Skip to content

Archive for

27
May

George H.W. Bush and the Chichi Jima Incident

By the summer of 1944, continuous successes against the Japanese placed Allied forces on the doorsteps of its mainland. Convinced an invasion of Japan was necessary for a final victory, military commanders began planning for an amphibious landing on the strategically located Iwo Jima, roughly 575 miles from the Japanese coast. Once in the hands of the Allies, Iwo Jima would be a perfect place where B-29 bombers, damaged over Japan, could land without returning all the way to the Mariana Islands retaken from the Japanese after brutal fighting on Guam, Saipan and Tinian. It would also serve as a base for escort fighters that would assist in the bombing campaign.

In June 1944, Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher’s Task Force began naval ship bombardments and air raids against Iwo Jima in preparation for an amphibious assault. One hundred and fifty miles north of Iwo Jima was Chichi Jima, another target of multiple bombings beginning on June 1944 and ending September 1944. These earlier raids and those prior to the landing on Iwo Jima on February 3, 1945, the total number of ship barrages and air raids were among the longest and most intense of the Pacific theater.

On Chichi Jima, the 25,000 Japanese operated a Naval Base, a small seaplane base, a weather station, and various gunboat, sub-chaser, and minesweeping units, as well as relay communications and surveillance operations from two radio relay stations atop its two mountains. While destroying the supply and repair operations were key, one of the primary target was the destruction of the radio relay transmitter.

At 7:15 am, on Sept. 3, 1944, four Avengers were launched from the USS San Jacinto, to join four Hellcats from the USS Enterprise. Each of the fighters carried four 500 pound bombs. Twenty-year-old Lieutenant Junior Grade George H. W. Bush was one of the Avenger pilots.

When the aircraft arrived over Chichi Jima shortly after 8 am, they began attacking designated targets. Bush was the third pilot to dive on the radio tower transmitter. After nosing over into a 30 degree dive, Bush lined up on the target when his Avenger plane was hit by antiaircraft fire, engulfing it in flames. He continued unto the target and with his visibility blinded by the smoke, released his bombs. All four made direct hits on the radio tower. Flying away from the island, his burning plane lost power. He radioed his crew, Radioman Second Class John Delaney and gunner Lieutenant Junior Grade William White, to “Hit the silk!”

Wanting to get a few more miles away from the island, Bush stayed at the controls as long as he could allowing Radioman John Delaney to bail out only to die when his parachute failed to open. LtJg William White went down with the aircraft.

When Bush jumped over the side of his aircraft, the slipstream caught his lanky frame and sent it crashing into the tail of the Avenger. His head grazed the starboard elevator and his parachute snagged on the tail and ripped.With a few torn panels, the chute plummeted too fast, dropping Bush hard into the ocean. Only slightly bruised from the fall, he waited for four hours in an inflated raft, while several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine USS Finback. For the next month he remained on the Finback, and participated in the rescue of other pilots. (Photo is Bush’s rescue by submarine crew members)

Several other American flyers on the same bombing mission were also shot down and those few who survived were captured by Japanese soldiers and held prisoners on Chichi Jima Island.

As the date for the February 3, 1945 amphibious invasion on Iwo Jima grew closer, bombing intensified over Iwo Jima and nearby Chichi Jima. During these bombing operations more than one hundred American airmen were shot down over and around the Bonin Islands, but American submarines were able to rescue only three of them, including future U.S. President George H. W. Bush. Most of the others died with their aircraft or succumbed to the cold waters off Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima. Only a few were captured and taken to Chichi Jima as Prisoners of War. That brought a total of nine American airmen known to have been captured. Then they seemed to disappear from the face of the earth.

Read more »

26
May

MUS1c John Coltrane US Navy (Served 1945-1946)

traneView the Military Service of Jazz Legend:

MUS1c John Coltrane

US Navy

(Served 1945-1946)
Shadow Box: http://navy.togetherweserved.com/profile/384295

Short Bio: Coltrane made his first professional Jazz appearance in 1945 playing alto in the Jimmy Johnson Big Band. Later that year, during World War II, he was drafted into the US Navy. While stationed in Hawaii he played clarinet in the Navy band called the Melody Masters.

(Veterans – view more military profiles of famous people onwww.togetherweserved.com)

25
May

1st Sgt Leonidas M Crooks U.S. Army (1942-1945)

crooksView the Service memories of soldier:

1st Sgt Leonidas M Crooks

U.S. Army

(1942-1945)

Shadow Box: http://army.togetherweserved.com/profile/359095

(Veterans – record and share your own service story with friends and family by joining www.togetherweserved.com. This is a free service)
This edition of “Voices” was written by 1st Sgt Crooks son Brad to honor and remember his Dad’s service.

PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE ARMY?

The morning after Pearl Harbor was bombed, my father and his friend went to the recruiting office in his small hometown of Parsons Kansas. They were turned away and were told it was the recruiters day off, and nothing was going to make him come in; war or no war.

Rather than waiting, my father and his friend drove 50 miles to Ft Scott, KS, where they enlisted into the service. My father’s intention was to become a flying cadet in the Army Air Corps, but a fast talking recruiter saw that he had been to college, and had studied chemical engineering. My father was talked into the Chemical Warfare Service, thinking he would be in some sort of laboratory job.

Of course, the unit to which he was assigned was part of the Chemical Warfare Service and the 4.2 mortar he was to be introduced to was far from a laboratory. Mostly using high explosive, white phosphorus, tear gas and smoke, they were positioned throughout the war zone just behind the infantry. They were equipped with Phosgene, Mustard, and Chlorine gasses, should the war have escalated to Chemical warfare.

But a couple weeks later his ideas of flying were quashed as he boarded a Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad train bound for Ft Leavenworth, Kansas. Here, he was inducted and took the Military Oath. Soon after he and four others left the Kansas City Union Station on Jan. 2, 1942 for basic training at Edgewood Arsenal, MD.

His older brother, Dale, had enlisted the summer before Pearl Harbor, and was in the Army Air Corps. That, and a sense of patriotism and anger, were the forces that compelled my father to enlist.

WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK.

After completing basic training at Edgewood, the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion was moved to Ft Bragg where they completed Intensive Combat Training. During this time, they visited Camp Pickett for mountain exercises, as well as Camp Carrabelle, Florida to practice amphibious landings and scaling down rope ladders from ships.

My dad returned to Edgewood Arsenal for NCO school, was promoted to corporal, and was selected to be the new B company clerk. He held that title until Salerno, at which time his First Sgt., George Bell, took a battlefield commission.

They could not promote him from corporal to First Sgt. so he was made Sgt. for a matter of days and then sewed on the stripes as First Sgt. of B Company. After only one and a half years in the U.S. Army, he was suddenly in charge of nearly 200 men and four platoons. He remained First Sergeant until his discharge on October 31, 1945.

At some point in Italy after his promotion, his former First Sgt. George Bell came up to him and said, “Crooks, whatever you do, don’t let them make you become an officer.” Lieutenants, of course, had to do Forward Observation, out in front of the infantry, calling in targets and directing fire.

The train that took B Company to Newport News, Hampton, VA pulled right up to a loading dock. The doors closed behind, and there was nowhere to go, but up the gangplank and onto the ship. The men didn’t know where they were heading, Europe or the Pacific.

They boarded the USS Harry Lee; a banana freighter converted to a troop transport. The same ship would later transport the men on the invasion of Sicily. Days later they were passing through the Straits of Gibraltar headed to Oran, Algeria.

It was a Sunday morning and very quiet when they passed through the narrow strait. Fear of becoming victims of a German U-Boats attack was on everyone’s mind. My dad said he will never forget the passage the chaplain read…it was the Sheppard’s Psalm…”And yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death……”

It was the largest trans-Atlantic naval convoy to ever cross the ocean. While passing through the straits, two ships were destroyed by the German U-Boats. Throughout the oceanic voyage, the ships changed course every thirty minutes in a crisscross pattern, to avoid detection.

IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN COMBAT, PEACEKEEPING OR HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.

The liberation of Prison of War camps always had a profound and lasting effect on my father.

During the advance on Germany, he participated in the liberation of a Stalag Luft, a POW camp for allied airmen located near Nuremberg and later, the final stage of the liberation of Dachau.

The military prisoners at Stalag Luft were completely famished. “The officers and airmen were overjoyed to see us. They were just skin and bones; near starvation. There was a Chicken farm, nearby. I will never forget the looks on their faces, when we brought eggs to them,” said my dad with a bit of emotion.

But this did not prepare them for what lay ahead at Dachau. They had heard the rumors that a camp had been liberated by regiments of the 45th and 42nd Divisions, earlier that day. There is some ongoing argument as to who got there first, but suffice it to say, both were involved. Dachau was two things: A concentration camp, as well as a whole section that was dedicated as a school for the SS. Both divisions laying claim as first to enter, were probably correct, as the compound was huge, and entrances were made from different areas. My dad drove into Dachau with Lt. Holzworth and his best friend, Sgt. Marion “Andy” Andrew.

Here is the horror my father related during my interview: “We could smell it from the town of Dachau, which was probably a mile from the actual camp. We were used to smelling the dead and decomposition of animals and such, but this was different. When we reached the gates, we were simply appalled by what we saw. There were bodies piled everywhere, rail cars full of bodies. It was horrific. Bodies were stacked in large mounds, stripped naked with that terrible odor so pungent in the air.

“Every once in a while, you would see one of the bodies move, slightly. There were a few still alive, but just barely. We couldn’t do anything for them, and even if we could, how can you justify helping one and not another; there were hundreds of them. Besides, they were so far gone.

“The infantry guys made the trustees pick up the decaying and dead bodies and put them on carts for burial. The trustees were hated by the prisoners more than the SS, I think. Traitors to their own people. The 45th guys rounded up people in from the town and marched them through the camp, so there could be no deniability. They were all saying they had no idea, but that was a load of crap. There was no question what was going on out there. The smell was awful.

“I saw a private telling a local woman to drag a body over to a pile. The Army made the trustees and locals pick up the bodies and I suppose bury them. This old German lady stomped her foot and folded her arms and refused. The soldier chambered a bullet and pointed his Tommy at her, and her arrogance went away, and she did as she was told.”

My dad’s friend and counterpart, John “Durk” Durkovitz, 1st Sgt. of D Company, said he saw a prisoner come out of a compound, and through the gate. Walter Eldredge quotes John, in his book “Finding My Father’s War”: “He looked like a skeleton. His eyes were sunk way back in his head, and his skin was stretched tight over his bones. He saw me, and lit up with a big grin, and started towards me. About halfway, he stumbled. He was still smiling, but then he looked kind of blank and just folded up. I went over to where he was laying on the ground, and he was dead.”

My dad carried four or five billfold sized pictures with him in his wallet for years after the war. People would comment that the holocaust never happened and my dad would say, “I was there” and pull out his photos. I used to wonder why those original pictures had gotten so crumbled on the edges. A few years ago, my father told me this to be the reason.

Eisenhower, he said, had issued a mandate that any GI with a camera, who entered these concentration camps, was to take as many photos as possible. He wanted it documented like nothing ever before.

Read more »

22
May

Remember Our Fallen

flags

American flags are shown May 21 after being placed by members of the Old Guard at the graves of

U.S. troops buried at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Win McNamee/Getty

22
May

Did the United States win or lose the Vietnam War?

By Bruce Herschensohn, Prager University
We are taught that it was a resounding loss for America, one that proves that intervening in the affairs of other nations is usually misguided. The truth is that our military won the war, but our politicians lost it. The Communists in North Vietnam actually signed a peace treaty, effectively surrendering. But the U.S. Congress didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.

Decades back, in late 1972, South Vietnam and the United States were winning the Vietnam War decisively by every conceivable measure. That’s not just my view. That was the view of our enemy, the North Vietnamese government officials. Victory was apparent when President Nixon ordered the U.S. Air Force to bomb industrial and military targets in Hanoi, North Viet Nam’s capital city, and in Haiphong, its major port city, and we would stop the bombing if the North Vietnamese would attend the Paris Peace Talks that they had left earlier. The North Vietnamese did go back to the Paris Peace talks, and we did stop the bombing as promised.

On January the 23rd, 1973, President Nixon gave a speech to the nation on primetime television announcing that the Paris Peace Accords had been initialed by the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, the Viet Cong, and the Accords would be signed on the 27th. What the United States and South Vietnam received in those accords was victory. At the White House, it was called “VV Day,” “Victory in Vietnam Day.”

The U.S. backed up that victory with a simple pledge within the Paris Peace Accords saying: should the South require any military hardware to defend itself against any North Vietnam aggression we would provide replacement aid to the South on a piece-by-piece, one-to-one replacement, meaning a bullet for a bullet; a helicopter for a helicopter, for all things lost — replacement. The advance of communist tyranny had been halted by those accords.

Then it all came apart. And it happened this way: In August of the following year, 1974, President Nixon resigned his office as a result of what became known as “Watergate.” Three months after his resignation came the November congressional elections and within them the Democrats won a landslide victory for the new Congress and many of the members used their new majority to de-fund the military aid the U.S. had promised, piece for piece, breaking the commitment that we made to the South Vietnamese in Paris to provide whatever military hardware the South Vietnamese needed in case of aggression from the North. Put simply and accurately, a majority of Democrats of the 94th Congress did not keep the word of the United States.

On April the 10th of 1975, President Gerald Ford appealed directly to those members of the congress in an evening Joint Session, televised to the nation. In that speech he literallybegged the Congress to keep the word of the United States. But as President Ford delivered his speech, many of the members of the Congress walked out of the chamber. Many of them had an investment in America’s failure in Vietnam. They had participated in demonstrations against the war for many years. They wouldn’t give the aid.

On April the 30th South Vietnam surrendered and Re-education Camps were constructed, and the phenomenon of the Boat People began. If the South Vietnamese had received the arms that the United States promised them would the result have been different? It already had been different. The North Vietnamese leaders admitted that they were testing the new President, Gerald Ford, and they took one village after another, then cities, then provinces and our only response was to go back on our word. The U.S. did not re-supply the South Vietnamese as we had promised. It was then that the North Vietnamese knew they were on the road to South Vietnam’s capital city, Saigon, that would soon be renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

Former Arkansas Senator William Fulbright, who had been the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee made a public statement about the surrender of South Vietnam. He said this, “I am no more distressed than I would be about Arkansas losing a football game to Texas.” The U.S. knew that North Vietnam would violate the accords and so we planned for it. What we did not know was that our own Congress would violate the accords. And violate them, of all things, on behalf of the North Vietnamese. That’s what happened.

19
May

T/4 Rod Serling US Army (1943-1946)

serlingView the Military Service of Writer:

T/4 Rod Serling

US Army

(1943-1946)

Shadow Box: http://army.togetherweserved.com/profile/180324

Short Bio: Serling served as a U.S. Army paratrooper and demolition specialist with the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific Theater in World War II from January 1943 to January 1945 (Discharged stateside in 1946). He was seriously wounded in the wrist and knee during combat and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

(Veterans – view more military profiles of famous people on www.togetherweserved.com)

18
May

RM2 Kenneth Jordan U.S. Coast Guard (1961-1965)

jordanPersonal Service Reflections of US Coast Guardsman:

RM2 Kenneth Jordan

U.S. Coast Guard

(1961-1965)

Shadow Box: http://coastguard.togetherweserved.com/bio/Kenneth.Jordan

(Veterans – record and share your own service story with friends and family by joining www.togetherweserved.com. This is a free service)

PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE COAST GUARD?

My best friend and neighbor growing up didn’t finish high school and went into the Coast Guard four months before graduation. Over the next two years I followed his career since he was stationed only 110 miles away on CGC Coos Bay. I took him back to his ship whenever he came home on liberty or leave and met many of his shipmates.

Two years out of high school it was time for me to consider the military, and since I was familiar with the Coast Guard and how it plays such a significant peacetime mission, the choice was easy.

WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK.

Since high school I had been working for an electronics parts wholesale distributor. Nearly everyone working there had an amateur radio license and encouraged me to get one, which I did (the boss gave me a $5 bonus when I got my call sign). It was my hope to get to radio school and become a shipboard radioman. Near the end of boot camp I took the test with 3 other shipmates. We all made it to school and roomed together. Even though I graduated 2nd in class I didn’t get my 3rd class rate because I failed to copy at 15 words per minute. That really spurred me on when I got to my first ship, and 6 months later I made RM3. My Chief, John Gellings, was a good teacher and I made RM2 eight months later. With two years in I wanted to test myself to see if I wanted to make a career of the service, so I asked for an assignment where there would only be 1 or 2 other radiomen to rely on.

My next assignment in 1962 was to the USCGC Casco (WHEC-370) where I was the only radioman responsible for all communications when underway. With a crew of 45 men it was more like family and I really enjoyed my time on this ship. In cooperation with universities in the eastern United States and international agencies, Casco conducted oceanographic experiments between South America and Africa from August 1, 1963 to August 19, 1963. The Casco was home ported in Boston, MA for the duration of her life in the Coast Guard. The cutter participated in ocean station, law enforcement, and search and rescue operations in the Atlantic Ocean. A balloon shelter was added aft; there were spaces devoted to oceanographic equipment and hydrographic and oceanographic winches were added.

In 1964 I was assigned to the USCGC Hornbeam (WLB-394/NODM); a cutter with a legendary past. Following the collision between passenger ships Andrea Doria and Stockholm off Nantucket on July 26, 1956, Hornbeam assisted with rescue operations. The bow of the Swedish ship crashed through passenger cabins and 46 passengers and crew were killed, sinking the Andrea Doria into the bottom of the Atlantic. Five crewmen of the Stockholm were killed in the collision but she was able to limp back to New York.

On August 7, 1958 Hornbeam assisted rescue operations following the collision between merchant ship Graham and oil taker Gulf Oil in the east passage of Narragansett Bay. On January 29, 1961 she assisted USCGC Spar aground in Narragansett Bay.

While I was assigned to the ship we escorted USS Atka, which was taking on water off New Bedford, MA. That was in March and April 1965. In late November 1965 Hornbeam assisted the merchant ship American Pilot and Maumee Sun following their collision west of the Cape Cod Canal.

A little over six years after I left the Hornbeam, she had her own collision in which she sustained damage to her starboard side. It happened 24, 1972 when she collided with the British merchant ship Docelago. Fortunately there were no casualties aboard either ship.

IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN COMBAT, PEACEKEEPING OR HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.

Although I served a little over a year in the Vietnam era I did not see combat or go overseas. I do however remember very well going to DEFCON 2 for 13 days during the Cuban Missile Crisis; sometimes referred to as the October Crisis or The Missile Scare. When the Navy was fully deployed, our ship, CGC Casco, was assigned to escort an aircraft carrier from Boston Navy Yard to Cuba. We got underway and had just reached Boston outer harbor when we got word to stand down as the crisis was over. A near miss!

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a tense, 13-day political and military standoff in October 1962 between the leaders of the U.S. and the Soviet Union over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles on Cuba, just 90 miles from U.S. shores. In a TV address on October 22, 1962, President John Kennedy notified Americans about the presence of the missiles and said the U.S. was prepared to use military force if necessary to neutralize this perceived threat to national security. Following this news, many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war. However, disaster was avoided when the U.S. agreed to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s (1894-1971) offer to remove the Cuban missiles in exchange for the U.S. promising not to invade Cuba. Kennedy also secretly agreed to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey.

OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?

My fondest memories were my 18 months on the CGC Hornbeam. It was stationed at Woods Hole on Cape Cod. There were a number of shipmates that I became very good friends with and whenever we were in port we had great times together going ashore.

I had gotten married and was able to live with my wife in an apartment off base. It was a working ship, going out about 3 or 4 days a week, sometimes 3 days in a row staying overnight, but many times out at 8 am and back by 7 PM. I felt our work was useful, and as the only radioman, I felt my job was important.

FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?

There are two. While on the CGC Casco we took part in an International Scientific study, EQUALANT II, involving many countries studying the water temperature and weather patterns along the equator. We sailed from Boston, MA to a point off the coast of the Canary Islands and back along the equator to Rio de Janereio, where we had 3 days liberty. In the 30 plus days of sailing I was initiated as a Shellback crossing the equator and we travelled 10,000 nautical miles.

The second memory was a rescue at sea in a hurricane. We had been undergoing efficiency training with the Navy at Gitmo when hurricane Floyd hit Cuba and we were ordered to ride it out at sea. After about 5 days of pretty rough sailing we returned to Gitmo where we were ordered to return to Boston. Riding some still pretty rough seas we were on the outskirts of hurricane Ginny. Off the coast of North Carolina we were ordered by the 5TH District Commander to turn into hurricane Ginny to locate the Navy DE-57 USS Fogg. It was being towed for decommissioning when its tow line broke and the Navy Tug headed to port. There was a 10 man decommissioning crew on board. After 1 1/2 days we found the ship, established communications and stayed with it until the CG Tug Chilula arrived. We then escorted the tow into Norfolk before returning to Boston. The official record states that seas were 65 ft. and winds 90MPH. The Commandant of the Coast Guard sent us a letter of commendation for our efforts.

IF YOU RECEIVED ANY MEDALS FOR VALOR OR AWARDS FOR SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT, PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THESE WERE EARNED.

The Commandant’s Letter of Commendation for the rescue of DE-57, the good conduct medal for 3 yrs. proficiency and conduct, the sea service ribbon for over 3 yrs. at sea, and the National Defense Ribbon for more than 90 days service after April 1964 when the Vietnam War was declared.

OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, QUALIFICATION BADGES OR DEVICE YOU RECEIVED, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE ONE(S) MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?

I was proud to be a sea sailor and appreciate my sea service ribbon. The National Defense Medal because I did serve during the Vietnam era and for 18 months was subject to being called for overseas duty.

WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?

My first Chief, John Gellings. There were 10 radiomen on the Casco and he did an excellent job of guiding all of us. I worked very hard to obtain my 2nd Class stripes and when I had completed all the courses and passed all the military questions I brought mypapers to him to sign and pass forward. He told me I had to pass his test first. It was a 40 question open book test, and I spent a lot of time while on watch on an Ocean Station Patrol going through pubs and looking for answers. It took me the whole 30 days, but in the process of searching I kept coming across other interesting information that I would read or note down.

When we arrived back in port he graded my test (38 right out of 40 – two answers I couldn’t find) and sent my papers right in. Smart ways to have me learn even more than I needed. He said he didn’t want anybody learning how to be 2nd class on the job; they needed to know before he would recommend the rate. He was very pleasant and good natured and we had an excellent radio crew because of him.

CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?

There was a St. Patrick’s Day when 4 of us thought it would be neat to wear green neckerchiefs instead of our blue ones. They really stood out on our dress blues, but every bar we went to someone bought us a drink.

WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?

After service I went back to my former civilian job, but 2 years later I started a career in real estate sales. Forty four years later I am still full time selling and I have no plans to stop anytime soon.

I have one son who retired a year ago as a CPO in the Navy and a younger son who just completed his 12th year in the Navy and is an Aviation Machinist’s Mate First Class. My wife and I live in a home we built 14 years ago in a typical New England village. My hobbies are antique cars, gardening on our 7 acres and travel throughout New England.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER?

It taught me to focus and work hard toward my goals. My leadership training has helped me in many ways, and working under great pressure, as during a rescue or emergency at sea, has helped me in life’s further challenges.

BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE COAST GUARD?

Take advantage of every opportunity to learn, do the best job you can, and be respectful to those who have responsibility above you.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.

It has connected me with 4 shipmates from boot camp and school. It has also helped me learn about others who had similar experiences to mine and makes me feel like a ‘team member” even after all these years.

15
May

What a Ride!

????????????????????????????????????

Instructors, crew and students of a Coast Guard National Motor Lifeboat School class train

for heavy weather boat operations in the harsh environment of Cape Disappointment

in the Pacific Northwest Nov. 12, 2009.

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jamie E. Parsons)

14
May

Military Fact and Legends: Rise and Fall of the SR-71 Blackbird

During the last few years of World War II, the United States and Soviet Union – both long weary of the other – became unlikely allies against Adolf Hitler’s takeover of Eastern Europe. Following the defeat of German in 1945, however, the wartime allies became mortal enemies, locked in a global struggle to prevail militarily, ideologically and politically in a new “Cold War.” To learn of the other side’s military and technical capabilities, their actions and intentions, both sides used spies to gather information and intelligence about their enemy.

Alarmed over rapid developments in military technology by his Communist rivals, President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved a plan to gather information about Soviet capabilities and intentions using reconnaissance aircraft.  Thus became the birth of the U-2 spy planes.Beginning in 1956, U-2 spy planes were making reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union giving the U.S. its first detailed look at Soviet military facilities. Managed first by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and later the U.S. Air Force, the U-2 provided day and night, very high-altitude (70,000), all-weather intelligence gathering. It was relatively slow, however.

The aircrafts vulnerability and the need for a faster reconnaissance aircraft was underscored following the downing of two U-2s.  The first in 1960 when Francis Gary Powers’s U-2 was shot down over the Soviet Union and the 1962 fatal downing of Air Force Major Rudolf Anderson’s U-2 after being hit with a Soviet missile while flying over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crises.

Looking to replace the U-2, the CIA turned to Kelly Johnson, one of the preeminent aircraft designers of the twentieth century, and his Lockheed’s Skunk Works team.  Together they had a track record of delivering “impossible” technologies on incredibly short, strategically critical deadlines. The design the team came up with became the SR-71, which became the precursor to “stealth” aircraft that followed.

A total of 32 aircraft were built; 12 were lost in accidents, but none lost to enemy action. Since 1976, with a speed exceeding 2,000 mph, it has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft.

Read more »

14
May

CDR Jack Dempsey US Coast Guard (Served 1942-1952)

jack dempseyView Military Service of Boxing Legend:

CDR Jack Dempsey

US Coast Guard

(Served 1942-1952)

Shadow Box: http://coastguard.togetherweserved.com/profile/426

Short Bio: In 1944 he was assigned to the transport USS Wakefield. In 1945 he was on the attack transport USS Arthur Middleton for the invasion of Okinawa. In July of 1945 he assigned to the Commander, 11th Naval District for assignment to Military Morale Duty. He was released from active duty in September 1945.  He was given an honorable discharge from the Coast Guard Reserve in 1952.

(Veterans – view more military profiles of famous people on www.togetherweserved.com)

%d bloggers like this: