Come visit us at The Museum of Military Memorabilia. We have thousands of military artifacts from all branches of the Military. The Museum is located in the Naples Municipal Airport which was originally built by the Army Corps of Engineers to train pilots for the pacific theater in WWII.

What has begun as a Museum Honoring Military Aviation in WWII has evolved into so much more. You can now see historical artifacts dating back to the Revolutionary War and all the way up to the present day Iraq & Afghanistan conflicts.


2012 marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Naples Airport as a WWII Army Air Forces Training Base.


Vinegar Joe Stilwell

 

 

Vinegar Joe Stilwell.  General Joseph Warren Stilwell (March 19, 1883 – October 12, 1946) was a United States Army four-star general known for service in the China Burma India Theater during World War II. His caustic personality was reflected in the nickname “Vinegar Joe”.

Although distrustful of his Allies, Vinegar Joe Stilwell showed himself to be a capable and daring tactician in the field but a lack of resources meant he was continually forced to improvise. He famously differed as to strategy, ground troops versus air power, with his subordinate, Claire Chennault, who had the ear of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. General George Marshall acknowledged he had given General Stilwell “one of the most difficult” assignments of any theater commander.

Vinegar Joe Stilwell

Joseph Stilwell, known as Warren by his family

Vinegar Joe Stilwell

Joe Stilwell

Early life

Stilwell was born on March 19, 1883, in Palatka, Florida of patrician Yankee stock. His parents were Doctor Benjamin Stilwell and Mary A. Peene. Stilwell was an eighth generation descendant of an English colonist who arrived in America in 1638, whose descendants remained in New York up through the birth of Stilwell’s father.  Named for a family friend, as well as the doctor who delivered him, Joseph Stilwell, known as Warren by his family, grew up in New York, under a strict regimen from his father that included an emphasis on religion. Stilwell later admitted to his daughter that he picked up criminal instincts due to,”…being forced to go to Church and Sunday School, and seeing how little real good religion does anybody, I advise passing them all up and using common sense instead.”

Stilwell’s rebellious attitude led him to a record of unruly behavior once he reached a post-graduate level at Yonkers High School. Prior to this last year, Stilwell had performed meticulously in his classes, and had participated actively in football (as quarterback) and track. Under the discretion of his father, Stilwell was placed into a post-graduate course following graduation, and immediately formed a group of friends whose activities ranged from card playing to stealing the desserts from the senior dance in 1900. This last event, in which an administrator was punched, led to the expulsions and suspensions for Stilwell’s friends. Stilwell, meanwhile, having already graduated, was once again by his father’s guidance sent to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, rather than Yale University as originally planned.

Despite missing the deadline to apply for Congressional appointment to the military academy, Stilwell gained entry through the use of family connections who knew President William McKinley. In his first year, Stilwell underwent hazing as a plebe that he referred to as “hell”. “While at West Point, Stilwell showed an aptitude for languages, such as French, in which he ranked first in his class during his second year. In the field of sports, Stilwell is credited with introducing basketball to the Academy, and participating in cross-country running (as Captain), as well as playing on the varsity football team. At West Point he had two demerits for laughing during drill. Ultimately, Stilwell graduated from the academy, class of 1904, ranked 32nd in a class of 124 cadets.  His son, Brigadier General Joseph, Jr., {West Point 1933} served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Military career prior to World War II

Stilwell later taught at West Point, and attended the Infantry Advanced Course and the Command and General Staff College. During World War I, he was the U.S. Fourth Corps intelligence officer and helped plan the St. Mihiel offensive. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his service in France.

Stilwell is often remembered by his sobriquet, “Vinegar Joe”, which he acquired while a commander at Fort Benning, Georgia. Stilwell often gave harsh critiques of performance in field exercises, and a subordinate – stung by Joe’s caustic remarks – drew a caricature of Stilwell rising out of a vinegar bottle. After discovering the caricature, Stilwell pinned it to a board and had the drawing photographed and distributed to friends.  Yet another indication of his view of life was the motto he kept on his desk: Illegitimi non carborundum, a form of fractured Latin that translates as “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

Vinegar Joe Stilwell

Cover Life Magazine

Vinegar Joe Stilwell

Between the wars, Stilwell served three tours in China, where he mastered spoken and written Chinese, and was the military attaché at the U.S. Legation in Beijing from 1935 to 1939. In 1939 and 1940 he was assistant commander of the 2nd Infantry Division and from 1940 to 1941 organized and trained the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California. It was there that his leadership style – which emphasized concern for the average soldier and minimized ceremonies and officious discipline – earned him the nickname of “Uncle Joe.”

Just prior to World War II, Stilwell was recognized as the top corps commander in the Army and was initially selected to plan and command the Allied invasion of North Africa.  However, when it became necessary to send a senior officer to China to keep that country in the War, Stilwell was selected, over his personal objections, by President Franklin Roosevelt and his old friend, Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall. He became the Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, served as the commander of the China Burma India Theater responsible for all Lend-Lease supplies going to China, and later was Deputy Commander of the South East Asia Command. Unfortunately, despite his status and position in China, he soon became embroiled in conflicts over U.S. Lend-Lease aid and Chinese political sectarianism.

 

“The Joseph Warren Stilwell Story,” a pictorial record produced for THE BIG PICTURE television series, of both a “hell of a beating” and one of the most remarkable comebacks in military history. Here is all the color and excitement in the life of one of America’s greatest soldiers  Vinegar Joe Stilwell– his baptism of fire in World War I, the outbreak: of war in China, his gallant but doomed defense of Burma, the tragic withdrawal through enemy infested jungles, and finally, the magnificent counterpunch that turned humiliating defeat into complete victory. The overworked term “Soldier’s Soldier” has lost much luster, but Vinegar Joe Stilwell, sharing the hardships and dangers of his men, gave the phrase real meaning. His was the unique capacity for commanding respect and obedience while evoking genuine affection. General Stilwell died in 1946, but his career of service to his country will always remain an inspiration to greatness.

DVD Copied by Timothy Vollmer

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