Archive for the 'Battles' Category

Jan 29

Battle of Rennell Island

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 12:01 AM

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USS Chicago riding low in the water following torpedo attack.

For years, I thought I knew about World War II. Going to public school, almost every year from sixth grade to senior year had at least a few weeks discussing WWII. I did not realize the blank spot in my education until we came to the combat photos in our archive, and suddenly I am confronted with photo after photo of the Pacific. It suddenly struck me that in all that time learning about WWII, not one of my teachers had taken the time to discuss the Pacific Front in detail. Talking with others, I soon began to realize it… 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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(Courtesy of the Author)

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 3

U.S. Navy’s All-Time Top Fighter Ace

Thursday, January 3, 2019 12:01 AM

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Future Captain David McCampbell, USN (Ret.) (1910-1996)

This oral history contains the candid recollections of the U.S. Navy’s all-time top fighter ace, Captain David McCampbell. He earned the Medal of Honor for his exploits during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. Following initial service as an officer in the heavy cruiser USS Portland (CA-33), McCampbell underwent flight training and received his wings in 1938. From 1938 to 1940, McCampbell served with Fighting Squadron Four (VF-4), based on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4). From 1940 to 1942, McCampbell was landing signal officer of the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-7) and survived her sinking in 1942, during the Guadalcanal campaign. After serving… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 25

Day 8- March 24- Iwo Jima

Tuesday, December 25, 2018 12:01 AM

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(Courtesy of the Author)

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. For me, the ability to share the experience of Guam with Dad was pretty unbeatable. But Iwo Jima is a once-in-a lifetime experience so today came in a close second. Too many histories exist describing that battle and I cannot possibly do it justice. On 19… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 6

The Sinking of the USS Nevada (BB-36)

Thursday, December 6, 2018 12:01 AM

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Captain Charles J. Merdinger, CEC, USN (Retired)

On the morning of 7 December 1941, then-Ensign Charles Merdinger awoke to alarms and stepped through his socks in his haste to get to his battle station on board the battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) when she was bombed at Pearl Harbor. In this audio clip, Captain Merdinger gives a vivid account of the near-disastrous situation he found himself in while in the sinking Nevada‘s plotting room during the attack.   To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go to https://www.usni.org/heritage/oral-history-catalog.  

 
Nov 29

The Spirit and the Fortitude of the 39th Battalion

Thursday, November 29, 2018 12:01 AM

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Members of the 39th Battalion 6 September 1942 (Australian War Memorial)

In his war commentary, Bellum Gallicum, Julius Caesar wrote, “In war great events are the results of small causes.” History is replete with examples of this dictum; stirring sagas of courage under fire; gallant stands by a handful of men against overwhelming odds; small battles that disproportionally influenced the outcome of major wars; epic chronicles that inspire us to this day. This article will address the lesser known but equally deserving Battle of the Kokoda Trail in 1942 which saved Australia and profoundly influenced the War in the Pacific. In the spring of 1942 Allied prospects were grim. Rommel was… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 20

Day 7- March 23- Guam

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 12:01 AM

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(Courtesy of the Author)

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 a brilliant rainbow. It also started out with a potentially amazing discovery. I previously noted in our program that one of the WWII vets, Marine Frank Campisano, served in Nagasaki. I located him in the lobby this morning and was inquiring as… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 13

USS Lakatoi – A Short, but Heroic Life

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 12:01 AM

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USS Lakatoi (Australian War Museum)

If there were a contest to find the U.S. Navy ship with the shortest career from commissioning to sinking, USS Lakatoi, with just six days, would certainly be a serious competitor. Its career was so short the ship never received a hull number. I would never have heard about the ship if not asked to find out the truth behind a “sea story.” The sea story began with an improbable premise – a U.S. Navy midshipman assigned to duty at Guadalcanal during the desperate days of 1942. After extensive research, I found two of the four officers of USS Lakatoi,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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