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Veterans

The Final Days of World War II

By | Historical Events, Veterans | No Comments

From Bob Anderson, United States Veteran

In reflecting on my long and interesting life, I recall that only once, in a very minor way, had I ever been close to or participated in an event of national or international importance.

In the summer of 1945, I was stationed on the island of Tinian that, along with Saipan and Guam, is part of the Marianas and home to the air bases that carried the air war to Japan.

Some time in June or July of that summer, the 509th Bomb Group arrived on Tinian. Almost immediately there was a mystery surrounding their presence. They were housed in a fenced area patrolled by military police. They didn't fraternize with anyone outside their own group and they were not scheduled to fly missions to Japan as were the crews of other groups on the island. Of course, if was only a short time until the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the reason for their presence became abundantly clear.

Shortly after Hiroshima was leveled, the second atomic bomb destroyed Nagasaki and the Japanese surrendered; but the surrender was not yet official. At this point, my group and others were sent on a "show of force" mission to the Tokyo area.

Hundreds of B-29's dispatched and we flew over Tokyo Bay and the city of Tokyo in formation and at a very low altitude. We did not carry bombs but our turret guns were loaded and we were extremely cautious. We saw a few Japanese fighter planes, but they kept their distance and we returned to our bases without incident.

A few days later we were scheduled again to fly to Tokyo bay where we were able to observe some of the official surrender ceremony being held aboard the battleship USS Missouri. At our low altitude, General Douglas MacArthur and his entourage (including his good friend General Jonathon Wainwright, who had just recently been released from a prisoner of war camp in the Philippines), were plainly visible. MacArthur was informally dressed, but the Japanese contingent was in top hats and coattails.

We made a couple of passes over the Missouri and then proceeded to fly over the burned out city of Tokyo. It was a dreadful sight. Thousands of citizens had been killed in the fires that had destroyed the very flammable homes and buildings in which they lived and worked.

We completed the thousand-mile trip back to Tinian without incident, thankful that the war was over and the return home was in our near future.

Thank You to the Veterans!

By | Holidays, Veterans | No Comments

We wanted to take a moment to say a big THANK YOU to all those who are now serving or have previously served our country. We thank you for protecting our freedoms and ensuring peace in our land. We thank you for selflessly giving of your time, your needs, your wants and your luxuries to serve. And we thank you for making America the wonderful nation she is!

God bless America and God bless our troops!

Below are three veterans that have served our country with honor and have been kind enough to share their stories with us:

Captain Dan R. Morris: The Glory Days of MH's Fearless Leader
The Glory Days of MH's Fearless Leader

Memories of Baghdad
A Story of Service from Sgt. Benjamin Daniel of the US Army

The Final Days of World War II
From Bob Anderson, United States Veteran

Captain Dan R. Morris: The Glory Days of MH's Fearless Leader

By | Veterans | No Comments

Captain Dan R. Morris served in the United States Air Force for five years during the Vietnam War. He pursued the Air Force due to his lack of excitement over having to "carry a rifle and sleep in the mud." While he had wanted to be a pilot, he was prevented due to his imperfect vision. Dan attended training base in Waco, Texas where he was asked to join the pistol team as he was an expert marksman. He chose, instead to pursue navigation.

Dan was stationed out of Grand Forks, North Dakota where it was, "colder than blue blazes and the wind never stopped blowing." As an Arizona native, he claims that was enough cold weather to last him the rest of his life. While at Grand Forks, Dan flew two missions to Spain where he also served as a courier. Due to his top secret clearance, they would handcuff a briefcase to him and send him to various destinations to carry confidential information.

Dan also flew in a KC 135 from Guam to Vietnam on tours to refuel the fighter jets mid-air, enabling them to return for a second attack. While the KC 135 was a very safe and stable plane, it was considered a "sitting firebomb" in the war zone due to its large size and high fuel capacity.

After five years of service Dan attended the University of Arizona to attain his Juris Doctor. While he loved to fly, it was not the career that he wanted to pursue. Dan is proud to have served his country and proud to be an American!