Combat! – Part 1


I just remembered one other TV “macho man” my mom was infatuated with along with Vic Morrow… Jack LaLanne! Remember him? The fitness guy who wore grey workout clothes? LOL Geez, mom always gave my poor dad some sharp words about how “unmanly” he was…

Masako and Spam Musubi


Back in the very early 1960’s, my dad picked up a used B&W TV set from an appliance store’s outdoor parking lot sale at Atlantic Square in Monterey Park, CA.  It was loaded into the cavernous trunk of his 1955 Ford Victoria coupe, also bought (really) used.  He probably should have spent the money on repairing the car instead of buying that TV.  Anyways, the TV was our first one, dust covered vacuum tubes and all.  At least it turned on.

Well, mom commandeered it.  Don’t ask me why.  After all, she didn’t speak much English at all having come here just a few years earlier.

While I was able to watch The Mouseketeers, Sheriff John and Engineer Bill in the morning, the night belonged to mom.  She decided what to watch.  I don’t recall dad ever saying anything either, but then, he never did.  (ps Sheriff John read off…

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Vintage Japanese Art

Since Aunt Eiko passed away a couple of months ago aged 93, it reminded me of all this wonderful artwork she had inherited from her great grandfather. Remarkable these fragile pieces had survived the bombings from WWII.

Masako and Spam Musubi


My Aunt Eiko had these in a brown paper bag of all things.

Hundreds of old Japanese artwork kept by my Great-Grandfather Wakio Shibabayama.  Born August 17, 1874 in Kaga City of the Ishikawa Prefecture.

Sumi-e.  Watercolors.  Sketches.  On thinner-than-tissue rice paper.  Dog-eared from what appears to be many years of handling by my Great-Grandfather.


My Aunt Eiko’s knowledge of Wakio (her grandfather on her mother’s side) is unfortunately sketchy.  No pun intended.

Her knowledge of these paintings is even sketchier unfortunately.

But they survived the war and I don’t know how they did.  They are so fragile to say the least.

Surprisingly, some artwork was painted on several sheets of rice paper glued together.  I don’t know what kind of glue it was but it sure beats Krazy Glue.  And it’s non-toxic to boot.  I think.


armor An apparent samurai in full armor.

Aunt Eiko knows Wakio was…

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The Eighth Marines – Saipan

Since the Japanese had begun building defensive fortifications on Saipan as early as 1934, one cannot imagine the terror these young Marines encountered… and endured.

Fix Bayonets!


Crossed Flags EGASaipan is an island within the Marianas Island group.  It is 12 miles long and just under 6 miles wide, altogether encompassing around 90 square miles.  Following the Spanish-American War (1898), the United States occupied the island of Saipan, a Spanish-held territory, for a short period of time.  Subsequently, Spain sold the island to Germany in 1899.  Germany administered the island as part of German New Guinea, but there was never any serious attempt to develop of settle the island.  Essentially, control of Saipan remained in the hands of its Spanish/Mestizo landowners.

During World War I, Japan was an ally and therefore an enemy of Germany.  Japan “captured” Saipan and, with appreciation for their participation in World War I, the League of Nations granted to Japan formal control over it.  In time, Saipan became one of Japan’s more important possessions and a…

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The Eighth Marines – Tarawa

The carnage… So many young men and still younger boys…

The fear must have been unimaginable. The heart of the Marine Corps as they say rests with their brothers in arms standing – or laying down – by you. The carnage was something one could not part from, either there on that godforsaken atoll or in the surviving souls for the rest of their lives. Yet, among all that carnage and fear, God must have tapped a young Marine on the shoulder and whispered, “You are a US Marine…”

God bless them all, Sir.

Fix Bayonets!

EGA 012Preface

In order to establish forward air bases that were capable of supporting land operations across the Pacific to the Philippines and Japan itself, it was necessary that the United States seize the Mariana Islands, which were heavily defended by the Japanese.  To achieve this, war planners in Hawaii determined that they would require land-based aircraft to help weaken Japanese defenses and protect the naval invasion forces.  The nearest islands suitable for land-based aircraft were in the Marshall Islands, which were also held by the Japanese.  Standing in the way was one island in particular.  They called it Betio, on the western side of an atoll named Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.  In order to seize the Marianas, Marines would first have to snatch Tarawa away from the Japanese.

After Guadalcanal, the 2nd Marine Division was withdrawn to New Zealand for rest and refit.

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The Eighth Marines – Guadalcanal

Brave young American men, all of them were. An excellent inisight on the fight for Guadalacanal, undernourished and ill, yet still went into combat against the strong willed Japanese army and navy. Heroes all.

Fix Bayonets!


The U. S. Marine Corps is part of the naval service organized under the Secretary of the Navy.  Since the American Revolution, the U. S. Navy and Marine Corps have maintained a close relationship.  In the days of sail, U. S. Marine Detachments served aboard Navy ships as sharpshooters, gunners, shipboard security, and as a landing force.  Shipboard Marines served the ship’s captain and received their orders through their detachment commander, whose rank depended on the size of the ship.  The Navy and Marine Corps have a long history of conducting expeditionary operations at sea and on foreign shore in furtherance of United States foreign policy, noting that the Navy-Marine Corps do not make foreign policy; they implement it.

Over these many years, the Navy and Marine Corps developed a distinct naval culture that based on their shared operational experiences, while at the same time…

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With my WWII history blogs, some feel I am sympathetic towards the Japanese offensive military actions of that time. To the contrary, I am but presenting facts from buried history. Certainly, propaganda from both sides of the Pacific and family losses understandably have a tremendous influence on individuals.

We all know what today is – December 7th… a day which will live in infamy as FDR said. Yet, there are many forgotten or unknown behind the scenes history.