Category Archives: Remembrance

They don’t teach this in Common Core

The source site contains the usual copyright claim, hence this small excerpt.  Check out the link; well worth the read.  And you thought you knew about our Marines…

Excerpt from The History Reader:

“The Marines’ victory helped Hamet Caramanli, Yusuf’s deposed brother, reclaim his rightful throne as ruler of Tripoli. In gratitude, he presented his Mameluke sword to Lieutenant O’Bannon. This famous sword became part of the officer uniform in 1825, and remains the oldest ceremonial weapon in use by U.S. forces today. Derna was the Marines’ first battle on foreign soil. Lieutenant O’Bannon and his men are immortalized in the “Marines’ Hymn”: “From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea.”

This is from a lengthy excerpt from Fred Pushies book MARSOC: U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command


A Tribute to Lt. Col. John J. Nolan

Unable to locate a picture of Nolan’s B-25; this is a similar aircraft from the 345th bomb group restored –

A Tribute to Lt. Col. John J. Nolan

This week, we wanted to share a tribute to a member of the 345th Bomb Group by Nebraska senator Deb Fischer. After World War II ended, Lt. Col. John J. Nolan stayed in the air force, looking to make a positive impact on the lives of other pilots. He had his own brush with death on August 15, 1944 when a fellow pilot’s B-25 hit his own, nearly causing it to crash. As you will read below, Nolan led a productive and interesting life after returning to the States.

“Senator Fischer’s tribute: Mr. President, I rise to honor a Nebraskan who was recently interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Lt. Col. John J. Nolan of Lincoln, NE, was a U.S. Air Force pilot who deserves our respect and gratitude. After the bombing at Pearl Harbor, he gave up a football scholarship at Temple University to enlist in the Army Air Corps in 1943.

During World War II, John was a B-25 aircraft commander with the heralded Air Apaches, 345th Bombardment Group, assigned to the Fifth Air Force operating in the Southwest Pacific.

In this capacity, he flew low-level strafing missions in specially configured B-25s with eight .50-caliber machine guns that were controlled by pilots. He flew in the Black Sunday raid on Hollandia, New Guinea, on April 16, 1944. This raid became the worst operational loss ever suffered by the Fifth Air Force in a single day. [IHRA note: read more about Black Sunday here.]

Following World War II, the Air Force realized more pilots had been lost on instruments than in actual combat. In response, the Instrument Pilot Instruction School was created. John was one of the initial cadre of pilots tasked with providing standardized instrument procedures, techniques, and training methods. These pilots were also required to test and evaluate flight instruments in adverse weather conditions. During this period, he became the B-25 high-time pilot for the entire U.S. Air Force.

John also wrote a substantial part of the instrument flying guidelines, known as Air Force Manual 51-37. Many pilots owe their lives to this manual. As a matter of fact, when his two sons went through pilot training in 1967 and 1973, respectively, his instructions were still in the manual.

John transitioned to F-86s as a part of the Air Force’s newly created All Weather Interceptors. He also served in Japan during the Korean war.

In the 1960s, when commercial aviation was converting to jet-powered aircraft and entering into military airspace at high altitudes, John was assigned to Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, known as Air Defense Command. He became the Air Force liaison to the FAA Central Region, and he was tasked with developing and coordinating procedures to ensure safe arrival and departures within this shared airspace. In this capacity, John was also responsible for maintaining military readiness and operational capabilities.

Upon his retirement in October 1963, John was chosen to serve as the Midwest recruiter for the Air Force Academy.

John dedicated his entire life to his beloved U.S. Air Force. Not only did he serve honorably, John was also an integral participant in so many of the milestones that are now a part of Air Force history.

John never lost his love of flight. He continued to fly well into his late eighties in his restored Fairchild PT 19/26, which is the same aircraft he initially learned to fly in as a cadet in the Army Air Corps.

Lt. Col. John Nolan’s entire life was for God and country. He married Marie Di Giambattista on January 6, 1944, before he was assigned overseas. Together, they raised four children. Marie sacrificed much, as so many of our military families experience today, moving 23 times in John’s 20-year career. They were married 71 years. Only 27 days after Marie passed, John died this past July 3, 2015, at the age of 94.

We owe a debt of gratitude to John Nolan and his family. He led an extraordinary life at a time when our country needed people like him the most. Through all of this, he remained humble. We will never forget his sacrifices and patriotism.

Source: A Tribute to Lt. Col. John J. Nolan

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

Just released this year, the story of the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis, while historically accurate, had fictional characters added; as if this tragedy needed any more dramatization than the grisly events which occurred.  They carried the components for Little Boy to the island of Tinian on July 26, 1945, the first Atomic Bomb later dropped on Hiroshima.

I long knew of this story, but simply couldn’t bear to describe images of shark attacks, necessary to demonstrate how much the survivors went through. Their mission was so secret, they were denied a proper escort to protect from submarine attack, because “they weren’t there”.  A distress signal they sent was ignored as a Japanese ruse.  While over 900 of the 1,100 plus crew survived the sinking, only some 300 were rescued.  Hundreds were killed by repeated shark attacks.

U.S.S. Indianapolis Memorial

The Indy Story

A Survivors Story

Those devils in Baggy Pants – Ross Carter 82nd Airborne

Ross Carter

Ross S. Carter

Instead of just putting an image of his book in my sidebar,  I decided to make this post. Ross Carter’s personal account, which covers everything from their training in North Africa, to the Battle of the Bulge, will grab you by the throat and won’t let go.

I can still recall bits and pieces of his story, from a somewhat threadbare memory of that one read.  While in North Africa, during a training jump, an unfortunate soldier landed in a damn cactus, and was impaled.  He died from his injuries.  What a grisly memory to carry around…  It remains one of the most compelling accounts on the vicious battles, and horrors of war I could recommend.

I was further stunned to discover (via a bio on the book’s back cover) that having surviving all of this, he died of Cancer two years later.  Life can hand out very cruel blows.

Born   in Duffield, Virginia, The United States  January 09, 1919

Died   April 18, 1947

Genre      Biography

Ross S. Carter served with Company C, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division in World War II. He survived heavy combat in Sicily, Italy, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Among his many awards is the Silver Star. He wrote “Those Devils In Baggy Pants” shortly after the war ended. He died from Cancer in 1947 at the age of twenty-eight.

“Those Devils in Baggy Pants” is considered to be one of the finest World War II autobiographies ever published.

From goodreads


Tribute – Ernest V. Plantz, USN

Courtesy of Pacific Paratrooper GP COX

Ernest Plantz

Ernest Plantz

GROTON, Conn. (Tribune News Service) — A standing-room-only crowd of veterans, family, friends and fellow shipmates in the U.S. Navy jammed the Noank Baptist Church on Saturday to remember the life of Ernest V. Plantz, a recipient of a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and his “love, strength and courage.”  Plantz, one of the first inductees to the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame, died on Dec. 19 at his Gales Ferry home at age 95.

He spent three-and-a-half years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp after he and others on the crew of the USS Perch were captured.  Plantz weighed just 80 pounds when he was freed and needed 10 months in a Navy hospital to recuperate, yet went on to serve for 30 years in the Navy as soon as he was able.

He retired at the rank of lieutenant as director of advanced engineering at the Naval Submarine School in Groton.

“Ernie was a bullheaded, stubborn person, yet he was filled with love for all,” Jack Gallimore, base chaplain of the U.S. Submarine Veterans Groton Base, told an overflow crowd at the church.  Gallimore said he always made it a point to get a hug from Plantz whenever he could.

“I will miss that,” Gallimore said.

Two dozen submarine veterans in uniform stood in Plantz’ honor at the front of the church. Trumpeters played “Taps” and “Reveille.”

Caroline Plantz, Ernie Plantz’ wife, said she thought her husband had suffered some hard knocks in life, but “he always said that he had a good life,” she said.

Plantz’ daughter, Nancy Grant, remembered her father as a humble, thoughtful and loyal dad who loved to garden, paid homage to his southern roots while cooking and delighted in a good prank.

She recalled how his hugs let his children know they were loved, and that when things were tough, “Dad always believed that things would get better.”

The Rev. Kevin Bedford, of Progressive Baptist Church, described how Plantz touched his life. Bedford recalled he once considered resigning the Navy, and told Plantz.  “I gave him my resignation, and he ripped it up and said, ‘Call me when you make commander,’” Bedford said. So Bedford did, and called Plantz.

Then, when Bedford’s father died, Plantz said to him, “I bet you didn’t know you had a second dad.”

 Capt. Paul F. McHale described how Plantz, known as “the kid” for being the youngest man on the USS Perch, returned to the Navy despite his suffering as a prisoner of war.

USS Perch, first submarine sunk by the Japanese.

USS Perch, first submarine sunk by the Japanese.

The Perch was on its second war patrol when a Japanese destroyer escort forced it to submerge and was joined by other Japanese ships that dropped depth charges on it.

The sub was badly damaged but not destroyed because it sank into a muddy bottom. But the attack continued.

Then later, when the sub surfaced, the crew realized it could not submerge again. Plantz found himself in the water with his 59 shipmates, McHale said.

Seeing the USS Perch sink for the final time was, in Plantz’ words, “like watching your house burn,” McHale said.

Yet even after the misery that followed Plantz’ capture, he returned to service on submarines.  “The man had a huge heart,” McHale said.  McHale said his oldest son interviewed Plantz for an English course once, and asked Plantz a question: Knowing he would be captured, spend three years in a POW camp and be tortured, would he still have joined the Navy?

Plantz told him absolutely.

Ernest Plantz

Ernest Plantz

©2016 The Day (New London, Conn.)
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“The Greatest Generation” – Twilight Time

Do the math; If you were born in 1926, lied about your age to join the USAAF,  became a member of a B-17 crew in England in 1943, and survived the war, you would soon be 89 years old.  This represents the youngest of the Greatest Generation.  In eleven years, unless there are a number of them that reach the century mark, they will all be gone.  I’ve never received comments on my link to Congressional Medal Of Honor Society;  that site contains the recipients, and posts the ones that have just passed into history.

For that matter, many who stayed in the armed forces after WW II, also served in our first “Police Action” –  Korea.  The Politicians, far removed from conflict, and afraid to confront Russia or China, are the sole reason why the present situation in Korea continues to plague us. They severely restrict our troops from being victorious in battle.  They are put in harm’s way to keep the status quo. The U.N., precursor to a one world government, instituted egregious “rules of engagement” further keeping our fighting forces from achieving total victory, causing their sacrifice to be repeated again and again, as the enemy is never totally annihilated, thus promoting further aggression.

Today, 12-29-2015, the list of those recently passed into History, from the  Congressional Medal of Honor Society:

RUBIN, TIBOR   December 07, 2015

Rank: Corporal
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company I
Division: 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
Born: 18 June 1929, Hungary
Departed: Yes (12/05/2015)
Entered Service At:
G.O. Number:
Date of Issue: 09/23/2005
Accredited To:
Place / Date: Republic of Korea, 23 July 1950-20 April 1953


Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit’s line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese. Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp. His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners. Corporal Rubin’s gallant actions in close contact with the enemy and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.


SAKATO, GEORGE T.   December 03, 2015

Rank: Private
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company E, 3d Platoon
Division: 442 Regimental Combat Team
Born: 19 February 1921 Colton, CA
Departed: Yes (12/02/2015)
Date of Issue: 06/21/2000
Accredited To: Glendale, AZ
Place / Date: Hill 617 Biffontaine, France, 29 October, 1944


Private George T. Sakato distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 29 October 1944, on hill 617 in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France. After his platoon had virtually destroyed two enemy defense lines, during which he personally killed five enemy soldiers and captured four, his unit was pinned down by heavy enemy fire. Disregarding the enemy fire, Private Sakato made a one-man rush that encouraged his platoon to charge and destroy the enemy strongpoint. While his platoon was reorganizing, he proved to be the inspiration of his squad in halting a counter-attack on the left flank during which his squad leader was killed. Taking charge of the squad, he continued his relentless tactics, using an enemy rifle and P-38 pistol to stop an organized enemy attack. During this entire action, he killed 12 and wounded two, personally captured four and assisted his platoon in taking 34 prisoners. By continuously ignoring enemy fire, and by his gallant courage and fighting spirit, he turned impending defeat into victory and helped his platoon complete its mission. Private Sakato’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

INGMAN, EINAR H., JR.   September 10, 2015

Rank: Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company E
Division: 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division
Born: 6 October 1929, Milwaukee, Wis.
Departed: Yes (09/09/2015)
Entered Service At: Tomahawk, Wis.
G.O. Number: 68
Date of Issue: 08/02/1951
Accredited To:
Place / Date: Near Maltari, Korea, 26 February 1951


Sgt. Ingman, a member of Company E, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. The 2 leading squads of the assault platoon of his company, while attacking a strongly fortified ridge held by the enemy, were pinned down by withering fire and both squad leaders and several men were wounded. Cpl. Ingman assumed command, reorganized and combined the 2 squads, then moved from 1 position to another, designating fields of fire and giving advice and encouragement to the men. Locating an enemy machine gun position that was raking his men with devastating fire he charged it alone, threw a grenade into the position, and killed the remaining crew with rifle fire. Another enemy machine gun opened fire approximately 15 yards away and inflicted additional casualties to the group and stopped the attack. When Cpl. Ingman charged the second position he was hit by grenade fragments and a hail of fire which seriously wounded him about the face and neck and knocked him to the ground. With incredible courage and stamina, he arose instantly and, using only his rifle, killed the entire guncrew before falling unconscious from his wounds. As a result of the singular action by Cpl. Ingman the defense of the enemy was broken, his squad secured its objective, and more than 100 hostile troops abandoned their weapons and fled in disorganized retreat. Cpl. Ingman’s indomitable courage, extraordinary heroism, and superb leadership reflect the highest credit on himself and are in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the infantry and the U.S. Army.


Rank: Major
Organization: U.S. Air Force
Division: 1st Air Commandos
Born: 11 January 1927, San Bernardino, Calif.
Departed: Yes (08/16/2014)
Entered Service At: Kuna, Idaho
G.O. Number:
Date of Issue: 01/19/1967
Accredited To: Kuna, ID
Place / Date: Bien Hoa and Pleiku, Vietnam, 10 March 1966


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On that date, the special forces camp at A Shau was under attack by 2,000 North Vietnamese Army regulars. Hostile troops had positioned themselves between the airstrip and the camp. Other hostile troops had surrounded the camp and were continuously raking it with automatic weapons fire from the surrounding hills. The tops of the 1,500-foot hills were obscured by an 800 foot ceiling, limiting aircraft maneuverability and forcing pilots to operate within range of hostile gun positions, which often were able to fire down on the attacking aircraft. During the battle, Maj. Fisher observed a fellow airman crash land on the battle-torn airstrip. In the belief that the downed pilot was seriously injured and in imminent danger of capture, Maj. Fisher announced his intention to land on the airstrip to effect a rescue. Although aware of the extreme danger and likely failure of such an attempt, he elected to continue. Directing his own air cover, he landed his aircraft and taxied almost the full length of the runway, which was littered with battle debris and parts of an exploded aircraft. While effecting a successful rescue of the downed pilot, heavy ground fire was observed, with 19 bullets striking his aircraft. In the face of the withering ground fire, he applied power and gained enough speed to lift-off at the overrun of the airstrip. Maj. Fisher’s profound concern for his fellow airman, and at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.


List – Recently Departed


Iwo Jima: From Combat to Comrades | Full Episode

From PBS –

More About the Film

The captivating film takes viewers back to 1945 when these men first met. 90,000 combatants on an 8-square mile island. A dot in the Pacific Ocean just 650 miles from Tokyo. 28,000 men died either defending or taking this rock. Now, in 2015, men who lost so much make the emotional pilgrimage back to face the defining moment of their lives.

The Reunion of Honor was founded by Lt. General Lawrence Snowden, USMC (Ret.) — so that veterans from both sides could return to Iwo Jima — this time in peace. Despite being wounded twice during brutal combat, Snowden has sought friendship with his former enemies since the war’s end.

Twenty-seven Medals of Honor were awarded on Iwo Jima — more than any other WWII battle. Only one recipient is still alive: Hershel “Woody” Williams.Over a four-hour period, alone in what the Marines called “The Killing Zone,” the Marine corporal single-handedly destroyed at least seven Japanese gun emplacements with his flamethrower. This was his first trip back in seven decades.

Army Air Corps P-51 fighter pilot Jerry Yellin absolutely hated the Japanese. He blamed them for killing 16 close friends during the war, for attacking Pearl Harbor and for the years he wanted to kill himself after the war. But then, his youngest son married the daughter of a former kamikaze pilot, and now Yellin has three half-Japanese grandchildren whom he cherishes. His is a story of war and transformation.