2017 Reunion photos

Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Blog | 2 comments

2017 Reunion photos

Here are some photos from the final Wake Island Reunion in Boise, September 8-9, 2017. Many thanks to Pati Bradstreet and Polli Buzzini (Alice’s daughters), Seth Randal (creator of the documentary film “Workers of Wake”), Terry and Karla Barnes (grandson of Robert “Tex” Lancaster), and Ron Olson (my brother and the son of Ted Olson) for these photos. I will add more as they come in. Photo courtesy Seth Randal Leroy, Bill Nye,...

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Final Wake Reunion 2017

Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Blog | 3 comments

Final Wake Reunion 2017

The final reunion of the Wake Survivors’ group was held on September 8-9, 2017, in Boise, Idaho, more than seven decades after the just-liberated survivors first met in Boise in December 1945. When the “Survivors of Wake, Guam, and Cavite” officially disbanded in 2003, Alice Ingham volunteered to keep the group connected. For thirteen years she wrote newsletters, held local coffees and luncheons, managed the growing memorabilia collection, and organized the annual fall reunions in Boise. Alice is surely the heart of the Wake...

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Congressional Gold Medal

Posted by on August 4, 2017 in Blog | 3 comments

Congressional Gold Medal

The United States Senate is considering legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Pacific defenders of World War II. Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) introduced the bill in February, 2017, and Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) have signed on to S. 450 as cosponsors. The legislation honors “members of the Armed Forces who fought in defense of Guam, Wake Island, and the Philippine Archipelago between December 7, 1941, and May 10, 1942, and who died or were imprisoned by the Japanese military in the Philippines,...

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Guam Memorial Rededication

Posted by on June 19, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Guam Memorial Rededication

Guam Memorial Rededication

On June 8, 2017, the renovated Guam memorial was rededicated on Wake Island. Col. Frank Flores, Pacific Air Forces Regional Support Center commander, and Capt. Allen Jaime, Wake Island Detachment 1 commander, unveiled the new memorial stone during the rededication ceremony. The refurbished memorial had personal significance for Col. Flores, a proud native of Guam: “These men, with no military training, decided to take up arms and defend the island,” Flores said. “Their story was echoed by the feats of bravery and perseverance by the...

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Wake WWII Volunteers

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Blog | 4 comments

Wake WWII Volunteers

[See below for additional information on the Medal of Freedom] When war came to Wake Island suddenly and without warning on December 8, 1941, some of the civilian workers immediately volunteered to aid the defense of the island and many more stepped forward as the siege continued. Sixteen days later the island surrendered after a massive Japanese land invasion and final battle and survivors were taken as POWs. Japan’s designation of the Wake civilians as POWs instead of internees was based on the assumption that they aided the prolonged...

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German POWs

Posted by on April 6, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on German POWs

German POWs

A couple of years ago I heard a Radiolab podcast titled “Nazi Summer Camp,” and the topic has stayed with me for several reasons. First, I (among many, apparently) was unaware that the United States maintained an extensive network of branch camps for Axis military prisoners of war during WWII. I also couldn’t help but compare the treatment of these POWs with those like my father who were interned in Japanese POW camps during the war. The podcast addresses the Geneva Conventions that dictate treatment of enemy prisoners, a topic I...

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Islands

Posted by on March 15, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Islands

Islands

I am enjoying the Planet Earth II series that was released in January 2017. Produced by BBC Earth with state-of-the-art technology, the nature documentary follows wildlife on islands, mountains, jungles, deserts, grasslands, and cities. The occasional intrusion of whimsical anthropomorphism (adorable antics of befuddled mammals, zany courtship rituals, and tender family bonding moments) does not detract from the stunning photography in this must-see series. The first episode, “Islands,” reveals that 20 percent of the earth’s species live...

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“Atomic Cafe”

Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on “Atomic Cafe”

“Atomic Cafe”

Commonplace fifty years ago, nuclear metaphors are rare these days. When the term “nuclear option” popped up in the news a couple of weeks ago it stuck out like a sore thumb. It refers to a procedural option in the Senate (to sidestep a supermajority vote required to end an expected filibuster during the upcoming Supreme Court nomination) that is apparently so daring and politically explosive that it warrants the ultimate metaphor of utter annihilation. That makes this a good time to revisit the documentary film Atomic Café. Back when the...

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Swede

Posted by on December 14, 2016 in Blog | 1 comment

Swede

“Sure, I remember Harry Olson!” laughed 98-year-old Walter N. “Swede” Hokanson the first time I called him back in January 2007. Swede called my grandfather a “roughneck, but a gentleman” and allowed that he and Harry “didn’t exactly hide behind the kitchen door” (I swear I could hear his wink over the telephone). The two met working on Grand Coulee Dam and went on to Wake Island, where one of Swede’s proud accomplishments still stands today: the sturdy concrete seaplane ramp on deserted Peale Island. Walt Hokanson was born...

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Vote!

Posted by on October 19, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Vote!

Vote!

The 2016 campaign for the presidency of the United States has shaken our democratic political system to its core, but it has also energized the public and tested the boundaries in ways that we can only hope will make our nation stronger down the road. With less than three weeks to go before Election Day, some voters are firmly encamped on one side or another of the presidential race and a remarkable percentage remain undecided. Then there are those American citizens who will not vote at all. According to the Pew Research Center, a whopping...

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