Memphis Belle

Memphis Belle

On May 17, 1943, the crew of the Memphis Belle, one of a group of American bombers based in Britain, becomes the first B-17 crew to complete 25 missions over Europe.

Belle participated in some of the most hazardous raids of the war, when the Luftwaffe still had a commanding fighter superiority and defenses of the Nazi regime were strong. She was bullet-ridden, flak-battered and on five separate occasions had one of her engines shot out. But she slugged it out with Messerschmitts and Focke Wulfs and absorbed their cannon fire without flinching. The longest period the storied plane was out of service was five days, when transportation difficulties delayed a wing replacement.

During her 25 combat missions, Belle‘s gunners were credited with destroying eight enemy fighters, but they also probably destroyed five others and damaged at least a dozen more. Her crew dropped more than 60 tons of bombs over France, Germany and Belgium, knocking out supply depots, railway yards, aircraft plants and an assortment of military bases. With amazing accuracy—thanks in no small part to the sterling work of bombardier Vincent B. Evans—Belle‘s crew blasted the Focke Wulf plant at Bremen, locks at St. Nazaire and Brest, docks and shipbuilding installations at Wilhelmshaven, railroad yards at Rouen, submarine pens and powerhouses at Lorient and aircraft factories at Antwerp.

Although Belle‘s crew members earned 51 decorations, only one Purple Heart was awarded—to tail gunner John Quinlan, who described his wound as a pin scratch on the leg. Each of the crew received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

February Small Batch

Helen Nelson

Every month, HBN Design will be creating a featured small batch of items. These items will only available for a limited time, or until they’re sold out!

This month, we’re celebrating love with hearts and valentines! Each item is unique and one of a kind, like all of our items; but this type of embellishment won’t be seen from us again!

So take a piece of the collection home with you while you can, or if you’ve already claimed a piece, let us see! Post a picture using the hashtag #hbnsmallbatch.

Thanks so much for your support!

Operation Valentine

Operation Valentine

A 104-year-old Marine veteran is hoping to add to the memory collection on his bookshelf this year by asking the public near and far for Valentine’s Day cards.

California resident and native retired Marine major Bill White spent 30 years in the active-duty Corps, he told KTXL.

His bookshelf already is full of memories he is proud of, he told KTXL ― including the Purple Heart medal he was awarded after leading Marines under heavy Japanese fire during the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II ― but the retired Marine major wants more.

“I’ll save every one of them like I’ve been saving little things that have come up … and it’ll be a personal part of my history,” said Maj. White.

White spent 30 years in the service and was awarded many medals. His most prized is the Purple Heart he earned at the Battle of Iwo Jima. He was wounded when a grenade blew up six inches from him.

To send a Valentine’s Day card to Maj. White address it to:

Operation Valentine

ATTN: Hold for Maj Bill White, USMC (Ret)

The Oaks at Inglewood

6725 Inglewood Ave.

Stockton, CA 95207

Women’s Army Corps

The Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was the women’s branch of the United States Army. It was created as an auxiliary unit, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) on 15 May 1942 by Public Law 554,[1] and converted to an active duty status in the Army of the United States as the WAC on 1 July 1943. Its first director was Oveta Culp Hobby, a prominent woman in Texas society.[2][3] The WAC was disbanded in 1978, and all units were integrated with male units.

Reckless

Staff Sergeant Reckless (c. 1948 – May 13, 1968), a decorated war horse who held official rank in the United States military, was a mare of Mongolian horse breeding. Out of a race horse dam, she was purchased in October 1952 for $250 from a Korean stableboy at the Seoul racetrack who needed money to buy an artificial leg for his sister. Reckless was bought by members of the United States Marine Corps and trained to be a pack horse for the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, Anti-Tank Company, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. She quickly became part of the unit and was allowed to roam freely through camp, entering the Marines’ tents, where she would sleep on cold nights, and was known for her willingness to eat nearly anything, including scrambled eggs, beer, Coca-Cola and, once, about $30 worth of poker chips.

She served in numerous combat actions during the Korean War, carrying supplies and ammunition, and was also used to evacuate wounded. Learning each supply route after only a couple of trips, she often traveled to deliver supplies to the troops on her own, without benefit of a handler. The highlight of her nine-month military career came in late March 1953 during the Battle for Outpost Vegas when, in a single day, she made 51 solo trips to resupply multiple front line units. She was wounded in combat twice, given the battlefield rank of corporal in 1953, and then a battlefield promotion to sergeant in 1954, several months after the war ended. She also became the first horse in the Marine Corps known to have participated in an amphibious landing, and following the war was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, was included in her unit’s Presidential Unit Citations from two countries, as well as other military honors.

Her wartime service record was featured in The Saturday Evening Post, and LIFE magazine recognized her as one of America’s 100 all-time heroes. She was retired and brought to the United States after the war, where she made appearances on television and participated in the United States Marine Corps birthday ball. She was officially promoted to staff sergeant in 1959 by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. She gave birth to four foals in America and died in May 1968. A plaque and photo were dedicated in her honor at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton stables and a statue of her was dedicated on July 26, 2013 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia. On May 12, 2018, a bronze statue of Sergeant Reckless was placed and dedicated in the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington Kentucky.