Friday, September 9, 2016

Splish Splash

Summer's ended, school begins, and a lot of folks spend their time attending this adventure.  Writing this post brought all kinds memories of my own attendance to this endeavor.  Let's see...starting at age 6, one begins this trail along life's pathway.  Starting mighty young it is.  Anyway, you become locked into a pathway that seems to go on, and on, and on.  Counting for me, it would be 7 years elementary, 1 year junior high, 4 years high school,  3 years college, 4 years medical school, 3 years residency, and another 2 years in fellowship.  Hum... that is almost quarter of a century, and more than 1/3 of my present years.  No wonder that seeing the following picture of a grandson spending some of his summer days prior to his own adventures along this pathway.


...only two words come to mind...splish splash.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

WW II U.S. Campaign Medals

Looking back, the enormous scope of WWII is seen in the forty million lives taken all over the world.  The United States became part of this conflict on December 7, 1941.  The military organized their forces by land, air, and sea.  The operations they preformed were divided into "Theaters of War", and individual service [campaign medals] were awarded.  These service medals were: 1) American Defense Service Medal, 2) American Campaign Medal, 3) European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, 4) Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and 5) Women's Army Corps Service Medal.  The following begins a series of post to show these service decorations of WWII.

The "European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal" is shown below.  It was awarded to all members of the U.S. armed forces who served in the prescribed area or aboard certain ships of the Navy between December 7, 1941, and November 8, 1945.


The design is by the Heraldic Section of the Army.  The front of the medal [called obverse] shows a LST (landing vessel), with an antiaircraft gun firing from its forward deck.  The words EUROPEAN AFRICAN MIDDLE EASTERN CAMPAIGN are impressed above.  To the left of the LST, another ship is barely seen beneath a plume of smoke.   A fighter aircraft dives from above the smoke.  Shown in the foreground is a landing craft filled with troops.  Three helmeted soldiers with backpacks and rifles are shown in the lower foreground.


The back of the medal [called the reverse] shows the left profile of a bald eagle perched on a rock.  The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are placed at the upper right.  The dates 1941 - 1945 show on the lower left.

The colors of the ribbon have their own meaning.  Down the middle, a narrow strip of  red, white, and blue representing the United States.  [Description looking down from the front of the medal.]  On the left side is a brown band and inside are three stripes of green, white, and red, to represent the colors of Italy.  Two broad bands of green are to represent the fields of Europe.  Between the green and brown bands of the right side appear three stripes of white, black, and white, to represent the colors of Germany.  The wider brown stripes on each edge are for the soil of Africa and Europe.

A service member received a Bronze Service Star for each campaign credit.  Four of these stars on shown on the medal above.

What a deal this European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and what a service it represents to our life, and liberty in these United States.

References: American War Medals and Decorations, by Evans E. Kerrigan, The Viking Press, N.Y., 1964, pp. 97-98.

United States Air Force Combat Medals, Streamers, and Campaigns, by A. Timothy Warnock, Office of Air Force History, Washington, D.C., 1990, pp.128 - 133.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Morgue

Considering all things, it was relatively a brief corridor in time that Uncle Gene and I shared together.  During most of this time he talked and I listened while he painted his stories into my memory.  One such account was his time in the morgue.  Certainly, not something most nine year old have given much thought.  At any rate it was one of those stories Uncle Gene told of his time in the army posted on an island called Okinawa.  Now I had never heard of  Okinawa, but I figured it really existed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean never to be the same after Uncle Gene had been there.

Now I knew that a morgue had to do with dead people, but Uncle Gene gave me to understand that his place had to do with those who had been killed in Korea, and whose bodies needed to be identified before burial.   From "driving tanks" to a "morgue in Okinawa" seemed a little unbelievable, but hey... Uncle Gene could convince you of his facts.

It again was not until years later that the following patch in Uncle Gene's collection was understood.

It was worn by those of the U.S. Army garrison on Okinawa which is the largest Island of the Ryukyus chain.  The figure on the insignia is a torii which is the gate to a Shinto Temple.  The patch was adopted after WWII, certainly in time for the Koren War.  It must have been one of the least favorite of Uncle Gene's memories.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Driving Tanks

Telling stories was part of our families' activities.   Uncle Gene had more than his share.  One of his favorite was driving tanks.  He explained a number of techniques, with his hands doing most of the talking.  Fort Knox was the location, and hitting bumps with your teeth grinding about was often the focus.  Now I knew that Fort Knox was the place that all that gold was supposed to be held...but tanks...well not real sure about this.  At any rate, one of the patches I came to own, past down to me from Uncle Gene, was the following.


The 6th Armored Division it is.  Some years later, my study revealed that this division was deactivated after WWII.  However, it was reactivated during the Korean War and was used primarily as a training organization.  In 1957 it was again deactivated.  Hum...driving tanks it must have been.  Fort Knox...well I guess George Patton might have something to say about that!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

BLOG - A - VERSARY

This day, July 7, 2010, began my blogging adventures.  Six years it is!  As of today, there has been 316 posts, with 157,931 post visits.  There has been a total of 222 comments.  There has been folks from around the world [ 141 different countries from Albania to Zimbabwe ]  What a deal!  Can you believe it?  Happy  "BLOG - A - VERSARY"... now begins year 7.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Eagle Has Landed

Happy 4th of July to all those who celebrate this day.  When those folks got together in Congress that day in 1776,  life... liberty... and the pursuit of happiness were self-evident truths.  

I can remember that each day in grade school, we began our class with a Bible reading, a prayer, and we would stand facing the Stars and Stripes with our right hand over our hearts saying:  " I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."  What a way to start the day.

Seems like I remember a story that when all those folks in Congress wanted to select a symbol for this new nations, old Ben Franklin suggested a turkey.  Good thing we chose to eat this bird on another celebrated day of the year.  At any rate, set off some fireworks, and remember these truths, and instead of the turkey...the Eagle has landed.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Childhood Collections

Uncle Gene had a great way of telling stories.  He often provided first hand illustrations to help communicate the often broad scope of his adventures.  Serving during the Koren War, he told many of his "army stories" giving first hand accounts of driving tanks and the like, which of course filled my attention span.  He had a collection of patches which he would present with a story, describing its origin and activity, often leaving my questions yet to be answered.  His military patch collection become one of my childhood favorites.  The following patch [shoulder sleeve insignia] caught my attention having recently rediscovered this childhood collection :

No stories arose from the many memories pertaining to this collection, so I had to check a few of my "adult" references.

The 3rd Armored Cavalry it turned out to be.  A regular Army unit on active duty with Headquarters at Fort Bliss, Texas.  My reference read "The green color and trumpet commemorate the original green facing of the uniform and its gold trumpet insignia (1846)".   The motto is recorded as coming from General Winfield Scott after seeing the Regimental colors raised over a captured stronghold... "Brave Rifles! Veterans! You have been baptized in fire and blood and have come out steel."

I can't imagine how Uncle Gene could have missed such a story, but this childhood collection is still telling them.


My reference : Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of The U.S. Army 1946 - 1989, by Richard W. Smith, first published 1978. (p. 12)