Wednesday, October 22, 2014

USS England Sinks Record Sixth Japanese Submarine

On May 31, 1944, the USS England (DE-635) sank a record sixth Japanese submarine in 13 days.

--GreGen

Death of Alg Kongslie, 93: Pearl Harbor Survivor

I looked up Mr. Kongslie's name after I posted the last entry and am sad to report that he died December 17, 2013.

He was on the USS St. Louis, a heavy cruiser at Pearl Harbor.  The ship got underway and a Japanese submarine fired two torpedoes at it, but fortunately missed.

After seeing the men jumping overboard from the liberty boat, he then saw the Japanese Zero strafing them.  His battle station was manning a 5-inch anti-aircraft gun..

--GreGen

Staten Island Pearl Harbor Survivor Visits Fleet Wekk

From the May 27, 2012, Military News by MC1 Patrick Gordon.

The last-known Staten island Pearl Harbor survivor, former Chief Boatswain's Mate Alf Kongslie, 91, was on his ship, the USS Saint Louis (CL-49) and recalls the day began like so many others on that December 7, 1941.

"I saw guys going across the harbor in a liberty boat.  I figured they were going to church.  Then I saw them jumping into the water.  I didn't know what was going on.

"I kept trying to climb my way up the ladder to get  to my battle station, but guys kept knocking me off coming down the other way.  I finally got to my station and got to work."

He served in the Navy until 1947.

--GreGen

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

World War II Ship Gets Blue Star

From the May 29, 2012, Pinde Patch "World War II Ship Gets Blue Star from El Cerrito Garden Club" by Charles Burress.

The marker was set in stone next to the SS Red Oak Victory in Richmond, California.  It was built by the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond during the war and is in the process of being restored.

The Blue Star Memorial Program is a long-standing project of the National Garden Clubs dating to World War II to honor veterans.

--GreGen

USS Mohawk Makes Final Voyage

From the May 24, 2012, Sand Paper.

The former USCG "A" class cutter Mohawk (WPG-78) will be sunk 28 nautical miles west of Redfish Pass in the Gulf of Mexico.  It is the largest ship to be scuttled in Lee County's Artificial Reef Program.

Plans are to sink it in July 2012 after the ship has been cleaned and gutted.

It was built in Wilmington, Delaware 78 years ago for $500,000 and served during World War II.

--GreGen

World War II Reshaped the Bay Area-- Part 5

The population of San Francisco was 634,000 in 1940 and by 1950, it had grown to 774,821.  The populations of outlying towns doubled.  In 1940, there were only 4,864 blacks in San Francisco, making up less than 1% of the population.  By 1950, that number had grown to 43,821.

At the same time, the impact on those of Asiatic descent was mixed.  Chinese-Americans fared well during the war (since China was on the U.S. side.  However, many Japanese and Japanese-Americans were interred.

The economy of the Bay Area boomed as over $6 billion in war contracts were awarded to businesses.

--GreGen

Monday, October 20, 2014

World War II Reshaped the Bay Area-- Part 3

Government records show that 1,647,174 passengers, including soldiers, sailors, Marines and civilians like Red Cross personnel boarded ships at Fort Mason bound for different places in the Pacific Theater.Two-thirds of all troops fighting in in the Pacific passed through the fort.

Johnny Johnson was a sailor of the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco said that when he was on leave, "A sailor couldn't buy a drink in a bar.  They couldn't even buy a hot dog.  It was all free."

During and especially after the war, many military personnel moved to San Francisco.

--GreGen

Saturday, October 18, 2014

World War II Reshaped the Bay Area-- Part 2

In East Bay, Henry J. kaiser built three shipyards which together built 747 ships during the war.  One of them was built in a world record four days.

During its shipbuilding height some 240,000 workers were employed in Bay Area yards.  That is the equivalent of the number of men in 13 Army divisions.

Fort Mason, on San Francisco's northern waterfront, became the main port of embarkation for the Pacific War.

--GreGen

Friday, October 17, 2014

World War II Reshaped the Bay Area and Its People-- Part 1

From the May 28, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle by Carl Nolte.

World War II had a huge impact on the Bay's racial makeup, economy and even physical appearance.

The conversion of the orchard-rich Santa Clara County into Silicon Valley can be traced to the war.

Oakland and Richmond turned into boom towns.  After Pearl Harbor, the Bay Area became a centerpiece of FDR's Arsenal of Democracy.

Shipyards went up.  In San Francisco, Bechtel Corporation got a telegram from the government on March 2, 1942 asking if it wanted to build ships on San Francisco Bay.  Within ten days, the corporation began clearing marshlands in Sausalito for a shipyard named Marinship.  Just three months after the call, the keel of a freighter had been laid and in September, the William Richardson, named for Sausalito's founder, was launched.

--GreGen

Thursday, October 16, 2014

McHenry County's First World War II Casualty

From the May 29, 2012, Northwest Herald (McHenry County, Il.) "First WWII casualty in McHenry County remembered decades later" by Stephen D. Benedetto.

On December 7, 1941, Private Joseph Nelles of Woodstock was preparing the altar for Mass at the makeshift chapel at Hickam Field.  He had dreams of becoming a priest and was an assistant chaplain.

He was at first thought to be missing but later was confirmed among the dead from that day.His body was found near the base of the altar.

His watch had stopped at 7:50.

He is buried at Diamond Head Memorial Cemetery in Honolulu.

In 1995, the current Air Force Base Chapel was named after him.

--GreGen

USS Arizona Memorial Turns 50 in 2012

May 22, 2012 Hawaii News Now.

A number of events were planned for May 25-28.

The USS Arizona's anchor is now at Phoenix, Arizona at Wesley Bolin Plaza.  It was retrieved from the wreck.

--GreGen

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Top Ten Naval Warfare Movies of All-Time-- Part 2

And, best line:

6.  THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945)--  "I used to skipper a cake of soap in the bathtub, too."

7.  MIDWAY (1976)--  "Wait and see.  We waited December 7, we saw.  The 'wait and see'ers will bust your ass every time."

8.  THE CAINE MUTINY  (1954)--  "The first thing you've got to learn about this ship is that she was designed by geniuses to be run by idiots."

9.  PEARL HARBOR (2001)--  "I've got some genuine French champagne.  From France."

10.  ACTION IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC (1943)--  The trouble with you, Pulaski, is you think America is just a place to eat and sleep.  You don't know what side your future's buttered on."

--GreGen

Top Ten Naval Warfare Movies of All Time-- Part 1

From the May 22, 2012, Moviefone "Battleship, Memorial Day and the Top 10 Naval Warfare Movies of all-time" by Jason Apuzzo.  This got me to do yesterday's blog entry because of its mention of the movie "Battleship" being such a bomb.

And, best line from the movie:

1.  THE ENEMY BELOW (1957)--  "I don't want to know the man I'm trying to destroy."

2  DESTINATION TOKYO  (1944)--  "Congratulations, Wolf...It's been an hour since anything reminded you of a dame."

3.  TORA! TORA! TORA!  (1970)--  "I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

4.  THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER (1990)--  We will pass through the American patrols, past their sonar nets, and lay off their largest city and listen to them rock-and-roll...while we conduct missile drills."

5.  SINK THE BISMARCK (1960)--  "We are unsinkable...and we are German!"

This is one that I saw a whole bunch of times at the theater.  Afterwards, my friends and I came up with a game called "Sink the Bismarck."  The idea was to put your arms in defensive position up by your chest and run into everyone else as hard as you could and try to sink them by knocking them down.  Lots of fun. but mighty painful.  Our parents would wonder why we were so sore.

--Cooter

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

That's Me, a Big Battleship Fan

Jason Apuzzo says the newly released movie "Battleship" capsized at the box office.  It did, bit I liked the movie a whole lot as I am and always have been a big fan of battleships ever since I saw my first one, the USS North Carolina.  I have seen "Battleship" on FX several times and have the DVD.

It was great that none of the new digital weapons or ships could stop the aliens, but bring that old "Mighty Mo" back and that did the trick, especially with part of the crew being our World War II veterans.

My brother and I used to argue a lot about which was better, aircraft carriers or battleships.  I, of course, went with battleships even though I knew a battleship would be no match for a carrier's planes.

Our battleships, especially the last four were the most striking looking warships ever built.

Coming Tomorrow, Jason Apuzzo's Top Ten Naval Warfare movies of all-time.

A Lot of Guns, A Lot of Punch in Those Battleships.  --GreGen

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wilmington's USS North Carolina in 1962

From the May 1, 2012, Wilmington-Star News.

APRIL 16, 1962:  A recent Sunday set a daily record for the new USS North Carolina battleship museum as it had opened recently.  That Sunday, 6,583 boarded, up 192 from the previous Sunday.

During the first six months 107,279 had visited the ship.

A 2012 Star article reported a drop in attendance for the previous year to 193,150 visitors between October 1, 2010, and September 30, 2011.

APRIL 30, 1962:  Thousands of people were on hand as high-ranking U.S. Navy officials and Governor Terry Sanford helped dedicate the USS North Carolina.

A tribute was presented to Battleship Commission Chairman Hugh Morton and te late Jimmy Craig (who had died in 1 1961 plane crash) and never got to see the ship they worked so hard to acquire actually get to Wilmington.

Governor Sanford noted that 700,000 North Carolina school children had donated to help bring the ship home.

I Was One of Them.  --GreGen

Wilmington At War, April 1942

From the May 1, 2012, Wilmington (n.C.) Star-News.

APRIL 17, 1842:  Construction across the whole United States was curtailed because of the war, but not at Wilmington where 800 jousing units were going up at this date.  650 of those units were meant for white shipbuilding workers and 150 for blacks

The black units were probably at Maffitt Village which is still there and now called Long Leaf Park.  Segregation was still very much alive during the war.

Maffitt Village was named after famous Confederate naval officer John Newland Maffitt.

--GreGen

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sunken WWII Ship Causing Oil Slicks and Smell in Canada

From the May 3, 2012, Vancouver (Can) Sun "Sunken Second World War ship leaking fuel, natives say" by Larry Pynn.

The Gilga'at Nation wantes the Canadian government to do something about the sunken ship at Hartley Bay.  It is producing oil slicks and has a bad smell.

The U.S. Transport Ship Brigadier General M.G. Zalinski was carrying 700 tons of bunker oil and at least a dozen 227-kilogram bombs when it hit rocks in 1946 in Grenville Channel about 40 miles north of Hartley Bay and sank.  All 47 men aboard were saved even though the ship sank in twenty minutes.

It is 27 meters under the surface and oil slicks are forming.  Another ship, the ferry MV Queen of the North sank near the site in 2006.

The Zalinski was built in Lorain, Ohio, and delivered to the government in June 1919, too late for use during World War I.  It was sold in 1924, but reacquired in 1941.

--GreGen


Friday, October 10, 2014

Prince Philip Breaks the Silence on His Role Against Italian Warships at Battle of Cape Matapan

From the April 16, 2012, Mirror (UK) News.

Prince Philip, 90, describes his role in the Battle of Cape Matapan against Italian ships and destroyers off the coast of Greece in 1941.

He operated a battleship's search light. and they caught the Italians by surprise, picking out their targets and sinking 3 cruisers and 2 destroyers.

Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy at the age of 17 in the spring of 1939 and was a midshipman on the British World War I battleship Valiant.  Prince Philip recounted: that he was "ordered to 'open the shutter.'  The beam lit up a stationary cruiser, but we were so close by then that the beam only lit up half the ship.

"At that point all hell broke loose, as all our eight 15-inch guns, plus those of the flagship and Barham's started firing at the stationary cruiser, which disappeared in an explosion and a cloud of smoke.

His ship then destroyed another cruiser.

Later in the war, Prince Philip became one of the youngest officers to make first lieutenant and second in command of a ship.

--GreGen

USS Iowa Update from 2012

The USS Iowa took four days to be towed from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The ship is 887 feet long and was called "The Big Stick."

On May 21, 2012, the USS Iowa tow was delayed because of weather.

May 24, 2012: USS Iowa still in port

May 26th: USS Iowa sailed (towed)under the Golden Gate Bridge, the last time a battleship will ever pass under it.  It is expected to be open for the public in Los Angeles by July 7th.

May 29th:  USS Iowa just about at its final home.  A WWII merchant ship came by for a look.

May 30th:  The USS Iowa at anchor on Wednesday of the Port of Los Angeles, its final home.  Still expected to open to the public on July 7th after a reunion of USS Iowa veterans.

--GreGen

National Maritime Day Wreath Laying in N.C.

From the May 21, 2012, Cape Fear Business News "M.C. Ports to Host National Maritime Day Wreath Laying Ceremony.""

This is an annual event honoring the U.S. Merchant Marine.

The ceremony will take place Tuesday, May 22 at 11 a.m. at the veterans Memorial Wall on Water Street in downtown Wilmington.

From 1941-1945, Wilmington built 243 Liberty Ships.

During World War II, 243,000 served with the Merchant Marine and 9,500 died, the highest casualty rate of any U.S. service branch.

--GreGen