4:00 | (From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #31) After the war, Jake McNiece got a call from a Dutch boy who told him the story of his aunt. She had watched the 101st Airborne Division's jump into Holland, and was thrilled because she knew she was destined for one of the Nazi's "baby factories," where blue eyed, blond girls where kept for the pleasure of the SS.
Keywords : Jake McNiece paratrooper Dirty Dozen Filthy Thirteen Dutch Operation Market Garden Holland Netherlands Schutzstaffel (SS) master race Jewish Holocaust alcoholic
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #8) Jake McNiece wanted to contribute to the war effort, but it wasn't until 1942 that he enlisted. He insisted on paratrooper duty, a new type of warfare that was considered highly dangerous.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #9) He was in trouble from the very beginning. Jake McNiece liked to fight. If you didn't give him his butter, or if you were an MP trying to take him back to base, you were apt to take a licking. His masterpiece of contrariness, though, was his claim of being a member of an unusual religion.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #10) The paratrooper regiment in training was going to attempt a 142 mile forced march, so they let Jake McNiece out of the stockade because he was always a leader in endurance tests. After the march, he didn't even sleep before he went out on the town looking for trouble again.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #11) The Dirty Dozen was inspired by a real life demolition and saboteur squad led by Jake McNiece. While in training, his group acquired the nickname The Filthy Thirteen, because of their disdain for Army rules and discipline.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #12) After intensive physical training, the new 506th Parachute Regiment went to Fort Benning for jump school. According to Jake McNiece, the first jump was the easiest. After that, you couldn't help but think about what you'd seen on previous jumps.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #1) Jake McNiece thought it was finally time to enlist. It was 1942 and he had a mind to take on one of the most dangerous jobs in the military, the parachute infantry. From the beginning, he was a troublemaker, but he was too good to wash out.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #2) Jake McNiece led a demolition squadron of paratroopers who jumped into France at midnight before the Normandy invasion. The men were scattered and many were killed, but he pulled together a small group and managed to destroy his targeted bridges and secure another to wait for the advancing Allied force. It wasn't going to be that simple.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #3) The mortar round landed just a few feet from Jake McNiece and his eyes filled with blood and debris, but that didn't make him nearly as mad as discovering that his Copenhagen didn't make it through the battle.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #4) It was the night before D-Day and paratrooper Jake McNiece was hunkered down in a hedgerow trading fire with Germans. Looking across at the next hedgerow, he was sure he saw a shadow moving. The enemy was closing in and he knew he had to do something. With his bayonet ready, he charged.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #5) The acceptable estimated loss for Normandy paratroopers was 50 percent. Jake McNiece's unit lost 70 percent. The next mission was the foray into Holland called Operation Market Garden. His outfit outperformed their mission during the initial fight, but had to linger on forever as the operation ultimately failed.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #6) It was a desperate attempt to resupply the men surrounded in Bastogne. Jake McNiece would make the jump with some special radio equipment to guide the aerial resupply. Despite making it possible for the Americans to survive the battle, he got some static from an Army Major when he sought quarters for his unit.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #7) Some strange things happen in combat. Paratrooper Jake McNiece recalls several stories that have a twist; something unexpected that makes them memorable.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #13) Having finished basic training and jump school, the men of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment went to Tennessee for war maneuvers. The men were allowed to go into town, but Jake McNiece missed the last truck back to camp. Fortunately, there was alternate transportation just sitting there.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #14) The ship was large, but there was an entire regiment crammed aboard, recalls Jake McNiece. Once they were in England, there was intense training specific to the task ahead, the invasion of Europe.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #15) The paratroopers were quartered on a large English estate which functioned as a game reserve. Jake McNiece felt like the food they were being fed was just slop, so he looked around at the deer and the trout and the rabbits and started scheming.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #16) Jake McNiece headed the demolition and saboteur section of an airborne unit preparing to jump into Normandy. Scared of picking up body lice, he cut his hair into the scalplock favored by his Choctaw ancestors. His men demanded the same treatment and when the signal corps photographer showed up, a legend was born.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #17) The men of Jake McNiece's demolition and saboteur unit were told to blow two bridges and wire a third, then wait for the advancing forces from the Normandy beachhead. The paratroopers were widely scattered, though, and he was on the ground fighting alone for two hours before he hooked up with anyone else.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #18) The paratroopers were scattered around everywhere. It was the night before the D-Day invasion and Jake McNiece was trying to round up enough men to carry out his mission to blow bridges on The Douve River. He managed the task but between him and the Americans advancing from the beach were hundreds of Germans. No problem.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #19) The paratroopers inserted before D-Day faced some fierce fighting. Jake McNiece recalls the stories of three of his men who were wounded or captured.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #20) Six days after D-Day, in the town of Carentan, France, an awards ceremony was held for valorous American soldiers. There were French collaborators at work because, suddenly, a barrage of shells from a German 88 tore through the assembly. Jake McNiece describes that heartbreaking scene and the surprise of snipers in a church steeple.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #21) War is hell. So says Jake McNiece and he should know. He had the grim job of clearing the battlefield, which was littered with dead American paratroopers, dead German soldiers and dead livestock.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #22) After weeks of battle beginning when he parachuted into Normandy, Jake McNiece was rewarded with a seven day pass back in England. True to form, he overstayed his leave for seven more days.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #23) The paratrooper outfit was severely depleted, so the call went out to other units; come volunteer for airborne duty. They were back to full strength just in time for Operation Market Garden, the push into Holland, where Jake McNiece faced 78 lousy days of hard fighting.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #24) Jake McNiece relates his parachute jump into Holland right in the middle of a Panzer unit. He administered morphine to a friend with a grievous wound who was left for dead. Imagine his surprise when he saw him again, later. The Holland fight was totally different from the guerilla type fighting he had in Normandy and it went on way too long.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #25) The new lieutenant was arguing with acting Sgt. Jake McNiece. He wanted to stay on the bridges they'd secured, even though German planes were making menacing passes. After that situation was resolved, with deadly consequences, McNiece rode a commandeered German truck into Veghel, thinking the British were in control. Think again.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #26) As a reward for 78 days of hard fighting in Operation Market Garden, Jake McNiece got a 72 hour pass which he characteristically abused and stretched into an AWOL situation. He was offered a way out of his arrest. He could volunteer for the Pathfinders.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #27) When he volunteered for the Pathfinders, an airborne group with a high mortality rate, Jake McNiece thought the war was almost over and their special skills would no longer be needed. How wrong can you be? The Battle of the Bulge hit and he was dropped into Bastogne with special radio gear to guide the aerial resupply effort.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #28) After Bastogne, paratrooper Jake Niece, who was temporarily assigned to the Pathfinders, thought it was all over. But there was some trouble near the Siegfried Line and he had to do another jump with radio gear to guide the aerial resupply effort. Then it was back to his regular unit and southward, to Austria and the hideouts of the Nazi chiefs.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #29) Jake McNiece relates the story of the town of Saint Vith, where a German commander negotiated in bad faith with General Patton.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #30) While in occupation at Hitler's retreat in Austria, Jake McNiece was amazed at the luxury of the installation. After a huge victory celebration there, complete with baseball games, he went to Paris to do the town one more time. Since it was Jake McNiece, you know what was bound to happen.
Bill Garrison was standing in a chow line when a man up the line suddenly dropped, shot dead by a sniper. That was only one hazard at the air fields in China; the others being Japanese air raids and infiltrators. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
It was their third mission over Berlin and they were heading home. Four German fighters pounced on the B-24 and it was engulfed in flame and going down. Clyde Burnette fought for consciousness as the other crew in the back of the plane bailed out. He woke in free fall with no idea how he had made it out, and soon he was in German custody. Everyone made it out of the plane except George "Danny" Daneau, the nose turret gunner, who went down with the aircraft.
The first operation for the 4th Division was the landing on Roi-Namur. Lawrence Snowden remembers that, though it was an easy victory, valuable combat experience and important lessons were imparted on the Marines.
Two engines were out, a third smoking, and they were were losing airspeed and altitude, but they were flying level and pointed home. Then time ran out for the B-17 and Don Scott had to slip down the hatch into the slipstream. Part 2 of 3.
After a nerve-wracking mission to bomb Tokyo and a typhoon, B.E. Vaughan and the destroyer O'Brien suffered a second kamikaze attack which killed all three of his hometown pals who served with him on board. Then, began the grim task of collecting the personal belongings of the dead and preparing them for burial at sea.
He was trained in the Army Air Corps as an aircraft mechanic, specializing in hydraulics. Ralph Way would put his training to work in Karachi, which was in India at the time. He serviced cargo planes flying over the Himalayas to supply the war effort against the Japanese in China.
While in training for the US Merchant Marine, Roy Walker had to be pushed into the water. He couldn't swim, but when he was at sea, he didn't even think about it. The ships he sailed on kept the war effort supplied with fuel and ammunition.
He wanted to choose his service instead of getting drafted, so Curtis James went for the Marine Corps in 1943. As part of the V-12 program, he attended college for a year, then had his training and got his commission. Assigned to the occupation forces in Japan, the friendliness of the Japanese was a big surprise to him.
Stationed in Japan after the war, Curtis James had the opportunity to see the devastation at both atomic bomb sites. It was hard to believe. Marines went into occupation duty with a lot of animosity for the Japanese people, but were surprised to find out how friendly they were.
Flying over the Hump, the Himalayas, tested the abilities of both pilots and planes. The maneuvers required made small loads a necessity. Ralph Way was part of the ground crew, but he needed flight time to get the flight pay, so he would hitch rides to get in his hours.
McBrayer talks more about his Okinawa experiences. He brings up that his crew hauled dead Japanese soldiers aboard his ship to loot them, and how he escorted the broken ships back to Guam and Saipan. He also remembers how his ship was hit.
After a long and perilous journey through the Atlantic Ocean, McBrayer and the rest of his crew was able to make it safely to North Africa. From there he escorted tanks to Aruba, and talks about how sometimes he would go back to the ship's home base located in Northern Virginia.
The men at the air base in India were due for some badly needed R&R, so they were shipped off to a rest camp. Ralph Way remembers watching the monkeys in the trees and thinking how nice it would be to have one of those monkeys. How, exactly, could you make that happen?
Roy Walker had a pretty good set up on one trip. The Merchant Marine steward had cornered the market on decks of cards and Coca-Colas, plus he got tips out of the kitty because he ran the officers mess. He also had an identical twin brother on the crew, which could lead to some confusion.
Jack McBrayer was born in Birmingham, Georgia, and wanted to be a sailor all his life. When he joined the Navy, he had to use dummy guns during basic training because they were underfunded at the time. He talks about his shakedown cruise to Bermuda, and how it felt being right at the heart of a hurricane.
On a visit to Miami, Clyde Milam saw Navy personnel training and immediately sought out a recruiter. He was very young, but he was ready. It was 1943 and he was eager to contribute. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
Ralph Way was an aircraft mechanic in India, maintaining cargo planes. He recalls one incident in which a pilot couldn't tell if the landing gear was up or down. That was resolved successfully, but there was another incident regarding propellers which did not end so well.
The men of the destroyer escort USS Straus were very busy. It was their job to spread smokescreens to protect the fleet from kamikazes and they were credited with one shoot down of a suicide plane. Bombarding coastlines was another important job. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
The streamer was flying from the bridge. It was the heading home streamer and the men of the USS Straus were overjoyed, including Clyde Milam. He was soon to discover that his short stop at Nagasaki had left him with a terrible problem. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
It took four days to send him to war by plane, but when the time came to return from India, Ralph Way spent a month on a ship. At home, he got married and went to college, thanks to the educational benefits from Uncle Sam.