Author Archives: Sandy Shinn

Military History – October 2019

Operation Linebacker

Operation Linebacker was the codename of a U.S. Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 air interdiction campaign conducted against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) from 9 May to 23 October 1972, during the Vietnam War.

Its purpose was to halt or slow the transportation of supplies and materials for the Nguyen Hue Offensive (known in the West as the Easter Offensive), an invasion of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) by forces of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) that had been launched on 30 March. Linebacker was the first continuous bombing effort conducted against North Vietnam since the end of Operation Rolling Thunder in November 1968.

Operation Linebacker, the designation for the new interdiction campaign, would have four objectives: to isolate North Vietnam from its outside sources of supply by destroying railroad bridges and rolling stock in and around Hanoi and northeastward toward the Chinese frontier; the targeting of primary storage areas and marshalling yards; to destroy storage and transshipment points; and finally, to eliminate (or at least damage) the North’s air defense system. With nearly 85 percent of North Vietnam’s imports (which arrived by sea) blocked by Pocket Money, the administration and the Pentagon believed that this would cut its final lines of communication with its socialist allies. The People’s Republic of China alone shipped an average of 22,000 tons of supplies a month over two rail lines and eight major roads that linked it with North Vietnam.

On 10 May Operation Linebacker and Operation Custom Tailor began with large-scale bombing operations against North Vietnam by tactical fighter aircraft of the Seventh Air Force and Task Force 77. Their targets included the railroad switching yards at Yên Viên and the Paul Doumer Bridge, on the northern outskirts of Hanoi.[38] A total of 414 sorties were flown on the first day of the operation, 120 by the Air Force and 294 by the Navy, and they encountered the heaviest single day of air-to-air combat during the Vietnam War, with 11 North Vietnamese MiGs (four MiG-21s and seven MiG-17s) and two U.S. Air Force F-4s shot down. Anti-aircraft artillery and over 100 surface-to-air missile firings also brought down two U.S. Navy aircraft.

By the end of the month, American aircraft had destroyed 13 bridges along the rail lines running from Hanoi to the Chinese border. Another four were destroyed between the capital and Haiphong, including the notorious Thanh Hóa Bridge. Several more bridges were brought down along the rail line leading to the south toward the DMZ. Targets were then switched to petroleum and oil storage and transportation networks and North Vietnamese airfields. There was an immediate impact on the battlefield in South Vietnam. Shelling by PAVN artillery dropped off by one-half between 9 May and 1 June. This slowdown was not due to an immediate shortage of artillery shells, but rather to a desire to conserve ammunition. U.S. intelligence analysts believed that PAVN had enough stockpiled supplies to sustain their campaigns throughout the autumn.

The intensity of the bombing campaign was reflected by the sharp increase in the number of strike and support sorties flown in Southeast Asia as a whole: from 4,237 for all services, including the VNAF, during the month preceding the invasion, to 27,745 flown in support of ARVN forces from the beginning of April to the end of June (20,506 of them flown by the Air Force). B-52s provided an additional 1,000 sorties during the same period. The North was feeling the pressure, admitting in the official PAVN history that “between May and June only 30 percent of supplies called for in our plan actually reached the front-line units.” In total, 41,653 Linebacker I missions dropped 155,548 tons of bombs.

In addition to interdicting the road and rail system of North Vietnam, Linebacker also systematically attacked its air defense system. The North Vietnamese Air Force, with approximately 200 interceptors, strongly contested these attacks throughout the campaign. Navy pilots, employing a mutually supporting “loose deuce” tactical formation and many with TOPGUN training, enjoyed a kill ratio of 6:1 in their favor in May and June, such that after that the North Vietnamese rarely engaged them thereafter. In contrast, the Air Force experienced a 1:1 kill ratio through the first two months of the campaign, as seven of its eventual 24 Linebacker air-to-air losses occurred without any corresponding North Vietnamese loss in a twelve-day period between 24 June and 5 July. Air Force pilots were hampered by use of the outdated “fluid four” tactical formations (a four-plane, two element formation in which only the leader did the shooting and in which the outside wingmen were vulnerable) dictated by service doctrine. Also contributing to the parity was a lack of air combat training against dissimilar aircraft, a deficient early warning system, and ECM pod formations that mandated strict adherence to formation flying. During August, however, the introduction of real-time early warning systems, increased aircrew combat experience, and degraded North Vietnamese ground control interception capabilities reversed the trend to a more favorable 4:1 kill ratio.

Linebacker saw several other “firsts”. On the opening day of the operation, Navy Lieutenant Randall H. Cunningham and his radar intercept officer, Lieutenant (j.g.) William P. Driscoll became the first U.S. air aces of the Vietnam War when they shot down their fifth MiG. On 28 August, the Air Force gained its first ace when Captain Richard S. Ritchie downed his fifth enemy aircraft. Twelve days later, Captain Charles B. DeBellevue (who had been Ritchie’s backseater during four of his five victories) downed two more MiGs, bringing his total to six. On 13 October another weapons officer, Captain Jeffrey S. Feinstein, was credited with his fifth MiG, making him the final Air Force ace.

For more information on Operation Linebacker read the full article on Wikipedia.org!

Military History – September 2019

Victory over Japan Day (also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, V-J Day, or V-P Day) is the day on which Japan surrendered in World War II, in effect ending the war. The term has been applied to both of the days on which the initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made – to the afternoon of August 15, 1945, in Japan, and, because of time zone differences, to August 14, 1945 (when it was announced in the United States and the rest of the Americas and Eastern Pacific Islands) – as well as to September 2, 1945, when the signing of the surrender document occurred, officially ending World War II.

August 15 is the official V-J Day for the UK, while the official U.S. commemoration is September 2. The name, V-J Day, had been selected by the Allies after they named V-E Day for the victory in Europe.

On September 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan, aboard the battleship USS Missouri. In Japan, August 15 usually is known as the “memorial day for the end of the war” (終戦記念日, Shūsen-kinenbi?); the official name for the day, however, is “the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace” (戦没者を追悼し平和を祈念する日, Senbotsusha o tsuitōshi heiwa o kinensuru hi?). This official name was adopted in 1982 by an ordinance issued by the Japanese government.

Events before V-J Day

On 6 and 9 August 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 9, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. The Japanese government on August 10 communicated its intention to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, but with too many conditions for the offer to be acceptable to the Allies.

The news of the Japanese offer, however, was enough to begin early celebrations around the world. Allied soldiers in London danced in a conga line on Regent Street. Americans and Frenchmen in Paris paraded on the Champs-Elysées singing “Don’t Fence Me In“. American soldiers in Berlin shouted “It’s over in the Pacific”, and hoped that they would now not be transferred there to fight the Japanese. Germans stated that the Japanese were wise enough to—unlike themselves—give up in a hopeless situation, but were grateful that the atomic bomb was not ready in time to be used against them. Moscow newspapers briefly reported on the atomic bombings with no commentary of any kind. While “Russians and foreigners alike could hardly talk about anything else”, the Soviet government refused to make any statements on the bombs’ implication for politics or science.

In Chungking, Chinese fired firecrackers and “almost buried [Americans] in gratitude”. In Manila, residents sang “God Bless America“. On Okinawa, six men were killed and dozens were wounded as American soldiers “took every weapon within reach and started firing into the sky” to celebrate; ships sounded general quarters and fired anti-aircraft guns as their crews believed that a Kamikaze attack was occurring. On Tinian island, B-29 crews preparing for their next mission over Japan were told that it was cancelled, but that they could not celebrate because it might be rescheduled.

Japan’s acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration

A little after noon Japan Standard Time on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito‘s announcement of Japan’s acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration was broadcast to the Japanese people over the radio. Earlier the same day, the Japanese government had broadcast an announcement over Radio Tokyo that “acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation [would be] coming soon”, and had advised the Allies of the surrender by sending a cable to U.S. President Harry S Truman via the Swiss diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.  A nationwide broadcast by Truman was aired at seven o’clock p.m. (daylight time in Washington, D.C.) on August 14 announcing the communication and that the formal event was scheduled for September 2. In his announcement of Japan’s surrender on August 14, Truman said that “the proclamation of V-J Day must wait upon the formal signing of the surrender terms by Japan“.

Since the European Axis Powers had surrendered three months earlier (V-E Day), V-J Day was the effective end of World War II, although a peace treaty between Japan and the United States was not signed until 1952, and between Japan and the Soviet Union in 1956. In Australia, the name V-P Day was used from the outset. The Canberra Times of August 14, 1945, refers to VP Day celebrations, and a public holiday for VP Day was gazetted by the government in that year according to the Australian War Memorial.

Public celebrations

After news of the Japanese acceptance and before Truman’s announcement, Americans began celebrating “as if joy had been rationed and saved up for the three years, eight months and seven days since Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941” (the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), Life magazine reported.  In Washington, D.C. a crowd attempted to break into the White House grounds as they shouted “We want Harry!”.  In San Francisco two women jumped naked into a pond at the Civic Center to soldiers’ cheers. More seriously, thousands of drunken people, the vast majority of them Navy enlistees who had not served in the war theatre, embarked in what the San Francisco Chronicle summarized in 2015 as “a three-night orgy of vandalism, looting, assault, robbery, rape and murder” and “the deadliest riots in the city’s history”, with more than 1000 people injured, 13 killed, and at least six women raped. None of these acts resulted in serious criminal charges, and no civilian or military official was sanctioned, leading the Chronicle to conclude that “the city simply tried to pretend the riots never happened”.

The largest crowd in the history of New York City‘s Times Square gathered to celebrate. The victory itself was announced by a headline on the “zipper” news ticker at One Times Square, which read “*** OFFICIAL TRUMAN ANNOUNCES JAPANESE SURRENDER ***”; the six asterisks represented the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the Garment District, workers threw out cloth scraps and ticker tape, leaving a pile five inches deep on the streets. A “coast-to-coast frenzy of [servicemen] kissing” occurred, with Life publishing photographs of such kisses in Washington, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Miami.

Read more about this topic at it’s Wikipedia.org page.

William James Ellinger

William James “Bill” Ellinger, 74, of Waverly, Iowa, died Saturday, August 24, 2019, at home.

Bill was born on January 20, 1945, in Cedar Falls, the son of Howard and Bernice (Wiley) Ellinger. Bill was raised in Parkersburg and moved to Cedar Falls in 1961 where he graduated from high school in 1963. He then attended the State College of Iowa, Cedar Falls, where he later received his Bachelor of Arts Degree after serving four years in the United States Air Force.

Bill was united in marriage to Mary Sue Vaughn at First Methodist Church in Cedar Falls on June 10, 1966. They lived in Texas, Alabama, and Florida during Bill’s service as a medical laboratory technician in the US Air Force from 1966-1970. After returning to Cedar Falls in 1970, Bill continued his studies in Industrial Technology at the University of Northern Iowa.

In August of 1972, Bill and Mary Sue moved to Waverly where they bought their first home. The Bicentennial Year, 1976, was the start of their big adventure of building a new home on an acreage east of town, later dubbed “The Little House in the Big Woods.” Bill’s many skills were put to use in designing and building this “dream home,” a labor of love that continued forever!

The Little House in the Big Woods became the place for many gatherings of family and friends over the years. Bill loved celebrating holidays and entertaining friends—especially the bridge and poker groups as well as fishing meetings. Bill and Mary Sue also loved being a host family for many Wartburg international students over the years and still stay in touch with many of them.

John Deere (Waterloo Westfield) was Bill’s work home for thirty-nine years. He enjoyed his work as a toolmaker and, for a time in the 1980s, his work as an Employee Participation Coordinator. Lifelong friendships were made at John Deere and were treasured long after his official retirement in 2003.

After Bill retired from John Deere in 2003, he and Mary Sue moved to Hertford, England, UK, for five months while Mary Sue was a Fulbright Exchange teacher at Westgrove Primary School in London. Bill took advantage of this opportunity to live and travel in the UK and often told inquiring friends that he was doing serious “pub research.” Always one to look on the bright side of life, Bill shared his love of life with everyone he met.

Throughout his years of living in Waverly (his adopted “home town”), Bill was actively involved in the Jaycees, Kiwanis, Trees Forever, Boy Scouts (Troop #69), Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. He especially enjoyed working on projects to benefit youth.

Bill’s memory is honored by: wife, Mary Sue Ellinger, of Waverly; two sons, Jeffrey (Ann) Ellinger, of West Des Moines, Iowa; John of Sacramento, California; two grandchildren, Ethan and Emily Ellinger of West Des Moines; brother, Robert (Lois) Ellinger, of Windsor Heights, Iowa; brother-in-law, Scott Vaughn of Citrus Heights, California; sister and brother-in-law, Sally and Joe Felling, of Colfax, Wisconsin; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and niece, Julia Ellinger Allen.

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Jacqueline Joyce Strotman

Jacqueline “Jackie” Joyce Strotman, 92, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on Wednesday night, August 28th, 2019 at Bartel’s Lutheran Retirement Community in Waverly.

Jackie was born on September 26th, 1926, in Dysart, Iowa, the daughter of Donald Abraham and Lenora Ann (Schnell) Holley. As a child, the family moved to Waverly and Jackie graduated from Waverly High School in 1944. On October 21st, 1945, Jackie was united in marriage to her seventh-grade sweetheart, Romaine Walter “Jim” Strotman at The First Methodist Church in Waverly. In 1969, Jim and Jackie purchased the Bergen Lumber Company and changed the name to Strotman Building Center. Jim and Jackie were very proud of their owned and operated family business for more than 50 years. After over 66 years of marriage, Jackie lost her beloved husband in February of 2012.

Jackie was a faithful member of Trinity United Methodist Church for more than 80 years. She was also a member of the Waverly Chamber of Commerce, Waverly Amvets Auxiliary and her bridge club. In her earlier years, Jackie liked to camp. She also loved her many dogs, feeding barn cats, baking and shoes. Jackie proudly grew tuberoses and shared them with family and friends. Sharing time with family and close friends was very important to Jackie. 

Jackie is survived by her 4 children and their spouses, Steve (Judy) Strotman of Grimes, Kris (Doug) Meinhard of Ames, Deb (Jim) Miller of Cedar Rapids, James “Fred” (Judith “C.J.”) Strotman of Shell Rock; 6 grandchildren: Ben (Athena) Strotman, Joe (Angie) Strotman, Mandy (Chad) Dummermuth, Troy (Janet) Meinhard, Matt (Shelly) Meinhard, Sara (Chris Leopold) Meinhard; 15 great-grandchildren: Alyssa, Alexa, Bradley, Katie Jo, and Jackie Strotman, Emma, Audrey, and Conner Dummermuth, Romaine (Sam), Eli, Kate, McKenna and Tate Meinhard, Ellie and Thomas Leopold; one sister, Phyllis Droste of Largo, Florida; sister-in-law, Doreta Strotman of Mountain View, California; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim, her parents, and her brother, Larry Holley. 

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Burton William Boevers

Burton W. Boevers, age 87, of Waverly, Iowa, died on Thursday, July 4, 2019, at Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community in Waverly, Iowa.

Burton was born on May 27, 1932, at Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa, the son of William “Bill” and Nellie (Matthiesen) Boevers. Burton was baptized on June 12, 1932, at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Readlyn and was confirmed on April 11, 1946, at St. John Evangelical Lutheran of Crane Creek. Burton attended grade school at Maxfield #2, and graduated from the Readlyn High School in 1951. Following his schooling, Burton helped on the family farm. On October 12, 1952, he was united in marriage to Delores Mae Oltrogge at Zion Lutheran Church in Readlyn. The couple made their home on the Boevers family farm, located 2 miles east and ¾ mile north of highways 3 & 63. On June 5, 1953, Burton entered the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. Burton served with H. Company, 47th Infantry Regiment, where he served in Germany for 15 months. Burton was honorably discharged on March 4, 1955. Burton then returned home, where he continued to farm until he semi-retired in November of 1987, and the couple moved to Waverly, making their home at 1208 Park Avenue.

Burton was a faithful member of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church of Crane Creek, rural Tripoli, where Burton served on the church council, as Sunday School Superintendent, and was a member of the Won by One Choir. He was a member of the American Legion Post #176 in Waverly, where he served as an officer and was very active in the Honor Guard. Burton enjoyed volunteering at the Waverly Health Center, farming, fishing, woodworking, as well as many trips throughout the U.S. with Delores and friends. First and foremost, he loved spending time with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Burton’s family was his greatest treasure.

Burton’s memory is honored by: his wife of sixty-six years, Delores (Toots) Boevers of Waverly, Iowa; three children, Kathy (Roger) Traetow of rural Waverly, Iowa, Craig (Lynne) Boevers of Tripoli, Iowa, and Karen (Brent) Platte of Tripoli, Iowa; twelve grandchildren, Monica (Michael) Strople, Laurie, Adam (girlfriend Sara Lease), and Andy (Morgan) Traetow, Lindsay (Asbjorn) Skeie, Emily (Cody) Solverson, Cassandra (Diogenes) Oliveira, Sarah, Elizabeth and Nathan Platte, and Shawn and Scott (Amanda) Hamerlinck; nine great-grandchildren, Jack Strople, Evelyn, Charlotte, Lily, and Lars Skeie, Iris Solverson, Nolan Hamerlinck, and Hannah and Julian Hamerlinck: and a sister-in-law, Bernita Oltrogge. Burton was looking forward to the arrival of three more great-grandchildren in the fall. 

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Robert Charles Coonradt

Robert “Bob C” Coonradt, 91, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center in Waterloo, Iowa.

Bob was born on June 6, 1928, in Osage, Iowa, the son of Ruth G. (Tubbs) and Ernest E. Coonradt. At the age of five, he moved to Waverly where he attended school, and graduated from Waverly High School in 1946. He attended the University of Iowa and graduated in 1950 with a BS in Business Administration. Bob served in the 2nd Armored Division of the United States Army in Europe from 1950 until his honorable discharge in 1952. On May 12, 1956, Bob was united in marriage to Delores C. Rader at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Waterloo, Iowa. In 1952, Bob joined his father at Waverly Motor Company which later became Coonradt Ford, which was in business for 85 years. He retired in October of 2018.

Bob was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church, Waverly Amvets Post #79, and the Waverly Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member and past president of Rotary Club and Waverly Golf and Country Club. He enjoyed hunting and fishing in Canada with family and close friends. He liked playing cards and was an accomplished golfer. He also enjoyed traveling and ventured to Puerto Vallarta every year with Dee and other family members.

Bob is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dee; three children, Bill (Deb) Coonradt of Waverly, Iowa, Jim Coonradt of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Lisa (Dan) Kneeskern of Urbandale, Iowa; five grandchildren, Beth (Alex) Rich, Matt Coonradt, James Coonradt, Brad Kneeskern, and Drew (Beth) Kneeskern; two great-grandchildren, Layne and Breck Rich; and sister-in-law, Lois Coonradt. He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Diane in infancy; and his brother, Dale.

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Military History – July 2019

The Korean Armistice Agreement is the armistice which ended the Korean War. It was signed by U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Harrison, Jr. representing the United Nations Command (UNC), North Korean General Nam Il representing the Korean People’s Army, and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. The armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, and was designed to “insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved.” No “final peaceful settlement” has been achieved yet. The signed armistice established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (de facto a new border between the two nations), put into force a cease-fire, and finalized repatriation of prisoners of war. The Demilitarized Zone runs not far from the 38th parallel, which separated North and South Korea before the war.

The signed armistice established a “complete cessation of all hostilities in Korea by all armed force” that was to be enforced by the commanders of both sides. Essentially a complete cease-fire was put into force. The armistice is however only a cease-fire between military forces, rather than an agreement between governments.  No peace treaty was signed which means that the Korean War has not officially ended.

The armistice also established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The DMZ was decided to be a 2.5-mile (4.0 km)-wide fortified buffer zone between the two Korean nations. The Demilitarized Zone follows the Kansas Line where the two sides actually confronted each other at the time of the signed armistice. The DMZ is currently the most heavily defended national border in the world.

The Armistice also established regulations regarding prisoners of war. The agreement stated that “Within sixty (60) days after this agreement becomes effective each side shall, without offering any hindrance, directly repatriate and hand over in groups all those prisoners of war in its custody who insist on repatriation to the side to which they belonged at the time of capture.” Ultimately, more than 22,000 North Korean or Chinese soldiers refused repatriation. On the opposite side, 327 South Korean soldiers, 21 American soldiers and 1 British soldier also refused repatriation, and remained in North Korea or in China.

In addition to the established regulations listed above, the armistice also gave recommendation to the “governments of the countries concerned on both sides that, within three (3) months after the Armistice Agreement is signed and becomes effective, a political conference of a higher level of both sides be held by representatives appointed respectively to settle through negotiation the questions of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea, the peaceful settlement of the Korean question, etc.” Even in 2013, 60 years after the signing of the armistice agreement, these issues have not been settled as a peaceful settlement of the Korean question has not been reached and American troops still reside in South Korea.

After the armistice was signed the war is considered to have ended even though there was no official peace treaty. Despite the three-year war, the Korean peninsula greatly resembled what it did before the war with national borders at similar locations.

Read more on Wikipedia’s article “Korean Armistice Agreement

Donna Marie Fischer

Donna Marie Fischer, 71, of Waverly, died unexpectedly Sunday, June 9, 2019, in Marshalltown, Iowa, while attending the AMVETS State Convention.

Donna was born February 7, 1948, in Waverly, Iowa, the daughter of Francis and Helen (Rieken) Fischer and lived her entire life in Waverly. She was baptized at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waverly on May 9, 1948, and confirmed her faith on April 15, 1962, also at St. Paul’s. She graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock High School in 1966. Donna began her career at Lutheran Mutual in November of 1966 and retired from CUNA Mutual in June of 2017.

Donna led a life of service to the Ladies AMVETS Auxiliary. She was currently the Ladies Auxiliary President of Waverly Post 79 and AMVETS Department of Iowa Ladies Auxiliary 2nd Vice. She had also served as State Auxiliary President in 2004 and again from 2007-2008. She thoroughly enjoyed events with her AMVETS family. She also enjoyed reading, antiquing, traveling and family gatherings.

Donna is survived by two sisters, Betty Yanna of Lancaster, Wisconsin and Nancy (Philip) Brand of Vancouver, Washington, one brother, Jim (Michele) Fischer of Waverly, nieces Tami Yanna, Alison Wu, Erin Brand and Ashley Fischer and 5 grand-nieces and a grand-nephew. She is preceded in death by her parents, Francis and Helen (Rieken) Fischer.

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Military History – June 2019

Midway Atoll, several months before the battle. Eastern Island (with the airfield) is in the foreground, and the larger Sand Island is in the background to the west.

The Battle of Midway was a decisive naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, only six months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, the United States Navy under Admirals Chester Nimitz, Frank Jack Fletcher, and Raymond A.  Spruance decisively defeated an attacking fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy under Admirals Isoroku Yamamoto, Chuichi Nagumo, and Nobutake Kondo near Midway Atoll, inflicting devastating damage on the Japanese fleet that proved irreparable. Military historian John Keegan called it “the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare.”[10]

The operation, like the earlier attack on Pearl Harbor, sought to eliminate the United States as a strategic power in the Pacific, thereby giving Japan a free hand in establishing its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Japanese hoped another demoralizing defeat would force the U.S. to capitulate in the Pacific War and thus ensure Japanese dominance in the Pacific. Luring the American aircraft carriers into a trap and occupying Midway was part of an overall “barrier” strategy to extend Japan’s defensive perimeter, in response to the Doolittle air raid on Tokyo. This operation was also considered preparatory for further attacks against Fiji, Samoa, and Hawaii itself.

Devastators of VT-6 aboard USS Enterprise being prepared for take off during the battle

The plan was handicapped by faulty Japanese assumptions of the American reaction and poor initial dispositions. Most significantly, American codebreakers were able to determine the date and location of the planned attack, enabling the forewarned U.S. Navy to prepare its own ambush. All four of Japan’s large aircraft carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu, part of the six-carrier force that had attacked Pearl Harbor six months earlier—and a heavy cruiser were sunk, while the U.S. lost only the carrier Yorktown and a destroyer. After Midway and the exhausting attrition of the Solomon Islands campaign, Japan’s capacity to replace its losses in materiel (particularly aircraft carriers) and men (especially well-trained pilots and maintenance crewmen) rapidly became insufficient to cope with mounting casualties, while the United States’ massive industrial and training capabilities made losses far easier to replace. The Battle of Midway is considered a turning point in the Pacific War.

For more information, see the full article at Wikipedia.org

Edward V. “Big Ed” Droste

On May 22 we said goodbye to Edward V. Droste after 94 remarkable years. Ed passed peacefully in his Largo, Florida home surrounded by his family after a brave battle with cancer.

Originally from Waverly, Iowa, Ed was born to Arthur F. and Marion (Lizer) Droste on February 21, 1925. He was baptized into Christ by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, confirmed in March of 1939, and reared through the 8th grade by St. Paul’s Lutheran School before graduating from Waverly High School in 1943. Within moments of his graduation, he joined his 16 million American countrymen serving their country in World War II. Ed was inducted into the U.S. Army on July 17, 1943, completing his basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He continued with Army Specialized Training Program at Northeastern University in Boston before joining the 17th Airborne Division in February of 1944 and earning his paratroop wings that June.

Next came “the greatest land battle ever to be fought and won by the United States Army,” and what would be a defining moment for Ed and our entire country: The Battle of the Bulge. Ed entered the Bulge via Operation Plunder, Airborne’s invasion of Germany at the Rhine crossing, and saw the campaign through to its victory in January of 1945. A gifted athlete (he’d tell you he mighta been a Chicago Cub if not for the War), he joined the Armed Forces Baseball League in playing morale-raising games across Europe before being honorably discharged in October from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and finally returning home.

On August 12 of 1946, Ed married his hometown sweetheart Phyllis Jean Holley at Waverly’s United Methodist Church. He enrolled at local Wartburg College in 1947, then transferred to Iowa State University where in addition to his studies he competed on the golf team, famously hosting the 1949 NCAA National Championship and a young Wake Forest player named Arnold Palmer. Ed would later reunite with Arnie 50 years later at the 1999 TPC tournament pro-am in Tampa.

Ed graduated from ISU in the summer of 1949 and accepted a teaching and coaching position at New Hampton (Iowa) High School. He continued to play competitive golf in tournaments throughout the Midwest while nurturing the beginnings of his growing family, daughters Linda and Sally, and son Eddie. In 1954 Ed joined his father’s publishing company. He rose to VP/GM in 1961, becoming president and co-owner in 1975, and retiring in 1986.

Ed endeavored to make a constant contribution to his Waverly community. He was a teacher, coach, small business owner and employer. He served for 16 years on the Waverly Planning and Zoning Commission, 12 years as Wartburg Alumni Treasurer, president of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Council, member of the Waverly Chamber of Commerce, the Development Commission, the Parks and Recreation Commission, Kids Kingdom and was awarded the Wartburg Alumni Citation Award. He was also a leading member Waverly Golf and Country Club, maintaining a lifelong love of golf that included seven hole-in-one scores.

A constant spring of enthusiasm, Ed (who by the early 70’s would become “Bumpa,” courtesy of his mumble-mouthed first grandchild) loved dancing with his wife, as well as card games, especially his decades-long gin rummy match with Phyllis (now known as “Boom Boom”…see aforementioned grandchild mumblings). In what spare time she allowed him, he cheered proudly for the Waverly HS Go-Hawks (he was a four-sport letterman), the ISU Cyclones (also a letterman), his dear Green Bay Packers (he would finally become a one-share team owner!), and of course the Chicago Cubs. Ed was heartbroken at 7-years-old when he witnessed the Cubs 1932 World Series loss, later made every effort to help the team by throwing out a first pitch at Wrigley in 1993 and — legend has it — powered through his 94 years and multiple cancer battles just to see the Cubs reclaim the Series title.

Ed also managed to find a little time for fishing, duck hunting, mushroom hunting, painting, more golf, international cruising with the family, and keeping up with Phyl’s social schedule, which didn’t slow the least as retirement brought the couple more frequently to the Tampa Bay area where their son Eddie was working on a new restaurant idea called Hooters. “Bumpa and Boom Boom” ultimately made their permanent home in Largo, Florida, in the vibrant Royal Palms community. Together they proudly supported (and were graciously supported by) Clearwater Beach’s Chapel by the Sea, Morton Plant Hospital, and Moffitt Cancer Center.

Ed’s memory is honored by his loving wife, Phyllis Droste of Largo, Florida; one son, Edward C. (Marsha) Droste of Clearwater, Florida; two daughters, Linda Moon of Ankeny, Iowa and Sally (David) Pitts of Centennial, Colorado; three grandchildren, Ryan, Brian (Robyn) and Kylie (EJ), two step-grandchildren, Stephanie and Mike; three step great grandchildren, Emily, Jack, and Nick; a newly born great grandson James; and a sister, Dorothy Hertel of Waverly. Ed was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Marion Droste, and step-mother Elizabeth; a sister and her husband, Margaret (Rev. Ronald) Braulick; a brother in law, Dr. Elmer Hertel, and a son-in-law, Steve Moon.

A faithful servant of God, “Big Ed” was kind to, and loved by so many. He will be missed dearly by many…until we all meet again…

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