20th Century, History, Men, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Minnesota Enters World War II

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December 7, 1941
On the morning of December 7, 1941, members of a Minnesota Naval Reserve Division on the U.S.S. Ward are patrolling the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The crew spots and sinks a midget submarine—the first shots fired by the United States in World War II. An hour later the air attack begins that will draw the U.S. into the war. Private Milburn Henke of Hutchinson, serving with the American Expeditionary Force, will become the first enlisted man deployed to the European theater. *

Carl and Louise Henke had a son August 24, 1918, and they named him Milburn. He grew up in Hutchinson, Minnesota, and partook of the pastimes of boys then: hunting, fishing, working for his father, and playing baseball. Soon, he enlisted voluntarily, and was assigned to “B” Company, 135th Infantry Regiment of the 34th “Red Bull” Division which was merged with Iowa National Guard’s “B” Company, 133rd Regiment during training. **

The Red Bulls landed in Belfast on January 26, 1942, approximately one month after Pearl Harbor. Henke was promptly asked to meet with General Russell Hartle. The General inquired if he was willing to speak with reporters. “Well, if I have to, I think I can,” Henke replied. **

A publicity event welcomed him: a cheering crowd, photographers, and reporters. He had to walk down the gangplank six times so that the press could get a perfect shot of the first American soldier to set foot in Europe?! The newspapers and magazines had a feeding frenzy with Henke, but the climax was meeting the Queen and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Though highly publicized, Private Henke served like any G.I. and did his duty. In North Africa, he earned a Silver Star by saving his wounded Lieutenant by dragging him to safety under heavy fire. After liberating Tunisia, Milburn was wounded during preparations for the invasion of Italy. His back was broken when his weapons carrier rolled over onto him. **,***

Such were the sacrifices of these brave Minnesotans and Iowans! Please read this well-researched excerpt from the article “Private First Class Milburn Henke Lands In Belfast, Ireland” by Jason McDonald.
“The 34th Division fought in North Africa and Italy for the entire war, the longest serving unit in the United States Army. Very few of the 4,058 men who landed with Henke were left in the unit in 1945; only seven men who landed in Northern Ireland remained in 1st battalion in 1945.” ***

Lord, I’m so humbled and honored by this recollection of Milburn Henke and his 4,000 brothers that I can barely write. I thank You for the character given to these young men by their upbringing. I thank You for their obedience to do their duty in the face of suffering and death.

It reminds me of Your sacrifice, Father. You let Your son be torn in two by the Roman Empire, the accusations of the Sanhedrin, and the collective blindness of humanity?! Too few can recount the parental sacrifice of Your only Son, and too many are indifferent to Your pain. I include myself, shamefully, to the list.

I do not know if I possess the character to let my children die so the children of strangers can live. If I did, I would want to force my neighbor to remember this sacrifice. Likely, I would driven to rage by irreverence or indifference of the community to my pain.

Will You forgive my irreverence and indifference to the humiliation and public execution of Christ? Will You forgive Minnesota the irreverence and indifference to the humiliations and deaths of these elders from the 34th? Will You give us their strong portion of vigilance so that future generations will have the privilege to experience liberty?

Give us a heart like Henke. When and where conflict arises, let us volunteer to oppose it. Will You bless us to humbly do our duty today? We remember the existential threat World War II presented our State and Nation. We ask that You enable present and future generations to have the same resolve whether given heroic praise or no recognition for their efforts; “Well, if have to, I think I can.”

In parting, we are grateful that You acknowledge our efforts to serve. Like Henke’s story, we give You honor that You can do so much with a single choice! May we choose Your way; grace and truth, resolve and mettle.

“Little Is Much When God Is in It”

Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame;
There’s a crown, and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ name.
Kittie L. Suffield, 1924 ****
* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.mnmilitarymuseum.org/exhibits/veterans-page/sgt-milburn-h-henke/?ccm_paging_p_b3480=2
*** http://worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0193
**** https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Little_Is_Much_When_God_Is_in_It/

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20th Century, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Off to War

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December 1941 to September 1945
Fort Snelling once again becomes an induction and training center during World War II. Over 300,000 recruits pass through the 120-year-old fortress on their way to battlefields in Europe and Asia.*

Below is a fantastic, authoritatively researched summary of the uses of Fort Snelling during World War II from the Minnesota Historical Society.

“When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Fort Snelling became the induction point for more than 300,000 men and women who joined the armed forces. At its height in 1942, the Reception Center was capable of processing approximately 800 recruits each day. Recruits were sworn into the US military, received medical examinations and vaccinations, were classified and assigned to a unit, and were issued basic equipment. Most recruits stayed at Fort Snelling for only a short time before they were transferred to other military posts to begin their basic training.
Linking the lower and upper posts with the Reception Center was an electric streetcar called the “Fort Snelling Dummy.” In their off time soldiers at the fort enjoyed dances and socials, swimming pools and golfing, as well as a movie theater and post libraries run by the Red Cross.
In addition to inducting recruits, specialized units were organized and trained at the fort. Military Police were trained at the fort as well as the 99th Infantry Battalion, (eventually part of the 474th Infantry Regiment), made up of Norwegian-speaking soldiers who trained to fight on skis and snowshoes. Military Railway Service soldiers trained with local civilian railroad companies in the operation of the military’s railroads, going on to provide valuable logistics service in North Africa and Europe.” **

Let us reflect on the inductions and uses of Fort Snelling with You, Our Defender. We applaud Your consistent character and commitment to justice towards all! We commend You, Christ, as our advocate and defender, as our Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords, and as both the Lamb and the Lion.

We remember the faithfulness of these 300,000 Americans to defend this land, its flag, and its Constitution of unalienable rights granted to all by Your authority. We reflect on their commitment that went far beyond words; they demonstrated their love for this place by offering their minds, soul, body, and strength! We ask that You honor their commitment to fulfill their duty regardless of the price. Will You bless current and future generations of Minnesotans with their kind of durable love; a love not based on emotion, but choosing to be committed no matter the cost?

We know that our society was deeply split about involving ourselves in foreign wars that did not directly affect North America after the upheaval of the Great War (W.W.I). Please read the quote from Charles Lindbergh Sr., who at the time was a retired U.S. House of Representatives member from Minnesota’s 6th District. In his (in)famous Des Moines, Iowa speech of September 11,1941 Lindbergh posits, “As I have said, these war agitators comprise only a small minority of our people; but they control a tremendous influence. Against the determination of the American people to stay out of war, they have marshaled the power of their propaganda, their money, their patronage.” *** Will You forgive the judgments of 1941, both those supporting the wars in Europe and Japan, and the counter-judgments of those in the anti-war movement? Will You help us to hear the wisdom in the voices of both groups, and to more wisely protect our lands, people, and Constitution in the future?

We thank You that You did not condemn our sense of nationalism in this era, or condemn our love for America and its ideals of life, liberty, and property. Your Word gives us two powerful examples that should restrain nationalism within the bounds of wisdom. On the one hand, we have Your example the Psalm 137:5-6 exhorting all Israel to loyalty.
“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand cease to function. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem as my greatest joy!” ****
On the other hand, You condemn: the nationalistic pride of foolish and disobedient leaders and tribalism, (I Kings/II Kings), the call to wisdom over strength, (Ecclesiates 9:17-18), and to humbly remember Your authority over all the families of nations.
“Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.” Berean Study Bible Psalm 96:7

May we hear Your voice through history as Minnesotans, as Americans, and as members of Your family of nations! May we resist evil in our world without becoming evil. (In this, we thank You for the example of the American soldiers of this generation! They won the war without permanently hating the enemy!) May we ever remember Your might and embrace Your discipline as we resist those who oppose us! Amen!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://www.mnhs.org/fortsnelling/learn/military-history/world-war-ii
*** http://americanbuilt.us/patriots/charles-lindbergh.shtml
**** https://biblehub.com/psalms/137-7.htm
***** https://biblehub.com/psalms/96-7.htm

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20th Century, education, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Military Intelligence Service Language School

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Nov 1, 1941 to 1946
The Military Intelligence Service Language School comes to Savage. The school trains Nisei (children of Japanese immigrants) for intelligence and translation work with the Pacific forces. By the time it closes in 1946, more than 6,000 students will have graduated.

The school had been established in 1941 in San Francisco but moved east when Japanese-Americans were forcibly relocated outside of California. Minnesota was chosen as the new site partly because the army “pinpointed Minnesota as the geographic area with the best record of racial amity.” Graduates of the program translated documents intercepted at the front, monitored Japanese radio broadcasts, and interrogated captured enemy soldiers.*

To give more context, after the United States went to war with Japan, as a means of curbing spying and sabotage, President Roosevelt issued the infamous Executive Order 9066 which removed Japanese-Americans from their homes to concentration camps. Categories were made to sort these people based on risk-factors.** For example, “Kibei” were those who grew up in U.S., but for mostly cultural and linguistic reasons were sent back to Japan to receive their university education. The “Nisei”, or second generation Japanese-Americans who raised here were not trusted by the public.***

One wonders how this group reacted to the indignities and real losses of property at the hands of our government. Below is an excerpt from the Minnesota Historical Society based on witnesses and primary source evidence.
“The Nisei who attended the school faced unique personal challenges when deciding to join the military. Many parents of Nisei felt uncomfortable with their children’s participation in the war. After being discriminated against by the federal government, some Japanese Americans found the idea of military service problematic. The US intelligence service feared that after Executive Order 9066, recruits would be hard to find. However, Nisei volunteered in the hundreds, and those who enlisted did so to prove their loyalty to the United States.” ****

This loyalty expressed by the Nisei changed the results of World War II. Although their stories were mostly unknown until decades later, these volunteer linguists did a tremendous service to our state and nation. “The Nisei linguists were credited with shortening the war in the East by two years, saving nearly a million lives and billions of dollars.” ****

What say You, Prince of Peace? Will You bring insight into this page of our history? We are grateful for Your loyalty to each of us. “Know that the LORD your G-d is G-d, the faithful G-d who keeps his gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love him and keep his commands.” CSB Deuteronomy 7:9

We begin by walking thankfully through Your front door. We praise You for your masterful and chess-like precision in positioning us to do Your will. We are grateful for the receptivity of Governor Stassen to bring this school to Minnesota. We remember and are grateful for the gracious spirit You have put into Minnesotans towards their fellow Japanese-Americans. We still benefit from their wise, benevolent, and forbearing heart towards outsiders. Will You continue this attitude in us today, and enable us to be a harbor for the displaced?

Conversely, we recognize the judgments of our Federal government and some of the public. We, as a people, took actions to dehumanize the Nisei and the Kibei. We literally and figuratively committed acts of institutional racism. We tolerated our neighbors being stripped of their unalienable rights, dignity, and property because of fear in the time of war. Will You have mercy on this judgment of Your people; the Japanese-American?

We remember to You the successes and failures of President Roosevelt in this era. Granted, his leadership helped us ultimately gain victory over our enemies, but his legacy is a mixture of both good and rotten fruit. As a candidate, he ran on peace, but reversed his position and declared war. “I am asking the American people to support a continuance of this type of affirmative, realistic fight for peace.” ****** FDR at Madison Square Garden, NYC October 28, 1940 In the the run up to W.W. II, his policies shifted between pacifying the threats of Hitler and Stalin, and enraging Japanese leadership through blocking their sea lanes and ability to trade. ****** These actions seem contradictory to his public persona, and call the sincerity of his motives into question. Ironically, the man who, arguably, did the most for the American common man also committed the most racist act on the American common man in the 20th century with Executive Order 9066?!

Lord, we are no better or worse than F.D.R. With one hand we build up, and with the other we tear down. However, we come and ask Your forgiveness and mercy on the internment of American people based solely on their Japanese ancestry; will You forgive us? Will You forgive the judgments documented in EO 9066, and the corresponding counter-judgments by the Nisei and the Kibei? Will You forgive our common American culture its fear, suspicion, and prejudice towards the Nisei and Kibei? Will You forgive the counter-judgments of the Nisei and Kibei towards their government and fellow citizens?

Today we give You thanks for the thousands of Japanese-Americans who rose above the prejudice of our government! We thank You that they did not take the bait of offense straight from the only truly common enemy of humankind; Lucifer. We thank You that they saw the greater threat to humanity in the aggressive prejudices of Tojo. Will You bless their figurative and literal ancestors to also de-escalate war and solidify peace and good-will through knowing language and culture? Amen!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9066
*** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nisei
**** http://www.mnopedia.org/group/military-intelligence-service-language-school-misls
*****
****** http://www.rationalrevolution.net/war/fdr_provoked_the_japanese_attack.htm

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