Archive for the 'World War II' Category

Oct 16

ACTION REPORT: HMAS Australia off Luzon

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:38 AM

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The heavy cruiser HMAS Australia in late August 1942. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

In October 1944 near the Philippine island of Leyte, Japan unleashed a powerful, unforeseen weapon against enemy warships—the kamikaze. During the next few months, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia, received more than her share of attention from the deadly suicide planes. According to Australian sources, the cruiser became the first Allied ship hit by a kamikaze when on 21 October a D3A “Val” bomber struck her foremast, killing 7 officers—including her commanding officer—and 23 sailors. (Other sources deny the attack was a preplanned suicide attack.) That was just a taste of what was in store for the Australia during the January 1945 operation… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 5

The Death of the Lone Ranger, USMC

Friday, October 5, 2018 8:01 PM

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Death of Lone Ranger 1

In 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression, the “March of the Swiss Soldiers” finale from the William Tell overture came blaring over the airwaves from radio station WXYZ in Detroit to announce the arrival of a new American hero. Station owner George Trendle wanted a show about a mysterious cowboy, so writer Fran Striker developed a character who was the sole survivor of a group of Texas Rangers ambushed by a gang. After being found near death and nursed back to health by the Indian Tonto, the Lone Ranger dons a mask and sets out on his horse… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 27

The Programming Pirate: The Inspiring Life of “Amazing” Grace Hopper

Thursday, September 27, 2018 12:01 AM

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Captain Grace M. Hopper, USNR
Description: Head of the Navy Programming Language Section of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Working in her office, 1 August 1976. Photographed by PH2 David C. MacLean. (NHHC)

  On 7 December 1941, Grace and her husband Vincent listened to the radio at their home as news of a surprise aerial attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese was reported. The next day, the United States joined Britain and declared war on the Japanese Empire. The Pearl Harbor attack “would also be the chronological fulcrum from which Grace Hopper’s own life would pivot. In the months that followed that fateful day, Grace Murray Hopper would leave her position as a tenured professor at Vassar College, divorce her husband, and join the U.S. Navy at the age of 36… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 18

Day 4- March 20- Saipan

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 12:01 AM

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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 Landing Beaches, Purple Heart Ridge and the Suicide Cliffs It is now the spring of 1944 and the Navy pushed the Japanese out of New Guinea and safely away from the southern supply lines. With the Solomon and Gilbert Islands battles behind it, the Navy… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 31

The Cartoonist Who Predicted Pearl Harbor

Friday, August 31, 2018 8:31 AM

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Featured in comics, novels, radio programs and film serials, Don Winslow of the Navy attracted legions of fans throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The character was created by a former crime reporter, naval intelligence officer and FBI agent named Frank V. Martinek. Although he surely enjoyed the commercial success of Don Winslow, Martinek was in part motived to develop the character because he had been frustrated with the public’s indifference to his dire warnings of an inevitable war with Japan. The creative process that resulted in Don Winslow began when Martinek worked as a young crime reporter for the Chicago… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 28

A Sailor’s Best Friend: Dogs in the Military

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 11:17 AM

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Mascot Card for U.S. Navy Mascot Apache

While working on the U.S. Naval Institute’s photo digitization project, I happened upon a folder of photographs filled with something that always brings joy to my heart: Dogs! It may be a few days after the official National Dog Day, but for dog lover’s, every day is for the dogs, and I thought I’d use today to share some history on dogs in the military. We know that dogs have been keeping us company since before 10,000 BCE. By becoming our companions, dogs also became our allies against our enemies, whether they be the animals early man hunted, or men… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 21

Day 3- March 17/18 Honolulu to Saipan, via Guam

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 12:01 AM

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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. Back in 1944 when Dad traveled from Honolulu to Guam on the Stevens it took over a week at sea. Today we made the journey in a little over eight hours, with two meals, some wine, a movie and air conditioning. The juxtaposition is stunning. The world… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 7

Commencing the Attack on Guadalcanal

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 2:00 PM

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Marine forces training for an amphibious landing prior to the beginning of the Guadalcanal campaign.  (Photo: USNI Archive)

On 7 August 1942 the Allied forces began their first major counter-offensive against the Japanese at Guadalcanal. Since Pearl Harbor the U.S. had spent most their time recovering from the attack and re-building the badly damaged Pacific fleet. One high-poin, however, were the highly successful attacks known as “Doolittle’s Raids.” This “lull” in activity ended with the invasion of Guadalcanal. Code-named “Operation Watchtower,” Marines conducted a surprise raid of their primary target, the airfield, and quickly established a presence that allowed troops to arrive on the island. The initial invasion was such a surprise that the first Marines encountered little resistance…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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