Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Stern of USS Read Found-- Part 7: Sunk By a Kamikaze in 1944

Another destroyer managed to tow the ship out of danger.  It was later towed to Bremerton, Washington, where it got a new stern and rejoined the fighting.

It participated in several actions before sailing to Leyte Gulf by the Philippines.

On November 1, 1944, the Abner Read was struck by a suicide kamikaze and sank in about 30 minutes.  All but twenty of her crew were rescued.  Daryl Weathers was burned but survived, in part because a shipmate gave him his life jacket.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Stern of USS Abner Read Found-- Part 6: :You Weren't Good For More Than 10 or 15 Minutes"

The rescuers used life jackets to hook men in the water and then haul them in.  "We pulled up a few," he said.  But "they didn't last too long in the cold water.  ...You weren't good for more than 10 or 15 minutes."

Seventy-one men were lost according to Navy records.  Daryl Weathers said he knew most of them.

The crew numbered about 330.  Commander Burrowes went on to higher command after the incident.

The blast also set off the ship's smokescreen mechanism which was belching toxic smoke and choking the survivors.

The Read was now powerless and adrift near the shore.  There was the knowledge that there might as well be more nearby mines.


Friday, October 26, 2018

Stern of USS Abner Read Found-- Part 5: From Boredom To Blown Out of the Water

Mr. Weathers continued:  "We'd been doing figures 8s, about 3-, 4-miles long.  We'd been doing this for a day and a half and were becoming relaxed because there was no report of anything."

Scores of sailors were asleep in the aft compartments.

When the mine went off "the whole ship came out of the water."  A huge flash appeared on the radar screen.

The crew went to battle stations.  Weathers ran to his anti-aircraft gun, but there was nothing to shoot at, so he started helping rescue men who had fallen into the rigid water.

"It was a kind of bad thing."  The sea was coated with fuel oil  "Everybody was slippery, you couldn't get  get a hold of anybody."


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Stern of USS Abner Read Found-- Part 4: A First Hand Account

Seaman First Class Daryl Weathers, 19, from Los Angeles was in the radar room on the bridge, standing the mid-watch --  midnight to 4 a.m..  "Everything was peaceful," he said, and the exhausted skipper, Cmdr. Thomas Burrowes, had just gone to his quarters for rest.

Burrowes had already lost one ship, the USS O'Brien the year before and was reluctant to leave the bridge.

"I got a responsibility here for everyone of these kids' mothers to bring them back home again," Weathers remembers him saying.

"I was very touched by that, he said.  "But he went down to his cabin and about 30 minutes later, 'Bam!'"


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Stern of Abner Read Found-- Part 3: Locating War Artifacts At the Bottom of the Sea

The Japanese seized Kiska in June 1942 and weren't driven off until June 1943 after relentless shelling and bombing by U.S. forces.

Along with the Read' stern, a dozen Japanese ships, two Japanese submarines and numerous downed American airplanes are believed to be in local waters.  And this, in part, is the reason Project Recover is there as that is a bi part of it, the locating of lost World War II aircraft at sea.

The project got a $600,000 grant from the NOAA and spent two weeks in a research vessel off Kiska in July.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Stern of USS Abner Read Found-- Part 2: Ship Later Sunk By a Kamikaze

Despite losing its stern, the Read managed to stay afloat that night.  It was later repaired and went back into action.  In 1944, the Read was hit again, this time by a Japanese kamikaze and sank off the Philippine island of Samar.

The Abner Read was named for a Civil War naval hero.  Shortly after commissioning, it was sent to Kiska.

And there, 75 years after it lost its stern, on July 17 underwater archaeologists found the 75-foot stern section where scores of men probably remain entombed.

The expedition was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and run by Project Recover and several other organizations.  The aim was to study the almost untouched underwater battlefield of the battle for the Aleutian Islands.

It was the only World War II battle on North American soil.  Kiska and Attu Island are the only U.S. territories occupied by a foreign force in the last 200 years.  Kiska is about 1,000 miles off Alaska's western coast in the Bering Sea.


Monday, October 22, 2018

Stern of USS Abner Read (DD-526) Found-- Part 1: Sunk By Japanese Mine

From the August 19, 2018, Chicago Tribune  "Stern of WW II ship found off Aleutians" by Michael E. Ruane. The Washington Post.

The USS Abner Read had just finished one leg of its anti-submarine patrol and was starting the next one off shore of Kiska, in Alaska's Aleutian Islands.  It was August 18, 1943 and the Japanese had just evacuated the island.

But, they still had a minefield in the area.  The Read figured it to be 2,000 yards away. At 1:50 aa.m., its stern erupted in a huge geyser of water.  It had struck a mine which snapped off a large chunk of the stern sending it and a 5-inch gun to the bottom of the sea.  As many as 70 men were trapped inside it.

On Wednesday, August 15, maritime scientists announced that they had found that stern encrusted in sea growth in 290 feet of water.

No remains of sailors were seen or recovered.


Visiting Europe's Fascist Sites-- Part 5: Gestapo and SS HQs and Hitler's Bunker

The Topography of terror exhibit in Berlin stands atop the rubble of what was once one of the more terrifying of Nazi sits, the headquarters of the Gestapo secret police and the elite SS force.

Hitler's life would end in Berlin, deep underground in his bunker.  With his capital smoldering in ruins in the spring of 1945, the war in Europe ended after his death.

Rick Stevens:  "While traveling in Italy and Germany recently and taking in the remnants of Mussolini' and Hitler's reigns, I was struck by how entire nations have become mesmerized and led astray by fascist leaders.  The best souvenir from that trip:  a realization of how fragile democracy is -- and how, if you take freedom for granted, you can lose it."


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Visiting Europe's Fascist Sites-- Part 4: Eagle's Nest and the Reichstag

Another of Hitler's shows was at his mountain-capping Eagle's Nest.  It was his Alpine getaway south of Munich in Berchtesgaden where he softened his image and became a "regular guy."  A stone tunnel leads to his elevator which takes you to the top.

The Reichstag in Berlin is Germany's parliament building.  It "mysteriously" caught fire in 1933 and gave Hitler the excuse to frame the communists and seize power.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Visiting Europe's Fascist Sites-- Part 3: Germany

"Inspired by Mussolini and buoyed by the Great Depression in 1929, Hitler's similar promises of a better life gained traction in Germany."

For the Nazi's, this was especially to center on the city of Nurnberg, nicknamed the "most German of German cities.  It was a favorite of Hitler to showcase his nationalistic pomp and pageantry and where he held those grand rallies you always see in documentaries.

The Rally Grounds consist of four square miles southeast of Nurnberg's Old Town.  Zeppelin Field was the site of those rallies.  Today, the stark remains are "thought provoking."

You can also see the unfinished Congress Hall which now is the site of the Documentation Center Museum.  This is the largest surviving example of Nazi architecture.  Hitler modeled the building on Rome's Colosseum, only on an even grander scale.

The Documentation Center traces the evolution of the Nationalist Socialist movement and how it both energized and terrified the German people.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Visiting Europe's Fascist Sites-- Part 2: Rome's Olympic Stadium and E.U.R.

Two examples of Mussolini's infrastructure can be seen in Rome.  One is the Olympic Stadium, located north of Vatican City and the planned city called E.U.R. in south Rome.

The Olympic Stadium was originally called Foro Mussolini and is still in use today.  It was built with the intention of having the games in Rome as well as to promote physical prowess as a key element of fascist ideology.

In the late 1930s, Mussolini made plans for an international exposition -- the Exhibit Universal Rome (E.U.R.) to show off the wonders of his fascist world.  World War II stopped it from happening, but the project was completed in the 1950s and today houses apartment blocks, corporate and government offices and big, rarely visited museums.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Visiting Fascist Sites in Europe-- Part 1: Rise of Mussolini and Hitler

From the August 19, 2018, Chicago Tribune  "Visiting 20th-century fascist sites" by Rick Stevens.

"The sweeping impact of fascism in the 20th century can be felt to this day in the many monuments and memorials across Europe that remind us of those horrific years."

Fascism started in the post-World War I years when anger ruled and charismatic leaders rose to manipulate that anger.  Both Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany turned fringe movements into totalitarian fascist regimes.

Mussolini gained power first and met with success, pumping up the Italian economy, creating jobs and investing in infrastructure.


Save That Kitchen Fat for the A.A. Guns

From the August 22, 2018, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"If each household in DeKalb county saved one teaspoon of waste fat for a year it would provide enough glycerin to make 458,496  anti-aircraft shells."

Do Your Part, Save That Fat.  --GreGen

Monday, October 15, 2018

Horace Carlsen, USMC-- Part 5: Funeral Arrangements

VISITATION:  Friday, October 12, 2018 from 5 pm until 8 pm at Glueckart Funeral Home, Ltd. 1520 N. Arlington Heights Road (4 blocks south of Palatine Road) Arlington Heights, Illinois 60004.

A 11 am Saturday, October 13, 2018 Committal Service will be held at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, Illinois.

In lieu of flowers, memorial may be donated to non-profit organizations working to locate and identify the remaining lost Tarawa Marines.

Funeral information and condolences can be given at www.GlueckertFuneralHome,com or (847) 253-0168.

Great To Have You back, Sgt. Carlsen  --GreGen

Horace Carlsen, USMC-- Part 4: Finally Identified

Due to extensive research by William Niven, Rick Stone (Chief Rick Stone and Family Foundation), and Mark Noah (History Flight), the search for Bud focused on Grave E1212.

Work by Nancy Spellman, Bud's niece, and great nephew Ed Spellman, led to the exhumation if E1212 and the conclusive identification of Bud in June 2018.

Bud is survived by his nieces and nephews:  Barbara Rapp, James Goodman, Richard Goodman, JAne Hilmer, and many great nieces and nephews.

Many Thanks to Them.  --GreGen

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Horace Carlsen, USMC-- Part 3: Killed At Battle of Tarawa, Remains Unidentified

In November of 1943, he was among the first troops to assault the heavily fortified enemy defenses of Betio Island Red Beach One, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert islands, as part of an advance team whose mission was to establish a headquarters for tractor battalion operations.

Bud was one of the 550 Marines killed in the battle whose remains were not identified or recovered. Dogtags were removed, gravesites obliterated and records lost.In 1946, his unidentified remains were moved to Hawaii's Schofield Mausoleum.

In 1949 his remains were reinterred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Hawaii's Punchbowl in grave E1212.


Friday, October 12, 2018

Horace Carlsen, USMC-- Part 2: At Many Battles, Including Guadalcanal

Horace "Bud" Carlsen was born January 4, 1912, in Brookfield to James and Amalia (nee Mehalek) Carlsen.  He died on November 20, 1943 during the Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific during WW II.

Bud came from a large family of 4 sisters and two brothers.  Through the 1930's Bud worked as an auto mechanic for Mahoney & Sirvotka in Cicero.  He was married to Jarmila Fisera from 1933 to 1941.

He enlisted in the Marine reserves in December 1941.  He rose to the rank of Technical Sergeant and served as the Quartermaster Maintenance Chief for Company A of the 2nd Marine Division's Second Amphibious Tractor Battalion.

From August through December of 1942, he participated in landing assaults against several strongly defended enemy positions in the South Pacific, including Tulagi, Gavutu, Tonambogo, Florida, Guadalcanal and British Solomon Islands.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Horace Bud Carlsen Obituary-- Part 1: Died in 1943, Unknown Until 2018

From the October 7, 2018, Chicago Tribune Obituaries.

While reading Sunday's Chicago Tribune I happened to glance at the obituaries.  I usually don't look at the obituaries in the Tribune when people have to pay for them as they are too short.  I want to know about the lives of the people.  This one was a lot longer than most and then in the second sentence read that he had died on November 20, 1943.

OK. that was a long time ago and 1943 would mean World War II.  Then I saw he died at the Battle of Tarawa.  And, he was from the Chicago area.

And then, I thought to myself that the Tribune had definitely missed a good story here.  But, today, I see the story made front page.  Many Marines who died in that battle were never identified and buried as unknowns.

Here's hoping the U.S. government will start work on identifying these people as they have the Oklahoma unknowns.


USS Amethyst (YPc-3)-- Part 3: Back to the Former Owners

The Amethyst was again decommissioned at San Diego on 27 February 1946 and 11 September transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal.

It was sold to Samual K. Rindge, son-in-law of Willits J. Hole,  and the name Samona II given to her again.  In the 1950s it was sold to  David P. Hamilton of Shreveport, Louisiana, and renamed the Pudio until sold in 1962 and renamed the Explorer.

As of 2000 it was reported to still be operating along the Gulf Coast.


USS Amethyst (YPc-3)-- Part 2: Patrolled Entrance of Los Angeles Harbor

The ship was assigned to Inshore Patrol, 11th Naval District and helped patrol the entrance to Los Angeles Harbor.  After the U.S. declared war, its role expanded to escorting vessels and convoys as well as  carrying local passenger traffic.

On April 1, 1943, the Amethyst was attached to Surface Task Group, Southern Section, San Pedro, California, and continued patrolling the California coast.  This duty continued until January 1944 and the ship was decommissioned 2 February 1944.

The Amethyst was placed back in commission 19 April 1944, thus time manned by a U.S. Coast Guard crew.  Through the end of 1945, it maintained plane guard station, collected weather data and carried out anti submarine and antiaircraft  coastal patrols.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

USS Amethyst (YPc-3)-- Part 1: The Second of Willits J. Hole's Yachts Acquired by Navy

From Wikipedia.

Willits Hole had two ships built by the name Samona and sold the first one to buy the second one.  The first one was renamed Elvida by its new owner.  Both the Elvida and the second Samona became yard patrol craft for the U.S. navy during World War II.

Formerly the yacht Samona II.  Launched 1931.  Acquired by Navy 1940 and commissioned 1941.  Purchased from Willets Hole.

147-feet long, 24  foot 10 inch beam, two guns and depth charge racks.

Built by the Craig Shipbuilding Co., Long Beach, California.  Converted to naval service by same company.  Commissioned 27 February 1941.


Monday, October 8, 2018

Willits J. Hole Owner of Elvida and Samona II

In the last posts I mentioned this man as the one who had the YP-109 Elvida built.

From Wikipedia.


American businessman and real estate developer of Southern California.   Known as the "Father of La Habra, California."

In the early 1920s, Hole took up boating and since he was quite rich by then, he had the yacht built for him.

Naval architect Leslie Edward Geary designed it and N.J. Blanchard built the 115-foot Samona in 1923.  (It was renamed Elvida when sold.)   In 1931, the Craig Shipbuilding Company built the 147-foot, steel-hulled long range cruiser Samona II, which was bought by the U.S. Navy in 1940, and commissioned as the USS Amethyst (PYc-3).


Saturday, October 6, 2018

USS Elvida (YP-109) Part 2: So, It Was There

*  Acquired  21 October 1941 by U.S. Navy.
*  Allocated to 14th Naval District.

*  Placed in service as District Patrol Craft YP-109 at Pearl Harbor, late 1941.
*  YP-109 present at Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941.

*  Placed out of service, date unknown.
*  Struck from Naval Register 3 January 1946

*  Delivered to War Shipping Administration for disposal 9 January 1947.
*  Final disposition, to Mexican flag 1948.  Further fate unknown.


USS Elvida (YP-109)-- Part 1: Somebody's Yacht

I could not find this ship's name anywhere other than on The Greatest Generation Foundation Facebook page where it mentions Steve Warren as being on this ship.

But NavSourceOnline has it, but just under the name YP-109 with no name.

It was classified as a District Patrol Craft.

*  Built by N.J. Blanchard Boat Co.  Seattle, Washington
*  Completed as the yacht Samona (ON 2223191) for Willits J. Hole, Los Angeles, California , 1923.

*  Sold to Craig Shipbuilding, Long Beach, Ca. as partial payment for Hole's new yacht Samona (later Amethyst PYc-3), 1930.
*  Sold to Thomas R. Dempsey. Los Angeles, CA. and renamed Elvida, 1936


Friday, October 5, 2018

Death of a Pearl Harbor Survivor Steve Warren: Saved By Infected Wisdom Tooth

As the years take more and more of the Greatest Generation.

From the Sept. 19, 2018, Rapid City Journal

STEVE P.WARREN, 97.  Died September 15, 2018.

Grew up in Meadow, Texas.  Joined Navy at age 19 and served six years, rising to the tank of Chief Warrant Officer.  In late 1941 he was to ship out on the USS Arizona but delayed because of complications from an infected wisdom tooth.

Instead, he shipped out on the USS Elvida (YP-109).  This ship was docked at the mouth of Pearl Harbor during the attack.  Had he been on the Arizona, no telling if he would have survived.  He lost many friends on the Arizona.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Requiem For Torpedo Eight-- Part 3: Battle of Midway the Turning Point of War in the Pacific

Soon after, SBD Dauntless dive bombers hit and sank three Japanese aircraft carriers, the Akagi, the Kaga and the Soryu -- the pride of the Japanese fleet, and later, the Hiryu.

Ensign George Gay was rescued the day following the battle and Torpedo Eight was later awarded the American Presidential Unit Citation.

This event was the turning point of World War II in the Pacific.  From that point on, Japan would be fighting a defensive war against increasingly powerful American forces.


Requiem For Torpedo Eight-- Part 2: All Shot Down, Only One Survivor

The pilots' orders are to attack the entire might of the Japanese fleet off Midway Island.  Squadron leader LCDE John C. Waldron and his aircrews are well aware that their chances of survival from this fateful mission are minimal at best.

Flying low and slow against the Japanese armada, all fifteen torpedo bombers were shot out of the sky with only one survivor, Ensign George Gay.

But this daring action forced the defending Zero fighters down to wave-top level and exhausted much of their fuel, leaving their carriers virtually unprotected.


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Requiem For Torpedo Eight-- Part 1: Getting Ready for the Battle of Midway

From the Paralyzed Veterans of America 2018 Calendar.  Artwork by Gil Cohen.

Shows planes on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet getting ready to take off.

It is 0700 hours on the fourth day of June, 1942.  The place is the deck of the carrier Hornet (CV-8), made famous less than two months prior when B-25s led by Jimmy Doolittle were launched from her deck in the first surprise bombing raid on japan.

The atmosphere is tense, as the Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bombers of Torpedo Squadron Eight are poised for takeoff.


LST-325 Visits Dubuque-- Part 5: War's Going to Be Over

Roger Klauer says the trip to the LST-325 on Monday was emotional for the whole family:  "This is where Dad was figuring out who he was going to be.  He was just 22 years old and not yet married."

Klauer's LST was at sea when he learned the war was ending.

"Our captain announced: 'Now hear this:  We've just had an announcement that a bomb was dropped on enemy territory that is equivalent to what 2,000 bombers could carry, and we expect the war to be over soon."

We went into the bay at Manila and we counted 42 enemy ships that had been sunk," Klauer said.

He was discharged on June 6, 1946, and attended dental school on the G.I. Bill and practiced dentistry in Dubuque for 45 years, retiring in 1998.


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

LST-325 Visits Dubuque-- Part 4: LST-806 At Sea in the Pacific

In New Orleans, the LST-806's weapons were mounted.  Then the ship went through the Panama Canal on its way to the South Pacific Ocean.

"Along the equator, there were times the ocean looked like glass -- it was absolutely calm," he recalled.  "The sunrises and sunsets were gorgeous."

His job on board was to assist in the ship's office and he also served as a "conn talker," an individual who relays the captain's orders to the rest of the crew.

After sailing along the equator alone, the 808 joined a large number of ships upon arrival in the South Pacific.  After that, the ship embarked on a series of island invasions.


LST-325 Visits Dubuque-- Part 3: Training and His Ship

As he walked through the LST-325, he recalled his days on the identical LST-806.

"We slid down those stairs," he said of a steep set of stairs leading down to the ship's living quarters,.  "Sometimes the seas were so rough the deck with ripple."

Roger Klauer entered Navy service on May 11, 1944.  His LST crew was assembled  shortly after that in Libertyville, Illinois.  "from there, we trained at Navy Pier (Chicago), then we were sent to Evansville, Indiana."

The Navy launched Klauer's LST-806 from the shipyards in Evansville (which is the LST-325's home port).  With him and the rest of the crew of 123 on board,  the USS LST-806 traveled down the Ohio River to Cairo, Illinois, where it went into the Mississippi River and eventually to New Orleans.


LST-325 Visits Dubuque-- Part 2: LST-806 Operations

Roger Klauer said that one of the invasions his LST-806 was involved in was the one of  Palawan in the Philippines in early 1945.  "Palawan was of extreme importance because the enemy was holding out prisoners there."

His LST also made landings at Brunei Bay on Borneo and on the tip of the Philippines.

"We would hit the shores at low tides.  We would open the doors, and equipment, tents, food and everything would come out."

He toured the LST-325 on Monday, August 27, the same day I was on the ship.  He had his family with him who lived all over the country.


Monday, October 1, 2018

LST-325 Visits Dubuque, Iowa-- Part 1: LST Veteran Visits

From the August 28, 2018, Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph-Herald  "Veteran revisits tour of duty aboard restored WW II ship" by Eric Hogstrom.

Roger F. Klaure, 94, toured the restored LST-325 in Dubuque, 74 years after he first stepped aboard  a LST (Landing Ship Tank), the USS LST-806, in the Pacific Theater of action during World War II.

His own LST transported troops and equipment during invasions around Borneo and the Philippines in 1945.

"We did make three landings, after the shores had been bombarded by cruisers, destroyers, rockets, planes and everything," he said.