Archive for the ‘The Greatest Generation’ Category


 

 

“People of Western Europe:

A landing was made this morning on the coast of France by troops of the Allied Expeditionary Force. This landing is part of the concerted United Nations’ plan for the liberation of Europe, made in conjunction with our great Russian allies. I have this message for all of you. Although the initial assault may not have been made in your own country, the hour of your liberation is approaching.

All patriots, men and women, young and old, have a part to play in the achievement of final victory. To members of resistance movements, I say, “Follow the instructions you have received.” To patriots who are not members of organized resistance groups, I say, “Continue your passive resistance, but do not needlessly endanger your lives until I give you the signal to rise and strike the enemy. The day will come when I shall need your united strength.” Until that day, I call on you for the hard task of discipline and restraint.”

– General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force

A WWII veteran of the British 1st Airborne Division remembers the battle of the “bridge too far,” as he recalls the attack on Arnhem.

http://home.bt.com/news/uknews/wwii-hero-recalls-the-battle-of-arnhem-11363933990339

GENESEO, N.Y. (AP) — The next time the American military transport plane known as Whiskey 7 drops its paratroopers over Normandy, France, it will be for a commemoration instead of an invasion.

Seventy years after taking part in D-Day, the plane now housed at the National Warplane Museum in western New York is being prepared to recreate its role in the mission, when it dropped troops behind enemy lines under German fire.

At the invitation of the French government, the restored Douglas C-47 will fly in for 70th-anniversary festivities and again release paratroopers over the original jump zone at Sainte-Mere-Eglise.

“There are very few of these planes still flying, and this plane was very significant on D-Day,” said Erin Vitale, chairwoman of the Return to Normandy Project. “It dropped people that were some of the first into Sainte-Mere-Eglise and liberated that town.”

Museum officials say the twin-prop Whiskey 7, so named because of its W-7 squadron marking, is one of several C-47s scheduled to be part of the D-Day anniversary, with jumpers made up of active and retired military personnel. But it is believed to be the only one flying from the United States.

The plane will fly to France by way of Labrador, Greenland, Iceland, Scotland and Germany, each leg 5 ½ to 7 hours. Vitale compared it to trying to drive a 70-year-old car across the country without a breakdown. “It’s going to be a huge challenge.”

Among the 21 men it carried in 1944 was 20-year-old Leslie Palmer Cruise Jr., who also will make the return trip to France, his fifth, and be reunited with the craft — once it’s on the ground. He is flying commercially from his Horsham, Pa., home outside Philadelphia.

“With me, it’s almost, sometimes, like yesterday,” Cruise, now 89, said by phone, recalling his first combat mission. “It really never leaves you.”

army-moh

In the advance off the D-Day beaches, 23 year-old staff sergeant Walter Ehlers of the 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, single-handedly knocked two German machinegun nests and forced a German mortar squad to retreat, before carrying a wounded soldier back to receive aid despite being shot in the back himself. S/Sgt Ehlers was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on Dec 19, 1944.

The citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 9-10 June 1944, near Goville, France. S/Sgt. Ehlers, always acting as the spearhead of the attack, repeatedly led his men against heavily defended enemy strong points exposing himself to deadly hostile fire whenever the situation required heroic and courageous leadership. Without waiting for an order, S/Sgt. Ehlers, far ahead of his men, led his squad against a strongly defended enemy strong point, personally killing 4 of an enemy patrol who attacked him en route. Then crawling forward under withering machinegun fire, he pounced upon the guncrew and put it out of action. Turning his attention to 2 mortars protected by the crossfire of 2 machineguns, S/Sgt. Ehlers led his men through this hail of bullets to kill or put to flight the enemy of the mortar section, killing 3 men himself. After mopping up the mortar positions, he again advanced on a machinegun, his progress effectively covered by his squad. When he was almost on top of the gun he leaped to his feet and, although greatly outnumbered, he knocked out the position single-handed. The next day, having advanced deep into enemy territory, the platoon of which S/Sgt. Ehlers was a member, finding itself in an untenable position as the enemy brought increased mortar, machinegun, and small arms fire to bear on it, was ordered to withdraw. S/Sgt. Ehlers, after his squad had covered the withdrawal of the remainder of the platoon, stood up and by continuous fire at the semicircle of enemy placements, diverted the bulk of the heavy hostile fire on himself, thus permitting the members of his own squad to withdraw. At this point, though wounded himself, he carried his wounded automatic rifleman to safety and then returned fearlessly over the shell-swept field to retrieve the automatic rifle which he was unable to carry previously. After having his wound treated, he refused to be evacuated, and returned to lead his squad. The intrepid leadership, indomitable courage, and fearless aggressiveness displayed by S/Sgt. Ehlers in the face of overwhelming enemy forces serve as an inspiration to others.

A veteran of the landings in North Africa and Sicily, Ehlers lost his older brother in the D-Day landings when his landing craft was struck by enemy fire. The officers had told them before the invasion that they were splitting the brothers up, to increase the chance of one of them living. Of his wartime experiences, he said that “I got all 12 of my men off the beach [Omaha Beach] without a casualty, which was the best thing I ever did in my life.”

Ehlers passed away of kidney failure on February 20, at the age of 92, in Long Beach, Ca. In addition to Dorothy, his wife of 58 years, Ehlers is survived by daughters Cathy Metcalf and Tracy Kilpatrick; his son, Lt. Col. (ret.) Walter D. Ehlers Jr.; sisters Leona Porter, Marjorie Gustin and Gloria Salberg; 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Funeral services with full military honors will be March 8 at Riverside National Cemetery.

WWII medals found in abandoned self-storage unit in Louisville, KY

WWII medals found in abandoned self-storage unit in Louisville, KY

David and Stephanie Kalbaugh of Lousville, KY, are looking for a WWII vet named Anthony Grunder. The medals were discovered on a back shelf in the office storage unit at the facility the Kalbaughs manage. From the photo, the medals seem to be a Bronze Star with V for valor and an oak leave, a Purple Heart with three oak leaves, and a campaign medal.

David, who is an Air Force veteran, has carefully checked out each one. “It looks like he spent the whole time in World War II, he started out at one campaign in Europe and then finished up in Asia and he was in the Army with the 101st Airborne or Third Ranger Battalion.”

The Kalbaughs have been searching through old records since August, trying to find Mr. Grunder. If anyone has information regarding him, please contact Aladdin Self Storage at 502-241-7200 or by email at aladdinstorageky@gmail.com

The business is located at:

3413 Collins Lane

Louisville, KY 40245.

 

(Tripoli Post) A Libyan family in the Al-Ghaara area east of Tobruk stumbled across what is apparently the remains of a WWII British soldier. They alerted archaeological authorities, who examined the area, and recovered old Egyptian currency bearing the name of King Farouk, a pocket watch, and ink pen. Nearby were found a German medal and Nazi Cross, according to the paper.

Aviation artist and very close friend John Mollison has a new video series where he interviews WWII pilots and draws the aircraft they flew. This episode features an interview with 93 year-old Corsair pilot Claude Home.

Interviews like these are extremely important, as we have already lost most of these brave soldiers, sailors and airmen.

A big RPR salute to John and Claude! I can’t wait for the next episode!

 

As I mentioned in my twitter feed, there were some discrepancies found while slicing the CBS D-Day radio files, so I’ve sliced and uploaded the NBC D-Day coverage this year instead. There was a gap in the NBC coverage between 10:15AM and 11:00AM EDT that I filled with the CBS feed. It was soap operas across all networks that time of day, so nothing major is missed.

I’m hoping I haven’t overlooked any more gaps in the NBC coverage in the rush to get everything uploaded and tagged, but if you find any, please let me know for next year! Note that the broadcast time and the real-world time started out synchronized, but will drift more and more as Live 365 inserts commercials.

A corporate sponsor has pulled out of the Doolittle Raider Reunion at the last minute. There’s only 5 men left from that historic flight, and this may be the last time they’re together. You can donate to help bring twenty five B 25 Mitchell bombers to the reunion on April 17th, at the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson ASAFB in Dayton, Ohio.

Twenty five North American “Mitchell” B-25’s will be landing at the famous Wright Field adjoining the Museum to pay tribute to the five Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.  This will be the largest gathering of the Mitchell B-25s since WWII.   They will be coming from all points of the United States to share in this special event.   The B-25 is the most popular WWII bomber with collectors and museum attractions worldwide.  It has been titled by all those who have flown them over the past seventy years, as the “Sweetheart Bomber.”

Donation Page: http://www.doolittle-raiders.org/?page_id=106

[i]The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association Inc. is a non-profit association working under the IRS code, 501(C)4. The surviving Doolittle raiders make up the entire membership, and officers are elected from the membership only. The Raiders are not paid to perform speeches or entertainment in any form for the public or government sponsored events. Any and all contributions accumulated through the sale of prints or autographing books, etc. goes directly into the Doolittle Raiders Education Fund. These funds are used annually to support scholarships for students or adults who have choose the field of aviation or space for their carriers. The Education Fund also donates funds to the James H. Doolittle Scholarship annually which also provides funding to students and adults entering the field of aviation or space. There are no salaries or payments paid to any persons who occupy elected titled positions who work for the Doolittle Raiders Association.[/i]

http://www.doolittle-raiders.org/

photo San Diego Union-Tribune

After 14 years of fundraising, a memorial to the 52 US submarines lost in action in WWII has been dedicated in San Diego. Located at Liberty Station, a mixed-use development on the grounds of the former naval training center in San Diego, the “52 Boats Memorial” consists of 52 black granite memorials, each devoted to one of the lost subs and listing their crew. Behind each memorial is a Libery Elm tree.

90% of the funds raised to remember the sacrifices of the lost submariners were from private donations. Over 3,500 US submariners lost their lives in WWII, one out of every five who served.

10 news San Diego story

San Diego Union-Tribune photo gallery