Military Monday is a weekly feature honoring the Military of the United States and its Allies.
1959, the #US Navy and the US Postal Service deliver the first official missile mail when USS Barbero (SS 317) fires a Regulus I missile with 3,000 letters 100 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla., to Mayport, Fla.
Letter carrier Noble Upperman places the first guided missile letters in his mail bag as other postal officials look on. Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield is to the right of Upperman holding the bag. The Regulus Missile fired from USS Barbero (SS-317) landed at Mayport, Florida. US Navy Photo Collection
Reporters and photographers patiently wait the removal of the first Missile Mail from Regulus. The missile was fired from USS Barbero (SS-317) and landed Mayport, Florida. US Navy Photo Collection
USS Barbero (SS 317) underway during the late 1950s with Regulus Missile. US Navy Photo Collection.
Philatelic Cover from USS Barbero (SS 317) commemorating the first Missile Mail. The missile was fired from USS Barbero (SS 317) and landed in Mayport, Florida. Courtesy of the National Postal Museum, Smithsonian.
1944, the construction of artificial harbors and sheltered anchorages, also known as Mulberries, begins off the Normandy coast. The artificial harbors were required as the Germans continued to control port cities for the most of the remaining month.
Normandy Invasion, June 1944. “Phoenix” caissons being emplaced as breakwaters for a “Mulberry” artificial harbor off the Normandy invasion beaches, 14 June 1944. Photograph credited to SHAEF-OSS.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
The End of Mulberry “A”
Dwight C. Shepler #161
Below the bluff of the Omaha beachhead, the twisted relic of the fabulous artificial harbor of Mulberry filled the sea. The row of concrete caissons paralleling the shore finally disintegrated on the third day of the great storm of June 19-22, 1944, letting the seas though to break up the floating piers.
Normandy Invasion, June 1944. “SeaBee” mobile repair shop on a large pontoon, used to support the “Mulberry” artificial harbor off the Normandy beachhead in mid-1944. Note the “USS ‘Can-Do'” emblem, tent, quonset hut, tattered U.S. Ensign and Jeep on the pontoon, plus crowd of shipping in the distance. Photograph was released for publication on 27 December 1944, in preparation for the “SeaBees” third anniversary onj 28 December. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
Mulberry at Work
Dwight C. Shepler #159
Watercolor, June 1944.
Worth noting: the Royal Navy’s constructors insisted that all planned fastenings and moorings be completed and tested before moving crgo. The SeaBees and their CEC engineering staff insisted the specs were way over-engineered and did enough to get cargo moving ashore. The storms of June 19 destroyed the Omaha Beach Mulberry, leaving the British one at Arromanches to take the load. The American Mulberry was destroyed and hundreds of ships and thousands of supplies sunk by fierce storms in a few weeks after D-Day. The British Mulberry was heavily damaged.
1944, the Allied forces land troops on Normandy beaches for the largest amphibious landing in history — Operation Overlord (D-Day) — beginning the march eastward to defeat Germany and ultimately destroy the Nazi regime on May 7, 1945.
Assault Wave Cox’n
Dwight C. Shepler #141a
The landing craft coxswain was the symbol and fiber of the amphibious force. Exposed to enemy fire as he steered his craft to shore, the lives of thirty-six infantrymen in his small LCVP were his responsibility. If he failed in his mission of landing these troops, the strategy of admirals went for naught; the bombardment of a naval force alone could never gain a foothold on the hostile and contested shore. Prairie boy or city lad, the coxswain became a paragon of courageous determination and seamanship.
Normandy Invasion, June 1944. Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching “Omaha” Beach on “D-Day”, 6 June 1944. Note helmet netting; faint “No Smoking” sign on the LCVP’s ramp; and M1903 rifles and M1 carbines carried by some of these men. This photograph was taken from the same LCVP as Photo # SC 189986. Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
The Tough Beach
Dwight C. Shepler #147
Watercolor, June 1944
This is what the Allied forces in Normandy called the Omaha beachhead. All day the landing waves suffered terrible attrition from the stubborn, enfilade German fire which raked the shore. A coast studded with beach and underwater obstacles, mines, and German fortified positions and pillboxes, it proved deadly to many American soldiers and sailors on June 6, 1944.
Normandy Invasion, June 1944. Landing ships putting cargo ashore on one of the invasion beaches, at low tide during the first days of the operation, June 1944. Among identifiable ships present are USS LST-532 (in the center of the view); USS LST-262 (3rd LST from right); USS LST-310 (2nd LST from right); USS LST-533 (partially visible at far right); and USS LST-524. Note barrage balloons overhead and Army “half-track” convoy forming up on the beach. Photograph from the U.S. Coast Guard Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
90 percent of combat aviators who served at the Battle of Midway earned their wings through Navy Reserve Aviation programs.
After completing training, Naval Aviation Cadets served three years on active duty before being commissioned as Ensigns in the US Navy Reserve. These U.S. Navy Reserve pilots became the nucleus of the U.S. Naval Air Forces that would fight in WWII.
Naval Reserve Aviation Cadets receive navigation instruction in front of a Vought OS2U aircraft, circa 1942-43. Note four varieties of uniform worn by the cadets, including khaki working uniforms with flight cap and parachute, aviation working “greens,” service dress “white” and service dress “blues.” Instructor is wearing a fleece-lined leather flight suite. ( US National Archives 80-G-K-16145)
Martin BM-1, of VT-1S, take off over the stern of the USS Lexington (CV 2) on May 17, 1934. USN Photo Collection.
Stearman N2s-3 “Kaydet” training planes on the flight line during World War II. (US National Archives 80-G-K14044)
Floyd Bennett Field NY Reserve Squadron Aircraft, 1932. USN Photo Collection.
The Battle of Midway begins in 1942. The battle is a decisive win for the U.S, bringing an end to Japanese naval superiority in the Pacific.
Battle of Midway, June 1942. Ensign George H. Gay at Pearl Harbor Naval Hospital, with a nurse and a copy of the “Honolulu Star-Bulletin” newspaper featuring accounts of the battle. He was the only survivor of the 4 June 1942 Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8) TBD torpedo plane attack on the Japanese carrier force.
Gay’s book “Sole Survivor” indicates that the date of this photograph is probably 7 June 1942, following an operation to repair his injured left hand and a meeting with Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, U.S. National Archives Collection.
The Battle of Midway
Robert Benny #7
Oil on Canvas, circa 1943
Air Attack on Japanese Carriers
Griffith Baily Coale #31
Charcoal & pastel, circa 1942
Battle of Midway, June 1942. Diorama by Norman Bel Geddes, depicting the explosion of depth charges from USS Hammann (DD-412) as she sank alongside USS Yorktown (CV-5) during the afternoon of 6 June 1942. Both ships were torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-168 while Hammann was assisting with the salvage of Yorktown. USS Vireo (AT-144) is shown at left, coming back to pick up survivors, as destroyers head off to search for the submarine.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
1934, USS Ranger (CV 4), the first U.S. Navy ship designed from the keel up as a carrier, is commissioned at Norfolk, Va. During WWII, she participates in Operation Torch and Operation Leader.
USS Ranger (CV 4) underway in Hampton Roads, Va., 18 August 1942. Note partially lowered after elevator and flight deck identification letters “R N G R” still visible just ahead of the ramp. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives
Grumman F3F-1 Fighters of Fighting Squadron Four (VF-4) from USS Ranger (CV 4) In flight over the Southern California coast. Photo is dated January 1939. Plane in the foreground is Bureau # 0261. Original photograph is in the collections of the Aviation History Branch, Naval Historical Center.
Sailors stripping ship aboard USS Ranger (CV 4), in anticipation of action off Morocco, circa early November 1942. Paint has been chipped from the bulkheads and overheads as a precaution against fire. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
North Africa Operation, November 1942 – testing machine guns of Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat fighters aboard USS Ranger (CV 4), while en route from the U.S. to North African waters, circa early November 1942. Note the special markings used during this operation, with a yellow ring painted around the national insignia on aircraft fuselages. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
“Battle of Midway, 3 June 1942” by Claudus Rodolfo, Oil Painting
This painting shows a lone Japanese airplane downed in front of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.
The artist took liberties in many aspects of this painting. He claims that this image shows June 3, 1942; however, the battle did not begin until June 4. Also, the aircraft carrier in the image is USS Yorktown (CV 10), but that particular Yorktown was built in 1943 and is currently on display as a museum ship at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, South Carolina. USS Yorktown (CV 5) was the ship lost at the Battle of Midway.
1917, during WWI, USS Jupiter (AC 3), transports the first contingent of U.S. Naval Aviators, the First Naval Aeronautical Detachment, to Pauillac, France. The men are commanded by Lt. Kenneth Whiting. USS Jupiter is later converted into the Navy’s first aircraft carrier USS Langley (CV 1).
Five of the U.S. Navy’s early aviators, at Pensacola, Fla. Circa 1915-1916
USS Jupiter (Fuel Ship # 3). Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 16 October 1913. USN Photo Collection
US Naval Air Station, Pauillac, France. U.S. Navy sailors working on extending the railroad for the A&R Shop, circa WWI. USN Photo Collection.
US Naval Air Station, Pauillac, France, Barracks, Warehouses, and offices, circa WWI. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, US Naval Air Stations, Overseas.