Archive for the 'Wars' Category

Nov 21

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 4

Thursday, November 21, 2019 12:01 AM

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When last we left my grandfather, Seaman Thomas Schreck was settling into life at the Oran Naval Receiving station in Algeria. This was merely a stopping off point until he moved on to Tunisia where he joined the Auk Class minesweeper USS Sway (AM-120). This blog entry picks up on 16 May 1944. Tuesday May 16th Our convoy that went to Oran was bombed and they lost two Navy ships and five merchant. Guess we rate a star. First time we saw those French and English planes got scared. Nice ships. Played ball this A.M. Our crew against the Phillies. Beat… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 12

Navy Bands: Diversity in Action

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 12:01 AM

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During the late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century, musicians from South America, Central America, and Caribbean countries filled vacant ranks in U.S. Navy Bands, swearing an oath of enlistment that afforded a path to American citizenship. Early twentieth-century Navy Band rosters prove strikingly diverse. In addition to affording citizenship, music served as a medium to help bring diversity to the U.S. Navy. Of the many attempts to define the American national identity, the most enlightening are those that read American identity as a synthesis of many different influences. Unsurprisingly, American musical identity is also best defined as a synthesis. Forged through… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 5

German Fleet Surrender of World War I

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 12:01 AM

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Head shot of Vice Admiral John L. McCrea, USN (Ret.)

  In this clip excerpted from his oral history recordings, Vice Admiral McCrea recalls the remarkable capstone of his World War I service on board the battleship USS New York (BB-34) — the German fleet surrender of World War I. McCrea was a Naval Academy midshipman in 1914 when his ship, the USS Idaho (BB-24), was sold to Greece on the eve of World War I. After graduating in 1915, he served in the New York and was present when the German fleet surrendered following the war. He served a tour in Guam in the 1930s, then was executive officer of… 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 »

 
Oct 17

Theodore Roosevelt, Naval Expansion, and Guaranteeing Peace

Thursday, October 17, 2019 3:32 PM

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In 1897, William McKinley was inaugurated as 25th President of the United States. As an advocate of tariffs and protectionist policies, McKinley believed in supporting U.S. interests in Cuba and around the globe through diplomacy and tough negotiations. And yet, just over 12 months after his inauguration, McKinley would find himself leading the United States into war against a European power. Although America would enjoy total victory in 1898, this was despite the lack of naval preparation throughout the 1880s and 1890s. The near-immediate naval build-up in 1897 and early 1898 was due in large part to the bold actions… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 15

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 3

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 12:01 AM

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This Blog picks up with my grandfather Thomas Schreck’s journal on 8 May 1944. My grandfather was a passenger on the liberty ship SS Reverdy Johnson in route to Algeria to meet the ship he served on until the end of the war. The Reverdy Johnson was part of convoy UGS-40 that sailed from Norfolk, Virginia on 23 April, my grandfather boarded two days earlier. Monday May 8th Started betting on when we would see the rock, Saw birds and small craft. The rock is the Rock of Gibraltar, which every ship traveling to North Africa passed. Seeing birds and small… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 8

The Retro Bomb

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 12:01 AM

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Author’s note: The term “retro bomb” is used throughout this article in preference to the alternate “retrorocket” which to the modern reader might cause confusion. The later term was often used at the time this weapon was in service, as a retrorocket as we know it today had yet to exist. On 24 February 1944, Patrol Squadron VP-63 scored their first victory against a German U-boat, marking almost two years of development and use of their unique weapon, the retro bomb. Two of their PBY Catalina aircraft drove U-761 to the surface and forced its abandonment off Gibraltar. Weeks after… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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