Archive for the 'Accident' Category

Jan 2

The Sinking of the BB Kongo during WWII

Thursday, January 2, 2020 12:01 AM

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Vice Admiral Eli T. Reich, USN (Ret.)

  In this excerpt, Vice Admiral Eli T. Reich recounts the 21 November 1944 sinking of the Japanese battleship BB Kongo by the USS Sealion (SS-315). This excerpt comes from Volume I of Vice Admiral Reich’s oral history and covers his career prior to 1963. He graduated from submarine school in 1939 and was assigned to the first USS Sealion (SS-195). In Manila in December 1941, he was lunching on a ship in the harbor when the Sealion (which he had left moments before) was demolished by Japanese bombs. His descriptions of submarine experience in the Pacific and Sea of… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 11

Honoring USS Eagle (PE-56)

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 10:49 AM

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I received an email this morning from a Naval Institute friend that I wanted to share about a new memorial which is replacing an old one. In part, the email read: During World War II, on April 23, 1945, the USS Eagle 56 was sunk by a German submarine about five miles off the coast of Cape Elizabeth. 49 sailors were killed in action; 13 survived. A memorial is currently located at Fort Williams Park to the right of the lighthouse, when facing the water, between the two binoculars. On November 21, 2019 Steve Lyons, Cape Elizabeth, and Paul Lawton, Naval… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 2

The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 19

Monday, December 2, 2019 11:08 AM

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At 1410 hours on 5 December 1945, a group of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers took off from the U.S. Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a routine overwater navigational training flight. The flight leader in charge of the unit, dubbed “Flight 19”, was U.S. Navy Lieutenant Charles Carroll Taylor, who had amassed some 2,500 flying hours in addition to the completion of a combat tour in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Taylor and his crew of 13 airmen, some trainee pilots, were to execute “navigation problem No. 1”, described by the Naval History and Heritage Command… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 31

This Day In History: The Sinking of the USS Reuben James (DD-245)

Thursday, October 31, 2019 11:45 AM

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Most of us tend to associate the start of America’s involvement in World War II with the tragedy that struck Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Technically, we aren’t wrong. The United States did in fact make the decision to officially enter the war following the events of that terrible day. However, the Attack on Pearl Harbor was not the first deadly attack against U.S. forces during the overall duration of the war, nor was it the first time a U.S. warship was ravaged by the Axis.   The story I am about to tell you may sound familiar to… 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 »

 
Jul 30

Racism, Mutiny, and Exoneration-The Port Chicago Disaster

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 11:53 AM

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The date is 17 July 1944. It’s nearing half past 10 PM, and the 24-hour cycle of munitions and cargo loading at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine, California is in full swing. Two merchant ships, the SS Quinault Victory and the SS E.A. Bryan, sit at the pier. The SS Quinault Victory is empty, the SS E.A. Bryan holds over 4,000 tons of ammunition, and sixteen railcars sitting on the pier contain 429 tons of ammunition. Hundreds of cargo handlers, munitions handlers, crewmen, and officers swarm the area, working tirelessly to load the two vessels with explosives, bombs, depth charges,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 21

The Bennington Disaster

Sunday, July 21, 2019 12:01 AM

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One half of a steroview showing the Bennington beached after the explosion.

All seemed well on board the USS Bennington (Gunboat No. 4) as the sun rose over the hills of San Diego, California on Friday, 21 July 1905. The gunboat was laying at anchor just west of the Coronado ferry crossing, having arrived on the 19th after a 17-day voyage from Pearl Harbor. The crew were undoubtedly disappointed, for their long-awaited shore leave in the city was cancelled when the gunboat was ordered to tow the Wyoming to Port Hartford after the monitor blew a gasket on her main engine. Down below, the “black gang” stoked the fires to prepare the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 3

USOs Not UFOs Have Been the Greatest Threat to the Navy

Monday, June 3, 2019 3:21 AM

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The United States Navy created a bit of a buzz recently when it revealed that new guidelines had been issued for pilots who wanted to report encounters with unexplained aerial phenomena. The guidelines were created in response to a rash of unusual sightings over the past several years. Many media outlets equated unexplained aerial phenomena to unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, which in turn was interpreted by a lot of people as meaning “spacecraft flown by aliens.” To the disappointment of believers, most reported phenomena are probably due to something a bit more mundane than extraterrestrials taking a joy ride… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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