Calcutta Light Horse-Operation Creek

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Operation Creek (also known as “Operation Longshanks”) was a military operation undertaken by the British in World War Two on 9 March 1943.

Organized by the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the Calcutta Light Horse regiment was deployed to attack the German ship Ehrenfels, anchored in the Portuguese, hence neutral, Mormugao harbor in Goa, Portuguese India.

The Calcutta Light Horse was raised in 1872 and formed part of the Cavalry Reserve in the British Indian Army. The regiment was disbanded following India’s independence in 1947.Most of them had already volunteered for active duty and been rejected, and all of them were discontent–they did not like being left out of the war. They still trained regularly and enthusiastically, but any hope of seeing real action was gradually fading away.

For decades the Calcutta Light Horse, was more a social club than territorial regiment. The unit’s last military action had taken place in the Boer War almost 50 years earlier.

Ehrenfels became a target when it was discovered that she was transmitting information on Allied ship movements to German submarines, which played a part in the sinking of 12 Allied ships in the Indian Ocean in early Mar 1943.

The Germans had a secret transmitter on one of tthe Ehrenfels, a freighter that had sought refuge with two other German vessels, the Braunfels and the Drachenfels, in the neutral harbour of Goa on the outbreak of WW2

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The Calcutta Light Horse regiment sailed aboard the barge Phoebe and sailed from Calcutta to Goa. Upon reaching Mormugao harbor in the night of 9 Mar 1943, the men of the regiment infiltrated the German ship and detonated explosives.

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When British intelligence received word of the successful destruction of Ehrenfels, it sent an open message to announce that the British was about to invade Goa, which was a bluff. The crews of the other two German ships at Mormugao, Drachenfels and Braunfels, along with several Italian ships also present, scuttled their own ships to prevent British capture.

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The operation was later the inspiration for the movie “the Seawolves”

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February 24 1941 Gallup Poll

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I have always been fascinated by polls(I know it’s sad) more specifically how questions are asked in polls and how just wording the question slightly different can completely change the outcome of the poll as was the case in February 1941.

On 24 February 1941 a Gallup poll was published asking Americans, “Do you think the United States should try to keep Japan from seizing the Dutch East Indies and Singapore?” 56% said yes, 24% said no, 20% expressed no opinion.

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A different version of the question asked, “Do you think the United States should risk war with Japan, if necessary, in order to keep Japan from taking the Dutch East Indies and Singapore?” 46% said no, 39% said yes, 15% gave no opinion.-

Funny enough not much has changed when it comes to polling.

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Whatever happened to Lieutenant Ernest Cody and Ensign Charles Adams.

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Early on the morning of Sunday, August 16, 1942, a U.S. Navy blimp prepared to take off from Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay to search for enemy submarines. The United States had entered World War II only nine months earlier, but Japanese subs had sunk at least half a dozen Allied ships off the American West Coast. Japan’s frontline combat sub, I-17, had even shelled one of California’s largest oil drilling facilities in February 1942—the first time a country had attacked the U.S. mainland since the British shelled New Orleans in the War of 1812. As a result, L-8 carried two 325-pound Mark 17 depth bombs mounted on an external rack, a .30-caliber machine gun and 300 rounds of ammunition. The blimp’s mission: Locate and sink any Japanese subs its crew spotted off San Francisco.

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L-8’s two-man crew boarded the gondola shortly before takeoff. Lieutenant Ernest Dewitt Cody and Ensign Charles Ellis Adams were both Navy veterans, married and with exemplary service records.Adams was even being decorated by the German government for rescuing passengers from the infamous Hindenburg disaster.

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At 7:42 a.m. Cody radioed in to inform HQ that they were investigating “a suspicious oil slick,” which could be the sign of submarine lurking below the ocean’s surface. There would be no further communications from the aircraft.

But when L-8 still hadn’t responded by 8:50, two Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplanes were sent to search for the blimp. Other aircraft in the area were also alerted to be on the lookout.

The next indication of L-8’s whereabouts came at 10:49, when a Pan American Clipper pilot reported seeing the blimp over the Golden Gate Bridge. He spotted nothing wrong with the ship, which appeared to be under control and heading back to base. At 11 one of the Kingfishers reported seeing L-8 three miles west of Salada Beach, rising through the overcast at 2,000 feet.

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A few minutes later the blimp began to descend, disappearing in the clouds. Nothing indicated that L-8 was not in controlled flight, but 2,000 feet was close to the blimp’s pressure height, the altitude where its valves would automatically open and vent helium, to prevent its gas cells from bursting. Normally, the crewmen would have avoided surpassing pressure height, but for some reason they had apparently ignored this restriction.

Sunday morning golfers at San Francisco’s exclusive Olympic Club stopped to watch the blimp limp by overhead. They probably didn’t realize that the remaining depth charge could only be detonated by water pressure, which is why they gave it a wide birth. One club member reported having seen a parachute descending from L-8 while the blimp was still offshore—and he wasn’t the only one to see something of the crew.

Seventeen-year-old C.E. Taylor told the San Francisco Call-Bulletin, “I put my binoculars on it and could see figures…inside the cabin.”

The blimp then drifted into the suburbs. By this time, thousands of people had gathered to watch the aircraft’s progress, which was only halted when it crashed into a utility pole.

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Luckily, no one was hurt in the crash, and the blimp managed to avoid starting a major fire when it collided with the electrical wires. Policemen and firefighters rushed to the scene, in hopes of aiding the crew, but when they had cut through the wreckage, the rescuers found their efforts had been in vain: Cody and Adams were nowhere to be found.

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How two naval officers vanished from one of the most heavily trafficked areas between San Francisco and the Farallon Islands while their blimp was being tracked by ships and planes, not to mention people on the ground, remains a mystery. Word soon surfaced that warm coffee and a half-eaten sandwich had been found in the control car, a rumor that later proved to be untrue. But a hat belonging to of the crewmen was discovered resting on the flight controls. And L-8’s radio was in perfect working order.

An inspection soon revealed that all three of L-8’s parachutes were still on board, along with its single life raft. Two of the blimp’s five smoke bombs were missing, but those were accounted for because the crew had used them to mark the oil slick. A briefcase containing classified material was found behind the pilot’s seat. L-8’s engines were in perfect working order. The ignition switches were on, and the blimp’s instruments and flight controls operated normally, with four hours of gas remaining in the fuel tanks. In other words, there was nothing whatsoever wrong with L-8 except that it lacked a crew.

Unofficial answers for the ghost blimp’s missing crew range from an enemy attack to alien abductions

An explanation that falls somewhere between aliens and abductions is that one of the men fell out of the blimp while it was investigating the oil slick and the other had leaped out in an attempted rescue, and himself drowned in the process. If the rescuer had hoped to quickly save his comrade, he wouldn’t have bothered to radio in or toss the confidential papers overboard..

The only hole in this theory is that the L-8 had an audience while it was circling the suspicious area. The crews of both the Daisy Gray, a fishing trawler, and the Albert Gallatin, a cargo ship, had observed the blimp as it flew low to investigate the oil slick and not a single sailor had noticed anything amiss.

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Whether it was aliens, Axis spies, or a simple accident, Cody and Adams were never heard from again. The ghost blimp, however, became one of the Goodyear blimps and toured around the nation during sporting events until 1982.

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Colonel Francis Fenton’s hardest battle.

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No parent should ever have to bury any of their children,unfortunately it does happen, During war time it just happens too much as was the case during WWII

Michael James “Mike” Fenton was the son of Colonel  Francis Fenton.

While Colonel Fenton advanced to higher command, his younger son, Michael, enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 17, 1943, and joined B Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division – the same division in which his father commanded the engineers. Reportedly turning down a commission so he could fight at the front, Michael served as a scout-sniper on Okinawa.

Landing On Okinawa

Father and son met once during the fighting when their paths crossed at a partially destroyed Okinawan farmhouse. After exchanging news from home, including information on Michael’s older brother, Francis, Jr., who had been commissioned a Marine officer in 1941, the two family members returned to their work.

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They would never talk again.

On May 7, 1945, while beating back a Japanese counterattack not far from Sugar Loaf, 19-year-old Pfc. Michael Fenton was killed. When his father received the bitter news, he traveled to the site of his son’s death and knelt down to pray over the flag draped body.

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Upon arising, Colonel Fenton stared at the bodies of other Marine dead and said: “Those poor souls. They didn’t have their fathers here”.

After the burial, Colonel Fenton returned to his headquarters and wrote a brief note to his wife, Mary, in San Diego. The soldier then resurfaced. Fenton fixed his attention on a large map hanging in his headquarters, studied it closely for a time, then said to his subordinate, “We’d better double the guard around No. 5 bridge. The Nips may try to blow it”. The war was back on.

Mary Fenton learned of her son’s death before receiving her husband’s letter. In fact, she experienced a bittersweet two days when, on Wednesday, a telegram arrived from the Marine Corps Commandant informing her of Michael’s death. The very next day came news that her husband had been awarded a second Bronze Star.

Mrs. Fenton told reporters she was proud that Michael had done his duty as a Marine. She quoted a recent letter from him in which the youth wrote that he ‘dedicated my life to my country’ and that he was ‘prepared to die”. Both Colonel Fenton and his older son survived the war. Mike’s body was later exhumed from his temporary grave and is now resting in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

RIP

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The Hopevale Martyrs

 


Hopevale

The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.

The American Catholic missionaries in Tapaz,Philippines probably could not be specified as vulnerable but the people they cared for were. additionally the missionaries themselves did not pose any threat themselves to the Japanese occupiers.

The Hopevale Martyrs were Christian martyrs who died during the World War II in the present day Hopevale, Aglinab, Tapaz, Capiz, Philippines. The martyrs were Jeanie Clare Adams, Prof. James Howard Covell, Charma Moore Covell, Dorothy Antoinette Dowell, Signe Amelia Erikson, Dr. Frederick Willer-Meyer, Ruth Schatch Meyer, Dr. Francis Howard Rose, Gertrude Coombs Rose, Rev. Erle Frederich Rounds, Louise Cummings Rounds, and Erle Douglas. Despite the order that these Americans should go home because of the war, they refused to leave their mission and eventually offered their lives when they were caught by the enemies.

During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, the eleven American Baptist missionaries refused to surrender to the Japanese troops.

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The missionaries took refuge in the mountains of Barrio Katipunan, Tapaz, Capiz. They hid in the forest they call “Hopevale” with the help of their Filipino friends.

On December 19, 1943, Hopevale fell into Japanese hands. The martyrs begged to free the Filipino captives and instead offered themselves as ransom. At the dawn of December 20, 1943, the missionaries asked to be allowed to pray and, an hour later, they told their Japanese captors they were ready to die. The adults were beheaded and the children were bayoneted.

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December 18 1944-Fighting the unknown enemy.

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If you’d to believe the media nowadays you would think that severe storms are a 21st century phenomena. However they have been around for quite a while.

On 18 Dec 1944, divine intervention interfered with human action again. Admiral William Halsey and his Task Force 38 were caught unaware amidst refueling when Typhoon Cobra struck them to the east of island of Luzon of the Philippines. Halsey’s weather experts misread the track of this impending storm, and the admiral sailed right into it. As the heavy swells caused by 60-knot winds tossed his ships like children’s toys, Halsey’s ships scattered over 3,000 square miles. By the time he issued a typhoon warning to his captains, he had already lost three destroyers Spence, Hull, and Monaghan.

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Task Force 38 (TF 38) had been operating about 300 mi (260 nmi; 480 km) east of Luzon in the Philippine Sea, conducting air raids against Japanese airfields in the Philippines. The fleet was attempting to refuel its ships, especially the lighter destroyers, which had small fuel tanks. As the weather worsened it became increasingly difficult to refuel, and the attempts had to be discontinued. Despite warning signs of worsening conditions, the ships remained in their stations. Worse, the information given to Halsey about the location and direction of the typhoon was inaccurate. On December 18, Halsey unwittingly sailed Third Fleet into the centre of the typhoon.

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Aboard the carrier Monterey, aircraft in the hangar deck slammed into one another “like pinballs”, Gerald Ford recalled. It was inevitable that fires broke out. Captain Stuart H. Ingersoll was ordered by Halsey to abandon ship, but Ingersoll thought that “We can fix this”, and Ford, among others were the heroes who battled the bitter fire and eventually put it out, saving the carrier.

 

Aboard the carrier Cowpens, the scene was similar.

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A Hellcat fighter, despite being triple-lashed, broke loose and smashed into the catwalk, starting a fire. Even as the firefighters attempted to extinguish the fire, a bomb handling truck rolled across the hangar deck and struck the tank of another fighter. The 100-knot winds even ripped out a 20-mm gun emplacement right out of its mounts. In the end, Cowpens survived, but the Hellcat that smashed into the catwalk did not.

When the fleet emerged from the typhoon, Halsey found seven more ships seriously damaged and 146 aircraft lost or unusable (some were pushed by the wind over edges of flight decks, some were intentionally pushed overboard after running into each other, and some lost to fire and impact damage). Worst of all, 800 lives were lost from this natural disaster. Water Tender Second Class Joseph McCrane, one of only six survivors of the USS Monaghan recalled:

“The storm broke in all its fury. We started to roll, heaving to the starboard, and everyone was holding on to something and praying as hard as he could. We knew that we had lost our power and were dead in the water…. We must have taken about seven or eight rolls to the starboard before she went over on her side.”ww2dbaseAfter ship sunk, the sailors held on to whatever they could to stay afloat. McCrane continued:

“Every time we opened a can of Spam more sharks would appear…. Toward evening some of the boys began to crack under the strain…. That (second} night most of the fellows had really lost their heads; they thought they saw land and houses.”A court inquiry at Ulithi a week later placed blame squarely on the shoulders of Halsey, though finding no negligence on the part of the admiral due to “stress of war operations” and “a commendable desire to meet military requirements”. With 790 officers and sailors lost to this storm, Nimitz submitted a letter to Washington recommending the Navy to improve its weather service, which was promptly started. The Pacific Fleet established new weather stations in the Caroline Islands and, as they were secured, Manila, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. In addition, new weather central offices (for coordinating data) were established at Guam and Leyte.

Halsey’s misfortune with the Divine Wind would not be over just yet. During his support roles of the Okinawa landing, a typhoon developed, and Halsey attempted to steer his ships away from it at the recommendation of his weather experts. He, again, sailed right into it. Fortunately, with this meeting with the storm, he only lost six men.

Even though the Divine Wind interfered with history again, this time, Japan would not be saved by the heavens in this human conflict.

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Banzai-Suicides for the Emperor

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How do you fight an enemy that is not afraid to kill themselves?19026-004-8C3631D6

In the air they had the Kamikaze pilots on the ground they had troops carrying out Banzai charges, how can you fight an enemy that has absolutely no regard for life? Not even their own lives.

How do you fight an army that sees their leader as some kind of divine entity?

One of the great injustices post WWII was that Emperor Hirohito was not tried for his involvement in World War II, even if it had been for the death of his own soldiers who killed themselves in his ‘honour’

He died on January 7 1989 at the age of 88 after having lived a life of luxury, when thousands of young men died for him or in his name.

 

 

“Whenever we cornered the enemy and there was no way out, we faced the dreaded banzai attack.” An anonymous US Marine who was on Saipan.”

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Banzai Charge was a suicidal last-ditch attack that was mounted by Japanese infantry during WWII. Banzai Charge was actually not the real name of the attack, but rather a name given by Allied forces because during the charge, Japanese forces yelled “Tenno Heika Banzai!” (long live the emperor, ten thousand ages!).

During the war period, the Japanese militarist government began disseminating propaganda that romanticized suicide attack, using one of the virtues of Bushido as the basis for the campaign. The Japanese government presented war as purifying, with death defined as a duty.

By the end of 1944, the government announced the last protocol, unofficially named ichioku gyokusai (一億玉砕, literally “100 million shattered jewels”), implying the will of sacrificing the entire Japanese population of 100 million, if necessary, for the purpose of resisting opposition forces.

During the U.S. raid on Makin Island, on August 17, 1942, the U.S. Marine Raiders attacking the island initially spotted and then killed Japanese machine gunners. The Japanese defenders then launched a banzai charge with rifles and swords but were stopped by American firepower. The pattern was repeated in additional attacks, but with similar results.

During the Battle of Guadalcanal, on August 21, 1942, Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki JapaneseColIchikiled 800 soldiers to launch a direct attack against the American line guarding Henderson Field in the Battle of the Tenaru.

 

After small-scale combat engagement in the jungle, Ichiki’s army launched its banzai charge on the enemy; however, with an organized American defense line already in place, most of the Japanese soldiers were killed and Ichiki subsequently committed suicide.

The largest banzai charge of the war took place in the Battle of Saipan in 1944 where, at the cost of almost 4,300 dead Japanese soldiers, it almost destroyed the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 105th U.S. Infantry, who lost almost 650 men

Banzai charges were always of dubious effectiveness. In the early stages of the Pacific War, a sudden banzai charge might overwhelm small groups of enemy soldiers unprepared for such an attack. However near the end of the war, a banzai charge inflicted little damage while its participants suffered horrendous losses if launched against an organized defense with strong firepower, such as automatic weapons, machine guns and semi-automatic rifles.

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At best they were conducted by groups of the last surviving soldiers when the main battle was already lost, as a last resort or as an alternative to surrender. At worst they threw away valuable resources in men and arms in suicidal attacks, which only hastened defeat.

Some Japanese commanders, such as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, recognized the futility and waste of such attacks and expressly forbade their men from carrying them out.

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Indeed, the Americans were surprised that the Japanese did not employ banzai charges at the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The greatest effect of the Banzai charge was not casualties, but the decrease in morale in most allied troops.

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Many soldiers feared “the dreaded banzai attack” and this itself sometimes affected performance in the field. Japanese soldiers however did sometimes surrender, but rarely in large numbers. They were also trained to commit suicide if the attack did not breach enemy lines and this included using grenades to kill oneself and any allied soldiers who were not careful. The weapons used by Japanese soldiers during an attack varied from machine guns, rifles, bayonets, swords, spears, knives, grenades, etc.

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Hisao Tani-Japanese War Criminal

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Tani was born 22 December 1882 in Okayama Prefecture. He graduated from the 15th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1903 and from the 24th class of the Army War College, where he became an instructor in 1924. The College used his texts on strategy and tactics as required readings.

He saw service during the Russo-Japanese War and during the First World War, as official observer for the Japanese government in Great Britain.

From 1935 to 1937, Tani was commanding officer of the 6th Division (Imperial Japanese Army), which was assigned to the China Expeditionary Army in December 1937 under the overall command of General Matsui Iwane. The 6th Division fought in North China during the Peiking – Hankow Railway Operation. Shipped south with the Japanese 10th Army, it took part in the end of the Battle of Shanghai, and the Battle of Nanking.

His troops took Nanking on 13 December 1937. The Chinese army had evacuated the city just before it was taken. The ensuing occupation was therefore that of a defenceless city. The Japanese troops nevertheless carried out unspeakable atrocities: massacre, rape, pillaging and destruction were routinely committed.

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During a six to seven week period, more than 100’000 civilians were killed and thousands of women raped. Against this backdrop, Matsui marched triumphantly into Nanking on 17 December 1937 and remained there for several days.

He then served as Commander in Chief of the Central Defence Army before retiring. For the Second World War, he was recalled from retirement to the command of the IJA 59th Army and Chugoku Army District.

After the end of War, Tani was extradited to the Chinese government to stand trial for war crimes at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal.

After the end of World War II, the Chinese government demanded that Tani be extradited to China to stand trial for war crimes at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal. Tani denied all charges, blaming Korean soldiers for the massacre.

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Hundreds of survivors as well as several foreigners who witnessed the atrocity from Nanking Safety Zone, including Miner Searle Bates from the University of Nanking, testified against Hani. He was found guilty of instigating, inspiring and encouraging the men under his command to stage general massacres of prisoners of war and non-combatants and to perpetrate such crimes as rape, plunder and wanton destruction of property, during the Battle of Shanghai, the Battle of Nanking and early in its occupation, the Rape of Nanking, and he was consequently executed on 26 April 1947.

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Benjamin Lewis Salomon-Army Dentist and Hero.

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The problem nowadays is there are no real heroes anymore,well at least no heroes that are honored in the media. The focus seems to be more on so called reality stars and overpaid athletes, and they are often being portrayed as being heroes for having survived the latest plastic surgery or knee injury. No wonder that there is a culture of being offended by everything.

It is time to start looking at real heroes again, members of the armed and emergency services who put their lives on the line every day or men and women who despite many hardships just keep going regardless. But since this is a historical site I want to focus on an extraordinary man,Benjamin Lewis Salomon, a man who sacrificed his life to save others even though he didn’t need to do it.

Benjamin Lewis Salomon (September 1, 1914 – July 7, 1944) was a United States Army dentist during World War II, assigned as a front-line surgeon. When the Japanese started overrunning his hospital, he stood a rear-guard action in which he had no hope of personal survival, allowing the safe evacuation of the wounded, killing at least 98 enemy troops before being killed himself during the Battle of Saipan.

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In 1940 he was drafted into the 27th Infantry Division as a private

Hailing from humble beginnings in Milwaukee, and eventually going on to own his own dental practice, Benjamin Salomon never could have imagined he would one day be one of only three dental officers in the U.S. Army to receive the Medal of Honor.

Salomon started out in the Army as an infantry private

In the mornings he would work on soldiers teeth, and in the afternoon, he would teach infantry tactics. Soon, his superiors began to notice how valuable he was becoming to the Infantry.

He proved to be an expert rifle and pistol marksman and soon worked his way up to a sergeant. Eventually, he was transferred to the Army Dental Corps and commissioned to be a first lieutenant.USA_-_Army_Medical_Dental

He was even awarded the title of “best all-around soldier” in his unit.

In May of 1944, Salomon was promoted to a captain of the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. He had proved himself in training, and his superiors were eager to see him prove himself in battle.

By July the 7th, the Army and Marines had killed nearly 30,000 Japanese soldiers and had about 5,000 more pinned down in the island’s northwest. The Japanese were desperate and had already lost the battle, so their  commander General Saito issued the following order: “We will advance to attack the American forces and will all die an honorable death. Each man will kill ten Americans.”

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Captain Salomon was running a field hospital 50 yards behind the front line. When the Japanese attacked, he had around 30 wounded men in his station. While he was working on the wounded the Japanese entered the aid tent. Captain Salomon promptly shot the first Japanese soldier, and then another ten with his rifle. He ordered his staff to evacuate the wounded and his last words were, “I’ll hold them off until you get to safety.”

In a battle that lasted a reported 15 hours, Solomon managed to kill nearly 100 Japanese fighters with a machine gun.

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Later on, his comrades followed a bloody trail to his bullet-riddled body, which was found curled around the gun he used. He was shot about 76 times.

Capt. Edmund G. Love, the 27th Division historian, was a part of the team that found Salomon’s body. At the request of Brig. Gen. Ogden J. Ross, the assistant commander of the 27th Division, Love gathered eyewitness accounts and prepared a recommendation for the Medal of Honor for Salomon.

The recommendation was returned by Maj. Gen. George W. Griner, the commanding general of the 27th Division. grinerOfficially, Griner declined to approve the award because Salomon was “in the medical service and wore a Red Cross brassard upon his arm. Under the rules of the Geneva Convention, to which the United States subscribes, no medical officer can bear arms against the enemy.” However, the guideline for awarding the Medal of Honor to medical non-combatants states that one may not receive the Medal of Honor for actions in an “offensive”. More recent interpretations of the Convention, as well as the US Laws of Land Warfare allow use of personal weapons (i.e., rifles and pistols) in self-defense or in defense of patients and staff, as long as the medical soldier does not wear the Red Cross. Part of the problem in Salomon’s citation was that a machine gun is considered a “crew-served”, not an individual weapon.

In 1951, Love again resubmitted the recommendation through the Office of the Chief of Military History. The recommendation was returned without action with another pro-forma reason: the time limit for submitting World War II awards had passed. In 1969, another Medal of Honor recommendation was submitted by Lt. Gen. Hal B. Jennings, the Surgeon General of the United States Army.

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In 1970, Stanley R. Resor, Secretary of the Army, recommended approval and forwarded the recommendation to the Secretary of Defense. The recommendation was returned without action.

In 1998, the recommendation was re-submitted by Dr. Robert West (USC Dental School) through Congressman Brad Sherman.Finally, on May 1, 2002, President George W. Bush presented Salomon’s Medal of Honor to Dr. West. Salomon’s Medal of Honor is displayed at the USC Dental School.

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In addition to the Medal of Honor, Benjamin Salomon was awarded a Purple Heart, the American Defense Service Medal, The American Campaign Medal, The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

I salute you Captain Benjamin Lewis Salomon,may your example be an inspiration for generations to come.

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Burial:
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Glendale
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Great Mausoleum, Columbarium of Guidance, N-21994

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The Goettge patrol.

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In the context of war, perfidy is a form of deception in which one side promises to act in good faith (such as by raising a flag of truce) with the intention of breaking that promise once the unsuspecting enemy is exposed (such as by coming out of cover to attack the enemy coming to take the “surrendering” prisoners into custody). Perfidy constitutes a breach of the laws of war and so is a war crime, as it degrades the protections and mutual restraints developed in the interest of all parties, combatants, and civilians.goettge

A Marine patrol, commanded by Lieutenant-Colnonel Goettge was sent to investigate a report about Japanese in the area who were waiting to surrender. The patrol was ambushed, shot bayonetted and killed. Only three men escaped alive.

Prior to the Marine invasion of the Solomon Islands in Operation Watchtower, Goettge, Division D-2 augmented Marine Intelligence when he traveled to Australia spending a week in Melbourne and a few days in Sydney gathering information on the Islands from people who lived and worked there. In addition to information gleaned from interviews Goettge brought eight Australians to where the First Marine Division was forming in Wellington, New Zealand..

The Marines landed on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942, and within several days rounded up a number of Japanese Navy laborers, who had been assigned to construct the airfield at Lunga Point. Most were malnourished and sick from tropical illnesses.

Information about the strength and location of the Japanese forces on Guadalcanal was sketchy and difficult to ascertain. This resulted in the need for probes into the enemies defenses days after the landing on August 7.

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A Japanese warrant officer was among the prisoners and, after being plied with alcohol, told the Marines that there were a number of Japanese west of the Matanikau River. These soldiers were reportedly sick, demoralized, and willing to surrender. At about the same time, Marines near the Matanikau perimeter reported seeing a white flag flying from a tree.

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These reports, as well as several other similar accounts were given to Goettge. He thought that this might be an opportunity to secure much of the island without significant fighting and he decided to act quickly. He organized a 25 man patrol to land just west of the Matanikau estuary. The plan was to follow the Matanikau upstream, bivouac for a night, then head east back to the Lunga perimeter.

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The patrol consisted of Goettge; Japanese translator LT Ralph Corry; regimental surgeon, LCDR Malcom Pratt; and a handful of scouts and infantry. Just before the patrol departed on the evening of August 12, Goettge was informed by Colonel Whaling, the 5th Marine Regiment’s executive officer, that the Japanese were strongly defending the area between Point Cruz and the mouth of the Matanikau. Whaling suggested a landing west of Point Cruz.

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The Goettge Patrol left at dusk on a tank lighter. However, a flare was seen to the east and the lighter returned to the perimeter, thinking it was a signal to return. The patrol then left for a second time around 9:00 p.m. Despite Whaling’s warning, the boat headed for an area just to the west of the Matanikau river mouth. Before the patrol reached the beach, the lighter ran aground on a sandbar. The coxswain gunned the motor to free the vessel, and the Marines disembarked on the beach around 10:00 p.m.

 

Unbeknownst to Goettge, the Japanese had heard the sound of the stuck landing craft, and began organizing troops on a coral plateau about 200 yards inland from the Marines. Goettge ordered a defensive perimeter established, then took two men, Captain Ringer and First Sergeant Custer, with him to scout the jungle. Not long after they left the beach, the Japanese opened fire and Goettge was killed with a shot to the head. Ringer and Custer managed to make it back to the perimeter.

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Platoon Sergeant Frank Lowell Few and two Marines went back into the jungle to confirm that Goettge was indeed dead. They found his body and took his watch and insignia, so the Japanese would not be able to identify him as an officer. Over the next nine hours, the patrol lay pinned on the beach. The Japanese maintained fire on the American perimeter, but the Marines were unable to locate the Japanese in the dark jungle. About 30 minutes after landing, Sergeant Arndt was tasked to head out into the ocean and try to swim back to the Lunga perimeter, over five miles to the east. Arndt reached American lines around 5:00 a.m., but it was too late to affect the fate of the Goettge Patrol.

During the course of the night, the Japanese picked the Marines off, one by one. The Japanese would occasionally launch a flare to illuminate the beachhead perimeter. However, the Marines were unable to discern the Japanese positions in the moonless night. After some time, Captain Ringer ordered another Marine, Corporal Spaulding, to make a second attempt to get back to American lines. Like Arndt, Spaulding ran off the beach into the ocean, and then started on the grueling swim to safety. He reached American lines around 7:30 a.m.

By dawn, only four members of the patrol were still alive. Captain Ringer decided they stood a better chance in the jungle. As the Marines made their dash off the beach, the Japanese opened fire, cutting down the remaining survivors except for Platoon Sergeant Frank Few. Few managed to reach the trees. He saw a Japanese soldier firing into the corpses of the Marines and decided it would be certain death to remain. Few drew his pistol, killed the Japanese, then made a dash into the sea. Few looked back and saw Japanese troops swarming the beach, mutilating the bodies of the dead or wounded but still alive Marines. Few also managed to make it back to friendly lines by swimming approximately four miles through shark-infested waters. Few was the last survivor of the Goettge Patrol.Guadalcanal_Diary_1943_poster

A slightly fictionalized version of the incident is in the movie Guadalcanal Diary. In the film, the patrol is led by a “Captain Cross” and there is only one survivor, though one Marine is shown running along the beach for help.

 

According to a Marine Corps monograph previous to August 21, a patrol found Pratt’s dispatch case and a cloth with Goettge’s name on it; the monograph also claimed no identifiable remains were found. See Note # 16 at However on August 18, a Marine patrol from 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, made a combat patrol in the same area that the Goettge Patrol was annihilated. They reported seeing remains, but Goettge’s body was never found. There are at least five eyewitness reports of finding the remains of the patrol- one from Company “I”/3/5;one from Company “K”/3/5;and three from Company “L”/3/5