World War 2 Surrender Collection

admiral halsey world war 2

World War 2 Surrender Collection Recognized!



Today, September 2, 2013, 68 years after the surrender ceremony with Japan,  our World War 2 Collection was featured on the front page of the Las Vegas Review Journal!  What an exciting day! Our family is extremely honored and proud of the items on display at the USS Missouri!

Below, there is a link to the article as well as a video!

World War 2 Collection


Christopher Nichols, left, grandson of Cox. Frank Orban, and Pam Nichols, daughter of Orban, look over some of the memorabilia left to them from the historic signing of the treaty that ended WWII from the USS Missouri in their home in Henderson. (Jason Bean/Las Vegas Review-Journal)


admiral halsey world war 2

Christopher Nichols, left, grandson of Cox. Frank Orban, and Pam Nichols, daughter of Orban, look over some of the memorabilia left to them from the historic signing of the treaty that ended WWII from the USS Missouri in their home. (Jason Bean/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

In case you can't make it to Hawaii; here is the display as shown on the USS Missouri!


These are some of the original black and white surrender photos we allowed the USS Missouri to put on display

OrbanExhibit 2

This display will run through September 2 – December 7, 2013


The display is a wonderful testimony of my grandfather Frank Orban and Admiral Halsey; whom he worked for.


Here is the article from the Review Journal September 2, 2013:

When visitors to Pearl Harbor board the USS Missouri, where Japan’s delegation surrendered while it was anchored in Tokyo Bay 68 years ago today, they’ll see the admiral’s flag and photographs that a Las Vegas Valley family loaned to the ship’s museum.

The collection of nearly 300 items, photographs and documents from the surrender ceremony that ended World War II belonged to Pam Nichols’ father, Navy Coxswain Frank Orban. He had kept the items in his hallway closet for more than four decades until he delivered them to his daughter’s home in Sacramento, Calif., before he died in 1997.

“We promised my grandfather that this collection would stay in the family,” said Christopher Nichols, of Las Vegas, a fifth-grade teacher at West Preparatory Academy. He spent countless hours researching the surrender and Admiral Halsey to understand the significance of the collection’s “puzzle” that he pieced together.

“We’re talking about the most pinnacle day in world history, the surrender ceremony, Sept. 2, 1945,” he said.

“In my eyes there’s not going to be or never will be — unless there’s another world war — another day that will be as important because the amount of people that sacrificed, died, with casualties was just astronomical.”

His mother, who lives in Henderson, noted that the collection also represents the impact on Japan from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki about a month before the surrender.

“It’s all about freedom. We have the right to speak about it, and we have the right to share it,” she said. “Why should it be in a safe or locked up? It needs to be on display so other Americans and other people of other nationalities can see it.”

After a fire destroyed almost all their belongings except the collection when they moved to the Las Vegas area in 2001, the family decided this year to loan the items to the USS Missouri Memorial Association. The memorabilia will be displayed on the ship from today through Dec. 7, the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that launched the United States into World War II.

The collection includes Halsey’s blue wool “gig” flag with four hand-sewn white stars in addition to a 48-star United States flag and one of the small Japanese flags that Orban and sailors on the Missouri obtained for the ceremony. The items, along with a selection of photographs taken by Orban and some of the yellowed documents prepared for the surrender ceremony, are encased behind glass near the ship’s mess hall.

“They were just blown away with all the stuff we had,” Christopher Nichols said Wednesday, recalling the day in early August when they delivered the collection to the ship’s curators.

They got a private tour of the ship and “were treated like royalty.” He said he and his wife, Michelle, a Legacy High School teacher, along with his mother and father, John, stood on the deck where his grandfather photographed the historic surrender scene.

“It was a surreal experience,” he said. “I had overwhelming pride going through my body. I had goose bumps to know that we had items attributed to, in my opinion, the most important day in history.”

His grandfather was Adm. William F. Halsey’s “gig” or taxi-boat driver. On the day of the surrender, he was on the Missouri’s deck snapping black-and-white photos of Gen. Douglas MacArthur delivering his historic speech and Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signing the instruments of surrender while Halsey, MacArthur, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz and other dignitaries watched.

Some of the historic documents are instructions to the crew on the ship’s deck about what they should do in case there was a terrorist attack during the surrender.

“They were prepared,” Christopher Nichols said. “I recall reading one of the books from Admiral Halsey. They spoke about how each one of the crew members who were next to the Japanese had one hand on the Japanese and one hand on a .45” caliber pistol.

Much of Orban’s duty involved driving Halsey to various ships in the fleet. When the war was over, Halsey gave him his four-star gig flag, which is smaller than the admiral’s ship flag.

Pam Nichols said her father was an “extremely hard-working man” who grew up during the Depression in East Chicago, Ind. He joined the Navy to escape poverty. After the war he seldom spoke about what he did during it.

He was proud of his service as indicated by the photographs he kept on the wall of his office at the heavy equipment company he owned in Hammond, Ind. His most prized possession, the admiral’s flag, was kept in the top of the hall closet at the family’s home in Long Beach, Calif., and only taken out for special occasions. Once, Pam took some of the items to show her high school class.

During the move from Sacramento to Las Vegas in July 2001, the moving van caught fire in Beatty. Fortunately, the collection — except for one item, a card that verified the sailors’ presence at the surrender — had been packed in the family’s recreational vehicle for the move.

“I suddenly had this panic attack. I went to the RV, and I was crying. I said to myself, ‘Please, please let me have packed all this stuff.’ I went into the RV and I found the flag first thing. I can’t tell you how happy I was,” she said.

During his research, Christopher Nichols created a website and posted pictures of the collection.

“I had people from all over the world emailing me and sending me offers to buy the collection. We got offers for six figures,” he said, noting that the family was not entertaining offers because of the promise to his grandfather.

The collection, however, was appraised for insurance and presented to Pawn Stars and Antique Road Show, both of which declined to suggest a price.

“Rick (Harrison) at Pawn Stars was just flabbergasted, just blown away,” he said, about the historic items.

“Every time I look at them, I see something new,” he said. “It’s like going back in time and living a life that I wasn’t able to live and feeling that sense of pride.”

World War 2 Items Go Back to USS Missouri

USS Missouri Muesum

Nearly 68 years ago, World War 2 officially ended when the Japanese signed the peace treaty (September 2, 1945). My family and I travelled this past week 08/06/2013 to the USS Missouri bringing a large collection of World War 2 Items to be put on display at the museum for the aniversary of the Peace Treaty Signing! 

Our day started off taking a flight from Kona to Honolulu.  We flew the historic items from Las Vegas to Honolulu, Honolulu to Kona, and then Kona to Honolulu.  Getting through TSA with such a large and historic collection of artifacts, pictures, and documents was fun.  At times, going through security, we drew a large croud of TSA officials wanting to see the historic collection we were bringing to the USS Missouri. 

Once in Honolulu, August 6, 2013, we rented a car at about 10:30 am and made our way to the USS Missouri Memorial to meet with Mike Weidenbach, curator of the USS Missouri.  After making a few wrong turns, we finally made it to the Mighty Mo!  The weather was perfect! We were greeted by Alvin Yoshitomi.  Alvin was spectacular; taking us on a private tour of the ship my grandfather loved.  We were given a very intimate look at the USS Missouri and taken to places the general public rarely get to see.  Alvin was like a walking time machine. He knew everything there was to know about the USS Missouri. Thank you Alvin for making our day so special!

My grandfather, Frank Orban, a member of Admiral Halsey's staff who drove Admiral Halsey around on the Admiral's gig had his ashes released into the water from the front of the USS Missouri in 2001.  We were allowed to have a private memorial ceremony where we dropped flowers into the water at the bow of the USS Missouri.  We could feel the spirit of all those that served on the USS Missouri including my grandfather permeating through our spirits during our ceremony.  I knew my grandfather was proud and at rest with his former crewmates.

Admiral Halsey's 4 star flag, many documents and original black and white photos will be showcased from September 2, 2013 (aniversary of the peace treaty signing) until December 7, 2013.  The Nichols' family is extremely proud and honored to have made the journey to honor the my granfather, the men and women who served our great country, and the USS Missouri!

Go see our display on board the USS Missouri!

USS Missouri Surrender Photos

Admiral Nimitz

The following USS Missouri Surrender Photos are original black and white photos taken on board the USS Missouri during the Surrender of the Japanese on September 2, 1945. These photos belong to my family.  When we took the photos to be displayed on the USS Missouri (2013); curator Mike Weidenbach stated, "I've never seen these pictures taken from these angles before."


Mamoru Shigemitsu General Yoshijiro& Umezu

This is an original black and white photo of Mamoru Shigemitsu (black suite and tall hat) and Yoshijiro Umezu (Japanese Officer's Uniform). This is a picture of the original photo from September 2, 1945. We are the owners of this original photo.


Mamoru Shigemitsu Signing Peace Treaty

Mamoru Shigemitsu Signing Peace Treaty.  This is an original black and white photo from the Peace Treaty Signing. What is unique about this photo is the angle in which it was taken.  We are the original owners of this photo.


Mamoru Shigemitsu Surrender Ceremony

This is another picture of Mamoru Shigemitsu Signing Peace Treaty from afar. This is a photo of the original photo owned by the owners of this website. In the picture includes General MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz. Once again, this photo is taken at an agle not many have seen before.


Delegates World War 2 Surrender

This original black and white photo on board the USS Missouri September 2, 1945 shows a unique angle and perspective of the Surrender Ceremony.  We are the original owners of this photo. 


Surrender Ceremony

This original photo is not blury.  I used a digital camera to take a photo of the original photo and that photo became blury.  I will try to take a new picture to make it clearer.  In any case, this is General MacArthur, Admiral Nimitz, and Admiral Halsey walking to positions for the Surrender Ceremony on board the USS Missouri September 2, 1945.


Admiral Nimitz

This is an original photo of Admiral Chester Nimitz signing the Peace Treaty to end the War with Japan.


General Hsu Yung-chang


This is an original photo of General Hsu Yung-Chang signing the Peace Treaty on the USS Missouri.


Japanese Delegation

This is an original black and white photo of the Japanese Delegation ready to sign the Peace Treaty to end World War 2, September 2, 1945.