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FReeper Canteen ~ Hall of Heroes: SSgt Henry "Red" Erwin ~ March 25, 2013
Serving The Best Troops and Veterans In The World !! | StarCMC

Posted on 03/24/2013 4:59:56 PM PDT by Kathy in Alaska


Our Troops Rock!  Thank you for all you do!
 
For the freedom you enjoyed yesterday... Thank the Veterans who served in The United States Armed Forces.
 
Looking forward to tomorrow's freedom? Support The United States Armed Forces Today!
 
 
~ Hall of Heroes ~

SSgt Henry "Red" Erwin

Info from this website.

ArmyPatch small   NavySeal small   Air Force Seal   Marines Seal small   Coast Guard Seal small (better)
 By: DaveTroll

Without counting the cost to himself, SSgt. Henry Erwin
did what had to be done to save the B-29 crew.


We may marvel at the heroism and tenacity of the men whose stories have been told in this column, but few readers can truly comprehend the suffering of many Vietnam POWs, the epic struggle of Lance Sijan, or the gallantry of Jack Mathis. What they did lies beyond the realm of our experience. But most of us have borne in some small degree the kind of anguish SSgt. Henry E. Erwin endured to save the lives of his fellow crewmen. We can empathize with his suffering and perhaps more fully appreciate the depth of his heroism.

On April 12, 1945, the City of Los Angeles, a 29th Bombardment Group aircraft commanded by Capt. George Simeral, led a formation of Guam-based B-29s in a low-level attack on a chemical plant at Koriyama, some 120 miles north of Tokyo. It was the 11th combat mission for Simeral's lead crew. Alabama-born Henry Erwin, known to his family as "Gene" and to his squadron mates as "Red," was the B-29's radio operator. According to retired Colonel Simeral, a holder of the Distinguished Service Cross, Erwin was "a country boy, quiet, unassuming, religiously devout," and the best radioman of the 52d Bomb Squadron.

One of Erwin's additional duties was to drop a phosphorus smoke bomb through a chute in the B-29's floor when the lead plane reached an assembly area over enemy territory. He was given the signal to drop the bomb when the City of Los Angeles was off the south coast of Japan and under attack by flak ships. Erwin, bare-headed and with shirtsleeves rolled up, pulled the pin and released his bomb into the chute. The fuse malfunctioned, igniting the phosphorus, which burned at a temperature of 1,300 degrees. (The heating element of an electric range glows red at 1,100 degrees.) The canister blew back up the chute into Erwin's face, blinding him, searing off one ear, and filling the B-29 with heavy smoke that obscured the pilots' instrument panel.

Erwin knew that the bomb would burn through the metal floor into the bomb bay. It had to be jettisoned or the aircraft and crew were lost. Totally blind, he located the burning bomb on the floor, picked it up in his bare hands, and stumbled forward toward the flight deck, aiming to throw it out the copilot's window. As he groped his way around the gun turret, his face and arms covered with ignited phosphorus, his path was blocked by the navigator's folding table, hinged to the wall but now down and locked. The navigator had left his table to make a sighting.

Erwin needed both hands to release the table's latches. While he felt for them, he held the white-hot bomb under his bare right arm. In those seconds, the phosphorus burned through his flesh to the bone. Now a walking torch, Erwin staggered on into the pit, threw the bomb out the window, and collapsed between the pilots' seats.

Simeral, no longer blinded by smoke, pulled the B-29 out of a dive at 300 feet above the water and turned toward Iwo Jima where Erwin could be given emergency treatment. Horrified crew members extinguished the flames consuming Erwin's clothing and administered first aid. Whenever the sergeant's burns were uncovered, phosphorus embedded in his flesh began to smoulder. In terrible pain, Erwin remained conscious throughout the flight to Iwo. He spoke only to inquire about the safety of the crew.

The crew of the City of Los Angeles, Major General Willis Hale, and Red Erwin at the presentation of his Medal of Honor.The medics at Iwo did not believe Erwin could survive. Cutting through red tape, Army Air Force officials, spurred by Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay and Brig. Gen. Lauris Norstad, approved award of the Medal of Honor in a matter of hours, so a presentation could be made while Erwin lived. A Medal was flown to Guam and presented in the hospital there.

Contrary to the flight surgeons' opinion, Erwin did survive. He was evacuated to the States, and after 30 months and reconstructive surgery that restored his eyesight and the use of one arm, Erwin was given a disability discharge from the AAF as a master sergeant in October 1947. For 37 years he served as a Veterans' Benefit Counselor at the VA Hospital in Birmingham.

While Erwin lay swathed in bandages in the hospital at Guam, Gen. Hap Arnold wrote: "I regard your act as one of the bravest in the records of this war." No one could argue with that judgment. Erwin was, and always will remain, a hero among heroes.

Related Links:
http://www.homeofheroes.com/wings/erwin.html
http://www.homeofheroes.com/wings/erwin_tribute.html
Citation

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 52d Bombardment Squadron, 29th Bombardment Group, 20th Air Force.

Place and date: Koriyama, Japan, 12 April 1945.

Entered service at: Bessemer, Ala.

Born: 8 May 1921, Adamsville, Ala. G.O. No.: 44, 6 June 1945.

Citation: He was the radio operator of a B-29 airplane leading a group formation to attack Koriyama, Japan. He was charged with the additional duty of dropping phosphoresce smoke bombs to aid in assembling the group when the launching point was reached. Upon entering the assembly area, aircraft fire and enemy fighter opposition was encountered. Among the phosphoresce bombs launched by S/Sgt. Erwin, 1 proved faulty, exploding in the launching chute, and shot back into the interior of the aircraft, striking him in the face. The burning phosphoresce obliterated his nose and completely blinded him. Smoke filled the plane, obscuring the vision of the pilot. S/Sgt. Erwin realized that the aircraft and crew would be lost if the burning bomb remained in the plane. Without regard for his own safety, he picked it up and feeling his way, instinctively, crawled around the gun turret and headed for the copilot's window. He found the navigator's table obstructing his passage. Grasping the burning bomb between his forearm and body, he unleashed the spring lock and raised the table. Struggling through the narrow passage he stumbled forward into the smoke-filled pilot's compartment. Groping with his burning hands, he located the window and threw the bomb out. Completely aflame, he fell back upon the floor. The smoke cleared, the pilot, at 300 feet, pulled the plane out of its dive. S/Sgt. Erwin's gallantry and heroism above and beyond the call of duty saved the lives of his comrades.
Please remember the Canteen is here to honor, support and entertain our troops and their families.  This is a politics-free zone!  Thanks for helping us in our mission!


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Free Republic
KEYWORDS: canteen; heroes; military; troopsupport
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To: Kathy in Alaska; laurenmarlowe; BIGLOOK; alfa6; EsmeraldaA; SandRat; mylife; TMSuchman; PROCON; ...




GOD BLESS AND PROTECT OUR TROOPS AND OUR BELOVED NATION!


TATTOO
(Click)


Must retire – the 0445 Reveille approaches relentlessly.

The Bugler, his grim visage replete with an evil sneer, already mounts the parapet.

"Do poor Tom some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes!"
(King Lear, Act III, Scene iv)




All Gave Some – Some Gave All!!!
(Click)


Good night, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America!

Godspeed our Troops around the Globe – especially those in harm’s way – by virtue of their service and sacrifice we continue to live in Freedom!









Genuflectimus non ad principem sed ad Principem Pacis!

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1 KJV)

41 posted on 03/24/2013 8:38:10 PM PDT by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Michael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: ConorMacNessa


Aloha Doc!

I've been chatting with folks all around today and it seems that nothing is going well anywhere so I'm not alone in my. thinking. Ergo my silence. But I'm with you on the Benghazi affair....Scandal
42 posted on 03/24/2013 8:39:57 PM PDT by BIGLOOK (Keelhaul the usual suspects!)
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To: BIGLOOK
More than scandal, I think. It stinks to high Heaven. And this benighted "Administration" is the author of it, The most despicable episode in our long history.



Where are the survivors of the massacre at Benghazi? The silence of the Obama Regime on this question is deafening!

Fiat Justitia, Ruat Coelum!

Genuflectimus non ad principem sed ad Principem Pacis!

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1 KJV)

43 posted on 03/24/2013 9:27:04 PM PDT by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Michael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: ConorMacNessa
God Bless you good, Mac. Good night and rest well. Thanks for helping honor our troops, past and present.
Thank you for your service to our country.


44 posted on 03/24/2013 10:16:30 PM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~)))
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To: ConorMacNessa

WOW! Elderly flowers? How long do they keep coming up?

They’re beautiful.


45 posted on 03/24/2013 10:24:02 PM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~)))
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To: SandRat

Good morning, Sand...((HUGS))...baking bread?

Great story...sounds like a good scout show, and lots of participants. Good job, Cochise District.


46 posted on 03/25/2013 1:13:18 AM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~)))
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To: BIGLOOK

Aloha and good morning, Hawaii...((hugs))...I thought spring might be here, but we are currently under a weather warning for 10 to 18” of snow. We’ve gotten about 3”, and it is still gently coming down.

Hope the sun finally found you again.


47 posted on 03/25/2013 1:18:37 AM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~)))
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To: blackie; E.G.C.; Arrowhead1952; ConorMacNessa; Allegra; Mrs.Nooseman; beachn4fun; Jet Jaguar; ...



48 posted on 03/25/2013 1:19:43 AM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~)))
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To: All
Good morning/afternoon/evening/night Troops, wherever you are.

Thank you for doing your part to help keep all of us free and safe.

Thanks, unique, for the pastries.

Coffee is always on........

How about a donut?

Cookies?

Veggies?

Sandwich?


49 posted on 03/25/2013 1:21:24 AM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~)))
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To: Jet Jaguar; txradioguy; JemiansTerror; MEG33; Laurita; CMS; OneLoyalAmerican; Defender2; ...
God bless and keep safe our troops worldwide.

Good night.


Statler Brothers ~ How Great Thou Art


50 posted on 03/25/2013 1:22:56 AM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (((~RIP Brian...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~)))
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To: Kathy in Alaska; StarCMC
A very pleasant good morning to everyone at the Canteen and to all our military at home and abroad. Thanks for your service to our country

((HUGS))Good morning, Ladies. Thanks for this morning's thread, Star. How's it going?

51 posted on 03/25/2013 1:48:24 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: Kathy in Alaska

BTTT


52 posted on 03/25/2013 1:48:38 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: Kathy in Alaska; StarCMC

Thank you for sharing the breathtaking story of hero SSgt. Henry Erwin.


53 posted on 03/25/2013 3:11:03 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: All; Kathy in Alaska; beachn4fun; LUV W; Arrowhead1952; E.G.C.; Old Sarge

Good Monday Morning To The Canteen

USS Tarawa (LHA 1)

It's a chilly 33 here.
*HUGS*
~Thank You To All Who Serve Our Country~

54 posted on 03/25/2013 3:16:23 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: StarCMC; Kathy in Alaska; E.G.C.; GodBlessUSA; LUV W; Arrowhead1952; HiJinx; txradioguy; ...

Good morning, Everyone. Good morning to our

Military, our Allies, and their families.

THANK YOU for all you do.

Thank you, Star, for preparing the Canteen for today’s activities.

KUDOS to SSgt Henry "Red" Erwin
for his service and sacrifice.

DC Metroland weather report

~ Today...Snow this morning
will give way to a mixture of rain
and snow this afternoon.
Cold. High 39F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.
1 to 3 inches of wet snow expected.

~ Tonight... Snow this evening
will diminish to a few snow showers late.
Low 29F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.
Snowfall around one inch.

It's snowing.
The good news is that since we've
been above freezing the roads look good.
However, it seems like my two days off
are going to be on the nasty side.
Tomorrow - rainy.

Time for me to make my rounds.
But, please stay right where you are.
chat up the troops or their family members.

Now remember, the Canteen is ALWAYS

Come on in and sit for a while.
There's always plenty of coffee, pancakes, conversation, silliness,
and plain old BS

REMEMBER THEM

DEFENDERS OF FREEDOM

FR CANTEEN MISSION STATEMENT

Showing support and boosting the morale of our military and our allied military and the family members of the above. Honoring those who have served before.



55 posted on 03/25/2013 4:36:08 AM PDT by beachn4fun (Why are Hispanics being given special treatment?)
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To: Kathy in Alaska

Eyew...Shoveling SNOW! Eek.

Linda and I took a lovely walk yesterday, but it was almost 90 degrees and WINDY. Very weird, as the wind was hotter than the air around it. Kind of like the sirocco or the mistral.

BUT it was better than shoveling SNOW! LOL!


56 posted on 03/25/2013 5:01:40 AM PDT by left that other site (Worry is the darkroom that developes negatives.)
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To: Kathy in Alaska; beachn4fun; StarCMC; Lady Jag; laurenmarlowe; tomkow6; GodBlessUSA; CelticLass; ...











Good morning to everyone at the Canteen. 37º, so we stayed just above freezing.





57 posted on 03/25/2013 5:10:01 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (For Jay Carney - I heard your birth certificate is an apology from the condom factory.)
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To: beachn4fun; MEG33; LUV W

Good morning ladies and (((HUGS))).


58 posted on 03/25/2013 5:11:38 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (For Jay Carney - I heard your birth certificate is an apology from the condom factory.)
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To: MEG33; beachn4fun

((HUGS))Good morning, Ladies. How’s it going?


59 posted on 03/25/2013 5:13:10 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: y'all; Arrowhead1952; beachn4fun; E.G.C.; GodBlessUSA; ConorMacNessa; Kathy in Alaska; HiJinx; ...

Gooood chilly Monday morning, Early Birds!
It's in the 30s here, but goodness!
You up north are really catching a weird spring!
Hope it warms up soon...
...and you on vacation can have good weather
for the rest of it!
You at work...don't work TOO hard! :)
((((hugs))))

60 posted on 03/25/2013 5:17:42 AM PDT by LUV W (All my heroes wear camos!)
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