Tag: WWII

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This post was inspired by the discussion in the post on Warplane Nose Art. https://ricochet.com/433550/nose-art-and-the-spirit-of-our-military/ The following is an essay my father wrote for an English class in October 1946, during what I assume was his freshman year of college after he was discharged from the Army Air Corps. He was twenty years old at […]

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This is an interesting video I ran across on social media. From what I can tell it has been around for a while but it is interesting in that it puts deaths for WWII and all war deaths in perspective. I don’t think may understand how many died during WWII or how few have died […]

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This is a story of the Battle of the Atlantic, the story of an ocean, two ships, and a handful of men. The men are the heroes; the heroines are the ships. The only villain is the sea, the cruel sea, that man has made more cruel… Before there was Das Boot, there was The Cruel […]

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Nose Art and the Spirit of Our Military

 

The current establishment art world cultivates insularity and isolation as a means to prop up the vapid, dysfunctional art they favor. From sterile white box galleries to haughty elitist attitudes, lots of effort is poured into erecting barriers to separate the experience of art from the despised masses and the realities of life.

But art does not exist to be plaything for decadent crypto-Marxist hipsters. It is a vital outpouring of the human soul, a visual method of spiritual communication. Art can take on surprising and spontaneous forms in the strangest places to remind us of who we really are.

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My Father-in-law made some remarks on Memorial Day, 2014 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts–the town that Norman Rockwell memorialized as quintessentially New England in his painting of Main Street at Christmas. Chet died in April at the age of 91, outliving his combat buddies by many years. I thought you might enjoy reading his remarks. Memorial Day […]

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George

 

George was 77, going on 78 when we met. He owned a firm that rather suddenly had become my client due to an emergency failure in their IT network – an emergency that lasted 20 years. A protégé of George’s at the firm would end-up becoming one of my best friends – a relationship that will last forever.

George was remarkable: full-bird Colonel on General Patton’s staff, DoD project manager for the implementation of the world’s first mainframe computer, editor of a military journal for decades, college teacher, business owner, founder of the Pachyderms – a group of folks with thick skins, a sense of humor, and a keen interest in politics and bourbon.

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Just watched the excellent Netflix 3-part documentary, Five Came Back on filmmakers Frank Capra, John Huston, John Ford, George Stevens and William Wyler who left Hollywood to lend their expertise to educate and to boost American morale as well as document the conflict and horror of WWII. With commentary from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, […]

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I came across this video of VJ Day in Honolulu. It’s not the anniversary of VJ Day, it’s not Veteran’s Day. Maybe it’s because I started watching The Man in the High Castle, a counterfactual account of the post WWII era. This three-minute home movie showing how ordinary people responded to VJ Day cheered me […]

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Remembering D-Day

 

shutterstock_238057456June 6 marks the anniversary of that Day of Days in 1944 when the Allies began the historic invasion of Nazi-occupied France. At great cost in blood and treasure, and with no certainty of victory, the armies, navies, and air forces of the free world concentrated their efforts in a heroic attempt to get a foothold in coastal France from which to repel the Nazi invaders.

We all know how that ended but on the eve of the invasion things looked grim enough that General Dwight D. Eisenhower prepared a statement for release in the event the invasion failed. Here is a roundup of some excellent links to remind us of the bravery, heroism, and sacrifice of those men — mostly very young men — who laid it all on the line on this day 72 years ago so that others might live free.

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So Many Heroes

 

My father was considered a war hero. He was presumed dead and had a liberty ship named after him, but my grandmother refused to believe it and would not attend the ship’s christening. Intuition or denial? I can’t say. Right before the end of the war, he was almost killed by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. He had been a prisoner of war there but was transferred two weeks before the bomb was dropped. After the war, he was discovered alive in the Ōfuna Prisoner of War Camp.

But he was almost killed many times before that.

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Late Glory, Late Justice

 
1200px-Wwiimemorial
National WWII Memorial by Lipton sale at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0.

When I was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, finding someone of the WWII generation was as easy as calling my grandmother. Veterans of either the European or the Pacific wars regularly marched in county parades, and it wasn’t too uncommon for one of them to come and speak to our class. I recall one gentlemen in particular who flew bombing missions over Germany, and who told us about the time they came under attack by the Luftwaffe. It isn’t surprising that there were so many veterans around, 50 years after the war: More than 15 million Americans served in and survived the Second World War, and they had an outward influence on the country for decades.

But now, some 71 years after the end of the war, those people are mostly gone, and those who remain probably won’t be with us much longer. In 2013, CNN estimated that there were about 1.7 million WWII veterans left. That number is significantly smaller today. Some actuarial estimates suggest that the world might still have a couple of WWII veterans kicking around into the late 2030s, but I doubt many of them will be marching in parades or speaking to students. To the children of my generation, those folks will be as knowable as veterans of the First World War were mine: technically possible, but only just.

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Give Me 50 Marines Not Afraid to Die

 

John-Keith-WellsHe thought it was a suicide mission. A full frontal attack on Mount Suribachi without supporting fire? He would not order his men up the mountain, but he would lead them. Raising his rifle above his head he climbed out of the foxhole and his men followed.

First Lieutenant John Keith Wells did not make it to the top, but his Marines did two days later. The leader of 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines died on February 11th in Denver. He was 94.

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On the Passing of a Leader: David C. Richardson

 

VADM_David_C_Richardson_USNI ordinarily confine my contributions here on Ricochet to law enforcement matters, about which I feel qualified to offer opinions. But permit me to stray from that realm for the moment and tell you just a bit about David C. Richardson, who passed away in June at the age of 101. I had the honor of attending his memorial service in San Diego on July 16.

In the late summer of 1942, Richardson was a young Navy pilot assigned to VF-5, the “Fighting Five,” a fighter squadron aboard the USS Saratoga. Flying a Grumman F4F Wildcat, Richardson flew missions during the Guadalcanal campaign, downing four Japanese planes and becoming one of the Navy’s first combat pilots in the Second World War.

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Ending The War With Japan

 
Truman, Marshall, and King
Truman, Marshall, and King

Today is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. We are already seeing the usual retrospectives about the ending of the war with Japan, and whether the use of the atomic bomb was necessary. Let’s consider a surprising counterfactual: If the A-bombs had not been dropped and had Japan not surrendered in August 1945, the US might not have gone through with the planned invasion of the Japanese homeland.

On June 18, 1945 at a White House meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of War, and the Secretaries of the Army and Navy, President Harry Truman approved plans for the invasion of Japan. The key participants were the President, General George C. Marshall, and Admiral Ernest King. In 1999, using documents that had only been declassified in the past decade, Richard B. Frank published Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. It reshaped our understanding of the final months of the Second World War and the endgame that culminated with the Japanese surrender on August 14, 1945. (The formal ceremony took place on the USS Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, on September 2.)

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“The Highlight of My Life Was Serving My Country”

 

For five of the best minutes you’re likely to spend anytime soon, watch this interview with Jerry Yellen, who flew P-51 Mustangs off Iwo Jima in the last days of the Second World War. He speaks here from that speck of an island where so many of his countrymen lost their lives in the great struggle. Among other remarkable observations, Yellen speaks of his wingman, who was killed over Japan during the last combat mission of the war.

On Monday, I took my daughter to a Memorial Day observance at a cemetery in Westlake Village, California, where we were honored to meet a man who parachuted into France as a “pathfinder” ahead of the D-Day invasion. Try to imagine it: you’re 18 or 19 years old, and in the dead of night you’re jumping out of an airplane into a countryside infested with enemy soldiers.

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Has Google Informed the Veterans of the Okinawa Campaign that the War Ended on May 8th, 1945?

 

google

So, I was going to add, maybe someone should Google “date WWII ended” but, um……

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Sidebars of History: Radio, War and a Man of God

 

Modern communication covers the globe so thoroughly these days that Tinder even works in the vast wastland of Antarctica and with the proper amount of internet bandwidth it’s possible for just about anyone to produce a broadcast-acceptable audio feed from just about any place in the world.

Of course that wasn’t always the case. Just 34 years ago when ABC’s Sam Donaldson broke the news of John Hinckley Jr’s attempt on the life of President Reagan, he did it by yanking someone off their call at a phone booth across the street from the Washington Hilton.

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In Thanks to Those Who’ve Killed for Their Country

 

Seventy years ago today, my father and his buddies hit the beaches on Iwo Jima. They had been told that the battle would last a handful of days. The Army Air Corps had bombarded the island for weeks. The Navy, which had amassed an enormous armada, had pounded Iwo with the big guns. The Marines were told that, although it would be a tough fight, the Japanese were so outnumbered that the worst part would be over quickly.

It didn’t go down as predicted. Instead, the 22,000 Japanese defenders had spent years building a honeycombed fortress beneath the rock, which offered not only protection from the bombs and shells but a means by which to attack the Marines up top, then disappear back into the underground safe haven. There was little cover for the advancing Marines. As my dad explained to me, Iwo was black with volcanic ash. There was almost no vegetation and the ash on the beach made it nearly impossible to dig in. The rocks that could have provided cover were far away and to venture out into the open was a deadly business. I remember pop telling me that those first hours “were something else.” My dad was a master of understatement.

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We in the English speaking democracies are often faulted for our supposed ill motivations in going to war. At this Christmas Season, and at a time we continue to be under the attack of monstrous forces who would destroy everything that we hold dear, it is important to recall why we do at time have […]

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