The End of the Battle of Okinawa

Raising_the_flag_on_Okinawa

On this day in history, the American flag was finally raised over the island of Okinawa, June 22, 1945, following one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

Here is historian Tara Ross’ account of the end of the Battle of Okinawa.

by Tara Ross

On this day in 1945, Americans raise a flag over the Japanese island of Okinawa. The nearly three-month battle to capture the island was finally over. The Battle of Okinawa would prove to be one of the bloodiest in the Pacific during World War II.

The war in the Pacific had been a grueling one. Americans employed a strategy of “island-hopping,” systematically taking Japanese islands, one at a time. Okinawa was the last and toughest of these. However, once it was captured, Allied forces would have a base of operations from which to attack mainland Japan.

The attack began on April 1 when more than 60,000 Marines and soldiers landed on one of Okinawa’s beaches. The American landing was barely contested, but American forces surely knew what that easy landing meant: The Japanese were hunkered down elsewhere, prepared to fight.

And that is exactly what happened for the better part of three months. The battle that followed was brutal, with hundreds of thousands of combatants facing off against each other. In the end, Americans lost 12,520 men (killed or missing), and more than 36,000 wounded. By contrast, about 110,000 Japanese died, and many civilians got caught in the crossfire. The Japanese culture rejected the idea of surrender. Thus, ritual suicide and kamikaze attacks were not at all uncommon during this period. Sometimes, the Japanese soldiers even killed their own citizens or encouraged civilians to commit suicide with the soldiers.

Indeed, as organized resistance finally came to an end on June 21, the Japanese commander, Mitsuru Ushijima, was already preparing for his own suicide. He wrote his last reports to his superiors, and he directly ordered one officer NOT to commit suicide! “If you die there will be no one left who knows the truth about the battle of Okinawa,” he told Major Yahara. “Bear the temporary shame but endure it. This is an order of your Army commander.”

Early on June 22, Ushijima committed ritual suicide, as did his second-in-command, General Isamu Cho.

Later that same morning, Americans raised the United States flag over Okinawa as a band played “The Star Spangled Banner.”

In the end, Americans never used Okinawa as a base from which to attack mainland Japan. The battle to capture the island had been so bloody and horrific that Harry S. Truman was pushed toward his decision to drop atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If the toll at Okinawa had been high, the price of invading mainland Japan would surely be even higher.

Those bombings, of course, prompted the Japanese emperor to announce his intent to surrender in August 1945. That surrender became official on September 2.

At that point, it had been nearly 4 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. But the war was finally over.

Medal of Honor Recipient LT M. P. Murphy

 

Today is May 7, 2018.  Medal of Honor recipient Navy SEAL LT Michael P. Murphy would have been 42 years old today.

Below is the essay on today’s “Medal of Honor Monday” post from historian Tara Ross and her history Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TaraRoss.1787/

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by Tara Ross

On this day in 1976, a future Medal of Honor recipient is born. U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy would become the first sailor to receive the Medal since the Vietnam War.

It’s been said that Murphy’s “death was cut from the same cloth as his life.” Indeed, the young Lieutenant had long been known as the “Protector” among his family and friends. He was that guy at school—and in life—who stood up to bullies. No one would be battered or harassed in his presence. “That was Michael’s way,” his father would conclude.

It was a way that continued, even after college.

Murphy could have chosen an easier path. He’d graduated from Penn State in 1998 and could have gone to law school. He could have married his college girlfriend and had a family. But that wasn’t “Michael’s way.” Instead, he chose to serve. He became a Navy SEAL.

Which is how he found himself leading a four-man Navy SEAL team in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. Early in that reconnaissance mission, the SEALs accidentally stumbled upon three goat herders. Those goat herders apparently reported the presence of the SEALs to the Taliban.

Murphy’s team assumed a defensive position on a mountain, but an approximate 80 to 100 Taliban fighters soon found them and attacked. A tremendous firefight ensued. Our SEALs kept taking out the enemy—by the dozens—but still reinforcements just kept coming.

The SEALs fell back repeatedly, sliding and falling down the mountain. They were beat up and bruised. Bones were broken. Three of the four, including Murphy, had been shot. Yet they kept fighting.

“It was like the world was blowing up around us,” one SEAL, Marcus Luttrell, described, “with the flying rock splinters, some of them pretty large, clattering off the cliff walls; the ricocheting bullets; the swirling dust cloud enveloping the shrapnel and covering us, choking us, obscuring everything.”

Our SEALs were cornered. By then, one had been killed, but three remained standing. Murphy knew what he had to do. He fished a mobile phone out of his pocket. He walked out into a clearing to get a signal, and he placed a call.

Luttrell was stunned.

“I knew what Mikey had done,” he later wrote. “He’d understood we had only one realistic chance, and that was to call in help. He also knew there was only one place from which he could possibly make that cell phone work: out in the open, away from the cliff walls. Knowing the risk, understanding the danger, in the full knowledge the phone call could cost him his life, Lieutenant Michael Patrick Murphy, son of Maureen, fiancé of the beautiful Heather, walked out into the firestorm.”

Murphy’s call went through. But as he was talking, he was hit in the back. The shock of it caused him to drop the phone. But he picked it back up and finished the call. “Roger that, sir. Thank you,” he was heard to say before he hung up.

Murphy resumed fighting, but he wouldn’t live much longer. “The Protector” had put his life on the line for his friends—and then he’d given that life.

“[H]is grace and upbringing never deserted him,” President George W. Bush would later say as he presented the Medal to Murphy’s family. “Though severely wounded, he said ‘thank you’ before hanging up, and returned to the fight—before losing his life. . . . Our nation is blessed to have volunteers like Michael who risk their lives for our freedom.”

P.S. Yes, there was (only) one survivor: Luttrell. But his story is one for another day.

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The USS MICHAEL MURPHY, DDG 112, was christened on this date (again, his birthday) on May 7, 2012, by the ship’s sponsor, his mother, Maureen Murphy. The picture above is of the ship as it sails near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI, in 2013. The USS MICHAEL MURPHY is the 62nd ship in the line of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

May she serve long and proud and may LT Michael Murphy Rest In Peace.

We who remain behind salute you, Sir!

A Momentous Weekend

This has been a momentous weekend.

First, radio broadcasting pioneer Art Bell, died at age 72 on Friday, April 13, 2018.  Bell was the premier broadcaster of the paranormal.  His late-night radio program, Coast to Coast AM, covered the US on more than 600 radio stations for decades.  On his program, he interviewed common people from the full spectrum of unusual subjects, from UFOs to ghosts, to unsolved disappearances.   In 2013, he broadcast on Sirius XM satellite radio for a short time, following his retirement on July 1, 2007.  Repeats of his Coast to Coast AM broadcasts can still be heard on the Internet in the Somewhere In Time shows.

Sunday, April 15, 2018, marks the 153rd anniversary of the death of the 16th President of the United States, President Abraham Lincoln.  President Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC, the previous evening, while he and Mrs. Lincoln and guests watched a performance of the comedy, Our American Cousin.  His assassin was a Southern sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth, who shot the President in the back of the head with a small Derringer pistol.  Following the fatal shot, Lincoln was carried across the street to a boarding house, where he died at 7:22 a.m. Saturday, April 15, 1865.   Booth died in a barn about two weeks later as he was surrounded by Union troops.

The British luxury ocean liner, RMS Titantic, sank in early morning hours of April 15, 1912, 106 years ago today, after colliding with an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, New York.  More than 1,500 men, women, and children of the 2,224 passengers and crew aboard the liner died in the tragedy.  Titanic struck an iceberg at about 11:40 p.m. the night before, four days after leaving Southampton on April 10, 1912.  The luxury ship went to the bottom of the Atlantic early the next morning on April 15.  Titanic was the largest ocean liner of its kind when launched, and was thought to be “unsinkable.”  One of those lost in the disaster was Thomas Andrews, the architect of the ship.

Today, April 15, 2018, is the 14th birthday of my grandson, Logan Auld.  Logan is a home-schooled bright young man with polite manners and a sweet disposition.  He is a joy to be around and I love and miss him, his mom and dad, his brothers and sisters, his cousins, and his uncles and aunts very much.  He makes me very proud to be his Granddaddy.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Let Words Control You

Hold your tongue meme

He is Risen!

Happy birthday, Chief Petty Officers

This Sunday, April 1, 2018, US Navy Chief Petty Officers throughout the world will pause to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the establishment of the Chief Petty Officer rate.

Chief Petty Officers trace their heritage to April 1, 1893, and since that date, have been the “backbone of the Navy” and at the forefront of Navy Deckplate Leadership. Since that date, the tradition has been to tell those seeking knowledge, to “Go Ask the Chief.”

Happy birthday to all US Navy Chief Petty Officers everywhere.

 

Good Friday, 2018

Good Friday 2

Today, Good Friday, 2018, we remember the day that Christ was crucified and died for our sins.

 

 

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