3 November 1944
Allies liberate Flushing and Dumberg
Chinese troops liberate Lung-ling
General McCreery is appointed to command the 8th Army
Wheels West Day in Susanville History – November 3, 1944
Cattle grazing in the Honey Lake Valley, 1947. An Eastman Studio photo from UC Davis.
Flux Heads Farm Bureau
November 3, 1944
Frank Flux of Doyle, Lassen County, was elected president of the Lassen County Farm Bureau for 1945 at the bureau’s annual meeting held in Susanville on Saturday, November 4. Flux is a stockman in the Bird Flat area and has served as chairman of the Doyle farm center, and has been a member of the Lassen County Farm Bureau directors for the past three years. He has also been chairman of the farm bureau wildlife committee.
Milton Mallery of Johnstonville was elected vice-chairman of the bureau. Mallery one of the younger farmers of the valley has served as farm center chairman for the Johnstonville farm center for two years and was a member of the Lassen County Board of Directors for two years.
Three directors at large were elected. They were George Randup of Doyle, Len Dozier of Standish, and Ed Albaugh of Adin.
Following the annual meeting, the new executive committee held a brief meeting and appointed Mrs. Lura Dozier of Standish secretary-treasurer for the coming year.
3 November 1944 - History
DATES OF U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION "EVENTS":
1789 to the present
* (asterisk) indicates the earliest date Presidential Electors could be "appointed" in a State (whether by Popular Vote or not) in these Presidential Elections, the latest date such Electors could be chosen (presumably, by methods other than Popular Election, such as- for example- choice by the Legislature) was, of course, the date Electors were scheduled to cast their votes in any event.
A date in italics indicates that a date other than the statutorily-defined date was utilized due to special circumstances (as explained below this table).
Four times in American History a Tabulation Joint Session of Congress itself did not declare a person to be elected either President or Vice-President (or both) on the date on which it met: a list of these circumstances follows:
- Election No. 4 (1800) A tie in the Electoral Vote for President (at the time, each Elector voted for two persons for President) resulted in the U.S. House of Representatives (voting by State- and not as individual Congressmen)- after 36 ballots held over several days- electing Thomas Jefferson President (the other candidate in the Electoral Vote tie, Aaron Burr, became Vice President under the constitutional provisions of the time).
- Election No. 10 (1824) No candidate having received a majority of the Electoral Vote for President (by now, under terms of the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Electors voted separately for President and Vice-President: John Calhoun had already received a majority of the Electoral Vote for Vice-President), the U.S. House of Representatives, voting (by State- and not as individual Congressmen) on a single ballot, elected- as President- John Quincy Adams, who had finished second to Andrew Jackson in the Electoral Vote for President.
- Election No. 13 (1836) No candidate having received a majority of the Electoral Vote for Vice-President (Martin Van Buren had already received a majority of the Electoral Vote for President), the U.S. Senate (voting as individual Senators- not by State) elected, as Vice-President, Richard Mentor Johnson.
- Election No. 23 (1876) As described more fully below this table, disputed Electoral Votes coming out of several States made it impossible for Congress- via the ordinary constitutional machinery- to determine just who had been elected both President and Vice-President.
Election No. [for (N)th Administration]:
As is the case with Congresses of two years' duration each, Presidential Administrations of four years' duration- likewise- can be numbered (in fact, the number of a given four year "Administration" is half of the number of the later of the two Congresses in office during that Administration: for example, because it was the 110th Congress that was meeting during the last two years of President George W. Bush's second term, those four years of that term make up the 55th Administration [110/2 = 55]).
Although it is altogether unofficial, Presidential Elections can be numbered according to the number of the Administration of the President that has been elected therein (thus, the 2004 Presidential Election- which resulted in President George W. Bush being elected to a second term [again, the aforementioned 55th Adminstration]- was Presidential Election No. 55).
Date Presidential Electors "appointed" [Presidential Election]:
Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of Electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.
from Article II, Section 1, clause 2 of the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
The "appointment" (to use the proper constitutional language, as seen above) of Presidential Electors is what ordinary Americans mean when we say 'Presidential Election' - even though many Americans are most unaware that they are really choosing a slate of Electors rather than, as they would describe what they are doing, "voting for President" (and- obviously, at the very same time- Vice President).
The Congress may determine the time of choosing the Electors.
from Article II, Section 1, clause 4 of the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
Nowadays, this is the day United States citizens resident in the 50 constituent States of the Union and the District of Columbia who wish to vote in said Presidential Election (and are, indeed, eligible [and have registered] to do so) go to their respective polling places and cast their votes (although several States now permit Early Voting and, even apart from this, many Americans will vote by Absentee Ballot- in each case, actually casting votes well before this date [but their votes will not be counted until this date])- but, in the earliest days of the Federal Republic, it was merely the date- or dates- on which each State formally chose its Presidential Electors (whether such choice was by Popular Vote of the State citizenry or not-- not until 1836 did all but one State allow for Popular Vote for President [in reality, the People of the States "appointing"- to use the language found in the U.S. Constitution itself- their State's Presidential Electors thereby]).
What follows is the actual text of the regulations for said Presidential Election (again, this being the date Presidential Electors are to be "appointed") and the election years in which a given regulation was actually in effect:
. [T]he first Wednesday in January next be the day for appointing Electors in the several States.
from Resolution of 13 September 1788 by the Confederation [=Continental] Congress
. [E]lectors shall be appointed in each State for the election of a President and Vice-President of the United States, withint thirty-four days preceding the first Wednesday in December, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, and within thirty-four days preceding the first Wednesday in December in every fourth year succeeding the last election, which Electors shall be equal to the number of Senators and Representatives, to which the several States may by Law be entitled at the time.
from 1 Stat. 239, Section 1
. [T]he Electors of President and Vice-President shall be appointed in each State on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November of the year in which they are to be appointed.
from 5 Stat. 721
although the date of the Presidential Election itself was not at all changed, the verbiage in the relevant statute was later tweaked as follows:
The Electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President.
from 62 Stat. 672, now codified as United States Code: Title 3, section 1 [3 USC 1]
Date Electors cast their votes in the several States:
The Electors shall meet in their respective States and vote by ballot.
from Article II, Section 1, clause 3 of the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES (language retained in the 12th AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution)
The Presidential Electors so "appointed"- nowadays, however indirectly, by vote of the People in each of the several States of the Union (and D.C.)- must later meet in each jurisdiction (note that- despite prevalent use of the term- there is no such thing as a single "Electoral College" all meeting together rather, the Electors from each State [and D.C.] meet separately- thus, there are really 51 separate "electoral colleges") and cast their votes for President and Vice-President.
[The Congress may determine]. the day on which [the Electors] shall give their votes, which day shall be the same throughout the United States.
from Article II, Section 1, clause 4 of the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
Even though they do meet separately, the Electors must meet on the very same day and the actual text of the regulations governing just which day is to be the date of these separate "electoral colleges"- along with the election years in which said regulations were in force- follow:
. [T]he first Wednesday in February next be the day for the Electors to assemble in their respective States and vote for a President.
from Resolution of 13 September 1788 by the Confederation [=Continental] Congress
. [T]he Electors shall meet and give their votes on the. first Wednesday in December.
from 1 Stat. 239, Section 2
. [T]he Electors of each State shall meet and give their votes on the second Monday in January next following their appointment.
from 24 Stat. 373, Section 1
The Electors of President and Vice President of each State shall meet and give their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December next following their appointment
from 62 Stat. 673, now codified as United States Code: Title 3, Section 7 [3 USC 7]
Date Electoral Vote tabulated by a Joint Session of Congress:
. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates [containing the Electoral Vote from each jurisdiction], and the votes shall then be counted.
from Article II, Section 1, clause 3 of the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES (language retained in the 12th AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution)
Even with the Presidential Electors having met and fufilled their constitutional obligations, a President (or, for that matter, Vice President) of the United States is not officially elected unless and until the Congress of the United States says he or she is. In this regard (and despite the oft-heard claim that the U.S. Supreme Court "really" elected George W. Bush President back in 2000), Congress is- more or less- the "umpire" or "referee" in any and all Presidential Elections.
A Joint Session of Congress counts and tabulates the Electoral Vote sent to it by the "electoral colleges" in the several States and the District of Columbia (thus, this meeting of the Federal legislature is colloquially referred to as the "Tabulation Joint Session") and then- assuming, of course, that a candidate has received a majority of the total Electoral Vote- officially declares just who has been elected President (and Vice President).
As with the dates of the Presidential Election (that is, "appointing" of the Electors) and the several "electoral colleges" themselves, the date on which Congress holds this Tabulation Joint Session is also regulated by statute. What follows is the actual text of such regulations (and, again, the elections for which they were in effect):
. [T]he first Wednesday in March be the time. for commencing proceedings under the. Constitution.
from Resolution of 13 September 1788 by the Confederation [=Continental] Congress
(NOTE: Thus, 4 March 1789 was the earliest date on which the Electoral Vote could be formally counted by Congress as things turned out, the First Congress did not achieve a quorum in both houses [necessary in order to hold a Joint Session of the entire Congress] until 6 April 1789 and, so, the Electoral Vote coming out of the first Presidential Election was not counted and tabulated by Congress until that date)
1792 through 1872 1880 through 1932:
. Congress shall be in session on the second Wednesday in February, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three, and on the second Wednesday in February succeeding every meeting of the Electors, and the certificates [containing the Electoral Vote from each jurisdiction]. shall then be opened, the votes counted, and the persons who shall fill the offices of President and Vice-President ascertained and declared, agreeably to the Constitution.
from 1 Stat. 239, Section 5
[NOTE: The Election of 1876 (the [in?]famous 'Disputed Election' between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes) was a special case-- please see what immediately follows]
. [T]he Senate and House of Representatives shall meet. on the first Thursday in February, anno Domini eighteen hundred and seventy-seven.
from 19 Stat. 227, Section 1
It became apparent, well before the Tabulation Joint Session of Congress following this Presidential Election (that is, the "appointing" of Electors by the People of the several States via the ballot) was scheduled to meet on 14 February 1877, that something was terribly wrong with the Electoral Vote coming out of the meetings of more than a few "electoral colleges" held on 6 December 1876: not only would the Electoral Vote be altogether close (as could be easily discerned from the reports of the Popular Returns in each State as already published in newspapers around the Nation) but at least three States in the South (this still being the era of post-Civil War Reconstruction) were sending two sets of Electoral Votes- one in favor of each Major Party presidential candidate- to Congress. To make matters worse, one of these Major Parties controlled one house of the (in those days, it was the outgoing ["lame duck"]) Congress, while the other Party controlled the other (so there was no possibility of a mere Party line vote in Congress electing one Party's candidate President in any event).
To this end, Congress quickly passed legislation (it was signed into law by outgoing President Ulysses S. Grant on 29 January 1877) completely bypassing the whole, more usual, process of Electoral Vote counting, instead requiring Congress to hold what would otherwise be the normal Tabulation Joint Session early- in this case, on 1 February 1877- to discern just which States were in dispute and then formally handing such disputes over to a so-called "Electoral Commission" consisting of Senators, Congressmen and U.S. Supreme Court Justices appointed to the task by Congress itself (the earlier-than-usual meeting of Congress in Tabulation Joint Session was intended to buy the Electoral Commission more time [an extra fortnight] in which to resolve these disputes, for there was ever a looming deadline of 4 March 1877, on which date a new President- whoever it turned out to be- would have to take office [if only because, by a combination of constitutional fiat and Federal statute, President Grant's term ended- no matter what!- on that very date]).
. [after the Electoral Commission has determined which Electors' vote shall be officially counted in each of the disputed States] the two houses shall again meet, and such decision [of the Electoral Commission] shall be read and entered in the journal of each House, and the counting of the [Electoral] votes shall proceed in conformity therewith.
from 19 Stat. 227, Section 2
Congress, thus, would have to hold a "follow-up" Joint Session after the Electoral Commission had reported its decision as regarded each State re: which its Electoral Vote was in dispute and the last such Joint Session to count and tabulate a disputed State's Electoral Vote as decided by the Electoral Commission was held on 2 March 1877, just two days before the new President thereby elected [Rutherford B. Hayes] would constitutionally take office (interestingly, Hayes was not publicly inaugurated until 5 March 1877 because 4 March- the date on which, at the time, a newly-elected Congress as well as a newly-elected President took office- happened to fall on a Sunday that year however, because the 1876 Presidential Election dispute had been so politically charged [the vote of the Electoral Commission itself had been along Party lines, 8-7 in favor of the Republican Electors, in all disputed cases], there were actual fears of a coup d'etat instigated by supporters of Tilden! Thus, Hayes was first sworn in privately, at the White House on the invitation of outgoing President Grant, on the evening of Saturday 3 March [it also didn't help that neither Constitution nor statute made clear just when, on 4 March, the President actually took office inaugurating the President during the day was traditional but there was an argument to be made that his Term of Office, as well as those of Congressmen and newly elected or re-elected U.S. Senators- had actually begun at Midnight Local Mean Time in Washington (Standard Time was still a decade away in 1877): to this end, an outgoing Congress- never all that sure it had any authority to act early on a given 4 March- always adjourned sine die no later than 3 March. it is for this very reason that the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution- which moved up the beginnings of terms of members of Congress to 3 January and the term of a President to 20 January- purposely makes clear that terms of office begin- and end- at Noon in the Nation's Capital (now on Eastern Standard Time, of course)]).
Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January succeeding every meeting of the Electors. [and] all the certificates and papers purporting to be certificates of the electoral votes. shall be opened, presented, and acted upon.
from 62 Stat. 675, now codified as United States Code: Title 3, section 15 [3 USC 15]
There have been, since the 1936 Presidential Election, six exceptions to 6 January being the date for the Tabulation Joint Session: two of these were merely because 6 January happened to fall on a Sunday- in 1957 and 1985- and, in each such case, the Tabulation Joint Session was held on the following day (thus, these do not appear in italics in the table above).
Four other cases, however, were expressly permitted by statute:
[I]n carrying out the procedure set forth in section 15 of Title 3, United States Code, for 1989, `the fourth day of January' shall be substituted for `the sixth day of January' in the first sentence of such section.
102 Stat. 3341 (adopted 9 November 1988)--
thereby, the Tabulation Joint Session of Congress resulting from the 1988 Presidential Election was held two days early relative to the statutory date- on 4 January 1989
The meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives to be held in January 1997 pursuant to section 15 of Title 3, United States Code, to count the electoral votes for President and Vice President cast by the electors in December 1996 shall be held on January 9, 1997 (rather than on the date specified in the first sentence of that section).
110 Stat. 3558 (adopted 11 October 1996)--
thereby, the Tabulation Joint Session of Congress resulting from the 1996 Presidential Election was held three days late relative to the statutory date- on 9 January 1997 (this last was necessitated by the newly-elected 105th Congress not even first convening for its First Session until 7 January of that year)
The meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives to be held in January 2009 pursuant to section 15 of title 3, United States Code, to count the electoral votes for President and Vice President cast by the electors in December 2008 shall be held on January 8, 2009 (rather than on the date specified in the first sentence of that section).
122 Stat. 4846 (adopted 15 October 2008)--
thereby, the Tabulation Joint Session of Congress resulting from the 2008 Presidential Election was to be held two days late relative to the statutory date- on 8 January 2009 (this last necessitated by the newly-elected 111th Congress not even first convening for its First Session until 6 January of that year)
The meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives to be held in January 2013 pursuant to section 15 of title 3, United States Code, to count the electoral votes for President and Vice President cast by the electors in December 2012 shall be held on January 4, 2013 (rather than on the date specified in the first sentence of that section). 126 Stat. 1610 (adopted 28 December 2012)--
thereby, the Tabulation Joint Session of Congress resulting from the 2012 Presidential Election was to be held two days early relative to the statutory date- on 4 January 2013 (this last necessitated by the fact that 6 January happened to fall on a Sunday that year).
In these four cases immediately above, the date of the Tabulation Joint Session does appear in italics in the table.
In the past we have had questions about the many Battlefield Tours organisations and for information on places to stay.
Under the tab “Battlefield Tour” you will find the one and only organisation that can provide you both.
The Bed and Breakfast is situated in the middle of the area where the 3d Armored Division fought during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.
We are a group of very passionate people for this World War II history who love to investigate, research and visit the battlefields where the men fought for our freedom during WWII.
Every archive around the world recognizes us as at some point in time during our research we have contacted them.
We started to dig up information in books and later got in touch with the veterans. We love history and every person in this group has his own specialization that we use to get more people interested in what we do, but also to make sure that nothing will be overlooked.
Extra service for familymembers:
If any families of the men who fought during WWII in the 3rd Armored Division would like a digital monument too then you can also contact us by Email: [email protected] Then we are able to email you back to get all information we need to make it complete. This also counts for members who lost their life after VE-day.
With this website we want to say thank you to the men and all the family members of these men and pay our respect to the men who lost their lives for our freedom.
HQ Company:112th Infantry
The 1st finds us in the Hurtgen Forest about one half mile west of Germeter. Everybody has plenty of cash in his pocket, being that yesterday was payday. The irony is that there is no place to spend it.
On the 2nd, an attack was launched by the battalion at 9:30 against Vossenack, which proved successful, and the C. was established in the cellar of a house 300 yards east of the shell battered church. PFC Robert Somerville was evacuated due to wounds caused by a smoke shell. Sgt. Delay, T/Sgt. Harry G. Umbenhauer and PFC Andrew Pelech were wounded by antipersonnel mines. Umbenhauer and Pelech both died from their wounds. Delay was evacuated by the medics. Cpl. William O'Brien was also wounded and evacuated.
The night of the 2nd was comparatively quiet, although the enemy resumed shelling the following morning. All movement was kept at a minimum, due to the fact that we were disposed on a ridge which stood out like a sore thumb, and the enemy had excellent observation of the ridge, not only from the east, but from the high ground near Brandenberg and Bergstein to the northeast as well.
On the 3rd, PFC Willard Radcliffe was wounded and evacuated.
On the morning of the 4th, Pvts. Robert Oak and donald Corcoran were killed by fragments of a mortar shell which landed near them. In the evening the CP was moved to a more secure shelter about a hundred yards west of the church.
In the meantime, the shelling of our position by the enemy grows steadily more intense. The only let-up is at night, and during the daylight hours, only when our planes are flying overhead. Sometimes the enemy fires in spite of the planes.
The tempo of the enemy fire seemed to continually increase until the morning of the 6th, F and G companies, after having received the direct fire deflected flak guns and 88s, not to mention the artillery and mortar fire, for three consecutive days and nights, we withdrew.
As a consequence of this, we built up a line on both sides of the CP. The A & P Platoon defended the north side of the road, and the Communications Platoon defended the south side. Considering the intensity of the shellfire, an enemy counterattack seemed inevitable.
During the day the Battalion was strengthened by the 146th Combat Engineer Battalion, but not before the enemy had retaken the ground as far out as the church. Pvt. Louis Rothstein was wounded and evacuated.
On the 7th Major General Cota came up to look over the situation, and he must have had his Guardian Angel along with him, for during his stay and for some minutes after he left, not a shell landed in the area.
On the night of the 8th, we were relieved by the 2nd Battalion of the 109th Infantry, and what men were left withdrew to the draw west of Germeter, where we were picked up by trucks and taken to the rear.
On the morning of the 9th, we were able to shave, wash off some of the previous week's dirt, and get some clean clothing.
That afternoon, we moved by foot to a bivouac area about 4 miles northwest of Jagerhaus. Here we managed to be on the receiving end of a keg of beer through the efforts of Mr. Rupp, the Regimental Red Cross Field Director.
On the 10th, Lt. Col. Joseph L. ManSalka was assigned to us as Battalion Commander, succeeding Lt. Col. Hatzfeld who was previously evacuated by the medics.
We received replacements to bring to company up to full strength.
At 4:30 PM, we moved by foot to a new assembly area about 1 mile south of Germeter, just west of the main road which runs into the town. It snowed all day and most of the night which doesn't help matters any.
On the morning of the 11th, we left the assembly area, and marched to practically the same position we were in before the original attack, except that we were about 500 yards farther east. We were held up for a time by very heavy artillery concentration, but were in position by early afternoon.
Captain Graham was evacuated due to illness, and Lt. Orozco likewise, although Lt. Orozco put in an appearance the next day, even though he had to go AWOL from the medics. To date, there have been no repercussions. Captain John F. Lukens was appointed as S-3 to succeed Captain Graham.
We stayed in this position till the night if the 14th, when, after dark we moved by foot to an entrucking area several miles east. At 11:00 PM we left for Wilwerdange, Luxembourg, arriving shortly after daybreak. Early in the afternoon we moved by foot through Weiswampach to Leiler where the CP was set up. Needless to say, nobody had any tears at the thought of having to leave the Hurtgen Forest.
Although we are not in a rest area, it is a lot more quiet here, and in comparison to Vosenack, it's like comparing the reading room of the town library with Broadway and 42nd St. during the rush hours.
Here, we are getting a goodly quantity of beer, movies now and then as the situation permits, and showers and clean clothing.
On the 23rd, we all partook of a healthy portion of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, peas, cranberry sauce, squash pie, peaches and whipped cream, bread, butter, and coffee. All chow hounds were well taken care of, and that in turn took care to see that nothing was wasted.
No unusual changes have taken place up to the 30th, when we were paid off in Belgian money, which is about the only kind of currency which is negotiable in these parts, and there are some places to spend it, which is really saying a lot.
During our stay here, some 6 of the men are receiving passes to Paris, Arlon in Belgium, and Clervaux, which is about 5 miles south of Weiswampach.
Filipino guerrillas during the Battle of Leyte. Pacific War, November 1944. W. Eugene Smith, LIFE Magazine [1075 x 1073]
Not the first time the US government has armed guerillas that turned around to fight them. Many of these same guerillas in Luzan province turned around after the war to fight the Filipino government in a hot war that ended in 1954, and a series of skirmishes that lasted into the 1970s.
My family was sent there in 1958 so my dad could carry out a "hearts and minds" campaign in an attempt to suppress the rebellions. Both of my sisters were born there, and although the campaign was unsuccessful, it was a model for similar campaigns attempted in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia starting in the early-60s.
there is a decent chance at least some of these guys were originally in regular Filipino army formations that disbanded or were shattered during the initial Japanese invasion.
This photo is from Leyte in the Visayas, so these men are more than likely from a unit under Col. Ruperto Kangleon's Leyte Area Command. Aside from banditry that resulted from all the loose firearms post-war it was really only the communist Hukbalahap guerrillas from Central Luzon who fought an organized resistance against the Philippine Government after the war.
Majority of the guerrilla groups had ties to the USAFFE (the combined Philippine and US Army in the Philippines, before they surrendered in 1942) and some were even built up from mixed Filipino and US army units who refused to surrender and shifted to guerrilla warfare (like the USAFIP-NL in the northern Philippines or the 10th Military District in Mindanao).
These groups established communications with each other and with Allied forces outside the Philippines, rebuilding the pre-war command structure. They had become so well organized that during the liberation campaign they essentially became frontline troops fighting side-by-side with the US Army.
Such a cool nation everything so colourful.My Dad had one of those carbines..not a good weapon.
Your magazines are probably shit. Old worn out surplus GI ones are garbage, as are a lot of the repro's. The South Korean ones work okay, you can buy them new.
Or, he's got one of the postwar Iver Johnson ones, those are junk. The commercial guns were plagued with problems through and through. My ❂ Inland is a fantastic little plinker with the right magazines.
Audie Murphy would disagree with you.
And not that I'm anything close to Murphy but I disagree with you too. My M1 Carbine (1944) is a fantastic lightweight carbine for <=100yd.
The M1 Carbine wasn't a good weapon?
Gun Jesus would like to have a word.
The .30 Cal was effective to 100 yds., so it did its purpose as an (lower-case) assault rifle..
He kind of looks like Kurtwood Smith (Red Foreman, That 70's Show) to me. Anyone else?
Heroes that the U.S. government turned their backs on less than two years later:
on February 18, 1946, the Congress passed and President Truman signed Public Law 70-301, known as the Rescission Act of 1946. It said that the service of Filipinos "shall not be deemed to be or to have been service in the military or national forces of the United States or any component thereof or any law of the United States conferring rights, privileges or benefits."
You might remember that after the United States took possession of the island nation, we promised independence to the Philippines after 50 years. Our occupation of the country, after taking it over from Spain, helped to modernize the country while over seeing the one of the largest land redistribution efforts in history. Prior to independence the country was part of U.S. commonwealth - a self governing unit and had an army before WWII - you might remember that's why McArthur was there. The country was just few years away from the planned independence when the country was invaded. The United States assist the country in resisting the Japanese.
A few months after the conclusion of the war the Philippines became independent. Its prewar army was reconstituted and became, with the assistance of the United States, one of the more professional armies in region.
Who was assisting who? The country was independent a few months after the end of the war. Should we also provide benefits to the Mexican Air Force pilots who flew against the Axis? How about Brazil? Them too? How about members of the French resistance?
How much aid did we provide to the Philippines after the war and to what end?
The war that did not end at 11am on 11 November
Every year we remember that the guns of the First World War ceased firing at 11am on 11 November 1918. We imagine universal relief at the carnage of war finally ending, at least in the victorious countries. The armistice was agreed at 5.10am on 11 November to come into effect at 11am. The news was conveyed around Europe within the hour. The original armistice was for a period of 36 days, after which it had to be renewed. This was done four times before the Treaty of Versailles was signed. The only problem is that the war did not completely stop at 11am on 11 November.
The Entente had already agreed armistices with Bulgaria on 29 September, the Ottomans on 30 October, and the Austro-Hungarian Government on 3 November. Germany was the last of the Central Powers to sue for peace. The Armistice with Germany was agreed to come into effect at 11am to allow time for the news to reach combatants. However, fighting continued in several places during and after that time, including on the Western Front.
General John Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Force, did not approve of the armistice. Consequently he gave no instructions to his commanders to suspend any new offensive action during the remaining hours until 11am. This gave individual commanders latitude to determine their actions in the last few hours and in some quarters there was fierce fighting up to 11am which was difficult to stop. On 11 November alone were nearly 11,000 casualties, dead, missing and injured, exceeding those on D-Day in 1944. Over 3,500 of these were American. Pershing had to face a Congressional hearing to explain why there were so many deaths when the hour of the armistice was known in advance.
The Commander of the American Expeditionary Force, Lieutenant General John J. Pershing, landing off the boat at Boulogne, 13 June 1917. IWM Q 5510
The message did not reach East Africa as easily as the Western Front. For 4 years British, Indian and local troops, joined by South Africans, Belgians and Portuguese, had been trying to capture Major General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, the German commander of 14,000 men. Although he had a much smaller army than the ones he was facing, his practice of targeting forts and railway lines meant he could not be ignored. Throughout the war his force caused British and Indian troops to be diverted from other fronts. The weather, the lack of supply lines and various other conditions caused a high death rate amongst local people in East Africa, particularly from diseases, the numbers for which can only be estimated.
A unit of the King’s African Rifles advance along the Rufjii river. IWM Q 45778
A telegram sent to East Africa from Europe could take between a couple of hours and a whole day to arrive. In anticipation of the armistice, on 10 November, the British General Staff sent a telegram to the force in East Africa asking them for the quickest way to get a message to von Lettow-Vorbeck. This was not straightforward as he had been evading the Allies for four years and his force was scattered. On 12 November, the two sides clashed again and von Lettow-Vorbeck only received notice that the war had ended later. There was a truce and in line with agreed instructions Lettow-Vorbeck formally surrendered his troops at Abercorn on 25 November.
Telegram reading ‘In case there is an armistice what would be the quickest way of sending a message to von Lettow? Could a despatch rider get from Langenburg to Kasama?’ The National Archives, WO 158/465
The other area where the war did not stop was North Russia, in particular Murmansk and Archangel, the two main British bases in the region. Russia had capitulated in June 1917 after the Russian Revolution. Under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed with Germany on 3 March 1918, the Russian empire had been split and its constituent countries restored to independence, but they were quickly occupied by Germany. After the armistice, the question of who controlled Russia remained. As winter approached, the British Government had to decide whether to retain forces in the region as with the extreme cold, there was the risk of being frozen in until the following year.
But even before November 1918, with Russia engaged in civil war, her former allies were concerned about Bolshevik ambitions. The newly independent countries, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, were also anxious, and appealed to the Allied governments for support. In Britain, thoughts of assistance were counterbalanced by fears of being drawn in to a foreign conflict with further loss of life. Part of the armistice agreement was that German troops in the Baltics should remain in the area as a precaution against Bolshevism. After the armistice, the number of allied troops in the region increased. The reasons for engagement had changed, but they still faced loss of life.
An icebreaker making a passage for the North Russia Relief Force Expedition. Q 16895
An armistice is a ceasefire, not an official end to war. Demobilisation of British, colonial and imperial troops did not finish until 1920, considerably longer than servicemen had anticipated. This caused more than one mutiny. Despite the unlikeliness that the Central Powers would resume combat, troops had to be prepared to fight again. Whilst we remember all those who died, and how 11 November represented the end of the war for most, this was not true for all and there was still fighting and dying after the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.
3 November 1944 - History
The following information comes from, "A Day to Remember", and is printed in the 394th Regimental History called: FROM BATTLE BABIES TO VETS. THE COMBAT HISTORY OF THE 394TH INFANTRY REGIMENT. Prepared by the 394th Infantry Special Services.
Nov.15, 1942- 394th is activated at CampVan Dorn, Miss. under the command of Col. Lester MacGregor.
Aug.15, 1943- D-Series manuvers begin in Miss.,last till Sept. 9.
Sept.17, 1943-Louisiana Manuvers begin, end Nov. 15 in Texas. Divisions participating: 99th, 84th, 102nd, 103rd.
Nov.16, 1943- The 394th enters training at Camp Maxey (The Jap Trap) at Paris, Tx. for further training.
Sept.12, 1944- Good Bye Maxey!
Sept.15-17, 1944- Hello Camp Miles Standish, Mass.
Sept.28-29, 1944- Up the gangplank at the Boston P.O.E.
Oct.10, 1944- 2d Bn. on the "Exchequer" docks at Guorock, Scotland.
Oct.11, 1944- 3d Bn., on "Explorer", docks at Guorock, Scotland while 1st Bn. and Special Units, on "Excelsior", dock at Liverpool England.
Oct.13, 1944- 394th arrives at Dorsetshire, Southern England.
Nov.2, 1944- Move from Southern England to France gets underway.
Nov.6, 1944- 394th lands at Leharve, France.
Nov.14, 1944- Regiment goes on line in the Weisserstein-Losheimergraben sector, relieving the 60th Infantry, 9th Division.
Nov.22, 1944- Maj. Kris takes a combat patrol from C company into Losheim, tears the town apart.
Dec.16, 1944- Germans open their Winter Offensive in the Ardennes.
Dec.17, 1944- THe regiment withdraws to Murringen.
Dec.18, 1944- 394th slips past the Germans to Elsenborn, Belgium.
Dec.19, 1944- Deffensive positions are set up around Elsenborn.
Dec.20, 1944- Jerries throw tank and Infantry attack at 1st Bn., and are stopped cold by artillery.
Dec.28, 1944- Nazis try again, using 2 battailions of Infantry and 10 S-P guns, to pierce 1st Bn. lines. They are slaughtered by small arms, mortar, and artillery.
Jan.3, 1945- 2d Bn. sends out 3 reinforced platoons on combat patrol. G company patrol kills 34 kruats.
Bill's Big Blog-o-rama
Ballpoint pens go on sale.
GI Bill of Rights passed and signed, providing benefits to U.S. service veterans.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt wins unprecedented fourth term, defeating Republican Thomas Dewey.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower talks to paratroopers of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division before their departure for Normandy, June 5, 1944. [photo insert]
First German V1 and V2 Rockets fired.
Hitler escapes assassination attempt by members of his general staff.
Bretton Woods conferees (in July, New Hampshire) create International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) in hopes of averting another Great Depression.
Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes at Bretton Woods [photo insert].
U.S., UK, USSR propose establishing a United Nations.
Books: Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (2 vols) published.
Movies: Casablanca (1942) wins 4 Academy Awards: Best Picture Humphrey Bogart, Best Actor Michael Curtiz, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Microwave oven invented (see 1952).
The FCC creates the commercial (television) broadcasting spectrum of 13 channels, and receives 130 applications for broadcast licenses.
December 3, 1945 Walter Reuther, UAW
Churchill, FDR, Stalin meet at Yalta in the Crimea.
U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Ho Chi Minh creates provisional government in Vietnam declares independence of Vietnam.
British return Vietnam authority to French.
Decolonization and Independence movements begin in Africa and Asia.
Movies: Murder, My Sweet National Velvet They Were Expendable
Songs: “White Christmas” (1941) hits #1 again (and repeats in 1947)
Bob Hope USO show, Germany [photo insert].
White bluesman Johnny Otis assembles a combo for Harlem Nocturne that is basically a shrunk-down version of the big-bands of swing.
Mercury is founded in Chicago.
Jules Bihari founds Modern Records in Los Angeles, specializing in black music.
Bill Monroe’s Kentucky Waltz popularizes the “bluegrass” style .
Bikinis are introduced in Paris. Micheline Bernardini wearing first bikini [photo insert].
Dr. Spock publishes The Common Book of Baby and Child Care.
1946 is generally recognized as the first year of the “Baby Boom” generation.
Strapless bras become popular, ushering in a trend toward bare-shouldered women’s fashions.
“Tide”—the first detergent designed for automatic clothes washing machines—introduced.
First electric clothes dryers available.
Suntan lotions, developed for troops during World War II, marketed to consumers for the first time.
Atomic Energy Commission established.
U.S. industry idled by widespread labor strikes federal government takes control of railroads most wartime price controls eliminated.
Jackie Robinson signs with Brooklyn Dodgers (plays next season).
Juan Perón becomes President of Argentina.
Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.
Winston Churchill gives “Iron Curtain” Speech.
Indochina war begins to liberate Vietnam from French control.
John Foster Dulles, Adlai Stevenson, and Eleanor Roosevelt at the United Nations [photo insert].
President Truman establishes Temporary Committee on Employee Loyalty.
HUAC (House UnAmerican Activities Committee) decides to investigate “communist” influence in Hollywood.
Movies: The Best Years of Our Lives, Notorious, Great Expectations
Songs: Tenderly, Come Rain or Come Shine, Zip-a-dee-doo-dah
TV Shows: Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, Esso Newsreel (programming limited to approximately 12 hours per week on two networks).
Books: Hiroshima, John Hersey All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren
Muddy Waters cuts the first records of Chicago’s electric blues (rhythm and blues).
Lew Chudd founds Imperial Records in Los Angeles, specializing in black music.
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film company opens a recording business to sell their movie soundtracks.
Polaroid cameras invented.
The transistor co-invented at Bell Labs.
First Levittowns constructed on Long Island, NY.
Levitt Cape, ca. 1947 [photo insert].
Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier.
Dead Sea Scrolls discovered.
Thor Heyerdahl sails from Peru to Polynesia on a raft to prove theory of human migration.
Over 1 million veterans enroll in college through the G.I. Bill.
Inventor Earl Tupper invents Tupperware, and with it the “Tupperware party,” a unique way of marketing the products directly to homemakers.
Henry Ford dies, leaving $600 million fortune [$ 5.7 billion in 2005 dollars].
North America and Europe both experience severe winters. New York is hit with 28 inches of snow (Dec. 17), while Britain has its harshest winter in over 50 years.
First documented sightings of “flying saucers.”
Drive-in theatres become a booming industry.
Boeing 377 Stratocruiser [photo insert].
Jewish refugees aboard the Exodus turned back by British.
India and Pakistan declared separate, independent nations.
Truman Doctrine [establishes ideological component of Containment] delivered 12 March 1947 before a Joint Session of Congress.
Marshall Plan [economic component of containment] proposed. George C. Marshall delivered speech at Harvard University, June 5
National Security Act establishes the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
President Truman establishes FELP (Federal Employee Loyalty Program) to counter Republicans and to rally Americans to his foreign policy of containment. Four million employees investigated during HST administration 378 dismissed another 2000 left jobs under cloud of suspicion.
Justice Department compiles “The List” of potential subversives (those with ties to communist, totalitarian, fascist, subversive movements) to help FELP. Although supposed to be kept secret, the List was published later in the year. Its publication gave Congress information with which to prosecute the Red Scare and private sector firms information that underlay the blacklisting program.
HUAC charges “Hollywood Ten” with contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the Hollywood investigations. Despite protests by Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, and Gene Kelley, studio executives begin to “blacklist” any artists who refuse to cooperate with HUAC.
Congress passes over President Truman’s veto the Taft-Hartley Act, which in part, restrains unions’ abilities to strike.
Congress passes 22nd Amendment (limiting individuals to two terms as president) 36 states will need to ratify within 7 years.
Movies: Gentleman’s Agreement
TV Shows: Kraft Television Theatre, Small Fry Club (programming limited to approximately 18 hours per week), Pres. Truman first president to address the American people on TV from the White House (international food crisis suggests meatless Tuesdays).
Milton Berle premiers Milton Berle Show Texaco Star Theatre variety show will be on the air until 1956, then 1958-1959, 1966-1967 under various titles. Prime example of vaudeville roots of early comedy on television.
Books: Doktur Faustus, Thomas Mann The Diary of Anne Frank I, the Jury, Mickey Spillaine Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire wins Pulitzer Prize
Billboard’s writer Jerry Wexler coins the term “rhythm and blues” for Chicago’s electric blues.
Roy Brown writes and cuts Good Rockin’ Tonight in Texas.
Six majors control the music market: Columbia, RCA Victor, Decca, Capitol, MGM, Mercury.
Ahmet Ertegun founds Atlantic in New York to promote black music at the border between jazz, rhythm and blues and pop.
“Big Bang” theory formulated.
Alfred Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male is the first large-scale study of individuals’ sexual habits, with stunning revelations about infidelity, homosexuality and other issues.
Boxer Joe Louis retires Babe Ruth dies.
New York’s Idlewild Airport opens (renamed JFK Airport in 1963).
Swiss outdoorsman George de Mestral invents Velcro.
Noted food critic Duncan Hines founds a company to make prepackaged cake mixes.
Popcorn sold on a mass scale for the first time.
The game of “Scrabble” is introduced.
U.S. continues to cope with severe postwar inflation while rocked by labor unrest.
United Auto Workers succeed in linking wage increases to cost-of-living index in contract with General Motors.
Policy of Apartheid begun in South Africa.
Eleanor Roosevelt, whom Pres. Truman appointed as delegate to the United Nations, helped draft the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Dec. 1948 adopted)
Congress enacts federal rent controls.
Congress gives $17 billion for Marshall Plan.
President Truman orders integration of all U.S. armed services.
Selective Service inaugurated, providing a continuous peacetime military draft until repealed in 1973.
Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman premieres and wins Pulitzer and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award (1949).
Movies: Hamlet, Macbeth (Orson Welles), The Naked City, Oliver Twist, The Fallen Idol.
Songs: Nature Boy, Buttons and Bows, All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.
TV Shows: Howdy Doody, Philco TV Playhouse, Toast of the Town, Kraft Television Theatre, Meet the Press Boxing and wrestling are TV’s prime attractions.
Books: Crusade in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton The Ides of March, Thorton Wilder Tales of the South Pacific, James Michener
The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer.
Pete Seeger forms the Weavers, which start the “folk revival”.
Columbia introduces the 12-inch 33-1/3 RPM long-playing vinyl record.
Ed Sullivan starts a variety show on national television (later renamed “Ed Sullivan Show”).
The magazine “Billboard” introduces charts for “folk” and “race” records.
First non-stop flight around the world (U.S. Air Force plane, Lucky Lady).
George Orwell publishes Nineteen Eight-Four.
Chinese Communists take control of China.
NATO established [military component of containment—North Atlantic Treaty Organization].
Soviet Union has atomic bomb.
Israel becomes member of United Nations.
Apartheid official government policy in South Africa.
East and West Germany become nations.
Smith Act (1940 antisubversion law) Trials begin. Eleven communist leaders charged with using ideas to bring down the government.
Board of Regents of the University of California imposed a requirement that all University employees sign an oath affirming not only loyalty to the state constitution, but a denial of membership or belief in organizations (including Communist organizations) advocating overthrow of the United States government.
Movies: The Third Man, All the King’s Men Adam’s Rib
Songs: So In Love, Riders in the Sky, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Some Enchanted Evening.
TV Shows: Texaco Star Theatre, Candid Camera, Colgate Theatre, Kukla, Fran & Ollie.
Books: The Man with the Golden Arm, Nelson Algren The Jacaranda Tree, H.E. Bates Guard of Honor, James Gould Cozzens Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford This I Remember, Eleanor Roosevelt
South Pacific opens on Broadway February 21, 1949
Fats Domino cuts The Fat Man, a new kind of boogie.
Hank Williams’ Lovesick Blues reaches the top of the country charts.
Scatman Crothers cuts I Want To Rock And Roll (1949), with Wild Bill Moore on saxophone.
RCA Victor introduces the 45 RPM vinyl record.
Population: Total Growth Rate Increase
World: 2,556,517,137 1.47 37,798,160
U.S. 152,271,000 2.07 3,083,000
APRIL: 5,343,000 TV sets are in American Homes.
MAY: 103 TV Stations in 60 cities
SEPTEMBER: 7,535,000 TV sets in USA
OCTOBER: 8,000,000 TV sets — 107 stations
3,880,000 U.S. homes have television sets (9% of all homes)
ATOMIC BOMBING HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF published [photo insert].
First modern credit card introduced.
First Peanuts cartoon strip [photo insert].
Officer Leslie Coffelt, White House Police, was shot and killed by Puerto Rican nationalists while protecting President Truman at the Blair House on November 1, 1950.
Korean War Begins in June.
President Truman Orders Construction of Hydrogen Bomb.
U.S. commits $15 ml [$116.3 mil in 2005 dollars] and military mission and advisors to aid French in Indochina.
Bob Hope, Wosan, Korea 1950 [photo insert]
Senator Joseph McCarthy joins the Red Scare with his communist witch hunt in February.
Two of “Hollywood Ten” imprisoned other 8 are convicted of contempt.
Alger Hiss found guilty of perjury—Richard Nixon’s political star rises.
In the summer,thirty-one “non-signer” University of California professors—including internationally distinguished scholars, not one of whom had been charged with professional unfitness or personal disloyalty—and many other UC employees were dismissed for refusing to sign the “loyalty oath.”
California enacts Levering Act requiring all state employees to sign loyalty oaths.
Movies: Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve, I Married a Communist It Can’t Happen Here Father of the Bride
Songs: A Bushel and a Peck, Good Night Irene, Mona Lisa, C’est Si Bon.
TV Shows: Arthur Godfrey and Friends, Lux Video Theatre, Fred Waring Show, Your Hit Parade, Fireside Theatre TV hero Hopalong Cassidy peaks in popularity
Your Show of Shows 2/25/1950 – 6/6/1954 NBC Black and White 90 minutes Feb 1950 – June 1954 Sat. 9:00 – 10:30 Starring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca With Carl Reiner and Howard Morris, Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, The Jack Benny Show 10/28/1950 – 9/10/1965 CBS/NBC Black and White 30 minutes The Jack Benny Show Cast – Jack Benny
Mary Livingstone (Mrs. Jack Benny) (1950-1959) Don Wilson – Announcer Eddie “Rochester” Anderson as Rochester Van Jones (valet) Dennis Day, Mel Blanc, Artie Auerbach and Frank Nelson. Jack Benny moved his successful radio to show to TV slowly. First aired as a series of specials, then increasingly shown more often as the years passed. Benny, known for his repetitve 39th birthdays, had an unstated sense of humor. His exchanges with Rochester are classics of comedy.
Books: The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury Across the River and Into the Trees, Ernest Hemmingway Darkness at Noon, Sidney Kingsley The Way West, A.B. Guthrie, Jr.
Guys and Dolls premieres George Bernard Shaw dies
Jac Holzman founds Elektra in New York to promote new folk and jazz musicians.
The first major rhythm’n’blues festival is held in Los Angeles (the “Blues & Rhythm Jubilee”).
Dutch electronics giant Philips enters the recording business.
Color TV introduced – CBS broadcasts first color program from NYC.
Mass production of penicillin and streptomycin reaches records.
Electricity generated from nuclear power for the first time.
22nd Amendment (limiting individual to 2 terms as president) ratified (Feb.)
Triggered by the attack on Truman, Congress enacted legislation that permanently authorized Secret Service protection of the President, his immediate family, the President-elect, and the Vice President, if he wishes. (Public Law – 82-79).
South Africans forced to carry ID cards identifying race.
Truman signs Peace Treaty with Japan, officially ending WWII.
Winston Churchill again Prime Minister of Great Britain.
President Truman relieves General Douglas MacArthur of command.
General Douglas MacArthur: Farewell Address to Congress delivered April 19, 1951.
Kefauver Crime Committee hearings of March 1951 first televised congressional hearings.
Duck and Cover—short film produced by Civil Defense to instruct school children how to react to an atomic bomb attack on their school.
The theme song:
There was a turtle by the name of Bert
and Bert the turtle was very alert
when danger threatened him he never got hurt
he knew just what to do…
He ducked! [inhalation sound]
Ducked! [inhalation sound]
Duck and Cover – the movie
U.S. Supreme Court upholds convictions from Smith Act trial.
Movies: The African Queen, An American in Paris, Strangers on a Train, A Streetcar Named Desire
Songs: Hello Young Lovers, Getting to Know You, Cry, Kisses Sweeter than Wine, In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening.
TV Shows: I Love Lucy, Adventures of Ellery Queen, Captain Video, What’s My Line
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz [photo insert]
See It Now
9/11/1951 – 4/7/1958 CBS 30 minutes Black and White/Color Edward R Murrow, anchor
Fred W. Friendly and Edward R. Murrow, producers
See It Now pioneered many features which now seem synonymous with news reporting. They were the first to use their own footage and not newreel film. They introduced the use of field producers. Interviews were not rehearsed.
On a split screen, viewers of the first installment could see both the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges – spanning the continent in a single moment. This was the first live commercial coast to coast broadcast.
For seven years Murrow, with cigarette smoke swirling about him, let Americans see the world from their TV screens.
Murrow was the first commentator to publicly condemn Senator Joseph McCarthy. Although many of his stands were courageous, he attracted controversy and this often worried sponsors.
Books: A Man Called Peter, Catherine Marshall Lie Down in Darkness, William Styron Desirée, Annemarie Selinko From Here to Eternity, James Jones
The Caine Mutiny, Herman Woulk The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
The King and I opens on Broadway
The white Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed decides to speculate on the success of Leo Mintz’s store and starts a radio program, “Moondog Rock’n’Roll Party”, that broadcasts black music to an audience of white teenagers.
The first juke-box that plays 45 RPM records is introduced
Car seat belts introduced
Jacques Cousteau discovers ancient Greek ship
Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen at age 25
Simone De Beauvoir publishes The Second Sex
First contraceptive pill developed
Dr. Jonas Salk develops polio vaccine
Microwave ovens the size of refrigerators and costing $1,200 [$8,535.75 in 2005] go on sale.
Eleanor Roosevelt left her post at the United Nations to campaign for Adlai Stevenson against Dwight Eisenhower.
Tuskegee Institute reports that, for the first time in the 71 years it has been keeping records, there were no lynchings of African Americans during the year.
HUAC opens second wave of Hollywood hearings.
President-elect Eisenhower in Korea, December 1952 [photo insert]
Movies: Limelight, High Noon, Moulin Rouge, The Greatest Show on Earth, Singin’ in the Rain
Songs: It Takes Two to Tango, Your Cheatin’ Heart, Wheel of Fortune
TV Shows: Our Miss Brooks, Jackie Gleason Show, I Love Lucy, Dina Shore, Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
Books: The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway East of Eden, John Steinbeck The Grass Harp, Truman Capote The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale
Revised Standard Version of the Bible published
Alec Haley forms the Comets, the first rock and roll band
The Weavers, accused of being communists, are forced to dissolve
Sam Phillips founds Sun Records and declares “If I could find a white man who sings with the Negro feel, I’ll make a million dollars”
Hillary and Norgay climb Mt. Everest
Playboy founded by Hugh Hefner
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed for espionage
Screen Writers Guild allows producers to remove screen credits for writers with Communist ties.
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible premieres.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Atoms for Peace”
Movies: Roman Holiday, From Here to Eternity, The Robe (first major motion picture filmed in wide-screen CinemaScope)
Songs: Doggie in the Window, I Believe, Stranger in Paradise, I Love Paris
TV Shows: Twenty Questions, Red Skelton Show, GE Theatre, Make Room for Daddy
Books: Casino Royale, Ian Fleming Battle Cry, Leon Uris
TV Guide debuts with a cover of Lucille Ball and her newborn son, Desi Arnaz IV
Bill Haley’s Crazy Man Crazy is the first rock and roll song to enter the Billboard charts
The Orioles’ Crying in the Chapel is the first black hit to top the white pop charts
Sam Phillips records the first Elvis Presley record in his Sun studio of Memphis using two recorders to produce an effect of “slapback” audio delay
What Things Cost in 1953: 2005 equivalent using inflation index (consumer prices):
Car: $1,850 $ 12,876.01
Gasoline: 29 cents/gal 2.02
House: $17,500 121,800.09
Bread: 16 cents/loaf 1.11
Milk: 94 cents/gal 6.54
Postage Stamp: 3 cents .21
Stock Market: 281
Average Annual Salary: $4,700 32,712.02
Minimum Wage: 75 cents per hour 5.22
Britain sponsors an expedition to search for the Abominable Snowman
First atomic submarine launched
Report says cigarettes cause cancer
New York Stock Exchange prices reach their highest level since 1929
Roger Bannister breaks the four-minute mile
Henry Luce founded Sports Illustrated
In Brown v. Board of Education, the decision widely regarded as having sparked the modern civil rights era, the Supreme Court rules deliberate public school segregation illegal, effectively overturning “separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson. Chief Justice Earl Warren, writing for a unanimous Court, notes that to segregate children by race “generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.” Thurgood Marshall heads the NAACP/Legal Defense Fund team winning the ruling.
Hernandez v. Texas becomes the first Mexican American discrimination case to reach the Supreme Court. The case involves a murder conviction by a jury that includes no Latinos. Chief Justice Earl Warren holds persons of Mexican descent are “persons of a distinct class” entitled to the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The phrase “under God” added to the Pledge of Allegiance
Abdul Nasser seizes power in Egypt
SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) established
Eisenhower refers to “domino theory” regarding Southeast Asia
Vietnamese Communists occupy Dien Bien Phu and Hanoi
U.S. signs pact with Taiwan
U.S. tests hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll
Geneva Accords (U.S. does not sign) dividing Vietnam and calling for national elections
CIA aids in the overthrow of the Guatemalan government
Eisenhower at the World Council of Churches Second Assembly, Evanston, IL John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State on his left.
March 9th Edward R. Murrow’s “See it Now” television program exposes McCarthy’s tactics and falsehoods.
Army-McCarthy hearings broadcast on two television networks between April 22 and June 17
McCarthy-Welch Exchange: “Have You No Sense of Decency”
Senate condemns Sen. Joe McCarthy (December 2)
Movies: On the Waterfront, Rear Window, The Seven Samauri
Songs: Hernando’s Hideaway, Three Coins in a Fountain, Mister Sandman, Young at Heart
TV Shows: Jack Benny Show, Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, George Gobel Show, Mr. Wizard, Disneyland
Books: A Stillness at Appomattox, Bruce Catton The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Flies, William Golding
Joe Turner cuts the blues novelty Shake Rattle And Roll
The record companies switch from 78 RPMs to 45 RPMs
The first Newport Jazz Festival is held, the first jazz festival in the world
James Dean Dies in Car Accident
McDonald’s Corporation Founded
Ford Motor Co. introduces Thunderbird
Alan Ginsberg publishes “Howl”
Davy Crockett (introduced in Dec. 1954) becomes a national fad sales of “coonskin” caps soar
Disneyland opens in Anaheim, CA
AFL and CIO merge into one union of unions
President Eisenhower hospitalized for 3 weeks after heart attack (Sept-Oct)
Rudolph Flesch publishes Why Johnny Can’t Read
March 28, 1955 IBM’s Thomas Watson, Jr. June 25, 1955 Walter Reuther
“Be sure to give mine special attention” [photo insert]
The baby boom generation pushed the limits of available school resources, contributing to overcrowding, substandard buildings, and teacher shortages. President Dwight Eisenhower hosted the first White House Conference on Education shortly after this cartoon appeared but he hesitated to secure needed funding.
Herblock, November 23, 1955
U.S. announces plans to orbit man-made satellite
Soviet Union announces plans to orbit man-made satellite
Albert Einstein dies in April at age 76.
Italy, W. Germany, and France establish European Union
Rosa Parks refuses to move to the back of a Montgomery, Alabama, bus as required by city ordinance boycott follows.
Interstate Commerce Commission bans segregation on interstate trains and buses.
Disneyland Gets Its Last Touches
(July 9, 1955, The New York Times)
(Anaheim, Calif. July 8) – The final fantastic touches are being put on Disneyland. The $16,500,000 amusement park created by Walt Disney, the film producer, is scheduled to open July 18. It covers sixty acres and is calculated to draw about 5,000,000 visitors a year. Disneyland is situated in this citrus-ranching suburb twenty-two miles from Los Angeles. For it the appellation “amusement park” is inadequate for it has no such banalities as rollercoasters, Ferris wheels and dodge-’ems in a milieu of honky tonk. In concept, it is an integrated juvenile world’s fair of fantasy. The entrance gate takes you into “Main Street – U.S.A.” – a re-creation of the typical American town of 1890. Like everything else in the park, down to railroad trains and park benches, “Main Street”, is built on a five-eighths scale.
Movies: Mister Roberts, Lady and the Tramp, Strategic Air Command, The Seven Year Itch.
Rebel Without A Cause and Blackboard Jungle establish a new role model for teenagers, the rebellious loner and sometimes juvenile delinquent
Songs: Rock Around the Clock, The Yellow Rose of Texas, Davy Crockett, Love is a Many Splendored Thing
TV Shows: Truth or Consequences, Lawrence Welk Show, The Honeymooners, Gunsmoke, Name that Tune, $64,000 Question, Lassie, You’ll Never Get Rich
Books: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Sloan Wilson Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov Witness for the Prosecution, Agatha Christie
Pete Seeger releases the first album of African music by a white musician, Bantu Choral Folk Songs
Elvis on Ed Sullivan’s Show
Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco
T.V. Remote Control invented
President Eisenhower signs bill authorizing Interstate Highway System
More Americans working in white collar jobs than in blue collar jobs
IN GOD WE TRUST declared the national motto
Hungarian Revolution—Soviet troops enter Hungary
Khrushchev denounces Stalin
Pakistan becomes a Muslim nation
Japan joins United Nations
Coalition of Southern congressmen calls for massive resistance to Supreme Court desegregation rulings
Montgomery bus boycott ends in victory, December 21, after the city announces it will comply with a November Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation on buses illegal
Earlier in the year, Martin L. King’s home bombed. Autherine Lucy is first African American admitted to the University of Alabama
Playwright Arthur Miller appears before HUAC, but does not “name names.” (The following year, Miller is convicted of contempt of Congress.)
President Eisenhower and Indian Prime Minister Nehru at the White House, December, 1956
Movies: The Ten Commandments, Lust for Life, Around the World in 80 Days, The Man with the Golden Arm, The Seventh Seal, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Searchers
Songs: Don’t Be Cruel, Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, I Could Have Danced All Night, On the Street Where You Live
TV Shows: Danny Thomas Show, Perry Como Show, Ed Sullivan Show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, December Bride, This is Your Life
NBC News with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley (show began in 1948 Huntley and Brinkley would work together until 1970, when Huntley died. Top-rated news show.
David Brinkley Chet Huntley [photo insert]
Books: Peyton Place, Grace Metalious Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy The Last Hurrah, Edwin O’Connor The Organization Man, W.H. Whyte
My Fair Lady opens in New York
Artist Jackson Pollock dies
Heartbreak Hotel starts Presley-mania
The rock’n’roll music of white rockers is called “rockabilly” (rock + hillbilly)
The popularity of rock and roll causes the record industry to boom and allows independent labels to flourish
Dr. Seuss Publishes The Cat in the Hat
New York Giants move to San Francisco Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angeles
“Beatnik” used to describe “Beat Generation” counterculture movement
U.S. Treasury begins adding IN GOD WE TRUST to all currency (coins, in an intermittent fashion, had the motto since the Civil War)
Births per thousand begin decline, signaling decline of “Baby Boom” (c. 1963/1964 ended)
European Economic Community Established
Soviet Satellite Sputnik Launches Space Age
Laika Becomes the First Living Animal to Orbit Space
International Atomic Energy Agency established
Great Britain explodes thermonuclear bomb
“Eisenhower Doctrine” pledges U.S. will defend the Middle Eastern nations against communism
Pres. Eisenhower suffers a stroke (Nov.) has difficulty speaking for over a month
AFL-CIO expel Teamsters for ties to organized crime
Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus uses National Guard to block nine black students from attending a Little Rock High School following a court order, President Eisenhower sends in federal troops to ensure compliance.
Congress enacts first significant Civil Rights legislation in 82 years—since Reconstruction. It established a Civil Rights Commission and a civil rights division in the Department of Justice and furnished a weak process for protecting voting rights. Pres. Eisenhower, who had supported the initial, stronger bill, admitted publicly that he did not understand parts of the bill that passed
U.S. Supreme Court, in a series of decisions, essentially halt Smith Act indictments (over 140 communist leaders had been indicted)
John Henry Faulk (with financial help from Edward R. Murrow) fights blacklisting of radio artists by AWARE (wins suit in 1962).
Movies: The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Prince and the Showgirl, Twelve Angry Men, Love in the Afternoon The Spirit of St. Louis
And God Created Woman, a film starring Bridgette Bardot, becomes a controversial sensation many communities ban the film based on its supposed sexual content
Songs: Young Love, Tonight, Wake Up Little Suie, That’ll Be the Day, Jailhouse Rock
TV Shows: Phil Silvers Show, Father Knows Best, Price is Right, American Bandstand, Twenty-One, Leave it to Beaver, Nat “King” Cole Show
Books: On the Road, Jack Kerouac Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
West Side Story and The Music Man open in New York
Max Mathews begins composing computer music at Bell Laboratories
Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat launches “calypso”
Boris Pasternak refuses Nobel Prize
Hope Diamond is donated to the Smithsonian
Hula Hoops Become Popular
Lego Toy Bricks First Introduced
Arnold Palmer wins his first Masters golf tournament
U.S. launches man-made satellite, Explorer I
Boeing B707 America’s first commercial jet airliner delivered
Vice President Nixon tour of South America met with protests
Chinese Leader Mao Tse-Tung Launches the “Great Leap Forward”
European Common Market established
Charles de Gaulle becomes President of France
U.S. Marines sent to Lebanon
Movies: Auntie Mame, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Defiant Ones, The Old Man and the Sea
TV Shows: You Asked for It, Wagon Train, To Tell the Truth, The Rifleman, Donna Reed Show, Have Gun Will Travel
Songs: Catch a Falling Star, Chipmunk Song, Volare, The Purple People Eater, At the Hop
Books: A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry Exodus, Leon Uris Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak Masters of Deceit, J. Edgar Hoover Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
The Affluent Society, John K. Gailbraith
The “Cha Cha” becomes a dance craze
New York’s Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opens
The film company Warner Brothers enters the recording business
The Kingston Trio’s song Tom Dooley launches the folk revival
The Sound of Music Opens on Broadway
U.S. Quiz Shows Found to be Fixed
Studies determine that more Americans have died in auto accidents than in all U.S. wars combined
Toy manufacturer Wham-O introduces the “Frisbee”
Alaska and Hawaii are admitted as states.
Hawaii, the 50th state, elects Hiram Fong (of Chinese ancestry) and Daniel Inouye (of Japanese ancestry) to represent them in Congress, the first two Asian Americans to serve in that body.
Castro Becomes Dictator of Cuba
April 1959, 2 months after Castro takes control in Cuba
International Treaty Makes Antarctica Scientific Preserve
U.S. and Canada complete St. Lawrence Seaway
Kitchen Debate Between Nixon and Khrushchev [link]
President Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev Camp David September 1959 (National Park Service) [photo insert]
Movies: The Entertainer, Rio Bravo, Some Like It Hot, North By Northwest, Ben Hur, Sleeping Beaut,y Suddenly Last Summer, Anatomy of a Murder, Hiroshima Mon Amour
Songs: Mack the Knife, High Hopes, Personality, Kansas City, Battle of New Orleans
TV Shows: Maverick, Rawhide, Fibber McGee and Molly, Peter Gunn, Real McCoys, Dennis the Menace
The Dobie Gillis Show premiers with “Beatnik” character Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver) in supporting role
Comedian Lenny Bruce appears on The Steve Allen Show.
Books: Goodbye, Columbus, Philip Roth Goldfinger, Ian Fleming The Miracle Worker, William Gibson The Status Seekers, Vance Packard The Tin Drum, Günter Grass Advise and Consent, Allen Drury
The Drifters’ There Goes My Baby introduces Latin rhythm into pop music
Buddy Holly dies at 22 in a plane crash
Since 1955, the US market share of the four “majors” has dropped from 78% to 44%, while the market share of independent record companies increased from 22% to 56%
Since 1955, the US market has increased from 213 million dollars to 603 million, and the market share of rock and roll has increased from 15.7% to 42.7%
Television sets sold: 5,749,000 this year (85.9% of all households)
45,750,000 U.S. homes have television sets
What Things Cost in 1959: 2005 equivalent using inflation index (consumer prices):
Car: $2,200 $ 14,052.39
Gasoline: 30 cents/gal 1.92
House: $18,500 118,167.79
Bread: 20 cents/loaf 1.28
Milk: $1.01/gal 6.45
Postage Stamp: 4 cents .26
Stock Market: 679
Average Annual Salary: $5,500 35,130.97
Minimum Wage: $1.00 per hour 6.39
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Released
U.S.-French team aboard the deep-sea vessel Trieste dives to a record 35,800 feet in the Pacific
First studies linking cigarette smoking with heart disease
Church membership reaches 63% (114.5 million) (up from 50% in 1940)
Congo becomes independent of Belgium
Cyprus becomes independent republic
Soviet Union shoots down an American U-2 reconnaissance airplane over Soviet airspace and captures pilot Gary Powers U.S. admit to spying over USSR
February 1, Lunch counter sit-in by four college students in Greensboro, N.C. begins and spreads through the South.
On April 17, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded.
Congress approves a watered-down voting rights act after a filibuster by Southern senators. The Civil Rights Commission (from the 1957 act) was retained, but the Southern politicians prevented establishment of Federal registrars in the states.
Movies: Psycho, Spartacus, La Dolce Vita, Inherit the Wind, Swiss Family Robinson
Songs: Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Let’s Do the Twist, Never on Sunday, Teen Angel, Stay, Are You Lonesome Tonight
TV Shows: Perry Mason, Bonanza, My Three Sons, The Untouchables, Andy Griffith Show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Walt Disney Presents
Books: The Affair, C.P. Snow The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Allan Sillitoe To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee Rabbit, Run, John Updike The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer
The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back, Bob Newhart. Second comedy album to hit top of the charts (prequel, The Button-Down Mind was the first) wins 3 Grammy Awards (Best Album, Best New Artist, Best Comedy Performance) the following year.
Twist is the biggest dance-craze in the year of the dance-crazes
Pioneering rock-and-roll DJ Alan Freed arrested in national investigation of “payola” in radio industry
Larry Parnes, Britain’s most famous impresario, arranges a show for the Silver Beetles in Liverpool
The word “reggae” is coined in Jamaica to identify a “ragged” style of dance music, with its roots in New Orleans rhythm and blues
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Farewell Address, January 17, 1961.
John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address delivered January 20, 1961.
Population: Total Growth Rate Increase
World: 3,080,063,747 1.80 56,018,983
U.S.: 183,691,000 1.67 3,020,000
Barbie doll introduced in Europe
First commercially available integrated circuits
Daniel Boorstin publishes The Image (New York: Vintage, 1961), an incisive critique of the media and “pseudo events”
Adolf Eichmann on Trial for Role in Holocaust
Soviets Launch First Man in Space
NASA launches Alan Shepard in Freedom 7, first American human suborbital flight
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organizes Freedom Rides into the South to test new Interstate Commerce Commission regulations and court orders barring segregation in interstate transportation. Riders are beaten by mobs in several places, including Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala.
Movies: The Hustler, 101 Dalmatians, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, West Side Story, The Misfits, The Absent Minded Professor, Splendor in the Grass
Songs: Moon River, Where the Boys Are, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Blue Moon, The Lion Sleeps Tonight
TV Shows: Bullwinkle, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, Hazel, Dick Van Dyke Show, Top Cat
Books: Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein Catch-22, Joseph Heller The Carpetbaggers, Harold Robbins The Making of the President: 1960, Theodore White The Agony and the Ecstasy,
Irving Stone The Winter of Our Discontent, John Steinbeck
Bob Dylan arrives at New York’s Greenwich Village
British bluesman Alexis Korner forms the Blues Incorporated, with a rotating cast that will include Charlie Watts, John Surman, John McLaughlin, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richard, Eric Burdon, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, etc.
The Tokens’ The Lion Sleeps Tonight uses operatic singing, Neapolitan choir, yodel, proto-electronics
47 thoughts on &ldquoUSS Mount Hood and crew lost in massive explosion&rdquo
I find this article fascinating. My Dad’s dad was on this ship (dad was born in 1943) I was named after one of the soldiers on this ship. My grandmother was freaking out I was told as I was born a half hour before the date of his death. My father grew up without his father and has done the best he could with me. I’m sure me and my father will see him someday. RIP Charles Homer Ham.
My Granddather was on the Argonne, but had left the ship just a few months before this accident. He would stay in the navy until ‘47 but on another ship. I never got many stories out of him before he passed, but I’m glad this was one he couldn’t tell, what a disaster.
Thank you so much for sharing your story about the day the USS Hood exploded. I don’t get many stories from people who were there!
A lot of people will be very interested.
I hope you continue to enjoy a long retirement.
Michael A Robertazzi GM3/c 23 October 2019
On 10 November 1944 I was stationed at the Ammunition Depot on Manus Island. Over 100 of us 17/18 year old Apprentice Seaman just out of boot camp arrived about 3 weeks earlier to populate the Depot under construction by the Seebees. That morning I was preparing gunpowder samples for a surveillance oven. I had opened about 15 pieces of 5inch bag powder to fill sample jars for testing. Just as I was lighting a kerosene burner to melt paraffin wax to seal them there was a horrific explosion. The concussion and accompanying winds threw me to the floor. Dazed and with the timing of the explosion , the stress on the metal of the Quonset Hut and all the exposed gunpowder nearby I was certain I caused this explosion. I spent the next few seconds (head covered and eyes closed) of eerie silence in anguished guilt when a chorus of whistles, bells and sirens coming from the harbor broke the silence indicating that something far bigger had taken place. Looking out into the harbor I saw a number of ships scurrying about but because of the distance, I could not determine what had happened. Through the confusion it was soon reported that the Mount Hood an ammunition ship had blown up killing all hands on board and that a number of other ships had been damaged.
my father was the harbor captain. Harry Barron. Bud” for short. his boat was a harbor patrol crash boat. he told me many things about that day. The morning of the blast he was ordered by the CO of the base to tell the Hood to stop dumping garbage overboard as it was coming up on the old mans beachfront home. So my dad and his crew of 6 from his patrol boat Named K.B.J.B after my mother brother sister and dad. I did not come along til 1952. he said they went over to the mt. hood to relay the order to quit dumping the shit as the CO put it overboard in the harbor if they want to dump than do it out of the harbor dad than went to the ship about 25 mins of travel time to get over to her to give the order. he pulled along side and asked permisson to come aboard with orders from the CO the old man.he met the XO of the ship and relay the orders the XO than asked my dad if he would like to have some breakfast before he resume patrol in and out side the harbor. dad said he would like to but he had to finish his patrol he than left to resume his rounds about 30 mins later she blew it pushed the the stern of his boat out of the water for about 70 ft that is how long dads boat was.after she blew up they than went into rescue mold. for years after I was born dad did not like to hear heavy thumping the reason was that night on patrol in the area he heard a thumping on the starboard side they than checked out the noise and it was from a body hitting the side of the boat the was the XO from the mt.hood my dad shared that with me in 1963 pop died on may 29 2003 god I miss him.
My mother was pregnant with my brother when her husband Lloyd Strom was killed on the USS Mt. Hood. My mother never talked about it so we grew up not knowing our brother had lost his father until much later. My mother remarried her husband’s cousin, my dad, and raised three more children. It was real hard on her as she never had remains to bury. She did receive a folded flag. My brother is still alive but I never ask him about how he feels about his lost father. He has many letters sent to my mother from the ship while she was pregnant with him. I may ask to read them someday. He’s 74 this year. Born two months after the explosion. Never met his father.
My Dad was aboard the USS PRESIDENT HAYES APA20. He was a Seaman, Russell Frank Santen. My Dad died in 1955, and I never had an opportunity to talk to him about it. When I was about 16, my Aunt told me He never talked about it. My Grandfather, who was also serving in the Pacific, said He asked Him one time, and said my Dad walked out to the garage were they heard him sobbing for fifteen minutes. He never said one word about it! God Bless all those Great Guys!
My father Nick Shishnia was an EM3 on board the USS Medusa AR-1. He had orders that morning to go by motor whaleboat directly to the Mount Hood and help with some electrical repairs. Just before the boat left the Medusa a young Ensign held it up and ordered them to go first to the beach. My dad argued his case to go first to the Mount Hood but the Officer would not concede. Just as the whaleboat got to the beach and about the same time it would have arrived at the doomed ammunition ship my dad said “the Mount Hood disappeared” I would probably not be writing this story had it not been for a Junior Grade Officer eager to enjoy some liberty!
That photo of the Mindanao’s hull is incredible – imagine the force needed for a large projectile to punch a whole in the side of the ship.
I was there looking that way when it happened we were going ashore .we were low in the boat most of the blast went over us. they buried the dead seems like a week. toyko rose said they did it but we knew that was lie.
I have located a lengthy declassified document of the investigation and analysis of the explosion. It has a list of the Mt Hood crew:
My brother Darryl Grimes was on the Mt. Hood. There were only a few of the crew members that were saved. They had gone in to port for to pick up mail. I was born in Oct. 1946. The only marker that I’ve seen with Darryl Grimes listed is a WW II marker in a park outside Houston, TX. Does anyone know of a list of the crew of the Mt. Hood?
I am posting another comment for the purpose of locating any veteran who is still living and was at Manus at the time of the explosion and would like to connect with my father. I have located one sailor who was there and made the connection for them to talk by phone. http://www.journal-advocate.com/sterling-local_news/ci_31436060/sterling-veteran-larry-gaschler-remembers-uss-mount-hood
They were actually in the same boat pool but did not remember each other. The next morning Mr Gaschler called him back and said that he could not go to sleep until he zeroed in and remembered my dad and he remembered an arm wrestling match when my dad put down a big Finnish sailor.
My email address is [email protected] If anyone has a father or relative still living who was there please contact me.
I also have some more videos of some of his stories that I will post. A local news station recently did a short segment on him: https://www.wbir.com/article/news/local/military/service-sacrifice-wwii-veteran-turns-to-fiddle-making/51-612850687
Here is a video of him telling about the wrestling match:
I believe that this is probably the best place for his stories to be kept.
My Dad was station a shore on Manus with US Navy he saw the explosion happen. His name was Richard C Johnson
I now know more information on the time, and date of the damage to my Dad’s ship, PC588. I have photos of the damage to PC 588, It was a small amount of damage as compare to other ships. Dad is Charles D. McClain EM3. I also have all the names of the ships company, and a photo of most of them.
I am researching my family line and found a cousin Raymond Matthew Perry who died on the Mount Hood. He came from Prince Edward Island, Canada and was living in NY at time of joining the USN. Would there be any photos of the crew from this ship ? Thanks. Mike.
My father, J.W. Green is still living and just had his 95th birthday on 9/13/18. He was assigned to the amphibious unit Lion 4 and served as a Coxswain on an LCM landing craft and landed troops and equipment on the islands from New Guinea to the Philippines. He had been tied to the Mount Hood unloading ammunition all night and had just been relieved a couple of hours before it blew. A few months ago he had a severe nose bleed and we had to take him to the ER to get it stopped. We brought him home and I stayed with him that night and videoed him telling about the Mt Hood. He is still in his hospital gown and he didn’t know I was videoing. Here is his story in his own words:
I have since taken some better quality videos of his stories. Here is one I think you will enjoy:
My late father (Raymond Fahnestock) was a Baker in the US Navy. Upon completion of the US Navy’s “Baker’s School”, my father was ecstatic that he was being assigned along with several of his fellow classmates to a newly commissioned ship (the USS MOUNT HOOD AE-11 which was commissioned on 1 July 1944). However, just prior to leaving for this assignment, my father was very disappointed to learn that his orders were unexpectedly changed. He was now being reassigned to another newly commissioned ship (the USS DIPHDA AKA-59 which was commissioned on 8 July 1944). He was told that there were “too many Bakers” being assigned to USS MOUNT HOOD so he was being ordered to serve instead on the USS DIPHDA. My father completed his service aboard the USS DIPHDA. He was Honorably Discharged from the Navy in May 1946. He married my mother in August 1946. I was born in June 1947, But for the “Grace of God”, through my father’s reassignment, I would never have been born had my father not been reassigned from the USS MOUNT HOOD to the USS DIPHDA! The explosion of the USS MOUNT HOOD was a terrible tragedy for the crews and their families of all of the ships that were moored at Manus Island on 10 November 1944.
My deceased father, Robert C. Langmuir, had a rating of Metalsmith first class the USS
Mindanao. He related without ever any elaboration, that he was working on a bosuns chair hanging over the side of the USS Minidinao shortly before the Hood blew up next to it….
He however no sooner went below deck to see the ships dentist that the ship went dark as a result of the USS Hood exploding.
Afterwards he surveyed the damage in the place where the bosuns chair had been left and he observed a six foot hole where he was sitting…..
nothing more about all the dead and wounded…..couldn’t get him to say anything more … ever…..
He did say it was a two man Japanese submarine……. as cause…..
He died before the advent of the computer….. wish I could have shown him all the research…….
I have read stories of USS MT HOOD before.
Each time I look from my kitchen window, I can see the actual Mount Hood!
May God rest all those men who died and were so horribly injured so long ago.
My uncle, Walter E. Hill, a Navy storekeeper was standing beside a hut on the dock when the Hood went up. He stated that he was knocked flat and would have been killed if he had been standing against a flat vertical wall. He happened to be standing beside a sloping hut roof when the shock wave hit him.. He sent a small picture of the explosion. All that is visible was a picture of a blast with a few small pieces in the air. He obtained the picture from another sailor who just happened to snap the picture at the time of the blast.
My father, Ken Frank was a navy cook stationed ashore on Manus Island at the time of the explosion of the USS Mt. Hood. He guessed that as the crow flies, he may have been about 2/3 of a mile away – the blast knocked him off of his feet. He said that a piece of the ship – maybe part of the bridge, landed a few hundred yards away from his location. A longtime friend of his – Frank Heuston was stationed aboard a destroyer which was moored adjacent to the USS Mt. Hood and somehow was assigned the previous day to a new moorage some distance away – a move which certainly saved the lives of the crew.
My uncle, Richard (Dick) Harmon, was aboard the Mt. Hood the morning it blew up. My grandparents held out hope for months that Dick would eventually be found alive. It was only after receiving a personal letter from an officer present at the time of the explosion that there were absolutely no survivors aboard ship, that the explosion left virtually nothing of the ship, that they came to accept his death.
It is ironic that I have perhaps far more information, including pictures, than my dad, or my grand parents ever did of that tragic day.
I am from Manus, reading your comments is truly sad. I sympathise :-‘(
My father, Chester Rusinoski, was aboard the USS Alhena AK26 that was anchored near the USS Hood when it exploded on November 10, 1944. His life changed forever that day at the young age of 19. He sustained severe injuries that left him with a steel plate in his head and shrapnel through his thigh. It took many many months of rehabilitation and plus his strong determination to be able walk and talk again. For years he and my mother fought to get the purple heart with no results. He was told it wasn’t a direct result of enemy action for what happened that day. He always said it was s military coverup from the very beginning because the Mt. Hood was carrying so much ammunition and never should have been anchored so close to other ships. I personally spoke many years ago to one of his shipmates during a reunion, he told me he reported seeing a mini sub that day in that immediate area before the explosion but nothing was done. I wish I took his name now, but at that time I was very young and didn’t realize how important that information was to relate that explosion directly to enemy action. My parents went to their graves knowing that he deserved a purple heart and was denied one. I would like to see that this finally happen and take this long overdue medal to his grave site and let him know he finally received something he so rightly deserved so many years ago.
The story of the USS Mount Hood (AE-11) lived on at least until the late 1960s. As a junior officer on the destroyer USS Southerland (DD-743) in charge of torpedoes, nuclear depth bombs and the associated rocket motors, I remember using a book of ordnance disasters to encourage my sailors to be careful and stay alert when handling said stuff. The disaster stood out among the many depicted and described because of its magnitude and the casualty toll. The very graphic pictures enhanced the impression of what could go wrong and why taking care was a good idea.
The events almost all involved carelessness and stupidity of one kind or another, unlike in WW1 when the chemistry of explosives and propellants wasn’t so well understood and ordnance disasters, like several in the Royal Navy, were all too frequent.
My father, Jerry Spoon MM1c, was aboard the USS Heywood (APA-6) about three and half miles from the Mount Hood when it exploded. This is his eyewitness account from his book “The View from the Stern”:
“The ammunition ship USS Mount Hood (AE-11) put into Seeadler, and according to some of the Heywood crewman, she anchored a few dozen yards to port of the Heywood. I personally do not remember that, but I do remember what happened after that. The next day, November 10th, she (presumably) had moved to a berth about three and a half miles from us, and a large working party went aboard to help off-load ammunition. It was a calm day, and I was working on one of the forward winches when I felt my shirt whip in the wind. I looked up and was greeted by a thunderous roar. A giant ball of smoke enveloped the Mount Hood, and a large section of what looked like her bow was blown a hundred or so feet into the air. Bombs and shells were showering out of the pall in fiery arcs. I waited for the smoke to lift so that I could see the ship. When it did, there was no ship, only a scattering of debris in the water.”
My grandfather, Albert Brooks, was aboard Mount Hood when he lost his life. He left behind my grandma, Jennie Trojanowski (nee Tomaczeski) and an only child, William Lyman Brooks (my dad). I recently found a wooden postcard to my dad telling him he’ll be home soon to take him fishing, the original telegram notifying my grandmother, and several handwritten letters from a commanding officer, who was trying to help explain what happened and comfort her. While I never knew Albert Brooks, I still get teary-eyed thinking how young he was when he died, and how many lives were lost that day.
My father was aboard the USS Mindanao the day the USS Mt Hood exploded. He pulled the paymaster from the water onto a raft he was on. He was holding on to a case of money to be distributed to the fleet. He died on the raft in my father’s arms. My dad gave the case and money to a superior on the beach. He was always reluctant to tell those old war stories. He had just left his cot, all his buddies that were sleeping were all killed. With all he saw in that war, that was his worst day. He was 17 years old. “The greatest generation”
Louis Rider, age 18, was aboard the USS Mount Hood on the day it exploded. My grandmother received another telegram too. Her 20 year old son was listed as missing in action in Germany. God blesa all the servicemen women and their families.
My distant relative, Walter C. Klei, was a member of the crew of the USS Mount Hood and died in the explosion on November 10, 1944. I went to his memorial service in Detroit on April 8, 1945 and have saved a copy of the memorial service bulletin which gives his particulars. Walter had one son, Thomas Ray Klei.
My father, USN Pharmacist’s Mate Vaughn G. Horner, was one of the corpsmen that took care of the wounded at the Navy Base hospital # 15 on Manus.
My Dad (Adolph Baron) served on Manus Island during WW2. He was a Boatswain’s Mate from Easthampton, Mass.
I was a member of the 44th. Seabee outfit. We had been building this pier as well as a second one for months. We knew lots of members of the 57th Seabee outfit mentioned above. WE had been building this pier and an adjoining one for months. We were standing on the beach getting ready to go out to the end of the pier when the explosion happened. Metal fragments started dropping almost immediately and we dove under a flat bed truck for protection. We saw what others saw and it was painful. Survivors were covered with black oil. They were transported to a new hospital that I also helped construct.
My grandfather, Walter S. Leaf, perished on the USS Mount Hood. I know very little about him other than he gave his life so that others could live.
My father was there also, on shore. He was just telling me about this today.
My grandfather, Archie Trader, was assigned on the USS Mount Hood (AE-11), and one of the few survivors. He and about a dozen others from the Hood’s crew had made their way to shore for mail call and other various duties. Just as they arrived to shore, the explosion happened. My grandfather went on to live a long and happy life, and always said he was “living on borrowed time” and gave thanks to God nearly every day of his life. I cannot imagine what it was like to be a young man–half-way around the world, in the middle of a war–and everyone you’d come to know, to live with, and work next to, suddenly being killed in such a catastrophic event. God bless all those who were on the Hood and the surrounding ships.
My dad was there when this happen
I’ve recently read a memoir written by a Mr David Greenroos on the website http://ussrainier.com/greenroos.html
He was a welder on the USS Mindanoa and was present during the explosion, the tale is VERY GRAPHIC and describes his experience during and after the explosion, it’s eleven pages long and he has a very detailed memory of what he went through.
He states that the reason for the explosion is known and was hidden away from being published, he states that he was told to never write or talk about it, but he felt that after all this time the truth needed to be told.
He states that the explosion was caused by a torpedo hit by a Japanese submarine, he actuay saw an unexploded Japanese torpedo that had missed the Mt Hood laying on a beach nearby and that it had Japanese lettering on it.
He states that he talked to other survivors that had seen the submarine that day.
I would tend to believe him as he has no reason to lie about his experience, go to the website and read what he has to say, the explosions cause is known and he lists his thoughts on why it was kept from the American people.
My uncle Oliver Austin “Buck” Grover just a young kid on his first deployment in the Navy died with the rest on the USS Mount Hood. The family got the knock at the door on Thanksgiving Day.
My grandmother’s brother, Galen Ingram, lost his life on the Mount Hood… I never did know anything else about him, my grandma died before I could ask anymore questions.
My mother was just 18 yrs old when her husband was blown to bits on the USS Mt. Hood. She is 90 now , suffering from alzheimers disease . She has forgotten most of her life at this point,but She has never forgotten Troy Crow, her young handsome husband who perished along with so many others onboard the ship on Nov. 10 1944.
My grandpa, William ‘Bill’ Grow, was a pipe fitter on the USS ARIES. He just passed 42015. He told me of being on deck when the explosion happened. He said they were actually anchored next to the USS Mount Hood and the wind had just changed causing them to go behind the Mount Hood moments before the explosion. My Grandpa also said he would get paid a dollar a day to show films (movies) in the ship.
I am the last survivor of the Ammunition ship Red Oak Victory AK235. WE got out there and heard rumors about the Mt. Hood. Arriving in Ulithi they berthed us with around 4,000 tons of explosives in the next berth alongside the aircraft carrier Randolph(3,500 men.) one afternoon we received a request for ammo on an emergency level. A landing craft pulled up alongside us on our starboard side which faced the Randolph at dusk.By time we were ready it was dark and all the ships(over 800) in the harbor were blacked out except us. We had a floodlights over the hold and on the landing craft. Around 10 P.M.
2 men and I were on the landing craft guiding a net full of ammo coming down and I am facing the Randolph when a huge ball of flame explodes on the aft deck of the carrier followed by another huge ball of flame the 2 trailing edges of the kamikaze’s flames going over the bow! HAD ONE OF THOSE JAPANESE PLANES HIT US IN THE MIDDLE OF A NUMBER OF FIGHTING (NOT SUPPLY) SHIPS, I have no idea what the death toll would have been. The next day they moved us so far away, as a signalman I had no one to talk to.
My great-uncle was a signalman aboard the USS Aries nearby. I regret I never learned about the Hood explosion until after he had passed, so I never got the first-hand story from him.
Nevertheless, this incident is one of the few places I can find a reference to my uncle’s ship anywhere online. And it is illustrative of the fact that for every glamorous Carrier or Battleship, there were dozens of unsung cargo and repair vessels doing the work that made the navy run.
Saw an LST loaded with ammo which had exploded in DaNang harbor. The upper deck was peeled back like a sardine tin, but not even close to this explosion
First Wave at Omaha Beach
Unlike what happens to other great battles, the passing of the years and the retelling of the story have softened the horror of Omaha Beach on D Day.
This fluke of history is doubly ironic since no other decisive battle has ever been so thoroughly reported for the official record. While the troops were still fighting in Normandy, what had happened to each unit in the landing had become known through the eyewitness testimony of all survivors. It was this research by the field historians which first determined where each company had hit the beach and by what route it had moved inland. Owing to the fact that every unit save one had been mislanded, it took this work to show the troops where they had fought.
How they fought and what they suffered were also determined in detail during the field research. As published today, the map data showing where the troops came ashore check exactly with the work done in the field but the accompanying narrative describing their ordeal is a sanitized version of the original field notes.
This happened because the Army historians who wrote the first official book about Omaha Beach, basing it on the field notes, did a calculated job of sifting and weighting the material. So saying does not imply that their judgment was wrong. Normandy was an American victory it was their duty to trace the twists and turns of fortune by which success was won. But to follow that rule slights the story of Omaha as an epic human tragedy which in the early hours bordered on total disaster. On this two-division front landing, only six rifle companies were relatively effective as units. They did better than others mainly because they had the luck to touch down on a less deadly section of the beach. Three times that number were shattered or foundered before they could start to fight. Several contributed not a man or bullet to the battle for the high ground. But their ordeal has gone unmarked because its detail was largely ignored by history in the first place. The worst-fated companies were overlooked, the more wretched personal experiences were toned down, and disproportionate attention was paid to the little element of courageous success in a situation which was largely characterized by tragic failure.
The official accounts which came later took their cue from this secondary source instead of searching the original documents. Even such an otherwise splendid and popular book on the great adventure as Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day misses the essence of the Omaha story.
In everything that has been written about Omaha until now, there is less blood and iron than in the original field notes covering any battalion landing in the first wave. Doubt it? Then let’s follow along with Able and Baker companies, 116th Infantry, 29th Division. Their story is lifted from my fading Normandy notebook, which covers the landing of every Omaha company.
Able Company riding the tide in seven Higgins boats is still five thousand yards from the beach when first taken under artillery fire. The shells fall short. At one thousand yards, Boat No. 5 is hit dead on and foundered. Six men drown before help arrives. Second Lieutenant Edward Gearing and twenty others paddle around until picked up by naval craft, thereby missing the fight at the shore line. It’s their lucky day. The other six boats ride unscathed to within one hundred yards of the shore, where a shell into Boat No. 3 kills two men. Another dozen drown, taking to the water as the boat sinks. That leaves five boats.
Lieutenant Edward Tidrick in Boat No. 2 cries out: “My God, we’re coming in at the right spot, but look at it! No shingle, no wall, no shell holes, no cover. Nothing!”
His men are at the sides of the boat, straining for a view of the target. They stare but say nothing. At exactly 6:36 A.M. ramps are dropped along the boat line and the men jump off in water anywhere from waist deep to higher than a man’s head. This is the signal awaited by the Germans atop the bluff. Already pounded by mortars, the floundering line is instantly swept by crossing machine-gun fires from both ends of the beach.
Able Company has planned to wade ashore in three files from each boat, center file going first, then flank files peeling off to right and left. The first men out try to do it but are ripped apart before they can make five yards. Even the lightly wounded die by drowning, doomed by the waterlogging of their overloaded packs. From Boat No. 1, all hands jump off in water over their heads. Most of them are carried down. Ten or so survivors get around the boat and clutch at its sides in an attempt to stay afloat. The same thing happens to the section in Boat No. 4. Half of its people are lost to the fire or tide before anyone gets ashore. All order has vanished from Able Company before it has fired a shot.
Already the sea runs red. Even among some of the lightly wounded who jumped into shallow water the hits prove fatal. Knocked down by a bullet in the arm or weakened by fear and shock, they are unable to rise again and are drowned by the onrushing tide. Other wounded men drag themselves ashore and, on finding the sands, lie quiet from total exhaustion, only to be overtaken and killed by the water. A few move safely through the bullet swarm to the beach, then find that they cannot hold there. They return to the water to use it for body cover. Faces turned upward, so that their nostrils are out of water, they creep toward the land at the same rate as the tide. That is how most of the survivors make it. The less rugged or less clever seek the cover of enemy obstacles moored along the upper half of the beach and are knocked off by machine-gun fire.
Within seven minutes after the ramps drop, Able Company is inert and leaderless. At Boat No. 2, Lieutenant Tidrick takes a bullet through the throat as he jumps from the ramp into the water. He staggers onto the sand and flops down ten feet from Private First Class Leo J. Nash. Nash sees the blood spurting and hears the strangled words gasped by Tidrick: “Advance with the wire cutters!” It’s futile Nash has no cutters. To give the order, Tidrick has raised himself up on his hands and made himself a target for an instant. Nash, burrowing into the sand, sees machine gun bullets rip Tidrick from crown to pelvis. From the cliff above, the German gunners are shooting into the survivors as from a roof top.
Captain Taylor N. Fellers and Lieutenant Benjamin R. Kearfott never make it.* They had loaded with a section of thirty men in Boat No. 6 (Landing Craft, Assault, No. 1015). But exactly what happened to this boat and its human cargo was never to be known. No one saw the craft go down. How each man aboard it met death remains unreported. Half of the drowned bodies were later found along the beach. It is supposed that the others were claimed by the sea.
Along the beach, only one Able Company officer still lives—Lieutenant Elijah Nance, who is hit in the heel as he quits the boat and hit in the belly by a second bullet as he makes the sand. By the end of ten minutes, every sergeant is either dead or wounded. To the eyes of such men as Private Howard I. Grosser and Private First Class Gilbert G. Murdock, this clean sweep suggests that the Germans on the high ground have spotted all leaders and concentrated fire their way. Among the men who are still moving in with the tide, rifles, packs, and helmets have already been cast away in the interests of survival.
To the right of where Tidrick’s boat is drifting with the tide, its coxswain lying dead next to the shell-shattered wheel, the seventh craft, carrying a medical section with one officer and sixteen men, noses toward the beach. The ramp drops. In that instant, two machine guns concentrate their fire on the opening. Not a man is given time to jump. All aboard are cut down where they stand.
By the end of fifteen minutes, Able Company has still not fired a weapon. No orders are being given by anyone. No words are spoken. The few able-bodied survivors move or not as they see fit. Merely to stay alive is a full-time job. The fight has become a rescue operation in which nothing counts but the force of a strong example.
Above all others stands out the first-aid man, Thomas Breedin. Reaching the sands, he strips off pack, blouse, helmet, and boots. For a moment he stands there so that others on the strand will see him and get the same idea. Then he crawls into the water to pull in wounded men about to be overlapped by the tide. The deeper water is still spotted with tide walkers advancing at the same pace as the rising water. But now, owing to Breedin’s example, the strongest among them become more conspicuous targets. Coming along, they pick up wounded comrades and float them to the shore raftwise. Machine-gun fire still rakes the water. Burst after burst spoils the rescue act, shooting the floating man from the hands of the walker or killing both together. But Breedin for this hour leads a charmed life and stays with his work indomitably.
By the end of one half hour, approximately two thirds of the company is forever gone. There is no precise casualty figure for that moment. There is for the Normandy landing as a whole no accurate figure for the first hour or first day. The circumstances precluded it. Whether more Able Company riflemen died from water than from fire is known only to heaven. All earthly evidence so indicates, but cannot prove it.
By the end of one hour, the survivors from the main body have crawled across the sand to the foot of the bluff, where there is a narrow sanctuary of defiladed space. There they lie all day, clean spent, unarmed, too shocked to feel hunger, incapable even of talking to one another. No one happens by to succor them, ask what has happened, provide water, or offer unwanted pity. D Day at Omaha afforded no time or space for such missions. Every landing company was overloaded by its own assault problems.
By the end of one hour and forty-five minutes, six survivors from the boat section on the extreme right shake loose and work their way to a shelf a few rods up the cliff. Four fall exhausted from the short climb and advance no farther. They stay there through the day, seeing no one else from the company. The other two, Privates Jake Shefer and Thomas Lovejoy, join a group from the Second Ranger Battalion, which is assaulting Pointe du Hoc to the right of the company sector, and fight on with the Rangers through the day. Two men. Two rifles. Except for these, Able Company’s contribution to the D Day fire fight is a cipher.
Baker Company which is scheduled to land twenty-six minutes after Able and right on top of it, supporting and reinforcing, has had its full load of trouble on the way in. So rough is the sea during the journey that the men have to bail furiously with their helmets to keep the six boats from swamping. Thus preoccupied, they do not see the disaster which is overtaking Able until they are almost atop it. Then, what their eyes behold is either so limited or so staggering to the senses that control withers, the assault wave begins to dissolve, and disunity induced by fear virtually cancels the mission. A great cloud of smoke and dust raised by the mortar and machine-gun fire has almost closed a curtain around Able Company’s ordeal. Outside the pall, nothing is to be seen but a line of corpses adrift, a few heads bobbing in the water and the crimson-running tide. But this is enough for the British coxswains. They raise the cry: “We can’t go in there. We can’t see the landmarks. We must pull off.”
In the command boat, Captain Ettore V. Zappacosta pulls a Colt .45 and says: “By God, you’ll take this boat straight in.” His display of courage wins obedience, but it’s still a fool’s order. Such of Baker’s boats as try to go straight in suffer Able’s fate without helping the other company whatever. Thrice during the approach mortar shells break right next to Zappacosta’s boat but by an irony leave it unscathed, thereby sparing the riders a few more moments of life. At seventy-five yards from the sand Zappacosta yells: “Drop the ramp !” The end goes down, and a storm of bullet fire comes in.
Zappacosta jumps first from the boat, reels ten yards through the elbow-high tide, and yells back: “I’m hit.” He staggers on a few more steps. The aid man, Thomas Kenser, sees him bleeding from hip and shoulder. Kenser yells: “Try to make it in I’m coming.” But the captain falls face forward into the wave, and the weight of his equipment and soaked pack pin him to the bottom. Kenser jumps toward him and is shot dead while in the air. Lieutenant Tom Dallas of Charley Company, who has come along to make a reconnaissance, is the third man. He makes it to the edge of the sand. There a machine-gun burst blows his head apart before he can flatten.
Private First Class Robert L. Sales, who is lugging Zappacosta’s radio (an SCR 300), is the fourth man to leave the boat, having waited long enough to see the others die. His boot heel catches on the edge of the ramp and he falls sprawling into the tide, losing the radio but saving his life. Every man who tries to follow him is either killed or wounded before reaching dry land. Sales alone gets to the beach unhit. To travel those few yards takes him two hours. First he crouches in the water, and waddling forward on his haunches just a few paces, collides with a floating log—driftwood. In that moment, a mortar shell explodes just above his head, knocking him groggy. He hugs the log to keep from going down, and somehow the effort seems to clear his head a little. Next thing he knows, one of Able Company’s tide walkers hoists him aboard the log and, using his sheath knife, cuts away Sales’s pack, boots, and assault jacket.
Feeling stronger, Sales returns to the water, and from behind the log, using it as cover, pushes toward the sand. Private Mack L. Smith of Baker Company, hit three times through the face, joins him there. An Able Company rifleman named Kemper, hit thrice in the right leg, also comes alongside. Together they follow the log until at last they roll it to the farthest reach of high tide. Then they flatten themselves behind it, staying there for hours after the flow has turned to ebb. The dead of both companies wash up to where they lie, and then wash back out to sea again. As a body drifts in close to them, Sales and companions, disregarding the fire, crawl from behind the log to take a look. If any one of them recognizes the face of a comrade, they join in dragging the body up onto the dry sand beyond the water’s reach. The unfamiliar dead are left to the sea. So long as the tide is full, they stay with this unique task. Later, an unidentified first-aid man who comes wiggling along the beach dresses the wounds of Smith. Sales, as he finds strength, bandages Kemper. The three remain behind the log until night falls. There is nothing else to be reported of any member of Zappacosta’s boat team.
Only one other Baker Company boat tries to come straight in to the beach. Somehow the boat founders. Somehow all of its people are killed—one British coxswain and about thirty American infantrymen. Where they fall, there is no one to take note of and report.
Frightened coxswains in the other four craft take one quick look, instinctively draw back, and then veer right and left away from the Able Company shambles. So doing, they dodge their duty while giving a break to their passengers. Such is the shock to the boat team leaders, and such their feeling of relief at the turning movement, that not one utters a protest. Lieutenant Leo A. Pingenot’s coxswain swings the boat far rightward toward Pointe du Hoc then, spying a small and deceptively peaceful-looking cove, heads directly for the land. Fifty yards out, Pingenot yells: “Drop the ramp!” The coxswain freezes on the rope, refusing to lower. Staff Sergeant Odell L. Padgett jumps him, throttles him, and bears him to the floor. Padgett’s men lower the rope and jump for the water. In two minutes, they are all in up to their necks and struggling to avoid drowning. That quickly, Pingenot is already far out ahead of them. Padgett comes even with him, and together they cross onto dry land. The beach of the cove is heavily strewn with giant boulders. Bullets seem to be pinging off every rock.
Pingenot and Padgett dive behind the same rock. Then they glance back, but to their horror see not one person. Quite suddenly smoke has half blanked out the scene beyond the water’s edge. Pingenot moans: “My God, the whole boat team is dead.” Padgett sings out: “Hey, are you hit?” Back come many voices from beyond the smoke. “What’s the rush?” “Take it easy!” “We’ll get there.” “Where’s the fire?” “Who wants to know?” The men are still moving along, using the water as cover. Padgett’s yell is their first information that anyone else has moved up front. They all make it to the shore, and they are twenty-eight strong at first. Pingenot and Padgett manage to stay ahead of them, coaxing and encouraging. Padgett keeps yelling: “Come on, goddam it, things are better up here!” But still they lose two men killed and three wounded in crossing the beach.
In the cove, the platoon latches on to a company of Rangers, fights all day as part of that company, and helps destroy the enemy entrenchments atop Pointe du Hoc. By sundown that mop-up is completed. The platoon bivouacs at the first hedgerow beyond the cliff.
The other Baker Company boat, which turns to the right, has far less luck. Staff Sergeant Robert M. Campbell, who leads the section, is the first man to jump out when the ramp goes down. He drops in drowning water, and his load of two bangalore torpedoes takes him straight to the bottom. So he jettisons the bangalores and then, surfacing, cuts away all equipment for good measure. Machine-gun fire brackets him, and he submerges again briefly. Never a strong swimmer, he heads back out to sea. For two hours he paddles around, two hundred or so yards from the shore. Though he hears and sees nothing of the battle, he somehow gets the impression that the invasion has failed and that all other Americans are dead, wounded, or have been taken prisoner. Strength fast going, in despair he moves ashore rather than drown. Beyond the smoke he quickly finds the fire. So he grabs a helmet from a dead man’s head, crawls on hands and knees to the sea wall, and there finds five of his men, two of them unwounded.
Like Campbell, Private First Class Jan J. Budziszewski is carried to the bottom by his load of two bangalores. He hugs them half a minute before realizing that he will either let loose or drown. Next, he shucks off his helmet and pack and drops his rifle. Then he surfaces. After swimming two hundred yards, he sees that he is moving in exactly the wrong direction. So he turns about and heads for the beach, where he crawls ashore “under a rain of bullets.” In his path lies a dead Ranger. Budziszewski takes the dead man’s helmet, rifle, and canteen and crawls on to the sea wall. The only survivor from Campbell’s boat section to get off the beach, he spends his day walking to and fro along the foot of the bluff, looking for a friendly face. But he meets only strangers, and none shows any interest in him.
In Lieutenant William B. Williams’ boat, the coxswain steers sharp left and away from Zappacosta’s sector. Not seeing the captain die, Williams doesn’t know that command has now passed to him. Guiding on his own instinct, the coxswain moves along the coast six hundred yards, then puts the boat straight in. It’s a good guess he has found a little vacuum in the battle. The ramp drops on dry sand and the boat team jumps ashore. Yet it’s a close thing. Mortar fire has dogged them all the way and as the last rifleman clears the ramp, one shell lands dead center of the boat, blows it apart, and kills the coxswain. Momentarily, the beach is free of fire, but the men cannot cross it at a bound. Weak from seasickness and fear, they move at a crawl, dragging their equipment. By the end of twenty minutes, Williams and ten men are over the sand and resting in the lee of the sea wall. Five others are hit by machine-gun fire crossing the beach six men, last seen while taking cover in a tidal pocket, are never heard from again. More mortar fire lands around the party as Williams leads it across the road beyond the sea wall. The men scatter. When the shelling lifts, three of them do not return. Williams leads the seven survivors up a trail toward the fortified village of Les Moulins atop the bluff. He recognizes the ground and knows that he is taking on a tough target. Les Moulins is perched above a draw, up which winds a dirt road from the beach, designated on the invasion maps as Exit No. 3.
Williams and his crew of seven are the first Americans to approach it D Day morning. Machine-gun fire from a concrete pillbox sweeps over them as they near the brow of the hill, moving now at a crawl through thick grass. Williams says to the others: “Stay here we’re too big a target!” They hug earth, and he crawls forward alone, moving via a shallow gully. Without being detected, he gets to within twenty yards of the gun, obliquely downslope from it. He heaves a grenade but he has held it just a bit too long and it explodes in air, just outside the embrasure. His second grenade hits the concrete wall and bounces right back on him. Three of its slugs hit him in the shoulders. Then, from out of the pillbox, a German potato masher sails down on him and explodes just a few feet away five more fragments cut into him. He starts crawling back to his men en route, three bullets from the machine gun rip his rump and right leg.
The seven are still there. Williams hands his map and compass to Staff Sergeant Frank M. Price, saying: “It’s your job now. But go the other way—toward Vierville.” Price starts to look at Williams’ wounds, but Williams shakes him off, saying: “No, get moving.” He then settles himself in a hole in the embankment, stays there all day, and at last gets medical attention just before midnight.
On leaving Williams, Price’s first act is to hand map and compass (the symbols of leadership) to Technical Sergeant William Pearce, whose seniority the lieutenant has overlooked. They cross the draw, one man at a time, and some distance beyond come to a ravine on the far side, they bump their first hedgerow, and as they look for an entrance, fire comes against them. Behind a second hedgerow, not more than thirty yards away, are seven Germans, five rides and two burp guns. On exactly even terms, these two forces engage for the better part of an hour, apparently with no one’s getting hit. Then Pearce settles the fight by crawling along a drainage ditch to the enemy flank. He kills the seven Germans with a Browning Automatic Rifle.
For Pearce and his friends, it is a first taste of battle its success is giddying. Heads up, they walk along the road straight into Vierville, disregarding all precautions. They get away with it only because that village is already firmly in the hands of Lieutenant Walter Taylor of Baker Company and twenty men from his boat team.
Taylor is a luminous figure in the story of D Day, one of the forty-seven immortals of Omaha who, by their dauntless initiative at widely separated points along the beach, saved the landing from total stagnation and disaster. Courage and luck are his in extraordinary measure.
When Baker Company’s assault wave breaks up just short of the surf where Able Company is in ordeal, Taylor’s coxswain swings his boat sharp left, then heads toward the shore about halfway between Zappacosta’s boat and Williams’. Until a few seconds after the ramp drops, this bit of beach next to the village called Hamel-au-Prêtre is blessedly clear of fire. No mortar shells crown the start. Taylor leads his section crawling across the beach and over the sea wall, losing four men killed and two wounded (machine-gun fire) in this brief movement. Some yards off to his right, Taylor has seen Lieutenants Harold Donaldson and Emil Winkler shot dead. But there is no halt for reflection Taylor leads the section by trail straight up the bluff and into Vierville, where his luck continues. In a two-hour fight he whips a German platoon without losing a man.
The village is quiet when Pearce joins him. Pearce says: “Williams is shot up back there and can’t move.”
Says Taylor: “I guess that makes me company commander.”
Answers Pearce: “This is probably all of Baker Company.” Pearce takes a head count they number twenty-eight, including Taylor.
Says Taylor: “That ought to be enough. Follow me!”
Inland from Vierville about five hundred yards lies the Château de Vaumicel, imposing in its rock-walled massiveness, its hedgerow-bordered fields all entrenched and interconnected with artilleryproof tunnels. To every man but Taylor the target looks prohibitive. Still, they follow him. Fire stops them one hundred yards short of the château. The Germans are behind a hedgerow at mid-distance. Still feeling their way, Taylor’s men flatten, open fire with rifles, and toss a few grenades, though the distance seems too great. By sheer chance, one grenade glances off the helmet of a German squatting in a foxhole. He jumps up, shouting: “Kamerad! Kamerad!” Thereupon twenty-four of the enemy walk from behind the hedgerow with their hands in the air. Taylor pares off one of his riflemen to march the prisoners back to the beach. The brief fight costs him three wounded. Within the château, he takes two more prisoners, a German doctor and his first-aid man. Taylor puts them on a “kind of a parole,” leaving his three wounded in their keeping while moving his platoon to the first crossroads beyond the château.
Here he is stopped by the sudden arrival of three truckloads of German infantry, who deploy into the fields on both flanks of his position and start an envelopment. The manpower odds, about three to one against him, are too heavy. In the first trade of fire, lasting not more than two minutes, a rifleman lying beside Taylor is killed, three others are wounded, and the BAR is shot from Pearce’s hands. That leaves but twenty men and no automatic weapons.
Taylor yells: “Back to the château!” They go out, crawling as far as the first hedgerow then they rise and trot along, supporting their wounded. Taylor is the last man out, having stayed behind to cover the withdrawal with his carbine until the hedgerows interdict fire against the others. So far, this small group has had no contact with any other part of the expedition, and for all its members know, the invasion may have failed.
They make it to the château. The enemy comes on and moves in close. The attacking fire builds up. But the stone walls are fire-slotted, and through the midday and early afternoon these ports well serve the American riflemen. The question is whether the ammunition will outlast the Germans. It is answered at sundown, just as the supply runs out, by the arrival of fifteen Rangers who join their fire with Taylor’s, and the Germans fade back.
Already Taylor and his force are farther south than any element of the right flank in the Omaha expedition. But Taylor isn’t satisfied. The battalion objective, as specified for the close of D Day, is still more than one half mile to the westward. He says to the others: “We’ve got to make it.”
So he leads them forth, once again serving as first scout, eighteen of his own riflemen and fifteen Rangers following in column. One man is killed by a bullet getting away from Vaumicel. Dark closes over them. They prepare to bivouac. Having got almost to the village of Louvières, they are by this time almost one half mile in front of anything else in the United States Army. There a runner reaches them with the message that the remnants of the battalion are assembling seven hundred yards closer to the sea Taylor and party are directed to fall back on them. It is done.
Later, still under the spell, Price paid the perfect tribute to Taylor. He said: “We saw no sign of fear in him. Watching him made men of us. Marching or fighting, he was leading. We followed him because there was nothing else to do.”
Thousands of Americans were spilled onto Omaha Beach. The high ground was won by a handful of men like Taylor who on that day burned with a flame bright beyond common understanding.
* This article originally misspelled Lieutenant Benjamin R. Kearfott’s last name. The spelling was corrected on June 22, 2020.