WWII Canine Heroes

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Search and Rescue dogs

U.S. Army launches Canine Units

On March 13, 1942, the Quartermaster Corps (QMC) of the United States Army begins training dogs for the newly established War Dog Program, or “K-9 Corps.”

Well over a million dogs served on both sides during WWI, carrying messages along the complex network of trenches and providing some measure of psychological comfort to the soldiers. The most famous dog to emerge from the war was Rin Tin Tin, an abandoned puppy of German war dogs found in France in 1918.

When the country entered WWII in December 1941, the American Kennel Association and a group called Dogs for Defense began a movement to mobilize dog owners to donate healthy and capable animals to the Quartermaster Corps of the U.S. Army. Training began in March 1942, and that fall the QMC was given the task of training dogs for the U.S. Navy…

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C/O Postmaster – Book Review

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Thomas “Ozzie” St. George, a student in the School of Journalism, University of Minnesota, and an athlete, would find himself soon in the U.S. Army as his country entered WWII.  BUT – This is not a war, combat blood ‘n’ guts diary.

St. George sent excerpts of his training, his not-so-glamorous voyage across the Pacific and the year he spent in Australia discovering a new culture, to the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’.

Cpl. St. George numbered his pieces, knowing full-well the difficult route they would travel to get back to the U.S.  These pieces would arrive at the newspaper, with his sketches completely out of order, but the Chronicle printed them and the readers loved them.  One does not even need to “read between the lines” to visualize what this G.I. was trying to say as he learned about fish & chips, unusual pub hours, Australian slang and living a military…

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Memorial Day + “You Are Not Forgotten” book review

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From Arlington to remote prairie shrines to foreign fields, America provides a resting place for her fallen.  Now, on this poignant 25th day of May, we revive the memory of those heroes, though we should honor them every day.  Long after the agony of Bunker Hill, Heartbreak Ridge, Normandy, the Chosin Reservoir, the Tet Offensive and Bagdad, the dead lie in peace.  They and their comrades have left us names the world should never forget.  Make certain they did not die in vain.



******   ******

Two men, their lives separated by over 60 years, became forever intertwined.

“You Are Not Forgotten” shows the inspiration and commitment of the American military.   For this nonfiction story, it goes from the Pacific in WWII to a memory and experience of Iraq.

A USMC,  F4U Corsair pilot, Major Marion ‘Ryan’ McCown, is lost during a battle over New…

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The Last Living Paratrooper from MacArthur’s return …..

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Gen. Douglas MacArthur (l.) and Richard “Dick” Adams (r.)

Richard Adams describes General MacArthur as “quite a guy.”

In commemoration of the 75th year of World War II in the Philippines, one of its heroes returned. Richard “Dick” Adams visited Corregidor once again, but this time, he did not parachute out of a C-47 plane to land on the towering trees of the Rock. The 98-year-old understandably opted to ride a ferry.

He was recently, poignantly, at the MacArthur Suite of the Manila Hotel, in a room dedicated to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who led the American and Filipino troops in liberating the country from Japanese occupation. MacArthur actually stayed in that suite for six years, as Manila Hotel’s honorary general manager.

It was a time of fear across the country as Japanese forces ravaged Manila and the countryside. People clung to MacArthur’s words, “I shall return,” which he said after he was…

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Restoring WWII with accuracy

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Jeep of the Military Police, Theater Service Forces with complete unit markings. This photograph is most likely a post-war photograph taken during occupation duty.

I’ve created this post to help out a reader now restoring an authentic WWII 1942 Ford GPW.  I needed help myself – Matt Underwood, past Editor of  “The Voice of the Angels” newspaper of the 11th Airborne Division Association – and I’m proud to say –  my friend, came to my rescue. 

The only drawback to the Army Manual was that Airborne Divisions had not really developed at the time the text of this book was written, and therefore, the examples of actual vehicle markings on jeeps, etc., of Airborne Divisions are not among the samples/examples in the manual itself.  Armies, Corps, and Infantry Divisions, Armored Divisions, and Cavalry Divisions are covered, and all smaller units, but no Airborne Divisions.  Everything else…

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Japanese Unit 731

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Warning !!  There are pictures in this post that may be very upsetting.  

In the 1930s-‘40s, the Japanese Empire committed atrocities across Asia, such as the Rape of Nanking. German crimes such as human medical testing committed in concentration camps tend to receive more attention than Japan’s crimes against humanity, as more research has been done and more historians have spent time looking back and studying these horrific acts. However, the Japanese too played a part in human medical testing in a secret project called Unit 731.

Begun in 1937, Unit 731, located in Harbin, China, was created with legitimate intentions by the Japanese government. Started as an agency to promote public health, Unit 731 was meant to conduct research that would benefit Japanese soldiers, such as learning more about the ways in which the human body can withstand hunger and thirst and fight diseases. Early experiments were conducted on…

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Military during Thanksgiving

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The Thanksgiving Day card GP Cox received from the National WWII Museum in New Orleans


Thanksgiving during WWII…

They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day,

My thoughts are at home, though I’m far away;

I can see everyone, eating dinner deluxe,

Whether it be chicken, turkey or even duck;

The fellows over here won’t whimper or moan,

They’ll look to the next one and hope to be home.


Truly and honestly, from way down deep,

They want you to be happy and enjoy your feast.

These holidays are remembered by one and all,

Those happy days we can always recall.

The ones in the future, will be happier, I know

When we all come back from defeating the foe.

_______Poem by an Anonymous WWII…

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Norman Rockwell & Willie Gillis

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Rockwell by Boyer

Norman Rockwell has been a well-known artist since his first magazine cover.  His work helped the home front during the war in more ways than just a nice painting at the news stand.  He produced over 300 covers in his 50-year career.  His influence is still felt today.

Rockwell’s Willie Gillis Jr.

Willie Gillis, Jr. (more commonly simply Willie Gillis) is a fictional character created by Norman Rockwell for a series of  World War II paintings that appeared on the covers of eleven issues of the Saturday Evening Post between 1941 and 1946.   With the rank of  Private, Gillis was an  every man whose career was tracked on the cover of the Post from induction through discharge without being depicted in battle.   Gillis and his girlfriend were modeled by two of Rockwell’s acquaintances.

Although Gillis was not exclusively used on Post covers, the Willie…

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The New Boom in the Food Industry

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Food has often been an important part of warfare. What is less known is how food developed for warfare changed people’s lives after the war. The most important development happened after World War II, though the canning process has been around for a long time.

Canned food started by using tin cans to preserve various items in the early 19th century. British sailors and explorers found that canned food was a relatively easy way to supplement their rations. For example, the Arctic explorer William Parry took canned beef and pea soup on his voyage. By the middle of the 19th century many of the middle class in Europe bought canned food as novelty items.

The American Civil War, Crimean War, and Franco Prussian War introduced hundreds of thousands of soldiers to the novelty and enjoyment of canned foods, which expanded their consumption even more. Yet at this time they still remained relatively…

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Nisei – part 3 Nisei ROTC in Hawaii

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HI Territorial Guard, UH, 1942

On 7 December 1941, the UH ROTC Regiment over 600 strong was called out over the radio to report to duty. We reported to the ROTC Armory, which is that little wooden building now standing at the end of Sinclair Library parking lot. We were greeted by the sight of Sgt. Ward and Sgt. Hogan feverishly inserting firing pins into Springfield .03 rifles. I reported to my unit, Company “B”, 1st Battalion, commanded by Captain Nolle Smith. We were issued a clip of 5 bullets with our rifles.

It was reported that Japanese paratroopers had landed on St. Louis Heights. Our first order was to deploy down across Manoa Stream where Kanewai Park now stands and to prevent the enemy from advancing into the city. We were crouched down among the koa bushes for long hours in the hot sun, waiting for the enemy which…

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