AIR SHOWS 2012: EXCLUSIVE CALENDAR A MEET MISS BREATHLESS
AM E RICA I N
KILROY WAS THERE Who Was That Little Guy Always Watching the GIs?
The Magazine Of A People At W
MIDWAY TO VICTORY Turn the Tide Against Japan
SHERLOCK HOLMES VERSUS HITLER ZOOT SUITS HAPPY AS A W.A.S.P.
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WWII June 2012 • Volume Eight • Number One
28 MIDWAY TO VICTORY Just four months after Pearl Harbor, American forces in the Coral Sea halted Japan’s brief charge toward victory. Then they cut its heart out at Midway. By Brian John Murphy
40 ZOOT! It wasn’t easy for a poor boy to get out of the ghetto. But he could escape for the night by putting on a zoot suit and dancing the jitterbug. By John E. Stanchak
46 KILROY WAS THERE GIs were all over the world in the early 1940s. And wherever they went, a mysterious little cartoon character was watching them from behind a wall. By Chuck Lyons
52 SHERLOCK HOLMES STALKS THE NAZIS Hollywood resurrected the world’s greatest detective as a 20th-century spy to help defeat the world’s greatest villain. By David Norris
2012 ANNUAL WWII AIR SHOWS A Special Events Section A Pages 19–21
departments 2 KILROY 4 V-MAIL 6 HOME FRONT: Weather Censorship 7 PINUP: Marguerite Chapman 8 THE FUNNIES: The Young Allies 10 I WAS THERE: A Girl’s Dream Takes Flight 22 LANDINGS: FDR’s Other White House 24 WAR STORIES 25 FLASHBACK 58 BOOKS AND MEDIA 60 THEATER OF WAR: The Americanization of Emily 62 78 RPM: Vaughn Monroe 63 WWII EVENTS 64 GIs: Up from the Foxhole COVER SHOT: It took only 10 days after the humiliation at Pearl Harbor for heads to roll. One of the positions opened up was commander of the Pacific Fleet, and the navy chose Chester Nimitz to fill it. Just a few months later Nimitz halted Japan’s takeover of the South Pacific with a strategic victory in the Coral Sea. Then he gutted her navy at Midway. NATIONAL ARCHIVES
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WWII May–June 2012 Volume Eight • Number One www.AmericaInWWII.com PUBLISHER
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Heidi Kushlan 717-564-0161, [email protected] A Publication of 310 PUBLISHING, LLC CEO Heidi Kushlan EDITORIAL DIRECTOR James P. Kushlan AMERICA IN WWII (ISSN 1554-5296) is published bimonthly by 310 Publishing LLC, 310 Kelso Street, Harrisburg, PA 17111-1825. Periodicals postage paid at Harrisburg, PA. SUBSCRIPTION RATE: One year (six issues) $29.95; outside the U.S., $41.95 in U.S. funds. Customer service: call toll-free 866-525-1945 (U.S. & Canada), or write AMERICA IN WWII, P.O. Box 421945, Palm Coast, FL 32142, or visit online at www.americainwwii.com. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO AMERICA IN WWII, P.O. BOX 421945, PALM COAST, FL 32142. Copyright 2012 by 310 Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this issue may be reproduced by any means without prior written permission of the publisher. Address letters, War Stories, and GIs correspondence to: Editor, AMERICA IN WWII, PO Box 4175, Harrisburg, PA 17111-0175. Letters to the editor become the property of AMERICA IN WWII and may be edited. Submission of text and images for War Stories and GIs gives AMERICA IN WWII the right to edit, publish, and republish them in any form or medium. No unsolicited article manuscripts, please: query first. AMERICA IN WWII does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of advertisements or letters to the editor that appear herein.
A KILROY WAS HERE
Born to Draw Kilroy AS A KID I WAS FOREVER DOODLING all over my notebooks and the textbook covers my mother fashioned for me from brown paper bags. I imagined that my furious scribbling was fooling Sister Clemention into believing I really was taking the notes I was supposed to be taking. But my grade-school teachers were probably just quietly content that I was preoccupied with something preferable to my other favorite class-time diversions: whispering to friends in the back of the room and interrupting the distribution of knowledge with wisecracks (which seemed exceptionally witty at the time). Back in my earliest days, I thought I might grow up to be an artist (if I didn’t make it through the police academy or firefighter training). My mother seemed agreeable about that. When I got older, I figured out that encouraging my dreams was her job. Looking today at the inkings on the old notebooks that the thoughtful mother of this would-be budding master preserved for posterity, I can see that no one besides a woman steadfastly devoted to her maternal duty would have offered more than than a polite “Oh, that’s nice.” What I mostly drew was faces, cartoonish faces with big eyes and comical noses. I continued sketching down into the shoulders and collarbone area. But I usually avoided any serious attempt at bodies; early on I gave up on their contorted poses, tricky proportions, and countless other complications. To bring this into the context of America in WWII magazine, what I’m saying is that I could draw Kilroy. With a half a minute and an operable pen, I could bring to life that strange little cartoon guy with the long nose who kept a watchful eye on GIs all over the world, as Chuck Lyons writes in the article “Kilroy Was There” in this issue. I know, I know—you can draw Kilroy, too. The ability to master drawing several curves, a couple of dots, and one straight line isn’t much of a claim to fame. And it wouldn’t seem to give me much in common with the GI of World War II. But in fact it does. All of us can draw Kilroy. That’s the point. Kilroy wasn’t just drawn by the GI. He was the GI. As our art director, Jeff King, pointed out during the creation of this issue, Kilroy is Everyman. We are him, and he is us. I realize I’m stretching beyond my reach to find something in common with those GIs. Back when I was of age to join the military, I couldn’t imagine I could handle the discipline, and I wasn’t wise enough to realize I might have benefitted from it being forced on me. There was no draft to compel me into service; though I was required to register, no conscription was required to overpower Grenada and Panama. So, it looks like I’ll have to settle for my one bona fide tie to the GIs: putting out a magazine that tells their story to the world. But please do check out that Kilroy of mine below my signature!
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A V-MAIL crashed at Newark. Within weeks another crashed. All approaches were cancelled. After the investigation, it was determined that the [radar] course used for the approach bounced off the George Washington Bridge, giving a false indication. After the correction, all was well. MIKE PICCOLA
ABNER BIBERMAN, JAPANESE MAJOR I ENJOYED READING Tom Huntington’s review of Back to Bataan [Theater of War] in the February 2012 issue. However, there was one small error: The actor who played the Japanese officer who hanged the school principal was not Richard Loo, but Abner Biberman. Biberman was an RKO character actor who became a TV director in the ’50s and ’60s. Richard Loo was in the film as a [different] Japanese officer, as was another Chinese actor, Philip Ahn. BOB BREY
received via e-mail
US AIR FORCE
Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania
A GUEST OF THE KREMLIN IN THE APRIL 2012 ISSUE there was an article about the Doolittle Raiders [“Dad Flew with Doolittle”] by Susan Zimmerman. Her interviewing was somewhat of an eyeopener. I would like to add something. In the year 1948 I served with a B-29 unit on Guam, Mariana Islands. Many times I flew with a crew with a flight engineer by the name of Master Sergeant Theodore Laban. It was my knowledge that he was with the raider crew that [landed in and] was interned in Russia, working in a Russian factory. Many stories of his exploits were told. I understand that a book was shown to people in the squadron. I never saw it. I just heard about it. It was Guests of the Kremlin [by Robert G. Emmens, 1949]. On page 40 of the article, in photo number four, the center airman sure does resemble T. Laban as I remember him. HARRY DUNLEY Hainesport, New Jersey
Editor’s note: Theodore Laban was indeed part of the B-25 crew that landed in Russia and was interned there. He and the others escaped a year later and returned to the States in May 1943. THE FIRST MOUNTAIN DIVISION I AM CURIOUS ABOUT the 10th Mountain Division. The article [Mountain Men, April 2012] seems to have stated it was the first mountain division formed and went to Attu and Kiska. From what I’ve read about the First Special Service Force, this unit was formed and in training before the 10th 4 AMERICA IN WWII
Harry Dunley writes that the airman in the center looks like Theodore Laban, a sometime fellow crewman who was interned in Russia after the Doolittle Raid.
by almost a year. FSSF was activated on July 9, 1942, and the 10th on July 15, 1943. The FSSF trained in mountain climbing, skiing, and airborne and amphibious assault. The 10th skipped the amphibious training. The FSSF was sent to Attu on July 25, 1943, and to Kiska on August 15, 1943. The FSSF was called the Black Devils Brigade because the men worked at night and covered their faces with black shoe polish. They supposedly left a card with the German bodies stating “The worst is yet to come.” I understand the US Special Forces owe the FSSF a debt because it led to the development of the Green Berets. Why isn’t the FSSF written up anywhere? The movie The Devils Brigade didn’t get much correct. GUIL ANDERSON Sherman, Texas
TRAGIC FLIGHTS TO NEWARK I READ “Trouble from the Start” by Dennis Wrynn [V-Mail, April 2012]. I was 15 when that Saturday morning in July 1945 the B-25 hit the 80th floor of the Empire State Building. Thank God it was a Saturday, or many workers would have been killed or injured. I’m writing because the article brought to mind a similar incident [related to flying into Newark]. Around January 1952, an American Airlines CV-240
HOME-FRONT HISTORIAN I WANT TO THANK YOU and your staff for the new special Home Front Life. I have been impressed by your attention to the home front since your first issue. I’ve researched this period for a book called Sara’s Table, which features cooking during the Depression and the war, and have done the scripts for the living-history segments of the tours of John Glenn’s boyhood home museum in New Concord, Ohio. I’ve been able to add snippets of information over the years from your magazine. People are really interested. Thank you personally, Mr. Zebrowski, for 78 RPM. I always enjoy it (because I always agree!). LORLE PORTER, PHD professor emeritus, Muskingum University New Concord, Ohio
KIDS GAVE B-MOVIE STAR AN A+ I ENJOYED SEEING and reading about Maria Montez [Pinup, April 2012]. You may not realize this, but children, say, 7 to 13 years old during the WWII years and afterward really liked her movies. They enjoyed Arabian Nights, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, etc. The appreciation of those by children was sort of ignored. Kids liked adventure. And many of her movies were in color [at a time when most were black and white]. Montez was in about 29 movies from 1940 to 1951. I did not remember she was only 39 years old when she passed. TOM LUNDREGAN received via e-mail
Send us your comments and reactions— especially the favorable ones! Mail them to V-Mail, America in WWII, PO Box 4175, Harrisburg, PA 17111-0175, or e-mail them to [email protected]
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A HOME FRONT
Called on Account of [Censored] by Carl Zebrowski
Bob Elson received from the US Weather Bureau must have been the blandest praise ever to come his way. “I wish you would accept our very sincere congratulations upon the most adroit and, at the same time, satisfactory piece of radio reporting,” wrote F.W. Reichelderfer. It sounded like a genuine pat on the back, but it wasn’t praising Elson for what he said in his report. It was lauding him for what he didn’t say as he called an annual charity football game between the Chicago Bears and the college all-stars at the Windy City’s Soldier Field in August 1942. “The All-Stars, I presume, are by now in a huddle,” Elson had announced on the radio at one point during the game. He paused. “By now they ought to be out of it.” He didn’t know for sure. From the radio booth where he was sitting high above the 50-yard line, he couldn’t see a thing. Elson might have explained that there was a blanket of fog covering the field. But he didn’t, which is what pleased the government. The enemy might have been listening in, channel-hopping in hopes of finding a weather report that would reveal what conditions might turn up at some attractive air-raid target along either coast. Elson was dutifully following rules set by the federal government. It hadn’t taken long into the war for the government to decide it needed to restrict the flow of what it considered sensitive information. Less than two weeks after Pearl Harbor, it formed the Office of Censorship, and on January 15, 1942, the office released a censorship code that applied to radio broadcasts, publications, and other media. Cooperation was critical, since the restrictions were not legally enforceable. One of the main components of the voluntary censorship code was a limit on HE LETTER THAT
PHOTO BY AUSTEN FIELD, CHICAGO
6 AMERICA IN WWII
To feds who fretted about the enemy hearing weather conditions on radio broadcasts, Chicago Bears announcer Bob Elson was a master of eloquent obfuscation.
weather reporting, especially on the radio. The fear was that enemy agents could be listening in to a wide selection of stations in various regions and could use weather reports to create forecast maps for other regions. An operative could take a report of rain or fog in Michigan or Texas, for example, figure in wind direction and speed, and calculate roughly when that weather system might hit locations on the East Coast. Then the enemy could launch an air raid against a key military or industrial site, knowing that cloud cover would make it easier to strike by surprise. Broadcasters were urged to avoid any mention of weather except authorized reports from the Weather Bureau, which were vetted for security purposes. Authorized reports were mostly limited to news of severe weather that could lead to injury and property damage. Even then, the reins were tight. When tornadoes touched down around Memphis, Tennessee, in March 1942 and killed 125 people, stations in the
region broadcast urgent appeals to doctors and nurses to report to their hospitals. Listeners were left to guess exactly why. Live sporting events presented plenty of opportunities for weather conditions to sneak into a broadcast. Just the mention that a game was delayed or postponed (naming a specific reason was not allowed) was enough to clue the enemy in to some adverse weather condition. And because weather is so critical to outdoor sports, announcers tended to mention temperature, sun, clouds, or precipitation out of sheer habit. Interviews with players were particularly risky, since most of them didn’t even know about the code. By the time the censorship code was relaxed on October 12, 1943, there had been relatively few violations. But the most frequent had been weather-related, accounting for half of the 310 incidents cited in the 17,435 broadcasts the censorship office monitored. And a good percentage of those happened during live coverage of sporting events. In hindsight it seems unlikely that many air raids were thwarted by depriving the enemy of weather reports. The censorship code’s chief effect may have been to test broadcasters’ imagination as they struggled to call live games without mentioning weather. At this task, not all announcers acquitted themselves with equal subtlety. “The umpires have called the game for reasons I cannot speak of,” reported announcer Hal Trotten during a Major League Baseball game in July 1943, “but whatever has caused the delay is also making the spectators go back for cover, and yes, here come the ground keepers with whatever is used to cover the ground so whatever is causing the delay won’t affect the ground too much.” A
To some people, she was Slugger. To others, Miss Breathless. To the boys of the 541st Parachute Infantry Regiment, she was “the gal it would be nicest to go chuting with.” Her actual name was Marguerite Chapman, model, actress, and booster of wartime morale. Born in 1918 in Chatham, New York, Chapman was a telephone operator until she heeded friends’ urgings to take advantage of her charisma, good looks, and 5-foot-7 figure. She did some magazine modeling and caught the attention of business magnate and movie producer Howard Hughes, who offered her a screen test.
PHOTO COURTESY OF WWW.DOCTORMACRO.INFO
In Hollywood, Chapman got a break with a leading role in the acclaimed superhero serial Spy Smasher in 1942. By war’s end she had appeared in about two dozen movies. This sister of three sailors also visited military camps and hospitals, supported war-bond drives, volunteered at the Hollywood Canteen, and graced the cover of the army’s Yank magazine three times. She even found time to tend a victory garden.
AM E RICA I N
Chapman’s film career continued after the war, most notably in The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe in 1955. She later made a multitude of guest appearances on television shows. She was offered the part of Old Rose in 1997’s Titanic, but health problems forced her to turn it down. She died in Burbank in 1999.
A THE FUNNIES
Take That, Old Man Hitler! by Arnold T. Blumberg
Although the Young Allies were junior heroes, they rated impressive adversaries, including the Red Skull and all three enemy leaders—Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Tojo. Not even the superadults could boast a rival trio of that caliber. The group also made Marvel history as the first title to create a team from characters from other series. And Whitewash Jones, though an offensive stereotype by today’s standards, was Marvel’s first and only black character for nearly 10 years. Young Allies Comics ended with issue No. 20 in October 1946. The non-powered members of the team vanished into history, but Bucky and Toro kept up their partnership in the pages of The All Winners Squad. The Young Allies returned briefly for their 70th anniversary, and two other versions of the team have appeared in the 21st century featuring present-day incarnations of either Bucky or Toro. A DR. ARNOLD T. BLUMBERG is an educator and the author of books on comic books and other pop culture topics. He resides in Baltimore, Maryland.
Above, left: Captain America’s sidekick, Bucky Barnes (shown strapped to the table in the blue shirt), cobbled together the Young Allies in 1941. Above, right: Bucky’s supergroup appeared in all 10 issues of Kid Komics, from 1941 to 1946. Opposite: The Young Allies were just a bunch of kids, but they took on not just Hitler (shown here), but all three Axis chieftains, something no adult superhero attempted. 8 AMERICA IN WWII
IMAGES COURTESY OF GEPPI'S ENTERTAINMENT MUSEUM, WWW.GEPPISMUSEUM.COM
WWII, comic book–themed clubs encouraged young readers to spy the skies for enemy planes and otherwise keep busy so they didn’t worry obsessively about their fathers and older brothers overseas. If they were having fun in a club, why shouldn’t their favorite supersidekicks? The duo that gave the world Captain America—Joe Simon and Jack Kirby—responded with a unique team called the Sentinels of Liberty. Bucky Barnes, Cap’s loyal partner, formed the team with four of his non-costumed, non-super friends—Percival “Knuckles” Aloysius O’Toole, Jefferson “Jeff” Worthing Sandervilt, Henry “Tubby” Tinkle, and Whitewash Jones—and together they debuted in a text-only story appearing in Captain America Comics No. 4 in June 1941. With a quick name change for Bucky’s group, Young Allies Comics debuted in the summer of 1941 and added the Human Torch’s sidekick, Toro, to the mix. The scriptwriter was none other than Stan Lee, the man that would usher in the Marvel Age of Comics in the early 1960s with the help of artists like Kirby. URING
A I WAS THERE
A Girl’s Dream Takes Flight Florence G. Shutsy Reynolds. Interviewed by T.W. Burger
AME RIC A
PATCH COURTESY OF WWW.WINGSACROSSAMERICA.US
COURTESY OF FLORENCE G. SHUTSY REYNOLDS IN W WII C O LLEC TION
over Europe, but women pilots flying in the United States provided the support the men needed for their victory. The often forgotten Women Airforce Service Pilots ferried planes from factories to airfields, towed targets for firing practice, and performed many other duties to prepare and free up men for combat flight. Florence G. Shutsy (Mrs. Lyle Reynolds) of Connellsville, Pennsylvania, was one of the so-called WASPs who, at age 20, had the ALE PILOTS MAY HAVE WON THE WAR
unheard-of opportunity to fly for Uncle Sam at a time when women were usually relegated to steno pools and kitchens. Shutsy, whose maiden name is also her nickname, was just seven years old when she decided she was going to be a pilot. How did that go?
I announced it at the supper table. Everybody laughed, but I wasn’t laughing. Like most of the WASPs, I have always been
Center: Florence Shutsy was one of 1,074 Women Airforce Service Pilots who ferried aircraft from factories to airfields or towed targets for fighter practice. Left: The shoulder patch of the 318th’s Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment features Fifinella, the Disneydesigned WASP mascot. Right: The WASPs, as the pilots were known, started flying in late 1942. The following July, WASP pilot Shirley Slade appeared on the cover of Life, one of the nation’s most popular magazines. 10 AMERICA IN WWII
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independent and opinionated. I was in the debating team at my high school, and I gave a speech—this was in 1939—in support of the draft in which I also said that males and females ought to serve their country for at least two years. That got me kicked off the debate team. At about the same time, I tried to get them to let me take a class in drafting, which was only open to boys. That almost got me kicked out of high school. The principal said he’d never heard of such a thing. But later I signed up for a drafting class at Penn State and had no trouble getting in…. You did graduate from Connellsville High School in 1940. By then you were already on your way to being a pilot, correct?
A I WAS THERE
letter to first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in September 1939, the day after German tanks rolled into Warsaw, urging the use of women as pilots in the military. The following May, test pilot Nancy Harkness Love wrote a similar letter to the Ferry Division of the US Army Air Forces. Both were turned down, though, at least at first.
Yes, but in a few months the good old boys had second thoughts in the face of a
US AIR FORCE
The Boeing-Stearman PT-13 biplane was one of many types of aircraft Shutsy flew. It was the primary trainer plane of the US Army Air Forces.
Yes, I had a scholarship that got me into a civilian pilot training program at our local airport. The country was gearing up for war, and you wanted to be involved?
Yes, but there were no female pilots in the military. But I heard of a program for [woman] pilots to ferry airplanes from place to place and do other flying duties to free male pilots for combat duty overseas. As luck would have it, at about that time two women pilots had both approached the military brass with the idea of using women as pilots in noncombat military roles. According to a WASP history published by Texas Woman’s University, which has a repository of WASP documents, recordsetting aviator Jacqueline Cochran sent a 12 AMERICA IN WWII
critical pilot shortage. Under Love, the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron took off in September of 1942, using women pilots to ferry aircraft from factories to US Army Air Forces bases. Cochran’s group [the Women’s Flying Training Detachment] was a little more involved, taking female pilots and training them for noncombat flying missions other than simply ferrying new airplanes from point to point. The Women’s Flying Training Detachment called for women pilots to be trained for other noncombat flying missions. Cochran’s first class graduated at the army air forces’ Ellington Field in Houston in April 1943. On August 5, the WFTD and WAFS were combined to form the WASP, with Cochran as director and answering to army air forces commander
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General Henry “Hap” Arnold. Training was moved to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, the largest all-female military base in the country. How many women were in the WASP program?
In all, 25,000 women applied for WASP training. Only a little more than 1,830 were accepted, and 1,074 earned their wings. The bad news for me is that at the time the WASP got started, I was 18, and the [minimum] age limit was 21. I wrote to [Cochran] at least once a week for two years to let her know that I wanted to be in the program. Finally, they realized they needed more pilots, and they lowered the eligibility to 18. By then I was 20, so I clipped the article from the paper and sent it to Cochran with my next letter. I was accepted. After a six-day bus trip from Connellsville, Shutsy arrived in Sweetwater and was sworn in on December 7, 1943. The term “sworn in” is a bit misleading, though, isn’t it?
Yes, we were sworn in by an officer at
open cockpit, and we wore goggles and scarves when flying.
I WAS THERE
Avenger Field, and we had to obey army rules and regulations, but we were actually considered civilian employees under the Civil Service Commission. We had to pay our own way to and from. It was always that way. We had to buy our own uniforms and pay for our room and board out of our pay. [WASPs were paid $150 per month during training and $250 per month after graduation.] There were no benefits. The families of pilots who were killed received no gold star or burial expenses. All of us chipped in to ship bodies home to families because the army would not pony up the money. The army would not allow the US flag to be put on their coffins. It was disgraceful. But there was a lot that was good about it. When I first saw the PT-17 [Boeing-Stearman biplane] I was going to train in, it was love at first sight. It was from the Romantic age of flying. It had an
Shortly after you graduated from Sweetwater, one of your classmates, Beverly Moses, died in a crash. You later witnessed a collision that killed two pilots, and had your own share of close calls. Tell us about that.
Yes, but that was to be expected. Aviation was just coming into its own. Yes, I had some close calls, but nothing more unusual than anybody else. You got to prove yourself. I got my first chance to do that in about my second hour of solo flight. I was flying a [Piper] J-3 Cub. The engine quit. I kept my wits about me and did a dead-stick landing and ended up right where I’d taken off from. [“Dead-stick” refers to the propeller, the “stick,” not spinning.] I felt like I had the right stuff…. A friend of mine was in a J-3 Piper Cub in a solo flight, sitting in the back. The instructor, who would usually sit in front, was on the ground, watching how she did. The joystick came off in her hand. She had to climb over the seat to get up front so she
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How many pilots did the WASP lose in the course of its existence?
We lost 38 pilots over the time the WASP was active. Most were lost in crashes, but three were killed by friendly fire, by pilots in training who were poor shots or
COURTESY OF FLORENCE G. SHUTSY REYNOLDS
could control the aircraft [using the front joystick]. When she landed, the instructor said she had the right stuff, too. Another time, I was up in an AT-6, a 600-horsepower trainer [from North American Aviation]. Right after I took off, a piece of the cowling flew off. It missed me and it missed the tail section. I found out later that the AT-6 had a bad habit of cowling coming off, hitting the canopy, and decapitating the pilot, so I was lucky. By the time I landed, the skin was peeling off the whole left side of the plane. I had radioed in, and the fire trucks and ambulance met me at the beginning of the runway. That’s when I realized that they expected me to crash. That really made me mad, and I was damned if I wasn’t going to land that plane. And I did. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Although sworn into the army, Shutsy and the other WASPs were considered civilian employees. That meant she had to use her own wages to pay for this dress uniform, and room and board.
who got excited and shot the wrong thing. It’s funny—we weren’t allowed to shoot, but we were allowed to be shot at. I turned down an opportunity to be a flight instructor. I didn’t like instructing. And the planes used for training were often
not in the best of shape. I didn’t envy them for that. They were flying war-weary aircraft. They were told to make soft landings, because they couldn’t get tires [due to the wartime rubber shortage]. But being part of the war effort was exciting. The things we had to put up with, even the horrendous harassment from many of the men we worked with, made us stronger and more determined. Our training was every bit as tough as what the men got, but that didn’t make any difference. The men resented us. You had to prove yourself on every flight. They didn’t know what to do with us. We were a different breed. We had officers’ status. The reason we were there was because of the critical shortage of pilots. We were sworn into the army, but were never fully militarized because Congress was full of good old boys and they didn’t like the idea. But we lived the army life. You said that toward the end of the program, some in the army were putting the pressure on to get WASPs to resign instead of waiting for the official end.
AMERICA IN WWII 15
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Oh, yes. You could not just refuse to fly, for whatever reason. That was a good way to get sent home. One male maintenance officer tried his best to get me to turn down a flight of a [Boeing-Stearman] PT-13 training plane. It had a cracked wing strut, and it was on the grounded list, so technically it was not flyable. He ordered me to fly it from Merced [Army Airfield in California], where I was stationed, to Los Angeles. “WASPs are expendable,” he said. I told him, “To hell with you. I’ll take the damned thing if I have to taxi all the way to LA.” So, you did your best not to let the chauvinistic attitudes get you down?
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I flew about 12 types of military aircraft. It wasn’t all that many because I wasn’t in Ferry Command. I was assigned to Merced Army Airfield in California. I had a whole hodge-podge of jobs: flying aircraft to Mines Field [now LAX]; I flew damaged planes to repair facilities and checked them out after their repair; I also did weather and tracking flights, and sometimes towed targets for fighter pilots in training. Some of the aircraft I flew were literally falling apart in mid-air. But, as I said, to refuse to fly was to be dismissed from the WASP. I would have rather died. WASPs were stationed at 120 air bases across the United States. Between September 1942 and December 1944, they delivered nearly 13,000 planes of 78 types. According to the WASP history published by Texas Woman’s University, Cochran and Hap Arnold had intended the women to be made part of the military, but the road to militarization was slow, requiring an act of Congress. They began the WASP program with the idea of militarizing later.
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Yes. When I arrived at my first assignment after graduation, my commanding officer told me he had asked not to be saddled with any female pilots. But in the end, he gave me a nice recommendation. The way I look at it, it was overall an amazing experience. I look back on it without bitterness. After all these years, what would be the point of being bitter? We were an experiment. They told us that right from the beginning.
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A I WAS THERE
It never happened. The urgent need for fighter pilots began to decrease, just as a 1944 bill to militarize the WASP went before Congress. Male civilian pilots and flight instructors were dead set against the proposal. They argued that WASPs were taking men’s civilian and military jobs. At the time the WASP was disbanded, 916 women were flying. But in the end, the good old boys won. What were you
What did you do then?
After I came home when I was separated from the corps, I went to an airfield in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and got both my instrument and instructor ratings. But jobs were hard to come by, with all the men coming back from the war, and prejudice against women was very prominent. I just didn’t want to fight the system…. Some of us hung up our uniforms and never wore them again. Others opened their own flight schools. I took all the insignias off my uniform and wore it in civilian life because I had outgrown everything else. I eventually donated it to a museum on the Gulf Coast that got hit with the tsunami after Hurricane Ike [in
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Above, left: WASPs pose at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, the largest all-female military base in the country. Above, right: The commander of the army air forces, General Hap Arnold, reviews the ranks on a visit to the field. doing when you heard that it was being dissolved and the women demobilized?
I was about to begin training in B-26 bombers when I learned that the WASP would be demobilized and sent home. Getting home turned into even more of a headache than getting to Avenger Field had been. I was thousands of miles from home with $10.25 to my name. At the time, we could still hitch rides on military aircraft, so I got a ride to Las Vegas.... I called my mom and asked her to send me $50. All together, she sent me $300, but I never got any of it. I finally managed to get myself to Akron, Ohio, and called my mom again. She said she couldn’t help me anymore; she was out of money. We remembered that we had an aunt in Akron that nobody really ever talked to. We thought maybe she could help. She put me on a bus on Christmas Eve. I got home on Christmas morning.
September 2008]. It was washed out into the ocean. After her discharge, Shutsy worked in California, then in North Carolina, where she was an army air forces dispatcher. She then took a job in Alaska operating a Link flight simulator for military pilots in training. On her way to Alaska, she met Lyle Reynolds, a navy reservist on his way to the Panama Canal Zone. They kept in touch and in 1952 got married. Shutsy was in the US Air Force Reserve, but when she was promoted and then outranked Lyle, she resigned her commission. Things are different today, but for people in my generation, that was going to cause problems. You have to get as many plusses as you can, and if that was going to be a problem, I wanted to put an end to it. We stayed in Panama for 16 years and then returned to Pennsylvania in 1968 when my
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Yes. The last time I flew was last summer. [Shutsy is now 90 years old.] A friend whose mother was a WASP comes to visit when he can. He takes me up and lets me fly. I will love flying as long as I live. It is impossible to describe the feeling to someone who has never done it, and if the other person is a flyer, there is no need to explain it. Flying is a love affair…. In a December 7, 1944, speech delivered at Avenger Field, Hap Arnold, who had supported bringing the WASPs fully into the military, announced that the organization had completed its mission. “Their job has been successful,” he said. “But as is usual in war, the cost has been heavy. Thirty-eight WASP have died while helping their country move toward the moment of final victory. The Air Forces will long remember their service and their final sacrifice.” But that last sentence was hardly true, certainly not at first, was it?
Since 1944 we had been under a gag order. The records of the WASP were sealed and listed as classified for 35 years, so our contribution to the war was a secret to almost everybody. If you were a woman and applied for a job and claimed you had flown warbirds for the army, they just didn’t believe you. So you stopped telling people. But then, in the mid-1970s, WASP veterans, working with Colonel Bruce Arnold, son of General Hap Arnold, began to tackle the good old boys in Congress in hopes of gaining some recognition.
Yes, and then [in 1977] the United States Air Force announced that it was going to allow female pilots to fly war planes “for the first time.” That tore it. Enough was enough. It was time we were recognized. 18 AMERICA IN WWII
COURTESY OF FLORENCE G. SHUTSY REYNOLDS
You still live in the home where you grew up. Do you still fly?
So, long story short, the records were unsealed, this time with the help of Senator Barry Goldwater, the Republican from Arizona, who was himself a WWII pilot, in the 27th Ferry Squadron. And then President Jimmy Carter signed the GI Bill Improvement Act of 1977, granting the WASPs full military status for their service to the nation. In 1984, each WASP was awarded the World War II Victory Medal. After another 25 years, on July 1,
Flight suits like the one Shutsy wears here were designed to keep the wearer warm in flight, as well as resist fire and provide multiple pockets for storage. 2009, President Barack Obama and Congress awarded the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal. You were one of the WASPs present for the ceremony?
Yes, and the United States Air Force asked for volunteers to help escort the WASPs. They even paid to fly the escorts. I think I had the best escort there was, a young technical sergeant. You never saw so many wheelchairs in your life!... There aren’t too many of us left. It seems as if every week a WASP makes her final flight. It’s so sad to see them go. I think we’re down to 200, more or less. A T.W. BURGER contributes regularly to America in WWII. He interviewed Shutsy in her home in early 2012.
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WWII 2012 WWII Air Shows Go where engines rumble and warbirds roar across the sky. Go to a World War II air show! And tell them you heard about it in AMERICA IN WWII.
Unless otherwise noted, prices are general admission gate prices. Check event websites for advance ticket discounts, military and veteran discounts, and special rates. May 4–6 • Temple, TX • Central Texas Airshow Commemorative Air Force “Tora!Tora! Tora!” Dec. 7 reenactment. Admission: adults, $12 ($25 for weekend pass); ages 6–12, $4; age 6 and younger, free; first-class one-day pass, $99. Draughon–Miller Central Texas Regional Airport, 7720 Airport Road. 512-869-1759. www.centraltexasairshow.com May 5–6 • Chino, CA • 1942: Turning the Tide More than 40 historic aircraft, panel discussion with WWII vets. Admission: age 12 and older, $20; ages 5–11, $5; under 5, free. Planes of Fame Air Museum, 7000 Merrill Avenue, #17. 909-597-3722. planesoffame.org May 18–20 • Virginia Beach, VA • Warbirds Over the Beach Warbirds on display, flyovers, dinner, dance, WWII reenactments. Admission: adults, $22 ($40 for weekend); youths, $10 ($18 for weekend). Military Aviation Museum, 1341 Princess Anne Road. [email protected] aviationmuseum.us. 757-721-7767. www.militaryaviationmuseum.org
May 26–27 • Columbia, MO • Salute to Veterans Air Show WWII and modern military aircraft, flyovers, WWII guests including Tuskegee Airmen and WASPs. Admission: free. Columbia Regional Airport, Hwy 63 South. [email protected] www.salute.org/Airshow.shtm June 1–3 • Reading, PA • A Gathering of Warbirds Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s 22nd Anniversary World War II Weekend. Warbirds, flyovers, WWII reenactments, period entertainment, WWII displays, dinner, dance. Admission: adults, $25; ages 6–12, $12. MidAtlantic Air Museum, 11 Museum Drive. [email protected] 610-3727333. www.maam.org/maamwwii.html June 1–3 • El Cajon, CA • Wings Over Gillespie WWII warbirds on display and flying, modern military planes, aerobatics. Admission: adults, $20; ages 5–17, age 62 and older, $15; family pack, $70. Gillespie Field. [email protected] 858-254-3036. ag1caf.org
June 2–3 • Blaine, MN • Discover Aviation Days Fly-in, WWII warbirds, other vintage and modern aircraft. Admission: Check website. Anoka County Airport (Jane’s Field), 8891 Airport Road, C-8. [email protected] 763-568-6072. www.discoveraviationdays.org June 8–10 • Olivehurst, CA • Golden West Regional Fly-In and Airshow 70th anniversary celebration of Doolittle Raid, Camp Beale, and Marysville Army Airfield. Admission: Check website. Yuba County Airport, Marysville/Olivehurst. [email protected] 530-8520321. www.goldenwestflyin.org June 9–10 • Mankato, MN • Minnesota Air Spectacular 2012 AeroShell Aerobatic Team flying AT-6 Texans, other air performances. Admission: Check website. Mankato Regional Airport, 3030 Airport Road. mnairspectacular.com June 16 • Rexburg, ID • Legacy Flight Museum Air Show Museum’s P-51, P-63, TBM Avenger and other planes in flight. Admission: free. Legacy Flight Museum, Airport Road. legacyflightmuseum @yahoo.com. 208-359-5905. www.legacyflightmuseum.com/airshow.aspx June 16–17 • Olympia, WA • The Olympic Air Show Vintage warbirds, living history military encampments, aerobatics and flybys by vintage and modern military and civilian planes. Admission: adults, $15 ($25 for weekend); age 6 or younger, free; special photographer pass, $100, online purchases only. Olympic Flight Museum, 7637-A Old Highway 99 SE. [email protected] 360-705-3925. olympicairshow.weebly.com June 16–17 • Gaylord, MI • Wings Over Gaylord B-17, B-25, C-47 on display and available for rides, historic and modern military and civilian aircraft, aerobatics, big-band hangar dance, 1950s dance. Admission: adults, $10; ages 6–12, $5; age 5 and younger, free. Gaylord Regional Airport, 1100 Aero Drive. www.wingsovergaylord.org June 16–17 • Norfolk, NE • Nebraska Airfest Dogfights between P-51 Mustang and Japanese Zero, aerobatics, cockpit tour of B-25 Mitchell, skydiving by US Army Golden Knights, hot air balloon flights, free children’s rides, speakers. Admission: $10. Norfolk Regional Airport. [email protected] 402-316-4216. www.nebraskaairfest.com June 16–17 • North Kingstown, RI • Rhode Island Open House and Air Show WWII aircraft displayed and flying, modern jets, civilian performers. Admission: free; $10 parking donation directly supports Hasbro Children’s Hospital. 210 Airport Street. [email protected] www.riairshow.org June 22–24 • Greenfield, IN • Indianapolis Air Show WWII and modern airplanes, survivors from sinking of USS Indianapolis. Admission: adults, $15; ages 6–12, $5; age 5 or younger, free; lower rates Friday. 4078 N. Aviation Way. [email protected] 317-335-7252. www.indyairshow.com July 1 • Gig Harbor, WA • Tacoma Freedom Fair Wings and Wheels WWII and modern airplanes, B-17 rides, flying and static displays. Admission: age 18 and older, $12; ages 7–17, $5; age 6 or younger, free. Tacoma Narrows Airport, 1202 26th Avenue NW. [email protected] 253-507-9357. www.freedomfair.com July 2–4 • St. Louis, MO • Fair Saint Louis Air Show AeroShell Aerobatic Team flying AT-6 Texans, plus WWII and modern aircraft in flight. Admission: Check website. Soldiers Memorial (between 14th and Tucker and Market and Pine streets). [email protected] 314-434-3434. celebratestlouis.org/fair-saint-louis/air-show July 7–8 • Vandalia, OH • Dayton Air Show Modern and WWII planes flying and displayed, and “Tora! Tora! Tora!”, a dramatic re-creation of the Pearl Harbor attack. Admission: adults, $20; ages 6–11, $15; senior citizens, $15; age 5 and younger, free. Check website for other ticket options. Dayton International Airport, 3800 Wright Dr. [email protected] 937-898-5901. www.daytonairshow.com July 13–15 • Geneseo, NY • Geneseo Air Show WWII and modern aircraft in flying and static displays. Admission: Check website. 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum, 3489 Big Tree Lane. [email protected] 585-243-2100. www.1941hag.org/index.html July 14–15 • Willoughby, OH • A Gathering of Eagles XVI WWII and modern aircraft in flying and static displays; aircraft rides in a B-25. Admission: Check website. United States Aviation Museum Lost Nation Airport. [email protected] www.usam.us
July 14–15 • Eden Prairie, MN • AirExpo 2012 WWII aircraft flying and static displays. Admission: adults, $15; ages 8–12, $5; age 7 and younger, free. Flying Cloud Airport, 10110 Flying Cloud Drive. [email protected] 952-746-6100. www.airexpo-mn.org July 21–22 • Sioux Falls, SD • Sioux Falls Airshow WWII and modern aircraft in flying and on display; AT-6, B-25, P-51, L-5, PT-13, other aircraft. Admission: Free. Sioux Falls Regional Airport, Joe Foss Field, 2801 Jaycee Lane. [email protected] www.siouxfallsairshow.com Aug. 3–5 • Seattle, WA • 2012 Boeing Air Show at Seafair Weekend WWII Historic Flight Foundation Spitfire and Mustang; Douglas A-26 Invader, modern civilian and military aircraft. Admission: adults, $30; seniors and youth, $10. Genesee Park/Lake Washington. [email protected] 206-728-0123. www.seafair.com/AnEvent.aspx?ID=13&SecID=917 Aug. 4–5 • Chicopee, MA • The Great New England Air Show WWII AT-6/SNJ aerobatics team, C-47, TBM Avenger, B-25, P-40, Corsair, P-47, P-51, other WWII and modern planes, Geico Skytypers. Admission: Free. Westover Air Reserve Base. [email protected] www.greatnewenglandairshow.com Aug. 4–5 • Ypsilanti, MI • Thunder Over Michigan WWII-themed show with WWII reenactments, and vintage warbirds; more than 25 P-51 Mustangs; B-17 rides available. Admission: adults, $30; age 15 and younger, free. Yankee Air Museum, Willow Run Airport. [email protected] 734-483-4030. www.yankeeairmuseum.org/airshow Aug. 18–19 • Santa Rosa, CA • Wings over Wine Country Air Show WWII warbirds, military jet demonstrations, civilian aerobatics. Admission: adults, $20 in advance; ages 6–12, $5 in advance. Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport, 2200 Airport Boulevard. [email protected] 707-566-8380. www.wingsoverwinecountry.org Aug. 18–19 • West Milford, NJ • Greenwood Lake Air Show & WWII Showcase Vintage aircraft and warbirds, WWII living history reenactments, flying and static displays. Admission: adults, $20; ages 65 and older, $15; ages 5–12, $10; age 5 and younger, free. Greenwood Lake Airport, 126 Airport Road. [email protected] 973-728-7721. www.greenwoodlakeairshow.com Aug. 24–26 • Broomfield, CO • Rocky Mountain Air Show WWII and modern aircraft flying and on display. Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport. Admission: Check website. [email protected] 720-945-9167. www.cosportaviation.org Aug. 25 • Valle–Williams, AZ • Thunder over the Coconino Fly-In Warbird, antique, and home-built airplanes flying. Admission: Check website. Grand Canyon Valle Airport, 555 S SR 64. [email protected] 928-635-5280. www.grandcanyonflyin.com Aug. 25–26 • Winston–Salem, NC • Winston–Salem Air Show WWII and modern warbird displays and flyovers, AT-6 aerobatics, F4U Corsair, P-51, A-26, B-25. Admission: adults, $20; seniors, $15; age 11 and younger with adult, free (no more than three children per adult chaperone). Smith Reynolds Airport. [email protected] www.wsairshow.com Aug. 25–26 • Brunswick, ME • Great State of Maine Air Show WWII and modern military aircraft displays and flyovers. Admission: adults, $5 Fri. evening, $15, Sat.–Sun.;. seniors and youths, $5 Fri. evening, $10 Sat.–Sun. Brunswick Executive Airport. [email protected] 207-798-6512. www.greatstateofmaineairshow.us Aug. 25–26 • Alma, MI • Gratiot Community Airshow AeroShell Aerobatic Team flying AT-6 Texans; P-51, Corsair, and B-17 flights, civilian aerobatics, big-band hangar dance. Admission: Free, with $10 parking fee. Gratiot Community Airport, 3999 West Seaman Road. [email protected] 989-763-6513. www.gratiotcommunityairshow.com Aug. 25–26 • Toughkenamon, PA • Festival of Flight Air & Car Show Vintage bombers, transports, fighters, and trainers flying and on display, civilian aerobatics. Admission: adults, $16; ages 6–12, $7; age 5 and younger, free. New Garden Flying Field, 1235 Newark Road. newgarden.schultzairshows.com Sept. 1–2 • Davenport, IA • Quad City Air Show Vintage and modern warbirds flying and on display, AeroShell Aerobatic Team flying AT-6 Texans. Admission: Check website. Davenport Municipal Airport. [email protected] 563-322-7469. www.quadcityairshow.com/2012/index.html
Sept. 1–3 • Cleveland, OH • Cleveland National Air Show Vintage warbird fly-bys, modern civilian and military aircraft,Tuskegee Airmen display. Admission: adults, $21; ages 6–11, $14; age 5 and younger, free. Burke Lakefront Airport. [email protected] 216-781-0747. www.clevelandairshow.com Sept. 8–9 • Waukegan, IL • Wings Over Waukegan Vintage and modern warbird flybys and displays, “Rise Above” Red Tail exhibit. Admission: adults, $10; ages 11 and younger, free. Waukegan Regional Airport. [email protected] 847-244-0055. www.waukeganairshow.com Sept. 8–9 • Kirksville, MO • Kirksville Regional Air Festival 2011 show featured aerobatics by a Stearman and a P-51; check website for 2012 details as they become available. Admission: Check website. Kirksville Regional Airport. www.kvairfest.com Sept. 15 • Atlantic, IA • Fly Iowa 2012 2011 show featured WWII warbirds; check website for 2012 details as they become available. Admission: Check website. Atlantic Municipal Airport, 59706 Highland Road. www.flyiowa.org Sept. 15–16 • Norfolk, VA • NAS Oceana Air Show Vintage and modern military and civilian planes; WWII aircraft include Military Aviation Museum of Virginia Beach’s collection of WWII navy warbirds, Greg Shelton’s Grumman Wildcat, and more. Admission: free. Naval Air Station Oceana, 16 miles east of Norfolk. www.oceanaairshow.com Sept. 21–22 • Burlington, IA • Southeast Iowa Air Show 2012 Vintage and modern planes flying and on display; WWII aircraft include P-51s, a Corsair, Avenger, and an SNJ Texan. Admission: adults, $15; ages 5–12, $10; age 4 and younger, free; tickets good both days. Southeast Iowa Regional Airport, 2515 Summer Street. seiowaairsho[email protected] 319-754-1414. www.seiowaairshow.com Sept. 22–23 • Salinas, CA • California International Airshow 2011 show featured WWII warbirds, vintage aircraft, modern jets. Check website for updates. Admission: adults, $20; children, $15. Salinas Municipal Airport. [email protected] 831-754-1983 or 1-888-845-SHOW. www.salinasairshow.com Sept. 22–23 • Hagerstown, MD • Hagerstown Wings & Wheels Expo 2012 Historic and modern aircraft and military jets, living history demonstrations and reenactors, entertainment by Hub City Lindy Hoppers. Admission: Check website. Hagerstown Regional Airport, Richard A. Henson Field, 18434 Showalter Road. [email protected] www.wingsandwheelsexpo.com Sept. 28–30 • Chico, CA • Chico Air Show 2012 Previous show featured WWII warbirds among other flying and static displays. Check website for updates. [email protected] 530-332-9414. www.chicoairshow.org Sept. 28–30 • Rome, GA • Wings Over North Georgia WWII warbirds are anticipated as part of show. Check website for updates. Admission: ages 18–64, $18; ages 11–17, $15; age 10 and younger, and age 65 and older, free. Richard B. Russell Regional Airport. [email protected] 770-331-1621. www.wingsovernorthgeorgia.com Sept. 29–30 • Kaneohe Bay, HI • Kaneohe Bay Air Show WWII warbirds flying and on display, historic military vehicles, arms, uniforms, modern military and civilian flying displays. Admission: free. Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. [email protected] www.mcbh.usmc.mil/Airshow Sept. 29–30 • Colorado Springs, CO • Colorado Springs In Their Honor Air Show Vintage and modern aircraft flying and on display, WWII warbirds, civilian and military aerobatics. Admission: adults, $15; age 65 and older, $12; ages 5–11, $6; age 4 and younger, free. Fort Carson–Butts Army Air Field. [email protected] 719-635-8803. www.cosairshow.com Oct. 6 • Georgetown, DE • Wings & Wheels—A Georgetown Fall Festival Vintage planes, WWII reenactors, WWII testimonials, and more. Free admission. Sussex County Airport. www.wings-wheels.com Oct. 6–7 • Fort Worth, TX • Fort Worth Alliance Air Show WWII and modern military aircraft flying displays, Horsemen P-51 flight demo team, reenactment of Pearl Harbor attack. Admission: free. Fort Worth Alliance Airport, 2221 Alliance Boulevard. www.allianceairshow.com
Oct. 12–14 • San Diego, CA • MCAS Miramar Air Show WWII and modern military aircraft flying, aerobatics by AT-6 War Dog and the Horsemen flight demo team, dogfight between F8-F Bearcat and A6M Zero. Admission: free. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, about 15 miles north of downtown San Diego. [email protected] www.miramarairshow.com Oct. 13–14 • Daytona Beach, FL • Wings and Waves Air Show Skytypers AT-6 demo team, F4U Corsair demo, modern military and civilian aerobatics. Admission: free. Check website for details. [email protected] 386-310-4904. www.wingsandwaves.com Oct. 13–14 • Midland, TX • Commemorative Air Force Airshow AeroShell Aerobatic Team flying AT-6 Texans, civilian aerobatics, WWII reenactors, WWII warbirds on display. Admission: adults, $20 ($25 for both days); ages 6–12, $5; age 5 and under, free. Midland International Airport, between Midland and Odessa. [email protected] 888-945-3008. www.airsho.org Oct. 20–21 • El Paso, TX • Amigo Airshow John Mohr’s Stearman aerobatics, modern aerobatics, aircraft on display. Admission: adults, $20; ages 6–11, $12; seniors, $10; age 5 and younger, free. Biggs Army Airfield. 915-562-6446. www.amigoairsho.org Oct. 25–27 • Casa Grande, AZ • Copperstate Fly-In Commemorative Air Force B-17, B-25, C-45, T-6, and L-16 (small tail-dragger) on display and available for rides. Admission: adults, $15; ages 12 and younger, free. Casa Grande Municipal Airport. 520-975-8442. www.copperstate.org/csj Oct. 27–28 • Houston, TX • Wings Over Houston Air Show Plans include “Tora! Tora! Tora!” simulated Pearl Harbor attack, Red Tail display, modern aircraft flight demos. Check website for updates. Admission: adults, $25; ages 6–11, $5; age 5 and younger, free. Ellington Airport. 713-266-4492. www.wingsoverhouston.com Nov. 2–3 • Pensacola, FL • NAS Pensacola Open House & Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show 2011 show featured many WWII warbirds flying and on display, modern civilian and military flight demonstrations. Check website for updates. Admission: free. Naval Air Station Pensacola. maito:[email protected] www.naspairshow.com Nov. 10–11 • Stuart, FL • Stuart Air Show 2012 AeroShell Aerobatic Team flying AT-6 Texans, military reenactors, WASPs attending as special guests. Admission: adults, $20; age 10 and younger, free. Witham Field. www.stuartairshow.com Nov. 10–11 • Las Vegas, NV • Aviation Nation 2012 Celebration of 71 years of US Air Force accomplishments in air, space, and cyberspace. About 100 military and civilian aircraft are expected to be on display. Check website for updates. Nellis Air Force Base. www.nellis.af.mil/aviationnation March 16, 2013 • Centro, CA • NAF El Centro Air Show 2011 show featured numerous WWII aircraft on display. Admission: Check website. Naval Air Facility Centro. mwrtoday.com/elcentroairshow April 6–7, 2013 • Tampa, FL • MacDill Air Fest 2011 show featured WWII aircraft flying and on display. Check website for updates. Admission: free. MacDill Air Force Base. 813-828-SHOW. www.macdill-airfest.com April 20, 2013 • Louisville, KY • Thunder Over Louisvillie 2011 show featured WWII aircraft flying and on display. Check website for updates. Admission: free. Downtown Louisville. www.thunderoverlouisville.org April 27–28, 2013 • Biloxi, MS • Keesler Thunder on the Bay Air Show 2011 show featured WWII aircraft flying and on display. Check website for updates. Admission: free. Keesler Air Force Base. www.keesler.af.mil/library/keeslerairshowandopenhouse/index.asp April 27–28, 2013 • Beaufort, SC • MCAS Beaufort Air Show 2013 2011 show featured WWII aircraft flying and on display. Check website for updates. Admission: free. Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. www.beaufortairshow.com
Air Show Organizers: Don’t see your event here? Contact us now for inclusion in next year’s calendar!
FDR’s Other White House by Mark D. Van Ells
reached the front lines, it shocked even the most hardened combat veteran: The president was dead. For many GIs, Franklin D. Roosevelt was more than just their commander in chief. He was the only president they had ever known. He was the man who guided their nation through a dozen trying years of depression and war. Now he was gone, having suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945, at his vacation home in Warm Springs, Georgia. Tourists come to Warm Springs from all over the country to see the place FDR died, now known as Roosevelt’s Little White House State Historic Site. But tourists were coming here long before FDR. Beginning at least in the 19th century, they were drawn by the therapeutic thermal springs that gave the village an hour south of Atlanta its name. Roosevelt first visited in 1924, seeking relief from the polio that had paralyzed his legs three years earlier. He found swimming in the 88-degree water invigorating, and it gave him hope that he might one day walk again. Three years later he purchased a hotel near the springs and transformed it into a rehabilitation center for polio victims. Then, in 1932, he bought land about a mile away and built a cottage on it. He returned to that cottage often during his presidency. Warm Springs gave Roosevelt a freedom he had nowhere else. He enjoyed driving himself through rural Georgia in an automobile specially equipped with hand controls. He frequently stopped to chat with locals. With his trademark charm, the Yankee aristocrat quickly won over his Southern neighbors. In the mornings, he liked to HEN THE NEWS
22 AMERICA IN WWII
Franklin Roosevelt loved driving his 1938 Ford convertible around Warm Springs, Georgia, slowing down to talk with people along the road. It’s now parked in the FDR Memorial Museum at Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site.
swim at the rehabilitation center with others afflicted with polio. Afternoons often found him at Dowdell’s Knob, a few miles from his cottage, where he loved to picnic and enjoy the view of the valley below. In his public life Roosevelt concealed his disability, but at Warm Springs he didn’t feel the need to hide anything. Today affection for Roosevelt is alive and well in Warm Springs. His name is everywhere. The Roosevelt Memorial Airport is located on the Roosevelt Highway. The Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, the center he founded in 1927, continues to work with the disabled (and patients there are the only ones who can soak in the spring waters these days). Warm Springs has not changed much
since Roosevelt’s era. It’s still little more than a wide spot in the road. The Little White House is located less than a mile from the village’s center. Next to the entrance to the Little White House is the FDR Memorial Museum, which features a bounty of Roosevelt memorabilia. On display are political items as well as personal gifts to the president, such as canes from well wishers. Roosevelt’s wheelchair and leg braces are a poignant reminder of the personal challenges he faced. For many, the main attraction will be his 1938 Ford convertible, which he used to explore the surrounding countryside. The cottage is a short distance from the museum. The grounds have been left largely the way they were in Roosevelt’s day. The servants’ quarters and guesthouse are still standing, as are the guardhouses near the bump gate (the president could open it with the bumper of his automobile). The cottage is a mere six rooms, including the entrance hall, kitchen, and bedrooms for FDR, his secretary, and first lady Eleanor. The center of the home is a combination living and dining room, connected to a sun porch overlooking a wooded ravine. Here Roosevelt would entertain dignitaries and conduct other presidential business, or spend personal time with his ship models or stamp collection. Roosevelt arrived in Warm Springs for the last time in March 1945, shortly after meeting with the other two-thirds of the Allied Big Three, Soviet Premier Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, at the Yalta Conference. Roosevelt came to rest and to work on a speech he planned to deliver in San Francisco to
ALL PHOTOS BY MARK D. VAN ELLS
Above, upper right: FDR died in his cottage in Warm Springs in 1945. It still looks much as it did then, inside and out. Above, lower right: Among the artifacts in the site’s museum is a photograph of Graham Jackson crying while he plays “Goin’ Home” as FDR left town for the last time. Above, left: In nearby F.D. Roosevelt State Park, a statue of FDR sits atop his beloved Dowdell’s Knob.
the founders of what would soon be the United Nations. When he arrived at the train station, his neighbors were shocked to see how gaunt and exhausted he looked. The war had taken a heavy toll on him. On April 10, Roosevelt had his Secret Service detail drive him to Dowdell’s Knob. He asked to be left alone so he could have some time to think. The defeat of Germany was imminent, but disputes with the Soviet Union were simmering. The ghastly battle raging on Okinawa suggested that a long road still lay ahead before Japan’s defeat. Roosevelt sat for two hours lost in thought. Today there is a life-sized statue of FDR at Dowdell’s Knob, which is in F.D. Roosevelt State Park, near Pine Mountain, Georgia, not far from Warm Springs. The statue
depicts Roosevelt looking out over the valley. He is seated, with his leg braces clearly evident. It is one of the few portrayals of Roosevelt that acknowledge his disability. Two days after the visit to Dowdell’s Knob, Roosevelt sat in the living room of his cottage. Artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff had come to paint his portrait. Roosevelt seemed to be in good spirits, but at 1:15 he complained of a “terrific” headache and collapsed. He was carried to his bedroom. Two hours later he was dead. The cottage interior has been left much like it was that day. The chair he was sitting in is there, as is the easel that held Shoumatoff’s canvas, and his deathbed. On the kitchen wall, there’s a message from Roosevelt’s long-time cook: “Daisy Bonner
IN A NUTSHELL WHAT Roosevelt’s Little White House State Historic Site WHERE Warm Springs, Georgia WHY President Roosevelt’s vacation home, preserved as it was when he died there • Museum with artifacts from Roosevelt’s presidency and his time in Warm Springs • The unfinished watercolor portrait that artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff was painting of Roosevelt on his final day For more information visit www.gastateparks.org/LittleWhiteHouse, call 706-655-5870, or write the museum at 401 Little White House Road, Warm Springs, GA 31830.
cook [sic] the 1st meal and the last one in this cottage for President Roosevelt.” Shoumatoff’s unfinished portrait of FDR is the centerpiece of the Legacy Building (located near the park exit), which covers the reaction to Roosevelt’s death. Playing softly in the background in this gallery is “Goin’ Home.” As Roosevelt’s body was being taken to the Warm Springs railroad station, Navy Petty Officer Graham Jackson played the song on his accordion while tears streamed down his cheeks. That moment, captured by a Life photographer, became an icon of the nation’s grief. World War II was so massive in scope that we often forget the humanity of the individuals involved. Leaders, in particular, become statue-like fixtures in our minds. Warm Springs is an antidote to this. A visit to the Little White House gives us insight into Roosevelt the man. Here we see his ebullient personality and his unflagging optimism, and begin to understand the heavy burden of leading a nation at war. A MARK D. VAN ELLS teaches history at the City University of New York. He is currently writing a traveler’s guide to WWI sites in America. JUNE 2012
AMERICA IN WWII 23
A WAR STORIES
A WWII Scrapbook
US AIR FORCE
RUNNING OUT OF FUEL
SEPTEMBER or early October 1943 my crew (pilots Lieutenant Daffin and Van Valkenberg, crew chief Staff Sergeant D. Thompson, and I [radio operator] departed from the 607th Troop Carrier Training Squadron, Lawson Field, Fort Benning, Georgia, for Baer Field, Fort Wayne, Indiana, to receive our overseas shipping orders and a C-47 to be ferried to Townsville, Australia, N LATE
via Amarillo, Texas; Long Beach, California; Hamilton Field, California; Hickam Field, Oahu, Hawaii; Christmas Island; Canton Island; Funatui Island; the Fiji Islands; New Caledonia; and Brisbane, Australia; before touching down in Townsville. On the day of our departure [from Fort Wayne], November 8, 1943, we awoke to a blizzard-like snow storm. Despite the runway and the runway lights being blanketed
in snow and a heavy snow still falling, we were ordered to go. As we lumbered down the runway I had a sinking feeling that we were going to run out of runway before we became airborne. As we approached the end of the runway, the plane grudgingly lifted off into the blinding snow. The pilot’s intent was to climb above the storm. As we climbed, ice formed on the wings. The deicing boots were put into
Staff Sergeant William Ellis was on a flight crew tasked with ferrying a C-47 all the way from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Australia. On the long leg from California to Hawaii, a violent storm sent the plane 600 miles off course, leaving only a few minutes of fuel to spare. 24 AMERICA IN WWII
A AMERICA IN WWII FLASHBACK
BOB GABRICK COLLECTION
N A S H - K E LV I N ATO R C O R P O R AT I O N
1944 JUNE 2012
AMERICA IN WWII 25
John & Annie Glenn Historic Site New Concord, Ohio
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action. Large chunks of ice peeled off the wings. It was a fascinating and scary sight. We were never able to climb over the blizzard. Our climb maxed out at an altitude just in excess of 17,000 feet—without oxygen. After about six hours flying into the white mass, we unexpectedly flew out of the storm into a black starry night— breathtaking. At Hamilton Field our C-47 was modified. Eight 100-gallon gas tanks were installed in the cabin. That gave us a capacity of 1,600 gallons of gas. We would need every ounce of it. A navigator from the Air Transport Command was assigned to guide us on our flight. At 9 P.M. on November 14, 1943, we lifted off from Hamilton and headed out across the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean on the 2,400-mile flight to Hickam Field, a scheduled 15-hour flight. It was a beautiful night as we crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge. The first five hours of the flight were routine. As we approached the sixth hour, we flew into an unexpected vast and violent storm front. An effort to climb above the front proved to be futile. We were totally encased in the storm, which put the navigator out of business. The storm knocked out our generators. I had to shut down all of my radio equipment. At one point we unexpectedly dropped several hundred feet in a heartbeat. The once smooth ride had turned into something ugly. We flew blindly until we flew out of the front around dawn. The navigator quickly shot a fix. He advised the pilots that we were 600 miles south of our course. The immediate question was, did we have enough gas to reach the nearest point of land—Hilo, Hawaii? The best guess was that we might have enough gas—maybe. Lieutenant Daffin ordered Don Thompson and me to ready the life raft and emergency radio by the cargo door in the event we had to crash land—not a happy thought. All eyes were glued to the horizon and the gas gauges. There were numerous false sightings of land. When we finally saw
land, the question remained: Did we have enough gas to reach it? We flew into Hilo on a wing and a prayer. We had enough gas left to have remained airborne for another 5 or possibly 10 minutes. We refueled and departed for Hickam. The scheduled flight of 15 hours ended up being a 20-hour flight. The remaining flights to Townsville were uneventful. William A. Ellis wartime staff sergeant, 65th Troop Carrier Squadron, Fifth Air Force Lewisburg, West Virginia
RECON UNDER FIRE— FOR NOTHING
Y MARCH 15, 1945, we had fought our way to the Siegfried Line, a [line] of pill boxes and dragon teeth that ran for a considerable distance. Our company commander, Lieutenant Harris, summoned Lieutenant Posipankq and me to an observation post, where we could see a large part of it. One of our other companies—I believe it was Company E—had attacked a portion of the line frontally. However they were pinned down by machine-gun and mortar fire and had to withdraw under a cloud of smoke. That evening the S2 intelligence captain summoned me to headquarters to advise me that I would lead a patrol into the
AM E RICA I N
L ingo! 1940s GI and civilian patter over the hill: an unauthorized disappearance, better known as AWOL, or absent without leave hangar queen: a plane that can’t seem to stay fixed and is constantly being laid up for repairs jungle juice: a fermented libation made from sugar and whatever fruits or vegetables a soldier could get his hands on
Siegfried Line to ascertain whether the tank opening had been sown with antitank mines. I selected as staff my sergeants and three other members of my platoon to accompany me. Under the cover of darkness, we walked and then crawled part of the way to the tank opening. We used our bayonets to sink gently into the ground to check for anti-tank mines. We found none. However, noises we made caused the German soldiers in the pill boxes to open up with machine-gun fire. There were tracer bullets firing about three feet above the ground, and regular rounds, some of which were going into the ground around us. We commenced to crawl back toward our area,
Joseph Calamari crawled on his belly at night, probing with his bayonet for mines in an opening in the Siegfried Line. Americans later marched across into Germany.
where there was a depression in the ground so that we would have some cover. We crawled back as quickly as possible for about three to five minutes so as to get out of the range of fire. The bullets were sinking into the ground around me and the others, but we all made it back safely. When I reported to the S2 that our mission had been accomplished, he advised me that I shouldn’t have gone because we had gotten word that another battalion of the 36 divisions had broken through, and we were going to follow them. Colonel Joseph A. Calamari Garden City, New York
More Than Scuttlebutt offers a definitive history of the U.S. Navy Combat Demolition Units and the Underwater Demolition Teams in WWII and their affiliates: the Joint Army Navy Experimental Testing Board and the Demolition Research Unit. The book features a comprehensive list of all personnel associated with the Navy demolition and is a must-read for all interested in Naval Special Warfare.
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AMERICA IN WWII 27
Just four months after Pearl Harbor, American forces in the Coral Sea halted Japan’s brief charge toward victor y. Then they cut its hear t out at Midway. by Brian John Murphy
ALL PHOTOS THIS STORY: NATIONAL ARCHIVES
JAPAN ON APRIL 18, 1942, the island empire’s military leaders were angry and embarrassed. Earlier that day, around noon, Colonel James H. Doolittle’s small force of American B-25 Mitchells had dropped bombs on Nagoya, Yokosuka, Yokohama, Kobe, and, incredibly, Tokyo itself. The physical damage done was slight, but the injury to the pride of Japanese generals and admirals was grave. S THE SUN SET OVER
The defiling of Japan’s sacred soil and the physical threat the raid posed to Emperor Hirohito altered the thinking of the country’s army and navy planners. Often at odds over strategic goals, Japan’s top military officials agreed that their priority now was to protect the homeland by extending the empire’s eastern limits. The Imperial Navy’s plan to take control of the eastern Indian Ocean was put on hold, and the Kido Butai, its massed carrier division, was called back to the Pacific. Several fighter groups from the Pacific and China fronts were reassigned to duty in the home islands. Plans for the occupation of American-held Midway, at the northwestern end of the Hawaiian Islands, were accelerated. To provide a diversion from the main effort there, another force would seize part of the Aleutian Islands. Midway’s capture would not only stretch Japan’s boundaries, but also put the Americans on the strategic defensive by threatening Pearl Harbor with air attack and give Japan a base from which to invade Hawaii. One element of Japan’s strategy did not change: the drive to cut off the US supply line to Australia. To do this the Japanese first had to complete their conquest of New Guinea by invading and occupying Port Moresby on the island’s southern coast. Their recent occupation of the island’s northern coast had been easy enough, but advancing overland across the Owen Stanley Mountains to approach Port Moresby from the rear had proven to be a different story. Australian defenders had stopped Japanese infantrymen cold on the mountains’ northern slopes. To solve the problem, the Japanese planned an end-run around the island’s eastern tip to assault Port Moresby from the sea. After American carrier raids on northern New Guinea bases on March 10, however, the Japanese knew they would have to eliminate American naval air power in the region before they could fully execute their plans. In April 1942 the United States had four carriers in the Pacific. On April 16 the USS Hornet (CV8), supported by the USS Enterprise (CV6), launched the Doolittle raid. Neither flattop would be able to make it back to the Coral Sea in time for the action expected when the Japanese set out for Port Moresby. It would be up to Task Force 17 to halt the Japanese offensive. Under the overall command of Rear Admiral Jack Fletcher and the tactical command of Rear Admiral Aubrey Fitch, Task Force 17 was based around the carriers Lexington (CV2) and Yorktown (CV5). The former, affectionately known as Lady Lex, was an ele-
gant ship with a distinctive profile. Designed originally as a battle cruiser, Lexington displaced 36,000 tons, steamed at a maximum speed of 34 knots (39 miles per hour), and carried 90 aircraft. The smaller Yorktown, launched in 1938, had brought the design of American aircraft carriers into the modern era. At 20,000 tons, the ship could steam at 34 knots and carry 81 aircraft, and it mounted eight 5”/38 caliber guns (deck guns that fired a projectile 5 inches in diameter and had a barrel 38 times that long, or 190 inches). It was among the best long-range anti-aircraft weapons of World War II. The Yorktown also boasted one of the navy’s latest radars, the CXAM-1, which could detect approaching planes at a distance of 70 nautical miles (80 miles). Both ships carried four air squadrons: Lexington’s fighter squadron, VF-2, had 21 F4F-3 Grumman Wildcats, and Yorktown’s VF-42 had 17. The Wildcat was outclassed in most respects by Japan’s fast and nimble Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero, but had the advantage in dive speed and armament (six .50-caliber machine guns). Each carrier also carried dive-bomber squadrons. The Lexington had the VB-2 and VS-2 and Yorktown the VB-5 and VS-5. Each ship had a total of 18 SBD-3 Douglas Dauntlesses, wellarmored aircraft that could take a lot of punishment. An especially stable bomb platform, the Dauntless proved to be one of the best dive-bombers of the war and was the American carriers’ main offensive arm. For torpedo bombers, the Americans’ counted on the Douglas TBD Devastator, a 1935 design that began service in 1938. It had once been a cutting-edge weapon, but the Japanese Nakajima B5N Kate now eclipsed it in all respects. With a top speed of just 206 mph, the Devastator was easy pickings for the swift Zero, which topped out at 325 mph. It became an even easier target when it slowed to just 110 mph to safely launch its Mark XIII torpedo, which fired 10 feet deeper than aimed and whose magnetic exploder failed at least 70 percent of the time. Design flaws made its contact exploder just as unreliable. Amazingly, luck would be with the Devastators and their unreliable Mark XIIIs during the Battle of the Coral Sea. Midway would be another matter. Opening Moves FOLLOWING THE STUNNING DOOLITTLE RAID, the stirred-up Japanese put their Port Moresby plans into rapid action. On April 29 Japanese invasion forces left Truk under the command of Admiral
Opposite: A Japanese aircraft carrier sails in circles to elude American bombers during the June 1942 Battle of Midway. The photo was taken from a B-17 heavy bomber that flew in from an island base. Above: Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, planned the Midway battle as a follow-up to Pearl Harbor. This time, the goal was the annihilation of the US aircraft-carrier force. JUNE 2012
AMERICA IN WWII 29
Shigeyoshu Inoue, with Admiral Takeo Takagi commanding the carrier force. The Japanese fleet included invasion squadrons for Tulagi in the central Solomon Islands; the main body of the Port Moresby invasion fleet; and Takagi’s carriers, Zuikaku and Shokaku, each displacing 26,000 tons and carrying air groups of 72 operational planes. The force’s third carrier, Shoho, was a lighter model of 11,200 tons, carrying 27 to 30 planes. Shokaku and Zuikaku carried three main types of aircraft: fighters (mostly the Mitsubishi Zeros), carrier bombers (the obsolescent fixed-gear Aichi D3A1 Val, which somehow sank more US ships than any other bomber in the war), and torpedo bombers (the superior Nakajima Kates, which could bomb while flying horizontally or diving). Both ships sailed with much less than their full complements of attack aircraft, which had been pared down by severe combat losses to a total of just 63 aircraft—less than 50 percent of capacity. And Japan had not trained and equipped sufficient pilots to fill the sparse replacement aircraft it did turn out. Shoho was even more anemically armed, with just 12 fighters and six attack aircraft, compared to the ship’s capacity of at least 27. The carriers were accompanied by 6 heavy cruisers and 2 light cruisers, plus 16 destroyers and various minesweepers, minelayers, sub chasers, and supply vessels. En route the carriers were supposed to trans-
fer eight Zero fighters to Rabaul. It was an inexplicable assignment that, due to bad weather, cost the fleet two days, delaying the entire complex operation. On May 3 the Japanese occupied Tulagi, raising the alarm at US Pacific Fleet headquarters at Pearl Harbor, where there was new management. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was in command of the fleet, and he planned an energetic defense in the Pacific followed as soon as possible by an offensive. Nimitz directed Rear Admiral Fletcher and his two carriers to block the Japanese as they crossed the Coral Sea to attack Port Moresby. The following day Fletcher got his campaign off to an aggressive start by dispatching Yorktown-based planes to hammer the Tulagi invasion fleet, which, due to the Japanese carriers’ pit stop at Rabaul, had been left without air cover. That night, with the Shokaku and Zuikaku still stalled north of the Solomons, Fletcher steamed south to rendezvous with the Lexington task group some 325 miles south of Guadalcanal in the Coral Sea. Having looked for the Americans north and east of Tulagi, Takagi ordered the carrier force to round San Cristobal Island east of the Solomons and enter the Coral Sea. Shoho, the third and smaller carrier, was covering the Port Moresby invasion force, which was steaming southeast from Rabaul. On May 7 planes from Shokaku searching for the American car-
Top: Before Midway, part of Yamamoto’s fleet went to help gain Tulagi island and Port Moresby, New Guinea. A US-Australian force intervened, igniting the Battle of the Coral Sea. Here, torpedoes smash Japanese carrier Shoho on May 7. Above, inset: Torpedoes find a Japanese carrier on May 8. Opposite: Admiral Chester Nimitz, US Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas chief, poses with a map of the Coral Sea over his left shoulder. 30 AMERICA IN WWII
M I D WAY T O V I C T O RY riers found only the oiler USS Neosho (AO-23) and her escorting destroyer, USS Sims (DD-409). The Japanese launched successive attacks on the two ships, hitting Sims with three 550-pound bombs. Sims broke in half and sank. Neosho’s anti-aircraft guns claimed at least three raiders, but the oiler was hit with seven bombs and mortally wounded (and scuttled on May 11). The raiders continued to scour the area for American carriers but found none.
8:15 A.M., American scouts had located what was thought to be the main Japanese carrier force, steaming south directly toward the north-bound American fleet, just out of range of Fletcher’s air groups. Fletcher waited until 9:26 A.M. and then ordered a strike from Lexington. At 9:44 a second wave launched from Yorktown. Spooked by sightings by US observation planes, the Port Moresby–bound Japanese invasion fleet came about and headed north, away from the action. The action found them, anyway, and 93 American planes attacked the Shoho, which had just landed its combat air patrol and was preparing a strike against Task Force 17.
‘Scratch One Flattop’ THE AMERICAN DIVE-BOMBERS attacked at 11:10. A Zero quickly knocked down two of them. At 11:18 Dauntless squadron VB-2 pierced Shoho’s flight deck with two 1,000-pound bombs, starting fires and explosions on the hangar deck. The Devastators of the Lexington’s torpedo squadron VT-2 dropped to 100 feet, slowed, and released their Mark XIII torpedoes, which worked perfectly. Five pierced Shoho’s hull, triggering massive flooding. Shoho was nearly dead in the water when Dauntlesses from VB5 and VS-5 arrived from Yorktown to dive-bomb the crippled carrier. At least 11 hits were scored. At 11:29 VT-5 arrived and lanced Shoho’s crumbling hull 10 more times. In all, 20 torpedoes and 50 bombs struck the Shoho. She sank quickly, taking 631 crew members with her. On the way back to Task Force 17, one of the American pilots, Lieutenant Commander R.E. Dixon, radioed a message that would shortly make the front page of countless newspapers: “Scratch one flattop!” That night Rear Admiral Fitch sent out reconnaissance planes to scout 360 degrees around the task force. Admiral Inoue, meanwhile, directed the invasion force—now minus its covering carrier, Shoho— to retreat back into the Solomon Sea, and postponed the Port Moresby operation. Takagi had concluded that at least two large American carriers lurked nearby and ordered them found. The Americans sighted the Japanese carriers just before 6 A.M. on the 8th, 220 miles northeast of Task Force 17. At 8:22 A.M. a Japanese scout plane found the task force. Trading Raids BY 9:25 A.M. A STRIKE FORCE from Lexington and Yorktown was on its way to its twin targets, Shokaku and Zuikaku, which by
by Brian John Murphy
now had split up. Covered by two heavy cruisers each, the carriers were 11,000 yards apart, and as American pilots formed up to attack, the Zuikaku disappeared beneath a rain squall. So the attacking Americans concentrated on Shokaku, which 24 Dauntlesses from Yorktown quickly struck with two 1,000-pound bombs, starting fires in the forecastle and on the flight and hangar decks amidships. Yorktown’s VT-5 Devastators missed with nine torpedoes. Zeros shot down two Dauntlesses and lost two of their own to the Wildcats. Joining the battle 30 minutes later, Lexington’s planes had less success. One Dauntless shook Shokaku with a 1,000-pound bomb, but none of the torpedo planes scored. The Americans damaged one Zero and splashed two, at a cost of five more aircraft. All the while, a Japanese attack force was closing in on Task Force 17, which sat exposed beneath sunny skies that were notably absent of accommodating rain squalls. Fitch sent up every plane he could to meet the enemy. When all his available Wildcats were aloft, he launched 18 Dauntlesses to help intercept Japanese torpedo planes. Covering all approaches, five cruisers and seven destroyers did their best to shield the carriers by throwing up a curtain of flak with their rapid-firing anti-aircraft guns. Target Lexington EIGHTEEN KATES ATTACKED Lexington from both sides. Captain Frederick Sherman ordered evasive maneuvers, and Lexington managed to elude torpedoes streaming in from both sides and from astern. Two missed by passing the ship. But at about 11:20 A.M., Lady Lex’s luck ran out, and torpedoes struck her forward of the vessel’s island on both sides. A 1,000-pound bomb penetrated through to an ammunition locker near the port-side forward gun gallery. A 500-pound bomb hit the gig-boat pocket on the forward side, sending splinters in all directions. Finally, a 100-pound bomb fell right down the stacks and exploded. Several fires were soon raging, mostly in the ship’s forward half. Below decks there was carnage. The ship’s chaplain, G.L. Markle, reported scores of burn victims “with clothes blown off and skin literally dripping from their bodies.” Guided brilliantly at flank speed by Captain Elliott Buckmaster, meanwhile, Yorktown dodged countless Japanese bombs. Though 14 Japanese divebomber pilots attacked the carrier, only one 550-pound bomb hit her, piercing her flight deck and exploding 50 feet below, just above the fourth deck. A near-miss loosened some of the hull plates, sucking seawater into the ship. By noon the Japanese attack was over. Lexington was listing six degrees to port, but scrambling work crews shifted oil in her bunkers to correct that. The ship began recovery operations for flyers downed in the assault on the Shokaku. Below-deck fires were almost under control when, at 12:47 P.M., a violent explosion shook the entire ship. Gasoline vapors had ignited near the forward aviation fuel bunkers, touching off new fires and crippling the ship. Additional explosions rocked Lexington at 2:42 JUNE 2012
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S ea of O k hot sk
June 3, 1942
an u t i A l e
Gall Stereographic Projection
M A NC H U R I A
Generalized Movements David Deis
FORCE S E C O N D M O B IL E
Basemap data: Natural Earth
E ORC ILE F RCE MOB O F T S N FIR MAI Admiral Chuichi T E E T FL FIR S
Admiral Frank J.
June 3–6, 1942
Task Force 17 with carrier Yorktown
Ea st Chin a Sea
First Carrier Striking Force (Kido Butai) with carriers
Vice Admiral Nishio
Commander in Chief JAPANESE COMBINED FLEET
Enterprise and Hornet H a w
Midway Invasion Force
Vice Admiral Takeo
Takagi Japanese 2nd Fleet
P a c i f i c
s tI .
O c e a n
Tulagi Guadalcanal Admiral Frank J.
Fletcher Task Force 17
Battle of the
Lexington and Yorktown
May 6–8, 1942
C o ra l Sea
A U S T R A L I A
Supreme Allied Commander SOUTH WEST PACIFIC AREA
Midway & Coral Sea the
PAC I F I C T H E AT E R 1942
Z EA L A N D 135°E
Johnston Vice Admiral Teruhisa Atoll
A raf ura Se a
Japanese 4th Fleet Celebes DUTCH EAST INDIES NEW Rabaul G UINEA Ba n da
with carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku
I TR R S
Commander in Chief PACIFIC OCEAN AREA
Task Force 16
INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE
C e le be s Sea
11th Air Fleet IN
So u t h Philippine China Manila Sea Se a P HILIP P IN ES
Admiral Raymond A.
S ECO N D F L EE T I N VA S I O N F ORCE
Admiral Chester W. 16 TF
Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu
S ea of J a p an
Vice Admiral Boshiro
Gul f of Al a s k a
s nd a l Is
M I D WAY T O V I C T O RY
and 3:45, knocking out all communications and navigation. The flattop was dead in the water. With no power and no steering, and every space filling with toxic smoke and fumes, Captain Sherman issued the order to abandon ship at 5:07. Escorting destroyers and cruisers moved in close to rescue Lexington’s crew, and all those who abandoned ship were saved. Scuttled by torpedoes from USS Phelps (DD-360), Lexington sank at 7:52 P.M., triggering one final, huge explosion beneath the waves.
OPPOSITE: DREAMLINE CARTOGRAPHY/DAVID DEIS
LETCHER FACED A DECISION.
He could continue to retire south or come about and initiate a surface action. With Lexington’s air group out of the equation, he had just 8 fighters, 12 divebombers, and 8 torpedo planes fit for action, and a mere 7 torpedoes. Though still steaming, Yorktown had absorbed a lot of punishment and would need at least three months in dry dock for repairs. On the other hand, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey was steaming south from Pearl Harbor with reinforcements, the carrier Enterprise and Hornet. Admiral Nimitz quickly solved Fletcher’s dilemma by ordering Task Force 17 to continue south.
Breaking the Code NIMITZ HAD A BIGGER PROBLEM DEVELOPING. Navy intelligence code-breakers led by Commander Joseph J. Rochefort could partially decipher Japanese transmissions. It was becoming increasing-
by Brian John Murphy
ly obvious that Japan’s Combined Fleet, including the Kido Butai, was about to go after a major target designated in their coded messages as “AF,” which American analysts suspected was Midway. To confirm this, Pearl Harbor instructed the Midway garrison to signal that they were almost out of fresh water. Shortly after that, the code-breakers deciphered a Japanese advisory that “AF” was running short on water. Soon afterward, a Japanese seaplane was detected near Midway radioing home that it was “passing AF.” The Japanese Plan ADMIRAL ISOROKU YAMAMOTO had perfected his plan for finishing off the US Pacific Fleet. But his blueprint reflected what the Japanese would later call “victory disease,” an arrogant and contemptuous underestimation of an enemy’s capabilities and fighting spirit. According to Yamamoto’s plan, the Combined Fleet, including four first-line carriers, would attack and occupy Midway Island while a secondary, diversionary force would seize Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands. Midway’s loss, Yamamoto believed, would force the Pacific Fleet and its two remaining carriers (the Japanese thought they had sunk Yorktown in the Coral Sea) to sortie from Pearl Harbor in an attempt to take back the island. In the subsequent “decisive battle” the Combined Fleet, augmented by the Aleutians-based task force steaming south from Alaska, would destroy the weaker American force, compelling the
Above: Planes from the carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) had helped sink the Japanese carrier Shoho (previous spread) in the Coral Sea on May 7. On the 8th, the Japanese extracted revenge. Here, Lady Lex, struck by two aerial torpedoes and two bombs, burns violently after multiple fiery explosions rocked her. Once the crew was evacuated, torpedoes from the destroyer USS Phelps (DD-360) sank the mortally wounded carrier. JUNE 2012
AMERICA IN WWII 33
United States to sue for peace on Japan’s terms. This scenario assumed that the Americans would make no effort to further safeguard Midway before the Japanese assault and then, in responding belatedly to that attack, send their Pearl Harbor–based ships unwittingly into a double envelopment. This was wishful thinking turned into flawed strategy.
RANTED, THE JAPANESE NAVAL FORCE
was formidable enough to make almost any plan work. Its vanguard was the Kido Butai, which Admiral Chuichi Nagumo would continue to command from his carrier flagship, Akagi. Fast (31 knots, or 36 miles per hour) for her girth (she displaced 41,300 tons), Akagi carried 24 Zeros, 18 Val dive-bombers, and 18 Kate torpedo bombers. Kaga, converted from a battleship hull, was heavier (42,500 tons) and slower (28 knots, or 32 miles per hour) but carried more planes, including 27 Zeros, 18 Vals, and 27 Kates. Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi commanded the other two carriers. Hiryu (35 knots, or 40 miles per hour) weighed in at just over 20,000 tons and carried 57 aircraft, including 21 Zeros, 18 Vals, and 18 Kates. Soryu (18,800 tons, 35 knots) carried 18 Zeros, 2 Yokosuka D4Y1 Judy bombers (the first to see combat), 16 Vals, and 18 Kates.
Japan’s carrier aircraft were top-notch, but they had flaws. They boasted little or no armor-plating, self-sealing fuel tanks, or seat armor for the pilots. A well-aimed burst from a chasing fighter or a lucky anti-aircraft round could easily kill the pilot and destroy his plane, a fact that US pilots had quickly discovered. Moreover, if the planes’ careful construction ensured high quality, it also limited the availability of replacements for those lost. And Japan’s lack of a robust pilot training program constantly left planes without skilled pilots. As a result, the carriers’ air complements were, as in the Coral Sea, considerably short. Instead of a total of 325 planes they carried 246, 24 percent less than capacity. Yorktown Resurrected FOR THE MOMENT, Nimitz had just two carriers on hand, Enterprise and Hornet. Seeking to improve his odds against the mighty Kido Butai, he looked to the charred and badly damaged Yorktown, which remained scheduled for three months in dry dock to be readied for combat. Nimitz didn’t have three months. So, when Yorktown reached Pearl Harbor on May 27 (just as Admiral Nagumo’s Kido Butai departed Japanese waters), Nimitz ordered that she be made fit for battle in three days. As the Pearl
Above: Japanese planes roar by, and flak clouds the sky as Yamamoto’s plan to destroy the US carriers at Midway gets under way in June. Shrapnel kicks up water, and smoke from a downed Japanese plane fills the air. Opposite, top: Losing Lexington in the Coral Sea left Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher just one carrier in Task Force 17—damaged USS Yorktown (CV-5). She sailed to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Opposite, bottom: But Admiral Chuichi Nagumo’s carrier force had already left Japan for Midway. Yorktown would have three days for refit. 34 AMERICA IN WWII
M I D WAY T O V I C T O RY Harbor Banner later reported, “Fourteen hundred shipfitters, machinists, welders, electricians, and shipwrights worked on the different levels to restore bulkheads, stanchions, and deck plates necessary to restore the ship’s structural strength and, as this work proceeded, to renew or replace the instruments, electric wiring and fixtures which had been damaged in the [Coral Sea] blast.” Indeed, the Americans achieved something of a miracle. Yorktown was provisioned, crewed, and combat-ready to sortie from Pearl Harbor on May 30. Fletcher set a course to the northwest and a rendezvous with Enterprise and Hornet. Fletcher Takes Command LEFT BEHIND AT PEARL was Admiral Halsey, who had been hospitalized with a severe flare-up of shingles, a blistering, painful rash caused by the virus that causes chickenpox. On his recommendation, Nimitz tapped Rear Admiral Raymond A. Spruance to command Task Force 16. Spruance had distinguished himself as the commander of Cruiser Division 5, escorting the Enterprise and Hornet on Halsey’s recent raids against Wake Island, and the Gilbert and Marshall island chains. When Fletcher arrived at the rendezvous site, he assumed control of the two task forces as the ranking admiral. His carrierbased assets included 233 warplanes (only 13 fewer than the Japanese). Midway’s meager air force included 20 obsolete Brewster F2A Buffalo fighters, 6 Wildcats, 18 Dauntlesses, 21 obsolescent Vindicator dive-bombers, 6 brand-new TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bombers, and 29 Consolidated PBY Catalina seaplanes. Army air forces assets on the island included 17 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers and 4 B-26 Marauders. On June 2, Japanese submarine I-168 took a peek at Midway and saw unusually heavy air activity by day and construction crews working by night. Japanese naval intelligence officials believed this meant the Americans knew an invasion was coming and had therefore dispatched the carriers from Pearl Harbor. But Yamamoto disregarded this intelligence and moved ahead with his plan unchanged. And thanks to American code breakers, Nimitz had an almost precise picture of the enemy force coming his way. He now designated a rendezvous and loitering area for his carriers at a spot in the ocean about 350 miles north and east of Midway known as Point Luck. His own plan was simple: planes from his three carriers would surprise and sink at least two of Kido Butai’s carriers. Then, fighting at better-than-even odds, US Navy planes would destroy Yamamoto’s remaining two flattops. The Battle of Midway Begins AT 8:43 A.M. ON JUNE 3, a Catalina crew spotted the group of Japanese minesweepers, and at 9:25 another found the Japanese
by Brian John Murphy
transports. By 12:25 B-17s were 10,000 feet above the transport group, dropping 500-pound bombs, but hitting nothing (despite their beliefs to the contrary). At 1:30 A.M. on the 4th, torpedo-carrying Catalinas from Midway attacked the transports. One of them actually scored a hit, a Mark XIII piercing the side of the oil tanker Akebono Maru, but doing little damage.
NAGUMO had planes searching in a 180-degree arc to the east of the Kido Butai. They found nothing. With no sign of the American carriers, Nagumo went ahead with the next step of the plan—to soften up Midway’s defenses for the invasion force. At 4:30 A.M. Nagumo launched his strike force of 108 planes, including 36 Vals from Akagi and Kaga, 36 Kates from Hiryu and Soryu, and 36 Zeros from all four ships. Nagumo planned the strike to hit Midway at dawn. Directing the island’s air defenses, Commander Logan C. Ramsay had launched a combat air patrol of 5 Wildcats from US Marine Corps attack squadron VMF-211 at 4 A.M. and then sent the first of 22 Catalinas to find the Japanese carriers. Next to lift off were 15 Flying Fortresses, sent to attack the transports again, but ready to alter course if the carriers were spotted. At 5:34 A.M. came a galvanizing report from Catalina pilot Lieutenant Howard Ady: “Enemy carrier bearing 320 [degrees], distance 180.” The Kido Butai was within range of Midway’s remaining bombers, whose crews were just beginning to scramble when Catalina pilot Lieutenant William A. Chase radioed, “Many planes headed Midway.” It was time for the fight. Every available army bomber and all the Dauntlesses and Avengers took off. Their pilots were asked to fly in a single formation, but differing army and navy doctrines (and the differences in the speeds of the assorted plane types) left each element of the strike force more or less on its own. Major Floyd Parks commanded the marine fighters that were vectored toward the incoming Japanese planes. Parks and 20 other pilots flew slow and clumsy Brewster F2A Buffaloes; the other 6 flew Wildcats. First blood went to the Americans, who bounced the Japanese aircraft from above, knocking down six of them. But as the Wildcats and Buffaloes dove through the Japanese formation, the Zeros pounced on the Americans for a turkey shoot. Parks bailed out and was strafed and killed in the water. Fourteen of 25 marine pilots were killed, and four were wounded—a 70-percent casualty rate. Fletcher and Spruance received word of the carrier sighting at 6:03 A.M., by which time the enemy carriers were 200 miles away, just 25 miles out of range. Hoping to time his air strike to catch the carriers while they were still recovering from the Midway raid, Spruance steered his task force southwest, toward the enemy. Not HAT NIGHT
AMERICA IN WWII 35
M I D WAY T O V I C T O RY until 7:00 did the Enterprise and Hornet dispatch a combined force of 116 planes. By then the Japanese raiders were finishing up over Midway, where every .30-caliber Browning M1917 machine gun and Springfield M1903 bolt-action rifle was firing skyward. Anti-aircraft fire took down 11 enemy planes and damaged another 14 beyond repair. But the Japanese attackers did serious damage, setting an oil tank farm alight, hitting a command bunker, and destroying hangars and other fixed targets.
7:05, AS THEY STARTED BACK to their carriers, raid commander Lieutenant Joichi Tomonaga radioed back to Nagumo that another strike on Midway was necessary. But Nagumo’s hands were already full dealing with the American strike launched from Midway. From 20,000 feet, B-17s were dropping sticks of bombs (to no effect, though their crews would later claim they had set three carriers on fire). The Avengers, in their WWII debut, made torpedo attacks. None were successful, and all but one Avenger was shot down by Zeros flying close to the deck. Four army twinengine B-26 Marauders attacked without scoring a hit. Only two of these medium bombers survived the attack. One returned to Midway perforated with 500 bullet holes. The Japanese ships’ near-spotless defense against the American attacks must have reassured Nagumo, who, heeding Tomonaga’s call for another run at Midway, decided to rearm the bombers on his carrier hangar decks. Sweating crewmen rushed to remove the Kates’ 1,800-pound torpedoes, deposit them in nearby racks, and replace them with 1,800-pound fragmentation bombs. A half-hour into that process, one of five search planes from the Japanese cruiser Tone reported in. Tone’s planes had been launched late because of technical problems on the ship. Not until 7:40, then, did Tone’s scout plane report sighting American ships. This alarming news spurred Nagumo to reverse his decision. He now ordered crews to rearm his Vals and Kates with anti-ship weapons, a time-consuming task that cost the Japanese precious time. T
Torpedo Squadron 8 EARLY ON IN THE DEVELOPING American attack, Lieutenant Commander John C. Waldron, the skipper of Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8), realized that the Hornet’s planes were heading in the wrong direction and would miss the Japanese carriers by about a hundred miles. After pleading in vain with his superior, Hornet Air Group commander Stanhope Ring, to change course, Waldron
by Brian John Murphy
led the 15 Devastators of VT-8 out of formation at 8:25 and onto a course directly toward the Kido Butai. By now, Nagumo was steaming northeast and was about to bring the attack planes onto his four flight decks when he was alerted to the incoming American raid. His pilots would have to idle below until the Americans were dealt with. VT-8 bore in on Soryu at wave-top altitude, its lumbering Devastators traveling at a mere 110 miles per hour. Twenty-nine Zeros pounced on them, dodging the fire of the rear gunners and tearing the Devastators apart with 20mm cannon fire. Refusing to budge from their course, the slow-moving torpedo bombers, including Waldron’s, crashed one by one into the sea. The last Devastator left flying was piloted by Ensign George Gay. His crew was killed by a Zero that also shot away Gay’s hydraulics and control cables. His stricken Devastator went down in the middle of the Kido Butai. Gay grabbed a flotation cushion and an inflatable raft, inflated his life preserver, and jumped into the water. When the tormenting Zero pilot came back to strafe Gay, all he saw was floating wreckage— including a cushion, beneath which Gay was hiding. From here, Gay would have a ringside seat for the momentous battle that was now unfolding. By now all three US carriers had strikes en route. The Hornet’s contribution, however, was lost. Ring had led his Hornet Air Group bombers and fighters far off course and, for some, without sufficient fuel to get back to the carrier. All 10 Wildcats of VF-8 were forced to ditch; only two pilots were rescued. Of VS-8’s 18 Dauntlesses, 4 made it back to the Hornet, and the rest landed or ditched at Midway. On the heels of VT-8’s annihilation came the attack of the Enterprise’s Torpedo 6 (CV-6), which met with similarly disastrous results. Zeros swarmed over the 14 Devastators, which launched five torpedoes at Kaga, all of which missed. Nine of the Dauntlesses went down. With the Zeros back at low altitude, Nagumo was ready to begin spotting his attack planes. He would hammer the American carrier into oblivion. The Turning Point LIEUTENANT COMMANDER Clarence Wade McClusky, in command of the Enterprise air group, was having trouble finding the Japanese fleet. He and the other 32 Dauntless pilots of VB-6 and VS-6 had searched in every direction as their fuel burned away. McClusky was about to call it a day at 10 A.M., when he spotted a lone Japanese destroyer hurrying to the north-northwest. McClusky matched its course, and at 10:02 he sighted the enemy carriers. One minute later, VT-3, VB-3, and VS-3 from Yorktown
Above: Nagumo lost his advantage to overconfidence and rigidity. SBDs from USS Enterprise (CV-6), like these flying above smoking Japanese carriers at Midway, joined bombers from Yorktown to ravage three of Nagumo’s four carriers on June 4. The last, Hiryu, was later fatally damaged by Yorktown planes after inflicting a strike on the US carrier. Opposite: These Japanese carrier men were captured in a drifting lifeboat. 36 AMERICA IN WWII
the developing attack of Torpedo 3, no one saw McClusky and the Enterprise bombers, or the bombers from Yorktown, arriving high overhead at 15,000 feet. This included Nagumo, who, at 10:20 A.M., authorized the launch of his attack force. McClusky ordered the Enterprise’s Bombing 6 to attack Kaga and Scouting 6 to target Akagi, while he and his wingmen—the first 3 of 27 Dauntlesses—tipped over and dove on Kaga, whose crew failed to spot them until they were already in their dives. The pilot of a nearby Devastator
dive and took his two wingmen north after Akagi. Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, who was recovering from appendicitis on the Akagi, recalled: The first Zero fighter gathered speed and whizzed off the deck. At that instant a lookout screamed: ‘Hell-divers!’ I looked up to see three black enemy planes plummeting toward our ship. Some of our machine guns managed to fire a few frantic bursts at them, but it was too late. The plump silhouettes of the American “Dauntless” dive-bombers quickly grew larger, and then a number of black objects suddenly floated eerily from their wings. Bombs!… The terrifying scream of the dive-bombers reached me first, followed by the crashing explosion of a direct hit. Best’s 1,000-pound bomb knifed into Akagi amidships,
wrote that the plunging American planes looked like “a beautiful silver waterfall.” Alerted by screaming and skyward-pointing flyers and seamen, Kaga’s commander, Captain Jisaku Okada, ordered the ship hard to port, but too late. The first bomb to reach Kaga crashed through the flight deck and exploded in crew birthing. A 500-pound bomb hit the forward elevator and exploded in the hangar deck, starting a serious fire. Another bomb hit the flight deck amidships, and yet another hit the bridge, killing Okada and all the other senior officers. Squadron VB-6 added its own 1,000-pound bombs to the effort. Kaga’s fire main (which draws up seawater to put out fires) was out when a bomb exploded among fueled-up Kates on the hangar deck, igniting secondary explosions and sheets of flame. With both VB-6 and VS-6 diving on just one target—Kaga— Lieutenant Richard Best, the skipper of VB-6, pulled out of his
exploding in the hangar deck and touching off 18 fully armed Kates plus fuel stores, spare bombs, and torpedoes. Akagi’s guts were torn to bits. Meanwhile, as Enterprise’s planes pummeled Akagi and Kaga, Lieutenant Commander Max Leslie led Yorktown’s Bombing 3 and Scouting 3 in an attack on Soryu. He and two other pilots had lost their bombs thanks to a malfunctioning electric release, but Leslie led the dive, anyway. Three 1,000-pound bombs scored, exploding on the crowded hanger deck and in the engine compartments and holing the forward flight deck. Departing the scene, Leslie saw that the burning Soryu was doomed. Indeed, at 10:45 A.M. Captain Ryusaku Yanagimoto ordered the ship abandoned. One Japanese report noted: As soon as the fires broke out aboard ship, the captain… appeared on the signal tower to the starboard of the bridge. He
saw them, too. The Japanese cruiser Chikuma spotted the Yorktown’s Torpedo 3 attacking and gave a warning, which drew the Zeros off of Torpedo 6.
ITH ALL JAPANESE EYES ON
AMERICA IN WWII 37
took command from this post and pleaded that his men seek shelter and safety. He would allow no man to approach him. Flames surrounded him but he refused to give up his post. He was shouting “Banzai” over and over again when heroic death overtook him. Just 10 minutes after the American attack had begun, three of the four carriers of the Kido Butai were mortally wounded. The Empire Strikes Back NAGUMO, FORCED OFF THE Akagi and now commanding from a cruiser, kept the Kido Butai moving north and east, closing on the American carriers. At 10:50 A.M. the Hiryu, his last operational carrier, launched another desperate strike. Composed of 18 Vals and 6 Zeros, the force was about 75-percent smaller than the one Nagumo had planned. But they managed to find Yorktown. At 11:55 the Japanese pilots sighted Task Force 17 and climbed high into the sky, where two groups of Wildcats splashed seven of them. Splitting into two groups, the Hiryu’s surviving planes descended on Yorktown with the sun at their backs and scored multiple 250-kilogram (551-pound) bomb hits. One put a hole in the deck near Elevator Two and exploded on the hangar deck. The next struck close to Yorktown’s island, exploding in the smokestack uptakes and slowing the carrier to just six knots (seven miles per hour). A final bomb pierced the flight deck forward and exploded, leaving Yorktown dead in the water and belching a col-
umn of black smoke visible 40 miles away. Fletcher moved his flag to the cruiser USS Astoria (CA-34), while the riddled Yorktown’s aloft planes headed for the Enterprise and Hornet. The ship’s crew meanwhile patched up the flight deck with four-by-six-foot sheets of pine and sheet metal. Firefighters began to see some progress, and the ship regained power, making 25 knots (29 miles per hour). It appeared that Yorktown would make it. At 1:31 P.M., however, Lieutenant Tomonaga, who seemed to be everywhere, led one last force of 10 Kate torpedo bombers and six Zeros off of Hiryu and quickly sighted Yorktown, which, with her fires out and her flight deck functioning, looked undamaged.
OMONAGA’S FORCE ATTACKED
from two angles simultaneously. No one in his section scored a hit, and he himself was shot down and killed. But four of the Kates in the other section got through to launch their torpedoes. At 2:30 the first struck Yorktown squarely on the port side, 15 feet below the water line. Six boilers were knocked out, bringing the engines to a halt. Yorktown began to list. A second torpedo pierced the port side only a few feet from the first, widening the hull’s original gash into a gaping hole and allowing hundreds of cubic tons of water in. Yorktown lost all electrical power and her list increased to 26 degrees. Fearing that the ship might capsize, Captain Buckmaster ordered abandon ship at 2:55. Escorting cruisers and destroyers
Above: Hiryu’s attacks badly damaged Yorktown. As Yorktown listed and lost power, her captain gave the order to abandon her. But the next day she was still afloat, so salvage began. A Japanese sub halted that with torpedoes, and Yorktown sank on the 7th. Opposite: Yamamoto’s sure victory instead became the end of Japan’s carrier fleet. At Pearl Harbor, Ensign G.H. Gay, wounded at Midway, reads about the American triumph. 38 AMERICA IN WWII
M I D WAY T O V I C T O RY gathered to pick up survivors. In all, 2,280 men were rescued, with the USS Balch (DD-363) alone fishing out 725 men. The last man off the ship, Buckmaster, was picked up by the Astoria. Empty now, Yorktown awaited her fate. Wreck of the Hiryu SPRUANCE HAD BELIEVED EARLIER REPORTS from his bomber pilots that all four Japanese carriers had been knocked out of action. The attack on the Yorktown proved there was at least one enemy carrier left to be dealt with. At 2:40 P.M. one of Yorktown’s search planes found Hiryu 160 miles northwest of Task Force 16. With at least 40 bombers ready to have another go at the Japanese flattop, Spruance ordered a strike to be launched at 3:30. Participating were VB-6 and VS-6, 10 Dauntlesses total, and VB3, 16 orphans from Yorktown. Spruance’s attackers climbed to 19,000 feet over what was left of the Kido Butai and began their dive. Hiryu’s gunners blazed away, but the Dauntless pilots were not to be denied. Their first 500-pound bomb hit the ship’s forward elevator, which came to rest leaning on the island. Three more struck home forward of the island, making one giant, flame-filled cavity out of what had been the forward flight deck. Hiryu was wrecked beyond repair. Nagumo ordered his surviving cruisers and destroyers to retire to the northwest. Yamamoto’s decisive battle was all but over. Japanese Parting Shots THROUGHOUT JUNE 4 Soryu simmered and burned. She finally sank at 7:13 P.M., taking with her 711 officers and crewmen, including Captain Yanagimoto, who chose to go down with his ship. Kaga’s raging fires were never brought under control. After all survivors had been rescued, Japanese destroyers sank her at 7:25, with a final loss of 811 officers and men. Only one bomb had struck Akagi, but the blast it triggered touched off a cascade of calamities. She lost power at 1:30 P.M., making firefighting impossible. The order to abandon ship was given at 5:00, and all but 263 crewmen made it off safely. With all hope of salvaging her lost, Yamamoto ordered her scuttled on the morning of June 5. Hiryu, meanwhile, went dead in the water at 9:23 P.M. Rear Admiral Yamaguchi chose to stay with Captain Tomeo Kaku and his doomed carrier, which finally sank at 8:20 A.M. on June 5. American fliers owned the skies as the battle wound down on the 5th. The day began badly for the Japanese, when cruisers Mikuma and Mogami collided 50 miles from Midway. From 9:45 A.M. to 2:35 P.M., Dauntlesses pummeled both ships, sinking the Mikuma. That same morning Buckmaster and 170 volunteers reboarded Yorktown and went to work trying to salvage the ship. By the next morning, the repair party had corrected much of the ship’s list and
by Brian John Murphy
stabilized her, and an ocean-going tugboat took her under tow. Yamamoto, who by now was leading the Combined Fleet’s remains back home to Japan, ordered submarine I-168 to make sure the damaged carrier sank. Lieutenant Commander Yahachi Tanabe subsequently dodged the screen of five destroyers shielding Yorktown and, at 1:36 P.M. fired a spread of four torpedoes at her. Two hit the carrier and one hit the destroyer USS Hammann (DD-412), slicing it in half. Exasperated, Buckmaster ordered Yorktown abandoned at 3:55. Hammann’s crewmen, meanwhile, struggled atop the ship’s almost vertical fantail to defuse her unused depth-charges. But when the destroyer slid under the charges went off anyway, killing numerous men in the water. This time, Yorktown had taken more damage than she could survive. She lasted through the night, but just before 5:00 the following morning she capsized, with her battle flags still flying. At 5:01, as Buckmaster saluted his old command, Yorktown slipped beneath the waves and drifted three miles down to the sea bottom. Fruits of Victory THE FULL DETAILS OF the defeat at Midway were so dire that they became a Japanese state secret. Kido Butai had lost all of her combat planes, 225 in total. About 100 of Japan’s best—and irreplaceable—pilots had died. Japanese industry would never be able to replace the lost carriers. Meanwhile, the United States had more than a dozen fleet-size carriers under construction, with USS Essex (CV-9) set to be launched in just five weeks. Before war’s end American shipyards would turn out 14 more big carriers. The Battle of the Coral Sea stopped the Japanese offensive in the South Pacific. Midway cut out the heart of the Imperial Navy’s aircraft carrier force and put Japan permanently on the strategic defensive everywhere. Politically, the victory at Midway gave President Franklin Roosevelt the political cover he needed to enforce the Germany First strategy of allocating most US resources to the European theater. If the United States had lost in the South Pacific, Roosevelt may have had no choice but to put Japan first and thereby lengthen the war in Europe. The victory also made it politically feasible for Roosevelt to extend Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union in its own battle for survival against the Nazis, aid that helped the Soviets win a crucial victory at Stalingrad that winter. In the Pacific, American forces would suffer setbacks, heartbreak, and loss before Japan could be vanquished, but the eventual end was no longer in doubt. With expert intelligence gathering, incredible courage, and more than a little luck, the US Navy had won the battle that turned the tide in the Pacific—and for the entire American effort in World War II. A BRIAN JOHN MURPHY of Fairfield, Connecticut, is a contributing editor of America in WWII and writes frequently for the magazine. JUNE 2012
AMERICA IN WWII 39
It wasn’t easy for a poor boy to get out of the ghetto. But he could escape for the night by putting on a zoot suit and dancing the jitterbug. by John E. Stanchak
erings for women involved in factory work for military contractors—were produced in decorative models and worn by women fashion leaders. But the definitive costume of the time was for men, not women. The uniform of sharp-dressed musicians and street corner dandies, it was a suit coat with huge, padded shoulders and a knee-length hem, paired with ballooning trousers that tapered to a tight cuff. Christened the zoot suit by hipsters and hepcats, it usually came with a hat with an outsized brim and a watch chain that dangled from the wearer’s belt to the middle of his calf. The pants were high-waisted, coming up to near the rib cage. The shirts came in loud colors. The neckwear was a bright bow tie or short cravat. Shoes presented options: on the East Coast, a sharp, pointed toe was preferred; on the West Coast, it was a super-thick sole. A long feather jutting up out of the hatband was the finishing touch everywhere. Irritated conservative community leaders, clergy, and angry fathers hated the outfit. But up in Harlem, home to Manhattan’s cutting-edge jazzmen and trend leaders, and in Detroit, where audacious white boys craved the style, and in Los Angeles, where it became a badge of Latino identity, the zoot suit was the brightest outward banner of independence a young man could display. And the girls—at least the right sort of sassy and confident girls— loved them. Looking back through history, it seems some fads appear out of nowhere. That wasn’t the case with the zoot suit. Though it’s
The classic zoot suit: Oversized jacket falling to about the knee, high-waisted baggy pants that narrowed at the ankles, hard-to-miss bow tie, and wide-brimmed hat—a dapper look finished off neatly here with a lapel flower and pocket square. 40 AMERICA IN WWII
OPPOSITE: THE BEVERLY HELM COLLECTION
t was the swing era. The tunes were exuberant. The dance was the jitterbug. The moves were exhilarating. And hepcats wrapped themselves in the clothing of joy. They dressed in zoot suits. The zoot suit was the most outrageous male fashion fad of the 1940s, and it just happened to reach its peak during World War II. That part of the zoot suit’s story is simple enough, but the origins of this strange-looking outfit with the laughably oversized jacket and baggy pants are foggy. And then there’s the mystery of the suit’s improbable resilience in the face of inexplicable official government sanction and putdowns from squares and authority figures. In America in the war years, when every commodity and earthly comfort was rationed, music sometimes seemed the only limitless, permissible enjoyment. When movie theaters closed for the day, big bands still cranked out swing music on the radio. In industrial towns where essential wartime factory work carried on 24 hours a day, there were nightclubs and dance halls that didn’t even open their doors until the swing shift knocked off late at night. It was a singing and dancing culture on the home front. For the first time, vocalists such as young Frank Sinatra and musicians such as trumpeter Harry James and drummer Gene Krupa really competed with movie stars for celebrity idol status and the adulation of the young. Along with this came dance-floor clothing fads. Bobby sox, saddle shoes, and reindeer sweaters were popular with teen girls. Brazilian music star Carmen Miranda set off a craze among young adult women for platform shoes. Snoods—hair cov-
Zoot! by John E. Stanchak remembered as a thing of the 1940s, its evolution traces back to the Depression 1930s, and its elements are drawn from cultures around the globe. Britain’s Edward, Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII), was a frequently photographed social lion and fashion leader throughout the 1930s. His taste for slightly outsized shoulders in his double-breasted suit coats became popular. Because of the cut of the suit—the loose, flowing quality of the cloth—clothing professionals named the look “the drape,” or “the English drape.” Debonair Hollywood stars Cary Grant and Errol Flynn took right to it. And elsewhere, those who could afford a tailor-made suit followed.
AMERICA IN WWII COLLECTION
Opposite: The flamboyant ’30s and ’40s singer Cab Calloway was photographed famously and frequently in a zoot suit. He was the first to publish an official definition of “zoot”—“exaggerated.” Above: Appearance on the silver screen was a sure sign of trendiness. Zoot suits took front and center in Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s Jitterbugs in 1943 and Tom and Jerry’s Zoot Cat in 1944. 42 AMERICA IN WWII
OPPOSITE: COURTESY OF WWW.DOCTORMACRO.COM
TIO OLLEC WII C A IN W
a parallel development. The nation was in a record financial slump at the time. Men, who in that era wore suits most days, found that they needed their clothing to last longer before replacement. Meanwhile, their pants developed the telltale shiny seat that comes with wear. Tailors and clothing salesmen reported customers coming to them asking for a longer coat, something that would cover their tails. Over time, this preference for a longer coat melded with the popular drape styling. There was yet another parallel development, this one in music. By the mid-1930s the trend in popular music was swing—hot rhythms played by a large ensemble. The athletic jitterbug style of dance replaced the Lindy Hop, and in the years leading up to the war, men who enjoyed dancing and wanted more freedom of movement on the floor looked for a looser cut in their trousers. Local tailors responded, cutting wide-legged pants that dropped to a tighter cuff. As separate items, these pants became popular with teenage boys. At some point—and to this day scholars are not certain when it happened—the elements of drape, longer coat hem, and roomy pants with a tight cuff all came together. According to historian Kathy Peiss of the University of Pennsylvania, more than a half-dozen tailors and clothiers from New York City to Memphis at one time or another claimed to have invented the zoot suit. She found that in the 1930s, Los Angeles residents started noticing that young Filipino men in the city’s Little Manila neighborhood were sporting something they called “McIntosh suits,” the outstanding feature being an outsized coat. In her fashion history Zoot Suit, Peiss records one man claiming he bought HEN THERE WAS
his first one in 1937. But nowhere did she discover a specific day when the craze for enormous suits took off. All that is certain is that by the time World War II broke out in Europe, the zoot suit fad was on in the United States. Cab Calloway was one of the popular band leaders and entertainers of the 1930s and 1940s. A handsome, dazzling African American showman, he wore his hair straightened, sported a dapper little moustache, and was known early in his career for performing in a white cutaway tuxedo. Later, for a brief period, he switched to a black cutaway. But by the war years, he was strutting in a zoot suit. And as the author of the regularly updated lexicon The Hepster’s Dictionary, Calloway was the first to offer a definition of “zoot.” As an adjective, it meant “exaggerated.” In the 1944 edition of the book, he included the term “zoot suit,” defined as “the ultimate in clothes. The only totally and truly American civilian suit.” Some of the public may indeed have considered the zoot suit the ultimate. But the US government’s War Production Board did not. To manage the use of ever-scarcer raw materials during wartime, the WPB was empowered to dictate who could manufacture what, with what, and how much of it. And the board decreed that all men’s and women’s clothing had to be produced using less material than before the war. The WPB’s directions were specific, stating exactly how much cloth could go into any garment. And if you were a large or tall fellow, there was trouble: manufacturers had to apply for waivers to produce men’s clothing in larger sizes. In the face of this rigid standard, it looked like the billowy zoot suit was doomed. Politics was always a consideration when making regulations like this. “When the Washington Post polled members of the Senate, most sensed they were treading on treacherous political ground,” Peiss writes. “They were about evenly divided on whether zoot-suiting was a crime or a peccadillo, with Southern senators most opposed to the style. Only one would speak on the record, Democratic Senator Guy M. Gillette of Iowa, who supported the teenage jitterbugs and thought the WPB had gone too far. ‘As long as the zoot suits aren’t hurting the war effort, I say let them go ahead and wear them,’ he opined. ‘Individualistic clothes are one of the prerogatives of young people.’’’ Also among the zoot suit’s enemies were select members of the African American establishment. One of the country’s largest-circulation black newspapers was the Pittsburgh Courier. According
Zoot! by John E. Stanchak the city looking for zoot-suiters. It was the beginning of what are remembered as the Zoot Suit Riots. Mexican American kids in drapes were pulled from night spots and movie theaters, beaten, and stripped of their glorious attire. The assaults were repeated for the next few days, involving more sailors, many marines, and eventually contemptuous white civilians who enlarged the target group to include zoot-suited Filipinos and African Americans. The Zoot Suit Riots reached such a pitch that Los Angeles’s district attorney described his city as in “a state of near anarchy.” Up to that point police had remained largely uninvolved. But on the mayor’s insistence, officers moved to break up the situation—by sweeping up all the zoot-suiters they could find and all Mexican American youths on the streets. They did not arrest rampaging service men and white bigots. Any public outcry over the outrages faded fast. The published minority response was fear. “This thing is dangerous for you, my friends…,” the Courier opined ACED WITH the admonishments of in its June 26 edition. “If white sailors, their elders and the power of the encouraged and complimented by many federal government, young Amerisections of the press…beat up zoot suiters, cans and the business community reit won’t be long before they turn their sponded as they often do in the face of attention to the group which popularized dictums: they ignored them. Months after zoot suits, namely the Brother in Black. the official ban on the voluminous zoot Don’t forget that at Los Angeles they startsuit, a seemingly endless back inventory ed beating up zoot suiters and ended beatof hepcat gear was sold. Roomy rack suits ing Mexican and Negroes whether they were also purchased at men’s clothing were wearing zoot suits or not.” stores and taken to local tailors and seamAs it turned out, hepcats survived the stresses for alteration into zoot suits. brutal cultural hazing and returned to the In the meantime, the zoot suit made its party. Caricatures of zoot-suited characway to movie screens. In 1943, Fats ters started showing up at the movies as Waller made a short film in which he sang the subjects of animated cartoons. Warner his hit “Your Feet’s Too Big” and made Brothers produced Red Hot Riding Hood fun of a zoot-suiter in comically large in 1943 and Swing Shift Cinderella in shoes. Also that year, Cab Calloway made 1945, each featuring a wolf in a zoot suit a film short of himself, resplendent in a who tries to get the best of the home-front zoot suit, singing the song “Geechee Joe.” The zoot suit was the uniform of the poor girls, but fails in the end. The cat-andIn that same year’s full-length feature Mexican American of Los Angeles. During the mouse team Tom and Jerry appear hatted Stormy Weather, zoot-suited dancers Zoot Suit Riots in June 1943, city police began and draped in Zoot Cat in 1944, all in appeared in a lavish production number arresting youths merely for wearing zoot suits good fun. Disney, for its part, produced a The zoot suit was going strong in 1943, or for being Mexican American. Donald Duck cartoon titled The Spirit of but that year also saw the end of the pub’43 in 1943, in which a zoot-suit–wearing duck appears to our lic’s sartorial tolerance. The hepcat uniform was popular in feathered hero, representing selfishness and unpatriotic excess. African American neighborhoods in major cities. It was adored Victory eventually came to those who jitterbugged and jived, and desired by jitterbug-loving white kids in the big industrial shortly before it arrived for the Allies. In October 1944 the WPB towns. But in southern California it became misconstrued as a came to the conclusion that America was producing enough texsymbol of a hostile, indefinable “something else.” There, Mexican tiles to serve both its military and domestic needs and that it could American youths hung out in informal gangs and were known as lift the restrictions on the production of apparel such as zoot suits. pachucos. The zoot suit was their uniform. Sailors and marines The war between the zoot-suiters and the squares was over. A stationed in the Los Angeles area found the pachucos’ presence to be at first annoying, then antagonistic. There were some fights. The simmering animosity boiled over on the night of June 3, JOHN E. STANCHAK reviews books and writes about the home 1943, when sailors armed with sticks and clubs walked around front frequently for America in WWII.
to Peiss, the newspaper’s archives contain advertisements from mail-order companies that sold zoot suits and accoutrements, such as the appropriate hats and shoes. But undeterred by the possible loss of this advertising income, the publication editorialized that the fad reflected poorly on the black community, where the style was popular. “Saddest news of the year to jitterbugs is that just handed down by the War Production Board that the Harlem ‘drapes’ or ‘zoot suits’ must go,” the Courier noted in its September 12, 1942, edition. “These sartorial monstrosities waste entirely too much fabric, say the WPB czars, so the ‘hep cats’ yearning for a ‘solid set of threads’ with Gargantuan shoulders, wasp waist, and frock falling below the knees will have to go ‘back to Normalcy’ for the duration…. So passes a notable era in sartorial insanity for the inauguration of which young colored America must bear a heavy responsibility.”
LEFT: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS; OPPOSITE: NATIONAL ARCHIVES
44 AMERICA IN WWII
Zoot suits stood out from the mainstream, as wearers intended. But a zoot-suiter hanging out with the boys might blend into his own crowd more than he preferred. Here, a bow tie large enough for a clown and a watch chain long enough to trip on command attention.
KILROY WAS THERE GIs were all over the world in the early 1940s. And wherever they went, a mysterious little cartoon character was watching them from behind a wall. by Chuck Lyons
KILROY WAS THERE
by Chuck Lyons
t was a sprawling war, touching all the world’s populated continents and spilling into the oceans that defined them. But somehow, one familiar face showed up almost everywhere—on navy ships, on planes, on bombs, in the vault of Fort Knox, inside the Statue of Liberty, on the underside of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe, on Nazi bases, and even in Soviet Premier Josef Stalin’s private bathroom at the 1945 Potsdam Conference. Bald, sad, long-nosed, and peering over a wall, Kilroy was there.
SY OF W WW.KILR OYWASHE RE.ORG
PREVIOUS SPREAD: JOE RAZES
Previous spread: His looks were humble, his origins cloudy, but Kilroy was one of the boys, turning up wherever GIs did. Today, he keeps an eye on the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. Above, top: One of countless variants of the little cartoon doodle. Above, center: There was a real “Kilroy”—inspector James Kilroy of the Fore River Shipyard (center) in Massachusetts. He chalked “Kilroy was here” on seams he inspected. Proving that fact won him a streetcar (top, being loaded for delivery) in a contest. He gave it to his kids as a playhouse (bottom). 48 AMERICA IN WWII
TOP AND OPPOSITE: COURTESY OF ANDY MILLER AND WWW.KILROYWASHERE.ORG
beneath Rome. Today, activists use it to make political statements, and gang members mark their territory with it. In some places, graffiti has reached the status of folk art and is displayed in museums and galleries. It is as much a part of today’s hip-hop culture as Kilroy was of broader American culture during World War II. Kilroy graffiti was born of war—though not necessarily World War II. Twenty-five years earlier, during World War I, Australian troops were in the habit of scribbling “Foo was here” and a doodle on the side of railway carriages. The pairing reportedly appeared in every camp where the 1st Australian Imperial Force served. The cartoon was very similar to Kilroy. Another possible pre-WWII appearance was revealed in the 2007 History Channel documentary Fort Knox: Secrets Revealed, which included a shot of “Kilroy was here” written in chalk above “May 17, 1937.” In front of the markings stood a stack of gold bars that were loaded into the vault that year. It was reported that the bars were not moved again until an audit of the Fort Knox gold in the 1970s, when the graffiti was discovered. So, was Kilroy put there in 1937? Maybe. Some claim the History Channel footage was a re-creation, and a definitive answer to the origin of the Fort Knox Kilroy has yet to arise. Others say Kilroy didn’t even exist until 1939. What no one disputes was that it was during World War II that Kilroy rose to prominence. Photographs of destroyed tanks on Guadalcanal show that Kilroy was there. The sad face graced bathroom walls all over the world and was on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. War photographer Robert Capa spotted him at Bastogne, Belgium, in December 1944, during ERE.O YWASH .KILRO WWW
Kilroy started out as a simple cartoon doodle, but he quickly caught the popular fancy of wartime Americans and became a widespread fad. Eventually, he came to represent America’s presence throughout the world. If Kilroy was there, America was there. As the war continued, he became a rallying point for mounting Allied success. He was also a bit of a national joke, not because of the cartoon itself or the accompanying phrase “Kilroy was here,” but because of where they turned up. More than once during the war, newspapers reported pregnant women being wheeled into the delivery room, where hospital staffers discovered the cartoon and “Kilroy was here” written across their stomachs. Some people seemed to take it as a challenge to see who could draw Kilroy in the unlikeliest place. In one hard-tobelieve story, men of the US Navy Underwater Demolition Team (forerunner to the SEALS) swam ashore on Japaneseheld Pacific islands to prepare landing beaches for US forces and saw “Kilroy was here” scrawled on makeshift signs and on Japanese pillboxes. They left their own scribblings for the next wave of incoming GIs, further increasing the Kilroy population. Essentially, the Kilroy drawing and catchphrase were graffiti, and in most places, such scribblings have been considered vandalism and have been illegal. For good or ill, however, graffiti has been around for a long time. One graffitist left his mark on the ruins of Pompeii with the musing “I’m amazed, O wall, that you have not fallen in ruins, you who support the tediousness of so many writers.” Graffiti marked walls in ancient Jerusalem and Egypt and the catacombs
Top, center: Colonel John French McGaughey—commander of the 145th Engineer Combat Battalion, which served in Europe and supported General George Patton’s Third Army during the Battle of the Bulge—kept photos of a wide assortment of Kilroy variants. All were drawn by a member of his unit, in his war album. The Kilroys on this page and at the top of the opposite page are from McGaughey’s album. The artist remains unknown; the only clue to his identity is the surname Schrader, on one of the images in McGaughey’s album. JUNE 2012
AMERICA IN WWII 49
KILROY WAS THERE the Battle of the Bulge. Capa was riding at the time with the 4th Armored Division, which was attempting to rescue the trapped 101st Airborne Division, commanded by Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe. “On the black, charred walls of an abandoned barn, scrawled in white chalk, was the legend of McAuliffe’s GIs: ‘Kilroy was stuck here,’” Capa wrote.
forward to make the claim, but James J. Kilroy brought along some riveters and officials from his shipyard to help prove his case. Kilroy won, and he gave the 42-foot-long trolley car to his nine children for Christmas, having it set up in his front yard in Halifax, Massachusetts, as a playhouse. None of this helped establish the origin of the long-nosed cartoon character, however. James J. Kilroy denied having anything to with creating the little guy. The British eventually got credit for the doodle part of the Kilroy graffiti. Chad, or Mr. Chad, was a similar cartoonish character that had become popular in Great Britain during the war and often appeared with the slogan “Wot, no sugar?” or similar wording bemoaning food shortages and rationing. He had a big nose and peered over a fence or wall, which he clutched with his hands. He often appeared with a single curling hair sprouting from his head and resembling a question mark, and he had crosses for eyes. In the British army, Chad was known as Private Snoops, and in the navy he was called the Watcher. As with Kilroy, there are a number of possible origins for Chad. He may have been created by a British cartoonist in 1938; he may have first appeared in 1944, as Life magazine claimed; or he may have been based on the Alice the Goon character in the Popeye comic strip. A spokesman for the Royal Air Force Museum in London suggested in the 1970s that Chad was an adaptation of the Greek letter Omega (Ω), which is used as the symbol for electrical resistance. Chad was created, the spokesman said, by an electrician in a Royal Air Force ground crew. He was in fact drawn along with other elements that could be interpreted as electrical symbols. Whatever his origin, Chad was a common sight by the last years of the war, expressing various “Wot, no…?” complaints. One sighting, on the side of a British 1st Airborne Division glider in September 1944, asked “Wot, no engines?” The Los Angeles Times reported in 1946 that Chad had appeared on a wall in the Houses of Parliament after the Labour party victory in the 1945 election with the question “Wot, no Tories?” Trains in Austria in 1946 featured Chad along with the phrase “Wot—no Fuehrer?” It’s likely that American GIs carried the “Kilroy was here” phrase to England and combined it there with the Chad doodle to create the Kilroy graffiti that became so popular. “Some time during the war, Chad and Kilroy met, and in the spirit of Allied unity merged with the British drawing appearing over the American phrase,” wrote British etymologist Dave Wilton. Then again, the “Kilroy was here” phrase could just as well have
Above: Kilroy figures prominently in this wartime drawing of a C-47 Skytrain of the 92nd Troop Carrier Squadron that participated in the D-Day operations in June 1944, dropping US paratroopers into France’s Normandy region. Opposite: A C-47 at the Combat Air Museum in Topeka, Kansas, is painted with the markings shown on the schematic drawing, including the Kilroy nose art. 50 AMERICA IN WWII
IMAGES THIS SPREAD: COURTESY OF THE COMBAT AIR MUSEUM
to have found Kilroy so frequently on captured American equipment that Adolf Hitler and his advisors began to speculate that Kilroy might be the codename of an Allied operative. Seemingly in line with that theory came the report from the Potsdam Conference in 1945 that Kilroy had made his most daring appearance yet—in Stalin’s bathroom. Stalin wondered who this Kilroy might be. In the ongoing search for the origins of the Kilroy doodle, some have speculated that Kilroy was based on an American admiral, on an ancient form of Irish communication, on a science fiction novel, or on an artillery spotter with an especially large nose. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable says Kilroy was usually associated with the US Army Air Forces Air Transport Command, at least whenever he was spotted in the United Kingdom. He could also have originated, as the Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun suggested in November 1945, with a 21-year-old army sergeant from Everett, Massachusetts, named Francis J. Kilroy, Jr., who wrote “Kilroy will be here next week” on a barracks bulletin board at an airbase in Boca Raton, Florida. The Oxford English Dictionary says simply that Kilroy was “the name of a mythical person.” Another, almost certainly apocryphal, account credits Kiroy’s beginnings to a GI being chased by his jilted girlfriend, whose helpful friends left messages for her along the way to reveal that “Kilroy”—the missing boyfriend— had been there. The most accepted explanation is that the Kilroy fad began with James J. Kilroy, a 46-year-old welding inspector at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, who used the phrase “Kilroy was here” to mark rivets he had inspected. He chalked the words on bulkheads and in various parts of ships being built at the shipyard. After the ships were commissioned and launched, the markings were a complete mystery to sailors and GIs who found them in nearly inaccessible locations on their ships. All they knew for sure was that Kilroy had been there before them. Just after the war the Transit Company of America held a contest that offered the prize of an actual trolley car to the person who could prove himself to be the real Kilroy. Almost 40 men stepped ERMAN INTELLIGENCE WAS SAID
by Chuck Lyons
been coupled with the Foo character. The WWI Australian Foo and its accompanying “Foo was here” made a comeback during World War II. It’s been suggested the Foo name may have been derived from the 1930s cartoon Smokey Stover, in which the character uses “foo” as a label for anything whose name he cannot remember. But this theory disregards the WWI usage. It has also been claimed that Foo was an acronym for “forward observation officer,” the British term for a spotter dug in at the front, which is at least plausible.
K ILROY weren’t already ridiculously complex for a simple bit of graffiti, the Milwaukee Journal noted in 1946 that the words “and so was Smoe” were often added after “Kilroy was here.” A B-24 airman writing in 1998 suggested that Smoe stood for “Sad men of Europe.” But that airman, and writers who corresponded with Life magazine in 1962, made the strange claim that “Kilroy was here” was never seen together with the doodle of the longnosed man. The doodle, they said, appeared only as part of Foo and Smoe graffiti. Smoe had disappeared by the end of 1946, and Foo is gone. Kilroy died out briefly after World War II, but then returned to make a showing during the Korean and Vietnam wars. More recently, he was sighted in Iraq and Afghanistan on the sides of half-destroyed tanks. He even receives letters. James J. Kilroy’s daughter, Margaret, said her family got quite a bit of mail for Kilroy during the war and still gets the occasional piece, usually addressed simply to “Kilroy, Quincy, Massachusetts.” She said “It S IF THE STORY OF
goes to the town hall, and they send it down to me.” Kilroy also survives on the the National World War II Memorial that was dedicated in May 2004 on the mall in Washington, DC. Professionally engraved in two hidden places in the back of the stone monument are the simple words “Kilroy was here” and the doodle of their sad-faced companion. Kilroy is also spotted from time to time on T-shirts, coffee mugs, buttons, tote bags, posters, aprons, clocks, and lapel pins. On the Internet, there’s now a petition drive to put Kilroy on a US postage stamp. “‘Kilroy Was Here’ was with every GI on every combat or occupation assignment during WWII and Korea…,” the petition states. “He has been and is the GI’s best friend. No matter how bad it got, how dirty, tired, or scared a GI was, he found that Kilroy had already been there…and survived. Ask any veteran! He will tell you how much comfort and fun Kilroy was.” That doesn’t quite explain Kilroy’s popularity and longevity beyond the military. Perhaps William Faulkner, the American novelist who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, was on to something when he wrote, “Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind…. [Art] is the artist’s way of scribbling ‘Kilroy was here’ on the wall.” A CHUCK LYONS is a former newspaper editor who now writes for numerous publications. His article “The Bombing of Boise City” appeared in the June 2011 issue of America in WWII. The petition to put Kilroy on a postage stamp is on the website www.kilroy washere.org. JUNE 2012
AMERICA IN WWII 51
Sherlock Holmes Stalks The Nazis Hollywood resurrected the world’s greatest detective as a 20th-centur y spy to help defeat the world’s greatest villain. by David Norris
Sherlock Holmes Stalks The Nazis
by David Norris
H ITLER SHIVERED P OPEYE ’ S TIMBERS . And he brought that fierce jungle call out of Tarzan. Both of those popular heroes took on the Führer and his Nazis during World War II, pummeling the Axis bad guys with an arsenal of bulging biceps, spinach power, chest-thumping, and an ability to converse with chimpanzees. But deductive genius and mastery of disguise were useful, too, and for those, the Allies turned to the greatest detective of all time. From the mechanized, modernized era of the “Good War,” Hollywood reached back to the sooty late-Victorian world of gaslights and horse-drawn Hansom cabs and plucked out none other than Sherlock Holmes. DOLF
in the filmmakers’ own eras. A contemporary setting saved money on costumes and sets. At Universal, this would keep the Holmes films within the budgets of the B-movies that were the studio’s specialty at the time. World War II seemed like an appropriate era for Holmes, and Universal’s first assignment for the reborn sleuth pitted his analytical mind against Nazi spies and the covert insurrectionists known as fifth columnists. Coming just months after the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, the notion of enlisting Holmes in the war effort may have been comforting to American moviegoers. The first three of the Holmes-versusthe-Nazis films were Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, and Sherlock Holmes in Washington. They introduced Holmes not only as a detective, but also as an unofficial secret agent working with the British intelligence services. Beyond their entertainment value, these movies contained a healthy dose of Allied propaganda, reminding Americans of the steady resolve, loyalty, and courage of their British allies. Along with the 1940s setting and Axis villains came other changes. Watson was substantially different. In the books, he is an intelligent man who, like the readers, is amazed at Holmes’s powers of deduction. The new Watson, however, was a rather silly and sometimes childish comic sidekick. Meanwhile, less surprisingly, Holmes’s arch nemesis Professor Moriarty joined up with the Nazis in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon. Updating Holmes from a Victorian crime-solver into a WWII spy wasn’t much of a stretch. The great detective had always been a master of disguise, able to go undercover in any surroundings. The Conan Doyle short stories “The Naval Treaty,” “The Second Stain,” and “The Bruce Partington Plans” had been set amid tensions in Europe during World War I and involved espionage. “His Last Bow,” written in 1917, saw Holmes working in disguise as a double-agent loyal to the British.
Previous spread: In this publicity shot for 1945’s The Woman in Green, Dr. John Watson, played by Nigel Bruce, is thunderstruck by an “elementary” conclusion arrived at by Sherlock Holmes, played by Basil Rathbone. Opposite: Holmes and Watson were denizens of Victorian London, and remained so when Rathbone and Bruce portrayed them in 1939’s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Above: Then detective and sidekick leapt into World War II, vexing Axis evildoers in films such as Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942) and Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943). 54 AMERICA IN WWII
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By the early 1940s, Holmes had been famous for half a century. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had introduced the brilliant sleuth and his trusty companion Doctor Watson in the 1887 novel A Study in Scarlet. Short stories featuring the duo appeared in the 1890s and were wildly popular. In fact Conan Doyle grew so tired of the clamor for more Holmes episodes that he killed off his profitable protagonist in the 1893 story “The Final Problem.” But he soon gave in to public demand and started writing new Holmes tales. By the time of Conan Doyle’s death in 1930, he had written 56 short stories and 4 novels featuring Holmes. Holmes had fans beyond counting (including President Franklin Roosevelt). Holmes first leapt from print into live action in 1893, when he took to the stage. After that he hit the big screen, appearing in more than 100 silent movies. Once sound was married with film, several different actors took on the roles of Holmes and Watson in talkies (including a few movies made in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s). In 1938, however, 20th Century–Fox announced a new Sherlock Holmes movie and proceeded to create one of Hollywood’s greatest cinematic duos by casting Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Watson. The first Holmes film featuring Rathbone and Bruce was The Hound of the Baskervilles. It was set in the late Victorian period, as was its 1939 sequel, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. 20th Century ended its Holmes franchise there, but Rathbone and Bruce continued in their roles in a long-running radio series. (Some of the radio scripts were written by Leslie Charteris, creator of Simon Templar, the Robin Hood–like modern thief brought to life in books, on radio, and on 1960s television as The Saint.) Universal Studios took over the Sherlock Holmes movies from 20th Century in 1942 and decided to move Holmes and Watson from the gaslit 1890s to the modern day. This was nothing new. Most Sherlock Holmes movies made over the years had been set
Sherlock Holmes Stalks The Nazis
The Men Behind the Characters
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asil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce were as English as could be. But neither actor was born in England. Philip St. John Basil Rathbone (1892– 1967) was born to English parents, but in South Africa. After debuting on the London stage, he served in the British army during World War I, distinguishing himself as an intelligence officer, leading patrols into the German trenches to bring back prisoners for interrogation. His official commendations included the Military Cross. After post-WWI stage appearances in England and the United States, Rathbone appeared in numerous Hollywood movies, beginning in the mid-1920s. His skill at swordplay and his knack for portraying villains led him to classic roles such as Sir Guy of Gisbourne in Errol Flynn’s 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood. That same year 56 AMERICA IN WWII
shelves are books, chemistry equipment, and souvenirs of past cases. But lining the drapes of the cozy Baker Street lodgings are light-smothering blackout curtains, a WWII precaution against air raids. Outside, uniformed policemen—bobbies— patrol the blacked-out streets of the great city, their familiar tall, cork-lined cloth helmets replaced by shiny, dark steel helmets appropriate for wartime. In late 1942 Holmes came to America in Sherlock Holmes in Washington. It’s Holmes and Watson’s first trip to the States, and the two men react quite differently. The business-like Holmes appreciates the magnificent government buildings and monuments in the capital as symbols of the democratic ideals that unite America with his native England. Watson, on the other hand, has a more down-to-earth view. On the flight from England, he reads a book on the “quaint customs and manners of America” so he’ll be prepared to greet American officials with the proper salutation: “How are you, buddy?” When the greeting falters in it’s first test, he consults his phrase book and continues: “What’s cooking?” In their hotel in Washington, while Holmes consults with a police officer, Watson noisily slurps a milkshake through two straws. Later, Holmes is annoyed by Watson’s constant chewing as he reads the newspaper and asks what he’s eating. The great detective is appalled to find that Watson has discovered American chewing gum. The pair’s first reading of a US newspaper is another study in contrasts. Holmes scans for clues that might lead to a potential witness in a case. Watson, meanwhile, enjoys the comics and observes that Flash Gordon “seems a very capable fellow.” He’s fascinated by the sports section. “Those Brooklyn fellows seem to be arguing with the umpire!” he exclaims, examining a photo AMERICA IN WWII COLLECTION
Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, the first of Universal’s WWII Holmes films, came out in 1942. It reflects Brits’ and Americans’ early-war dread of enemy spies wreaking havoc on the home front. Holmes sets to work when the Voice of Terror is heard on the radio across Britain, sneering at the Allies with Nazi propaganda and warning of impending disasters caused by German sabotage. In the next movie, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, Holmes rescues the inventor of the Tobel Bombsight from German agents in Switzerland. The fictional device parallels the real Norden Bombsight, used for precision highaltitude bombing during the war. The exact makeup of the Norden Bombsight was kept secret, but its existence was well known, due to newspaper articles that appeared in 1942. The inventor, Carl Norden, was a Dutch scientist who was educated in Switzerland and emigrated to the United States in 1904. In the movie, fictional Doctor Tobel escapes in 1942 with the help of Holmes. Secret Weapon makes references to the original Sherlock Holmes stories, but with a WWII twist. Holmes and Tobel are walking along an ordinary London street when Tobel stumbles on some rubble on the sidewalk. They’re passing a brick building that has been destroyed by a German air raid. Moments later, we discover that the ruins are next door to Holmes’s rooms at 221B Baker Street—a jarring reminder of the dangers the British faced every day during the 1940 German bombing campaign known as the Blitz. Holmes’s legendary Baker Street rooms are seen protected from shrapnel and bomb debris behind a barricade of sandbags. Inside, the rooms are furnished with comfortable chairs, and there’s the inviting glow of a warm fireplace. Piled on tables and
by David Norris
Rathbone (right) and Bruce (left) became Hollywood’s definitive Holmes and Watson. newspapers announced that Rathbone was “throwing aside his cloak of villainy” after he was cast as Sherlock Holmes. Like Rathbone, William Nigel Ernle
Bruce (1895–1953) was born far from England. The second son of a baronet, Bruce was born in California while his parents were on a vacation. In the Conan Doyle stories, the character of Doctor Watson was sometimes troubled by a wound he had received while serving as an army surgeon in the Second Afghan War. In real life, Bruce was badly wounded while serving with the WWI British army in January 1915 at Kemmel, Belgium. After months of recovery, he was commissioned as a lieutenant. Bruce took to the British stage after the war, and eventually came to Hollywood. He was quite busy as a character actor in the 1930s, playing bumbling but likeable English gentlemen—rather like his famous portrayal of Watson. —David A. Norris
AMERICA IN WWII COLLECTION
Above: 1943’s Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon brought Holmes’s nemesis, Dr. James Moriarty, into the war on the Axis side. Opposite: Watson’s voluntary WWII medical service drew Holmes into a murder case in Sherlock Holmes Faces Death.
from a Dodgers game. “Extraordinary thing!” A few scenes in the wartime Holmes movies refer to real 20thcentury social changes caused by the war. In Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, Holmes and Doctor Tobel are flown from Switzerland to England by a woman Royal Air Force pilot. Later, in Sherlock Holmes in Washington, Holmes is trying to find a woman on a train when a black porter says he remembers her leaving with “a lieutenant, a navy flier.” The porter is certain about the rank from seeing the uniform, emphasizing his familiarity with the military. “My boy’s in the army,” he says with pride. “He’s going to be a flier, too.” Neither a white woman nor a black man would have been a military pilot before World War II. After three war-based Sherlock Holmes movies, Universal downplayed the conflict in its remaining series entries. Studios were realizing that audiences had had enough of the war and were going to the movies to escape from it. Of course there was no hope of completely forgetting the war at the theater. For one thing, many movies were preceded by newsreels and ended with reminders to buy war bonds. Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, a 1943 release, is set in a manor house that serves as a hospital for officers suffering from combat fatigue. Holmes is drawn into a mystery there because Watson has volunteered his medical services to the hospital. Though the plot of 1944’s The Scarlet Claw isn’t related to the war, Holmes is in Canada for a conference in Quebec. Holmes and Watson are attending the conference of the Royal Canadian Paranormal Society, though a wartime audience would have
thought of the Quebec Conference involving Roosevelt, British Prime Minster Winston Churchill, and Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King. In a patriotic speech at the end, Holmes praises Canada as a dependable ally of England and steadfast friend of the United States.
1946 RATHBONE LEFT THE MOVIE SERIES and radio show, having begun to feel trapped in the Holmes milieu. But he couldn’t truly escape, and his most famous role remains Sherlock Holmes. His portrayal is remembered by many fans as among the finest silver screen versions of Conan Doyle’s enduring hero. To many kids who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s and watched the movies on television, Basil Rathbone was Sherlock Holmes. By that time, the world war was part of Holmes’s official history. Ironically, Holmes really had figured in World War II in a roundabout way. When Britain’s Special Operations Executive moved to quarters on Baker Street in London during the war, references to the fictional detective who had resided on the same stretch was inevitable. The transplanted clandestine bureau in charge of aiding anti-Nazi resistance in occupied Europe was unofficially tagged with the name that Holmes had coined for the loose association of street urchins who were his allies: the Baker Street Irregulars. A N
DAVID A. NORRIS of Wilmington, North Carolina, has written articles for America in WWII about paper money and coins, postage stamps, and V-mail. JUNE 2012
AMERICA IN WWII 57
A BOOKS AND MEDIA
Eisenhower in War and Peace, by Jean Edward Smith, Random House, 946 pages, $40.
makes his way into America’s presidency becomes a member of a clique within an already small club. Dwight David Eisenhower, born in Texas in 1890 and raised in Kansas by unpretentious parents, stands beside George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant in this group. Known to family, friends, and a grateful nation as Ike, he graduated West Point and pursued an army career that repeatedly pushed him into administrative posts. With America’s entry into World War II, he found himself headquartered in London and named supreme commander of Allied forces. Though he never personally led men on the field of combat, he took the skills he had and, armed with fountain pens, information, and maps, defeated Adolf Hitler and his feared Nazi military. In 1952, many considered his election to his nation’s highest office as nothing less than the just reward for his service. After serving two terms as president, Ike retired to a farm he owned in Gettysburg, NY MILITARY MAN WHO
58 AMERICA IN WWII
Pennsylvania. Following years of heart ailments, he died at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center on March 28, 1969, the same year young Americans rocked at Woodstock and US astronauts landed on the moon. Jean Smith’s Eisenhower in War and Peace takes the life of this accomplished and active man that spanned eight incredibly eventful decades and hammers it into 766 pages. Tack onto that 100 pages of notes and 80 more in bibliography and index, and a reader could heft the volume up and down in his hand and guess the author was aiming to create this soldierstatesman’s definitive biography. The 1950s, the years of Eisenhower’s presidency, are often depicted as carefree times for white suburban youth, happy days symbolized by hot rods, early rock-and-roll music, wholesome TV programming, and intact nuclear families. Or they are depicted as a socially repressed era when everything from the sexual impulse to the recognition of racial equality is muffled or muted, and the threat of an atomic holocaust unnerves everyone. In either case, Ike is always portrayed as steady and calm, his face never hinting at stress, indecision, or trouble.
Ike’s public persona was carefully crafted over a lifetime. Smith’s book reveals Ike’s father as a stubborn, prideful man who was pointedly uninterested in his children’s lives (unless they did something to upset his wife). His mother is described as “Kansas sunshine,” cheerful, musical, and affectionate. After graduating high school, Ike took a job at a local creamery for two years. During that time he toyed with trying to get into the army or navy academy because both offered a free college education. When he was accepted at West Point after taking a competitive exam, his surprised family was unsure how to react. Descended from members of German dissenting sects that embraced nonviolence, mother and father did not support a military career. His mother cried as he left the house for West Point. A member of the class of 1915, the young Eisenhower was a satisfactory student, briefly played football, made many friends, smoked cigarettes (then forbidden because they were considered low class), and excelled at poker and bridge. Although engaging and entertaining in private, he assumed an earnest and serious demeanor in public and before his superiors. These
two faces, and knowing when to show them, would be tools that would serve him well in the army. Being a man of no outstanding ethnic or religious prejudices, for example, he tolerated churlish anti-Semitic and racist remarks made by brother officers and superiors in social situations, but pointedly distanced himself from that outlook in public, commanding black troops without complaint and serving happily beside the army’s few Jewish officers. He endeared himself to superiors by doing absolutely everything that was asked of him, and doing it well. Eisenhower’s organizational and administrative aptitude was highly valued. Consequently, commanders kept him away from action. He did not participate in the Mexican Punitive Expedition against the revolutionary Pancho Villa in 1916 and 1917, instead taking care of business at the end of the supply and administrative chain at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. At the outbreak of World War I, he established a camp near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to train men in tank warfare. Following the war, he was an administrative officer for Lieutenant General John Pershing and an able right hand for Major Generals Fox Conner and Douglas MacArthur. Much of this work took place in Washington, DC, but there were also assignments to the Panama Canal Zone, the Philippines, and a few small posts in the States. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, he made and maintained friendships with officers such as George Patton, Omar Bradley, and George C. Marshall, career soldiers who would be part of his perfect team during World War II. Along with garnering the approval of his military superiors, Ike also was a favorite of the War Department. He genuinely liked President Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Harry S. Truman openly admired him and encouraged him to think about public office. (Truman, a Democrat, continued this fond association even after Ike declared himself a Republican.) As a young first lieutenant, the Kansan married into money, taking to wife Mamie Doud, the daughter of a wealthy retired businessman. She was cute and sociable, but proved to be spoiled and sometimes spiteful. Mamie refused to travel with Ike to posts she did not find appealing, relied
on servants for almost all household functions, and blamed her husband when their first child, Little Ikey, died of an illness contracted from a governess he had hired. The marital state rocked back and forth until the approach of Eisenhower’s presidency, nearing divorce more than once. A very public wartime affair that Ike carried on with Kay Summersby of the Women’s Army Corps was kept from Mamie’s notice by Ike’s friends. When the romance ended abruptly in 1945, correspondence between Ike and a disapproving General George C. Marshall that referred to it ended up in Pentagon files. Truman personally had these letters destroyed after Eisenhower won the 1952 presidential election. Smith’s biography of Eisenhower is not a tawdry tell-all account. But it does reveal much about the WWII alliances between the general and other American and Allied commanders, the behind-the-scenes feuds between world leaders, and the embarrassments he helped obscure during the war. —John E. Stanchak Philadelphia, Pennsylvania When Eagles Dared: The Filmgoers’ History of World War II, by Howard Hughes, I.B. Tauris, 290 pages, $28.
EAGLES DARED provides an unusual combination of both real and reel history. Author Howard Hughes divides the war into 20 sections, such as “The Desert War,” “The Eastern Front,” and “The Battle for France,” and then briefly discusses the actual events before choosing a focus film to describe at length. For “The Submarine War,” that film is Das Boot. “War Behind the Wire” features The Great Escape. More than 400 other films are described, as well, in anywhere from a sentence to several paragraphs (with plenty of plot spoilers). Hughes lists four film subgenres: travelogue movies that follow a character or group (Patton, Saving Private Ryan), reenactments (Battle of Britain, Sink the Bismarck), adventures (The Guns of Navarone, The Dirty Dozen), and dramas using the war as a backdrop (The Bridge on the River Kwai). A 20-page name index lists film-related individuals. Directors are listed from David HEN
Aboucaya to Fred Zinnemann. Actors range from those who saw combat only on the big screen (John Wayne) to those who died in action (Leslie Howard). The movies date from as early as 1936 (Things to Come) to 2009 (Inglourious Basterds) and have casts of anywhere between two (Hell in the Pacific, starring Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune) and thousands. Hughes writes that The Longest Day, with its 43 international stars, “boasts the most impressive cast list of all time.” As you would expect, two film versions of the same event can produce very different results. Hughes calls Tora! Tora! Tora! “one of the greatest World War II films, an impressive historical record and a worthy testament” and Pearl Harbor, made 31 years later, “one of the most derided war films, a bizarre concoction.” Notable foreign entries in the book include Ashes and Diamonds from Poland and Roberto Rossellini’s remarkable 1945–48 Italian trilogy (Rome, Open City; Paisà; and Germany Year Zero). There are even nods to Japan’s postwar Godzilla and the unwarlike Hiroshima Mon Amour. The joint Yugoslavian-Italian-AmericanGerman production The Battle on the River Neretva portrays “the Axis offensive against Yugoslav partisans from January to April 1943.” Hughes gives due credit to the Swiss actor Bruno Ganz for his “chilling, almost sympathetic portrayal of Adolf Hitler” in the German-Italian-Austrian production of Downfall, without mentioning the hundreds of YouTube videos that parody one of the film’s most dramatic scenes (we’ll avoid a spoiler here). Some selections Hughes thinks should be better known include The Secret Invasion and Attack. The former would seem to be B-movie–legend Roger Corman’s low-budget remake of The Dirty Dozen—with only 5 hardened criminals, including Mickey Rooney and Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, posing as Germans instead of 12—except it came out three years before the more famous film. The latter, sometimes billed as Attack!, stars Jack Palance and Lee Marvin. The production got no cooperation from the US Department of Defense because of Eddie Albert’s portrayal of a cowardly commander during the Battle of the Bulge. Albert is even JUNE 2012
AMERICA IN WWII 59
A more neurotic than Captain Queeg, portrayed brilliantly by Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny, one of the best films left out of this book. Other top war films overlooked include Kings Go Forth, Shoah, Soldier of Orange, and The Best Years of Our Lives. The Sound of Music is mentioned, but not South Pacific. Nor does Hughes include Passage to Marseille, a kind of sequel to the popular Casablanca. Also omitted are some films set in America, such as The House on 92nd Street, Watch on the Rhine, and the goofy All Through the Night (with Bogart, Jackie Gleason, and Phil Silvers). Speaking of goofy, When Eagles Dared mentions odd film facts, too. It recalls the roles of Laurence Olivier as a FrenchCanadian trapper (49th Parallel) and John Wayne as a German freighter captain (The Sea Chase). Burt Reynolds was continually
BOOKS AND MEDIA
mistaken for Marlon Brando while filming Armored Command in Germany, and Christian Slater had the lead role in Churchill: The Hollywood Years. The book explains the difference between Oflag (a prison camp for officers) and Stalag (for enlisted men); that the only film Frank Sinatra ever directed was None but the Brave; and that the famous bridge actually went over the Mae Klong River, not its tributary the Khwae Noi (“Kwai”). Thinking about writing your own WWII screenplay? Take some advice from Robert Pirosh, who won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (Battleground). Pirosh noted that he had “consciously avoided three key clichés of
combat movies,” making sure that in his script there was “no character from Brooklyn, nobody gets a letter from his wife saying she has found a new love, and nobody sweats out the news of the arrival of a newborn baby back home.” —Richard Sassaman Bar Harbor, Maine Enterprise: America’s Fightingest Ship and the Men Who Helped Win World War II, by Barrett Tillman, Simon and Schuster, 302 pages, $27.
US NAVY chose for some of its first aircraft carriers had roots in the Revolutionary War. The
HE NAMES THE
A THEATER OF WAR The Americanization of Emily. Directed by Arthur Hiller, written by Paddy Chayefsky, starring James Garner, Julie Andrews, Melvyn Douglas, James Coburn, 1964, 117 minutes, black and white, not rated.
1964 THE UNITED STATES was two decades removed from the beaches of Normandy, so it seemed that enough time had passed to take a cynical look at D-Day. At least screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky thought so when he adapted a novel by William Bradford Huie about a self-confessed American coward who becomes the first man on Omaha Beach. The coward in The Americanization of Emily is Lieutenant Commander Charlie Madison (James Garner). Charlie had gone ashore with the marines on Guadalcanal before deciding he preferred a staff position over combat. Now he functions as the “dog robber” for Admiral William Jessup (Melvyn Douglas), which means he retrieves whatever the admiral wants, from fine whiskey to avocado salad. Charlie’s a glib charmer, but motor-pool driver Emily Barham (Julie Andrews) remains N
60 AMERICA IN WWII
unimpressed. The Englishwoman has lost a husband, father, and brother in the war and doesn’t cotton to the Americans’ lives of comparative luxury in war-lean Britain. Eventually, though, Emily falls for Charlie. When she brings him home to meet her widowed mother, he reduces Mrs. Barham to tears with a blunt speech about war. “War isn’t hell at all,” he tells her sarcastically. “It’s man at his best, the highest morality he’s capable of. It’s not war that’s insane, you see. It’s the morality of it…. As long as valor remains a virtue, we shall have soldiers. So I preach cowardice.” It’s classic speechifying by the verbose and literate screenwriter who would go on to win Oscars for The Hospital and Network. Things begin unraveling for Charlie when Jessup suffers a breakdown and decides that “the first dead American on Omaha Beach must be a sailor.” He orders Charlie to form a film crew to shoot the landings so he can get his men on the beach before anyone else. Try as he might Charlie can’t squirm out of the assignment, especially when his pal Lieutenant Commander Paul “Bus”
Cummings (James Coburn) gets all gung ho and insists on moving the scheme forward. Despite his best efforts, Charlie winds up wading ashore on DDay, where he apparently dies. But Charlie’s a survivor and he stays alive and returns to England, where he decides to expose the whole cynical plot. Before Charlie can come clean, though, Emily persuades him to act the part of a real hero instead of taking a stand as a principled coward. Cue the irony. Garner, who earned Purple Hearts in
namesakes of the first USS Lexington (CV2), Wasp (CV-7), Ranger (CV-4), and Hornet (CV-8) served in the Continental Navy in 1776. The Saratoga (CV-1) and Yorktown (CV-5) were named for Revolutionary War battles. The first Enterprise was an armed sloop serving on Lake Champlain. Back then the United States was figuring out how to create a navy. Almost two centuries later, the US Navy was figuring out how to use aircraft carriers. In the new book Enterprise, author Barrett Tillman makes a compelling case that the Enterprise was essential to the development of the navy’s proficiency in carrier warfare. No other American ship fought in more battles or played such pivotal roles in them. Tillman follows the ship from its launch in 1936 to its scrapping in 1958. Over the course of several months, officers, men, and flight groups rotated on and off the
the Korean War, says this is the favorite of all his films. He was originally cast to play Cummings, but got the lead role when William Holden backed out. The landing scenes were shot near Oxnard, California, and turned out realistic enough, despite the US Navy’s refusal to provide any support. Garner suffered two cracked ribs during one shot when he landed on the canteen in his belt. In his autobiography Garner asserts that The Americanization of Emily was not really an antiwar film, but rather a warning not to “make war seem so wonderful that kids want to make the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ when they grow up.” That didn’t matter to paying audiences, who stayed away in droves. “It was, after all, the first major Hollywood picture with a hero who was proud to be a coward,” said Garner. “But its message dovetailed with the growing conviction that Vietnam wasn’t worth dying for. Audiences have come around to it, and it’s now a cult favorite and a minor classic. Unfortunately, it hasn’t put war out of style.” —Tom Huntington Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
ship. Enough of the crew from a previous cruise would stay aboard to pass on what Tillman calls the “corporate culture” of the Enterprise. Tillman weaves portraits of these men into his greater narrative of the ship at war. Much of the book’s action focuses on the ship’s fighter, bomber, and torpedo squadrons. The reader gets a real sense of how missions were planned, the importance of squadron and air group leadership, the technological innovations, and the challenges of flying off and returning to a carrier sailing in the middle of a vast, featureless ocean. Tillman also provides descriptions of harrowing damage control on the ship during its long, tense missions. For example, Tillman writes about Robin Lindsey, the landing signals officer who guided planes in for landings on the ship. During the Battle of Santa Cruz in October 1942, the Enterprise sustained bomb damage, but the flight deck was reopened to recover planes. With the Hornet also damaged, both its planes and Enterprise’s were circling the Enterprise, waiting to land. Lindsey skillfully brought aboard 57 aircraft, far more than would usually be safe or possible. His skill saved dozens of pilots from having to ditch in the sea. That battle was just 1 of 20 in which the Enterprise took part. The carrier was vital in the first few of them because it was one of only a few carriers America had at the time. In fact, after the Battle of Santa Cruz, the Enterprise was the only functioning American carrier in the Pacific. In April 1945, a kamikaze struck the Enterprise and took the ship out of action for the final time. Seventeen minutes after the plane struck the ship, the damage-control men had suppressed the worst of the fires. The kamikaze pilot was given a dignified military burial, and his personal effects were eventually returned to his family. The war ended before repairs were completed on the ship. After the war, the Enterprise brought home tens of thousands of servicemen from Europe. Perhaps the ship’s greatest contribution to the war was its function as a “leadership factory.” Many of the men who served on the Enterprise went on to leadership positions on other ships and contin-
ued to serve the navy for decades after World War II. Other crew members went on to successful postwar careers in the private sector. They included Jack Taylor, an Enterprise pilot who went on to found Enterprise Rent-a-Car. This book packs a lot of history into three hundred pages, yet it is an easy and exciting read. It provides a unique perspective by telling the story of a single ship as it sails throughout the entire war. —Drew Ames Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power, by Andrew Nagorski, Simon and Schuster, 388 pages, $28.
NAGORSKI’S latest book, Hitlerland, is an accessible read that looks at how Americans within Germany viewed the rise of the National Socialist Party and its leader, Adolf Hitler. Nagorski is an award-winning journalist who worked for Newsweek for years and was stationed around the world. His approach to the book’s subject is based on his own experiences as a foreign correspondent. Much of the book draws from the experiences of American reporters stationed in Germany, mostly Berlin, from the end of World War I to just past the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Germany’s declaration of war against the United States. “Hitlerland” is a term that was coined by Pierre Huss, a correspondent for the International News Service, to describe Germany in the early 1930s. Hitler was not always viewed as a madman or satanic statesman, or even thought of much at all. Post-WWI Germany was a mess. Nagorski quotes Chicago Daily News reporter Ben Hecht as stating that “Germany is having a nervous breakdown.” Communists, socialists, right-wing paramilitary groups, monarchists, and other political and social factions all vied for some part of the chaotic nation. Revolution seemed to be the order of the day, and the Weimar Republic was impotent at governing. To the German people, the British appeared indifferent to the chaos, the French were hostile and to blame for the NDREW
AMERICA IN WWII 61
A troubles, and the Russians were Bolsheviks not to be trusted. But the Americans were something else. Although the United States had fought the German armies in World War I, America was seen as young and seemingly more willing to forgive. Americans shared loans and good will with the Germans and thus enjoyed friendlier relations with them. Nagorski traces the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party from its early days in Munich to its near-absolute control in the mid-1930s. He uses a variety of sources to trace the ascendancy of the Nazis, including the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, the Hoover Institute Archives, the Associated Press Corporate Archives, the National Archives, and the Library of Congress. Nagorski also uses a host of books, as well as unpublished manuscripts. From the former he includes the classic study of the Nazis— William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the
BOOKS AND MEDIA
Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. Also included are Dorothy Thompson’s I Saw Hitler, her early warning on the Hitler regime, and Howard K. Smith’s Last Train from Berlin. Although most Americans were antiNazi, some were admirers early on. The German American Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl (his father was German and his mother American) worked closely with Hitler and the Nazis. Hitler used Hanfstaengl as a go-between with American reporters and diplomats. After the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch revolution attempt in 1923, it was to Hanfstaengl’s home that Hitler retreated. Helen Hanfstaengl, Putzi’s American wife, holds an infamous
place in history: she kept Hitler from shooting himself when the police arrived to arrest him. William Shirer, Sigrid Schultz, and other correspondents watched the growing menace of Nazi Germany with increasing trepidation. Some Americans used clever tactics to get around Nazi government roadblocks. Smith, tasked with taking the measure of the Luftwaffe, worked to get Charles Lindbergh to visit Germany as a guest of the flying force. In doing so he gained access to airfields, factories, and information that he would not otherwise have been able to procure. Hitlerland provides the reader with a perspective not often seen. Hitler was a determined man who hewed a bloody path across history. Americans in Germany at that time were eyewitnesses to that horror. —Michael Edwards University of New Orleans
A 78 RPM
Mr. Nice Guy
WAS THE VOICE that made Vaughn Monroe’s band—Vaughn Monroe’s voice. The girls couldn’t get enough of it. They loved the emotion that bubbled up in it, and they loved the looks of the man behind it. Trained at the New England Conservatory, Monroe’s style leaned toward the operatic. But that didn’t mean he was lauded for superior talent or mastery. “He is a baritone who tries to sing bass with tenor accents,” wrote critic Barry Ulanov. George T. Simon, editor of the music magazine Metronome, wrote, “If Monroe would only open his mouth a little more, less of the sound would be forced to come out his nose.” None of this seemed to matter to the girls, or to most other pop music fans of the time. The six-foot-tall Ohio-born Pennsylvanian, whose high school peers had voted him president of the class of 1929 and most likely to succeed, sold more than five million records in 1944 alone. Monroe and his original orchestra began their rise to prominence in 1941, after moving from Boston to begin a nationally broadcast run at New York City’s Meadowbrook Ballroom. Then came the war, good years for Monroe. He had two daughters, one born a week after Pearl Harbor and one in October 1944. Musically, he had a big hit with “When the Lights Go On Again (All Over the World).” Written and recorded in 1942, the song T
62 AMERICA IN WWII
appealed to a nation optimistic about winning the war and returning to peacetime, when cities and towns wouldn’t be blacked out at night for fear of air raids. Monroe again had his critics. The federal government’s propaganda department didn’t like songs that longed too earnestly for the war’s end, fearing they might sap the people’s will to fight. But the people saw this concern as the paranoia it was, and Monroe’s song remained a hit for close to half a year. By all accounts, Monroe was as nice as he was successful. “No one ever wanted to leave the band, because he always treated us so well,” said one of his musicians. He sent his band to gigs by train rather than bus. He lent money without charging interest. Even a music critic, Barbara Hodgkins, had kind things to say about him: He was “one of the most polite, pleasant and peaceful citizens in the music business—a very normal person in a very crazy world.” Monroe would outdo “When the Lights Go On Again” only after the war, when his recording of “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” hit the charts during the first Christmas season after Japan’s surrender. Today, he’s known mostly for his definitive version of that winter classic. —Carl Zebrowski editor of America in WWII
A WWII EVENTS
CALIFORNIA • May 5 and 6, Chino: Planes of Fame Air Show. “1942: Turning the Tide.” More than 40 historical planes, flight demonstrations, panel discussions with WWII veterans. Doors open at 8 A.M. and close at 5 P.M. Planes of Fame Air Museum, Merrill Avenue, No. 17. 909-597-3722. www.planesoffame.org May 19, Palm Springs: “Civil Air Patrol: A Proud History.” Lecture. 1 P.M. Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 North Gene Autry Trail. 760-778-6262. www.palmsprings airmuseum.org June 2, Chino: “Battle of Midway—SBD Dauntless.” Aviation historians Kevin Thompson and Edward Maloney anchor a discussion panel. Dauntless flight demonstration. 10 A.M. to noon. Planes of Fame Air Museum, Merrill Avenue, No. 17. 909-597-3722. www.planesoffame.org COLORADO • June 23–24, Longmont: “East Meets West—1945.” Reenactment by the WWII Historical Re-Enactment Society. 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Saturday and 9 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. Sunday. 10477 Weld County Road 7. www.worldwartwohrs.org MICHIGAN • June 29–July 1, Benton Harbor: “Lest We Forget.” Military encampment, battle re-creation, beach landing, flag-raising, Iwo Jima Medal of Honor recipient, hangar dance. Vehicle parade at 6 P.M. Friday. Open 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. Saturday and 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. Sunday. Southwest Michigan Airport, 1123 Territorial Road. 317-788-1836. www.worldwartwohrs.org
The crowd outside Cocoanut Grove joins the rescue effort after the deadliest nightclub fire in US history.
Tragedy at Home A thousand merrymakers crammed into Boston’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub. Then fire erupted. By the time inspectors picked through the rubble, nearly 500 were dead.
Look for our August 2012 issue on newsstands on June 12.
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NEW YORK • May 19, Saratoga Springs: “The Road to Victory.” Hour-long radio show by War Story US as it might have been in May 1945. News reports from the front, music featuring the Manhattan Dolls swing singers. 2 P.M. New York State Military Museum, Lake Avenue. 518-466-5433. www.warstory.us PENNSYLVANIA • June 1–3, Reading: “A Gathering of Warbirds.” Annual WWII weekend. Vehicles and aircraft, guest speakers, period music, comedy shows. Gates open at 8:30 A.M. $25 for adults, $10 children 6–12, under 5 free. Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, 11 Museum Drive. 610-372-7333. www.maam.org TEXAS • May 19, Fredericksburg: Louis Zamperini. Talk by the former Olympian and WWII POW and subject of 2010 bestseller Unbroken. Sponsored by the National Museum of the Pacific War. 6:30 P.M. Fredericksburg High School auditorium, 1107 Highway 16 South. 830-997-8600. www.pacificwarmuseum.org VIRGINIA • June 6, Bedford: 68th Anniversary of D-Day. Tribute to those who died at Normandy. The 101st Airborne Division honor guard and wreath-laying. 11 A.M. The National D-Day Memorial, 3 Overlord Circle. 540-587-3619. www.dday.org WASHINGTON, DC • May 28: Annual National Memorial Day Parade. Procession on Constitution Avenue from 7th Avenue to the White House. 2 P.M. Presented by the American Veterans Center. 703-302-1012, extension 227. www.nationalmemorialday parade.com WEST VIRGINIA • April 12–June 10, Beckley: “Fight the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings.” Traveling exhibit from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum on why book burnings became a symbol in America’s battle against Nazism. Raleigh County Public Library, 221 North Kanawha Street. 304-255-0511. www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/traveling/
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Up from the Foxhole
COURTESY OF LLOYD CAIN
Brigadier General Robinson Duff pins the Silver Star on Lloyd Cain in Frankfurt, Germany, on July 4, 1947.
NTI-AIRCRAFT SCHOOL WAS
the first training opportunity that opened up for Lloyd Cain after he enlisted in the army in 1943. Fresh from studying agriculture for two years at Purdue, he jumped on it. “I was ready to get on the move and do something,” he says. After several months of artillery and then infantry training, the 21-year-old native of Switz City, Indiana, ended up in the infantry, in the 100th Division. By October 1944 he was headed for Europe aboard a troop ship as part of the 398th Regiment’s Company E. That December Cain fought in his first of several intense skirmishes. His unit was dug in outside Hottviller, France, near the string of German fortifications known as the Maginot Line. The Nazis attempted to push the Americans back. “I was sent out beyond our line to observe the activity and direct our mortar fire against their emplacements,” Cain says. He moved forward and retreated to cover four times before the German advance was halted. For his efforts, he received the Silver Star and, recently, the French Legion of Honor.
A few months later, in May 1945, Cain led a squad in a successful attack in Hagenbach, Germany, without losing a single man. The feat earned him a battlefield commission to second lieutenant. Within days the war in Europe was over, but he remained on the continent until November 1947, when he was reassigned to the States as a training officer. He later went on to serve in the Korean and Vietnam wars. “Having served as an enlisted man at the beginning of my career also helped me gain the respect of my subordinates…,” Cain says. “They knew I had been in the foxholes with them.” Cain retired from the army as a colonel in 1976 and lives in Missiouri, where he still occasionally sings with the choir at St. Joseph Cathedral in Jefferson City. A Submitted by Jeremy Amick, public affairs officer for the Silver Star Families of America, a nonprofit organization based in Missouri that honors and assists wounded and ill veterans of all wars.
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