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lamberts-lost-tooth
07-09-2008, 11:40 AM
Last night I had the honor and privilidge to talk an 86 year old WWII vet ,who was on the U.S.S. Liscome Bay. An aircraft carrier that was lost to a submarine attack during Operation Galvanic during the Allied invasion of the Gilbert Islands.

He talked about how 15 minutes after he left the engine room ..a torpedo hit the ships aircraft bomb stockpile just aft of the engine room and incinerated everyone even remotely near that end of the ship....

He had noticed, during the initial tour of the ship that the Captains pantry had dozens of bottles of vinegar....so in the confusion after the attack,he and several men were lost in the dark and smoke...but the smell of vinegar helped him figure out where he was and which way he need to go.

The concussion had knocked off one of his shoes and by the time he got on the upper deck...it was so hot that he had to hop on foot to get to the side and jump off into the water with large patches of flaming oil all around.

Only 272 of her crew of 916 were rescued ...For those of you who know anything about Pearl Harbor...Dorie Miller, the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross (played by Cuba Gooding Jr in the movie Pearl Harbor)..was one of those aboard the U.S.S. Liscome Bay who lost their lives. The ship sunk in 23 minutes.

He told how he met Admiral Nimitz , and how the Admiral cried as he handed out medals to those on the hospital ship...and with pride amd humor called them "the most ragged bunch of shipwrecked sailors" he had ever seen.

This is the second WWII vet that my family and I have been able to talk to in the last couple of months...The first served in Africa under Patton and most certainly remembered the unforgettable general, having once gotten a haircut beside him, and watched the cursing he gave a soldier who entered the barbershop without saluting.

I want my son and daughter to hear the stories from these heros...and to be able to tell their children about them when the last of that generation has been laid to rest. Its just stories...words on a page to all of us...but my children and I got to hear about history from vivid memory and not just from a book

Just wanted to share...It was a special night.

Dino 6 Rings
07-09-2008, 12:04 PM
Thank you for sharing. I recently lost the last surviving WWII veteran in my family, my great uncle and always sat and talked with him and listened to his stories with a heavy heart. I miss him very much as well as both of my WII Vet Grandfathers. They all had their stories and each made me very proud of my blood line and heritage as an American. They are a great generation of men and this world is less when one of them passes on.

Thanks again for sharing the story.

lamberts-lost-tooth
07-09-2008, 12:18 PM
Thank you for sharing. I recently lost the last surviving WWII veteran in my family, my great uncle and always sat and talked with him and listened to his stories with a heavy heart. I miss him very much as well as both of my WII Vet Grandfathers. They all had their stories and each made me very proud of my blood line and heritage as an American. They are a great generation of men and this world is less when one of them passes on.
Thanks again for sharing the story.

I am so sorry for your loss...and as you said...the world loses something very special with the passing away of each and every one of those incredible people.

Mosca
07-09-2008, 12:21 PM
That is awesome. I've met quite a few; there are some amazing stories. What's interesting is most of them didn't think there was anything all that special about what they did.

I have some good stories that were told to me, I'll add them to this thread when I have time, if you don't mind.

My favorite is Carmen Staino, who became a good friend. He was a POW of the Germans, captured at the Battle of the Bulge; he'd been with his unit less than 24 hours. In the morning he was in the replacement depot; he arrived at the front line late in the afternoon, had dinner, went on guard duty, got off at midnight, and woke up at 4AM with Germans pointing guns at him.

He was in a cattle car that was strafed by American P47s as it traveled into Germany. He spent 4 months in a prison camp, and escaped in early April; the way he put it, "As winter went on, our guards got older and older, as they were sent to the front. Finally one day, we were on a work detail in the town, and we were standing there and our guard was about 75 years old. We looked at him, and he looked at us... and we looked at him, and he looked at us... and he lit a cigarette and turned around, and we started walking west. And a few days later, maybe a week, we came across our advance troops."

Carmen used to bring me issues of a magazine called POW Digest. He's passed away now, for a few years. He was a good guy, maybe 5'6", and quiet and unassuming, a factory worker.

GBMelBlount
07-09-2008, 12:24 PM
On a similar note, my wife's grandfather passed away yesterday. I loved him very much. He fought in Europe in world War II and I spent countless hours talking to him about his experiences in the war. I was really the only one he would talk to much about it and I was honored that he felt comfortable sharing things that were so personal, and difficult..... He shared a story with me that when he and two of his fellow soldiers were standing at the top of a hill, an enemy artillery shell blew up right in front of him. It instantly killed his two friends immediately to his left and right and he was left completely untouched......my father is 89 and he was a captain and fought in Europe as well. It is very difficult for him to talk about but some of the stories, liberating a concentration camp, etc. are unbelievable. I am incredibly thankful for those who did their duty for this country, many of whom sacrificed their lives.

Hawk Believer
07-09-2008, 12:45 PM
Great stories. I always have a hard time wrapping by head around how many lives were lost in the great naval battles in WWII. Its so crazy to read about engagements like Guadalcanal and see how many ships were lost on both sides. And then to think about how many men went down with those ships in an instant. And how the loss of those effected so many more family members and communities. It wierd to think about how awful the loss of life in Iraq has been for America, and then think what it must have been like to read about hundreds or thousands of men being lost every day during WWII. Must have been pretty numbing.

Just to throw in another interesting story. My wife's grandfather served in the army in WWII and Korea. He was captured in Korea and was a POW for many years. The story of how he was captured was pretty interesing...

He and another guy were at a forward position. They crested a hill and saw a US Jeep on a road below with casualties around it. They went down to see if anyone was alive. Unfortunately all the men were dead. He was checking to see if there were any signs of US guys off the road when he turned around to see his Army buddy with his arms in the air and a "Chinaman" point a rifle at him. My wife's grandfather raised his M-1 to shoot and his gun jammed. Which ended up being a good thing, because at that moment he discovered he had two rifles pointed at his back and would have been shot dead had his gun fired.

He did three years in the POW camp, came home, raised his family and lived a great life until he died a happy guy a few years ago.

lamberts-lost-tooth
07-09-2008, 12:55 PM
Wow...thanks guys...I love these stories. We have all been blessed by the memories of men who did so much but asked so little in return. Please keep the stories coming.

The gentleman I talked to last night mentioned how his brother was an aerial photographer who had flown dozens of missions...he was ready to take off towards the end of the war ..and his captain stopped him and told him that a new recruit would be taking his place. The plane took off and crashed into the sea three miles from the airfield.

As a side note..there is a book called "23 seconds to Eternity", that tells the story of the U.S.S. Liscome Bay. I saw it on Amazon.com and am considering adding it to my library.

MACH1
07-09-2008, 12:57 PM
Great story.

Reminds me off my grandpa who passed a long time ago. But he was in the Navy at Iwo Jima. He used to tell stories about it when I was a kid and he had a Japanese rifle with a pig sticker on it to prove it. He said he got it from a japanese soldier that tried sneaking up on him at night and stabbing him with it.

Mosca
07-09-2008, 03:15 PM
I talked with another vet who flew as a gunner on an A-20 Havoc. He brought me the clippings, pictures, etc, so I know it wasn't smoke. His plane had been on a "skip-bombing" mission, sort of like dive bombing; they would fly low and fast toward a tunnel, and then drop the bomb outside, where it would then skip into the opening and explode.

He got his medal when a bomb got hung up in the bomb bay. He climbed down into the bay and through luck, strength, and fortitude worked the bomb out... it exploded seconds after leaving the plane. You see, skip-bombs aren't pressure bombs... they're fused. He had 20 seconds to leave his station, enter the bomb bay, and kick the bomb out, or his plane and crew were going to be the victims of a 500lb explosion of TNT. He didn't have any orders; he just saw it and did it.

http://www.45thdivision.org/Veterans/BirdA160/A20_Havoc.jpg

He would have been at the crown gun, right above the bomb bay.

Funny thing, he wasn't a very nice guy at all. He was kind of a jerk. But, so what; that is just another lesson. Jerks can be heroes, too. One doesn't preclude the other. Something to keep in mind when you have a personality problem with someone.

Edited: I remember it as an MOH, but I looked through all the MOH honorees of WW2 and didn't see any situation describing what I wrote; I'm sure it's my faulty memory. I edited out the type of medal he'd received.

Mosca
07-09-2008, 03:53 PM
My father was a college classmate of Dick "Yogi" Milana, who was in the L 3-5 Marines and was in the first wave to land on Guadalcanal. He is mentioned prominently in the book On the Canal, which I highly recommend. Here is an excerpt you can read on line. (http://books.google.com/books?id=rB-hOp_AtBYC&pg=PA116&lpg=PA116&dq=%22yogi+milana%22&source=web&ots=YnrbYiCFMZ&sig=msNVVPoeNwm_EIfepMf6IKR6WBA&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA116,M1) I actually have a memoir that he wrote to my father that is fascinating; I transcribed it, misspellings and all, and I'll post it up later if that's OK with everyone.

Sorry if I get carried away; this history of these men is a passion of mine. I've met with many of them, and written a lot of it down and saved it. As long as no one minds, I'll search my archives of what I've transcribed to the computer and post it.

TheWarDen86
07-09-2008, 04:27 PM
Thanks for sharing. I can listen to those vets talk for hours. They truely were the greatest generation. :hatsoff:

tony hipchest
07-09-2008, 04:41 PM
i know i dont mind. this is a great thread (with relatively little to argue about).

revefsreleets
07-09-2008, 05:06 PM
We are losing our WWII veterans at some crazy rate, like 1200 A DAY! It's very sad...reminds me to call my grandfather. Navy, Pacific theater, 43-45.

Mosca
07-09-2008, 07:46 PM
OK, here is Dick Milana's Guadalcanal memoir. I'lll split it into a couple parts. It continues into some life stuff, school and work. "Walt" is my father. I transcribed this by hand, typos and punctuation is exactly as written.


Dear Walt:

Your letter or should I say short story of your business life was truly
interesting. I am not sure where I should start and so I will begin with
the Guadalcanal campaign.

7 Aug 42, 6 AM: about three miles off shore navalplanes and ships
bombarded the shores of the island as the marine approached the shore in
Higgins Boats (over the side into the water; we did not have the drop
fronts at this time) We sprayed the palms with our Lewis Gun (World War
I). Ran onto the beach and then pushed toward the jungle. I was in the
first wave. The landing was a snap, no opposition; there was no beach
defence, and what ever Japs were there ran into the jungle. My one
thought as weapproached the island was "God I hop e that I will not be a
coward." We pushed to the jungle where we were to spend the night. All
kinds of noises eminated from the jungle. Sgt Steiner of my company was
the first marine to dye on Guadaal. Not knowing what the noises were he
told the men in his platoon that he will crawl 30-40 yards out and if
anyone saw any one standing up to shoot to kill. Hee crawled out and
there were no Japs around so he stood up to walk back. He was
immediaately shot and in the morning we found him dead. The marine that
shot him weh=nt off his rocker and had to be evacuated. Steiner was
married a few days prior to be shipped overseas. My company: L Company,
3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, First Marine Div. L-3-5. had the bismal
distinction of having the first marine killed on the island.

About noon we were relieved by the first regiment whe took positions
from the jungle along the Teneru river up to the bay. My regiment then
took positions along the beach up to the Lunga River. On the 7th of Aug
many Jap Bomber sank several of our transport ships and we lost much of
our provisions. A giant Jap base was located about 220 miles up the
slot, Rabaul.

During that afternoon a Jap sub surfaced and threw 5 inch shells at us.
We had nothing to shoot back with but about 50 yards up the beach was a
Jap 3 inch anti-air craft rifle was in place. So I, Grekin, Motsinger,
and two others ran over to the gun, the sights were smashed but othere
wise operable. A bunker was filled with shells to fire. We pointed the
gun towards the sub and fired. We did not know exactly what to do
because these shells would explode on contack or a timing mechanism. So
we fire setting the timer at 25 sec. another at 20 sec and the nest at
15 sec. The first two went to far but the 15 sec shell burst right over
the sub and we blew the Jap gun crew off the deck. The sub immediately
submerged and never returned again. In the book "Guadalcanal"credit was
given to the 11th regiment, our artillery reg. but they were not on the
island as yet. We did not even get a thanks, well done.

We found a warehouse full of Jap beer, saki and rice; some guys got
drunk but we had a warm meal, rice with magots. The air field the japs
were building was re-named Henderson Field after the naval pilot that
dived his plane into a Jap cruiser and sank it. Our engineers worked
furiously to get a run way intoshape so we can have some planes come
abord. A squadron of wild-cats finally came because we were constantly
being bombed during the day, and shelled by their navy at night. Thirty
bombers and a dozen of Zero's came daily and only a few of the Wild-cats
went after them. It was something to see because they were so
outnumbered.

Mosca
07-09-2008, 07:49 PM
Our battalion was then deployed west of the Lunga River on perimiter
defence about three miles short of the Matanikau River, the otherside of
which until the end of the island was held by the Japs in strength. We
set up barbed wire backed up with a 37mm anti-tank gun and many shells
witjh buckshot. My company faced no-man's deritory from the beach,
through the coconot grove to the jungle. For about a month my platoon
went on patrol towards the Matanikau. No body wanted to take point and
so I voluntared and usuall walked 40-50 yards in fromt of the patrol. I
thought this over and concluded that if there was a Jap sniper in the
trees he would let the patrol pass so he could shot marines in the back
and not be spotted. I took point 3o days in a row. One day a Jap came up
to me with his hands raised, I could see he had no weapon and no
concealed grenades under his arms. When the rest of the patrol came up
my sergeant told me to shoot him. I refused so another marine shot him
in the back of the japs head (this was acceptible by Geneva Convention,
you need not take prisoners when in enemy territory) Other times, while
on patrol I spotted a Jap patrol walking towards us. I shot two before
the rest ran out of sight. Several days later a Jap carrying a white
flag towards us and he was taken to head-quarters. He claimed that the
Japs on the other side of the river, in Mitanikau Village, about 300
wanted to surrender. The following day Colonel Goetege and several
officers and thirty men marched to the village. They were slaughtered
all but one who jumped into the bay and swam back to our lines and told
the general what occured. The general decided we have to wwipe out that
Jap enclave. L company was to march through the jungle and hit them the
next morning from behind; K company was to march up the trail and hit
them from that side; and I company was to hit them from the sea. We
would then out-number the Japs. However nothing went right. A japonese
naval fleet came into the bay and shelled the trail and K company could
not get through, nor I company by sea. L company then proceded over a
ridge towards the village. I spotted a Jap sniper climbing a tree about
350 yards ahead. T told Eddie Woods I see a Jap and told him where.
Eddie asked me if I could take him out and I replied he is as good as
dead. I aimed at his throat and figured it would hit him in the middle
of his chest. I fired and we saw him fall. My leutenant came over to
scould me because we were supposed to be on a secret attack. I replied
secret hell look into the bay and you can see the whole jap fleet
shelling the coconut grove, and I company can not get trough, secret
hell they know we are coming. Neverthe less we continued towards the
village. A Jap observation plane flew by. We were only about 150 strong
because our machine-gun platoon could not cross the steep and slipetry
banks of the Matanikau. Riflemen such as me had to throw thier rifles
ahead and crawl up as best we could, foot by foot.

L company entered the village and quikly dispatched the machine-guns
mounted in the trees and suddenly they came on a Banzai charge and one
marine yelled look at them coming. I looked and for a fraction of a
second did not see them and began shaking with fear but once my eyes
focused on them I settled down to a turkey shoot. The marines suffered 4
dead and many wounded but we wiped out the village. Upon walking on the
beach I stumbled on something. It was the forearm of a marine, part of
the Goettege Patrol. Other guys dug in the sand and found other bodies.
They were mutilated with arms,hands etc chopped off. We had to get out
of there fast because the Jap navy was returning. They did not know of
the outcome of the battle; hence we did not dig up any evidence of
finding these bodies. Even though our officers reported it the navy
never acknowledge it it and were only listed as missing in action. In
1994 Col. Goettege's nephew wrote me and I reported what I had scene and
gave him names of other marines. The Navy still does not acknowledge
what happened there and suggested a marine detachment dig up the beach
for concrete evidence some 54 years later. Matanikau Village , now
called Honoria currently has a population of 45000. How can anything be
found now!

Back-tracking to Aug 10 '42: The First Regiment dug in along the Teneru
River, from jungle to bay, shortly afterwe had landed on the 7th. The
Japonese under command of Col. Ichiki landed beyond the Teneru with 910
men of the Jap elite imperial troops that took Singapore. He promised
Admiral Tanaka and the Emperor that he will regain Henderson Field. His
information about the marine strength was incorrect and thought we had
no more than four thousand troops extened around the perimeter on the
front line. We had about 11000 marines at this time. Ichiki had figured
we could not have any defence along the Tenaru and he sent a company to
cross at teh sand-ba in formation and they were immediately cut down by
the marines. Next he tried a flanking maneuver but we had positions
there too. A Jap gernade blinded PVT Schmit and blew the hands off his
cohort both of whom manned a machine-gun. with no eyes but good hands
his buddy directed him where to shoot. He was credited with killing over
200 Japs and a moving picture was made of his life and exploits. Of
course the movie ended withthe possibility of his regaining his sight
but he never did. The entire Jap unit was destroyed- 910 and 47 marines
killed. The body of Col. Ichiki was never found, whether he was killed
by the marines or took his own life, Adm. Tanaka said that was what he
had to do.

Mosca
07-09-2008, 07:51 PM
On Sept 17-42 the 7th marines disembarked on the Canal completing all
regiments of the First Div. The 11th marines, our artilaryreg came in a
few days earlier. They had to hasten to unload the transports as fast as
possible, though not completely of supplies because Jap bombers were on
theire way (thanks to Aussies that were oon various islands up the slot
that radioed information at great risk to themselves) About 100 gallons
of aviation gasoline was dumped in our bivuack area; tjhey also drop a
155mm naval gun on the beach with bags of cordite and shells. The 7th
reg. got on the island safely but were soon to experience a bombing
raid, ssome of the tyransports were sunk That night a couple of Jap
cruisers andd a full destroyer escort started to through shell
indesriminately across the beach and airfield. A flare shell landed
right on top of the palm tree where I was dug in and they usually
through some shells where the flares landed--- I thought I was going to
be killed this night because if any of their shells hit the gas drum all
ships would fire in that direction. PFC Gerkin, Motsinger, myself and
two others ran down to the beach and pointed the 155mm rifle towards the
sea; we shoved in a shell and a bag of cordite and fired. We must have
broken a record because we fired every few seconds. The Japs must have
though we had multiple gun emplacements and the fleet quickkly
disappeared. A ship cannot aford to be hit because the next day they
will be easy targets for our planes. We fice must have saved all the
lives in the 3rd battalion and we did not even get thanks from our
officers or the high command; they were all petrified where as we five
kept our cool and did something!

A few days before this incident, west of and behind the air field a
tremendous battle occured. A Jap reinforced regiment under the command
of Gen. Kawaguchi attacked with 6200 men and expected to regain the air
field; they under estimated the strength of the marine lines, double
barbed-wire emplacement back by many 50 cal. machines-guns from planes
that were too damaged to repair; and our artilary who had the whole area
who had the whole area co-ordinated. The main body of Kawaguchi's reg
hit there and was slaughtered. A battalion of his troops hit a ridge,
now known as Bloody Ridge where Col. Edsons raiders were dug in; heavy
marine casualties but we prevailed. The following day my company was
assigned to take over the ridge. We went through the jungle and leading
up to the ridge was a deep drop off about 50 feet then high trees into
the jungle. My squad was selected to go into the field; we recieved
sniper fire and could not see where it came from. I ran back to the
jungle where our company was deployed and told our captain he was wrong
in placing us there, either pull us back to the edg e of the jungle or
have someone scout the top of the ridge. Of course I was ordered to go.
I zig-zagged running to the top of the ridge and found beuatiful
trenches and signalled others to follow. Thetrenches were obviously
built by the raider bat. Spent an easy night there and was eventually
called to beach defence.

The first battle of the Matinakau was an L company affair, written up in
teh book Guadalcanal Diary. Two more battles Several more balttles of
the matinakau river followed. I missed one because I was running 105 F
fever and my sarg turned me in. In November a large Japanese army landed
at Tassaforonga, the far end of the west canal out of range of any
rifles we could use. Four ships were unloading Jap troops. We had no
planes to intercept them because the night before two Jap Battle ships
and full escort blasted the airfield. Bombers from Oral Bay, New Guinea
under MacArthurs command finally came but too late. We knew we will be
hit in a day or two. These were Japanese Imperial troops that came on a
Banzai charge with fixed bayonets and our regimental commander ordered
us to fix bayonets because we were short of ammo. the Japs never before
encounted troops charging back, they panicked and more than 50% dropped
their rifles and ran to the sea to escape. The 1st regiment was ablke to
shoot them in the water and slaughtered them (writtened up in Life Mag.)
Oct 13 & 14, a joyous day/ 3000 army troops finally landed on the canal
bringing all kinds of suppies --- ammo, cigarettes, boxes of food, fruit
and veg. Many marines ran down to the beach to scrounge anything we
could, including me. An army Colonel called for his MP's to stop us; a
marine major told the Colonel he had better desist because these marines
were well armed and starving; we were living on hard-tack and Jap rice
loaded wtih magots. It would be best to let them take some canned goods
than to cause an incident he would regret. The army colonel backed off.
Another aarmy unit was on its way.

The third and last battle of the Matinakau now was decided on to push
the japs past Point Cruise. The 8th marines reinforced with army
regiments 164 and 182 were very successful.

I believe you saw the movie "The Thin Red Line". Well the fighting was
similar as depicted. However there were many errors. The movie gave you
the impression that as soon the army came onto the island the went to
the front lines-- not so. They bivuacked off the beach several days and
experienced a Jap shelling that night. Several days later the first army
contingent reinforced the 5th and 8th marines along the Matanikau. Also
the hill in the picture looked to me like it was Mt. Austin, stricktly a
marine operation. At this time there were more Japs on Guadalcanal than
marines bacause they abandoned New Guinea and sendid their troops to
regain the island.

Shortly afterwards the 5th reg. was taken off the lines and to be hald
as reserve troops if neccessary. I had counted 105 Jap naval bombardment
and 95 air raids; plus the jap army artil;ary. Not to mention "washing
Machine Charly" a Jap plane apout the size of a piper cub out fitted to
land in the water. At that time we did not know where he came from; the
othere side of the island that was mountainous and jungle. quite
impassable and completely camouflaged during the day. He dropped small
bombs every night to harass us. Then in late Dec., when things looked
like everything was going our way, Japs werestarving and had no more
fight left. Our forces then pushed to and took Tasafaronga the last Jap
hold out on the west end of the island. The 5th reg. got news that we
were going off the island. Sixty men of company L of 186 that landed
walked off the canal to be shipped to Australia to rest and regroup and
be reinforced for future action.

Mosca
07-09-2008, 07:55 PM
Should you really be interested in the Battle of Guadalcanal there is a
new book out written 40years later because the aurthur now had access to
U.S. and Japonese documents about the battle. Thus he had names of all
the ships involved and the Jap armed forces. Guadalcanal by Richard
Franks. I found only one mistake, on page 125 he gave credit to a
morter group or the 11th marines for that incident with the Jap sub, as
I had previously mentioned. ,

We stayed in Australia about 9 months; we loved it here and the
Australians treated us as the savior of thier country. We had more beef
than we could consume and lots of fresh milk.

Having now trained the new arrivals we were now assigned to hit New
Brittain where the giant Jap naval basee was located at Rabaul. At the
landing we ran into the jungle with lots of equipment, canned fruits and
vegtable, K-rashions, ammo. and radio equipment and covered it with a
thick canvas traupoline. The Sgt. looked around and picked me to guard
this hoard. It then rained for 14 days without let up and no trails
were passable because of the mud. I of course ate well and had a dry
place to sleep deep within the pile as I shoved boxes around. One
evening I spotted 5 Japs coming toward my Reisling gun to fire ( a
lighter version of the Tommy Gun) and nothing happened, I was scared/
the Japs saw me aand ran the other way back into the dense jungle.
Undoubtedly they must have though if there was one marine there must be
more. Thank you lord!

The marine secured Morgan Bay and eventually Rabaul. I did not get into
any other action here. I stayed with the pile of goods and five weeks
passed Finally I spotted another marine walking through the jungle and
told him my story and please get in touch with my company. The next day
a few marines came to get me. I was written off the company roouster as
missing in action, the dumb sgt forgot where he left me. We stayed a
few months and then my battalion was called to a small Island called
Paavuvu, part oif the Russel group. I was the PFC with the mosttime in
action and was chosen to be returned to the States. I was now stationed
in camp Pendelton between Diego and Los Angelese

They did not know what to do with me and assigned me to mess duty where
the 4th div. was being trained. The top-sergeant wore a First Div. patch
and I told him I do not want this duty and would drink and bring on
another malarial attack. He agreed and said this is no duty for one of
Geen. Vangergrift men. He asked if I could type and I told him I was
finishing my second year in college. Thus I had the privelege to read
all marine directives and one that requested over-seas men to go into
officer training. I applied immediately with the sarg's blessing. Was
interviewed by high ranking officers asking my qualifications, etc. Told
them I entered college at 16 and was finishing my second year when the
war broke out and went to enlist in Dec 41./ was sent to Boot camp in S
carolina, Parris Island on Jan 15th 42 A week passed and then informed
that I was accepted and arrived during the fall registration at Cornell,
1945.

I had my fist run in with Dusty [Dusty Rhodes, the head of the Chem E
dept at Cornell for many years and reputedly a hellacious taskmaster--
Mosca] then he said that marines wernot allowed to take Cheem. Eng.
because all had busted out in the past. Winding [another prof; Mosca]
interfers and told him why not he attended college at 16 and was bright
enough, and he had my records from Brooklyn Col. Thus I was registered
in Chem Eng. The day I arrived at Cornell there was a detachment of
marines, 120 strong, I was the only over-seas man, all the others
probably came out of high school to avaoid being drafted. I showed up at
assembly having long hair and a handle-bar mustache. The sergeant came
to me and ordered that the next morning I shave my head and cut off my
mustache;he was only a states-side NCO. Next morning I showed up with my
hair in place and mustache wearing five medals. The sergeant came over
to me and said he was going to run me up to the offfice for disobeying
orders. I told him hw is wasting his time; I haad read a directive from
general Vandegrift in which he stated that any marine that served with
him on Guadalcanal can wear his hair in any style and have a mustache,
in what-so-ever outfit he is assigned to. The sarg. ran up tto the
office and was enlightened by the directive. I did not make any points
with him. Every day I wore my ribbons to rub it in. He picked on me as
much as he could. On Jan 15 46 my four year enlistment expired. Was
calleto the office to ship-over and I will get a $600 bonus. I told
Major Sterling I will stay in the marine corps at my own convenience
until I get my bars. He replied that this was never done before.
Howver, he wireed Washington and was first marine accepted this way and
could become a civilian whenever I choose.

The sergeant kept picking on me until we finally came to blows in April
46. He then told me he was going to throw me in the brig for hitting an
NCO. I replied that I am going to the police and have him arrested for
hitting a civilian, I resigned from the corps yesterday (he was not
aware of my arrangements). Thus he had to back off and I had to leave
the corps, honorably. I returned to Cornell a few days later under the
G.I. bill. Now I had all the expences of a civilian; no more good food
and shelter and decent pay. However when I look back I should thank
thaat sergeant because the First Div. took a beating in Korea and then
Viet Nam--- chances were I would have been killed.

[stuff edited]

...I persevered and went to Phil-Mar a large mill in Brooklyn that
during the war dyed piece goods for the military and upholstery cloth.
I spoke to Mr. Martel, the owner, and he said they only buy from
National Analine division of Allied Chem. Martel said National took
care of him during the war for all his dye needs while other mills were
on tight allocation. I replied that National made a handsom profit from
you during the war and you made a handsom profit dyeing for the military
but it was I that took care of you. I was a marine in the South Pacific
whose butt was on the line and I mentioned Guadalcanal etc. I walked
out with a sizable order and was told to come back in two weeks for
more. My company was delighted that I received an order from Phil-Mar
and asked how I did it and I relatd teh story. My first real success in
1950.

[stuff edited; now, March 1957]

At the end of March I decided to go to Stanbrook a ranch resort near
Rhinebeck, N.Y. The next morning I decidded to go horse-back riding.
They expected me to go out with the group led by the instructor. I told
them I was an experienced rider having road in Australian Rodeos having
won bending races, lance races and even jumped bare-back. The Aussies
then challenged me to ride amule that bucked like crazy, and I did
successfully, "Good oh Yank" and when accepting praises aand not paying
attention the damned mule bit me leg. The ranches allowed to ride alone
when they mounted me in the coral and I put the horse through varying
paces. I also mentioned that I rode polo-ponies. When riding on the
trail through the forest I spotted two women walking. They told me they
were also staying at Stanbrook and so I shall see them at suppertime.
Thus I met my wife Natalie who was there hoping to meet a man. I lived
in a Brownstone three room apartment on the westside of Manhattan and
she lived on 79th street womens apartment and worked as the sales
manager for a local magazine. I was 33 and she was 26; eventually after
dating her... 6 months she told me to make up my mind, and so we
eventually married in Dec 57.

[stuff edited; late 70s/ early 80s?]

Because of Atlantics previous dealings with Mitsubishi they asked if we
would be their sales agent in the U.S. Reuben Rabinowitz was delighted
to accept the offer and arranged for a dinner with the head of the
chemical division of Mitsubishi and I attended with Rueben, Bernard Rab.
and I think the Jap was Dr. Kato. He turned to me and said "Mr Meelana,
what was your first acquaintance with Mitsubishi products?" Bernard gave
me a jab in the ribs and I replied that I know of their great Automotive
products.(Idid not mention shoting at Zero's when they straffed us). We
consumatedthe contract and consequently Atlantic and I got a lot of new
business even though the dyes were more expensive.

[stuff edited]

I have never attemted before to write of my marine or work experiences.
I now have a copy to refer to. I had startd this writting shortly after
your letter arrived but I lost a week when my wife became very sick and
was hospitalized at Shans Hospital sixty miles away. I visited every
day and tired myself out, plus the chores of keeping up the house.

By the way, at the beginning of Oct 42, because of the bad supply
problems to Guadalcanal, and the Japs could land fresh troops anytime,
President Roosevelt gave General Archibald Vandergrift permission to
surrender to the Japs if he so desired. Word was passed down to the
troops and we all replied that we will fight to the death, if
neccessary, no surrendering, We knew of the Bataan March by then.

I did not expect to write a book but here it is:

Best regards and Semper Fidelis

Richard E. Milana

Mosca
07-09-2008, 07:58 PM
Mr Milana is in his mid 80s now and has Alzheimer's. He and my father still exchange letters, as best they can.

revefsreleets
07-09-2008, 08:14 PM
Wow.

Amazing stuff. Chem E at Cornell? Nice!

I did want to add one thing about the "Jap" that surrendered and was shot at the order of the commanding officer. People need to realize that the Japanese were fanatical soldiers, and Hari Kari was very real. The white world did not view the Japanese as a civilized people, and standards were different. It seems really, really brutal but it was just how things were back then.

But, man, thanks Mosc. That's just incredible stuff.

Mosca
07-09-2008, 08:15 PM
I wanted to wait and post this next one tomorrow, but I'll be away for the entire day. This is from a diary written by Bob Caryl.


I had intended to do this long ago, but it just never happened. I have been
thinking about the subject and a number of details have come to mind. In
fact while I was reading the speech , things and details came to mind that I
had omitted in order to keep it under twenty minutes. I will try to mention
some of these while continuing the story.
The Hungarian solders were part of the home guard from a small village
nearby. They had what seemed to be a meeting place in a small building,
which had two or three beds, a desk or two and such. We were able to
communicate to the guards that we were hungry. In a very short while a
couple of ladies arrived with two bowls and spoons and some hot soup. It was
delicious and the first hot food in three weeks. We quickly had two
helpings, thinking that would be all we would get. Much to our surprise the
ladies came back with meat and potatoes. The meat seemed to be veal cutlets
and we could not begin to eat it all; too much soup!
Soon an old gentleman with gray hair and beard arrived. He could speak
English, but not very well as he explained, it had been a long time since he
served as the Hungarian ambassador to Canada. He was very reassuring telling
us that we would not be harmed. He then said that he was going to
interrogate us. We were interrogated individually. It seems that they had
found an aircraft that had crash-landed in the vicinity, which they
identified as a British plane. They had one leather glove and a small belt
of .50 caliber ammunition. They tried very hard to convince me that I was
the British aviator from that plane. This was probably as close they had
come to being involved in the war; it was a very small village.
The interrogation lasted for hours because we both denied any relationship
to the crashed aircraft. Also the old man had figured out that I was the
ranking person and Tommy was under my control. I don't believe I really
convinced him that it was not as he imagined. I remember at one point during
the time that we were in the home guard barracks a couple women were there
as well as some of the soldiers and they were having a discussion. One of
the younger soldiers sounded like he might be bragging, and sure enough he
grabbed his rifle by the barrel and turned and took a swing at my head with
the butt. I reacted by throwing up my hand for protection and he stopped
just short of hitting me. One of the other soldiers said something to him
and he left the barracks. I could not understand any of their conversation,
but you can tell a lot by voice inflection, facial expression, and hand
motions.

It was not long before a soldier appeared with a rather long chain with
which he would bind our hands and legs. We did not know why but we soon
found out. The barracks was probably fifty feet or more from the dirt
street. They opened the door and with a soldier on either side of us
escorted us out the door and down the path to the street were a horse and
wagon and driver awaited. The big surprise was, the whole town was out and
lined the path on both sides as we were led chained and loaded into the
wagon. Tommy and I were the main attraction for those folks. I have often
wondered what they were thinking about us. I do not remember any kind of
demonstration, and the only act of violence was when the c*cky young soldier
tried to impress his girl friend. Other wise we were treated very well. I
really think the chain was more for show because of the crowd.

-------------------------

That is all I have of this one. I don't remember where I got it.

SteelersMongol
07-09-2008, 09:04 PM
Wow. These things you guys wrote are some cool stuff. If you guys keep writing about them, it will be real nice. Learn & appreciate more on the vets who went through a lot to make this world better & safer.

My grandma who practically raised me, was a nurse at the Russian Military Hospital during the War of Khalhiin gol, aka Nomonkhan incident in. Those of you who don't know about, it took place on the border of Mongolia and Manchuria in 1939 between Russia & Mongolia vs. Japan as Japan started land dispute.

Officially it doesn't get included as part of WWII since it happened before the partition of Poland (by Hitler's & Stalin's invasion of Poland), it is considered very significant battle by the military historians that influenced Japanese decision not to fight Russians anymore & to turn their attention to the Pacifics which led to Pearl Harbor, because the Japanese suffered heavy loss at the War of Khalhiin gol.

Hammer Of The GODS
07-09-2008, 09:44 PM
There may NEVER be another generation like that again.

Flat out....... those guys saved the WORLD!

Excellent thread!


R.I.P. All of our fallen HEROS, past and present.

stlrtruck
07-10-2008, 07:58 AM
There may NEVER be another generation like that again.

Flat out....... those guys saved the WORLD!

Excellent thread!


R.I.P. All of our fallen HEROS, past and present.

It can't be said any better than that - well maybe it could but I don't have the words!

Well said! :drink:

eagle442_00
07-26-2008, 08:56 PM
Mosca,

What you wrote about Carmen Staino the man who was a pow in WWII. My Grandfather is Carmen staino and was also a pow in that war. I was wondering if this is the same person you spoke about. The only difference is my grandfather is still leaving. Even what you said about his escape match him. please let me know .
Larry

janetlsw
07-28-2008, 12:27 PM
You are talking about my dad. He moved from White Haven down to Bear, Delaware. You also should know my mom Nancy. She just died in Febuary. Dad is doing good on his own. He knew who you were. He said you work for a car dealership on 302. My nephew told us about finding your notice here. Feel free to contact me.

Mosca
07-28-2008, 01:06 PM
Yes; that is him! When he stopped coming in, and I hadn't heard anything from folks who knew him, I thought he'd passed away! Tell him I said hello. He used to bring me POW magazines at work. He was always one of my favorite customers, I always looked forward to him coming in and talking; he often came in just to say hello. I found his story absolutely fascinating, and the magazines were always appreciated; I still have them all. I loved the way he told me about his escape, I can still hear the inflection in his voice. I'm sorry to hear about your mother janetlsw, and grandmother eagle442 00, Nancy; she was a very nice person.

Both Carmen and Nancy are about as wonderful as people get in this world. We should all be able live up to the standard they set; just be good to people.

Thanks for registering, logging in, and letting me know that Carmen is still with us. And be sure to let him know, he's made a difference. I've told his story to many people, I think I've kept it pretty straight over the years. That is one man I truly respect.

janetlsw
07-28-2008, 02:04 PM
Mosca,

If you email me I will give you his contact information. My email is janetlsw@hotmail.com

Preacher
07-29-2008, 10:52 PM
Mosca.. that is great that you are getting into contact again...

and thanks for the thread everyone.


My head deacon is 86 years old and a veteran of the European theater. He came in a day or two after D-Day and fought all the way to Germany.

He tells the story of having control of a POW camp after the surrender of Germany. The camp was behind the lines that was going to be given to Russia. As they turned over the camp...

they walked away... to the sounds of gunshots. The Russians murdered every last POW... except for the one my deacon and a couple others got out (he was a army doctor I believe).

lamberts-lost-tooth
04-27-2010, 12:23 PM
Just wanted to bump this thread because it is so important and because of a recent experience.

I took my two teenage children to the local university here in town to listen to thee WWII speakers. One was a veteran of the 101st Airborne and the other two were a husband and wife from our church. The husband served in the pacific and was at Saipan and Iwo Jima...and the wife talked about the homefront.

I had heard them talk before but every chance that I get I go to hear them again. It seems each time I go, they have another story that I had never heard.

How interesting it was to listen to the Wife talk about how she was going to college at the time and there were hardly any men on campus. She talked alot about rationing and how every family got only 3 gallons of gas a week....and because of that they would rarely see cars driving around town. I also thought it was interesting to hear that the rationing meant that women could not buy nylons...so to improvise, the women would apply makeup to their legs, and use an eyebrow pencil to draw the "seam" up the back of their legs!!!!

If any of you get the chance to take your kids to see and listen to these aging Vets PLEASE do so. The youngest of them are now in their 80's and your children will be the LAST generation to hear these stories first hand!!!!

SCSTILLER
04-27-2010, 01:30 PM
Just wanted to bump this thread because it is so important and because of a recent experience.

I took my two teenage children to the local university here in town to listen to thee WWII speakers. One was a veteran of the 101st Airborne and the other two were a husband and wife from our church. The husband served in the pacific and was at Saipan and Iwo Jima...and the wife talked about the homefront.

I had heard them talk before but every chance that I get I go to hear them again. It seems each time I go, they have another story that I had never heard.

How interesting it was to listen to the Wife talk about how she was going to college at the time and there were hardly any men on campus. She talked alot about rationing and how every family got only 3 gallons of gas a week....and because of that they would rarely see cars driving around town. I also thought it was interesting to hear that the rationing meant that women could not buy nylons...so to improvise, the women would apply makeup to their legs, and use an eyebrow pencil to draw the "seam" up the back of their legs!!!!

If any of you get the chance to take your kids to see and listen to these aging Vets PLEASE do so. The youngest of them are now in their 80's and your children will be the LAST generation to hear these stories first hand!!!!

Very true LLT! I occasionally volunteer at the VA and also do a little bit of fund raising for the VFW, and to listen to them talk has always left me in awe. Some of them are just extremely grateful to have someone to talk to in the hospital. If you have the time it is a very rewarding experience.

Vincent
04-27-2010, 01:43 PM
This thread was before I joined SF. I read with humility.

We are losing our WWII veterans at some crazy rate, like 1200 A DAY! It's very sad..

They have been called the “greatest generation”. They were remarkable and every one that passes is a great loss.

My parents just missed the war by a year or so, but I include them in that generation. My late Mother reared 5 children and put three through college. She was a career scientist that had several patents. She never missed making breakfast and dinner, cleaned up and did homework with the younger kids.

Her Uncle Maury pulled three crewmen from a crashed and burning B-17 in England. He was severely reprimanded for disobeying orders because it was thought the crew was dead.

Her Uncle Jack was one of those young bucks that jumped out of perfectly safe boats and ran like a crazed dog headlong into jap machine gun fire on exotic beaches in the South Pacific. I have no idea how he survived that or came back relatively “normal”. He was a delight to be around. Reminded me of Steve McQueen.

My Bride’s late Dad was at one time the youngest sergeant in the Marine Corp. He talked his Mother into signing his enlistment papers when he was not quite 16. I once asked him why he did that, meaning “How did you get (your Mother) to do that?”. He looked at me like I was nuts and said “They attacked our country”. He wouldn’t talk about it ever. All we knew was that he had landed on Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, among others, and that he had severe nightmares. He lost his eyesight a decade before he passed away and it was very sad to watch one of our greatest suffer in that way. I had the distinct privilege of taking his ashes out to sea on a cutter. As an “interesting” aside, he returned from the Pacific, married, and had a family. One day he learned that his unit had been called up for Korea and had been all but lost in combat. They hadn’t been able to locate him, thank God.

Our next door neighbor growing up was a B-17 pilot that completed 35 missions over Germany. He was an L-1011 captain that retired with Eastern.

My best friend’s parents met in the RAF during the Battle of Britain.

I’ve also known German vets of the Russian front, North Africa, the Bismarck, and all manner of action all over Europe.

They were all cut out of the same cloth. You could “see it” in all their eyes.

:salute:

rickfromjersey
02-07-2012, 02:32 PM
That is awesome. I've met quite a few; there are some amazing stories. What's interesting is most of them didn't think there was anything all that special about what they did.

I have some good stories that were told to me, I'll add them to this thread when I have time, if you don't mind.

My favorite is Carmen Staino, who became a good friend. He was a POW of the Germans, captured at the Battle of the Bulge; he'd been with his unit less than 24 hours. In the morning he was in the replacement depot; he arrived at the front line late in the afternoon, had dinner, went on guard duty, got off at midnight, and woke up at 4AM with Germans pointing guns at him.

He was in a cattle car that was strafed by American P47s as it traveled into Germany. He spent 4 months in a prison camp, and escaped in early April; the way he put it, "As winter went on, our guards got older and older, as they were sent to the front. Finally one day, we were on a work detail in the town, and we were standing there and our guard was about 75 years old. We looked at him, and he looked at us... and we looked at him, and he looked at us... and he lit a cigarette and turned around, and we started walking west. And a few days later, maybe a week, we came across our advance troops."

Carmen used to bring me issues of a magazine called POW Digest. He's passed away now, for a few years. He was a good guy, maybe 5'6", and quiet and unassuming, a factory worker.



I read this article a while ago, but accidently stumbled on it again today. Carmen is my father. Alive and well I might add. My dad was shown this article. He then contacted the writer ( I forget his name, but they were friends up in the Pocono area in Pennsylvania) to let him know he was alive and well. What a shock that must have been!

Just to add to the nice letter this gentleman wrote, my dad told me several stories over the years, but it was just a few years ago when he told me a special one. The gentleman wrote about a cattle car that they transported my dad in. That was true but I would like to add to this as my dad told me of this story.

Several years ago, my dad saw this movie: Hart's War. It starred Bruce Willis, among some other notables. My dad told me I had to watch the movie. He proceded to tell me that in the movie, Americans were captured. They were put into these cattle cars to be transported to the prison camp. In this movie, the cattle cars were hit by American planes. Several Americans were killed, numerous wounded. During this attack, the train had stopped, and the prisoners were able to break out of the cattle cars. It was December and there was snow on the ground. The prisoners then proceeded to make a formation in the snow that spelled "POW". The American planes came around for a second attack. They saw the spelling "POW" and ceased fire. The planes then dipped their wings as to acknowlege the American prisoners and flew off.

At the end of my dad's description of this movie, he started to break down. Then he said: "I do not know how or where the movie writers got this scene, but every bit of it was true". Then he added with tears in his eyes: "I was in that cattle car. I was one who escaped from being shot. I wasnt one of the prisoners who spelled out "POW", but I was there when they did it." I must have watched this movie 10 times since.

My dad is 86 now, and wears his WW II Veterans hat every day he is out. It brings the best out of the people who approach him, and thank him.

stb_steeler
02-07-2012, 05:39 PM
Tell your dad we say THANK YOU for his service......:applaudit:

Bayz101
02-07-2012, 05:41 PM
Tell your dad we say THANK YOU for his service......:applaudit:

I second this.

tony hipchest
02-07-2012, 06:51 PM
I read this article a while ago, but accidently stumbled on it again today. Carmen is my father. Alive and well I might add. My dad was shown this article. He then contacted the writer ( I forget his name, but they were friends up in the Pocono area in Pennsylvania) to let him know he was alive and well. What a shock that must have been!

Just to add to the nice letter this gentleman wrote, my dad told me several stories over the years, but it was just a few years ago when he told me a special one. The gentleman wrote about a cattle car that they transported my dad in. That was true but I would like to add to this as my dad told me of this story.

Several years ago, my dad saw this movie: Hart's War. It starred Bruce Willis, among some other notables. My dad told me I had to watch the movie. He proceded to tell me that in the movie, Americans were captured. They were put into these cattle cars to be transported to the prison camp. In this movie, the cattle cars were hit by American planes. Several Americans were killed, numerous wounded. During this attack, the train had stopped, and the prisoners were able to break out of the cattle cars. It was December and there was snow on the ground. The prisoners then proceeded to make a formation in the snow that spelled "POW". The American planes came around for a second attack. They saw the spelling "POW" and ceased fire. The planes then dipped their wings as to acknowlege the American prisoners and flew off.

At the end of my dad's description of this movie, he started to break down. Then he said: "I do not know how or where the movie writers got this scene, but every bit of it was true". Then he added with tears in his eyes: "I was in that cattle car. I was one who escaped from being shot. I wasnt one of the prisoners who spelled out "POW", but I was there when they did it." I must have watched this movie 10 times since.

My dad is 86 now, and wears his WW II Veterans hat every day he is out. It brings the best out of the people who approach him, and thank him.

rick, the person who shared your fathers story to us is named Tom. I will try to contact him so he can read your post here at steelersfever.

thanks for sharing and reviving this thread. I think i will make a point to bump it every memorial and veterans day as long as im a member here.

:salute: :usa: