Tag Archives: WW2

Honor A Local Veteran Today


These people are from Parsons Kansas, and are just a few veterans from my small town. I’m sure there are many more local veterans worth featuring. Parsons will always remember Cpl. Daniel Cox, killed in Afghanistan’s Wardak province in 2009.

Ron Phillips

Ron Phillips, 14th Air Force

My name is Ronald M. Phillips (Ron) and as I write this in Feb. 2012 I am within three months of turning 90. That means that I am a Veteran of WW-II, and I was drafted only a few months after the Pearl Harbor disaster at the age of 19. After my entry into the U.S. Military I managed to carefully observe the opportunities on the company bulletin board. By taking advantage of those opportunities I moved from Buck Private rank to that of “O” three, meaning–“Captain”, in the U.S. Air Corps. (which later became the U.S. Air Force.) After entering, and graduating, from the Airplane & Engine school in Glendale, CA, I entered the Aviation Cadet training center in San Antonio, TX and about a year later I graduated as a 2nd Lt. Fighter Pilot in Moore Field, McAllen TX. That put me into a ‘combat-ready’ status so I ended up being sent to China to join General Chennault’s 14th Air Force “Flying Tigers”. The “Tigers” by then, were known world-wide because of their record. In the nine months before Pearl Harbor they were known only as The A.V.G., or the “American Volunteer Group”. There were only one hundred of them to begin with. They were flying the previously used, beat-up old P-40 Warhawks, and had shot down 297 Japanese aircraft with a loss of only 12 of ours. I don’t believe that record was ever broken.

After Pearl Harbor the AVG became “The Fourteenth Air Force”, under the tutelage of Brig. Gen. Clair Lee Chennault, and that’s when I joined the Fourteenth Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group Flying Tigers. ~Ronald M. Phillips

Leon Crooks

Sgt. Leon Crooks (left) Rome, 1944

It took 66 years for Leon Crooks to be awarded a Bronze Star for his World War II service, including an act of heroism that saved the lives of around 30 soldiers.

Crooks served in Company B, Second Chemical Mortar Battalion, also known as the Red Dragon Battalion, which dates back to Aug. 17, 1917, in the first World War. It was the first chemical battalion in the U.S. ranks. Crooks had a total of 511 days in combat. This unit tied with one other unit for the number of days on the front line in the European theater of operations.

The Bronze Star award recognizes Crooks’ entire military service, from June 22, 1943, to Sept. 18, 1945, but focuses on an action on Feb. 12, 1944, after the end of the first Battle of Cassino in Italy against German and Italian forces.
The lull in fighting had provided the Allies and opportunity to relieve and replace war-weary troops, and First Sgt. Crooks and his driver, T/5 Herbert Aram were asked to move to the rear echelons to pick up replacements and bring back PFC Norman Gearhart and PFC James Egoff.

Leon Crooks receives the Bronze Star

The Germans opened up with 88mm guns, shelling members of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, whose gear had been loaded on a mule train.

“I was talking to my driver, and I said, ‘A lot of men are going to die out there today unless we do something’,” Crooks said. “The driver said, ‘If you get a truck, I’ll drive’.”

They got a 3/4 ton weapons carrier and, making three trips under German fire, transported the New Zealand soldiers to safety.

“We’d pull up, I’d get out and load the guys up, and when we got all we could handle, we’d drive back to the aid station, which was not too far behind us,” Crooks said. “Then we went back for our men.”

The driver was injured during the rescue. Crooks said that Aram didn’t even realize it at first.

“He said, ‘Sarge, I  think I’ve been hit,’ and a piece of shrapel had got him in the arm,” Crooks said. “I was pretty lucky, I never did get hit.”

David R. Larsen

Dave Larsen (Navy Cross) left
Charlie Vance (Bronze Star)

David Larsen is a Navy Cross Recipient, for extraordinary heroism on 2 August 1969.

GMG3 Larsen was serving as a gunner’s mater mate aboard PBR 775 which was part of a two-boat night waterborne guard post stationed on the upper Saigon River. Operating in conjunction with the patrol, a six-man ambush team, which was providing bank security for the guard post, engaged four enemy soldiers who were part of an estimated 35 to 50-man force that returned the contact with accurate rocker fire, killing or critically wounding all but one member of the six-man ambush team. One man from the team managed to call for the PBR crewmen’s help. Armed with a machine gun and several ammunition belts, Larsen hastened to the assistance of the ambush team. As he led his small force ashore, he saw three enemy soldiers about to overrun the friendly position. He immediately rushed toward them, firing his machine gun, and single-handedly tu rned back the enemy assault, killing at least one of the enemy. Larsen then maintained a one-man perimeter defensive position and, although under continuous enemy fire, succeeded in discouraging further enemy attacks until additional help arrived. Later, armed with three different weapons, Larsen was the first man to take his post on the perimeter established to provide security for the medical evacuation helicopter. By his extremely courageous one-man assault in the face of direct enemy fire, Larsen was responsible for saving the lives of three fellow servicemen, and for protecting his shipmates as they administered aid to the wounded. His valiant and inspiring efforts reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

Charlie Vance of Portland, Ore., was there that August night, and earned a Bronze Star.

“I brought out ammo and helped bring the wounded back,” said Vance, a former petty officer.

He said Larsen was an unlikely candidate for heroics, but he rose to the occasion.

“He was just a quiet old farm boy and he took in an M-60, and he was the first one off the boat,” Vance said of Larsen. “He actually saved lives.”

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Stealing the General’s Jeep


Patch of the USAAF 14th Air Force (World War II)

Image via Wikipedia

I’m posting this because the guy who’s titled FLYING TIGERS – 14th AIR FORCE, is my Uncle Ron.

Ron is a native of southeast Kansas, Born in Oswego Kansas and lived in Parsons, KS for many years. Also, it’s a short WW2 story that’s never been told until this video was made!

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WWII Gas Ration Stamps


Of course, this blog being mediocre, as it is, I know nothing about these stamps. I believe them to be what the title says,  and presumedly for farm use only, but I’m not even sure where I got these.

With gas at $4:00 a gallon, it may as well be rationed. No joy-riding for this poor boy! ~Anybody else know anything about these?

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Out of Auschwitz by Samuel Pisar


SIXTY-FIVE years ago this week, the Soviets liberated Auschwitz, while the Americans were approaching Dachau. For a survivor of these two infernos to still be alive and well, with a new family that has resurrected for me the one I had lost, seems almost unreal. When I entered Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele’s gruesome universe at the age of 13, I measured my life expectancy in days, weeks at the most.

In the early winter of 1944, World War II was coming to an end. But we in the camps knew nothing. We wondered: What is happening in the world outside? Where is God? Where is the pope? Does anyone out there know what is happening here to us? Does anyone even care?

Russia was devastated. Britain had its back against the wall. And America? It was so far away, so divided. How could it be expected to save civilization from the seemingly invincible forces of darkness?

It took a long time for the news of the American-led invasion of Normandy to slip into Auschwitz. There were also rumors that the Red Army was advancing quickly on the eastern front. With the ground shrinking under their feet, the Nazis were becoming palpably nervous. The gas chambers spewed fire and smoke as never before.

One gray, frosty morning, our guards ordered those of us still capable of slave labor to line up and marched us out of the camp. We were to be shunted westward, from Poland into Germany. I was beside myself with excitement — and dread. Salvation somehow seemed closer — yet we also knew that we could be killed at any moment. The goal was to hang on a little longer. I was almost 16 now, and I wanted to live.

We marched from camp to camp, day and night, until we and our torturers began to hear distant explosions that sounded like artillery fire. One afternoon we were strafed by a squadron of Allied fighter planes that mistook our column for Wehrmacht troops. As the Germans hit the dirt, their machine guns blazing in all directions, someone near me yelled, “Run for it!” I kicked off my wooden clogs and sprinted into the forest. There I hid, hungry and cold, for weeks, until I was discovered by a group of American soldiers. The boys who brought me life were not much older than I. They fed me, clothed me, made me a mascot of their regiment and gave me my first real taste of freedom.

Today, the last living survivors of the Holocaust are disappearing one by one. Soon, history will speak about Auschwitz with the impersonal voice of researchers and novelists at best, and at worst in the malevolent register of revisionists and falsifiers who call the Nazi Final Solution a myth. This process has already begun.

And it is why those of us who survived have a duty to transmit to humankind the memory of what we endured in body and soul, to tell our children that the fanaticism and violence that nearly destroyed our universe have the power to enflame theirs, too. The fury of the Haitian earthquake, which has taken more than 200,000 lives, teaches us how cruel nature can be to man. The Holocaust, which destroyed a people, teaches us that nature, even in its cruelest moments, is benign in comparison with man when he loses his moral compass and his reason.

After so much death, a groundswell of compassion and solidarity for victims — all victims, whether from natural disasters, racial hatred, religious intolerance or terrorism — occasionally manifests itself, as it has in recent days.

These actions stand in contrast to those moments when we have failed to act; they remind us, on this dark anniversary, of how often we remain divided and confused, how in the face of horror we hesitate, vacillate, like sleepwalkers at the edge of the abyss. Of course, they remind us, too, that we have managed to stave off the irrevocable; that our chances for living in harmony are, thankfully, still intact.

Samuel Pisar, a lawyer, is the author of “Of Blood and Hope.”

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Old Soldier Ink Sketch


ink

 This IS JUNK! – I was at an estate sale and the family had an old leather briefcase that had old papers in it. The former owner had been an accountant at one time and there were old ledgers and things stuffed in the briefcase. The family was going to throw away the whole lot, so I took it home and looked through it. This very old ink drawing was tucked into one of the ledgers. Being very brittle and torn around the edges, I had it framed into an old worn out frame to match. It appears to be either a WWI or early WWII soldier. It is signed “Cook”.

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