Salute to the Home Front Women of WWII

Pacific Paratrooper

“Rosie to the Rescue”, Norman Rockwell

In 1943, several major magazines agreed to salute the women war workers of America on their September covers. The Post gave the assignment to Rockwell, who’d already created an iconic tribute to women defense workers with Rosie the Riveter.

For this new cover, he wanted to acknowledge the wide range of jobs that 15 million women had taken up as men went off to war. The result was Rosie to the Rescue, which showed a woman bearing the symbols and tools of several trades hurrying off to her next job. The Post editors claimed 31 different occupations were represented on this cover. Some were jobs traditionally associated with women: cleaning, farming, nursing, and clerical work. Others, indicated by tools such as an electric cable and a monkey wrench, referred to industrial occupations that women were starting to enter in great number.


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Looking Forward

The best feeling is for wars to end
and soldiers coming home to hugs
your pillow tells you dreams of smiles

the rest of growing
your place tomorrow
the lights going on again
in darkest places.*

*Dedicated to the Museum of the American Military Family
(Poem by Hudson Phillips)

Guest Post – Rationing Gone Wild by GPCox

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

We’ve all heard about rationing but with GP’s help, we’ll now know quite a bit more about it. Enjoy.

Blog - Rationing - Shate my car - 8.114.2013

The Second World War was fought on two fronts and as we’ve seen in previous posts, the home front rarely received the credit it deserved for its efforts.  The generation that endured the Great Depression, worked long, hard hours and were often forced to use the barter system to survive now, for the war effort, had shortages for most everything.  If you can name it – there was probably a ration book for it and a black market to get it; if you dared.  The children also pitched in by giving, what money they could earn, back into the family.

Rationing started just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor and sugar was the first product to be rationed when sales ended 27 April 1942 and commercial manufacturers received…

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Guest Post – It Was Hard To Keep The Good Times Rollin’ by GPCox

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

Today’s Guest Post from gpcox continues the theme of transportation started last month with information about cars and trucks. This post expands transportation to include the variety of ways to travel in the 1940’s. Settle back and enjoy a unique look at this period of our history.

"The Good Times" - 1939

Kurtz’s Gas Station – Arnold Gibson, Charlie Kurtz and Carl Wayne

filling up in Trumbull

Columnist Marquis Childs said after Pearl Harbor: “Nothing will ever be the same.”  Thirty-five years later he added: “It never has and never will be.”

Since it appears that many of our readers enjoyed the previous guest post concerning the auto industry during the World War II era, I decided to remain on that same train of thought this month. (Yes, the pun was intended.)  I managed to discover quite a lot of information.

We need to remember that in 1941 as much as 40% of U.S. families…

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Guest Post – Introduction to American Family Life – GPCox

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

I’ve invited gpcox to share another post with us. This one concerns the life of an American Family during the 1940’s. I learned a few things myself.

Gpcox of

Judy’s collection of letters from her grandfather is an excellent example of what the American family endured during the Second World War.

With the onset of war, patriotism certainly skyrocketed as well as marriages, job opportunities and salaries.  But here, fresh out of the depression, poverty, divorce and taxes soared.  Twenty million people bordered on starvation.  There was a shortage of shelters, hospitals and child care facilities.  Many youngsters quit their education to help support the family.

Ration Coupons Ration Coupons

Food rationing began.  The Office of Price Administration (OPA) was constructed to handle the rationing regulations.  Since most

Save Oil Save Oil

everything went to the military, Americans at home had to tighten their belts once again.  If the readers have seen my…

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Please send us your family photos for our military family album!

Guest Post – You Ain’t Got A Thing, If You Ain’t Got That Swing ! – The Big Band Era – GPCox

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

The Big Band Era

By: gpcox

“You ain’t got a thing, if you ain’t got that Swing!”

Swing was a verb that musicians used long before press agents turned it into a noun or adjective to describe both an attitude toward music and a special way of performing it.  “Swing” suggests rhythm and a regular propulsive oscillation, a form of jazz that is still influencing music today.  There are many instruments reinforcing the others, then other times, playing against each other and a solo instrument playing against a background.  The jazz form traveled north out of New Orleans in the 1890’s and slammed into the Chicago scene in the 1920’s.

Vincent Lopez

Vincent Lopez

The beginnings can be traced back to Fletcher Henderson in New York and Bernie Moten in Kansas City.  Fletcher and his brother Horace created the pattern for swing arrangements and was the first to train a big band…

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Current News – Iwo Jima Remembrance

Pacific Paratrooper

Hershel “Woody” Williams, Medal of Honor, Iwo Jima

HONOLULU — Seventy-three years ago on the island of Iwo Jima, Hershel “Woody” Williams randomly chose several fellow Marines to give him rifle cover as he made a one-man charge with his flamethrower against a network of Japanese pillboxes.

He spent four hours unleashing flames into the pillboxes that had stymied advance for days, racing back to the Marine Corps lines to refuel the flamethrower, and then running again into battle — all while covered by only four riflemen.

Hershel Williams

Williams was ultimately awarded the Medal of Honor on Feb. 23, 1945, for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty,” as the official citation describes it. He “daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machine-gun fire” coming out of reinforced concrete pillboxes, on which bazooka and mortar rounds…

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USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story – Battle of Iwo Jima (Feburary – March 1945)(Part 1)

USS Hornet (CV-12)-A Father's Untold War Story

John T. Ryan US Navy John T. Ryan US Navy

The world is still at war and my father, Seaman First Class, John Thomas Ryan is still serving on the USS Hornet (CV-12).

I recently accessed a war diary on the website Fold3.  This war diary provides a narrative of the Hornet’s activities during each month.  Most of my posts on this blog have been based on factual sources about the war in the pacific and where the Hornet was involved; however there wasn’t always something in those sources specifically about the Hornet.  I plan to go back to some of my previous posts and add some of these pieces of information.  Recently I added the January – March 1944 and the December 1944 information.

USS Hornet (CV-12) ready room, February 1945.
National Archives and Records Administration (photo # 80-G-469242).

“Number CV12-1411, 9 Feb. 1945, USS Hornet—Ernie Pyle, war correspondent visits the USS Hornet (CV-12)…

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By Allen Dale Olson

There were water columns spouting all over New York Harbor. There were crowds on Brooklyn Pier. There were flags everywhere, and politicians, too, it seemed.  There were hundreds of us on deck waving to the Statue of Liberty, to the crowds, to the skyline. It was hot, the humidity was high, but no one cared. The First Infantry Division was coming home from Germany, from World War II, thirteen years since it had sailed out of this very harbor.

July 23, 1955 – As part of the First Division Band, I was crammed into an advantageous part of the foredeck of the USNS Upshur for a splendid view of five of the Division’s former commanders awaiting us and the throngs gathered together to greet the Big Red One, even though it was well before noon.

I fully expected the band to be in formation to play the official march of “The Big Red One” as the troops disembarked, but not disappointed. By not playing, I could actually watch what was happening. We didn’t play because of union rules.

Same with loading the trucks and busses once on shore. Wherever we had gone before, we bandsmen always lugged our own stuff – tympani, tubas, personal instruments, music cases. But not in New York. Not where there were unionized Longshoremen.

Busses took us to a barracks building at Fort Hamilton where we signed for a bunk and were allowed to change into “civvies” till we had to be back by a specific time I can’t remember. But when we did get back, we donned our dress uniforms, boarded a bus and headed for Broadway and the CBS Studios where we met the CBS Orchestra Director Ray Bloch.  He and CWO Lambrecht, our director, walked us around the stage where we would march with the Division Honor Guard, play our Division song, along with the CBS Orchestra on tonight’s Ed Sullivan show.

I remember snacks and soft drinks somewhere along the way, but most of my memory is a blur of rehearsals and introductions. We met and chatted with the “star guests” of the evening, Polly Bergen and Guy Mitchell.  We noticed that while Ray Bloch conducted with his left hand, he held a radio to his ear with his right. He didn’t want to miss a single moment of the Yankee’s game.

I recall no sensations relevant to being on national television. We played our march, we did our steps, the Honor Guard showed the flags, and our part was all over. The only nervousness I witnessed was that of Chief Lambrecht, but it didn’t show on air. (Later my parents told me that they couldn’t really see me because the trombone bell covered my face, but they saw my hands and the slide.)

There was a small dinner in a private room at the 21 Club, and then it was back to Fort Hamilton. Next morning, all aboard the New York Central in Grand Central Station for the long trek to St. Louis and Kansas City where there were no Longshoremen to load our stuff onto the buses taking us to Fort Riley.  That’s when we knew we were really home.