Author Archive

Apr 16

Swimming Goes to War

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 12:01 AM

By

World War II saw a great leap forward in military technology from things like sonar to jet aircraft. However, one basic human activity became “weaponized” and a very valuable addition to the U.S. Navy’s arsenal. Swimming grew from simple physical training and life saving into a war-fighting skill designed to overcome German and Japanese beach defenses and insure success in numerous amphibious invasions around the world. A major center for preparing such combat swimmers for action was the Amphibious Training Base in sunny Fort Pierce, Florida.[i] Here the Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs), later organized into larger Underwater Demolition Teams,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 7

Forty-Two

Sunday, April 7, 2019 12:01 AM

By

April 7th, 2009 was the 20th anniversary of the sinking of K-278 Komsomolets, a Project 685 or in NATO-speak “Mike” class submarine. Forty-two souls were lost on that date in 1989. On the 20th anniversary, I travelled up from Moscow by train to St. Petersburg to represent the U.S. Navy at the ceremonies to honor those who died as well as those who survived. A service was first held at Nikolsky Cathedral, better known as the Sailor’s Cathedral, where the echoes of the singing and chants swung back and forth from the Orthodox priests to the choir and back again…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 4

The Great Seabee Tank Caper

Thursday, April 4, 2019 12:01 AM

By

There was a significant, if not historical event, that took place during the height of the Vietnam War. It went completely unreported and was never mentioned again anywhere in the annals of the illustrious Seabee history archives. I am here to correct that error before everyone involved forgets or considers it too minor to mention anymore. Sometime around March 1968, U. S. Navy Seabee history was made when the Mobile Construction Battalion-121, Alpha Company became the only military unit in the history of the Vietnam War to capture an enemy battle tank! But before I go into detail on how… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 21

Sinbad – The Dog Behind the Legend

Thursday, March 21, 2019 12:01 AM

By

Throughout the centuries many ships have had mascots – cats, dogs, monkeys, parrots – and during World War II there were a profusion of them. Many were adopted as part of the ship’s crew, but somehow none ever achieved Sinbad’s stature or lasting fame. His fame extended to sailors of all countries whose ships plied the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea and spread ashore to American cities far inland. It all started on a winter’s evening in late 1937, Blackie and his friend Ed Maillard returned from Liberty to the Cutter Campbell in Staten Island, New York. Blackie was carrying… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 19

From Small Town Girls to Prisoners of War

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 12:01 AM

By

In honor of Women’s History Month, I want to tell you a story. It is a story I never heard until I went digging for it, but it is a story of valor, honor, and perseverance. It this, the Angels of Bataan, a group of U.S. Army and Navy nurses held captive by the Japanese in the Philippines for three grueling years during the Second World War. It begins on 8 December 1941, sometime in the predawn hours. Business was usual in the U.S. military hospitals located across the Philippines. But the nurses and other medical staff at Canacao Naval… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 14

ASW Rise and Fall

Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:01 AM

By

The submarine is an elusive creature. Designed to operate mostly alone, and stealthily, it has become a factor far out of proportion to its size in the battle at sea. Fighting the submarine requires a well thought out strategy, supported by carefully coordinated tactics, carried out sequentially, to implement such strategy. The slightest tactical omission can result in lost ships. The Submarine Threat in World War I During WWI, U-Boats severely threatened the Allied War effort. Waiting, submerged and silent, at choke points along Allied logistics routes, submarines quickly became a severe danger. To combat submarines, ad hoc measures: nets,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 5

Admiral Thach: A Tactical Artist

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 12:01 AM

By

Standing about six feet tall and weighing a measly 135 pounds, it is hard to imagine how young Jack Thach felt as he prepared to begin his plebe training at the United States Naval Academy. It was the summer of 1923, and at his initial physical assessment, Jack’s frailty evoked great skepticism from the examining physician. Told to eat and exercise more, time would tell if Jack could translate his high school football success in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to achievement at the Academy. Two weeks into his first academic term, Midshipman 4/C Thach received failing grades in every subject. After… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 19

Days 10/11- March 26/27- Guam/Tokyo/International Dateline and Home

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 12:01 AM

By

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. The day started with Dad and me having a very moving, emotional talk about the trip, what it meant for each of us to be together on this journey and one of the best hugs in recorded history. Dad has never sought recognition for his Naval service- although he… Read the rest of this entry »

 
« Older Entries