Are you still looking for a family member who never came home? The sad truth is that thousands upon thousands of our brave men and women have never returned home after battle and are still MIA. Many of these soldiers have been lost and never found. Even worst many have been recovered but never been returned to their families for the proper burial they deserve.
The DPAA (Department of POW/MIA Accounting Agency) has published a list of 900+ Maryland MIAs from previous wars, that cannot be returned until family members are located to provide DNA for positive identification.
At this time, we are asking for all citizens to get involved in finding these families, so that these heroes can finally be repatriated, after all, haven’t they waited long enough? How long has it been? Consider this, it's been 71 years since WWII; 63 years since the Korean War and 41 years since Vietnam. These Marylanders made the ultimate sacrifice, when they decided to fight for the freedom of strangers, isn’t it about time we fought for them and worked together to return them to their families.
BELOW ARE 3 LINKS to the MARYLAND MIAs from 3 Major Wars: WWII, Korean War and Vietnam.
WORLD WAR II (809 MIAs from Maryland)
KOREAN WAR (139 MIAs from Maryland)
VIETNAM WAR (23 MIAs from Maryland)
Review the list, see what names you may recognize and get in touch with us as soon as possible, by email or call us at 443-844-7197. The call you make may be the one that finally brings a Maryland family the closure they have been waiting for.
Jacob Beser’s Views on the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
By Jerome Beser
In August 1945 US Army Air Corps delivered the knockout punch to the Empire of Japan bringing an abrupt end to World War II. One and only one man served as a crewmember on both the Enola Gay and on the Bock’s Car, the B-29 Strike Bombers that delivered the lethal atomic blows on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His name was 1st Lt. Jacob Beser of Pikesville, Maryland.
Jacob Beser August 1945
Jacob Beser was my father. He had planned to write three books after he retired in 1985. Unfortunately his untimely death in 1992 did not allow him to totally complete this objective. His first book Hiroshima & Nagasaki Revisited was completed and released in 1988. His second book, which would reveal what really happened on the Nagasaki mission was in outline form when he passed away. Jack Spangler one of my father’s good friends and business colleague and I completed this book The Rising Sun Sets – The Complete Story of the Bombing of Nagasaki in 2007. His third book, which would address other aspects of the atomic bombings, emphasizing the point that the world must find a better way to settle international disputes was still in the concept stage. According to Jack Spangler, my father told him before he retired that he planned to make the point in this book that: “We have to find a way to get along because we now have the wherewithal to destroy everything. This is the message I've tried to relay all these years. We just can't do business as usual any more. I think the deterrent process has worked up to now. It has kept the super powers apart for many years. But, it won't go on indefinitely because there will come a day as sure as night follows day that somebody in one of those countries is going to get the idea he can get away with the first strike and counter the retaliation and get his point across. It just isn't so. Both you and I know that since we work in this business day in and day out.”
For many on-board the Enola Gay, the Bock’s Car and the accompanying planes, the image of instantaneous destruction they saw on August 6 and 9, 1945, was so terrifying that they seldom if ever talked about their experiences. However my father was one of the few exceptions. After having endured numerous interviews by young reporters who didn’t even know the dates that World War II was fought, he was extremely concerned about what he called “the culture of ignorance on many important issues in history”. He seldom, if ever, refuse an invitation to speak to students at any level, high school to college graduate, and share with them his views and especially correct the decades of mythology about casualty figures, the motives for dropping and the effectiveness of using the bombs.
According to my father: “Yes we used atomic weapons in 1945 against Japan and for good reasons. One of our goals of these missions was to eliminate the need to invade the Japanese home Islands. We accomplished our mission. We shortened the war and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. As the years have passed the bombings have come to be seen by some as war atrocities and crimes against humanity.” I am sure that my father was expressing his as well as many Japanese citizens’ points of view. In March of 1995 the mayor of Nagasaki expressed the point of view of some Japanese revisionists when he labeled the attacks as the moral equivalent of the Holocaust.
No one disputes that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki inflicted a horrible number of civilian deaths. Initial reports say that 70,000 were instantly killed at Hiroshima with about 140,000 people dying either directly or from radiation sickness by the end of 1945. Similar reports indicated about 40,000 were initially killed at Nagasaki with still more later dying of radiation sickness. But from another point of view Japan also killed many hundreds of thousands of civilians when it bombed Chinese and other cities in Asia. Furthermore it has been asserted that if Japan had had atomic weapons it certainly would have used them.
There have been numerous “pity the victims” accounts of lives that were lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki but seldom do we see anything about the American and Japanese lives that were saved by using the bombs! If the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were atrocities as some have argued, so were the Japanese actions such as the Rape of Nanking; the Bataan Death March; the prisoner of war Hell Ships; the sacking of Manila; the starvation of prisoners of war; and, the medical experiments on Chinese prisoners to name only a few.
Now, why were the nuclear weapons used? In the summer of 1945, President Truman confronted a death or more death situation. As commander-in-chief, he faced the reality that the war in the Pacific was an endless series of dreadful choices. War is by definition immoral. But once you are in a war, victory is achieved only by destroying the enemy. The only facts that are relevant to a discussion of Truman's decision, are those facts and numbers the president had in front of him in July 1945. The casualties at Iwo Jima and Okinawa were not projections. They were real as memorialized by rows of grave markers and hospital wards filled with broken bodies. In each case, the Japanese military had fought to the death, as they had done everywhere else in the island hoping campaign.
Plans for the invasion of the Japanese homeland were in place. The plans called for a two-stage invasion. The southern island of Kyushu would be invaded on November 1, 1945, with a force of 800,000 men. In April 1946, the main island of Honshu would be invaded with a force
of over one million men. The wheels of inevitability started to grind forward with a momentum that at some point would be unstoppable unless another way was found to end the war.
The Japanese intelligence had correctly predicted the Saipan, Okinawa and Iwo Jima invasions. In anticipation of the homeland invasion, the Japanese intelligence predicted Kyushu would be attack first and began to fortify the cliffs leading up from the beaches. The terrain would provide the perfect slaughterhouse for the American coming ashore. Those troops who survived the beaches and made it inland would face an intricate network of caves, tunnels, and bunkers. In addition, thousands of airplanes, as well as submarines, were being stockpiled for kamikaze attacks on the invasion fleet and its landing craft. Two and a half million battle-hardened troops, supported by four million able-bodied civilian military employees, were being massed on Kyushu to meet the invasion force. Thirty-two million civilians including women, children, and the elderly were being drilled in the art of resistance and guerrilla warfare.
Based upon these realities, Truman's military advisers predicted that 231,000 to 269,000 American casualties would occur just during the first thirty days of the invasion of Kyushu. Furthermore it was estimated that it would take a hundred and twenty days to secure and occupy the entire island. By the end of that four-month period, American casualties could realistically reach around 395,000. The American to Japanese casualty ratio was one to two. This would suggest 528,000 to 790,000 Japanese casualties. Over one million of our troops still awaited the second prong of the invasion that would take place in April 1946 when they would invade Honshu.
But one must keep in mind that these estimates assumed that all would go according to plan. Yet Okinawa had been expected to fall in two weeks. Instead the battle had dragged into eighty-two days, and even then it took several more weeks after that to secure the island.
By 1945, the Japanese had moved much of their production of weapons of war into cottage shop operations to private homes, civilian buildings, under bridges, etc in suburban areas. To minimize the envisioned slaughter of our invading forces when the invasion took place, the US military, in early 1945, began a massive fire bombing campaign to break Japan’s will to fight and force an end to the war. Firebombs were dropped on predominantly suburban targets. By July 1945 it was apparent that the fire bombings had produced little effect even though thousands of Japanese civilians had been burned to death. Of course it destroyed their cities but not their morale and will to continue fighting to the very end.
The Japanese leadership repeatedly made it abundantly clear of their intentions to continue fighting until the last man, woman and child had been killed. As late as June following the horrible fire bombing of Tokyo the Japanese Cabinet issued this statement: "With faith born of eternal loyalty as our inspiration, we shall--thanks to the advantages or our terrain and the unity of our nation--prosecute the war to the bitter end in order to uphold our national essence, protect the imperial land, and achieve our goals of conquest." An invasion of the Japanese mainland was inevitable and President Truman had a very difficult decision to make.
As to the Japanese willingness to surrender, Truman was faced with the reality that the relentless incendiary bombings had not broken their will to fight on. Also it had been clear from our intercepts of their secret military and diplomatic correspondence that a negotiated peace was acceptable only if it left their emperor and military in place; allowed them to keep the territory they continued to occupy; and allow them to designate and prosecute war criminals. They were playing for time where they expected the massive American casualties would gain a more favorable negotiated peace.
These are the facts that President Truman knew and on which he made his decision.
Each year during the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the first use of the bombs, articles appear in the press decrying the decision to use the new weapon against Japan. More specifically, we see revisionist historians and critics from all over the map, feeding on confusion, crap, and controversy, acting like a pack of jackals attacking a prey. They seem to completely miss, or ignore, the point that we were in a declared and bloody war that had been going on for about four years. As in any war, the objective was to kill the enemy. But be killed or surrender was the option of the Japanese.
These critics, most of who were not even born in 1945, preach moral, ethical and historical reasons for their position. They "cherry pick" and take out of context isolated statements from old documents to support their claims. To paraphrase Churchill: "Never before have so many said so many things on a subject about which they know so little”. They try to use hindsight as well as much publicized propaganda of expressions of guilt by the political, scientific and military personnel involved as support for their claims and condemn the wartime decisions. They usually ignore Pearl Harbor or the atrocities committed by the Japanese prior to and during the war and claim that Japan was about to surrender anyway to support their anti-war campaign.
In reality the American people wanted to see the war come to an end as soon as possible. Thousands of American servicemen were being killed or wounded each week. The war was costing the American taxpayers almost a half billion dollars each week. The American people expected their leaders to be decisive and make the hard decisions that had to be made.
In America, nothing is more natural in the time of war then for our leaders, whom we elected, to attempt to ensure victory with a minimum loss of life. For our armed forces the extravagant use of firepower was the approach to achieve the desired effect and had been employed from day one. Fire bombing raids on the Empire of Japan are good examples. Using the atomic bombs against Japan was simply the ultimate step in this approach. Some people may not want to believe it but those two bombs ended the Pacific conflict in short order.
On the other hand, the Japanese view of warfare was just the opposite of ours. Death in war was not necessarily avoided. The Shinto cult of radical self-sacrifice taught that suicide was glorious while surrender was the ultimate disgrace. Suicide planes or Kamikaze, one-man suicide submarines and human torpedoes, which the Japanese employed by the hundreds against the American ships, are good examples of the Shinto cult mentality. When we succeeded in taking Okinawa, not only did the Japanese soldiers commit suicide but also thousands of ordinary Japanese civilians did so as well to avoid being captured.
My father also said: “I agree that one must sympathize with any legitimate movement designed to reduce or eliminate human slaughter. Nuclear warfare is indeed inhuman and ought to be banned. But, I strongly disagree with anyone who tries to rewrite history. No matter how gruesome, how horrible, or how vicious, what happened has happened! Facts are facts and cannot be changed.”
The radicals and modern day pseudo-intellectual historians hold up their hands in horror, every time the word atomic bomb is mentioned. Yes, the atomic bomb is a horrible thing and was a quantum leap in power over conventional bombs. Nevertheless, it is misleading to think that the political and military leaders in 1945 did not think about and seriously consider the ramifications of using them. Historical documents show that at the highest levels of government they agonized over the decision and the target selection for days before President Truman, on the advice of his closest advisors, authorized its use. But the order specifically required the bombs to be used only against targets of military significance. My father said: “Those of us who carried out his orders, like most of the scientist responsible for the bomb development, had no doubt as to the legitimacy of what we were doing”.
Still there remains a question in many people's mind: Why did President Truman order the dropping of the atomic bombs? My father’s one-word answer: “Okinawa. It was done to stop the killing”.
 For years after Hiroshima was destroyed, the Japanese government stated that about 140,000 people died either directly or by the end of 1945 because of the atomic bomb. However, according to an article in The Japan Times, August 7-13, 1995, Vol. 35, the government has downgraded that longstanding and often quoted number of 140,000 by almost 40%. Based on a 4-year survey, the Japanese government now placed the number of confirmed deaths by the end of 1945 at 87,833.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to First Lieutenant (Air Corps) Jacob Beser (ASN: 0-66), United States Army Air Forces, for gallantry in action while engaged in aerial flight against the Japanese Empire on 6 August 1945. Lieutenant Beser was the Radar Countermeasures Officer for a combat crew of the B-29 aircraft of the 393d Bombardment Squadron, 509th Composite Group, TWENTIETH Air Force, which flew from a base in the Marianas Islands to drop on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare.
Flying 1500 miles over open water to the coast of Japan, they manned their assigned positions and crossed the island of Shikoku and the Inland Sea. They constantly faced the danger of being hit by anti-aircraft fire, enemy fighters, or suffering mechanical or other failures which would intensify the risks of carrying this powerful missile. Throughout the mission the element of hazard from the unknown prevailed, for this was the first time that this bomb, much more destructive than any other in existence, had been dropped from an airplane. The effect it would have on the airplane and these crew members was only to be estimated. Shortly after 0900 they brought the plane in over the city, and at 0915 the bomb release was pressed. The bomb cleared, and fell toward the planned objective. They then headed from the area and, despite a minor effect from the detonation, returned safely to their home base. By their courage and skillful performance of duty achieved in outstanding fashion despite the dangers involved in accomplishment of this historic mission, these individuals distinguished themselves by extraordinary achievement and reflect great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.
General Orders: Headquarters, 20th Air Force, General Orders No. 69 (September 22, 1945)
Action Date: August 6, 1945
Service: Army Air Forces
Rank: First Lieutenant
Company: 393d Bombardment Squadron
Regiment: 509th Composite Group
Division: 20th Air Force
INSIDE GRANDPA'S OLD FOOTLOCKER
by M.J. Spangler
World War II has been over for over for over 60 years. The Korean War has been over for over 55 years. Hidden away in closets, attics and basements may be boxes and footlockers containing letters, photos and memorabilia collected by Grandpa while he served our country. Many of these containers may not have been opened since the wars were over. With Grandpa’s passing these boxes may now reside with his heirs. In many cases the new owners are unaware of their historical importance or are unwilling to donate them to a library for preservation because of sentimental attachment.
Recognizing the importance of these collections and the need to locate, copy and catalog as many of these collections, the non-profit Beser Foundation was established. The vision of this Foundation is to “Preserve the Past for the Benefit of the Future”. To accomplish this the Foundation is set up to provide a safe no-cost repository of digital copies in order to ensure the valuable history contained in these old documents will be preserved and accessible to all. Simply stated the Foundation does not desire to retain the original documents. Instead it will catalog the documents, make digital copies and place them on-line as a resource for families; genealogists, historians and authors dedicated to accurately recording the events of our military history.
On Veterans Day 2007, representatives from the Foundation attended a book signing in Wellsboro, PA. Thanks to a local radio station - the event was covered all afternoon. During the afternoon several appeals were made over the air for listeners who might have some of “Grandpa” memorabilia to bring it down to the book signing so we could see it.
During the afternoon several photos and documents of significant historical value were brought down. In particular one lady, whose grandfather had been a photographer in the Pacific during the war brought in over 30 photos and documents that had been brought home by her grandfather and were lying around in an old shoe box. Upon examination of the photos, several were especially significant.
POW Cemetery Okinawa
This is a picture of a Japanese prisoner of war cemetery on the Island of Okinawa. Notice the Japanese soldiers in the background. During the fighting the markers were destroyed. The location of the cemetery is known to the WWII Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office. However, none of the names of the individuals nor the unit in which they served interned here were known. All of the legible names shown on the markers are listed as MIA (Missing in Action) in the official government records. In addition to the legible names, the shoulder patches could be identified on other markers. This also helps in the identification of the men interned here. As a result of this one picture, recovery and medical identification of 36 MIAs is in process.
Ancient Artifacts from Burial Tomb Okinawa
Another significant picture in the lot was a photo of some ancient artifacts that were found in an undisturbed burial tomb on Okinawa. The tombs on Okinawa resemble houses, complete with a courtyard, family name markers and a "porch" upon which offerings are arranged. Inside the tomb is stored the remains of several generations of family members.
Various taboos exist in relation to the tombs. It is considered dangerous to desecrate a tomb by disturbing offerings or by damaging the tomb in any way. Also considered dangerous is to approach a tomb without proper authority from a relation of the family. The Japanese soldiers respected these taboos and the royal tombs remained unscathed during the battle for Okinawa,
Christian Church Okinawa
Suri Castle Okinawa
The search for history continues. If you own or are aware of someone’s “Grandpa’s box of pictures or Dads memories of war” or are a family of a MIA seeking information I encourage you to contact the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate each and every one of our new founding members signing on to help The Beser
Foundation towards it's goal of Bringing our Heroes Home.
In the next 2 weeks, those of you that are part of the first 100 members since May 2016, will be receiving your personally inscribed books from Jerome Beser (son of Lt. Jacob Beser, Founder & Author). Look for an email requesting details of your inscription.
Very soon, we will be completing our Private Archives on this site, that will be accessible only by Members of the Foundation.
In addition, we will be adding one monthly public document or picture to our website and facebook page.
If you are not yet one of our first 1,000 Founding Members and would like to be, please complete the form to the right of this post and welcome to the Beser Foundation Family.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to email us . Thanks Again & God Bless America!!