World War II

Famous Army Units: 100th Infantry Battalion

Famous Army Units: 100th Infantry Battalion

With much of the world already at war, December 7, 1941 proved not only a day that would live in infamy but for most Americans, an event that would redefine their world. This impact was no more significant or immediate than for US citizens of Japanese ancestry and in particular second-generation Americans, or Nisei.  Since 1937 the Japanese invasion of China and atrocities inflicted on civilian populations sickened most of the world, punctuated by the undeclared attack on Pearl...

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WW2 – The Liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp

WW2 – The Liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp

On January 27 1945 the Soviet Army pried open the gates of Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland and liberated some 7,000 emaciated prisoners. About 58,000 others had been hurriedly marched westward before the Soviet Army approached. Auschwitz, the German word for the Polish town of Oswiecim, was the site of the largest Nazi concentration camp during WWII. It consisted of a concentration camp, a labor camp, and large gas chambers and crematoria. More than 1.3 million people...

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Famous Marine Corps Units: 1st Samoan Battalion

Famous Marine Corps Units: 1st Samoan Battalion

World War II as a global event unfolded over more than a decade, impacting countries in different ways and at very different times.  Undoubtedly Americans identify the war’s start consistently with the Pearl Harbor attack and declaration of war by Japan on December 7, 1941, but the beginnings of the conflict date much earlier to 1931 with Japan’s invasion of Manchuria.  In recognition of their brutal ambitions and the escalating political activities in Europe the US became deeply...

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Japanese Tried A Second Raid on Pearl Harbor

Japanese Tried A Second Raid on Pearl Harbor

Everyone knows about the first bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Less well known, however, was the second attack. And there was almost a third. The first one was just a warm-up. The Imperial Japanese Navy planned several more attacks on the U.S. mainland - starting with California and Texas. It was called Ke-Sakusen (Operation Strategy), better known as "Operation K." Its aim was four-fold: (1) to assess the damage at Pearl Harbor; (2) to stop the ongoing rescue and salvage...

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Secret Soldiers by Philip Gerard

Secret Soldiers by Philip Gerard

They were masters of the craft of illusion and deception, and their greatest disappearing act was to vanish from history. The men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops were recruited to become phantom warriors in a ghost army to help win the Battle of Europe. A thousand strong, they fought in more campaigns, from D Day to the Rhine River, with more Allied armies, than any other unit in the European Theater of Operations - yet, not even their fellow American soldiers were aware of their...

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Cpt Daniel Inouye, U.S. Army (1943-1947) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Cpt Daniel Inouye, U.S. Army (1943-1947) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Senator Daniel Inouye served in the United States Senate from 1963 until his death in 2012. At the time of his death, he was America's second-longest sitting Senator, which is not at all surprising considering he could easily be considered one of World War II's hardest men to kill. Daniel Inouye's Early Life This Japanese-American, who faced discrimination and segregation, had every reason to sit this war out if he so chose with a bitter heart. But considering he was raised by a father who...

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SM1c Douglas Munro, U.S. Coast Guard (1939 – 1942)

SM1c Douglas Munro, U.S. Coast Guard (1939 – 1942)

During the World War II fight for Guadalcanal, three companies of United States Marines were cut off from the main force fighting along the Matanikau River. Surrounded and outnumbered, Marine Corps leadership believed the men would be annihilated - all but one, that is.  Lt. Col. Lewis "Chesty" Puller wasn't about to let three whole companies die if he could do anything about it. If anyone could, it was Chesty. He flagged down the destroyer USS Monssen, organized a relief force of Higgins...

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WW2 – The Heroes Of Eager Beavers

WW2 – The Heroes Of Eager Beavers

In 1943, several U.S. airmen went on a suicide mission. Two men, who were part of Eager Beavers, on the mission were awarded a Medal of Honor - the only time in WWII that two men received the same award for the same engagement. Interestingly, their careers didn't start out well. Biography of Lt Col Jay Zeamer Jr. Jay Zeamer, Jr. got his wings in 1941 at Langley Field. All his classmates became pilots and got their own planes and crews, but not Zeamer. Although he could fly and had a passion...

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PFC Shizuya Hayashi, U.S. Army (1942 – 1945)

PFC Shizuya Hayashi, U.S. Army (1942 – 1945)

During the Italian Campaign of World War II, German troops were faced with a sight they had never expected: Japanese-American soldiers. These troops were members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, which was comprised entirely of Nisei (children of Japanese Immigrants) troops. What makes this story all the more amazing is knowing how these troops, and their families, had been treated by a scared and hateful populace at home. Their families, friends, and neighbors were being imprisoned by the...

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WW2 – The Battle Of Dutch Harbor

WW2 – The Battle Of Dutch Harbor

The Aleutian Islands are known for their rugged, treeless tundra and almost perpetually foul weather, but during the early days of World War II, they were considered a valuable piece of real estate. Fresh off their success at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese were looking to consolidate their gains in the Pacific while also stymying any potential U.S. attacks against their home islands. The Aleutians - situated at the center of the shortest route between the United States and Japan - were viewed as a...

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WW2 – Great Raid On Cabanatuan

WW2 – Great Raid On Cabanatuan

Within weeks of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Imperial Army pushed American and Filipino troops out of Manila. They were forced into the jungles of the Bataan Peninsula and the Island of Corregidor where they were cut off from supplies. Hungry and suffering from tropical disease, the troops were promised by the commanding Gen. Douglas MacArthur that "thousands of planes" with food, medicine, and reinforcements were on their way. But no help had arrived by March when MacArthur was ordered to leave...

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Staff Sgt. Edward Carter Jr., U.S. Army (1932-1949)

Staff Sgt. Edward Carter Jr., U.S. Army (1932-1949)

Biography of Edward Carter Jr. A career Army noncommissioned officer, Edward Carter Jr. was born May 26, 1916, in Los Angeles, California. He was the son of missionary parents who went to the Far East and finally settled in Shanghai, China. Edward ran away from this home when he was a young teen to begin a military exodus. However, it was not to be an ordinary journey as his material and spiritual paths intertwined. His first tour was short-lived, yet not too short to prevent the...

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