When we think of the U.S. Marine Corps and World War II we all too often think of grand amphibious assaults at places like Tarawa or Iwo Jima. Rarely do we consider that the U.S. Marine Corps was, and is, more than a bunch of highly trained light infantry. So on this year's Memorial Day I would like to remind our readers of a few of the U.S. Marine Corps stunning Second World War aviation accomplishments.
On January 16, 2014 former Imperial Japanese Army Intelligence Officer Hiroo Onoda passed away in Tokyo at age 91. Onoda, a veteran of the Second World War, had an otherwise unremarkable wartime service record but for what he did after the Japanese September 1945 surrender to the Allies.
In December of 1944 Onoda had been ordered to Lubang Island in the Philippines (which the Japanese had taken from the U.S. in 1942). In October of 1944 U.S.
Wednesday night an 88 year old WWII veteran named Delbert Belton was attacked and beaten by two teenagers outside the Eagles Lodge in Spokane, Washington. He died Thursday of massive head injuries.
During WWII Belton (see picture) had fought in the Pacific, and survived being shot in the leg during the Battle of Okinawa. That's right, he survived the bloodiest battle of the Pacific Theater of Operations; a nearly three month death match where a U.S.
On February 23, 1945 Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press took perhaps one of the most remembered pictures of World War II: the raising of the US Flag over Iwo Jima's most dominating physical feature - Mount Suribachi. Rosenthal's image was actually of the second flag raising. The first had been done earlier in the morning by men of the 5th Marine Division, but this second raising would be of a larger flag.
On February 19, 1942 the President of the United States issued Executive Order 9066 - the order that set in motion the process whereby 120,000 mostly US citizens of Japanese descent were interned in camps for the remainder of the Second World War. The majority of those interned were natural born US citizens. In addition a significant minority were resident aliens or naturalized citizens. Finally, a small minority were German-American and Italian-American.
Following his arrest U.S. citizen Fred T. Korematsu challenged this order, and had his challenge go all the way to the U.S.
On December 7, 1941 over 350 Japanese aircraft launched from six aircraft carriers hammered US military installations across Oahu, Hawaii. The focal point for their attack was the elements of the US Pacific Fleet then at anchor at the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. This attack killed over 2,400 Americans and sank or damaged eight battleships (with two total losses), three cruisers, three destroyers, some auxiliary ships, and destroyed 183 aircraft. In turn, the Japanese lost 29 aircraft and five midget submarines.
Late last week the USS Iowa (BB-61), the lead ship in the final class of US battleships ever built, began a voyage from Suisun Bay, California that will ultimately end in Los Angeles - where she will serve as a floating museum.
Laid down in June 1940 and commissioned in February 1943 the Iowa weighed in at 45,000 tons, was 887 feet long and included a crew of over 2,750 officers and men. Her potent main armament of nine 16 inch (406mm) guns could rain one ton shells down onto targets over 20 miles away.
Australian and New Zealand warships clearing World War II era munitions from the harbor at Rabaul have found what is believed to be a Japanese midget submarine. The wreck was found sitting upright on the sandy bottom at 180 feet underwater. Rabaul was one of the most important Japanese Naval bases during the War, and the site of sharp combat in January 1942 - when Japanese forces seized the harbor and associated military installations from Australian forces.