Tag Archives: WWII

Monday funnies!



DCG

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A Hero to Remember: A tribute to Bill Mauldin

A 90-year-old WWII vet at the retirement center where I work shared this with me. I must admit, I had never heard of Bill Mauldin before. From Wikipedia:
William Henry “Bill” Mauldin (October 29, 1921 – January 22, 2003) was an American editorial cartoonist who won two Pulitzer Prizes for his work. He was most famous for his World War II cartoons depicting American soldiers, as represented by the archetypal characters Willie and Joe, two weary and bedraggled infantry troopers who stoically endure the difficulties and dangers of duty in the field. These cartoons were widely published and distributed in the American army, abroad and in the United States.

Bill Mauldin

Bill Mauldin


Here’s the story the vet shared with me.
He meant so much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and to those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper; Mauldin’s drawings of his muddy, exhausted, whisker-stubble infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of truth about what it was like on the front lines.
mauldin1
Mauldin was an enlisted man, just like the soldiers for whom he drew; his gripes were their gripes, his laughs their laughs, his heartaches their heartaches. He was one of them. They loved him.
mauldin3
He never held back. Sometimes, when his cartoons cut too close for comfort, superior officers tried to tone him down. In one memorable incident, he enraged Gen. George S. Patton, who informed Mauldin he wanted the pointed cartoons celebrating the fighting men, lampooning the high-ranking officers to stop. Now!
The news passed from soldier to soldier. How was Sgt. Bill Mauldin going to stand up to Gen. Patton? It seemed impossible.
Not quite. Mauldin, it turned out, had an ardent fan: Five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, SCAFE, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. Ike put out the word: “Mauldin draws what Mauldin wants.”
Mauldin won. Patton lost.
mauldin2
If, in your line of work, you’ve ever considered yourself a young hotshot, or if you’ve ever known anyone who has felt that way about him or herself, the story of Mauldin’s young manhood will humble you. Here is what, by the time he was 23 years old, Mauldin had accomplished: He won the Pulitzer Prize & was on the cover of Time magazine. His book “Up Front” was the No. 1 best-seller in the United States.
All of that at 23. Yet, when he returned to civilian life and grew older, he never lost that boyish Mauldin grin, never outgrew his excitement about doing his job, never big-shotted or high-hatted the people with whom he worked every day.
I was lucky enough to be one of them. Mauldin roamed the hallways of the Chicago Sun-Times in the late 1960s and early 1970s with no more officiousness or air of haughtiness than if he was a copyboy. That impish look on his face remained.
mauldin5
He had achieved so much. He won a second Pulitzer Prize, and he should have won a third for what may be the single greatest editorial cartoon in the history of the craft: his deadline rendering, on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, of the statue at the Lincoln Memorial, slumped in grief, its head cradled in its hands. But he never acted as if he was better than the people he met. He was still Mauldin, the enlisted man.
During the late summer of 2002, as Mauldin lay in that California nursing home, some of the old World War II infantry guys caught wind of it. They didn’t want Mauldin to go out that way. They thought he should know he was still their hero.
Gordon Dillow, a columnist for the Orange County Register, put out the call in Southern California for people in the area to send their best wishes to Mauldin. I joined Dillow in the effort, helping to spread the appeal nationally, so Bill would not feel so alone. Soon, more than 10,000 cards and letters had arrived at Mauldin’s bedside.
Better than that, old soldiers began to show up just to sit with Mauldin, to let him know that they were there for him, as he, so long ago, had been there for them. So many volunteered to visit Bill that there was a waiting list. Here is how Todd DePastino, in the first paragraph of his wonderful biography of Mauldin, described it:
“Almost every day in the summer and fall of 2002, they came to Park Superior nursing home in Newport Beach, California, to honor Army Sergeant, Technician Third Grade, Bill Mauldin. They came bearing relics of their youth: medals, insignia, photographs, and carefully folded newspaper clippings. Some wore old garrison caps. Others arrived resplendent in uniforms over a half century old. Almost all of them wept as they filed down the corridor like pilgrims fulfilling some long-neglected obligation.
One of the veterans explained to me why it was so important: “You would have to be part of a combat infantry unit to appreciate what moments of relief Bill gave us. You had to be reading a soaking wet Stars and Stripes in a water-filled foxhole and then see one of his cartoons.
mauldin7
Mauldin is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Last month, the kid cartoonist made it onto a first-class postage stamp. It’s an honor that most generals and admirals never receive.
What Mauldin would have loved most, I believe, is the sight of the two guys who keep him company on that stamp. Take a look at it. There’s Willie. There’s Joe. And there, to the side, drawing them and smiling that shy, quietly observant smile, is Mauldin himself. With his buddies, right where he belongs. Forever.
mauldin stamp
What a story, and a fitting tribute to a man and to a time that few of us can still remember. But I say to you youngsters, you must most seriously learn of, and remember with respect, the sufferings and sacrifices of your fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers in times you cannot ever imagine today with all you have. But the only reason you are free to have it all is because of them! 
DCG

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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:

https://youtu.be/Nt13c3olXkU
President Roosevelt’s speech to the nation:




https://youtu.be/CcsRzY4ns9Y
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

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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:
https://youtu.be/u5lnR8DmoLc
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 

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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

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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

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

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Soldier's Silent Night

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWExFTFAQzA&feature=youtu.be]
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.” https://www.tankmastergunner.com/silent%20night.htm

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70 Years Ago Today

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

https://youtu.be/Nt13c3olXkU
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

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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

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