Monday, May 29, 2017

MEMORIAL DAY – WWI – POLAR BEAR + WWII PARATROOPER + VIETNAM - MARINE

MEMORIAL DAY




I have been this updating this Post since 2008. It is a good reminder for me of the veterans in my family that served us all with distinction during troubled times (WWI, WWII and Vietnam).

5/29/17 - Memorial Day

After attending this years Memorial Day celebration ceremony at the White Chapel in Troy, Michigan I thought it would be nice to give a thanks to a man who over the years has dedicated himself to preserving the honor and memory of Michigan's military and particular for providing focus to the the Detroit Polar Bears - Mr. Stanley Bozich. Mr. Bozich serv ed many years as the Director of Michigan's Military and Space Museum located in Frankenmouth Michigan. I urge you to visit this museum and get a an appreciation of the service that so many people from Michigan provided to keep us free.



http://www.michigansmilitarymuseum.com/

The Museum has a wonderful exhibit devoted to the Polar Bears - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJoDOBJKnLE

He also authored this book in 1985.


More books on the Polar Bears can be found here: http://pbma.grobbel.org/polarbearbooks.htm

5/30/16 - Memorial Day


Our 2nd grade class went to the Detroit Zoo for a filed trip a few weeks back. As I was walking past the Polar Bear Exhibit I noticed a plaque honoring my Grandfather's Polar Bear Regiment.

Click on Pic to Enlarge.

Today may have been the best weather day for our annual Memorial Day tribute at the White Chapel Cemetery in Troy Michigan. Fifteen people from our family (Including my son who is in town) attended honoring our Grandfather who served in WWI and was a member of Detroit's own Polar Bears.


This was also a very special day because of a fine gentleman and friend who attended the ceremony that I have had the privilege of knowing for the past eight years. Jim W. has a great love for military history and he is a devoted educational leader who has a great respect for those who have served in the military. 


For a number of years Jim and members of his family select veteran's graves and clean them up and leave an American Flag. This year Jim surprised me by finding my Grandfather's grave and cleaned it up the best he could and left a flag. Here is the picture took for me: Click on Pic to Enlarge.


Thank you Jim! I salute you!!

5/25/15 - Memorial Day

Good family turnout (19) at what now has become an annual get together to honor our grandfather who was a "Polar Bear" in WWI. We also had our traditional lunch at Red Robin's.

Here are some Pics from today's events. I especially like the plaques that are found at the base of the Polar Bear Memorial.
Click on Pics to Enlarge







5/26/14 - Memorial Day



We had a great turnout (17) for our annual Memorial Day tribute. This has become a nice get together with my sisters, cousins and 2nd cousins. While we go to honor the memory of our Grandfather who served as a Polar Bear in WWI we honor all those who have served and died for our great country. Here a a few Pics and a video from this year's ceremony.







5/27/13 - Memorial Day



The official Polar Bear Website has been updated:
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/polaread/

Click on Pics to Enlarge

Another Memorial Day spent at the White Chapel honoring the WWI Polar Bears who served in Northern Russia in 1918 and 1919.



The weather was perfect around 70 degrees. The past 3 years it was close to 90. Unfortunately, my Mom (91 years old) was unable to attend but my sisters (Linda, Patti) and my cousin (Gary) represented the family proudly.

The lady (Patti Lubonte) did a great job singing - here are a few clips:





5/28/12 - Memorial Day



This year's Memorial Day turned out to be a special day again when members (15) of my family on my mother's side attended the ceremony at the White Chapel cemetery in Troy Michigan honoring my grandfather and his fellow Polar Bears from WWI (story below in an earlier post). That is my 90 year old Mom in the wheelchair




After the F10 Jets passes over we all went to Red Robin for a nice lunch and sharing of memories.



4/28/12 -  Updated - Presenting of the Cane



This is a special entry. My Mom celebrated her 90th Birthday last Saturday and my cousin Rizal Baysa presented my Mom with a handcrafted cane detailing my father's military career during WWII. What a special surprise and wonderful gift!

For more on this wonderful group please read a past post -


2011
Click on Pic to Enlarge
What a special day! I attended the annual White Chapel Memorial for Michigan's own Polar Bears again this year and I had company with 10 relatives all related to our Grandfather Aldred Buckler. My Mom who is 89 and my two sisters. PLUS my cousins (my Mom's sister Carol deceased) and her children and some of their children and one of their children!!



My cousin Gary also presented me with our Grandfather's WWI Rifle - What a treasure!

http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/firearms-ordnance/french-model-1892-carbine-2477/

We finished the afternoon off by reminiscing at a restaurant and now plan on making this an annual event. WOW - how cool is that!

2010

On Saturday May 29th I attended my niece's wedding in Chicago. The conversation about the WWI Polar Bears came up and I told my relatives what I had found about our grandfather. One of my cousin's who spent a great deal of time with my grandfather told me about two incidents that happened to my grandfather while in Russia.

First - my grandfather was not an overly religious man but one day a bullet came ripping through the barracks went through his legs and “killed” the soldier in the bunk below. From that day forward he started to become a devout Catholic because of a medal my grandmother had given him prior to leaving for overseas.
Second – It seems along the path where they marched there were diamonds and emeralds just laying on the sides of the path. Many of the soldiers put them in their pockets only to be told by their British commanders to take them out because they were not real.
My grandfather brought a few back and had diamond and emerald rings made for my grandmother. This is a fact because my cousin who told me this last Saturday was the one involved in the rings being tossed in an incinerator by mistake!


2009 - POPS!
"Pops" died a few months ago. He lived a simple life raising his family and strengthening his faith each day. He wanted the best for his children and strive to provide that assistance in his own unique way.

Double Clic on Pic to Enlarge

Pops had a special love for the children suffering from leukemia and often contributed to St. Jude Hospital and other organizations.


His love of country was also showed in his own way just like he did as a soldier towards the end of WWII. He served like many of the other millions of veterans during WWII. He never forgot what it meant to be an American.

Pops was my Father-In-Law and I will miss him but he lives in his children and their children and for that I will be eternally thankful.
2008
This year I would like to add an Email my brother sent me:

It is the VETERAN,

not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN,

not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN,

not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN,

not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN,

not the politician, Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the VETERAN who salutes the Flag,



It is the VETERAN who serves under the Flag,




ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT
SHINE UPON THEM.
WWI – POLAR BEAR, WWII PARATROOPER and a VIETNAM MARINE

I wrote this post for Memorial Day (2005) to honor my Grandfather (Maternal) and My Father who were both Veterans that fought bravely in War.

My Brother-In-Law Raymond (Larry) Leibold who served honorably in Vietnam with The United States Marine Corps.

While Memorial Day is the commemoration of those soldiers killed during war, I wanted to highlight two Veterans that did not die during the war. For the past few years I have been trying to find records and documentation that described what they went through so that we can live free.

World WWI – Polar Bear

The picture below is Aldred S. Buckler. No, they are not five brothers, just an over exposure of my Grandfather taken in Murmansk Russia in 1918. Strangely enough he was a twin. My Grandfather served with the “Polar Bears,” Regiment 339, Supply Company. Below is their story:

http://www.umich.edu/~bhlumrec/polarbear/wade/highresjpeg/0756-0011/001-p0000001a.jpg


If you Zoom in he is in the 2nd Row from the top - then count from left he is the 11th soldier.


http://www.almc.army.mil/alog/issues/MarApril12/Polar_Bear.html




Detroit's Polar Bears and their confusing war

For the majority of American soldiers in the battlefields of Europe, the 1918 armistice with Germany meant an end to the horrors of war and the promise of returning home.

But for one group of Detroit servicemen the end of the fighting in Europe was merely the beginning of another ordeal in the frozen reaches of Russia.

These soldiers were to become members of the American North Russian Expeditionary Force. Along with British, French and Canadian allies these "Polar Bears" were sent to the frozen frontier of Archangel, Russia, in September 1918, in a confused attempt to thwart the Russian revolution. It would be another grueling nine months (temperature hit 56 degrees below zero) before they would finally make it home in June 1919.

Few front-line soldiers understand the international complexities of war, but this chapter of WWI was particularly painful. The men who fought this battle had no idea why they were there or who was the enemy.
http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20091103/OPINION03/911030337

Unfortunately for my Grandfather suffered from frostbite on both legs and shell shock after his return to Detroit. He was in and out of the VA hospital over the years and initially did not receive a disability check from the government. My Grandmother needed a lawyer friend in order to get the disability because the VA wouldn't justify his shell shock and frostbite. His main source of income was cutting hair as a barber. He died in 1963.

Below - I have collected some books, articles and a video about the Polar Bears: Click on Pic to Enlarge

For more information on the Polar Bears please go to:

http://www.michigansmilitarymuseum.com/







WWII PARATROOPER

The man below is my father – Norman D. Campbell Sr., tracking down his records was difficult because of the fire in St. Louis years in 1973
 www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/fire-1973.html 
 - 
that destroyed many veterans records from WWI – WWII.


Through a Scrapbook my Mom kept during the War years and his discharge papers I was able to reconstruct much of his record and medals in 2004 (stolen in New York after returning from Europe, he never bothered to replace them). He served in the 327th Gliders, 101 Airborne and 82nd Airborne, could have been others as they all converged on Bastogne in the winter of 1944. My Father died in 1974.
Click on Pics to Enlarge.
 


In January the 101st received its third parachute regiment, the 501st Parachute Infantry. On 5 February General Lee, who had championed the airborne cause from the beginning, suffered a heart attack. Although he had brought the division from its initial organization through training for the fight in Europe, General Lee was not to be part of the 101st's baptism of fire. He was relieved of his command and returned to the United States. Brig. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, former commander of the 82d Airborne Division Artillery, assumed command of the 101st on 14 March. The division underwent another organizational change that month, when the 2d Battalion, 401st Glider Infantry, was permanently transferred to the 82d Airborne Division. The 1st Battalion was attached to the 327th Glider Infantry to operate under that regiment as a third battalion. The 1st Battalion, 401st GIR, was made an official element of the 327th GIR in April 1945.



VIETNAM MARINE (click picture to Enlarge)


My Brother-In-Law Larry was like most Vietnam Vets who saw combat and that is he never spoke much of what he went through in Vietnam. He was a proud Marine who always hung the Marine Corps Flag.




The shock and pain of Larry's death hit our family hard because of what a great husband, father and friend to all who knew him.

My Mom said it best when she said our family is much greater because of having had Larry Leibold in our family and lives.

The funeral home and funeral mass was overflowing from those who wanted to pay their last respects to human being that served his country, family and friends with courage, loyalty, humor and a lust for life.
He will always be with us through his wonderful children.

R.I.P - HEAD

In memory of all those who died in battle and those currently serving around the globe, and the soldiers I served with,

I Salute You



14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very Nice Tribute.

A Vet from New Jersey

Laura said...

Very nice. My father was in the 82nd at Bragg.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for sharing.

Lori

Anonymous said...

Great Stuff about the Polar Bears!

Joe Robl said...

I return that salute to you my dear friend and fellow soldier. It was a great honor to serve with you and that other crazy guy in Florida. We all made the best of a hard time in our country's history and have come through the other side. May god bless our country, all that I served with, all that have served, and those that are serving now and those that will serve in the future.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Tribute Greg! The sacrifices our Veterans made to our Country for the Liberties and Freedoms we enjoy today deserve the ultimate respect of the American people. With this Tribute you have presented absolutely puts it in perspective! Memorial weekend is much more than a Holiday for backyard BBQ's, Vacation's, & Party's! It's a true reminder of the sacrifices that were made by our Veterans in order for us as American's to have the way of life we have become accustomed to. I can only Hope and Pray they will never ever be forgotten in all our hearts and minds. I Salute you for a wonderful Tribute! Your Big Game Buddy, RB

Bruce said...

Great tribute, so few understand what was involved to get their freedom.
My grandfather, Sgt Levi Bartels, was a Polar Bear in WWI, information about him, http://sites.google.com/site/bruceshomefamily/

bagwill said...

The Immortals is based on the same cause. The movie is a Tribute to the life of WWII Veteran Colonel Robert Murphy. You can Watch The immortals on line from here.

Valerie Hilburger/Giaccotto said...

hi, my brother Michael J Hilburger, was in Vietnam, he was a Specialist Four E4 in Company B, 4th Battalian, 31st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. A Charger Machine Gunner/Polar Bear. He was with the Very first men on Feb. 21, 1967 the day before D-day 2/22/1967 began at Operation Junction City. He wrote to my mom his story of what he experienced. She sent it to the Buffalo Evening News and they published the article. It was titled "Living Hell". Things were pretty bad on Operation Junction City, Our Platoon was ambused Feb 21 on a sweep. It was living hell. God spared my life. By all rights I should hyave been killed. We found VIet Cong bunkers and were blowing them. As we were walking down the trail, the Cong opened up. The point man was shot in the heart about 10 feet from me. I could see he was dead. I took a step back and opened up. The VC were about 25 meters from us but we couldnt see them the jungle was so thick. When I finished firing, I hit the ground. In front of me, no farther than 10 feet away were the point man, his shepherd dog, the medic and to my right, a sergeant, all dead. We got the bodies and wounded out on homemade stretchers. Three of my friends are dead, one is wounded and another went berserk. It was a nightmare. I have 17 weeks to go and I pray to God I make it--Specialist 4/C Michael Hilburger, Cheektowaga. He didnt make it about 2 weeks prior to his being sent home Mike stepped on a Landmine on May 1, 1967, the first squad ambush site. Mike was point man for the squad. He lead them successfully around a village which put them 50 meters of the squads objective, Specialist Hilburger stepped on a mine. Knowing that the mind would explode as soon as he removed his foot, he immediately warned his comrades to take cover. Before anything else could be done the mine exploded fatally injuring Mike. Because of his quick thinking, the squad sustained only one other casualty. I feel my brother and and 196 Brigade did not get the recognition they deserved due to the fact that most of them never lived to tell there story, as these were some of the very first men who began in the Battle of Operation Junction City prior to D-day. Army men deployed into the jungle in Saigon. Near the end of this Operation, many men were sent away, a new Brigade was replaced by 1st Brigade, 96th Division and South Vietnames Rangers. My brother knowing these men were green lead them as he had much experience. He died May 1, 1967 leaving his wife and 1 year old daughter Michelle back home. May 14, 1967, Operation Junction City Closed. Mike was the oldest of 7 children.

Valerie J Hilburger/Giaccotto said...

hi, my brother Michael J Hilburger, was in Vietnam, he was a Specialist Four E4 in Company B, 4th Battalian, 31st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. A Charger Machine Gunner/Polar Bear. He was with the Very first men on Feb. 21, 1967 the day before D-day 2/22/1967 began at Operation Junction City. He wrote to my mom his story of what he experienced. She sent it to the Buffalo Evening News and they published the article. It was titled "Living Hell". Things were pretty bad on Operation Junction City, Our Platoon was ambused Feb 21 on a sweep. It was living hell. God spared my life. By all rights I should hyave been killed. We found VIet Cong bunkers and were blowing them. As we were walking down the trail, the Cong opened up. The point man was shot in the heart about 10 feet from me. I could see he was dead. I took a step back and opened up. The VC were about 25 meters from us but we couldnt see them the jungle was so thick. When I finished firing, I hit the ground. In front of me, no farther than 10 feet away were the point man, his shepherd dog, the medic and to my right, a sergeant, all dead. We got the bodies and wounded out on homemade stretchers. Three of my friends are dead, one is wounded and another went berserk. It was a nightmare. I have 17 weeks to go and I pray to God I make it--Specialist 4/C Michael Hilburger, Cheektowaga. He didnt make it about 2 weeks prior to his being sent home Mike stepped on a Landmine on May 1, 1967, the first squad ambush site. Mike was point man for the squad. He lead them successfully around a village which put them 50 meters of the squads objective, Specialist Hilburger stepped on a mine. Knowing that the mind would explode as soon as he removed his foot, he immediately warned his comrades to take cover. Before anything else could be done the mine exploded fatally injuring Mike. Because of his quick thinking, the squad sustained only one other casualty. I feel my brother and and 196 Brigade did not get the recognition they deserved due to the fact that most of them never lived to tell there story, as these were some of the very first men who began in the Battle of Operation Junction City prior to D-day. Army men deployed into the jungle in Saigon. Near the end of this Operation, many men were sent away, a new Brigade was replaced by 1st Brigade, 96th Division and South Vietnames Rangers. My brother knowing these men were green lead them as he had much experience. He died May 1, 1967 leaving his wife and 1 year old daughter Michelle back home. May 14, 1967, Operation Junction City Closed. Mike was the oldest of 7 children.

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