Author Archive

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 »

 
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 »

 
Oct 30

Richardson: Late Famed Oceanographer’s Legacy is One of “Lives Saved”

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 9:12 AM

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When retired Adm. John Richardson, former Chief of Naval Operations, reflected on the legacy of the late oceanographer Walter Munk, perhaps the most striking impact from a career that stretched over a century is this: Lives saved. Munk’s vast research work – from predicting waves so amphibious landing forces could avoid the harshest seas to understanding underwater sound transmission to find, or hide, submarines – stretched from World War II through the Cold War and to current day, Richardson told an audience last week at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. “If you think about, for a second,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 22

Midget Submarines at Guadalcanal

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 12:01 AM

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The story of the Japanese midget submarines at Pearl Harbor is pretty well known. But that only covers 5 of the little submersibles. What about the others? There were 50 of the original type A midgets. They participated in other daring raids, some more successful than others. However, the use of Type A midgets at Guadalcanal have received scant attention. The entire Solomons campaign was marked by several major battles which is, possibly, one reason that the midget submarines participation has been so poorly covered. The midgets were used at Pearl Harbor and then at Sydney and Diego Suarez. All… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 15

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 3

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 12:01 AM

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This Blog picks up with my grandfather Thomas Schreck’s journal on 8 May 1944. My grandfather was a passenger on the liberty ship SS Reverdy Johnson in route to Algeria to meet the ship he served on until the end of the war. The Reverdy Johnson was part of convoy UGS-40 that sailed from Norfolk, Virginia on 23 April, my grandfather boarded two days earlier. Monday May 8th Started betting on when we would see the rock, Saw birds and small craft. The rock is the Rock of Gibraltar, which every ship traveling to North Africa passed. Seeing birds and small… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 8

The Retro Bomb

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 12:01 AM

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Author’s note: The term “retro bomb” is used throughout this article in preference to the alternate “retrorocket” which to the modern reader might cause confusion. The later term was often used at the time this weapon was in service, as a retrorocket as we know it today had yet to exist. On 24 February 1944, Patrol Squadron VP-63 scored their first victory against a German U-boat, marking almost two years of development and use of their unique weapon, the retro bomb. Two of their PBY Catalina aircraft drove U-761 to the surface and forced its abandonment off Gibraltar. Weeks after… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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