Pain and Purpose in the Pacific


Pain and Purpose in the Pacific book cover-1

Pain and Purpose in the Pacific: True Reports of War
Pain and Purpose in the Pacific offers a unique glimpse of Marines, Air Corps, Soldiers, and Sailors to include Coast Guard at war and the family and friends they leave behind. Bright bridges a historical look at World War II with vignettes of the realities of war, giving the reader a clear-eyed view of what it means to live and die in service of your country.

In Pain and Purpose in the Pacific: True Reports of War (published by Trafford Publishing), author Richard Carl Bright tells the stories of his uncle Carl Johnson, an American Marine who spent 30 months in the Pacific during WWII. As the United States Marine Corps fought costly campaigns in the Pacific, Carl saw bitter combat on the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Okinawa.

In this moving work, Bright, who lived for seven years on Saipan, puts a human face on the tragedies of war, ushering readers into the darkest pits of destruction (the pain) and into the brightest views of hope and redemption (the purpose). Bright traces his Uncle Carl’s travels during World War II, from his homeland in Minnesota to the battle-torn islands of the Pacific, all the way to Japan. Bright, a veteran of Vietnam, colors his prose with his personal experiences and observations by traveling to many of the Pacific locations, including Iwo Jima, the Marianas Islands, Peleliu and the Philippines. He also personally interviewed Carl’s Platoon Sergeant, Arthur Wells, who fought at Carl’s side. Read more »

TODAY is June 15th!!

The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June to 9 July 1944.

June 6th, and June 15th, 1944

Tomorrow is D-Day in Europe – 73 years ago.

On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops. During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control.

Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle that began on June 6, 1944. Also known as D-Day, some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.

(The above comes from the WWII history as reported on internet websites).

Nine days later in the Pacific theater of operations of WWII:

The Battle of Saipan:

What follows comes from an article by Jeff Kingston.
The book “Pain and Purpose in the Pacific” by Richard Carl Bright tells the story. See www.painandpurposeinthepacific.org .

The American invasion of the Japanese stronghold of Saipan in the western Pacific was an incredibly brutal battle, claiming 55,000 soldiers’ and civilians’ lives in just over three weeks in the summer of 1944. The U.S. Marines spearheaded the amphibious landing, encountering a fierce and well-prepared resistance from the Japanese troops who controlled the commanding heights looming over the beach.

Artillery, snipers and automatic weapons took a deadly toll with casualties mounting under the remorseless barrage. Marines later commented on the precision of the Japanese mortars and artillery fire. A battalion caught out in the open took heavy casualties as it desperately tried to dig in and find shelter, with one of its officers recalling: “it’s hard to dig a hole when you’re lying on your stomach digging with your chin, your elbows, your knees, and your toes. … (But) it is possible to dig a hole that way, I found.” Such was a precarious beachhead established on the first day of the invasion.

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Landing at Okinawa

                                                            

 

Landing at Okinawa



1 Apr-21 Jun 1945

From Peter Chen:

It was April 1st, 1945. April 1st was Easter. April 1st was April Fools day. April 1st was the beginning of the battle for Okinawa. It was under what was known as Operation Iceberg.

Operation Iceberg struck the island of Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands on that date of April 1st , 1945.  Okinawa was a relatively large island, 60 miles long and eight miles wide; it was the largest of the Ryukyu Archipelago situated between Taiwan and Japan. Immediately to its west was the small island of Ie Shima. Before the landing operation started, Allied bombers softened Okinawa of its defenses and morale, which resulted in the destruction of over 80% of the city of Naha and the sinking of over 65 boats. Admiral Richmond Turner, veteran commander of amphibious forces, delivered landing forces, with ships of the British Pacific Fleet among his vanguard. The amphibious vehicles landed the 96th and 7th Army Divisions on the left flank, and the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions were delivered on the right. Once on land, the combined forces of Chester Nimitz’s Marines and Douglas MacArthur’s soldiers, the first time their men fought side-by-side, were placed under the command of Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. The landing was not resisted, much to the surprise of the landers. There were no coastal guns, no mortars, and no machine guns; it was a scene very much unlike the previous landings elsewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Deep in the island, however, the 110,000-strong Japanese garrison led by Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, augmented by 20,000 volunteer Okinawan militiamen, awaited. Read more »

December 7th, 1941 – 75 years ago !

Yesterday, December 7, 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.”
At 7:55 a.m. on a Sunday morning Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II. Read more »

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Surrender, August 6, 9, 15, 1945

(Wikipedia)

From the pages of Pain and Purpose in the Pacific 

“At 2¦45 a.m., the morning of the 6th August 1945, the B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets Jr. of the 509th Composite Group, lifted off the 8,5oo foot long Runway Able of Tinian’s North Field for destination Hiroshima, Japan. Six and one half hours later Tibbets and the crew found their destination. From 31,600feet, with tail wind allowing a ground speed of 328 m.p.h., they dropped “Little Boy.” The nuclear bomb, weighing 9,700 pounds, measuring 129 inches in length, with a diameter of 31.5 inches, contained 137.5 pounds of Uranium 235. “After falling to an altitude of 800 feet, nuclear fission began in one fifteen-hundredth of a micro-second. The firebomb that erupted was thousands of degrees hotter than the surface of the sun. It melted granite and vaporized people leaving only their shadows on the few remaining buildings left standing in the city after the blast.”

“One painstakingly calculated report says that single bomb left 122,338 dead, or missing, 30,524 severely injured, and 48,606 slightly injured. Many of the injured would die of the injuries.”

“On August 9th, a second bomb, code named “Fat Man”, which was a 10,000 pound plutonium device and carried by the B-29, Bocks Car and piloted by Major Charles Sweeney, and co-pilot Lieutenant Fred Olivi, had as its primary target the city of Kokura, but bad weather forced the pilot to the alternate target of Nagasaki. On August 14th  a total of 741 B-29s bombed Japan. On August 15th the Japanese government surrendered without conditions. The invasion of the Japanese main islands was avoided. The strategy had proved to be right. ”

“However, in making that crucial decision, maybe as many as 125,000 or more Japanese civilians at Hiroshima, and at least 70,000 more at Nagasaki would die. Thousands more would suffer terribly. Read more »

D-Day June 6th, 1944.

 

D-DAY June 6th, 1944. That was 72 years ago today.

Overlord

On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.

Battle plans for the Normandy Invasion is the most famous D-Day.

What does the “D” in D-day mean?

D-Day Map

 

 

 

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Operation Iceberg, Love day, Easter, and April Fools!

2980562321_1_3_lLkoYYi6Happy Resurrection Day!!  That is the day we celebrate as I write this blog today March 27, 2016. This day is more commonly known as Easter.  71 years ago it was Easter April 1st, 1945. It was also “Love day” and April Fools day all at the same time. It was also the day to begin “OPERATION ICEBERG.” So what does an Iceberg have in common with Love, and Easter? Well certainly there was and is Love with the Resurrection,   but would it be the same in the operation of Fools? I mean – remember the Titanic and the iceberg? The ship was lost. Ships were also lost in this – Operation Iceberg.  Does April Fools day have a play here? I have an opinion that one group of men mentioned in this writing may have been deceived into thinking they were doing the right thing for their emperor, but maybe they had been fooled.  The one who was resurrected will be that judge. So what was the Operation Iceberg? The following will explain it.

OPERATION ICEBERG was about the battle for Okinawa.   “Love Day” was the name given to the 1st day of the landings. Those landings would commence at 0406 on April 1st, Love Day, which was also Easter Sunday and April Fools Day. It was that time on that special day that Admiral Turner announced “Land the Landing Force!”  Read the story in “Pain and Purpose in the Pacific.”  But first, here is a bit of the history. Read more »

The Battle for Iwo Jima begins tomorrow – 71 years ago.

unnamedThe battle for Iwo Jima officially begins tomorrow!! That would be tomorrow – 71 years ago. Why did it happen at all?
From: Pain and Purpose in the Pacific: It was because of the technology of the time. With the conquest of the Marianna Islands 6 months earlier, B-29s were now within range of the Japanese homeland. However the 1,400 mile flight from the Marianas to Japan permitted only minutes over the targets until the planes had to leave for the return trip. Complicating this problem were the fighters on Iwo Jima that met the B-29s coming and going and the radars that warned the homeland of their numbers and arrival times.
Iwo Jima lay almost exactly halfway between the Marianas and Japan. The B-29s (without escort)  had to fly directly past Iwo Jima on both legs of their missions to have enough fuel to return to the Marianas. They paid heavily for being in this situation. Japanese fighter aircraft on Iwo would meet the heavy bombers as they flew over the island, and try to shoot them down. Sometimes they succeeded in doing just that. It was clear that the threat of Japanese fighters on Iwo Jima had to be eliminated. Read more »

“NUTS!” The Battle of the Bulge ended Today — 71 years ago.

unnamed“Gen. Anthony Clement McAuliffe:  NUTS !”

The Battle of the Bulge ended today, January 25th – 71 years ago.
General Anthony Clement McAuliffe commanding the U.S. Army’s beleaguered and surrounded 101st Airborne Division during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, is best remembered for uttering a single word. McAuliffe received a German surrender ultimatum to surrender or be destroyed. “Nuts!” he replied, and that became a lasting symbol of American courage and determination under fire. (Military.com).

In WWII history the Battle of the Bulge (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was a major German offensive campaign launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front toward the end of World War II in Europe.

Different forces referred to the battle by different names. The Germans referred to it officially as Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein (“Operation Watch on the Rhine”) or usually Ardennen-offensive or Rundstedt-Offensive, while the French named it the Bataille des Ardennes (“Battle of the Ardennes”). The Allies called it the Ardennes Counteroffensive. The phrase “Battle of the Bulge” was coined by contemporary press to describe the way the Allied front line bulged inward on wartime news maps and became the most widely used name for the battle. Read more »

December 7th 2015

Doolittle RaidDecember 7th falls on a Monday this year. It fell on a Sunday in the year 1941. We celebrate in this year of 2015, the 74th anniversary of the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor.

On April 18th , 1942 we answered the attack on U.S. soil by an attack of our own on Japanese soil.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: the Doolittle Raid:

“The Doolittle Raid, also known as the Tokyo Raid, on 18 April 1942, was an air raid by the United States on the Japanese capital Tokyo and other places on Honshu Island during World War II, the first air raid to strike the Japanese Home Islands. It demonstrated that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, served as retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, and provided an important boost to U.S. morale while damaging Japanese morale. The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle, U.S. Army Air Forces.

“Sixteen U.S. Army Air Forces B-25B Mitchell medium bombers were launched without fighter escort from the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Hornet deep in the Western Pacific Ocean, each with a crew of five men. The plan called for them to bomb military targets in Japan, and to continue westward to land in China—re-landing a medium bomber on Hornet was impossible. Fifteen of the aircraft reached China, and one landed in the Soviet Union. All but three of the crew survived, but all the aircraft were lost. Eight crewmen were captured by the Japanese Army in China; three of them were executed. The B-25 that landed in the Soviet Union at Vladivostok was confiscated and its crew interned for more than a year. Fourteen crews, except for one crewman, returned either to the United States or to American forces.” Read more »