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tv   Open Phones with Tom Czekanski  CSPAN  November 8, 2015 12:30am-1:01am EST

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of the requisition form and he was awarded a bronze star for his actions. he received a bronze star for figuring out a better way to file paperwork. we have a copy of the paper that awarded that. that was one that always struck me as interesting. host: for those who are watching in and might have served world war ii, they hundred thesand people plus -- 800,000 plus people, if they have artifacts or materials, how can they get back to you and what are you looking for? mr. czekanski: we look andcipally for letters correspondence, those things that are unique to the individual. --have all the not see flags nazi flags and see my swords that -- samurai swords that we
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can use. we are looking for something that is unique. we take a selection of individual uniforms, but for the most part, many uniforms are the same. so things that recorded their feelings, diaries, letters, individual photographs, these are very important to us. that is what we are looking for now. host: i can attest to the letters. boxes father wrote many of letters. many families are probably in the same situation. mr. czekanski: it is a great families if they have people who want them, it is better to not split up the collection. if you bring them here, we can preserve them and that will be a way for all the family to share. and also in many occasions, there is no one left that is interested, and this is another opportunity for them to bring them here and share them with the public. host: we were watching the
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the net -- vignette on the uss tang, the heroic efforts of those who served there and the fateful end of that submarine. mr. czekanski: yes, for many of other sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice. we have the presentation on the tang and it is meant to represent a larger story of the submarine service. host: we would love to hear for -- from you, especially if you served or have loved ones that were on the front lines. we will go to norman in michigan. firstquestions, the being, the books written by veterans after the war on the pacific, which would you consider to be the best?
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second, as we speak about submarines, would you say the the tactics used by american mariners versus the japanese, were they using the same tactics that were used by the german navy in the battle of the atlantic, as far as the u-boats and wolf packs? that is all of my questions. i will take the answers off the air. thank you. mr. czekanski: so, the japanese, the united states and the german submarines all had different tactics. the united states and germans concentrated on sinking merchant vessels. the japanese concentrated on attacks on armed vessels, said they would be out to strike
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aircraft carriers or destroyers or battleships, were as the americans and germans were looking at merchant ships. the germans used the wolfpack, directing large numbers of submarines into areas to attack in groups and to be able to follow convoys. they continue this for a long periods. the united states submarines tended to operate more individually. we also have the advantage of being able to read japanese naval code and had some idea of where to look for japanese ships. hefar as the books, both mentioned are excellent. it is hard to recommend one above the other. host: i just want to mention that our viewers can also check us out on facebook them as we look at some of the film from the key battles of world war ii.
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you can share your comments and thoughts with us, including this from mark, who says, the guys i served with in vietnam, we had our reunion this year near new trip we went to the museum. it was a great day. i would say three days would be about right to see it all. what do you want people to take away from the museum? mr. czekanski: i want people to remember the service and sacrifice of all the americans during world war ii. this was a time when the country came together and gave everything they could to assure our freedoms. it is a story that needs to be remembered. host: our guest is tom jasinski. he has been with the world war ii museum since it opened back in 2000, 15 years ago.
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from arizona, you are next. caller: i would like to know if indoave anything on the burma theater of world war ii. my father served. mr. czekanski: yes. we are currently completing the second floor of our campaign pavilion. it is slated to open on december 11, and includes an extensive gallery on the china-burma theater. we have expanded our coverage so we include all theaters and all branches of the american story in world war ii. host: is there a fee to enter the museum? mr. czekanski: there is. mr. czekanski: there is. not being in the ticketing department, i could not quote it. it is available on a website, and i know there are number of
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discount available. host: from mobile, alabama, joseph is next. caller: yes. my father served in the pacific. he was a member of the united states coast guard. they did serve in the pacific. his ship, one of the ships he was on, was named la cucaracha, which i understand is spanish for roach. he did serve in the pacific. i've been unable to go to the museum, but one time, many years ago, after it opened because i am in poor health. at that time i was there, there were no exhibits on the coast guard serving in the pacific. there was one lousy little poster. it was the only thing that represented the coast guard, either in the european campaign
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or the pacific campaign. host: we will get a response, by -- but i wanted to ask a question, did your dad talk about these experiences? my father was a true veteran, he did not talk to civilians. he would regularly meet with world war ii, korean veterans, vietnam veterans because they had a common ground. they had people trying to kill them. he did not talk to civilians. i'm a civilian. i was never physically able because of my poor health to join the coast guard, which was
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my desire from the time i was a small child. host: really a hallmark of a generation, not talking about it. mr. czekanski: yes. that is a hallmark. they often don't discuss it. i regret that joseph did not enjoy his experience here. unfortunately, he missed the higgins boat in the main gallery, one of the first things you see when you walk in, it is marked and identified for the coast guard vessel that is served with, uss bayfield. certainly there were many coast guard members that served in all theaters and we do recognize those. it is unfortunate that he only found one poster. host: brooke is joining us next from minnesota. caller: someone previously , itght up the burma arena
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was not that long ago, i read a houston, or on the actually the prisoners following the houston, a battle it was involved in. it was very compelling as it relates to a specific ship. hadnted to see if you thought about it, what your comments would be? mr. czekanski: it is one of the battles early in the war. early in the war, by 1945, the united states was rolling across the pacific with its industrial might, and all the men and material we had assembled. early in the war, we were on the ropes, when the houston was sunk, the japanese had the upper hand. it was very unfortunate.
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the story of the houston. we do have artifacts from one of the survivors who is a prisoner of war who ended up on the burma railway. their story is included in our new exhibit that opened in december. host: in our last hour, we looked at the boats, made not far from where you are in new orleans. were they used in the pacific? mr. czekanski: yes, the higgins boat were initially used in the pacific. a model of the boat, higgins boat before it had the classic brand installed on it -- of the were widely used in the pacific. we have an example of it, not currently on exhibit. usedther boats were widely in the pacific, but later in the war, the lvp was often used to make the landing.
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higgins boats would take the troops to near the reef, and they were transferred to landing vehicle track. that could actually climb over the reef and not be limited to entering breaks in the reef. and then drive onto the beach and drop troops off. host: another vessel, the pt boats, made famous train the kennedy and administration, you have one on display in the museum, do you not? mr. czekanski: we do. it is in the restoration pavilion. we are nearing completion of a total restoration of pt 305. most people think of pt boats serving in the pacific. there were three squadrons of pt boats that served in the mediterranean. at the end of the war, it was brought back to the united states.
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that squadron, that is most of the boats that serve today served in that squadron. host: why were they called pt boats? mr. czekanski: navy vessels all have designations. pt is patrol torpedo. host: let's go to jill and chicago. caller: i have a question, when you mentioned that you were interested in letters, diaries, and such. my dad served in the european theater at the battle of the bulge. somebody in his unit, after they came back, wrote a thin, published, probably self published, book, and send it to the buddies. is that something you would be interested in? mr. czekanski: definitely.
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you can reach us through our website. we would be very interested in personal accounts. many published small histories at the end of the war and the only places you can find them is from unit members. we want to collect as many as we can to share with future generations. host: another question with regard to the uss tang. it is a facebook question. it is from william, who says, during the walk-through, that was an excellent presentation, the gentleman said some of the survivors saved themselves through the escape hatch, by holding their breath through their ascent, when i went through sub school in new ascentwe practiced technique by constantly blowing
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air from our lungs as we ascended. the air in our lungs expanded enormously. if these survivors in fact held their breath, would they have exploded, any clarification? mr. czekanski: they use the hold and blow technique, not the hold your breath techniques. amazingly, because of the pressure, if you start to blow out there as you start to ascend it works out perfectly. i'm not as i does, it does not make sense to me, but because of the pressure and expanding when you go up, that is the technique that was used. host: thank you for the facebook question. bianca is joining us from new hampshire.
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caller: i would like to know -- husband's world war ii jacket, and eisenhower jacket, with all these ornaments. i do not know if you are interested or if you have enough of those. mr. czekanski: it would depend on what unit he served in. in order to represent everybody, we do have a space consideration for storage and exhibits. we take up to four uniforms from every division. we would have to know what division he served in, and check our inventory to see how we are represented in that. i would encourage you to contact the e-mail address on our website for artifact donations. host: are you still with us? caller: i'm not good with the computer.
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mr. czekanski: there is in a -- if a number. you can call. host: i'm assuming your husband has since passed away? caller: pardon me? host: i'm assuming your husband has passed away. caller: he passed away 21 years ago. host: what did he tell you about world war ii? caller: he was in naples, that's where i met him. naples was nothing but a big, messed up broken antique buildings. i was just a child. i was 11 years old. i went right through, from beginning to end, of the war. then, i married my husband. that's why i'm in this country, and i love it. host: thank you for the call. let's move on to george, joining us from hawaii. caller: aloha.
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when i was in the masters program, i could not complete a research topic on segregation, but a few years after i graduated, it was revealed, the massacre in which there was a rice riot -- race riot with 1000 casualties and the records were distributed to a pacific unit. are any of your researchers looking at that or is that though an open mystery? the researcher who started this past away. -- passed away. mr. czekanski: we do not have anyone that is currently working on that. i have heard of it. i do not have the details. host: did the u.s. take many prisoners in the pacific battles? mr. czekanski: not compared to say the number of germans.
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for the japanese, surrender was not considered an audible and to -- honorable end to their service. they would kill themselves or make a final assault. many prisoners we did take were taken because they were wounded and incapacitated, they were captured in that manner. towards the very end of the war, more japanese began to surrender. host: do you gather all of these artifacts and curate the material for the museum, there are two very different wars in the european theater and the pacific battle lines. how did the u.s. prepare for that? how did the military deal with such divergent conflicts? mr. czekanski: what other things were trained in
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first basic techniques and then oriented for the role, either in the pacific or in europe. there was no switching back and forth from one theater to the other. at least not as units. many of the units would receive training, particularly in the pacific. the nature of the combat was different and that he would attack an island, and the troops would be brought back and their experiences could be shared with new troops who were preparing for the next assault. in europe, it was very much units went in, more units were added and the combat was more constant, especially once we were in normandy. host: all of this of course on display in at the world war ii museum in new orleans. barry is on the phone from spring, texas. caller: hello, yes. great show.
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i was just curious, on the higgins boats, how come they didn't open on the side? it seems like they would have a lot more protection than just opening in the front, it seems like sitting ducks, leaving the boat. was there any research done before they designed it? mr. czekanski: the front opening allows you to drive vehicles in and out. from the side, the opening would be very large to say, turn a jeep to the side. at the end of the war, the lvt actually opened in the back. higgins boats could not open in andback because of engines propellers and things of that nature. an lvt, with its tracks, could actually get onto the beach. it was much better than either the side or the front. host: where were the engines for the higgins boats?
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mr. czekanski: it is located midship in the rear third of the vessel. if you see a photograph, the front of the motor is just about even with the driver. host: let's go to rich joining us from illinois. good afternoon. caller: hello? host: you are on the air. caller: my father was in world war ii, in the pacific. i have letters from him, from iwo jima, to my mother. i have the envelope that it was postmarked and everything. i had some stuff from my dad he brought home, japanese rifles, and samurai swords. after the marines left the island, there were a lot of air force guys, who would go in some of these caves, and take up some of the stuff. he did talk about the war over
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there. he mostly talked about the construction they did because he learned a lot about building things, and stuff like that. he did talk about the b-29s coming in that were crippled from japan, stuff like that. he said those pilots were really fantastic pilots. host: thank you for the call. we will get a response. mr. czekanski: the story of taking an island is really just the beginning. once we took an island in the pacific, we turned it into a little american city and airfield.
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by doing that, we were able to extend our reach all the way across. we took iwo jima so we would have a point halfway to japan. it was very important, not only to be able to take the island, but to add infrastructure to them afterwards. host: alex is joining us, a veteran himself, from florida. caller: hello. i'm a veteran from the second world war. i was in the 137 aircraft attack. when i came to the island, most of it was secure.
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they put us on patrol to secure what was left of the island. i spent most of my time moving up to manila, unbeknownst to me, i was waiting to go to the invasion of japan. i was too young to realize what was going on. i thought they were just stalling us until the war was over. little did i know, if the atom bomb was not dropped, i would have been one of the million casualties they predicted might have occurred from the invasion of japan. i just want to thank you for your program, and let you know that i'm proud of all the veterans that fought in all the wars we had. thank you.
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host: we want to thank you. before we get a response, how old were you when you served? caller: i was exactly 18, 3 months passed my birthday. i'm now 91, and still ready to go. host: good for you. what were you thinking at the age of 18? caller: not much. i must tell you, i had no idea what was going gone, except to protect myself, being on duty every night, it was a very scary thing. when we first landed, they told us to dig foxholes, and we thought they were joking. by the time the evening came, and it became dark -- we were all scared to death. we were all very young.
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we did all that we were told. anyway, we patrolled the island until the island was very secure us toey kept on inching the invasion point. i'm very proud of my service, and all the men who were in service, and want to thank you for the program. host: one must question before we let you go, did you volunteer for the pacific theater or was it the military's choice? caller: no, it was the military's choice. they put me in the army. at first they put me in the navy. i got my way out of the navy. of course, i had taken air navigation in high school. i thought i was a perfect candidate for the air corps.
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if you are a candidate for the air corps, they will put you in calvary. i was just happy i came out alive. host: what a great story. thank you for joining us at the age of 91. we will get a response from our guest. mr. czekanski: i would like to join you as well in thinking -- hanking this man for his service and of all veterans for their service. it is their sacrifice that keeps america free today. host: time for one last call, jack from lafayette. caller: i was privileged to get my honorable discharge met years
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ago, but i had the privilege to also know to wonderful patriots, to wonderful heroes. one was a commander in the eighth air force who had a silver star. he showed it to me one day. his name was womack. the other one, i do not know how he lived through the entire war, he had jumped out of an airplane in the 82nd airborne. he told me, the story he told me took theaid yes, we guns, found out they were not guns, they had been replaced, or guns had never been a -- never arrived, but i lost 50 of my buddies. ton he also then had to go the battle of the bulge, where
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in the 101st and was one pastors of -- bastards of the bulge and he also got injured at the last >> jack, thank you for the call. we appreciate your stories. mr. czekanski: i would say we need to treasure all of our veterans. we are losing our world war ii veterans at a rapid rate and soon they will be gone. we need to take time to remember our other veterans as well, and to cherish them and listen to their stories and what they have to tell us today. host bank -- host: tom czekanski joins us today.

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