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Showing posts from September, 2019

An Airman's Story: Lieutenant Colonel John Cary Morgan - WWII, Korea

Lieutenant Colonel John Carey "Red" Morgan was born in Vernon Texas on August 24, 1917. 

After graduating from a local military school in 1931, he briefly attended several colleges, including the University of Texas before leaving school completely and moving to Fiji.

He supervised a pineapple plantation until 1938 when he returned to Texas to work with Texaco at an oil drilling site.  An industrial accident severely injured LtCol Morgan and left him with a broken neck and rendered him unfit for military duty and refused enlistment.  Rather than give up, he decided, on August 1941, to enlist in Canada's Royal Air Force instead (he neglected to mention his medical history).

After training in Saskatchewan, he shipped off to England, where he quickly rose up the ranks, flying B-17 Bombers.  Eventually, there was no question about his qualifications and he was transferred to the US Army Air Forces as a flight officer on March 23, 1943.

Lt Col. Morgan would go on to earn a C…

An Airman's Story: Staff Sergeant Donald Eugene Pipes - WWII

Staff Sergeant Donald Eugene Pipes was born on June 19, 1923, in Whitestown Indiana. 

In January 1943 he joined the US Army Air Force and was assigned to the 431st Bomber squadron as a tail gunner and deployed to the Pacific.

On July 28,1944, his plan B-24 #42-73018 (I believe it was called Captain and the Kid) was spotted crashing in flames off of the island of Truk in the Philippines.

Staff Sergeant Donald Eugene Pipes is memorialized on the Tablet of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.

See also:

First Lieutenant Edward C. Gelsleichter
Sergeant John G. MacIntosh Jr.
Captain Thor E. Hamrin

A Marine's Story: Private First Class Richard Norman Olbert - WWII

Private First Class Richard Norman Olbert was born on September 25, 1919, in Durango Colorado.

He enlisted in the US Marine Corps on January 8, 1942, a mere month after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Assigned to Carson's Marine Raiders, he deployed to the Pacific Theater.

During the August 17-18, 1942 raid on Makin Island, Private First Class Richard Norman Olbert, with nine other Marines were stranded on the island and captured by enemy forces.

Private First Class Richard Norman Olbert was executed on October 16, 1942.  He was never recovered and is memorialized on the Roll of the Missing at Honolulu HI.

(Sergeant Richard Allard, Private John Irwin Kerns, Private Alden Curtis Mattison, and Corporal Joseph N. Gifford  were other US Marines captured that day)

(Sergeant Dallas Henry Cook was also a casualty of the raid)

A Soldier's Story: Major Pauline Cushman - Civil War

Major Pauline Cushman was born Harriet Wood on June 10, 1833, in New Orleans Louisiana.

She grew up in Grand Rapids Michigan after her parents left New Orleans to start a trading post.  While growing up in Michigan, she learned to hunt, canoe, and track animals and was, by some reports, better at it than her brothers.

Drawn to the call of the theater, she left for New York and adopted the name, Pauline Cushman.  After the death of her husband, a former theater musician who had enlisted in the US Army, from "camp fever" (probably malaria or typhus), Major Cushman left New York and established herself with a production of "The Seven Sisters" in Louisville Kentucky in 1862.

A scene in the play required her character to give a toast and she was approached by two Confederates to make the toast to Confederate president Jefferson Davies.  She did (after consulting with the US Army) and was immediately fired from the production, however, the act ingratiated her with the C…

A Soldier's Story: Specialist Andy Alaniz - Desert Storm/Desert Shield

Specialist Andy Alaniz was born on November 11, 1970, in Corpus Christi Texas. 

A graduate of Moody High School, Specialist Alaniz was active in the school's drama club before he enlisted in the US Army shortly after his 1989 graduation. He deployed with the 24th Infantry to Saudia Arabia just a few months after his wedding.

On February 27, 1991, during the Battle of Phase Line Bullet, Specialist Andy Alaniz and his unit were wedged between enemy forces in front and a unit of US Army tanks behind them and sadly, Specialist Andy Alaniz was killed by the cross-fire of the tanks.

Specialist Andy Alaniz rests in at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Corpus Christi Texas.

A Soldier's Story: Staff Sergeant Yukio Kawamoto - WWII

Staff Sergeant Yukio Kawamoto was born in Berkley California on November 13, 1919.  He attended the University of California at Berkely until a couple of months before graduation when he was drafted into the US Army on February 25, 1942.

The son of Japanese immigrants, Staff Sergeant Kawamoto was fluent in Japanese and after training was assigned to military intelligence for the 37th Infantry Division and deployed to the Pacific Theater.  His parents were assigned to Utah's Topaz Mountain Internment camp for the duration of the war.

During his deployment, Staff Sergeant Kawamoto's duties were code decryption and as an interpreter of documents and prisoners.  His language skills helped direct necessary reinforcements to vulnerable areas on more than one occasion. 

He was given an early discharge to help his parents return home from the camps.

Staff Sergeant Kawamoto remained in government service following the war, working as an interpreter for the Military Tribunals of 1946-4…