Sub Base marks 76th anniversary of Navy’s victory over Japanese fleet at Battle of Midway

The mission of the submarines, including the one J. Deen Brown was on, was to form a semi-circle southwest of Midway to ensure that Japanese transport ships loaded with thousands of soldiers and equipment couldn’t reach and invade the island.

In recent years, Brown, 95, of Oakdale, has been the sole Battle of Midway veteran at the Naval Submarine Base’s annual commemoration of the event. Navy officials and a small crowd on Monday marked the 76th anniversary of the three-day battle, recognized as the turning point of World War II in the Pacific

“I feel sometimes like maybe I’m being a little spoiled. But it is an honor and I do appreciate very much the attention and consideration I’ve received,” said Brown, who turns 96 on Friday.

The battle, which started at 4:30 a.m. on June 4, 1942, happened six months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, Japanese commander Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto wanted to lure what remained of the American fleet to Midway and destroy it, then invade and use the island as a base for attacking Hawaii.

“Our nation and Navy’s response was just as forthright,” said Capt. Paul Whitescarver, commanding officer of the base, explaining that on June 4, 1942, U.S. aircraft flying from three aircraft carriers – USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, and USS Yorktown – attacked and sunk four Japanese carriers, which had attacked Pearl Harbor.

“By June 6, 1942, Admiral Yamamoto and his Japanese forces were forced to withdraw,” Whitescarver said.

The battle was not the most challenging for submarines – that would come later in the war – but Brown and the rest of the crew assigned to the USS Trout (SS 202) had to frantically prepare the submarine to head to Midway. The submarine only had two working engines because it had been damaged two months earlier while supporting the Doolittle Raid, the first U.S. air raid to strike the Japanese home islands.

“We didn’t anticipate having to go to Midway,” Brown said. “It came as a very, very quick surprise.”

The submarine was getting ready to receive a radar system, cutting edge technology at the time, and had to repair the other disassembled engines while underway to Midway in rough seas with “a rolling and tossing ship,” Brown said.

Midway laid the foundation for the ultimate end of the war, Whitescarver said, noting that D-Day, when Allied troops invaded Normandy, France, two years after the Midway battle, was a “cornerstone to that end” and marks its 74th anniversary on Wednesday.

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© 2018 The Day (New London, Conn.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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After Years Of Searching The Jungle They Finally Find The ‘Holy Grail’ Of WWII Relics

They thought he was crazy. But restaurant tycoon David Tallichet knew there was something he was missing in the jungle. As an innovator in the restaurant scene, a man who has injected culture and different tastes in the food he serves, Tallichet has built a legacy that will long outlive him. However, the discovery he made in the jungle had nothing to do with his success as a career restaurateur.

Yet his discovery has both historic significance and is simply interesting. But when he ventured out into the middle of nowhere in the jungle, he ended up raising ghosts from the grave.

Tallichet made his fortune in the food industry when he founded a Polynesian-themed restaurant chain in California. But his success began when he learned discipline as part of the military. He was deployed during World War Ii and was a co-pilot on a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. In the sky, as in the kitchen, Tallichet was a force to be reckoned with.

Even as he carved out his fortune in the restaurant business, he still maintained his passion for plains and aviation. He started to grow an aircraft collection when he made a lot of money. He even specialized in military plane replicas. His plains were hired for movies like “Pearl Harbor.”

Despite his success, Tallichet wanted more. He took a team to Papa New Guinea to trek through the jungle. He was eager to find more out of life. One of the most underdeveloped places in the world, Papa New Guinea has a fearsome jungle that is not kind to visitors. With the jungle thwarting his every move, Tallichet and his team had to force themselves through the landscape and into the swamp.

Despite having years of survival skills among the team, no one was prepared for the surprise in the middle of the jungle.

Tallichet was brought to tears when he saw the thing among the greenery. He was immediately brought back to 1942 when World War II was at its peak. U.S. Army Air Corps Captain Fred Eaton and Henry Maynard Harlow were hired for a secret and heroic mission. They were to fly from Australia up against the Japanese coast. When things took a bad turn at the Japanese Fortress at Rabaul in New Britain, they were left with few options.

The plane started to fall from the sky and landed in the middle of the Papa New Guinea jungle. The team of nine had little resources and a lot of strife to contend with.

The team simply abandoned the shot-up U.S. B-17E bomber. For six weeks, they trekked through the jungle. They battle malaria and heatstroke.

Meanwhile, the “swamp ghost” ship stayed put for decades. At least until Tallichet used his money to find it. Check out the video below to see more pictures of his incredible discovery.

When Tallichet and his team found it, they quickly called in an airlift and resurrected the “swamp ghost.” They broke a wing, but eventually got it out of the jungle. Now the bomber is officially retired.

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This day in history, May 30, 2018

On May 30, 1958, unidentified American service members killed in World War II and the Korean War were interred in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1381, the Peasants’ Revolt against economic injustice erupted in England during the reign of King Richard II; the king and his men, initially caught off-guard, were able to crush the rebellion several weeks later.

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Normandy Visit: Saluting The Greatest Generation

The week of May 8 to 15 closed a chapter in my life whose first pages were written in France before I made my 1947 debut, in New York City. My father’s first cousin, William Friedman, authored those pages by deed. Bill enlisted in the Army in 1938 and made the first of his three first-day World War II landings Nov. 8, 1942, in Oran, Algeria, with the First Division, whose storied nickname was the Big Red One. The North African campaign cost Bill the top joint on the middle finger of his right hand. On July 1, 1943 Bill and his comrades landed in Sicily. Bill was transferred to the Tenth Mountain Division for the winter of 1944, and then returned to the Big Red One, to prepare for the invasion of Normandy.

Like most veterans Bill rarely spoke of his war days. He opened up to me a few times, once showing me letters he had written from France in 1944; then 27, he wrote that he did not expect to see 28. Bill first told his D-Day story to me around the time he attended the 40thanniversary commemoration at which President Reagan gave his legendary speech (14:25) about the men of Pointe du Hoc, the 225 Army Rangers who scaled the 300-foot high sheer cliff overlooking Omaha Beach in search of German artillery pieces. Starting with 250 in the boats, the Rangers ended the ferocious battle with 90 able to fight. But they did get the guns — not on the cliff summit, where none but dummy guns stood, but half a mile inland; the Rangers used thermite grenades to melt the barrel interiors and then smashed the gun-sights with the butt of their rifles. Mission accomplished.

But it was ten years later, when Bill co-represented the Big Red One at the 50thanniversary celebration, and greeted President Clinton, that he told more of his story. Bill recalled the interminable voyage across the stormy English Channel; he stood in the third row of his landing craft. As they approached the drop-off point in heavy seas the soldiers could hear the clatter of machine-gun bullets slamming into the prow of the ship. His regiment (the 16th) landed at Easy Red sector, the most heavily defended area, along with the neighboring Dog Green sector, of the beach that was to become known as “Bloody Omaha.” The First was chosen for this location because it was America’s most battle-hardened division.

Bill was interviewed for several TV specials. And then he sat down for interviews with soldier-author Tim Kilvert-Jones, writing the foreword for TK-J’s 1999 book, Omaha Beach: V Corps’ Battle for the Normandy Beachhead.

I am standing on Omaha Beach, May 14, 2018, holding open the Kilvert-Jones book, showing Bill’s Foreword to my fellow tourists. The photo at left is of Captain Friedman, 1943. The photo at right shows Colonel Friedman (USA, ret.) greeting President Clinton at 1994’s 50thanniversary D-Day celebration. Bill is second from right.

Bill described his first 24 hours at Normandy. Nearing the beach, 0810 hours, he saw chaos:

Landing craft on their sides, turned the wrong way.… I had gone off the ramp into deep water. It was up to my chest. As we moved forward I must have been on a ridge of sand because the men around me began to go under and I had to help them stay above the waves. After going about 6 to 8 feet, I felt firm ground beneath me… I then moved quickly to the shingle and just lay down and joined that great big pile of men on the shale. We were totally immobilized. I did not know what to do, or where to go. I remember looking at the sea and the water was red, there were bodies and equipment just rolling in the surf….

Along the line of men on the shingle I saw men jerking as they were hit with the impact of bullets and shrapnel. Somehow it didn’t count. I was reassured because I was shoulder to shoulder with other men. There was something reassuring about having warm, familiar human bodies next to you… even if they were dead…you were not alone… they provided comfort and sometimes even cover from the bullets… At one point I was still lying down and shouting in the ear of the Regimental S4. He was a major. My mouth was next to his ear; it was so noisy that he could not hear me otherwise. While I was trying to make myself heard above the din, a bullet struck him dead. It had hit him in the centre [sic] of his helmet… our faces were inches away when it happened… it could have been me.

Shortly after Bill landed, the commander of his group, Colonel George Taylor landed. Taylor took one look at the carnage and said, “Two kinds of people are staying on this beach, the dead and those who are going to die… now let’s get the Hell out of here!

Taylor’s men had found a hidden defile, somehow not known to the Germans, who poured withering fire down exits E1 and E3, the visible paths up from the beach, on either side of the defile.

Bill picked up his story after his unit reached the top of the bluffs:

Colonel Taylor sent me to find General Huebner.… I found the General and I said “Colonel Taylor sends his respects, and presented my report.” The general [sic] had tears in his eyes and all he could say was “you did it… you did it!” He was deeply moved by the all too-evident sacrifice. Later that night I fell asleep in a farmyard around Colleville. I recall a sense of being purged.

I had been frightened in battle before D-Day and again many times afterwards. But that day I was not frightened. I was simply convinced that we had absolutely no influence or control over our fate. No action we could take would have stopped a bullet. It was surreal.

When I was awakened next morning it was by French women who gave me some Camembert cheese to eat and Calvados to drink. I had survived D-Day.

Bill fought with the Big Red One until the fall of Aachen, inside the Siegfried Line, on October 21. He was recalled because his mother, widowed in 1943, was seriously ill. (Rose Friedman, a concert pianist, recovered and lived another 23 years.) Bill stayed in the Army, and was sent to Korea in the fall of 1950. He was at the Yalu River when the Chinese counterattack was launched. In all, Bill saw four years of combat. In addition to the Purple Heart, Bill was awarded two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, the Combat Infantryman’s Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the highest decorations given by the governments of France and the Republic of Korea. A captain on D-Day, he left the Army in 1961 a full colonel. Bill passed away in 2002, age 85; on his last trip he took me and his wife to what then was the D-Day Museum in New Orleans; it later became the National World War II Museum. Bill was laid to rest at Arlington, with full military honors.

Our group visits all five of the D-Day beach landings, which line up, west to east, on the Normandy peninsula: Utah and Omaha (Americans), Gold (British), Juno (Canadian), and Sword (British). Pointe du Hoc, offering a panoramic view of the peninsula, sits between Utah and Omaha beaches.

My Normandy visit, needless to say, was considerably less suspenseful. I wanted to make the trip so that I could stand at the waterline of Easy Red sector and see the landscape (minus the hell of war) my cousin saw. At low tide it is several hundred yards to the bluffs; at high tide, perhaps one hundred. Looking down from the top, where the Normandy American Cemetery (2:54) holds the graves of 9,387 Americans, one can see how high up the German defenders were. The bluffs at their highest are about 50 meters — 165 feet high; this is more than half the height of the Ponte du Hoccliff, and the slope is steeper than it appears to the naked eye, covered as it is with foliage. We see the American Cemetery Memorial (4:30) with its glorious chapel.

Our ace French guide, Pierre-Samuel Natanson, dispensed fascinating details of the many critical battles during the two-month Normandy campaign. I learned more in five days than I could in five months of reading about the battle. Seeing the battlefields leaves one with visuals that are worth the proverbial one thousand words.

Our visit to Utah Beach includes Saint-Mère-église (2:11), the church immortalized for filmgoers in The Longest Day (1962). The parachute from which an unlucky parachutist famously dangled was actually on the back side of the church; and there were two stranded paratroopers. Alas, Hollywood history favors cool pictures. The Battle of Frière Bridge (2:28) saw airborne troops knock out five enemy tanks, thus taking control of the bridge and providing an exit for troops on Utah Beach. We visit the Airborne Museum (2:04) honoring the 82ndand 101stairborne divisions. Finally we see Chateau Bernaville, where Gen. Erwin Rommel was once hosted. Rommel, in charge of defending Normandy, overseer of the Atlantic Wall fortifications the Germans built that ran from Norway to the France-Spain border, had predicted that the primary landing would be there. He wanted his fabled Panzer armored divisions stationed just behind the shore guns. He said that if the Allies escaped the beaches they would win. Fortunately, Hitler rejected his counsel. For the Big Red One, Normandy was revenge for the defeat Rommel’s Afrika Corps inflicted in Feb. 1943 on the Americans at Kasserine Pass.

We do a driving tour of Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches. We begin at Pegasus Bridge (depicted: the modern, restored bridge), site of a spectacular three-glider landing, with pinpoint accuracy by superb pilots, landing without benefit of powered flight. The Battle of Pegasus Bridge seized for the Allies a key crossing point. We visit the Pegasus Bridge Museum, and see a Horsa glider, workhorse for the British during the War. We visit the Grand Bunker Museum (1:08) at Ouisterham. The Cinéma Circulaire at the Normandy World War II Museum shows a film of the battle on nine huge panels at once. The day ends with a stop at Longues-Sur-Merto see a fortified German artillery piece. Our final touring day covers the many sites of the Falaise Pocket (Falaise is French for cliff), where in late August 1944 the Allies ended the Battle of Normandy in a furious multi-day battle, one of the most sanguinary of the two month campaign. Atop Hill 262 (named for its actual height in meters — about 859 feet) we get a panoramic view of the sites involved in the complex serial engagements, virtually impossible to visualize without seeing the big picture. We see the Falaise Castle, located in the town that was birthplace for William The Conqueror, whose triumph at the Battle of Hastings (1066) brought Norman culture to Saxon England.

But for me the highlight of our group’s visit comes at a farm named Brécourt Manor, near the town of Sainte Marie du Mont. It was the setting for a key American battle after breaking out from Utah Beach, the other American landing site on June 6. The battle, depicted in Episode 2 of the popular Band of Brothers TV series, saw Americans destroy four German howitzers.

The rest of the story, told to us by the current owner, who was a boy back then, turned ugly when a soldier made a grievous error upon entering the farmhouse. He accidentally shot and seriously wounded the father. Fortunately, prompt medical attention, and nearly a year’s stay in a London hospital, enabled the man to recover. He returned home, and in 1949 was elected town mayor. In 1962 he presided over a ceremony honoring the liberation of the town. I told the farmer that I had two reasons for visiting Normandy. First was to honor my cousin, whose extraordinary service enabled me to live a freer, better life than would otherwise have been the case. Second, I wanted to thank the locals for the care their ancestors gave my cousin and his comrades.

Next year will mark the 75thanniversary of D-Day. It will be the last major celebration of the largest naval invasion force in history, one that succeeded against overwhelming odds.

Normandy has many charms that complement the war sites and memorials. The lovely countryside has recovered from the ghastly destruction of 1944. The magnificent cathedral of Mont-San-Michel (1:42) towers over the countryside. Blending medieval, Gothic, and Baroque architectures accumulated over a millennium, it towers over its tidal basin — to see the view you must ascend 350 stone steps. At various times a fort and prison as well as a cathedral, it has survived the second highest tides on the planet. Caen’s abbeys were less fortunate; they survive as fragments — the Normandy battle saw 70 percent of the town destroyed. Bayeux Cathedral has its charms, but the highlight of our visit to Bayeux is the famous Bayeux Tapestry (22:40). My favorite panel is 38, depicting what looks to my gimlet eye like four medieval go-go dancers.

Churches, chateaux and country houses glow in the afternoon sun. Perhaps best of all, we lucked out on the weather, mostly sunny, rare for the region in May (or anytime). The people were charming and hospitable to Americans, not the case in myriad places around the planet. And then there is la cuisine Normande.

Bill was quite the gustatory gourmet. I too, enjoyed Camembert — Normandy’s signature cheese — and Calvados. Thanks to Bill.

John C. Wohlstetter is author of Sleepwalking With the Bomb (2d Ed. 2014).

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‘The hell I can’t’: The heroism and higher calling of Andrew Jackson Higgins

Dwight D. Eisenhower called him the man who won the war. But Andrew Jackson Higgins — the man who invented the boats Allied soldiers and Marines used for amphibious assaults in World War II — preferred to think of himself as an inveterate tinkerer and …

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Memorial Day will hold special meaning for two SA families

SAN ANTONIO – Memorial Day will have added significance this year for two San Antonio families. Both of their loved ones were World War II veterans who were laid to rest Thursday at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. SeaWorld offers free admission to …

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Amphibious Vehicles Are the Military’s Latest Tax Dollar Sinkhole

One of the worst symptoms of the paralysis in Washington and at the Pentagon has been the inability to correctly match weapon systems with current enemy threat capabilities. Hence the United States Marine Corps is set to announce the final winner between defense contractors BAE Systems and SAIC to build and field their new Amphibious Combat Vehicle, or ACV.

Or should we say the old Amphibious Combat Vehicle? Because after 46 years and tens of billions of dollars, the Marines are right back where they started with this technology, which leaves no one—except maybe the contractors feeding off this farcical routine—feeling very satisfied.

So how did we get here?

The naval campaigns in the Pacific theater of World War II were successful due to the capability of the Marine Corps to conduct amphibious assaults against Japanese-held islands. Following the war this capability was written into law via the National Security Act of 1947, which stipulated that the Marine Corps was responsible for the seizure of advanced naval bases.

In order to move from Navy ships to enemy-held territory, the Marines must be transported across a distance of water and rely on what is generally called a connector. Both the Navy and Marine Corps operate various connectors from ship to shore, while the job of the Marines is to fight their way into enemy territory. Marine connectors only carry one weapon: Marines. Step one is to take the beach.

During World War II, the Navy ships could move to within a few miles of the Japanese-held islands before loading Marines into connectors. But with the advent of ballistic missile technology during the Cold War, a new weapon made its debut: the anti-ship missile.

The idea is simple. If Navy ships are within range of an anti-ship missile, they risk being severely damaged or even sunk. The solution is standoff. The Navy ships must stay outside the effective range of the missiles or use defensive measures to shoot the missiles down. This forces the ships further out to sea and increases the distance the connectors must travel over the open ocean to transport the Marines.

The connector vehicle the Marines adopted in 1972 was the Amphibious Assault Vehicle or AAV. AAVs are stored in hollow lower sections of naval ships known as well decks, which can be flooded so the AAV can exit the aft end of the ship into the ocean. The vehicle moves through the water using two traditional water propellers and also has tracks similar to a tank in order to drive on land. The AAV can carry around 20 Marines, swim through the water at seven knots (nautical miles per hour; seven knots is eight mph for comparison), and has an advertised water range of approximately 20 nautical miles, which in reality is closer to five nautical miles.

But anti-ship missile technology advanced in the 1980s, and proved deadly in the 1982 Falklands War between Great Britain and Argentina as the British lost two ships* to French-built Exocet missiles. So the Marine Corps and Navy rewrote their doctrine to move their ships over the horizon to approximately 12 nautical miles.

This strategy necessitated a new connector vehicle. Marine amphibious doctrine requires a “swift introduction of sufficient combat power ashore.” If the AAV can only swim at seven knots and the ships are 12 nautical miles away, you are looking at close to a two-hour ride to the beach. Time equals distance divided by speed. For the Marines stacked like sardines in full combat gear in the sweltering troop compartment of the AAV, this bumpy two hours becomes a rather nauseating and incapacitating experience.

So work began in earnest on the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, or EFV, in the 1980s. It was designed with a powerful jet propulsion system that allowed it to plane above the water like a speedboat and achieve 25 knots, three times as fast as the AAV with a water range of approximately 65 nautical miles. Over the course of 20 years, more than $3 billion was invested in the program. Operational EFVs were due to be in service by 2015, completely replacing the aging AAVs.

But potential adversaries didn’t stagnate. They developed a defensive Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy. Waters around potential landing sites would be mined, and the range, speed, and lethality of anti-ship missiles enhanced significantly.

The increasing complexity of the operating environment did not go unnoticed. During the Obama administration’s first term, Undersecretary of the Navy Robert O. Work envisioned an either/or type of scenario for the future of amphibious conflict. Either Marines would land essentially unopposed as in Grenada in 1983 or the A2/AD posture of our enemies would be so preventative as to require a massive bombardment using long-range stand-off weapons like Tomahawk missiles and bombers to clear out anti-ship missiles and other defenses. Neither situation necessitated the use of a high-speed, heavily armored connector like the EFV.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates canceled the EFV program in 2011. Immediately afterwards, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Amos, decided to pursue the next iteration of troop connector named the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, or ACV. High speed on water remained a top priority as late as 2013.

After some research proposals were explored, General Amos decided in January 2014 that the ACV would be developed in a phased approach with a decreased need for speed on water. The ACV 1.1 was to be an off-the-shelf, armored, wheeled vehicle that met requirements for armor protection on land but would rely on connectors like the Navy’s Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC, aka Hovercraft) to move it swiftly from over the horizon at 40 knots to a few miles from its objectives, where it would then swim the last few miles. The LCAC has a large deck area that can accommodate several ACVs. Traditionally the LCAC would bring in heavy equipment like tanks or trucks after Marines secured a beach since the LCAC lacks armor protection.

The phased acquisitions approach was a tacit admission that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. The Marine Corps asked industry for a vehicle that offered protection first and then speed on the water at some point in the future.

The ACV 1.1 would not be able to self-deploy and swim from a ship like the AAV or EFV. The Marine Corps would buy a smaller number of the ACV 1.1, upgrade older AAVs and keep them in service until 2030, and research and develop ACV 1.2, a high-speed, fully amphibious vehicle.

But this solution appears to have been smoke and mirrors. In March 2015, Marine Commandant Joseph Dunford testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee concerning the program. He said industry might merge the ACV 1.1 and ACV 1.2 requirements together.

BAE Systems and SAIC were awarded $100 million each in December of 2015 to develop 16 test vehicles for ACV 1.1. And lo and behold, abracadabra, both company’s test vehicles could self-deploy and swim from a ship at, wait for it, seven knots—as fast as, you guessed it, the 1972 version.

Since the introduction of the AAV, almost 50 years have passed and many billions have been spent in research and development. And now the taxpayer will be footing the bill for a connector that holds fewer Marines than in 1972 (13 versus 20), swims at the same speed, and is more expensive.

The Marine Corps and industry are touting the fact that the ACV is under cost and ahead of schedule. The program is projected to cost $1.2 billion with 204 vehicles operational by 2020.

In October 2017, deputy Marine commandant Lieutenant General Beaudreault stated that “we have to find a solution to getting Marines to shore, from over the horizon, at something greater than seven knots. We’ve got to have high-speed connectors.”

It appears the deputy commandant didn’t get the memo. As the F-35 and USS Gerald Ford programs have shown, whenever the system wins, the warfighter and taxpayer lose.

*Story has been changed to reflect the British loss of one destroyer and one container ship during the Falklands War in 1982.

Jeff Groom is a former Marine officer. He is the author of American Cobra Pilot: A Marine Remembers a Dog and Pony Show (2018).

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