• The National WWII Museum Blog
dividing bar

Archive for May, 2012

dividing bar

Auditions at the Stage Door Canteen

dividing bar

Stage Door Canteen at The National WWII Museum hosts city-wide auditions

Open call for both AEA and non-AEA actors, dancers and actor-musicians


The National WWII Museum’s Stage Door Canteen located at 945 Magazine Street. Parking is available on the street or in the Museum’s Magazine Street parking lot
for $6.


This OPEN CALL for actors, dancers, and actor-musicians will take place Saturday, May 26, 2012.

9:30am—10:30pm Actors Equity Association by appointment
10:30pm—12:30pm Last names ending in A-M
1:00pm—3:00pm Last names ending in N-Z


Bring 20 copies of attached headshot and résumé.

AEA ACTORS: Please contact Aimée Hayes at ahayes@southernrep.com to schedule
an appointment.

NON-AEA ACTORS: Prepare two contrasting monologues of one-minute each.

SINGERS: An accompanist will be present. Please bring sheet music and prepare 16
bars of a musical theatre standard.

ACTOR-MUSICIANS: Seeking trombone, saxophone, guitar and bass players. Prepare
a 2-minute solo piece in swing style and 16 bars of a vocal swing tune.

DANCERS: Swing Dance Pairs—prepare a choreographed energetic number that
includes flips, tricks and air steps no longer than 2 minutes to any Louis Prima song (CD
player provided). Dancers able to sing a plus—please prepare 16 bars of a swing tune.

Please note: Children under 18 will NOT be seen.


Attending will be local theater companies and independent producers representing the following:

Allways Lounge
Anthony Bean Community Theater
Artist Inc.
Bayou Playhouse/ Evangeline Productions
Jefferson Performing Arts Society
Le Petit Theatre Du Vieux Carre
Mid-City Theatre
Mondo Bizarro
NOLA Project
Rising Shiners
Rivertown Repertory Theatre/Theatre 13
Shakespeare Fest at Tulane
Southern Rep
Stage Door Canteen


dividing bar
dividing bar

Corregidor Falls

dividing bar


American troops surrender to the Japanese. 6 May 1942


Corregidor, given names like “the impregnable rock”, “Gibraltar of the East”, and the “island fortress,” fell nevertheless on this day 70 years ago when Gen. Jonathan Wainwright surrendered the last remaining American forces defending the Philippines to Japanese General Homma. Though Bataan had been surrendered nearly a month before, the Japanese would not be satisfied until Corregidor was theirs; without it, they could not take control of Manila Bay.

Nearly 15,000 American and Filipino troops and nurses were living on the island, fighting as much with hunger and disease as with the hordes of Japanese bombers threatening them from overhead. The underground Malinta Tunnel provided much protection from the bombing runs, but the island was too overpopulated for the tunnels to be a comfortable home for everyone. The island was relatively well defended with coastal artillery batteries, mortars, and anti-aircraft guns. This firepower was most effective when the bombers were directly overhead, and as a means to save dwindling ammunition fire was held until the bombers were within close range. The AA and artillery batteries gained much practice from the more than 600 enemy sorties, becoming quite adept at hitting their marks and causing noteworthy damage to the attackers. Once Bataan had fallen, the Japanese had yet another base from which to pound Corregidor with artillery.
Finally, on 5 May, Japanese forces invaded Corregidor itself. Though the waves of hundreds of attackers faced a fierce defense and unexpected rough seas, those defenders were nevertheless underequipped and vastly outnumbered. On 6 May at 1330 hours, General Wainwright surrendered the last remaining forces defending the Philippines. All were taken prisoner, including the Army nurses serving there who would come to known as the Angels of Bataan and Corregidor. Despite this victory, Japanese leadership was displeased with the amount of time it took General Homma to capture the Philippines, and he was relieved of his command, forced to retire a year later. Corregidor would eventually be recaptured in February 1945.

[ You can listen to Wainwright’s surrender radio broadcast here ]


Artifact Highlight: Col. Jesse T. Traywick

Col. Jesse Traywick served as Gen. Jonathan Wainwright’s G-3, or Assistant Chief of Staff. Wainwright entrusted Traywick to deliver a handwritten letter of surrender to Maj. Gen. William Sharp. Although Wainwright had agreed to surrender, General Homma wanted assurance that the forces under Maj. Gen. William Sharp would also put down their arms. In a 300-page document created by Traywick after the war, he describes the final days at Corregidor from his point of view as G-3:


6 May: An hour before the moon rose, enemy landings on Corregidor beaches began; remaining batteries on Corregidor and at Fort Drum opening up, destroying several of the landing barges, but the attacked waves came on and the defending forces, largely Marines, were forced to withdraw to Malinta Hill. At dawn, a counterattack by the defending troops failed. With remaining American and Filipino troops pinned down, General Wainwright decided to surrender, first releasing the Visayas-Mindanao Force and placing it directly under General MacArthur, the Commander in Chief, GHQ, SWPA. Demolition of all weapons was ordered completely by noon, and General Wainwright ordered a surrender offer to be broadcast at 10:30 a.m.

The surrender message was broadcast, and at noon the American flag was lowered and replaced with a white flag. Enemy fire continued and the surrender message had to be repeated at 12:30 p.m. A truce party proceeded at about 1:00 p.m. to Japanese lines and returned with the information that the Commanding General, USFIP [United States Forces in the Philippines] must come to the Japanese Commander if he desired to discuss terms. At about 2:00 p.m. General Wainwright and four other officers proceeded to Japanese lines…

The Japanese commander insisted upon surrender of all U.S. and Filipino troops in the Philippines, refusing to accept a surrender under any other terms, and threatening to continue hostilities against the fortified islands until the terms were accepted. General Wainwright refused and returned to Corregidor where shortly before midnight, after reconsidering, he signed the Japanese document of surrender in the presence of the senior Japanese officer on Corregidor, surrendering all U.S. and Filipino troops in the Philippine Islands. The Commanding General of the Visayas- Mindanao Force and the commander of resisting units still operating behind the lines in Northern Luzon were informed of the terms imposed upon General Wainwright and were directed to surrender.

7 May – 9 June: The Japanese did not consider surrender as completed until all resisting units had complied. Isolated units continued to resist until authenticated information of the surrender reached them. Troops on Corregidor were evacuated to Manila on 28 May and placed in Bilibid Prison.


Because of the confusion caused by Wainwright’s releaseing General Sharp to MacArthur’s direct control, Traywick had to travel to Mindanao with “authenticated” papers. MacArthur had ordered Sharp to prepare for continued guerrilla operations, but Wainwright was ordering Sharp to surrender to avoid continued Japanese hostilities. After meeting with Traywick, General Sharp ultimately complied with Wainwright’s decision to surrender, and the process was complete by 11 May 1942.


Traywick was taken prisoner, but managed to hold onto his West Point (class of 1924) ring throughout his years of imprisonment by standing on top of it during every inspection to avoid its discovery by his captors.


Traywick also etched his own GI canteen to pass the time. The carvings read, “Colonel J. T. Traywick, G-3, USFIP. Dec 8. 1942 – May 6, 1942. Rising Sons of Bataan. SNAFU.” Gift of Jesse Traywick, 2005.169



This post by Curator Meg Roussel

dividing bar
dividing bar

SS Alcoa Puritan

dividing bar

Gift of Dr. Frank Arian, 2009.451.377

Seventy years ago today on 6 May 1941, the SS Alcoa Puritan fell prey to U-507 in the Gulf of Mexico only about 50 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River . In May 1942, nearly a ship a day was lost in the Gulf of Mexico, victim to German U-boat wolfpacks.  In 1942 and 1943, U-boats would sink fifty-six ships and damage another fourteen in the Gulf alone. It would not be until late July 1942 that merchant ships began a convoy system in the Gulf to help bring an end to this threat to sailors lives and critical supplies.

The Alcoa (Aluminum Company of America) operated SS Alcoa Puritan was on its way from Trinidad to Mobile, Alabama with a load of bauxite, the main source of aluminum and chief product of Alcoa, when it was targeted by U-507. After the Puritan was disabled by over 70 shells from the U-507’s deck guns, Captain Yngvar A. Krantz gave orders to abandon ship. The German submarine’s captain waved  and even apologized to the crew before submerging. The Puritan’s entire crew and her passengers (which included 6 survivors from a previous torpedo sinking) were rescued by a Coast Guard cutter less than an hour later.

The wreck of the Alcoa Puritan was discovered  in 2002 by contractors conducting surveys for Shell International Exploration and Production. That discovery has sparked research studies by marine archaeologists about the archaeological and biological analysis of World War II shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2004, the Minerals Management Survey donated a German 10.5cm  shell casing recovered from the Gulf of Mexico to the Museum. The shell casing was found just north of the wreck of the Puritan and is presumably from the deck gun of U-507.

Shell casing from the U-507

Gift of the Minerals Management Service, 2004.392

Read more about these studies and about the SS Alcoa Puritan and U-boats in the Gulf here.

Post by Curator Kimberly Guise.

dividing bar
dividing bar

Operation Ironclad: The Battle of Madagascar

dividing bar

Map of the Indian Ocean area, showing Madagascar and the sea lanes it might threaten. Gift of Nancy McBeth, 2010.431


Today marks the 70th anniversary of the British invasion of the Vichy French controlled island of Madagascar. The African island, the fourth largest in the world, wasn’t of strategic importance in and of itself. But her proximity to Allied shipping lanes traveling around the tip of Africa made taking the island a necessity for the continued functioning of merchant shipments supporting troops in the CBI and elsewhere.

British and American leadership feared the possibility that Vichy would either cede the island completely to the Japanese, as had been done with French Indo-China–thereby allowing the Japanese to easily take Singapore, Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies–or that they would allow the Japanese use of the submarine pens on the island. The incredibly long range Japanese submarines, if given a home in the Indian Ocean, would pose a massive threat to Allied sea lanes and therefore necessitated the taking of the entire island.

On 5 May 1942, British land and naval forces invaded Madagascar with the support of the South African Air Force, quickly taking the key port of Diego Suarez by 7 May. The British believed that in taking this port, the entire island would be secured. Under the leadership of Vichy supporter Governor Armand Leon Annet, however, the 8,000 defending troops moved southward. Just as the Japanese had underestimated the will of American forces in the Philippines, resulting in months of drawn out warfare, the Malagasy and Senegalese troops under Annet forced the British to fight until 6 November. Although combat was very low-level, costing less than 200 men killed on each side, the ongoing battle in Madagascar denied Allied operations elsewhere the use of some 10,000 British troops.

President Roosevelt was fully supportive of British actions aganist Madagascar, and promised to return the island to the French after the war. A State Department bulletin of 9 May 1942 stated:


The President of the United States has been informed that Madagascar has been occupied by British forces. This occupation has the full approval and support of the Government of the United States. The island of Madagascar presents the definite danger to the United Nations* of occupation or use by the Axis powers, especially Japan. Such occupation by the Axis powers would constitute a definite and serious danger to the United Nations in their fight to maintain the kind of civilization to which France and to which the United Nations have been so long accustomed.

The Government of the United States is at war with the Axis powers, and if it becomes necessary or desirable for American troops or ships to use Madagascar in the common cause, the United States will not hesitate to do so at any time.

The United States and Great Britain are in accord that Madagascar, will, of course, be restored to France after the war or at any time that the occupation of Madagascar is no longer essential to the common cause of the United Nations.


Roosevelt made good on his promise, and the French regained control of the island after the war. It wasn’t until 1960 that the Madagascar gained its independence.


      *United Nations as used in this context does not refer to the organization we know today, but was another name for the Allied countries.


This post by curator Meg Roussel

dividing bar
dividing bar

Do with less so they’ll have enough! The 70th Anniversary of Ration Book One

dividing bar

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the release of Ration Book One. Unlike today’s supermarket shelves stocked with endless product options, rationing ushered in a period of shopping wisely, monitoring spending, and limiting choices. During this time, there were shortages of many different types of goods, including refrigerators, bicycles, gasoline, stockings, and of course an array of food products.

These shortages were for a variety of reasons. Ships and trucks once used to transport foods items were now needed for soldiers and supplies at home and abroad. Sixteen million enlisted men and women along with our Allies also needed proper nourishment during wartime. These changes added up to less products on our grocery store shelves, hence the slogan and iconic poster, “Do with less so they’ll have enough!”

On May 4th 1942, the Office of Price Administration issued Ration Book One, containing stamps to purchase sugar and other later designated goods. This system ensured everybody received their “fair share” (to reference another well-known poster) and forbade the exchange or trading of stamps with any individual. Stamps had to be torn out of the book in front of the grocer, butcher, etc. to ensure that they belonged to the owner.

Yesterday, the Museum presented two webinars on the Home Front to remember this important anniversary. Students from across the country had the opportunity to experience what it was like growing up during WWII. We asked common questions of kids on the Home Front and addressed “Why can’t we buy whatever food we want at the grocery store?” Together, we shouted the answer of most busy parents, “Don’t you know there’s a war on?” and then explored the more in-depth answers. Students envisioned they were going grocery shopping during 1944, sang along to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, and imagined their grandparents or great-grandparents doing the jitterbug as teens and young adults.

We had over 150 sites from 34 states and over 1500 students tuning in to the webinar sessions. Fun was had by all as we were listening to “Accentuate the Positive,” watching a Looney Tunes clip about scrapping, and checking on the progress of the Museum’s Victory Garden.  One school in New Jersey invited local veterans to participate along with them. Another teacher exclaimed her students were “fascinated by it! They were so interested and want more!” Some students were even inspired to start a Victory Garden and make their own ration books.

Want to learn more about rationing? Check out the Take a Closer Look gallery to examine not only ration book one, but all rationed books issued by the OPA.  Explore different propaganda posters showing how our “Food is Fighting.” Take these lessons with you by printing out our latest bookmark to commemorate this milestone.

Posted by Chrissy Gregg, Virtual Classroom Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.

dividing bar
dividing bar

Help Send History Students to Washington, D.C.

dividing bar

On Saturday, April 21, the Louisiana History Day State Contest was held at The National WWII Museum. Over 90 projects entered in 5 categories in both middle and high school. Thirty-one projects and 49 students advanced to the National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.

These 49 students spent countless hours perfecting their projects in order to advance to the National Contest. Their work is not done. Immediately following the Awards Ceremony on April 21, all 49 qualifiers took the feedback from the Contest’s judging panels and began revising their work. The students are updating web sites, revamping exhibit boards, altering performance scripts, and proofreading their work over and over.

Unfortunately, many of these students cannot afford the estimated $700 cost to travel and compete in Washington, DC, making their dream of competing at the National History Day just that — a dream.

So The National WWII Museum is stepping up to help these dedicated and hard-working students realize their full potential, and we’re asking our friends and supporters to help us get them to Washington for the National History Day Contest so they can present their projects.

Will you help us by donating just 50 cents for each of our students?


dividing bar
dividing bar

Louisiana History Day Teachers of the Year

dividing bar

Amy Vines from Winnfield High School and Carla DiStefano from St. Bernard Parish Schools are the winners of the 2012 Patricia Behring Louisiana History Day Teacher of the Year. Ms. Vines and Ms. DiStefano will each receive $500, and they will be entered into a national competition for a $10,000 prize. Each will represent Louisiana at the National History Day Contest in College Park, MD.


Ms. Vines teaches English I and Journey to Careers at Winnfield High School in Winnfield, LA. Ms. Vines credits National History Day with instilling in her students the lessons of “will-power, tolerance, failure and success” as well as overcoming “insecurity, doubt, and fear.” (more…)

dividing bar
dividing bar

Museum Welcomes 3 Millionth Visitor!

dividing bar

John and Patricia Carver weren’t sure what was about to unfold late Tuesday morning as they walked through the front entrance of The National WWII Museum’s Louisiana Pavilion and Dr. Gordon “Nick” Mueller, Museum President and CEO, approached with a broad smile, clutching balloons.

The Carvers, visiting New Orleans from Ann Arbor, Michigan, became the surprise honorees of the day as the Museum celebrated reaching the 3 million mark in paid visitation since the institution’s opening in 2000.

Board of Trustees Chairman Herschel Abbott joined Mueller and Museum staff members in greeting the couple as representatives of an important milestone. Abbott paused, as is customary at Museum public events, to recognize WWII veterans in the audience, noting that their stories are fundamental to the work of educating citizens about the American experience in the war.

Patricia Carver’s father served as a journalist in the Army and her mother was a British war bride; the home where her family lived in the Washington, DC area was built by her father through assistance from the GI Bill. John Carver noted that he had several uncles who served in the Army or Army Air Corps. “I remember they used to give me their patches and stuff,” he said.

Both were eager to take in the Museum’s numerous exhibits and see the 4-D film attraction Beyond All Boundaries. They were provided complimentary admission and other items that will serve as mementos from an extraordinary day.

Television news crews were on hand, eager to talk to the couple.

During a brief public ceremony, Mueller called attention to other milestones already reached by the 12-year-old Museum: collection of more than 7,000 oral histories and more than 100,000 other artifacts; on-site visits by more than 400,000 students; more than 1 million Museum website visitors annually; the development of a national membership of 130,000, with members in every state; and the investment of more than $200 million in Museum construction and expansion projects.

Mueller also noted that personal connections, like those of the Carters, and a desire to better understand a pivotal time in American history drive the swelling visitation numbers, he said.

The Museum is a place where people can rediscover the meaning of the American Spirit, feeling the strength and values of the WWII generation, Mueller said. “There’s a great sense of discovery, self-discovery and pride.”

Plan your visit to The National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

dividing bar
dividing bar

Announcing the 2012 Student Essay Contest Winners!

dividing bar

This year we received more than 850 responses from high school students and more than 650 from middle school students in response to our question “What WWII invention or innovation has had the greatest impact on YOUR life?” Essays came from as far away as Germany, England, and Korea and as close as several miles away.

The writers did a wonderful job of illustrating how these innovations from 70 years ago impact their lives today. Topics included everything from penicillin and computers to SPAM and deodorant. We congratulate this year’s winners and look forward to next year’s contest.

High School Winners:

1st Place: Aaron Gaudette, 9th Grade, Ramstein High School, Ramstein AFB, Germany

2nd Place: Kallie Peterman, 11th Grade, North Montgomery High School, Crawfordsville, IN

3rd Place: Colton Lewis, 12th Grade, Savannah High School, Savannah, MO

Middle School Winners

Fifth Grade: William Baker, Menwith Hill Elementary, RAF Menwith Hill, England

Sixth Grade: Sabrina Rue, Rock Quarry Middle School, Tuscaloosa, AL

Seventh Grade: Hannah Park, Bret Harte Middle School, San Jose, CA

Eighth Grade: Josee Matela, Resurrection Catholic School, Cherry Hill, NJ


Read all the winning essays!

Posted by Laura Sparaco, K-12 Curriculum Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.

dividing bar
dividing bar