The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

PO3 Robert Eugene Bush, U.S. Navy (1944–1945)

PO3 Robert Eugene Bush, U.S. Navy (1944–1945)

Robert Eugene Bush wasn't old enough to join the Navy when the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was still in high school. His neighbor in his hometown of Raymond, Washington, was a Fireman aboard the USS Arizona. "He's still on board the Arizona," Bush said in a Veterans History Project Interview. Bush could barely stand the wait to join the war. He wouldn't be old enough until his 17th birthday in the Fall of 1943. He and a friend from school dropped out and enlisted...

read more
Women Pilots in WWII: The Original Fly Girls

Women Pilots in WWII: The Original Fly Girls

Women have been involved in aviation from the beginnings of both lighter-than air travel and as airplanes, helicopters and space travel were developed. Women pilots were also formerly called "aviatrices". During World War II, women from every continent helped with war efforts and though mostly restricted from military flight many of the female pilots flew in auxiliary services. Americans Refused to Believe the War Was Inevitable Like most Americans in the late 1930s, President Franklin...

read more
WW2 – Battle Of the Aleutian Islands

WW2 – Battle Of the Aleutian Islands

In June 1942, six months after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor that drew the U.S. into World War II, the Japanese targeted the Aleutians, an American-owned chain of remote, sparsely inhabited, volcanic islands extending some 1,200 miles west of the Alaskan Peninsula. After reaching the Aleutians, the Japanese conducted airstrikes on Dutch Harbor, the site of two American military bases, on June 3 and June 4. The Japanese then made landfall at Kiska Island on June 6 and Attu Island,...

read more
Service Reflections of CAPT James Garrett, U.S. Navy (1966-2008)

Service Reflections of CAPT James Garrett, U.S. Navy (1966-2008)

I was graduating from Westminster High School in a few months (1966) and knowing that I would not be able to afford college, I thought enlisting in the military would be a good thing, especially if it was possible to get college paid for afterwards. Being landlocked and with Lowery Air Force Base across town, the recruiting ads I thought the Air Force might be a good place to go. The Air Force recruiter came to my house to talk with me but to my amazement the recruiter told me there was a waiting list, imagine that with the Vietnam War going on.

read more
The Revolutionary War – The Penobscot Expedition

The Revolutionary War – The Penobscot Expedition

The U.S. Navy has had its wins and losses since its birthday on Oct. 13, 1775. Its victories are too numerous to count. While its losses are few and far between, two devastating losses stand out among all the others.  Its most memorable significant loss is, of course, a day that continues to live in infamy. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor devastated the Navy's Pacific Fleet but did not cripple it. The Navy's first-ever significant is on par with Pearl Harbor but is often forgotten:...

read more
Service Reflections of ETCM Gene Treants, U.S. Navy (1966-1996)

Service Reflections of ETCM Gene Treants, U.S. Navy (1966-1996)

It was the summer of 1966, and I was between my Sophomore and Junior years at College. I knew I might be in trouble with my deferment since I majored in beer and girls with a minor in partying. One of my best friends had decided to go into the Navy but had not yet joined. He worked on a survey crew, and I worked construction with my dad’s company. I was doing everything from electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, swimming pools, and you name it, but the work was never-ending. The days began at about 0700 on the job site and ended at too damn late.
One particularly hot and miserable day, after I had worked in an attic, removing insulation from a fire area, I had just about had it. My dad had left about noon for some meeting and left me in charge, and we had lots of work to finish. We finally completed the job at 6:30 pm, cleaned up, and left. When I got home, my dad was pissed it had taken so long and told me that I was not doing a good enough job. I told him if he spent time on the job instead of going off and doing other things, maybe we could have finished on time. Of course, he was not happy with my answer and told me that I was not working hard enough. I said that was fine and that I was done. I quit. The next day he asked me why I was not dressed, and I said I had quit since I was not a good enough worker. He left in a huff, and that was all it took.

read more
WW2 – Battle Of Wake Island (1941)

WW2 – Battle Of Wake Island (1941)

The Battle of Wake Island was fought December 8-23, 1941, during the opening days of World War II. A tiny atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, Wake Island was annexed by the United States in 1899. Located between Midway and Guam, the island was not permanently settled until 1935 when Pan American Airways built a town and hotel to service their trans-Pacific China Clipper flights. Consisting of three small islets, Wake, Peale, and Wilkes, Wake Island was to the north of the Japanese-held...

read more
WW2 – Battle of Guadalcanal

WW2 – Battle of Guadalcanal

Though it probably didn't feel like it at the time, the Allies in the Pacific Theater of World War II were able to respond to the Japanese advances relatively quickly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor wasn't the only surprise target that day. The Imperial Japanese Navy also struck targets held by the Dutch and British and the American-held Philippines.  The Naval Campaign at Guadalcanal By August of 1942, just nine months after its coordinated surprise attacks across the...

read more
Famous Army Units: 1st Alaska Combat Intelligence Platoon

Famous Army Units: 1st Alaska Combat Intelligence Platoon

The Aleutian Islands are unknown to many Americans and in 1941, upon entry of the US into WWII, even fewer. Remote volcanic islands (1200 miles from Alaska), barren and plagued by harsh weather and unforgiving winds make them seemingly unlivable and bear little consideration except to the native Aleuts that call them home.  Nonetheless, with US-Japanese tensions running high, as early as February 1941 efforts were underway to form the Alaskan Defense Command.  Recognizing broad...

read more
Ted Williams’ Cryogenically Frozen Head

Ted Williams’ Cryogenically Frozen Head

Despite urban legends that say otherwise, Walt Disney was not the most famous person who had their remains cryogenically frozen in the hopes of a future revival. Disney wasn't frozen at all - but baseball legend and Korean War veteran Ted Williams was.  The legend of Ted Williams' frozen body has been the subject of rumor and speculation that it was just as much a myth and urban legend as that of Walt Disney's. Mostly because his will stated that he wanted to be cremated. In the end, a...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more