gotten worse, so I was flown to a Naval hospital in Richmond , Ca. for some R & R treatment. While there I looked up Dick’s (see above) dad, and gave him the ring off of my finger, and to my surprise he told me that before Dick had left for the Marines, he bought 2 of the rings, one for him and one for Dick. So we traded rings, and I wore it for a number of years, in fact until it ‘wore through.’
After some 3 weeks or so, I was transferred to Seal Beach , Ca which was a Naval ammunition depot, and Marines did the guard duty. One day an officer came up to me and said: “Do you want to get a discharge in a couple of days, or go to a hospital and get a medical in about 2 weeks?” Of course I took the 1st option and on Dec 12th, 1945, I became a civilian again.
FEEDBACK PLEASE - Veteran and customer, Bud, asked us for photos from the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1954-1966, in particular Special Forcees, 82nd Airborne and the South American troops who were there with the Inter-American Peace Force....then added, "This war was one of the best kept secrets of the Johnson administration. Ask fifty people, civilian or veteran, if they ever heard of the 1965 invasion of the Dominican Republic, and you will be fortunate to find one who ever heard of it.
"I have a major display of some forty deceased veterans in the post office for 12 days at Memorial Day week and one at Veterans Day for another 35 living veterans. Your photos give the viewers a real look at what was and what we should remember of these honored veterans that give us the freedom we enjoy today."
Above are Frank's Memorial Day and Veteran's Day displays at the US Post Office in Reigelsville, PA. ( Photos courtesy of Frank E. Albrecht.)
Below, couple of individual displays by Frank:
Display on left: George D. Chizmar-Iraq; on right, USAF Sgt Marty McAvoy-Thailand. ( Photos courtesy of Frank E. Albrecht.)
Editor's note: Frank's father was a U.S. Marine who bravely and honorably served his country in WWII. The displays are also a way for Frank to honor his Dad - "Semper Fi Dad, Smper Fi". RWP sends a special salute and very sincere thanks to Frank for all his 'memory' work on behalf of Veteran families across the U.S. THANK YOU FRANK!
Author: "Humble Heroes, How The USS Nashville CL43 Fought WWII" for making us aware of a great historical video website, "CRITICAL PAST"; check it out online at: http://www.criticalpast.com/
Check out the website, "How Americans can buy American" online by clicking on this link: http://www.howtobuyamerican.com/content/db/b-db-gasoline.shtml or copying and pasting it into your browser window.
Above Photo....at the end of WW II, I was boy in Hawaii. Many homes had bomb shelters, and my dad
decided it was time to tear ours down. Before we had it torn down, we took this photo of our
family by the bomb shelter. I am the boy with the hammer and the "For Rent" sign, while my brother,
walking toward the camera, carries a gas mask. We all had gas masks. Note that we kids did not wear shoes in Hawaii, 1945. (Photo courtesy of Bruce Gordon, personal collection, USAF, Alaska, Korea and Vietnam.)
After Alaska and F-102's, I flew F-106's in Michigan, Alaska, and even Korea. In 1969 I checked
out in the F-100 to go to Vietnam, where I flew 132 combat sorties. Here, my flight was on the
way to hit the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam, 1972. My wingman's F-100D has fuze extenders on
the 500-lb bombs so they would explode three feet above the ground, giving greater blast and
shrapnel effects. (Photo courtesy of Bruce Gordon, USAF, Alaska, Korea and Vietnam.)
Above two Vietnam photos, taken of the Dog's Head on the Mekong River - you can see why we called it the "Dog's Head". It was an "interdiction point" where the river forced the supplies on the Ho Chi Minh Trail to cross the river at clearly defined places.
The first photo shows the Dogs Head before our attack. You can see the many roads of the Ho Chi Minh Trail coming to this spot. The long lines of bomb craters are from B-52's while the many pockmarks are from fighter strikes. The VC have laid corridors of stones in water -- "underwater bridges" -- so they could get trucks across the river. One of these underwater bridges causes riffles in the water near the dog's eye, and another is behind the dog's neck. There was a truck stuck in the water on the bridge behind the dog's neck. There were anti-aircraft guns in the woods behind the dog's neck. There is another bridge at the dog's eye. The VC were trying to extend the Ho Chi Minh Trail to build another crossing at the bottom of the photo under the dog's chin, and there was bulldozer there to make the road:
I took this photo as I pulled off from my strike on the Dog's Head. My bombs are to the left of the photo, where I was aiming at the bulldozer. My wingman's bombs are to the right of the photo, his target was the anti-aircraft guns behind the dog's neck.
(Photos courtesy of Bruce Gordon, USAF, Alaska, Korea and Vietnam.)
NOTE OF THANKS TO BRUCE FOR THE GREAT PHOTOS!
Pearl Harbor survivors remember from the Army Radar unit that detected the Jap planes entering Pearl Harbor at 07:02 7 Dec 1941.... Morning Call videos by Harry Fisher,; Background video photos courtesy of Real War Photos Inc. (Above still photo courtesy of the Morning Call.)
Click here to go to the new Real War Photos Galleries to view, purchase and download photos.
Real War Photos is honored to receive and display images with notations courtesy of Cpl. Seth M. Sassaman of the US Marine Corps.
M20050 Cpl Seth Sassaman in L.V.S. signing "What's up?!"
M20051 Before convoy operations, Iraq, Flujah/Ramadi.
M20052 M.R.A.P. on post, Falujah.
M20053 In base near Falujah, observing outside base.
M20054 Relaxing, catching some shade - Sgt. Hyler & Sgt. Baca.
M20055 Sgt 2nd Marine in sand storm.
M20056 & M20057 Range practice near Falujah.
M20058 Trying to squeeze thru traffic.
M20059 convoy traveling toward Falujah.
Note: Email us for a free catalog & order form for Cpl Sassaman's photo collection.
"On 12 December 1951 when the raid (Toko-Ri) took place, Air Group 5 was attached to the USS Essex, the flag ship for Task Force 77. We were flying daily strikes against the North Koreans and Chinese God! It was cold. The main job was to interdict the flow of supplies coming from Russia and China. The rules of engagement imposed by political forces in Washington would not allow us to bomb the bridges across the Yalu River where the supplies could easily have been stopped. We had to wait until they were dispersed and hidden in North Korea and then try to stop them." By Frank R. O'Connor, USS Essex Past Chairman (In response to Mr. Michener's fictionalized account and Hollywood's movie version, "The Bridges at Toko-Ri) ...the Real Story by Apt Paul N. Gray, USN Ret, USNA '41 former CO of VF-54...for entire story and a Great piece of Naval Aviation History, email email@example.com).
"My last assingment was as the chaplain's assistant. My duty station was in the library. On my last day I took several pictures that were on display. Three pictures told a story. #1 pilot jumps off wing at water landing. #2 pilot in life raft next to submarine. #3 pilot transferred to ship from destroyer.....Just imagine how many pictures our ship's photographer took and just a few were saved for posterity. My son made a documentary on the P-51, the miracle that solved the problem of fighter protection for our bombers over Germany. Good Luck on your enterprise. Jerry W, Newhall, CA.
Check out this great video of WWII veterans Donald Burdick as he remembers the Siege of Bastogne. www.mcall.com/video/?slug=all-wn-warstory-1225
Special Thanks to Harry Fisher, Staff Photographer at the Morning Call, Allentown, PA.
WORDS TO TAPS
Gone the sun.
From the lakes
From the hills.
From the sky.
All is well.
God is nigh.
Dims the sight.
And a star.
Gems the sky.
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise.
For our days.
Neath the sun
Neath the stars.
Neath the sky
As we go.
This we know,
God is nigh.