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Dave

Uniform to BMC Rex Gillihan, USN, WW2 Japanese POW!

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Last year's SOS was a bust for me buying things. I walked the show for almost 3 days when I decided to pack my table in and head home...a pocket full of cash from sales, but not a single purchase. As I was packing up, the guy from the table behind me tapped my shoulder and said: "Hey, I know you collect Chief stuff, this guy from the gun show is trying to sell this uniform." He motioned to a guy at his table holding up a nice set of khakis to a BMC. Strangely, the a friend of the guy had been peddling the uniform all over the show, and I was at one of the back tables. It had been on this other fellow's table at the gun show for two days with no buyers.

 

So, he came around and I looked at it. No name I could find right off (but I was just checking pockets) and I asked if the seller knew who it belonged to. It was the seller's cousin's brother in law's uniform (or something like that) and so I asked if I could get a name with it and any information. "For a full price buy, I'll run back and ask the owner" said the fellow. Okay, so I shelled out $40 and bought it. :thumbsup: I figured I couldn't go wrong if the guy never came back!

 

About an hour later, the guy comes back and tells me the uniform belonged to Rex Tipton, who had been on 2 ships that sunk during the War. Cool, a good place to start research. I figured with the lack of campaigns on the PTO, the overseas star on the American Defense, and the star on the Phil Defense...it had to be good. Well, I excitedly texted the name to Kurt Stauffer and Tom Lane to see if they could find Rex Tipton. Nada. Nothing. DARN!

 

I searched for about a week when I came home and came up empty handed. So, the uniform has been sitting in my closet ever since.

 

Well, I decided to photograph some more uniforms today so I could put them up for sale. While I was setting this one up, I checked the trousers and...if I'll be darned...I found the name Gillihan hand written on the lining! It's an uncommon enough name, but I thought this was named to Tipton???

 

I ran a quick search on Ancestry.com... and there were 198 hits for Gillihan. No problem! I found one for a "Rex Ross Gillihan" on the USS MINDINAO, PR-8. My brain started reeling...hmmm...a gunboat from China, and his rosters went through December 1941! I did a search on google for the MINDINAO, and sure enough, from Wikipedia, I learned:

 

Assigned to inshore patrol and guard duty in Manila Bay, the gunboat acted as station ship in connection with the minefield channels near Corregidor until the end of December 1941, and then took nightly turns with China river gunboats USS Luzon (PR-7) and USS Oahu (PR-6) patrolling east of Bataan. The shortage of fuel in the Philippines ended these patrols in early March, and the ships instead took turns watching for Japanese small craft at a position 3 miles east of Corregidor. On the afternoon of 25 March, they engaged nine enemy boats. Mindanao harassed enemy artillery east of Bataan on 6 April. The same day, the gunboat helped rescue some 60 American soldiers from both shore artillery and enemy aircraft. The ship repeatedly closed the beach to support small boats embarking the soldiers.

 

When the naval situation in Manila Bay appeared hopeless, Mindanao’s crew was ordered ashore on 10 April to help defend Fort Hughes. Hit by shell fire the same day, the gunboat was stripped of all useful gear. On 2 May 1942, after suffering an aerial bomb hit in the engine room, she was sunk to prevent capture.

 

And a quick search in the POW database led me right to Coxswain Rex Gillihan, captured on 6 May 1942!!! Baaa-DING!

 

So now, I know I've got the uniform to not Rex TIPTON but Rex GILLIHAN, who retired from the Navy after serving over 3 years as a POW in Japan!

 

Now for the photos:

Gillihan1.jpg


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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I should rephrase my last line above...he actually retired in the 1950s from the Navy...his POW time was in his early years!

Gillihan2.jpg


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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I should also note this is the second year in a row I've picked up a Philippine Defense POW uniform at the SOS... :thumbsup:

Gillihan3.jpg


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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Found his marriage certificate. Looks like he was stationed in Japan and married a young lady from the US back in 1948. I found record of her coming back to the US in 1950, so I assume they either separated or he transfered back to the US about that same time (and then made it out for Korea).

GillihanMarriageCert.jpg


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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Here's the reverse. I thought this was kind of funny... My wife and I got married when I was stationed in Japan. Even though she was also a Navy officer, I still had to get approval from Fleet Activities Yokosuka to marry her! (They had to do background checks and everything...pretty stupid, really...) I really grated against it at the time, but apparently they'd been doing it for over 50 years by that time!

GillihanMarriageCert2.jpg


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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Looks like he got held in a real sh*t-hole of a POW camp... :disgust:

 

http://www.mansell.com/pow_resources/campl...a/yodogawa.html


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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That is an awesome CPO uniform with some awesome history :thumbsup: i am also starting to collect CPO uniforms. i have 1 grey, 1 tan, and 2 black ones. trying to get one with my brothers rate (damage controlman).

 

Philip :)


Actively Seeking:

WW2 USN/USMC Attributed/Named Purple Heart Groups

WW2 USN/USMC Combat Aviation Groups

 

WW2 and Prior USN/USMC Medal Groups

 

Contact me if you have something

 



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Nice Dave!!! One of the best POW uniforms I have I bought came from a guy who didnt check the sleeve for a name. I also love the fact the sewn ribbons are in the wrong order!

 

Kurt


!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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Dave, great uniform and you tell the best stories! LOL


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After having a double bypass this past year, it's time to downsize and pass along much of my 'stuff'. I've had my fun, now it is someone elses turn.

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Nice score! Always had a passion for Khaki, this one is especially nice!



The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps. (General A. A. Vandegrift, USMC, 5 May 1946)

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Yes, I know...some of you who know me are probably amazed that I've kept this uniform for almost a year now... :lol: I'm fascinated by his story!

 

I finally got a limited response from the NPRC. I am resubmitting my FOIA to get more (hopefully). They turned down the researcher in person from getting his files, so I'm having to rely on the "old school" FOIAs to get his record.

 

I was able to get his partial record of service. He joined on 5 April 1940, and was on active duty until 9 October 1959 when he transfered to the Fleet Reserve. His last date in the FR was 1 April 1965.

 

His partial listing of duty stations include:

 

USNTS San Diego - 5 April 40 to 7 Jun 40

USS ASTORIA - 22 Jun 40 to 30 Mar 41

USS MINDANAO - 27 May 41 to 6 May 42

POW - 6 May 42 to 4 Oct 45

USNH #10 - 5 Oct 45 to 6 Oct 45

USNH Norman, OK - 12 Oct 45 to 12 Feb 46 (he was from OK, so my guess is that they flew him home for recovery)

USN Receiving Station (RS) New Orleans - 15 Mar 46 to 20 Mar 46

Leave, McAlester, OK - 25 Apr to 15 Jul 46

USN RS North LA - 18 Jul to 26 Jul 46

USN Personnel Separation Center, Norman, OK - 3 Aug to 2 Sep 46

CARETAKER Det, NATTC, Norman, OK - 3 Sep 46 to 25 May 47

RS Norfolk, VA - 11 to 20 Jul 47

RS San Francisco, CA - 20 Jul to 14 Oct 47

US Fleet Activities No 3823 (Yokosuka, Japan) 8 Nov 47 to 18 Mar 49

 

And that's all I've got for now. So I hope I can get the next 10 years of his career in my next request. We'll see!

 

Dave


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

 

Beautiful uniform Dave !!

 

Vic


"We Polish soldiers, for your freedom and ours, gave our souls to God, our bodies to the soil of Italy, and our hearts to Poland"

 

-- inscription at the Polish cemetary - Monte Cassino

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Thanks guys!!!

 

Here's his headstone...

GillihanHeadstone.jpg


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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And here's an interesting story by one of the ship's officers of the MINDANAO sinking and their time of captivity as a POW...

 

http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/1208d.htm


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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This is an amazing set, you're inspiring me to start picking these up as well.

 

Leonardo


I collect items from The Battle of Iwo Jima (1945).

Top Iwo Jima Items I'm Looking For:

1) IDed 5th MarDiv Corpsman Jumper or Forest Green Coat.

2) IDed Coast Guard Navy Jumper

3) IDed CB's Sea Bee's Navy Jumper

4) IDed 147th Infantry Regiment Army Service Coat

5) IDed 32nd ID Army Service Coat (Occupation Kyushu with 5th MarDiv).

I am always looking for named and dated WWII USMC Forest Green wool alpha jackets/coats from the 5th Marine Division or other units who participated in the battle.

My Blog "Marines In Forest Green" http://marinesinfore...n.blogspot.com/

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Well, a month later, I got the "rest" of his service history! :thumbsup:

 

USS ETLAH (AN-79) 18 Mar to 2 Sep 52

Staff, CNATECHTRA (Chief, Naval Technical Training) 31 Dec 52 to 18 Jan 55

UTRON THREE 31 Mar 55 to 29 Jun 57

NAVSTA Kwajalein 16 Nov 57 to 30 Sep 59

NAVSTA Pearl Harbor 9 Oct 59 to retirement

 

So it looks like he served on the ETLAH, a anti-submarine net ship during the Korean War. They were stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, and made frequent trips to Pusan to maintain submarine nets during the War. He then served on the staff of CNATECHTRA -somewhere-, probably teaching something that had to deal with "deck" things. He then served with Utility Squadron THREE out of Ream Field in San Diego. I'm not sure what VU-3 did, but they did have F8F Bearcats at the time (from the tales of a pilot assigned to them while BMC was stationed there.)

 

He then served at Naval Station Kwajalein, known as the Pacific Missile Test Range while he was there. Pretty much the middle of nowhere. He was recommended for both BMCS and BMCM while he was there, but was never promoted. I'm guessing he decided to retire after not being selected for E-8 and finished his paperwork at NAVSTA Pearl Harbor. The end of a very, very long journey!

 

Dave


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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Very nice uniform, Dave. I also am a big fan of the khakis. I wish they'd come back.....for the Marines as well.


Semper fi; Bill











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You know, with the initial mix up with the last name, i wonder if the man knew it was a relative, but just got another surname from his extended family mixed up with it. Amazing score, though. Color me green, for sure.


Looking for the following:

452nd and 447th Bomb Group items

Anything 12th Armored- especially uniforms

155th Assault Helicopter Company, Camp Coryell, or Ban Me Thuot Vietnam items[/center]


WWII US Navy Uniforms from the Battle Off Samar: USS Johnston DD-557, USS Hoel DD-553, USS Samuel B. Roberts DE-413, USS Heermann DD-532, USS Dennis DE-405, USS John C. Butler DE-339, USS Raymond DE-341, USS Fanshaw Bay St. Lo, White Plains, Kalinin Bay, Kitkun Bay and Gambier Bay...


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Brought back up in memory of the fall of Bataan, April 9, 1942.

 

Dave


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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Two years later...a bump back up...on the 75th anniversary...


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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Nice story Dave, you should post that in the Chief pinned post. All these years and I have never even seen it.


On the lookout for Pre-WWI Navy Uniforms


"It's not a mannequin, it's a display form torso!"

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