Z SQUARE 7, A B-29 TRUE STORY

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Marcia Bassett McGrattan
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Memorial Sgt George P. Demers (Lynn, MA)
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POW-MIA-KIA Ceremony
500th Bomb Group, 73rd Wing Honor Roll
Bill Mauldin With Willie And Joe
Father John McBride
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Sgt Jesse S. Klein. 41-13180
Frank Farr & Merseburg, Germany
"Lili Marlene" The Song!
"Lili Marlene" The B-17
"Lily Marlene" The B-24
"Lili Marlene" The B-24
Ivan Fail Introduction and "Long Before The Guns And Tanks."
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American Battle Monuments Commission - Cemeteries
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NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL
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Frank Farr Poetry "November 2, 1944", "Old Men And The War", " Merseburg"
Some Pictures of World War 2
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Pages Introduction
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Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 1
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Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B29 Superfortress
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Ivan Fail's "The Tuskegee Airmen"
Airmen Medal Of Honor Memorial
Memorial Page #1
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The Navajo Code Talkers & Native American Medals Of Honor
Ivan Fail's "D Day, The Normandy Invasion"
B-29 Crew Positions & Specifications
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C. Clayton Thompson Bookseller
Ivan Fail's "When The Mustangs Came"
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Ivan Fail "The Eighteen Wheeler's Hymn"
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Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building with photo album
Ivan Fail's "Against All Odds - Mission Complete"
Ford Tolbert by Sallyann
Ford Tolbert Pictures
A Tribute to Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC, The Black Sheep Squadron
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Omori POW Camp
Ivan Fail's "A Salute To Lt. Holguin"/ "Shoo Shoo Baby"
Great Bend, Kansas B-29 Memorial
General Lemay's biography including a B-29 nose art photo album
THE GENERAL AND MRS CURTIS LEMAY FOUNDATION
March 9 and 10, 1945 Over Tokyo
Lt "Hap" Halloran on March 10, 1945
General Earl Johnson
General Earl Johnson Biography
313th Bomb Wing Mining Missions
Lt Robert Copeland, copilot, Z Square 8
Pyote Bomber Base With A Photo Album
History of "Diamond Lil" With A Photo Album
History of "FIFI" With A Photo Album
"Hap" Halloran induction Combat Airman Hall of Fame
Blackie Blackburn with a photo album
Hap's Memorable Flight On FIFI
C. Douglas Caffey, A WW2 Veteran, Book Of Poetry
C. Douglas Caffey Collection Of Poetry
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C. Douglas Caffey on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
C. Douglas Caffey With More on PTSD
C. Douglas Caffey Memorial Day Flying The Flag
C. Douglas Caffey Saying Goodbye To America
OUR VETERANS NEED WORK!
Pearl Harbor with Photo Album
The Pacific Theater
Battle of Saipan, Mariana Islands
Saipan Medals of Honor
Battle of Tinian, Mariana Islands
Tinian Medals of Honor
Battle of Guam, Mariana Islands
Guam Medals of Honor
Battle of Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima Medals of Honor
Cpl Ira Hayes, USMC
Battle of Okinawa
Okinawa Medals of Honor
Japanese Surrender
Navy Ships At Surrender Ceremonies
Ivan Fail's "The Saga Of The Superfortress"
Ivan Fail's "The Silent Sentries"
Last Page

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"How can I feel like a hero when only 5 men in my platoon of 45 men survived. Only 27 men in my company of 250 men escaped death or injury." Ira H. Hayes

Cpl. Ira Hamilton Hayes

United States Marine Corps

January 12, 1923(1923-01-12)January 24, 1955 (aged 32)

Nickname Chief Falling Cloud
Place of birth Gila River Indian Reservation
Place of death Gila River Indian Reservation
Allegiance Flag of the United States United States of America
Service/branch USMC
Years of service 1942-1945
Rank Corporal
Unit 3rd Parachute Battalion
2nd Battalion, 28th Marines
1st Headquarters Battalion, HQMC
Battles/wars Vella Lavella
Bougainville
Battle of Iwo Jima
 

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Ira Hayes was an Iwo Jima hero though not a recipient of the Medal Of Honor.

Biography

Born -January 12, 1923 Sacaton, Arizona
Died - January 24, 1955 Bapchule, Arizona
Buried in Arlington National Cemetery

Pima Tribe

There are probably no more tragic stories than that of Ira Hayes. Born on the Pima Indian Reservation in Sacaton, Arizona, Ira was the son of a poor farming family. His people had struggled for years to make a living in the arid conditions of the Reservation and had little success beyond survival. At one time the Pima were successful farmers but that was before the US Government cut off their water supply and created a situation where they could no longer grow enough crops to eat.

Until the beginning of World War II, his life was probably unnoticed by anyone more than a few miles from his birthplace. When America called its men to arms Ira answered this call and joined the US Marine Corps for several reasons: He would be able to leave the Reservation, eat regularly and send money home to his family to help them have a better life. His Tribal Chief told him to be an Honorable Warrior and to bring honor upon his people. Ira never failed to do this. He was a dedicated Marine who was admired by his peers who fought alongside him in three major battles in the Pacific.

February 23, 1945, at age 23, an event occurred that would forever place Ira Hayes in this nation's history books and irrevocably change his life. On a hilltop above a Pacific island, a small group of Marines struggled to raise the American flag to claim victory over the Japanese occupancy. As the flag was being raised, Ira rushed to help his comrades just as the photographer snapped what was to become one of the most famous pictures in history. That picture was the "Flag Raising At Iwo Jima" and it is Ira's hands that are outstretched to give the final thrust that planted this symbol of American victory. Six men were caught in that photograph, three of them died shortly afterwards. The battle of Iwo Jima was a costly one for our troops. Only 5 of Ira's platoon of 45 survived and of his company of 250, only 27 escaped death or injury.


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Click on the picture to see the Ira H. Hayes Memorial High School website.

Note:  Ira H. Hayes was one of the first public figures to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  During Ira’s time, it was referred to “Shell Shock” or  “Survivor’s Guilt”  and there was little or no treatment.  Today, about 30% of war veterans experience PTSD and receive various treatment methods.  If you or someone you know exhibits PTSD characteristics please seek professional help.  This note is published by the Ira H. Hayes Memorial High School that opened in 2000 and is the only high school on the Gila River Indian Reservation.  This website can be seen at http://www.irahhayes.org.

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The photograph that changed Ira's life.

Ira Hayes was stunned when he was told that President Truman wanted him and the other survivors to return to the United State to join the 7th Bond Tour to help raise money for the war efforts. He never considered himself a hero and often said the real heroes were "my good buddies" who died during the battles. What was supposed to be an easy tour of duty turned into the worst ordeal of Ira's military life. He never understood why he was called an American hero and struggled with the adulation that was heaped on him everywhere he went. Over and over he made statements that he was not a hero but reminded everyone of the brave men who had died and deserved this honor.

By the time Ira was released from duty he was hopelessly addicted to alcohol. The Bond Tour had been a battle that had taken more of a toll on him than any he fought in the Pacific. It seemed that this nation found one way to honor its heroes: Buy them a drink! Ira went back to the Reservation to escape the unwanted attention he'd be forced to bear but people did not stop writing and coming to see "the Indian who raised the flag." Ira's only escape from the conflict he felt over being viewed as a hero was the bottle. Over and over he made statements like; "I was sick. I guess I was about to crack up thinking about all my good buddies. They were better men than me and they're not coming back. Much less back to the White House, like me." After a ceremony where he was praised by President Eisenhower once again for being a hero, a reporter asked Ira, "How do you like the pomp & circumstances?" Ira just hung his head and said, "I don't."

For the next few years Ira Hayes was a drifter, drinker and loner. He never married, was often arrested for public drunkenness and was filled with despair over the plight of his people. He had been wined and dined by the rich and powerful, had been immortalized in American history but he was still no more than an Indian on a dried up Reservation now that he'd come home. There was still no water, no crops and no hope for a better life for the Pima or him. All this time he still struggled with his own inability to reconcile himself as being worthy of the fame he'd received for simply being one of the lucky ones who lived through such a horrible war. Ira never saw his military service as any more than just being an "Honorable Warrior."

In 1954, Ira Hayes attended the dedication ceremony in Washington, D. C. for the Iwo Jima Memorial. This monument was a bronze cast replica of the now famous photograph of the flag raising, created by Felix DeWeldon. Within 10 weeks of this celebration Ira Hamilton Hayes would be dead at age 33. After another night of drinking and still lamenting over his fallen "buddies", Ira fell drunk in an irrigation ditch and froze to death, alone and forgotten by a country that had called him a hero. The ditch where he died was the single source of water that was provided for his people by the same government he'd proudly served.


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The Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, D.C.

In a speech delivered on November 10, 1993 by General Carl Mundy, USMC Commandant, United States Marine Corps, commemoration of Marine Corps 218th Birthday at Iwo Jima Memorial, these words were spoken about Ira Hayes:

"One of the pairs of hands that you see outstretched to raise our national flag on the battle-scarred crest of Mount Suribachi so many years ago, are those of a Native American ... Ira Hayes ... a
Marine not of the ethnic majority of our population.

Were Ira Hayes here today ... I would tell him that although my words on another occasion have given the impression that I believe some Marines ... because of their color ... are not as capable as other Marines ... that those were not the thoughts of my mind ... and that they are not the thoughts of my heart.

I would tell Ira Hayes that our Corps is what we are because we are of the people of America ... the people of the broad, strong, ethnic fabric that is our nation. And last, I would tell him that in the future, that fabric will broaden and strengthen in every category to make our Corps even stronger ... even of greater utility to our nation. That's a commitment of this commandant ...
And that's a personal commitment of this Marine."

I'd like to think that somewhere Ira heard these words and felt that his life had accomplished something more than he realized. I'd also like to think that there are others who might hear them and write them on their hearts. From all of us who still remember what you did, Thank you, Ira. You were indeed an "Honorable Warrior."


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The Iwo Jima flag raisers.

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The flag raisers.

There are six Flag Raisers on the photo. Four in the front line and two in back.
The front four are (left to right) Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, John Bradley and Harlon Block. The back two are Michael Strank (behind Sousley) and Rene Gagnon (behind Bradley). Strank, Block and Sousley would die shortly afterwards. Bradley, Hayes and Gagnon became national heroes within weeks.


The following song is an often debated story of Ira's life. Some found it an insult; others saw it as a hymn; I see it as truth set to music. It is not my wish to insult anyone by posting it here on a page dedicated to a man I hold in esteem. It's only done to present another view of what his life stood for and how his memory was immortalized in song.


Ballad of Ira Hayes

written by
Peter LaFarge

CHORUS:
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Gather round me people there's a story I would tell
About a brave young Indian you should remember well
From the land of the Pima Indian
A proud and noble band
Who farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona land

Down the ditches for a thousand years
The water grew Ira's peoples' crops
'Till the white man stole the water rights
And the sparklin' water stopped

Now Ira's folks were hungry
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came, Ira volunteered
And forgot the white man's greed

CHORUS:
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill,
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived
To walk back down again

And when the fight was over
And when Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was the Indian, Ira Hayes

CHORUS:
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Ira returned a hero
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored;
Everybody shook his hand

But he was just a Pima Indian
No water, no crops, no chance
At home nobody cared what Ira'd done
And when did the Indians dance

CHORUS:
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Then Ira started drinkin' hard;
Jail was often his home
They'd let him raise the flag and lower it
like you'd throw a dog a bone!

He died drunk one mornin'
Alone in the land he fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes

CHORUS:
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes
But his land is just as dry
And his ghost is lyin' thirsty
In the ditch where Ira died


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Ira Hayes during the 7th Bond Tour sometime around 1946.

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The last known picture of Ira Hayes taken in 1954, just 10 weeks before his death.

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Ira Hayes tombstone in Arlington National Cemetery.

These articles were provided by the outstanding and interesting websites at http://www.medalofhonor.com and the Ira H. Hayes Memorial High School website at http://www.irahhayes.org. .  Thank you!

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