world war ii: us coast guard


Photos I took during an excursion into Arlington National Cemetery and Washington D.C. on Memorial Day. I wanted to visit and photograph each of the memorials as well as take time to reflect on the sacrifice the men and women of our armed forces have made throughout the years so that we may live free. It was a successful mission. I got some good shots and had the pleasure of meeting many fellow veterans while exchanging some stories.

Gentrification - What it is and how we can fight it

[Note from MN: The particulars in the beginning of the following 2005 article about the face and pace of gentrification and displacement in Los Angeles at that time are now a litany of lost causes. However, the struggle continues today.

     So the perspective on gentrification as a process of re-colonization and social engineering carried out under a consciously white supremacist and anti-democratic strategy is even more valid today and bears re-reading and applying to the new and on-going struggles against displacement in Boyle Heights, the Crenshaw district and throughout the LA Basin.

    About a quarter-million Black people have been dispersed from LA or driven into homelessness under these policies. Already the least-affordable city in the country in terms of the relationship between the average household income and the average cost for housing (purchase or rental), Los Angeles is experiencing another wave of intense commercial development, continuing to use new rail lines as anchors for displacement and construction of high-end residential and commercial towers.

    The bid for another Olympics in Los Angeles promises to heighten this trend still further, as well as the security-surveillance state apparatus that protects it by criminalizing poverty, dissent and resistance, particularly in communities of color.–MN]

Gentrification - What it is and how we can fight it!

by Michael Novick, ARA-LA/PART

(From Turning The Tide, Volume 18 #2, May-June 2005)

    In Echo Park, rents are going through the roof, and the collectively-run bookstore 33-1/3 Books is in a struggle to keep its space.

    In Venice, the city has passed new ordinances clamping down on artistic, cultural and political expression along the Boardwalk, replacing the traditional “free speech zone” with a lottery-system that commercializes the area. At the same time, the largest apartment-owner in the U.S., AIMCO, has bought the historic Lincoln  Place apartments in Venice and has ordered mass evictions.

    In South LA, the LA Times has been carrying out a year-long attack on the King-Drew Medical Center, trying to get the County Board of Supervisors to shut down the hospital built in the wake of the 1965 Watts Rebellion. The facility’s trauma care unit, and the affiliated Charles Drew Medical College are under particular attack, despite the unique services they provide the community.

    Meanwhile, in East LA, mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa and county supervisor Gloria Molina are pitching the construction of a “medical research park,” anchored by County-USC Hospital and paid for with California Stem Cell Research initiative money.

    Neighborhood Councils around Chinatown are struggling over the development of the rail yards in their vicinity. Real estate developers seek power over the LA school board, trying to use school construction to leverage commercial and residential property developments. In Little Tokyo, residents are fighting the construction of a new jail and police headquarters.

    In South Central, the local farmers on a plot of land on 41st and Alameda have won a court injunction against a city effort to turn their land over to private developers.

    What links these diverse and geographically separate struggles together? They are all reflections of the latest round of “gentrification” in L.A., economically-motivated class and colonial warfare over the control of land and the communities on it.

    Beyond King-Drew’s vital service to an impoverished community lies its location at the center of a stretch of prime real estate. Beyond the South Central Farmers provision of healthy, fresh and culturally appropriate fruit and vegetables is the “more profitable” use that can be made of such “wasted” land. 

Beyond the plans of one Echo Park landlord to make a bigger buck from the storefronts lies the effort to “gentrify” the area between Downtown and Hollywood.

    What does “gentrification” mean? The “gentry” were the rich, land-owning class in aristocratic countries in Europe. Who are their modern counterparts? In city after city across the U.S. for several decades, working class neighborhoods and communities of color have been targeted for demolition and reconstruction as havens or enclaves for the well-to-do.

    The pattern is familiar. Property values and rents start to rise. Property taxes go up. Homes and stores become too expensive for the people who have been living in them, and the banks, landlords and tax collectors start forcing poor people of color out to cheaper, outlying areas, often older and deteriorating white working class suburbs. In place of the poor, the Black and immigrant working families, come “urban pioneers” - sometimes artists, young singles without kids, sometimes gay men or lesbians. As they establish a “hip” white beachhead, upscale shops and trendy night-spots begin to appear. In their wake come the “yuppies,” young, upwardly mobile professionals, augmented by older, established families, or retirees looking for a sophisticated environment.

    The misnamed “Community Redevelopment Agency” over the years has played a role in planning this so-called “urban renewal” – which people on the East Coast used to refer to as “Negro removal” – to establish beachheads of commercial property and office buildings to anchor a redefinition of formerly poor neighborhoods.

    When simple economic pressure doesn’t work, more forceful tactics are often used. But it is important to remember that even “everyday economics” like rent and taxes are based on the gun of state power and colonial control. If you don’t pay your rent, bills or taxes, the enforcers come – the police, sheriffs or marshals – to collect or to evict you. In one notorious case here in LA in the 1980s, a Black woman named Eulia Love was killed by the LAPD when she didn’t pay a utility bill!

    In San Francisco’s Mission District 30 years ago, arson fires were combined with subway construction and factory closures to transform the city’s primary “port of entry” for immigrant workers from Mexico and Central America into a neighborhood of condominium apartments for commuters to Silicon Valley to the south. At the same time, the elderly Filipino and Chinese residents of the International Hotel were forcibly evicted in an effort to convert the wharves and Chinatown area into a close-in bedroom community for the financial district and the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange.

    Los Angeles is no stranger to this process of gentrification, which is really a process of colonization and re-colonization. The Black community in Venice, CA - the only Black and working class beach town on the California coast - has been targeted for police abuse. The FACE program - federally-assisted code enforcement - came in, by means of which city zoning enforcement is used to try to drive long-standing homeowners out by citing them for multiple violations of municipal codes. This manifestation of the “broken windows” school of aggressive policing is designed to criminalize poverty even among homeowners. It is paralleled by police harassment of the homeless in the area, through ordinances that make most activity illegal for people without dwellings.

    For example, it is now a crime to smoke at the beach or boardwalk in Venice. The police are out weekly enforcing the new commercialized “free speech zone” along the boardwalk. The Venice situation illustrates clearly the connection between armed state power and the economic interests they serve. In cities, the police operate as an army of occupation in poor and oppressed communities of color, and as internal border guards for more privileged areas. In the “contested” areas of gentrification, the cops and the courts are a key element, along with the banks and the “urban pioneer” settler colonists, in carrying out a “re-conquest.”

    Two notable past examples of this process in L.A. were the construction of Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, which displaced a thriving Mexicano community; and before that, the forced removal of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the expropriation of their property (not only in LA but along the entire Pacific coast).

    But the latest crescendo reflects a specific political use of gentrification as part of a counter-insurgency strategy by the ruling elite. This is based on a theory called “spatial de-concentration,” put forward in the 1970s by a major theoretician of the Trilateral Commission, Samuel Huntington. The Trilateral Commission is a private association of representative of the financiers and industrialists of the U.S., Western Europe and Japan, and their political mouthpieces. Most of the top leaders of the US government beginning at least with the Carter Administration, have been members of the Trilateral Commission.

    The Commission sponsored Huntington and two other “scholars” in a book called “The Crisis of Democracy.” Huntington was one of the architects of the US assassination program in Vietnam, Operation Phoenix, which relied on “strategic hamlets” to contain the Vietnamese people. In the book, he theorizes that the 60s insurgencies and demands of the Black and Mexicano/Puerto Rican/ Latino “underclass,” who had previously been excluded from political discourse, had created a “crisis of democracy.”

    The crisis was TOO MUCH democracy, according to Huntington! Poor people of color placed demands on the system that it could not accommodate or satisfy. (Interestingly, Huntington has more recently become a theoretician of Bush’s “endless war on terror,” which Huntington sees as a vitally necessary “Clash of Civilizations” between Europeans and Afro-Asian Muslims who are incapable of  'absorbing’ western-style democracy.)

    In particular, Huntington identified a threat to the stability of the US political and economic system. In European and Latin American or African cities, the rich commanded the center of the cities and the poor lived in the outskirts, in shantytowns and favelas. US cities, on the other hand, had massive poor and working class communities, mostly of color, right in the urban core or “inner city,” surrounding the downtown office buildings and high rises. The wealthy lived in the outskirts, in suburbs. The urban rebellions of the 60s, beginning here in Watts, taught Huntington that this was extremely dangerous to the rulers. He proposed what he called “spatial de-concentration,” breaking up and dispersing poor, Black, Mexicano/indigenous working class communities and replacing them with more reliable white professionals, managers and business people.

    This strategy was applied in New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and elsewhere. We saw it operate more recently here in Los Angeles through the crack-cocaine epidemic, which destabilized, devalued and broke up the Black community of south Los Angeles. This caused a huge churning of the real estate market and eventual huge profits for those who bought up Black homes cheap as neighborhoods became unlivable.

    Now the process is underway again, driven both by the same political motivation to break up communities of resistance and the economic motive of turning a handsome profit by driving working families and small business people and cooperative community enterprises out. How can we resist these massive economic forces and the military forces that back them up? 

We have to deepen our ties to each others’ struggles, deepen our understanding of the enemy we face, and deepen our thinking about how to organize and resist. We need to recognize that this is a manifestation of an on-going process of colonization that began with Columbus and continued through the Anglo-American “Manifest Destiny” that coveted the Mexican/indigenous lands to the Pacific, up to today.

    We can begin to unite our forces across the city - Blacks and Mexicanos in South LA, Blacks, homeless, renters and artists in Venice or downtown, Mexicanos and Central Americans in Pico-Union and Boyle Heights, Asians in Chinatown and Little Tokyo. Then we will begin to see the power of the people manifest itself through cooperative economic activity, sharing of resources, political organizing, boycotts and other means. We will begin to understand and to demonstrate that all the wealth of this system that confronts us is stolen from the people and from the land, and that all the power that towers over us and is used to grind us down actually comes FROM the people. It is ours to regain, and to use to protect our communities and the land, water and air that sustain life.

    To discuss these issues with the author, email, write Michael at ARA-LA, PO Box 1055, Culver City CA 90232, or call 323-636-7388.

Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel

At the outbreak of World War II, Rommel was given command of the troops that guarded Hitler’s headquarters, a disappointment for a man used to fighting on the front lines with the infantry. But in early 1940, he was given his chance to put to use his gifts, when he was given command of the 7th Panzer Division. Although a novice as far as mechanized forces were concerned, he soon mastered the advantages and proved his leadership abilities again in the German offensive against the French channel coast in May.

In early 1941, Rommel was given control of the troops sent to North Africa to aid Germany’s ailing ally, Italy, in maintaining its position in Libya. It is here, in the deserts of North Africa, that Rommel earned his vaunted reputation, as well as his nickname (he became known for his “fox-like” sneak attacks). Winning significant victories against the British, whom he begrudgingly admired, Rommel nevertheless became weary of this theater of operations; he wanted to go back to Europe. It wasn’t until a second battle to take el-Alamein in Egypt went against him that the “invincible” general was finally called home back to Europe.

Hitler put Rommel back in northern France, to guard against an Allied invasion. Rommel’s suggestions for the precautions necessary to repel an enemy invasion were not heeded, and he began to lose confidence in Hitler and Germany’s ability to win the war. When Rommel was approached by friends to agree to head the German government in the event of Hitler’s overthrow, he agreed-although there was no explicit talk of assassination, which he found abhorrent.

D-Day was launched, and Rommel’s prediction of disaster for Germany’s position played itself out. Still, Hitler would not consider negotiations with the Allies. Rommel ended up in the hospital after his car was attacked by British bombers and he was forced off the road. Meanwhile, details of the failed assassination plot had come to Hitler’s attention, including Rommel’s contact with the conspirators. As Rommel was convalescing in his home at Herrlingen, two generals visited and offered him his choice-trial or suicide. Rommel told his wife and son what had transpired, and that he had chosen to take the cyanide capsules the generals had provided.

“At about twelve o’clock a dark-green car with a Berlin number stopped in front of our garden gate. The only men in the house apart from my father, were Captain Aldinger [Rommel’s aide] , a badly wounded war-veteran corporal and myself. Two generals — Burgdorf, a powerful florid man, and Maisel, small and slender — alighted from the car and entered the house. They were respectful and courteous and asked my father’s permission to speak to him alone. Aldinger and I left the room. “So they are not going to arrest him,” I thought with relief, as I went upstairs to find myself a book. A few minutes later I heard my father come upstairs and go into my mother’s room. Anxious to know what was afoot, I got up and followed him. He was standing in the middle of the room, his face pale. “Come outside with me,” he said in a tight voice. We went into my room. “I have just had to tell your mother,” he began slowly, “that I shall be dead in a quarter of an hour.” He was calm as he continued: “To die by the hand of one’s own people is hard. But the house is surrounded and Hitler is charging me with high treason. ‘In view of my services in Africa’,” he quoted sarcastically, “I am to have the chance of dying by poison. The two generals have brought it with them. It’s fatal in three seconds. If I accept, none of the usual steps will be taken against my family, that is against you. They will also leave my staff alone.” “Do you believe it?” I interrupted. “Yes,” he replied. “I believe it. It is very much in their interest to see that the affair does not come out into the open. By the way, I have been charged to put you under a promise of the strictest silence. If a single word of this comes out, they will no longer feel themselves bound by the agreement.” I tried again. “Can’t we defend ourselves…” He cut me off short. “There’s no point,” he said. “It’s better for one to die than for all of us to be killed in a shooting affray. Anyway, we’ve practically no ammunition.”

- Manfred Rommel, on his father’s decision to choose death by cyanide, rather than one involving the threatened persecution of his family and staff, after he was implicated in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, as quoted in “The Forced Suicide of Field Marshall Rommel, 1944”

German trawler trapped in Arctic ice floes found by Coast Guard in radio base search– Caught in a death trap between grinding ice floes, this Nazi trawler was found by Coast Guardsmen during ten weeks of action that led to the capture of another brand new enemy trawler, the scuttling of a third, the capture of 60 Nazis and the destruction of two German radio-weather stations. This ship was found deserted on Greenland’s east coast. Coast Guardsmen seized large piles of ammunition and food supplies, near the vessel which was four miles from an abandoned radio shanty. The Coast Guard landing party hiked more than 15 miles through tortuous, twisting ice trails to cover the four miles to the ship, which had been burned out before the enemy left it. The Coast Guard cutter Northland is in the background.

U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National World War II Museum

U.S. Marines on Guam salute the U.S. Coast Guard on Coast Guard Day

The U.S. Marines salute the U.S. Coast Guard after the fury of battle had subsided and the Japanese on Guam had been defeated. “They (the Coast Guard) Put Us Here and We Intend to Stay” is the way the Marines felt about it., ca. 08/1944

The precursor to the Coast Guard, the United States Revenue Cutter Service, was established under the Department of Treasury by Alexander Hamilton on August 4, 1790, now commemorated as Coast Guard Day.

Five Year Anniversary of the Official End of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell"

For 17 years, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was the law of the land, prohibiting qualified LGB Americans from serving openly in the Armed Forces. From World War II until the end of DADT, an estimated 114,000 service members were discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation.

Midway anniversary.

A sea of white uniforms greets visitors to the Navy Memorial as sailors gather to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the Battle of Midway in Washington, D.C., June 4, 2014. The celebration held host to Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard service members, Midway veterans and a gathered crowd of onlookers. The Battle of Midway is considered by many to be the turning point of the Pacific theater of World War II and one of the most well-known and revered victories in naval history.

“U.S. Marines going ashore at Iwo Jima, a Japanese Island which was invaded on February 19, 1945. Photo made by a Naval Photographer, who flew over the armada of Navy and coast guard vessels in a Navy search plane.”


“A formidable task force carves out a beachhead, about 350 miles from the Japanese mainland. Landing craft of all kinds blacken the sea out to the horizon, where stand the battlewagons, cruisers and destroyers.” Okinawa, April 13, 1945.

From the series: Activities, Facilities, and Personalities, 1886 - 1967. Records of the U.S. Coast Guard.

U.S. forces invaded Okinawa on April 1, 1945, during one of the last campaigns of World War II.  The Battle of Okinawa lasted from early April until mid-June 1945 as the Allies sought to gain the island for use as a strategic air base against mainland Japan. The battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific, and over 77,000 Japanese soldiers were killed or committed suicide, while the Allies suffered over 14,000 deaths.  Additionally the local population suffered significant casualties, and an estimated 42,000–150,000 local civilians were killed or committed suicide.

via the National Archives at Boston on Facebook

D-Day, 70th Anniversary

“While under attack of heavy machine gun fire from the German coastal defense forces, American soldiers wade ashore off the ramp of a U.S. Coast Guard landing craft, during the Allied landing operations at Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.”

anonymous asked:

What role did the Coast Guard play in World War II?

Alright, Anon, the TL;DR answer to this question is a whole heck of a lot.

In 1940, as the United States geared up for war with Germany, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order than placed the Coast Guard under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy.  One of the first things the CG did was execute what is known as the Greenland Patrol.  Greenland possessed resources valuable to the war and FDR used Germany’s invasion of Denmark to justify having a CG station there.  This station was maintained throughout the war.

Coast Guard Cutters played a role in the Battle of the Atlantic, both in terms of chasing and sinking U-boats, escorting convoys across the Atlantic, and performing rescue operations for ships sunk by U-boats.  Convoy duty and sub hunting were common assignments in the Pacific theater as well.

The Coast Guard also manned landing craft for Allied forces.  They were present during the invasion of Normandy as well as dozens of D-days in the Pacific.  They manned landing craft during these operations as well as support craft.

At home the Coast Guard continued beach patrols, port security, and the like.  The Coast Guard contributed a significant amount of men and material to the war effort but they are largely forgotten about.  For more reading you can check out the Coast Guard’s history site here or pick up The United States Coast Guard in World War II by Thomas Ostrom.