Author Archive

Apr 25

The Strange Navy That Shipped Millions of Japanese Home

Thursday, April 25, 2019 9:50 PM

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When Japan formally surrendered on board the USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945, there still were seven million Japanese soldiers and civilians scattered throughout the Pacific and Asia with no way of returning home. The Allies had so devastated Japanese shipping during the war that few transports remained. There were some grumblings among U.S. officials who thought that it was Japan’s problem to rectify, but it was quickly recognized that after suffering under Japanese occupation for years, countries such as China and the Philippines should be relieved of the burden of stranded Japanese troops. There was… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 23

The ‘Other’ Flag-Raising Photos from the War in the Pacific

Saturday, February 23, 2019 6:10 AM

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When photographer Joe Rosenthal pointed his camera at a group of men atop of Mount Suribachi and quickly snapped a shot, he did not think he captured anything special. It was not until the film was developed at a lab in Guam that a photo editor noted that the image was “one for all time.” Within a day of the photo being taken, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima was distributed over the wire to hundreds of newspapers and became an immediate sensation. The image won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography and has become one of the most reproduced and parodied… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 1

From Vindictive to Dainty: The Extremes of Royal Navy Ship Names

Friday, February 1, 2019 12:39 PM

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The Royal Navy is steeped in tradition and history. Its mighty fleets were the envy of the world and enabled the British to run a global empire for centuries. Their ships sailed the oceans with striking names that projected qualities to inspire crews and intimidate enemies – names such as HMS Vengeance, Fearless, Vindictive, Repulse and Spiteful. What young sailor would not be proud to serve on ships named HMS Battleaxe or Gladiator? The revolutionary HMS Dreadnought had a bold name that was so effective it was used to refer to all similar battleships that were modeled after her. Royal… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 5

The Death of the Lone Ranger, USMC

Friday, October 5, 2018 8:01 PM

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In 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression, the “March of the Swiss Soldiers” finale from the William Tell overture came blaring over the airwaves from radio station WXYZ in Detroit to announce the arrival of a new American hero. Station owner George Trendle wanted a show about a mysterious cowboy, so writer Fran Striker developed a character who was the sole survivor of a group of Texas Rangers ambushed by a gang. After being found near death and nursed back to health by the Indian Tonto, the Lone Ranger dons a mask and sets out on his horse… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 31

The Cartoonist Who Predicted Pearl Harbor

Friday, August 31, 2018 8:31 AM

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Featured in comics, novels, radio programs and film serials, Don Winslow of the Navy attracted legions of fans throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The character was created by a former crime reporter, naval intelligence officer and FBI agent named Frank V. Martinek. Although he surely enjoyed the commercial success of Don Winslow, Martinek was in part motived to develop the character because he had been frustrated with the public’s indifference to his dire warnings of an inevitable war with Japan. The creative process that resulted in Don Winslow began when Martinek worked as a young crime reporter for the Chicago… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 8

Frankenships: HMS Zubian and USS Wisconsin

Friday, June 8, 2018 9:14 AM

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When the Royal Navy commissioned the thirteenth Tribal-class destroyer in on 7 June 1917, it unleashed a floating Frankenstein’s monster. HMS Zubian was actually stitched together from the best parts of the class’s tenth and twelfth destroyers after both had suffered heavy damage while serving as part of the Dover Patrol to prevent German vessels from entering the English Channel. HMS Nubian was torpedoed during the Battle of Dover Straight in October 1916 but had remained mostly intact and suffered no casualties. As she was being towed back to port, heavy winds caused her to breakaway and run aground on… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 24

Naval History News of Note

Thursday, May 24, 2018 11:36 PM

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  This week’s news stories concerning naval history:   The U.S. Navy helmet that John Glenn wore during the first supersonic transcontinental flight is up for auction. Glenn flew from Los Alamitos, California to NAS Floyd Bennett Field, New York at a record speed of 725.55 mph during Project Bullet. The success of the mission led to Glenn being selected for the Mercury program.   The museum ship USS Slater received a much-needed grant to repair the mast and hull. The Cannon-class destroyer escort was commissioned in 1944 and participated in Atlantic convoys. She was sold to Greece after the war… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 11

Rare German Helmet from Hindenburg Ground Crew

Friday, May 11, 2018 2:15 AM

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May 6 marked the 81st anniversary of the fiery destruction of the Hindenburg at NAS Lakehurst. The cause of the disaster is still debated but the prevailing theory is that the airship’s highly volatile hydrogen gas was ignited by static electricity as the Hindenburg descended. The widely circulated film of the burning zeppelin shocked the public. The incident caused Deutsche Zepplelin Reederei (German Zeppelin Transport Company) to ground its airships and suspend its burgeoning transatlantic operations. The outbreak of WWII a few years later prevented DZR from reestablishing it’s commercial passenger service and all its airships were ordered to be… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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