Sunday, January 21, 2018

WW2 Pearl Harbor Fallen - Medal of Honor hero Herbert Jones

Medal of Honor recipient Herbert Jones was killed on the USS California at Pearl Harbor,
shown here in the painting by Anthony Saunders.
 https://coronadotimes.com/news/2011/12/07/how-a-young-coronadan-became-a-hero-at-pearl-harbor/
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9734
https://www.anthonysaunders.co.uk/anthony_saunders_prints.php?ProdID=2242
Herbert C. Jones never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on January 21, 1918 in California. His mother Ethelyn was born in Illinois and his father Herbert was born in Iowa. His father was a World War I Navy veteran who worked at the US Naval Academy in 1920. He was later assigned to serve in Washington DC and retired as a captain in 1937 and moved to California. Herbert had one younger sister. 

Herbert enlisted in the US Naval Reserves in May 1935. He was commissioned an ensign in November 1940. He was assigned to the battleship USS California. Prior to steaming to Hawaii, Ensign Jones married his high school sweetheart Joanne.

Ensign Jones was aboard California on December 7, 1941 when it was struck by two Japanese torpedoes. The torpedoes damaged the mechanical hoists that replenished the anti-aircraft ammunition. He organized a group of sailors to manually pass up the ammunition from below deck. While so engaged on the third deck, a Japanese bomb exploded on the second deck, mortally wounding Ensign Jones. When two men tried to pull him to safety, he said, "Leave me alone! I am done for. Get out of here before the magazines go off."

The California sank in the shallow harbor. 100 men were killed in the attack.

Fifteen men were awarded the Medal of Honor (ten posthumously) for their actions during the Pearl Harbor attack including Ensign Jones and two others from the California.

Thirteen months later his widow was at the launching of the destroyer escort USS Herbert C. Jones which served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during the rest of the war.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Herbert_C._Jones_(DE-137)
His grave is at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. I don't have any information about his widow.

Thank you Herbert for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Herbert.

Last year on this date I profiled B-24 navigator William Sippel. You can read his story here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

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Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

Saturday, January 20, 2018

WW2 Band of Brothers hero Dick Winters was born 100 years ago, Jan. 21

Major Dick Winters and the actor who portrayed him in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, Damian Lewis.
http://www.imgrum.org/media/1015917285724521642_1514714736 
I normally write about the World War 2 fallen who did not survive the war. Today I make an exception because Major Dick Winters was born 100 years ago on January 21, 1918.

Major Winters story first reach prominence with the publication of Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers in 1992. His renown multiplied when his story was the focus of the HBO miniseries of the same name in 2001.

This is what Major Winters had to say about the men who did not come home:

"And not one day goes by that I don't think of the men who never had the opportunity to enjoy a world of peace. Their collective legacy is best summarized in Henry W. Longfellow's 'A Psalm of Life.' In describing songs of hope and courage, Longfellow writes:

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time.

"I wish to convey a final thought -- and I hope that it doesn't sound out of place -- but I would like to share something as I look back on the war. War brings out the worst and the best in people. Wars do not make men great, but they bring out the greatness in good men. War is romantic only to those who are far away from the sounds and turmoil of battle. For those of us who served in Easy Company and for those who served their country in other theaters, we came back as better men and women as a result of being in combat and most would do it again if called upon. But each of us hoped that if we had learned anything from the experience, it's that war is unreal and we earnestly hoped that it would never happen again."

-- Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters by Dick Winters, pg. 291-292

Major Winters passed away on January 2, 2011.

Visits to this blog just exceeded half a million! Thanks to all those who have read and shared these stories with others.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share via Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

WW2 Normandy Fallen - James Singleton, 197th Anti Aircraft Artillery Battalion

Corporal James Singleton served in an anti aircraft artillery unit in Normandy.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/72279731/james-a.-singleton
https://www.facebook.com/197thAntiAirCraftArtillery/ 
James A. Singleton, Jr. never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on January 20, 1918 in Mississippi. His parents Avery and Louisa were also both born in Mississippi. His father worked as a saw mill laborer and later as a public road laborer. Still later he was a farmer. James had a younger brother (who served in the navy during the war) and two younger sisters. By 1940 James had completed four years of high school. He still lived at home, working as a laborer. 

After completing one year of college James enlisted in the army on November 6, 1941. He became a corporal in Battery C, 197th Field Artillery. From what I could research this was an anti aircraft artillery unit in 1944. This unit landed on Omaha Beach on either D-Day or D+1. I don't have more details about Cpl. Singleton, who died on July 27, 1944.

His grave is at Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery in Poplarville, Mississippi.

Thank you James for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for James.

Last year on this date I profiled A-20 Havoc gunner Joseph Joyce. You can read his story here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

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Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

Friday, January 19, 2018

WW2 Fallen - P-47 pilot Claude Rahn

Lt. Claude Rahn flew P-47s similar to this one in the 66th Fighter Squadron.
http://www.57thfightergroup.org/pictures/angelone/1.html
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/119090122/claude-g-rahn 
Claude Rahn never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on January 19, 1918 in Maryland. His parents Paul and Maggie were also both born in Maryland. His father worked as a jewelry manufacturer recorder and later as a wholesale jeweler silversmith. Still later he was a jeweler. Claude had one older brother. By 1940 Claude had completed four years of high school and was living at home while working as a clerk. At some point that year he married Vera Dales.

I don't know when Claude enlisted but he became a second lieutenant and pilot in the 66th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group, 12th Air Force. The 57th FG first flew P-40 Warhawks in Egypt in 1942. By 1944 it had switched to P-47 Thunderbolts operating in Italy. The William Wyler documentary Thunderbolt (watch it here) was about the 57th FG. Lt. Rahn was credited with one victory, shooting down a FW-190 on July 1, 1944. He died on July 11, 1944. One source says it was from a noncombat incident, but another source says it was from being hit by flak.

His grave is at Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. His widow never remarried and died in 2003 at age 85. On her gravestone is "A Faithful Wife."

Thank you Claude for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Claude.

Last year on this date I profiled B-17 pilot Harold Barnett. His widow also never remarried and lived to age 91. You can read his story here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

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Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

Thursday, January 18, 2018

WW2 Guadalcanal Fallen - Wesley Bales, USS Pensacola

Fireman Wesley Bales, USS Pensacola, died at the Battle of Tassafaronga.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19555038/wesley-craig-bales/photo
http://ww2today.com/30th-november-1942-the-battle-of-tassafaronga-off-guadalcanal 
Wesley Craig Bales never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on January 18, 1918 in Missouri. His parents Edward and Fannie were also both born in Missouri. His father worked as a farmer. Later he worked as a school bus driver and yet later as a government laborer. Wesley had three older brothers and four older sisters and three younger brothers. At least two brothers served in the Navy in WW2 and one black sheep brother served time in the California prison system during the war years. By 1940 Wesley had completed two years of high school. He moved to Oregon and lived with his older brother and worked at a car wash.

He and his younger brother Ralph both enlisted in the navy. They were assigned to the cruiser USS Pensacola with Wesley as a fireman second class. Pensacola participated in the Battle of Coral Sea in May 1942 and the Battle of Midway in June. In October it fought in the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands.

Fireman Wesley Bales and his brother Ralph were both on the Pensacola during the Battle of Tassafaronga during the dark morning hours of November 30, 1944. A task force of American cruisers and destroyers were tasked with stopping Japanese destroyers from bringing reinforcements to Guadalcanal. At this point of the war the Japanese naval forces were an equal match for the Americans. During this battle Pensacola was hit by an enemy torpedo. Its engine room was flooded and three gun turrets rendered useless. Oil-feed flames caused ammunition explosions, but the crew was able to save the ship. During the battle Pensacola lost 125 sailors including Wesley Bales.

His grave is at Mabton Cemetery in Washington. Ralph survived the war and died in 2011.

Thank you Wesley for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Wesley.

Last year on this date I profiled Leo Gagne, one of the very first men killed at Pearl Harbor. You can read his story here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

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Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Lyle Peterson, USS Warrington, and the 1944 Great Atlantic Hurricane

Seaman Lyle Peterson was lost at sea when the USS Warrington sank during the 1944 Great Atlantic Hurricane.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/90901258/lyle-leonard-peterson
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1944_Great_Atlantic_hurricane
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/843.htm 
Lyle Leonard Peterson never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on January 17, 1918 in Wisconsin. His mother Loretta was also born in Wisconsin. His father Thomas was born in Denmark and worked as a saw mill machinist. He died of suicide in 1921. Lyle had an older sister and three older brothers. His mother remarried and had a boy and a girl. Her second husband left her to raise her children on her own.

By 1940 Lyle had completed 8 years of schooling. He worked as a roofing sider and was married to the former Margaret Moes. They had a son and a daughter.

He enlisted in the navy on May 27, 1944 and became a seaman second class on the destroyer USS Warrington. Warrington was steaming off of the east coast of Florida when it was caught by the 1944 Great Atlantic Hurricane. The category 4 hurricane shipped water in the ship's engineering spaces during the early hours of September 13, 1944. It lost electric power and the capability to steer. The Hurricane created 70 foot waves. The crew could not keep the ship afloat so the order to abandon ship was given and she sank at 12:50 pm. Rescuers found 73 survivors. Seaman Peterson was one of the 248 men who were lost at sea.

In a strange coincidence, his daughter would also drown a few hundred miles away at age 16.

His cenotaph grave is at Evergreen Cemetery in Oconto, Wisconsin. His widow remarried and died in 1994.

Thank you Lyle for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Lyle.

Last year on this date I profiled Hollis Hamilton of the 7th Infantry Division. You can read his story here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Brady Wood, USS Mullany

Machinist Brady Wood was killed when the destroyer USS Mullany was hit by a Japanese kamikaze plane.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/30356492/brady-mckinley-wood
http://www.ussmullany.org/Ship1940.html 
Brady Wood never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on January 16, 1918 in North Carolina. His father Monie also born in North Carolina and his mother Bessie was born in Virginia. His father worked as a farmer and later as a furniture cabinet maker. Brady had three younger brothers and a younger sister. At some point he married Betty Jean Wood.

I don't know when Brady enlisted in the navy but he served on the cruiser USS Honolulu, the destroyer USS Grayson, and the destroyer USS Mullany (as a machinist).

On April 6, 1945 Mullany was providing antisubmarine picket guarding support for the Okinawa invasion. It was hit by a kamikaze plane which set of depth charges killing and wounding many. The ship was considered too dangerous to save due to a possible magazine explosion. All crew were ordered off, but later a salvage crew was returned and was able to get a boiler started so the ship could retire. Thirty six men survived with wounds. Twenty-one men were killed and nine went missing. Machinist Wood was one of them.

His (most likely cenotaph) grave is at Oakdale Cemetery in Mount Airy, North Carolina. I don't know what happened to his widow.

Thank you Brady for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Brady.

Last year on this date I profiled Henry Krajna, 4th Armored Division. You can read about Henry here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

Follow on Twitter @ww2fallen100
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100