Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WWII U.S. Campaign Medals (3)

This post gives the third "Campaign Medal" which recognized the global nature of WWII involving hundreds of engagements and campaigns fought by American service personnel.  The following medal called "American Campaign Medal" was awarded for service within the American Theater between December 7, 1941 and March 2, 1946.


The obverse [front] depicts a Navy cruiser under full steam with a B-24 bomber flying overhead.  A sinking enemy submarine above three waves is shown under these symbols of America's coastal defenses.  In the background are some buildings representing "the arsenal of democracy". 


The reverse [back] shows an American bald eagle facing left, standing "defiantly" on a rock symbolizing democracy.  The dates 1941 - 1945 are shown along with the words "United States of America".  [This is the same for all of the campaign medals shown before.]

The colors shown on the ribbon have four wide azure blue strips.  The center stripe of dark blue, white, and red represent the United States.  Near each side are narrow stripes of white, red, black.  The red and white represent Japan, and the black and white represent Germany.

References:
American War Medals and Decorations, by Evans E. Kerrigan, p. 97
Guidebook of U.S. Medals, by Evans E. Kerrigan, p. 191.
United States Air force Combat Medals, Steamers, and Campaigns, by A. Timothy Warnock, p.50-55.
The Call of Duty : Military Awards and Decorations of The United States of America, by John E. Strandberg and Roger James Bender, p.205.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

South Elkhorn Creek

Elkhorn Creek was a landmark for the earliest settlement of Kentucky.  Even when known as "Fincastle County" one of the first "watercourse" to be used in a survey dated July 9, 1774 was "Elkhorn Cr.". [ Original Survey Book 1, page 79-80 for John Ware. ] 

Its mouth begins just north of present day Frankfort (KY) near Bates road.  It snakes it way southward through present day Franklin County to a branch point called "Forks of Elkhorn" where a "north" branch and "south" branch divides it course. The one winding north finds its way into Scott County (Georgetown), and the south branch winds its way to Woodford County (Versailles) forming its eastern border.  The south branch then arrives some 8 miles north of Lexington (KY) [Fayette County] ending its winding ways just southwest of Lexington.  Just as it branches cross present day Harrodsburg road, the "South Elkhorn Church" was formed July 31, 1784.  It was here that my own Jones family arrived, and were listed as members until "the Twentithird day of June 1817".

Some 240 years later the following picture was taken of some family members still wading in this South Elkhorn Creek. [Two grandsons included!]


These waters still flow in my family.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

WWII U.S. Campaign Medals (2)

This post continues the description of the campaign medals awarded during WWII.  Known as "Theaters of War" the medal shown below represents the largest geographic area during the War, which included Asia, Australia, Alaska, the Pacific Islands, most of the Pacific Ocean, and the eastern half of the Indian Ocean.  It was know as "Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal".


It was awarded for service between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946.  On the front side (obverse) the medal is designed to show an amphibious landing in the tropics, showing two helmeted soldiers holding rifles.  A leafed palm tree overshadowing a landing craft with disembarking troops is immediately in their background.  Three palm trees are shown without their palm leaves.   Further in the distance is depicted a battleship, an aircraft carrier, and a submarine with two aircraft flying overhead.  In a semicircle struck across the top are  the words  ASIATIC PACIFIC CAMPAIGN.

The back side is shown below which is identical to the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Campaign shown last post [a bald eagle perched on a rock with the dates 1941 - 1945, and the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.]

The colors of the ribbon are centrally, three vertical stripes of  red, white, and blue representing the United States.  In parallel are two vertical stripes of white, red, and white representing the colors of Japan.  The bright orange-yellow color is representing the tropical Pacific. 

References:

American War Medals and Decorations, Evans E. Kerrigan, p. 98.

United States Air Force Combat Medals, Streamers, and Campaigns, by A. Timothy Warnock, pp. 58 - 127.

The Call of Duty : Military Awards And Decorations Of The United States of America, by John E. Strandberg and Rober James Bender, p.207.

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!