Archive for the 'Events' Category

Dec 7

Pearl Harbor through the eyes of Tai Sing Loo

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 1:00 AM

Tai Sing Loo was the official Navy photographer of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In this excerpt from Air Raid: Pearl Harbor edited by Paul Stillwell, Mr. Loo provided a unique account of his experiences that day.

Tai on his famous "put put" wearing his trademark helmet.

How I Were at Pearl Harbor

By Tai Sing Loo

On the 6th of December, Saturday afternoon, I had made arrangement with [Platoon] Sergeant [Charles R.] Christenot to have all his Guard be at the Main Gate between 8:30 to 9:30 o’clock Sunday morning to have a group of picture taken in front of the new concrete entrance as a setting with the “Pearl Har­bor” for Christmas card to send home to their fam­ily.

Sunday morning I left my home for Pearl Harbor after 7:00 o’clock. I was waiting for my bus at corner Wilder Avenue and Metcalf Street.

Saw the sky full of antiaircraft gun firing up in the air, I call my friend to look up in sky, explain them how the Navy used their antiaircraft gun firing in practising, at that time I didn’t realize we were in actual war. Our bus stop at Bishop and King Streets. We heard the alarm ringing from the third story building of the Lewers & Cooke, Ltd. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 29

Army vs Navy Football.

Monday, November 29, 2010 1:00 AM

The Army/Navy rivalry existed well before the first football game took place. Both schools would routinely challenge the other, but not being able to decide on which sport to compete in, the two schools didn’t meet until November 29th 1890. This first game took place in Westpoint with Navy taking home the win 24-0.

Navy football team of 1890

Bottom: Pearson, ’93; Laws, ’91; Althouse, ’91; Beuret, ’92.
Middle: Syminton, ’92; Emrich, ’91 (Team Captain); Johnson, ’93; Hartung, ’91.
Top: Macklin, ’92; Trench, ’93; Irwin, ’91; Lane, ’91; Ward, ’93; Smith, ’91

Opening Kick-off 1890

Nov 20

World Record Flight

Saturday, November 20, 2010 1:01 AM

On November 20th 1933, LCDR Thomas G.W. Settle, USN and MAJ Chester I. Fordney, USMC set a world record balloon flight into the stratosphere at 62,237 ft.

LCDR Settle & MAJ Fordney

The Soviet Union had captured the imagination of the world by sending men higher than anyone had ever gone before. America’s response was made shortly afterward by a naval officer and a Marine officer. Their names were not Shepard and Glenn, and the time was not the Sixties, but the Thirties. In an all-but-forgotten flight, two American military men carried their country’s colors to a world altitude record and began the race for space …

From the article; “When the Race for Space Began” by J. Gordan Vaeth printed in Proceedings August, 1963

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Nov 16

OpSail 2012

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 10:09 AM

This 2012, Operation Sail and the US. Navy will once again bring the glory of tall ships to the American seaboard to celebrate the bicentennial of our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

A parade of magnificent tall ships and warships, from over 25 nations, will sail to five historic ports: New Orleans, Norfolk, Boston, Baltimore, and New York City and join America in commemoration of this national milestone.

Operation Sail, (OpSail), a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting goodwill among nations, and the development of youth through sail training, was conceived in 1961 by Frank Braynard and Nils Hansell. Following the endorsement of President John F. Kennedy, OpSail came to life in 1964 by successfully bringing the remaining tall ships of the world to New York City in conjunction with the 64’ World’s Fair.

Since then, OpSail events have taken place in 1976 for the Bicentennial, 1986 for Lady Liberties 100th, 1992 for the Columbus 500th, and 2000 for the Millennium—and each event has been larger than the last.

Oct 5

David Takes On Goliath: 5 October 1863

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 1:30 AM
On the night of 5 October 1863, David faced Goliath. It would not be the epic showdown of biblical times during the American Civil War, but one of explosions, iron, and rushing water under the moonlight of Charleston.

USS New Ironsides, a casemate ironclad steamer boasting fourteen eleven-inch smoothbores, was at the time considered the most formidable warship in the world. It proved to be nearly impenetrable to the Charleston harbor defenses. The Union “Goliath” and its Captain, S.C. Rowan, waited for any answer the Confederates had to test the mighty ship. Little did they know its “Davidian” foe would pack such a punch given its comparable size.

The Confederate semi-submersible ship David did not have rocks and slings. Instead, its armament consisted of a single spar torpedo attached to its bow. As the cigar-shaped vessel was designed to operate in shallow water, its five foot draft allowed her to sneak up on enemies seemingly undetected. Around 9 p.m. on the 5th, CSS David slipped into Charleston Harbor unnoticed, avoiding the blockading monitors as it sailed toward the pride of the Union fleet. It was not until the David was 50 yards from the Union ship that a sailor spotted her. David successfully rammed its spar torpedo into the starboard quarter of the New Ironsides, exploding seven feet below the water line. From the account of New Ironsides Captain S.C. Rowan:

“At 9 p.m. discovered a very peculiar looking steamer which at first appeared like a boat standing toward our starboard beam from seaward; hailed her rapidly four times, and she making no reply, fired into her with musketry; she returned fire, dangerously wounding Ensign C.W. Howard in charge of the deck [. . .] the steamer struck us near No. 6 port, starboard side, exploding a large torpedo, shaking the vessel and throwing up an immense column of water, part of which fell on our decks.”

The blast threw water on the deck and the smokestack of the David, which put out a fire in the engine. The explosion knocked down armory bulkhead and store rooms aboard the New Ironsides in the wake of the torpedo’s explosion. Amidst the confusion, David floated attached by her spar, unable to reverse without steam power. As a result, Union sailors rained down rifle and pistol fire onto their aggressor. The Captain of the David ordered to abandon ship, and the crew set out swimming for nearby Morris Island. As they headed toward the shore, Assistant Engineer J.H. Tomb swam back to the wounded ship and got its engine working again. David limped back to safety in Charleston, picking up her remaining crew along the way.

Although the attack caused a large fissure into the side of the New Ironsides, the damage was superficial. One Union sailor died, and two others suffered minor injuries. Two of David’s crew were captured from the attack. Yet if it wasn’t for the quick thinking of Tomb, David’s story would begin and end in 1863.

Remarkably, New Ironsides remained on duty without repair until May 1864. Its damages were superficial. CSS David went on to unsuccessfully attack USS Memphis in March 1864 in the North Edisto River and the USS Wabash the following month. Although the ultimate fate of the David is uncertain, several similar vessels were captured in Charleston after its capture in February 1865.

Today marks the 147th anniversary of the event.

Sep 8

Honda Point Wreck: 8 September 1923

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 12:01 AM

Today is the 87th anniversary of the 1923 grounding of seven destroyers at Point Perdanales, California, also called Honda Point. Following a day of maneuvers and a high-speed run south from San Francisco Bay, the fourteen destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 11 turned east toward the Santa Barbara Channel, soon entering dense fog. However, the force was north of where they thought they were, and a few minutes after the turn the flagship USS Delphy (DD 261) ran aground at 20 knots, quickly followed by six other ships. Twenty-three sailors died, and the seven ships were left in place to be pounded apart by the surf. The site is now part of Vandenburg Air Force Base, and a memorial marks the site.

Jul 30

Decatur & Gunboat Diplomacy in Tunis, 30 July 1815

Friday, July 30, 2010 6:00 AM

Historians depict the War of 1812 as a forgotten conflict because the Treaty of Ghent affirmed the status quo for the two combatants,. American naval victories during that war, however, had greatly improved the U.S. Navy’s stature. On 23 February 1815, only six days after that war had ended, President James Madison confidently proposed a declaration of war against Algiers for its depredations against American merchant commerce in the Mediterranean perpetrated during the late war with England.

Eleven years after his daring 1804 raid to destroy the captured frigate USS Philadelphia held by Tripoli during the first Barbary War, Stephen Decatur, now a commodore overseeing a 10-ship squadron, returned to the Mediterranean in June 1815 for a second Barbary War—this time to confront Algeria’s attacks on American shipping. After successfully concluding a Treaty of Peace and Amity with Algiers on 30 June, Decatur’s squadron anchored on 25 July off Tunis, a country supposedly at peace with the United States. The bey of Tunis, despite treaty obligations to protect American-controlled ships within his territorial waters, had permitted British violations of his country’s neutral waters during the War of 1812 by allowing Royal Navy vessels to free British merchantmen captured by an American privateer and taken to Tunis as lawful prizes.

Decatur, adopting gunboat diplomacy because communication with Washington was a two-months’ sail away, confronted the Tunisian authorities with firm demands for restitution. Despite possessing military forces comparable to the American squadron, the Tunisians capitulated on 30 July. Without his ships firing a shot, Decatur negotiated a payment of 46,000 Spanish dollars to compensate the American privateer for its losses. Decatur’s gunboat diplomacy in the Mediterranean in 1815–threatening force without executive authority–became a hallmark of nineteenth-century U. S. policy.

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