Tom Philo's History Snippets

This page is for short tales and other history related items too short to have their own separate page.

Short Tales Captain Kangaroo Entertainers in WWII WWII Unusual facts Iwo Jim Memorial Cannon Balls Washing Machine Charlie Lindane 1st Union Office Killed in US Civil War Under Attack Decoy Airfield Who is Packing Your Parachute Pappy Devine Old Soldier Poem Voting and Drinking Naval Aviation Aircraft Suffix's Wish You Were Here Lewis Wallace Japanese Officer Promotions Wartime Drinks Geography Teaching Visiting Beethoven US Cloth Badges Gus Kinnear Duck Tape Old Ironsides

Short Tales

Captain Kangaroo

--> PARTIAL URBAN Legend! See for details of what is valid and what it false. has lots of debunked legends on their site. A site to check for scams is Sheila Freeman

For a a list of movie stars who served in WWII you can visit

From an e-mail to me . . .

The other side we seldom hear about.

Captain Kangaroo turned 75 in 2002, which is odd, because he's never looked a day under 75. (Birthday

Some people have been a bit offended that Lee Marvin is buried in a grave alongside 3 and 4 star generals
at Arlington National Cemetery. His marker gives his name, rank (PVT) and service (USMC). Nothing else.

Here's a guy who was only a famous movie star who served his time, why the heck does he rate burial with
these guys? Well, following is the amazing answer:

I always liked Lee Marvin, but did not know the extent of his Corps experiences. In a time when many
Hollywood stars served their country in the armed forces, often in rear-echelon posts where they were
carefully protected, only to be trotted out to perform for the cameras in war bond promotions, Lee Marvin
was a genuine hero. He won the Navy Cross at Iwo Jima. There is only one higher Naval award . . . the
Medal Of Honor.

If that is a surprising comment on the true character of the man, he credits his sergeant with an even
greater show of bravery.

Dialog From The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson: His guest was Lee Marvin.

Johnny said, "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at
Iwo Jima . . . and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and were severely

"Yeah, yeah . . . I got shot square in the ass and they gave me the Cross for securing a hot spot about
halfway up Suribachi . . . bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys gettin' shot hauling you

But Johnny, at Iwo I served under the bravest man I ever knew . . . We both got the Cross the same day, but
what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. The dumb bastard actually stood up on Red
beach and directed his troops to move forward and get the hell off the beach. That Sergeant and I have
been lifelong friends.

When they brought me off Suribachi we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me lying on
my belly on the litter and said, 'Where'd they get you Lee?' Well Bob... if you make it home before me,
tell Mom to sell the outhouse! Johnny, I'm not lying... Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever
knew..... Bob Keeshan...

You and the world know him as Captain Kangaroo.

NOTE: Parts of the above is false and part is true. See the link above to see which is which.

War Duty and Entertainers

A comparison of the USA movie / TV / radio personalities and entertainers (not always the same in each person) that get news and TV time in 2003 can be compared to those of the past. Make a mental list of celebrities who made it into print, radio or TV during the 2003 Iraq war.

It seems Newspapers, Television and Radio has been more than ready to put them and their message before the public. Compare these 2003 celebrities taking their political statements before the public, add in their military service that they have done and compare them to those of the past.

Here are some of the popular entertainers of 1941-1945 and those who went into the entertainment industry during and after WW II.

Alec Guinness (Star Wars) operated a British Royal Navy landing craft on D-Day.

James Doohan ("Scotty" on Star Trek) landed in Normandy with the Canadian Army on D-Day on Juno Beach. Was a Captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery, later during the day was wounded. After recovering from wounds became a artillery spotter pilot. (See official bio on (Thanks to Farrell McGovern of Canada for filling in details.)

Donald Pleasance (The Great Escape) really was a R.A.F. pilot who was shot down, held prisoner and tortured by the Germans.

David Niven was a Sandhurst graduate and Lt. Colonel of the British Commandos in Normandy.

James Stewart flew 20 missions as a B-24 pilot in Europe.

Clark Gable(Mega-Movie Star when war broke out) joined the Army Air Force as an enlisted man, trained as a waist gunner / Photographer on B-17s went to OCS and now as an officer was sent to England as a Captain. He filmed combat sequences for a training film and movie called "Combat America." Capt Cable flew 17 missions over Germany and France in B-17s (as a cameraman / gunner). Hermann Goering supposedly promised his wife that if shot down and captured, Capt Gable was reserved for her personal use. (Thanks to: Jerry White AF Weather History Office Offutt AFB, NE.)

Charlton Heston was an Army Air Corps Sergeant in Kodiak.

Earnest Borgnine was a U.S. Navy Gunners Mate 1935-1945.

Charles Durning was a U.S. Army Ranger at Normandy.

Charles Bronson was a tail gunner in the Army Air Corps.

George C. Scott was a U.S. Marine.

Eddie Albert (Green Acres TV) was awarded a Bronze Star for his heroic action as a U.S. Naval officer aiding Marines at the horrific battle on the island of Tarawa in the Pacific November 1943.

Brian Keith served as a Marine rear gunner in several actions against the Japanese on Rabal in the Pacific.

Lee Marvin was a Marine on Saipan when he was wounded. Buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

John Russell was a Marine on Guadalcanal.

Robert Ryan was a U.S. Marine who served with the O.S.S. in Yugoslavia.

Tyrone Power (an established movie star when Pearl Harbor was bombed) joined the Marines, was a pilot flying supplies into, and wounded Marines out of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Also an official Ace with 6 kills.

Audie Murphy, little guy from Texas, most decorated US serviceman of W.W.II. In the Army 1943-1945. When the war was over he was still not old enough to vote in any election.

Iwo Jim Memorial

A Veteran's Day story worth reading.

The Boys of Iwo Jima
(From the book: Heart Touchers "Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter © 2004) reprinted by permission of Michael T. Powers.

Each year my video production company is hired to go to Washington, D.C. with the eighth grade class from Clinton, Wisconsin where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history-that of the six brave men raising the American flag at the top of Mount Surabachi on the Island of Iwo Jima, Japan during WW II. Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, "What's your name and where are you guys from?

I told him that my name was Michael Powers and that we were from Clinton, Wisconsin.

"Hey, I'm a Cheesehead, too! Come gather around Cheeseheads, and I will tell you a story."

James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, D.C. to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good-night to his dad, who had previously passed away, but whose image is part of the statue. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C. but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night. When all had gathered around he reverently began to speak. Here are his words from that night:

"My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called Flags of Our Fathers which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me. Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game, a game called "War." But it didn't turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of twenty-one, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say that to gross you out; I say that because there are generals who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen years old.

(He pointed to the statue)

You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken, and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph. A photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection, because he was scared. He was eighteen years old. Boys won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the "old man" because he was so old. He was already twenty-four. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, "Let's go kill the enemy" or "Let's die for our country." He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, "You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers."

The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, "You're a hero." He told reporters, "How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only twenty-seven of us walked off alive?"

So you take your class at school. 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only twenty-seven of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes died dead drunk, face down at the age of thirty-two, ten years after this picture was taken.

The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky, a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, "Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epson salts. Those cows crapped all night."

Yes, he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of nineteen. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. The neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Kronkite's producers, or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say, "No, I'm sorry sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back."

My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually he was sitting right there at the table eating his Campbell's soup, but we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the press. You see, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died, and when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in pain.

When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, "I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. DID NOT come back."

So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time."

Suddenly the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero in his own eyes, but a hero nonetheless.

Copyright © 2000 Michael T. Powers
hearttouchers @

HeartTouchers is the book by Michael T. Powers and is the original source of the story.

Bob Chesier was 16 when he landed with the Marine Division at Guadalcanal. Later he fought at Tarawa, Saipan and Tinian. Diminutive in stature, he was a well-seasoned veteran at only 18 years old.

He stated that the Tarawa battle in the late spring of 1943 was by far the worst of the campaigns. His landing craft broached (they assulted at low tide) and grounded on a coral reef leaving the Marines a long, long walk to shore under Japanese fire.

"I'm not very tall and when I stepped off the ramp, I was in water over my head. I began to bounce toward shore until my head was above water. Bullets were flying everywhere! About that time a body floated by and I pushed it ahead of me toward the beach."

One of the listeners asked, "Was he dead, Bob?"

"Well," drawled Bob, "he was by the time we got close to shore."

Japanese Officer Promotions

All Japanese officers were automatically promoted to the next highest rank upon their death in combat.

Washing Machine Charlie

One of my online flying friends, PHP, sent me this information about "Washing Machine Charlie" from the time when he was fighting on Guadalcanal.

The term "Washing Machine Charlie" originated on Guadalcanal. At first it referred to a single Japanese naval Air Force float plane with just one motor. It had a distinctive sound and flew mostly at night dropping just two bombs that had been attached to the wings. It was mostly a nuisance keeping most of the Allied forces there awake for an hour or so. As I recall these planes were based in the middle Solomons and came in low under the radar screen so there was little time to get into an air raid shelter. I recall one such attack during the daytime on our base at Lunga Point when I saw the aircraft (as I was dashing for our small air raid shelter) just over the coconut palm trees dropping one bomb near the Navy dispensary and later one more bomb a few hundred yards beyond my location. It was a scary situation to say the least. I had just bathed myself from the reservoir of rain water in the flaps of our tent, but got quite muddied up sliding into the small opening of our shelter. However, you can wipe the mud off but not any bomb fragments. Later on, the term was used for for other night flights which were usually a pair of high flying bombers dropping their load of bombs mostly on or near Henderson airfield. Thanks for bringing back many memories. Over the years there were several articles about "Washing Machine Charlie" in "Guadalcanal Echoes" the journal for the Guadalcanal Veterans Association.

Here it is also referred to as "Louie the Louse," which was a distant second name for
the same type of reconnaissance and harassment aircraft. Later on, the name was
improperly used for normal two engine bombers who normally flew at high altitudes to
escape from the subsequently installed 90mm AA batteries.

From this website - titled Counterblow in the Pacific:

I only have hard stats for the recee groups attached to the 8th AF. Recee for the 8th AF was done by two major units:

The 7th Photographic Group (R) flew F-5 Lightnings, F-6 Mustangs, and Spitfire XIs, from March '43 to May '45. They flew 4,247 sorties, and lost 58 aircraft, a loss rate of 1.37%.

The 25th Bombardment Group (R) flew weather recee sorties, under a couple of different designations, from November '43 onwards. They flew B-17s, B-24s, and from April '44 onwards, Mosquito Mk.XVIs. They flew 3,370 sorties, and lost 15 aircraft, a loss rate of 0.45%.

Hans-Joachim Marseille

A humorous excerpt from the book "German Fighter Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille" by Franz Kurowski. This was sent to me from one of my online flying companions. This snippet is about one Marseille's leaves to Berlin ...

"A short time later he found himself standing in the Berlin Rathaus, or city hall, directly across from the Oberbürgermeister. He entered his name into the Golden Book of the city and talked with several of the citizens who were thronging about him. On the journey home he took the streetcar. The conductor naturally recognized him right away and paid for his fare right out of his own pocket.

That evening he went with his mother to the cinema. This time he was wearing civilian clothes and wasn't stopped everywhere. The Weekly News showed a German fighter flying against a British enemy over the Channel. When the German, after a long dueling battle, finally managed to get on the enemy plane's tail and open fire, his tracers zipped past him harmlessly.

Forgetting his surroundings, Marseille suddenly jumped up.

"Hold your fire! Hold your fire!", he shouted angrily.

One of the moviegoers in front of him turned around and, in a typically Berliner dialect, said: "What do you know about it, young man? You're certainly no Marseille."

Hans-Joachim Marseille fell back into his seat, smiling. His mother cast a mischievous glance in his direction and pressed his hand."

Under Attack!

The Korean War, in which the Marine Corps fought and won some of its most brutal battles, was not without its gallows humor. During one such conflict, ROK (Republic of Korea) commander, whose unit was fighting with the Marines, called Chesty Puller, the legendary Marine warrior, to report a major attack in his sector.

"How many are attacking you?" asked Puller.

"Many, many!" replied the excited Korean officer.

"Goddammit!" swore Puller, "Put my Marine liaison officer on the radio."

In a minute, an American voice came over the air: "Yes sir?"

"Lieutenant," growled Chesty, "exactly how many of the enemy you got up there?"

"Colonel, we got a whole shitpot of them!"

"Thank God," exclaimed Puller, "at least there's someone up there who knows how to count!"

German WW II Decoy Airfield

Wooden bomb dropped by USAAF onto German targets.
Author Pierre-Antoine Couroubletook this
photo at the Normandy museum and is the
author of the book about these weapons.
His web site is

This is is excerpted from “Masquerade: The Amazing Camouflage Deceptions of World War II” by Seymour Reit (Signet, 1980).

[One] enemy decoy, built in occupied Holland, led to a tale that has been told and retold ever since by veteran Allied pilots. The German "airfield," constructed with meticulous care, was made almost entirely of wood.

There were wooden hangars, oil tanks, gun emplacements, trucks, and aircraft. The Germans took so long in building their wooden decoy that Allied photo experts had more than enough time to observe and report it.

The day finally came when the decoy was finished, down to the last wooden plank. And early the following morning, a lone RAF plane crossed the Channel, came in low, circled the field once, and dropped a large wooden bomb.

Tom's notes

I had heard this tale of this tale but I wanted to use an exact quote before posting it here. In an example of German decoy prowess there is the famous movie film clip showing American soldiers going to a "chateau" and opening up door to a hanger! The allies never knew of it till it was overrun in Northern France. German aircraft were, due to philosophy of aircraft design, able to be operate from fields where US and British aircraft could never operate from due to the weight of their (Allied) aircraft. Thus a lot of German airfields could be hidden. They could operate from a good level farm fields with the planes dispersed around the edges. In the book "JG 26 Top Guns of the Luftwaffe" they talk about how every morning the men would fly in from different fields where they had dispersed to the day before. Thus changing locations almost every day. The Germans did create a lot of decoys and were overall pretty good at camouflage. The use of stereo cameras by the allied photo recon units (and 8 x 10 negatives) allowed a lot of camouflaged locations to be spotted.

As of 2009, there is, finally, a book that actualy documents this. is the web site of the author Pierre-Antoine Courouble.

Pappy Devine and the Abbeville Boys

This was sent to me from Joe King who knew "Pappy". Joe is a photographer in Florida with this own photo business.

I am a retired Army aviator. I once had the opportunity to work with a man named "Pappy Devine". Pappy flew in 3 wars. His main claim to fame was that he got shot down 3 times in 10 days! On one of your pages, you mentioned Abbeville Pappy told me a "war" story about that place.

During the war, flying the P40 from someplace in England, Pappy's squadron would raid Abbeville on, say, Tue and Thur. and the Abbeville boys would raid Pappy's base on Mon. and Wed. Well, while returning to base on an off day, Pappy decided to say "hello" to the Abbeville boys. He caught them just as they were taking off coming to raid his place. They got into aerial combat and one of them shot Pappy's plane up and dumped his instrument panel in his lap. But he was still flying so he headed toward a cloud bank and what he thought was west. He flew for awhile and descended. He was lucky he was over land. Ireland. Ireland, being a neutral country, didn't like war machines too much. An old gentleman pedaled his bicycle out to Pappy's plane, smoking, dripping, full of holes...and asked Pappy," is this a war plane?" Pappy said, "no". The gentleman said, "fine, hop on". Pappy got on the handle bars of the bike and they rode to the nearest PUB. Took him 3 days to sober up enough to call his unit.

Elephant Casualty

The first bombing raid on Berlin during World War II killed the elephant in the Berlin zoo. He was the only casualty of the raid.

Unusual Facts of WW II

Bizarre facts about WWII that I got via an e-mail. A web site that goes into explaining each one is at and has a lot more than the 10 I have here.

1. The first German serviceman killed in the war was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937), the first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940), the highest-ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair. So much for allies.

Tom's Note: This was the General killed when B-17s were ordered to fly their bombing pattern perpendicular to the allied lines in Normandy instead of parallel as they wanted to. One group dropped short. I think 350 were killed overall. Omar Bradly supposedly wanted the attack pattern flown that way to have the bombs hit in a more concentrated pattern on and into the German lines. The allied Air Commander wanted it parallel, and was not ready to stand his ground against Bradley so allowed it to go as the Army (Bradley) wanted it. Bradley in his book later said that he wanted it parallel. This was the mission that lead to the Breakout at St. Lo (exploited by Patton's Third Army). Every allied breakout offensive was started by mass bombing. This effort that killed General McNair was by the 8th AF on German lines was outside of St Lo in Normandy on July 27 of 1944.

2. The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress)

3. At the time of Pearl Harbor the top US Navy command was Called CINCUS (pronounced "sink us"), the shoulder patch of the US Army's 45th. Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler's private train was named "Amerika". All three were soon changed for PR purposes.

4. More US servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions your chance of being killed was 71%.

Tom's Note. The addendum to the e-mail from Charles Gallager:

"I found these interesting but I am sure glad I didn't know about item 4 when I was flying my 35 missions." See my page on the 8th AF Combat Losses.

5. Generally speaking there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You were either an ace or a target. For instance Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.

6. It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. This was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.

7. When allied armies reached the Rhine the first thing men did was pee in it. This was pretty universal from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. Patton (who had himself photographed in the act).

8. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City but it wasn't worth the effort.

9. German submarine U-120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.

10. Among the first "Germans" captured at Normandy were several Koreans. They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until they were captured by the US Army.

Tom's Note: They were "Volunteers" in the Ost Battalion.

In WWII a B-17 crew tried to ditch in the English channel but failed and ended up ditching on land. They TRIED to ditch but the place bounced back up off the channel water (due to ground effect and hardness of the water) TWICE!

Each time they got another three miles and 400 feet up so that end the end after the second bounce they were over land and then bellied in.

No, this time they did not bounce! This was in Edward Jabolnski's "Air War" book.

Cannon Balls

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannon fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon, but prevent them from rolling about the deck. The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of thirty cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem - how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding/rolling from under the others.

The solution was a metal plate called a, "Monkey," with sixteen round indentations. If this plate was made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make, "Brass Monkeys." Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the cannon balls would come right off the monkey.

Thus, it was quite literally, "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!" {And all this time, you have had dirty thoughts, haven't you?

The Only Spy in the US in WW II

Only 1 US Citizen was ever caught and convicted as a Spy

Velvalee Dickinson, a collectible doll shop owner of New York, tried to send military information using substitued words to identify military shipping information to Japanese operatives in South America.

She addressed the letters to the right address but spelled the person's name wrong - so they all were "Return to Sender." However, she used OTHER PEOPLE's mailing address to send them from. So when they were returned - and those people got them back and had never sent them - they sent the letters on to the FBI.

Inez Milinali was how she addressed the letters and it should have been Inez Milinari in Argentina. And she was not a spy either though she was sympathetic to the AXIS cause (as were a lot of people in South America.)

Convicted in 1944 she was released from prison in 1951.

Who's Packing Your Parachute?

Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.

"I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor."

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory-he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.

As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachute. I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute !!! And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!


Lindane, a chemical, was used as a smoke bomb during WWI.

1st Union Office Killed in US Civil War

Elmer Ephram Ellsworth, an Illinois Union Officer, was killed in a inn in Alexandria Virginia and is the first officer to be killed. He was arguing with the innkeeper over a Confederate flag on May 24th, 1861.

The first Union Officer to die as a result of "formal" combat was at Ball's Bluff.

Lew Wallace

Lewis Wallace was a successful Union Major General who fought in some of the principal and major battles (including Shiloh I believe) during the US Civil War.

Most people know of his post Civil War work though the 1950s movie: Ben Hur. He wrote the book.

Voting and Drinking

During World War II soldiers could drink at 18 but could not vote till 21 and they won the war. (Audie Murphy is a good example.)

Then the politicians changed the laws so that you can vote at 18 but now cannot drink till 21 (in the USA).

This means that the United States thinks people are too irresponsible to handle a drink till they get life more experience by 21 years of age; however, these same irresponsible people know enough to vote at 18!

During World War I and prior a lot of nations had the enlistment rules that you could not enlist till 21 years of age. The massive size of modern wars and the need to have more men in the military changed that so which is why the age limit was lowered from 21 to 18 in most nations.

Poem from the 8th AF Historical Society Quarterly publication Fall 2002


He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Bob has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It's so easy to forget them,
For it is so many times
That our Bobs and Jims and Johnnys,
Went to battle, but we know,

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier--
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:


General John "Black Jack" Pershing

General John "Black Jack" Pershing: The Life and Times of This Great American hero.

One important thing to note beforehand is that Muslims detest pork
because they believe pigs are filthy animals. Some of them simply
refuse to eat it, while others won't even touch pigs at all, nor any
of their by-products. To them, eating or touching a pig, its meat, its
blood,etc., is to be instantly barred from paradise and doomed to

Just before World War I, there were a number of terrorist attacks on
the United States by; you guessed it, Muslim extremists.

So General Pershing captured 50 terrorists and had them tied to posts,
execution style. He then had his men bring in two pigs and slaughter
them in front of the, now horrified, terrorists.

The soldiers then soaked their bullets in the pigs blood, and
proceeded to execute 49 of the terrorists by firing squad.

The soldiers then dug a big hole, dumped in the terrorist's bodies and
covered them in pig blood, entrails, etc.

They let the 50th man go. And for the next forty-two years, there was
not a single Muslim extremist attack anywhere in the world.


Earl was about to make history.

He stood on the bridge of the submarine, took one last look at the crew around him, and gave the order. Under his command, the U.S.S. Seawolf went to sea.

Like so many of our greatest naval officers, Earl hadn't grown up near the ocean. He was a farm boy who longed for something different. He found it, all right. After he graduated from the Naval Academy near the top of his class, he volunteered for submarine duty, the most dangerous duty in the navy. His family thought he was crazy.

But World War II had just ended, and there was a lot of talk now about "modernizing" the navy. Earl wanted to be right there when it happened. When the word came down that the navy would begin building an entirely new kind of submarine—one that ran on a nuclear reactor—they needed good people, people who were not only committed to the submarine corps, but had the background in nuclear engineering.

Admiral Hyman Rickover was put in charge of the project, and he turned around and asked Earl to design the reactors for this new breed of submarine. It was hard work, with long hours and lots of pressure from the Pentagon. But you see, the thing about Earl was that he had a keen eye for detail. Nothing escaped him, right down to the smallest calculation. So he designed the reactors, and worked right alongside the legendary Admiral Rickover in supervising the construction of two nuclear submarines.

When that was done, Rickover asked Earl to train the crews on how to operate the reactors. He did that too. Finally, as a reward for all the work he'd done in helping create the new modern navy, Earl was given command of the "Seawolf," and he was there on the day it went to sea for the first time. Earl had done so much, and he was still young and was looking forward to serving his country in the navy for years to come.

But then something happened.

Remember I told you earl had come from a farming family. Well, word came from home that his father had died. And so this brilliant engineer, this co-creator of the "nuclear navy," had a choice to make. As hard as it was, he knew he had to choose his family over the navy.

He resigned his commission and he went back home to take over the family farm. He worked at it for a few years and did fairly well, but he still wanted to serve his country.

It's a little known fact that this naval officer and engineer who helped give us nuclear submarines isn't remembered for that at all.

He's remembered for another job he held a few years later . . . President of the United States; He is . . .James Earl (Jimmy) Carter.

"Wish You Were Here"

For all the free people that still protest. You're welcome.
We protect you and you are protected by the best.
Your voice is strong and loud,
but who will fight for you? No one standing in your crowd.
We are your fathers, brothers, and sons,
wearing the boots and carrying guns.

We are the ones that leave all we own,
to make sure your future is carved in stone.
We are the ones who fight and die,
We might not be able to save the world, Well, at least we try.
We walked the paths to where we are at
and we want no choice other than that.
So when you rally your group to complain,
take a look in the back of your brain.
In order for that flag you love to fly -
wars must be fought and young men must die.

We came here to fight for the ones we hold dear.
If that's not respected, we would rather stay here.
So please stop yelling, put down your signs,
and pray for those behind enemy lines.
When the conflict is over and all is well,
be thankful that we chose to go through hell.

— ©Corporal Joshua Miles and all the boys from 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines,

Written on March 9, 2003 in a letter home to his parents, shown to another parent who then forwarded onto their friends who forwarded it onto me. Thus the poem is under his copyright.

UN and League of Nations Comparison

An 80 year old Veteran, who was in the Korean War and World War II gave a little history lesson and his thoughts today on War. It is a different look at the War.

This is a history lesson. The short, short version is that the League of Nations (established after WW I to prevent wars) failed to stop Mussolini's Italy from invading and conquering Ethiopia. It failed to stop Japan from invading and conquering Manchuria and much of China. Their committees wrung their hands and spoke in platitudes but did absolutely nothing to stop war.

At France's coaxing Britain's prime minister Nevil Chamberlain met with Adolph Hitler in Munich and surrendered the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany in the interest of "peace in our time." The French and British watched as Germany took Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia. They all had committee meetings and wrung their hands and talked of peace.

World War II erupted when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Britain had a mutual defense treaty with Poland so they couldn't escape. They declared war on Germany. Germany had a mutual defense treaty with Japan so Japan declared war on Britain.

{Tom Philo's Note: Germany and Japan had a treaty that that stated if one of them were attacked they would help defend the other. Since Germany was the aggressor in Europe, Japan did not have do, and did not, declare war on France, and the United Kingdom, when they declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939. Japan only declared war on those two nations after they attacked on December 7/8 1941.}

France wet their pants and surrendered to Germany as fast as they could and gleefully shipped all the Jews they could find to death camps in Germany to prove to Adolph that they really were on the side of Germany. Japan attacked the United States and, because of Japan's mutual defense treaty with Germany, Germany declared war on the United States.

{Tom Philo's Note: Germany actually did not have to declare war on the USA — same reason as above — and did not declare war till December 10th. Declaring war against the United States is what lost Germany the War.}

Up until December 7th and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a large number of our people were wringing their hands and saying, "Appease Hitler. He is really a good guy who just needed a little more land for his expanding population. The dear man just wants peace. And World War II was in full swing leaving better than 50,000,000 people dead including about 450,000 American soldiers and sailors.

Three cheers for the League of Nations!

After World War II it was decided to do the whole thing all over again. This time we would call it the United Nations and we will have committee meetings and hand wringing parties and make sure peace prevails throughout the land.

While that august body wrung hands the Soviet Union split Germany, invaded Poland and Yugoslavia, Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria along with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The peaceful world saw Korea with 37,000 American soldiers killed, over 1,000,000 South Korean soldiers and civilians killed and the country nearly destroyed.

Since then we have had over 50,000 American soldiers killed in Vietnam and have fought wars in Somalia, Herzegovenia, Panama, Granada, plus the Gulf War when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

We should have gone into Baghdad and taken out that evil regime then but the United Nations would have no part of that. All they would allow was for us to chase the Iraqis out of Kuwait, then peace would prevail.

Now, here we are with Saddam violating all 17 United Nations resolutions while he has massed poison gas and bio weapons. He is frantically trying to develop a nuke and his buddy, Kim Jong-Il of North Korea may give him a few. (It was the United Nations who prevented us from taking North Korea when the war was hot and we had the means to do it.) Peace!!!!!!!! Sure.

France is wetting their collective pants in fear that the United States will take Saddam out and along with him, France's 60 billion dollar contracts with Iraq. Russia hedges because Iraq owes them 6 billion dollars that they sorely need.

In answer to your quest ion ....... hell yes we should go to war with Iraq. We should have done it six months ago. We should also get out of the United Nations. Can you believe that the United Nations has appointed Iraq and Syria to head up the United Nations Disarmament Committee? Can you believe they have appointed Libya to head up the Human Rights Committee?

All three of these countries are on the UN List of Terrorist States ............. Absolutely unbelievable.
This is one opinion, on the War but this is the eyes, ears and heart of an American Veteran.

Note: I received this via e-mail as the third recipient in the chain. I wish they had identified the original writer / teller.

Holly Cabin at Camp David, the camp formerly known Shangri-La when President Franklin Roosevelt was in office, is the same cabin that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Roosevelt planned the Allied invasion of France in World War II that President Bush and PM Blair planned the Iraq war.

How to visit Beethoven's House on the Cheap

Keith Miller was one of the best Australia's cricketers in history. He also liked classical music and whiled away his time at the field whistling Beethoven symphonies.

Being employed as an RAF Mosquito pilot while serving in the UK during World War 2 he was able to travel quite a bit - but only at night.

One night, he diverted his return flight path after an intruder mission over Germany to the city of Bonn, so he could see where Beethoven was born.

WWII Naval Aircraft Suffix Letters

The letters at the end of US naval aircraft nomenclatures designate the manufacturer:
U = Chance Vought (F4U Corsair)
F = Grumman (F4F Wildcat, F6F Hellcat etc)
J = North American (SNJ, the AT-6, Harvard to Canadian and British pilots, built to Navy specs)
M = General Motors (TBM Avenger)
Y = Consolidated (PBY Catalina Flying Boat)
S = Stearman Aircraft Company (later aquired by Boeing) NS-1, N2S = PT-17

Military Aircraft Costs During WW II

The following prices were what the U S government originally paid (in U. S. dollars) for these aircraft:

Stearman PT 13 "Kaydet" (The "yellow peril"): $11,000 (These now sell typically for $85,000 to $100,000)
Curtiss P 36A "Hawk": $23,000
Boeing B 17G "Flying Fortress": $276,000 (now well over $1,000,000)
Curtiss P 40E: $45,000 (now close to $1,000,000)
Piper L 4 "Grasshopper" (military version of the J 3 "Cub"): $2,600 (This has become something of a 'cult' airplane, and is now worth up to $45,000)
North American T 6G "Texan": $27,000
North American B 25B "Mitchell": $96,000
Douglas A 20G "Havoc": $74,000
Lockheed P 38L "Lightning": $115,000
Bell P 39Q "Aircobra": $46,000
Consolidated B 24D "Liberator": $336,000 (Now worth virtually any price at all)
Waco CG 4A Troop Glider: $24,000
Martin B 26G "Marauder": $227,000
Republic P 47D "Thunderbolt": $94,000
North American P 51D "Mustang": $54,000
Northrop P 61C "Black Widow": $170,000
Douglas A 26C "Invader": $192,000
Boeing B 29 "Superfortress": $639,000 (present worth? Incalculable)

And for comparison, these post war prices:

Lockheed P 80 "Shooting Star": $108,000
Republic F 84F "Thunderstreak": $769,000
North American F 86A "Sabre": $178,000 (a bargain, I would say)
Convair B 36J: $3,701,000
Boeing B47E "Stratojet": $1,888,000
Convair B 58A "Hustler": $12,442,000
Douglas A 1E "Skyraider": $414,000

And for further comparison, how about hese pre-war aircraft:

Wright 1909 Military Flyer: $25,000
Curtiss JN4 D "Jenny": $5,465
De Havilland D H 4: $11,250 (pricey!)
Curtiss P 6E "Hawk": $13,000 (one of the most beautiful airplanes ever built)
Martin B 10: $55,000

F6F vs P-51

More pilots became aces flying Hellcats - F6F - than those flying P-51s. 305 pilots got 5+ kills while flying in the Pacific. A 19:1 loss ratio.

This is where using these stats can cause debates. If you count the number of squadrons - hence pilots - flying Hellcats, vs number of P-51 squadrons - pilots - you will see that there are fewer F6Fs around. Look at the list of P-51 pilots who got 1 kill vs the list of F6F single kill victories. The 51 list is way longer. Thus the 51 pilot had less of a chance to consistently engage the enemy. Carrier war was point to point so the enmey knew where you were at after you showed up - and you stayed there for a long time till the next hop.

How the Welsh People Created some Words & Symbols

The expression 'gringos' comes from the Mexicans listening to the many Welsh soldiers at the Alamo singing; especially 'green grow (gringo) the rushes oh'.

The rude 'two-fingered' salute used today is a legacy from the Welsh archers that won the battles of Agincourt, Crecy and Poitiers. They were so hated by the French that, if caught, would have the first two fingers of their 'draw' hand were cut off.

WWII Japanese Secret Weapon At Singapore

The British commanders were confident that the Japanese attack against Singapore would be a long and easily countered battle.

The Japanese landed hundreds of miles north of the city and the British expected the campaign to last 6 or more months and by that time the Monsoons and the reinforements (Australian troops shipped over from North Afrika campaign) would easily stop them.

This did not happen since the Japanese had a secrety weapon - they issued bicycles to their troops. The British command had based the Japanese attack timetable on their troops walking down to Signapore. With the Imperial Japanese Army equiped with bicycles, they traveled down much faster than expected.

The Australian troops landed 1 day before the surrender and marched off into captivity and never fought. 40% of them died in the Japanese POW camps.

Drinks Invented during Wartime

Irish Coffee

Invented by Chef Joe Sheridan at Foynes, County Limerick, Ireland because of passengers waiting for a flying boat in 1942. It was cold, damp, and dreary at the terminal. He added whiskey to the coffee since he thought that would be good for them while waiting. An american passenger asked "Is this Brazilian coffee?" and Joe replied "No, this is Irish Coffee."

Singapore Sling

The "Singapore Sling" was a drink created in or around 1915 in the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel probably under the original name of the Straits Sling, renamed commonly and then officially the "Singapore Sling" some time between 1922 and 1930. Raffles no longer has theoriginal recipe, a fact recorded by the hotel biographer and by the Communications Department of Raffles Hotel. The name "Straits Sling" dropped from common usage sometime around 1936." See (PDF file) for details.

How To Learn Geography By Watching James Bond

One of the best ways to teach kids geography, history, and have fun at the same time, is to force them to watch James Bond movies.

He travels all over the world, snippets of history is usually thrown in the conversations, you have visuals to work with, and at the end you watched a movie.

The assignment would be to have the kids identify three different locations, descirbe where they are in the world, and what are some of the known historical facts that occured around that area.

Over 400,000 Germans were transported to POW camps in the USA during World War Two. Over 20 camps were in Minnensota.

U-Boat crews were in their own camp in the Arizona desert.

US Unit Military Patches

A Union general in the Civil War rode by a group of soldiers resting in the fields and shouted orders. The men refused his orders because they were not under his command. He then ordered that all Union soldiers wear cloth badges indicating their units.

"I think it was General Sherman, but I'm not sure," said badge collector Sheldon Kirsner, 86, of Oakville, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force.

What he knows for sure is that ever since the Civil War, the men and women of the U.S. Army have worn cloth badges or enameled metal insignia on lapels or epaulets. He has over 20,000 of them.

Kirsner flew 35 combat missions a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, he provided air bombardment as part of the 92nd BG (H) on two sorties from Podington air field in Northampton, England, to the beaches of Normandy.

"Gus" Kinnear

Vice Admiral "Gus" Kinnear, if not the last, was one of the last truly bigger-than-life military pilots who lived in the style of the old barnstorming aviators of yesteryear.

The admiral was a hero from the Korean War. While flying from the USS Lake Champlain CV-39 as a lieutenant j.g., he flew the A-1 Skyraider, a front-line propeller-driven fighter that, when used in the Vietnam conflict, was referred to as the "Spad." Kinnear actually wore a scarf around his neck and had a set of boxing gloves with the centers cut out so they could be pulled up on his arms so he could control the aircraft with his bare hands. He would slip them on his hands after landing to make those on deck think he had worn them throughout the flight. He would land and park, then slide the gloves on his hands, stick a cigar in his mouth, with a green derby attached to his flight helmet. If this sounds familiar, you may have seen Mickey Rooney in the movie "The Bridges of To-Ko-Ri." Writer James Michener patterned his helicopter pilot character after Kinnear.

And what is more fascinating is how he received his second Air Medal. In a flight where his ailerons jammed, he could only regain partial control by tying the control stick tightly over to one side using his SCARF and, rather than parachuting from the aircraft, he managed to land at a divert field, thereby saving the aircraft undamaged.

Duck Tape

Johnson & Johnson invented it for the military during World War II and it was nicknamed "duck tape" since it was used to seal ammunition cans and tents seams to keep water out - since water flowed off the tape like water does off a duck.

Post war it became known a "duct tape" since it was used to seal the seams of heating and air-conditioning ducts.

A little Navy History

The U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides) as a combat vessel carried 48,600 gallons of fresh (remember that figure) water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (fresh water distillers).

However, let it be noted that according to her log, "On July 27, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallon s of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum."

Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping."

Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum.

Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.
On 18 November, she set sail for England.

In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchantmen, salvaging only the rum aboard each. By
January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless, and though
unarmed, she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Her landing party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn.

Then she headed home.

The U.S.S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with No cannon shot, No food, No powder, NO rum, NO wine, NO whiskey and 38,600 gallons of stagnant water.


Note: Not sure if this is totally true. Still checking. July 2005