Tuesday, April 18, 2017

75 Years!!!

It's been 75 years since America showed what it is really made of during one of it's darkest hours.   It was 1942.  The Japs kicked our ass at Pearl Harbor and then proceeded to run roughshod over the Pacific.  Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle came up with the idea to attack Japan with B-25's launched from the deck of an aircraft carrier.  A suicide mission that might actually be crazy enough to work.  The rest is history.  The Japs couldn't believe that we dared to bomb their homeland.  It boosted morale at home and showed the Japs there was going to be a fight after all.  It nudged them into attacking Midway and the rest is history, as they say.  What is often forgotten is the brutality suffered by the captured pilots and those who helped the others escape in China.

Historynet.com tells the gruesome story:

Those fliers who had evaded capture began their trek to Chungking. Chinese country folk were startled, day by day, as Caucasian men wearing brown leather jackets and torn trousers materialized on rocky landscapes or on the outskirts of villages. Peasants, woodcutters, and farmers looked at the alien beings with curiosity and fear. Many had never before seen an American.

The fliers viewed the local populace with similar trepidation. There being no clear battle lines, they worried that they were walking into the hands of the Japanese.

The Americans were walking wounded: men with wrenched backs, cracked ribs, burned legs, and bloodied noses. Haggard and mud-spattered, they sought the help of those who gathered to stare at them.

Guerrillas led the aviators from one settlement to another. Missionaries gave them refuge. ‘Along the way,’ said Travis Hoover, ‘a Chinese aeronautical engineering student named Tung-sheng Liu showed up. He was on the run from the Japanese. He spoke English. He became our guide and interpreter–and saved our lives.’

Whole towns turned out to see the visitors. ‘I walked through villages, heading west,’ recalls Frank Kappeler. ‘Friendly Chinese followed me. Before long, my caravan was two hundred strong. I felt like Lawrence of Arabia.’

The fliers made their various ways into the heartland–by foot, riding shaggy ponies, and on river boats, charcoal-burning trucks, rickshas, and even sedan chairs borne by field workers. During a three-week period, groups of Raiders finally straggled into Chungking and journey’s end. There grateful Chinese leaders bestowed decorations upon them.

Newspaper headlines of the raid electrified America. New York Times: ‘japan reports tokyo, yokohama bombed by ‘enemy planes’ in daylight.’ Columbus Evening Dispatch: ‘u.s. warplanes rain bombs on leading cities of jap empire.’ New York Daily News: ‘u.s. bombs hit 4 jap cities.’...

Enraged Japanese military leaders took out their wrath for the raid on the people of East China. More than six hundred air raids on towns and villages signaled the start of the retribution.

The Japanese made it a point to burn to the ground those villages through which the airmen had passed. ‘They killed my three sons,’ related one aged Chinese man. ‘They killed my wife. They drowned my grandchildren in the well.’ Catching a villager who had sheltered an American pilot, Japanese soldiers wrapped him in a kerosene-soaked blanket, then forced his wife to set it afire.

One hundred thousand Japanese troops shot, bayoneted, raped, drowned, and beheaded Chinese civilians and soldiers in numbers estimated in the tens of thousands. It was their way of warning the Chinese against helping American fliers in the future.

The epilogue to the Tokyo Raid was bitter. The Japanese held Barr, DeShazer, Farrow, Hallmark, Hite, Meder, Nielsen, and Spatz. They would make them pay, man by man....
The interrogators struck the prisoners. They shouted the same questions at them again and again: ‘Where do you come from?’ ‘Are you Army soldiers?’ ‘Why were you in China?’

‘I would give name, rank, and serial number,’ recalls Nielsen. ‘They would hit me. I would say, ‘Lieutenant Chase J. Nielsen, 0-419938.’ They would hit me.’

The Japanese interrogators stretched Hallmark on a rack. They put bamboo poles behind Hite’s knees, forced him to squat, and then jumped up and down on his thighs. They suspended Nielsen by handcuffs from a peg on a wall, so that his toes barely touched the floor.

The captors bound wet towels over the mouths and noses of the eight fliers, nearly suffocating them. They placed pencils between their fingers, then crushed their fingers together. The soldiers stretched the men out on the floor, forced them to swallow water, then jumped on their stomachs. As many as five guards worked over each prisoner at a time.

The torture continued for more than three weeks. Resisting, the fliers told the interrogators their planes had come from a Pacific island. From China. From the Aleutian Islands. ‘I was blindfolded,’ recalls DeShazer. ‘They hit me. They asked, ‘How do you pronounce the letters h-o-r-n-e-t?’ ‘Who is Doolittle?’ ‘How long is the deck of an aircraft carrier?’ They hit me again.’

Then, one day the soldiers brought in maps and charts obtained from the wreckage of a B-25. They had tortured the men in order to corroborate what they had known all along: the B-25s had taken off from the USS Hornet.

Bloodied and bowed, the prisoners at last told of the raid. On May 22, the fliers were given documents written in Japanese. These were confessions of war crimes against civilians. Each man was seated at a table and told to sign–or be executed on the spot. Incapable of further resistance, the prisoners signed the false confessions.

On June 19, 1942 the battered Americans were transferred to a prison in Shanghai. ‘We were bitten by bugs, rats, and lice,’ remembers Hite. ‘Our faces and hands swelled from the bites. The toilet facility was a bucket.’

Urine and excrement covered much of the floor. Hallmark lay in a corner, stricken by dysentery. His fellow prisoners dragged him to the bucket as often as every fifteen minutes. After a time, they became too weak to help him.

The men had not washed, shaved, or changed clothes since their last day aboard the Hornet. They were forced to sit cross-legged. If a guard saw a prisoner shift position, he poked him with a pole.

On August 28, the Americans were taken into a small courtroom, where they underwent a mock trial before five Japanese officers. Hallmark lay on a stretcher. Barr was too weak to stand.

The ‘trial’ lasted twenty minutes. The judge read the verdict. The prisoners asked him what their sentences were. The interpreter would not tell them. Unknown to the fliers, all had been condemned to death.

On October 14, Hallmark, Farrow, and Spatz were taken into a room, one by one, and told that they were to be executed the next day. The officer said they could write letters to their families.

Twenty-three-year-old Bill Farrow wrote, in part, to his mother in Darlington, South Carolina: ‘Just remember that God will make everything right and that I will see you again in the hereafter.’

To his father and mother in Robert Lee, Texas, Dean Hallmark said: ‘Try to stand up under this and pray. I don’t know how to end this letter except by sending you all my love.’

Twenty-one-year-old Harold Spatz wrote to his father in Lebo, Kansas: ‘I want you to know that I died fighting like a soldier. My clothes are all I have of any value. I give them to you. And Dad, I want you to know I love you. May God bless you.’

After the war the letters were found in Japanese military files. The prison officials had never sent them.

On October 15, 1942, a black limousine entered the First Cemetery grounds outside of Shanghai. Farrow, Hallmark, and Spatz were brought out. Prison guards marched the men to three small wooden crosses situated twenty feet apart. The three Americans were made to kneel with their backs against the crosses. Guards removed the handcuffs and tied the prisoners’ wrists to the cross-pieces. They wrapped the upper portions of the men’s faces with white cloth, marking black ‘X’s just above the noses. A six-man firing squad took positions twenty feet in front of the Americans. At the count, they pulled the triggers. There was no need to fire a second time.

The next day, the five other Americans–DeShazer, Hite, Meder, Nielsen, and Barr–were led into the courtroom. The presiding officer read a long statement. They had been found guilty of bombing schools and hospitals and machine-gunning civilians, but the emperor had commuted their death sentences to life in prison.

Four days after the execution of Farrow, Hallmark, and Spatz, Japanese English-language broadcasts reported that ‘cruel, inhuman, and beastlike American pilots’ had been’severely punished.’ The reports noted the names of the three men, but did not say what their punishment had been.....

The captors told their captives that Japan was winning the war. The fliers would die in a Japanese prison. If, somehow, America won the war, they were to be beheaded..... Rest of article.


Anonymous said...

An outstanding book on the effort. Highly recommend.

Anonymous said...

Watched "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" tonight as an homage. Great stuff.

Bombardier said...

Great tribute, KF. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

screw the Japs, they got what they deserved, we should have dropped a couple more on their asses.

Anonymous said...

Only one Doolittle Raider remains, Richard Cole - read his story here:


Or here: http://www.doolittleraider.com/

Anonymous said...

The Japanese were a savage, racist barbaric people.

Has there been any other army in history where the officers were explicitly instructed not to eat the organs of prisoners they executed? What race of people has to be forcibly precluded from cannibalism?

Read "Flyboys:"


The author - James Brady - was contacted by an old veteran who had a bunch of exhibits from the war crimes trials of lower-level Japs. It's amazing.

To the Japs' credit, they've been model citizens since 1945.

Anonymous said...

It's been a long time since I read that book. A very good book. As I recall the USA had a pretty good plan about how to bomb Tokyo but almost no plan about getting the flyers back home.

A. History said...

My Dad now at age 97 was with the Navy in the South Pacific during the war. My Dad's brother, my Uncle, now at age 99 was a pilot in the Marine Corps throughout Asia for the duration of the war and continued to fly "brass" into the mid 1960's. I've heard many of my Dad's stories over the years yet very few of my Uncle's. So one day a few years ago I asked my Uncle "Who was the most important person you ever had aboard one of your airplanes?" He thought for a minute, then goes on to tell me: "I was in Guadalcanal. Was told I would be flying a secret mission. Didn't know who or where. I was with my crew gathered at the plane and up pulls a jeep. I noticed the stars on his uniform and ordered my crew to salute. It was Fleet Admiral "Bull" Halsey. We boarded the plane and I asked him where we were going. He said I'll tell you once we are airborne. We took off and he told me to steer to New Georgia Island. New Georgia Island was formerly known as the Japanese airbase of Munda. But we had just recently taken it over from them. So we finally get to New Georgia and they are still using bulldozers to shape up the runways. Japanese dead are being buried in mass graves along the runway. Once there, we met with who Halsey was there to see. A group of really scruffy looking fellows and their leader Greg "Pappy" Boyington." I almost fell out of my chair. Shortly afterwards, I found an aviation magazine interview of Boyington from the 70's or so and Boyington spoke of meeting Halsey at New Georgia Island in the interview.

Anonymous said...

Doolittle trained at Eglin Air Force Base: Eglin AFB Aux Field #1, from March 9-25, 1942, Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle's “Raiders” secretly trained at Eglin Aux #1 for their historic carrier-based B-25 bomber raid on Japan. Their training was assisted by personnel from nearby NAS Pensacola. Now, Camp Rudder for US Army Ranger School, Swamp phase. There is a plaque.

Anonymous said...

Love it !

We scared the shit out of the Japs when Doolittle bombed Tokyo.

Doolittle, MacArthur, Patton, Admiral Halsey & many many more were real men.

The men of that era smelled like testosterone in the morning,afternoon & night.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS