Dec 5

From Bad to Worse

Thursday, December 5, 2019 12:01 AM

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After two months in Vietnam, I had learned a lot about being a corpsman on the front lines. I had already filled out dozens of casualty cards, and I had seen more KIA’s (Killed-in Action) and WIA’s (Wounded-In-Action) than I cared to think about. On this particular day, we were on another search and destroy mission. The sun was just rising, and with no clouds in the sky, we were already sweating from the heat and humidity. With Vietnam only eight degrees north of the equator, we knew it was going to be another very hot day. In South Vietnam,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 3

Risky Rescue off Nauru Island, December 1944

Tuesday, December 3, 2019 8:50 AM

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Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp, USN (Ret.)

  In this clip excerpted from his oral history recordings, Admiral Sharp recalls a risky rescue mission five miles off Nauru Island in December 1944, in which the downed “pilot” turned out to be a float light bobbing in the water. During World War II, Admiral Sharp was CO of the USS Hogan (DD-178) on convoy duty in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean as well as in the invasion of North Africa. In 1943 he was CO of the USS Boyd (DD-544) and took part in many strikes in the Pacific: Wake Islands, Nauru, the Marianas, the Bonins, Mindanao, Cebu, Negros, Luzon, Truk, Okinawa, and… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 2

The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 19

Monday, December 2, 2019 11:08 AM

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At 1410 hours on 5 December 1945, a group of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers took off from the U.S. Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a routine overwater navigational training flight. The flight leader in charge of the unit, dubbed “Flight 19”, was U.S. Navy Lieutenant Charles Carroll Taylor, who had amassed some 2,500 flying hours in addition to the completion of a combat tour in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Taylor and his crew of 13 airmen, some trainee pilots, were to execute “navigation problem No. 1”, described by the Naval History and Heritage Command… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 21

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 4

Thursday, November 21, 2019 12:01 AM

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When last we left my grandfather, Seaman Thomas Schreck was settling into life at the Oran Naval Receiving station in Algeria. This was merely a stopping off point until he moved on to Tunisia where he joined the Auk Class minesweeper USS Sway (AM-120). This blog entry picks up on 16 May 1944. Tuesday May 16th Our convoy that went to Oran was bombed and they lost two Navy ships and five merchant. Guess we rate a star. First time we saw those French and English planes got scared. Nice ships. Played ball this A.M. Our crew against the Phillies. Beat… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 14

When the Navy Flew to the Moon

Thursday, November 14, 2019 12:01 AM

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On 20 July 1969 two American’s made history when they first stepped foot on the moon. Everyone remembers the Apollo 11 mission and those first steps, but most people forget the six missions that followed. Only four months after the triumph of Apollo 11 the next crew made the second landing. Apollo 12 was a longer mission with a pinpoint landing and more detailed scientific objectives. It also featured the only all Navy crew of the Apollo program. The crew consisted of Navy Commanders Charles “Pete” Conrad, Richard “Dick” Gordon and Alan L. Bean. All were experienced Naval aviators. Conrad… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 12

Navy Bands: Diversity in Action

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 12:01 AM

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During the late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century, musicians from South America, Central America, and Caribbean countries filled vacant ranks in U.S. Navy Bands, swearing an oath of enlistment that afforded a path to American citizenship. Early twentieth-century Navy Band rosters prove strikingly diverse. In addition to affording citizenship, music served as a medium to help bring diversity to the U.S. Navy. Of the many attempts to define the American national identity, the most enlightening are those that read American identity as a synthesis of many different influences. Unsurprisingly, American musical identity is also best defined as a synthesis. Forged through… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 7

The Coal Barge at the Cradle of Naval Aviation

Thursday, November 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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AB-2 flying boat on Coal Barge No. 214

On 5 November 1915, Lieutenant Commander Henry C. Mustin made history when he made the first underway catapult launch from a ship, the USS North Carolina (Armored Cruiser No. 12) in the Curtiss Model F flying boat AB-2—experimental work that ultimately led to the use of catapults today. Several months before, though, trials of the device were undertaken using a less auspicious craft—Coal Barge No. 214.

 
Nov 5

German Fleet Surrender of World War I

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 12:01 AM

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Head shot of Vice Admiral John L. McCrea, USN (Ret.)

  In this clip excerpted from his oral history recordings, Vice Admiral McCrea recalls the remarkable capstone of his World War I service on board the battleship USS New York (BB-34) — the German fleet surrender of World War I. McCrea was a Naval Academy midshipman in 1914 when his ship, the USS Idaho (BB-24), was sold to Greece on the eve of World War I. After graduating in 1915, he served in the New York and was present when the German fleet surrendered following the war. He served a tour in Guam in the 1930s, then was executive officer of… Read the rest of this entry »