But now, it will have to be My Little Cake Boss…DIVA.
That’s right. My Little Cake Boss Diva.
After (manipulatively) maneuvering me over several weeks, she entrapped me into taking her and two friends on a shopping frenzy (for them, not me). My back ached for days. My fingers developed callouses from having to hold their bazillion shopping bags that weighed over a hundred pounds each.
But I am a slow learner. Yes, I am.
From about the time of the shopping frenzy, she had already begun her next manipulation.
Hindsight is always 100%, you know.
“Papa, don’t you think my hair looks nice? It’s really more bronze, yeah? Feel it.”
“Yes, its soft and bronze at the ends, just like Robyn’s (my oldest daughter),” I said.
She brought it up again…within a couple of days of the first.
“Papa, what did Robyn use to highlight her hair?”
WTF? Her mother (illegally) does hair. Why doesn’t she ask her? I said, “I don’t know.”
But I am a slow learner… or a real slow catcher-oner. (That’s supposed to be a word and it’s in Webster’s.) Perhaps dense is a better descriptive, especially when it comes to girl jabber. I mean, girl talk.
A few days later, “Papa, you know my hair is really a dark, bronze color… Do you think my hair would look better with lighter highlights or darker red highlights like Robyn had?”
But I played coy… I played dumb. But I texted Robyn so that I could be prepared. “What did you use to highlight your hair?”
“I used a Groupon deal,” she answered.
So I texted my USAF buddy’s wife, Ms. S. She’s a girlie girl. She should know.
“Oh, it’s really tricky to do it yourself. You should take her to get it done.”
The whole world is against me.
So on Sunday, April 12th (three days before income tax returns are due), I tell her in the morning, “Oooookay, Bu-chan… Let’s go get your hair highlighted.”
You should have seen her face light up. It was as if Little Miss Energy got plugged into a 220v socket. For the first time in her life, she got into the car…somewhat quickly. Who am I kidding? She took 20 minutes. She had to change and brush her hair…and get her iPhone, of course.
I take her to this salon nearby that the gals have told me about. I drive up. It’s closed. WTF?
So we drove across the street to this fancy-schmancy place the WOMEN tell me about (i.e., $$$). It was a little past 10 am so I was hoping to get her a walk-in. Parked out in front and the sign said OPEN. Well, it was not. What’s with these women places??! Barbershops are open on Sunday!
So the Little Cake Boss Diva gets on her phone and says there’s a salon open. I never ask her to tell me where some place is because 30 miles is down the block to her. Luckily, it was about 15 minutes away. She calls but the line’s busy. We go anyways.
Well, they were booked up solid… She looked kinda sad but I knew of this one other place next to Yum-Yum Donuts that was for sure open…and it was close to the house.
We get there. They take her.
She sits in the chair. Out comes her iPhone. Selfie time, I guess.
After filming the second flag raising, Sgt. Genaust did some more filming of the battle. A few reels focused on litter bearers carrying young deceased Marines. Some footage was shot of a Navy Corpsman rendering aid to wounded Marines. But the most foreboding footage depicted the cave-by-cave elimination of Japanese soldiers. All in all, he shot 23 Kodachrome rolls, each about four minutes in length.
Roll 23 was shot on March 2, 1945. In a documentary, the roll begins with Genaust holding the paper identifying it as #23. But amongst all the fear, violence and carnage, he is still wearing his wedding band.
In this roll, there was some brief footage taken of a Corpsman rendering aid to a wounded Japanese soldier. It would be his last roll. He would not be picking up a camera again.
It apparently rained for a couple of days after shooting roll #23. On March 4, 1945 and according to various interviews, it appears that Sgt. Genaust, as a rifleman, accompanied a patrol with the 28th Marines. Their objective was Hill 362.¹
They came upon a cave opening. They had to clear it then seal it. Grenades were thrown in. With the confusion of battle, casualties and time, specifics are varied but it is clear Sgt. Genaust entered the cave with flashlight at hand. After a brief period, Japanese machine gun fire erupted from within the cave. As in many other instances, Sgt. William Homer Genaust, USMC, was gunned down; he became one of the 5,931 Marine deaths on that godforsaken eight square mile sulfuric island.²
The Marines decided it would be too dangerous to enter the cave, not only to kill the enemy but to retrieve the body of Sgt. Genaust. According to USMC procedure at that time, grenades were hurled into the cave opening and it was seared with flame throwers. TNT was then used to seal the opening. Sgt. Genaust would not be recovered.
He was killed in action nine days after filming atop Mt. Suribachi. He never lived to see his historic footage nor of its impact on patriotism… but Adelaide, his wife, would.
But she would be viewing it in a way you may not expect.
The processed USMC color motion pictures were apparently divided into two batches: D-Day to D+8 (containing Genaust’s flag footage) and D+8 to D+18. The first batch went to the Joint Staff in DC; the second batch was brought in by Norm Hatch.
After review by the Joint Staff, the footage was sent to… Hollywood. They would use such footage for newsreels or documentaries. The Kodachrome 16mm footage would be blown up to B&W 35mm movie footage for use in theaters and the like.
The first time Genaust’s footage (uncredited) was made public was in the Universal Newsreel of March 19, 1945 with a caption of “Old Glory Flies Over Iwo Jima”. It was a seven second clip.
The next time the footage was shown was in To the Shores of Iwo Jima, with the production supervised by Norm Hatch . The flag footage, in the middle of the documentary, aired on June 7, 1945. Incredibly, the fighting on Iwo Jima was still going on. (YouTube link below is set to begin at some of Genaust’s footage of flame throwers on D-Day; his flag footage is at around the 10 minute mark.)
The footage became one of the inspirations for Sands of Iwo Jima. It was also used in the TV series, Victory at Sea, which I watched as a youth over and over.
On April 25, 1945, Adelaide received the dreaded telegram… just like hundreds of thousands of American mothers and wives of that time. That is how she learned of his death.
According to an interview of Sgt. Genaust’s nephew in a recent documentary, he said Adelaide did not realize nor was told the famous footage was taken by her husband. Upon learning her late husband was the cinematographer, however, whenever Adelaide would go to a movie theater, she would constantly see the footage. I can imagine in her heart, the hurt would be renewed and badly. She soon stopped going. Later, the footage would be also shown when TV stations used to sign off for the night.
It also appears that Adelaide wrote a letter on May 7 to Lt. Colonel Donald Dickson, her late husband’s commander. It is but my guess but since Sgt. Genaust was declared missing in action (as per procedure), Adelaide may have written Dickson and asked of the possibility he may have been captured.
Dickson replied with a courteous and respectful three page letter (Undated, letter in its entirety. National Museum of the Marine Corps):
And in a wretched twist, the US Post Office delivered to Adelaide a letter months later. The letter had been written by her husband a couple of months before his death. Upon reading the letter and in anguish, she threw it away.
You see… it was Adelaide who convinced her husband, William Homer Genaust, to become a combat cameraman for the United States Marine Corps.
Both flags are in the possession of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, located just outside the sacred grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.
In spite of attempts in 2007 and 2008, JPAC has been unable to locate the remains of Sgt. Genaust. However, another viable lead has reportedly surfaced. An Army veteran who was stationed on Iwo Jima from 1946 – 1947 clearly recalled seeing a wooden sign which read “Bill Genaust died here”. However, it was reportedly on the north side of Hill 362A, not the SW side where JPAC was targeting.³ This has been rejected by the US military.
Sgt. Bill Genaust is still on Iwo Jima.
May his soul be at peace… as well as Adelaide’s.
As the Marines say, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”
1. According to such sources, there was an US Army Nisei linguist on Genaust’s final patrol whose job was to talk the Japanese out of such caves. All in all, there were over 50 Japanese-American Nisei’s on Iwo Jima. One (Sgt. Mike Masato Deguchi) stepped on a land mine and died from his wounds after war’s end.
AP press photographer Joe Rosenthal spoke highly of the Nisei he observed on Iwo Jima, saying they were there to prove they were Americans (per Nisei Linguists, Dr. James McNaughton, US Army Historian).
2. One of the greatest Marines in history, Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, MOH and Navy Cross, was also killed on Iwo Jima on the first day of the invasion.
3. Japan still makes recovery visits to Iwo Jima. They are still uncovering Japanese remains, some of which have become mummified.
In the climax of the classic Hollywood movie Sands of Iwo Jima above, the words, “There she goes,” are uttered by a fictional Marine played by Forrest Tucker.
You will soon read that those were the words apparently said in a brief conversation between Sgt. Bill Genaust and AP photographer Joe Rosenthal atop Mt. Suribachi on February 23, 1945.
And you thought Hollywood movies were all fiction…¹
In Part 2, we left Sgt. Genaust recovering from a gun shot wound to his thigh and learning his fellow Marine and close buddy, Howard McClue, was killed soon after.
He apparently felt great loss from the death of McClue and sent a letter to his mother (above) explaining of what happened to her son that day. It is one of the few remaining letters written by Sgt. Genaust.
The Flag Raising and Iconic History
According to records, Genaust recuperated from his wounds on Hawaii. According to Norm Hatch, their Colonel (who I believe to be Col. Dickson) gave Genaust the option to remain stateside due to his combat tour and wounds.
Genaust said no. Even though his Navy Cross was declined because he was not an infantryman, he rose above the disappointment and subsequently volunteered to go to Iwo Jima. At that time, no one could have anticipated the horrific savagery of battle and carnage. If you remained alive, it was by pure chance.
Sgt. Genaust was embedded with the 4th Marines and stormed ashore onto the talcum powder-like black sands on February 19, 1945.
When the Marines would clear an area of the enemy, they would move forward – only to have more Japanese pop out of the same caves and holes they had cleared through their vast network of underground tunnels.
In substance, there was no clear “front line”. The only front line was the ground: the Marines on the surface, the Japanese below. Instantaneous death came unseen to these young boys from every conceivable angle or location.
Think of it this way: every Marine on that stinking island was in sight of a Japanese rifle or artillery.
To the Top of Mt. Suribachi
Sgt. Genaust miraculously survived the furious death being hurled at him and the Marines during the first few days of the invasion. Again, his hand was steady but he was definitely “excited” as he mislabeled his sixth reel but corrected it in time. While I am unable to mark his scenes, you can see some of Genaust’s combat footage at this link immediately below. You can see his boot as he was lying prone on the sand, filming his fellow Marines invading the beachhead; in other scenes, flame throwers are captured crawling on the sand.
On February 23, 1945 (D+4), Marines were ordered to fight to the top of Mt. Suribachi. These Marines had a flag with them.
According to official USMC records, the following occurred the morning of February 23, 1945:
“Lieutenant Colonel Chandler W. Johnson, the battalion commander, decided to send a 40-man combat patrol (remnants of the 3d Platoon of Company E, and a handful of men from battalion headquarters) under command of First Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier, the Company E executive officer, to seize and occupy the crest. Sgt. Louis Lowery, a Marine photographer for Leatherneck magazine, accompanied that patrol.”²
This first flag brought ashore for this purpose was small, 54″ by 28″.
The USMC record continues:
“The patrol reached the rim of the crater about 1015. As the Marines scrambled over the lip, a small defending force challenged the patrol and a short, hot fight developed. Even while this skirmish was in progress, some of the men located a length of Japanese iron
pipe, secured the small American flag to one end, and
raised the Stars and Stripes at 1020.”
After snapping pictures of this first flag being raised, Sgt. Lowery was sent over a crater’s edge from the blast of a Japanese grenade that had been thrown during the firefight. During the tumble, Lowery’s camera and lens were broken but the film remained secure.
Sgt. Lowery felt his mission was accomplished and started back down. In essence, he did take the first photos atop Mt. Suribachi.
During his descent, Lowery ran into Sgt. Genaust and PFC Bob Campbell (another USMC photographer)… and a civilian Associated Press photographer named Joe Rosenthal. They were climbing to the top under orders from Norm Hatch. Lowery informed them the flag had already been raised. Still, Genaust and the two other photographers thought photo ops still remained and carried on. After all, Genaust and Campbell were under orders to do so.
Prior to that – and after the first flag had been raised – PFC Rene Gagnon was carrying the second, more well known flag and walkie-talkie batteries up Mt. Suribachi on orders from Col. Johnson. He joined up with a patrol heading up the slopes led by Sgt. Michael Strank. (This group then made up five of the six Marines made famous by the photograph catching the raising of the second flag.)
Per USMC records and upon reaching the summit, “Sgt. Strank took the flag from Gagnon, and gave it to Lieutenant Schrier, saying that “Colonel Johnson wants this big flag run up high so every son of a bitch on this whole cruddy island can see it.”
Sgt. Genaust took a quick movie of the first smaller flag as he approached the summit, whipped about by the wind. Then, these three cameramen men saw the first flag was about to be taken down with the more famous second flag was being readied.
Genaust, Campbell and Rosenthal hurried to their shooting positions. According to an oral interview of Joe Rosenthal, “While the photographers were taking their positions to get the shot, Genaust — the motion picture photographer — asked “Joe, I’m not in your way, am I?” Joe turned to look at Genaust, who suddenly saw the flag rising and said, ‘Hey, there she goes!'”
Genaust then filmed the entire flag raising process (below) while Rosenthal snapped that now famous image.³
In a purely timing-related quirk of fate, Rosenthal’s film was processed the next day; being USMC, Campbell’s and Genaust’s were about ten days later.
Factually, Rosenthal’s 4×5 negative film was immediately sent to AP’s processing center in Guam. The staff there – after slight cropping – transmitted it back AP in the States. Rosenthal’s famous photograph hit the newspapers only 17-1/2 hours after Rosenthal snapped the picture.
No one on Iwo Jima knew about the photo nor the patriotic stir it generated at this time, less than 24 hours after it was snapped… and certainly, that it was a photo of the second flag.
Unfortunately, for Sgt. Genaust, all motion picture film successfully evacuated from the combat zone were shipped to Pearl Harbor for processing – about nine days. Where was FedEx when you needed them.
Back on Iwo Jima, Hatch and Lowery began to hear scuttlebutt about a photo taken of the flag being raised on Mt. Suribachi. While some specifics differ, both Hatch and Lowery assumed the frenzy was about Lowery’s photo. Apparently, neither knew of the specifics involving the actions of Genaust and Campbell. There was a war going on. They couldn’t very well text each other.
Rosenthal also had no idea whatsoever his photo sparked nationwide optimism about the war until a short time later. His name became associated with one of the most viewed photographs of WWII.
But nobody knew of Sgt. William Homer Genaust, the Marine motion picture man who at least killed nine enemy soldiers, was wounded, then was denied the Navy Cross because he was an infantryman. And the man who took the only motion picture footage of the second flag.
And only a few knew Lowery DID take the first pictures of the first smaller US flag being raised atop Suribachi.
However, due to an errant reply from Rosenthal himself, a fury of accusations that the flag raising in the photograph was staged circulated. Indeed, since Lowery didn’t know the SECOND flag was raised while Genaust and Campbell were present fueled some anger in him. I took the picture of the flag raising! Not Rosenthal!
Ironically, it would be Sgt. Genaust’s film processed and made public a couple of weeks later that will positively prove the photo was taken as it happened and not posed.
The destiny of Sgt. Genaust and the movie will be in Part 4. Ironies will become intertwined for many, including Adelaide, his wife.
Please stay tuned.
1. The film Sands of Iwo Jima, whose invasion scene was filmed at the beaches of Camp Pendleton, a number of Marines who were in combat on Iwo Jima had cameo roles. Most significantly, Navy Corpsman PhM2C John Bradley, Corporal Ira Hayes and Pfc. Rene Gagnon were in the last scenes as well in the movie clip above. There were six flag raisers; of the three, only Bradley, Hayes and Gagnon survived the battle. The other three – Sgt. Mike Strank (26), Cpl. Harlon Block (21) and Pfc. Franklin Sousley (19) – were killed in action on Iwo Jima.
2. Lt. Schrier has a cameo role in the same movie, Sands of Iwo Jima.
3. The footage here is reportedly colorized meaning Sgt. Genaust’s original footage is in B&W. However, I understand that all USMC 16mm motion picture footage was color (specifically, Kodachrome).
Now trained in motion picture combat methods, Sgt. Genaust is headed into his first combat. What all Marines train for.
He is headed into a hell hole called Saipan.
The United States had fought her way up the Solomon Islands campaign with great cost.
Saipan was at the edge of the Japanese Empire in 1944. Not only did it have two airfields, the taking of Saipan would allow the US to launch the B-29 bombers against the Japanese homeland.
The Japanese command knew this. First and foremost, Saipan was part of their territory having been under their control since 1922. They knew they must keep Saipan out of American hands at all costs or else their homeland would be vulnerable to air attack.
US intelligence estimated a garrison of 15,000 Japanese troops on Saipan.
They were very, very wrong.
The Marines and Sgt. Genaust would be assaulting an island with over 30,000 Japanese troops (although only about half were armed), fighting to the death to protect THEIR land.
Photo reconnaissance was extensive. It was so extensive that the Marines had rubberized 3D maps of the island made to familiarize the young Marines as to the terrain.¹ Even trench lines were clearly visible.
However, there was a shortcoming to these 3D maps: they could not show the spider holes, small pillboxes, caves nor the hardships in fighting in sugar cane fields.
On June 15th, 1944, Sgt. Genaust was one of about a dozen motion picture men assaulting the western beachheads in LVTs and Amtracs (see below). The 4th Marines assaulted the southern beach area and the 2nd Marines just to the north². About 8,000 Marines hit the beach in about 20 minutes.
However and as seen above, many did not even make it to the beach. As the hundreds of landing craft reached the edge of the reef, they were at the receiving end of pre-sighted Japanese artillery. Some landing craft overturned, drowning the young Marines. Others took direct hits from artillery fire, completing obliterating the landing craft and the Marines on board. As they got closer to the beach, the landing craft received small arms fire.
Death was everywhere.
To further worsen the situation, stiff currents carried part of the 2nd Marines further north than planned. Once on the beach, they found themselves 400 yards too far north. They would now have to fight back towards their comrades in the 4th Division.
Once on the beach, the Marines received targeted artillery and mortar rounds, directed by Japanese spotters above Mount Tapotchau, the highest point on the island. The Japanese were equipped with 16 – 105mm, 30 – 75mm, and eight – 150mm guns on the high ground.
The battle became a slugfest, which included the largest tank battle in the Pacific War (the Japanese sent 44 tanks to attack the Marines and the soldiers who had landed the second day) and towards the end of the near month-long battle, the largest banzai charge of the war. In the banzai charge, over 3,000 Japanese soldiers – some armed with spears – charged the Marines and soldiers, with brutal hand to hand combat lasting for over 15 hours. It was total carnage. Both attacks occurred under the cover of darkness. Fear at its peak.
In his first taste of combat, it is reported Sgt. Genaust did extremely well as a cameraman. Although surely trembling with fear along with his comrades, his first film reel was remarkably of steady hand. (I’m so old now, I can’t even hold my own camera still anymore. Incredible courage that man had.) Remember, this is before image stabilization.
Much of the more viewed footage that can be seen now on the internet was shot by Sgt. Genaust. In it, you can see the intense emotions in the young Marines. Their faces. Their body language. Not only are they trying to fight the enemy, the fear is evident as death lurked everywhere.
Sgt. Genaust was filming for about three weeks. Sadly, only three of his reels survive today. The others have been lost.
And while specifics of his combat actions are lost with time, there was an interruption in his filming. However, it is clear he was fighting for his life as a rifleman. Nowhere was safe on that island.
And although he primarily shot with his movie camera, he also shot with his carbine. On Sunday, July 9th, 1944, Sgt. Genaust and his buddy Howard McClue, found themselves near the Marpi Airstrip. They were under orders to eliminate all resistance on the northern part of the island. They were to hook up with other Marines approaching from the opposite direction.
Their first contact with the other Marines was with a tank. Their tank commander asked for riflemen so Sgt. Genaust and two of his buddies, including fellow cameraman Howard McClue, began to follow the tank. The tank then hit a land mine and was destroyed.
As they continued on with their mission, they were ambushed by the Japanese of platoon strength. Apparently outnumbered, Sgt. Genaust apparently ordered the two Marines during the firefight to go back and get reinforcements. Genaust was then alone to fight them off. He was in a fight for his life, with his carbine the only thing protecting him from a potentially ugly death.
McClue was successful in bringing back reinforcements. He was apparently not 100% clear on where he left Genaust but did locate him roughly 50 yards away. Just then, Genaust rose up to direct the Marines towards the enemy but was then immediately shot through his thigh.
In the time McClue was gone, Genaust single-handedly killed nine Japanese soldiers. Incredible when you think he was a cameraman…but he was a Marine first and foremost. He was expert with his rifle.
His wound required Genaust to be immediately evacuated and hospitalized.³
However, that will not be his only wound. His close buddy, Howard McClue, would be killed later that day, shot through his heart per a letter Genaust wrote to his mother, Mrs. McClue, later in January 1945.4
For his courageous action in combat, a Colonel Dickson had written a handwritten recommendation for Genaust to be awarded the Navy Cross, the second highest medal for bravery. Only the Medal of Honor is higher.
Unbelievably, his recommendation for the Navy Cross was declined. Instead, he was only awarded a Bronze Star. The reason was beyond belief: the Navy declared he was not an infantryman but only a cameraman.
The Marine Corps is never wrong, of course, but they were sure short on being right.
While Genaust could have elected to stay back in the States, he declined.
2. The assault force also included the US Army’s 27th Infantry Division under the command of US Army General Ralph Smith, who was later sacked by Lt. General Howlin’ Mad Smith of the USMC.
3. Old Man Jack told me wounds would get infected very quickly in the jungle heat and humidity, requiring immediate treatment. The Saipan invasion force was for once supplied with ample medical teams.
4. Ironically, July 9, 1945 was when the highest number of Japanese civilians lept off the cliffs at Marpi Point. They had been brainwashed by the Japanese military that they will be brutalized by the Marines if they surrendered. Mothers would throw their babies onto the jagged rocks below then follow them, or, they would jump into the shark infested waters. Many Marines were traumatized for the rest of their lives after witnessing this horror. They were trained to fight the Japanese military, not watch thousands of civilians jump to their deaths. Yet, many Marines risked their lives going up to cave openings to coax civilians out to safety, not knowing if there were Japanese soldiers inside.
The largest banzai charge also just occurred two days earlier, on July 7, 1944.
Saipan was also where a Los Angeles Mexican-American, PFC Guy Gabaldon, helped capture about one thousand Japanese civilians and soldiers. He was able to speak enough Japanese having spent time with a Japanese-American family and attended military language school. He was initially awarded a Silver Star but it was upgraded to the the Navy Cross in 1960. Admittedly, there was controversy on his true actions.
At the end, American forces sustained 3,426 killed and 13,099 wounded. Japanese losses were approximately 29,000 killed (in action and suicides) and 921 captured. It is estimated over 20,000 civilians were killed.
I assume you know of the iconic flag raising atop Mt. Suribachi by our courageous US Marines on Iwo Jima?¹ It was immortalized, in my opinion, by the most iconic photo of WWII.
But did you know there were TWO flags? And that THREE cameramen were involved with capturing the two flag raisings?
And did you ever wonder where the movie of the flag being raised came from…or who shot it?
You have seen the above color footage of the US flag being raised on Iwo Jima (above) during WWII countless of times. On TV. In movies (that’s important – the link to irony later). Now the internet and YouTube.
And whether you know it or not, it is the ONLY movie – in color, even – ever taken of that proud moment. A time when the flag was the symbol of the United States. Flown proudly everywhere without question – unlike the incredibly sad state of affairs today.
But the photographer who took this B&W picturebelow became famous beyond imagination. He even won the Pulitzer Prize.
But in sadness, the Marine who filmed the historic movie footage never even got to see it let alone become famous.
He is still on that stinking island… He was cut down by a Japanese machine gun in a cave while holding a flashlight. His body was never recovered… just like my Uncle Suetaro.
He is also a soul lost in a faraway place.
This series is not being written for military historians like my good friend, blogger and Marine, Mustang_USMC (and from whom I beg forgiveness for writing about his beloved Marine Corps).
It is written for everyday folks… American civilians like you and me. Or kids who are not taught about the battles or patriotism or the heroism that abounded during World War II (WWII)… but instead, are largely taught of the racism and discrimination that took place during the war.
The man who filmed this historic movie footage was Sergeant Bill Genaust (pronounced Jeh-noust), USMC. William Homer Genaust. His last Primary MOS was 4671 – Combat Photographer/Motion Media. And although he was on Iwo Jima as a combat cameraman, he was a Marine rifleman, first and foremost. He was like any other Marine.
And like all of the many young Marines who heard the call of duty at that time, he enlisted. But he was not young. Far from it. He was 37 years old by that time and was well established in his hometown of Minneapolis, MN.
He was married; his wife’s name was Adelaide.
And they lived in this quaint brick house.
People that knew him say he had an air about him; that he was confident and people around him sensed that.
On a fateful night after Pearl Harbor, Bill Genaust was listening to the radio one evening when an advertisement came over the air with the Marine Hymm playing in the background.
The United States Marine Corps were looking for cameramen. He enlisted the next day. After training like every other recruit, he earned his Eagle, Globe and Anchor (commonly referred to as EGA) and earned the right to be called a Marine. He was ready to fight.
By the summer of 1943, Bill Genaust was in Quantico, VA, learning cinematography. Concurrently, SSgt. Norm Hatch was ordered to undergo motion picture camera training. At that time, organized, large scale filming in combat was new to the Marine Corps as well as for the rest of our armed forces. It was learning on the fly for all intents and purposes.
At the time of Pearl Harbor, motion picture filming was largely done by heavy and cumbersome to use 35mm motion picture cameras. These were the old movie cameras that had what I call Mickey Mouse ears for film storage.
Understanding the horrible conditions in which the Marines would be fighting (jungle, swamps, sand, humidity, etc.), Hatch realized using 35mm equipment was not realistic. Further, such movie cameras needed their spools threaded by hand when putting in new film. Imagine doing that while enemy bullets are zinging by and about you. (Believe me, I know what loading one is like. Yes, I used a 16mm Bealieu movie camera when I was in high school. I also loaded my grandfather’s 8mm Nikon movie camera when I was twelve a number of times.)
Also, an exposed spool could be dropped after removal or unwind. In either case, it would be ruined. Or, an explosion can rain down sand into the camera’s exposed innards making it inoperable.
Hatch proposed using the lighter and more compact B&H 16mm cameras. The US Marine Corps went about acquiring every B&H 16mm camera available. Specifically, the B&H Autoload motion picture camera.
But most of all, the B&H movie camera was loaded via a preloaded magazine – a magazine that had COLOR film.
When the film is used up, the magazine is simply popped out then swapped with a new one, carried around like magazines would have been for a BAR.
Finally, the Marines had some “new” equipment for a change (i.e., not obsolete) and fitted their style of combat. But Sgt. Genaust would not only be shooting film. He will also be shooting bullets.
1. Iwo Jima is now officially referred to by the Japanese government as “Iwo Tou” but for the purposes of this post, I will use Iwo Jima. A piece of trivia: the name “Iwo Jima” had come from the Japanese themselves but in actuality, the island’s name was “Iwo Tou”. In Japanese characters, the name is written as 硫黄島. The third character can be read “shima”, “jima” or “tou”. Long story short, the Japanese military, in referring to the island many years earlier, misread it as Iwo Jima. It was really pronounced Iwo Tou.
What is a third generation Japanese-American doing trying to make Italian meatballs?
It’s as if you saw John Wayne behind the sushi counter asking if you want yellow tail or halibut.
Well, the schedule has my kids staying this week for Spring Break…and they are bored. They are so bored, they again asked, “What are we having for dinner tonight? The same stuff, Papa?”
Made them my killer (but now boring) Fettucine Alfredo with prosciutto and green peas Monday night and beef stroganoff yesterday night (with Jack removing every last mushroom from his plate).
From scratch. None of this sauce out of a bottle or Hamburger Helper stuff.
So…. My son Jack seems to like meatballs for some reason. He gets it at Subway and at this Italian restaurant in Belmont Shores. The last time he did, I told him I’d make it.
So I did.
I had heard many horror stories about making meatballs.
They were hard like golf balls.
They were just round hamburgers.
So I went to my trusted cooking bible: Cook’s Illustrated.
Their recipes are the Triple T’s: tasty, tried and true and only (old) male buffoons like me can mess them up. I’ve proven that.
But it turns out their secret ingredient was… buttermilk. Crazy. But it worked out wonderfully. And you used only the egg yolk; using the whole egg does something to the texture, Cook’s Illustrated said.
The ingredients for the meatballs were:
3/4 pound ground chuck (85/15 ground beef can be substituted)
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 cup buttermilk
Two slices white bread (with the crusts cut off) cut into small cubes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano (my preference)
One minced garlic clove
Two tbsp minced parsley (I used the broad leaf Italian parsley to make up for my being Japanese-American)
One egg yolk
3/4 tsp table salt
Pepper to taste
The ingredients for the spaghetti sauce were:
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
One minced garlic
2 tbsp minced basil
For the meatballs:
Soak the bread in the buttermilk for 10 minutes, crushing the bread occasionally to break it down. Do not drain.
Combine all the meatball ingredients in large bowl. (I slice through the mixture using a fork to bring it all together rather than using my hand to mix it. Keeps the mixture loose.)
Form meatballs (without compressing) about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, rolling mixture in hands. Set aside. Complete for remaining mixture.
Heat 1/4″ vegetable oil in 10″ skillet. (I don’t recommend non-stick.)
Carefully drop meatballs one by one into oil; they should sizzle. If your skillet is big enough, you may be able to do them in one batch.
Adjusting the flame, keep them sizzling while making sure ALL sides are browned. Perhaps ten minutes. (I made the mistake of having the heat too high and the meatballs too small.)
For the spaghetti sauce:
Drain the oil from the skillet. Return to range. Pat away most of the oil BUT leave all the yummy crusty stuff on the bottom.
Heat then pour in about a couple tablespoons olive oil and garlic. Scrape up all the crusties on the bottom as best you can. Do not burn garlic; no more than 30 seconds.
Carefully pour in the crushed tomatoes. Continue to scrape up remaining crusties then bring to boil.
Turn down heat then simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add basil and meatballs then simmer for five more minutes.
They suggested reserving a 1/4 cup of the pasta water. After draining the al dente spaghetti¹ and returning it to the pot, add back the pasta water and a couple of ladles of the sauce.
Coat then portion out your spaghetti from the still warm pot onto dishes. Pour a bit more sauce onto pasta, top with three meatballs. Your kiddies can add Parmesan Reggiano to their liking.
(No, I am not Julia Child. You are sadly mistaken.)
Note 1: Use ample water; I use more than a gallon for a pound of pasta. Also add one tablespoon salt immediately before adding pasta. Stir to make sure they don’t stick together then cover to bring back to boil as soon as you can. Uncover then rigorously boil for recommended time for al dente.
At times, I feel uncomfortable being of the Buddhist faith. Perhaps I am not as devout as my grandfather was reported to be but my family is Buddhist. I guess I feel uncomfortable because so many of you – my friends – are of the Christian faith and cherish it grandly.
Because I am Buddhist, it is difficult to fathom the importance religiously of today, Good Friday. One of my most trusted friends of old, Don, partakes in a play each Good Friday at his Catholic church of which he is a most faithful member. I feel some sadness as I am unable to grasp the deepness of his love for his God or the significance of this day.
But each Good Friday, my mind races back to the Good Friday of 1992.
My oldest daughter was home as there was no school. She was nine at that time
Playing in her bare feet, she was bitten by a rattler in the front yard of my home.
Yes, my memory is not all that accurate, Robyn, but it was late morning. I was working in Downtown LA that day when a call came into my office.
When I picked up the phone, it was her mom. You have to understand her to appreciate this but she said pretty calmly, “I think Robyn got bit on her foot by a snake.”
“Huh? Whaaat? Where? Are there puncture marks?”
“Ummm… Let me go see,” she calmly says. Yes, she did. OMG! Didn’t she check already?
After a minute, she comes back and matter-of-factly says, “Umm, yes, there’s two little holes on her toe…” It was as if she was telling me Robyn got straight A’s again. Very routine for Robyn.
“Call 911!” I said quite loudly then hung up. I ran to my boss’ office and said yelled, “I think my daughter got bit by a rattlesnake! Bye!”
Did I mention I was the opposite of my ex-wife? I got pretty “animated”. It was different than being told she got straight A’s again.
Remembering this was before inexpensive cell phones, I raced home. It took about an hour to drive the 25 miles, even back then. When I got there, no one was there. But a neighbor told me the paramedics took her to Brea Community Hospital. “Huh? Brea Community? Where’s that?!” No Google Maps, either.
If I recall correctly, I got to the hospital about two hours after the call. Apparently, the paramedics were going to medivac her when they located this hospital with anti-venom in the neighboring county.
It was the darnedest sight. Here were these two pretty rugged-looking paramedics in Emergency, rubbing their huge hands together like if they were outside in the snow. Briefly, her mom explained yes, it was a rattler. The doctor wasn’t sure what anti-venom to administer at first but after calling a specialist in Arizona, they decided on the anti-venom. However, the anti-venom coagulates at the top of a suspension liquid in these tiny glass tubes. The paramedics were rolling these tubes in their hands to warm and melt/dissolve the anti-venom into the liquid.
My daughter, a pretty tough kid, was just laying on the gurney quite bravely. She didn’t whimper, complain or show fear. She would be that way for the rest of the night – well, except for a split second. In fact, the only time she would show emotion was when she pummeled her younger brother – frequently. He apparently deserved it.
There was cause for alarm, however. The first responders were able to locate the snake in the strawberry plants then lopped off its head with a shovel. But it was a baby rattler. For those of you who don’t know, baby rattlers are unpredictable in how much venom they would inject for a kill. Luckily, it had killed Mickey Mouse a bit earlier (or maybe it was Minnie), thereby somewhat depleting its venom supply; you could see the bulge in its body from the mouse (Yes, they put it into a glass jar to show the doctor. Yes, we kept in the freezer for awhile as a souvenir. I even took it to show my boss. Who would believe a nutsy story like this?). Plus, Robyn was a small girl. Smart, but small.
They began the drip as soon as possible… but by around 11 pm, you could clearly see the toxins marching its way up her leg, discoloring her skin as it spread. The swelling got real bad, too.
Then, the news. The nurse said if the swelling doesn’t subside by around midnight, the doctor will have to make an incision in her calf to relieve the swelling. Further, they did not know if there would be any permanent tissue or nerve damage.
Talk about feeling helpless… All we could do was wait. By this time, her skin began to turn an ugly shade of grey.
Then for the first time that day, Robyn understandably let out a tear or two.
So did I.
Fortunately, about an hour afterwards, the toxins stopped its march up her leg. The anti-venom was finally taking effect. Soon thereafter, the swelling began to subside, slowly but surely.
By late morning – and while the skin was still an ugly shade of grey – a physical therapist came in. Oddly, she was the owner of an interior decorating store at the base of our hill; she had sold us all our new furniture and interior stuff like wallpaper and window treatments five years earlier.
She had Robyn get out of bed then try to walk. Although she had a bad limp from the pain and tenderness, the therapist said there was no nerve or tissue damage to her foot or leg. Whew.
And the Game Boy?
I thought she earned it for being a tough kid so I got her one. She got pretty good at it, too.
Oh… Although Robyn’s name wasn’t mentioned, her mom told me later that she made the news on KFWB news radio.
They didn’t mention her new Game Boy, though, or how brave she was.
It is beyond me as to why Obama would make such an effort to “come to an agreement” with Iran..?
That piece of paper equals the folly of Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement of 1938. Redux.
However, as to why, consider some of his past umgwalla-gwalla decisions and actions:
He is the only president who would celebrate in the Rose Garden with the parents of a deserter – a deserter that cost the lives of six additional young American soldiers that were sent out to “rescue” him. (Mark my words: Obama will ensure Bergdahl gets off.)
Help spark civil unrest by describing a young thug who was killed as “he could have been my son”…then doing nothing to quell the unrest.
Legalizing illegal immigrants via Executive Order whose first act of being in the US was criminal.
The “IRS” and Lerner.
Afghanistan – he ended the war, right?
Downgrading terror attacks on our own soil.
Allowing Hillary to use “private email”.
Treatment of our glorious veterans and the VA cover-ups.
Well, I do have an reply:
What difference, at this point, does it make?
True stories about World War II – One war. Two Countries. One Family