World War II

The Second Most Decorated Soldier of WWII

The Second Most Decorated Soldier of WWII

The 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division (known as "The Cottonbalers" from their use of a cotton bale breastworks during the Battle of New Orleans under Andrew Jackson), has served in more campaigns than any other infantry unit in the United States Army. In World War II, the regiment fought German forces on three fronts, North Africa, Italy, and Northwest Europe, quite probably serving more time in combat than any other regiment in the U.S. Army during the war. The regiment's numerous...

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Out of the Darkness : Navy Seals

Out of the Darkness : Navy Seals

On June 6, 1943, the Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU) training school was established at Ft. Pierce, Florida. Training candidates came from rugged, physically capable Marine Raider and Navy Scout and Construction Battalion volunteers with previous swimming experience. Demolition work was emphasized without restriction. Grueling nighttime training conducted in the snake- and alligator-infested swamps of Florida produced a specimen of a man who was at home with mud, noise, exhaustion, water,...

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The Fighting Arkansans

The Fighting Arkansans

Lloyd L. "Scooter" Burke - the most highly decorated soldier in Arkansas' history - was born in Tichnor (Arkansas County) on September 29, 1924, one of five children of A. D. Burke, a foreman at a lumber mill in Clarendon (Monroe County) and his wife, Belly Burke. In 1942, Lloyd Burke graduated from Stuttgart High School and enrolled at Henderson State Teachers College, now Henderson State University. In 1943 when Burke was 18-years-old, he dropped out of Henderson State College and joined the...

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WW2 – Midway and Guadalcanal

WW2 – Midway and Guadalcanal

There is some debate on the turning point of the war in the Pacific Theatre. Some historians believe the Allied victory at the Battle of Midway was the defining moment, followed by aggressive island-hopping all the way to the Japanese homeland. Others view Midway as the tipping point in the war where the initiative hung in the balance only to swing toward the Allies following its major victory in the Guadalcanal campaign. According to many other historians, however, the turning point of the...

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The Muslim Princess Spy

The Muslim Princess Spy

Biography of Nur Inayat Khan Noor Inayat Khan was born New Year's Day 1914 in Moscow to Hazrat Inayat Khan an Indian Sufi mystic of royal lineage and his American wife, Ora Ray Baker, half-sister of Perry Baker, often credited with introducing yoga into America. On her father's side, she was the great-great-great-granddaughter of Tipu Sultan, the celebrated Muslim ruler of Mysore, who in the 18th Century successfully fought the British, stemming their advance into South India. He was killed in...

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First WW II Aircraft Crew to Reach 25 Missions

First WW II Aircraft Crew to Reach 25 Missions

1917, and 1918, the United States government issued Liberty Bonds to raise money for our involvement in World War I. By the summer of 1940 when it appeared the United States would be drawn into World War II, bonds again were being sold as a way to remove money from circulation as well as reduce inflation. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the bonds became known at War Bonds. To promote selling the War Bonds, rallies were held throughout the country with famous...

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Bayonet Charge

Bayonet Charge

Following World War I, Americans reached the conclusion that our country's participation in that war had been a disastrous mistake, one which should never be repeated again. This resulted in a major segment of the population becoming "isolationist" hoping to avoid dragging the country into another disastrous foreign war. Lewis Lee Millett Enlisted Into the National Guard While Still in High School Even when Nazi German invaded Poland in 1939 and began conquering and controlling much of...

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Lt Tom Ewell, US Navy (1942-1945)

Lt Tom Ewell, US Navy (1942-1945)

Tom Ewell, of the United States Navy between 1942 and 1945, interrupted a successful career as a stage actor in order to protect the merchant shipping vital to the country’s war effort as part of the US Navy Armed Guard. Born Samuel Yewell Tompkins in Kentucky during the year 1909, he was expected to join the family professions (either law or tobacco and whiskey dealing) but instead pursued acting. In 1928, he began acting in summer stock while attending the University of Wisconsin. Determined...

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The Forces Pin Up – GI Morale Boosters

The Forces Pin Up – GI Morale Boosters

America's entrance into World War II back in 1941 triggered the golden age of pinups, pictures of smiling women in a range of clothing-challenged situations. The racy photos adorned lonely servicemen's lockers, the walls of barracks, and even the sides of planes. For the first time in its history, the US military unofficially sanctioned this kind of art: pinup pictures, magazines, and calendars were shipped and distributed among the troops, often at government expense, to "raise morale" and...

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WW2 – The Battle of Iwo Jima

WW2 – The Battle of Iwo Jima

Japan's ambition as a world power began in the late 1800s, but lacking in raw materials (oil, iron, and rubber) necessary to make it a reality, it seized material-rich colonies and islands. Ensuring they kept what they seized, Japan established naval and army bases throughout the Pacific. Following long-standing complaints from the United States about their laying claims on territories that did not belong to them, Japan's military leaders unwisely decided to attack America, beginning with the...

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Parallel Lives, Shared History

Parallel Lives, Shared History

Herb Heilbrun and John Leahr were twenty-one when the United States entered WWII. Herb became an Army Air Forces B-17 bomber pilot. John flew P-51 fighters. Both were thrown into the brutal high-altitude bomber war against Nazi Germany. However, they never met because the Army was rigidly segregated - only in the air were black and white American fliers allowed to mix. Both came safely home, but it took a chance meeting 20 years ago when the two retired salesmen met at a reunion of the...

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Veteran of Three Wars Under Three Flags

Veteran of Three Wars Under Three Flags

Lauri Allan Torni, later known as Larry Thorne, spent the majority of his life-fighting communists. First, the Soviets while in the service of Finland and Germany during World War II and then the Vietcong and North Vietnamese as a U.S. Army Special Forces officer during the Vietnam War. Biography Veteran of Three Wars Larry Thorne Lauri Torni was born in Finland, the son of a sea captain, in 1919. He enlisted in the Finnish Army at the age of 18 and was near the completion of his enlistment...

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