Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three Other Moores at Pearl Harbor

While researching, I had come across the names of three other men named Moore (not the NC family) who had died at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Douglas Carlton Moore
James Carlton Moore
Fred Kenneth Moore

I still don't know if any were related to each other, especially the two with Carlton as a middle name.

Then, I found out they were all on the same ship, the USS Arizona. I haven't been able to find out anymore information on them.

Sends Those Shivers. --GreGen

Monday, January 30, 2012

North Carolina's Moore Family: Ralph Edgar Moore-- Part 1

Alright, that post about the six Moore brothers from Castle Hayne, NC, serving is getting a bit deeper. As usual, on thing leads to another and leads to another.

Then, I found that three of them were at Pearl Harbor when the attack came. One, Clyde, was killed when the USS Shaw exploded.

Ralph E. Moore was a Boatswain's Mate First Class on the USS West Virginia from 1937-1941 according to the ship's survivor's association ussw.virgnia.com.

He was on shore when the attack began but used his boating skills and operated a motor launch to pull survivors from the water. He later served throughout the war on a series of ships.

Ralph E. Moore was born 3/14/20 and 17 when he joined the US Navy and had to get special permission from his parents to enlist 3/14/37, on his birthday.

I did not come across anything about his finding out his brother Clyde had died on the USS Shaw.

That's Pretty Young to Be Joining. --GreGen

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Some More on the Moore Family of Castle Hayne, NC

The last blog entry was about six sons of the J.R. Moore family being in the US Navy by January 17, 1942. I was wondering what happened to them, if any died, or had they all joined at once.

I found out some more information.

Three of the sons were at Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack: Clyde, Ralph and Robert.

One died when the destroyer USS Shaw blew up in the huge explosion. He was Radioman Second Class Clyde C. Moore, one of 24 killed on the ship that day.

I did not find out anything else about the other two brothers who were there.

There were three others with last name killed that day:

Douglas Carlton Moore
James Carlton Moore
Fred Kenneth Moore

I have to wonder whether the first two might be related, their having the same middle name.

I'm Wondering. --GreGen

Some More War on the Homefront

From the January 24th Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then" columns were they look back at newspapers.

They used to have it for just 100 and 50 years ago, but have expanded it to include the Civil War and World War II for their 150th and 70th anniversaries this year.

The January 17, 1942, Star-News wrote that Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Moore of Castle Haynes (near Wilmington) had the distinction of having more sailors in the US Navy than any other family in North Carolina (possibly the whole country). And that number would be six:

Linwood E. Moore
J.G. Moore
Robert H. Moore
Jack E. Moore
Clyde C. Moore
Ralph E. Moore

I wonder if some or all had been in the Navy before Pearl Harbor or is they had enlisted all at once afterwards? Also, did they all come home?

A Very Patriotic Family. --GreGen

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spanish-American War Cannon Melted Down for War Effort-- Part 3

Stories have it that local boys would often pack the barrel with gunpowder and fire it, breaking windows in homes bordering the park.

On Oct. 6,1942, the USWV chapter passed a resolution allowing for the cannon to be melted down, but nothing was done about it until mid-December when four Morris Tick employees spent several hours chipping away at the stone base upon which the gun was mounted.

The gun barrel weighed in at 5,695 pounds and was 80% copper, 10% tin, 8% lead and the rest silver.

Morris Tick paid the city $541.03 for it and the Bloomington then used that money to buy war bonds. When those bonds matured, the city used the money to purchase a 5,000 pound World War II artillery piece which was put in place at Miller Park.

It was dedicated April 25, 1949, on the 51st anniversary of the start of the Spanish-American War.

An Interesting Story About the War Effort. --GreGen

Spanish-American War Cannon Melted Down for War Effort-- Part 2

City and county memorials across the country were raided for anything of metal content. That included old tanks, cannons and other relics from previous wars. At the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., an Armstrong gun captured in the Civil War at Fort Caswell near Wilmington, NC, was melted down (however, the one the Army captured from nearby Fort Fisher wasn't).

The local chapter of the United Spanish War Veterans spearheaded the Bloomington scrap drive and even gave up the Spanish-American War cannon in Franklin Park. Interesting though, the World War I relics in Miller Park in the same town, including an 8.5-ton Austrian howitzer and a 5-ton US Army tank were left alone and can still be seen.

The Spanish-American War cannon had been dedicated in the park in 1900 after its capture near Santiago, Cuba, in 1898. It had been made in Barcelona, Spain.

It's a Whole War Effort. --GreGen

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spanish-American War Cannon Gets Melted for War Effort-- Part 1

From the Jan. 22nd Bloomington (Il) Pantagraph "Historic cannon sacrificed for WWII scrap drive" by Bill Kemp.

Americans loving through today's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have the experience of war to an extent, but nothing like those of Americans during World War II (and, of course, especially those people living in the war zones).

Nearly every American family at home had someone serving in uniform. In addition, all sorts of scrap metal was collected. And then there was the rationing, war bonds and Victory Gardens to name a few others.

Community-wide scrap drives took place often, and one of them in Bloomington, Illinois, claimed a Spanish-American War trophy. From September 1st to mid-October, McLean County collected 4,568 tons of scrap, an average of 124 pounds for each person loving in the county at the time.

And, the Local Spanish-American War Veterans Were OK With It. --GreGen

Doolittle at Eglin Field

From Wikipedia.

Actually, Col. Doolittle and his raiders trained at Auxiliary Field 1 at Eglin Field (now Eglin AFB). Construction of the field began 27 November 1940. The field was renamed Wagner Field 10 October 1943 for Major Walter J. Wagner, commanding officer 1st Proving Ground, Eglin Field, who was killed in the crash of a A1-6C-NT Texan at Auxiliary Field 2.

Much of Doolittle's Raid and the much-later Operation Credible Sport (the failed rescue of the Iranian hostages) took place at Wagner Field.

Doolittle's training at Eglin Field commenced 1 March 1942, where, for three weeks, the Raiders practiced simulated aircraft carrier take-offs until they were able to do it in the length available. On March 25, 1942, 22 B-25s took off from Eglin and flew to McClellan Field, California.

So, We Were By There About Two and a Half Months Early, 70 Years Later. Getting Close to History. --GreGen

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Saw the Movie "Red Tails"

Yesterday, I got the opportunity to see two first-class war movies, one centering on World War I, "War Horse." I will write about that one in my Cooter's History Blog.

Both that movie, and "Red Tails" dealt much with new technologies in the wars. The technology in this movie were the airplanes and at the end, the German jet fighters.

"Red Tails" was about the history of the first all-black flying unit, the 332nd Fighter Group, better known as the Tuskegee Airmen. They overcame the stereotype that blacks could never fly in air combat. Man, did they ever overcome that.

The air battle scenes were unbelievable. I wonder in the war how often US planes shot each others while shooting at the German ones.

I have written much about the Tuskegee Airmen over the years. Especially since, like with all World War II veterans, their ranks are rapidly thinning out. Check out the label section in my Cooter's History Thing Blog.

Even though these men put their lives on the lone, they were not given the respect they should have, especially by white pilots as was part of the story line. I was happy to see the bomber pilots finally accept them.

Go, Lightning!!

It Would be hard to Imagine a Better War Movie Ever Made. --GreGen

Monday, January 23, 2012

Red Tails, Doolittle and the Gulf Coast Trip

Hoping to see this movie today or later this week. I have a lot of movies to catch up on after returning from the 19 day Gulf Coast Trip yesterday.

It was kind of neat that I was by Eglin Air Force Base about 70 years after Doolittle's Raiders trained there as well as by Keesler AFB by Biloxi which had a prominent role in the history of the Red Tails.

Of course, the next time down, we'll stop by the World War II Museum in New Orleans, which started off as the D-Day Museum back when we there in 1995.

Lots of War on the Coasts. --GreGen

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Red Tails Here in Biloxi-- Part 1

Looking forward to seeing the movie "Red Tails" which will be released tomorrow and shows the times of the famed World War II Tuskegee Airmen. A crack group of US pilots and service personnel who really cracked the color barrier in the US military. They were all black.

We are in Biloxi, Mississippi, right now and this place turns out to ave had a part to play in the Red Tails.

The January 19th Biloxi Sun Herald "Keesler played part in the real-life Red Tails" by Kat Bergeron.

The movie centers on the exploits of the 332nd Fighter Group, the all-black fighter squadron based in Ramitelli, Italy, during he war, shattering a myth that blacks could not fly or command as well as their white counterparts.

Time constraints did not allow focus on the Keesler Air Force Base connection to the group. But there was one.

More to Come. --GreGen

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Doolittle Was Here

We're in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, today. Home of Eglin Air Force Base and Hulburt Field, the largest AFB in the free world. Elin Field was named after Lt. Col. Frederick I. Eglin (1891-1937). Hulburt Field is west of Fort Walton Beach and home of the US Air Commandos.

In 1942, the famed Doolittle's Raiders did part of their training using a short cross-field runway at the southern end of Hulburt Field. After all, they only had that short distance on the USS Hornet's carrier deck.

The Raiders also used parts of Eglin Field.

I'm looking forward to going to the Doolittle Raiders' 70th anniversary in Dayton, Ohio, in a few months.

The Greatest Generation. --GreGen

Monday, January 16, 2012

USS Helena CL-50

In my history blog, I was recounting some of Doc's service on the USS Helena, which he said was not the cruiser I thought I knew about that was at Pearl Harbor. He said that Helena, also a cruiser, had been sunk during World War II.

So, I had to look it up. Thanks Wikipedia.

The USS Helena CL-50 was a light cruiser that received serious damage at Pearl Harbor, but was repaired and did see action before being sunk in 1943 at the Battle of Kula Gulf.

It had been commissioned in 1939, so was one of out newer warships.

The reason it sustained so much damage at Pearl Harbor was that it was in the berth the USS Pennsylvania usually was in. Of course, we know the Japanese had certainly done their homework before the attack and knew exactly where our ships were.

I'll write more about this ship later.

Gallant Warship. --GreGen

Sunday, January 15, 2012

From Bushido to Christian: Japan's Mitsuo Fuchida

From the Military Heritage special 70th anniversary issue on Pearl Harbor.

Japan's Lt. Cmdr. Mitsuo Fuchida is best-known for leading the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but that didn't end his World War II activity. In Feb. 1942, he led a destructive attack on Darwin, Australia, that caused so much damage. In April, he led the attack on British Naval facilities on Ceylon.

However, he had appendicitis at Midway and was unable to fly and just narrowly was able to escape from the burning Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi.

He spent the rest of the war as a staff officer and saw no action. He was in Hiroshima the day before the atom bomb was dropped attending a conference, but ad to leave for Tokyo. He later returned with a delegation to asses the damage and was the only one not to die of radiation poisoning.

As the few Japanese captured in the war were returning to Japan in 1947, he was amazed to hear how well they were treated. Among those was his flight engineer, Kazuo Kanegasaki, who said he had been treated well by a young woman whose missionary parents had been killed by Japanese troops in the Philippines.

After that, Fuchida became a Christian and an ardent one until hus death in 1976.

An Interesting Story. --GreGen

Saturday, January 14, 2012

World War II Activity Off the Florida Panhandle

From Diving the Sunshine State.

Although, it is not a World War II ship, the USS Massachusetts BB-2, one of our earliest battleships, was sunk off Pensacola in 1921 and today is a thriving reef and major destination for divers.

Off Panama City, there is an artificial reef consisting of old barges, obsolete fighter planes and tanks (possibly WW II vintage?) and even bridge spans from the old one that used to connect Panama City to Panama City Beach. (The new Hutchinson Bridge is just five years old and already in need of repairs. Locals are afraid its closure, which just happened this week, will cause some major problems, especially with Spring Break and Summer approaching.)

Off Port St. Joe, a ways to the east of here, the SS Empire Mica was sunk seven miles offshore by a German U-boat.

Wait, is that a periscope I see off the way, no, its just a fin from some flounder. --GreGen

Friday, January 13, 2012

U-Boats Off Panama City Beach...You Betcha

Sitting here on an very cold day outside the room here in Panama City Beach, staring southward at the Gulf of Mexico as a cat sits on the fence looking for little varmints, I have to wonder if, during World War II, any U-boats were offshore.

Well, actually I already knew that they were, but I didn't know much about German Naval operations in the Gulf, so did a little research.

From the Gulf Coast Historical Review.

Early in May 1942, the first two German U-boats cruised into the Gulf of Mexico and began operations and at least a dozen followed. Their heaviest operations occurred in 1942, but there were occasional forays in 1943.

** In June 1942, German submarines in the Gulf and its approaches sank more in a single month than they did anywhere else.

** From May to September 1942, 58 ships totalling about 300,000 tons were sunk.

However, the Gulf coastal waters were considerably shallower than along the Atlantic coast, so operations were called off with more pressing needs to attack Atlantic convoys.

And So It Was. --GreGen

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bits of War: USS North Carolina-- Bomb Shelter Found

Some Current World War II News.

1. USS NORTH CAROLINA-- From the Han. 10th Greater Wilmington Business Journal. The battleship USS North Carolina, moored in Wilmington, NC, saw a 13% increase in admissions in 2011, thanks to an increased push to attract visitors to the site. According to the chief of operations for the ship, Terry Bragg, sales in the ship's store increased by 32% as well.

This is hugely important as the ship is self-supporting, relying on revenue from ticket sales and sales in the store.

2. BOMB SHELTER FOUND-- From Jan. 9th UKPA. A "lost" World War II air raid shelter was found in Carshalton in South London after a hole appeared. The hole was an escape hatch for a shelter capable of housing up to 300 people sitting on wooden benches from German attack.

Carshalton was hit on several occasions by German Luftwaffe bombing attacks and later by V1 rockets.

Further excavation will be done on the shelter.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mobile-Bound USS Alabama

We're heading for this Sunday's Go-Daddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, between the Arkansas State Red Wolves and our team, the Northern Illinois Huskies. Both teams have won ten games and both are conference champs, Sun Belt and MAC. Should be a good game.

We've got some down-time during the day so thinking of touring the battleship USS Alabama that is a permanent World War II Memorial in Mobile Bay.

Now, That's Some WW II History. --GreGen

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Catching Up On Some Old Articles

From January 2009

1. Four unexploded bombs were found in Osnabrueck, Germany, and about 5,000 evacuated. Believed dropped by British planes. Two defused and two exploded under controlled conditions.

2. Jan. 9, 2009, Tampa Bay Online-- Otho Eugene Hays died Jan. 8th. Served in US Navy 1936-1959. Was eating an apple on the USS Phoenix when he saw a Japanese plane drop a bomb on Ford Island. He called the wheelhouse to report it, but no one believed him.

He was manning a machine gun when the Phoenix, one a only a few ships to get underway that day, passed the burning Arizona.

3. From AFB-- A Japanese worker was injured by World War II bomb in Okinawa while working on an underground water pipe. An estimated 10,000 tons of unexploded ordnance are left on Okinawa.

Watch Out for Those Old Bombs. --GreGen

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Merchant Marine Story-- Part 2

During World War II, some 243,000 Merchant Mariners braved attack by enemy subs, ships and planes. And then, there were those pesky storms.

Walt Nichols, age 85 in 2010, remembers seeing a ship torpedoed on the second night of his first convoy, " The ship went down very fast, bow first, and I could see people falling into the water. I remember crying, screaming, cursing Germans, being hysterical. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I just could not believe I was watching men die."

He learned that German U-boats were most likely to attack at dusk or dawn when the ships would be silhouetted on the horizon. They would often strike on pack (several submarines in a group), fire torpedoes at a line of ships, then submerging to avoid depth charges.

Storms scared him the most when 40 foot and higher waves crashed aboard.

Also, he recalls once seeing two destroyers closing in on a U-boat and sinking it when it suddenly hit him that 50 guys, probably not unlike him, had just died.

I don't know, but floating around on a ship loaded with oil or ammunition and hoping an enemy submarine doesn't fire a torpedo at you is not my idea of a pleasant situation.

Honor the Merchant Marine. --GreGen

A Merchant Marine Story-- Part 1

From the Jan. 17, 2010, Cleveland.com "World War II merchant mariner enlisted fresh but hardened by war" by Brian Albrecht.

In 1942, 17-year-old Walt Nichols tried to get into the US Army Air Force, but his brother tore up the application, saying he'd get killed. Nichols then applied to join the Merchant Marine which his brother thought was safer.

However, at the time, an average of 33 Allied merchant ships were sunk each week, mostly by German U-boats and often in sight of the US coast.

A total of 9,521 Merchant Mariners died, one of every 26 serving, the highest proportion of any branch.

It was the Merchant Marine's job to make sure troops were supplied and war machinery kept rolling. There were 4,000 ships delivering an average of 17 million pounds of cargo every hour of every day from Pearl Harbor to VJ Day.

To This Day, There Are Those Who Think the Service of These Brave Men Was Not As Dangerous As Those in the Regular Services, Which Is a Travesty. --GreGen

"Ghost Fleet" to Be Removed

From the March 31, 2010, KITV Honolulu.

The USS Iowa will be leaving by the end of the year, one of the last US battleships to have fought in World War II and the last major warship in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet.

After World War II, many ships were scrapped and others put into reserve, so-called Ghost Fleets, on both US coasts. There is also still one in Virginia. However, the federal government as announced they will be doing away with the one in San Francisco Bay.

However, these ships are now decaying and in many instances pose an environmental threat.

On March 31st, tugboats were dragging he SS Mission Santa Ynez, a World War II oil and fuel tanker used into the 1960s. It is the last of its kind.

Hopefully, somewhere there is another example of this sort of ship that has been preserved and used as a museum ship. It was not just our capital warships that won World War II. Without tankers, those big ships would go no where.

Save At Least One Example of Every Ship. --GreGen

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Sinking of the RMS Niagara

From Feb. 11, 2011, Suite 101.com.

The 13,000 ton trans-Pacific luxury liner Niagara served New Zealand starting in 1913 after its 1912 launch. At first, it was called the "Titanic of the Pacific" but after that ship sank, was renamed the "Queen of the Pacific."

On June 19, 1940, just out of Auckland, New Zealand, it struck a German mine off Northland Coast. All 349 passengers and crew got off safely, but a very valuable cargo went down with the ship.

The German raider Orion had laid 228 mines in the Outer Hauraki Gulf on the approaches to Auckland. The ship began sinking immediately.

Down with the ship went 205 boxes, each with two ingots of gold, worth $2,500,000.

A little too late, minesweepers moved into the channel and started clearing the mines.

The ship rests 400 feet deep. Efforts to get the gold started right away, and the superstructure was blasted away in October to get at it. A total of 555 ingots were removed and in 1953, another 30 ingots were recovered. That leaves five for all you treasure hunters.

Go for the Gold. --GreGen

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The First Post

I'm looking forward to making entries into this blog which is entirely on World War II.

It is an outgrowth of my Down Da Road I Go Blog which started off as one about what I'm doing as well as things I'm interested in. Eventually, it became obvious that I was getting a whole lot of history, especially that of the Civil War.

I then spun a Civil War one off, Saw the Elephant, and one devoted to history, Cooter's History Thing. Over time, most of the history blog came to be about World War II, hence came this blog.

It is my hope that it will interest others into becoming buffs of this crucial period of our and the world's history, especially with the increasing numbers of veterans who are dying as the youngest ones are now at least 83.

Plus, we are entering the 70th anniversary of the US entry into the war.

Looking Forward to It. --GreGen