Archive for the 'History' Category

Dec 13

Good Cheer Bag

Thursday, December 13, 2018 9:01 AM

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Good Cheer Bag (Smithsonian National Museum of American History)

Lt Commander Theodorus Bailey Myers Mason, best known as the founder of the Office of Naval Intelligence, no doubt led a fascinating life. He was born to a prominent 5th Avenue family in New York City, where his childhood was spent riding a small white pony daily. He decided by the age of 16 he would join the Navy, and impressed his father by saving up the money for a commission himself. He called upon the Secretary of the Navy at 16 to ask him personally to secure a commission. The plan worked, and he entered the Naval Academy in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 11

Angels of the Oriskany – August Moon Rescue

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 12:01 AM

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Helicopter approaches the August Moon (Courtesy of the Author)

“If you went to Hong Kong, you went right by the Pratas Reef, where I crashed the H-2 trying to rescue some Chinese crewmen from an ore carrier, the August Moon, that had run aground in a typhoon.” I sent my father’s cousin Dale Barck a postcard during a port call to Hong Kong in 1997, and this was the unexpected reply I received. Dale was a great correspondent, 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. Dale Barck… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 4

Innovation In Difficult Times

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 12:01 AM

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Japanese Bombard Wanping ca. 1937

In 1868, the Meiji Restoration in Japan began a fundamental shift in Japan’s conception of its place in the world.[i] This shift was catalyzed by the “gunboat diplomacy” of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, who demonstrated the power of the U.S. Navy to secure expanded trading rights between the United States and Japan.[ii] The Meiji Restoration was characterized by an effort to modernize and globalize Japan economically and militarily in order to ensure that Japan would not be subjugated by a foreign power.[iii] Shimazu Nariakira, a powerful feudal lord during the period, stated that “if we take the initiative, we can… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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 »

 
Nov 6

Damage Control on the USS Houston (CL-81)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 8:24 AM

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RADM George H. Miller

In this selection, future RADM George H. Miller recounts the torpedoing of the USS Houston (CL-81) in October of 1944, off the coast of Formosa, Japan. Miller, then a damage control officer, describes a harrowing attack, leaving the ship severely damaged and flooding rapidly. While assessing the damage, Miller determined the ship had “more water on board in comparison with our displacement than any other ship that survived in World War II.” Miller’s early years in the Navy included service in the USS California (BB-44), Tuscaloosa (CA-37), Zane (DD-337), Goff (DD-247), Gilmer (DD-233), St. Louis (DD-233), and Houston (CL-81). Miller was XO of the Houston the latter period of the war. Later tours were:… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 1

100 Years Ago In USN LTA

Thursday, November 1, 2018 12:01 AM

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North Sea LTA (U.S. Naval Institute Archive)

The following is reprinted with permissions from The Noon Balloon. The late LTAS guru Dr. Dale Topping lamented that in any given book or publication about LTA, at least one photo will always be mis-identified. We often offer gently worded guidance to well meaning LTA-inclusive media to help over previous hiccups, but we are respectful, since we too have to recruit from the human race, and allow too many typos to count. While we LTA nuts realize the photo contains neither a seat nor a depth charge, we held off telling the U.S. Naval Institute it is a North Sea,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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