Monday, May 30, 2016

Flag of the USS Tennessee on E-Bay

From e-Bay.

USS Tennessee (BB-43) Flag flown at Battle of Okinawa in 1945.  48-star, 9 X 5 foot flag made of wool.  In great shape.

According to the seller, this is what his uncle told him:  "During the bombardment and battle, the Tennessee was hit by a kamikaze and 20 sailors were killed.  This was on the same day that FDR died.  To honor FDR and the dead sailors, a new flag was hoisted the following day and was flown for one day only and then replaced with another one.  His uncles says this is that one-day flag."

The seller wants $500 for it.  This would sure be a great addition for the museum in Scott County, Tennessee.

A Lot of History in That Flag.  --GreGen

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Final USS Tennessee Reunion

From the May 19, 2016, WBIR NBC "World War II veterans gather at Scott County museum for final reunion."

Seven U.S. Navy veterans who served on the USS Tennessee during World War II met in Scott County, Tennessee.  The museum id dedicated to the USS Tennessee, and, because of advancing age and illness, they have decided this will be the last reunion.

The museum is on the grounds of Scott High School and was built by the students and houses the largest collection of USS Tennessee artifacts in the world.

Bill Maytaugh's pea coat is on display there.  Bill Bishop was on the ship during the attack at Pearl Harbor where he picked up a fragment of a Japanese bomb as a souvenir and it also is on display.

Gerald "Buddy" McCaskell, 90, came from College Station, Texas and was 18 when he joined the Navy, having never seen an ocean before then.

They took a nice group  picture of the group.

--GreGen

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

USS Dent (APD-9)-- Part 2: Lightning Strike Forces

The USS Dent was at San Diego during the attack on Pearl Harbor and immediately got underway to screen the USS Saratoga in a high speed run to Pearl Harbor.  It returned to San Diego 29 December 1941, and then did convoy duty along the West Coast and then went to Alaska until January 1943 when it was converted into a high speed transport 7 March 1943.

It was at New Caledonia 20 April 1943.  Landed troops for assaults on New Georgia, Rendora, Vella Lavella, and Cape Torokina, Bougainville.

It then had an overhaul in Sydney, Australia.

It next landed the 4th Marines on Emirau Island 20 March and then it was at the Altape Islands.  It patrolled off Saipan and Tinian.

From 8 November 19444 to the end of the war, the dent served in San Diego as part of the Amphibious Landing Force.  20 October 1945, it sailed to the East Coast of the U.S. and was decommissioned 4 December 1945 and sold 13 June 1946.

--GreGen


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

USS Dent (DD-116) (APD-9)-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

This was the first ship that the World War II veteran I talked to at the Wal-Mart last week served on during his Navy career.

The USS Dent was a Wickes-class destroyer during World War I and later was the APD-9 during World War II.  It was named for Captain John H. Dent (1782-1823) who served in the Navy during the Quasi War, First Barbary War and the War of 1812.

It was launched 23 March 1918 and commissioned 9 September 1919, too late for World War.

Part way through World War II,  it was converted into a High Speed Transport (APD), the AP standing for transport and D for destroyer.  Their main duty was to deliver small fighting units onto hostile shores and they could carry as many as 200 at a time.

--GreGen

USS Tortuga (LSD-26)

From Wikipedia.

On Thursday, May 19th, I mentioned that I had met a U.S. Navy World War II veteran at the local Wal-Mart and talked with him.  He said he had served on the USS Tortuga and, I believe, the USS Dent and had shot down a kamikaze.

The USS Tortuga would have been the second ship he served on during the war.

The USS Tortuga (LSD-26)  was a Casa Grande-class dock landing ship named after Dry Tortuga, a group of desert coral islets 60 miles west of Key West, Florida.

It was laid down 16 October 1944 in Boston Navy Yard and launched 21 January 1945 and commissioned 8 June 1945.

It was enroute to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan when word reached it of the Japanese surrender.

The Tortuga proceeded to Buckner Bay, Okinawa and later operated in Korean and Chinese waters.

--GreGen


Monday, May 23, 2016

Diving on World War II Wrecks Off U.S. East Coast

From the October 4, 2014, Sanduskey (Ohio) Register "Marblehead native dives into historic wrecks" by Tom Jackson.

World War II was also fought off the United States coast.  Joe Hoyt, 32, is a government NOAA marine archaeologist exploring the war off the east coast.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, German U-boats began prowling off our coast.  In the first six months of the war (for the U.S.), 1942, there were more than 50 Allied ships sunk.  Says Hoyt, "It was a bit like a shooting gallery for the Germans along the East Coast."

On April 14, 1942, the destroyer USS Roper became the first U.S. ship to sink a German U-boat in World War II.  It found the U-85 on the surface and sank it with cannon fire.

Hoyt is one of the speakers at "Shipwrecks and Subs," a none-day conference at Sawmill Creek.

Mr. Hoyt earned his degree from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., noted for their underwater archaeology offerings.  He has also dove on the USS Monitor.

--GreGen

Looking Back, 1939: Twelve Joined U.S. Navy at Rockford

From the October 8, 2014, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

October 11, 1939.

**"Twelve joined the Navy at the Rockford office on October 3.  It was the largest single quota ever to enlist at that office."  Getting ready for war.

**  "War bombs are deadly for the children of Europe, but automobiles are fatal enough for Illinois school children, the Illinois Road Builders Association declared."

--GreGen


Friday, May 20, 2016

Final Reunion of USS Tennessee Survivors-- Part 2

On May 21, they will have a dinner and appreciation awards.  There is a memorial museum in Huntsville, Tennessee, which is why they are there.  The museum to the USS Tennessee was originally outside of Columbus, Ohio, but it was felt that it should be in the ship's namesake state (battleships, like today's nuclear submarines were named after states).

Among various artifacts in the museum is the ship's bell.  This museum houses the largest collection of USS Tennessee artifacts in the world..  Besides the bell, they have a five-foot model built by the Navy in 1943, another 6.5-foot model built by local historian Cliff Simmons and thousands of other items.

The USS Tennessee was launched in 1919 and had a crew of 57 officers and more than 1,000 enlisted.

At the reunion in 2005, the oldest Tennessee survivor was 94 and the youngest was 76.  This was the same year that the new museum opened

I'll Have to Find Out Where Huntsville Is and Visit Sometime.  --GreGen

Final Reunion of USS Tennessee Veterans-- Part 1

From the May 8, 2016, Knoxville (Tn) Focus "USS Tennessee survivors gather" by Mike Steely.

The battleship USS Tennessee managed to stay afloat that fateful December 7, 1941, day in Hawaii. It was damaged and afterwards underwent extensive remodeling and served out the rest of the war until decommissioned in 1947.  It then was inactive until 1959, when its name was removed from the naval register and it was sold to Bethleham Steel for scrapping.

On Tuesday, may 18, eight of the ship's estimated 18-20 survivors will arrive at Knoxville and spend the night before traveling to Huntsville, Tennessee, in Scott County for a final reunion of the ship's crew.  All or in their upper 80s or 90s now.

--GreGen

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Death of Tounz Carroll Stephens, USN

From the May 17, 2016, Log Cabin (Ark.) Democrat.

Tounz Carroll Stephens, 91, of Conway died May 15, 2016.  He was born January 2, 1925 in Naylor, Arkansas.

A veteran of the Pacific Theater, he served as an anti-aircraft gunner on the USS Idaho and USS Maryland.  he survived kamikaze attacks on the USS Maryland, receiving a shoulder injury he suffered from for the rest of his life.

He crossed the International Dateline in the South Pacific on his 19th birthday in 1944 and participated in the Island Hopping Campaign.

I have to wonder if he ever crossed paths with the gentleman I talked with earlier today?

--GreGen

I Met a World War II Veteran at Wal-Mart Today

I am sure glad that so many World War II veterans have begun wearing hats saying that they had served.  I usually make an effort to thank them and, even better, talk with them.

I was at the Wal-Mart in McHenry/Johnsburg, Illinois, and saw him sitting down on a chair.

I found out that he had served in the Pacific Theater and was now 89-years-old.  His face lit up when I approached him and asked of his service.

He said he had served on the USS Dent and USS Tortuga, LSD-26.

He was at Iwo Jima and Okinawa and saw more kamikazes that he ever hoped to see, saying how dangerous they were when the pilot was determined to die while crashing their plane into an American ship.

He even had the honor of shooting down one that was coming directly at his ship.

Always Thank a Veteran.  --GreGen

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Oldest World War II Veterans Back in 2014: Lucy Coffey and Richard Overton

LUCY COFFEY is the oldest living World War II veteran.  In July 2014, she went to Washington, D.C., on an Honor Flight, at age 108.  She was a sergeant in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps and won two Bronze Stars for her service in the Pacific.  Her father fought in the Civil War.

She was 37 when she enlisted in 1943 and died March 2015.

RICHARD OVERTON is the oldest male World War II veteran in 2014 at age 107 and turns 108 in May.  He was born in 1906 in Austin, Texas.


These are the two oldest verified World War II veterans.

--GreGen




Tea With Einstein; Coffee With Openheimer: Carrol Dick's War Service

From the September 2014, Veterans Site  "Tea With Einstein; Coffee With Oppenheimer; His Service in WWII: This Veteran Looks Back On his Life As He Turns 105."

On August 10, 2014, Carroll Dick will celebrate his 105th birthday with family and friends.  He worked on the atom bomb for the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and married for 69 years.

He currently resides in Chesterfield Township, Michigan after growing up in Michigan.

--GreGen

The 21st Field Artillery-- Part 2

**  Activated 6 October 1939 at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

**  Reorganized and redesignated 1 October 1940 as the 21st Field Artillery Battalion.

**  Inactivated (less Batteries B and C) 20 September 1946 at Ladd Field, Alaska.  (B and C Batteries inactivated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

CAMPAIGNS

World War I:  St. Mihiel, Lorraine, 1918

World War II:  Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, Alsace and Central Europe

Vietnam War

Persian Gulf War

--GreGen

The 21st Field Artillery-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday, I posted about the 21st Field Artillery passing very rapidly (30-40 mph) through downtown Sycamore, Illinois, in May 1941.  I was unable to find out where they were coming from or going to, but I did find other information.

The unit was first organized for World War I, also fought in World War II, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.

**  Constituted 1 July 1916 in Regular Army as the 21st Field Artillery.

**  Organized 1 June 1917 at Camp Wilson, Texas.

**  Assigned 12 December 1917 to 5th Division.

**  Inactivated 23 September 1921 at Camp Bragg, North Carolina.

--GreGen

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Looking Back to 1941: Military Convoy Rushes Through Sycamore

From the April 27, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1941, 75 years ago.

"Saturday shoppers on State Street in Sycamore were treated to a display of military power in the early hours of the afternoon as an armored convoy of he 21st Field Artillery passed hurriedly through the city, an estimated 250 going through at between 30 and 40 miles per hour in two hours.

"Every type of military equipment was represented in the huge parade which came and went unannounced.  There were large vehicles of six wheels carrying large 77 mm guns, anti-tank cars carrying 35 mm guns, machine guns cars and small trucks and motorcycles.

--GreGen

Monday, May 16, 2016

Oldest U.S. World War II Veteran Dies at Age 110: Frank Levingston

From te May 5, 2016 ABC Action News, WPVI, Philadelphis.

Frank Levingston died at the VA hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana.  he was born in North Carolina in 1905.  On his birthday last year, he went to Washington, D.C. where he visited the World War II Memorial, saw the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns and visited the White House.

He enlisted in the Army in 1942, and was older than some of the commanders he served under.

His job was to keep the vehicles running and he was at the invasion of Italy.

As far as education, he never got past 6th grade, but always talked about the importance of an education.

He was a black man, so he also had to put up with the racism of the segregated army at the time.

--GreGen

Pearl Harbor Survivors Among Iowa's Last-- Part 2: USS California, USS Vestal

Daniel Kramer graduated from Dubuque Senior High School and attended the University of Iowa.  He enlisted in the Naval reserve on Labor Day weekend 1940 and trained at Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago and was sent to Hawaii where he was an ensign on the USS California.

Francis Riley, 93, was a signal man on the USS Vestal which was tied up alongside the USS Arizona in preparation to install radar on the battleship.

He was living in Cedar Rapids, when he joined the Navy at age 18, on January 2, 1941.  He also trained at Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago.

The Arizona's explosion blew the Vestal's captain, Cassin Young, overboard, but he got back on his ship. The vestal got underway, but grounded  at Aiea Bay.  Young was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role at Pearl Harbor, but was later killed at Guadalcanal.

Riley later served in Italy, France and England.  He was at the Battle of Casablanca and present at Bikini Atoll for nuclear testing.

--GreGen

Pearl Harbor Survivors Among Iowa's Last-- Part 1

From the April 17, 2016, Gazette (Iowa) by Francie Williamson.

Francis Riley was on the USS Vestal repair ship docked alongside the USS Arizona during the attack.  Afterwards, he served on merchant marine ships as part of the U.S. Navy's Armed Guards.

Daniel Kramer will be 100-years-old in September and "thought it was a drill.  It was Sunday, 8 a.m., I thought, 'What a nutty time to have a drill.'"  He was on the battleship USS California during the attack.

Kramer is one of the last-known living Pearl Harbor survivors in Iowa.

--GreGen

Friday, May 13, 2016

Looking Back: Even As War Clouds Mass on the Horizon, a Hop Scotch Tournament

From the April 27, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) :Looking Back."

"Little Janet Coan, age 12, of 422 Park Avenue, won the hop scotch tournament which was held on the sidewalk in front of the Sycamore Community Center."

--GreGen