Archive for October, 2018

Oct 31

Naval Superstitions – A Sailor’s Antiquated Guide to Avoiding Bad Luck

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 9:55 AM

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An eerie glow winks out from diving helmets aboard the USS Escape (ARS-6), serving as Jack-O'-Lanterns for the ship.

It’s that time of year once again! Where children and adults alike dress up, go to fun parties, and probably eat far too much candy. It’s also a time of spooky stories and superstitions, which is what I decided to research for my dive into naval history this month. Growing up in Wisconsin, sailors and maritime life was not something familiar to me. Most of my impressions of sailors came from movies, television, and books, and one theme always stuck out more than any other: they were just a little bit spooky! There always seemed to be an air of… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 26

Alfa Foxtrot 586: Reunion with the Russian Fishing Trawler Captain Who Saved Them

Friday, October 26, 2018 12:01 AM

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The 'Mys Synyavin' Soviet fishing trawler. (Archive Photo)

Forty years ago, at 14:30 on 26 October 1978, a U.S. Navy P-3C Orion aircraft was forced to ditch at sea west of the Aleutian Islands in the north Pacific. The mission—Alfa Foxtrot 586—was a Cold War antisubmarine warfare patrol off the Kamchatka Peninsula. A propeller overspeed problem cascaded into a series of emergencies that forced the pilots to ditch the aircraft in heavy seas. Of the 15-man crew, 13 survived the ditching, but only 10 endured the frigid ordeal of nearly 20 hours in life rafts in the frigid open ocean. They were rescued by a Soviet fishing trawler,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 23

The WEST-PAC Cruise From Hell

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 12:01 AM

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Fire on the USS Ranger on 2 November 1983 (Courtesy of Carlos C. Castellanos via NavSource)

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy on my 17th birthday. Within four months I finished basic training, graduated from data processing school and reported aboard the USS Ranger (CV-61), an aircraft carrier home ported out of San Diego, California. The ship was scheduled to deploy on a Western Pacific cruise (WEST-PAC). The “itinerary” included 12 fantastic port calls. It was so impressive that one would have thought that I was stationed aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, instead of an aircraft carrier. On the fateful day of 15 July 1983, it was time for the ship to depart. The ship… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 18

Day 5- March 21- Tinian

Thursday, October 18, 2018 12:01 AM

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Lieutenant Leroy Fadem recently revisited sites in the Pacific where he saw action in the Navy during the tumultuous years of the War in the Pacific over 70 years ago. This is a journal of that recent trip as kept by his son, Steven Fadem, who accompanied Lt. Fadem on that journey of rediscovery. Most of you know I serve on the Governing Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, an organization created at the end of WWII by Einstein, Fermi and other ”Manhattan Project” scientists who were concerned about the potential consequences of their work. As noted in our… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 16

ACTION REPORT: HMAS Australia off Luzon

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:38 AM

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The heavy cruiser HMAS Australia in late August 1942. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

In October 1944 near the Philippine island of Leyte, Japan unleashed a powerful, unforeseen weapon against enemy warships—the kamikaze. During the next few months, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia, received more than her share of attention from the deadly suicide planes. According to Australian sources, the cruiser became the first Allied ship hit by a kamikaze when on 21 October a D3A “Val” bomber struck her foremast, killing 7 officers—including her commanding officer—and 23 sailors. (Other sources deny the attack was a preplanned suicide attack.) That was just a taste of what was in store for the Australia during the January 1945 operation… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 11

Pea Island Lifesaving Crew’s Daring Rescue – 11 October 1896

Thursday, October 11, 2018 11:01 AM

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Emblem of the United States Life Saving Service

The schooner E.S. Newman ran aground about two miles south of the Pea Island, North Carolina, life-saving station after losing it’s sails and drifting about 100 miles during a hurricane on October 11, 1896. Under the command of Keeper, Richard Etheridge, the crew of the station hitched mules to a beach cart and rushed towards the ship where the captain and eight others were clinging to the wreck.   A Lyle’s gun could not deploy a line to the victims so Etheridge ordered two surfmen to tie themselves together and swim through the heavy seas toward the wreck while carrying another line… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 5

The Death of the Lone Ranger, USMC

Friday, October 5, 2018 8:01 PM

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Death of Lone Ranger 1

In 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression, the “March of the Swiss Soldiers” finale from the William Tell overture came blaring over the airwaves from radio station WXYZ in Detroit to announce the arrival of a new American hero. Station owner George Trendle wanted a show about a mysterious cowboy, so writer Fran Striker developed a character who was the sole survivor of a group of Texas Rangers ambushed by a gang. After being found near death and nursed back to health by the Indian Tonto, the Lone Ranger dons a mask and sets out on his horse… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 4

House Armed Service Committee 1949 B-36 Investigation

Thursday, October 4, 2018 12:01 AM

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Vice Admiral William I. Martin, U. S. Navy (Retired)

In this selection, Vice Admiral William I. Martin recounts his involvement in the the House Armed Services Committee’s B-36 investigation. The investigation went beyond the issue of B-36 procurement to include the issue of national defense strategy and unification of American air defense. Commander Martin was sent to Washington, D.C., by Admiral Arthur W. Radford to assist in picking the technical panel and testify against the B-36 becoming the primary offensive aircraft for the United States. Two of the main contributions of this oral history are in describing Admiral Martin’s work as a naval aviation pioneer, particularly in the area… Read the rest of this entry »