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Pennsylvania Memories: Childhood Playmates

 Mar 04, 2020    0    
We would play baking by making mud pies or sift sand. To sift sand, you needed an old window sc ...
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Guardian Angels

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GROWING UP ON THE RAILWAY

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Growing up on the Railway in the 1920's
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A Family of Florida Sharecroppers

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Washing Clothes Recipe

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Washing Clothes Recipe (Given a Young Bride By Her Grandmother)
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Time Moves On

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Paul Revere and His Son

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Legacy of Andrew J. Riley

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Thelma Wenzel A Life Dedicated to Medical Science

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a tornado hitting St. Louis in 1896. "It was on Dolman Street," she said. "Mama knew that the t ...
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Julia Flanagan

 Jan 12, 2005    0    
Photo: Julia and Edward Flanagan
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Pearl Harbor Remembered

 Dec 07, 2019    0    
my sister, Mickey McNulty still remembers the news broadcast blaring from the radio on that fat ...
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The Stranger

 Mar 05, 2015    0    
As my father was driving down the highway, he passed a soldier in uniform hitchhiking home to h ...
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Liberation of Stalag VIIA

 Feb 05, 2009    0    
During WWII, I had a personal interest in the Liberation of Stalag VIIA, both times. I had a lo ...
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Excused Boots

 Apr 07, 2005    0    
It was the winter of his discontent. On the first weekend he couldn't wait to get away from the ...
Thursday 05 February 2009
05 Feb 2009 Posted by RAW Comments: 0 Views: 
VIIA_WATCHTOWER_cx.jpg
During WWII, I had a personal interest in the Liberation of Stalag VIIA, both times. I had a lot of contact with the former POW's as a member of Service Company 25th Tank BN. 14th Armored Division.
VIIA Main Gate #1 and Watchtower

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Liberation of Stalag VIIA


Editors Note: This article was originally published in the April 2005 issue U.S. Legacies Magazine. However, since the author of this story Milton J. Long passed away February 5, 2009, we are republishing this article in his honer and memory.


I had a personal interest in the Liberation of Stalag VIIA, both times. I had a lot of contact with the former POW's as a member of Service Company 25th Tank BN. 14th Armored Division.

The date of the first Liberation of Stalag VIIA was April 29, 1945, and the former POW's will never forget it.

Each tank battalion had four companies of tanks and one service company. My company was the service company for the 25th Tank Battalion. We had the job of servicing all the vehicles and to supply the entire unit with gas, ammo and water. My job was to take the loaded trucks up to where the tanks were located and resupply them with ammo and gas.

I would then take the empty trucks back to the supply points in the read and reload them with gas and ammo and then return to the unit. This was a daily function. Most resupply was done at night so the enemy wouldn't try to stop us.

The vehicles all had names. A company names started with "A" and B companies names started with "B", etc. Service companies vehicles names started with "S." Thus the name of my jeep became "Some Junk." A name it got from the fact that the day I received it, was a day when it didn't want to run. So they towed it back to our maintenance section and corrected the problem. I was upset over the fact that it didn't want to run, so I gave it the name "Some Junk." This became a code word in the tank companies when they needed to be resupplied. They would radio back that they would need "Some Junk." Tonight. The Germans never did figure this out.

This story starts in the Nurnburg area, about April 20th, 1945. My diary isn't exact on this date as we were moving very fast. I remember my service company was providing roving patrols and outpost guard duty, which wasn't any fun. We had two men badly wounded and I almost got blown up by shelling. I had 5 flat tires on my jeep as a result of the fighting.

A Service company was not used for patrols unless there was a special situation requiring it. The reason we were doing this was that they had pulled out our tanks and left a hole in the lines where the enemy could get through if they learned about it. So we placed trucks where the tanks had been and tried to make them look like tanks. Lucky for us, the enemy never learned what we had done.

While on a billeting party, I parked my jeep in front of a building that I wanted to check out to see if it was suitable for the company command post, (CP).

When I came out, I was surprised to find two Germans looking over my jeep. They were just as surprised to see me and for a moment it was a stalemate. I didn't like coming face to face with armed enemy soldiers but since I had been trained to react, that is what I did. I pulled my Tommy Gun up at waist height, took it off of safe and stood my ground. The enemy soldiers had their rifles hung over their shoulders and it did not appear that they were ready to fight.

I put my finger on the trigger and waited. The Germans said something to each other that I couldn't understand. They started to take their rifles off their shoulders and I thought, "This was it." The one German could speak English and he said, "You in 14th Panzer Division?"

To that, I replied, "Yes."

"Do you always feed German Prisoners before they are locked up?" the German asked.

I replied, "We try to feed them if it is possible." The German said, "We surrender, the war is over." With that comment, they took off their steel helmets and tossed them to the ground. This was always a signal to us that they didn't want to fight anymore. They unloaded their rifles and leaned them against the jeep. They put their hands behind their head.

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PFC. Milton J. Long, a jeep driver with service company 25th, is pictured with two German Soldiers that he captured. They are aitting on the hood of his jeep, which he named "Some Junk."


I was surprised but I ordered them to empty their pockets onto the hood of the jeep, which they did. I put a bandage on the arm of one of the soldiers because he had been wounded. Then I drove them back to the company where they received a hot meal prior to the time the MP'S picked them up.

The problem was that the MP'S would pick them up at about 1730 hours (5:30 PM) and by the time they were processed and arrived at the POW compound, it was late and they wouldn't get fed until the next morning. So, the 14th Division had a policy that if the enemy soldier would surrender without a fight, we would feed them prior to their being taken to the rear. This saved a lot of lives. Sometimes our men played games with them, however, not wanting to guard the Germans, they at times would not let them surrender until late in the day. When the Germans would wave a white flag, there were times that our troops would shoot off the staff that held the flag.

April 23rd, we were transferred to Patton's 3rd Army and we met him on the road. He didn't like the sand bags on our tanks and ordered them removed, which made the tankers unhappy.

My part in the Liberation of VIIA started on the 27th of April. We were sent back to the Quartermaster to draw rations to feed the POW's. We unloaded several trucks and filled them with 10 in 1 rations. These were better than C or K rations. Designed for use by tankers, they contained two meals for five (5) men (tank crew). We also picked up some white bread that was supposed to be for a general officers mess.

Back at Moosburg, we were in the city and not sure if we would get to the camp that day. T/4 Charles Brix and I found out that the twin church steeples could be seen from the camp.

We decided to replace a German flag on one of the steeples with an American flag. Keep in mind the flag pole had been placed there by the Germans and to make the job rough, they had cut the rope off and tied it to the pole about 10 feet from the bottom. Well, I didn't want to die by falling off the steeple so Brix said he would shinny up the pole and do the job. Keep in mind he was about half drunk from drinking Schnapps.

Well, I had a flag that my folks had sent me to put up in Berlin, so Brix took the flag and worked his way up the pole. He lowered the Nazi flag and replaced it with the American flag and slid back down the pole. He asked me how that looked, and I told him it looked ok except it was upside down. He said a few words and back up the pole he went. He corrected the error and slid back down.

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Exuberant Ex-Kriegies join the 14th Atmored Liberators on the tank to crash through the front gate on April 29, 1945. The Krigies, next to the soldier is A.P. Clark, R.M. Stillman, and E.F. Schupp. In the back row 2nd from left is PFC Milton Long. This is the proudest day of WWII for the men of the 14th armored division and General George S. Patton, Jr.

He asked me if I heard the bees while he was up on the pole, and I said that I didn't think there were any bees around. About that time a bullet hit the pole and tore a hole in the blue area of the flag. We both knew the bees he had heard were Germans shooting at him. We made record time getting down out of the steeple, I want you to know, and Brix was stone sober.

As a note about the flag, I mentioned this at our reunion a few years back and wouldn't you know I received a package in the mail that contained that flag. The soldier that ended up taking it down sent it to me. It is now a part of my Moosburg display.

Back at the camp I was told that they saw the flag and a dry eye was hard to be found. A cheer had gone up when the POW's saw the flag.

On Liberation Day, the tank that went thru the gate was swarmed over by the POW's. When I got inside the compound I found the former POW's were hungry for news from back home. I received copies of the Wooster Daily Record, my hometown in Ohio, and they came through in bundles. I had several bundles that I had not read so I gave them to the POW's.

One copy ended up in a tent and the soldier reading it said to his buddy, "You're from Ohio, I have an Ohio paper for you to read. "

This soldier was Harold Mahler. He looked at the paper and started to cry. He looked at the address stamped on the paper and said, "That is my hometown and the fellow that it was sent to was a friend of mine. My girlfriend Midge Blough and I double dated with his Milton's sister Jean Long and her boyfriend Ohmer Calhoun. What do you think the chances are that you would get a hometown paper on Liberation Day in Germany?"

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VIIA POW'S waiting to depart at Landshute Air Base

As a passing note, Harold Mauler returned home and went to the Defense Plant where my dad worked and told him the story of the Wooster Daily Record he had received on Liberation Day.

Some didn't realize that General Patton wasn't there on the 29th of April and that's ok. We in the 14th Armored know the truth about this. Patton was down in Bavaria looking for the Nazi Redoubt on Ike's orders and thus he was not present for the Liberation of VIIA. He told our general not to wait for his return to liberate the POW compound. His fear was that the Nazi guards might kill the POW's as Hitler had ordered.

He arrived at Moosburg on April 30th, and was unhappy that he wasn't present for the Liberation. So he had us pull the gate back up and they got some Germans to stand outside the gate with empty rifles, and he proceeded to liberate the POW compound again. The signal corp. photographers took the pictures on May 1st and spliced the film on to the one they took on the 29th so it looked like Patton was present on Liberation Day. The POW's were so happy to see the General that it didn't matter to them that they were liberated again. General Patton took a tour of VIIA and the conditions under which they had lived. There were 110,000 happy former POW's that day.

The trucks that I had with me that were loaded with food were parked just outside the compound. We were told not to give the POW's any rations because it might make them sick. Well I told a captain that I was going to chow and asked him if he would guard the trucks that were loaded with rations. He agreed to do his best. When I came back, the captain and the rations were gone.

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VIIA POW'S departing from Landshute Air Base

We raised several flags that day and you could see the flags of a lot of nations flying. The one I had put up on the 29th, on the gate, one guard tower was replaced by a much larger one provided by General Patton.

Among the former POW's we met that day were the ones Patton had lost on his failed trip to Hammelburg. Task Force Braum left the American lines on March 26th, to liberate the POW camp at Hammelburg, with 53 vehicles and 294 men. All the vehicles were destroyed or captured. All the men were either killed or captured. In the Liberation try, LTC John Waters, Patton's son-in-law, was wounded. Patton always said he didn't know that LTC Waters was in the camp. We had the chance to meet the men of this task force and to talk to them about their experience.

Over the next few days we hauled the former POW's to the Landshute Airfield. They flew hundreds of C-47's in to fly out the former POW's on their first leg of the trip back home. As a side note, I wish to say this was the proudest moment for the 14th Armored Division in WWII. Our men gave the POW's guns, cameras and pistols so they could take them home. They gave them anything they had that was of interest to them.

While I was sitting in my jeep, an Aircorp Captain came up and shook my hand and thanked me for being a part of the Liberation. He said the only thing that would make this a perfect day would be to have a bottle of Coke to drink. I told him "Captain, this is your lucky day cause I have here a package from home that contains a bottle of Coke." My folks sent me two bottles of Coke every week while I was overseas. I opened it and he drank it very slowly. He looked on the bottom and it read Wooster, Ohio. He told me he was from Barberton, just 30 miles from Wooster. So I told him I wanted him to take the Coke bottle back home with him and when he had a chance to take it to the Coke factory in Wooster and tell them where he had gotten it. He did this and for a long time they had it on display along with a picture of the Captain.

They took all the trucks they could find and used them to haul the POW's to the airport. One morning when we were lined up, a British officer saw all the trucks and said "the bloody Americans are fighting the bluming war with loories."

You don't know how precious your freedom is until you don't have it any more. The former POW's help me appreciate the fact that freedom isn't free. This was a great day for the 14th Armored Division and the former POW's.



The Liberation of Stalag VIIA

by Milton J. Long


Originaly published in the April 2005 issue U.S. Legacies Magazine
Thursday 06 January 2005
06 Jan 2005 Posted by srEDITOR Comments: 0 Views: 
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After landing in Normandy, I saw men die in brutal ways. Some were instantly killed by mortar blasts. Others were shot. Some lingered for a last few moments of life before slipping away. One killed himself with morphine that was left untended.

After Landing in Normandy
The Don McKee Story



By Christopher Gosier






This photo of Don McKee was taken at a veterans' cemetery in the mid 1990s, while delivering a speech during the dedication of a memorial plaza in Frederick County, MD.




The men died in various brutal ways. Some were instantly killed by mortar blasts. Others were shot. Some lingered for a last few moments of life before slipping away. One killed himself with morphine that was left untended a mistake that might have brought a serious reprimand in a place less filled with random, ubiquitous death.


Don McKee left the University of Michigan for this French farmland where the dead were carried off by day and the living slept at night in shallow pits that they dug like graves. He bandaged the wounded and sometimes retrieved them from the wide-open fields where they lay punctured by enemy bullets. He would walk carefully into the fields, an unarmed medic, hoping the enemy soldiers on the other side would decide to heed the rules of war and hold their fire. Sometimes they didn’t.
Saturday 07 December 2019
07 Dec 2019 Posted by srEDITOR Comments: 0 Views: 
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my sister, Mickey McNulty still remembers the news broadcast blaring from the radio on that fateful Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941. It was two pm in the small Brooklyn apartment but only 8 am at Pear Harbor, Hawaii.
Wartime Memories: Pearl Harbor Remembered

Originally Published by U.S. Legacies: April 2005

Image of Mickey McNulty age 4

Although only three years old at the time, my sister, Mickey McNulty still remembers the news broadcast blaring from the radio on that fateful Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941. It was two pm in the small Brooklyn apartment but only 8 am at Pear Harbor, Hawaii.

"We interrupt this broadcast to bring you this important bulletin from the United Press," the newsman said.

"Flash! Washington! The White House announces Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor."
Thursday 05 March 2015
05 Mar 2015 Posted by srEDITOR Comments: 0 Views: 
disabledvet1c.jpg
As my father was driving down the highway, he passed a soldier in uniform hitchhiking home to his family. Deep in grief, my father had no inclination at that moment to do a good deed. Yet it was almost as if something outside himself pulled him to a stop,
Wartime Memories: The Stranger
By Chaplain Robinson


U.S. Legacies: March 2005

In 1949, my father had just returned home from the war. On every American highway you could see soldiers in uniform hitchhiking home to their families, as was the custom at that time in America. Sadly, the thrill of his reunion with his family was soon overshadowed. My grandmother became very ill and had to be hospitalized. It was her kidneys, and the doctors told my father that she needed a blood transfusion immediately or she would not live through the night.
Thursday 07 April 2005
07 Apr 2005 Posted by RAW Comments: 0 Views: 
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It was the winter of his discontent. On the first weekend he couldn't wait to get away from the camp and decided to investigate the town. He had no appreciation for the old magnificent architecture and was totally unimpressed with his new surroundings. To

Excused Boots


By Bill Hawksford


U.S. Legacies: April 2005

Out of genuine respect for the hardworking friendly, warm people of Yorkshire, Billy sincerely hopes that his observations of Halifax will not be offensive.

The Halifax RASC camp was located at Ovenden Park which was a few miles north of the town. In 1947, the scene was like a really old black and white movie, completely devoid of color. (The scene at the Halifax RASC camp in 1947, which was located at Ovenden Park a few miles north of the town, was like a really old black and white movie, completely devoid of colour.) The soot from the nearby industry blanketed the whole area, and everything including the hills overlooking the camp and the grass in the park, were the same muddy gray color. The dark stonewalls separating the fields contributed to the stark scene, and the dampness from the fine misty drizzle penetrated his bones.
Tuesday 07 December 2004
07 Dec 2004 Posted by srEDITOR Comments: 0 Views: 
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The end for him was near, he could sense it. It was December 1944, in Neiderbroon, France, a time that would later be named the Battle of the Bulge.
Photo of KARL M. WEST, PVT 253 INF 63 DIV
Published by U.S. Legacies Dec 04



Wartime Memories: A Life Cut Short
The Story of Karl Marion West
Written by Leslie Nelson based on interviews with his sister, Hazel, and his own letters to his wife



The winter wind was biting but the soldier did not notice the cold. The pain all that his mind could focus on. The end for him was near, he could sense it. It was December 1944, in Neiderbroon, France, a time that would later be named the Battle of the Bulge. Some 80,000 soldiers lost their lives here. Karl Marion West was one of them.

As he lay there in the snow, his clothes wet and his body rendered immobile by the pain, his eyes tightly closed, his nostrils assaulted by the smell of death. Fear threatened to overcome him, and he struggled to keep control. His years of boxing had taught him to steel himself against the pain, to think in spite of it and yet the pain in the ring was never like this. Then like waking from a nightmare, the pain, the sounds, and the stench stopped.
Thursday 12 August 2004
12 Aug 2004 Posted by srEDITOR Comments: 0 Views: 
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Dad only fought in those steamy jungles in that exotic land for about three months before he was shot in the left hand by a .25 caliber Japanese bullet.
Wartime Memories: My Daddy's Heart

Three years after my daddy died, he was issued one of the most prestigious honors a soldier can receive, the Purple Heart. During World War II, my father, Dalton F. Williams, began his military enlistment in a Cavalry unit, but was transferred to the 475th Infantry when the need arose. In the fall of 1944, he was shipped to the Asiatic-Pacific where his company joined forces in Burma with a group of men known as Merrill's Marauders. The new brigade-sized unit was renamed the Mars Task Force.
Wednesday 23 June 2004
23 Jun 2004 Posted by srEDITOR Comments: 0 Views: 
Woody2a.jpg
During WWII, I couldn't stop the tears when I saw my ship disappear under the water, but just then I felt the shark bump against me. I reached out a hand and tried to push him away.
Wartime Memories: My Island Tour
by E.C.Woodward

Published by U.S. Legacies June 2004

I joined the navy while still in high school in Minnesota. It seemed to me they took too long to call me up so I signed up again. This came back to haunt me later. I was sent to boot camp in Idaho. When I finished there, I was sent to CA to San Pedro to work on the USS Callaghan. She was commissioned on Nov 27, 1943, and attached to the Pacific fleet. We sailed to Hawaii for our shake down cruise.
Wednesday 04 February 2004
04 Feb 2004 Posted by srEDITOR Comments: 0 Views: 
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As I recall, it was a Sunday morning when I first got the news on the radio that there was an attack on Pearl Harbor _ I chose my own way to get into the army,
Wartime Memories: Some Of My Army Experiences

Spoken by Stephen Maiden
Transcribed by Melanie Williams


Steve was born in Ohio in 1913. He had three brothers. His mother was a school teacher and his father worked in the steel mines. Steve has lived all over the world, and has many experiences to share.

I was in Baltimore Maryland, and was working in the General office for the Baltimore Railroad. As I recall, it was a Sunday morning when I first got the news on the radio that there was an attack on Pearl Harbor _ I chose my own way to get into the army, and I chose something to do to with transportation since I had a little experience with it.
Wednesday 03 December 2003
03 Dec 2003 Posted by srEDITOR Comments: 0 Views: 
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To Merrill's Marauders in Burma during World War II, he was known as a replacement soldier, a member of the "Mars Task Force." To me, he was just Daddy.

The Replacement Soldier: Pfc. Dalton F. Williams
By: Sandy Williams Driver


His Honorable Discharge states his military occupation as a Trooper (Expert: M-1 rifle). To Merrill's Marauders in Burma during World War II, he was known as a replacement soldier, a member of the "Mars Task Force." To me, he was just Daddy.

Dalton Franklin Williams was born in Dekalb County in Alabama on March 9, 1925 to Frank and Dartha Williams. The family owned a small farm and struggled daily with nature to provide food and clothing for their twelve children.
Tuesday 04 November 2003
04 Nov 2003 Posted by srEDITOR Comments: 0 Views: 
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Although the U.S. flag was flying above the island, the Japanese were far from relinquishing their territory. The battle continued for another 29 days.
Photo of Bill Simpson

Iwo Jima Remembered
By Stuart Simpson


On Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, 23-year old J.W. "Bill" Simpson wasn't worried about much of anything. His mind was far from the growing world conflict that day as he sat in a car parked off Second Street in Monticello, KY, shooting the bull and drinking moonshine with one of his buddies. An announcement on the radio, however, quickly put all the small talk to rest. Word had just reached the states of Japan's military action. Our country would soon officially join in the war effort, and life for Simpson and hundreds of thousands of other young men and women was about to take a drastic turn.

Beginning on October 24, 1942, Simpson spent three years, six months and six days as a signalman with the amphibious troop transport the U.S.S. Thurston, (AP77). From his post above the bridge, he had an unparalleled view of many of his nation¹s bloodiest and most important battles during the war.

Taking part in the invasions of North Africa, Southern France, Sicily, Normandy, and the assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the Thurston and her crew earned seven Battle Stars. This is the story of Simpson's view of one of the most memorable moments of the war.

It was at 6 am on February 19, 1945 that the Thurston began landing operations at Iwo Jima. The invasion of the small Pacific island turned out to be one of the bloodiest and most remembered battles of World War II.

For the next eight days, until Feb. 27 when it got underway for Saipan, the ship and her crew took part in the invasion during the day and retired from the area during the night.

Resistance to the Allied troops was fierce. The nearly 22,000 Japanese defending the island were secured in bunkers, which provided strong resistance to the landing. For U.S. troops, advancing 30 or 40 yards on shore during a day was not uncommon.

The advancing soldiers also found that the sands of Iwo Jima were only a myth. The terrain on the volcanic island was all ash - nothing but ash.
"It was no trouble to dig a foxhole," one Marine said. "You could dig it with your hand."

It was on the third day of fighting that Simpson and many other Thurston crewmembers witnessed one of the most symbolic events of World War II, the raising of the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi.

Suribachi, the highest point on the small island, was near where the Marines had landed. The Thurston held its place just off shore. When the flag was raised and captured in the now-famous photograph, Simpson was at his post near the top of the ship watching. The flag, he says, was raised and lowered a couple of times, apparently for photographers at the ceremony. He later wrote home to his mother that the sight of seeing "our flag" flying atop Mt. Suribachi was one of the most thrilling sights he had ever seen. A sculpture of the flag raising was the basis for the famous sculpture now at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.

Although the U.S. flag was flying above the island, the Japanese were far from relinquishing their territory. The battle continued for another 29 days. In the end, it took the Marines 32 days to finally take control of their eight-square-mile objective. The cost of victory, however, was very heavy. The U.S. suffered 25,852 casualties and nearly 7,000 killed. Almost all of the nearly 22,000 Japanese defending the island were killed.

For the Thurston it was on to Saipan, Guam, Talagi, Espiritu and Ulithi before taking part in the final invasion of the war, Okinawa. The ship arrived at the island on April 9 and withstood a Japanese bomber attack for 17 hours. On April 14, the ship began its return to Saipan.

During the spring of 1945, the crew of the Thurston and the rest of the U.S. forces were preparing for one last invasion on the mainland of Japan at Yokohama. After seeing how the Japanese troops had defended their turf on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, most expected the coming landing to be the bloodiest and deadliest yet. However, a new weapon in the U.S. arsenal made the invasion unnecessary, the atomic bomb.


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Today, retired at age 85, Bill Simpson still has vivid memories of his days on the USS Thurston.

When the U.S. dropped its second atomic bomb on Japan and the country surrendered, the Thurston and her crew had just arrived in San Francisco. The ship was in port there from August 14 until August 25, 1945. With the coming of V-J Day, the war was over. All that was left to do was bring our boys home. The Thurston set out for Eniwetock on August 25.

After a return "Magic Carpet" trip to Manila, Guadalcanal, Espiritu Santo and Noumea in New Caledonia, the ship returned to part in Seattle, Washington, arriving Oct. 17. It was here that Simpson took his leave of the Navy and made his way back home.

Returning to Kentucky, Simpson returned to work in the family newspaper, married Eileen Simpson and raised two sons.

Wartime Memories: Iwo Jima Remembered

Iwo Jima Remembered
© Stuart Simpson
Published by U.S. Legacies: November 2003

Bill Simpson
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THE SLINGSHOT

Jan 05, 2006
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pumping gas june 04

Jun 09, 2004
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A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Feb 03, 2004
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