Author Archive

Mar 14

ASW Rise and Fall

Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:01 AM

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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

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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

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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. 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 »

 
Feb 14

CAC-7: Skeet for the Fleet

Thursday, February 14, 2019 12:01 AM

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I am only 20 years old and the Soviets are going to shoot me down? That is NOT what I had in mind when our crew took off this morning! Like all good sea stories, this one too starts with a ‘there we were’ moment. But before the story starts, a bit of background and setup information first: Date: September 1989. Location: Sigonella (Catania Province), Sicily Purpose: VP-24 (Batmen) Deployment from home base in Jacksonville, Florida Aircraft: P-3C (Baseline models) VP-24 deployed to Sicily in July 1989 while the Cold War was raging (though waning, but nobody on our side… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 5

What to do when your commander burns his own perfectly good fleet?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 12:01 AM

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If you ever find yourself in command of an invading army, and surrounded by a numerically superior enemy hell-bent on your destruction, it is probably not a good idea to intentionally eliminate your only means of retreat. Yet that is what the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés did in 1519 when he sunk his own naval fleet to keep his men from deserting during his campaign to conquer the Aztec Empire. It was one of the biggest gambles in military history. He conquered the Aztec two years later, but things could have easily gone the other way. If Cortés had been defeated,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 24

The Life and Death of the USS YMS-365

Thursday, January 24, 2019 12:01 AM

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On 26 June 1945, USS YMS-365 struck a mine and sank while conducting minesweeping operations off the Japanese-held oil producing city of Balikpapan, Borneo in the Dutch East Indies. Many of the officers and enlisted men on board were injured. Fortunately, no one was killed and all the officers and men and the ship’s mascot “Doc” the dog were safely transferred to another YMS and eventually to the cruiser USS Columbia (CL-56). The ship was listing badly and another YMS poured gunfire into it to sink it. This is the story of how the YMS came to life, was commissioned,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 22

Day 9 — March 25 — Guam — Our Own Tour

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 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. I awoke in the dark, the victim of a telemarketing call at 4:47am from, ironically, an alleged veteran’s association in the States. I could not fall back asleep and so decided watch the dawn’s blue-gray fingers creep across the horizon. As the sky lightened I saw… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 15

Angels of the Oriskany – Fire!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:01 AM

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I sent my father’s cousin Dale Barck a postcard during a port call to Hong Kong in 1997, he replied sending me letters filled with sea stories from his days in the Navy, including the fateful events of his deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34) in 1966. Following the rescue of the August Moon’s crew in September, the adventure continued. Just before 0730 on 26 October 1966, the USS Oriskany was back on Yankee Station. Three overnight launches were cancelled due to poor weather. Dale wrote, “It was my turn to take the early launch. I was turned… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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