Archive for the 'Accident' Category

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 »

 
Jun 3

Death of a Destroyer

Monday, June 3, 2019 12:01 AM

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To mark the 50th anniversary, below is a reprint of Captain Paul Sherbo’s article from the December 2003 issue of Naval History. Many a ship driver reading of the 1969 collision between the USS Frank E. Evans and HMAS Melbourne can see familiar errors that again could end in catastrophe. But tracking down the cause of the disaster has been no easy task. At quarter past three in the morning on 3 June 1969, 74 crewmen of a U.S. destroyer in the South China Sea began to die.1 It was not enemy fire that took them. The tragedy occurred when… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 2

Tenth Patrol of the USS Silversides (SS-236)

Thursday, May 2, 2019 12:01 AM

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RADM John S. Coye Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.)

In this audio excerpt from his oral history, Rear Admiral John Coye describes the tenth war patrol of the USS Silversides (SS-236) and the sinking of three Japanese ships off the Marianas in May 1944. After graduation from the Naval Academy in 1933, Admiral Coye served in the cruiser USS Northampton (CA-26) and destroyer Monaghan (DD-354). Submarine school in 1937 was followed by service in the submarine USS Shark (SS-174) as engineer until 1941. He then helped put the mothballed submarine USS R-18 (SS-95) into commission and succeeded to command during patrols off Panama. The highlight of his career came during… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 7

Forty-Two

Sunday, April 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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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 »

 
Feb 7

The Loss of the USS Macon, 12 February 1935

Thursday, February 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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Lieutenant Harold B. "Min" Miller at the controls of his F9C over Moffett Field. In 1934, Miller became the HTA Unit's senior aviator and was co-developer of the radio equipment which "homed" the pilots back to the airship.

  Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1924, Harold B. Miller spent two years in the crew of the battleship USS California (BB-44) before going to flight training. As an aviator, he initially was in the battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48) and carrier USS Langley (CV-1). He served as a scout plane pilot from the Navy’s last two rigid airships, the USS Akron (ZRS-4) and Macon (ZRS-5). In this excerpt from his second interview at his home in Manhasset, New York, Admiral Miller recounts the dramatic loss of the USS Macon off the coast of California in 1935.     To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go… 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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