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Today's Features

  • Like most young boys, I enjoyed playing with toy soldiers as a kid. Unlike most young boys, I stuck with it, and turned it into much more than a game of “bang, bang, your guy is dead!” or knocking figures over with marbles.

    Even as a youngster, growing up “down under” in New Zealand, I was a bit of a history nut. I wasn’t quite so interested in the mass destruction potential of warfare as the “why did they do it that way?” And the “how could I have done it better?” problem-solving and strategic study aspects.

  • Like most young boys, I enjoyed playing with toy soldiers as a kid. Unlike most young boys, I stuck with it, and turned it into much more than a game of “bang, bang, your guy is dead!” or knocking figures over with marbles.

    Even as a youngster, growing up “down under” in New Zealand, I was a bit of a history nut. I wasn’t quite so interested in the mass destruction potential of warfare as the “why did they do it that way?” And the “how could I have done it better?” problem-solving and strategic study aspects.

  • Several months before the amphibious assault of Bougainville in November, 1943, by the Third Marine Division, Naval intelligence services had decoded an intercepted message regarding the plans of Admiral Yamamoto to visit three bases near that island. The information provided was so exact that on April 18, 1943, the Army Air Corps’ 339th Fighter Squadron, flying P-38’s based on Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, was able to intercept and destroy Yamamoto’s plane in the air over Bougainville.

  • South Pacific, the next performance at the Shelby County Community Theater, will open on July19. I recall seeing this highly popular musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein on Broadway shortly after its opening in April 1949. Manhattan was an easy subway commute from my duty station at the Naval Training Center on the Throggs Neck Peninsula in the Bronx.

  • Steve Collins has spent a lifetime preserving the history of the state and county he calls home.

    Vice chairman of the Kentucky Heritage Council, member of the Shelbyville Historic District Commission, as well as chairman of both the Kentucky Historic Properties Advisory Commission and the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation, Collins now is being recognized formally for all of his contributions by the groups he has helped build.

  • Shortly after arriving back at San Pedro in May, 1939, I was detached from the Tennessee and ordered to report to the Marine Corps Base in San Diego. There I joined Company D, the machine gun company of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines.

    I have been chronicling the early years of a Marine Corps career that began with my commissioning as a second lieutenant in 1937, upon graduation from the University of Washington, including descriptions of the Panama Canal, Bermuda, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and, at some length, New York.

  • My 2-part series has been expanded to four parts. In the first two parts of this narrative, I have described my wonder, as a young Marine second lieutenant, upon visiting the East Coast for the first time.

    Upon my completion of officer training and indoctrination at the Marine Basic School in the Philadelphia Navy Yard in May 1938, I traveled to my next duty station, the USS Tennessee, a battleship then anchored off its home port, San Pedro, Calif.

  • Combat is the primary challenge of a Marine, but there are many days when fighting is far from the primary agenda.

    In the first days of a 30-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, I was dispatched to the Marine Officers Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, my first trip east from my home in Washington state.

    I got a chance to learn much, and for five years I recorded these memories in a journal that now is part of the Filson Historical Society.

  • Combat is the primary challenge of a Marine, in fact the raison d’etre of any fighting service, but there are long periods of conditioning and training between battles, providing opportunities for new experiences, many unique to those in the military.

    As an honor graduate of the University of Washington’s Army ROTC program, I was offered a commission as a second lieutenant in the regular U.S. Marine Corps, effective July 1, 1937, a week before my 21st birthday. However, approval of military commissions that year were delayed in the Senate.

  • Sitting well back off of KY 55 just a little south of Finchville is a hidden gem of a home for history buffs. The Greek Revival-style home’s original front was built in 1837, and it became known as Sylvan Shades by its second owner.

    “It was actually built by a man named Newland, and he sold the home to Thomas Doolan,” current owner John Test said. “After that it remained in the Doolan family until we purchased it in 1985.”