(Photo is from SS) Thanks to all of you who have served or are servicing in the armed forces. The greatest generation, those who served in WW2 are fading away as are the memories their minds contained of the horrors of war on a large scale. My father-in-law (who passed a few years ago) was one of the Ghost Mountain boys – he was in the Red Arrow Division of the Army. He liked talking about his ‘adventures’ in New Guinea – he never spoke of the horrors or how miserable the Papua campaign was – he just considered it his duty. He was wounded on the Kapa Kapa trail.
I have spoken to other service men and Red Arrow members who were in that campaign and read the book ‘The Ghost Mountain Boys’ written by James Campbell (I conversed with James via email a couple years ago). The battles and conditions they suffered were horrendous.
Ghost Mountain is the name given by US Army servicemen in 1942 to a mountain in the Owen Stanley Range in the South East of Papua New Guinea, also known locally as ‘Suwemalla’ or more officially as ‘Mt. Obree’. Ghost Mountain rises to 3,080 metres (10,100 ft).
In October 1942, the US Army’s first intended offensive operation in the Pacific Campaign of the Second World War was across the Kapa Kapa Trail. Members of the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 126th Regiment, 32nd Red Arrow Division were ordered to flank the Japanese in a 130 miles (209 km) march on foot across the Owen Stanley Range, including crossing near Ghost Mountain, considerably east of the more well-known Kokoda Track.
The Kapa Kapa trail across the Owen Stanley divide was a ‘dank and eerie place, rougher and more precipitous’ than the Kokoda Track on which the Australians and Japanese were then fighting.
|“||Immense ridges, or “razorbacks,” followed each other in succession like the teeth of a saw. As a rule, the only way the troops could get up these ridges, which were steeper than along the Kokoda Trail, was either on hands and knees, or by cutting steps into them with ax and machete. To rest, the men simply leaned forward, holding on to vines and roots in order to keep themselves from slipping down the mountainside.||”|
Ghost Mountain earned its name from the eerie phosphorescent glow given off at night by moss-covered trees in the forests on its slopes. The mountain also claimed the lives of a number of US 5th Air Force air crews during the conflict, and a civilian aircraft since then.
My father and uncle served during the Korean conflict (both have passed). I just missed out on having to go to Vietnam by a few months. I had a lot of friends who graduated high school a year before me who went there, thankfully they all returned home without injury. I have a friend at work who was a Huey helicopter pilot – he has a lot of tales to tell.
The training is rigorous and war is hell no matter where our armed service men and women serve. After the Vietnam war ended our military has become voluntary – thanks again for your service – it is greatly appreciated.
We have another record hot day in store. We reached 95° here in the valley yesterday. At one point the dew point hung around 72° – we can expect similar conditions today. We also have another Air Quality alert for the area.
The flow of very warm air into the region will continue through today. It will become unstable again this afternoon and that could result in a local brief thunderstorm for parts of the area mainly around the Ludington area towards the east. Another warm day is expected for Tuesday. Showers and thunderstorms will be on the increase for Wednesday as abundant moisture streams in from the Gulf of Mexico.
The tropical system currently over the Gulf of Mexico (Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto) will move inland tomorrow and lift north through the end of the week. The 11 AM SUN forecast from the National Hurricane Center brings the decaying system up through Michigan as an extratropical depression.
We are not expecting to see much wind as it passes, but it will provide us with a good chance for rain Wednesday and Thursday. At this time, rainfall amounts do not look high enough to cause widespread flooding or significant river rises.
An inch or more of rain may cause a few rivers to rise to bank-full or minor flood stage, and allow water to pond on roads and low-lying areas. We will provide updates through the week as the forecast track and rain amounts will likely change as Alberto continues to develop and make landfall.
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