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Old January 29th, 2010, 09:40 PM
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Default WW2 Aviation Buffs

it was reported today that retired (Army Air Corp) Col Lee A. Archer,died today in New York City..during WW2 he was a member of the Tuskegee Airman who flew red tail P-51's and was the first Ace (credited with downing 5 or more enemy aircraft) of the Tuskegee group. His 5th kill was a German Messerschmitt 262 (the first jet propelled fighter) in his P-51 (propeller) and was the first US pilot credited to do so

he was a mentor to my son and helped him gain entry to the United States Air Force Academy and I had the pleasure of meeting him and spending several hours in his company

if you ever visit New Orleans and our WW2 Museum there is an exhibit about the Tuskegee Airman and features among others Col Archer..another of the greatest generation that has passed..I'm sure he's serving as a wingman in heaven
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Old January 29th, 2010, 10:38 PM
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Venice,

If I ever get down to NOLA again, we'll have to go visit the WWII Museum. Would have to get Todd to join us, too!
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Old January 29th, 2010, 11:31 PM
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looking forward to it
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Old January 30th, 2010, 01:55 AM
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I can't say when Venice and Dean, but unless the Lord calls first, I'll be down.

Tuskegee Airmen have the noted accomplishment of never losing to an enemy fighter, a bomber they escorted. The men of the 332nd Fighter Group were so highly prized by the bomber crews that the relief in the voices of the bomber crews of the 15th Air Force was palpable when Tuskegee airmen proved to be their escort.

Despite initial attempts by influential racist elements both in and out of the military to destroy their credibility, the actions of the men of the 332nd put book beyond measure to such idocy, more than proving their worth and covering themselves with glory.

The people of America owe Col. Archer and his fellow group members a debt of gratitude many will never understand and which could never be repaid. He will be sorely missed by Americans of every color and political stripe who are knowledgeable of his accomplishments and those of his fellow airmen

Todd.

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Old January 30th, 2010, 05:44 AM
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Todd...when you and your charming bride come down with Mean Dean, while us three musketeers visit the WW2 museum, our women can hang out in the French Quarter and watch the Carnival cruise ship depart

At the Visitors Center at the Air Force Academy, there is a huge display dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen and also a trophy case that is dedicated to the Jimmy Doolittle raiders consisting of shot glasses (those that are still living are turned up, those who have passed are turned down) on the deck of an scale model aircraft carrier turned into the wind aiming at Tokoyo..when I was last at the academy when my son graduated in 1998, there were fewer then 5 shot glasses turned up...wonder if there are left unturned now

I forgot the name of the book about the Doolittle raid, but the interesting back story is that because they were forced to take off earlier then plan (due to being discovered by a fishing boat that they feared would report them), they were short of fuel and many bombers crashed into the sea due to running out of fuel, some crews made it to China and were saved (but the Chinese who helped, suffered a terrible fate by the occupation forces) and one bomber made it to Russia, the crew were detained, and the Russians broke down the B-52 bomber took it north of Moscow, and studied the plane and build an imitation and flew it in combat

I understand why you guys like WW2 history..very very interesting stuff
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Old January 30th, 2010, 10:09 AM
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Venice,

Although another was written in the late 80's (which I have somewhere), the book to which I'm sure you are referring is Major Ted Lawson's Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo written by the pilot of his plane named, "The Ruptured Duck" (I always loved that name). I had that book as a youngster in the fifties and is one of the major reasons (another being the early fifties TV series Victory At Sea) I got so heavily into WWII. I am so sorry that my beloved book disappeared sometime after I left home. But as they say, C'est la guerre!

A postscript also to your B-25 in Russia comment. They also duplicated the B-29 Superfort one of which made an emergency landing in Russia.

Todd
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Old January 30th, 2010, 07:31 PM
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Todd..wasn't it the duplication of the B-29 that the Russians debut in an airshow in Paris in the early 50's and the Americans didn't even know that the Russians had copied it..the Russians had convinced the Americans that the plane had been destroyed when it crashed landed in Russia ? how did they fool the American crew that flew it ?
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Old January 30th, 2010, 11:17 PM
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No Venice, I don't think so. Actually several B-29's landed in Russia and while the US demanded them back, Russia refused. They copied the B-29 down to the smallest detail. I believe the planes were debuted in the late forties and I would find it hard to believe indeed, that the US didn't at least figure they'd copy it.

If someone ever tells you we had to rush fighters and bombers to the drawing boards to keep up with German and Japanese aircraft tell 'em they're full of it. Every American combat aircraft (Bombers and Fighters that flew in combat during WWII (including the B-29 and the P-51)), were initially designed prior to 7 December 1941. Most folks don't know that and back in my drinking days, I downed a lot of free liquid with that one.

You'll probably even get your son if you phrase it right...such as, "How many of the American aircraft that flew in combat during WWII were designed during the war?" (heh-heh-heh)

Todd
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Old January 31st, 2010, 05:00 AM
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Todd..my son is a graduate of the USAFA..he would not be tricked by that question..he would tell you that the F-22 was designed in the mid 80's for what military planners thought would be needed for this decade (and boy did the mission change) and his beloved F-15 was designed during the 70's to be the supreme air to air combat fighter to combat MIG's up to the year 2000

with that logic I wonder how the drones will do in the next decade..do you know for the first time in it's history..the Air Force trained more 'joy stick" unmanned drone pilots then regular fighter combat pilots..the air war in Afghanistan is won/lost by pilots in Las Vegas who may have never flown a real fighter jet

Stalin knew more about the Manhatten Project then Vice President Truman so what does that tell us about our intelligence during the war
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Old January 31st, 2010, 12:22 PM
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There were 3 B-29's which landed in Russia during the war. The Russian copied the plane and made their version, calling it Tupolev TU-4. This site will give you more info on the plane.
Tupolev Tu-4 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old January 31st, 2010, 05:42 PM
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Hannibal..thanks for the link..I love this type of aviation history
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Old January 31st, 2010, 08:39 PM
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Venice,

I too am a big Air Force fan! In fact, I go to the air show up here every year.

But one of these days, I'm going to make a Navy fan out of you!
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Old January 31st, 2010, 10:16 PM
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Dean, Venice, et al.,

I haven't been since 91 (at least that's what my ball cap says) but if you have the chance the one airshow you must see isn't the Paris Air Show but the one each July in Oshkosh Wisconsin.

Another is a regionalized one in Geneseo NY. The times I went to that one, they had all but one of the flyable B-17's in attendance and back then they also put on an absolutely marvelous mock Pearl Harbor attack using period aircraft and also an ETO dogfight utilizing P-51's and other period aircraft.

Todd
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Old February 1st, 2010, 06:02 AM
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my favorite airshow is in Rhinbeck New York at the AeroDome where they do WW1 simulations..when my son was little, we use to go in the summers and he loved it when they had the Red Baron air fights..
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Old February 1st, 2010, 06:37 AM
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Venice, I forgot all about Rhinebeck and I lived only about seven miles from there!! That airshow was started by a guy from Poughkeepsie by the name of Cole Palin who used to sit on the grass in the early forties and watch the planes take off from Poughkeepsie (which I'm sure even then, was the airport at Wappinger Falls).

The majority of movies centered around WW I aircraft are at least partially filmed in Rhinebeck because of it's world greatest collection of antique aircraft. The great part about the Rhinebeck Airdrome is the planes are actually flown. They are lovingly cared for year 'round by a large group of knowledgeable volunteers including everyone from engineers to structural craftsmen.

Yes Venice, that too is a "do not miss."

Todd
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Old February 1st, 2010, 08:14 AM
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Venice,

I know you’re very proud of your son. It’s not everyday a father raises a United States Air Force Academy graduate.

I find it interesting to hear that your son’s favorite aircraft is the F-15.

The first time I saw the F-15 fly was at the air show at Paine Field, in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle. This would have been during the mid-’80’s, when Air Force pilots didn’t care how much of the government’s gas they burned. This guy made his first pass at 700 mph, 300 feet off the deck, in zone-5 full afterburner. I don’t know if you’ve ever been that close to two Pratt & Whitney F-100 turbofan engines in full afterburner, but it’s an Earth-moving experience. The atmosphere sounds like it’s being ripped apart, and the ground and everything else quakes. To the little kids, it’s a terrifying sound – to me it’s the sound of freedom.

As you may know, the F-15 has a positive thrust-to-weight ratio. That means that its engines produce more thrust than the aircraft weighs. This allows the F-15 to accelerate vertically. And on this day, this pilot demonstrated his aircraft’s performance to the best of his abilities. This guy spent the majority of his 20-minute performance in zone-5. And that’s the way it ought to be. If you’re going to fly an air show, go hard or go home….

And as such you have a unique opportunity with your son.

One I never really had with my dad.

I grew up the son of gun captain, left gun, turret 3, United States Navy heavy cruiser USS Chicago CA 29.

Dad was never Navy this, or Navy that with us; everything flew under the radar. And yet when Mom and Dad went out, Dad told us that if we left the house to make sure to "dog ‘er down." And for some reason at my young age that made sense to me. The other day, leaving the house, I asked my girlfriend to make sure to "dog ‘er down." The blank look on her face made me realize that Dad had infused the Navy in me more than I had realized.

Every June, the City of Portland, as part of the Rose Festival, hosts Fleet Week, hosting ships from the United States Navy, the Canadian Navy, the United States Coast Guard, and other nation’s navies. From as far back as I can remember, Dad always took me to see the ships moored along the Willamette River waterfront.

Dad taught me how to look at a warship and understand her markings. What an "E" on her superstructure meant, what it meant by where it was placed, and what the hashmarks (if any) underneath meant. Dad taught me to look at her pennants aloft, and taught me what each of them meant. Today, I can look at a United States Navy warship, and tell you all about her status by her pennants aloft.

When I was a sophomore in high school, Mom signed us up for a Rose Festival Fleet cruise. Mom and I cruised on United States Navy destroyer USS Hoel DDG 13, from Portland to Astoria. I wasn’t particularly impressed with her small-caliber 5" main battery rifles; but I spent much of my time aboard on her bridge, and learned much about ship operations from her commanding officer. I was interested in all the details. Like, what 1/3 speed meant. Or speed, or full speed, or flank speed ahead meant. And how many revolutions of the propeller shafts each of those meant. Just so you’ll know, full speed on a United States Navy surface combat ship is 100 RPMs. Flank speed is 125 RPMs.

While onboard, I saw an ASROC anti-submarine rocket demonstration, following a general quarters drill. I was on the bridge at the time, when the commanding officer ordered "sound General Quarters." The order was issued to the Officer of the Deck. The Officer of the Deck ordered the boswain to "sound General Quarters." The bo’sun acknowledged the order, and on the MC-1, piped the crew to General Quarters.

I could feel the apprehension as the ship sprang into action, as 354 sailors manned their battle stations.

Now, many years later, I wonder how it felt for Dad at Savo Island.

Dad never really talked about his wartime service, even when pressed. Even though we were a Navy family, Dad never really talked about his wartime service. Dad loved the Navy before the war; but after USS Chicago CA 29 donned her haze gray war paint, and her hull number, he never really liked to talk about it. I asked Dad repeatedly about Savo Island, but he never really opened up. Now that he is gone, I’ll never get to know.

And so, over the years I’ve become a United States Navy historian. Particularly of United States Navy heavy cruiser, USS Chicago CA 29.

But what I’ll never know, is what it felt like in the left gun room of turret 3, at Savo Island, the night of 9 August 1942. What it felt like to be at General Quarters, gun loaded, waiting….

And when the order, "commence fire" came, what it was like to fire your large-caliber main battery rifle at the enemy. To spring into action. As gun captain, to flatten the spanning tray, to ram the projectile, to open the powder car door, and receive the first three 110-pound bags of cordite, to ram them up against the projectile. To receive the next three 110-pound bags of cordite and ram them. To close the breech-block. To have the primer-man set the primer, and flip the switch signaling the forward plot room that your rifle is ready to fire.

For whatever reasons, Dad was a meticulous photographer before the war. He has in his USS Chicago CA 29 diary, photographs of his Basic Training at San Diego, of his Large-Caliber Rifle School at San Diego, his days on the beach at Waikiki Beach, Oahu. He has (I now have) a photograph of actress Dorothy Lamore at Waikiki Beach. He has photos of 3rd Division holy-stoning USS Chicago CA 29’s teak decks.

He has photographs of USS Chicago CA 29 crossing the Equator, including the ceremony where he became a shellback. USS Chicago CA 29 visited Sydney, Australia, and Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand prior to hostilities.

Lastly, Dad has a photograph, dated Summer of 1941, Lahaina, Maui, of 3rd Division, posing in front of Turret 3.

But once war began, Dad has no photographic record.

So, I’ve been left to my own research….

And because of that, I’ve become a thorough researcher…..

For some reason, I felt deprived of Dad’s Navy life. And I wanted to learn of my Dad’s life. So, I began a thorough investigation of United States Navy heavy cruiser USS Chicago CA 29.

For several years, I investigated USS Chicago CA 29 history. I studied her history in precise detail from August 1936, to January 1943. I researched the careers of USS Chicago CA 29’s commanding officers. From Captain Gallery, to Fleet Captain Howard D. Bode, to Captain Ralph Otis Davis.
I studied USS Chicago CA 29 herself. Noting her change of color, from prewar light-gray, to wartime dark haze gray, with hull number, and triple life rafts strapped to her main battery turrets.

The last time I saw Dad, Father’s Day, 2008, I was particularly versed, and had many questions. And finally, Dad opened up to me. He told me of Fleet Captain Howard D. Bode, how he was a rising star in the Pacific Fleet, how he married the daughter of an Admiral, the same Admiral whose other daughter married the son of Franklin Roosevelt.

How while USS Chicago CA 29 was at Mare Island, San Francisco, California for repairs after action at Savo Island, Captain Davis ordered all hands to remove their valuables from the ship. How Dad took his Navy diary, with him, on the train up to Salem, Oregon, to see his parents (my grandparents) for his two-week liberty, and left it with them for safekeeping. The Navy diary I now possess.

Dad also told me that USS Chicago CA 29 had all 9 of her main battery rifles, with breech replaced, her previous main battery rifles having their linings shot 10" out. As USS Chicago CA 29 was departing Mare Island, she was sailing with a full payroll. 30 January 1943, USS Chicago CA 29 sank with a full payroll of over $1 million in cash.

None of this new information I knew until Dad at last shared it with me.
Dad died very soon after that Father’s Day.

Now that Dad is gone, I have become a vociferous researcher of United States Navy heavy cruiser USS Chicago CA 29 history. I can literally tell you the United States Navy paint number of United States Navy surface combat ships, May of 1942. I have picture frames I’d like to paint, to frame photos I have of USS Chicago CA 29, but the United States Navy Surplus Depot tells me that they have to special order the Haze Gray, and that I would have to purchase at least 5 gallons of it. It doesn’t matter in the least that Dad is buried at Willamette National Cemetery, and that I am his son. Not only that, but they only ship to United States Navy bases. As the State of Oregon has no United States Navy bases, the closet one is in Bremerton, Washington, so I have a 3-hour drive each way to pick up my paint.

And you know what? As soon as they e-mail me, I’ll be on my way to Bremerton. To pick up my paint. Dad’s paint…..

The first time USS Chicago CA 29 wore her haze gray and hull number was when she visited Sydney Harbor, 31 May 1942.

This past summer, a good friend of mine, a Naval Reservist, had his hair cut at the barbershop on the United States Navy Base at Pearl Harbor. Hanging on the wall above the mirror is a pre-war painting of United States Navy heavy cruiser USS Chicago CA 29. As a civilian, I would not be allowed on the base, in the barbershop to photograph my Dad’s ship. If your son ever gets to Pearl Harbor, I will pay cash money for a high-quality printable photograph.

For his own reasons, Dad never really opened up about his wartime experiences. On some level, I can accept that. And yet, I feel deprived. I feel like I never really knew an important part of my Dad’s life.

And perhaps none of this has any bearing on your life or your son’s. And yet, all we have is today. And when today is gone, it’s gone. We don’t get it back.

I would give the World for one more day with my Dad.
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Last edited by Mean Dean; February 1st, 2010 at 08:25 AM.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 08:58 PM
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I know very little about the Air Force, but I will share this link with you. It is an article in a Vermont Paper, that was written about my uncle. The reporter interviewed my cousin, the one that commited suicide a couple of weeks ago.
My uncle, as the article states was the nicest man you'd ever want to meet. He spoke very little of his military experiences. When my husband and I were in Honolulu for our Honeymoon he take us on many a sight seeing jaunt - showing us buildings and the holes shoot in them by Japanese planes. He also brought us to Punchbowl National Cemetary.
Now that his alzheimer's has progressed from mild to final stages, most of the stories never told, will remain silent pages in history.

A son's story of his father's war: Rutland Herald Online
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Old February 1st, 2010, 10:16 PM
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Jen, your Uncle is indeed and by any measurement, a hero. That was a marvelous story and it and similar ones, should be required reading by every American child before he or she graduates from high school.

Thank you so much for sharing the link!

Todd
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 06:12 AM
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Jen..thank you for sharing an incredible story...what always amazes me about the flyers in WW2 is that many were kids barely over 18..an old timer was anyone in their mid 20's and anyone in their 30's were ancient, yet they flew missions in freezing cold unpressurized planes for hours at a time and flight crews absorbed incredible losses (especially bomber crews)

Todd, my son became fascinated with the F-15 when he attended Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama the first year it was opened..when Harrison Ford's movie Air Force One came out, he must have saw it 20X within the first week and loved the part when the F-15's were dispatced to protect the plane..As an operational test pilot, he's flown every type of equiptment the Air Force has...He also loves to fly a restored WW2 P-51 (the F-15 of it's time) that is privately owned

his need for speed is balanced by the fact that on the ground he drives a VW turbo beetle (just like his Dad)..he is also a certified advance glider instructor...space camp was the best investment I ever made for him
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 06:16 AM
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Mean Dean...my best friends husband who is in the Air Force reserve may take her to Hawaii this year...I have made a note to ask him to find that barbershop and take a picture for you
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 08:18 PM
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Dean,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
When I was a sophomore in high school, Mom signed us up for a Rose Festival Fleet cruise. Mom and I cruised on United States Navy destroyer USS Hoel DDG 13, from Portland to Astoria. I wasn’t particularly impressed with her small-caliber 5" main battery rifles; but I spent much of my time aboard on her bridge, and learned much about ship operations from her commanding officer. I was interested in all the details. Like, what 1/3 speed meant. Or speed, or full speed, or flank speed ahead meant. And how many revolutions of the propeller shafts each of those meant. Just so you’ll know, full speed on a United States Navy surface combat ship is 100 RPMs. Flank speed is 125 RPMs.
That is not universally true. "Standard" speed is about fifteen knots. "One third" and "two thirds" speed are, respectively, one third and two thirds of that, or five and ten knots. "Full" speed is typically about 20 knots, and "flank" speed is typically about 25 knots. But a conning officer normally uses these terms only for expedience when maneuvering the ship, as when entering or exiting port or maneuvering a channel. When underway at sea, the conning officer normally will order the lee helmsman to "indicate turns for x knots" where x is the desired speed. The lever is set to whichever of the standard bells is closest -- that is, to "1/3" for speeds less than 7 1/2 knots, to "2/3" for speeds between 7 1/2 knots and 12 1/2 knots, etc., and to "flank" for all speeds greater than 22 1/2 knots. Backing bells are somewhat different, as there is no "standard" or "flank" and "back full" is about 15 knots. The actual number of turns for a given bell depends upon the hull and the propeller, and is anything but standard.

Norm.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 09:26 PM
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Although I don't really "get" a lot of this, I'm enjoying reading .

Like some of your father's, mine didn't talk about the war much. He was born in Germany and came to the US alone in 1938 at the age of 16. When WWII started he joined the Army, became a naturalized US citizen, and served four years as an interpreter. I know that he served in North Africa and in Europe.

He lost all of his family who were still in Germany during the war.

I wish I knew more about what he went through...
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 06:58 AM
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Fern...your Father must have had so many mixed emotions serving in his adopted country's army and being in the war zone of the country of his birth..like many of our fathers and mothers, they just didn't talk about it. Thank God, we now understand thanks in part to the media attention of the "Greatest Generation" that if you ever visit New Orleans WW2 museum, you can gain a greater appreciation of their sacrifices

very interesting story is that one of the most highly decorated (and had one of the highest casualty rates) American units of WW2 was a unit consisting of American citizens living on the west coast, drawn from volunters from the "relocation camps" that the US government sent Americans citizens of Japanese descent. This unit saw combat in Italy as there was great concern expressed by the chain of command about sending this unit to the Pacific to fight

in WW1 the all volunteer 369th (of which my grandfather was a member of the unit) consisting of Black troops from primarily the east coast, due to the policy of the Army at that time, and the expressed order of General Pershing (indicating he would not accept the unit as part of his fighting force), was assigned to the French Army (who gladly accepted them)...the unit was decorated by the French government for their outstanding service and troops that died in combat serving with the French army, were buried with honors (along side their French comrades) in the French national cemetery (which I visited during my last France trip)

Americans of all backgrounds, regardless of the imperfections of the American government and society at the time of the call to duty, served with honor and died for the principals of our country
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 07:21 AM
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My father was also in WWII, he was a railroad worker before joining the Army. The Army took people with railroading back rounds and put them all together, ( I am former Navy so I don't know if it was a Company or Division or what). Any way they put these guys to work rebuilding the French railroads. My older brother who like his father retired from the Army has a lot more information than I do. I just thought it was interesting, things like this are never glorified in movies or documentaries.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 11:36 AM
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Hannibal..so are so right on target about the many untold stories about WW2...I always like reading about the unit that was formed during WW2 that consisted of art specialist who were sent to archive and protect and figure out how to return the great European pieces of art that the Nazi's had stolen and had stored in an underground bunker

I have the great luxury that the WW2 museum here has constant exhibits and speakers and forums about those types of topics and I try to make as many as I can
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 11:43 AM
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to keep this on a cruising footnote..when I did my river cruise in the south of France on Peter Deilmann last spring (great cruise by the way), there were 12 Americans and 114 German citizens, and we visited a winery that had been in the French family for over 250 years and during WW2 it was occupied by the German invasion forces and they were forced to ship all of their wine to Germany for the high command and when the German army was retreating they destroyed the fields and roots so after the war it took the family years to start growing and producing wine..the French family went to great lengths to talk about how after the war some of the former German troops (who really love wine), return to help them rebuild

says something about the spirit of human nature and the great love of wine
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 07:46 PM
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Venice, I may not be able to visit New Orleans. Instead I may have to MOVE THERE!

As do you and Hannibal, I love the volumes compiled of individual stories. I just finished a War Diary, Heaven And Hell by Martin Poppel, an officer with the Machine-gun Battalion of the elite German 1st Parachute Infantry and who fought in Norway, Crete, Russia, opposed the airborne landing at Utah Beach including the 502nd PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) and 506th PIR (of Band Of Brothers fame), 101st Airborne; then fought in Holland and finally in the Ardennes before finally surrendering to elements of the 101st Airborne, again probably either the 502nd or more likely the 506th. I've also almost completed a compilation of War Stories of Americans in WW I, WW II and Vietnam entitled Voices Of War that were compiled by the folks from the Library of Congress.

I am never ceased to be amazed at the resilience of American combat veterans and unimaginable achievements which for them at the time, they often considered literally routine accomplishments. Just imagine jumping out of an airplane in the pitch darkness of June 5, 1944, no idea exactly how high above the ground you are (whole planeloads being lost when their inexperienced DC-3 pilots flew too low) laden down with over 100 pounds of equipment on your back. And then upon landing (sometimes miles from where they were supposed to have been dropped), yet hooking up with other GI's from a collection of units and engaging in constant, unrelenting combat.

Oh and keep in mind when thinking about how terrible are our losses in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, that a comparable amount of casualties (possibly more) occurred on just one day, June 6, 1944. And to keep in perspective just how horrible WW II was, over 500,000 American service men/women died; approximately the same number of British soldiers died plus around 50 thousand British civilians; probably over one million Russian troops along with multiple millions of Russian civilians; around 1 million German civilians and over 1 million German troops, over nine million Chinese civilians, around a million Japanese troops and approximately the same amount of civilians.

Freedom ain't cheap and sadly the fight against tyranny continues.

Todd
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Old February 10th, 2010, 08:02 AM
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Here is something I thought was interesting. I have not checked it out to see if it is true, I got it in an e-mail.
The British "Monopolize" WWII



Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape.. Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of 'safe houses' where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter.

Paper maps had some real drawbacks -- they make a lot of noise when you
open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn
into mush.

Someone in MI-5 (similar to America 's OSS ) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It's durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had
perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington,
Ltd. When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular
American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, 'games and pastimes' was a category of item qualified for insertion into 'CARE packages', dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.

Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old
workshop on the grounds of Waddington's, a group of sworn-to-secrecy
employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were regional system). When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece.

As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington's also managed to add:
1. A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass
2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together
3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and


French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money!

British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their
first mission, how to identify a 'rigged' Monopoly set -- by means of a tiny
red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch,
located in the corner of the Free Parking square.

Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets.. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war.



The story wasn't declassified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from
Waddington's, as well as the firm itself, were finally honored in a public
ceremony. It's always nice when you can play that 'Get Out of Jail' Free' card!

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Old February 10th, 2010, 09:52 AM
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It's absolutely true Hannibal.

Todd
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Old February 10th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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wow:o:o:o:o:o along the same line... pilots in the Pacific during WW 2 had sewn into their jackets in Chinese that the American government would pay a reward if they help the pilots to safety
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