Rest in peace Fallen Brothers! Japan sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind.
I’m so honored for your sacrifice and courage. God bless all of those that lost and gave their lives that day.
Sadly we are where here 71 years later, not a semblance of that great country we once were, and an administration I wouldn’t pull from burning house.
>>Contrary to what the left thinks, preparing for war does cause war.
In a few years, we may remember November 6, 2012 as another of those infamous days.
The Arizona Memorial is a place where everyone really is quiet. Except for the movie of the actual explosion. That alone brings tears to your eyes.
I will bet 0bama has never, ever been there.
I posted this this AM, and also last year at this time....it’s called “Eternal Peace” about something to goes on even today that few Americans are aware of....
I met some great men and women while living in Gulfport, MS at AFRH (the former Navy Home)...
One that struck me hardest was Rupert Maxwell. He is a fine Southern gentleman, who lived part of histories worst times! Here is part of his story (tho not at Pearl)
Former WWII POW has a message for his hometown: Hey... Im not dead yet!
By Mary Kay Gominger
Air Force MSgt retiree Rupert B. Maxwell left his long-time home in Crossville, Tenn., last month and traveled to Gulfport to join his fellow veterans. At the age of 90, Rupert just felt it was time. But first, he had some things to do. Like write a book. So when he got the call from Greg Moore telling him his name had come to the top of the move in list, he knew he better get busy writing. He finished his first draft the week before he left and is now waiting for the first copy to be published.
Everybody I knew kept telling me I needed to write a book on my life, Rupert said. I never thought people would be interested in reading it but I decided to go ahead and do it. Again, it was just time.
Rupert enlisted in the Army Air Corps in August 1941. He worked in air traffic control for two years and at the encouragement of his boss, he applied for Pilot Training. Since he never finished high school, Rupert figured he had a slim chance but as fate would have it, he breezed through the battery of tests required for fighter pilots and as he sat facing a board of five, two West Pointers against him getting in and two line officers for him getting in, he realized then that he could not only be a good fighter pilot but he could be one of the best fighter pilots the Army Air Corps had. Thats what he told the senior board member, who just happened to be have the tiebreaker vote. Rupert got in.
After he had completed his training, he was off to Europe and for the next seven months, as a 2nd Lt., he flew P47s with the 368th Fighter Group. Rupert, now 23 years old, was on his 27th mission when he was shot down just outside Neuwied, Germany. He landed in water and as he struggled with his parachute and began making his way to the shore, locals began shooting at him. Dodging bullets, Rupert finally made it to land. He was repeatedly kicked, beaten and stomped and then taken to the nearest Prisoner of War camp. Rupert spent the next seven months in captivity. His family was notified that he had been shot down and was killed in action. Weeks later, they were notified that no, he was in fact alive but was in captivity.
During the seven-month imprisonment, Rupert said it was the scarcity of food that he remembers most. And the freezing weather.
We didnt have anything good to eat and what they did give us, there wasnt much of it, Rupert said. We slept in snow banks and up inside culverts in temperatures below zero, he recalled. We lost a lot of men during that time. He remembers too, a German guard that froze to death watching over them one particularly frigid night. He was frozen stiff as a board the next morning, he said.
Besides the hunger and freezing weather, life in the POW camp took on the familiar hum of any military unit. The highest ranking officer took charge and they formed committees that focused on escaping, intelligence and survival.
Rupert and 8,000 other American POWs were released on April 29, 1945, when General Pattons Army charged in and overtook the camp. Rupert, down to a mere 112 pounds, was transported with other released POWs to Camp Lucky Strike in France. They were stripped of their tattered clothing, sprayed with disinfectant, given one set of clothing (wool shirt and pants and now it was hot) and then put on a cargo boat to make the 18-day trip home. At Ft. McPherson, Georgia, he was given $50 and was told that once his pay was figured he would be sent the balance of what was owed for seven months, minus taxes. The Army Air Corps has no use for fighter pilots now, the war was over.
Rupert wasted little time in figuring out what he wanted to do next. He knew he had a love for aircraft so he went down to his local recruiting station and did what he did four years earlier. He enlisted. Rupert spent the next 17 years in Air Traffic Control eventually retiring as a MSgt.
Many years later, Rupert went to his hometown in Tennessee and visited a WWII memorial. Much to his surprise, his name was listed on the wall as killed in action. He called the local paper and they came down and took his picture and ran it the next day. The caption read Hey, Im not dead yet.
We look forward to seeing Ruperts book, entitled the same (Hey, Im not dead yet) in our library when the final copy is released.
AFRH-Gulfport Resident still kicking...
Pearl Harbor Stueve recall chain of events of December 7, 1941
By Mary Kay Gominger, PRO
This year marks the 65th year since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Sixty five years ago, AFRH resident Francis Stueve left his breakfast on the table as he and his comrades ran out of the dining hall to see for themselves what all the commotion was about. They heard planes buzzing overhead and heard blasts of gunfire and, at first, figured it was training or maybe the Chinese New Year celebrations they had heard about so they continued eating their meal. Soon, though, it became very apparent that this was no training exercise.
Gun fire showered on the dining hall and bullets blew through the windows. Me and my two buddies rushed outside and looked to the skies. There were Japanese planes coming from all directions, Francis said. Before I knew it, my buddy to the left of me took a bullet to his jaw and my buddy on the right took one in his right calf. I was still standing between the two, just trying to absorb what was going on around us.
Francis joined the Army Air Corps in 1938. He was an infantry and artillery man. When he received orders to go to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, he was pleased because he had heard nothing but good things about being stationed in Hawaii. Everybody always talked about Hawaii having the most comfortable climate in the world to live in. There was good weather all the time, and I was looking forward to that, said the Iowa native.
Francis got the good weather he was anticipating but he got many more things that he never even imagined.
The whole Japanese bombing campaign lasted less than two hours, Stueve explained. But as we watched the last of the planes disappear into the distance, we didnt know if others were coming later or the next day. We knew we couldnt go back in the barracks, if they were going to come back and bomb us again, that s where they would figure we were. So we slept outside, night after night, waiting and watching. We had few rations and medical supplies and just made do with what wasnt destroyed by the Japanese.
Francis said that prior to the bombing, the American troops were working with a group of men native to Hawaii. They were from all nationalities. After the bombing, the American soldiers werent sure if they were allies or enemies, as a large portion of the men were Japanese.
They had separated themselves from us right after the attack and we watched them and they watched us, Francis said. Neither side trusted the other. Turns out they knew nothing about the attack and joined us in the war effort, but for several months, until we could get off the island, we watched each other very carefully.
Rescue ships finally made it to Hawaii, nearly five months later, but it wasnt R&R, it was onto Guadacanal, New Georgia, New Guinea and the Philippines. Francis and his unit backed up Marines as they took one island and moved onto the next.
I dont know why I never took a round, Francis said. I had fragments of grenades but never took a direct hit. I thank the Lord everyday for that and feel very fortunate.
When the war ended, Francis returned home. He had gotten word while in Hawaii that both of his parents had died and the family farm had been sold. After spending a month in DC with a sister, Francis went back into the Army, this time in welding and aircraft design. He retired with 22 years of service.
Francis said he remembers passing by the Old Soldiers Home while visiting his sister in DC and he remembers paying into a fund the supported the Home. In April of 1961, after visiting the home a few times, he decided to give it a try. That was 45 years ago and now Francis, at the age of 89, is still going strong.
When I came here back in 1961, we had a four-star general in charge of the place. There were over 4,000 soldiers living here. Many were transient, they would come and go. Everybody, back in those days, had to be retired military to get in. he said.
Ive seen them come and go over the past 45 years, thats for sure, Francis said. I must like it here, been staying here for 45 years. I guess I never thought I would make it this long, he said with a laugh. Ive still got a few good years left in me and I intend to take them.
...and another of my friends in Gulfport...
Story by John Bowery
Departing from my usual format, I am picking up this story in 1939, some two years before the most horrible times in our memory (those of us that are 70 years and up). This was also the most fearful, exciting and mind blowing thing any of us had ever experienced, and in our wildest dreams or imagination, not one of us could have conjured up what was going to happen or would happen to us in the next five years.
This is only one of those stories and will feature Chief Gunners Mate Hugh Albert Wingo. Here’s his story:
On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and by that dastardly act (not my words, but our President, Franklin D. Roosevelt) started the journey that would involve nearly every one on this planet. Gunner’s Mate 2nd class Hugh Wingo was a member of the crew of the USS Benham. The Benham received sealed orders just four months after Pearl Harbor was attacked. They and the small Task Force that accompanied them joined up with a larger Task Force that included the carrier, the USS Hornet.
On board the Hornet was Colonel Doolittle and 16 B-25 bombers. This task force steamed under full power towards Japan. They arrived somewhere around 600 miles off the coast of Japan. It was early morning on April 18, 1942. Colonel Dolittle’s B-25’s were already lined up with engines revved and fine tuned waiting for the signal to launch them on the raid to attack Tokyo. They launched and from that moment on, everyone on the Hornet, the Benham, and all members of the flight crews knew that this was the beginning of the end for the Empire of Japan.
On April 18 at 2:45 p.m., radio broadcasts from Japan confirmed the raids had been successful and it was a tremendous boost in morale for every American wherever in the world they were at the moment they received this information.
The Benham and the rest of the ships that were involved headed home at full speed. The seas were rough and the Benham took a huge wave over the bow that went over the bridge and down the stacks. This put out the fires in the boilers and they were, in fact, dead in the water. The rest of the Task Force left them with a terse message, “catch up when you can.” This was scary and had all of the crew watching out for ships, subs and aircraft. After all we were only 600 miles off the coast of Japan. The fires were restarted in about two or three hours and they re-joined the Task Force.
The Benham continued from there to many more skirmishes, battles and engagements against the Japanese until the night of November 14th, 1942. They, along with two battleships and four destroyers, were steaming toward Guadalcanal, hoping to surprise Japanese forces that were looking for them. They found each other near Savo Island. When the smoke cleared, the Japanese had lost one battleship and a destroyer. Another battleship, a cruiser and a destroyer were heavily damaged. The Japanese sank three American destroyers, including the Benham. It was a great surface battle win for the USA.
The Benham did not go down easily. A Japanese torpedo hit the forward starboard side and blew off 40 feet of hull and broke her keel about mid-ship. By some miracle, they did not lose a single man, but one man was blown overboard. He was picked up the next day by Marines from Guadalcanal. It was impossible to save the Benham. At 0406 on November 15, 1942, they were ordered to abandon ship and after three hours, they were picked up by the USS Gwyn DD433. They were ordered to finish the job and sink the Benham. The Gwyn fired one torpedo which went under the Benham, the next torpedo missed, the third one did not explode (if it hit it), and the fourth torpedo did what is known as an erratic run due to gyro failure (called doing a porpoise). It started toward the Benham leaping from the water, diving and leaping, then all of a sudden it made a 180 degree turn and headed toward the Gwen and if the Gwen had not backed down on speed it may have hit her, but instead it made another turn and was last seen leaping like a porpoise and heading out to sea.
CGM Wingo served his country for 20 years and retired in 1959. He served aboard five ships, two of which were carriers. He was awarded a Presidential Citation, American Defense Service Medal w/star, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with 14 stars, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and the Navy Good Conduct Medal with 4 stars.
... and another great American...
Story by Mary Kay Gominger
The Lipizzan horses, famous for their agility and strength, beauty, grace, and uncanny ability to perform precision movements in the dressage arena, have roots that trace back to the 16th century. The Lipizzan is a breed of horse closely associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria. Almost exclusively gray or white in color, Lipizzans, through the years, have etched a spot in horse lovers hearts all over the world with their inspiring talent and showmanship in the riding ring. One of our residents, Army veteran Raymond Chatterton, has a connection with the Lipizzan horse that goes beyond being a spectator of their world famous performance. Ray, in 1945 while serving with General George S. Patton’s 2nd U.S. Cavalry Group, was instrumental in the rescue of the Lipizzans which were threatened by bombing raids, starvation and slaughter, had the Army not stepped in and evacuated the herd from Austria.
“I was part of the 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance,” Ray said. “I was positioned in the point vehicle that cleared the roads for the horses to be transported. At one point, about 20 miles inside Czechoslovakia, we got hit by platoon of German marines. We captured the platoon and got the horses moved through. We kept the horses safe until they could be returned to Austria after the war.” Ray recalled feeding and exercising the horses as they waited to safely return the horses to the people of Austria and the Spanish Riding School. It is estimated that approximately 250 Lipizzans survived the war and today, that number exceeds 3,000. His units’ efforts saved the horses as well as an equestrian tradition.
Born in rural upstate New York, Ray, now 86, spent most of his childhood, when not working on the farm tending cows, on a tractor, or in the vegetable garden, in the woods. So when he joined the Army in 1941, reconnaissance work was the perfect fit. In the shadow of the woods was where he felt most at home.
Ray earned two Purple Hearts (1945 and 1951) and a Bronze Star (1945) and numerous other awards during his 24 years in the Army. He is the survivor of not one, but two, vehicle explosions. One he has no memory of whatsoever.
“I came to in the hospital and I couldn’t remember what happened,” Ray recalled. “What I did know was that I didn’t have any teeth. The explosion blew my teeth out of my mouth.”
The Army fixed him up and sent him back to the front sporting a new pair of teeth.
Ray has lived at the AFRH in Washington since 1986.
This deserves to be posted in commemoration of the day and event:
The speech of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to a joint session of Congress on 8 December 1941:
“Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.”