Women in WWII | Pacific Paratrooper

In honor of Women’s History Month this week’s posts will be a dedication to them…..

As WWII unfolded around the globe, women were also affected. Some found themselves pressed into jobs and duties they would never have previously considered. Hitler derided Americans as degenerate for putting the women to work, but nearly 350,000 American females alone served in uniform voluntarily. A transformation of half the population, never seen before, that began evolving in the early ‘40s and continues today.

For the WASPs, 1,830 female pilots volunteered for Avenger Field outside Sweetwater, Texas alone and it was the only co-ed air base in the U.S. These women would ferry aircraft coming off the assembly lines from the factories to the base. They acted as test pilots; assessing the performance of the planes. The WASPs were flight instructors and would shuttle officers around to the posts where they were needed. For artillery practice, they would…

Source: Women in WWII | Pacific Paratrooper

Eye Witness Account – Bougainville | Pacific Paratrooper

stevecibik

Lt. Steve Cibik, 21st Marines

“We were a veteran company with Guadalcanal behind us and we thought we knew the jungle.  But here on Bougainville we were battling a jungle such as we had never dreamed of.  For 19 days we struggled in miasmal swamps, fought vines that wrapped themselves bout our neck like whips, birds that dived at us like screaming Stukas, bats whose wings whirred like falling artillery shells, snakes, lizards and insects without name or number.  For 19 days we attacked this natural enemy with our machetes and knives, hacking our way through…

Source: Eye Witness Account – Bougainville | Pacific Paratrooper

Christmas in January 1943

Pacific Paratrooper

Cabanatuan Prison Camp Cabanatuan Prison Camp

Commander Melvin H.McCoy of the U.S.Navy had survived the Bataan death march on the Philippines and was now in the notorious Davao Prison camp on Mindanao. Like most prisoners of the Japanese they were on starvation rations and men were dying on a daily basis.

On 29th January 1943 they got a lucky break. For whatever reason the Japanese had for once decided to hand over the Red Cross parcels that had been sent from the States. This was a very irregular event. Many prisoners of the Japanese never saw any of them.

Red Cross parcel Red Cross parcel

The importance of such support from home could never be underestimated:

“It’s Christmas, Commander McCoy!” he shouted. “It’s Christmas!”

I was well aware that Christmas had already passed, practically without notice, so I asked him to explain his excitement.

“Stuff from home,” he babbled. “Boxes from the States. Red Cross boxes.”

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An Unusual Tale

Pacific Paratrooper

Crusader Crusader

Story brought to us by Ian from Welcome to My World and Aussie Emu.

The Time a Fighter Pilot Ejected Into a Thunderstorm and Rode the Lightning

Marine Corps Lt. Col. William H. Rankin had flown combat flight operations in both World War II and the Korean War, but it wasn’t enemy fire that came closest to killing him during his military flying career. It was a summer thunderstorm over the east coast of the United States.

Lt.Col. William Rankin Lt.Col. William Rankin

On July 26, 1959 Rankin and his wingman, 1st Lt. Herbert Nolan, were flying a pair of F-8 Crusaders from South Weymouth, Mass back to their home base at Beaufort, S.C. when they encountered a line of severe thunderstorms over North Carolina. Shortly after the fighters climbed up to 47,000 feet to go over the growing cumulonimbus clouds, Rankin heard a loud grinding noise followed by a loss of power from…

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Current News

Pacific Paratrooper

Marines come home. Marines come home.

Remains of Missing WWII Veterans Return

Story courtesy of KHON.com & info from “Goodbye Darkness” by William Manchester

PEARL HARBOR (KHON2) — 39 U.S. marines who were missing in action during World War II were honored in a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam on July 26th.

These veterans were reunited with their families after 72 years as unidentified remains. After the Battle of Tarawa during World War II the marines were considered to be missing in action.

Crews of scientists, historians, and surveyors from the non-profit History Flight have combed through Tarawa for the past decade. This is considered to be the largest recovery of missing in action veterans ever recorded.

Four of the veterans received the Medal of Honor; including 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr.  Bonnyman, an engineer officer, along with 5 of his men, were responsible for approximately 200 enemy KIA, including the commanding…

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Japanese Views

Pacific Paratrooper

'Shrine Entrance in Snowstorm' by Tosuke S. ‘Shrine Entrance in Snowstorm’ by Tosuke S.

Despite some common belief and wartime propaganda, not all the Japanese people wanted war with either America or England.  Here are some quotes located to help clarify that misconception.

The following quotes have been taken from Saburo Ienaga’s “Pacific War” (Taiheiyo senso) translated by Frank Baldwin.

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In the midst of the excitement and successful sinking of the US fleet at Pearl Harbor, Onozuka Kiheiji, former president of the Tokyo Imperial University, whispered to a colleague, “This means that Japan is sunk too.” ___ Ienaga Miyako

Onozuka Kiheiji Onozuka Kiheiji

This was true for even those members of the political elite who belonged to the cautious school of thought, made their point of view at the Senior Statesmen’s Conference by, Wakatsuki Reijiro: “Do we have adequate resources for a long war or not?  I am concerned about this problem.”  Yonai Mitsumasa added, “In attempting…

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The Ghost Army of World War II

Eagle-Eyed Editor

Luxembourg Luxembourg today. I suspect the view probably isn’t all that different from when the Americans saw it in WWII. Image courtesy of Koan, Morguefile.

It’s amazing what people will do to win a battle or a war. You have to admire their cleverness.

I’ve just read a wonderful book by Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles, called The Ghost Army of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects and Other Audacious Fakery. If you like WWII history, art or military history, I strongly recommend it.

Near the end of World War II, there was a top-secret U.S. Army unit known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. This particular Army unit was expressly formed for the purpose of deceiving the enemy. The people in it were artists, designers, radio operators and engineers.

The idea behind the 23rd was to mimic Army movements, put…

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East and West (3)

Pacific Paratrooper

FDR & Cordell Hull, 1940 FDR & Cordell Hull, 1940

If Manchuria was controlled, the Japanese felt they would have the advantage over Russia.  Since the Chiang Nationalist government did wish to spend the money or the energy to combat Japan – but – still have communism squelched in the country, Manchuria was given up.

When the US started economic sanctions in 1939, Japan required new territories to supply their resources.  They issued a request to the French  for permission to enter Indo-China.  In September 1940, the Vichy government agreed.  The southeast portion of Asia was occupied, without incident, by the Japanese on 27-29 July 1941.

Vichy government, 1939 Vichy government, 1939

The US was incensed and proceeded to convince other countries to freeze Japan’s assets; the ABCD, (American, British, Canada, Dutch), power’s economic blockade began.  By mid-1941, relations between Japan and the ABCD countries had basically reached a point of no return.  The New York Times newspaper…

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Intermission Stories (19)

A truly extraordinary and inspiring story from WWII.

Pacific Paratrooper

The 414th Squadron, 97 Bomber Group The 414th Squadron, 97 Bomber Group

WWII B-17 SURVIVAL STORY

This amazing story of courage, ingenuity and survival of the B-17 “All American” 414th Squadron, 97BG Crew was given to me by my dear friend Scott Brady, who also gallantly served in the U.S. Air Force.

 A mid-air collision on 1 February 1943 between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of WWII.  An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded pilot, then continued its crashing descent into the rear of the fuselage of a Fortress named “All American” piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg.  When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17.  The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away.The two right engines were…

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