Altogether, twenty-four ships were sunk or damaged by the kamikazes that day. Though the suicide planes had not succeeded in penetrating to the beaches, the cost to the United States Navy had been high. And April 6 was only a prelude to mounting terror in the seas off Okinawa. Onishi’s planes were not the only […]

via The Tactics of Despair II — Weapons and Warfare

Currently Reading ‘The Fleet at Flood Tide: America At Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945’ by James Hornfischer

Has anyone read this? I’m not too far along, but am surprised that he’s included Col. Paul Tibbets as a historical character to focus on. Not that it’s a bad thing at all, I just think it’s an interesting call, especially in a book you think is going to be (mostly) all about the Navy (and Marine Corps). I’m enjoying it a great deal.

Currently Reading Deadly Sky: The American Combat Airman in World War II by John C. McManus

I’ve known John for a few years now and don’t think he’d mind my calling him a friend, despite the fact that he’s a fan of one of the worst teams in professional hockey (the St. Louis Blues). Ok, so maybe now he’ll mind. But even though he hates my Detroit Red Wings, I still think he’s a truly gifted writer, and a very good historian that does some great research and shares a tremendous fascination in the American history of the Second World War with his readers.

Since leaving my job with the US Army a few years ago, I’m a bit out of the loop concerning what he’s been working on, but I’m always excited when I see that he has a new book out because I know he’ll always include great firsthand accounts from the men that were there doing the fighting.

I just started reading the book this weekend but hope to have a review done sometime soon.

Final Contact: USS Indianapolis Passes LST 779, 29 July 1945

Dr. Richard Hulver, a historian at Navy History and Heritage Command (NHHC) in Washington, DC, has rediscovered some information that may help researchers discover the final resting place of USS Indianapolis (CA-35).

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/f/final-contact-uss-indianapolis-passes-uss-lst-779-29-jul-1945.html

Battle of Midway Hero Passes Away at 100

http://www.kitv.com/story/31802972/norman-dusty-kleiss-battle-of-midway-hero-dies-at-100#.Vx1y1ktgoRA.facebook

Two American SBD's fly over a Japanese ship, presumably Mikuma, during the Battle of Midway.

Two American SBD’s fly over a Japanese ship, presumably Mikuma, during the Battle of Midway.

Mr. Norman Jack “Dusty” Kleiss had just celebrated his 100th birthday this past March 7th. Kleiss was the last surviving dive-bomber from the famed Battle of Midway, an important American naval victory over the Japanese which occurred from 4-6 June 1942. A graduate of the US Naval Academy, class of 1938, Kleiss served as the pilot of an SBD-2 Dauntless in Scouting Squadron SIX (VS-6) off USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6). Of the 32 SBDs that took off from ENTERPRISE on 4 June, 16 were from VS-6. Only half of them returned, with six crews being unaccounted for. Two other SBD crewmembers were later rescued safely. The next two days of the battle also saw the crews of VS-6 flying sorties against the Japanese carriers, and fortunately both days saw the return of all personnel and aircraft from those highly successful missions.

Before his heroic actions at Midway, Lt. (j.g.) Kleiss had also flown scouting missions at the battles of Kwajalein and Maleolap Atoll in the Marshall Islands, for which he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross after scoring a direct hit on a Japanese light carrier on 1 February 1942. For helping to bomb the Japanese carriers Kaga and Hiryu, and thus stop the Japanese Imperial Navy cold during the Battle of Midway, Kleiss would be awarded the Navy Cross. He retired from the Navy with the rank of Captain.

Kleiss, typical of so many of America’s WWII veterans, once humbly replied when told he was a hero, “I’m anything but a hero….I was only doing what at the time was the proper thing to do.”

To view the citations for Kleiss’ Navy Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross awards, visit:

http://valor.militarytimes.com/recipient.php?recipientid=21311