Military Specialties War Museum

Military Specialties War  Museum Militay museum dedicated to preserving military history from around the world both foreign and domestic.

On this day in 1944, American forces invaded and took control of the Marshall Islands, long occupied by the Japanese and used by them as a base for military operations.

The Marshalls, east of the Caroline Islands in the western Pacific Ocean, had been in Japanese hands since World War I. Occupied by the Japanese in 1914, they were made part of the “Japanese Mandated Islands” as determined by the League of Nations. The Treaty of Versailles, which concluded the First World War, stipulated certain islands formerly controlled by Germany–including the Marshalls, the Carolines, and the Marianas (except Guam)–had to be ceded to the Japanese, though “overseen” by the League. But the Japanese withdrew from the League in 1933 and began transforming the Mandated Islands into military bases. Non-Japanese, including Christian missionaries, were kept from the islands as naval and air bases–meant to threaten shipping lanes between Australia and Hawaii–were constructed.

During the Second World War, these islands, as well as others in the vicinity, became targets of Allied attacks. The U.S. Central Pacific Campaign began with the Gilbert Islands, south of the Mandated Islands; U.S. forces conquered the Gilberts in November 1943. Next on the agenda was Operation Flintlock, a plan to capture the Marshall Islands.

Adm. Raymond Spruance led the 5th Fleet from Pearl Harbor on January 22, 1944, to the Marshalls, with the goal of getting 53,000 assault troops ashore two islets: Roi and Namur. Meanwhile, using the Gilberts as an air base, American planes bombed the Japanese administrative and communications center for the Marshalls, which was located on Kwajalein, an atoll that was part of the Marshall cluster of atolls, islets, and reefs.

By January 31, Kwajalein was devastated. Repeated carrier- and land-based air raids destroyed every Japanese airplane on the Marshalls. By February 3, U.S. infantry overran Roi and Namur atolls. The Marshalls were then effectively in American hands–with the loss of only 400 American lives.

PHOTO: Americans landing on Carlos Island, Marshall Islands, circa early Feb 1944.

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On this day in 1944, with the Anglo-Americans closing in on Germany from the west and the Soviets approaching from the east, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler ordered a massive attack against the western Allies by three German armies, thus beginning the Battle of the Bulge.

The German counterattack out of the densely wooded Ardennes region of Belgium took the Allies entirely by surprise, and the experienced German troops wrought havoc on the American line, creating a triangular “bulge” 60 miles deep and 50 miles wide along the Allied front. Conditions of fog and mist prevented the unleashing of Allied air superiority, and for several days Hitler’s desperate gamble seemed to be paying off. However, unlike the French in 1940, the embattled Americans kept up a fierce resistance even after their lines of communication had been broken, buying time for a three-point counteroffensive led by British General Bernard Montgomery and American generals Omar Bradley and George Patton.

Fighting was particularly fierce at the town of Bastogne, where the 101st Airborne Division and part of the 10th Armored Division were encircled by German forces within the bulge. On December 22, the German commander besieging the town demanded that the Americans surrender or face annihilation. U.S. Major General Anthony McAuliffe prepared a typed reply that read simply:

To the German Commander:


From the American Commander

The Americans who delivered the message explained to the perplexed Germans that the one-word reply was translatable as “Go to hell!” Heavy fighting continued at Bastogne, but the 101st held on.

On December 23, the skies finally cleared over the battle areas, and the Allied air forces inflicted heavy damage on German tanks and transport, which were jammed solidly along the main roads. On December 26, Bastogne was relieved by elements of General Patton’s 3rd Army. A major Allied counteroffensive began at the end of December, and by January 21 the Germans had been pushed back to their original line.

Germany’s last major offensive of the war had cost them 120,000 men, 1,600 planes, and 700 tanks. The Allies suffered some 80,000 killed, wounded, or missing in action, with all but 5,000 of these casualties being American. It was the heaviest single battle toll in U.S. history.

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On this day in 1941, Cleveland Indians pitching great Bob Feller enlisted in the U.S. Navy, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Feller heard about the bombing while returning from a visit to his terminally ill father at Des Moines to Chicago where he was to sign a new Indians contract. Two days later, he volunteered for the U.S. Navy, becoming the first American professional athlete to enlist. Originally he tried to enlist as a fighter pilot but failed hearing tests. Feller attended basic training at Norfolk Naval Base and served as a physical fitness instructor there. He also pitched in baseball games hosted by the military.

Although he had received a military exemption owing to his father's failing health, he wanted to serve in combat missions. Feller said, "I told them I wanted to ... get into combat; wanted to do something besides standing around handing out balls and bats and making ball fields out of coral reefs." Feller was assigned to the USS Alabama; he had hoped to serve on the USS Iowa, but nearly all servicemen from Iowa had requested a place on that ship, and Feller was not selected.

Shortly before Feller left for combat, his father died of brain cancer in early January 1943. Feller returned to service as Gun Captain aboard the Alabama and kept his pitching arm in shape by throwing near a gun turret. Feller and the Alabama crew spent most of 1943 in the British Isles along with USS South Dakota, but in August were reassigned to the Pacific Theater of Operations.

Feller's first taste of direct combat was at Operation Galvanic in November 1943. The Alabama also served during Operation Flintlock while primarily being used as an escort battleship in 1944. Feller participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea before his combat duty ended in January 1945; he spent the rest of the war at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station as an instructor.

When the war ended, Feller was discharged as a Chief Petty Officer on August 22, 1945. Feller was decorated with six campaign ribbons and eight battle stars while serving on missions in both the Pacific and North Atlantic, and he was made an honorary member of the Green Berets later in life.

During the war, Feller pitched for the Norfolk Naval Station's Bluejackets baseball team, which in 1942 went 92-8, and later for the Naval Station Great Lakes team.

In the period from early spring 1945 to late summer 1945, Feller's naval duties were again at Great Lakes Naval station, where he replaced Mickey Cochrane as manager of the baseball program, as well as an active pitcher for the team.

Upon arrival in Cleveland after his discharge, Feller was honored with a civic luncheon on August 24, 1945, with more than 1,000 people in attendance at the Carter Hotel. Feller said to the crowd: "The real heroes didn't come home."

Later that day, the city held a parade and Feller was the starting pitcher in the Indians' game against the Detroit Tigers. Feller allowed four hits in the game and earned a win in the Indians' 4–2 victory. "I was so tired from all the receptions I didn't know if I could finish the game", Feller said. For the 1945 season, he appeared in nine games and notched a 5–3 record with 59 strikeouts and 2.50 ERA.

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Its been 100 years sence the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the guns fell silent. Never forget the sac...

Its been 100 years sence the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the guns fell silent. Never forget the sacrifice of the generations before you.


We wish everyone a happy Veterans Day and thank all that have served. Unfortunately due to ongoing repairs there will not be a display this veterans day.

Charles E. Kelly of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Army and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II on this day in 1943.

Prior to his military service, Kelly made his living with a street gang and frequently got into trouble with the law. He joined the Army in May 1942 and by September 13th, 1943 was serving as a corporal in Company L, 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division. After voluntarily participating in several patrols on that day, near Altavilla, Italy, he helped to defend an ammunition storehouse against attack by German forces. When withdrawal became necessary, he stayed behind and held the German soldiers at bay until everyone had been evacuated from the storehouse.

For his actions on this day, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. After receiving the Medal, Kelly toured the country with a group of other infantrymen as part of the Army Ground Forces’ 
Here’s Your Infantry” demonstrating various battle techniques and selling war bonds. Kelly was then assigned to the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Kelly received an honorable discharge from the Army in 1945 with the rank of technical sergeant. He died at age 64 and is buried at Highwood Cemetery in Pittsburgh.

His Medal of Honor citation reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 13 September 1943, near Altavilla, Italy, Cpl. Kelly voluntarily joined a patrol which located and neutralized enemy machine gun positions. After this hazardous duty he volunteered to establish contact with a battalion of U.S. infantry which was believed to be located on Hill 315, a mile distant. He traveled over a route commanded by enemy observation and under sniper, mortar, and artillery fire; and later he returned with the correct information that the enemy occupied Hill 315 in organized positions. Immediately thereafter Cpl. Kelly, again a volunteer patrol member, assisted materially in the destruction of 2 enemy machinegun nests under conditions requiring great skill and courage. Having effectively fired his weapon until all the ammunition was exhausted, he secured permission to obtain more at an ammunition dump. Arriving at the dump, which was located near a storehouse on the extreme flank of his regiment's position, Cpl. Kelly found that the Germans were attacking ferociously at this point. He obtained his ammunition and was given the mission of protecting the rear of the storehouse. He held his position throughout the night. The following morning the enemy attack was resumed. Cpl. Kelly took a position at an open window of the storehouse. One machine gunner had been killed at this position and several other soldiers wounded. Cpl. Kelly delivered continuous aimed and effective fire upon the enemy with his automatic rifle until the weapon locked from overheating. Finding another automatic rifle, he again directed effective fire upon the enemy until this weapon also locked. At this critical point, with the enemy threatening to overrun the position, Cpl. Kelly picked up 60mm. mortar shells, pulled the safety pins, and used the shells as grenades, killing at least 5 of the enemy. When it became imperative that the house be evacuated, Cpl. Kelly, despite his sergeant's injunctions, volunteered to hold the position until the remainder of the detachment could withdraw. As the detachment moved out, Cpl. Kelly was observed deliberately loading and firing a rocket launcher from the window. He was successful in covering the withdrawal of the unit, and later in joining his own organization. Cpl. Kelly's fighting determination and intrepidity in battle exemplify the highest traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces.”

We are eternally thankful for Technical Sergeant Kelly’s service to our country. Rest in peace, Sir.

#WWII #WW2 #USArmy #Army #MedalOfHonor #Pennsylvania #ThankYou #Sacrifice #RIP #GreatestGeneration #NeverForget #NeverForgotten #OTD #OnThisDay

James Marion Logan of McNeil, Texas, was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II on this day in 1943.

Logan joined the Texas National Guard from Luling, Texas in 1936 at the age of 15. By September 9th, 1943 he was serving as a sergeant in the 142nd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division. On that day, he participated in the Allied landings near Salerno, Italy and single-handedly captured a German machine gun emplacement and later killed an enemy sniper.

For his actions on this day, he was awarded the Medal of Honor on July 5th, 1944.

Logan reached the rank of technical sergeant before leaving the Army in March and then National Guard in May 1945. He was awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor on May 30th, 1997. He died on October 9th, 1999 and was buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin Texas.

His Medal of Honor citation reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action involving actual conflict on 9 September 1943 in the vicinity of Salerno, Italy. As a rifleman of an infantry company, Sgt. Logan landed with the first wave of the assault echelon on the beaches of the Gulf of Salerno, and after his company had advanced 800 yards inland and taken positions along the forward bank of an irrigation canal, the enemy began a serious counterattack from positions along a rock wall which ran parallel with the canal about 200 yards further inland. Voluntarily exposing himself to the fire of a machinegun located along the rock wall, which sprayed the ground so close to him that he was splattered with dirt and rock splinters from the impact of the bullets, Sgt. Logan killed the first 3 Germans as they came through a gap in the wall. He then attacked the machinegun. As he dashed across the 200 yards of exposed terrain a withering stream of fire followed his advance. Reaching the wall, he crawled along the base, within easy reach of the enemy crouched along the opposite side, until he reached the gun. Jumping up, he shot the 2 gunners down, hurdled the wall, and seized the gun. Swinging it around, he immediately opened fire on the enemy with the remaining ammunition, raking their flight and inflicting further casualties on them as they fled. After smashing the machinegun over the rocks, Sgt. Logan captured an enemy officer and private who were attempting to sneak away. Later in the morning, Sgt. Logan went after a sniper hidden in a house about 150 yards from the company. Again the intrepid Sgt. ran a gauntlet of fire to reach his objective. Shooting the lock off the door, Sgt. Logan kicked it in and shot the sniper who had just reached the bottom of the stairs. The conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity which characterized Sgt. Logan's exploits proved a constant inspiration to all the men of his company, and aided materially in insuring the success of the beachhead at Salerno.”

We are eternally thankful for Sergeant Logan’s service to our country. Rest in peace, Sir.

#WWII #WW2 #USArmy #Army #MedalOfHonor #Texas #ThankYou #Sacrifice #RIP #GreatestGeneration #NeverForget #NeverForgotten #OTD #OnThisDay


1301 17th St
Altoona, PA


(814) 615-9521


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