Tag Archives: WWII

On This Day in 1941

The following is an adaptation of a previous post concerning the tragic events that took place on December 07, 1941. The video at bottom is a new addition:

President Roosevelt’s speech to the nation:

Seventy-one years ago today, America saw a great evil and, in near unison, rose up and removed that evil’s shadow from the face of the Earth.

That was nearly a lifetime ago, and this was a very different America.

We shall never see the likes of that America again.

 -Dave

Just One Minute

ONE MINUTE EACH NIGHT

During WWII, an adviser to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people, and peace.

We all know how that horrible war ended!

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America.

Each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central, 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the up-coming election, and for the revival of Christianity in our beloved America.

If you know anyone who would like to participate, please pass this along.

Someone said if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.

Remember:

Just one minute of prayer every evening!

Thank You.

~Joan

June 06, 1944

Sixty-eight years ago today, the largest amphibious invasion force the world has ever seen assaulted Adolf Hitler’s version of Fortress Europe. The first allied boots that actually landed on French soil hit the ground many agonizing hours before the waiting Germans even saw the first inkling of the masses of landing and assault craft coming at them over the Channel horizon.

By the end of the day, approximately 5,500 Allied soldiers, including around 2,500 Americans, would be dead. Five American soldiers would be in line for a Congressional Medal of Honor, one of which was the son of a former president and the highest ranking American soldier to land on the beaches of Normandy on that historic day.

By midnight, the German beach defenses had been breached, the Allies were moving swiftly inland, the Soviet Red Army was driving on Germany from the east, and Hitler’s vaunted Thousand Year Reich had just under eleven months remaining.

Cornelius Ryan, in his excellent written account of D-Day, named it The Longest Day. For those who participated in it on either side, it most assuredly was.

An excellent video concerning D-Day:

From the German perspective:

Eisenhower’s pre-invasion speech to the troops:

FDR’s D-Day address to the nation:

Note: The above is an updated adaptation of a post I put together three years ago.

-Dave 

Dogs in WWII

Heartwarming Pictures Of Men And Their Dogs In WWII

Business Insider: To the frightened young men of World War II, dogs provided unconditional love and companionship during the most unpredictable circumstances.  “Mascot photography,” where men staged photos of their canine friends, was one way for soldiers to relieve the pressure and constant fear of combat.

In Buddies: Men. Dogs. And World War II, author L. Douglas Keeney culled through more than 2.5 million photographs at the National Archives to bring together a collection of pictures illustrating the cherished bond between man and dog during wartime.  The photos were taken between 1941 and 1945 at stateside training bases and battlegrounds abroad.

Although many of the featured animals became mascots of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard, most were low-bred mutts that were simply looking for a place to call home.   All pictures courtesy of L. Douglas Keeney/National Archives.

Let me tighten those for you!

Quite comfy!

Too cute!

Ready for a jump!

I got your back bud!

DCG

A Hero to Remember

I’ve done several posts on heroes in our military – William T. Ryder (Army’s first paratrooper), Slade Deville Cutter (whom my dad served with), and Richard O’Kane (an US Navy submarine commander in WWII).  I’d like to introduce to another hero – a civilian hero of WWII.

Irena Sendler saved 2,500 Jewish children during WWII

Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker who served in the Polish Underground and the Żegota resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw during World War II. Assisted by some two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, providing them with false documents, and sheltering them in individual and group children’s homes outside the Ghetto.

During WWII, Irena got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a plumbing/sewer specialist.   She had an ‘ulterior motive’.  She KNEW what the Nazi’s plans were for the Jews.  Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids).  She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises. 

Irena (far left, seated) with some of the people she saved

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2,500 kids/infants. She was caught, and the Nazi’s broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely.  Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and reunite families.  Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted. 

Irena was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  She was not selected.  President Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize for whatever, and Al Gore won also — for a slide show on Global Warming. 

It is now more than 60 years after WWII in Europe ended.  This was sent in an e-mail as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated!  Now, more than ever, with Iran , and others, claiming the HOLOCAUST to be ‘a myth’, it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.

And hopefully there will be more people like Irena willing to do good.  What a brave woman Irena was to risk her life and save those Jewish children.  Not military herself – yet surely a hero to remember.

h/t Anon

DCG

Americans cheered Gen. Patton when he urinated on the enemy

When Patton urinated on the enemy they cheered him

By Robert K. Wilcox

(Wilcox is my friend and the author of Target: Patton: The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 6 years as an information officer during the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1974. ~Eowyn)

The last soldier I heard of urinating on the enemy was Gen. George S. Patton. Should the general, who, as much as any other, was responsible for defeating the Nazis, have been driven from the military for such and act? You’d think so from the hysteric response building in the mainstream and Left-leaning press to a video allegedly showing marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters. Presuming it’s authentic, such reaction is absurd.

We send these young men out to kill and maim their enemy. That means snuffing out their life, with all the heartbreak and tragedy involved. They usually do this with bullets that rip and tear; or larger projectiles like grenades, artillery shells, or air-dropped bombs which can shred or disintegrate a body. Often fire is involved. Is urinating on a dead body worse?

Yet as I write I can feel the hope and purpose in a headline like AOL-Huffington Post’s, “Outrage over Purported Marine Video: A shocking video that allegedly shows American soldiers performing a ‘disgusting’ act sparks a US Marine Corps investigation.”  It’s already tagged under “atrocities” and “war crimes.” What the headline writers are really saying is, “Oh please, please, another Mai Lai Massacre type scandal like in Vietnam. Well, we know it’s not going to be that big, but we can again throw bad light on the US military, which we basically hate and fear and are mad at for doing all the bad things they do.”

Of course they’ve gone to the Council on American-Islamic Relations for comment. As if they didn’t know they’d get a condemnation. But did they balance it with someone at war with the Taliban? Not a chance. And the statement says, “The video shows behavior…totally unbecoming of American military personnel and that would ultimately endanger other soldiers and civilians.”

It’s so predictable, petty, and blown out of proportion by a media that largely knows nothing of the battlefield and why a crude but ultimately innocuous act like this might happen. What do they expect in war? Tea and crumpets and the Marquess of Queensbury rules? War is hell. Most of those fighting it are young, usually 18 to 22. They are inexperienced. They are sent to deserts and other uninhabitable places with stinging insects, maddening heat and sanitary conditions the Left would be screaming was child abuse. They forge a bond with each other few peacetime friendships can ever hope to equal. They have to. It’s the only way to get through. And some of them, if not more, see that bonded friend killed or mutilated as only war can do it.

No one who has not gone through it will understand the depth of a combat relationship. There are no phonies in a firefight; no pretense of who one is. You can’t cover up. Combat soldiers get to know each other very well. That breeds the bond – that and the dire situation combatants share. And when that bond is ended in the most brutal way, by the death or maiming of a buddy in the bond, pissing on the bastard who represents that end is small payback for the tragic loss and what else has been commonly endured.

Is that what happened in the video in question? We don’t know at this point. It’s possible. But even if not, what’s on the video isn’t an atrocity or war crime. It’s a logical rarity by young men in harms way against what they know to be the threat that can snuff any one of them or their buddies if the tables were turned. How quick we forget the blood curdling screams of Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl. Are urinations on lifeless bodies anything near that?

Patton urinating into the Rhine

Gen. Patton did his public urinating not on a dead body but into the enemy’s most famous river, The Rhine. His Third Army was the first Allied army to cross it and take the war on the ground past that last German barrier. A photographer caught the act as Patton stood in the middle of a pontoon bridge and directed his stream defiantly into the enemy’s larger one – like a dog marking its territory. War is a dirty business, with minimum rules for the living, notably the Geneva Convention, prisoner of war dictates the Taliban, by the way, does not recognize. But as repugnant as they may be to some, there are no rules for the dead, for that is the point of war.

Pile them up, let them rot, piss on them. Like it or not, it’s what happens in such a nasty business. Don’t make more of it than what can be expected when young men are sent to kill others.

Source of pic of Patton urinating into the Rhine:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/EasternGermany/Buchenwald/GeneralPatton.html

Soldier’s Silent Night

The original version was written by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt in 1987 under the title “Merry Christmas, My Friend.”

The audio recording of this adapted version was recorded by Father Ted Berndt and his daughter Ellen Stout. Father Berndt was a priest at Bread of Life Charismatic Episcopal Church in Dousman, Wisconsin, a proud Marine, and a WWII Purple Heart recipient.

The poem was recorded in one take. The recording received a national A.I.R. (Achievement in Radio) award from the March of Dimes and continues to be played in radio stations across the country.

Father Berndt passed away March 19th, 2004 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. According to his daughter, “All he ever wanted to do was touch lives…to make a difference. We are blessed to share “A Soldier’s Silent Night” again with you this Christmas.” http://www.tankmastergunner.com/silent%20night.htm

70 Years Ago Today

The following is an adaptation of a previous post concerning the tragic events that took place on December 07, 1941:

President Roosevelt’s speech to the nation:

Seventy years ago, America saw a great evil and, in near unison, rose up and removed that evil’s shadow from the face of the Earth.

That was nearly a lifetime ago, and this was a very different America.

I fear we shall never see the likes of that America again.

 -Dave

A Hero to Remember

Albert Brown speaks w/SIUC Army ROTC in 2005.

Albert Brown, 105, was last survivor of Bataan Death March

The last survivor of the Bataan Death March passed away yesterday at the ripe old age of 105.  A doctor once told Albert Brown he shouldn’t expect to make it to 50, given the toll taken by his years in a Japanese labour camp during World War II and the infamous Bataan Death March that got him there. But he made it to 105, embodying the power of a positive spirit in the face of unlikely odds. He was the last known survivor of the march.

“Doc” Brown was nearly 40 in 1942 when he endured the Bataan Death March, a harrowing 105-kilometre trek in which 78,000 prisoners of war were forced to walk from Bataan province near Manila to a Japanese PoW camp. As many as 11,000 died along the way. Many were denied food, water and medical care, and those who stumbled or fell during the scorching journey through Philippine jungles were stabbed, shot or beheaded.

Brown survived and secretly documented it all, using a nub of a pencil to scrawl details into a tiny tablet he concealed in the lining of his canvas bag. He often wondered why captives so much younger and stronger perished, while he went on.

By the time he died Sunday at a nursing home in Nashville in southern Illinois’ Brown’s story was well-chronicled, by one author’s account offering an encouraging road map for veterans recovering from their own wounds in many wars.

“Doc’s story had as much relevance for today’s wounded warriors as it did for the veterans of his own era,” said Kevin Moore, co-author of the recently released Forsaken Heroes of the Pacific War: One Man’s True Story, which details Brown’s experience and his message of hope.

Brown, recognized in 2007 at an annual convention of Bataan survivors as the oldest one still living, couldn’t muster the strength to talk about his experiences until about 15 or so years ago, said his granddaughter, Susan Engelhardt. “I’m not a big military buff at all. But just reading the story about the death march and the situation in the Philippines, it’s an incredible story. And incredibly sad,” Engelhardt said. “ He came through horrible times and came out on top, rebuilding his life. But so many of those men and women triumphed.”

Brown remained in a PoW camp from early 1942 until mid-September 1945, living solely on rice. The once-athletic man — he played baseball, football, basketball and track in high school — saw his weight wither by some 80 pounds to less than 100 by the time he was freed. Lice and disease were rampant.

Despite the hardships, Brown focused on bright spots, including a prisoner called on to fix Japanese soldiers’ radios. The prisoner managed to steal radio parts, scraping together enough components to build a functioning unit of his own. Brown helped craft a listening tube for the device, which brought the captives news from San Francisco that the U.S. actually had won a battle the Japanese soldiers were celebrating as a naval victory.

By the time the war ended in 1945, the 40-year-old Brown was nearly blind, had weathered a broken back and neck and suffered through more than a dozen diseases including malaria, dysentery and dengue fever. He took two years to mend, and a doctor told him to enjoy the next few years because he had been so decimated he would be dead by 50.

“I think he had seen so much horror that after the way, he was determined to enjoy his life,” Moore said.

Not only a survivor but a true hero.  By offering encouraging words to wounded soldiers, he was also an inspiration. Glad he got to enjoy a long life in this world!

DCG

Shifty, An American Hero

An e-mail of this true-life story has been making its rounds on the net, but there are three mistakes in the e-mail:

  1. Retired Major General Chuck Yeager didn’t write it, neither did baseball great Roberto Clemente.
  2. The original account of this was written by Mark Pfeifer, a no-name non-celebrity who was working at Dow Jones at the time when he
    encountered ”Shifty” in the Philadelphia Airport. (Why are these e-mails phonied up by attributing the source to fictitious famous people, as if only in so doing can the story acquire credibility?)
  3. “Shifty” died not in January 2011, but on June 17, 2009.

Other than those mistakes, the rest is all true!

H/t my Godbrother, Don.

~Eowyn

A True American Hero

Darrell “Shifty” Powers volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you’ve seen “Band of Brothers” on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the  Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn’t know who he was at the time.  I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the “Screaming Eagle,” the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he’d been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving.  He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.

Quietly and humbly, he said “Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945.” My heart skipped….

Again, very humbly, he said “I made the five training jumps and then jumped into  Normandy. Do you know where Normandy is?”

At this point my heart stopped. I told him “yes, I know exactly where  Normandy is, and I know what D-Day was.”

He said, “I also made a second jump into Holland, into Arnhem.”

I was standing with a genuine war hero…and then I realized that it was June,  just after the anniversary of D-Day.

I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France. He said, “Yes. But it’s real sad because, these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can’t make the trip.”

My heart was in my throat and I didn’t know what to say. I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in coach while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats.

When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I’d take his in coach. He said “No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and who still care is enough to make an old man very happy.” His eyes were filling up as he said it.

And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died quietly on June 17, 2009 at age 86 from cancer.

There was no parade.

No big event in Staples Center.

No wall-to-wall, back-to-back 24-7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

And that’s not right!

Let’s give Shifty his own memorial service, online, in our own quiet way.

Rest in peace, Shifty.

-Mark Pfeiffer

“SHIFTY” – an incredible American hero – died June 17, 2009.

May God rest his soul.