Bill Hillman PresentsSome veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.
Forces: Land ~ Air ~ Sea ~ Home
A MILITARY TRIBUTE WEBZINE . . . AS YOU WERE . . .
Compiled by Bill Hillman
Wherein we share an eclectic assortment of items gleaned from the
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AUGUST 2002 Edition
WHAT IS A VET?
Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.
Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.
You can't tell a vet just by looking.
What is a vet?
He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.
He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
She (or he) is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.
He is the drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.
He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.
He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.
He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.
So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.
Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".
It's the soldier, not the reporter,
Who gave us our freedom of the press.
It's the soldier, not the poet,
Who gave us our freedom of speech.
It's the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who gave us our the freedom to demonstrate.
It's the soldier, Who salutes the flag,
Who serves others with respect for the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag."Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC
TWO STORIESSTORY NUMBER ONE:
World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold.
A squadron of Japanese bombers were speeding their way toward the American fleet.
The American fighters were gone on a sortie and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor, could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.
Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch weaved in and
out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until finally all his ammunition was spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to at least clip off a wing or tail, in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. He was desperate to do anything he
could to keep them from reaching the American ships. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the camera mounted on his plane told the tale.
It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had destroyed five enemy bombers. That was on February 20, 1942, and for that action he became the Navy's first Ace of WWII and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of that heroic action die. And today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.
So the next time your in O'Hare visit his memorial with his statue and Medal of Honor. It is located between terminal 1 and 2.
STORY NUMBER TWO:
Some years earlier there was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. At that time, Al Capone virtually owned the city. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. His exploits were anything but praiseworthy. He was, however,
notorious for enmeshing the city of Chicago in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.
Easy Eddie was Capone's lawyer and for a good reason. He was very good! In fact, his skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big; Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.
Eddy had a son that he loved dearly. Eddy saw to it that his young son had the best of everything; clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized
crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Yes, Eddie tried to teach his son to rise above his own sordid life. He wanted him to be a better man than he was.
Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things that Eddie couldn't give his son. Two things that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mob that he could not pass on to his beloved son: a good name and a good
example. One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. He had to rectify all the wrong that he had done. He would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Scar-face Al Capone. He would try to clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this he must testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer at the greatest price he would ever pay.
What do these two stories have to do with one another?Well, Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.
The Story of the Spitfire
By Mike Stallybrass
|This story begins in Southsea. Gloria and I went to the UK for a visit and while there went to a museum on the Southsea common. The museum was dedicated to the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944. We toured the museum and, on the way out, stopped in the gift shop. While there I saw this commemorative plate of the Supermarine Spitfire. The Spitfire teamed up with the Hawker Hurricane to defend Britain against the Luftwaffe’s bombers and the Messerschmit109, at that time the best German fighter. Owing to the Spitfire’s ability at high altitude they engaged the ME 109 and left the Hurricane to look after the bombers at the lower altitudes.|
After we came home I went to the Warplane Heritage Museum in Mount Hope, outside Hamilton and while there was impressed by the poem written by an RAF Spitfire pilot. Unfortunately this pilot was killed the next day but his poem lives as a lasting tribute to the collective courage of him and his fellow airmen.
When I came home I isolated the picture of the Spitfire from the commemorative plate, added some sky, rotated the Spitfire to appear that it was climbing out to intercept the enemy, added some clouds to the scene and then finally typed the poem on top of the composite picture.
CAUGHT IN OUR SITE
A Web Log of the Best of the Web
JOE HICKS AND THE BATTLE FOR EUROPE
Table of Contents
CBC Radio interview
Introduction: Joe Hicks & the Battle for Europe
Chapter 1: Joe mails a postcard to Madeline Vale
Chapter 2: Observer Hicks joins No. 420 Snowy Owl Squadron
Chapter 3: The Hampden bomber: a "flying frying pan"
Chapter 4: Unsafe skies over Europe
Chapter 5: Snowy Owl Squadron flies into harm's way
Chapter 6: A German Funeral in Denmark
Chapter 7: "JOSEPH M. HICKS REPORTED LOST"
Chapter 8: At what cost?
HISTORIC AIRCRAFT COMPANY
Marketing and Sales of Vintage Aircraft
NORTH COUNTRY AVIATION TALES:
SEARCH & RESCUE, JETS,
BUSH FLYING AND THE AIRLINES
by Captain Greville H. Fox
NORTH COUNTRY AVIATION TALES: SEARCH & RESCUE, JETS, BUSH FLYING AND THE AIRLINES is Captain Greville H. Fox's autobiography of a life dedicated to the advancement of the field of aviation.
"Beginning with some wartime experiences in World War II and later in Korea, my career moved into the civilian realm," says Fox. "I flew a passenger version of the wartime Canso amphibian flying boat on the DEW line in the summer months, and DC3s and other aircraft after freeze-up. I also spent some time in Alaska and Africa as a representative for the Link Flight Simulation Company, often using my own all-weather Beech 18."
Fox's amazing tales include a story of how he was forced to land in a blizzard on Smith Arm of Great Bear Lake completely on instruments, and his subsequent survival without food for four days.
"I also remember a mishap with the Canso in a summer exploration trip on the Arctic Ocean, 600 miles from base, when a sheared bolt wouldn't allow us to retract the undercarriage," says Fox. "Dangerous and difficult repairs were required to let us make an ocean take-off, rather than risking me and the crew perishing on the ice fields north of the mainland."
NORTH COUNTRY AVIATION TALES: SEARCH & RESCUE, JETS, BUSH FLYING AND THE AIRLINES was initially written for fellow pilots, but Fox soon found a readership in the general public, for which he revised and wrote this second edition.
Because airline pilots must maintain high physical standards, Fox explains that most pilots study up for subsequent careers while still flying. "Although my main love was aviation, I have done plenty of different things: computer maintenance technician, mechanics teacher, building contractor, trucker, upholsterer, even civil servant."
Greville H. Fox is now 83 and lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia.To purchase copies, or read excerpts online, please go to
For review copies or interviews, phone the author at 250-619-3043 or
Murphy's Law II
The Army Weather Corollaries
Pvt. Murphy's Law
Pub. Date: August 1, 1999
Inclement weather always begins AFTER you've already done PT.
A sudden downpour always occurs at the end of a summer field exercise--just in time coat all your equipment and camouflage with mud.
The best beach weather always occurs when you are in the field wearing MOPP 4.
There is no such thing as a blue sky during a company picnic.
There is no such thing as a cloudy sky when your unit needs to infiltrate enemy territory.
Road conditions are always red when it's time to convoy home.
Motor pools are always 20 degrees warmer than the rest of the post during the summer and 50 degrees colder in the winter.
Army training areas exist in a constant state of weather flux controlled by a deity with a truly cruel sense of humor--How do you think we got them so cheap?
The peak of Mt. Everest would flood if an Army unit was told to set up on it.
Hell really would freeze over if someone decided to conduct an exercise there.
The Port-a-Potty Postulate states that the likelihood of a hurricane, sandstorm, tsunami, or blizzard occurring immediately over your location is directly related to how bad you need to get to the portajohns at the other side of the campsite in the middle of the night.
The temperature always rises to 70 degrees AFTER you put on two layers of polypros, your bear suit, and all of your Gortex.
If you whine about the weather, someone else will always whine louder.
Rules of the Rucksack
1. No matter how carefully you pack, a rucksack is always too small.
2. No matter how small, a rucksack is always too heavy.
3. No matter how heavy, a rucksack will never contain what you want.
4. No matter what you need, it's always at the bottom.
Four-wheel-drive just means getting stuck in more inaccessible places.
The degree to which you overreact to information will be in inverse proportion to its accuracy.
Least Credible Sentences:
1. The check is in the mail.
2. The trucks will be on the drop zone.
3. Of course I'll respect you in the morning.
4. I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.
THE LIGHT SIDE
RAF Flight Log
In the RAF it is customary for fighter pilots to fill in a flight log at the end of each sortie. The engineers then check the log to see if the pilot has made any comments about the plane. One such exchange reads :
PILOT : 'cockpit dusty, port engine missing'.
ENGINEER : 'Cockpit cleaned. Port engine cowling removed, engine found'.
USAF Maintenance Logs
Some (supposedly) actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews...
Problem: "Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement."
Solution: "Almost replaced left inside main tyre."
Problem: "Test flight OK, except autoland very rough."
Solution: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."
Problem #1: "#2 Propeller seeping prop fluid."
Solution #1:"#2 Propeller seepage normal."
Problem #2: "#1, #3, and #4 propellers lack normal seepage."
Problem: "The autopilot doesn t."
Signed off: "IT DOES NOW."
Problem: "Something loose in cockpit."
Solution: "Something tightened in cockpit."
Problem: "Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear."
Solution: "Evidence removed..."
Problem: "DME volume unbelievably loud."
Solution: "Volume set to more believable level."
Problem: "Dead bugs on windshield."
Solution: "Live bugs on order."
Problem: "Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent."
Solution: "Cannot reproduce problem on ground."
Problem: "IFF inoperative."
Solution: "IFF inoperative in OFF mode."
Problem: "Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick."
Solution: "That s what they re there for."
Problem: "Number three engine missing."
Solution: "Engine found on right wing after brief search."
Control Tower Time
On some air bases the Air Force is on one side of the field and civilian aircraft use the other side of the field, with the control tower in the middle.
One day on just such a field the tower received a call from an aircraft asking, "What time is it?" The tower responded, "Who is calling?"
The aircraft replied, "What difference does it make?"
The tower replied "It makes a lot of difference. If it is an American Airlines Flight, it is 3 o'clock. If it is an Air Force, it is 1500 hours. If it is a Navy aircraft, it is 6 bells. If it is an Army aircraft, the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 3. If it is a Marine Corps aircraft, it's Thursday afternoon. If it's National Guard, it's still a couple of hours until quitting time."
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, killed by the US Army Air Corps. So much for allies.
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%.
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.
11. Following a massive naval bombardment 35,000 US and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska. 21 troops were killed in the firefight. It would have been worse if there had been any Japanese on the island.
Back to the Top
Just a note to let those Canadian museums who may be interested know that we're offering for sale/trade a DeHavilland Canada built Grumman Tracker. The aircraft is an ex-RCAF / DND aircraft and is not airworthy but it is complete. The reason for the email is that we'd like to see the aircraft go to a Canadian museum so before offering it on the open market, we're contacting the various groups to inform of the aircraft's availability and that we have a reduced price and flexible purchase options for those museums interested in acquiring the aircraft. Unfortunately we can't donate the aircraft but we will look at all offers including trades and we are willing to work with any museum interested in acquiring this aircraft for their collection. For more information on the Tracker, please see our website at http://www.historicair.com/aircraft/sale/tracker.htm. Please note that the price listed on the ad is not the selling price for Canadian museums. Contact us for the museum price or if you have any questions.
All the best,
Historic Aircraft Company ~ Richmond, BC ~ Canada
I must say that you have a pretty impressive website there!...I was wondering if maybe you could help me?..My name is Tammy Bain, and I live in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. I have a photograph of a young sailor, and I can't seem to get any info on his uniform. The era is WWII. By looking at this photo, do you know anything about it?...The letters are hard to read on the cap, and I orignally thought it was HMCS, but it really doesn't look like a C. It resembles a 4, but I know that it can't be, so I assume it is an A. That would be the Australian Navy. Would you have any idea on the uniform itself?..would he be just a seaman, or is it a uniform that one would wear on leave?...I really am trying to find out if this man is Canadian or not. The reason I am wanting to know this is this photo was in my grandmother's collection and it is possible that this man may be my grandfather, as he is unknown. My mom was adopted in 1943 at the age of seven months. Her mother said that her father was killed overseas, but not sure on the truth of that, as she had told no-one that she was pregnant, and on any documents it said "father unknown". We found my mom's family just 2 years ago, but her biological mom had died in 1975. She had married in 1944, and had 3 boys there after. My mom now knows her brothers!..Anyway, just so I don't write a novel here, any help you could give would be greatly appreciated, as I have not came up with anything concrete. I have sent the photo to lots of people including people in Australia, and they seem to think that it is Australian Navy. Well, not sure if this was the place to write you with inquiries, so hope I didn't bother you too much. Thankyou for your time. By the way, on the back of the original photo, it says "To Ruth, Love Fred"...not that it helps, but what the hay..
JAMES BENTLY FERRIS
I just recovered some neat records from my uncle James Bently Ferris who went through the plan and was killed over the English Channel in Jan 43.I have leather helmit,flight training logs,Navigation instrument with leg straps,meterological training manuals and maps issued for lower mainland B C Ladner and Alberta Claresholm areain 1940.Saw in yesterdays paper that you had some group wanting to do a documentory so would be glad to offer any info you don't have.
Regards Clare Ferris Wawanesa
LAC WILLIAM GRAVES
I am researching into my late father's RAF war service record.I came across your website and hoped that you might be able to provide some general background information on the CATP and point me in the direction of some other possible research sources.
My father was LAC William Graves.He was a rigger I believe and from the brief service record details I have, he served in Canada during 1943.The photo I attach only has the brief details "Service Squadron-Port Albert" on it.
I thought you might like to have the photo as part of your museum's collection and also in the "hope" that someone who sees it might be able to impart some background information.
Thank you for your time.I enjoyed visiting your site and learning more about all the Commonwealth servicemen who trained in Canada.
Do you guys have anything on the RAF/RCAF and Burma
We need more web sites like yours so sons and daughters such a myself can learn about their parents actions in the WW2.
1. my sister has my dad's log
2. my mother has all the correspondence between him and his parents in moose jaw
3. he was the only son with 3 sisters
If you like I could see if they want to donate them
AIR GUNNER F/S HARRY HANSELL
We have just completed a website honouring the memory of Air Gunner Flight Sergeant Harry Hansell RCAF, who died in a Halifax bomber over Germany in 1943. His very personal story was in many ways typical of hundreds of Canadian boys, yet his father the Honorable Ernest G. Hansell M.P. was able to determine many details of his war service that often were never known by families who lost sons or husbands under similar circumstances. HARRY'S STORY can be read at
Terry & Barry Dickieson
Please see Web site www.wardocuments.com . The First True Size Color Prints of Allied Copy of the Instrument of Surrender Document are available. A photographic time line of the Japanese Surrender Ceremony is also shown under the Walter Fithian Collection.
James K. Mitchell, Jr.
President-Historical Document Reproduction, Inc.
Telephone (409) 381-8555
JOE HICKS AND THE BATTLE FOR EUROPE
I wonder whether you would be interested in including a link to one of my web pages in your CATP web site. My web page, titled "Joe Hicks & the Battle for Europe," resulted from my discover of a postcard mailed from ITS#2 in Regina in 1940.
Read the article about Joe that I wrote for the Thunder Bay Museum Society. The article, in PDF format, can be found at http://www.ingraham.ca/bob/~IMAGES/Joe_Hicks_article.pdf
A Navy Corpsman Goes to War: With 3/1 in Vietnam — A web site about HM3 Bob Ingraham's tour of duty with the Marines:
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