Aug 2

Incidental anti-Piracy Ops, Gulf of Siam, Aug 1945

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 12:01 AM


On 15 July 1945, USS Bugara (SS 331) departed Subic Bay for the diesel-electric boat’s third war patrol. Under the command of CDR Arnold F. Schade, a veteran of ten war patrols and the second most experienced man in the boat (Chief Electrician’s Mate N. H. Leggett had eleven patrols under his belt), Bugara sailed south to the Gulf of Siam.  Bugara’s first enemy contact was an enemy convoy spotted by radar off Malaya the night of the 19th. Schade fired nine of her twelve torpedoes at two small tankers, a sea truck, a patrol boat and a trawler, all… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 29

Learning from the Forrestal fire, 29 July 1967

Friday, July 29, 2011 12:01 AM


On 29 July 1967 an F-4 Phantom awaiting launch on the flight deck of USS Forrestal (CVA 59) accidentally fired a rocket into another parked aircraft. Several hundred gallons of jet fuel spilled onto the flight deck and ignited. The resulting fire engulfed several other aircraft and caused ordnance on those aircraft to explode. The burning fuel then made its way into the ship’s interior through holes created by exploding bombs. The fire, which took over twenty-four hours to extinguish completely, resulted in 134 sailors killed and 161 injured. The ship was under repair for two years at a cost… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 28

USS SCORPION Project 2011 Day by Day: Week Three

Thursday, July 28, 2011 11:05 AM


     Monday, 18 July 2011- Today, we were back in the Patuxent trenches continuing our efforts to delineate the boundaries of the suspected USS Scorpion wreck. So far, the team has been successful in uncovering ship timbers in test units placed on the upstream and downstream extremities of the site. These test units allow archaeologists to assess the vessel’s degree of preservation, articulation, and orientation within the river. One of the vessel’s features that we are still trying to determine is which end of the wreck is the bow and which end is the stern. Since Scorpion and the… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 23

First Jet Delivered to All-Jet Squadron, 23 July 1947

Saturday, July 23, 2011 12:01 AM


On 23 July 1947 the first jet powered aircraft, an FH-1 Phantom, was delivered to the Navy’s first all-jet squadron, VF-17A, ushering in a new era in naval aviation. Training in these early jet squadrons was sometimes ad hoc, partly because the aircraft themselves were experimental. One pilot reported, “VF-17A trained itself. Checkout consisted of reading the handbook and watching a movie on compressibility.” Less than a year later the squadron was fully equipped with 16 FH-1s. On 5 May 1948 VF-17A became the Navy’s first carrier-qualified jet squadron, having completed three days of operations on board Saipan (CVL 48)… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 21

USS SCORPION Project 2011 Day by Day: Week Two

Thursday, July 21, 2011 3:20 PM


  Monday, 11 July – Today was a very exciting day for the project as archaeologists from UAB, MHT and MSHA began active excavation of the wreck believed to be War of 1812 block sloop Scorpion, captained by the US Navy hero Joshua Barney. While the river bottom in this stretch of the Patuxent is only between 6-8 feet deep, the strong current makes excavation quite difficult for the divers. To help combat this, and to conduct a systematic excavation, the team moved the aluminum shoring boxes assembled last week by US Navy divers into place on specific points of the wreck. Once placed,… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 21

Hunting Pirates in Cuba

Thursday, July 21, 2011 12:01 AM


July 21st is the 188th anniversary of a victory over Cuban pirates at Cape Cruz by two schooners in Commo. David Porter’s squadron and a landing force commanding by Lt. David G. Farragut. Although unfamiliarity with the difficult terrain prevented Farragut’s party from capturing the pirates, they did take and destroy the pirate’s stronghold and their cache of loot. The destruction of the pirate stronghold at Cape Cruz was one in a series of triumphs by Porter’s squadron against the buccaneers. These operations crippled the pirates, who had menaced shipping and trade in the area for years, but in the… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 19

On the Hunt for Bonhomme Richard!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 3:39 PM


On July 17th, the NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) along with partners from Ocean Technology Foundation, Naval Oceanographic Office, SUPSALV, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MSDU) 2 and the US Naval Academy, set out to continue the search for one of the Navy’s first fighting vessels, Bonhomme Richard. Captained by the father of our Navy, John Paul Jones, the ship was lost in 1779 after engaging in combat with HMS Serapis off the Yorkshire coast of England. Although Jones emerged victorious, Bonhomme Richard was irreparably damaged. After transferring all men and supplies safely to the captured Serapis, Jones set the… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 18

USS SCORPION PROJECT 2011 Day By Day: Week One

Monday, July 18, 2011 9:15 AM


Wednesday- 6 July 2011  Today, the Naval History and Heritage’s Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) began mobilization for Phase II of the USS Scorpion Project. This collaborative project brings together the UAB, the Maryland Historic Trust (MHT), and the Maryland State Highways Administration (MSHA) for the purposes of archaeologically investigating the remains of the War of 1812 block sloop Scorpion. Under the direction of Drs. Robert Neyland (UAB), Susan Langley (MHT), and Julie Schablitsky (MSHA), field work was initiated in the summer of 2010, which included a remote sensing survey and hydro-probe testing to locate the shipwreck, followed by limited… Read the rest of this entry »