Military Memories

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Email vern@armory.com.

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U.S. COAST GUARD "SEAL'S" ---"Frog Men"----"OSS"---"Operational Swimmers"

In Florence, Oregon I (Web master Vern Toler) run across a former Coast Guard Veteran, a Mr. Mac Donald, in my age
bracket, who had a interesting story on Coast Guard history that needs to be recorded. He was a Native American from the
Piaute Tribe of Owens Valley, California. (Interesting sides note his grandfather was the Sheriff during the dispute over the
Los Angeles Water war's.) He was sent to Catalina Island, California, where he received and conducted underwater training,
and then to Missoula (MO?) for Parachute Training with the Smoke jumpers. They used Silk round parachutes with "Derry
Slots" for control. They were latter were assigned to O.S.S. units in the Pacific. His main concern is that the U.S. Coast Guard
historians he contacted did not know of the Coast Guard involvement in the UDT. He had many articles to support his stories
of which I will put a few parts in this story and try to create a separate web page other memories so they will not be lost. From
page 41, unknown publication, by Brian; Danis, The OSS Operational Swimmer. "Faced with a wartime shortage of personnel,
the O.S.S. obtained the majority of its manpower from the United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps."
"From November 1943 to October of 1944 over 70 personnel were trained as OSS Operational Swimmers. Preliminary
training was conducted at the OSS West Coast Training Center at Camp Pentiloneton and Catalina Island, CA."" (Page 42)
"Today's' Special Operational Forces can take a lesson in joint operations from the Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen,
Marines and Airmen who served in the Operational Swimmer Groups. They were dedicated men with unique skills. They
pioneered a unique capability which for one brief moment in time. Was theirs and theirs alone." (the article also contained a list
of several training groups of which half were Coast guardsmen which I will put in another web page with a link when I am able
s/vern toler)
From Memo to Bob Weaver from Jack Demmons, Dated June 2nd 1993. #3 "1943 again there was parachute training of
rescue units form the military services involving about 25 individuals of the U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian Air Observer
Schools and the Army Air Forces." # 11 Missoula Sentinel 9/20/43 Coast Guardsmen, New Jumpers, Back to Alaska. Art
Cook and his crew of ten … had jumped in the Blackfoot country (at Seeley Lake). " #16 Missoula Sentinel. 8-30-43 Rescue
Squad to Inaugurate Chute Training. The Coast Guard rescue squad…. Is to train at Seeley Lake as parachute jumpers
under the Forest service…"

note: The OSS was the forrunner to the CIA so the  history of the military men attached to the OSS will be difficult to
find, expect for stories from some of the men involved.  s/vern
CG RodCG Rod
From the Quarterdeck Log, Vol. 12, No. 2    Coast Guard Combat Veterans Association

Coast Guard Frogmen?

Does anyone remember the Coast Guardsmen trained on Santa Catalonia Island in 1942 to reconnoiter beaches prior to an invasion?  The concept and school on Catalonia was the brainchild of a USCG Reserve Office who, after WW2, returned to work with the U.S. Forest Services in Bishop, California.    A team led by Chief Pharmacist mate Becker trained to evaluate beaches and man-made obstacles prior to a beachhead at Borneo.  From these frogmen evolved Navy UDT, EOD, Seals, etc.  After Borneo and Midway, some frogmen were trained to parachute and became para-rescue men and parachute riggers.  A PT boat skipper in my morning coffee clutch reimburse drooping off Coast Guard frogmen during WW2. Does anyone else remember them? I'd like to know more about them.  If you have a story please write me at

Mac Donald
POB 1907, Florence
OR  97439                                                   Thanks

Military Memories
 

CG RodCG Rod
 

Copy of letter from MacDonald

20 Sep 1996    Ref:  COMMANDANTS BULLETIN NO. 28-68

Dear Mr. Price:.

We took pride in our job and pride in where we trained. “Pararescue, “Angeles from the Sky”. No – never an Army Fort Benning term:  Paratroops sic sic sic.  Please find included a more true description of USCG “Rescue from the Sky”.  Please note that the Royal Canadian Air Force already had rescuers- capability.  See date of article.  They even had Nurse Rescuers Parachute Qualified.  I had the pleasure of working with RCAF Rescue early on in my Military career (USCG) and as late as 31 March 1966 (USAF):  that rescue mission is recorded on pg. 94 – RCAF “That Others May Live” book.  That book also records, WO May, as first seeing the requirement for men who could parachute to the stranded.    Before rotating we wee repackaging parachutes under the on base Hospital.  We would take a boat to Annette Island for our aircraft.
The “father” of Smoke Jumping, Earl B. Cooley, autographed pg. 83 of my enclosure at the 50th year. Anniversary of Smoke Jumpers.  He was responsible for moving the USFS Parachute School from Washington State to Seeley Lake, Montana. Seeley Lake -= not Camp Seeley.  Later the school was moved to Missoula, Mont. where it is today.  Included is a letter from old Pararescue with the mention of USCG AND Ketchikan.  No mention of a Chief / Lt. Hook.

As the Military Service responsibility for Rescue changed  - I changed service. USCG, MANG, USN, and USAF – retiring in Alaska in 1966. Where it all started.

Mac Donald
POB 1907
Florence, OR  97439

Mac Donald was also given Parachute Training while in the Coast Guard, and the training was at and by  the U.S. Forest Service Smoke Jumps Center.
 

CG RodCG Rod

OPERATIONAL SWIMMER GROUP NAMES IS FROM A LIST WITH THE  OSS HONOR ARTICLE PAGE 43 Publication unknown  s/vern toler

1943-1945
1943 Original Training
Recruiting Photo Documentation

Lt. Duncan, Robert Jack H. USNR
Capt. Lichtman, Alfred M. USMC
Koulias, Charies N.  USMCR
*GM1c Spence, John Pins   USN
*Sgt. Wadley, Fredence J. III AUS
*GM1c Wicker, Norman  USN
*Lambertsen, Chnstian.   CIV
(note Dr. Lambertsen began as a
Civilian but was later commissioned
as a Captain in the U.S. Army
Medical Corps.  Dr. Lambertsen is an
Honorary Lifetime member of the
UDT-SEAL Association and “Father
Of U.S.  Combat Swimming)

L-UNITS (INITIAL FIELD STAGE)

OPERATIONAL SWIMMERS. U.K.
European Theater of Operations
12 January 1944 – 22 June 1944

*CPT Gilpatinc, Chadbome. AUS
  (Commanding Officer)

* CPT Kamp. James 3. AUS CE
   (L-Unit # 1 (initial cadre)

* CPT Hodge. James B. AUS (Team Leader)
Pvt. Reinholsten. Olav S  AUS
Pvt. Rockne, Svene B. AUS
* GM1c Spencer, John Pins USN
* T/Sgt.. Tweedy, Lawrence L. AUS

 (L-Unit # 2 (supplemental cadre)

 BM3c Anderson, Orville W. USCG
*   S1c Bennans, Gerald L  USNR
*+  BM1c  Butt.  Robert L  USCG
*    BM1c  Caylor. Harry D. USCG
      S1c Kimball, Richard Stephen USCG
*    BM1c  Radjem Robert E.    USCG
      WO Richardson, W.J. USMC
? GM3c Soltan, Gordon L USNR
* PFC Stepner. E. USMC (First inital)
* Lt. Wadley, Fredence 3 111 AUS (Team Leader)

Operational swimmer group 1.

Trained Coronado and Bahamas. Assigned to USN
Integrated into UDT Team 10. Pacific

Operational Swimmer Group II UDT
 10 July 1944—July 1945

BM1c Beck, Rolla USCGR
Sgt. Bodine, Lessiel L USMC
LCdr Choate, Arthur O. Jr. USNR (Commander)
Lt. Dockter. Comelius AUS
* ENS Garrett, Arthur Q. USCGR
* Lt Gibboney, Lawrence J. USNR
BM1c Hobbs, Robert K. USCGR
*BM1c Hooper, William D. USCGR
+SP(X)2c Katsirubas, William P USNR
+SP(X)2c Kenworthy, Robert E. USNR
*Lt. Knott, James USNR (Executive Officer)
QM2c Long, James L. Jr. USNR
RT3C Mouser, Cleo C. USNR
+BM1c Muihern, Raymond K. USCGR
*BM2c Nikoienko, Nichloiaus USCGR
MoM1c Parker, Robert K USCGR
+GM1c Scoies, Robert D. USCGR
+SP(x)1c Travis, Wright S USNR
+SP(X)1c Weldon, Henry T. USNR
Sgt White, Frank A. USMC
Lt Wolf, William 9 AUS (Ordance Intel. Officer)
SGT Wright, William C. USMC

Detached for Special Reconnaissance Duty
3rd Amphibious Force.
Palau Island Group 10 July 1944—25 Aug. 1944
*S1c Banihill, Leonard L. USNR
*QM1c Black, Robert A. Jr. USNR (KIA)
QM3c  Chnstinsen, Warren R. USNR
*SP(A)1c MacMahon, John C. USNR (KIA)
SP(X)1c Moore, William E. USNR

OPERATIONAL SWIMMER GROUP II
Trained Coronado Bahamas, Guantamo Bay,
Burma and Ceyion
Detachment 101 Kandy. Ceyion
January 1944 – 15 April 1945

Lt. Babb, John E. USNR (Intelligence)
*Capt Lambensen, Chnstian J. AUS
(Operations Instructor/Surgeon)

OPERATIONAL SWIMMERS
SF(x)3c Abbott, Norman USNR
*Sgt. Backus, Samuel D. AUS
CPHM  Becker.  Hermann L. USCG
*Lt(JG) Booth, John P. USCGR
(CO Swimmer Group Leader)
+Cox Carroll, John C. USCGR
+CBM Eubank, James R.  USCGR
*+ Lt French, George USA Group Leader Demolitions)
* Cox. Fulton, Donald W. USCGR
+ Haber, George. USNR
SGT. Hamgan, John H. USCGR
Sgt. Hamgan, John H  USCGR
*Cpl. Kneist, John J. USMCR
BOMM1c     MacDonald     USCGR
*Lt. McDevitt, Hugh A.  USMCR (group leader)
*WO Medicoff, Thomas O  USCGR
*S/1c Miller,  F.D. USN
+Sgt. Mornissey, Edward F   AUS
+SF(x)3c Pnano, Michael P  USNR
Puetz, Geraid USCGR
Sgt. Pulgencio, Louis USCGR
Sgt. Ray, David USNR
*Cox Reeves, jack 3  USSCGR
*Sgt. Riet, Herman J AUS
*Cpl. Smith, Richard O. USMCR
*Cox/. Thongal, Gordon P. USCGR
*Sgt. Walastro, Filppo A. AUS
*+ Cox. Ward, Eugene

OPERATIONAL SWIMMER GROUP III
Retrained Bahamas. October 1944 Ceylon
OSS Detachment 101. SEAC January 194

 Operational  Swimmers

*BM3/c  Anderson, orville W.  USCG
*+WO Butt, Robert USCGR
*Cpt Kamp, James J. AUS (Commanding Officer)
S1/c Kimball, Richard USCG
Cox., Millen, Bud  USCG
WO Richardson, W.J. USMC
+GM3/c Soltau, Gordon L USNR
BM2/c Talmadge, James USCGR
MoMM2/c Talmadge, Robert USCGR
*Lt. Wadley, Fredenc 3. III AUS

 WILD CARDS

*Cpt. Enk, Andersen. AUS (SEAC-MU HQ Esscort officer)
Y3/c Butler, J.R. USNR
EM2/c Campbell, J.C. USNR
S1/c Chasen H.E. USNR
BM1/c Clark,J.R. USNR
Cook, Fred
Ensign Donahue, Frank. USNR
S1/c Lagaua, C.L./ USNR
Sp.P-2/c Luficin, H.W. USNR
SF1/c Stanaway, J.L. USNR
CM1/c Sterier, E.B. USNR
Lt. Swift, W.G. AUS
GM1/c Wicker, N.E. USN
Lt Wilbur, R.H. AUS
?Cpt Anderson Andrew. AUS (Commander)
 

(*)  Deceased
(+) Individual or Relative Attended Stone Laying
Ceremony at Fort Bragg on 5-6 March 1998

Note: AUS = Army, United States

(Note: The Roster above and the following excerpts which mention the Coast Guard are from a published story (unknown publication) by Sergeant Brian Danis, U.S. ARMY commemorating the Stone Laying Ceremony at the Special Operations Memorial at Fort Bragg, NC)

Page 41

Faced with a wartime shortage of personnel the OSS obtained the majority of its manpower from the United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. “Operative” was the term used for OSS personas in the field conducting activity for special programs.

From November 1943 to October of 1944. Over 70 personnel were trained as OSS Operational Swimmers.  Preliminary training was conducted at the OSS West Coast Training Center at Camp Pendleton and Catalonia Island. CA. Advanced training in clandestine underwater operations was conducted on a secluded island in the Bahamas.

Today's Special Operation Forces can take a lesson in joint operations from the Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Marines, and Airmen who served in the Operational Swimmer Groups.  They were dedicated men with unique skills.  They pioneered a unique capability which for one brief moment in time. Was theirs and theirs alone.

The following is a portion of a letter from  “Bob” to
Charles W. Hole Jr. Astoria, OR dated June 2, 1993

I've been digging into the past regarding para-rescue actives, about as far as possible in the Missouia area.  Earl Cooler and another friend of mine, Jack Demmons have helped considerably in resurrecting data,  Jack is still looking for more information and if he comes up with anything useful I’ll forward it to you.

Para-rescue activities from 1943 to 1946 consisted of, and met, several widely scattered requirements not predicted or prepared for prior to WW2 In some instances, such as Dr. Marten and Dr., Little of the U.S. Army such para-rescue facilities consisted of individual efforts.  In other r instances such s the U.S. COAST GUARD,  the Second Air Force Search and Rescue Section and the Ketchikan Alaska unit para-rescue teams were employed with no coordination other than that within their own individual unit.  Techniques were varied between these activities as were based mainly on trial and error experiences born of necessity.  This same type of uncoordinated activity was common to all search and rescue theater units, most of whom had no para-rescue facilities.  (This included the China, Burma, India Search and Rescue Squadron of which I was a member).  The one common factor throughout most para-rescue activities prior to 1945 was the assistance provided by the U.S. Forest Service Smoke Jumps Center in the way of tree jump training, protective clothing and the steerable parachute, the Derry Slotted Chute.   Signed/bob

(The following is excerpts from a memo.)

MEMO TO:  Bob Weaver
FROM:          Jack Demmons
RE:                 Rescue Teams Trained by the Smokej-umpers
Date:               June 2, 1993

3. 1943  again==There was parachute training of rescue units from the military services, involving about 25 individuals of the U.S. COAST GUARD, Canadian Air Observer schools, and U.S.. Army Air Forces.  The rescue training began shortly after the close of regular season and extended until December 10.  About one-half of those trained were flight surgeons of the Second Army Air Force and the Second and Third Arctic Rescue Squadrons.  from U.S.F.S. History of Smoke-jumping, May 1, 1972

10. From Missoula Sentinel 1 Sep. 1943  Parachute Center of Nation is established Here.  The article mentions that Alaska sent a COAST GUARD detachment to serve as a Forest Service Auxiliary Parachute Squadron while learning the basics of jumping in all of its phases, and that it would return to Alaska ready for rescue work through the North.  Article also available at both libraries mentioned previously.

11.  From the Missoula Sentinel 20 Sep 1943.  COAST GUARDSMEN, New Jumpers,  Back to Alaska.  Art COOK and his crew of ten ... had jumped in the Blackfoot country (at Seeley Lake).  More information is given about this group by the paper.  It is available at both of the libraries mentioned previously.

16,  From the Missoula Sentinel 30 July 1943  Rescue Squad to Inaugurate Chute Training.  The COAST GUARD rescue squad is...is to train at Seeley lake as parachute jumpers under the Forest Service.. Article available at both libraries.

Copies of the Missoula Sentinel is available at the U of MO and Mssoula  City Library

Note: The following are excerpts from a mimograft history. I don't know its source    s/vern_toler

1943 THE CIVILIAN PUBLIC SERVICE  PROGRAM – FIRST TRAINING OF MILITARY PERSONNEL.

An unusual feature of the seasons activities was the parachute training of rescue units from the military services, involving about 25 individuals of the U.S. COAST GUARD, Canadian Air Observer Schools, and the U.S. Army Air Forces.  This “rescue training” began shortly after the close of the regular session and extended with few breaks until December 10.  About half of those trained were flight surgeons of the Second Army Air Force and the Third Arctic Rescue Squadrons.

Closely connected with this activity was the establishment of a Second Air Force Search and Rescue Section, with the Forest Service an active participant.  This was initiated by Captain Frank Wiley of the U.S. Air Force.

Another important feature of the 1944 season was the first use of large military airplanes for smoke-jumping.  Region 6, through cooperation with the U.S. Marine Corps, successfully employed Navy DC-3’s for actual fire jumps in Washington and Oregon.  In Region 1, Ford Tri-motors and Curtis Travelairs continued in use as the workhorses of the parachute project.

1. (1944)  Death of Pilot Dick Johnson in an airplane crash near Jackson, Wyoming, March 2.  Dick was one of the ablest of mountain pilots and one of the first to fly the smoke jumpers.

(The following is added for historical interest and to honor a forgotten unit.  I recently saw a TV segment where a Black Paratrooper Veteran stated that the Army sent them,  to the Smoke Jumpers to exclude them from action with White paratroopers.)

5. Training of the 555th Battalion of Negro paratroops in timber jumping and fire-fighting to combat Japanese balloon fires.  This was conducted at Pendleton, Oregon, by parachute instructors from Missoula.  Since the balloon menace did not materialize, the 300 paratroopers were used as auxiliary suppression crews on large fires in Regions 1, 4, 5, and 6.
 

 Newsworthy facts of the 1947 record are as follows:

4. Death of Dave Godwin, newly appointed national fire control chief, in an airlines crash in the Virginia Mountains  on June 13. 1945  More than any other individual, Dave was responsible for the initiation of the “Parachute Project” and his continued interest and support contributed much to its

5. Two groups of 10 men each from the Air Rescue Service which operates unter the Air Transport Command, U.S.. Air Force , were trained as jumpers at Missoula during the fall.  The corps were composed of medical and training officers and enlisted men.  And they were give the regular course of parachute instruction as modified to meet the requirements of rescue jumping.
 
 

COMMANDANTS BULLETIN NO. 28-68

From the AIR SEA RESCUE BULLETIN – July 1944

PARATROOPS ORGANIZED FOR RESCUE IN ARCTIC

  In January 1943, a large passenger plane crashed in the Alaskan Mountains and the Coast Guard office at Ketchikan was directed to search for survivors.  After a month-long survey of the territory by air and sea, the first survivors were picked up on a beach and assisted in a searching plan to locate the site of the wreck.  Two more passengers were still camped there.  A rescue party of Coast Guardsmen was sent in on-foot, but the terrain and weather conditions were so rugged that they themselves were near to exhaustion on arrival.  Food and supplies were dropped and a second group was sent to assist the first.

Although this mission was successfully concluded, the searchers realized that many of their difficulties would have been avoided had it been possible to drop the rescue party by parachute.  One of the groups, Chief Boatswain A. H. Hook, pursued this thought.  He presented a plan for the training a para-troop rescue squad to his C. O. Captain F. A. Zeusler, who told him to go ahead with it.    About a month later, Hook took twelve men to ‘Camp Seeley, Montana, (error-Lake Seeley, not Camp Seeley) for the ten weeks basic training his plan called for.  It included the paratrooper course for Forest Service fire fighters (a dozen jumps and four fire-fighting practices) courses in first aid, assistance to stranded personnel, landing in various types of terrain, shore search, cooking, packing equipment and so on.

  When their training was completed, the group went on active duty as the Ketchikan Paratrooper Squad, and became an integral part of the air sea rescue force in that district.  The Canadians in the Prince Rupert area became interested and trained a squad along the same lines.  The Canadian and U.S. paratroopers are available for duty, in accordance with a mutual assistance agreement, with either the U.S. Forces in Alaska or the Canadian forces at Prince Rupert.  One or more paratroopers usually accompany search plans on any type of assistance work. With Mr. Hook, now Lieutenant Hook, as commander officer.

The following is a few excerpts from POPULAR MECHANICS SEPTEMBER 1944 page 82-85 where the US COAST GUARD is mentioned.

Four Hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle—at Fort Ross, Hudson Bay Eskimo training posts and farthest north of Canadian settlements – four white persons, one a woman, and 50 natives were marooned
  Eight days’ food remained.  Their supply ship, Nascopi, had failed to break through the ice to the northern tip of Boothia Peninsula, on Ballot Straight, three miles from Hazard Bay where the Post is situated.  The Royal Canadian Air Force had no rescue plains available.
  Only one hope remained – the. US Army Air Force, to which a rescue appeal was made.   (The story continues mentioned assistance by parachute and training of US and Canadian team by the U.S. Forest Service.)
  The Forest Service works closely with the Emergency Rescue Branch of the Air Force in training personnel. In addition the Coast Guard has trained representatives at Seeley Lake, and has established “Para-Rescuer” units. The first was assigned to Ketchikan, Alaska. ----- Forest Service parachute crews this year are made up largely of conscientious objectors who have volunteered for the work. Coast Guardsmen and other service personnel in training have responded to calls and jumped to fight forest fires. ------The Aeronautics Observation School at Edmonton, Alberta, has sent men to Seeley Lake for training and upon completion of there courses they give instruction to their coworkers in Canada.  The same procedure has been followed by the Canadian Pacific Airways, The Army and Coast Guard have sent medical men for parachute rescue training, and the Forest Service has supplemented the ‘chute work with courses in woodcraft.

CG RodCG Rod

Subject:              Comment and question about your page.
        Date:              Fri, 13 Apr 2001 13:53:07 -0500
       From:              Hendrix Troy <hendrix_troy@bah.com>
 Organization:              Booz Allen & Hamilton

I am looking at your site: http://www.armory.com/~vern/personal/memory/

You have a lot of data collected that I am looking for in regard to my
grandfather who trained shortly with the frogmen before special
assignment in the pacific during the early to mid 1940s. I would love to
find out some others that went through this training, (I know many Alamo
Scouts went through it). He was Army Paratrooper / Scout.  Where would
you recommend looking for Roster type information about this subject?

If you have any other information that could specify some details about
the training he might have gone through I would appreciate it

Thanks,
Troy Hendrix

CG RodCG Rod
 

   Date:        Sun, 15 Apr 2001 15:43:29 -0400

The history of the current SEALs, from UDT and before that,
Scouts and Raiders is well documented.  If you have any questions, go
to our links page and click on the UDT-SEAL Association.

EN1 (SEAL) Joel Phillips
East Coast SEAL Motivator
http://www.seal.navy.mil
.
CG RodCG Rod


Subject:              OSS/USMCR
        Date:              Thu, 11 Jan 2001 09:47:58 -0500
       From:              Michael McDevitt <mmcdevitt@drydenmatrix.com>
 Organization:              Drydem Matrix Technologies, LLC
 I saw my fathers name, Lt. Hugh A. McDevitt USMCR, listed as a group leader under a heading "Operational Swimmers". My father served in the OSS during World War II and later spent 30 years in CIA. He passed away in 1979. I would be very grateful for any information on the whereabouts of the men who served with my father. Is there a specific website on the OSS or is there any information on the people attending the Stone Laying Ceremony (Special Operations Memorial) at Fort Bragg in 1998? Any information would be very helpful.
Thank you,
H.Michael McDevitt
mmcdevitt@drydenmatrix.com
610-354-9050
CG RodCG Rod

Subject:         "military Memories
   Date:         Sun, 7 Jan 2001 07:03:35 -0800
   From:         Ruth Jenkins <ruthjenkins@earthlink.net>
    One of the "Operational Swimmers" listed on your Military Memories website lives not too far from you.  He is my uncle, Larry Tweedy.
Unfortunately, as yet he does not use the internet, but you can find him in Medford, Oregon. -(addres upon request)
Although he, personally wasn't on Catalina, he remembers the operation.

Ruth

CG RodCG Rod

Date:
         Fri, 23 Mar 2001 14:38:12 -0600

         sjans@execpc.com

  Subject:          Information on father
 

My father H.L."Sonny"Baumgardner service number 397850
U.S.M.C. said that he was in UDT in the south Pacific In ww2 I would like
to get some information on his service history.  Can you help me?
 

CG RodCG Rod
Below is a copy of a letter written by my father Ira TOLER to his mother during WW I  s/Vern TOLER

NOISE OF PLANES OVERHEAD AWAKEN BOYS OF THE 63RD

The hum of an aeroplane overhead serves as an alarm clock to awaken the boys to awaken the boys of the 63rd
artillery in the of the 63rd artillery in the mornings at Camp Mills, Long Island, writes Ira Toler. Of Battery E, 63rd C. A. C. in a letter to his mother, Mrs. Olive Toler, 2327 Lombard avenue. The letter follows: "I have landed in little old New York after a very pleasant trip across the country.  (As appeared in the Everett Hearld 1918)

"We left Seattle, Thursday a week ago, after a parade down Second avenue. There was no secrecy about us leaving
for everybody in Seattle knew we were coming in and the waterfront was crowded with people. When we landed the
took us to the armory and kept us there and would not let anyone go anywhere.

"We left Seattle on four trains of about 16 cars each. I was on the third train out. All the small towns along the way
turned out to meet us and the Red Cross met us about twice a day and gave us lunches, tobacco and ice cream. The
people of the small towns would meet the train with flowers and the glad hand, and it seemed as though the entire
town would be at the station to meet us, in some places they would start collections for us and buy us fruit and cakes.

"We would not have needed a cooking car along at all but I had to get two meals a day for 230 men and believe me it
was some job to cook on a field stove in a baggage car going 60 miles an hour.

"The small towns certainly did turn out fine to greet us but Milwaukee was the city that went mad. When we came in
every whistle in the city was tied down for 15 minutes and thousands of people lined the tracks for over a mile to see
us come in.

"All the men in the shops came out to see us and there were lots of girls in overalls among them. I guess they were
wiping engines and doing other light work around the railroad shops.

"There was one place along the way where the train stopped for us all to go in swimming in a river, and every man
had to go in too. That was some sight itself, 18,000 men in swimming at one time. They made the announcement that in five minutes we would be to our swimming place and for everybody to undress and be ready, for we did not have muck time, but the announcement should have been five minutes from the next stop, for we ran into a town with a lot of people standing on the platform to see us, but they expected to see us in uniform, not ready to go in swimming. We were a nice looking bunch a whole train load of us without a stitch of clothing on.

"We came into one place on Sunday while church was going on and someone announced ‘troop trains were coming
in’ and everybody came to the depot. It seemed as if it were a half holiday in every town we came to for schools
turned out and the shops would use all their steam to blow whistles and the workmen would come outside.

"But after we left Chicago we were on the New York Central railway, and there was 10to 15 troop trains a day
along that line so we were not the whole show, but the people had flags on their houses and came out to wave as we
passed.
 "We then went up into Canada until we got to Niagara Falls.  There we were given an hour to look at the falls
We arrived in New York about 3 p. m. and took a trip down the Hudson to Long Island Sound and there we did
certainly get a gook look at New York from the Statue of Liberty to Brooklyn Bridge.
 "We landed in camp about 2 a.m.  and went to bed.  I had a fine alarm clock to wake me up.  There was an
aeroplane, which came screaming down over my tent, and woke me up. Then I looked out and I could see about 50
to?? of them over my head.?????? Of capers, turning heard-spins, loop the loop and ever other fool stunt.  Some
were going 150 miles an hour, others flying like ducks and they keep it up all day and night too.  I could hear those
blamed fools over head all night, but tonight it is raining and I can not hear any of them now so I finally get some
sleep and I have not had any for a week.
"I have not been on pass yet, but guess I will painting Coney Island red tomorrow.
 "This is a very big army camp here and more coming and leaving every day.  When I came through New York I
could see several ships with soldiers on ready to go out at any time.  To take a look at this camp and see how fans
the men are coming and leaving you would say that the United States would soon have an army that would lick the
Huns alone.  I took a walk in the camp yesterday and had a hard time to find my way home.
"There are a lot of places to go from here but, I do not think I will have time to take them all in before I will be
among take bunch of transports lying in the harbor ready to go."     (by Ira Toler)
 

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note: I set up the web pagae on operational swimers , Coast Guard, for a friend. I do not have first-hand knowledge, perhaps someone cold help this person listed felow with information, thanks s/vern_toler
http://www.armory.com/~vern/personal/memory/

I think a few minutes talking with you about your knowledge
about OSS and UDT would help me with my search for information for my
grandfather.

If you get time one day please give me a call.
816-880 4665
  or let me know how I can contact you.

Thanks for your time.

Troy Hendrix
KC, MO
 
 

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Subject:         Bahamas SEAL training
   Date:         Wed, 11 Sep 2002 09:14:25 -0700
   From:        "Dave Koenig" <dave@entertainfla.com>
     Hi Vern
  I am researching "Frog Man" training that took place on any Bahama islands
in the 40's. I read of one such island in "Military Memories".....Does
anyone have any more information?
  Thanks,
David Koenig
dave@entertainfla.com
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Subject:         Navy Scout Raiders
   Date:         Fri, 10 Jan 2003 17:16:34 -0600
   From:         "Robert \(Gunny\) Hiles" <rhiles@houston.rr.com>
 
Do you have any information or contacts that may have information on the original 8 Scout Raiders of 1942?

Please review http://home.houston.rr.com/gunnyhiles/

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