Archive for the 'World War II' Category

Jan 22

Day 9 — March 25 — Guam — Our Own Tour

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 12:01 AM

By

(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

By

(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 20

The Indianapolis Tragedy: My Perspective-The Court-Martial

Thursday, December 20, 2018 12:01 AM

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Captain McVay tells War Correspondents about the sinking of his ship (National Archive)

The search for blame for the disaster began on 13 August 1945. A Court of Inquiry was held in Guam at which Captain Charles B. McVay III was present to represent himself. The inquiry focused on the events of the night of 30 July, (1) the failure to zigzag, (2) the alleged failure to send out distress signals, (3) the mix-up in advising Leyte of the arrival time, (4) the failure of Leyte authorities to report the ship overdue, (5) the failure to provide an escort for the ship, (6) the failure to warn McVay of the known presence of… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 18

The Indianapolis Tragedy: My Perspective-The Sinking

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 12:01 AM

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Ambulances lined up at Guam, awaiting arrival of USS Tranquility (AH-14) with survivors of the sunken Indianapolis (National Archives)

On 30 July 1945 the USS Indianapolis (CA-35), proceeding alone at a leisurely 15.7 knots, unprotected by sonar-equipped vessels, or vessels of any kind, en route from Guam to the Philippines, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the waters near Leyte Gulf. At least 879 of its crew of 1157 perished, many of them badly burned, most of them floating without food or water, some without rafts, without radios or flares, in the shark-infested waters of the western Pacific. Tragically, the search did not begin, despite the fact that they were overdue, at their scheduled destination in Leyte Gulf… 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.  

 
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 »

 
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