Los Banos (2)

Pacific Paratrooper

New Bilibid Prison

Heading out from New Bilibid Prison, the group also turned south down Highway 1 and eventually turned off at Mamatid, along the western shore of Laguna de Bay and about five miles above the San Juan River. Here, the entire convoy went into bivouac under a canopy of trees. Major Burgess finally informed the men about the upcoming mission, specifying the role of each company, the engineers, and the two gun crews.

Dry riverbed route to Los Banos

That afternoon the convoy of 54 amphibious tractors of the 672nd Amphibious Tractor Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Joseph W. Gibbs, moved out. The amtracs had been sitting at the Manila racetrack for a couple of weeks before making the trek southward through the streets.  After traveling along Highway 1 to Muntinlupa, the convoy turned east and crawled into the waters of Laguna de Bay. Traveling southward until just…

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Los Banos (1)

Pacific Paratrooper

Generals Eichelberger and Swing discussing plans of operation on Luzon

“I doubt that any airborne unit in the world will ever be able to rival the Los Baños prison raid.  It is the textbook airborne operation for all ages and all armies.”

____ General Colin Powell, US Army, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 25 February 1993

By this time, Everett “Smitty” Smith was an NCO and when I’d asked him many years ago if he was part of the Los Baños Raid, he said, “No, I was occupied somewhere else.” As best as I can find in my research, he was busy with the rest of the 187th near the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion that was commanded by Captain Flanagan. (The captain would later become Lt. General E.M. Flanagan, author of many WWII historical books.) Although Smitty wasn’t at this dramatic feat of the 11th Airborne Division…

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Charleston’s Coffee Culture

Live In The Nautical

“I love going to coffee shops and just sitting and listening.” ~ Julie Roberts

Locally Owned Coffee Shops

One of the first things I research when I travel to a new city are the local coffee shops. Obviously I love my coffee and while I might judge a place if they don’t have a Starbucks, the real judgement, is if they don’t have independently owned coffee shops and cafes.


History has long shown how pivotal coffee shops or cafes have played in the honing of artists, philosophical ideas, writing, even political revolution. They are a gathering for the creative types to not just get caffeinated, but to think and create.

While I don’t deny my love for Starbucks, I much prefer to shop and frequent independent cafes. It not only helps support small businesses and the local commerce, but it also gives me the vibes of a city.

6C39C111-FEAD-4B73-A6AD-43B43AABC4B2Charleston Coffee…

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Love & Money: Is There Balance In Your Relationship?


”Love is worth so much more than money. There are so many people who are filthy rich but have nobody to genuinely love them. Unconditional love is priceless”

Love is a naturally free-flowing expression of deep affection – as long as you keep money out of it. You know how hard it is to keep love alive. All of those steps and starts of a relationship are crazy making. When you add money issues, smooth seas can whip into an angry tsunami. Which begs the question: When money gets in the way of love, what can you do about it?

When problems first arise, you must ask, “What is my relationship to money?” Money can carry a lot of meaning for most people and it tends to be an edgy subject. Not having enough creates worries. For some people, having too much is worse. What does money mean to you?

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Los Banos Raid

Pacific Paratrooper

Los Banos camp, university building Los Banos camp, university building

23 February 1945 demonstrated the result of teamwork between General Swing and his troops, the Filipino guerrillas and the intelligence supplied by an escapee of the interment camp of Los Baños, Peter Miles. The man’s photographic memory gave a detailed layout of the prison and the exact sites of the guards and armaments. Mr. Miles had memorized the strict regimental daily routines of the Japanese and the specific times when the guards changed shifts and had their exercise periods, which would put them a safe distance away from their weapons.

By this time, Everett “Smitty” Smith was an NCO and when I’d asked him many years ago if he was part of the Los Banos Raid, he said, “No, I was occupied somewhere else.” As best as I can find in my research, he was busy with the rest of the 187th near the 457th…

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Ghosts: My Own Personal Ghost Sighting!

Book 'Em, Jan O

Readers, today I’ll share my own, brand new ghost story!

A friend and I went to visit another friend, someone I’d never met.  The house is said to be haunted, the residents often see a ghostly man on the stairs, and have experienced and seen things upstairs.  Some folks wouldn’t go upstairs to find out!

We walked into the kitchen. The house has a warm, inviting energy.  One could see through a passageway into the next room and the bottom part of the stairs.  I saw someone there, at the foot of the staircase, getting ready to go outside. It was an old woman, who resembled someone from the forties and fifties.  She wore a wool dress coat and a scarf around her head.  I assumed she was a relative who lived in the home, and thought no more of it. It was only later that I realized the only…

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Monster Storm Cripples Rail Service, Cancels More Than 1,500 Flights

Penney Vanderbilt and KC Jones: All About Railroads


A ferocious nor’easter unleashed violent winds and heavy rain on the region Friday, filling train station waiting halls with commuters anxious to get home, grounding airplanes and bringing traffic to a girding halt from Long Island to New Jersey.

More than 1,500 flights were canceled during Friday’s storm, and Amtrak canceled all trains on its vital northeastern corridor line from Boston to Washingtn D.C. Cargo trucks were restricted on nearly every bridge in the area, and the region’s three major commuter rails all saw crippling delays and service suspensions.


Amtrak service has been severely impacted by the nor’easter, and the rail carrier said no trains are running along the Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C. and Boston, until Saturday.

“Despite our best effort to restore service between BOS and WAS today, we have determined at this time it is not safe to do so,” Amtrak said in a tweet…

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