Author Archive

Jan 21

The Heroic James Barron

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 12:01 AM

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Before the animosity between James Barron and Stephen Decatur culminated in their fatal duel, the two served together on one of the United States Navy’s first warships, the frigate United States. The nation almost lost the frigate during the Quasi War with France (1798-1800), and with it, a young wardroom and midshipmen mess that would define the U.S. Navy for the next half century. Barron would take Decatur’s life in 1820, but first he saved him and others of the pantheon of early American naval heroes. Captain John Barry commanded the frigate United States during the Quasi-War with France. The… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 16

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 6 Sea Stories Part 1

Thursday, January 16, 2020 12:01 AM

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This blog begins with my grandfather, Seaman Thomas Schreck, shortly after joining his ship the USS Sway (AM-120) an Auk class mine sweeper. He arrived in Bizerte Tunisia at the Karouba Air and Sea base a few days earlier. The Sway spent the first nine days of June undergoing refitting before returning to Italy where it continued to serve as part of the ongoing operations there. My grandfather stopped writing upon joining the ship as per orders from his Commanding Officer. This blog and future blogs will use a combination of the ship’s war journal, a few entries he did make, an… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 17

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 5

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 12:01 AM

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This entry picks up where my grandfather’s journal left off in May, 1944. After a long voyage to Algeria and a brief stay at the Oran Naval Receiving Station he received his travel orders to Tunisia where he met his ship. As stated in previous blogs these entries are copied word for word from the original journal. Language is contemporary and some entries may not be politically correct. They are recorded here as part of the historical record. Saturday May 20th Got our clearance cards this A.M. Hate to leave. Going to Biserte by train. Bizerte, Tunisia was home to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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 »

 
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