The Underside of Genocide

Posted by on February 17, 2019 in Blog | Comments Off on The Underside of Genocide

The Underside of Genocide

The massacre of the last 98 Americans on Wake Island in 1943 did not constitute genocide, but I wonder where the line is crossed between war crimes committed against civilians and acts of genocide committed against civilians. I recently gave a talk on genocide and dictatorship and during my research found that crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide do not have clear lines of separation, even in international law. The concept of genocide arose with the unprecedented horror of Holocaust in WWII. Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew, coined...

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RIP, Wake 98

Posted by on December 16, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on RIP, Wake 98

RIP, Wake 98

It’s been a year and a half since I posted about the Wake 98 and the JPAC/DPAA mission to identify a group of remains found on the island in 2011. I wish I had some news to share, but I don’t. I maintained close contact with authorities at JPAC and the lab at Dover AFB over the years as we found DNA donors for over 70 of the 98 massacre victims, but as my search came to an end, my connections dwindled and I have had no response to inquiries over the past year. As far as I know there have been no positive identifications of the remains,...

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Roll on, Columbia

Posted by on June 25, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Roll on, Columbia

Roll on, Columbia

The mighty Columbia River flows 1,200 miles from its source in British Columbia to its terminus at the Pacific Ocean. The river’s strength lies in its volume and rapid descent, fed by countless tributaries and falling 2,600 feet along its course. Humans have drawn on its vast resources for at least twelve thousand years. White settlement and rapid regional development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries drastically altered the Columbia’s traditional role and uses. In the last century more than sixty hydroelectric dams have been...

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Women of Wake

Posted by on March 28, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Women of Wake

Women of Wake

A few weeks ago my good friend and Wake Brother, Floyd Forsberg, sent me a large box containing hundreds of photocopies of Wake-related records that his mother had saved during World War II. Ruth Forsberg was an officer in the Los Angeles-area wartime organization, “Women of Wake,” and retained the group’s minutes, correspondence, and other documents. Recently Floyd took on the daunting effort of organizing and photocopying the records and I am grateful to him for sharing the fruits of his long Montana winter project with me. It must...

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Bikini

Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Bikini

Bikini

Bikini: a word that is ubiquitous in modern culture and carries an immediate visual image. Few people conjure up alternate images of the isolated Pacific atoll or the atomic bombs that rendered it unfit for human habitation decades ago. Shortly after WWII ended, the United States chose Bikini Atoll to test nuclear weapons and relocated its residents, promising their safe return after testing was complete. Seventy-plus years later Bikini is still not safe for people to live on . . . but underwater, it’s another story. Bikini Atoll is one of...

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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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