Archive for the 'Merchant Marine' Category

Oct 7

The Attack on the USNS Card

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 4:00 AM


USNS Card 1968

In the early morning hours of May 2nd, 1964, Captain Borge Langeland of the USNS Card (T-AKV-40) was supervising the loading of old helicopters aboard the converted auxiliary aircraft carrier for their return to the United States from the Port of Saigon. The Card had just unloaded her cargo of helicopters and fighter-bombers from Manila in the Philippines, and was now getting ready to sail again for the United States. It was all routine work. Capt. Langeland, a Norwegian by birth, was undoubtedly happy with routine. He had seen more than his share action as 2nd mate aboard the Norwegian… Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 15

99 Years Old: The Panama Canal

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:00 AM


THE PANAM A CANAL OPENING.-With the successful passing of the Panama Railroad steamship Ancon through the canal on 15 August 1914, in nine and a half hours, the big man-made waterway, one of the wonders of the age, was officially opened to the commerce of the world, and is now ready for the use of all vessels drawing not to exceed 30 feet.-Army and Navy Journal. THE PANAMA CANAL’S NAVAL SIGNIFICANCE.-So much have the commercial values and aspects of the Panama Canal absorbed the interest of Americans that it may seem to many of them its opening for business in… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 17

Congress Allows Arming of Merchant Ships

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 12:01 AM


Prior to the official U.S. entry into the Second World War, American merchant ships carried needed supplies that supported the Allies in their desperate struggle against the Axis powers. Although German aircraft and submarines attacked American merchant ships when they entered war zones, the U.S. Neutrality Act of 1936 prevented them from being armed, even for self defense. Pressure began to build for a change, and many sought to resurrect the idea of the Armed Guard Service, used during the First World War. Congress amended the Neutrality Act on 17 November 1941, barely three weeks before Pearl Harbor, to allow… Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 27

Lt.(j.g.) Kenneth M. Willett, D-V(G), USNR: Extraordinary Heroism and Conspicuous Courage

Monday, September 27, 2010 12:01 AM


Lieutenant (j.g.) Kenneth Martin Willett, D-V(G), had been born in Overland, Missouri, on 9 April 1919. He had attended Sacramento Junior College, majoring in Business and Geology, and had enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 9 July 1940. Accepting an appointment as Midshipman, USNR, on 10 August, and Ensign, D-V(G), on 14 November, he received instruction on board the miscellaneous auxiliary (ex-battleship) Illinois, being detached on the same day to report his first ship, the battleship California (BB-44), reporting on board on 1 December 1940. Detached on 24 November 1941, Willett left Honolulu on board the liner Lurline on… Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 2

New Additions to the Navy Department Library

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 10:04 AM


Last week 230 volumes of nautical accident investigation reports from the National Transportation Safety Board were donated to the Navy Department Library. These reports detail the incidents and investigations into marine accidents for the period 1979-2006. Several of the reports focus on accidents involving US Navy vessels and other vessels. These reports detail such incidents as the sinking of small passenger vessels to groundings of large transport ships, to include the May 1989 grounding of the Exxon Valdez. The in-depth reports cover crew information, meteorological information, rescue efforts, and the testing and research done to investigate the incidents. These reports… Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 31

Meet WW II Merchant Marine Radio Officer Don Berger

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 7:48 AM


Naval History Blog recently caught up with Don Berger who joined the U.S. Merchant Marines in World War II when he was 16 1/2 and became a radio officer the following year. In addition to his service in WW II, Don served in Korea, Vietnam, and Gulf War I. Today, Don is volunteer aboard the SS American Victory in Tampa, FL – one of few WW II Victory ships available for tours and cruises.