My Place Is With Them

 

The video above depicts Father Michael Quealy saying Mass in Vietnam. The video has no sound, but without words we can see the fervor with which the priest is saying Mass.  That was all Father Quealy.  Whatever he did in this world he did 100%.

Born in New York City on September 11, 1929, he dreamed as a boy of being a missionary in Asia.  He would go to Asia, as a priest, but as a Chaplain in the Army.  A graduate of Seaton Hall University and Maryknoll Seminary, he had served as a priest in the diocese of Mobile Alabama, before joining the Army as a chaplain in 1965.  He did so to bring the sacraments to soldiers on the battlefield in Vietnam.  As much as it was in his power, he wanted no soldier to die fighting and go into eternity spiritually unarmed.

Assigned to the third brigade of the First Infantry Division, the Big Red One, in June 1966, he quickly began hitching rides on medical evacuation choppers.  They would be going to where the fighting was, and as far as Chaplain Quealy was concerned, that was where he needed to be.  He would land, help with the wounded, usually under fire, and give the Last Rites to the dying.  He did not check to see if the dying were Catholics, reasoning that the sacrament would do no harm to non-Catholics, and might do them an infinity of good.  Troops began to talk about this Catholic Chaplain who was fearless.

Eugene Tuttle, a soldier with the Big Red One, recalled Father Quealy:

My battalion was near Father Quealy’s the day he was killed in Tay Ninh province on Nov. 8, 1966. The terrible news reached me the next day, He had heard my confession in Lai Khe about a month earlier. Young men dying was bad enough, but it seemed like a sacrilege for a priest to be killed while providing comfort to the wounded and dying. I had met him months earlier on my first full day in the field, when before boarding our tanks and APCs, to be sent out as “bait” until reinforcements could rescue us, Chaplain Quealy invited the Catholics among us to join him. He told us that reconnaissance had just confirmed the VC were dug in and waiting for us in the bush. He then draped his stole over his shoulders, reminded us that an Act of Contrition could substitute for confession when one was in immediate danger of death. It was an unforgettably dramatic moment, and the chaplain was an unforgettably kind man. I regret just learning of this opportunity now to pay long overdue homage to him. God bless his soul!

On November 8, 1966, Father Quealy heard about fighting near Tay Ninh and rushed to get aboard a medical copter.  A staff officer tried to dissuade him, saying that it was much too dangerous a situation.  Father Quealy did not even slow down, but shouted over his shoulder, “My place is with them!”

The first battalion, twenty-eight infantry was under such intense fire that the helicopter Father Quealy was on board had to circle for an hour before it could land.  When it did, Father Quealey  charged into action.  Here is a report of what happened next: (more…)

Published in: on August 4, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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One Hundred Million Die Proudly

Operation_Downfall_-_Estimated_Troops_02

 

As the Americans prepared to drop atomic bombs on the Japanese, the Japanese government was mobilizing the entire population of Japan to impose massive casualties on any Ameircan invasion.

According to the Japanese defensive plan Ketsu-Go, there were now precious few civilians in Japan:

“The defensive plan called for the use of the Civilian Volunteer Corps, a mobilization not of volunteers but of all boys and men 15 to 60 and all girls and women 17 to 40, except for those exempted as unfit. They were trained with hand grenades, swords, sickles, knives, fire hooks, and bamboo spears. These civilians, led by regular forces, were to make extensive use of night infiltration patrols armed with light weapons and demolitions.(43) Also, the Japanese had not prepared, and did not intend to prepare, any plan for the evacuation of civilians or for the declaration of open cities.(44) The southern third of Kyushu had a population of 2,400,000 within the 3,500 square miles included in the Prefectures of Kagoshima and Miyazaki.(45) The defensive plan was to actively defend the few selected beach areas at the beach, and then to mass reserves for an all-out counterattack if the invasion forces succeeded in winning a beachhead.(46)” (more…)

Published in: on August 3, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Back Again

 

Well, my family and I are back from our week’s vacation.  As always, we had a fun time visiting the mother-in-law at her home in Kenosha.  We were relieved that our new dog and her new cat got along quite well together.

We drove up last Saturday, and on Sunday attended the Milwaukee County Zoo, something that we have been doing since our adult children were quite young.  The Zoo is quite spread out, and the animals seem to be well treated, with plenty of area to roam in their enclosures.  We ended our visit, as we usually do, by viewing the bird show.  After the Zoo we spent some time at a Half Price Books, as it would not be a McClarey family vacation without plenty of book buying.

On Monday we visited the Kenosha Civil War Museum.  The highlight of our visit was viewing a ten minute movie, Seeing the Elephant, a look at the experience of combat in the Civil War.  The movie used 360 degree movie technology, which gives viewers a slight taste of what it was like to be in a Civil War battle.  While there I bought  a book, As They Saw Forrest,  a compilation of contemporary observations of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, written in 1956 by Forrest biographer Robert Selph Henry, and which had been signed by the author.

On Tuesday we drove back to our home in Dwight and on Wednesday we were on our way to the GenCon gaming convention in Indianapolis.  I purchased several games at the game auction and was pleased to discover a card game set in Medieval England:  Ortus Regni.

Here is a tapestry displayed outside of the room where the game was played:

gencon-001-300x225

(I have a picture of myself standing before the tapestry, but out of aesthetic considerations I will not post it!)  I am sure the readers of this blog will note the Dominican friar on the tapestry.  Go here for a free download of the computer version of the card game.

My daughter had a great deal of fun playing as a bard at the True Dungeon event at GenCon, although her entire party was killed.  I thought about posting a picture of her dressed as a cat lady, she looks quite fetching, but fearing the physical harm she would visit on me if I did so, I will not post it.  (A true story:  when my daughter was born by C-section, her cries sounded so much like the mewlings of a cat, that my bride inquired as to whether a cat was in the room!)

My son who is soon to return to law school for his second year, accepted a position while at GenCon on a law journal published at his school.  Needless to say he is making the most of his summer rest and recreation before the law school grind begins again.  (more…)

Published in: on August 2, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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The Blue and the Gray

Something for the weekend: The Blue and the Gray.  A song of reconciliation, it was written by John Hugh McNaughton in 1866.   The song is sung by Tom Roush who has developed quite a following on YouTube with his heart felt renditions of 19th century songs.

July 31, 1945: Letter From Stimson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Nc0wCrkk00

Little Boy was assembled on Tinian on July 31.  The bomb could in theory be dropped the next day.  However a typhoon was moving towards Japan and weather would delay the bomb drop for several days.  Secretary of War Henry Stimson sent to Harry Truman a proposed statement to be released after the bomb drop:

Letter of Statement Draft
From: Henry Stimson, Secretary of War
To: Harry S Truman, President of the United States of America
Date: July 31, 1945

July 31, 1945
Dear Mr. President:

Attached are two copies of the revised statement which has been prepared for release by you as soon as the new weapon is used. This is the statement about which I cabled you last night. 

The reason for the haste is that I was informed only yesterday that, weather permitting, it is likely that the weapon will be used as early as August 1st, Pacific Ocean Time, which as you know is a good many hours ahead of Washington time.

This message and inclosure are being brought to you by Lt. R. G. Arneson, whom Secretary Byrnes will recognize as the Secretary of the Interim Committee, appointed with your approval, to study various features of the development and use of the atomic bomb. 

Faithfully yours,
Secretary of War. (more…)

Published in: on July 31, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Truman Warns Japan to Surrender

The above was filmed on June 7, 1945.  In July the Army Air Corps dropped sixteen million leaflets on Japanese cities warning the Japanese to evacuate their cities.  The leaflets varied, but the message in Japanese on the leaflets was substantially as follows: (more…)

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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July 29, 1945: 509th Composite Group Receives Attack Order

Nobody knows

Into the air the secret rose
Where they´re going, nobody knows
Tomorrow they´ll return again
But we´ll never know where they´ve been.
Don´t ask us about results or such
Unless you want to get in Dutch.
But take it from one who is sure of the score,
the 509th is winning the war.

When the other Groups are ready to go
We have a program of the whole damned show
And when Halsey´s 5th shells Nippon´s shore
Why, shucks, we hear about it the day before.
And MacArthur and Doolittle give out in advance
But with this new bunch we haven´t a chance
We should have been home a month or more
For the 509th is winning the war

Anonymous, doggerel made up by pilots of other air groups about the “hush-hush” 509th

Activated on December 17, 1944, the 509th Composite Group of the United States Army Air Corps was commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets, at 29 already a seasoned air combat veteran in Europe. The flying units of the Group, in addition to support units, consisted of the 393rd Bombardment Squadron and the 320th Troop Carrier Squadron, 1767 personnel, 15 B-29 bombers and 5 C-54 transports.  The Group was based and trained at Wendover Air Force Base in Utah.

Training was conducted in intense secrecy with the officers and men advised that any breach of security would be punished with the utmost severity, which might well include the death penalty.  Curious officers and men of other units were warned away at gun point.

The unit re-deployed to Tinian on June 11, 1945.  The unit engaged in numerous practice bombing missions, including twelve over targets over the Home Islands, with special “pumpkin bombs” replicating the dimensions of the “Fat Man” atomic bomb. (more…)

Published in: on July 29, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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July 28, 1945: B-25 Bomber Crashes into Empire State Building

Aviation was only 42 years old in 1945 and flying a plane, especially in fog, was as much an art as a science.  This was demonstrated on Saturday, July 28, 1945 when a B-25 Mitchell bomber, Old John Feather Merchant, struck the north side of the Empire State Building between the 78th and 80th stories, striking the building where the National Catholic Welfare Council, the predecessor organization of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Flying to Newark Airport, the pilot, Lieutenant Colonel William Franklin Smith, Jr., was advised of zero visibility conditions by the landing tower at La Guardia and advised to land which he declined to do.  A 1942 graduate of West Point, the 27 year old Smith was an experienced combat pilot with forty missions with the Eighth Air Force, and had earned a Distinguished Flying Cross with cluster.  It is theorized that Smith became confused and thought he was over New Jersey when he was actually over downtown New York at a hair-raising 500 feet.  He managed to avoid three skyscrapers before careering into the fourteen year old Empire State Building.

All three men on the bomber were killed instantly and eleven people in the building, with twenty-five wounded.  Twenty year old elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived a 75 floor elevator plunge caused by the crash.  The resulting fire was put out in 45 minutes. (more…)

Published in: on July 28, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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North America: 240 Years in Four Minutes

 

Quite a bit of stability in the map of North America since the 19th century, a testament to how peaceful the area has been, other than internal strife in Mexico in the first third of the 20th century, and internal strife in Central America in the seventies and the eighties.

 

 

Published in: on July 27, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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July 26, 1945: Prompt and Utter Destruction

At the Potsdam Conference on July 26, 1945, the governments of the United States, Great Britain and China announced their terms of surrender for Japan.  The key points of the Declaration:

1.  Any occupation of Japan would be temporary until a democratic, peaceful, government was established and firmly in control, and the other goals of the occupation had been achieved.

2.  Japan, by trade, would have access to overseas raw materials and food.

3.  Japanese military forces would be disarmed and allowed to return to their homes.  Japan was to be deprived of any war making capability.

4.  Japan would consist of the Home Islands and such other minor islands as determined by the Allies.

5.  Stern justice would be meted out to Japanese war criminals.

6.  The Japanese were warned that the terms would not be deviated from and that failure of Japan to immediately surrender would result in prompt and immediate destruction.  Here is the text of the Declaration: (more…)

Published in: on July 26, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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