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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
Col. Walter Tardy; WWII Commander

By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 21, 2006; B06

Walter Earle Tardy, 91, a retired Army colonel who commanded a legendary tank destroyer battalion in World War II, died of chronic heart failure Jan. 7 at the Westminster at Lake Ridge retirement center, where he lived.

During World War II, he was commander of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, a unit of the 3rd Infantry Division, in North Africa, Sicily and France.

Col. Tardy called the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia one of the unit's worst times and one of only two times that it was on the defensive. He told the Traverse City (Mich.) Record-Eagle in 2002 that 75 German tanks knocked out half of the unit's tanks, and the others were so disabled that battalion members had to hike back over the pass and wait several days for repairs.

The battalion went on to fight at Anzio, Italy, and also fought in the Ardennes campaign in eastern France, Hitler's last major offensive. Col. Tardy's battalion arrived to support Company B, 15th Regiment of the 3rd Infantry, whose officers had been killed except for a young first lieutenant named Audie Murphy.

Murphy, who became the most-decorated U.S. serviceman of World War II, boarded one of Col. Tardy's disabled M10 tank destroyers, using its .50-caliber machine gun to kill or wound 50 German soldiers and prevent his troops from being overrun.

Col. Tardy met Murphy after he had been nominated for the Medal of Honor and was under orders to stay around regimental headquarters and out of danger. Murphy kept trying to sneak back to the front lines, Col. Tardy told the Audie Murphy Research Foundation. "He didn't seem very happy sitting in that regimental headquarters. He was in a lot of places he wasn't supposed to be. He was an outstanding chap."

Col. Tardy was born in Bryan, Tex., and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1936. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve and worked in oil exploration in Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.

He was called to active duty in 1940 and by October 1942 was deployed to North Africa. He became the executive officer of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion and then elevated to commanding officer, a position he would hold for more than two years. His battalion had a record 546 days in actual combat and destroyed 155 enemy tanks and armored vehicles, believed to be a record in the European theater.

Col. Tardy's duties after World War II included staff assignments in France, the continental United States and Hawaii and attache duty in Baghdad. He was on duty in Baghdad in 1958 when a military coup claimed the lives of the king, several members of the royal family and many senior Iraqi government ministers.

His military decorations included the Legion of Merit, two awards of the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

After his retirement in 1967, Col. Tardy worked for several years in real estate and as a tax consultant in Northern Virginia. He was a member of Outpost 7 of the Society of the 3rd Infantry Division. He served as an elder at Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria. He lived in Annandale for more than 30 years.

His wife of 63 years, Mary Elizabeth Smith Tardy, died in 2002. Two sons also died, Marine Corps Capt. Thomas K. Tardy in 1978 and Rhodes E. Tardy in 1995.

Survivors include two grandchildren.
I'm not going to salute the passing of this individual. I'm just posting this obituary for its newsworthyness.

"I only selected the victims" is not a defense.

HAMBURG, Germany - Friedrich Engel, a former Nazi SS officer
involved in the massacre of Italian prisoners in World War II, has
died. He was 97.

Engel died overnight into Feb. 5, said his wife, Else. She did not
give a cause of death or say where he had died.

In 2002, a German court convicted Engel of 59 counts of murder and
handed him a suspended seven-year term for the 1944 shootings in a
mountain pass near the Italian city of Genoa.

A federal appeals court said in 2004 that it believed Engel was
responsible for the massacre, but it ruled that the lower court had
failed to legally prove murder and said a retrial was not possible
because of the Engel's age.

Engel acknowledged helping organize the May 19, 1944, shootings in
reprisal for an attack on a movie theater in the city four days
earlier in which five German sailors died. But he insisted that the
shootings were ordered by Nazi naval officers and that his unit was
responsible only for selecting the victims.

After the war, Engel worked as a lumber salesman until his
retirement in the 1970s.

An Italian military court convicted Engel in absentia only in 1999
and sentenced him to life for war crimes connected to a total of 246

German prosecutors examined the possibility of extraditing Engel to
Italy under an EU-wide arrest warrant, but received no formal
application from Italian authorities, said Ruediger Bagger, a
spokesman for prosecutors in Hamburg. German law previously
prohibited the extradition of its citizens to stand trial abroad
William McCaffrey, 91; Fought in Three Wars

Monday, February 20, 2006; B05

William J. McCaffrey, 91, an Army lieutenant general who saw combat in three wars and was a high-ranking commander during the Vietnam War, died of heart disease Feb. 13 at the Jefferson retirement home in Arlington.

Gen. McCaffrey was born in Omaha and was a 1939 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During World War II, he was a colonel and chief of staff with the 92nd Infantry Division and received the Silver Star for leading a nighttime reconnaissance mission in Italy.

In the Korean War, he commanded the 31st Infantry Regiment and fought at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He received two additional awards of the Silver Star for his service in Korea.

In the 1960s, when hewas a senior officer in Europe and at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. McCaffrey played a role in strengthening NATO defenses in the Cold War. From 1970 to 1972, he was deputy commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam as military operations were winding down. He retired in 1973.

After his military career, Gen. McCaffrey was director of regional affairs for the Association of the United States Army and was a member of the senior review panel of the Central Intelligence Agency, working in coordination with the offices of three successive CIA directors.

He lived in Alexandria for many years and was a member St. Mary Catholic Church in Alexandria. He later attended the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

He was also a member of the Chosin Few, a Korean War veterans group.

Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Mary V. McCaffrey of Arlington; two children, retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey of Alexandria and Patricia Higgins of Newport News, Va.; six grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. - Retired Brig. Gen. Robert L. Scott, the World War II flying ace who told of his exploits in his book "God is My Co-Pilot," died Monday. He was 97.

His death was announced by Paul Hibbitts, director of the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base, where Scott worked in recent years.

The Georgia-born Scott rose to nationwide prominence during World War II as a fighter ace in the China-Burma-India theater, then with his best-selling 1943 book, made into a 1945 movie starring Dennis Morgan as Scott.

Among his other books were "The Day I Owned the Sky" and "Flying Tiger: Chennault of China."

Scott, who retired from the Air Force as a brigadier general, won three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Silver Stars and five Air Medals before he was called home to travel the country giving speeches for the war effort.

He shot down 22 enemy planes with his P-40 Warhawk, though he recalled some were listed as "probable" kills.

"You had to have two witnesses in the formation, or you needed a gun camera to take a picture," he once said. "Only we didn't have gun cameras in China. I actually had 22 aerial victims, but I only had proof of 13."

He worked with the Flying Tigers, Gen. Claire Chennault's famed volunteer force of pilots who fought in China, but he was not one of its original members in mid-1941.

At 33, Scott was considered too old for combat and was still at a training job in California when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered the war in December of that year.

After he got a call to serve in combat, he was assigned to a mission to bomb Tokyo from China. When that plan was scrubbed, he flew gasoline and ammunition over Japanese-held territory to the Flying Tigers. When the Tigers were formally incorporated into the Army as the 23rd Fighter Group of the China Air Task Force, Scott was asked to be its commander.

In the years just after the war, Scott was one of the proponents of making the Air Force into a separate service.

"They just plain couldn't see why we wanted a special service," Scott said in 1997, at the time the Air Force was marking its 50th anniversary as an independent service. "They all wanted their own Air Force. We were fighting against public opinion."

From the mid-1980s onward, Scott was an active staffer at the Robins air base's aviation museum.

"He's been our resident hero, cheerleader and biggest fan," said Pat Bartness, museum foundation president and chief operating officer. "He's been the biggest drawing card we've had."
Legendary soldier who led Canadian paratroopers on D-Day has died

John Ward
Canadian Press

Thursday, March 30, 2006

OTTAWA (CP) - James Hill, a legendary British soldier who commanded the Canadian paratroopers who dropped into France on D-Day, has died at the age of 95.

Brigadier Hill inspired devotion among his soldiers, especially the rough-hewn young men of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, which was part of Hill's 3rd British parachute brigade.

They were prepared to follow the big, brawny brigadier "down the barrel of a gun," said historian Terry Copp of Wilfrid Laurier University, who knew Hill in his later years.

"He is an icon of all airborne soldiers not only British but Canadian, of course, and he's well known to American airborne forces as well," said 83-year-old Ronald Anderson of Toronto, who was a platoon sergeant in the Canadian battalion under Hill.

"He wrote the book on leadership, as far as I'm concerned."

Hill was one of the last men evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk when the British army was driven from France in 1940 and he was in the vanguard when the allies returned to the continent in 1944.

On D-Day, Hill's brigade was scattered far and wide by contrary winds during the parachute drop, Copp says.

"He landed about 30 miles away from the drop zone where he was supposed to be. He gathered together a number of people, partly his headquarters group but partly just stragglers, and started walking."

The group was strafed by their own aircraft under the illusion that anyone walking toward the landing zones would have been German.

"He was wounded in, as he would say, the right bum cheek," Copp said. "He made it the rest of the way on a bicycle and then commanded the brigade for the next two days, as he said, sitting on his left bum cheek."

The historian once asked Hill why he wasn't evacuated to hospital.

"He said he hadn't trained the brigade for all that time in order to leave it in the midst of the action."

Anderson said Hill led from the front, armed only with a long, carved, ebony walking stick.

"I remember being under fire in Germany as a lead platoon and within four or five minutes the brigadier was at my back with his poke stick," Anderson recalled.

"He used to poke me in the back with a smile on his face when I was cowering in a ditch somewhere. He would poke me and say, "Son we've got to do something about this.'

"Which meant get up off your ass and move ahead."

A graduate of Sandhurst, the British military academy, Hill left the army in the 1930s for a business career, but rejoined with the outbreak of war.

He became a paratroop expert and first fought in North Africa, where he was badly wounded. He was flown home and told he would be pensioned off.

"He said I didn't join the army to get a pension," Anderson remembered.

He was eventually tapped for command of the 3rd brigade, which included the Canadians.

He led the brigade from Normandy in 1944 to the shore of the Baltic Sea in 1945.

He had a paternal regard for the Canadians, whose average age was 22 and who exhibited a sometimes frightening taste for action.

"He always said he had to watch the Canadians carefully because he didn't want a bunch of dead heroes," Copp said. "He thought they were all young and little more anxious to get get at the enemy than the circumstances required."

Hill was twice awarded the Distinguished Service order and the Military Cross for his bravery and leadership.

Copp said Hill was both a superb commander and a great leader.

"Some people are good commanders because they have the technical skills and some are good leaders but you don't always get the two combined.

"James was an exceptionally skilled soldier . . . but at the same time he had the leadership qualities that made men want to follow him down the barrel of a gun."

"That's exactly it," said Anderson.

He said when the Canadians were heading for home after the war, Hill showed up at the rail station and insisted on shaking the hand of every one of the 700 left in the battalion.

"He told the engine driver you aren't going anywhere until I've had the chance to shake hands with every man here and thank him."

After the war, Hill returned to business. He worked in Montreal in the 1950s and was an honoured guest at many paratrooper reunions.

One of his last trips to Canada was a decade ago, when the Canadian Airborne Regiment was disbanded after the Somalia affair. Hill insisted on being at the final parade, Anderson said.

"He said they're not going to hang up our colours without me there."

Hill, who died last week in a nursing home in Chichester, England, will be buried in a full military funeral organized by the Parachute Regiment on April 5. Brig.-Gen. R. R. Romsie, a Canadian officer who spent two years on exchange with the British paras, will represent Canada.

Anderson said Hill planned the details of the funeral, down to the readings and the music.

"He wanted a rousing service. He didn't want anything sombre. No dirges. That's typical."

James Hill was born March 14, 1911 and died March 16, 2006.
A former RAF pilot who cheated death much more than most of us ever
will finally passed away at the ripe old age of 102. Sqn. Leader Eric
Foster died peacefully at his home in England, outliving Steve
McQueen, the actor that played him in The Great Escape, by more than
50 years. McQueen died of lung cancer in 1980 at the age of 50.
Foster's never-say-die attitude when it came to his distaste for
German prisoner of war camps prompted his legendary status and was an
influence in the creation of the movie. After surviving the crash of
his Wellington bomber in Germany in 1940, Foster escaped from various
enemy prison camps a total of seven times. Of course, the fact that
he was a repeat escaper means he was better at the escaping part than
he was at avoiding capture but it all made for a fascinating tale.
After escaping by masquerading as German officer, a member of Hitler
Youth, and shimmying down a fire escape, to name a few, he ended up
in Stalag Luft III where his exploits formed the basis for the movie.
It is perhaps fitting that it was Foster's acting ability that
finally won him release. In 1945, he managed to convince his captors
that he was insane and they sent him home. He was promoted to Sqn.
Leader shortly after.
Ace pilot of the US ETO 355th fighter group passed away, he was 83 years of age. Living in central California, Stan was a great guy . . .
Only found out today but Flt Lt Colin Parkinson DFC passed away on the 31st of March.
Parkinson joined the RAAF in 1940 and after EATS training was posted to the UK as a Sergeant, here he served for a short time with 56 and 19 sqn's RAF.
Parkinson served in Malta for 6 months with 603 sqn (and later 229 and 249) after flying off HMS Eagle. On Aug 14. he flew to Gibratar with others to lead another delivery of Spitfires from HMS Furious. During the siege of 1942, Parkinson was credited with 11 enemy aircraft destroyed, 2 probable and 7 damaged.
Parkinson ended his tour in Malta in November and was awarded his DFC by Air Vice Marshall Sir Keith Park, when he returned to Australia he served with 457 sqn RAAF before commanding the RAAF Chemical Research Unit during 1944.
Flt Lt Colin Parkinson died after a short illness in Sydney and was buried with full military honours on the 5th of April. Colin Parkinson was 89.

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