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VFW remembers V-J Day

 September 10, 2010 – Katy, Texas –Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9182 conducted a remembrance ceremony Monday, September 6, 2010 recognizing the 65th anniversary of the formal signing of the treaty that ended World War II.  The ceremony began with Dave Brasell, Senior Vice Commander, setting the stage by recalling what the human emotional significance meant to all the veterans that had fought in that great war known as WWII.  All veterans of this conflict had mixed feelings as they remember this day.  The first remembrance is one of exultation, as they knew they had survived, there was happiness that that they could go home, thankfulness that they would not be called upon to invade the Japanese mainland and also sadness.  Sadness was also felt for their comrades that were not as fortunate as themselves to be able to experience the exultation of this particular day.  

This day is named Victory over Japan Day and is commonly known as V-J Day.  The name was chosen for the day on which Japan formally surrendered to the allied forces on September 2, 1945.  The actual signing of the surrender documents performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan aboard the battleship USS Missouri. In Japan, this day is known as the “memorial day for the end of the war” ,the official name for the day is “the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace.”   Brasell stood on the spot on the starboard midships of the USS Missouri where General MacArthur signed the documents representing the United States of America and which was witnessed by General Wainwright, who had endured the torture as a Japanese Prisoner of War after surrendering the American Forces in the Philippians in 1942.

Following the introductory remarks, four members of the post stepped forward and give their recollections from this day 65 years ago.  The first to give their recollection was Norris Miertschin, an Army Captain and a veteran of the European theater.  He was home in Port Arthur on a 30 day leave waiting for deployment to the Pacific.  When he received the word that he knew he would not be deploying to the Pacific, he started making plans to buy a car, even before he was mustered out shortly thereafter at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

Next to share his memories was Rex Travis, a US Marine Corp veteran who had already participated in the invasion of Okinawa, Japan.  On V-J Day he was on the island of Guam preparing for the invasion of the Japanese mainland.  Rex was ecstatic he would not be required to invade the Japanese mainland and he knew he would be going home soon.  However, with a point system in place, he did not have enough for an immediate return to Texas.  He was sent on to China to assist in the clearing out of the Japanese that were still in China and help with restoring China to peacetime. 

Then, Rip Collins, an Army Air Force veteran shared his memories.  Rip was flying his P-47 Thunderbolt on August 9, 1945 when he was asked to go to the aid of a B-24.  When he turned to go to the aid of the B-24 he saw the fire ball rising over Nagasaki.  He knew then that the war was surly over.  He stated he was thrilled to know on V-J Day that his fighting days were over and that he would be going home soon.

Last, but certainly not the least, to share his memories was Warren “Bart” Robinson.  Bart a US Army Infantry veteran had been captured on the Island of Java in 1942.  He was held as a Prisoner of War under Japanese control for three and a half years.  His second to last POW camp was in Nagasaki.  He was moved from this camp just 19 days before the bomb that Rip Collins saw was dropped.  Robinson shared a picture of himself and other fellow POW’s as well as a drawing of his POW camp.  He pointed out the area of the camp where they were later told that if the Allies had of invaded the Japanese Mainland, he was to have been marched to and put to death.

Left to Right:  World War II Veterans Rip Collins, Bart Robertson, Rex Travis and Norris Miertschin

For more information about upcoming activities or if you know a veteran or a family member of a veteran in distress, please contact Colonel (Ret) Mike Mastrangelo, Commander, VFW Post 9182 at  281-391-8387.  For membership information, contact Dave Brasell at 713-725-3938.  Post meetings are held at the VFW Hall on George Bush Drive in Katy on the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Please mention you found this on www.KatyMagazine.com.

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