Still “Gung Ho”
While browsing my local bookstore the other day, your March/April 2010 issue, featuring an article on Carlson’s raiders and the Makin Raid, caught my eye. To my surprise you quoted an acquaintance of mine, Pfc. Brian Quirk.
I heard he was a World War II veteran of the Marine Corps, and since that era is of great interest to me I introduced myself to him one day at church. I asked if he would tell me about some of his experiences. As is typical of men of that era, he said, “Why should I tell you something I have been trying for a lifetime to forget?”
Well, I pestered him most every time I saw him. I learned that he retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel and was awarded the Navy Cross, among other medals. He was still quite active in corresponding with other raiders and contributing to newsletters.
One day he told me about the Makin Raid. He said they had to leave behind 14 raiders who had been killed. He said the natives were friendly, and his unit somehow communicated to them to bury the bodies and pass on the location to family members, as the Marine Corps would be back for the remains.
I believe in 1999 he led a group that went back and did just that. He did not share a lot of information with me, only that one boy was from Chicago and another, the first recovered, was a boy from Sikeston, Missouri.
His license plate on his auto was “Gung Ho.”
ORLAND PARK, ILL.
Permission to Speak Freely
The January/February 2010 issue contained an article by Ronald H. Bailey regarding the U-564 and an article by Richard Lucas about Axis Sally. These two articles composed more than 18 percent of the total magazine. From my point of view, I am not too interested in data concerning German submarines and Nazi propaganda broadcasts. Should the war have turned out differently, we would be speaking German or Japanese, and the view would certainly be in another vein— fortunately for the outcome!
Your magazine is informative and very worthwhile. But it would be better with more stories about people such as U.S. Navy commander Joseph J. Rochefort, with regard to breaking the Japanese code prior to the Battle of Midway in 1942, or British wing commander Guy Gibson’s “Dambusters” raid in 1943.
Diving for Answers
In the March/April 2010 issue, I was particularly interested in Lorraine B. Diehl’s article “Smoke Over Manhattan” on the sinking of the SS Normandie. For two years during the war I was aboard a combat fire fighting and salvage fleet tug, the USS Hidatsa (ATF-102), in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and the Philippines, where I gained considerable experience in ship salvage and fighting marine fires.
After the tragic loss of the Normandie in February 1942, the navy established a naval salvage diving school at Pier 88 over the derelict Normandie. At least three of the Hidatsa’s divers were among the hundreds trained at this facility. Their training exercises included a complete diving examination of the exterior hull of the ship and the interior compartments. These training exercises and the examination they facilitated, disclosed that there were no ruptures or failures in the watertight integrity of the ship. The Normandie did not sink as a result of the fire or flooding from the river. Its flooding and capsizing was a result of the inexperience of the New York City Fire Department in dealing with marine fires.
FRANK B. TURBERVILLE JR.
The image of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower that appeared on the cover of our May/June 2010 issue was taken in 1944, not 1945. The machine gun on page 47 is a .50-caliber machine gun, not a 50mm gun.
Originally published in the August 2010 issue of World War II Magazine. To subscribe, click here.