Feb 18

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 7

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:01 AM

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This blog begins on 10 June 1944. My grandfather, Seaman Thomas Schreck, joined his ship the USS Sway (AM-120) an Auk class minesweeper in Bizerte, Tunisia at the end of May. The ship just spent the last nine days undergoing refitting and maintenance and was now about to get underway once again to resume operations off the coast of Italy. Before returning however, they stopped in Malta to prepare the ship for the dangerous job of clearing mines. Before getting into the ship’s operations, I want to provide some information on the USS Sway. The Sway belonged to the Auk class of fleet going minesweepers…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 14

Letters From Home

Friday, February 14, 2020 10:52 AM

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  On Valentines Day, I’m reminded of how much a nice long letter used to mean to me when I was stationed away from family and friends. Times have changed as text messages, email, FaceTime, Google Duo & social media have advanced the speed at which one can receive news from home. As a bit of nostalgia, I pulled some photos from the Naval Institute archive for you to enjoy. Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company. ~Lord Byron What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 11

The Antiaircraft Fire Control ‘Shoebox’

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 12:01 AM

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In the spring of 1941, the staff of the fire-control section in the newly reorganized Bureau of Ordnance’s Research and Development Division was struggling with the problem of how to provide fire control for the heavier antiaircraft machine guns that were just entering production, such as the 40-mm Bofors and the 1.1-in machine cannon. Although a series of development contracts had been awarded to the traditional suppliers of fire-control directors, none of the devices submitted to date lent themselves to quantity production, none had proven to work, and all were deemed too difficult to maintain afloat. Unbeknown to anyone in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 6

Reflections of ADM Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.)

Thursday, February 6, 2020 12:01 AM

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Admiral Stansfield Turner, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

  In this excerpt, Admiral Stansfield Turner reflects on his interactions with Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and Zumwalt’s service as CNO. After growing up in the Chicago area, Turner spent a year at Amherst College prior to entering the U.S. Naval Academy in 1943. His class of 1947 graduated a year early because the academy’s curriculum was shortened in World War II. After brief service in the escort carrier USS Palau (CVE-122) and the light cruiser USS Dayton (CL-105), he was in England as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University from 1947 to 1950. In 1966, he attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 4

The Strike Cruiser

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 12:01 AM

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In the 75 years since the end of World War II only two countries have constructed major surface combatant ships other than aircraft carriers. The Baltic Shipyard in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) built four nuclear-propelled battle cruisers, completing the 28,000-ton warships of the Kirov class from 1980 to 1996.[1] These massive warships were fitted with the latest weapons and electronic systems. Earlier, the U.S. Navy built the nuclear cruiser Long Beach (CGN 9), completed in 1961. The most capable surface combatant of her era, the Long Beach at 16,250 tons was significantly smaller than the Soviet giants. But the Long… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 1

“Sixteen Minutes from Home” Willie McCool’s Memorial

Saturday, February 1, 2020 12:01 AM

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Commander William C. McCool, USN gave his life on 1 February 2003 while piloting Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-107. Foam from the external fuel tank broke off and struck the shuttle’s left-wing during take-off. The seemingly minor damage led to the shuttle’s disintegration during reentry over two weeks later. McCool has several schools, tracks, parks, and buildings named in his honor. There are even memorials to him spread across the solar system. There is Asteroid 51829 Williemccool and McCool hill on Mars. One of the most personal memorials, however, resides on the U.S. Naval Academy Cross Country Course in Annapolis,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 31

World War II’s 13-Year-Old “Baby Veteran”

Friday, January 31, 2020 1:31 PM

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On the night of 14-15 November 1942, sailors aboard the USS South Dakota (BB-57) found themselves in the midst of one of World War II’s most legendary naval battles: The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The South Dakota was no stranger to enemy action. Her gun crews had already earned themselves a reputation of being “wild-eyed and quick to shoot” (Smithsonian), and her captain, Captain Thomas L. Gatch, already had his jugular severed and arms permanently damaged in a prior attack less than a month before. (Yes, he did in fact return to his ship that quickly). By the time the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 28

The Incredulous Adventure of Ensign George William Denby, USNR

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 10:07 AM

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Every once and a blue moon, a piece of history crosses my desk that immediately drives me to tell its story to everyone and anyone who will listen. Which is what I did this Fall, when I told my fellow archivists, the photo historian upstairs, and my friends about this story from World War II. This story has still stuck in my brain, however, which is why I’m going to share it with you all right now. Here is the strange but true story of Ensign George William Denby, USNR:   Ensign George William Denby, USNR (of Van Nuys, California)… Read the rest of this entry »