Happy to See Hap
YOUR SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER feature regarding General Hap Arnold and our country’s stubborn reluctance to recognize the power of aircraft in wartime certainly rang a bell with me.
My brother Norton, an enlisted man in the U.S. Air Force, worked on assembling the top-secret Norden bombsight at Denver. I was a navigator in the air force stationed in China when the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan ended that war.
Prior to that, however, as the country prepared for war, my brother and I were working summer jobs at the New York Shipbuilding Yard near Camden, New Jersey, when a plane flew overhead at an incredible speed and with a loud whine unlike the throbbing of a propeller. It was the first of the jet-driven aircraft and must have been the XP-59, which debuted in September 1942 but was kept secret until January 1944. The jets changed aerial warfare and commercial flying ever thereafter—all thanks to the brilliant Hap Arnold. He deserved your editorial spotlight.
My brother and I not only survived the war, but are happy and healthy at ages 91 and 92.
John H. Worthington
I WISH TO COMMENT ON the Italian flag used occasionally in the magazine.
I have noticed in your past issues, including your recent September/October “Weapons Manual,” that the flag displayed is not the wartime national flag of Italy, which featured the royal coat of arms. The flag displayed is the Fascist flag of the Italian Social Republic that was formed by Mussolini after the Allied invasion in 1943.
Donald V. Castronova
Keen observation. The tricolor banner with eagle and fasces—wood rods bound around the handle of an axe, a symbol of authority dating to Roman days— was never Italy’s national flag during the war. However, the fasces-flaunting National Fascist Party flag did fly side by side with the national flag during official ceremonies. Although the eagle and-fasces tricolor never quite achieved the pervasiveness of Germany’s swastika banner, we think Benito Mussolini’s flag well suited to represent Fascist Italy for the purposes of our “Weapons Manual.”
I READ THE NEWS ARTICLE by Paul Wiseman regarding the Japanese “comfort women” in the September/October issue with great interest.
I served as a military policeman in the air corps in World War II for three and a half years, and in 1945–46 I was stationed on Guam and Saipan, where I was assigned to guard Japanese prisoners of war.
In late 1945, when the war was winding down, a group of Japanese soldiers came out of the jungle area, accompanied by two of their comfort slaves—one of whom was pregnant—and surrendered to us.
If the Japanese who have denied the existence of “comfort women” accompanying their soldiers during World War II wish to have verification, let them speak to me! I am a living witness to their activities!
The Japanese try to hide these facts, but even as a 91-year-old World War II veteran, my memories of my service are clear—and the public should know the truth! We should make sure the whole world knows the truth.
Boca Raton, Fla.
IN MR. WISEMAN’S REPORT, he said, “Hashimoto’s inflammatory declaration followed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s trip to Yasukuni Shrine.” He is incorrect. As Prime Minister, Abe has not to this day visited Yasukuni Shrine since his appointment last March.
I generally disagree with Wiseman. It must be remembered that until 1958, prostitution was legal in Japan—as it still is in Nevada. Women primarily went into prostitution of their own free will. And they were very richly paid. And, as far as I know, women of Korean descent comprised only about 20 percent of all military prostitutes.
Originally published in the February 2014 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.