Tribute To WWII Veterans
General Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr., leader of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II and the first African American general in the Air Force, died July 4, 2002 at Walter reed Army Medical Center. Hew was 89 and had Alzheimer's disease.
At the time he entered West Point, Davis was the son of one of only two black combat officers in the Army. The younger Davis persevered through four years at the US Military Academy, where no cadet spoke to him other than on official business, and graduated 35th in his class in 1936. He wanted to fly, but segregation was a barrier. There were no black flying units in the air service.
He commanded a black service company at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and then taught military science at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. During this time, as a re-election initiative, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the Army to create a black flying unit.
Davis, as the only living black West Point graduate, was selected to lead the unit. In May 1941 he entered advanced flying training at nearby Tuskegee Army Air Base, receiving his pilots wings in March 1942.
He led the 99th Pursuit Squadron from Tuskegee to North Africa in April 1943 and later to Sicily. After three months in combat, Davis was called to Washington to defend the 99th against charges that black pilots did not have the proper reflexes to be fighter pilots. Davis's testimony saved the 99th and the other black flying units being formed.
He took charge of the 332nd Fighter Group, leading it to Italy in January 1944. Throughout the war, the Tuskegee Airmen established a dazzling record of victories against superior german aircraft. When they flew escort duty, not one bomber they escorted on some 200 missions was lost to and enemy fighter.
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In December 1998, Davis was awarded a fourth star in an exceedingly rare post-retirement promotion. He was only the third Air Force pioneer to receive such an honor. The other two were Ira C. Eaker and Jimmy Doolittle.
--Air Force Magazine, August 2002
 
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Memorial and Nostalgic Music of World War II!
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15:25 5/27/2002
After schooling in his home town of Superior, Wisconsin, Dick Bong enlisted as a flying cadet at nearby Wausau on May 29, 1941. He took flying training at Tulare and Gardner Fields, California and Luke Field, Arizona, receiving his wings and commission on January 9, 1942. He instructed other pilots at Luke until May when he went to Hamilton Field, California for combat training in P-38s.

Bong then went to the Pacific as a fighter pilot with the 9th Fighter Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group in Australia. In November 1942 he was reassigned to the 39th Squadron of the 35th Group and he destroyed five Japanese fighter planes before returning to the 9th Squadron in January 1943. He flew with the 9th until November being promoted to first lieutenant in April and to captain in August. On November 11, 1943 he was given a 60 day leave and reassigned to HQ V Fighter Command, New Guinea, as assistant operations officer in charge of replacement airplanes. In this assignment Bong continued to fly combat missions in P-38s and increased his enemy aircraft kills to 28.

In April 1944 Bong was promoted to major and sent home to instruct others in the art of aerial superiority, with assignment to Foster Field, Texas. In September 19944 he returned to the Pacific with the Fifth Fighter Command as gunnery training officer. Though not required to perform further combat flying, he voluntarily put in 30 more combat missions over Borneo and the Philippine Islands., destroying 12 more planes to bring his total to 40.

General George C. Kenney, his overall Commanding Officer who late wrote Major Bong's biography in a very readable book, decided over 200 missions for a total of over 500 combat hours were enough for any individual and ordered him returned to the U.S. in December 1944, with recommendation for the Medal of Honor for his second overseas tour.

Bong then became a test pilot at Wright Field, Ohio. In June 1945 he went to Burbank, California as Chief of Flight Operations and AF Plant Representative to Lockheed Aircraft Company, then engaged in developing and manufacturing P-80 jet aircraft. Bong received a full training course for P-80s at Muroc Lake Flight Test Base, California but died that August when his plane's engine failed during a flight over Burbank.

In combat, Major Bong had earned the Distinguished Service Cross, 2 Silver Stars, 7 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 15 Air Medals, in addition to the Medal of Honor. This citation reads:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty in the Southwest Pacific area from 10 October to 15 November 1944. Though assigned to duty as gunnery instructor and neither required nor expected to perform combat duty, Major Bong voluntarily and at his own urgent request engaged in repeated combat missions, including unusually hazardous sorties over Balikpapan, Borneo, and in the Leyte area of the Philippines. His aggressiveness and daring resulted in his shooting down 8 enemy airplanes during this period."

The Medal of Honor was personally awarded to him by General MacArthur in the Pacific, who praised him as the greatest fighter ace of all Americans.
14:52 5/15/2002
Victor Hugo Moore, born February 14, 1922, Fornfelt, Missouri, Scott County and died April 26, 1998 in Olney, Illinois, Richland County. Moore had a Military Funeral as he had wanted.

Priscilla L. (Moore) Robertson writes:

"I have his Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps in April 1946, Number at the top is A215784, he served in WW II. He was a corporal and served in the Pacific, Okanawa, Saipan etc. He was a Military Policeman according to his U.S. Marine Corps. Report of Separation, also a light truck driver. He did his training in San Diego, California at Camp Pendelton I believe. He entered the service on September 03, 1943 and began his service time on September 20, 1943 and was a Corporal at the time of discharge.

"I am a proud daughter, wife and Mother to several Military men and I know what they sacrificed for all of. I would also like to thank you and the other military men who have served their country and made it Free for all of us to enjoy. Also the men serving against those who committed that terrible act against our country on September 11th.

"I am so glad Pat told me about your pages and I saw it. I sent it to another relative who served in WW II and gives talks on that War to the school children still as he figures the children now need to understand what those men in that war did for our country so I thought he might be interested too.

"I am sending a Picture of my Father Taken in San Diego California, I believe on his way home after his service. Also a piece I put in my notes on The family Tree on this. You might check the spelling on it as I am not as familiar with the Ranks in the Marines or in the spellings of the places he served as I should be. You may use whatever you want of this. I would love to hear from any of his buddies that knew him in the War. I know some that still keep in contact with me at Christmas, because I went to a Reunion with him and a dad another time with them. But my dad always hoped more of them would find out about their Reunions and come."
Circa May, 2002
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The Doolittle Raid, also known as the Tokyo Raid, on Saturday, April 18, 1942, was an air raid by the United States of America on the Japanese capital Tokyo and other places on the island of Honshu during World War II, the first air raid to strike the Japanese Home Islands. It demonstrated that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, served as retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941, and provided an important boost to American morale. The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle, United States Army Air Forces.
    Sixteen U.S. Army Air Forces B-25B Mitchell medium bombers were launched beyond fighter escort range from the U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS Hornet deep in the Western Pacific Ocean, each with a crew of five men. The plan called for them to bomb military targets in Japan, and to continue westward to land in China—landing a medium bomber on Hornet was impossible. Fifteen aircraft reached China, but all crashed, while the 16th landed at Vladivostok in the Soviet Union. All but three of the 80 crew members initially survived the mission. Eight soldiers were captured by the Japanese Army in China; three of those were later executed. The B-25 that landed in the Soviet Union was confiscated and its crew interned for more than a year. Fourteen complete crews, except for one crewman who was killed in action, returned either to the United States or to American forces.
    Among the 80 men aboard Doolittle's 16 bombers that day was the 20-year-old Engineer-Gunner on Plane #7, then-Corporal David J. Thatcher. Manning his .50-caliber guns aboard his bomber, nicknamed the Ruptured Duck, he knew full well that the odds were likely this could be a one-way mission. But he went anyway.
    The entire crew of the Ruptured Duck owed their lives to the heroism of David Thatcher. He would be awarded the Silver Star for his valor that day. And the Doolittle Raiders – the 80 men who led the daring first attack on Japan during World War II – would become legends. They rallied a nation in desperate need of a boost in morale and caused the Japanese high command to move resources to defend the home islands, which would have a direct impact two months later at the epic Battle of Midway, the turning point of the war.
    Staff Sergeant David J. Thatcher passed away on June 22, 2016, near his home in Missoula, Montana. Today, of the 80 Doolittle Raiders, only one still survives – Doolittle's co-pilot, Lt. Col. Richard Cole.
1840 06/24/2016

    Lt. Col. Richard Cole at Arlington National Cemetery, May 23, 2014. (Credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
    A little more than four months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States struck back on April 18, 1942, with the daring Doolittle Raid. Lieutenant Richard E. Cole, who served as Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot, is the only one of the 80 raiders still living, and April 19, 2017, the 101-year-old veteran commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid by continuing an annual tradition of raising a silver goblet and toasting his fallen comrades with 1896 cognac.
     Dick Cole had always dreamed of soaring into the clouds, but he never dreamed that one day he would fly into the history books alongside his boyhood idol.
    As a youngster growing up outside Dayton, Ohio—hometown of the Wright Brothers—Cole pasted newspaper articles chronicling the exploits of pioneering aviators into his scrapbook and often made the 30-minute bike ride to McCook Field where he sat and watched daredevil pilots such as James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, who in 1922 made the first cross-country flight in under 24 hours, train and test new aircraft at McCook Field.
    After graduating from high school, Cole took to the skies himself and was a member of the U.S. Army Air Forces when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Four months later, the 25-year-old was among the 80 airmen selected for the dangerous raid led by Doolittle to bomb the Japanese mainland. The fly boys had been trained to take off from airfields, but the B-25 bombers would have to take off from the deck of USS Hornet in what was the first-ever joint mission between the Army and Navy.
     On the morning of April 18, 1942, the Navy flotilla encountered and sank an enemy patrol, which forced Doolittle to launch the raid hours earlier and from a greater distance than planned. Cole was awoken from his sleep with news that the mission was beginning immediately. Although the B-25s had never launched from an aircraft carrier in combat and the airmen didn’t know if they would have enough fuel to complete their mission, Cole did not panic with the hasty change in plans.
     “I had my own confidence, but we all had Jimmy Doolittle,” Cole told the San Antonio Express-News. His confidence flowed into us and we would have followed him anywhere.”
    With Cole serving as Doolittle’s co-pilot, Crew Number 1 made the unnaturally short takeoff and was the first of the 16 bombers in the air. To avoid detection, the Doolittle Raiders flew in single file for hundreds of miles just 200 feet above the water. Crew Number 1 bombed industrial and military targets in Tokyo, while other planes hit Yokohama, Kobe, Osaka and Nagoya. The resulting material damage was limited, but the psychological damage left behind by the Doolittle Raid was enormous. Shaken by the ability of the Americans to attack their mainland, the Japanese military responded with the Battle of Midway, which became a pivotal American victory in World War II.
     After dropping their bombs, the Doolittle Raiders continued on to China where they hoped to land at airfields controlled by Nationalists fighting the Japanese. A violent thunderstorm and fuel gauges running close to empty, however, testified that the intended plan was not possible. “Our only course of action was to climb up to what we thought was a safe altitude and fly until we ran out of fuel and bailed out,” Cole said in an oral history interview posted on the National WWII Museum web site.
     All but one of the 16 planes in the Doolittle Raid crashed-landed on or near the Chinese coast. (The other crew landed in the Soviet Union.)
     As the storm raged, Cole jumped from the plane into a 9,000-foot abyss of darkness, broken by only the occasional lightning flash. Not knowing what danger lurked in the mountains below, the airman pulled the ripcord so hard that he gave himself a black eye. “My parachute drifted over a pine tree and left me hanging about 12 feet off the ground. I didn’t know that until the fog cleared away and the rain stopped the next morning,” Cole told the San Antonio Express-News. “And being a young kid that was pretty good at climbing trees, it was very easy for me to climb down and readjust my parachute into a backpack and start walking away.” While the Japanese captured two of the American crews, Cole successfully reunited with Doolittle at a nearby camp and was eventually rescued by an American aircraft.
     Sixty-one of Doolittle’s men survived the raid and World War II, and in December 1946 they reunited in Miami to celebrate the 50th birthday of their leader. “Early on Doolittle promised the survivors he would throw a party for them,” Cole told the National World War II Museum. “It gave us a chance to renew the camaraderie of the group, and it gave us a chance to honor the people that gave their lives on the mission and those who had left the group since.”
     The men had such a good time that the reunion became an annual affair. In 1959 a new tradition began after the city of Tucson, Arizona, presented the Doolittle Raiders with 80 silver goblets, one for each participant. Each man’s name was etched twice on his goblet—one right side up, the other upside down. At each reunion, the raiders raised their goblets and toasted each other with a sip of 1896 Hennessy VS cognac, its vintage matching Doolittle’s birth year, before turning upside down the goblets of any men who had died since their last meeting.
     The Doolittle Raider goblets are on display in the Air Power Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Cole built the portable, velvet-lined display case that was used to transport the goblets each year to the reunion locations, which moved around the country. Since 2005, the goblets have been kept on permanent display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. (Prior to that, they had been kept at the Air Force Academy.)
    Cole was not the youngest of the Doolittle Raiders, but the 101-year-old is now the lone survivor after the passing of Staff Sergeant David Thatcher last June. At a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, not far from where he watched Doolittle circles the skies as a boy, Cole lifted a goblet of cognac aloft and toasted his 79 comrades that were lost on the mission or had passed away since. With that, he turned over Thatcher’s goblet, leaving one silver cup still standing upright.
    (Credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post and Getty Images)

04/19/2017 1300
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