Archive for November, 2018

Nov 13

USS Lakatoi – A Short, but Heroic Life

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 12:01 AM

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USS Lakatoi (Australian War Museum)

If there were a contest to find the U.S. Navy ship with the shortest career from commissioning to sinking, USS Lakatoi, with just six days, would certainly be a serious competitor. Its career was so short the ship never received a hull number. I would never have heard about the ship if not asked to find out the truth behind a “sea story.” The sea story began with an improbable premise – a U.S. Navy midshipman assigned to duty at Guadalcanal during the desperate days of 1942. After extensive research, I found two of the four officers of USS Lakatoi,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 8

This Day in History: The Trent Affair

Thursday, November 8, 2018 12:01 AM

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Trent affair engraving

November 8 marks the anniversary of the Trent Affair of 1861. During the opening months of the Civil War, the U.S. Navy stopped the British mail steamer RMS Trent and seized two Confederate diplomats bound for England in the hope of negotiating diplomatic recognition for the secessionist states. The Trent Affair itself threatened to achieve exactly that and brought the United States and Great Britain close to war. Author James D. Hill wrote extensively of the Trent Affair and one of its main players—Captain Chalres Wilkes, U.S. Navy—in the July 1931 issue of Proceedings. It is excerpted here.

 
Nov 6

Damage Control on the USS Houston (CL-81)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 8:24 AM

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RADM George H. Miller

In this selection, future RADM George H. Miller recounts the torpedoing of the USS Houston (CL-81) in October of 1944, off the coast of Formosa, Japan. Miller, then a damage control officer, describes a harrowing attack, leaving the ship severely damaged and flooding rapidly. While assessing the damage, Miller determined the ship had “more water on board in comparison with our displacement than any other ship that survived in World War II.” Miller’s early years in the Navy included service in the USS California (BB-44), Tuscaloosa (CA-37), Zane (DD-337), Goff (DD-247), Gilmer (DD-233), St. Louis (DD-233), and Houston (CL-81). Miller was XO of the Houston the latter period of the war. Later tours were:… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 1

100 Years Ago In USN LTA

Thursday, November 1, 2018 12:01 AM

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North Sea LTA (U.S. Naval Institute Archive)

The following is reprinted with permissions from The Noon Balloon. The late LTAS guru Dr. Dale Topping lamented that in any given book or publication about LTA, at least one photo will always be mis-identified. We often offer gently worded guidance to well meaning LTA-inclusive media to help over previous hiccups, but we are respectful, since we too have to recruit from the human race, and allow too many typos to count. While we LTA nuts realize the photo contains neither a seat nor a depth charge, we held off telling the U.S. Naval Institute it is a North Sea,… Read the rest of this entry »