BLESS 'EM ALL
_________________
William T. Calhoun
Paul F. Whitman 

 

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Physical discomforts are superficial, and can be laughed at... later. It is the mental trials that are seared in the soul.

The memory of those young men with whom he served  will never end for Bill Calhoun, and for more than fifty years he has been living with the obsession to remind all who would listen of the brave who gave their lives for us. 

 

If Bill and I have any difference of opinion on whether history is written to honor the dead or to educate the living, it's an amiable one.  It's both. But he's lost his friends to war, and I have not, though I am losing them now.

Bless 'Em All traces the 503d through its inception, it's time in Australia, and through all its missions. It also shows how the 503d went, within a few months, from accomplishing the most successful parachute assault of the war to exemplifying the most stupid use of elite paratroopers during WWII. 

Bless 'Em All is the result of Bill's war experience in the 2nd Bn. of the 503d,  but it doesn't end there.  It is based upon a wealth of materials -  including official papers, daily reports and  journals. Through painstaking research these are supplemented with years of correspondence with the men intimately concerned with the events concerned. In so doing,  he eclipses the official histories, and shows that they were not always as accurate as good history should require. 

Particular research credit goes to John Lindgren and Don Abbott.

Whether or not Bless 'Em All can be published in book form remains to be seen. 

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  Paul Whitman

 

Use this Calendar system to navigate to a specific date, or to browse through a time period.

           Bill Calhoun joined the 36th Div.,  Texas National Guard whilst in high school, and enlisted in the Reserve Army Air Corps on 4 Jan 1941. To escape a permanent stateside posting he volunteered for parachute training, and graduated 19 June 1942, being assigned to the 502d PIR. He attended OCS and was posted to Brisbane Australia, arriving January 1944.  He had been a platoon leader 11 months when he jumped on Corregidor . Thereafter he became "F" Company Commander in Negros. He separated from the Army in March 1946, but stayed a career reservist, retiring as a Colonel.  He practiced as a dentist (one flaw in an otherwise creditable personality) in Comanche Texas for 42 years. 

Paul Whitman is a retired lawyer.


 

 

The Second Battalion, 503d
Tracing the 2nd Bn through the Early Days - Nadzab - featuring The  Journal of Second Battalion Adjutant Jerry B. Riseley

Port Moresby - Brisbane - Dobodura - Noemfoor - Operation Table Tennis
November 1943-November 1944 -

 

 

Chapter I

Journals and Histories of the 503d

Chapter II

1 Sept '43 - Preparing for Nadzab  -  -  -  -  -  -

   

5 Sept '43 - Take-Off

   

2d Battalion Roster of Jumpers

 

 

17 Sept ' 43 - Port Moresby

   

16 Oct '43 - The Inspector General Arrives

   

22 Oct '43 - The Death of Col. Kinsler

 

 

 

Brisbane

 

 

Canungra Tropical Warfare School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Chapter III

5 Feb '44  - Alerted to move to Hollandia

   

17 Feb '44 - 2nd Bn at Camp Cable, Beaudesert.

   

Queensland Jungle Warfare School

   

1 April '44 - Alert

 

 

11 Apr '44 - Dobodura - Oro Bay - Cape Sudest

 

 

2 Jun '44 - Hollandia

 

 

4 Jun '44 - Cape Kassoe

   

11 Jun '44 - Morale Issues

     

Chapter IV

2 Jul '44 - Operation Table Tennis - Noemfoor

Chapter  V

9-15 July ' 44 - Patrolling begins

Chapter  VI

16-22 July ' 44  - Hill 390 - Hill 395 - Inasi - Hill 670

Chapter  VII

23-29 July '44 - Sgt. Ray Eubanks

Chapter  VIII

30 July -5 Aug ' 44 - Return to Namber

Chapter  IX

6 - 12 August '44 - Stragglers, Foragers and Cannibals

Chapter  X

13 - 19 August '44 - Patrolling to Menupuri -           Wounded!

Chapter  XI

20 - 26 August '44 - Permanent camp set up at Kamiri

Chapter  XII

27 August - 2 September '44 - Mission ends

     
     

 

 

 

Leyte-Mindoro - Operation Love III
November 1944 - 15 February 1945-

 

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 DECEMBER 1944

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Annexure I

One Bronze Arrowhead

Annexure II

Correcting the Official History

Annexure III

The Noemfoor Subway

Corregidor
16 February 1945 - 8 March 1945 - The most successful parachute assault of WWII. 

 

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 MARCH 1945

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Chapter 1

16 February, 1945

 

The Landing

Chapter II

17 February, 1945

Chapter 111

18 February, 1945

 

The Night of a Thousand Hours

 

Night on Bailey's Hill

Chapter 1V

19 February, 1945

Chapter V

20 February, 1945

Chapter VI

21 February, 1945

 

"E" Co & "F" Co. 

Chapter VII

22 February, 1945

 

My Day With The Rattlesnakes

Chapter VIII

23 February, 1945

 

The Lost Road

Chapter IX

24 February, 1945

Chapter X

25 February, 1945

Chapter XI

26 February, 1945

 

The Day of Tears

Chapter XII

27 February - 8 March 1945

 

Appendix -  Red Cross Man on Corregidor 

 

Appendix  - "D" Co. Roster, 16 Feb, 1945

 

Appendix  - "F" Co. Roster, 16 Feb, 1945

 

Appendix  - The 2nd Lt - Dorval R. Binegar

 

Appendix 6 - "Memories of a Tragic Day" - Letter Jack Herzig to Lou Aiken & Don Abbott, 29 November 1990.

 

Gallery  -  Tracing the Tokaido Road

   

NEGROS
8 April 1945 - 12 May 1945 - The most stupid use of elite paratroopers during WWII. 

The most logical and acceptable way to understand the Negros mission is to consider it progressing through fours phases with the approximate dates as follows: 
         
  PHASE I 8  April 1945 to 12May 1945
         
 

 APRIL 1945

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  Advancing across the plains eastward of Silay, along the "Tokaido Road" and facing an enemy well equipped with automatic weapons and well entrenched in the foothills,  the terrain growing steadily more rugged as we compressed them into the mountain trails. It was a slugging infantry war, and the Regiment was poorly supplied and poorly supported.
         
  PHASE II 13 May 1945 to 9 June 1945
         
 

 MAY 1945

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 JUNE 1945

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  Moving to the other side of the mountain range and ascending the mountain trails to contain the Japanese in the rainforest areas into which they had been forced to flee during Phase 1. It was constantly wet , hot and clammy during the day and wet cold and clammy during the nights. Tropical diseases reduce fighting effectiveness of the patrols, but intensive artillery and effective mortar support can still be applied against the Japanese strongpoints.
         
  PHASE III 10 June 1945 to 8 July 1945
         
 

 JUNE 1945

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 JULY 1945

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  Moved to the west coast,  the Regiment is spread more than sixty miles along the main highway towns which parallel the coast, from Dumaguete in the south to Fabrica in the north east,  with  many operations being conducted in very small groups.
         
  PHASE IV 9 July 1945 to 15 August 1945
         
 

 JULY 1945

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 AUGUST 1945

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  Constant patrols in force, some extending over several days, directed east of the mountains into which the Japanese had been pressed. A so-called 'mopping up' in which the remaining Japanese forces, though splintered, actually outnumber the RCT by a factor of at least two to one.
   
  POST WAR 7 August 1945 to 4 November 1945
   
  Patrols continue as word of the surrender spreads slowly through the isolated groups of Japanese forces. Groups surrender and are brought into camps, as much for their protection from the Filipinos as to concentrate them for repatriation. A feeling of surprise sets as it dawns upon the RCT that the surrender has relieved them from continuing a "so-called "mop-up" against a superior number of troops,  generally in good condition, well armed  and well positioned to fight delay and attrition actions.  The thoughts of returning home for some, or of going to Japan, overwhelm the disappointment that  non-paratrooper replacements are arriving and the unit is to be rolled into the 11th Airborne.

The Negros Campaign is presently linked through the 1945 Calendar Navigation system, commencing 8 April 1945, with a week to each page, through to the completion of their presence on Negros.

The Regimental Journals for Negros are available for perusal.

Extract                                  1Lt. Norman Turpin  

 

 

 

for those who look closely, Easter Eggs