Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Greetings from Admiral Nimitz

Merry Christmas from Admiral Nimitz, 1944!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Letter from Pearl Harbor

In memory of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I thought it appropriate to post an excerpt from a letter home from a Texan on the USS Arizona. It was one of his last letters home. From Grover Barron Bishop:

USS ARIZONA 9 Nov 1941

Dear Dad & Folks:
It sure has been a long time since I’ve gotten a letter from that part of the world. I’m beginning to wonder just why there isn’t more mail? Maybe there is so much cotton to gin that you just don’t have time?
Boy, I was sure a sick boy for awhile. I am still awful weak & I still have a heavy cough but am up & around. I still am not back to regular duty but am on light duty list. Doctor says I’ll have to take it easy for awhile. Dad, on all of my beneficiary slips I’ve put Ladonia’s at Johnnie & Samies address. If something should happen to me they’ll wire here. So if anything comes for her you take it and of course notify her. That is the easiest way as each time your address changes a new slip must be made out & sworn to. This way the address is permanent & saves lots & lots of trouble for the overworked yeoman.
Dad, I’m tempted to ship over in the outfit without even a crack at the outside. Also am tempted to ship over early & try to make arrangements to get leave over Christmas. As it stands now I’m almost positive we’ll be here during the month of December. As you know a Christmas under a palm tree won’t be Christmas to us Cedar loving people. . . . .
The Army seems to be having a little trouble over morale. Well, maybe the morale is low & maybe the morale of the Navy isn’t so high, but once we start fighting that’ll all be forgotten. The men out here are hard worked and would like to see the fleet return but we have faith. We believe the President will return us home just as soon as he thinks it is safe. For that reason & because we know it is in the best interest of the nation we don’t mind it so much. In a few more months we’ll all be native anyway. It won’t matter then. I’d say the morale of the ship is as high as it has ever been. One thing that would help would be war with Japan. That would give us confidence in ourselves & at the same time furnish a lot of good training.
Well folks in about 5 minutes the lights go off & mail closes before reveille in the morning. So I’ll cut this short.
Just remember how very much I think of you & write me soon as your letters mean so much. Lots & lots of love to all.
From, Barron

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Rescue of Lt(j.g.) George HW Bush in 1944

The following is a video that was made when Commander Paul Cook, USN (Ret) visited the museum recently. He was part of the detachment that rescued George HW Bush in 1944 when his plane was shot down. Former President Bush was a Lieutenant (junior grade), USNR at the the time of the rescue. See Cdr. Cook tell his story of the rescue.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The following are photos from the Museum's Collection. They were taken by Norm Hatch on Tarawa. The bloody Battle of Tarawa was fought from November 20 - 23, 1943.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Inspiring our Youth

The museum's motto is "We Inspire our Youth by Honoring our Heroes."

This college professor is doing his part in carrying out our motto by bringing students to learn the history of the Pacific War and the generation of heroes that fought that war.

We have an ongoing program for museum visitors to write letters to wounded servicemen and women at BAMC in San Antonio. This letter was written by one of our younger visitors and hopefully will bring a smile to one of today's wounded heroes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

America's White Table

This post was made around Memorial Day but I believe that it deserves to be posted again on Veterans Day.

During patriotic holidays, including Veterans Day, a model of America’s White Table will be set up to honor those men and women who serve(d) in the United States’ Armed Forces. The tradition of placing the table began with a group of Vietnam fighter pilots but has now extended to honor all of those serving this country all around the world. Margot Theis Raven, author of the children’s book, America’s White Table said, “The point is every single day of freedom is brought to you by that person who is not sitting there.”

The small table signifies one lone serviceman’s battle against many. The white cloth honors our comrade’s pure heart for answering his country’s call to duty. The lemon slice and grains of salt represent the captive serviceman’s bitter fate and the tears of his family awaiting his return. A black napkin is placed for the sorrow of captivity. The glass is upside down for the meal that won’t be eaten. The white candle and the red rose represent peace and hope for the serviceman’s return. The empty chair at the table is for the missing serviceman.

“You are not forgotten so long as there is one left in whom your memory remains.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

Veterans Day was originally established as a holiday to honor and memorialize those men who fought in World War I. World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. However fighting ceased more than seven months earlier with an armistice that went into effect at 1100 on November 11, 1918. Originally, the day was known as Armistice Day because World War I was to be the war to end all wars. Following World War II, which required the greatest mobilization of all branches of the military in the nation’s history, and after the Korean War, the word “Veterans” took the place of “Armistice.” On June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. For a brief time, Veterans Day was to serve as one of four national holidays that would be on a Monday to ensure a three-day weekend for the people, but because of the historical significance of November 11 it was returned to that date. Today we honor veterans from all wars, both past and present, for their service, honor, and courage.

Come out to the Memorial Courtyard at the National Museum of the Pacific War at 11:00 am on Thursday for a commemoration program. Senator John Cornyn will be presenting the Keynote Address. It is a free program and all are welcome!

To all of those who have served, thank you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We are so pleased to share the wonderful response we received from Dr. Simon Patrick’s visit to the National Museum of the Pacific War. He and his wife visited the museum on a recent trip to Texas from London.

Dear Sirs,

My wife and I have just returned to the UK from a 2-week vacation in Texas, of which the highlight was undoubtedly a visit to the Museum of the Pacific War (and there were many high points in our visit!).

I think it is quite simply the best museum I have ever visited anywhere on the globe and wish to convey our appreciation to your organisation.

To be frank I had not heard of the museum before stumbling upon it in Fredericksburg (looking for European strength coffee!!) and having enjoyed an afternoon touring the USS Lexington earlier in our holiday, it seemed an obvious follow up.

Not only are the exhibits and the background material presented with intelligence and in logical sequence, but there is an almost complete absence of jingoism or bias in the exhibit which is presented with emotional rather than nationalistic emphasis - really quite moving at times. And if I may say so, such a different presentation of American psyche and attitudes than that which prevail and pervade the impression of the US here in the UK and more widely in Europe.

Four hours was nothing like long enough to do the museum justice and it will be on our list of places to return in Texas just as soon as we can.

Thank you for providing this experience and providing such an insight to such a bleak period of history.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Simon Patrick


University College London

Thank you again for your comments, Dr. Patrick!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

NMPW to Host Military Blood Drive

The National Museum of the Pacific War is excited to announce that they will host a blood drive that will specifically benefit the U.S. military, first in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan and then in military hospitals. This will be the seventh of this type to be held in Fredericksburg and the first to be held on museum grounds.

When the military runs low on their blood supply, they must purchase blood from civilian blood banks at regular retail prices. The military may not ask for blood donations or assistance from civilians either. In May of 2007, the St. Mary’s Knights of Columbus in Fredericksburg held the first local blood drive for the military with great success. Since then, five more drives have been held here in town all with great success but venues have sometimes been less central and therefore have not had the donor attendance that the community would normally provide. The National Museum of the Pacific War is located on Main Street and is very easily accessible for the community. The site was approved for a one time drive through a process that went all the way to the Secretary of Defense.

This year’s drive will be held in the Nimitz Ballroom at the National Museum of the Pacific War on November 1, 2 and 3. The drive will last three days in hopes of collecting as many lifesaving units as possible. The Armed Services Blood Program says that 50 units is a successful drive, but in the past, Fredericksburg has blown that number out of the water with an average of almost 300 units per drive. One unit of blood can help save up to three lives. The community of Fredericksburg has a strong history of military support and is now continuing that legacy by sending the “Ultimate Care Package” to our men and women in uniform!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Here are a handful of photos taken by Norm Hatch on Peleliu. The battle of Peleliu was fought from September 15 to November 27, 1944. They are part of the museum’s collection.

Members of the 81 Army Infantry Division (Wildcats) marching along a pontoon causeway toward the beach on Peleliu.

A handler of the Marine War Dog contingent participating in the Peleliu action reads a note just delivered by his canine messenger.

A damaged amphibious tractor is hauled aboard an LST, which served as a repair shop for vehicles disabled in the fight to establish the Marine beachhead on the island of Peleliu.

Battle-weary Marines in full fighting regalia raise a cloud of dust as they plod along a Peleliu road en route to the front lines where the Japanese had been driven into a pocket.

Empty shell cases and powder cartons are heaped up near a Marine 75mm gun emplacement on Peleliu; evidence of the pounding dealt the enemy in this sector.

Appearing like a 4th of July rocket, a phosphorous grenade explodes a Japanese dugout on the southern Peleliu peninsula. The Japanese occupying the position refused to surrender and were killed when Marines tossed this grenade into their nest.

A Marine-piloted Corsair fighter plane drops a fire bomb on Japanese positions in the hills of Peleliu. The smoke on the target is the result of a bullseye by a previous plane attack.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

2010 Not Over Yet

The kids are back in school and the symposium has come and gone but that doesn’t mean that programs at the museum are slowing down. We still have two weekends of living history shows, a WWII author’s forum and a couple patriotic holiday celebrations – all before we wrap up 2010.

As many of you know, this weekend is the 30th anniversary of Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg. After the chicken dance Saturday morning, come to the Living History Program at the museum, there is plenty of time to enjoy both.

Monday, October 11 is a bank holiday, which means a three day weekend, and we’ll be hosting three great WWII authors at a free author’s forum and booksigning in the Nimitz Ballroom. See the previous blog entry for details on the visiting authors.

The weekend of November 13 and 14 will be the last Living History programs of 2010. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see one of these shows yet, make a point to be here.

Our annual Veteran’s Day program, featuring Senator John Cornyn as Keynote Speaker, will be in the Memorial Courtyard at 11:00 the morning of November 11. At 12:25 on December 7, our annual Pearl Harbor Day recognition program will be held in the Memorial Courtyard. Both of these programs are free to the public and are great opportunities to honor and thank those who have served our country from WWII to now.

Fredericksburg is a great weekend destination; make sure to include the National Museum of the Pacific War in your plans.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Columbus Day Author's Forum

On October 11 we will be hosting an author’s forum with three highly acclaimed WWII historians. All three authors have been speakers at the museum for past events.

James D. Hornfischer’s next book, Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal, will be published by Bantam Books on January 25, 2011.

Hornfischer is the author of two other acclaimed works of World War II naval history: The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour and Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR’s Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors, both published by Bantam.

Hornfischer’s writing career has grown out of a lifelong interest in the Pacific war. He has appeared on television on the History Channel, Fox News Channel’s “War Stories with Oliver North” and C-SPAN’s “BookTV.” A frequent speaker on the subject of the war in the Pacific, the U.S. Navy, and the experience of America’s sailors in World War II, he frequently addresses veterans organizations, youth and civic groups, and professional naval organizations on the inspiring stories found in his books.

A native of Massachusetts and a graduate of Colgate University and the University of Texas School of Law, Hornfischer is a member of the Naval Order of the United States, the Navy League, and was appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry as an “Admiral in the Texas Navy.” A former New York book editor, Hornfischer is president of the literary agency Hornfischer Literary Management, located in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife and their three children.

• • •

John Wukovits’ most recent book, Admiral “Bull” Halsey: The Life and Wars of the Navy’s Most Controversial Commander, was published in July of 2010 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Wukovits has authored five other books, including American Commando; One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa; Pacific Alamo: The Battle for Wake Island; Eisenhower: A Biography (part of the “Great Generals” series); and Devotion to Duty: A Biography of Admiral Clifton A. F. Sprague. His writing has also appeared in more than 25 magazines, including WWII History and American History.

When he was still in grade school, Wukovits read a book on the Battle of the Coral Sea and has been hooked ever since. Oliver North interviewed his as his chief historian for an episode of “War Stories with Oliver North” dealing with Wake Island. He was also the main historical consultant and on-air commentator for the History Channel’s ten-part series, Pacific: The Lost Evidence which re-airs frequently.

Wukovits earned his BA in history from Notre Dame and his MA in American History from Michigan State University. In 2005 he retired from teaching junior high school History and Language Arts. He is currently working on a book about the USS Samuel B. Roberts.

• • •

Bill Sloan is the author of a dozen books, most recently Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, 1944 – The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War. A former investigative reporter at the Dallas Times Herald, where he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Sloan lives in Dallas.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'War Termination'

This year's symposium, 'War Termination,' was a success! The program was filmed this year and excerpts will soon be available for online viewing. While we are still sifting through photos and evaluating the weekend, here are a few highlights for anyone who missed it.

Richard Frank and his veteran panel on the conclusion of the war with Japan. Veterans include J.L. Summers, Lost Battalion P.O.W.; Hal Leith; Stanley Kuenstler and Bob Dale.

Vietnam veteran Jim Reckner, Ph.D. signing posters on Friday afternoon.

Vietnam historian Lewis Sorley, Ph.D., and Vietnam veteran Robert Caron.

Korean War veteran General Lim Sun-Ha, ROKA (Ret) and his wife Sandra.

General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret) presenting the Keynote Address.

As soon as the weekend's presentations are available online, a link will be posted.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

'War Termination' Historians

We’ve been very busy preparing for the coming symposium on how wars have ended throughout United States history. We’re certain that if you come, you’ll enjoy what you see. There will be nine historian/scholars here presenting in their areas of expertise on the way wars have ended beginning with the pre-World War era and ending with the first Gulf War.

Craig Symonds, Ph.D. will review the endings of U.S, wars up to the end of WWI. He is Professor Emeritus of American History at the U.S. Naval Academy. He is also the first to win both the Naval Academy’s ‘Excellence in Teaching’ and ‘Excellence in Research’ awards.

Kelly Crager, Ph.D. will serve as our moderator. He is currently the head of the Oral History Project at the Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University.

Michael Pearlman, Ph.D. is author of ‘Truman and MacArthur: Policy, Politics, and the Struggle for Honor and Renown’ which tied for the Gold Medal for Outstanding History Book of 2009, and Independent Publisher Book Award. He will be talking on the meetings at Yalta and Potsdam and the end of WWII in Europe.

Richard Frank will take our audience from a military victory through enduring peace with the ending of the Pacific War. He is the author of the acclaimed WWII books, ‘Guadalcanal’ and ‘Downfall,’ he was also a consultant for the HBO series, ‘The Pacific.’

General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret) will deliver the Keynote Address after lunch on Saturday. He is a retired four-star Marine Corps General and former Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command.

Allan Millett, Ph.D., the Ambrose Professor of History and Director of the Eisenhower CenterUniversity of New Orleans, will be speaking about the Korean War. for American Studies at the

Lewis Sorley, Ph.D. is the author of ‘A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam,’ and is our Vietnam War expert.

Geoffrey Wawro, Ph.D. will then bring us almost to current times by presenting on the Bosnian War and the first Gulf War. He is the General Olinto Mark Barsanti Professor of Military History and Director of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas.

Sunday afternoon, H.W. Brands, the Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, will close out our symposium with a lessons learned synopsis of the weekend.

This is just a taste of what each of our historian/scholars have accomplished in their field.

Each panel, starting with Rich Frank’s Pacific War panel, will also have veteran presenters to give their experiences in actually being there.