#MilitaryMonday: 73rd Anniversary of Doolittle Raid on Tokyo

Less than 300 feet. Could this really work? It had barely succeeded in practice runs (and those were from the comforts of Eglin Airfield's endless runway.) Now here they were, aboard the seemingly inadequate deck of the USS Hornet - pitching and heaving in the swells of the Pacific.

Less than 300 feet. Could this really work? It had barely succeeded in practice runs (and those were from the comforts of Eglin Airfield’s endless runway.) Now here they were, aboard the seemingly inadequate deck of the USS Hornet – pitching and heaving in the swells of the Pacific.

It’s April 1942 and in the first attack of the Japanese mainland during World War II, the Doolittle Raid begins with 16 Army Air Force B-25 bombers launching from USS Hornet‬ (CV 8), approximately 650 miles off Japan due to being discovered by a Japanese guardboat. U.S. Pacific Fleet

Embarrassed by the attack, the Japanese high command resolves to eliminate the risk of any more raids by destroying America’s aircraft carriers, moving up a decision that leads them to disaster at the Battle of Midway six weeks later in June 1942.

Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle, USAAF. Courtesy of US National Archives

Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle, USAAF.
Courtesy of US National Archives

Nobody spoke. The B-25’s engines droned on. Co-pilot Lt. Rich Cole’s dogtags clinked and vibrated as the engines grew louder. One last look at the sweetheart – a small photo wedged into the instrument panel.

“God, I hope we covered the checklist,” he silently thought to himself. “Boss will be mad if we didn’t.”

Daring was too weak a description for what these raiders were attempting to pull off. This would alter history … If it were to work.

Failure was not an option.

Cole took a deep breath and pushed the throttle forward.

Less than 19 weeks after the U.S. Navy was attacked at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the American military struck back. On April 18, 1942 – 72 years ago this month – sixteen Army Air Force bombers launched from a Navy aircraft carrier to attack the enemy’s homeland.

Led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, the raid was launched from USS Hornet, commanded by Capt. Marc Mitscher and escorted by ships under the command of Vice Adm. “Bull” Halsey aboard his flagship, USS Enterprise.

The extraordinary joint Doolittle Raid showed Imperial Japan’s military leaders their vulnerability and America’s resolve.

The raid also demonstrated innovation, courage and resilience.

The five-man B-25 crews trained relentlessly prior to their mission, with specialized training led by Navy flight instructor Lt. Henry F. Miller. The Army Air Force made ingenious modifications so the bombers could have extra fuel but less weight.

Pilots, all volunteers, needed to be extremely fearless, taking off in their huge planes from a short flight deck. On rough seas they launched in bitter cold, 75-knot winds and foam-flecked spray, as Sailors aboard recalled.

Doolittle, as his team’s leader, took off first. His success inspired the other pilots just as their entire mission would inspire the nation – putting action to the nationwide words of resolve heard throughout the world: “Remember Pearl Harbor!”

The innovation, courage and resilience demonstrated by Halsey and Doolittle and countless others carried over into the weeks and months that followed – first in the Battle of the Coral Sea and then, in the big turning point of the War in the Pacific – the Battle of Midway.

Historians tell us that the Doolittle Raid contributed strategically to our victory at Midway, as the enemy felt humiliated and overextended to try to prevent another attack on their homeland.

The Doolittle Raid is also an early example of the evolution of “air sea battle,” integrating air and naval capabilities across domains, where collaboration and cooperation helped win the day – and eventually win the war. We remember the heroes of the Doolittle Raid.

This strategically important event is particularly meaningful to our joint team today. This uniquely shared accomplishment is a reminder of what we have the potential to accomplish when we mutually support each other.

The Doolittle Raiders – The Mission

On April 18, 1942, it was a “nice sun-shiny day overcast with anti-aircraft fire,” according to Army Air Force Tech. Sgt. Eldred V. Scott.

Over Tokyo, anyway.

Scott’s weather quip signaled the near completion of the Doolittle Raiders’ mission on that day 72 years ago today. But it was just the beginning of the unknown for the 80 men and their 16 planes.

Seven of those airmen would never return home. None of the planes did. While the bombing mission itself was relatively minor in terms of damage inflicted, the raid set into motion what would become a pivotal naval victory for the U. S. at the Battle of Midway.

The Doolittle Raid featured Army Air Force pilots and planes, but it was a joint effort with the Navy. The raid itself was concocted by Navy Capt. Francis Lowe. Another Navy officer, Lt. Henry L. Miller, is one of two men named as “Honorary Tokyo Raiders.” Miller supervised the take-off training the pilots received at Eglin Field, Fla., and was there for the raid launch. The other was Tung Sheng Liu, a Chinese engineer who helped several Tokyo Raiders escape to safety.

And it was the Navy that provided the transportation – via USS Hornet (CV 8) and her escorts – to the launch point.

The Navy wasn’t without its losses for the Tokyo Raid. One patrol plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire, landing in the water, but the crew was recovered uninjured. Another patrol plane was lost during patrol operations, with both the plane and crew lost. And during the hour-long launch, a Sailor lost his arm after being hit by the final B-25 when it rolled backward out of position, striking him with its propeller.

Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 1942. Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, USAAF (front), leader of the raiding force, wires a Japanese medal to a 500-pound bomb, during ceremonies on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV 8), shortly before his force of sixteen B-25B bombers took off for Japan. The planes were launched on 18 April 1942. The wartime censor has obscured unit patches of the Air Force flight crew members in the background. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-41191

Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 1942. Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, USAAF (front), leader of the raiding force, wires a Japanese medal to a 500-pound bomb, during ceremonies on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV 8), shortly before his force of sixteen B-25B bombers took off for Japan. The planes were launched on 18 April 1942. The wartime censor has obscured unit patches of the Air Force flight crew members in the background. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-41191

From Conception to Launch

After Pearl Harbor, there was pressure from the commander-in-chief to strike back at Japan. Using carrier-capable aircraft to strike the enemy’s homeland would put a carrier task force into harm’s way for a counterattack, since the lighter Navy planes didn’t have the range of land-based bomb-delivering aircraft. And with only three aircraft carriers left in the Pacific fleet after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. needed to protect every asset.

Navy Capt. Francis Lowe, assigned to U.S. Fleet Commander Adm. Ernest J. King, had seen B-25s taking off from Norfolk, Va., using airstrips shaped a little like a carrier deck, minus the rolling waves. The Mitchell medium bombers, which had never been used in combat before, had the range and the wing-span that would allow for carrier takeoff. Lt. Col. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, an air racer who had helped develop instrument flying, was brought in to investigate the feasibility of such a mission, along with Adm. King’s Air Ops officer, Capt. Donald B. “Wu” Duncan.

The newly-commissioned aircraft carrier Hornet left Norfolk under the command of Capt. MarcMitscher to join a convoy to the Panama Canal. Meanwhile Doolittle had chosen his raiders, 5-man crews for the 16 planes, and was training for 500-foot takeoffs at Eglin Field, Fla., under the guidance of Lt. Miller. At the end of March, Hornet docked at Alameda, Calif. Using cranes, 16 B-25s were loaded onto the ship’s deck. With all of the planes loaded and lashed to the deck, the Hornet moored in the bay for the night. It was April 1.

The following morning, Hornet’s crew was made aware of their mission.

Army B-25’s onboard the USS Hornet while en route to their launching point April 18, 1942. (NH 53426 Courtesy of the NHHC Photo archives)

Army B-25’s onboard the USS Hornet while en route to their launching point April 18, 1942. (NH 53426 Courtesy of the NHHC Photo archives)

On April 7, naval operation plan No. 20-42 was issued, creating Task Force 16, with Task Group 16.1 under Vice Adm. William “Bull” Halsey with flagship carrier Enterprise (CV 6) and her escorts. Task Group 16.2 was headed by Capt. Mitscher with his carrier Hornet (CV 8) and her escorts.

The instructions were simple. Proceed after joining up to carry out the attack; upon completion return to Pearl Harbor; destroy enemy forces as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the attack. The two task groups met up April 13 and proceeded to steam toward a point 500 miles east of Tokyo, where they would launch the attack.

To prepare each B-25, loaded with a one-ton bomb, for its mission and flight to a safe zone in China, engineers removed the tail gunner section, painting broomsticks to look like machine guns. A rubber fuel tank was installed in the tail section, along with 10 5-gallon gas cans for manual fuel addition during the flight to a tank installed where the lower gun turret was, and a larger tank located in the bomb bay. The total fuel payload was 1,141 gallons for a 2,000-mile range.

An Army Air Forces B-25B bomber awaits the takeoff signal on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV-8), as the raid is launched, 18 April 1942. Note Flight Deck Officer holding launch flag at right, and white stripes painted on the flight deck to guide the pilot's alignment of his plane's nose and port side wheels. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives (photo # 80-G-41194).

An Army Air Forces B-25B bomber awaits the takeoff signal on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV-8), as the raid is launched, 18 April 1942. Note Flight Deck Officer holding launch flag at right, and white stripes painted on the flight deck to guide the pilot’s alignment of his plane’s nose and port side wheels.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives (photo # 80-G-41194).

Air patrols scouted the sea looking for enemy ships that could relay their location back to Japan, and submarines Trout and Thresher kept a steady surveillance.

After plowing through gale-force winds of 36 knots during the afternoon of April 17, enemy vessels were picked up on radar at 3:12 a.m. April 18. A light on the horizon confirmed their presence. The task group changed direction by 350 degrees and 30 minutes later, the vessels left the radar screen.

At 7:15 a.m., an Enterprise search plane reported an enemy patrol vessel and the task force sighted it at 7:44 a.m. Nashville dispatched the vessel with gunfire. Over concern the vessel had alerted the Japanese of their presence, Doolittle decided to launch the planes immediately, still 400 miles from their original launch destination.

Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, USAAF, (center) with members of his flight crew and Chinese officials in China after the 18 April 1942 attack on Japan. Those present are (from left to right): Staff Sergeant Fred A. Braemer, Bombardier; Staff Sergeant Paul J. Leonard, Flight Engineer/Gunner; General Ho, director of the Branch Government of Western Chekiang Province; Lieutenant Richard E. Cole, Copilot; Lt.Col. Doolittle, Pilot and mission commander; Henry H. Shen, bank manager; Lieutenant Henry A. Potter, Navigator; Chao Foo Ki, secretary of the Western Chekiang Province Branch Government. Official U.S. Army Air Forces Photograph, from the collections of the US Navy Museum (# 97502).

Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, USAAF, (center) with members of his flight crew and Chinese officials in China after the 18 April 1942 attack on Japan.
Those present are (from left to right): Staff Sergeant Fred A. Braemer, Bombardier; Staff Sergeant Paul J. Leonard, Flight Engineer/Gunner; General Ho, director of the Branch Government of Western Chekiang Province; Lieutenant Richard E. Cole, Copilot; Lt.Col. Doolittle, Pilot and mission commander; Henry H. Shen, bank manager; Lieutenant Henry A. Potter, Navigator; Chao Foo Ki, secretary of the Western Chekiang Province Branch Government.
Official U.S. Army Air Forces Photograph, from the collections of the US Navy Museum (# 97502).

The first B-25, flown by Lt. Col. Doolittle, launched at 8:20 a.m. The take-offs were timed for when the ship’s bow pitched highest to give the Mitchell more loft. The average time between takeoffs was less than four minutes. The last B-25 left at 9:19 a.m.

Around 2 p.m., aircraft from Enterprise picked up two more enemy vessels, sinking one and damaging the other.

It wasn’t until after the war the Navy was able to confirm crew on the patrol boat had alerted the Japanese of their location. But when they requested confirmation, there was no answer since the vessel had already been sunk. Getting no response, the Japanese government chose to ignore the message.

The Doolittle Raiders faced some resistance from antiaircraft fire, but most were able to hit their 10 civilian and military targets in Japan. The repercussions of the U.S. hitting the Japanese homeland set in motion a tsunami-like strategic response that would ultimately change the tides of war to an American victory.

Nose of one of the raiding force's B-25B bombers, which is tied down on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV-8) while en route to the takeoff point. This aircraft is mission plane # 11 (USAAF serial # 40-2249), nicknamed "Hari Carrier" and decorated accordingly. The plane's pilot was Capt. C. Ross Greening. It attacked targets in Yokohama. Note slippage mark on the nosewheel and tire, and inscription on the wheel cover: "Inflating instructions inside — check tire pressure daily". USNHHC photograph (#NH 53287).

Nose of one of the raiding force’s B-25B bombers, which is tied down on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV-8) while en route to the takeoff point. This aircraft is mission plane # 11 (USAAF serial # 40-2249), nicknamed “Hari Carrier” and decorated accordingly. The plane’s pilot was Capt. C. Ross Greening. It attacked targets in Yokohama. Note slippage mark on the nosewheel and tire, and inscription on the wheel cover: “Inflating instructions inside — check tire pressure daily”.
USNHHC photograph (#NH 53287).

Army Air Force Raid That Set Up Naval Victory

After Doolittle’s Raiders dropped bombs on Tokyo, the Japanese military reaction was swift and vengeful. Japanese Combined Fleet commander Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto decided to strike the United States’ mid-Pacific base at Midway atoll and turn it into a Japanese air field. Yamamoto knew the U.S. had insufficient strength to defeat his Royal Imperial Navy, which could generally choose where and when to attack.

The Americans, however, had deduced Yamamoto’s attack through communications intelligence. Adm. Chester Nimitz, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, established an ambush and was waiting for the Imperial Navy. The second of the Pacific War’s great carrier battles began June 4, 1942, and by the end, Yamamoto’s forces lost four fleet carriers compared to just one for the United States.

The Battle of Midway had leveled the naval playing field for the American naval force. The base at Midway, though damaged by Japanese air attack, remained operational and later became a vital component in the American trans-Pacific offensive, which soon had the Japanese Imperial Navy on the ropes.

An Army Air Force B25B bomber takes off from USS Hornet (CV 8) at the start of the raid, April 18, 1942. Note men watching from the signal lamp platform at right. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives – Courtesy of the NHHC Photo archives)

An Army Air Force B25B bomber takes off from USS Hornet (CV 8) at the start of the raid, April 18, 1942. Note men watching from the signal lamp platform at right. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives – Courtesy of the NHHC Photo archives)

Best Laid Plans…

After completing their bombing mission, finding safe haven would be the Raiders’ toughest task. Taking off 400 miles sooner than planned had the planes nearly empty on fuel as they headed toward China. Of the 16 planes, 15 either crash-landed or crew bailed out. Only one plane landed – in Russia – where the crew was held as prisoners with liberal privileges. They escaped 13 months after the raid to a British consulate in Iran.

Seven Doolittle Raiders were killed in the mission: Two drowned and a third was killed by the fall after bailing out; eight were captured by the Japanese. Three of the eight POWs were executed Oct. 15, 1942, and another died of malnutrition Dec. 1, 1943. The surviving four POWs were released in August 1945.

Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle (left front), leader of the attacking force, and Captain Marc A. Mitscher, Commanding Officer of USS Hornet (CV-8), pose with a 500-pound bomb and USAAF aircrew members during ceremonies on Hornet's flight deck, while the raid task force was en route to the launching point. NHHC photo (# NH 64472).

Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle (left front), leader of the attacking force, and Captain Marc A. Mitscher, Commanding Officer of USS Hornet (CV-8), pose with a 500-pound bomb and USAAF aircrew members during ceremonies on Hornet’s flight deck, while the raid task force was en route to the launching point.
NHHC photo (# NH 64472).

The Raiders who landed in China were assisted by American missionary Rev. John M. Birch, whose contacts within Japanese-occupied China helped the Raiders to escape. Afterward, Birch was commissioned a lieutenant in the Army Air Force, continuing his work as a missionary while gathering intelligence on the Japanese. He was killed Aug. 25, 1945, at the age of 27, during a confrontation with Chinese Communists. The John Birch Society honors Birch, a recipient of both the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Service Medal.

Even though the Doolittle Raiders bombed Tokyo, it was the Chinese who suffered the most from the raid. Furious the Chinese nationalists were protecting the Americans, the Japanese retaliated against several coastal cities suspected of harboring the Americans, killing an estimated 250,000 Chinese citizens.

Brig. Gen James Doolittl poses beside an Air Corps recruiting poster that alluded to his bombing raid on Japan in April 1942. c. 1943.

Brig. Gen James Doolittl poses beside an Air Corps recruiting poster that alluded to his bombing raid on Japan in April 1942. c. 1943.

Doolittle was so convinced his mission had been a failure, he was convinced he would face a court-martial upon his return to the United States. Instead, he was promoted to general, skipping the rank of colonel. He and all of his Raiders were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Mitscher served in a variety of command leadership positions for the rest of World War II, earning the rank of admiral and title as Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

Capt. Lowe, a submariner, was promoted to rear admiral and as Chief of Staff of the 10th Fleet, guided the Atlantic anti-submarine effort. He was also commander of the Cruiser Division 16, which supported the Okinawa invasion and participated in several strikes against the Japanese. After the war, he supervised the surrender and neutralization of Japanese installations in the Pacific. By his retirement in 1956, Lowe had achieved the rank of admiral due to his leadership and combat actions.

Photo # 80-G-41197  USS Hornet launches B-25 bombers on the Doolittle Raid.

Photo # 80-G-41197
USS Hornet launches B-25 bombers on the Doolittle Raid.

Flight instructor Miller earned a Legion of Merit for his duties in training the Doolittle Raider pilots. He served with distinction throughout his career in the Navy, serving in Vietnam and launching the first aircraft carrier strikes on North Vietnam from the decks of Ranger (CV 61), Coral Sea (CV 43) and Hancock (CV 19). On Dec. 2, 1965, he engaged the first nuclear powered Task Force Enterprise (CVN 65) and Bainbridge (DLGN 25) against Vietnam. Miller retired as a Rear Admiral in 1971.

Just weeks after Doolittle’s Raiders flew off her deck, Hornet fought gallantly in the Battle of Midway, where her aircraft shared in the sinking of a Japanese cruiser. During the fight for Guadalcanal, Hornet was the only remaining operational carrier to oppose the enemy.

It was during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, while Hornet’s aircraft attacked and damaged a Japanese carrier, the carrier suffered irreparable damage from torpedoes and kamikazes. After her crew was forced to abandon ship and American attempts to scuttle her failed, Hornet remained afloat until she was torpedoed and sunk by Japanese ships Oct. 27, 1942.

Of the more than 260 American deaths during the battle, 118 came from Hornet, the last U.S. fleet carrier ever sunk by enemy fire.

Hornet was awarded four service stars for her World War II action and Torpedo Squadron 8 earned a Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism during the Battle of Midway.

Medal to commemorate Doolittle's Raid on Tokyo, April 18, 1942 (obverse and reverse). CMU War Collection

Medal to commemorate Doolittle’s Raid on Tokyo, April 18, 1942 (obverse and reverse).
CMU War Collection

As for Tech. Sgt. Scott, he successfully bailed out over Chun King, China. Upon his return to the U.S. in Aug. 1942, Scott entered officer candidate school, and then served overseas as an aircraft maintenance officer for the rest of World War II, and through both the Korean and Cold wars, retiring from active duty in 1959 as a lieutenant colonel. He died in 1978 at the age of 71.

On the Web:

Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942 – download the PowerPoint plans of the raid

Official Doolittle Raiders site

Other Official Doolittle Raiders site

Navy’s Role In Doolittle Raid Honored

James Harold “Jimmy” Doolittle

USS Hornet (CV-8)

USS Enterprise (CV-6)

Crash

Sources:

  • Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking. New York: Basic Books, 1997. ISBN 0-465-06835-9.
  • Chun, Clayton K.S. The Doolittle Raid 1942: America’s First Strike Back at Japan (Campaign: 16). Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey, 2006. ISBN 1-84176-918-5.
  • Coletta, Paolo. “Launching the Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 18, 1942”. The Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 63, No. 1, February 1993.
  • Craig, John S. Peculiar Liaisons: In War, Espionage, and Terrorism in the Twentieth Century. New York: Algora Publishing, 2004. ISBN 978-0-87586-331-3.
  • Craven, Wesley Frank and James Lea Cate, series editors. “Chapter 12: Drawing the Battle Line in the Pacific”. Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. I: Plans and Early Operations, January 1939 to August 1942 . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948. (Air Force Historical Studies Office internet edition.)
  • Culbertson, Charles. Forgotten Hero: The Story of Jack Manch, 30 Seconds Over Tokyo and the Self-Sacrifice of An American Warrior. Staunton, Virginia: Clarion Publishing, 2013. ISBN 978-1493501847.
  • Doolittle, James H. and Carroll V. Glines. I Could Never Be So Lucky Again: An Autobiography. New York: Bantam Books, 1991. ISBN 0-553-58464-2.
  • Emmens, Robert G. Guests of the Kremlin. San Rafael, California: Ishi Press International, 2007. ISBN 0-923891-81-1.
  • Gill, G. Hermon. “Volume II – Royal Australian Navy, 1942–1945.” Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1968.
  • Glines, Carroll V. The Doolittle Raid: America’s Daring First Strike Against Japan. New York: Orion Books, 1988. ISBN 0-88740-347-6
  • Doolittle’s Tokyo Raiders. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1981, First edition 1968. ISBN 978-0-44202-726-1.
  • Four Came Home: The Gripping Story of the Survivors of Jimmy Doolittle’s Two Lost Crews . New York: Van Nostrad Reinhold, 1981, First edition 1966. ISBN 978-1-57510-007-4.
  • Glover, Charles E. “Jimmy Doolittle’s One Moment in Time.” The Palm Beach Post, 18 April 1992.
  • Lawson, Ted W. and Robert Considine, ed.Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. New York: Random House, Inc., 1943.
  • Martin, Adrian R., and Larry W. Stephenson. Operation Plum: The Ill-fated 27th Bombardment Group and the Fight For the Western Pacific. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 2008. ISBN 1-60344-019-4.
  • Nelson, Craig. The First Heroes: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid—America’s First World War II Victory. London: Penguin Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-14-200341-1.
  • Oxford, Edward. “Against All Odds: B-25 Bombers Strike Japan in 1942.” American History Illustrated, March–April 1992.
  • Prange, Gordon W., Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon. Miracle at Midway. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982. ISBN 0-07-050672-8.
  • Tillman, Barrett. Enterprise: America’s Fightingest Ship and the Men Who Helped win World War II. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4391-9087-6.
  • Watson, Charles Hoyt. DeShazer: The Doolittle Raider Who Turned Missionary. Winona Lake, Indiana: The Light and Life Press, 1950.
  • Yamamoto, Masahiro. Nanking: Anatomy of an Atrocity. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2000. ISBN 978-0-2759-6904-2.
Advertisements

#WarriorWednesday: U. S. Navy

ww header

March 1915, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) was established by Congress.

The CNO is responsible to the Secretary of the Navy for the command, utilization of resources, and operating efficiency of the operating forces of the US Navy and of the Navy shore activities assigned by the Secretary. Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert is the current CNO.

Tingey House, Washington Navy Yard, D.C. View of the Quarters of the Chief of Naval Operations. This house was constructed between 1804 and 1807 in Georgian Style and changes in “Victorian” style were made in 1861. Photographed circa 1979. National Archives photograph, KN 27600 (Color).  Note: Tingey House became the official residence of the Chief of Naval Operations in 1977.

Tingey House, Washington Navy Yard, D.C. View of the Quarters of the Chief of Naval Operations. This house was constructed between 1804 and 1807 in Georgian Style and changes in “Victorian” style were made in 1861. Photographed circa 1979. National Archives photograph, KN 27600 (Color).
Note: Tingey House became the official residence of the Chief of Naval Operations in 1977.

Adm. William S. Benson, USN. 1st Chief of Naval Operations, 11 May 1915 – 25 September 1919. Portrait by Eleanor R. Beckham, 1960. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 77665-KN (Color). Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. Donated by the Benson Family, 1960.

Adm. William S. Benson, USN. 1st Chief of Naval Operations, 11 May 1915 – 25 September 1919. Portrait by Eleanor R. Beckham, 1960. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 77665-KN (Color). Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. Donated by the Benson Family, 1960.

Adm. Arleigh A. Burke, USN. 15th Chief of Naval Operations from 17 August 1955 to 01 August 1961. Portrait photograph, dated 15 December 1958. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, KN-12924 (Color)

Adm. Arleigh A. Burke, USN. 15th Chief of Naval Operations from 17 August 1955 to 01 August 1961. Portrait photograph, dated 15 December 1958. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, KN-12924 (Color)

Adm. Jeremy M. Boorda, USN. 25th Chief of Naval Operations from 23 April 1994 to 16 May 1996. Admiral Boorda address the crew on board USS Constellation (CV 64) circa 1995. DOD Still Media Photograph: DN-SC-96-00079.

Adm. Jeremy M. Boorda, USN. 25th Chief of Naval Operations from 23 April 1994 to 16 May 1996. Admiral Boorda address the crew on board USS Constellation (CV 64) circa 1995. DOD Still Media Photograph: DN-SC-96-00079.

Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, USN. Nimitz was promoted to Fleet Admiral on 19 December 1944 . 10th Chief of Naval Operations from 15 December 1945 to 15 December 1947. Portrait by Seymour Stone, 1946. Courtesy of the Artist.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archive, 80-G-K-14615 (Color).

Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, USN. Nimitz was promoted to Fleet Admiral on 19 December 1944 . 10th Chief of Naval Operations from 15 December 1945 to 15 December 1947. Portrait by Seymour Stone, 1946. Courtesy of the Artist.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archive, 80-G-K-14615 (Color).

‘Enemy Forces Engaged,’ USS Houston Fought Insurmountable Odds

USS Houston (CA 30), starboard view. Undated and unknown location. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)

USS Houston (CA 30), starboard view. Undated and unknown location. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)

In the finest of naval traditions the crew of USS Sampson (DDG 102), along with others, honors their fellow U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy shipmates from USS Houston (CA 30) and HMAS Perth (D 29) during a wreath laying ceremony.

Read more about how Houston and Perth fought against insurmountable odds during World War II‬.

…in remembrance of the 1,082 brave men of the heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA 30).

It was in the early hours of March 1st, 73 years ago, that she sailed for the final time into the teeth of enemy fire. While heading for the Sunda Strait, and in concert with the Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth, she ran into the main Japanese invasion force then landing on the island of Java. This force consisted, in its entirety, of one light carrier, one seaplane carrier, five cruisers, 12 destroyers, a mine-layer and 58 troopships.

Low on fuel and with her after turret out of action, this as a result of earlier damage sustained at the Battle of Makassar Strait, Houston, along with Perth, entered the fray. The last message anyone would ever hear from these ships was a radio transmission sent by Houston; the message read “Enemy forces engaged.”

Perth went down first, fighting to the end, but even the heroism of her crew could not overcome four torpedo strikes and untold hits by enemy cannon. When Perth succumbed, 353 men went down with her including her commanding officer, Capt. Hector Waller.

Battle of Sunda Strait, 28 February – 1 March 1942. Painting by John Hamilton depicting USS Houston (CA 30) in her final action with Japanese forces. Courtesy of the US Navy Memorial Foundation. Painting from the John Hamilton collection. (Courtesy of NHHC Art Gallery/Hampton Roads Naval Museum)

Battle of Sunda Strait, 28 February – 1 March 1942. Painting by John Hamilton depicting USS Houston (CA 30) in her final action with Japanese forces. Courtesy of the US Navy Memorial Foundation. Painting from the John Hamilton collection. (Courtesy of NHHC Art Gallery/Hampton Roads Naval Museum)

Houston was now left alone, surrounded by enemy ships and aircraft. In quick succession she was hit by shell and torpedo but continued to fight on. Some time after 01:30, having been hit scores of times, faced with extensive flooding below decks, out of ammunition for her main guns, and with fires raging out of control, Capt. Albert Rooks, the commanding officer, gave the order to abandon ship. Only minutes later he was killed by an exploding Japanese shell.

Houston was bathed in the glare of Japanese searchlights, still under heavy fire and settling by the bow when her surviving crew gave her to the sea. As she began her final plunge one survivor wrote that “it seemed as a sudden breeze picked up the Stars and Stripes, still firmly blocked on the mainmast, and waved them in one last defiant gesture.” Other survivors saw red tracer fire still spitting out of a machine gun platform as one lone Marine, Gunnery Sgt. Walter Standish, true to the traditions of the Corps continued firing until the sea took him.

Some 675 Sailors and Marines died with Houston. Most of these men were killed during her final battle, were taken down with the ship or died when the pitiless tide washed them into the vast Indian Ocean but others were machine gunned as they swam helpless in the water.

The 366 survivors were taken into captivity, but their ordeal was far from over. Many would end up in POW camps in Burma, where they were forced, under inhuman conditions, to construct the infamous Burma Railway. Of this handful of survivors a further 76 died of sickness, abuse, torture, hunger and neglect. At war’s end in 1945 only 290 men remained, many broken in body but not in spirit, to return to the United States. Think of them, for they paid the full price in defense of our freedoms.

As one of the survivors later wrote —“Well Done , Well Done!”

Images from the USS Houston (CA 30) and HMAS Perth (D 29) wreath laying ceremony:

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, salute during the playing of taps aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, salute during the playing of taps aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) conduct a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) conduct a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - (from the left) Cmdr. Steven Foley, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73 and Ambassador Robert Blake, ambassador of the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, observe a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – (from the left) Cmdr. Steven Foley, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73 and Ambassador Robert Blake, ambassador of the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, observe a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

 (Mar. 1, 2015) - (from the left) Cmdr. Steven Foley, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), Ambassador Paul Grigson, ambassador designate of the Embassy of Australia in Indonesia, Ambassador Robert Blake, ambassador of the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, and Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73, conduct a media availability after a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – (from the left) Cmdr. Steven Foley, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), Ambassador Paul Grigson, ambassador designate of the Embassy of Australia in Indonesia, Ambassador Robert Blake, ambassador of the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, and Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73, conduct a media availability after a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), bottom, the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84), top left, and Indonesian Navy vessels participate in a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), bottom, the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84), top left, and Indonesian Navy vessels participate in a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Sailors aboard the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84) conduct a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Sailors aboard the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84) conduct a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

 (Mar. 1, 2015) - Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) and the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84), top, participate in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) and the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84), top, participate in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, salute during the playing of taps aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, salute during the playing of taps aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, bow their heads during a moment of silence aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, bow their heads during a moment of silence aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

March 1942, the first U-boat sunk by U.S. forces in World War II.

US Navy‬ Reserve pilot Ensign William Tepuni, flying a Lockheed Hudson reconnaissance, light bombing and transport aircraft (PBO) from VP-82 squadron attacks and sinks German submarine U 656 southwest of Newfoundland.

Lockheed PBO “Hudson” Patrol Bomber. NHHC Photograph Collection, Visual-Aid Cards, Aviation.

Lockheed PBO “Hudson” Patrol Bomber. NHHC Photograph Collection, Visual-Aid Cards, Aviation.

Lockheed PBO “Hudson” Patrol Bomber.  Photographed circa 1942-43.  NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 94913.

Lockheed PBO “Hudson” Patrol Bomber.
Photographed circa 1942-43.
NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 94913.

ST

Fair Winds and Following Seas‬ to U.S. Army Reserve Veteran‬ and actor‪ Leonard Nimoy‬. Scotty … one shipmate to beam up.‪ Live Long And Prosper.‬

This laser disc is part of the U.S. Navy Artifact collection and is a limited edition for the movie StarTrek‬ VI The Undiscovered Country, displayed aboard USS Enterprise‬ (CVN 65).

Crash

#ThrowbackThursday: Battle of the Philippine Sea – June 1944 – US Scores Major Victory against Japanese

marianasturkeyshoot

On this day in 1944, in what would become known as the “Marianas Turkey Shoot”, U.S. carrier-based fighters decimate the Japanese Fleet with only a minimum of losses in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

The security of the Marianas Islands, in the western Pacific, were vital to Japan, which had air bases on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. U.S. troops were already battling the Japanese on Saipan, having landed there on the 15th. Any further intrusion would leave the Philippine Islands, and Japan itself, vulnerable to U.S. attack.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet, commanded by Admiral Raymond Spruance, was on its way west from the Marshall Islands as backup for the invasion of Saipan and the rest of the Marianas. But Japanese Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo decided to challenge the American fleet, ordering 430 of his planes, launched from aircraft carriers, to attack.

In what became the greatest carrier battle of the war, the United States, having already picked up the Japanese craft on radar, proceeded to shoot down more than 300 aircraft and sink two Japanese aircraft carriers, losing only 29 of their own planes in the process. It was described in the aftermath as a “turkey shoot”.

Admiral Ozawa, believing his missing planes had landed at their Guam air base, maintained his position in the Philippine Sea, allowing for a second attack of U.S. carrier-based fighter planes, this time commanded by Admiral Mitscher, to shoot down an additional 65 Japanese planes and sink another carrier. In total, the Japanese lost 480 aircraft, three-quarters of its total, not to mention most of its crews. American domination of the Marianas was now a foregone conclusion.

Not long after this battle at sea, U.S. Marine divisions penetrated farther into the island of Saipan. Two Japanese commanders on the island, Admiral Nagumo and General Saito, both committed suicide in an attempt to rally the remaining Japanese forces. It succeeded: Those forces also committed a virtual suicide as they attacked the Americans’ lines, losing 26,000 men compared with 3,500 lost by the United States. Within another month, the islands of Tinian and Guam were also captured by the United States.

The Japanese government of Premier Hideki Tojo resigned in disgrace at this stunning defeat, in what many have described as the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

On the Web:  WW II Battle of the Philippine Sea in Color – Video

Philippine Sea: June 19 – 20, 1944 – USS Enterprise CV-6

Great Marianas Turkey Shoot Timeline

Crash

#WarriorWednesday: LTJG George Bush, USNR, WWII

LTJG George H.W. Bush, the US Navy's youngest pilot during WWII.

LTJG George H.W. Bush, the US Navy’s youngest pilot during WWII.

Upon hearing of the Pearl Harbor attack, while a student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, George Bush decided he wanted to join the Navy to become an aviator.

Six months after college graduation, he enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday and began preflight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the US Naval Reserve on 9 June 1943, several days before his 19th birthday; making him the youngest naval aviator then.

After finishing flight training, he was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) as photographic officer in September 1943. As part of Air Group 51, his squadron was based on USS San Jacinto in the spring of 1944.San Jacinto was part of Task Force 58 that participated in operations against Marcus and Wake Islands in May, and then in the Marianas during June. On 19 June, the task force triumphed in one of the largest air battles of the war. During the return of his aircraft from the mission, Ensign Bush’s aircraft made a forced water landing. The destroyer, USS Clarence K. Bronson, rescued the crew, but the plane was lost. On 25 July, Ensign Bush and another pilot received credit for sinking a small cargo ship.

LTJG G. H. W. Bush, World War II US Navy Aviator

LTJG G. H. W. Bush, World War II US Navy Aviator

After Bush was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade on 1 August, San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. On 2 September 1944, Bush piloted one of four aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chi Chi Jima. For this mission his crew included Radioman Second Class John Delaney, and Lieutenant Junior Grade William White, USNR, who substituted for Bush’s regular gunner. During their attack, four TBM Avengers from VT-51 encountered intense antiaircraft fire.

While starting the attack, Bush’s aircraft was hit and his engine caught on fire. He completed his attack and released the bombs over his target scoring several damaging hits. With his engine on fire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft. However, the other man’s chute did not open and he fell to his death. It was never determined which man bailed out with Bush. Both Delaney and White were killed in action.

While Bush anxiously waited four hours in his inflated raft, several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine, USS Finback. For this action, Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross. During the month he remained on Finback, Bush participated in the rescue of other pilots.

Subsequently, Bush returned to San Jacinto in November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines. When San Jacinto returned to Guam, the squadron, which had suffered 50 percent casualties of its pilots, was replaced and sent to the United States. Throughout 1944, he had flown 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded San Jacinto.

ghwb3

Because of his valuable combat experience, Bush was reassigned to Norfolk and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. Later, he was assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, VT-153. With the surrender of Japan, he was honorably discharged in September 1945 and then entered Yale University.

The young pilot who grew up to serve his country in so many other ways as CIA Director, Vice President and President of the United States, celebrated his 90th birthday last week by parachuting out of a plane.

We should all strive to be that cool.

Former Lieutenant George Herbert Walker Bush, US Naval Reserve
Transcript Of Naval Service

12 June 1924 Born in Milton, Massachusetts
13 June 1942 Enlisted in US Naval Reserve
5 August 1942 Reported for Active Duty
8 June 1943 Honorably Discharged
9 June 1943 Ensign, US Naval Reserve and continued on Active Duty
1 August 1944 Lieutenant (junior grade)
18 September 1945 Released from Active Duty under honorable conditions
16 November 1948 Lieutenant
24 October 1955 Resignation accepted under honorable conditions

SHIPS AND STATIONS

US Naval Air Station,
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Instrn)
June 1943 – August 1943
Naval Air Operational
Training Command
Carrier Qualification Training Unit
US Naval Air Station, Glenview, Ill. (Instrn)
August 1943 – August 1943
Air Force, US Atlantic Fleet,
US Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Va. (Instrn)
August 1943 – September 1943
Carrier Aircraft Service 21
(Instrn)
September 1943 – September 1943
Torpedo Squadron 51 (Naval Aviator) September 1943 – December 1943
Air Force, US Atlantic Fleet,
US Naval
Air Station, Norfolk, Va.
December 1944 – February 1945
Torpedo Squadron 97 February 1945 – March 1945
Torpedo Squadron 153(Naval Aviator) March 1945 – September 1945
Headquarters, FIFTH Naval District September 1945 – September 1945

Ships named for President George H. W. Bush:
U.S.S. George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) – commissioned 10 January 2009

On the Web: 

Flyboys: A True Story of Courage

Chichi-jima

Crash

George Bush In World War II: Bibliography

Alcorn, Mike. “Naval Museum Displays Plane Once Flown by President Bush.” Gosport Spotlight (26 June 1992): 3.

“A Boy Goes to War: Fifty Years Ago WWII Began. Probably the Last U.S. President to Fight In It Looks Back.” Life 12, No.l0 (Sep.1989): 70-72, 74-76.

Cagle, M.W. “George Bush, Naval Aviator.” Air Power History 37, no. 1 (Spring 1990): 9-18.

Christman, Timothy J. “Vice President Bush Calls WW II Experience Sobering.” Naval Aviation News 67 (Mar.-Apr. 1985): 12-15.

Furgurson, Ernest B. “Bush, Once Navy’s Youngest Pilot, Reminisces on Service During War II.” Navy Times 35, no.4 (11 Nov. 1985): 6, 29, 34, 85.

“Bush’s War”. Washingtonian 20, no.11 (Aug. 1985): 132-35, 166-67.

Hyams, Joe. Flight of the Avenger: George Bush at War. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991. Note: This book contains an acknowledgement section, but no formal bibliography.

Mazzarella, Daniel A., ” History Rode a Trenton-Made Parachute: Lt. Bush Bailed Out of a Burning Plane 45 Years Ago.” Trenton NJ Times (3 Sep. 1989): BB6ff.

Stinnett, Robert B., George Bush: His World War II Years. Missoula MT: Pictorial Histories Publishing, 1991. Note: Footnoted, with an extensive bibliography of published books and archival materials relating to the USS San Jacinto and Air Group 51.

#WarriorWednesday: In Memory – Chester Nez, USMC Navajo Code Talker

Nez, seen at his home in 2009, told his story in his book, "Code Talker." He said he decided to tell his story because he wanted to share the contributions and sacrifices of the Navajo during World War II.

Nez, seen at his home in 2009, told his story in his book, “Code Talker.” He said he decided to tell his story because he wanted to share the contributions and sacrifices of the Navajo during World War II.

Chester Nez, the last of the original Navajo code talkers credited with creating an unbreakable code used during World War II, passed away June 4th at age 93.

For more than two decades, Chester Nez kept silent about his role as one of the original Navajo code talkers responsible for developing an unbreakable code during World War II. His death last Wednesday at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico was lamented by the Marine Corps as the end of an era — for both the country and its armed forces.

“We mourn his passing but honor and celebrate the indomitable spirit and dedication of those Marines who became known as the Navajo code talkers,” the Marines said in a statement.

cn1

CHESTER NEZ HIGHLIGHTS

  • As a child, Chester Nez was punished for speaking Navajo
  • Nez says recognition as a code talker came late, but was good when it did
  • Nez was one of 29 Navajos recruited to develop the code
  • Nez served as a code talker in the battles of Guadalcanal, Guam and Peleliu
Nez, standing front left, poses for a portrait with the first group of Navajo code talkers in San Diego in 1942.

Nez, standing front left, poses for a portrait with the first group of Navajo code talkers in San Diego in 1942.

Nez was the last remaining of the original 29 Navajos recruited by the Marine Corps to develop the legendary code that was used for vital communications during battle. He was a teenager when he was recruited in 1942 and assigned with the other code talkers to the Marine Corps’ 382nd Platoon at Camp Pendleton. Together, they created a code, including developing a dictionary.

Military authorities chose Navajo as a code language because its syntax and tonal qualities were almost impossible for a non-Navajo to learn, and it had no written form. The ranks of the Navajo code talkers swelled to more than 300 by the end of the war in 1945.

Nez also served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951.

Nez also served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951.

The code talkers were forbidden from telling anyone about it — not their fellow Marines, not their families — until their work was declassified in 1968. The original 29 were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2001 by President George W. Bush.

“In developing our code, we were careful to use everyday Navajo words, so that we could memorize and retain the words easily,” Nez told CNN in 2011 while promoting his book “Code Talker.”

“I think that made our job easier, and I think it helped us to be successful in the heat of battle.”

Still, Nez said he worried every day that an error might cost the life of an American military service member. Nez was among the code talkers who were shipped out to Guadalcanal in 1942, where the code talkers worked in teams of two, with one relaying and receiving messages while the other cranked the portable radio and listened for errors in transmission.

“That was my first combat experience, and there was a lot of suffering and a lot of the condition was real bad out there,” he told CNN’s Larry King in 2002.

President George W. Bush salutes Nez while presenting him with the Congressional Gold Medal at the U.S. Capitol in 2001.

President George W. Bush salutes Nez while presenting him with the Congressional Gold Medal at the U.S. Capitol in 2001.

“When bombs dropped, generally we code talkers couldn’t just curl up in a shelter,” Nez wrote in his book. “We were almost always needed to transmit information, to ask for supplies and ammunition, and to communicate strategies. And after each transmission, to avoid Japanese fire, we had to move.”

The code talkers faced initial resistance from fellow Marines who did not understand who they were and what they were doing.

That changed once they understood the importance of the code, Nez said. The Navajo code baffled the Japanese, who had successfully deciphered codes used by the U.S. Army. After the war, the Japanese chief of intelligence, Lt. General Seizo Arisue, admitted they were never able to crack the Navajo code used by the Marines and Navy, according to the Navy. Nez was discharged in 1945, but later volunteered to fight in the Korean War.

After the code talkers’ exploits were declassified by the military, the group gained legendary status with books and, ultimately, a movie that was inspired by their stories.

“The recognition of the code talkers came late, but it has been good for my Navajo people. I hope that this type of recognition continues across cultures,” Nez said.

The 2002 film “Windtalkers,” starring Adam Beach and Nicolas Cage, followed the fictional account of two Marines assigned to protect two code talkers during the battle of Saipan.

“I could understand when they sent the message and received on the other end,” Nez said. “I could understand, and I could sit there and write it down myself. I still remember it.”

It was a far cry from his childhood, when he was forced to attend a boarding school and punished by the teachers for speaking Navajo, according to his book. It’s a language, though, that appears lost even to many members of his own family.

“My own children do not speak Navajo, although my daughter-in-law … speaks it well,” he said. Nez said he decided to tell his story because he wanted to share the contributions and sacrifices of the Navajo during World War II.

“Our Navajo code was one of the most important military secrets of World War II. The fact that the Marines did not tell us Navajo men how to develop that code indicated their trust in us and in our abilities. The feeling that I could make it in both the white world and the Navajo world began there, and it has stayed with me all of my life. For that I am grateful.”

The Navajo Nation’s flags were ordered lowered in Nez’s honor.

Crash

Streetsister

Conversations with Street People

Lili Coffin's World of Wine

Featuring the best wine, travel and food of California.

jonoshmono's Blog

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Querida bitácora

Bitácora personal Lynsus

The Virtual Statesman

The Independent & Engaging Political Commentator

Wholesome & Delicious

food recipes, organic fields of joy

Welcome To Forex Snapshot

The Trading Advice You Need To Succeed

Chris Martin Writes

Sowing Seeds for the Kingdom

Jonathan McCallum

Photography & Video

Appetites Abroad

Travel tips and planning services for wine and culinary enthusiasts.

Working Mom Inspiration

inspiration and resources for the working Mom

Logical Quotes

cycling, photography, graphic design, military, history, astronomy, flora & fauna, art, travel, science, faith, patriotism, politics, food, et cetera.

ELLIS NELSON BOOKS

young adult, middle grade, children's books

Camela Glory

Fashion Photographer|spiritual Person| GOD is the Creator

Dem Bones

Jettahlily008's Word Press Blog

Artist- Ted Giffin - Musician

Forum for Display + Critique of His Creative Works

Keene Short

Writing \\ Research \\ Photography

CARTOGRAFIESignotes

· La guía sobre el món per a gent desmesuradament inquieta · Geògrafs de guàrdia · OBERT 24/7 ·

Plastic Models... By CharleyGnarly

Just a regular Joe, sharing tips and such for other regular Joes and Janes.

Rachels Works

Rachels Works

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Chris Martin Writes

cycling, photography, graphic design, military, history, astronomy, flora & fauna, art, travel, science, faith, patriotism, politics, food, et cetera.

Olivia Peters | Romance Author

Contemporary Romance by Olivia Peters. A different kind of fairy tale

Brain Warfare

Spiritual isn't non-physical, it's an elevation of the physical

Face Camera Action

Travel and Life Blogger

ROSE AND THE LILY

Let each be deem'd a queen.

chasterainbow

Everything you want is on the other side of fear

Urban Skyline

Photojournalism Based on Urban Living

existentiallens

Being Photography

ellisnelson

children's author

A Cat for a Smile

Animal Lover ~Kitty Cat Smile

DM Editorial Consultants

Writing & Editorial Services