Tag Archives: World War II

70th Anniversary of D-Day, the Normandy Invasion— A Day to Remember

June 6, 1944

A LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) fro...

A LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) from the U.S. Coast Guard-manned USS Samuel Chase disembarked troops of the U.S. Army’s First Division on the morning of June 6, 1944 (D-Day) at Omaha Beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been said, “Freedom isn’t free.” The Normandy Invasion, commonly called DDay, signaled the beginning

Landing craft and tanks at Omaha beach during ...

of the end of Nazi tyranny and freedom in Europe. Of those who fought there, few remain to tell their stories. It is fitting that we continue to honor their sacrifices and heroism.

Allied forces consisting of American, British and Canadian troops made up the main invasion force of over 160,000 ground combatants. Allied Navy and merchants ships numbered more than 5,000. Ships provided transportation and gunfire support during the invasion. At midnight before the amphibious assault, Allied Aircraft and gliders inserted almost 8,000 paratroopers behind enemy lines. This represented the largest armada and invasion force in history. Weather and timing were critical to the success of the mission, so was deception. It had taken nearly five years to reach this point in a war that began in September, 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Nazi  forces. This truly was the start of the liberation of Europe. Total Allied casualties were approximately 12,000; again, freedom isn’t free. At  Pointe du Hoc, German 155mm guns threatened assaults on Utah and Omaha beaches.

There’s a Texas connection to the Normandy invasion that can’t be ignored. I am quoting an article from the Texas State Historical Association about the Second Ranger Battalion commander, James Earl Rudder. This battalion played a pivotal role in success at Omaha and Utah Beaches:

Rudder’s Rangers fight with distinction on Normandy beaches

James Earl Rudder commanded the Second Ranger Battalion on DDay, as it achieved one of the
Modern day view of Pointe du Hoc, Normandy

Modern day view of Pointe du Hoc, Normandy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

great feats of arms of the Normandy invasion. Rudder, a native of Eden, Texas, had served in the army in the 1930s and was recalled to duty during World War II. He became commander and trainer of the elite Second Ranger Battalion in 1943. On D-day Rudder’s Rangers stormed the beach at Pointe du Hoc and, under constant enemy fire, scaled 100-foot cliffs to reach and destroy German gun batteries. The battalion suffered higher than 50 percent casualties, and Rudder himself was wounded twice. In spite of this, he and his men helped establish a beachhead for the Allied forces. In later life Rudder became president of Texas A&M. In 1967 he received the Distinguished Service Medal from President Lyndon Johnson.

Ronald Reagan’s Speech on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day
Delivered at Pointe du Hoc Youtube Video, Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-Day 6/6/84

Related Handbook Articles:

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Allied invasion plans and german positions in ...

Allied invasion plans and german positions in the Normandy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Preinvasion bombing of Pointe du Hoc by 9th Ai...

Preinvasion bombing of Pointe du Hoc by 9th Air Force bombers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Convoy on its way to support the Norm...

English: Convoy on its way to support the Normandy invasion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Filed under Liberation of Europe, Normandy Invasion, Word War 2

72nd Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

7 December 1941, America enters WWII

“A day which will live in Infamy!”

 By Rich Weatherly and Patty Wiseman

 AceWeatherly1941It’s hard to believe that 72-years have passed since the Attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy. On the tenth anniversary of this infamous event, I had just turned eight years of age when my Dad, A.C. Weatherly Jr. first shared his memories of the event with me. I’ll share them after a brief introduction.

The nation was shocked and dismayed by the loss and devastation that occurred at Pearl Harbor. The day after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened his address in to joint session of congress with these words:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

To read the complete address, refer to http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrpearlharbor.htm

English: :Photo #: 80-G-19938 :Pearl Harbor At...

English: :Photo #: 80-G-19938 :Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941 :USS Raleigh (CL-7) is kept afloat by a barge lashed alongside, after she was damaged by a Japanese torpedo and a bomb, 7 December 1941. The barge has salvage pontoons YSP-14 and YSP-13 on board. The capsized hull of USS Utah (AG-16) is visible astern of Raleigh. :Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. :Large original file cropped to focus on cruiser, brightened and some artifacts removed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A warm Sunday morning; about 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. Church bells, laughter a day of peace and rest. My dad, A.C. Weatherly Jr. is shaving and about to step ashore but on this day that would not happen. Klaxons Sounded, Squawk Box Screamed, Air Raid Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

A crash of steel upon steel from an enemy torpedo struck amidships on the port side. A deafening roar and concussion shook Raliegh as the torpedo detonated. The hull rose, fell and began a to port. USS Raleigh (CL-7) became one of the first casualties at Pearl Harbor that Day.

About an hour after the torpedo  hit, an armor piercing bomb crashed through bulkheads and explodes a short distance beyond her hull, barely missing an aviation fuel take; a fuel tank used to service the catapult patrol plane on the fantail. Amazingly, no one died aboard Raliegh that day… a tribute to the heart, training and dedication of all who fought bravely to keep her afloat. Dad shared the following anecdote. He told of being a member of a bucket brigade passing water to a machine gun on the mast because the torpedo disabled the water pumps that supplied water to the water-cooled guns.

She was kept afloat by jettisoning everything not permanently attached; barges supported, pumps counter-flooded and breaches in bulkheads were shored. Raleigh made it, survived and continued to serve for the duration of the war.

The following link includes the official US Navy after action report by the commanding officer of the Raliegh: http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/pearl/ph73.htm

Recently my Aunt Sallie Weather Hebisen shared a background story about events during that weekend. At the same time as her oldest brother’s status remained unknown because of the attack, their dad Andrew Claude Weatherly Sr. had been hospitalized after a bad car accident. They learned eventually that my dad was safe and my grand-dad had a severe back injury.

Vigilance must never fail. Thanks to that Greatest Generation, so few now but always honored and yet we pay tribute and go on to fight our wars and win the peace for future generations.

I’ve invited Patty Wiseman to continue this tribute.

Award winning author Patty Wiseman is a friend and we share this event in common through our fathers. Both were aboard USS Raleigh (CL-7) at the time of the attack. The article that follows is her story about the Raleigh during the attack as she learned it from her father.

REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR

By Patty Wiseman

Patty Wiseman, Author
Author of An Unlikely Arrangement
Author of An Unlikely Beginning
Author of An Unlikely Conclusion
Amazon Author Page
http://www.pattywiseman.com/

I am the daughter of a Pearl Harbor survivor. My father, Calvin C. Dawes, was a gunner’s mate on the USS Raleigh, a destroyer, when the attack commenced. I had not been born…yet that day impacted my life as no other.

My dad was a month away from turning18 on that day. His mother had signed to allow him to join the Navy. He became a man the day the Japanese attacked.

I wished I’d known the fun-loving boy, the adventurous youth he was before that day. I was never to know him in that way. Oh, his life went on after the war, he married mother, his high-school sweetheart. They had four children over the course of time, I was the second born. Yes, life went on. But not for dad. He recounted the moments that stole his youth, those moments seared in his brain forever. We heard the stories, lived through it with him. It was real to us, as if we had been there with him.

O700 hours. A dull explosion hit the ship. All hands were called to general quarters and 5 minutes later the anti-aircraft guns on the Raleigh opened fire. The ocean water was boiling. Dad did his job as he was trained, with no time to think, no time to be afraid. Men hollered orders, ran back and forth with ammunition. Everyone did their job to perfection.

Calvin C. Dawes

Calvin C. Dawes

The ship started to list toward port. An airplane torpedo struck #2 fireroom and flooded it. #1 & #3 were reported flooded, too. It looked as if the Raleigh would capsize.

The noise was deafening, the smoke rising. Taste of burning oil was in the air. The gunfire was steady and accurate. Dad saw several Japanese planes fall out of the sky as a result of his mates and their training. A bomber flew over the stern of the Raleigh, burst into flames and crashed on the USS Curtis. Thank goodness for the training these men went through, that in the heat of battle, they could perform their duties without hesitation. Dad found out later that the Raleigh was responsible for the downing of five Japanese planes, all while listing severely. Proudly, he remembered everyone on board stayed at their posts and finished the job.

The Raleigh survived the attack, no one on the ship was killed. A miracle, since the Utah and USS Raleigh were the first ships attacked. They were mistaken by the Japanese for the Lexington and the Enterprise.

Even at his tender age, dad performed valiantly, as did all the men on the Raleigh, as stated in numerous reports. Dad would be in several other battles during the war, but none impacted him as much as that attack.

He’d just begin telling the stories, over and over, as if they played like a movie in his mind. He was prone to fits of anger, weeping, emotional upheaval he tried to drown in drink. Back in that day no one heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, much less knew to treat it. Dad lived with it. A seventeen year old boy caught in one of the biggest naval battles in World War II history, forever to live with the extreme memories.

I lost my dad about twenty years ago to a heart attack, but I always felt I’d lost him before I ever really knew him. The last two years of his life he would tell me he was sorry…sorry for the memories he forced on us. He seemed more at peace then. I held his hand and wept with him.

Patty, thank you for sharing your father’s personal experiences with us. Both of our families owe our lives to the heroism on the Raliegh that day.

English: The U.S. Navy Omaha-class light cruis...

English: The U.S. Navy Omaha-class light cruiser USS Raleigh (CL-7) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California (USA), on 6 July 1942, following repair of the damage sustained at Pearl Harbor and an overhaul. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rich Weatherly aboard USS Brister

Rich Weatherly aboard USS Brister

Rich Weatherly, 1964 aboard USS Brister (DER-327)

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Filed under 7 Dec 1941 a Day of Infamy, Historical WWII, Word War 2

Re-Blog: Normandy Invasion— A Day to Remember

Re-Blog of a tribute to those whose heroism and sacrifices lead the way to the defeat of Nazi Germany and helped us ensure freedom in the western hemisphere.
It’s been said, “Freedom isn’t free.” The Normandy Invasion, commonly called D-Day, signaled the beginning of the end of Nazi tyranny and lead to victory in Europe. Of those who fought there, few remain to tell their stories. It is fitting that we continue to honor their sacrifices and heroism.

 

Rich Weatherly - Author

June 6, 1944

It’s been said, “Freedom isn’t free.” The Normandy Invasion, commonly called DDay, signaled the beginning

Landing craft and tanks at Omaha beach during ...

of the end of Nazi tyranny and freedom in Europe. Of those who fought there, few remain to tell their stories. It is fitting that we continue to honor their sacrifices and heroism.

Allied forces consisting of American, British and Canadian troops made up the main invasion force of over 160,000 ground combatants. Allied Navy and merchants ships numbered more than 5,000. Ships provided transportation and gunfire support during the invasion. At midnight before the amphibious assault, Allied Aircraft and gliders inserted almost 8,000 paratroopers behind enemy lines. This represented the largest armada and invasion force in history. Weather and timing were critical to the success of the mission, so was deception. It had taken nearly five years to reach this point in a war that began in September, 1939 with…

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Filed under Historical WWII, Liberation of Europe, Normandy Invasion, Word War 2

A Tribute to – December 7, 1941, “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy…”

This is a re-post from earlier this year but it is most relevant now.

7 December 1941, America enters WWII

“A day which will live in Infamy!”

A warm Sunday morning; about 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. Church bells, laughter a day of peace and rest. My dad, A.C. Weatherly Jr. is shaving and about to step ashore but on this day that would not happen. Klaxons Sounded, Squawk Box Screamed, Air Raid Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

A crash of steel upon steel, ripped, screaming from forces not meant to be; Main deck, deck plates, deck after deck and into the mud below. A deafening Roar as the torpedo detonates below. The hull rises, falls and lists. USS Raleigh (CL-7) became an early casualty at Pearl Harbor that Day. Round One.

Damage control underway. Gaping holes and torn seams shored for now. Then, impact Two… this time as an armor piercing bomb crashes through bulkheads and explodes a short distance beyond her hull. All survived there but below decks, not a pretty site. The fight goes on.

Retrospective- Courageous acts by officers and men saved most souls on board. She was kept afloat by jettisoning everything not permanently attached; barges supported, pumps counter-flooded and breaches were shored. Raleigh made it and survived for the duration. Just one ship that day out of many. Our Navy’s greatest loss for a time. Life and Fight go on.
________________________________________________
After that we were honored to have dad home again.
Peace is won through strength.

Vigilance must never fail. Thanks to that Greatest Generation, so few now but always honored and yet we pay tribute and go on to fight our wars and win the peace for future generations.

Link below is Raleigh in 1942, ready for action:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Raleigh_%28CL-7%29_July_1942.jpg
USS Raleigh (CL-7) July 1942

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Filed under 7 Dec 1941 a Day of Infamy, Attack on Pearly Harbor

This is a July 4th Weekend Post in honor of Veterans


7 December 1941, America enters WWII

“A day that shall live in Infamy!”

A warm Sunday morning; about 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. Church bells, laughter a day of peace and rest. My dad, A.C. Weatherly Jr. is shaving and about to step ashore but on this day that would not happen. Klaxons Sounded, Squawk Box Screamed, Air Raid Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

A crash of steel upon steel, ripped, screaming from forces not meant to be; Main deck, deck plates, deck after deck and into the mud below. A deafening Roar as the torpedo detonates. The hull rises, falls and lists. USS Raleigh (CL-7) became an early casualty at Pearl Harbor that Day. Round One.

Damage control underway. Gaping holes and torn seams shored for now. Then, impact Two… this time horizontal as the an armor piercing bomb slams through bulkheads. Some survivors there but below decks, not a pretty site. The fight goes on.

Retrospective- Courageous acts by officers and men saved most souls on board. She was kept afloat by jettisoning everything not permanently attached; barges supported, pumps counter-flooded and breaches were shored. Raleigh made it and survived for the duration. Just one ship that day out of many. Our Navy’s greatest loss for a time. Life and Fight go on.
________________________________________________
After that we were honored to have dad home again.
Peace is won through strength.

Vigilance must never fail. Thanks to that Greatest Generation, so few now but always honored and yet we pay tribute and go on to fight our wars and win the peace for future generations.

Link below is Raleigh in 1942, ready for action:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Raleigh_%28CL-7%29_July_1942.jpg
USS Raleigh (CL-7) July 1942

5 Comments

July 2, 2011 · 6:39 pm