by baldilocks

Almost as if it isn’t an accident

I saw this yesterday. Dean Obeidallah is a radio host and CNN contributor.

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For the record. Captain Presson was the recipient of many decorations, including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.

I almost feel sorry for Obeidallah. One has to be incredibly stupid to step into that gaping hole.

Obeidallah apologized – with some Trump bashing thrown in for good measure, of course. But we all know that this guy’s ideological forebears would have called the man a NAZI even if they did know that he was wearing the uniform of the US military. That’s what actually happened 48 years ago – and even 13 years ago.

John Kerry’s 1971 testimony before Congress, anyone?

The words of Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in 2005, anyone?

I don’t even like to think about all the foul words and drawings directed toward GIs during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It’s just not good publicity to denigrate the memory of a dead GI on Memorial Day weekend. At least not this year.

But I suspect that the tide will turn again and it won’t be long.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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This weekend I talked briefly about the crisis in England with Tommy Robinson’s arrest and the unwillingness of Englishmen to stand up and fight for the basic rights of Englishmen that back when I was born would have been an automatic reaction.

The question here is why and I think I have the answer.

In 1963 every single Englishman had either fought in the war (WW 2), had a family member serve in the military or personally knew someone who had fought and died in military service.

In 2018 how many Englishmen actually personally know another who served who is under the age of ninety?

Why would you fight for rights when you’ve never learned the virtue of doing so?

Today is Memorial Day in the US.

On Memorial day 1963 I was twelve days old and it would have been nearly impossible to find a person didn’t either serve in the armed services, had a family member who had served, or personally knew someone who had either served or fought and died.

On Memorial day 2018 I’m 55 years and ten days old and the opposite is now true. It takes no effort to find people who have never served, nor had a family member they know serve or don’t know a person personally who serves or has served.

I’m not saying where going to end up where England is, but I am saying that if we do end up there, this will be one of the primary reasons for it.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – This Memorial Day I am offering you a roundup of related readings.

Memorial Day often coincides with the end of the school year for children (and teachers) and has customarily been dubbed “the unofficial start of summer” holiday. That being said, and I’m preaching to the choir, I know, but we should always remember the purpose of this day: to remember and to honor the fallen.

A roundup of readings for you today:

The 31st Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride is this year.  Bikers from all over the country travel to Washington, DC to pay tribute.

Here is a collection of Memorial Day photos from around the world.

USA Today reminds you that Monday is also National Burger Day.

Here is my 2014 post on the Kelley Brothers; our hometown lost three brothers during World War II, one of them on D-Day.

Photos from Arlington Cemetery.

Here is a Memorial Day reading list.

Tropical storm Alberto is going to dampen a few Memorial Day BBQs.

A history of Memorial Day.

Some television somewhere will be showing Saving Private Ryan.

If you’re going to fire up the grill for Memorial Day here are some recipes for burgers.

And if burgers aren’t your thing, here are recipes for ribs and frosty, chilly drinks.

We have several local events we attend each year; there is always a service at our local veteran’s cemetery and then the American Legion has a wreath laying ceremony.  After that we usually spend the day just relaxing and grilling.  Yes, it’s the unofficial start to summer but as you are planning your day, take time to remember the fallen.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and Melrose Plantation, due out in October.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — On this Memorial Day 2017, I am re-posting my traditional Memorial Day post about a local family that lost three sons in World War II.   The story of the Kelley family always gives me pause and causes me to be thankful for the freedoms and blessings we have today.  They were truly The Greatest Generation.  I started researching this family years ago when my husband and I began visiting a local veterans cemetery — one of the oldest cemeteries in Shreveport, and we saw these two brothers buried side by side, one of whom died on D-Day. Their graves are always tended with fresh flowers (well, artificial but never faded and always in time with the season). I became curious about them and about the person who was still paying honor to their graves.  I found a couple of family members, one in particular, who was very generous about sharing their story.

So today, I’m remembering the Kelley brothers:

It’s probably safe to say that Saving Private Ryan is all over your television menu this Memorial Day weekend.   It’s difficult to escape the endless rebroadcasts of the moving story of Private First Class James Francis Ryan lost behind enemy lines after the Normandy D-Day invasion and the ensuing quest to save him.

The film is fiction but there is a real life version of this story right here in Shreveport.  In fact, this sort of scenario existed across the nation for multiple families during that turbulent time.  As we observe Memorial Day today, let me share with you the story of the Kelley family who lost three sons in less than two years.

Like all of America, Shreveport watched the unfolding events at Pearl Harbor in 1941 with horror.  In February 1942, William G. Kelley (his friends and family called him “Bob”) felt the call to service and enlisted in the Army Air Corps.  He had graduated from the local high school, attended Louisiana College, and was attending seminary.  He was ordained at the First Baptist Church in Shreveport by Dr. M. E. Dodd.  When he enlisted, Bob was preaching at the Evangeline Mission, a new church in town that he helped build with the assistance of the Queensborough Baptist Church.

William
William “Bob” Kelley

Bob Kelley went to officers’ school and became a bombardier; he went with the Eighth Air Force to England.  Lt. Kelley had been overseas only six weeks when his plane crashed near Fontainebleau, France and claimed his life on November 10, 1944.  He was twenty-four years old.

The Evangeline Mission, where Bob was a preacher, was renamed for him as Kelley Memorial Baptist Church.

A second Kelley son, Bose, Jr., died in the D-Day invasion.  Al McIntosh, writing for the Rock County Star Herald, wrote on June 8, 1944, after learning that the expected invasion of France had finally taken place:

“This is no time for any premature rejoicing or cockiness because the coming weeks are going to bring grim news.  This struggle is far from over – it has only started – and if anyone thinks that a gain of ten miles means that the next three hundred are going to go as fast or easy he is only an ostrich.”

He was correct:  the grim news was only beginning.

bose
Bose F. Kelley, Jr.

Bose Kelly, Jr. enlisted in May 1942.  Bose graduated from Fair Park High School in Shreveport.  He was married to Betty Miller and working as a mechanic at Central Motor Company, a car dealership.  Bose volunteered for the Army Airborne, went to jump school and became a paratrooper.  Bose was part of the 507 PIR which became attached to the 82ndAirborne in 1943. The 507 PIR was activated at Fort Benning, Georgia on July 20, 1942 and trained there and in Alliance, Nebraska.  In 1943, the 507th PIR shipped out to Northern Ireland, then England, and it was in Nottingham where they prepared for the coming Allied invasion of France.  They studied sand tables, drop zones, and were given Hershey’s chocolates and a carton of cigarettes.

Bose was on a C-47, number 13 in his stick, as the plane lumbered through the fog banks toward Drop Zone T, near the west bank of the Merderet River.  Because of the fog and the incoming German flak, the C-47s flew faster and higher than anticipated which caused almost all of the paratroopers to miss the drop zone.  They were scattered over a 15 mile area.  The 507th was the last regiment to jump and by the time Bose Kelley’s C-47 was over the Cotentin peninsula the entire area was stirred up with flak coming from every direction. There were sixteen men in Bose Kelley’s stick and at least eight of them were killed that night.  The Germans had flooded the valley as a defensive tactic and some paratroopers, weighted down by equipment and unable to swim, drowned.  Bose Kelley was killed by a direct hit from an artillery shell.

Major General Paul F. Smith wrote in his Foreword to Dominique Francois’s history of the 507th,

“This regiment unquestionably received the worst drop of the six US parachute regiments dropped that night.”

Howard Huebner, who was number 3 in Bose’s stick, survived that drop.  He wrote:

I am a Paratrooper! I was 21 yrs old when we jumped into Normandy.

We knew the area where we were supposed to land, because we had studied it on sand tables, and then had to draw it on paper by memory, but that all faded as our regiment was the last to jump, and things had changed on the ground. Most of us missed our drop zone by miles.  As we were over our drop zone there was a downed burning plane. Later I found out it was one of ours. The flack was hitting our plane and everything from the ground coming our way looked like the Fourth of July.

When I hit the ground in Normandy, I looked at my watch.  It was 2:32 AM, June 6, 1944. I cut myself out of my chute, and the first thing I heard was shooting and some Germans hollering in German, “mucksnell toot sweet Americanos”.

We the 507th, was supposed to land fifteen miles inland, but I landed three or four miles from Utah Beach by the little town of Pouppeville. I wound up about 1000 yards from a French farm house that the Germans were using for a barracks, and about 200 feet from a river, an area that the Germans had flooded. If I would have landed in the water, I may not be here today as I can’t swim. A lot of paratroopers drowned because of the flooded area.

Local writer Gary Hines spoke to Bose’s widow, Betty, for an article he wrote for the August 2000 issue of SB Magazine.  She told him, “He was going to win the war and come back home.”  Betty was married at 18 and a widow at 20.  She told Mr. Hines “We were both young enough to feel that he was coming home.  He wasn’t going to be one of the ones who was lost.”

edgarrew
Edgar Rew Kelley

A third Kelley son, Edgar Rew, was drafted into the Army in 1943.  He was sent to Camp McCain in Mississippi where he died five weeks later from an outbreak of spinal meningitis.  He never made it out of basic training.  He was 27 years old; he left behind a wife of five years.

The remaining Kelley brother was Jack.  Jack Richard Kelley was serving in the medical corps in Washington at Fort Lewis.  His father, Bose Kelley, Sr., wrote to U.S. Representative Overton Brooks and pleaded with him to prevent his oldest son from going overseas.   It is reminiscent of the scene in Saving Private Ryanwhere General Marshall reads the Bixby letter to his officers.  In this case, in a letter dated December 8, 1944, Mr. Kelley received word that his son Jack would remain stateside for the duration of the war.  Jack Kelley died in 1998.

kelleys
Sunday, May 18, 2014

The bodies of Bose Kelley, Jr. and his brother William (Bob) were buried in separate military funerals in France but were returned to the United States in September 1948.  Bose and his brother now rest side by side in the veterans section of Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport.  Their brother, Edgar Rew Kelley, is in a civilian cemetery across town, the Jewella Cemetery on Greenwood Road.  Their father, who pleaded for his fourth son to be spared, died just one month after Bose and William’s bodies were buried in Greenwood Cemetery.  It’s as if he was just waiting for them to come home.

For sixty-five years their sister, Ruby, tended the graves of her brothers.  There has never been a time that I visited the graves that there was not a crisp American flag flying over each and flowers.  Ruby died last year and the graves are now tended by Ruby’s daughter.  I visited the graves of Bose and William last week and sure enough, there were two new flags and flowers steadfastly in place.

As we observe Memorial Day today, we remember the sacrifices of young men like the Kelleys all across the country. Their name belongs alongside the Sullivan brothers, the Borgstrum brothers, the Niland brothers, and the Wright brothers.  It is their heroism and their sacrifice, along with that of so many others, that we remember and honor each Memorial Day.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and while it will be the unofficial beginning of summer – marked with barbecues and special sales events, it is most importantly about honoring our American heroes who have died in our wars while serving our country.

Memorial Day was originally recognized as Decoration Day, to remember those who had fallen fighting the Civil War and to decorate their graves. Via the Memorial Day website:

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.

Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363). This helped ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays, though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19th in Texas; April 26th in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10th in South Carolina; and June 3rd (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

In the year 2000, then President Bill Clinton issued a directive that a National Moment of Remembrance be observed at 3:00 pm on each Memorial Day (excerpt below):

In this time of unprecedented success and prosperity throughout our land, I ask that all Americans come together to recognize how fortunate we are to live in freedom and to observe a universal “National Moment of Remembrance” on each Memorial Day. This memorial observance represents a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.

Accordingly, I hereby direct all executive departments and agencies, in consultation with the White House Program for the National Moment of Remembrance (Program), to promote a “National Moment of Remembrance” to occur at 3 p.m. (local time) on each Memorial Day.

Americans are encouraged to pause their activities for one minute at that time to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf by the brave men and women of our military. Suggestions from the Memorial Day website for this include a moment of silence or listening to “Taps”.

 

I also respectfully suggest that prayer is also appropriate for this observance.

Here is a Memorial Day prayer recommended by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

God of power and mercy,
you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears,
that we may all deserve to be called your sons
and daughters.
Keep in your mercy those men and women
who have died in the cause of freedom
and bring them safely
into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this though Jesus Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen

Here are two thoughtful prayers from the Archdiocese of Detroit:

Memorial Day Prayer

I. 

Heavenly Father, Today we remember and pay tribute to the men and women of the Armed Services who have died in the defense of our nation; from the days of the Revolution to these days in Iraq and Afghanistan. They paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we hold so dear.

In the words of Sacred Scripture we hear, “There is no greater love then this, than to lay down one’s life for a friend.” It is only by your grace and the love they have for you and this nation that gave them the strength to lay down their lives.

We beseech you O Lord, to receive these servants of peace into your loving embrace and grant them the eternal peace that surpasses all understanding.

We also remember the family members of these great heroes. They too suffer a great and painful sacrifice. Bestow upon them the blessings of your consolation and peace. May you ease their sadness as they continue on the road to serenity and hope.

To you we offer this prayer knowing you fulfill the heart’s desire of those who seek you with noble intentions. May our prayer for true and lasting peace be answered in accordance to your will and for the good of your sons and daughters. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Peace. Amen

II.

Heavenly Father,

On this Memorial Day, we pray for those who courageously laid down

their lives for the cause of freedom. May the example of their sacrifice

inspire in us the selfless love of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bless the families of our fallen troops, and fill their homes and their

lives with your strength and peace.

In union with people of goodwill of every nation, embolden us to

answer the call to work for peace and justice, and thus, seek an end

to violence and conflict around the globe.

We pray through Christ our Lord.

Amen

Image result for memorial day

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

This is Memorial Day Weekend.

You are going to see a lot of images of a lot of liberal Democrats laying wreaths at the graves of soldiers, speaking at events or  appearing on TV talking about the sacrifices of those who died defending our country.  You will also see many in the MSM talking about the troops as if they were their best buddies

When you do keep in mind what is now going on in Iraq and remember this.

All of these people were willing to throw away the sacrifice of the lives of every single soldier who died in Iraq that they pretend to honor for the sake of a Democrat talking point of “ending the war”.  Furthermore they will spend the next twelve month advancing the narrative they died in vain when in fact their mission was the difference between a population living in fear and a people getting a chance to live in a democrat self-governing state. Or have you forgotten this:

CIGARS IN THE SAND is photoblogging from the Baghdad polls. Here you see Iraqi men proudly displaying their inked fingers after voting. (Via Chester, who has lots of election coverage).

and this

CNN is reporting a 72% turnout. [Later: Some readers think that will turn out to be high, with the final number more like 60%. Still a lot, in the face of widespread death threats. We don’t to that well, very often, and the worst we have are long lines.]

Power Line: “Somehow, I had missed the fact that Iraqi expatriates are voting in Syria. Thus, Iraqis living in Syria can participate in a democratic process, but Syrians can’t. A bit odd, that, but it’s another example of the impact this election could have in the Arab world.” Yes, I imagine some Syrians are noticing.

Meanwhile, Robert Fisk appears in his usual role as punching bag. And he remains well-suited for it.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg is giving the media coverage a thumbs-down:

So far, I think the coverage has been moderately scandalous. This morning CNN kept its regularly scheduled medical show (though last night they were better, if mostly pre-taped). The major nets seemed to treat this like a fairly ho-hum story. I just walked over to my computer after seeing that the Today Show was offering viewers a segment on new shaving technologies for men.

If things were going badly, they’d be all over it, of course. More evidence that the elections are a success!

MORE: James Dwight:

The polls just closed, and there was 72% turnout with mimimal sporadic violence. The ball is now in the MSM’s court. Or, to use perhaps a more appropriate cliche, the Iraqi people have given the MSM plenty of rope.

John Cole, meanwhile, says that the “Damning But” was shut down by Iraqi voters and offers a challenge to bloggers.

And RantWraith has four words, while Yellowdogblog notes that even Reuters is having trouble generating negative spin.

And tens of thousands have paid with their lives for the cancellation of that mission.

One final thought:  At the time I predicted that Democrats would crow about the success of iraq and claim it as their own (as they did during election 2012) but apparently the narrative of “We all did this together” is less attractive than “It’s George W Bush’s fault.”  Even if the latter meme requires tens of thousands of Iraqis dead & millions enslaved.

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – The resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki last week came as no real surprise.  It won’t solve the problem but he had to fall on his sword.  The VA has been a mess for years and it really isn’t Shinseki’s fault, although certainly he has had time to take steps to bring it around.

In her column Friday, Peggy Noonan said:

This scandal won’t go away as others have, because all America is united in this thought: We care about our military veterans. We’ve asked a great deal of them, and they have a right to expect a great deal from us. Also, everyone in America knows what it’s like to go to a bureaucracy when you’re in need and get jerked around and ignored.

She is more optimistic that I am, but we shall see.

In either case, it is clear that our veterans need help, support, and care.  One of my monthly charitable donations is to The Wounded Warrior Project – an organization I’ve been proud to contribute to for several years now.  One evening over dinner a friend of ours said, “Why, you don’t need to give money to them; the government takes care of the veterans through the VA!”

Clearly, it doesn’t.

I’m all for doing whatever we can in support of our veterans whether it is through donating to The Wounded Warrior Project, visiting vets at a nursing home, or running across America barefooted to raise awareness.

What?  Surely by now you’ve heard about Anna Judd, the young woman who is running across America, from Venice Beach to New York City, to raise awareness of the problems veterans face each day.  Anna made a stop in Shreveport this weekend and we had the privilege of meeting her at a Memorial Day service Friday (the traditional date of Memorial Day).

She is a lithe, suntanned little thing with big blue eyes and two blonde braids.  She stopped by the local Memorial Day service to show her support for, and to talk to, local veterans.  She did a couple of interviews with our local newspaper and radio station and she participated in a couple of events such as a group run across town which ended at the local Veterans Park.

IMG_1989
Anna Judd and the Sons of the Confederacy

Anna runs about 33 miles per day, she says, and she told The Shreveport Times that the trek has been much more difficult than she first anticipated.  She’s lost seven toenails and has had to make visits to the chiropractor after running on Highway 80 which wasn’t level and caused her hips to rock out of joint.

An RV carrying Anna’s mother and her manager follow along and Anna sleeps in the RV (which has no air conditioning – a problem in Louisiana).  There’s a Facebook page where you can follow her journey and there is a website as well.

At our Memorial Day ceremony Anna posed for pictures with the Sons of the Confederacy, and with anyone else who wanted a photo, and she visited with Major (Ret.) Ron Chatelain, the most decorated living veteran in the state of Louisiana.  Of Mr. Chatelain, Anna wrote:

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Steve Becker, Anna Judd, Ron Chatelain

I had the pleasure of meeting the most decorated Veteran in Louisiana, Ron Chatelain, who had eyes that were some of the clearest and brightest that I have every [sic] seen He offered me words of encouragement so sincere and soft-spoken that every time I opened my mouth to speak to him I could feel my voice get shaky. For the moment that we spoke I felt such a sense of safety and well-being, and I can’t explain why except that some people simply have the power to move mountains with their presence. I will remember him forever.

Will a little girl running across America really help lower our veteran suicide rate and aid those that suffer from PTSD?  I don’t know.  I really don’t know.  But it probably helps more than Shinseki’s resignation; at least this young lady brought awareness to our little burg this week and brought smiles to the faces of some vets.

Run, Anna Run!

 

Pat Austin also blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — It’s probably safe to say that Saving Private Ryan is all over your television menu this Memorial Day weekend.   It’s difficult to escape the endless rebroadcasts of the moving story of Private First Class James Francis Ryan lost behind enemy lines after the Normandy D-Day invasion and the ensuing quest to save him.

The film is fiction but there is a real life version of this story right here in Shreveport.  In fact, this sort of scenario existed across the nation for multiple families during that turbulent time.  As we observe Memorial Day today, let me share with you the story of the Kelley family who lost three sons in less than two years.

Like all of America, Shreveport watched the unfolding events at Pearl Harbor in 1941 with horror.  In February 1942, William G. Kelley (his friends and family called him “Bob”) felt the call to service and enlisted in the Army Air Corps.  He had graduated from the local high school, attended Louisiana College, and was attending seminary.  He was ordained at the First Baptist Church in Shreveport by Dr. M. E. Dodd.  When he enlisted, Bob was preaching at the Evangeline Mission, a new church in town that he helped build with the assistance of the Queensborough Baptist Church.

William
William “Bob” Kelley

Bob Kelley went to officers’ school and became a bombardier; he went with the Eighth Air Force to England.  Lt. Kelley had been overseas only six weeks when his plane crashed near Fontainebleau, France and claimed his life on November 10, 1944.  He was twenty-four years old.

The Evangeline Mission, where Bob was a preacher, was renamed for him as Kelley Memorial Baptist Church.

A second Kelley son, Bose, Jr., died in the D-Day invasion.  Al McIntosh, writing for the Rock County Star Herald, wrote on June 8, 1944, after learning that the expected invasion of France had finally taken place:

“This is no time for any premature rejoicing or cockiness because the coming weeks are going to bring grim news.  This struggle is far from over – it has only started – and if anyone thinks that a gain of ten miles means that the next three hundred are going to go as fast or easy he is only an ostrich.”

He was correct:  the grim news was only beginning.

bose
Bose F. Kelley, Jr.

Bose Kelly, Jr. enlisted in May 1942.  Bose graduated from Fair Park High School in Shreveport.  He was married to Betty Miller and working as a mechanic at Central Motor Company, a car dealership.  Bose volunteered for the Army Airborne, went to jump school and became a paratrooper.  Bose was part of the 507 PIR which became attached to the 82nd Airborne in 1943. The 507 PIR was activated at Fort Benning, Georgia on July 20, 1942 and trained there and in Alliance, Nebraska.  In 1943, the 507th PIR shipped out to Northern Ireland, then England, and it was in Nottingham where they prepared for the coming Allied invasion of France.  They studied sand tables, drop zones, and were given Hershey’s chocolates and a carton of cigarettes.

Bose was on a C-47, number 13 in his stick, as the plane lumbered through the fog banks toward Drop Zone T, near the west bank of the Merderet River.  Because of the fog and the incoming German flak, the C-47s flew faster and higher than anticipated which caused almost all of the paratroopers to miss the drop zone.  They were scattered over a 15 mile area.  The 507th was the last regiment to jump and by the time Bose Kelley’s C-47 was over the Cotentin peninsula the entire area was stirred up with flak coming from every direction. There were sixteen men in Bose Kelley’s stick and at least eight of them were killed that night.  The Germans had flooded the valley as a defensive tactic and some paratroopers, weighted down by equipment and unable to swim, drowned.  Bose Kelley was killed by a direct hit from an artillery shell.

Major General Paul F. Smith wrote in his Foreword to Dominique Francois’s history of the 507th,

“This regiment unquestionably received the worst drop of the six US parachute regiments dropped that night.”

Howard Huebner, who was number 3 in Bose’s stick, survived that drop.  He wrote:

I am a Paratrooper! I was 21 yrs old when we jumped into Normandy.

We knew the area where we were supposed to land, because we had studied it on sand tables, and then had to draw it on paper by memory, but that all faded as our regiment was the last to jump, and things had changed on the ground. Most of us missed our drop zone by miles.  As we were over our drop zone there was a downed burning plane. Later I found out it was one of ours. The flack was hitting our plane and everything from the ground coming our way looked like the Fourth of July.

When I hit the ground in Normandy, I looked at my watch.  It was 2:32 AM, June 6, 1944. I cut myself out of my chute, and the first thing I heard was shooting and some Germans hollering in German, “mucksnell toot sweet Americanos”.

We the 507th, was supposed to land fifteen miles inland, but I landed three or four miles from Utah Beach by the little town of Pouppeville. I wound up about 1000 yards from a French farm house that the Germans were using for a barracks, and about 200 feet from a river, an area that the Germans had flooded. If I would have landed in the water, I may not be here today as I can’t swim. A lot of paratroopers drowned because of the flooded area.

Local writer Gary Hines spoke to Bose’s widow, Betty, for an article he wrote for the August 2000 issue of SB Magazine.  She told him, “He was going to win the war and come back home.”  Betty was married at 18 and a widow at 20.  She told Mr. Hines “We were both young enough to feel that he was coming home.  He wasn’t going to be one of the ones who was lost.”

edgarrew
Edgar Rew Kelley

A third Kelley son, Edgar Rew, was drafted into the Army in 1943.  He was sent to Camp McCain in Mississippi where he died five weeks later from an outbreak of spinal meningitis.  He never made it out of basic training.  He was 27 years old; he left behind a wife of five years.

The remaining Kelley brother was Jack.  Jack Richard Kelley was serving in the medical corps in Washington at Fort Lewis.  His father, Bose Kelley, Sr., wrote to U.S. Representative Overton Brooks and pleaded with him to prevent his oldest son from going overseas.   It is reminiscent of the scene in Saving Private Ryan where General Marshall reads the Bixby letter to his officers.  In this case, in a letter dated December 8, 1944, Mr. Kelley received word that his son Jack would remain stateside for the duration of the war.  Jack Kelley died in 1998.

kelleys
Sunday, May 18, 2014

The bodies of Bose Kelley, Jr. and his brother William (Bob) were buried in separate military funerals in France but were returned to the United States in September 1948.  Bose and his brother now rest side by side in the veterans section of Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport.  Their brother, Edgar Rew Kelley, is in a civilian cemetery across town, the Jewella Cemetery on Greenwood Road.  Their father, who pleaded for his fourth son to be spared, died just one month after Bose and William’s bodies were buried in Greenwood Cemetery.  It’s as if he was just waiting for them to come home.

For sixty-five years their sister, Ruby, tended the graves of her brothers.  There has never been a time that I visited the graves that there was not a crisp American flag flying over each and flowers.  Ruby died last year and the graves are now tended by Ruby’s daughter.  I visited the graves of Bose and William last week and sure enough, there were two new flags and flowers steadfastly in place.

As we observe Memorial Day today, we remember the sacrifices of young men like the Kelleys all across the country. Their name belongs alongside the Sullivan brothers, the Borgstrum brothers, the Niland brothers, and the Wright brothers.  It is their heroism and their sacrifice, along with that of so many others, that we remember and honor each Memorial Day.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Hank Stolz and Sherman Whitman of the WCRN Morning Show will be taking a well deserved day off on Memorial day so you will get DaTechGuy on DaRadio in DaMorning May 28th starting at 5 AM.

At 7 AM Brian Herr will be joining me and we will take the show to 9 a.m.

WCRN is 830 on your AM dial and our 50,000 watts reaches all over New England. You can listen live at WCRNradio.com or via the net or your smartphone via TuneIn.

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Hmmm Memorial Day, the day when we remember those who died to protect our right such as free speech & freedom of the press.

I wonder if there is a subject in the news that might come to mind?

Update: Stacy McCain will be joining us in the 6 a.m. hour