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Mississippian killed in Pearl Harbor attack returns home after 75 years

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H/T WAPT 16 News.

R.I.P.U.S. Navy Fireman 1st Class Jim H. Johnston. Hand Salute.

 

U.S. Navy Fireman 1st Class Jim H. Johnston killed in attack on USS Oklahoma

http://www.wapt.com/article/mississippian-killed-in-pearl-harbor-attack-returns-home-after-75-years/8470262

 

The body of U.S. Navy Fireman 1st Class Jim H. Johnston has been returned home to Mississippi 75 years after he was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

 The body arrived Tuesday morning at the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport, where a ceremony was held. Johnston’s body was loaded in a hearse and was to escorted from Jackson to Wesson.
jim-h-johnston-1481051962

Johnston was aboard the USS Oklahoma when it was attacked at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, by Japanese dive bombers, torpedo planes and two-man submarines. The USS Oklahoma capsized, killing 429 — the majority of whom were sailors and U.S. Marines. Many of those killed were never identified.

“Initially we didn’t have the technology to identify all the remains, and they were buried in unknown graves on Hawaii,” said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Carol Lynch. “Now, with the technology, we have been able to identify some of the remains. As we were doing that, the Department of Defense has reached out to family members, and as we identify them, we’re giving the opportunity to bring their loved ones home and to have them (buried) closer to home.”

Johnston’s body was identified last year, authorities said.

“That was a big deal for the city of Wesson to have someone that died in Pearl Harbor, and here he is coming home 75 years to the day after he died. That’s a tremendous thing,” said Wesson native Julia Hodges. “He was a redheaded boy and my aunt, Lucille, who was in class (with Johnson), remembers his sweet smile. She went to school with him for 10 years. She only has fond memories of him and his family. It was such a small community. Everybody knew everybody.”

Johnston will be buried Wednesday, on Pearl Harbor Day, at Wesson Cemetery. A graveside service will be held with full U.S. Navy military honors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This WWII Marine was killed in the Pacific Theater. Now, 72 years later, ‘our boy is coming home.’

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H/T Washington Post. 

R.I.P  Pvt. Dale Robert Geddes , Welcome Home, Hand Salute.

Dale Geddes (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency}

Dale Geddes (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency}

Dale Geddes was killed in World War II during the Battle of Tarawa.

It was November 1943. He was 21 years old.

For more than 70 years, Geddes’s remains were buried on the island of Betio, where he was killed. As time passed, it looked as though they might never be found and returned to his family, according to a local newspaper report.

But in 2015, a group told authorities that it had discovered a burial site on that island in the Pacific, according to a news release from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

The remains of several U.S. Marines were recovered at that site. And DNA testing has determined that Geddes was one of them.

“Dale is finally coming home,” Linda Elliott, a grandniece of Geddes,told the Grand Island Independent. “He is coming home to his parents. I know that I speak for the family to say that we are all very happy, very privileged, to witness the wishes of Dale’s parents and Dale’s siblings. Our boy is coming home.”

Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency told The Post in a phone interview that Geddes’s remains were identified through DNA analysis.

“We used mitochondrial DNA, which traces the maternal line,” she said. “So that matched a niece of his.”

Officials also used lab analysis, including dental records, and “circumstantial evidence,” she said.

“All which matched up to his records,” Duus said.

Geddes’s remains weren’t located during a remains recovery operation on the island in the late 1940s, Duus said, and Geddes was declared “non-recoverable.” Then, in 2015, a group called History Flight discovered a burial site on the island. That’s where the remains were located, Duus said.

“In July, they turned those remains over to us,” Duus said. “So he was one of 35 sets of remains that were returned to us last summer.”

The Battle of Tarawa lasted for a few days in November, but in that brief span, thousands were killed or wounded.

The Tarawa atoll, though small, was strategically important to the Americans who captured it. “If American bombers wanted to reach Japan, they would need an air base in the Mariana Islands; to capture the Marianas, they would first need the Marshall Islands; and for the Marshalls, they needed Tarawa,” Wil S. Hylton wrote for the New York Times Magazine in 2013.

The islands were heavily fortified, though. Thousands of Japanese troops had been sent there. Bunkers had been constructed, Hylton wrote, and cannons were on the beaches. The war correspondent Robert Sherrodwas with American forces that November and wrote about what he witnessed when the Marines disembarked.

In his New York Times Magazine piece, Hylton wrote:

They descended into amphibious landing vehicles and raced toward the beach, but the tide was out, and the water was too shallow for their boats. The Marines found themselves stranded on reefs, hundreds of yards offshore, wading through waist-high water as Japanese gunners mowed them down. Those lucky enough to reach the shore crawled through a maze of corpses. “No one who has not been there,” Sherrod wrote, “can imagine the overwhelming, inhuman smell of 5,000 dead who are piled and scattered in an area of less than one square mile.”

Later this month, Geddes will be buried next to his parents at a Nebraska cemetery, according to an online obituary. His family was told that he had died as he was “administering first aid to a buddy who was a fellow Marine,” the obituary states.

Here’s the Grand Island Independent, with more details about what happened:

The Battle of Tarawa took place on Nov. 20 through 23, 1943, as American troops fought to capture the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. About 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed, with another 2,000 wounded.

Geddes died sometime on the first day of the battle.

A March 17, 1944, article in The Grand Island Independent said Geddes “had removed first-aid materials from his kit and was about to bandage his buddy’s wounds when he was hit … probably by the same sniper who wounded his buddy.”

Geddes worked as a newspaper carrier in Grand Island, Neb., and later moved to Wyoming, where he continued to work for a local paper on the business side of the operation, according to the obituary. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves in 1942, according to the Independent.

His burial service is scheduled for Aug. 22.

“We’re glad everyone can finally hear Dale’s story,” Elliott, Geddes’s grandniece, told the Independent. She called the news an “unexpected gift.”

Veterans Day

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To All Veterans I offer the following from my heart.

Thank-you, God Bless You and a Hand Salute.

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Newly identified remains of World War II Marine killed at Tarawa heading home

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This is from Fox News. 

R. I. P. First Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman Hand Salute.       

WWII Remains_Cham640360092515

ept. 24, 2015: United States Marines salute during a ceremony in Honolulu for the departure of 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman’s remains. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

The recently identified remains of a Marine hailed for his bravery in battle are heading home 72 years after he was killed on a remote Pacific atoll during World War II.

First Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman died at age 33 while leading Marines against entrenched Japanese forces during a three-day fight for the strategically important island of Tarawa in 1943. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1947, but his remains weren’t found until earlier this year by a nonprofit organization called History Flight that has been searching for the remains of missing servicemen.

A bugler played taps and a color guard rendered honors for Bonnyman during a departure ceremony on Thursday in Honolulu. Bonnyman’s family plans to lay him to rest Sunday at the same Knoxville, Tennessee, cemetery where his parents were buried.

“I feel I’m carrying on that mission that they started in 1944,” Clay Bonnyman Evans, Bonnyman’s grandson, said of his great-grandparents. “Here we are in 2015. All those years later, it’s being done. He’s going to be buried exactly where they wanted him.”

More than 990 U.S. Marines and 30 sailors died in the Battle of Tarawa. Japanese machine gun fire killed scores of Marines when their boats got stuck on the reef at low tide during the U.S. amphibious assault. Americans who made it to the beach faced brutal hand-to-hand combat.

Only 17 of the 3,500 Japanese troops survived. Of 1,200 Korean slave laborers Japan brought to the island, just 129 lived.

Bonnyman led his Marines over a pier to the beach, where they used flamethrowers and demolitions to destroy installations and attack a bombproof shelter that was protecting about 150 Japanese soldiers. The Marines flushed out more than 100 of the occupants into the open, where they were shot down. Bonnyman killed three attackers before he was mortally wounded. The U.S. secured the island the day Bonnyman died.

His Medal of Honor citation noted his “dauntless fighting spirit, unrelenting aggressiveness and forceful leadership through three days of unremitting, violent battle.” It said he “inspired his men to heroic effort, enabling them to beat off the counterattack and break the back of hostile resistance.”

The U.S. quickly buried the thousands of dead on the tiny atoll, about 2,400 miles southwest of Hawaii. But the graves were soon disturbed as the Navy urgently built a landing strip to prepare to attack the next Pacific island on their path to Japan.

Bonnyman was among 36 unidentified servicemen the group History Flight exhumed in Tarawa in the Republic of Kiribati earlier this year. The remains were brought to Hawaii for identification in July.

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Monday it had identified Bonnyman using dental records and other evidence.

Terrorism

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Hat Tip To Old NFO@Nobody Asked Me. 

There is a petition linked to in the post Please add your name and help spread the word about the petition.

Semper Fidelis, R. I. P. Devil Dogs   Hand Salute.

 

Flag-at-half-mast

 

It’s time to STOP making bases and other facilities ‘soft’ targets for shooters…

The only GOOD point is the SOB that shot them is dead! Too bad the CPD didn’t get him before he got there.

Semper Fi Marines!

There is a We the People petition now online HERE to get rid of the stupid directive put in place by Bill Clinton in 1992 that prevents the military from protecting themselves…

We petition an immediate and full revocation of Department of Defense Directive 5210.66 and all pursuant military service regulations restricting the rights of DoD / Military personnel in regards to firearms.

DoD Directive 5210.66 restricts all DoD personnel from exercising the right to bear arms while on a DoD installation unless it is expressly written into their job duties. This Directive (and pursuant service regulations) effectively prohibit service members from carrying a concealed firearm for self defense.

DoD Directive 5210.66 restricts our highly trained service members from access to their firearms when it is most needed. In its place a new directive should be authored allowing a “Shall Issue” concealed carry weapon permit system to be established for all DoD personnel.

FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

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This is by Kelly Strong@VietVet.com. 

We must remember for freedom the military pays the price with broken bodies, minds and souls and some pay the ultimate price with their lives.

I say Thank-you, May God Bless you and I offer a Hand Salute.

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He’d stand out in any crowd.

I thought, how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?

How many Pilots’ planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, Freedom is not free.

I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant “Amen”
When a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
at the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, Freedom isn’t free!!

Memorial Day: Remembering Loyce Deen Of Altus, Oklahoma

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This is from Western Journalism.

R. I. P. Loyce Deen Gods Speed. Hand Salute.

Loyce Deen is gone, but his deeds and memory lives on.

gvpennysaver.com

A man who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country during World War II.

I’ve written in the past about how my Pop carried with him a haunting memory from his time aboard the aircraft carrier Essex in World War II. Anti-aircraft fire had killed a turret gunner during a sortie. Pop, whose job it was to repair and prepare planes for the next mission, went up to inspect the plane as soon as it landed and saw the gunner’s body. At Pop’s recommendation, the captain of the Essex gave the order to bury the man in the plane in which he had given his life for his country. This burial at sea was unique. It was the only time during World War II that a valuable plane was ordered to be used as a coffin.

The burial itself was filmed and included in the 1950s series, “Victory at Sea.” Pop saw it for the first time when it was rebroadcast 20-25 years ago. Seeing that on the Essex dredged up disturbing memories of what Pop had seen on that long-ago day, and for years afterward he would retell that vivid story many nights after consuming copious quantities of Jim Beam.

The story didn’t end for me with Pop’s passing in 1999, because several years later, I stumbled onto a website about the airman who was buried in his plane. Suddenly, I knew many more details. His name was Loyce Edward Deen of Altus, Oklahoma. The fatal flight took place on November 5, 1944 in the Battle of Manila. The three-crew plane was the Grumman TBM (torpedo bomber) V-15.

The website provides interesting and touching details about the young Oklahoman. Loyce was his parents’ seventh child. He was followed four years later by one last sibling, a brother with Down’s Syndrome. Loyce was very close to his kid brother, who sadly died when Loyce was in eighth grade. Three years later, his mom had a stroke. Loyce helped care for her until she passed away about a month later.

In 1942, Loyce joined the Navy. On October 24, 1944, his foot was wounded by shrapnel in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Heroically, he simply wrapped his foot and continued to fight on both the 24th and 25th. At the end of the month, Loyce had the option of recuperating on a hospital ship until his foot mended, but he insisted on staying with his two crewmates, pilot Lt. Robert Cosgrove and Radioman Digby Denzek. Character, courage, loyalty and love—Loyce Deen had them in spades. It was people like him who made the USA great.

The next week, at the age of 23, Loyce was killed instantly when [this is graphic folks, so you may wish to skip to the next paragraph] anti-aircraft fire decapitated him. It was that jarring, gruesome image that haunted my Pop. One memorable detail is the stoicism of Loyce’s crewmates. Denzek reported to Cosgrove over the intercom that “Deen was hit bad.” “Hit bad”—what a compassionate and wise euphemism. Denzek didn’t want to grieve or distract Cosgrove with the 24-year-old pilot already facing the nerve-wracking task of flying a damaged aircraft two anxious hours back to the Essex.

I feel like I knew Loyce Deen, even though our lifespans didn’t overlap and I’ve never met anyone who knew him. “Knowing” him has made a significant difference in my life. The most important male relatives in my life all saw combat in either World War II or Vietnam, but (thank you, Lord) none were killed in action, so for me, Memorial Day was always more of a general than a specific remembrance. That all changed when I found the Loyce Deen website. My Memorial Days are now fuller and more meaningful than before because Loyce crossed paths with Pop.

I‘m sure the descendants of Loyce’s brothers and sisters know what a good man and great hero their great-uncle was. Through this article, I hope many more people will know about him. On Memorial Day 2015, this solemn, reverential holiday, may all patriotic Americans honor the memory of tens of thousands of America’s best—people like Loyce Deen—who gave their lives that we and countless others might live in liberty. God bless them all.

Airmen Missing from WWII Finally Accounted For

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This is from Freedom OutPost.

These brave men’s families now have closure and know their loved ones are being properly buried.

R. I. P. Valiant Warriors, Gods Speed and Hand Salute.

 

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced yesterday that the remains of U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 1st Lts. William D. Bernier of Augusta, Montana; Bryant E. Poulsen of Salt Lake City, Utah; Herbert V. Young Jr. of Clarkdale, Arizona and Tech Sgts. Charles L. Johnston of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Hugh F. Moore of Elkton, Maryland and Staff Sgts. John E. Copeland of Dearing, Kansas; Charles J. Jones of Athens, Georgia; and Sgt. Charles A. Gardner of San Francisco, California, have been accounted for and buried with full military honors. Jones will be buried Feb. 28 in Athens, Georgia and Johnston will be buried March 2 in Arlington National Cemetery. On March 18, there will be a group burial service at Arlington National Cemetery honoring Poulsen, Copeland and the other crew members. Bernier was buried Sept. 19, 2014, in his hometown. Young was buried Oct. 15, 2014, in Prescott, Arizona Moore was buried on Nov. 11, 2014, in his hometown. Gardner was buried on Dec. 4, 2014 in Arlington National Cemetery.

On April 10, 1944, 12 B-24D Liberator crew members took off from Texter Strip, Nazdab Air Field, New Guinea, on a mission to attack an anti-aircraft site at Hansa Bay. The aircraft was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire over the Madang Province, New Guinea. Four of the crewmen were able to parachute from the aircraft, but were reported to have died in captivity.

Following World War II, the Army Graves Registration Service (AGRS) conducted investigations and recovered the remains of three of the missing airmen. In May 1949, AGRS concluded the remaining nine crew members were unrecoverable.

In 2001, a U.S.-led team located wreckage of a B-24D that bore the tail number of this aircraft. After several surveys, DoD teams excavated the site and recovered human remains and non-biological material evidence.

To identify Jones’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including, mitochondrial DNA, which matched Jones’ maternal niece.

To identify Johnston’s remains, scientists from DPAA and AFDIL used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including, mitochondrial DNA, which matched Johnston’s maternal cousins.

To identify Gardner’s remains, scientists from DPAA and AFDIL used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including, mitochondrial DNA, which matched Gardner’s maternal niece and nephew.

To identify Young’s remains, scientists from DPAA and AFDIL used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including, mitochondrial DNA, which matched Young’s sister.

To identify Moore’s remains, scientists from DPAA and AFDIL used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including, mitochondrial DNA, which matched Moore’s niece and grand-niece.

To identify Bernier’s remains, scientists from DPAA and AFDIL used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including, mitochondrial DNA, which matched Bernier’s cousins.

To account for Poulsen and Copeland, scientists from DPAA used circumstantial evidence that placed them on the aircraft and accounted for as them as part of the group.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.milor call 703-699-1169.
Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/03/airmen-missing-from-wwii-finally-accounted-for/#xXySyhIrPmG28oOM.99

Navy Vet Spots Purse-Snatching Punk Knocking 76-Year-Old Woman to the Ground — and Issues the Punk a Painful Lesson

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This is from The Blaze.

I want to offer a Hand Salute to Navy vet Kendrick Taylor and say Thank-you and God Bless You.

 

Navy veteran Kendrick Taylor was on his way to the gym in Orange County, Florida, when he saw something that got his blood pumping much faster: A man attacking an elderly woman and trying to steal her purse.

Navy vet Kendrick Taylor (Image source: WESH-TV)

“What if that was my grandmother? She was screaming for help. That’s when I ran over to help her,” Kendrick Taylor told WESH-TV in Orlando. “When I looked down I didn’t know if he had a knife or a gun. When I saw the lady was so old when he threw her down, she was so fragileI knew she needed help.”

So Taylor went right at the culprit in the parking lot of a Winn-Dixie on Wednesday.

The purse snatcher noticed he was about to get clobbered, tried to run away — but not quite fast enough as Taylor grabbed him and tackled him to the asphalt.

“When I finally got my hands on him, I justtold some local people to call the police and they got here and I kept him down,” Taylor told WESH.

Image source: WESH-TV

John Zachary DesJardin, 23, who was on probation for unrelated offenses, was charged with attempted robbery and battery on a person 65 or older, WESH reported.

John Zachary DesJardin (Image source: WESH-TV)

“He definitely needs to face some jail time,” Taylor offered to the station. “He has to know what he did was very wrong.”

While the victim, 76-year-old Rosemary Carelton, suffered minor injuries and was traumatized, her niece told WESH the whole family is thankful Taylor and others intervened.

Hiram Mann, namesake of local Tuskegee Airman Chapter, passes away

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This is from The Press and Standard’s Colleton Today.

R.I.P. Colonel Hiram E. Mann of the Tuskegee Airmen

Hand Salute.

 

Hiram E. Mann, during World War II

Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014 4:16 pm |Updated: 4:28 pm, Sun May 18, 2014.

The namesake of Walterboro’s Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen has died, The Press and Standard has learned.

Col. Hiram E. Mann, one the last of the original Tuskegee Airmen, passed away on Sunday. He was 93.

During the War, Mann served in the 332nd Fighter Group, flying

 

The namesake of Walterboro’s Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen has died, The Press and Standard has learned.

Col. Hiram E. Mann, one the last of the original Tuskegee Airmen, passed away on Sunday. He was 93.

During the War, Mann served in the 332nd Fighter Group, flying P51-D Mustangs, providing escort to heavy-bomber aircraft. He was part of an elite corps of African-American airmen who served their country during war. The unit flew more than 200 combat missions without losing any bomber to enemy fire — a record unmatched by any other fighter group in U.S. history.

Mann flew 48 missions. He received much of his flight training at the Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro, which was then the Walterboro Airbase.

A frequent visitor to Colleton County, Mann last appeared in March as a speaker at a WWII symposium held during the S.C. Humanities Festival.

Arrangements are pending.

 

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