Oregon Local and Selected International History News for 2005

Civil War Preservation Trust

This month the CWPT battlefield preservationist campaign is to raise money to save the battlefield at Champion Hill outside Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A 4 to 1 matching donation is available to them so if you give a single buck it turns into 4 more greenbacks. (BTW, the word greenback denoting US currency is a direct result of the US Civil War. In order to save money it printed money in just green and black ink.)

You can find out how to donate money to them at their web site www.CivilWar.org .

Camp Logan Days May 20-21, 2006 when the 4th Annual Camp Logan Days Living History Reenactment Occurs

4th Annual Camp Logan Days Living History Reenactment

In the year 1867...... Did you know that at Camp Logan there was an officer who was an author? How about that there was an officer who came to Grant County who was later at the Battle of the Little Big Horn? Camp Logan was a military post close to present day Prairie City and was established in 1865 by the First Oregon Volunteers and then later occupied by the regular army. It remained until 1869. Camp Logan was part of the Department of the Columbia that consisted of the State of Oregon, Washington Territory and Idaho Territory and the Territory of Alaska was added in 1870.

Other posts in the Department included Camp Watson and Fort Klamath to name a few. The Headquarters was moved to Portland from Fort Vancouver in 1867.

These topics and more will be relived on Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21, 2006 when the 4th Annual Camp Logan Days Living History Reenactment occurs near Prairie City, OR. You will have the opportunity to step back in time and relive the year 1867 and see what life was like at the military camp and the town of Dixie.

For more information contact the Event Coordinators, Andrew Demko or Dianne Lesniak at Prairie City School at (541) 820-3314. Camp Logan Days e-mail: cmplogan @ yahoo.com Camp Logan Days - PCS History Club P.O. Box 345 Prairie City, OR 97869

History Week At Piece College October 22

Panel discussion about World War II experieces.

Ken Murphy at: KMurphy @ pierce.ctc.edu

Don Adams of "Get Smart" Dead at 82

Don Adams lied about his age, joined the Marines, fought and was wounded at Guadalcanal (plus came down with blackwater fever), on September 26, 2005.

Marlin "Butch" Voris - Founder of the Blue Angles Dead at 86

From the family's press release.

Capt. (Retired) Roy Marlin "Butch" Voris, creator of the famed Navy Blue Angels air demonstration team and a World War II flying ace from the Pacific War, died Tuesday at his home in Monterey, CA. Voris, 86, had been ill for several years but was still drawing huge crowds at air shows whenever he attended. The 2004 California Air Show at Salinas, CA had been dedicated in his honor.

A fighter pilot's fighter pilot, he shared the pantheon with other American military aviation greats like Chuck Yeager, Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, and the "Right Stuff" astronauts, all of whom made their marks after Voris had helped pave the way. He himself had ended his active aviation career as a spokesman for NASA during the momentous 1970 moon shots.

Physically a big man with a shaved head, Voris was known for his even-temperedness and coolness in the cockpit, as well as great skill. He had survived numerous accidents and emergency situations in the air, including a midair collision during a Blue Angel demonstration at Corpus Christi, TX, in 1952 in which one Blue Angel was killed and he miraculously brought his plane in despite lack of almost all control and a nearly severed tail. For all his accomplishments, he was unpretentious and had a humorous streak that kept him in demand as a speaker.

Voris' career spanned 33 years. He had been instrumental in the early development of the F-14 "Tomcat," one of the navy's greatest fighter-bombers. He had flown everything from bi-planes to jets, most of them in combat. His status as ace was earned in the hard early years of the Pacific War when he shot down a confirmed eight (8) Japanese fighter planes. Flying from the carriers Enterprise and Hornet, he had taken part in the battles of Santa Cruz, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, numerous Central Pacific islands, the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot, and "The Mission into Darkness," in which air wing pilots had taken off near dusk to pursue the Japanese fleet knowing many probably wouldn't have enough gas to return.

But Voris was most known for having forged in 1946 a handful of navy fighter pilots, veterans of the Pacific War, into the navy flight demonstration team that became known world-wide as the Blue Angels, today's foremost ambassadors of American flight know-how and prowess. It was the first such official venture by any of the services. With the war over, the navy needed a recruiting tool and something that would help attract congressional dollars. Voris, back from the war and a Jacksonville Naval Air Station flight instructor, was given the job.

"My frame of mind was they didn't offer this to me to come in second to the army," he recalls in "First Blue," a book published by St. Martins Press last year about his life. "I felt that if we weren't the best, it would be my naval career."

What he forged was the first of its kind: a show about 15 minutes long with three Hellcats, the fighters he'd flown mostly in the Pacific, roaring almost wingtip to wingtip in unison, doing rolls and maneuvers experienced often in dogfights but seldom ever seen by the public. The first show was a sensation, and by the end of the year, the team had found a name based on a New York nightclub and Butch had hand-picked leaders who would succeed him. His strong personality, insistence on excellence through pilot debriefs and commitment, and through teamwork, established a tradition that continues with the Blues today. At Salinas this past year, current as well as former Blues honored him at attention with a red carpet and salutes as he passed them by.

"I wouldn't change a thing," he's quoted in First Blue. "I wish I could do it all over again."  

American Fighter Aces Reunion

If you are in St. Louis Sept 15-18 2005 go to the Sheraton Westport Plaza Tower (900 Westport Plaza) for the Fighter Aces Reunion. Contact ARTHUR F. JEFFREY 752 JUNIPER GLEN CT. BALLWIN, MO. 63021 for more information.


Victoria Cross Awarded

Private Johnson Beharry, 25, from London, twice saved the lives of colleagues while under enemy fire was awarded the VC for his action on 1 May 2004.

The previous were awarded during the Falklands War, posthumous, given to Lt Col Herbert Jones and Sgt Ian John McKay.

Britain gives out far less VCs per military person in comparison to the US Congressional Medal of Honor.

Who Shot Field Marshall Erwin Rommel?

Charley Fox, a decorated Second World War fighter pilot is credited with ending the career of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

"He has personally destroyed or damaged 22 locomotives and 34 enemy vehicles, bringing his total to 153 vehicles destroyed or damaged," the commendation for Fox's Distinguished Flying Cross says.

see http://www.lfpress.ca/perl-bin/niveau2.cgi?s=dday&p=84993.html&a=1

The Story Behind the Photograph

Sometimes what you have seen in the history books is not what really occurred. Kevin Donahue has traced and discoverd the the history of a very famous German Panzer photograph.  Items like this has to be accomplised before the people who took them, the soldiers, all die off.

General Westmorland, General Stockdale Both Dead

General Westmorland, the CIC in charge in theatre of military operations (with many political restrictions) during the Vietnam war died in July 2005. The same month General Stockdale, a pilot who suffered greatly with torture, beatings, broken bones, malnutrition and other common tortures while a POW in North Vietnam, also died. He was 81.

Most people blame General Westmorland with losing the war due. General Westmorland just used the same tactics as the French - and got the same result.

These are also the same tactics the USA implemented in Iraq after the Iraq War in the spring of 2003.

Last Australian to Serve in Combat in WWI Dies

Peter Casserly of Australia died in June of 2005 - the last man who had served and seen combat on the Western Front in World War I. Peter served in Regimental Number 1933.

While working on the railroad as a fireman he finally volunteereed in 1917 after he heard they needed experienced railroad crews. He served as a sapper in the Somme battlefield.

When he died he held the title of the oldest man in Australia. He also held the title of the longest marriage to his wife Monica of 80 years and 10 months. She died aged 102 in August 2004.

His duty was part of an 80-man 2nd Railway Transport Unit moving troops and supplies to the front.

"We had shells falling all around us, and Fritz [the German army] taking pot shots from the forests as we sped past. I had to be on the lookout," he recalled. "I was nearly killed at least six times. Bullets whizzed past my ears and shells shot over the top of the train before exploding in fields up near the firing line. "How they missed me I don't know - although there were some dud shells. One landed right in the middle of our group playing cards but didn't go off, so I just dealt another hand of euchre; one also landed in a coal heap, spraying coal and oil all over me."

He served with various units around Ypres, Armentieres and Amiens, with the 2nd, 5th and 16th Railway Transport Units in Belgium and France.

"Jerry was always trying to blow up the train with all its ammo. The gauge was only two foot (60 centimetres) wide but it was an armoured [10-tonne] steam locomotive. But once an ammunition explosion threw a locomotive 50 metres through the air and I picked up body parts in pieces no bigger than a human heart.

Another time Fritz derailed a train with English soldiers on board and that could have been bad. But the English officers just fled and their troops followed. So I sat down and had my dinner - bully beef and beans it was, and bad enough to kill us too.

But the worst thing was carting all those young soldiers to certain death at places like Hellfire Corner. They had no idea of how terrible it was, and I used to look at their young faces and think of their mothers.

Next day most of them would just be blood and bandages. Wherever you looked there would be these poor buggers on the side of the road, all wanting a cigarette, all busted up, some with arms and legs gone."

61,000 thousand Australians were killed in WWI, 48,000 died while serving on the Western Front.

Two World War I veterans (non-combat) W. Evan Allan, 105, of Melbourne, a sailor, and John Ross, 106, of Bendigo are still on the rolls.

"They gave every soldier two issues of rum each day on the Western Front, but I knew my way around and used to get three. And I've been drinking rum ever since. It's a sure cure for the flu - if you feel it coming on, take some rum and in two days it's gone."

"Give us a tot of rum tonight And over the top once more we'll go Where we'll bugger the German army all right And show old Fritz how to put on a show."

Bill Shadel War Correspondent during World War II

Bill Shadel died January 29, 2005 in Renton Washington. He covered the D-Day landings, the battles across France, and gave the first reports, along with Edward R. Murrow who was with him, of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp when it was liberated on April 12, 1945.

First Allied pilot to shoot down a German aircraft in WWII Dies

Markiewicz was ordered to intercept attacking Luftwaffe aircraft and at 6 am, he shot down a Henschel 126 reconnaissance aircraft. (Germans started invasion at 3:30 A.M. local time.) On September 2, 1939 he destroyed a Junkers 87 "Stuka" dive-bomber, which crashed in the River Vistula with the Stuka pilot baling out. On September 3 he attacked a Heinkel 111 bomber knocking out an engine which then was force to land in Polish held territority. (Heinkels in this time period of the war could not maintain altitude on a single engine.)

Wehn Poland was about to fall he, along with other pilots, fled to Rumania with their planes under orders where they were interned. He escaped, made it to France and joined Groupe de Chasse I/145 of the French Air Force at Dreux, assisting in the defence of Paris. In May 1940, he got 1/2 credit for the destruction of a Dornier 17 bomber.

After the French surrended in June Markiewicz fled for the third time. He again flew an aircraft out of a defeated nation this time to North Africa. From there he eventually arrived in England in August, where he converted to the Hurricane before joining No 302 (Polish) Squadron at Leconfield, Yorkshire, in August of 1940.

In September during the height of the battle he was transferred to Duxford flying with Wing Commander Douglas Bader from Duxford.

Due to a flying accident when his aircraft hit lower during low level training and the subsequent crash landing in a field, he spent a year in hospitals and was then unfit for combat flying. He spent the rest of war training pilots to fly in combat.

After the war he stayed in England in Surrey and worked in electrical and textile industries with his wife Toni whom he married in 1944.

Round Up the Mustangs

On June 8, 2006, there is a plan to gather every flyable North American P-51 "Mustang" (around 100) and 51 pilots that flew them to "Ace" status to Reno, Nevada. Sponsored by Stallion 51 Corporation. They are calling it "Final Roundup." The last big gathering was in Kissimmee in 1999 with 65 Mustangs and 12 Aces.

B-17G "Fuddy Duddy" At Hillsboro Airport in May

B-17G "Fuddy Duddy" willl be at the Hillsboro Airport on May 27-30.

Collings Foundation B-17 B-24 Tour Dates in Oregon

The B-17 and B-24 will visit Oregon during June of 2005. 9-10 in North Bend, 6-12 in Corvallis, 13-15 Redmond, 15-17 The Dalles, 17-20 Aurora then it flies up into Washington starting at Yakima on the 20-22 June. Visit their web site, http://www.collingsfoundation.org for complete details on where it will be and on what days.

100th BG (H) Pilot Glenn Rojohn Dies at 81

by Ralph Kinney Bennett (sent to me in e-mail, not sure what newspaper)

Tomorrow morning they'll lay the remains of Glenn Rojohn to rest in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery in the little town of Greenock, Pa., just southeast of Pittsburgh. He was 81, and had been in the air conditioning and plumbing business in nearby McKeesport. If you had seen him on the street he would probably have looked to you like so many other graying, bespectacled old World War II veterans whose names appear so often now on obituary pages.

But like so many of them, though he seldom talked about it, he could have told you one hell of a story. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart all in one fell swoop in the skies over Germany on December 31, 1944.

Fell swoop indeed.

100th BG B-17s collide over North Sea return to Germany.
Painting of the collision and return to Germany of Glenn's
aircraft of the 100th BG.
Unknown who the painter is. Painting © whomever.

Capt. Glenn Rojohn, of the 8th Air Force's 100th Bomb Group, was flying his B-17G Flying Fortress bomber on a raid over Hamburg. His formation had braved heavy flak to drop their bombs, then turned 180 degrees to head out over the North Sea.

They had finally turned northwest, headed back to England, when they were jumped by German fighters at 22,000 feet. The Messerschmitt Me-109s pressed their attack so closely that Capt. Rojohn could see the faces of the German pilots.

He and other pilots fought to remain in formation so they could use each other's guns to defend the group. Rojohn saw a B-17 ahead of him burst into flames and slide sickeningly toward the earth. He gunned his ship forward to fill in the gap.

He felt a huge impact. The big bomber shuddered, felt suddenly very heavy and began losing altitude. Rojohn grasped almost immediately that he had collided with another plane. A B-17 below him, piloted by Lt. William G. McNab, had slammed the top of its fuselage into the bottom of Rojohn's. The top turret gun of McNab's plane was now locked in the belly of Rojohn's plane and the ball turret in the belly of Rojohn's had smashed through the top of McNab's. The two bombers were almost perfectly aligned - the tail of the lower plane was slightly to the left of Rojohn's tailpiece. They were stuck together, as a crewman later recalled, "like mating dragon flies."

No one will ever know exactly how it happened. Perhaps both pilots had moved instinctively to fill the same gap in formation. Perhaps McNab's plane had hit an air pocket.

Three of the engines on the bottom plane were still running, as were all four of Rojohn's. The fourth engine on the lower bomber was on fire and the flames were spreading to the rest of the aircraft. The two were losing altitude quickly. Rojohn tried several times to gun his engines and break free of the other plane. The two were inextricably locked together. Fearing a fire, Rojohn cuts his engines and rang the bailout bell. If his crew had any chance of parachuting, he had to keep the plane under control somehow.

The ball turret, hanging below the belly of the B-17, was considered by many to be a death trap - the worst station on the bomber. In this case, both ball turrets figured in a swift and terrible drama of life and death. Staff Sgt. Edward L. Woodall, Jr., in the ball turret of the lower bomber, had felt the impact of the collision above him and saw shards of metal drop past him. Worse, he realized both electrical and
hydraulic power was gone.

Rojohn's Crew

Remembering escape drills, he grabbed the hand crank, released the clutch and cranked the turret and its guns until they were straight down, then turned and climbed out the back of the turret up into the fuselage.

Once inside the plane's belly Woodall saw a chilling sight, the ball turret of the other bomber protruding through the top of the fuselage. In that turret, hopelessly trapped, was Staff Sgt. Joseph Russo. Several crew members on Rojohn's plane tried frantically to crank Russo's turret around so he could escape. But, jammed into the fuselage of the lower
plane, the turret would not budge.

Aware of his plight, but possibly unaware that his voice was going out over the intercom of his plane, Sgt. Russo began reciting his Hail Marys.

Up in the cockpit, Capt. Rojohn and his co-pilot, 2nd Lt. William G. Leek, Jr., had propped their feet against the instrument panel so they could pull back on their controls with all their strength, trying to prevent their plane from going into a spinning dive that would prevent the crew from jumping out.

Capt. Rojohn motioned left and the two managed to wheel the grotesque, collision-born hybrid of a plane back toward the German coast. Leek felt like he was intruding on Sgt. Russo as his prayers crackled over the radio, so he pulled off his flying helmet with its earphones.

Rojohn, immediately grasping that crew could not exit from the bottom of his plane, ordered his top turret gunner and his radio operator, Tech Sgts. Orville Elkin and Edward G. Neuhaus, to make their way to the back of the fuselage and out the waist door behind the left wing.

Then he got his navigator, 2nd Lt. Robert Washington, and his bombardier, Sgt. James Shirley to follow them. As Rojohn and Leek somehow held the plane steady, these four men, as well as waist gunner Sgt. Roy Little and tail gunner Staff Sgt. Francis Chase were able to bail out.

Now the plane locked below them was aflame. Fire poured over Rojohn's left wing. He could feel the heat from the plane below and hear the sound of 50 caliber machine gun ammunition "cooking off" in the flames.

Capt. Rojohn ordered LT. Leek to bail out. Leek knew that without him helping keep the controls back, the plane would drop in a flaming spiral and the centrifugal force would prevent Rojohn from bailing. He refused the order.

Meanwhile, German soldiers and civilians on the ground that afternoon looked up in wonder. Some of them thought they were seeing a new Allied secret weapon - a strange eight-engined double bomber. But anti-aircraft gunners on the North Sea coastal island of Wangerooge had seen the
collision. A German battery captain wrote in his logbook at 12:47 p.m.:
"Two fortresses collided in a formation in the NE. The planes flew hooked together and flew 20 miles south. The two planes were unable to fight anymore. The crash could be awaited so I stopped the firing at these two planes."

Suspended in his parachute in the cold December sky, Bob Washington watched with deadly fascination as the mated bombers, trailing black smoke, fell to earth about three miles away, their downward trip ending in an ugly boiling blossom of fire.

In the cockpit Rojohn and Leek held grimly to the controls trying to ride a falling rock. Leek tersely recalled, "The ground came up faster and faster. Praying was allowed. We gave it one last effort and slammed into the ground."

The McNab plane on the bottom exploded, vaulting the other B-17 upward and forward. It hit the ground and slid along until its left wing slammed through a wooden building and the smoldering mass of aluminum came to a stop.

Rojohn and Leek were still seated in their cockpit. The nose of the plane was relatively intact, but everything from the B-17's massive wings back was destroyed. They looked at each other incredulously. Neither was badly injured.

Movies have nothing on reality. Still perhaps in shock, Leek crawled out through a huge hole behind the cockpit, felt for the familiar pack in his uniform pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He placed it in his mouth and was about to light it. Then he noticed a young German soldier pointing a rifle at him. The soldier looked scared and annoyed. He grabbed the cigarette out of Leek's mouth and pointed down to the
gasoline pouring out over the wing from a ruptured fuel tank.

Two of the six men who parachuted from Rojohn's plane did not survive the jump. But the other four and, amazingly, four men from the other bomber, including ball turret gunner Woodall, survived. All were taken prisoner. Several of them were interrogated at length by the Germans until they were satisfied that what had crashed was not a new American
secret weapon.

Rojohn, typically, didn't talk much about his Distinguished Flying Cross. Of Leek, he said, "In all fairness to my co-pilot, he's the reason I'm alive today."

Like so many veterans, Rojohn got back to life unsentimentally after the war, marrying and raising a son and daughter. For many years, though, he tried to link back up with Leek, going through government records to try to track him down. It took him 40 years, but in 1986, he found the
number of Leek's mother, in Washington State.

Yes, her son Bill was visiting from California. Would Rojohn like to speak with him? Two old men on a phone line, trying to pick up some familiar timbre of youth in each other's voice. One can imagine that first conversation between the two men who had shared that wild ride in the cockpit of a B-17.

A year later, the two were re-united at a reunion of the 100th Bomb Group in Long Beach, Calif. Bill Leek died the following year.

Glenn Rojohn was the last survivor of the remarkable piggyback flight. He was like thousands upon thousands of men -- soda jerks and lumberjacks, teachers and dentists, students and lawyers and service station attendants and store clerks and farm boys -- who in the prime of their lives went to war in World War II. They sometimes did incredible
things, endured awful things, and for the most part most of them pretty much kept it to themselves and just faded back into the fabric of civilian life.

Capt. Glenn Rojohn, AAF, died last Saturday after a long siege of illness. But he apparently faced that final battle with the same grim aplomb he displayed that remarkable day over Germany so long ago.

Let us be thankful for such men. A great story. I wonder how many more stories like this one are lost each day as members of the Greatest Generation pass on.

Peter Jackson - SB2C Helldiver in New King Kong Movie

In a news article out of New Zealand it told about how he built a replica 1930s Curtis Helldiver aircraft for the new "King Kong" movie then flew it at an airshow. It also mentioned that he has one of the largest collection of military aircraft. One of which is a WW I Pflatz DIII which was used in the 1965 Movie "The Blue Max."

Maj. Gen. Arthur G. Salisbury

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Arthur G. Salisbury, who commanded the 57th FG in World War II in Europe, died in Colorado Springs in April of 2005 at the age of 88.

Salisbury led the 57th Fighter Group in the battle known as "The Palm Sunday Massacre," in which 76 German transport planes and 13 fighters were shot down. He was shot down three times during the war.

British Nepalese Gurkas Troops in WWII Finally Get Benefits

On November 30, a landmark decision in a case filed by Justice McCombe against racial discrimination, forced the British Government to extend the same benefits that British troops earned for fighting in World War Two to Nepalese Gurkas.

The 'Midget Marine'

Decorated Marine Ralph Browner died in April at the age of 80 in Mountain View, California.

During the July 1944 invasion of Saipan the 19-year-old Marine corporal was left alone in the night in his foxhole with orders to hold off advancing Japanese troops.

Known as the "midget Marine" because he was 5-foot, 6-inches tall, Browner fought off three Japanese soldiers who crept out of the waves, shooting each of them through the head during the night. As related by his widow, Mary Browner she stated he survived since he heard sea water was dripping off their loincloths and turned to see them coming at him.

A total of 35 dead enemy soldiers were found around Browner's foxhole. He was awarded the Navy Cross for holding his position and protecting the company.

Duxford English Air Shows for 2005

VE Day 7-8 May, Flying Legends 9-10 July, Battle of Britain 10-11 September, and Autumn Air Show 16 October.

There are also tours put on via Eagle Tours in conjunction with Duxford American Air Museum. One goes from 6 May thru 14 May which includes the May Air Show; the other is the Battle of Britain Tour 1-11th September. POC in US is johns @ carlsongarner.com

Upcoming Conventions or Reunions in Oregon

American Ex-Prisoners of War May 14; American Veterans Association Red Lion Coos Bay June 4-5; Disabled American Veterans Shilo Inn, Newport Oregon May 18-21; Korean War Veterans Association VFW Hall, Albany Oregon April 20; Marine Corp League, Seven Feathers Convention Hotel, Canyonville, Oregon June 17-19; Military Order of the Purple Heart, Red Lion Inn, McMinnville, Oregon June 3-5; Military order of the World Wars Shilo Inn Airport Road, Portland Oregon June 3-4; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Seven Feathers Convention Hotel, Canyonville, Oregon June 23-25; China-Burma-India Red Lion Hotel (Quay) April 14-17; 41st Infantry Division, Reno Nevada April 11-14; 2nd Marine Division Hood river Inn, Hood River, Oregon April 28-30; USS Vega AF59, Shilo Inn Portland, Oregon May 13-15;

Medal Of Honor Recipient Finds More Tough Going

In the Corvallis Gazette Times March 3 2005 edition there is an article about Vernon Baker who won the MOH during World War II. Like many people, he was never told how to collect veterans benefits and so he never knew that you had to file paperwork for the benefits you are entitled to and so he was denied coverage since he never applied for them when he went for an emergency operation. A Classic Catch 22. Now he is $20,000+ in debt for a brain tumor operation the VA would not pay for.

Vernon earned the MoD as part of the 92nd Infantry while attacking near Castle Aghinolfi around Viareggio, Italy On April 5, 1944. Lt Vernon Baker charged machine guns, other infantry positions in saving his platoon. Baker later a book called "Lasting Valor."

Navy Finally Acknowledges a Corpsman that Did Surgery on a Sub

In the late summer of 1942, while World War Two raged around them, during a patrol in the South China Sea on board the USS Seadragon, then corpsman Wheeler B Lipes performed an appendectomy under water using improvised tools and a book - successfully.

Written up in newspapers after their return, the Corpsman went around the nation giving speeches to sell War Bonds. The fact that he did surgery, and did it well, greatly upset Naval doctors who were annoyed that he performed surgery without a license - thus he was never awarded a medal for this feat of ingenuity (for which he was praised for by the brass as the "can do" spirit of the military) under extreme conditions.

Now the 85 year old Lt. Commander Wheeler B. Lipes, (Ret), is going to be awarded a medal for this highly noted occurrence.

George Weeler who wrote up the story got a Pulitzer prize, this true story has appeared in two movies: "Destination Tokyo", as well as "Run Silent Run Deep".

Need some Maps to Invade England With?

The original maps used by Germany to plan the invasion of England ("Operation Sealow") are up for sale in Ludlow, Shropshire in February 2005.

Other WW Two related items were also for sale.

Welsh Regiments to be Renamed

As part of the ongoing consolidation of the British Army (I saw the last public performance of the Welsh Regimental band in Wales in 1994) the Royal Regiment of Wales and the Royal Welch Fusiliers names are to be combined with a TA Battalion and be given a new name.

The word "Welsh" is an 18th century spelling of "Welch" however the units kept with the older original spelling of their units.

Boer War Cannons Restored

David Martin, grandson of a British soldier Henry Powell who served in the Royal Garrison of Artillery (RGA) during the Anglo-Boer War, showed off two restored cannons once fired in combat by his grandfather in South Africa at the Union Buildings (where this building is at in SA, I have no idea.)

The four-and-a-half ton five-inch Mark V Garrison cannons are two of only four such cannons still in existence - with one each at South African National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg, and the War Museum of the Boer Republics in Bloemfontein.

Henry Power fought the Boer forces in numerous battles including the relief of Ladysmith. Cannon duels with the Boer 155 Creusot "Long Tom" cannon and other artillery units were common.

Italian Film "A Heart in the Pit," about the Massacre of Italians - by Communists

This new movie details the story of how at the end of World War II when the Yugoslav Communists Partisans got to the area around Trieste (given to Italy at the end of World War I) got revenge by killing between 5,000 and 15,000 unarmed Italians as retribution for owning the city since the end of World War I and getting more Italians to move there to ensure it became Italian in name and in culture.

This action took place in and around the Carso mountain range and most people were shot above crevices to fall into them and were left there.

Italy, since they lost the war and the Communists technically freed them from the Germans and what was left of the Italian Fascists, ignored it and went about with reconstruction.

World War II Statue Opposed - in Ukraine

A statue based on the famous picture taken of PM Winston Churchill, President Theodore Roosevelt, and Premier Joseph Stalin was to be placed at the Livadia Palace where the Yalta conference took place there in the spring of 1945.

The reason is that Premier Stalin caused the deaths of of least 10 million people during the early 1930s when he ordered the collectivization of the farms - the breadbasket of the then USSR - and taking seed grain from the farmers to feed the people in the cities to keep them happy with lots of food - so to prevent a counter-revolution - thereby causing famine in the Ukraine.

Stalin also, during the Second World War (Great Patriotic War), moved all the Tartars from the Ukraine and sent them to Siberia accusing them of collaboration - or worried about them doing collaborating - which caused over one half of them to die during the 10 years there were in Siberia.

Fritz Reiche - Manhattan Project Worker from Germany

Fritz died in February of 2005 at 98 years of age. As a leading German scientist before the war he was involved in the research on atomic energy. However, being Jewish, he was soon fired from any research and then spent 6 years trying to get out of Germany. He succeeded in March 1941 just 6 weeks before all Jews were blocked from leaving anywhere in Europe.

After arriving in the US he passed along a message from Fritz Houterman about the state of German atomic research but the message was lost in the bureaucratic channels and never delivered.

"Please tell the interested people the following thing. We are trying hard here, including Heisenberg, to hinder the idea of making a bomb. But the pressure from above ... Heisenberg will not be able to withstand longer ... Say to them they should accelerate if they have already begun the thing ..."

PT-109 Flag

The original flag of President John F. Kennedy's PT-109, who Kennedy gave to Patrick "Pappy" McMahon who was badly burned in the sinking of PT-109 (Larry Ballard found the remains buried in sand in 2004).

After McMahon died it was passed onto his stepson Bill Kelly, who in turn gave it to Mitch Cirlot whose son has an interest in history and should appreciate it.

After framing the flag in archival display case it now hangs in Magnolia Framing and Art Gallery in Gautier Mississippi until a permanent location is picked for it.

Winnipeg Bf 109

If you can brave the cold and happen to be in Winnipeg Canada, you can go to the Western Canada Aviation Museum hanger T-2 and see a HA1112 Spanish built "Buchon" Bf 109 - at least until May 2005.

Peter P. Tunno

Not all pilots in the US Army Air Force during WW II were officers. In the early part of the war Warrant Officers, flying officers and enlisted were pilots. Pilot always being officers was not official till after the Air Force became a separate branch.

Peter Tunno was a Master Sergeant on March 28, 1944, when he was credited with shooting down a Zeke while with VMF 113. Soon after he was promoted directly to First Lt (skipping Ensign) in the Marine Corps. And this even though he dropped out of high school to enlist at 17 years of age.

What is more surprising is that he was an MP still in 1942 in the States. His CO learned that he had a private pilot's license and so he went to flight school.

Tunno scored the highest ever at Pensacola Flight school in celestial navigation test - proving that you do not always have to have a diploma to be smart if you apply yourself and are given an opportunity.

His name is engraved on the wall in Pensacola and he also appears in the History of the Marine Corps Aviation in World War II.

He died on January 7, 2005 in Oregon.

Operation "Lusty"

This is a post World War II operation in which the US went all over Europe to bring back German aircraft and technology to the US.

Article in the latest issue of the Air Force Association magazine.

Francis J. Thomas

"I'm the only officer ever to be awarded the Navy Cross for running a ship aground." He was the acting C.O. of the Battleship USS Nevada on December 7th, 1941 when the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor.

Retired Rear Adm. Thomas lived in Aloha, Oregon, until he died on January 21, 2005 at the age of 100.

In charge that day since all other higher ranks were on shore with their families, Lt. Commander Thomas was responsible for getting the Nevada underway during the attack thereby not being next to the Arizona when it blew up, directing defence of the ship, counter flooding the ship after torpedo hits, and getting damage control parties to affected areas, then steering the ship onto sand next to the entrance of Pearl Harbor when the harbor master directed him not to try and go to sea.

He was in both the active and reserve navy since 1921,he r graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1925.

February Meeting of the 8thAFHS

Stan Richardson, WW II P-38 pilot in Europe and F-86 pilot in Korea, will be talking about his experiences of flying in Korea and his life as a corporate pilot at the February 12th meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the 8th Air Force Historical Society.

New DD Being Launched by USA

On Saturday January 22,2005, the USS Kidd DDG 100, named in honor of U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Isaac Campbell Kidd, who was awarded the US Medal of Honor (posthumously) will be officially commissioned. The USS Kidd is an Aegis guided missile destroyer was built by Northrop Grumman Corporation.

The ceremony takes place at Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Adm. Kidd was the CO of the USS Arizona, BB39, at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941 by the Japanese Imperial Navy and was killed on the bridge during the first raid. He was the first flag officer to perish in World War II.

Werner Goering - American Nephew of Reichsmarschall Herman Goering

Was an pilot in the 8th Air Force flying in the 303rd Bomber Group out of Molesworth, England.

"He was one hell of a good man. I guess he hated Germany for what they were doing. He had to prove that he was a good, loyal German American." Jack Silver - ball turret gunner in the 303rd BG(H).

Person Non-Grata During World War II

During the Second World War AXIS citizens in the United States and other countries shipped people - sometimes against their will - back to AXIS nations. At least 5,000 people were forced to return to the AXIS nations during the war instead of being interned.

Diplomats were exempt from being interned and were allowed to return once details were worked out. Most were exchanged in 1943 for Americans who were caught in Italy, Germany, France etc when the European AXIS powers in declared war on the US 3 days after the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941.

Nato Unit Symbols in True Type

If you want to use military symbols in your correspondence - non commercial - now you can. http://www.mapsymbs.com/app-6a.html

is the site to go to download your true type fonts of NATO and other military fonts.

US World War I Veterans

Only about 75 American World War I veterans remain - five of them in Florida. Homer Anderson, of Pompano Beach Florida, was a private in the Army balloon corps during World War I. He was making an appointment at an Oakland Park VA outpatient clinic in December when patient services clerk Hedy Semmel took a second look at his date of birth: Dec. 24, 1897.

The official WW I Museum - Liberty Memorial Museum in Kansas City, Mo., which was designated America's National World War I Museum by President Bush signed a defense bill October 28, 2004 - only knows of a few. This is because records of any veteran can only be released to the veteran or an immediate family member / descendant.

Medal Of Honor in WW I

Lt. Bleckley signed up as a Kansas National Guardsman from a bank teller as his patriotic duty to go and join the service. Trained as an aerial observer flying behind a pilot to map troop positions.

Bleckley wrote in his October 6, 1918 journal entry "we were set to fly at 10:00am" this would be his last mission.

Erwin Bleckley and his pilot set off in search for a lost battalion.

"They would fly real low to the ground and if people started shooting at them the knew it was the wrong side so they continued to fly until they found soldiers who wouldn't shoot. On this mission they swooped down in the ravine and found the troop's position. Bleckley somehow marked it on his map where the location was. They came back around to verify and the pilot was shot. The pilot died and as the gunfire peppered the plane with 40 bullet holes and caused a crash landing.

Bleckley survived just long enough to pass on the vital location of the missing battalion. The French men found Bleckley and they were able to pass on the information from Bleckley to the American commanders to locate the missing battalion.

Bleckley died shortly after and later became the only Kansas National Guardsman to be awarded the Medal of Honor in World War I.

A painting depicting Bleckley's final minutes was unveiled yesterday at the Kansas National Guard Museum. Now brush strokes bring to life his brave last moments.

Lt. Col. Jacobs at the ceremony stated "He saved 200-300 people that day by sacrificing his own life." 

A movie about the "Lost Battalion" was made in 2004 and included the aircraft overflight.

Study on Errant WW II Bombing of Dutch Town

The town of Nijmegen wants the US to fund a study to pay for additional research into what went wrong on Feb. 22, 1944, when the 446th Bomb Group of the 2nd Air Division, 8th US Army Air Force while engaged in "Operation Argument" (bombing the German aircraft industry - also known as "Big Week") while returning from a mission into Germany dropped their last bombs in bad weather above Nijmegen.

Around 800 Dutch citizens were killed as a result of the bombing.

The town requested at about $265,000 from the US to answer questions of how and why it happened.

National P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association Reunion

The very LAST P-47 Pilot reunion will take place in Seattle at the South Center Doubletree Suites Hotel May 5-8, 2005. See the P-47s web site at http://www.p47pilots.com

WW II POW Notes to be Released

The UK will release all the notes taken from returning POWs at the end of World War Two.

Over 152,000 British Empire and commonwealth troops were captured during the war and when they returned they were each asked to fill out a three page form about their capture, treatment, escape attempts, guards, interrogators, torture, mistreatment and other aspects of their confinement.

Nevada's last World War I Veteran Dies

Reuben Law, Nevada s last remaining veteran of World War I, died here on New Year s Day at 106 years old.

Woman WWI Veteran Dies at 107

Ruth Stevens Richardson, one of the nation's oldest surviving World War I veterans, died Wednesday at 107 years of age near Hampton Roads Virginia. Richardson was 21 when she and a friend went to look for work in Washington. On their first day in town, the pair saw a poster that read, "Join the Navy and see the world!"

World War I Combat Veteran dies at 106

Samuel P. Roseberry, who lied about his age in 1917 so he could join the U.S. Army and take part in World War I, has died at age 106 in Anderson,Ind.

An American "Schindler"

David Kaufmann was a Grand Island, Neb., businessman who quietly sponsored more than 80 Jewish couples and families - an estimated 200 or more people - to immigrate to the United States from Nazi Germany before America entered World War II.

David Kaufmann story as reported in the Omaha World Herald.

Unlike the German ship (the Hamburg if I remember correctly) that carried Jews to the US - only to be turned away and sent back to Germany where 95% of them died - these people were able to individually travel to the US and escape the NAZI whirlwind.